Chapter 1 : What not to do when you miss the Hogwarts Express
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“Fantastic,” I muttered under my breath. It was 11.01 and I had missed the train.
Before I continue, I would just like to point out that it WAS NOT MY FAULT! I got to the station with half an hour to spare! I remembered to set my alarm, I packed my trunk the night before (hey, there’s a first time for everything) and I only had to go back home once because I had forgotten my copy of ‘Hogwarts: A History’. It was after that when it all went downhill.
My parents had been in Peru on a nargle hunt since April. They were supposed to be back in June, and were supposed to take me to King’s Cross station this morning to see me off, but they haven’t yet found any nargles and are apparently not coming home until they do. I did point out to them that nargles don’t exist and that is probably why they haven’t found any, but they didn’t appreciate that.
So while my lovely parents are off gallivanting in Peru, on a quest for nargles I was stuck at home with my VERY senile grandmother who smells of cats. I had to walk to the station. Okay, I only live round the corner, but I shouldn’t be allowed to walk anywhere unaccompanied. On the way I tripped up 2 curbs, fell down a drain and somehow got my wand stuck in my ear – don’t ask. I don’t even know how it happened.
Well, anyway, I made it to the station on time. If I had managed to get through the doors and onto the platform without meeting any obstacles I would have been sitting in the Prefect’s compartment eating Chocolate Frogs at this point. But as I got through the turnstile things into the station, I was accosted by a homeless person! Well I say accosted. I saw him sitting with his adorable dog, and I felt sorry for him so I rooted around in my purse for some muggle money to put in his hat.
He said “Thank you dear, I’ll be able to buy dinner tonight, but a full stomach is no cure for loneliness.”
Now anyone who could hear an old man say that and not stop to talk to him for a little while is heartless. I am a good, kind, caring hufflepuff so I sat down on the floor next to him to keep him company for a while.
“Hi, I’m Tasha,” I smiled at him. He smiled back, introduced himself as Jimmy and proceeded to tell me his life story. Bear in mind he was at least 97 so his life story was longggg.
After half an hour of half listening to Jimmy (who, by the way, was supposed to be one of the Beatles, until John Lennon threatened his dog and of course he couldn’t work with him after that) and anxiously checking my watch I managed to leave Jimmy and began my sprint toward the platform. Now you know what happened next, I missed the train.
So now here I am, sitting on my trunk like a lemon and glaring at Jimmy, since it’s his fault I’m in this predicament. It’s also my parents fault but they’re in Peru, so I can’t glare at them. I turned and saw Petrie sitting on my shoulder also glaring at Jimmy. He was such a good, loyal pygmy puff.
I was trying to figure out a way to get to Hogwarts in time to sit my NEWTs in the summer. I had already tried apparating but since I hadn’t learnt how and was only really spinning on the spot I soon got dizzy. I asked the ticket man if there were any other trains to Hogsmeade, but he just laughed at me. As did the six others I asked. There are apparently only muggle train station workers these days. I’d heard about some Knight Bus or something that takes you wherever you want to go, but I had no idea where I had to go to get it. I was officially stranded.
After a while I decided to wander back home and hunt around the house for some Floo powder.
“Grandma! Have we got any Floo powder? I missed the train” I yelled as I walked through the front door.
“Floo powder is as Floo powder does, my sweet,” she replied, staring at me with wide eyes.
“Yeah, that’s great, but do we have any?”
“Do we have any or do we have none?” I swear that woman never blinked! It was freaky!
“You’ve been a great help, thanks Grandma,” I said. She turned back to her knitting, and I went into the kitchen to hunt for the powder that would enable me to get to Hogwarts.
I eventually found some of the glittery substance in a mug in the back of one of the cupboards. Before seeing it, I wouldn’t have thought Floo powder grew mould, but this definitely was greener than it should have been! I went back into the living room to ask Grandma how old it was.
She replied, as helpful as ever, “How long is a piece of string my dear?” She then proceeded to drink the powder, convinced it was a French delicacy. I decided to use it anyway (what’s the worst that could happen) and said goodbye (again) to my grandma. I threw the rather questionable powder into the fireplace, hauled my trunk in and said clearly “Hogwarts!”
I spun round and round, and got repeatedly hit by my trunk. As I fell out of an unfamiliar grate, Petrie threw up on me. Like me, he didn’t enjoy travelling. I stumbled to my feet, wiped soot out of my eyes and took in my surroundings. It was most definitely not Hogwarts, that was for sure!
I walked into a table and knocked over a napkin dispenser. As I put it back where it was (as any good hufflepuff would) I noticed the logo on it.
“Ooh, cool I’m in Starbucks! That must have been some really old Floo powder...” Once I realised that I was talking to myself I trailed off. It then hit me that for midday on a Saturday, Starbucks was very empty. In fact, I was the only one there. Now, if I wasn’t feeling so freaked out about being the only one in a public place which could be anywhere in the world I might have made myself a nice mocha frappuchino, or a yummy chocolate milkshake, but to be honest I wasn’t in the mood.
“Hello?” I called out. I could have been in any Starbucks coffee house, so I was anxious to find someone who could give me a clue as to where I was. No-one replied, so I made my way to the door and attempted to open it. It was locked, so I removed my shoe and started to hit at the glass with the heel. I then threw my trunk through the gap I had made and crawled through after it, tumbling out onto a busy street. It was at that point that it occurred to me that I could have just used ‘Alohomora’ that I learnt in my first year.
