"Emma! Where did you go? Where are you?
" cried out a boy of 6, who was small, skinny and sickly as he panted for breath because the strain of running through the meadow was too much for him.
His older sister, Emma could see him through the petals of the flowers she hid in and knew he was okay, so and she waited until he grew closer, he was almost on top of her when she jumped out sending the flowers flying everywhere.
"Ahhhhhh Emma! Oh…the flowers are so beautiful! Do it again! I like the colors!"
Emma smiled at her little brother, John, as he looked up at the sky, as if he expected more flowers to come down. "Okay, come here, you have to help me this time, stand here and I'll fill your hand with the flowers"
"Will you help me get them high so they will rain like when you did it?"
"Of course", Emma said. "Crouch down like this, so that you can jump up when you throw them and they will get higher, thats it, now here take all the flowers and hold as many as you can." And as she closed her eyes she hoped the flowers would get as high as her brother wanted and that they would make him happy, so she could see him laugh, Emma would do anything to make up for all his sickenesses that left him crying in the night or burn up under his covers. So she concentrated on the thought of that as she counted, "1….2…3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and together they jumped up and threw the petals upward.
Laughing along with John, she looked up, expecting to have flowers rain down from above her, but instead saw dozen, if not a hundred butterflies circling around the two of them. His mouth dropped in awe and her eyes followed them as the fluttered in circles around the two.
"Emma….where did they all come from, Where did the flowers go?" John asked in a soft, hushed voice
And just as quiet as the question, she answered, "I have no idea". But she lied. Right before they jumped, she had pictured this in her head, and suddenly, here they were. This happened often. Emma would be picturing something in her head, and something nearby would transform into her thoughts. Like last winter when she punched a bot in her class for laughing at her wanting to join the snowball fight, and the parents pulling them away, she imagined a wet, slushy snowball hitting him in the head and dripping down his face, and suddenly she noticed a snowflake in the wind float by her face, but as it got farther away from her and closer to him it grew in size until it was a snowball and it landed right in the middle of his forehead. That was the first of the "magic' she noticed, and plenty more were to foliow, cuts healing themselves, ability to jump further than normal, crossing the line from jumping to floating, and being able to run faster than she normaly could. Emma didn't put much thought into what she said or did, but she knew these things were not good. And that they could bring trouble.
"John look at me," Emma said, as she gently turned John toward her. "That was beautiful, wasn't it? "and when John nodded she continued, "You know how that happened?" John shook his head and she exclaimed, "Didn't you see?! There were fairies were riding those butterflies! They were so tiny and fast that they were hard to see, but they were all waving at us!"
"Where am I getting this stuff
," she asked herslef, but seeing his eyes widen with wonder andawe and his mouth slighty agape, she smiled, "At least he enjoys the story."
And she continued, "But we mustn't tell anybody, because if we do, they will lose their ability to fly, because in order to be magic they have to stay a secret. We don't want them to not be able to fly anymore do we?'
John shook his head rapidly and yelled, "NO! That would be so awful for them!" And his eyes began to tear up.
Emma pulled him close in a hug and nodded, "Exactly, so lets never tell anybody okay?" And she lifted up his chin so he was looking up at her, and he nodded.
She smiled, "Okay, lets go home now then...hmm?"
John nodded, Yes, I'm very tired" and Emma frowned as his eyes drooped a bit.
"Why don't I give you a ride home?", she said, "Come on them, on my back!" She helped him climb up and when he was on she looked over her shoulder, "Ready?" And when she felt him nod she started the brisk walk home.
As she walked, Emma thought of the incident at home. Emma Brown knew she wasn't normal. The other girls in her class didn't like her because she didn't like any of their games and thought their frilly dresses looked ridiculous, and she knew they all thought she was odd as well. Odd things were always happening around her, and people did notice that Emma always happened to be around. Emma preferred the boys to the girls because they didn't hold things like that as high as importance and they easily let things go. As long as you didn't cry when you fell and were up for a game of football, they didn't care what you looked like, or who you are. But even then some of the boys were wary of her, when she would jump to high and run too fast, and when those things happened they looked at her with a mixed expression of awe, and fear. Her parents gave her simliar fearful looks when Emma made strange things happen at home, but most of the time the pretended not to notice and focused on silly things. Her mother always fretted over her looks, saying she was wasting her looks and frowned whenever she same home with her long, brown hair in a tangle and scraps on her knees.
