Chapter 1 : Evidence
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Chapter One: Evidence
I’m ninety-nine point nine percent positive that my neighbours are crazy. Please note the point one percent margin for error, because I’m often wrong about these types of things. For example, I once thought the potted plant on Mum’s window sill was really a monster that was going to eat my feet. Mum says I have an overactive imagination. I agree with her.
But this time I have evidence on my side! This time is different than the time with the plant, because I’ve made a notebook of my observations! Only, I seem to have misplaced it. Again. Ah well, it was about time for another spelunking expedition under my bed.
Fifteen minutes, and five frightening encounters with dust monsters later, I find my notebook. It has a suspicious big brown stain on the cover. I cross my fingers and sniff the stain. Oh, thank goodness, it’s just chocolate. There’s a load off my mind.
I open the notebook to reread my evidence. I’m really quite proud of myself for going about the matter of my crazy neighbours so scientifically.
I’m almost positive my neighbours, the Potters, are insane. Here’s the evidence:
Monday- 10:00 A.M. Just heard loud crack coming from Potters’ house, sounded like gunshot, or car backfiring. Must get binoculars and investigate. 10:15 A.M. From carefully observing Potters’ house for fifteen minutes, determined no casualties, and no cars backfired. Just some smoke in the front room. Very bored, so have decided to make cookies.
Tuesday- 1:05 P.M. Was sitting in bedroom, enjoying cookies, when blue sparks were seen coming from Potter boy’s (Note to self: figure out that kid’s name.) bedroom. Was very alarmed, so ran downstairs and hid under sofa for approximately one hour (fell asleep). Am now recovering through help of chocolaty goodness.
Wednesday- 6:41 P.M. Just finished supper. Was very tasty. Am sitting in tree house with binoculars, eavesdropping on conversation taking place in Potters’ backyard. Yes, the binoculars are necessary for eavesdropping. Conversation is between Potter Boy and Potter Man, who is most definitely Potter Boy’s dad. Both look a bit peeved. Here’s conversation:
PB (Potter Boy): Can’t I please borrow your broom to play quiditsh (spelling?) at remus’s, I promise I won’t break it! I need to have the speed advantage over serious, and your broom is faster than mine!
PBD (Potter Boy’s Dad): No.
PB: But, Dad, I won’t fly too high! No muggles will see me!
PBD: You always fly too high, James, and I don’t want my broom confiscated by the ministry when you get seen by muggles.
PB: But, Dad!
PBD: I said no.
PB: But serious nicked, er, I mean borrowed, his brother’s broom and it’s a nimbus 1500!
PBD: (sighs) Fine.
PB: Thanks, Dad, you’re the best!
PB hugs PBD and dashes inside. A few minutes later, another loud crack comes from house. I jump and hit head on tree house ceiling (tree house not meant for sixteen year old girl). PBD looks my way. Spent next twenty minutes flattened against floor of tree house, having staring contest with spider. But have now determined PB’s name: James.
Thursday- 4:25 P.M. In tree house again, with binoculars. Have brought dad’s boot up here to kill spiders with. Mrs. Potter spotted in her backyard, sitting on lawn chair and reading. Lawn chair looks pretty shifty. Use zoom feature on binoculars to read book cover. Book called “Three Hundred Useful Household Spells.” Interesting.
See! That is most definitely evidence of the Potters’ craziness! I mean what’s “quiditsh”? And what’s “muggles”? And why was the Potter boy, I mean, James, going on about “serious”? I won’t rest until I solve this mystery!
“Melanie! Come and do the dishes!” my mum bellows up the stairs. Shoot. The mystery will have to wait until after the dishes are done.
I really hate doing the dishes. There are always many unidentifiable substances in the dish water that I’d rather not deal with. It also takes way too much time. And when I’m finally finished, Mum decides it’s time for some family bonding time in the living room. I abhor family bonding time. It’s always practically painful. Dad and Mum ask me embarrassing questions about my social life, or even, God forbid, my sex life, (or lack thereof) and then tell anecdotes about when they were teenagers, as we sit around drinking mineral water, which, by the way, I also abhor. Water was meant to be mineral-free, thank you very much.
Mum’s a physiatrist, so she thinks she always knows what I’m thinking, but she doesn’t, not at all. Dad’s a chiropractor, which means whenever I’m the least bit stressed he says it’s probably because I’ve been slouching a lot lately, causing back problems. Ugh.
“So, Melanie,” Mum begins. She and my dad are the only people in the world that call me that. All normal people call me Mellie. “How’s your summer been so far?”
“Fine,” I say. Mum and Dad exchange looks, and I know they’re thinking I’m avoiding telling them something, so I elaborate. “I think the Potters might be crazy.”
“Really?” Dad says, frowning slightly. “Well that son of theirs was playing his music rather loudly the other day, but that’s no reason to question their sanity.”
“I don’t know, there’s something funny about Mrs. Potter,” my mum says. I nod enthusiastically, happy we’re having a discussion that doesn’t involve therapy, myself, backaches, or sex. “I have a feeling she’s repressing a lot. She should see someone. ” Oh dear, spoke too soon. The physco-babble is about to begin.
