Chapter 2 : June surprise!
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It was a warm June day; a light wind rustled the trees in my back garden. It was a rare moment of solitude, the Potters had gone to visit family, so I had no James to play with.
“So this is what it will be like” I mumbled to myself. I was sat at the kitchen table looking through the large patio windows that opened onto the hard standing outside. The garden was just getting its prime, all of the flowers were blooming and the trees were green and lush.
I was roughly five months on from my devastating conversation with James, and it seemed that I was coming to terms, with the idea of his long absences. But then, there was always that stinging sensation in the corner of my eyes whenever I thought about next year.
Suddenly the bell rang at the front door.
“I’ll get it” called Mark, who bounded from one end of the house to the other. He was rather precocious for a nine year old, but he had always been that way.
There were a few moments of muffled conversation, which I couldn’t decipher, then Mark shouted.
“Mum, there’s someone here for you!”
I could hear my mum move around upstairs then descend the stairs and then the muffled conversation started again.
After about five minutes of interrogation, the door slammed shut and the voices became clearer.
“...yes, I’m here to see Miss Rachael Edgley. It’s about her education,” said a rather well rounded voice.
“This way, take a seat...” said my mother “Rach, can you come here please!” she called politely, but with a slight hint of irritation.
Reluctantly I got up from my kitchen seat and moved into the lounge.
On the larger sofa sat a strange looking woman. She was rather plump and was flushed a bright pink colour. She was dressed in deep mauve garments; a dress, cardigan, tights, everything was mauve. The mauve colouration even extended to her hair, which was wild and untamed. On top of this mass of hair was what looked suspiciously like a nightcap, but I wouldn’t have bet on it.
When I entered the room, she looked up at me from her seat. She had large ice blue eyes, which scrutinised my face carefully. She extended a chubby hand to me and I took it cautiously.
“Hello Rachael, my name is Professor Clarissa Chubly.” she said smiling slightly.
I stared blankly at her.
“I am a teacher, at a school. It is a special school for people who have certain abilities...” she continued.
“What?” I asked looking confused. My secondary school had already been sorted, and the uniform was in the post.
“Here, this will explain it better.” She reached inside a small mauve coloured handbag and extracted an envelope that was twice the size of it. The odd woman handed the letter to me.
I examined it carefully. It was sealed with wax and had some sort of crest imprinted in it. On the front of the envelope was loopy scrawl that was easily legible, this was in a green coloured ink.
Professor Chubly and my mother both sat watching me intently as I broke open the seal, and pulled out the letter inside.
It was folded neatly in half and bared no inkling as to what it concerned. I flicked it open and began to read.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
Headmistress Pomona Sprout
(Order of Merlin, Second Class, Chf. Witch of the Herbological Society)
Dear Miss Edgley,
We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment, and your Hogwarts express ticket which leaves promptly at 11 a.m.
Term beings on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July
I looked up from the letter, then back down at it, then back up at the two expectant adults.
Chubly was the first to speak, “you’re a witch,” she said smiling broadly and scribbling on a piece of paper with a maroon quill.
“Uhr.” I grunted out. I was dumbstruck, gobsmacked, wordless, flabbergasted, tongue tied which ever words you like the most that was me.
I was apparently a witch, when did this happen?
“When did this happen?” I asked in general to anyone who would answer.
Professor Chubly answered “You were born one. There is a list that all Witches and Wizards are added to when they are born and when the time comes, a letter is sent to them. I personally delivered yours as the muggle mail service is somewhat lacking.” She smiled broadly at me.
“Oh.” I said blankly.
My mum had gone into the same astonished state as me, her eyes were wide and her mouth was open wide.
“I almost forgot, your next door neighbours are magical too, if that brings any comfort to you. You will be in the same year as James Potter, if I ‘am correct.” She smiled at me, trying to encourage me to respond.
“W-w-wwwhat!” I stuttered out.
“James Potter, he’s a Wizard. All of them are, rather famous ones at that.”
I stared blankly at her my mind reeling.
So, not only had he neglected to tell me that he was going away to boarding school, in Scotland, but also that he was a wizard. The big fat liar! When he got back from where ever he was I would be waiting for him, with a kick in the shins.
“Okay.” I said finally.
“Now you need to go to Diagon Alley to buy all of your supplies,” she stood up and rearranged her dress. She picked up the forgotten envelope which was on the coffee table and took another piece of paper out of it.
“Mum?” I asked, looking for an acknowledgment to what Professor Chubly had just said.
“You can go,” she had regained the use of her voice and smiled bleakly up at me from the sofa.
“She will be back before six,” said Chubly who had produced as sheet of paper from her purse.
She handed it to my mother who looked slightly more reassured.
We left my house. I expected that there would be a car or some type of transport at the end of the drive, but there wasn’t, the road outside was clear.
Chubly turned round and walked up my driveway, towards the carport.
“This way!” she called when she had stopped, she looked down and smiled.
I followed her up the driveway and stopped just in front of her.
“On the count of three take hold and don’t let go,” I looked down to see what she was pointing at. It was a plastic shopping bag.
I tuned round to take one last look at my home.
