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Chapter 3 : The Tale of Timothy Bones and Muggle Fans
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No, I haven’t actually seen her wandering the corridors in one of those long, white nightdresses with chains wrapped round her legs – the nightdress because all ghosts seem to wear that kind of stuff, and the chains because she was a bitch. But who says that ghosts can’t be invisible? Uncle Harry has an invisibility cloak – and he’s not that special. So why can’t the dead? I’m positive that my Gran has one.
And she follows me. Every day. All day. Because really, who else would have such a vendetta against me?
The journey wasn’t going well. I’d grown up among the stories of Hogwarts and tales of when my cousins first met their friends on the Hogwarts Express. Fine, I wasn’t expecting groups of kids to be playing exploding snap – the cards set on fire as soon as a squib touched them, the Ministry said they were planning to bring out a version for squibs, but the cost of inventing some cards was apparently too much for the Ministry to handle and the plan was quickly dropped.
I wasn’t exactly expecting a kind, old, granny-like witch to be pushing a trolley full of mouth-watering sweets and yummy chocolate either, but I wasn’t expecting a middle-aged, obese woman with a moustache to be pushing a nearly-empty metal trolley through the small aisle.
This trolley-lady was something else. Her mission was to get through the compartment without giving any of her remaining food away. She stopped for nothing. One of the younger squibs had left her bag in the aisle, it was now a flattened rag embedded in the floor of the train after trolley-lady stomped over it. Another child, the same one who had face-planted with Mr Whistle’s stomach, had his head hanging out of the side of his row and was looking in the other direction, he now has a suspicious looking bump on the back of his head when trolley lady decided she wouldn’t even stop for him.
The trolley passed my row and I momentarily toyed with the idea of buying something, but the trolley-lady seemed to sense this and sped up, her feet pounding against the floor and her breath coming out in grunts. I reached my hand out to stop her when another arm reached out and grabbed my wrist at the exact moment the trolley lady pushed past. My hand had literally nearly just been amputated. See? This is what my Gran does. She makes me nearly get my hand amputated on a Muggle train on the way to my first day at Squib school; meanwhile my sister is on a magic train, with her magic friends, going to magic school. Does anyone else see the inequality going on?
I sighed and turned to face whoever had grabbed my arm. It was the Bones boy again, a smug smile on his face. “Thanks.” I muttered, scowling as I felt my cheeks burn.
Timothy chuckled quietly under his breath and I felt him relax back into his seat. We’d been sat next to each other since the train left Kings Cross – and we had yet to have a conversation. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to say, it was more that I didn’t know how to say it.
I’d grown up with just my cousins for company – all of whom disappeared for most of the year as soon as they turned 11. I’d never really needed to learn how to socialise then suddenly – thanks again, Gran - the first person I meet is not only my age, but also a male. Brilliant.
Come on, Molly. Just introduce yourself.
“I’m er… I’m Molly.” I said, my voice coming out slightly croaky so I sounded like a chain smoker. Nice.
Timothy grinned again whilst twisting a pen around his fingers, “yeah, you said.”
Damn. I did. Strike one.
“Yeah – right – so erm… you’re a squib as well?”
He stared at me for a moment, as if assessing something. “Nope. I’m just here just for the fun of it.”
I frowned, wouldn’t he miss the Hogwarts Express? Timothy snorted and rolled his eyes. Oh, right. He was being sarcastic. Strike two.
I bit my lip, and looked for something to say – shouldn’t he ask me something? Isn’t that how general conversations go? Timothy had now turned to look out of the window; his dark hair reflected in the glass with wisps of hair curling round his ears. He was still holding the green pen and was clicking it subconsciously.
Well that didn’t go brilliantly. Cheers Gran. I turned back towards the aisle and looked down the train, searching for a friendly face. There were none. Closest to me was a group of three children, looking to be around 11 years old, they’d already seemed to have made friends and one of the boys was proudly showing the girls his new watch which had been magically charmed to predict the weather wherever he was. The girls giggled in response. Perhaps I’m supposed to giggle when speaking to Timothy?
