Chapter 1: Talking to Snakes
Talking to Snakes
I lay stretched across my bed starring at the ceiling. God, I’m so bored. Being grounded really sucks. All I did was shove a boy at school for calling me a freak and my parents completely flip out. Now, I can’t even leave the house. I suppose I could read though I don’t have many books. I do, however, have a fairy tale book hidden. For some reason, they always made me feel better when I was upset. I have to hide it because my parents forbid me to read or watch any kind of fairy tale. I’m not quite sure exactly what their reason is. Something about magic just makes them crazy.
Suddenly, I heard something hit my window. When I opened it, I saw Dudley Dursley along with the rest of the gang. I smiled. Dudley and I had been friends ever since we were five. He always got me into trouble or maybe I was the one who got him into trouble, however you want to look at it. He had better luck at home when his parents then I did. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley were completely oblivious to Dudley’s violent side, unlike mine. His parents instead would say they were grateful Dudley was not like his cousin who lived with then. I can never remember his name. My parents forbid me to see him for some reason. Dudley says he’s a loser and a violent freak so his parents have to keep him in the cupboard under the stairs. I’ve only actually seen him once.
“Hey, Rosen,” Dudley called. “We’re going to the playground. You in?”
“Sure. Just give me a second.” I quickly slipped on my shoes and climbed out the window. I’ve done this so many times. Fortunately, there’s a big tree close to my window I can easily climb down.
When I reached the ground I said, “I still can’t believe we both got into fights this week and I was the one who got grounded.”
Dudley grinned. “My parents always take my side no matter what. They think I was provoked.”
“I wish I could convince mine of that.”
When we arrived at the playground our rival, Jordan Scott, greeted us. He was the boy I shoved last week. I think my strength took him by surprise. Apparently, he wasn’t too happy about being made a fool of by a girl. I’ll bet he’s planning revenge right now. I am bit curious as of why he’s not doing anything right now and I saw why.
I sneered. “Still need mommy to take you to the playground?”
“I’ll bet you think you’re pretty tough with your gang with you,” he shot back.
“I think we both know I don’t need them to take you.”
“So you caught me by surprise. It was just luck, Rosen. You’re still just a girl. Why don’t you come show me what you really got?”
He headed towards the trees so his mom couldn’t see him. I followed.
“Uh, Mel. Do you want us to come with you?” Dudley stood behind with the rest of the gang looking concerned.
“No. I can handle him.” I knew I was being stupid. Scott was right. I’m just a girl and he’s nearly twice my size. But at least going alone showed that I am not afraid of him.
He stopped and turned around. “You’ve made a fool of me for the last time, Rosen.”
This had to be just talk, right? What could he do to me without getting into massive trouble?
“Hello,” a voice hissed from behind me. I jump when I saw a snake slithering towards us.
“What’s the matter, Rosen? You afraid of snakes?”
“No! Didn’t you hear that voice?” I looked around but didn’t see anyone.
“What voice? You really are crazy. Hearing voices?”
“Is there a problem here?”
I looked and realized that it was the snake that was talking! I tried my best to hide my fear.
“Is this boy bothering you, young girl?”
“Yes. He’s been harassing me all week.” That was kind of true. Jordan Scott did start this when he called me a freak.
“Very well then. Let me take care of him for you.”
The snake began to move towards Scott. His eyes widened, terrified, as the snake slithered. He then ran off as fast as he could.
“Stop!” I yelled at the snake and ran after Scott.
“Alright, suit yourself. I just be on my way, then.”
“Scott, wait!” I finally reached him.
“Stay away from me, Rosen! You’re a freak!”
“What are you talking about? Didn’t you hear the snake?”
“I heard you hiss at it and then it started to come after me!”
“What’s going on here?” Mrs. Scott rushed over to her son. I looked over and saw my own mother running up to me. Oh great. Now I’m in real trouble.
“She talks to snakes, Mom! She sent one after me. She’s a witch!”
“I’m not a witch!”
My mother came up to me and grabbed my shoulder. “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Scott. Come on, Melanie. We’re going home.”
“Just keep her away from my kid!”
Mom did not reply and just continued to walk me to the car but not before saying to the gang, “Boys, you should go home, now. Dudley, I know your mother will be worried.”
“Yes, Mrs. Rosen.”
The car ride home was silent. I was left alone with my thoughts. Did I imagine the snake talking? Scott claims I hissed to the snaked, but I know I was talking in English. I knew that something was wrong with this whole situation. Maybe I did somehow make the snake go after him. Maybe I really am as Scott says, a witch.
Chapter 2: One of Them
One of Them
This has got to be the most uncomfortable car ride I have ever had with my mother and that includes the time I got sent home early from school for starting fight. The whole time she did not utter a single word. I dared not say anything either.
When we arrived home Mom locked the door and pulled down all the curtains so we had no view of the outside. She then looked straight at me and said, “Melanie, I want you to tell me exactly what happened with that boy and the snake.”
I did not know what to say. There’s no way I can tell her the truth. She would never believe that the snake actually spoke to me.
“It was just a joke,” I finally responded. “Scott was trying to intimidate me so I thought I’d try to give him a little scare. That’s all.”
“You didn’t really talk to the snake?”
Am I imagining this or does my mother actually look afraid, of me?
“I know snakes can’t really talk, Mom. You’ve been telling me all my life that anything supernatural is impossible.”
She smiled, relieved, and then said firmly, “Melanie, you’re suppose to be grounded, remember. I’m tired of you getting into trouble with boys and sneaking out constantly. Now, go up to your room until your father gets home from work.”
Its’ not fair. Dudley gets into just as much trouble as I do, if not more, yet Mrs. Dursley still treats him like an angel and says that its not his fault. Why can’t my mother be that understanding?
An hour later I heard the back door open and my father yell out, “Liv, Melanie, I’m home.”
I opened my door a crack to return the greeting but then decided to listen in on my parent’s conversation instead.
“Livia, what’s wrong?” Dad asked.
“Oh, Theodin, something happened with Melanie at the park today.”
“Isn’t she grounded?”
“She snuck out again, but that’s not the problem.”
She then proceeded to tell Dad about the whole incident with the snake. I could not believe my ears. She actually seems to believe that I really had a conversation with the snake.
After a long moment of silence Dad finally spoke, “Could this mean that Melanie is, well, like your sister?”
“I afraid so,” Mom answered. “Oh, Theodin, I fear our daughter may just be,” she paused and then finished with, “one of them.”
What does she mean by, one of them? Then I recalled what my father said before that, like your sister.
I knew exactly whom he meant, my Aunt Becky. I never actually met her, but every year for my birthday and Christmas she would send me these mysterious presents. My favorite is the snow globe with the castle. Inside it, contained a little witch that would fly around the castle. I never understood how she flew, exactly. There are no strings attached to her and the globe a no battery to operate it. The only possible explanation seemed to be magic.
All my life I had never been allowed to meet Aunt Becky nor did I have a way to contact her. My mother never wanted to talk about her either. She would always immediately change the subject every time I brought up my mysterious aunt.
Then it hit me. If what my parents said is true and I am indeed like my Aunt Becky then maybe she could explain all the weird things that have happened to me lately. All I need is a way to contact her. I decided the best way to do that would be to write her a letter since I have her address from the last package she sent me.
I quietly shut my bedroom door, walked over to my desk, grabbed a pen and paper, and began to write:
Dear Aunt Becky,
I know we have never met, but I don’t know whom else to turn to now. There have been a lot of strange, unexplainable things happening to me recently and I have a feeling you are the only one who can answer my questions. I can’t really explain the rest in a letter. Is there any way we can meet in person?
I went to grab an envelope when an owl flew in through my window and snatched the letter. Before I had a chance to react, it was gone.
Great, now what? I decided best to just go ahead and write another letter but as I began I heard my mother’s voice call, “Melanie, dinner’s ready.”
I sighed and walked downstairs to eat. At the dinner table, the three of us sat in complete silence. This feels exactly like the car ride earlier today. I guess I should just be thankful that I don’t have to listen to another lecture about sneaking out of the house.
Once the uncomfortable mealtime finally ended, I ran up back to my room to finish writing my second letter. I then found that the owl had returned my original letter. Curiously, I picked it up to find writing on the back. It stated:
Meet me tomorrow at noon at the Café Diner.
