Chapter 2 : The Dementor on the Train
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Chapter Two: The Dementor on the Train
“…Sirius Black, infamous for killing twelve people with one curse in the massacre of twelve years ago is still at large and eluding capture from the dementors of Azkaban and the Ministry officials who are still searching for him. Black is the first wizard to ever escape from Azkaban and all witches, wizards and muggles are advised to keep a watchful eye out in these troubled times. Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt made a public announcement about the progress of Black’s capture this morning, stating; “Though there has been no sign of Black, the Aurors are doing everything they can…”
Brandon snorted loudly. “In other words, the Ministry have no idea what they’re doing, as usual.”
“Shut up!” Kat said irritably. “I’m trying to listen!” Brandon fell silent again as we continued to listen to the Wizarding Radio Station, the WWN. We were all crammed into my mother’s car. And even though it had been magically expanded to fit us all in, it was still a bit of a squeeze, especially with all of our heavy trunks and Kat’s owl, Juno, which she had been given for her birthday. I was sitting right in the middle of the backseat, between Brandon and Oliver. And because my brother smelt strongly of old sock and Oliver was burly with very broad shoulders, it was quite uncomfortable.
“…Dolly Morton, of Madam Malkin’s in Diagon Alley claims she spotted Sirius Black near Gringotts,” the reporter continued. She was speaking in a high-pitched, excitable voice which didn’t quite suit the mood of the situation. “According to Dolly…”
“You don’t really think Sirius Black has been spotted in London, do you?” Kat said worriedly. “I mean, Azkaban is miles away. Why would he bother coming back to England when he knows all those people are out looking for him?”
“’Course he’s not back,” Brandon said. “That witch, Lolly or whatever her name was…”
“Dolly,” Kat hissed.
“Yeah, whatever. She’s just scared. So is everyone else.”
“I don’t think this conversation is appropriate for right now,” said mum suddenly, turning off the car radio and nodding in the direction of my little sister, Marcella, who was sitting in the passenger seat (which had been expanded to the size of a park bench) with Kat. Marcella was my half sister – nine years old, she was Bob’s daughter and the cutest little thing ever. She didn’t resemble me, Kat or Bran. Instead of the dark hair and brown eyes that we all shared, her hair was fair and thin and she had big blue eyes. Currently she was clutching her favourite doll under her arm.
“Mummy?” she said suddenly. “Mummy, can I go to Hogwarts, too?”
Mum gave an impatient sigh, tapping the steering wheel impatiently with her fingers. We were stuck in a long line of traffic and it was already half past ten. I was beginning to get the strange, nervous feeling in my stomach. I got it every time I was about to go back to school, even though there was nothing to be anxious about. “No, Marcella,” she said. “You’re not old enough, I’ve already told you.”
Marcella pouted. It made her resemblance to Kat a lot more prominent. “Pleeeeeease!” she begged. “Kat gets to go!”
Kat had always been Marcella’s favourite for some, unknown reason. Maybe it was because, when Marcella had been younger, Kat would paint her nails in any colour that she wanted. Kat ruffled up Marcella’s hair. “Not this year, sweetie,” she said. “But you’ll get to go real soon, I promise.”
As the traffic began to move more quickly, the conversation turned back to Quidditch. Kat sighed dramatically and took out her nail file from her handbag, but Oliver and I argued enthusiastically.
“The Holyhead Harpies are the best team in the league, without a doubt,” I said firmly, and I visibly saw Kat roll her eyes from the front of the car. Even Brandon seemed to be tired of mine and Oliver’s endless Quidditch talk. He had fallen asleep against the windowsill and was snoring loudly.
“They are not!” Oliver said.
“You only don’t like them because they’re all girls,” I said scathingly. “That’s a pretty sexist attitude, don’t you think?”
“I never said that!” Oliver said. “But I can’t even remember the last time the Holyhead Harpie’s won the league. Now take Puddlemere United – I’d say they have the strongest overall side out of all the teams in the British and Ireland League.”
“You only like them because of all the popularity they’ve been gaining lately,” I said. “And because they’ve got that ridiculous team anthem.”
Oliver and Brandon both looked at each other and burst into a very loud chorus of; “Beat back those bludgers, boys, and chuck that quaffle here!”
Kat gave me a disgusted look from the front seat which I happily returned. It definitely came as a huge relief when we reached King’s Cross Station.