I got to my feet and observed my surroundings. I was on a street. I know, my observational skills are just remarkable. An old lady then approached me.
“Are you okay dear? You look a bit lost?” she said, seeming genuinely concerned.
“Um, yes actually I am lost. Where am I?” I answered.
“You are on High Street, in North London. Did you go a couple of grates too far?” she said.
“Yeah, hang on a minute...” She asked if I had gone a couple of grates too far. That means she must know about the Floo Network and must be a witch, or at least a squib. She might be able to help me get to Hogwarts! But did I hear her correctly? She might not have said grates, I am known for hearing things. Now I have to devise a cunning plan so I can find out whether or not she is a witch, or a muggle and therefore no use to me...
“Hippogriff!” Why did I say that?!!! Actually, now I can see what her reactions are to a magical word and decipher her blood status. Hmm, she looks confused. That doesn’t really help. Anyone would be confused if someone yelled hippogriff at them!
“Are you alright dear? You seem a couple of twigs short of a broomstick,” she said.
Broomstick! She said broomstick! But does she mean sweepy broomstick or flyey broomstick? Why can’t people make their blood status obvious these days?!!
I was getting quite impatient. “Listen lady, are you a witch or not? I want to get to Hogwarts before the start of term feast!”
“A witch? Why of course I am! You want to get to Hogwarts? Well, I am just on my way to Hogsmeade myself. Care to apparate with me? Have you ever done side-along-apparition before?”
“Thank you so much! No, I haven’t. Is that a problem?”
“Not at all, dear. Here, let me take your trunk,” she said, holding out her hand. I handed her the trunk and then she turned and ran, taking my trunk full of possessions with her!
I ran down the street after her screaming “Stop! Stop that woman! She stole my trunk!” For an old lady she sure could run fast! I had almost caught up with her when I tripped and fell flat on my face.
I must have blacked out a little bit because when I opened my eyes I was laying on a bench and it was considerably darker. My eyes focussed and I saw some crazy guy, who looked like he had been electrocuted staring down at me and holding a knife! I jumped and sat up.
“Who are you?!” I yelled.
“I saw you fall, and I thought you were dead so I moved you onto this bench so I could remove your organs and sell them,” the creepy man said.
“Well, clearly, I’m alive, so I am going to be needing my organs. I’ll be off then,” I said jumping off the bench and getting away from him as quickly as possible.
“Stop!” The man yelled, running after me. “That girl stole my organs!”
Now he was either doing an accurate impression of me from a few – I checked my watch – hours ago, or he was even crazier than I initially thought. I was running as fast as I could but he was gradually catching me up. I saw a little boy next to me on a muggle contraption with three wheels. I took muggle studies in third year, and vaguely remembered seeing a picture of one in a textbook. I think it was called a tricycle. Well anyway, I picked up the little kid by his hair, threw him into a tree and pedalled like mad on his trike away from the mad-man. Just kidding, I’m a hufflepuff. I kindly asked if I could borrow it and promised to bring it back before pedalling away from the mad-man.
As I was escaping the crazy organ man I felt a tickling on my neck. It was Petrie, hiding in my hair. So today I have missed the train, lost my trunk, ran what seems like a marathon, fallen over and nearly had my organs harvested, but Petrie was with me every step and stumble of the way. Cool.
I kind of spaced out a bit, thinking about Petrie and how awesome he was, and when I came back to reality I noticed a familiar, dark-haired man strolling leisurely in front of me. It hit me that I had really no control of the trike thing, and this could only end in disaster...
“Professor Longbottom! Lookkk outttttt!” I screeched as the trike hit him in the back of his legs, leaving us in a heap on the pavement.
“I’m really sorry, Professor, I had to borrow a boy’s trike so I could escape from a psychopath who was trying to harvest my organs!” I explained as I got up and got untangled myself from the trike.
“Tasha? Why aren’t you at Hogwarts?” he asked, confused.
“I missed the train, sir,” I replied.
He laughed. “So instead you decided to travel to Hogwarts by tricycle?” he continued before I could correct him, “Luckily for you, I was just about to apparate there myself. Ever done side-along-apparition before?” He took my hand and together we spun on the spot. Everything went black, I was being squeezed from every angle and I couldn’t breathe. When my feet hit the ground again just outside the Three Broomsticks, I felt like I was going to throw up. I managed to keep it in however; I didn’t want to add my puke to the Petrie puke that was already on my robes!
We walked up to the castle. “Sir, how come you weren’t at Hogwarts either?” I asked.
“I had to go back home to get some stuff I forgot to bring,” he answered, “But if anyone asks, I had some important business to attend to okay? Students don’t need to know that their headmaster is so unorganised he can’t even remember to pack his gloves and toothbrush!” I laughed and agreed not to tell.
We made it up to the castle in a few minutes and I entered the Great Hall to join my friends on the hufflepuff table just in time for dessert.
“Tasha! Where have you been? Why weren’t you on the train?” My friends all asked, almost in perfect unison.
“It’s a long story,” I said, helping myself to some cheesecake as I prepared to tell them the tale...
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