Chapter 2 : Unexpected Possibility
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The maids came in the evening and cleaned up the mess I had made with coloured crayons and other toys. Since it was still late summer it was quite warm and the fireplace was left dormant.
I wore one of my favourite white nightdresses with eye-let lace around the cuff and slipped into bed.
After a draining session with Mrs. Elliot, I was tired and wanted to drift off to sleep.
An hour later I was still awake, tossing and turning against the warm night that resisted my peace. Finally, I sighed impatiently and climbed out of bed. I walked over to the windows, opened the latch and pushed it up. The night breeze was much cooler and it tickled me as it ran through my long hair into my room ruffling the paper I had painted on.
I breathed deeply, the air smelled uncommonly fresh. I hardly ever opened my window, and now as I stood there I wondered why not. But thanks to my family the "Why Not?" list would probably have been endless.
I sat on the carpet floor enjoying the cool breeze as it glided in making the curtains float gently. It was then that I suddenly noticed an odd shadow in the window, before I had time to register what it was... before I could scream... before I could think, it had flown through the window, into the room and landed on my carpet!
It was thanks to the shock of the event and the hammering of my heart which made my throat go dry, that I had not screamed yet but stared at the creature on my carpet with wide eyes.
An owl! An Owl?... I tilted my head trying to understand. An owl... carrying an envelope!
Ok... I must have hit my head somewhere but I couldn't recall doing so!
The bird dropped the letter and took off through the open window without so much as a second glance.
I stood there with my back against the wall of the furthest corner of the room away from the envelope without any idea how I got there so fast. I waited, watching, for a long minute but nothing happened. Now I was fighting a battle between my gut and my mind. One wanted to be cautious, to stay as far away from the envelope as possible... but the other was infinitely curious.
I crept towards it slowly as if afraid it would hear me. When I was close enough to read the writing on the front I paused and craned my neck reading who it was addressed to.
The green letters were elegant in the light from the street lamp flooding into my room.
Ms. Caprice Waltham
No 11, Grimmauld Place,
I blinked twice and stared, registering the accuracy of the address and then my eyes travelled the far corners of the room as if looking for a camera where someone might be spying on me.
I found nothing and despite my quickening heart beat my burning curiosity made me inch closer to the letter. Once I picked it up, I hurried over to my bed, flipped on my bedside lamp and examined the envelope. Unlike most letters that had arrived at No. 11 this was different, for starters it wasn’t delivered by a postman and also the uncommonly highly precise address. The envelope seemed to be made out of old parchment like the kind found in the pages of old library books.
I turned it over to find a wax coat of arms sealed into the back. With trembling fingers I opened the envelope and pulled out the letter inside, unfolded it and read the thin slanting writing.
Dear Ms. Waltham,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
I blinked again and shook my head.
Hogwarts School of What and WHAT???...
Oh HA HA very funny! I thought.
I wasn’t used to practical jokes. I didn’t have friends, so obviously no one would bother playing them on me in the first place.
My first thought was that it was probably my father. He had a few rare moments where he was uncannily humorous. I thought he might have thought it would make me laugh, sometimes he wrote to me saying he missed it.
The rest of the letter continued...
Please find the enclosed list of the necessary books for your upcoming school year.
The new school term begins on 1st September.
We await your return owl by the 30th of this month. You will be accompanied by a school representative to King’s Cross station on the day of departure, should you choose to accept your position in this school. The Hogwarts Express Train will depart from King's Cross station at 11.00am on the 1st of September.
Please report to The Reception Chamber on arrival at the school.
I rolled my eyes and shook my head.
Nice one dad! Return OWL! Wow! who comes up with this stuff!?
I was just thinking, blankly staring at the letter...
I literally jumped a foot in the air and fell in a heap on my rug, my lamp slipped off the nightstand and hit my head. Rubbing the throbbing spot on my head and wincing against the pain I pulled myself up and crossed over to the window.
Out there on the street was boy about the same age as me, holding a piece of paper jumping up and down on the deserted road yelling at the top of his lungs! How bizarre!
“YESS! YESS!” he yelled continuing to jump ecstatic about something.
I massaged my head looking at him, tonight is without a doubt the weirdest night, could it get any crazier?
“YES!!! IT’S HERE IT’S HERE! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! I’M GOING TO HOGWARTS!!”
My jaw dropped open.
“Sirius! SSHHHH!! Shut up!! We’re all very happy! Now GET BACK INSIDE!” A young woman's voice yelled at the boy who was still jumping up and down.
I raised myself onto the windowsill with my elbows and looked for the voice but couldn’t see it. The boy on the street, still positively elated, hopped onto the pavement and stepped toward the house and then.... he vanished!
I slipped off the windowsill and fell onto the floor for the second time that day!
Again I hit my head on the heater but none of it registered in my brain and I quickly scrambled up and pulled myself up onto the windowsill again.
I stared at the spot where the boy had vanished but he was nowhere to be found.
The street and the houses were as still as they had been before that confounded animal had flown through my window.
I sat on my bed and flipped the letter over reading it a few times. It’s real?... Is this even possible..?
Well I guess for a mind of an eleven year old it doesn’t take much to be convinced about a school of wizardry. But it takes a whole lot of convincing for them to go back to sleep once they’ve seen a Post-owl and a Vanishing Boy!
For the next two days I spend every moment that I didn’t require a bathroom glued to my bedroom window waiting for the Vanishing Boy to reappear. I even faked a fever to get out of classes with Mrs Elliot (a few trials later I became an expert at that).
I waited and waited but the boy never came.
I convinced myself that the shock of the insane letter had driven me to hallucinate the boy.
Refusing to be convinced that the night had tricked me I read the letter over and over again. I soon realised with each read it seemed less psychotic and more realistic. I wondered if it was truly possible.