Chapter 3: Aunt Becky
That night was probably the worst I had slept in my entire life. I could not stop thinking about yesterday with the snake, my parent’s conversation, and my Aunt Becky. I can’t wait to me her. I wonder what she’s like.
Not only did the night go by slowly, but the next morning as well. As usual, I ate breakfast with both of my parents and then my father left for work, while my mother stayed home and watched daytime soap operas. Luckily for me, she gets so drawn into these shows, she probably will not come check on me for a while so it should be fairly simple to sneak out and meet my aunt.
When I went back into my room I found that the owl had brought me another note. This time there was a picture as well.
I doubt your mother has shown you any pictures of me so here’s one so you will know what I look like.
I can’t believe I have not thought of this until now. To my shock, when I picked up the picture, I observed my aunt smiling and waving. She appeared to actually be moving! How is this possible?
Okay, calm down. This is not even close to the strangest thing that has happened to me recently. I’ll just have to ask Aunt Becky about this picture when I see her.
I then realized that it’s almost noon, which means that I better go ahead and start walking to the Diner Café. Luckily, this restaurant was just outside my neighborhood so it didn’t take long for me to get there.
When I arrived, I almost immediately spotted Aunt Becky standing right outside the restaurant. She didn’t dress at all like I would imagine a possible witch to dress with her white leather pants and jacket. Her golden blonde curly hair went just past her shoulders. It’s strange really. It seems like I’m the only one in my family that has dark brown hair since both of my parents have blonde hair as well.
The moment Aunt Becky’s eyes met mine she smiled. I wonder how she knows that it’s me. I continued to walk towards her.
“Why hello, Melanie!” she spoke. “It’s so wonderful to finally meet you. Come. There is a lot we have to talk about.”
I briefly said hello and then followed her in the restaurant.
Once we sat down at our table, she ordered a cup of coffee and I ordered a chocolate shake.
She then began our conversation with, “So Melanie, what exactly has your mother told you about me?”
I pondered for a moment and then answered, “Not much, really. She just told me that you and your husband have a much different lifestyle.”
“That’s true indeed,” Aunt Becky smiled. “I’ll bet she never told you what I really am and what that has to do with you.”
I just shook my head and inquired, “What is it that you are? Am I the same as you?”
“I’m a witch, Melanie, and you are one as well.”
As shocking as these words seemed to me, I could not help but feel that everything was starting to make sense, especially the snake incident.
I still had to make sure. “If you’re really a witch, then show me something magical.”
I expected her to say no and tell me that this will have to wait until I’m ready, something a typical adult would say, but instead she merely nodded and said, “Very well then.”
She pulled out a wand and pointed it at the table next to us. At that very moment, the table lit on fire. When Aunt Becky observed my shocked expression, she smiled with satisfaction then waved the wand once again to put out the fire. The table appeared to be unaffected by the flames.
“You didn’t expect me to actually do it, did you?”
Still shocked, I shook my head and then realized something. “How is it no one else noticed the fire.”
“Once you become a skilled enough witch or wizard you can control what you want muggles to see.”
“People unable to perform magic,” she explained.
“Are both my parents muggle?”
“Yes, well, actually your mother is the only non magical member our the family. We call those who have magical parents but they themselves are not magical, squibs.”
That explains why my mother hates magic so much. It was have been difficult growing up in a home were every member, including your older sibling, could practice magic, except for you. I felt a twinge of pity for my mother, but that’s no excuse for keeping this from me.
“I want to learn how to use magic,” I declared suddenly. “Will you teach me?”
My mind filled up with excitement over the possibilities. Not one of my classmates would dare cross me again. I scarred off Jordan Scott by just talking to a snake. I wonder what else I can do. I can’t wait to tell Dudley this. He’s going to be so impressed.
Aunt Becky seemed to notice my enthusiasm. “I’m glad to see how well you’re excepting this. Actually, I won’t be the one teaching you how to use magic. There’s a school for that, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardly.”
“There’s a school!?”
She nodded, “Yes, you will attend that instead of your muggle school.”
My enthusiasm dropped. “I’m not sure Mom will go for that. What about my friends? Will I still get to see them so I can show them what I can do?”
“You just leave your mother to me. As for showing magic to your friends, you should know that Hogwarts has a very strict rule against underage witches and wizards using magic.”
My heart sank. If I couldn’t prove it, no one would believe that I’m really a witch. Everyone, including Dudley, would just think I’ve lost my mind, and so much for my revenge. In the eyes of this world, I would still be a freak.
Wait a minute! If I do go to this school, Hogwarts, then I’ll be around other witches and wizards like myself. There, I would not be a freak. I would be just like everyone else. As much as I will miss Dudley and the rest of the gang, I guess I can always make new friends.
Aunt Becky was very patient with me, giving me time to ponder all this new information over. “Have you decided what you want to do?”
I made up my mind. “I want to go to Hogwarts.”
“Wonderful!” She beamed. “Now, Melanie, you will have options. During the school year, Hogwarts provides a place for you to stay on their grounds. During the holidays, you can stay at home with your parents, come live with your uncle and me, or split between the two. What would you like to do?”
I definitely wanted to stay with my Aunt Becky at least some of the time. That I knew for sure. After a few moments of thought I finally said, “I guess I’ll wait and see how my mother takes this.”
As the two of us walked back to my house, I felt a lump in my throat. Never in my life have I dreaded an encounter with my mother the way I do now.
Chapter 4: Goodbyes
As Aunt Becky and I walked back to my house I continued to dread the next conversation we would have with my mother. I knew in my heart there was absolutely no way she would just let me go off to some faraway school to practice magic. Both of my parents despised everything to do with magic or anything supernatural for that matter.
“I think your mother would prefer we use the front door,” Aunt Becky commented as we arrived at my house.
“How else would we get in?” I asked curiously looking up at her.
“Oh, Melanie, there is so much you have to learn about the wizardry world.”
Deciding it was best to save my questions for later, I rang the doorbell. My mother answered the door with the most furious expression on her face I have ever seen, but instead of looking at me she glared at her sister.
“How dare you take her out like this?” Mother fumed. “Do you know I worried I’ve been, not knowing where my own daughter was?”
Despite Mom’s shouting, my aunt remained calm as she spoke, “Now, Livy. I don’t know why you’re so upset. I sent you a letter explaining Melanie was with me and there was no need to worry.”
“You sent her a letter?” I asked.
“Yes, I had an owl drop one off the moment you left your home,” Aunt Becky explained. “I wasn’t about to let your mother worry not knowing where you are.”
This did not ease Mother’s anger. “My daughter’s disappears and you expect me to take comfort in a letter delivered by an owl?”
“Why, yes, Livy.” Aunt Becky still spoke solemnly. “You know very well that’s how we communicate. Now its probably best we continue the rest of our discussion inside.”
“Melanie’s coming in,” Mother replied grabbing my arm with force. “You’re leaving. Goodbye, Becky.”
Aunt Becky had no intention of going anywhere. “Now, is that any way to treat your own sister? After all, it’s been over ten years since we’ve last seen each other. Besides, we need to talk about your daughter’s future.”
“You have nothing to do with Melanie’s future!” Mother retorted with bitterness.
“I think you’ll find you will indeed need me, especially now that Melanie knows who she really is.” Aunt Becky put her hand on the door to prevent Mother from shutting it. “Now we can discuss Melanie’s special abilities out here in the open, or you can let me come inside.”
Finally Mother yielded, holding the door wider, allowing Aunt Becky to enter our home.
“You keep this place very clean,” Aunt Becky commented as she observed the inside of our house for the first time.
The house did appear well kept with no visible dust, the couch looking as though no one has ever sat on it, and our family portrait hanging above the fireplace in perfect alignment.
“We have a housemaid,” Mother muttered with gritted teeth. “I don’t suppose you have anything of the sort.”
“We would never have another wizard to our chores,” Aunt Becky responded. “We still have our same house elf, Tinker. You remember, right? It’s the same house elf we both grew up with.”
Instead of responding, Mother changed the subject. “Why don’t you tell me why you feel the need to take my daughter away from me?”
