I peeked a glance at the room, it was just a typical sitting room only with shabbier couches- the one I was laying on was particularly comfortable. I listened as hard as I could for my kidnappers but couldn’t hear much besides a slow gentle stirring. There was a cauldron in the corner of the room. A cauldron. And it was being stirred by what was probably a big stick or a spoon, but no one was moving it- it was moving itself.
I’ve been drugged. That has to be the answer. No way would I get kidnapped and brought to someone’s cozy sitting room- shouldn’t I be in a cellar or trunk of a car? And I must be hallucinating because who keeps a self-stirring cauldron in their sitting room- who even owns a cauldron?
I craned my neck looking for an exit. There was a big bay window on the one wall and the view was of a dense wood, I couldn’t even see a path let alone a street. I heard footsteps and I quickly shut my eyes as much as I could whilst spying on him. He was too tall to be the man that carried me out of the field and had thick black hair that was very unkempt. He was leaning over the cauldron dipping strips of cloth into it and then they just balanced in the air, following him as he walked towards me.
I was never good at keeping a poker face. My bemusement at the floating cloths must have shown on my face because when he looked at me he seemed surprised. Rather than smacking me back into unconsciousness he greeted me, “Oh, hello! Are you feeling ok?”
I don’t remember any after-school specials on what to do when you are abducted, only how to avoid it. I decided to play it cool, to act natural. “Yeah, I guess? I really want to know what I’m doing here though. Care to fill me in?”
He looked at me rather seriously, then pointed at my legs. “You’re hurt and I’m changing your bandages.”
Last night’s memories came flooding back to me, I sat up as best I could and watched him remove the bandages. It was horrible, my right leg was entirely black and blue and my left was raised and a violent red where there were scratches and a gigantic bite mark across my thigh. Instead of worrying about my injuries, I was confused about something else.
“I was wearing jeans last night,” I said as I looked down at the plaid shorts that looked like boxers. I noticed that I was in a large grey shirt with a blue arrow and ‘Appleby’ written across the front, definitely not the one from last night because I did not know where Appleby was. “You took my clothes off?”
“Sorry, miss, but we had to, and I promise, we cleaned up your back and covered you right back up, didn’t look at a thing.”
“Yes, we. I’m James Potter and my friends and I have been trying to clean up your wounds from last night. They’ll be back in a bit and you can meet them then.” James Potter extended his hand and I shook it.
“Well, Miss Holly. Care to roll over so I can change the bandages on your back?”
I looked down and realized he had already replaced the bandages on my legs, I hadn’t even noticed. I rolled over and he eased up my shirt, I tensed.
“Its okay, I’ll be quick.” I felt a prod of something in between my shoulder blades, it hurt like hell and I clenched my fists. “Sorry, it’s a numbing charm, it’ll make changing the bandages much less painful.”
Numbing charm? What? I voiced my confusion. “A numbing what? Are you some kind of witch doctor?”
“Witch doctor? You mean like voo doo? Of course not, don’t be silly. After seven years spending loads of time in the hospital wing, I’ve picked up on some of the more useful spells. But by no means am I a Healer, there’s loads more schooling for that.”
I rolled back over and pulled my shirt back down. “Okay, quit talking nonsense, what the HELL do you mean by spells and Healers? Where am I? And when can I go home?”
His smile disappeared, his jaw dropped and his head turned a little to the side. At that moment the door opened and I could hear voices.
“Did anything interesting happen last night?”
“Well, Moony, you see, it was a little more eventful than we had hoped.”
I could now see three men my age walking into the sitting room, the tallest of the three hadn’t noticed me and was instead staring at the shorter man, the one who carried me here, waiting for him to explain the events of last night. The other man had long dark hair, almost shoulder length yet he didn’t look like the hippies I’ve seen, his hair was smooth and for a second I wished my hair could lay like that. The dark haired man winked at me and walked forward and sat in an armchair across from me but did not make eye contact. I followed his gaze and met eyes with the tall man. There were emotions flicking across his face too fast for me to guess what he was thinking. He pointed at me, turned to the short man and asked, “Peter, what happened last night?”
Peter fidgeted and looked down at his shoes, he mumbled something that I couldn’t hear, but the tall man definitely could. Whatever it was led the tall man to walk quickly to the other armchair and sink down into it, his face in his hands and groan.
“Can someone please fill me in on what is going on here?”
The three of them not sitting with their hands over their faces exchanged looks, almost arguing silently over who should speak. After a tense ten seconds or so, James turned back to me, and asked me what I remembered. I hesitated then told them how I went outside looking for my dog when I saw three animals fighting, how I thought one was Mammoth so I ran towards them, how the strange wolf had chased me down, clawed me and hurt my leg- at this point the tallest moaned and sank even lower in the armchair. Then I recounted how Peter had picked me up and I passed out and woke up here to James changing my bandages.