Shrugging and coming to the conclusion that I couldn’t do anything worse; I copied the 11 year olds and giggled. Bones slowly turned back to face me with one eyebrow raised, pausing in clicking his pen. He stared at me for a moment before shaking his head and turning back to the window whilst resuming clicking his pen. Damn. Strike three.
I felt my cheeks burn and my eyes started to itch; I hated being embarrassed. I was always the outsider at home and for some reason I’d thought that I might fit in at Squib school. I gritted my teeth together and scowled in Bones’ direction; anger starting to bubble in my stomach. “You don’t have to be such a jerk, you know, I was just trying to make conversation!”
Bones faced me again, his piercing blue eyes staring into my brown ones. “How am I being a jerk?” he demanded.
“Well,” I stammered - damn, where was I going with this? “I keep trying to speak to you but you just keep looking out the window and clicking your bloody pen!”
“Yeah, and I answered you each time!” he retorted.
Crap. He did.
“But that’s not a conversation – it normally involves both people finding out about each other!” I stated loudly.
“Well you haven’t told me anything about you either!”
“You never asked! Otherwise I would just be making a bloody speech about my life and looking like a bloody loon!”
“Yeah – well you’re achieving that without my help! Fine! You want to know stuff about me? Then ask ahead!”
Shit. I’m pretty sure this isn’t how you’re supposed to make friends. Well done, Molly. Think of something, quick.
“Do you prefer Tim or Timothy?” I asked the first thing that came to my head.
“Neither – Moth’s fine.” He stated.
“Moth? That’s not a name – why Moth?”
He shrugged and rolled his eyes, “I like moths. Next question.”
“I’ve got an older brother, Thomas.”
I scanned the train to see if there was anyone who resembled Ti-Moth. “Is he at Hogwarts?”
Moth shrugged, yet his eyes seemed to tighten slightly. “He was last year – head boy in fact. He’s training to become a healer at St. Mungo’s now.”
“Oh.” I searched for something else to ask him, but came up with nothing. Moth looked up at me curiously. “What? You’ve run out of questions already?” he scoffed.
I shrugged, “you obviously don’t want to talk to me – I was just trying to be nice.” Pleased with my answer, I flicked my head to the side dramatically as if to show him that the conversation was over, just like I’ve seen Victorie do to Teddy all the time. However, I should have realised that my Gran would be waiting to strike again.
It would be my luck that at the exact moment one of the small 11 year olds would walk past holding one of those Muggle handheld fans. Sure, the carriage was slightly hot – but was a fan really needed? Really?
Within seconds I felt my head being tugged to the left and a gasp echoed in my ear. Yes. It would be my amazing luck which would mean that my hair would flick into the fan – whilst it was turned on. Dear Gran, I hate you.
I reached my hand up to feel a knot of hair – the size of a fist – completely engulfing the Muggle fan. Moth snorted beside me and I acted on instinct by punching him out the way. He gasped and doubled over - I admit that I felt a little pleased at that - while I frantically tried to push the 11 year old’s hand out the way who was desperately trying to tug her fan away from my red mane of hair. It hurt. A lot.
“Just. Let. Go.” I snarled at the small girl, she whimpered and stepped away with her hands held high. We were gaining more and more attention from the rest of the carriage and I felt my cheeks burn once more. Great start. I bet this never happened to Lucy.
Yet no matter how hard I tugged my at the fan, more hair wrapped around it so my hair became more and more tangled. It was around this time that I had the sudden realisation - we’re all squibs. Oh. Dear. God.
Normally I would go to my dad or one of my aunties or uncles and they would just wave their wand and then everything would be alright. But I was on a train with squibs. Going to a squib school. There’s no magic there. Damn. How the hell am I going to get the fan out of my hair?
I could feel the panic rising and desperately tugged at my hair, ignoring the sharp jabs of pain and the welling tears in my eyes. Moth seemed to have the same realisation and leant forward to try and help. What would a Muggle do? They’d… use scissors. Oh. My. God. They’re going to cut the fan out of my hair, aren’t they? It’ll probably be Mr. Whistle, he’ll grab a pair of scissors and just hack at my hair until it’s gone – and then I’ll have a massive bald patch. Then everyone will call be ‘Baldie’ or something like that… and I’ll only have half a head of hair!