“Oh, relax, Livy. It’s not permanent,” Aunt Becky explained. “She can still spend her summers with you. The only reason I’m taking her at the beginning of this summer is so that she can get a feel of the magical world before school starts.”
Mother then turned to face me. “Melanie, I want you to go upstairs.”
“But Mom, I want to stay and listen!” I protested. “After all, it is me you are discussing.”
“Do as I say!” Mother ordered sternly.
“It’s probably better you do go upstairs, Melanie,” Aunt Becky added.
“Fine,” I grumbled.
Just as before when I listened in on my parents, I left my bedroom door open a crack to I could hear. Unfortunately, this time it was much more difficult since they resumed the discussion in softer voices.
I heard something about magic and how it was apart of me. I think Mother said something about Hogwarts being a school for freaks. Aunt Becky then said something about how Mother can’t change who I am. Then Mother adds something, which sounded like she thought she was given this child because the child was like her.
Wait, that doesn’t make since. Given a child? I must have heard that wrong.
A moment later, I heard my father’s voice. “Hey Liv, Melanie, I’m… Liv, what’s she doing here?”
“Shhh!” Mother hushed while I rolled my eyes in annoyance. I really should be apart of this discussion and my aunt better not leave without me, especially after revealing all this to me!
This became impossible. No longer, could I make out any words. I guess I just have no choice but to wait.
After what seemed like an hour, I finally heard my father call, “Melanie! Could you please come down here?”
Without any hesitation, I ran rapidly down the stairs back to our family room. I then found Father standing by the fire, gazing at our portrait, Aunt Becky sitting on the easy chair, smiling at me, and Mother sitting alone on the couch looking down. When she lifted her head up, her eyes sparkled with tears. I felt a lump form in my throat, as I knew this might be goodbye.
“Melanie,” Mother began. “Your aunt is right. Magic is apart of you and none of us can change that. Its who you are.”
I walked over to the couch and sat beside her. She then grasped my hands firmly and continued, “I want you to understand that no one is forcing you to do anything. If you want to learn how to use magic, then its best you go with your Aunt Becky. If you don’t wish to, then you can stay here and continue your life as before. It’s your decision.”
I thought for a moment, not letting go of Mother’s hands, while looking over to my father, who just smiled at me sadly, and answered quietly, “I want to go with Aunt Becky.”
When neither of my parents spoke I continued, “I’m sorry, Mom, Dad. It’s just that I never felt like I belonged here. I know I have friends, but I still felt like an outsider, or as some people say, a freak.”
“You’re not a freak, Melanie,” Mother protested. “Don’t listen to what some of those other kids say.”
I only smiled. “All moms say that.”
She returned my smile as I hugged her tightly then hugging my father as well. We had one final family dinner, my aunt included. It was kind of a bitter suite moment. I could not help but feel excited and anxious about learning what I can do with magic, but at the same time I knew it would be a very long time before I would see my parents again.
After dinner, I went upstairs to pack my belongings, exchanged one final, heartsick farewell with my parents and then departed with my Aunt Becky to begin my new life.
Chapter 5: The Chamberson Manor
The Chamberson Manor
“So, are we going to fly to your home?” I asked eagerly as we walked down the city streets.
“I afraid I did not bring any blooms,” answered Aunt Becky. “Besides, you have not had any lessons yet.”
“I meant by airplane. Wait a second. Will I actually learn how to fly on a broomstick?”
She smiled. “That among many other extraordinary things.”
We continued to walk until we arrived at an empty building that appeared to have not been entered in years. I could see the dust on the doorknob from five feet away. It was located at the end of a busy city road. I wondered why this building was so deserted.
“Are we going inside?” I asked in wonder.
“Actually, I think I left it behind this building,” she replied walking around the side.
I followed and inquired, “Left what?”
“Our way home.”
As we walked behind this strange building, Aunt Becky pointed at a red high heel shoe and said, “Oh, here it is.”
“How is this going to get us to your place?”
“This, Melanie, is a porkey. It’s one way for people like us to travel from place to place. I’ll explain the other methods in due time.”
“A porkey?” I reached my hand to it before Aunt Becky grabbed that hand suddenly.
“It’s best we take hold of it at the same time.”
I nodded not quite sure what to expect. At her signal, we both grabbed hold of the red shoe. Instantly, I was thrust upward with great force, spinning, shortly after landing hard on my back on the grass. Aunt Becky landed a bit more gracefully.
“Sorry, Melanie,” She said holding her hand out to me. “I should have warned you about that. Don’t worry, you’ll get use it after a few more goes.”
“I’ll have to take your word on that,” I gasped grabbing on to her hand as she raised me up.
“Well, here we are,” Aunt Becky spoke brightly. “Home sweet home!”
“Wow!” I starred in awe. This place appeared more like a mansion. The color was dark, but still appeared fancy. The garden in the front yard was well kept and contained gorgeous flowers of various colors. The house, itself, had to be a least three stories.
“Do you like it?” Aunt Becky asked me with concern. “I hope one day you will think of this as your home, too.”
“I could get use to that,” I mumbled still gazing at the house.
“Well, lets go inside so you can meet your Uncle Richard and Tinker,” Aunt Becky said as we began to walk to the manor.
She went on to explain how she got this house. “This was a family inheritance from my parents who as you can tell were very wealthy. It use to be known as the Riddle Manor, but since I married your uncle we now call it the Chamberson Manor.”
I recalled my mother mentioning that my grandparents passed away before I was born, but she didn’t say exactly how they both died. I decided best not to bring it up now.
As we entered Aunt Becky called out, “Richard, darling, we’re back!”
“Master is busy, Madame,” answered a squeaky voice. “Master tells me he will be out soon.”
I looked over to see this small strange looking creature with pointy ears each with golden hoop earrings, dressed in this shimmering silky pillowcase speaking.
“Oh for heaven’s sake,” Aunt Becky sounded exasperated. “That man is always working. Tell him he needs to come out and meet his niece.”
“Yes Madame, right away.” The creature began to turn.
“Oh, wait, Tinker,” Aunt Becky stopped her. “First you should introduce yourself to Melanie. As I explained before, she is part of this family and you are to treat her as one of us.”
It then turned to me and bowed. “Hello, Miss Melanie. I am Tinker the house elf. Tinker will do anything you wish.”
“Within reason that is,” Aunt Becky added. “Now if she wants you to help her cheat on her homework or sneak out, that won’t be tolerated.”
Not concerned about sneaking out at the moment, I answered, “Nice to meet you, Tinker!”
“Should Tinker go retrieve Master Richard, now?”
“Yeah, please, Tinker,” Aunt Becky, replied. “Thank you.”
Once Tinker left the room I asked, “So does she work for us or something?”
“Tinker is the family’ house elf so yes, in a way, but I try not to give her an overwhelming amount of housework. I merely ask that she assist me. This is something my mother and I disagreed greatly on. She always believed a house elf is nothing more than a servant. I like to think of Tinker as part of the family. I guess that’s party because I grew up with her.” She sighed and added, “It’s too bad I can’t dress her up in anything besides that pillowcase.”
“Because once you present your house elf with clothes that means they’re free from the family forever.”
“You don’t want her to be free?” I asked, thinking forcing Tinker to stay sounded a bit cruel.
Aunt Becky smiled thinking back. “Actually, I did offer Tinker clothes one time. I told her she could still live at the manor and be a part of this family if she wanted. The poor thing broke out in tears. It took hours to calm her down.”
I could not imagine thinking like that. “Doesn’t she want freedom?”
“Well, you see, Melanie. House elves think differently than people,” Aunt Becky explained. “They see freedom as a curse rather than a blessing. I understand that better, now. House elves believe that their sole purpose is to serve their wizard family. Without that, I suppose they would feel lost.”
As I absorbed all this new information, Tinker returned with my uncle behind her. He stood at the entrance to the family room to see that we were sitting on the couch. He appeared to be about six feet tall. He had short dark brown hair and cleanly shaven. He wore black robes, which contrasted with my aunt’s pure white attire.
I smiled at him as I brushed my fingers through my dark brunette curly hair. It was nice to see another family member with dark hair even though we weren’t related by blood. Before, I was beginning to think I was the only person in this family who did not have blonde hair.