They all looked at each other again, then towards the one in the chair who just feebly waved his hand at them. After clearing his throat, James asked, “Remember how you were confused when I said that bit about numbing charms?” I nodded, he continued. “Do you know anything about any kind of magic?”
Dumbfounded. That is exactly what I was. Magic? I got attacked by a wild beast and he wants to start talking fairy tales? I had no clue where I was and no one was telling me anything. “I have zero clue as to what you are talking about, and would really, really appreciate it if you made some sort of attempt to explain the gashes and bruises on my legs and back. I’m losing my patience here.”
“Guys, this is a bit more complicated than we thought. On top of the damage already done, we’re about to break the international statute of secrecy.”
Expletives dropped from where the dark haired man was and Peter’s mouth was forming a big O. The tall one stood up from his chair and looked from me to James and said, “No, no way, that isn’t possible, I’ve read about this, basically every book on lycanthropy and there was never one word on a muggle surviving. It’s not possible!”
The short one spoke, “Moony, I’m sure you’ve read everything, but not many people would care to see to it that a muggle was cared for after a bite, not everyone like you has friends running amongst him that would be able to stop a victim from bleeding to death. It can’t have been written about before. And I couldn’t apparate with her back to your house, so after I got her here and James started to bandage her up I went back to look for her wand- no sign of it, mate. She’s a muggle.”
Moony was an odd name. Really odd. I tried to think over what they said, and I had read plenty of fantasy books so the pieces were fitting together, everything except for muggle, what was that? “Excuse me, but, umm what’s a muggle?”
All four turned and looked at me in shock, almost as if they had forgotten I could hear them. James, once again, was the spokesperson. “Okay, what I’m about to tell you is very true, it is not a joke and you have to take it seriously, okay?” I nodded. “Us four are wizards, and there are many more witches and wizards living all over the world today. It’s against our law to reveal ourselves to those who cannot practice magic, or muggles.” I nodded again. “Last night, you were attacked by a werewolf. Because we were close by we were able to rescue you and take care of you. Unfortunately, you cannot go home now… you’re quite stuck here, because we need to keep taking care of you and also you’re classified as highly dangerous and pose a threat to all your neighbors.”
“So first you guys tell me magic is real and now you tell me I’ve been bitten by a werewolf? You’re kidding me, right? I’ll take that first bit to my grave, I believe you, I’ve seen you floating things around, James, but the second part? Nope. No sir, I’m going home as soon as I can because I’m perfectly fine besides a few minor scratches. I am not staying here to be held hostage for others safety. You’re probably just covering your own behinds because you broke your law revealing yourselves to me. But I promise I won’t say a thing, really, people would call me a lunatic, so I’d kindly like to have my own clothes back and I’ll be heading back. Thanks for the bandages, it was really kind of you, really-”
Moony spoke again, this time very seriously. “I’m afraid we can’t let you leave. I know how dangerous you are now.” He swallowed, “I’m the one that bit you.”
He looked awfully serious. And as much as I wanted to leave, his words scared me. I was dangerous? What was going to happen to me? And would I ever be able to go home? This was just too much, too, too much. I couldn’t find words to express my fears and questions. Instead, I just nodded and too my embarrassment I could feel tears forming in my eyes. These guys didn’t know me at all and they were getting such the wrong impression of me- fainting and crying.
The dark haired one spoke up, “Well, if our pow wow is over, can we get some breakfast? Are you hungry- uh?” He didn’t know my name.
“Holly. Holly Clark, and you all are?”
“Sirius Black at your service.” He replied with a swooping bow.
“Peter Pettigrew.” The short one.
“Remus Lupin,” So his name wasn’t Moony, that was a relief, it was really a strange name. “and if you guys don’t mind I’m going to go lie down, surprisingly enough, I’m not hungry as usual.” He turned to me. “I’m really sorry but it’s just the bedroom, kitchen and sitting room, I do hope you don’t mind sleeping in here until I can get another room sorted out.”
I nodded, and then looked curiously around the house. Behind me, a kitchen area was against the back wall, it wasn’t even a separate room. I couldn’t tell where the bedroom must be until I watched Remus Lupin walk through a doorway which led to a room that- from what I could see- barely held more than a bed. The whole place was quite tiny.
James tapped me on the shoulder and when I looked at him I saw that he was holding a plate of bacon and eggs. I was starved and started to tuck in. He sat down next to me and patted my leg, “It’s going to be ok, you’re really lucky, you know, given the situation. We’ll all take care of you.”
I knew he was trying to console me, seeing as I was unable to stop the tears, but I couldn’t feel lucky at all right now. I was in a cabin, in the woods, with four complete strangers who claimed they were wizards- one of which was also a werewolf who had attacked me last night. Lucky? I don’t think so.