“Have a great term girls,” mum said weepily, hugging Kat and I so tight that our heads banged against each other.
“Ouch mum, I can barely breathe!” Kat complained. “Can you let go, please?”
When mum released us, she had tears in her eyes. It was always the same, every single year. She got so emotional at the prospect of not seeing ‘her babies’ for a whole term. All around us, Platform Nine and Three Quarters was filled with people. The Hogwarts Express was due to leave in five minutes, so everywhere I looked I could see weeping mothers, embarrassed looking students, sulky younger children and awkward looking fathers, hovering anxious at the sidelines. I was just glad Bob had gone to work early. Last year when he came to see us off, he suddenly became all gruff and fatherly. It was a little weird.
“Where on earth is Brandon?” mum asked, looking over several heads for her only son.
“I think he and Oliver are already on the train,” I said. “Bloody Gryffindors,” I added, shaking my head.
Mum frowned. “But I never got to say goodbye to him!”
“I think that was the point,” Kat muttered, but only loud enough for me to hear.
With another loud sniff, mum kissed both Kat and me on the tops of our heads. “Be good, Daniella,” she told me, and I scowled as I did every time she called me by my first name. “Be careful. Don’t fall off your broomstick.”
“Okay, okay, whatever.”
“You two, Katrina. And tell your brother not to get up to any mischief.”
I grinned. “You’re fighting a losing battle there, mum.”
The train whistle sounded loudly. After bending down to kiss Marcella on the forehead, Kat and I clambered up onto the train, heaving our trunks with us, and waved goodbye to mum and Marcella as the Hogwarts Express pulled slowly from the station. When the station was only a blob in the distance, Kat turned to me and rolled her eyes. “Every bloody year,” she said. “God, she’s so embarrassing!”
“I suppose we should find a compartment then,” I said, looking around grudgingly.
As Kat had feared, the train was packed. There didn’t seem to be a single compartment free and there were still a lot of students, milling about the corridors. We were soon nearing the end of the train.
“I can’t handle this much longer,” Kat moaned. “My trunk is heavy and my feet feel like they’re about to fall off.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t have worn heels then,” I suggested lightly, looking down at Kat’s feet. “Not the most appropriate footwear, you know.”
There was suddenly a familiar shout from behind us. “Dani! Kat!”
We both turned to see our best friend, Penelope Clearwater, dashing towards us, a huge smile on her face. Angus McCullough, another of our friends, was trailing behind her. He, too, was grinning. Penny was very different to both me and Kat, appearance wise. She was tall with long blonde hair that was very curly and big blue eyes. Angus was also tall and blonde, very gangly with extremely pale skin.
“Oh, it’s so good to see you both!” Penny said, flinging herself into my arms.
“Where have you been?” I asked her, as she hugged Kat firmly. “I didn’t see you on the platform.”
“Oh, I was talking to Percy,” Penny said importantly, referring to her boyfriend. Neither Kat, Angus nor I understood why she dated him. We all called him ‘The Pompous Git’ which annoyed Penny to no end. “He’s been made Head Boy this year! Isn’t that brilliant?”
“Oh yes, that’s spectacular,” said Kat, mocking Percy’s pompous tone.
“Had a good summer, Angus?” I asked, walking forwards and putting my arms around him.
He shrugged. “Oh, it was alright. Dad was working most of the time, but on one of his free days he took me to the Museum of Ancient Wizarding History in London.”
“That sounds awful,” I said, scrunching up my nose.
Angus’s eyes lit up. “Oh no, it was wonderful!” he said. “I learnt so much.”
“Maybe you’ll be taking over from Professor Binns next year, Angus,” Kat grinned. “How long has he been teaching for, anyway?”
“Who knows,” said Penny. “Come on, Angus and I have already got us a compartment.”
The Hogwarts Express moved steadily North and, as the countryside became darker and wilder, so did the weather. Thick, grey storm clouds thickened overhead and a fine rain began to pour down, fogging up the windowsills. The compartment we were sitting in suddenly became very cold.
“This definitely isn’t normal weather,” Penny said, pulling a thick blue knitted sweater from her trunk and pulling it over her head. “Day suddenly turning into the night, end of the world stuff.”
“I think you’re being a little overdramatic there, Penny,” Angus said, although he too was shivering.
As Angus, Kat and I started talking about the escape of Sirius Black, Penny suddenly took a thick book out of her trunk, opened it up and started reading it intently. “Penny,” Kat said uncertainly. “What are you doing?”