People have always told Emma she looked just like her mother, but Emma couldn't see it herself. Her mom was very beautiful, Her name was Charlotte and had beautiful creamy white skin, with rose colored cheeks and dark hair that framed her thin face. Emma had the same brown hair and face, but it wasn't as neat, and clean as her mothers. Emma didn't care though, she had more important things to do then look pretty. Her father. Robert Brown, wasn't around much, he spent most time abroad doing business and even when he was home spent most time on the telephone in his den, the only time Emma saw he father lately was at dinner, when he was home.
Finally, Emma saw their house. It was only their country home, but Emma liked it better then their city house in London. It was supposed to be a country "manor", but looked more like a cottage. It has three bedrooms, one for her parents for her, and for john. It had a small sitting room in front with a large window looking out towards the creek, and a den behind it, so her father could continue his business at all times. It was painted yellow and had white climbing roses on one side, and a picket fence surrounding it. Taking a deep breath Emma stepped inside, braced for the yelling.
"Emma! Is that you?"
Her mother's voice called from upstairs
Sighing, Emma responded, "Yes mother!", In what her mother called her high and mighty voice.
Her mother appeared at the top of the staircase in her typical blouse and long skirt, and hair curled and resting on her shoulders, never a hair out of place.
She looked down and asked, "Where is John" and upon seeing him behind Emma, she rushed down the stairs, still keeping her graceful movements and swept him up off Emma's back and into her own arms when she continued, "Where in heavens name have you been? And how could you take John with you again, you know he can't handle the elements outside! What on earth were you thinking?"
John looked at his mother and said, "Don't yell mummy, I just wanted to go outside, and Emma took me to the meadow. It was beautiful, we sat and looked at flowers." He smiled up at their mother, obviously expecting her to be happy to hear he had fun. But her mother turned her head away and looked at Emma, frowning.
Emma stood still stareing defiantly back at her mother, who pursed her lips as she looked back towards at John, and seeing his smile her face softened into a strained smile. Then she sighed and walked into the sitting room
"Come here Emma", she called in a weary voice, and Emma walked stiffly into the next room. Where her mother was sitting on a sofa with John on her lap.
"Go upstairs, John", their mother said, "You need to bathe and after that go put your pajamas on with your warm robe and play with your soldiers, I'll call you down for supper soon."
"Okay mum", he said brightly and slid off her lap and scampered up stairs. Emma turned to watch him disappear up the stairs and looked back at her mother doing the same, while biting her lip and wearing a nervous look on her face…but then she shook out of it and looked back at Emma.
Emma held on to her defiant stance, and thought, she can yell all she wants but I won't say sorry, it's wrong for him to stay locked up all the time.
Emma looked at her mother and saw her scrutinizing her up and down and frowning.
"Emma", she sighed. "Look at you. Your hair is tangled and your jumper is covered in grass stains. You looked like you haven't washed your face in a week. This is NOT propper way for a lady to carry herself. Now, take the look off your face!", She scolded when Emma grimaced at the word lady. "It's true, you are a lady and changes will have to come. I am going to speak with your father. He will be home for dinner tonight, Milly is making lamb tonight, you know how your father loves it. So go take off those pants on put on something thats decent for a girl of your age to wear, once John is out of the washroom, go bathe and put on dress, your blue one will do nicely, now don't look at me like that! Go on, upstairs with you."
Emma spun around and took two loud stomps toward the stairs, then stopped and turned to look at her mother, and with her high and mighty voice said, "Mother, you can't control both of us forever, and no matter how much you want me to be a lady, it will never happen!" And with that she turned and ran up the stairs leaving her mother frozen the couch with a look of shock on her face.
Two hours later, she sat at the table, in her neatly pressed blue dress, with a look of distain on her face. "I hate it all"
, Emma thought grouchily. "I hate this white table cloth, I hate the flower printed China, I hate my mother sitting with her hair neatly pinned and curled at the head of the table and I hate my father's chair at the other head that is empty because he is late for dinner, and I hate Milly as she calls me "miss" when she asks if I want water in my glass….The only thing I don't hate is John."
And she looked up at him sitting across the table from her looking around with a look of contentness on his face, and when he saw her looking he gave her a big smile that she just couldn't help but return.
"Lamb! Excellent", She heard her father say, and she turned her head to see him walk in. He sat down and opened up his napkin and placed it in his lap. "Shall we?" he said scooting in his chair, as if he had been waiting on us. And when Emma snorted at that, he looked up and asked, "Is something wrong, Emma?"
Emma looked up to see the whole table staring at her, waiting for a response, and she answered "No, I am just really hungry, I am not used to having dinner so late." And she starred pointedly back at her father.
He nodded as he cut into his meat, oblivious to the point she tried to make and said, "Well, your right dinner should have been earlier but your mother asked me to make some calls."