He returned my smile as he walked over to me and held out his hand. “Hello, Melanie. I’m your Uncle Richard. Its nice to finally meet you.”
“Nice to meet your, too!” I said shaking his hand.
I couldn’t help but notice that my aunt and uncle seemed to balance each other out. Aunt Becky seemed more expressive and flamboyant while Uncle Richard appeared to be more down to earth and calm. I wondered how they ended up married. They do seem really happy together. I suppose this is one of those cases where opposites attract.
“Tinker,” Aunt Becky turned to the elf. “Why don’t you show Melanie her bedroom, and then, we off to Diagon Alley.”
“What’s Diagon Alley?” I asked curiously.
“Oh you’ll see, dear.” Aunt Becky smiled excitedly. “You will see.”
Chapter 6: A Visit to Diagon Alley
A Visit to Diagon Alley
While Aunt Becky prepared for our trip to Diagon Alley, I unpacked my belongings in my new bedroom with Tinker’s help. I absolutely love this room! It’s at least twice the size of my old bedroom (which was also pretty big), the bed covered with a red velvet comforter above it, a sheer canopy, and when I looked outside my window, I saw that there was a balcony. I felt like royalty!
“Where should I put this, Miss Melanie?” Tinker asked holding up snake stuffed animal.
“Um,” I looked around. “Just throw it over there in the corner with the other dolls and stuffed animals.”
She did as I told. I began to feel a bit uncomfortable. I wonder if all wizard families had house elves to do chores.
“You know, Tinker, you don’t have to stay. To tell you the truth I have no idea where I’m going to put everything.”
“Would you prefer Tinker organized your possessions for you while you and the mistress are away?” The elf gazed up at me waiting for an answer.
“No, that’s okay. I’ll figure it out later.”
Remembering that Aunt Becky was going to take me to this place called Diagon Alley, I shot up, told Tinker I will finish unpacking later, and rapidly rushed down stairs to see if Aunt Becky was ready. As I reentered the living room, I found her along with Uncle Richard standing by the fireplace.
“Are you going too, Uncle Richard?”
“No, darling. I’m sorry, but I’m still a bit swamped in work,” he explained. “Don’t worry, I’ll go with you next time when you go to get your school supplies.”
I nodded and looked over to my aunt, apprehensively. “So how exactly are we going to get there? Is it another one of those porkeys?”
She smiled reassuringly. “No, darling. This time we will travel by floo powder.”
She showed me this jar of shinny dust.
Gaping at this mysterious dust I asked, “So how does this stuff work?”
This time Uncle Richard answered. “When using floo powder for transportation, you grab a handful of it in your palm, stand in the fire place, state your destination, and then throw the powder down to the ground.”
“That’s all I have to do?” I demanded eagerly. “Cool! Can I try it now?”
I anxiously reached my hand towards the powder, when Aunt Becky lifted it out of reach saying, “Wait, wait, wait.”
“Why? I think I understand how to do it!” I declared still reaching for the floo powder.
“Now, Melanie. You have to make sure you say Diagon Alley very, very clearly, or something could go wrong,” she explained.
“Okay, very clearly. I got it!”
She still didn’t look convinced. “No, I think this time we should go together. Just to be safe.”
“Come on, Aunt Becky,” I pleaded looking to Uncle Richard for help. “I want to try.”
“I’m sure she can handle it, Rebecca,” he offered. “A lot of young witches and wizards do this with no sweat.”
But Aunt Becky would not yield. “We’ll just go together this first time so you can get a feel for how its done, and then next time, I promise I’ll let you go by yourself, okay?”
With reluctance, I nodded and took her hand, hoping I wouldn’t be babied the whole time I stayed here. She wrapped her left arm around me, tightly, the foo powder in her right hand, stated ‘Diagon Alley’, while I closed my eyes in reaction.
When I reopened them, I found that we had arrived. At a glance Diagon Alley appeared as an outdoor shopping center, but when I looked more closely, I saw that these shops were much, much different. I saw broomsticks, wands, owls, and books containing moving pictures on the front cover.
“This place is amazing!” My eyes moved around in wonder.
She smiled. “Now, today we are just going to have a look around. In a couple months, once you get your letter from Hogwarts, we’ll come back for your school supplies.”
I observed a golden broomstick in a glass case titled, ‘Nimbus 2000.’
“Will one of those supplies be a broomstick?” I asked with excitement.
She shook her head. “I’m afraid first years aren’t aloud to own brooms.”
“Oh,” I sighed disappointed. “Are we allowed to own wands?”
“Why of course, Melanie! How else will you learn to use magic?” She beamed. “It will be interesting picking one out. You’ll have to wait and see how it’s done. I don’t want to spoil any surprises for you.”
I could not wait to have my very wand, and start practicing magic! Once we explored a good amount of Diagon Alley, Aunt Becky and I stopped in front of a broom shop.
“Melanie, would you mind waiting here for a few minutes at here? I have something I need to take care of.”
“Sure,” I replied a bit relieved she was actually willing to separate from me, though she did spend a great deal of time explaining to the store owner that she would be right back and to make sure I don’t leave the shop. I tried not to roll my eyes.
“Well, feel free to have a look around, dear,” the owner said to me kindly. “Lots of great broom sticks here, there are.”
Too bad I can’t have one yet, I thought to myself.
I decided to look around anyway. Maybe next year I will have my own broom. I tried to imagine what it would be like to fly one.
“Shopping for a broomstick?”
I turned around to see a blonde-haired, pointed face boy appearing about my age.
“No, actually my aunt wanted me to wait here for her,” I replied. “Besides, I’m a first year. I can’t have one yet.”
“Hogwarts?” he asked.
I nodded, not knowing the names of any other magic schools.
“Me, too. It’s my first year as well,” he explained. “Personally, I think its I stupid rule that we’re not allowed to own a broomstick. I may try to smuggle one in anyway. I bet I could convince father to buy me one.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” I agreed remembering times when Dudley and I would sneak in restricted items into our old school.
I got suspended once for having a pocketknife, even though I told them it was only for self-defense. The only problem now, I didn’t want to risk getting expelled from this school. I don’t know how strict their rules are, and I doubt I could talk Aunt Becky into buying me one. Most likely, she would say it’s to dangerous for me right now. I sighed.
I tried to keep the conversation going, not wanting to lose my chance of making friends at this new school. “So have you visited Hogwarts yet? Do you know what its like?”
He shook his head. “I haven’t even been assigned a house yet. Father says that will be determined once we get there, but I’m positive I will be in Slytherin. That’s the best one.”
“Houses?” I asked curiously.
He raised his eyebrow. “You do know about the four houses right?”
“Yes, of course,” I answered quickly not wanting to appear too stupid. “I bet I’ll get in Slytherin, too if that’s the best one.”
He still looked at me with uncertainty. “Well, that would depend on your blood status. Only purebloods get into Slytherin, which is how it should be for the entire school. My family strongly believes that magic should be kept within all wizard families. Not people of have muggle blood in them. They’re just not the same as us, you know what I mean?”
I did not know what to say. I had a cold feeling that if I told this boy both my parents are muggles, he would want nothing to do with me. Remaining silent, I just nodded.
“What did you say your name…?”
“Are you two finding everything alright?” The owner asked walking by us, setting up more broomsticks.
“Yes, sir,” we replied in unison.
Before the boy had a chance to re ask his question, we observed a snake entering the store. To take his mind of my surname, I decided to include the snake in our conversation.
“Hello,” I said to the snake.
Hello, there, young lady.
“Are you from the pet shop across the road?” I asked.
Oh, no, I would never allow myself to be anyone’s property.
I laughed looking over to the boy to see if he had anything to add. He only gawked at me in shock.
“What?” I asked as though it were nothing. “Is something wrong?”
“You can talk to snakes?!” He exclaimed.
“Well, yeah.” I didn’t understand his shock. “Can’t you do it?”
He shook his head still staring at me in surprise.
Great. It looks like I’m a freak in this world too. I guess I’m about to lose my first almost friend.
I still had to try. “Oh, come on. I’m sure you can. You are a wizard, right?”