Penny looked up in surprise. “I’m studying!” she said. “I am rather behind you know. After what happened last year…” She trailed off and bit her lip, before looking back down at the massive book. Kat, Angus and I all looked at each other uncertainly. Last year, our sixth year, the Chamber of Secrets had been opened. It was horrible. I remember walking around the whole year, feeling like I was just waiting for something horrible to happen. And then it did. Penny was attacked by Slytherin’s monster. She was in the hospital wing for most of the year. Kat and I were both half blood, so we were safe. But the worst thing was that the castle had been so dangerous, we hadn’t even been allowed to go and see our best friend. Even now, Penny still didn’t like to talk about what had happened to her, and Kat, Angus and I didn’t like to bring it up.
The lunch lady came around just after one o’clock. I was absolutely starving, considering I’d only had a tiny bowl of stale cornflakes for breakfast, so I emptied my pockets of silver and brought a large stack of cauldron cakes and a liquorice wand, which I gnawed on happily.
Penny shook her head as I ate. “I don’t understand how you can eat so much and not get fat!” she said.
“Quidditch,” I explained simply.
“Dani and Oliver were talking about Quidditch the whole car ride here,” Kat told Penny.
Penny frowned. “Oliver? Oliver Wood?”
I nodded. “Yeah. Why?”
“Percy told me about him,” Penny said slowly. “He said he’s really quite irritating. He says Oliver and Brandon are always making a lot of noise when he’s trying to study and can be very rude at times. And apparently all Oliver talks about is Quidditch.”
“Oh my god, what a monster!” I said, and Penny fixed me with a stern look.
“He sounds a lot like Dani,” Angus observed. “So obsessed with Quidditch that it can actually be annoying, that is.”
“Hey! I’m not annoying.”
“You know, you two would make a cute couple,” Kat said thoughtfully. “Although I’m not sure how Bran would react to seeing his best mate date his little sister.”
“I’m not even an hour younger than him!” was all I said. It had always irked me that I was the youngest of the three of us. I didn’t say anything about Oliver and I because the truth was, I was finding it more and more difficult not to look at him and think how fit he was. He was tall, burly and very muscular with brown hair and dark brown eyes that glittered when he smiled. But there was certainly no chemistry between Oliver and I. I just thought he was good-looking, and that was it.
Although, I couldn’t help that admit that I was a little tired of being the only girl out of the three of us who’d never had a boyfriend. Heck, it was downright embarrassing that Penelope Clearwater, who blushed and stammered whenever a boy so much as looked at her, had gotten a boyfriend before me. Admittedly, that boyfriend happened to be Percy Weasley, Hogwarts’ resident prat, but beggers couldn’t be choosers.
We had several visitors throughout the afternoon. First was Annie Rivera and Poppy Peterson, our fellow seventh year Ravenclaws. We swapped holiday stories for a while before Annie and Poppy headed back to their separate compartment. Both girls were quite solitary, and very quiet.
Later in the afternoon, just as the sky was beginning to get very dark outside, Brandon and Oliver popped their heads in to see if we had any leftover food. Angus gave me a hearty wink when he saw me and Oliver chatting and I hastily finished the conversation and returned to looking out the window.
Even Percy Weasley came for a visit and bored us all silly with talk of how he was planning to enter the Ministry of Magic when he left school at the end of this year – “But only if I get the required NEWT’s, of course,” he said pompously. “The Ministry has very high expectations, which I hope to meet.”
The rain became harder and stronger as we sped yet further north and the windows became so dark that it was impossible to see outside. The lanterns in our compartment and out in the corridor flickered to life.
“We must be nearly there,” said Kat impatiently, desperately trying to peer out of the glimmering black window.
Sure enough, just as she had spoken, the train began to slow down.
“Brilliant,” said Kat, getting to her feet and stretching. “I suppose we should all change into our robes then. Angus, get out, will you?”
“Oh, that’s nice,” Angus said grumpily.
“Wait,” said Penny, holding up her hand. “Something weird’s going on…we can’t be there yet.”
Kat, Angus and I all looked at each other nervously. Ever since last year Penny had been overly suspicious about everything. “Penny…” I said slowly. “Penny, I don’t think…”
But I swallowed my words as the train gave a sudden lurch, knocking Kat from her feet. The lanterns all went out and we were plunged into a sudden, impenetrable darkness.