“Mum? Don’t you think it’s time I practice piano?” I ask quickly, before she can launch into her analysis of Mrs. Potter. Mum nods, completely distracted.
“Oh yes, of course, practice makes perfect, after all.”
I dash out of the room and into the library, where the piano is located. I’ve been taking piano lessons since I was ten, and I’m pretty good, since I use practicing as an excuse to get out of a lot of things. Can I go shopping with Mum? Oh no, I have to practice piano. Do I want to have some cocoa with Dad? Oh no, I have to practice piano.
Once there, I plunk though a few songs before heading back up to my bedroom to get my binoculars and notebook, for some observation time. On my way out of the backdoor to my tree house, I hear Mum and Dad talking in the living room. I hear my name, which is never a good sign, so I stop and listen. It’s not eavesdropping if you’re not really hiding, just standing out of sight.
“I’m worried about Melanie,” Mum says. I frown. Why’s she worried about me? Have I given her any reason to worry? It’s not like I’ve gotten a tattoo or anything. Or any unusual piercings.
“So am I,” Dad replies. Their voices are surprisingly casual, like they’re talking about the weather or something. Oh! Maybe they’re worried because I fell asleep under the sofa on Wednesday!
Hhmmm . . . that can’t be it. I’ve fallen asleep under there before. It’s surprisingly comfortable down there.
“She hasn’t been spending much time with her friends this summer,” Mum continues. “I’m worried she’s becoming antisocial; and this thing with the Potters . . .” She trails off, but that in meaningful way she has.
Argh! All my friends are gone this summer! I’m not antisocial, there’s just no one around to socialize with! And Mum and Dad should know this, because I told them on the last day of school.
Susan and Katie are nerds, and therefore taking summer courses at a university a couple of hours away. In maths. Insanely-intense maths, where there’s so many Greek letters involved it doesn’t even seem like the professors are speaking English. I can barely count to a hundred, so there’s no way I could have gone with them, even if my parents bribed the university people.
And Courtney’s taking summer classes at this private Drama school. I’m not sure about all the details, but it sounds like a lot of acting, and singing, and dancing, and I’m not good at any of those. She had to recite Shakespeare in her audition to get in. Shakespeare gives me a headache. Too many ‘thee’s and ‘thou’s.
Mary’s off in some third-world country with her parents, building schools and houses for poor people and sleeping in tents and peeing outside. She invited me, but as soon as she mentioned “no indoor plumbing” I politely declined. I cannot pee outside. Believe me, I’ve tried before, but I just can’t.
Liz is travelling all around Europe with her family. I feel for her, because her parents are even worse than mine, and she has a little sister who is pure evil. I’m not exaggerating. That little girl once dyed my hair blue in the middle of the night when I was staying at Liz’s house. The dye didn’t fade for a month. And, she didn’t do a very good job, and got some dye on my face, so I looked like I had some sort of weird skin disease for a month. Four different doctors stopped me on the street and asked if I’d “had someone look at that rash”.
Even Kenzie, my neighbor, is at football camp, and won’t be back until next Saturday. So it’s really not my fault all my friends are gone, and I’m not being antisocial. My parents are just worrywarts.
“Yes, she has been very anti-social,” Dad agrees. I roll my eyes. “She’s also been slumping lately.”
Agh! I can’t take anymore of this! I’m leaving this madness! I turn and carefully sneak away from the living room, careful not to let them hear me, and towards the back door so I can spy on the Potters and not think about my irritating parents.
I sneak out of back door, and then dash over to the fence that separates our backyard from the Potters’. There’s a small peephole in the fence that I put the lens of my binoculars up to. Perfect. James is in his backyard, holding something in his hand, and talking to it. I zoom in a bit to try and see what he’s holding, but then he turns and his back is to me. I take out my notebook.
Saturday-6:45 P.M. PB, now known as James, in backyard, talking to something. Do not know what. Think might be mobile phone, but is too small, and he’s not holding it up to his ear, he’s holding it in his hands, in front of his face. Here’s what he’s saying:
James: Are they giving you a hard time again?
Well just come over! My parents won’t mind, they love you.
Honestly, mate, you really need to get away from them. They’re mental.
Pause I zoom in with my binoculars, but I can’t see what he’s talking to for the life of me. And now it’s getting a bit dark. I hope James finishes his conversation soon, I don’t want to be out here alone in the dark with the psychos and the serial-killers and the stalkers and the wild animals.
James: Bring everything, I don’t care! Come tomorrow, first thing in the morning, before your mum wakes up.
A very short pause
Serious, really, you have to come.
A longer pause
Brilliant! See you tomorrow!
James stops talking and turns around. He begins to pocket what he was talking to, but I see it first.
It was a mirror. James Potter was talking to a mirror.
A/N: Haha, those last two lines rhymed. Heh, anyway, what did you think? Is it funny? Loopy? Cliched? Do you like Mellie? Review please! In the next chapter, which I've already written, she meets Sirius. Excited? 'Cause I am.
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