It was just after breakfast, all of the students were in their classes and Nearly Headless Nick was floating through the empty corridors. He floated through a wall and into an empty classroom and when he came back out, he was startled by a loud crash. He turned to corner to find peeves floating down the hall, cackling wildly. Pieces of glass were all over the floor.
“Peeves!” he yelled.
Peeves stopped abruptly and said “uh oh” in a low, squeaky voice and took off again. Nearly Headless Nick floated up right behind him. There was really nothing he could do to stop Peeves, since he could float right through him but he had another idea. Nick turned around and started back the opposite way. Peeves slowed down and followed Nick cautiously.
“There you go, Ghosty Boy!” he had a hint of excitement in his voice along with some fear. “You wouldn’t be able to stop me anyway.”
Nick ignored peeves and kept moving. He just needed to get a little farther.
“Thin as air, you are.” he let out a laugh.
Nick had just arrived where he wanted to be. They were in the Hospital Wing so that Peeves couldn’t see that nobody was there and so they wouldn’t interrupt any classes. Nick turned around and said,
“Oh, Bloody Baron! Peev--”
“Stop! Don’t! I’m sorry, Mr. Nick, Sir.”
Nick left the hospital wing and started floating through the corridors again. It was quiet except for the low voices coming from the classroom. There was a thump just down the hallway. “Peeves!” Nick whispered. But it wasn’t Peeves. It was a first year Hufflepuff student named Nate Johnson. He had just fallen against a small table right outside of an empty classroom.
“What’s going on here?” Nick asked. Nate got off the floor.
“Peeves…was chasing me…with a bottle…of ink.” He was breathing so hard he had to lean against the wall.
“Why aren’t you in class?” Nick asked.
“Professor Slughorn asked me to bring someone to the hospital wing. He spilled some kind of potion on himself that made him get a bunch of warts.”
“Ah,” Nick said. “It happens to somebody every year.” They started walking in the direction to the dungeons.
“Why did you get your head chopped off?” Nate asked but quickly added “Well almost chopped off.”
There was silence for a moment while Nick considered how to answer this question. He had only been asked this question once before, about twenty or so years before. It was a Gryffindor student named Sirius, who told another Gryffindor, who told another and it spread so that all Gryffindors since have known the main idea of what happened. Nobody in any other house had been told. It was almost like a house secret. Since then, he was only asked how his head wasn’t cut all the way off (Which he would simply answer “Blunt Axe.”).
Would the truth be too scary for a first year or would he be fine? He decided that he would just tell it how he remembered it.
“Well, It’s kind of a long story but I’ll try to shorten it a bit.” he said. “It was a nice evening on October thirtieth. I was walking through a park with a woman I had just met that same day, a muggle, talking about how we wished we could have more money. She said that she didn’t even want that much, just enough so she could buy a new dress and get someone to straighten her teeth.
“I can straighten your teeth.” I told her. “I’ve made my whole family’s teeth straight.”
“Well, I didn’t tell her that I didn’t do it the muggle way. She didn’t even know I was a wizard.” He looked down at Nate, who was looking back at him waiting to hear more of the story.
“I had her sit down on a blanket and told her to close her eyes. I pulled out my want and put it up to her mouth but she started giggling. Not only did it distract me but it attracted a lot of attention. I started laughing and said the spell wrong. Next thing I knew, she had a tusk.”
Nate gasped and his eyes got larger. It looked like when someone squeezes a frog in a cartoon and it’s eyes pop out.
“I reversed it of course.” Nick told him. He looked normal again. “The problem was that so many people saw it. The ministry came to get me and snapped my wand while others modified the muggle’s memory’s. They brought me back to the ministry while they decided what to do with me. They finally all agreed that they shouldn’t waste a cell in Azkaban Prison and they would just behead me.”
Nate looked worried. “Do they still do that?” he asked.
“Oh, no!” Nick answered. “That was a very long time ago. Now they just snap your wand and go on their way.”
“Thank goodness.” Nate said with a sigh. Nick continued his story.
“I was to be beheaded the next morning in front of the whole town of Muggles. The ministry had created a different story so they could do it in front of more people.
“I woke up the next morning and was taken into the town where they hit me forty-five times with a blunt axe.”
They had just arrived at the door of the Potions classroom.
“Have a nice day!” Nick said. And he floated away like he had just passed Nate in the corridor on his way through.
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