“No, I can’t. Believe me, I’ve tried. Father says only the certain pureblood wizards or witches can do it. It’s a great honor to have the ability to speak to snakes.”
“Really,” I commented pleased with his impressed expression. Maybe I can keep my friend after all.
“What did you say your name was?”
“Melanie Ro…, Chamberson,” I stated rather quickly.
“Chamberson! I know that name. You said you were staying with your aunt and uncle, right?”
“Your father must be Alec Chamberson, right?”
Assuming he was Uncle Richard’s brother, I nodded.
“I’m sorry that he died though I guess you never knew him since it was ten years ago. Your uncle did explain to you that he died for a good cause, though, didn’t he? He fought hard for our kind.”
I nodded planning on asking Uncle Richard about this later.
Right now I changed the subject. “What’s your name? You haven’t told me yet.”
“Oh, sorry.” He held out his hand. “Draco Malfoy.”
I smiled as I shook his hand.
“Malfoy, huh. I’ve heard of that name,” I lied as he returned my smile.
“Oh, that’s my father,” Draco said looking out the store window. “I guess I better be going. Goodbye. I’ll see you again in a couple months.”
Well, that actually went pretty well. It seemed as though I will most likely fit into Hogwarts quite nicely. All I need to do now is figure out how I’m going to pull off this whole pureblood identity scheme.
Chapter 7: The Importance of Blood Status
The Importance of Blood Status
Still thinking about my conversation with my new friend, Draco Malfoy, I decided to wait until we got back to the manor before I talked to Aunt Becky about what name I wanted to enroll under. Once again, she did not allow me to use the floo poweder by myself. I rolled my eyes but did not put up an argument this time around.
The moment we appeared back in our own fireplace I did not hesitate. “So Aunt Becky. I was thinking maybe I should be registered under your surname instead of mine when I attend Hogwarts. What do you think?”
She raised her eyebrow. “Oh really. What made you think to ask this?”
“Well, wouldn’t you rather your family name go into Hogwarts?”
She shrugged. “It doesn’t really matter to me. It is just a name after all, nothing more.”
I couldn’t give up now. “Maybe Uncle Richard would want his name to continue in the school.”
“Actually, I don’t think it matters to him either.” She then looked at me curiously. “This wouldn’t have anything to do with that boy you met at the broomstick store today, would it?”
I sighed. “He did say that certain wizards and witches were more equipped to do magic than others, just because they were….”
“Pureblood,” Aunt Becky finished for me.
I nodded. “He said others just weren’t the same. He’s right. I’m not the same. I know nothing about this world, not like he does.”
Aunt Becky sat down on the couch in our living room and called, “Tinker?”
“Yes mistress?” The little elf appeared at the door.
“Could you please make Melanie and me some hot cocoa?”
“Right away, Mistress.” The elf disappeared.
Aunt Becky then looked over to me. “Melanie, why don’t you sit with me for a while so we can talk.”
I nodded and sat down on the other side of our deep red leather couch as Tinker returned with our drinks, and then left.
Aunt Becky sipped her cocoa while looking directly at her, her golden blonde hair, shining from the fire in the fireplace. “Melanie, do you know how we got this manor?”
“I thought you said you inherited it,” I replied wondering where she was going with this.
She smiled and nodded. “Yes, it came from your uncle’s side of side, but he was the third son in the Chamberson family which is quite uncommon. Usually something like this would go to the first born or at least the second.”
I recalled the conversation I had with Draco. “One of his brothers died, is that correct? It was Alec. He died fighting for our cause, right?”
Aunt Becky shook her head sadly. “No, Melanie. He did not die fighting for us. He, along with several other pureblooded witches and wizards, believed that anyone less than pureblood, especially muggle-borns, should be eliminated.”
I gasped. “Did many other wizards fight for this?”
“Oh, yes. Both of your Uncle Richard’s brothers, the other one is currently in Azkaban Prison, by the way. There was one point in time it had quite a following, during the times of Lord Vol… well, the dark lord.”
“The dark lord? Who was that?”
She spoke more quietly. “The darkest wizard of them all.”
“But what’s his name?” I persisted intrigued.
“I can’t say it aloud,” she replied. “No one ever says that name because they fear it so, but I suppose I could write it down for you.”
She grabbed a nearby parchment and feather pen, wrote the name down and passed it to me.
“Vol-de-mort,” I read aloud.
“Shhh!” she hushed me. “Never speak this name out loud again, do you understand?”
I nodded but still asked, “What did he do that was so bad?”
Aunt Becky gazed at the fire as she spoke, “He brought terror to the magical world. He reigned to eliminate anyone less than pureblood, though I suspect the only reason he made that his cause was because he knew he would gain the greatest following of pureblooded wizards. His main purpose was to become the most powerful wizard and to eliminate anyone who may challenge him.”
“Was someone able to stop him?” I asked curiously.
She returned her gaze to me and smiled. “Yes, as a matter of fact, someone did, a one year old, little boy, named Harry Potter.”
“Harry Potter,” I repeated quietly trying to think of where I have heard that name. “How did he stop Lord Volde…”
She looked at me sharply.
“Sorry, I mean the dark one. So how did this Harry Potter stop him?”
Aunt Becky shrugged. “No one knows. You see, usually once You Know Who decides he wants someone dead, they die. He went to the Potter’s home, murdered both of his parents,” her voice began to choke slightly, “and when You Know Who raised his wand to kill Harry Potter, the spell mysteriously backfired causing his defeat, and leaving the child with nothing more than a scar on his forehead.”
I took a moment to absorb in all this new information. “So, did You Know Who die?”
“No one knows for sure. Some do reckon he’s still out there, though very weak. I know Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster at Hogwarts, believes that he will return, and it will indeed be a dark day when he does.”
I did not know what to say to all this. I seriously doubted all purebloods were murderous lunatics. Obviously my uncle isn’t and surely not Draco Malfoy. Maybe some people had a good reason to believe the way they do. Its not like my parents don’t think the same way towards the wizardry world.
“Do you still want to register as Melanie Chamberson instead of Melanie Rosen?” She asked looking deeply into my eyes.
I considered and said, “It’s not like I’m going to start acting like that just because of a name. I don’t think people deserve to die just because of they way they were born.”
She nodded approvingly, “I’m glad you said that.”
“But,” I paused. “I still want to be known as Melanie Chamberson at Hogwarts. I’m a witch now and it’s who I am.”
Aunt Becky sighed. “Very well, then. If that’s what you want. Just let me offer you some advice.”
“Choose your friends wisely and never forget who you are.”
She stood up. “Well, I should go check on your uncle and make sure he hasn’t worked himself to death, and I suppose I’ll need to write to Professor Dumbledore before he sends out the letter accepting you into Hogwarts.”
I looked up at her and smiled. “Thank you, Aunt Becky.”
She offered me half a smile in return. “Don’t thank me just yet. I just hope you have a wonderful experience at Hogwarts.”
Oh, I will, I thought to myself. I wasn’t really that concerned about what Aunt Becky told me about the pureblood massacre. After talking to Draco, it didn’t seem as though many of them were really like that anymore. Remembering how much I impressed him with my ability to talk to snakes and the name Chamberson, I smiled. This may be the one place I actually fit in, instead of being an outsider or a troublemaker. I knew I would indeed have a great experience at Hogwarts and I planned to go in as Melanie Chamberson, a pureblood witch.
Chapter 8: Back to Diagon Alley
Back to Diagon Alley
Draco and I wrote to each other for the rest of the summer. I absolutely could not wait to see him again and go back to Diagon Alley, both of which are happening today.
Maybe this time Aunt Becky will actually let me try out the floo powder by myself. I’m sure I can do it. What could possibly go wrong? I wonder if Draco’s parents are this overprotective. He told me in one of his letters that his father may consider buying him a broom to sneak in the school, but has not got a definite answer. I have not tried this yet, but I’m sure if I asked Aunt Becky she would just tell me it was too dangerous.
I looked out from my bedroom closet to see Tinker standing by my room door.
“The mistress was just wondering if Miss Melanie was ready to go to Diagon Alley.”
“Almost,” I replied, still rummaging through my closet. “Hey, Tinker. Do you know what I’m suppose to wear?”