Emma's mother took a sip of her wine, and asked, "Oh yes darling how did it go?"
"Swell, just fine, I called several finishing school and Emma is going to attend Goldier's School for Young Ladies this September," He took a bite of his lamb and looked up at Emma who was staring at him with her mouth open in shock and said, "Won't that be fine Emma? Just think of all the new friends you'll make, hmm?" And he smiled at her as he chewed his meat.
Emma looked back and forth between her parents in disbelief and felt hurt that they took her leaving so calmly and asked, "You're sending me away?" Neither parent answered and Emma looked at her Mother who was avoiding her eyes by cutting her meat and taking a bite, and Emma asked, "Why?"
Emma's mother wiped her mouth with her napkin and said, "It will be good for you to be with other girls so you can learn what it means to be a—"
"NO, I can't go to a school with prissy girls learning how to say please and thank you and be stuck with silly girls for a year! I'll kill myself!"
John said quietly, "I don't want Emma to leave." Emma turned toward him to see him with his head hung looking to his lap and when he looked up at her a tear ran down is pale cheek.
Emma gave him a small smile and she was about to thank him and point out that he needed her, when Mr. Brown, who hadn't even noticed his son has spoken, chuckled as he continued the conversation by saying, "Well darling, Your a bit young to be thinking about boys but you will have socials with the brother school nearby where you will met boys and there will be music and such, You will lot—"
"STOP, JUST STOP!", Emma yelled, then with desperation in her voice went on, "Don't you know me at all, I'm not worried about meeting boys, and I don't want to go to a dance or spend my time with stuck up girls, that isn't me!"
"EMMA! Don't use that language with us-"
"I will use whatever language I want mother! I don't need you controlling me-"
Emma and her mother froze and looked at her father who was now standing, He inhaled deeply and said, "Emma, you will attend the school in September and that is final, here is the brochure, TAKE it. Good girl", he said as he sat down. The he continued, " You'll really love it there, spoke to the dean myself…"
He continued on, but Emma wasn't listening, she was staring at the cover witch has two well groomed girls smiling on the cover and she flipped it open….the first paragraph was about their home economics classes with cooking and sewing… No, this would not work, Emma closed her eyes and thought how this would be her own personal hell and she threw the brochure to the middle to the table and stood up screaming, "NO!!!!!"
The entire family screamed and as Emma opened her eyes, she the saw the brochure on the table lit up with flames and the fire spreading over the table cloth.
Emma eyes widened and she looked at her family, who was now ignoring the flames and looking at her with pure fear in their eyes. Even John was wide eyed and looked frightened.
Emma's father stood up ,shaking as he took a step back and said, "Emma, go to your room."
"Dad, I'm sorry, I didn't mean—I don't know--"Emma could barely get the words out, and to top it off, her eyes were starting to water. She barely knew herself what happened, what her family must be thinking of her.... She had to get them to help her, so she stood up but as she tried to take a step toward them, Her father scooped up John and Stood next to her mother who cluthched his arm.
He just looked at her with steel in his eyes as he said, "Go. To. Your. Room.This. Instant."
Emma tired to talk but nothing came out so she turned and ran out of the room and up the stairs, into her room and collapsed on her bed burying her face into her pillow and burst into tears. Emma never cried. She hated tears, they showed weakness, but Emma didn't know what else to do, She was scarred and felt weak. What was happening to her? This wasn't normal, but she couldn't control it, and it wouldn't go away, it just happened. Her family would need look at her the same. Even John was probaly scarred of her. They were going to send her away to school and never see her again.
Emma sat up and wiped her face. "This was no time for tears"
, she told herself. "They won't help anything. I'll run away,"
she thought, "I'll pack her clothes and go to London and try to find a shop that needed someone to run errands or an extra hand around a shop. I can do that!"
She stood up and opened her closet to pull out her trunk when she heard the door downstairs knock.
Emma turned to look at her door and wondered who could be calling on her family, they didn't have many callers, especially at the cottage, she walked slowly towards her door and opened it quietly and looked down the stairs toward the front door. As she saw her mother walk towards the door, she ducked behind the banister and watched her and open it.
"This day couldn't be any weirder"
, Emma thought as she saw the strange man at the door, He was tall and thin, with the longest beard Emma had ever seen, it was silver but had some streaks of auburn and so you could tell that must have been his hair color when he was younger. He wore the strangest suit, it was plum! And he wore it with a yellow tie, This man must be crazy, Emma thought why would this strange man be way off the main road, visiting us, he must be mad.
