Chapter 3 : It's Not Something That She's Made Up In Her Head
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And there's something that she feels but she hasn't found the words
~It's Love, Jared Campbell
Eleven-year-old Amanda Genevieve Tagger smiled to herself as she closed her book. She rolled over on her bed and set the it on her bedside table. Her bedside table was stacked high with at least ten books, most of which Amanda had already read.
Amanda had always enjoyed reading. Ever since she was a little girl, books had been some of her best friends. They were great company when she was sad or bored or just wanted to escape into a different world for a while. Best of all, books never made fun of her.
Amanda had always been shy and she was the first to admit it. She didn't have very many friends and kids her age tended to stay away from her. This was most likely because strange things always happened around her.
She was only five when she first realized that she was different. Amanda, her older sister, Jen, who was nine at the time, and a few of her sister's friends were playing outside. They decided to play hide-and-seek and Amanda climbed the biggest tree in their backyard and hid amongst the branches. Jen, who was 'it', had the hardest time finding her. In fact, Jen never found her. Amanda didn't leave the tree until their mom called them in for a snack.
That was when it happened. Amanda's foot caught on one of the branches and she lost her grip. She fell what must have been twenty or thirty feet out of that maple tree, hitting numerous branches on her way down.
When she was a mere five feet from the ground, she suddenly stopped falling. Then, she glided lightly to the ground, and landed softly on her feet. Amanda looked around and saw Jen staring open-mouthed at her. Their mother, who had seen Amanda falling, ran from the house and checked her over. She was completely fine, save for a few minor scratches and bruises. No one knew why it had happened, but Amanda's mother said an angel must have been looking out for her that day.
Whatever it was, Amanda knew she was different that day. It was only the beginning. Strange things had happened to her ever since. When she was six and the class bully stole her biscuits at lunch, new ones appeared out of thin air in front of her. When she was seven and forgot to do her maths homework, it somehow did itself while sitting in her backpack.
A small, relatively harmless tornado had somehow descended upon a few boys who were chasing her when she was eight. That incident was what caused most of the other kids her age to steer clear of her.
There was one girl who did not care that strange things happened around Amanda. Jamie House, Amanda's best friend since Kindergarten, never cared about the strange incidents. She actually thought they were funny. Amanda and Jamie were inseparable at school.
However, Jamie was currently spending a few weeks with her grandparents in Scotland. Without Jamie's company, Amanda had spent most of her time reading. There wasn't really anything else to do. Jen was fifteen and the last thing she wanted to do was hang out with her eleven-year-old sister. Amanda's little brother, Max, was eight and all he wanted to do was ride his bike in the empty lot down the road with the other neighborhood boys.
Amanda was left with her books for company, not that she really minded. She was getting a bit restless, though. She stood up opened her bedroom door. Maybe Jen wasn't on the computer and Amanda would be able to go online. Jamie managed to get on instant messager ever so often at her grandparents' house and Amanda had talked to her a few times over the past week.
The doorbell rang just as Amanda was leaving her room.
"Amanda!" Jen shouted from her room, "Could you get that?"
"Sure," Amanda said as she passed Jen's room. She peeked inside and saw that Jen was in the process of straightening her light brown hair. Jen had straightened Amanda's honey blonde hair a few times, but Amanda actually preferred it with its natural slight wave. Jen hated her own curly hair, though.
Amanda ran down the stairs and towards the door. She pulled it open and saw a man wearing the strangest outfit she had ever seen anyone wear on a day that was not Halloween. It looked like a black graduation gown. The man himself looked relatively sane, though. His blonde hair was neatly combed and he smiled when Amanda opened the door.
"Hello," he greeted her, "Are your parents home?"
"Er," Amanda began, "I think so. Are you selling something?" Her parents hated door to door salesmen. Amanda wasn't exactly sure where her parents were, but she doubted they'd want to be interrupted to listen to someone trying to sell something.
The man laughed. "No, not at all."
"Wait right here," Amanda said and went to find her parents, "Mum! Dad! There's some bloke at the door who wants to talk to you!"
"What's he selling?" Mrs. Tagger shouted from the kitchen.
"Nothing!" Amanda replied.
Mrs. Tagger, a short, plump woman with flecks of grey in her dark brown hair walked out of the kitchen and followed Amanda to the door.
"Can I help you?" she asked the man.
"Yes," the man replied, "I'm a teacher at a private school and I'm here to inform you that your daughter has been accepted."
"Jen?" Mrs. Tagger asked, "I wasn't aware she applied to any private schools."
"No," the man shook his head, "Not Jen. Amanda."
Amanda gaped at the man and then turned to her mother, who was now frowning. Amanda hadn't applied to any private schools. Why would she? She had already gotten into the secondary school she was attending in the fall.
"I know Amanda hasn't applied to anymore schools," Mrs. Tagger said.
"This isn't one she applied for," the man said quietly, "Her name has been down since she was born."
Amanda was stunned. What was this about? How could her name have been down for a school since she was born?
"Could I come in?" the man asked.
"I think you'd better," Mrs. Tagger said in barely more than a whisper.
The man stepped inside the house and followed Mrs. Tagger into the den. Amanda followed and sat down on a chair while the strange man took the couch.
"Henry!" Mrs. Tagger shouted down the basement stairs, "You'd better come upstairs!"
A minute later a tall man with a messy shock of blonde hair on his head walked into the room with Mrs. Tagger.
"My husband, Henry," Mrs. Tagger replied, "And my name is Sarah. Who are you?"
"Professor Neville Longbottom," the man replied as he stood up and shook each of my parents' hands.