“When Mistress Rebecca went for the first time, she wore just regular clothes and received her robes at Diagon Alley.”
“Oh, okay.” I just grabbed my black sweater and threw it on.
As I went downstairs and entered the living room, I found both my aunt and uncle standing by the couch.
Aunt Becky smiled at me. “We’re almost ready. I just asked Tinker to go fetch us some more floo powder.”
“Okay,” I replied with excitement in my voice while plopping myself on the couch.
“This will be a big year for you, Melanie,” Aunt Becky stated beaming at me. “Your first year at Hogwarts. After we get your supplies it will only be a few more weeks until you begin.”
“It will be a big year for Hogwarts all together,” Uncle Richard added. “I believe Harry Potter will be starting at Hogwarts this year.”
I looked up at him and then to Aunt Becky and asked, “Is that the boy you told me about? The one that survived Volde… I mean You Know Who?”
“Indeed it is,” replied Aunt Becky. “He’ll be quite famous. I just hope the poor boy doesn’t get too overwhelmed by all the attention he surely will get.”
“Where is he now,” I inquired curiously.
This time Uncle Richard answered, “I believe he is staying with his aunt and uncle, both muggles.”
“Yes, that’s right,” Aunt Becky chimed in. “I can never seem to remember their names. Their surname started with a D I know. I think its dur-something.”
Then it hit me. “Dursley?”
“Yes, that’s right. Dursley!” She clapped her hands together then looked at me curiously. “Now how did you know that?”
“I use to play with his cousin, Dudley,” I admitted. “I never saw much of Harry Potter, though. Dudley says he’s weird and they keep him the cupboard under the stairs.”
“They keep him where!” Aunt Becky raged all of the sudden. “How could those muggles keep their own nephew locked away in a cupboard, or any child for that matter? This is an outrage. I’m writing to Dumbledore this instant!”
“Wait, why?” I demanded.
“He can’t keep living on those awful conditions. I writing to Dumbledore, telling him that Harry Potter will stay here. There is plenty of room in our home, after all.”
“What, he can’t stay here,” I protested, afraid he might recognize me.
Aunt Becky ignored me and began writing the letter.
Calmly, Uncle Richard walked over to her and stated, “Rebecca, I think you know what Dumbledore is going to say to that. Remember, there is a reason Harry Potter must stay with his family.”
“I going to write to him anyway,” Aunt Becky declared stubbornly.
I then started to ask, “Why does he have to stay with…”
“Mistress, Tinker has arrived with the floo powder.”
“Thank you, Tinker,” Uncle Richard said and then looked to Aunt Becky who was still writing. “Are you ready to go?”
She nodded saying, “Just let me give this to Lionel, and then we can go.”
Aunt Becky gave the letter to the little grey owl that first brought me my letter from her, and then walked to the fireplace to join us.
“Melanie, come with me,” she ordered reaching one hand out to me while the other grabbed a handful of floo powder.
I sighed. Will I ever get to try out the floo powder by myself? Since I could tell she was still upset about Harry Potter’s living conditions, I decided best not to argue this time around.
The moment we arrived, I immediately began to look for Draco Malfoy, but did not see him. I was, of coarse, not allowed to separate from my aunt and uncle.
After we bought my books, a telescope, and a set of brass scales, Aunt Becky said, “Next we will go to Madame Malkin’s to get you fitted for your robes and then we’ll get your wand.”
As we walked to the little shop, I saw a giant man, standing outside of it.
“Oh, that must be Hagrid,” Aunt Becky commented. “I wonder what he’s doing here. Melanie, Hagrid is the school’s keeper of keys. He lives at Hogwarts so you will be seeing a lot of him.”
I briefly said hello to the giant man, kind of in awe of him, before I was sent in to the shop. As I entered, I passed a boy about my height wearing round, broken glasses. I wonder if that’s…
“Hey, Melanie, over here!”
“Draco, hey!” I walked over to him as he Madame Malking finished up his robes.
“Hello, dear. You’re next.” Madame Malkin showed me to the stool for measuring.
“I’ll wait with you,” Draco said sitting down on a nearby chair. “Dad’s still down in Knockturn Alley.”
“What’s Knockturn Alley?” I asked lifting my arms up for measuring.
“It’s the shops just around the corner of Diagon Alley. They have the coolest dark magical items. Dad says there’s this skeleton hand that grabs you every time you put your hand near it.”
“Cool!” I said excitedly. “We should check it out later.”
He seemed pleased that I was so impressed, but said, “I wish we could, but Mum says I’m not allowed to go down there at least not until I’m older.”
“We could sneak down there,” I suggested in a whisper, while Madame Malkin was across the room recording my measurements.
He only looked at me apprehensively, raising his eyebrow, “How are we going to do that?”
I pondered for a moment and then said excitedly, “I know! You can tell your parents that you want to do the rest of your shopping with me and I’ll tell my aunt and uncle I’m with you. As long as they believe we are with each other’s family, we should be fine.”
He grinned mischievously, “Let’s do it.”
Chapter 9: Knockturn Alley
So far, the plan worked out perfectly. Both Aunt Becky and Mrs. Malfoy believed that Draco and I were with each other’s families. I could barely contain my excitement for seeing Knockturn Alley. All my life, I’ve always been thrilled by anything dark and horrifying.
As we peered around the corner, Draco stated gloomily, “Dad’s still there. We’ll have to try again later.”
“How about we go ahead and get our wands?” I suggested. After seeing these dark shops, getting my own magic wand was the second thing I was most eager to do.
Draco shrugged. “Sure. Let’s go to Mr. Ollivander’s.”
As we entered the wand store, we observed an elderly man standing behind the counter as though he were waiting for us.
“Hello there, young wizard and witch, tell me, what are you names?” The old man, who I presumed to be Mr. Ollivander, asked.
“Draco Malfoy,” he stated walking up to the counter with confidence.
“And you, young lady?” Mr. Ollivander inquired.
“Melanie Chamberson,” I responded a bit more quietly, standing behind Draco.
Mr. Ollivander looked deeply into both of our eyes. “Ah, I remember both of your parents come into my shop and buy their wands. Amazing how the time goes by.”
Wait a second. How could he remember my parents coming in here? They’re both muggles, after all. Then I recalled I said my last name was Chamberson. He must think my parents are either Richard and Rebecca or Alec Chamberson, as Draco believes.
Draco went first. Mr. Ollivander let him test out a few wands, explaining that the wand chooses the wizard and not the other way around. After a few tries, Draco ended up with a 10-inch hawthorn wood with a unicorn core. He seemed pleased with it.
“Now, Miss Chamberson.” The old man turned in my direction. “Let’s see which wand suits you.”
I walked up to the counter to test the wand, which was an 11-inch, also made from unicorn. As I waved it, Mr. Ollivander snatched it from me.
“Not much of a unicorn girl, are you? Just like your father” Mr. Ollivander grinned showing his yellowing teeth. “How about this? 9 inches made of ebony and dragon scales, specifically from the horntail. Try it out.”
I waved it, and watched in awe as red and golden sparks came of this wand. Dragon scales! That’s so cool!
Mr. Ollivander grinned once again, “Very similar to your father’s wand. You seem to be a lot like him from what I can tell. Well, here you are.”
We both paid Mr. Ollivander and left the shop.
“Strange man,” I commented when we were far enough away.
“Yeah, Dad’s says they’re bound to replace him with someone younger any year now,” Draco added.
A young girl then greeted us. She appeared to be our age, dressed in robes with long wavy golden brown hair, sucking on a snake shaped lollipop.
“Yo, Malfoy,” she called. “Where are mommy and daddy?”
Draco smirked, “I ditched them. We were just heading down to Knockturn Alley.”
She didn’t appear at all impressed, rather bored actually. “Yeah, I was just there. Not really anything new, though.”
She then looked over at me and asked, “Who’s that? Your girlfriend?”
“This is Melanie Chamberson,” Draco said proudly. “She can talk to snakes.”
“Really? I didn’t realize there was anyone who could still do that,” the girl commented looking more impressed. She then held her hand out to me. “Lenora Lane.”
I shook her hand, “Nice to meet you.”
“Say, Lenora,” Draco interjected. “Was my father still in Knockturn Alley when you left?”