Emma's mother use have thought the same for she got behind the door and closed it slightly, She looked over her shoulder and called "Robert!" then turned back to the strange man and asked, "How can I help you?"
He smiled, a very nice smile and Emma decided that she liked him, even if he was strange. He said, Yes, Hello Mrs. Brown my name is Albus Dumbledore, I am headmaster at Hogwarts School. I have come to talk to you and Mr. Brown because we are very interested in having your daughter Emma join us there". And with than he looked past her mother and looked up the stairs toward Emma and said, "Will you join our conversation Emma?
A few minuets later, they were all in the sitting room with Dumbledore on one sofa and Emma with her father on one side of her and her mother on the other, however both were still keeping their distance from her.
The man was looking around their room smiling and humming a tune Emma didn't recognize. They sat in silence for a few moments until Emma's father cleared his throat and when everyone was looking at him he said, "Well are you going to tell us about this school or not?"
The man who said he was called Dumbledore smiled and said "Yes, right, well—Oh thank you that looks splendid" as Milly had just brought in a tray of tea and breads. They watched her walk out and close the door. Then Dumbledore reached forward and sipped his tea and continued,
"As I said at the door, I am Albus Dumbledore, I am headmaster of Hogwarts School and we would very much like Emma to come and stay the year with us. Our school is for gifted people, people who are not like the normal and who need a place filled with other people who are the same with teachers who understand them. I take it you have noticed Emma is different from most people her age?
Emma's father frowned and asked, "You mean not normal like mentally…?"
Dumbledore laughed, "No, I mean she has extraordinary abilities. Emma is a witch. She was born with magical capabilities and she should be trained how to use those capabilities along with other children like herself. Now before you jump to conclusions that I am a mad man, think of all the unusual situations your daughter has been in, and think of how there is no explantion for the things she makes happen. Do you see how what I am saying seems to explain all those times?"
Emma eyes widened. She was a witch? She had magic powers? She knew she was different but to learn here was a name for what she was a relief and to learn there were others like her was even better.
She looked back and forth between her parents and could see they were still in shock
However her father shook himself out of it and asked, "Suppose this is real, and Emma really is a "witch", what does this mean, how did she become one, and what will her life be like?"
Dumbledore smiled again and said, "We call non-magical people muggles, and although most witches and wizards are born form parents who are witches and wizards, sometimes the magic is just born into a person, and it just happened like that. " he waited to see if they questioned this and when they didn't he went on, "Her life shouldn't be too different from that of a non-magial person, she will go to school, be trained in the things she ought to know, she can return home for Christmas, Easter and Summer. She will graduate, get a job. You see we have wizarding world, where people like us exist, but we prefer not to make ourselves known to the entire world, as that causes division and more conflicts. The only people who know where to find us, are the ones who know what they are looking for." he paused then continued, "You might have been worried about Emma's future and concerned she doesn't fit your expectations for her life. However, I assure you she will be fine, she will live a life that is very normal for one of her birth and I promise you there is no need to be concerned." Dumbledore reached into his suit and pulled out a letter, and extended it to Mr. Brown. "Here is a letter inviting her to the school along with a list of supplies she will need for her studies."
Emma's father looked it over and laughed and ran his fingers through his hair as he looked back up at Dumbledore he exclaimed, "Where on earth am I supposed to buy a wand?"
Emma tried to look at the letter in her fathers hand but he folded it so she looked back up at Dumbledore to hear him answer, "There is a place in London called Diagon Ally, where wizards and witches buy the things they need and where you can find all of the items on that list. I can arrange for someone to come here and meet you who can show you where these things can be found."
Emma looked at her mother who was looking towards her father then spun around fast to look at her father who was still studying the folded letter. He sighed and looked up and Dumbledore and and asked, "Is there anyway you can arrange for someone to come and just take Emma herself, I understand she needs to be around people like herself, but there is no reason for me…I mean my family to associate…" He paused and ran his fingers through his hair again, took a deep breath then sat up straight so he could continue, "What I mean is this may be who Emma is, but it is not who I, my wife, or my son is. And it is best for us to remain amount our own kind".
Dumbledore nodded, with a solemn look, on his face, and said, "Of course, assure you there are other parents that go through the same situation as you, and it is no reason to let a family drift apart, but if you prefer it that way...."
Her father nodded, "Yes sir, much obliged"
It took a moment for what he said to sink in, and then Emma realized she was never going to be accepted by her family. And while that hurt, she reminded herself, that she didn't want to be like them and she wanted this new life. Emma looked up into sumbledore's eyes and spoke for the first time.
"When can I go?", Emma asked.
And as he smiled back at her she saw his blue eyes twinkle