I took a deep breath in an attempt to calm myself; it didn’t work. I bet Mr Whistle would just keep hacking until all of my hair’s gone and then I’d just have tufts of ginger hair sticking out of my head. Then I’ll see the family at Christmas and they’ll all be even more embarrassed of me – especially Dad and Lucy. It’s probably good that mum’s gone – at least she isn’t embarrassed of me anymore. Wasn’t it enough for them to have a ginger squib as a daughter – never mind a bald one? Gran, why do you hate me?
I realised that Moth had pushed me into his seat and he was now sitting in my aisle seat; blocking me from the train’s view. The 11 year old had disappeared and Moth was looking at me with slight concern – probably unsure on how to handle a crying girl.
“Molly? Erm… what’s your favourite subject?” he asked, attempting to distract me.
“How the bloody hell should I know – it’s not like I’ve ever been to school, is it?”
“Well me neither, but I’ve looked at some of my brother’s books and… well I think Potions is pretty cool. Haven’t any of your family told you about subjects?” he tilted his head curiously.
I bit my lip. “I guess I like Care of Magical Creatures.”
Moth wrinkled his nose up in distaste. “Care of Magical Creatures? Why in Merlin’s pants would you like that?”
I bit back a smile. “Well for one, it’s one of the only subjects that a squib can do just as well as a witch or wizard. I’m good with animals… and my family has a friend called Hagrid. He said he never learnt anything past third year so he kind of understood what it was like growing up with magic, when you can’t do it. I guess he took a special liking to me and… I don’t know.” I shrugged, “I guess it’s one of the few things that I could actually do.”
Moth nodded slowly, but I could tell he didn’t agree. “I hate Magical creatures. I can’t figure out why someone would willingly spend time with them.” Moth shivered and shook his head. “Like, you’d willingly go near one of those Hippo-things.”
I laughed. “A hippogriff? Why? They’re really loyal if you prove yourself.”
Moth shook his head and his eyes seemed distant. “I hate anything with four legs. Especially centaurs.” He paused and looked at me in slight alarm. “Y-you don’t reckon they’d be centaurs at Swanley’s, right?”
I shrugged, confused and went to question him when a squeak interrupted me.
“Oi! Yous! Grewner was told some girl play with a fan. That yous?” he squeaked, his big eyes peeking out under the baseball hat.
With a start I was reminded of the knot in my hair and my earlier fears came bubbling back to the surface with a gasp. Moth glared at the house-elf.
“Oi! Yous no need to glare at Grewner! Grewner has much better things to be doing! So?”
Moth looked at me in a questioning glance and we both looked at the elf uncertainly. Grewner sighed, “are yous going to move then? Or do yous expect Grewner to climb over yous? Hm?”
I refrained from snorting with some difficulty and Grewner was obviously not going to wait for Moth to move, with a loud sigh Grewner leapt of the train floor and onto Moth’s lap. I couldn't hold back the snort this time as I remembered Moth’s disliking to magical creatures just minutes before, and now one had just leapt onto his lap.
“Ginger laughs at Grewner and silly boy. Does girl not realise that Grewner can be very mean and leave the fan in there? Hm?” I looked at the house-elf in alarm. “But Mr. Whestle orders Grewner to deal with ginger – and Grewner has to follow orders.”
The house-elf sighed and after leaning closer to the knot in my hair, the elf clicked his fingers and my hair suddenly felt lighter. The fan re-appeared in the elf’s hand, who promptly rolled his eyes and leapt back onto the floor, muttering under his breath.
I touched my hair to find the large knot was still there – Grewner obviously wasn’t feeling too kind. Moth, meanwhile, looked to be on the verge of a panic attack. He was still frozen in place, looking his lap where the elf had just stood.
I held back another giggle and turned to Moth. “So, Potions?”
I'm so sorry for the delay in updating over the last two weeks! My parent shave sent me on an intensive revision course... with no internet! :O
I'm quickly using my tutor's computer whilst she's on her break! :P As soon as this week is over, updates will be much quicker! :)
Again, thank you so much for the support you've all given me so far with this story. Your reviews have been brilliant and have really made my day! So thank you very much :)
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