Lenora shook her head. “No, he left a while ago. Do you two have to sneak down there or something?”
Draco and I both nodded glumly.
I then asked, “Do your parents let you do there by yourself?”
She shrugged. “Dad pretty much lets me go where ever I want. He knows I’m a big girl and able to take care of myself.”
“Lucky,” I muttered thinking how unfortunate I was to come across two sets of overprotective guardians. Then I thought it strange that Lenora’s father did not seem concerned about where his daughter was. After all, age ten or eleven, whichever she was, did not seem old enough for someone to take care of himself or herself.
“So how about I show you two around,” Lenora suggested. “It’s not like there’s anything better to do around here.”
“Alright,” Draco and I agreed.
As the three of us headed to Knockturn Alley Draco asked Lenora, “So where’s Parkinson. I thought you were with her?”
“Oh Pansy,” Lenora answered licking her lollipop. “She was acting like a spoiled brat so I ditched her. I think she’s with Millicent, now, getting fitted for robes. So how come Crabbe and Goyle aren’t with you?”
“There’re probably still stuffing their faces at that candy shop. I swear, those two can eat for a whole day straight.”
“Who are Crabbe and Goyle?” I asked, as we got closer to the dark alley.
“They’re friends,” answered Draco. “At this point you probably won’t meet them until we board the Hogwarts Express.”
“Well, here we are,” Lenora announced.
I observed the dark streets of Knockturn Alley. Walking up and down the streets, were several strange looking wizards, all isolated from each other and acting secretive. I felt an odd mixture of excitement and nervousness as we roamed the place. Most girls my age would likely be freaked out by all the creepy artifacts we saw, except apparently Lenora. I grew quite fond of her as she showed us around. She seemed to have the same adventuresome spirit I felt within me.
We walked into this store called Borgin and Burkes when Lenora stated, “This place has the best dark artifacts.”
“Is that the hand you we telling me about, Draco?” I asked pointing to this creepy skeleton looking hand. “The one that grabs you?”
Draco nodded. “Yep, that’s the Hand of Glory, that is. I dare you to go touch it!”
“Alright,” I agreed without hesitation. I probably would have tried to touch it anyway.
I grinned as I heard Lenora whisper to Draco, “She’s pretty bold.”
I slowly reached out my hand towards the Hand of Glory. At that moment, it suddenly snatched my risk, firmly. I screamed more out of excitement than fear as I somehow managed to pull my hand out, then began to laugh.
“That was so cool!” I exclaimed, still gasping and giggling. “I want to do it again!”
“No way!” Lenora pushed me aside. “My turn!”
The three of us took turns having a go with the hand. I had my hand out, getting ready to attempt to arm wrestle it, when we heard a furious voice shout out from behind us.
“What are you little rug rats doing in my store?! GET OUT!”
“Oh no, that’s the storeowner,” Lenora said softy. “We better get out of here!”
Still giggling, the three of us ran out of Knockturn Alley. Our fun was soon cut short when we saw who was waiting right outside the alley. I saw Aunt Becky standing next to a blonde haired woman who I assumed was Draco’s mother. They both steamed with anger.
“Are those your folks?” Lenora asked.
Draco and I just nodded starring at the two women with shame.
“Well, sucks to be you. See you on the Hogwarts Express!” The next thing we knew, Lenora was gone.
The moment he was in her reach, Mrs. Malfoy snatched Draco arm and dragged him away. I heard her say words such as ‘dangerous’, ‘should not go there without an adult,’ and ‘worried.’ Meanwhile, I looked up at Aunt Becky, expecting a similar lecture.
Sure enough, she was almost to the point of shouting. “Melanie! Do you know how dangerous Knockturn Alley is?! It’s for people who are obsessed with the dark arts. That’s no kind for a ten year old girl!”
“I’ll be eleven in August,” I argued. “Besides, Lenora’s father lets her go to Knockturn Alley whenever she wants!”
“I don’t care what Lenora’s father lets her do! As long as you’re staying with me, you will follow my rules, Melanie! There’re only there for your own protection.”
For a moment, I could have sworn I was talking to my own mother. It seems as though we have had a similar conversation many times in the past. Now more the ever, I could see the similarity between my mother and my aunt.
After a few moments of silence, my aunt spoke more calmly, “Melanie, I see that you’ve got your wand. We should find you uncle and go back home.”
I nodded feeling slightly guilty. Not to my surprise, I once again had to use the floo powder with Aunt Becky.
That evening, I still thought about what Mr. Ollivander said about my wand and being like my father. Did he really mean Alec Chamberson? I could try and find out, I suppose.
I walked down the hallway carrying a small candle and knocked on the door to Uncle Richard’s office.
“It’s open,” I heard his voice answer so I opened the door to find him working at his desk next to a pile of parchment. “Ah, Melanie. What is it?”
“I was just curious, your brother, Alec. What kind of wand did he have?”
“His wand was made of phoenix feathers as was my other brother, Julius’ wand. Why do you ask?”
“Only curious.” I paused for a moment still thinking of the strange old man who sold wands, and then asked. “Does anyone in this family have a wand made from dragon scales?”
He looked as though he were about to say something but then only replied, “No. I believe you are the first one. Your aunt and I both have wands made from unicorn hairs.”
I nodded even though I could tell he was hiding something from me. I had a strong feeling my aunt and uncle and Mr. Ollivander knew something about me that I didn’t, but the question is what could that possibly be?
Chapter 10: Hogwarts Express
For the rest of the summer, I was sent back to my parents. This had to be the longest three weeks of my life. I couldn’t go see Dudley since now I know Harry Potter lives there as well. If he were to recognize me that would completely blow my whole pureblood cover.
Neither of my parents took the fact that I’m a witch very well at all. They both just treated me as though I were some sort of alien. To be honest, I cannot wait to get the bloody hell out of here.
I heard a knock on my bedroom door followed by my mother’s voice. “Melanie?”
She opened the door and walked in. I noticed she held a letter. “I received this from your aunt. It says I suppose to take you to Kings Cross station and you are to board the Hogwart’s Express from Platform 9 ¾ at 11 am sharp.”
Glancing at the clock I pointed out, “We better leave soon.”
She nodded and turned around. Just as she was about to leave she turned her head back and looked me in the eyes. “Melanie, are you sure this is what you want? It’s not too late to change your mind.”
“Yes,” I nodded without hesitation. “I’m sure.”
Without another word, she nodded and slowing closed my room door, leaving me alone to finish packing.
As we prepared to leave, I bid father one last farewell, knowing it was unlikely I will see either of my parents until next summer. The car ride to Kings Cross Station was completely silent. Neither my mother nor I seemed to know what to say to one another.
When we arrived I noticed Platform 9 followed by Platform 10, but no 9 ¾. It did not seem to exist.
“Mom?” I looked up at her with concern. “Are you sure it said 9 ¾?”
“Yes, I’m positive,” she replied clearly pondering hard. “There was some way to get to it, I just don’t remember. I only went with your aunt her first year and I was a few years young than her.”
“Perhaps we should ask someone that works here,” I suggested.
“No, no. Don’t do that! They would just think you’ve gone mental.”
“Then what am I suppose to do?” I demanded in frustration.
Mother just stood there, unable to provide a solution, but then we heard a disgusted voice, “Honestly, there should we a better way for students to get on the express without having to go through all these muggles, I swear.”
“Sounds like one of your friends,” Mother muttered bitterly. “Do you know them?”
I looked to see two grown woman followed by three little girls, two of them with luggage similar to mine. They must be Hogwarts students.
I told mother I will go with them and gave her a quick hug goodbye before rushing over to them.
“Excuse me,” I gasped rushing towards them. “Do you think you could tell me how to find Platform 9 ¾?”
“Hogwarts, dear?” asked one of the women without much of a smile.
“This must be your first year,” the other woman commented sounding a bit friendlier. “It’s both of our girls first year as well. This is my daughter, Daphne Greengrass, and this is her friend, Pansy Parkinson, and this is my younger daughter, Astoria. She’ll be attending Hogwarts in a couple years from now.”
“Melanie Chamberson,” I introduced myself.
Pansy whispered something in Daphne’s ear, then asked me, “Where’s your family?”