“Ouch!” I cried. “Kat, can you get off me please?”
“Sorry,” came Kat’s muffled voice and she climbed off my lap, onto which she had fallen.
“Do you think we’ve broken down or something?” Angus said, his voice anxious. I could just make out the shimmering whites of his eyes opposite to me.
“I don’t think so,” Penny said slowly. “But whatever’s going on, I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.”
We all fell into a sudden silence, breathing heavily. My heart was pounding loudly in my chest and I could see my breath hovering in the cold air in front of me. Katie suddenly reached out a cold hand and grabbed mine. She was shaking. I squeezed her hand tightly, trying to seem comforting.
And then, quite suddenly, a horrible sort of chill spread throughout the compartment. The cold swept through me…my whole body felt like it was made of ice. I began shivering uncontrollably. It wasn’t just my body that felt cold. The chill had crept into my heart and suddenly I felt horribly miserable…like I’d never be cheerful again.
Beside me, Kat seemed to be sobbing quietly, her hand trembling violently. Penny was murmuring “Make it stop – oh please, make it stop” under her breath and Angus’s teeth were chattering.
And then slowly, ever so slowly, the cold began to fade. Warmth began to seep back into my bones. The lanterns above our heads flickered, so that I could see Kat’s tearstained, terrified face. I had never felt more strongly for my sister than I did just then.
The compartment door suddenly slid open with a loud creak. I jumped, my heart still hammering away in my chest, Angus let out a shout of horror, Penny whimpered and Kat let out a shriek of; “What’s going on!”
“Calm down, it’s just us.”
The lights suddenly came back on. Brandon and Oliver were standing at the door of our compartment, both looking pale and shaken.
Kat gasped, clutching a hand to her heart. “Thank god,” she murmured. “You scared me half to death!”
I looked around the compartment at my best friends. Penny was paler than I had ever seen her and had her arms wrapped tightly around her chest. Kat was curled up into a tight ball and Angus looked nervous and twitchy.
“Are you guys okay?” Brandon asked, looked at me and Kat especially, in concern.
Nobody spoke. Finally, I nodded, gulped and said; “Fine. Just…do you have any idea what’s going on?”
The Hogwarts Express was moving again. More than anything I just wanted to get off this train and get into the warm Great Hall. No doubt I would feel a lot better once there was some food inside me. Right now I was feeling clammy and weak.
Brandon sat down next to Angus and Oliver next to me.
“You didn’t see it?” Oliver asked, his voice hoarse. His face was uncharacteristically serious.
I shook my head. “See what?”
Oliver looked over at Brandon. “The dementor,” he said finally. “There was a dementor on the train.”
Kat’s eyes widened. “A dementor?” she breathed. “Like…a guard from Azkaban?”
“Yes, Kat, that’s what a dementor is,” Brandon said patiently.
“But what was it doing on the train?” Penny asked in a squeaky voice.
“We think it was searching for Sirius Black,” Oliver said.
I frowned. That didn’t make any sense at all. What would Sirius Black be doing on the Hogwarts Express? Did the dementors really think he’d just waltz right on up to Platform Nine and Three Quarters, packed full of witches and wizards, and climb aboard?
“I’ve never felt like that before,” Penny said quietly. ”So…miserable. All these horrible memories suddenly came back to me. Like last year, just before…just before…” Tears suddenly filled her big blue eyes and she buried her head in her hands. Angus edged closer to her, wrapped his arm around her shoulders and began rubbing her back soothingly.
We didn’t talk much for the remainder of the journey. Brandon and Oliver remained in our cabin. I was surprised at how reassuring their presence was. Maybe it was just because they made out compartment feel a bit fuller. Oliver was sitting very close to me and I could feel the warmth radiating from his body.
Once the train finally pulled to a stop, there was a great race to get off the platform as quickly as possible. It was freezing outside and sharp droplets of water were raining down on us; the sky was black and stormy. Kat, Penny, Angus and I climbed into one of the many horseless coaches (which thankfully had four walls and a roof) and trundled up towards the school.
I was home at last.
Hey there! I hope you guys all enjoyed the second chapter of Careful What You Wish For. I've been having a lot of fun writing it and have about ten chapters written, so except semi-frequent (depending on my laziness) updates. I'd love it if you'd leave a review, telling me what you think so far! Incredible chapter image by Eponine @ TDA!
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