"Professor?" Henry raised his eyebrows.
"He told me Amanda has been accepted to a private school. One that her name's been down for since birth," Sarah explained, "Did you sign her up without telling me?"
"No," Henry shook his head.
"I'll explain everything if you'll just sit down," Neville said.
Henry and Sarah nodded and they sat down on the couch Neville had just vacated.
"I teach at a boarding school in Scotland called Hogwarts-"
Henry snorted and Sarah glared at him. "Sorry," he muttered.
Neville grinned. "I get that reaction a lot. Anyway, Hogwarts is not an ordinary school. It is a school of magic. Mr. and Mrs. Tagger, your daughter is a witch."
Amanda was glad she had been sitting down. If she hadn't, she surely would have fainted. She stared in shock at Neville. What did he mean, witch? Amanda had read many stories about witches. Some had good witches and others had bad witches. Which witch was she?
How could she even be a witch? Witches weren't real. They were made up to provide entertainment. They couldn't actually exist. Magic didn't exist.
"What are you getting at?" Henry said defensively, "If this is some sort of prank, it's not funny."
"It's not a prank," Neville said calmly, "Magic does exist. Witches and wizards have been hiding their world for generations. I teach at Britain's only school of magic."
"What do you teach?" Henry asked.
"Herbology. The study of magical plants."
"Prove it," Henry said, "Pull a rabbit out of your hat or something."
Neville grinned and pulled out his wand. Amanda stared at it. A real magic wand. Just like the ones she'd read about in books.
"Accio pillow," Neville pointed his wand at one of the pillows next to Henry. It soared through the air and landed neatly in Neville's hand.
"Where's the string?" Henry stood up and grabbed the pillow. He searched all over it for a string, but didn't find one.
"No string," Neville smiled. He took the pillow back and pointed his wand at it. He muttered something else and the pillow turned into a tea kettle.
"That is brilliant," Amanda grinned, "Can I learn how to do that?"
"When you are older, yes," Neville replied.
"What else can you do?" Amanda asked excitedly.
"Brew potions, various charms, disappear and reappear in a new place-"
"Seriously?" Amanda gaped, "Can you show me that?"
"Sure," Neville replied. He disappeared from the room with a loud crack and then was back a few seconds later.
"What the bloody hell was that?" Jen ran into the room with her hair partially straight and partially curly.
"Language, Jennifer," Sarah warned.
"I'm a witch," Amanda grinned, "I can do magic."
"What?!" Jen shouted and sat down on the nearest chair, clearly intent on staying in the room despite her hair.
"Wait, wait!" Henry shouted, "What if we choose not to let her attend this place?"
"You have to, Dad!" Amanda shouted.
"Henry, are you really so gullible? You can't honestly think there is a school of magic!" Sarah shouted.
"Magic?" Jen asked, "Like pulling rabbits out of hats?"
"Of course it exists, Mum!" Amanda told her.
Sarah shook her head. "No. Amanda, you just want it to exist. Magic isn't real. It's fantasy."
"It does," Neville said quietly, "Can you remember a time Amanda has done something that couldn't be explained? Any time where she should have been hurt and then somehow wasn't?"
Sarah's face went pale white and she turned to Henry. "Yes," she whispered, "Many times."
"It can be explained," Neville replied, "It's magic."
"But what if we don't let her go?" Henry asked again.
"That's fine. But she won't ever learn to control her magic and she will continue to cause strange things to happen."
"I'm going," Amanda crossed her arms on her chest.
"Glad to hear it," Neville reached into his, what could only be described as a cloak, and pulled out a letter. He handed it to Amanda.
It was addressed to her. She turned it over and carefully opened it. She unfolded it and began to read it aloud.
There was another piece of paper that had a list of supplies written on it, including a cauldron, wand, and spell books. Amanda had about a million questions. Where could she buy a real wand? Had they gotten the platform wrong? There couldn't be a Platform 9 3/4, could there? What did the letter mean, broomsticks? Did witches really ride around on brooms like they do in books?
"I'm home!" the front door slammed shut and Max ran into the room, his dark hair disheveled and his face coated in dirt. He stopped at the sight of Neville and grinned. "Nice costume, but Halloween's not for a few months."
"It's not a costume," Jen said, "He's a wizard. He teaches at a school of magic and he's here to tell us that Amanda is a witch."
"That is brilliant," Max grinned, "Am I one, too?"
"You'll find out the summer you are eleven," Neville answered.
"Max, please go upstairs and clean yourself up," Sarah groaned, "You're getting mud all over the carpet."
"Oh, sorry," Max turned and ran up the stairs.
"Mum, Dad," Amanda began, "You've got to let me go to Hogwarts. This explains everything! I want to learn how to control my magic. I won't be the weird girl at Hogwarts."
Henry and Sarah shared a look. "I suppose you're right," Henry sighed, "We'll let you go, so long as this professor explains everything about magic to us."
"I will," Neville nodded, "Actually, if you're not busy today, I could take you to Diagon Alley. That's the shopping area where you will be able to purchase everything Amanda needs for Hogwarts. It's in London."
"We're not busy," Henry said, "We'll just wait for Max."
Amanda grinned as she reread her letter over and over again. She still couldn't believe it. A witch. She was a real witch! Amanda always knew she was different, but she never imagined it would be like this. She pinched herself to make sure it was real. It was. She, Amanda Tagger, was a witch. It was like she had fallen into one of her books.
A/N: Thanks to XDNLxtlz99, Moonylupin, and Luke for their reviews!
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