My 11 year old mind was deep at work. I debated with myself as I always did in a conflicting situation. Our fairytales had witches in them, the rumours must come from somewhere? What about the many things we cannot explain? Were they the result of magic actually existing? Do they laugh at us for thinking it’s a miracle? Do they even exist??
I shook my head and shoved the letter again under my bed. I couldn't allow myself to be absorbed into a make-believe fantasy. They were fun to read about, not to believe.
The bell rang downstairs, it’s faint echo drifted through the doors of my room.
I jumped up. It was Aunt Agatha coming over today.
Talk about delivered from the Gods. If there was one person good at handling crazy, it was Aunt Agatha. Somehow it was so much easier to picture myself telling her about my crazy assumptions than confessing to my own mother.
I ran down the stairs my fingers sliding along the polished mahogany banister and jumped the last step. My mother was just opening the front door.
There stood Aunt Agatha, in her favourite mink coat and red handbag.
“Wilhelmina darling! How are you?” she bumped her fat cheek against my mother’s.
“Very well, come on in,” My mother smiled politely. Alonzo picked up the suitcase behind her and followed her in.
Just like me, Denver the dog was also thrilled to see Aunt Agatha and came running over to her from his cushion.
“Shall I take your coat Madam?” Alonzo offered.
She finally looked up and saw me standing there. A wide smile spread across her kind face.
“There’s my little cupcake!” she opened her arms wide and I ran towards her embracing her in a big hug.
After tea Aunt Agatha talked to my mother for a long time about what she had seen in France, while my mother nodded barely interested.
I finally managed to drag her away from my mother’s prying eyes.
“What is it honey?” she whispered. She could tell whatever it was, it was very interesting news that I was bursting to tell her. An excitement befitting a teenage girl was naively evident in her middle-aged eyes.
“Auntie, I have something very very important to tell you,” I said in a hushed voice with a meaningful look.
Aunt Agatha raised her voice so it would be heard by my mother who sat by the table at the back.
“I’d love to see your new paintings honey! Lead the way, lead the way,”
I raced up the stairs and ran to my room while she climbed up slowly.
Once we were in my room I threw myself on the carpet on my stomach and reached under my bed and pulled the envelope from the underside of bed where I had stuck it with a large wad of gum.
I turned to face my aunt with my letter hidden behind my back.
“You have to promise me to not laugh at me, to not completely lose your mind and especially not to tell my mother! Do you promise?”
Like a young girl Aunt Agatha crossed her heart. I breathed deeply and sighed.
I tried to make it as sensible as possible but the words sounded moronic even in my head.
“I got a letter...well an invitation of sorts... from a school. It’s from a Magic School.” I finished lamely knowing that despite her earlier promise Aunt Agatha would laugh.
I waited, my eyes screwed up against the single laugh that would bring me hurtling back to earth from the clouds I’d been treading.
It never came... so I opened my eyes tentatively. She stood before me wide eyed, staring for a long silent minute.
“Aunt Agatha?” I questioned truly beginning to fear for her health.
“Where is it?” she whispered.
I sighed deeply and pulled the envelope from where I was hiding it and showed it to her.
She quickly opened it, pulled out the letter and read. I waited looking at her face for a reaction. Surprise... then shock... realisation...
When she looked back at me all I could see was a disbelieving face.
My shoulders drooped as the imagination I let run wild sublimed.
“It’s not... real... is it? It was just a joke...” I was on the verge of tears but stubbornly refused to let my eyes well up.
Aunt Agatha looked at me like I was her own child.
“Oh my darling!” her voice choked... “It’s true...”
My face I’m sure reflected the very emotions I’d read on hers a moment ago...
My jaw dropped slightly,
I whispered in a disbelieving voice. “You’re a... You’re a... You’re one of them!???
Aunt Agatha nodded softly...
Oh. My. God.
My voice was gone and now I was just mouthing the words.
“You’re a... a witch!?” I finally managed to say.
“Yes honey, I always have been,”
“But...” I tried to make sense out of it. “But... but you’re so...nice! How could you be a... a witch!”
She laughed softly at my logic.
“Oh sweetheart, Muggles don’t know everything... Not all witches are bad. In fact just like people here, very few are...”
I was sure I heard the word wrong but I stopped halfway through me shaking my head, every word that was now coming out of my aunt’s mouth was foreign to me why would this be any different?
“Oh, they are people without magical blood”
“Magical blood? Seriously?” I repeated. “I have magical blood?”
I couldn’t explain it, the fantasy world that I had so willingly got wrapped up in within a span of two days had now turned to reality, but now I could only see it to be unrealistic. A bottomless pitfall. I teetered on the edge daring to believe it and to be sucked into a realm I had no idea about.
“So...” I spoke after a long silent minute “you’re saying magic is real?”
I could not bring myself to voice the word ‘magic’ so instead it came out in a whisper.
“Very real, darling... and just as powerful as faith” She smiled at me.
“And witches and wizards... they exist?”
“Yes, you’ll soon see that there are some great witches and wizards in our history and as well as our time”
She nodded gently.
Instead of saying it out loud, she let me absorb it into my mind all by myself.
“I’m one of them... aren’t I?”
She shook her head slightly.
“Capri, you’re one of us!” She hugged me close to her.
“and this is really... possible?”
“Aww, sweetheart” she said as she hugged me. “you know that saying ‘Anything is Possible’?”
“Well, in our world it’s not just a saying...”
“Agatha! Caprice! Supper is ready!”
My mother’s voice called up the staircase causing us both to jump.
I turned to my aunt. “What do we do?”
She smiled knowing I had made my choice.
“We’ve got to get you on that train!”
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