“One, two, three...” she called
I took hold of the bag and slowly it started to glow. Just as a strange sensation started round my bellybutton, I saw a familiar black haired figure cross the road. Followed by two red heads and another two black haired figures.
“James Potter!” I called in anger.
As soon as I called, the strange feeling intensified and it felt like I was spinning. James must have heard as his head turned to my original spot.
I landed with a thud on concrete, causing me to lose my balance and fall over.
“What was that?” I asked, getting up from the damp floor.
“A port key, it will take you to an assigned destination at a prearranged time,” she smoothed out her dress again and patted down her mass of hair.
“I see you know James Potter.” she said pulling out a map from her bag.
Her bag seemed to be able to contain an endless amount of objects; I was about to asked her about it when what she said finally sank in.
“Yes, he was my best friend,” I replied sourly.
She ignored my last statement and started to walk briskly down the busy road. I followed along behind her, trying my best to keep up.
“Where are we?” I asked, still trying to keep up with her.
“West London,” she said quickly, her eyes skirting round the map. “Not too far from Charing Cross.”
After about twenty minutes of fast paced walking, we came to a shabby pub.
Over the door way hung a sign.
“The Leaky Cauldron. This is a gateway to the Wizarding world, come on.” She opened the door and I followed her.
The pub was lively and a live band was playing in one corner. The whole place had a warm and welcoming feel to it. Professor Chubly strode through the pub, nodding her head at a few people as she walked through the mass of magical people.
“Hello Hannah, how’s Neville?” she asked when she came to the bar.
“Fine thanks, already preparing the lessons for September. So what brings you here?” asked a blonde haired woman who had a slightly pink face. She smiled sweetly.
“Hogwarts business; Muggle born.” Chubly turned towards me and I waved timidly at the woman named Hannah.
“Ah, I see. Well I will be letting you get on.” She smiled and turned to sever another customer.
Professor Chubly continued through the pub and out through a back door.
There was a small gap between the back door and a large brick wall. Chubly didn’t seem fazed by this large and very solid obstruction, instead she pulled out a wooden stick and poked the wall with it in several places.
There was a moment when nothing happened. Then the wall slowly retreated brick by brick, to reveal a wonderful, colourful, vibrant new world. There were hundreds of colourfully dressed people milling up and down the high street.
“Welcome to your new life!” said Chubly as she stepped through where the wall had once been.
I followed her in awe of this strange and intriguing new world. My past anger at James had been put at the back of my mind, for now.
After two hours of shopping and a quick lunch, Professor Chubly retuned me home to a rather shocked mother and a speechless father. My brother on the other hand found the whole thing cool and thought that is was interesting to have an odd older sister.
A day later my lying best friend crawled his way round to my house.
“Rach, James is here to see you!” my mum called from down stairs.
“Tell him I’m not well!” I called back from my room.
I had been curled up on my bed for the whole weekend and the last person I wanted to see was James. My room was littered with my new books, uniform and my wand lay on my bed side table.
“You don’t sound so ill,” said James’s voice, which came from outside my door.
“Go away!” I shouted
“No!” he shouted.
“Yes,” I snapped back.
“Ah got you, I’m staying. Now let me in or I’ll stay out here all day.” he said in his irritating tone.
He started whistling and humming and generally being annoying. I rolled over and pulled my pillow over my head trying to ignore him.
After twenty continuous minutes of his annoyingness, I rolled over again and off the bed.
I walked across my small room and opened the door; James fell in not expecting me to open the door. He looked up from the floor and smiled at me.
“What do you want?” I asked in an irritated tone.
“To see you and explain.” He said slightly apologetically.
“What is there to explain? You lied to me for ten years. That is not what friends do, let alone best friends.” I tuned my back on him and flung myself onto the bed again.
“There is a law against Wizards telling muggles about magic. And plus my mum put a tongue tying charm on me so I couldn’t tell you.” he said as he walked across my room towards me.
I sat up and looked the scraggy black haired boy in the eyes.
“No, I don’t care what you have to say. Get out of my room and leave me alone!” I yelled at him, rage burning in my eyes.
He left, knowing that once I was in a rage it was best to leave me alone.
We didn’t talk for the next three months, I didn’t even acknowledge him.
September soon rolled in and I began packing. I placed each object neatly into my new trunk. My new robes were folded and my shirts were all pressed and folded too.
My potions box was neatly placed in once corner and my cauldron was full of socks and pants. The big pile of books was alphabetically lined up along one side of the trunk; all that was left to pack was the personal items and a few trinkets.
There was a knock on the door. “Come in.” I called.
“Hi, have you finished yet? Your dad wants to put your trunk in the car,” said my Mum who was smiling at me, in a broody sort of way. She looked at my slightly empty room and smiled wistfully.
“Yes, just putting cuddles in,” I pulled my tatty and well loved teddy bear from under my duvet and pushed him on top of the bulging contents of my trunk.
“Okay, bring it down when you’re done.” She said and left the doorway, shutting the door behind her.
I was to be driven to Bristol, with the family, and then I would take the train from Temple Meads Station, with my mum, to London. Then I would get the train from Kings Cross, to where ever the Hogwarts Express goes.
Tell me your thoughts, vent, what ever I just need to improve.
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