I thought quickly. “My aunt and uncle were both busy so my caretaker dropped me off.”
“I see.” Mrs. Parkinson eyed me curiously. “Your aunt and uncle did not explain how to get to the platform?”
“They must have forgotten,” I mumbled looking down.
Mrs. Greengrass smiled warmly. “Well, that’s alright dear. We just explained to our daughters how it’s done. Daphne, why don’t you go first so Melanie can see?”
Daphne appeared slightly hesitant. “Can’t Pansy go first?”
“Fine, I’ll go.” Pansy seemed a bit more confident.
Taking hold of her cart, she ran at the wall between Platforms 9 and 10. The next thing I knew, she had disappeared right though the wall.
I gasped with excitement, anxious to try this out. Daphne, on the other hand still appeared nervous.
“Come on, Daphne, your turn,” her mother encouraged, but she still wouldn’t move. She just starred at the wall with anxiety in her eyes.
“Could we go together?” I asked Mrs. Greengrass.
“Well, I don’t see why not.” Mrs. Greengrass beamed at me.
“I’ll go with you too, Daph.” Her little sister looked up with her big sweet eyes.
“Now, Astoria. I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait until it’s your time,” their mother said.
Daphne hugged both her mother and her sister before positioning herself next to me still breathing heavily.
“Are you ready,” I asked her trying to sound comforting. “If Pansy can do it we should be able to, also, right? We are witches after all.”
Daphne nodded. “Your right. I know I’m being ridiculous. I’m just worried something could go wrong. What if it doesn’t work?”
I gazed at the wall. “If it doesn’t work then we’ll likely just crash into the wall and look like a couple of idiots.”
She laughed and the said, “Alright, lets do this.”
Together, Daphne and I ran towards the wall. I closed my eyes at the last moment. As I reopened them, I noticed my surrounding completely changed. There, right before my eyes was the Hogwart’s Express.
“What took you two so long?” Pansy demanded impatiently, her arms crossed. “Now, we’re probably not going to get a decent seat on the train.”
Now, I could see what Lenora meant about Pansy being a spoiled brat. I looked around for Lenora and Draco, but did not see either of them. I then decided I had no better alternative but to sit with Pansy and Daphne.
“Come on,” Pansy demanded as we got aboard the train. “Slytherins sit in the back.”
“We haven’t been sorted yet,” Daphne pointed out.
“We’ll be in Slytherin for sure, unless you two are blood traitors.”
I wonder what she meant by blood traitor, but I didn’t ask.
The moment we shut our compartment door, Pansy looked, directly at me and demanded, “So, is it true you can talk to snakes? Draco Malfoy claims he saw you do it.”
I nodded glad this special ability seemed to make me more popular with my fellow classmates.
The door to our compartment suddenly slid open by a girl with bushy, dirty blonde hair. “Excuse me. Do you mind if I sit with you. I don’t really know anyone here.”
“Sure,” I nodded sliding over.
“Wait,” Pansy interjected. “What’s your name?”
“Hermione Granger,” the girl replied.
“I’m sorry. You can’t sit with us,” Pansy stated quite coolly. “You see we’re saving these seats for our friends.”
I looked between Pansy and Hermione at a loss of words. If I were ever this rude to anyone, I’d be grounded for at least a month.
“Fine,” Hermione replied, her tone becoming cold as well. She left seeming to decide she did not wish to sit with us anyway, not that I could blame her.
“You need to be more careful of who you associate yourself with.” Pansy looked at me sternly. “I suppose your aunt and uncle didn’t warn you about hanging around the wrong sort.”
“How do you know she’s the wrong sort?” I asked.
“Did you recognize her last name? No, which means she’s either half-blood or worse, a mudblood,” Pansy explained in a tone of disgust.
“Pansy, don’t say that word!” Daphne cautioned. “You could get in trouble here.”
Pansy only snorted in response, and then looked back across at me. “ So I heard you and Draco snuck down to Knockturn Alley.”
“Yeah, Lenora Lane showed us around. He dad lets her go there anytime she wants,” I commented with jealousy thinking of how good Lenora had it.
“I’d be careful around her if I were you,” Pansy warned me. “She may be pureblood, or at least I think, but trust me, she nothing but a troublemaker. Her dad is a complete drunk, a disgrace to decent wizards.”
Daphne looked over at her friend curiously. “What do you mean you think she’s pureblood?”
“Well, I don’t want to be the person that spreads around false rumors,” Pansy started.
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. Pansy seemed like exactly the kind of person who would gossip about people behind their backs, whether or not the rumors were true.
Pansy continued, “But my dad said Lenora’s mother disappeared shortly after she was born. No one knows what happened to her. He thinks that Lenora’s father realized what a disgrace it was to be married to a muggle so he did away with her.”
“Do you mean he killed her?” I asked horrified.
Pansy shrugged. “Probably. She was just a muggle.”
“Still. Does that mean she should die?”
“We don’t even know if any of this is true,” Daphne added. “She could have actually been a witch and we just don’t know who it was.”
Just as Pansy began to say something else, the compartment door opened once again.
“There you are, Chamberson.”
I looked up to see Draco Malfoy with two large boys standing behind him.
“Hey Draco,” I greeted. “Are those your friends you were telling me about?”
He nodded and introduced them as Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.
“Have you seen Lenora,” I asked ignoring Pansy’s sharp gaze.
“I think she’s with Blaise and Millicent,” Draco answered indifferently. “Anyway, it turns out the rumors are true.”
“What rumor?” Pansy asked.
“Harry Potter is aboard this train,” Draco answered smugly. “We just saw him.”
“No way!” Daphne exclaimed. “He’s famous.”
Draco appeared slightly irritated by her comment. “He’s not a great as they say. Anyway, I cautioned him about making the wrong kind of friends, but he decided not to take my advice. Instead, he chose to hang around that Weasley boy. Oh, well. Can’t say I didn’t try to warn him. He’ll probably end up like his parents.”
Chapter 11: The Sorting Hat
The Sorting Hat
Having grown quite sick of Pansy’s gossiping and bragging, I decided to join Draco along with Crabbe and Goyle as we got off the bus. I saw that same giant man, Hagrid, from Diagon Alley, calling the first years to follow him.
“We shouldn’t have to take orders from a servant,” Draco muttered in disgust.
“He’s a servant?” I asked curiously remembering Aunt Becky only said he worked at the school. “I thought that’s what house elves were for.”
“Dad told me that he got expelled from Hogwarts and is not aloud to use magic so his only option is to be a servant.”
“What did he get expelled for?”
Draco shrugged. “I dunno.”
“Hey, Chamberson! There you are!”
I turned around to see Lenora heading in our direction.
“Hey!” I returned the greeting. “I was looking for you on the train.”
“Yeah, my dad forgot that he was suppose to take me to Kings Cross today so we barely made it in time. Anyway, I heard you got stuck on the train with pug-faced Pansy. That must have sucked!”
I rolled my eyes. “That’s an understatement. She spent most of the time gossiping and bragging about how her parents bought her these special designer dress robes.”
Lenora laughed. “We don’t even need dress robes. When would we ever where them? So I’ll bet she said something bad about me, didn’t she?”
“Well, um…” I considered my words carefully. I didn’t want to tell Lenora what Pansy said about her mother possibly being a muggle. That may just strike a nerve. “She only warned me that you are a trouble maker.”
Lenora giggle once again. “She’s damn right about that.”
We followed Hagrid to the lake where apparently we were supposed to board these boats and ride them to the castle. The giant man instructed only four people to each boat. Draco, Crabbed, Goyle, and Lenora got into the boat. I sighed, dreading that I might get stuck with Pansy yet again.
“Come on, Melanie. Get in.” Lenora patted the seat on the boat.
I was still hesitant. “He said only four to each boat.”
“So? You don’t have to listen to him,” Lenora persisted.
I sighed. Normally I didn’t take care to follow school rules, but before this I never wanted so bad to stay at the school. I wonder what Hagrid did to get expelled. Surely, it must have been something more than this.
“Are you coming?” Lenora demanded impatiently.
“I don’t think there’s room for me,” I protested eyeing the boat.
“Just sit on Goyle’s lap,” Draco suggested with exasperation.
Goyle, though he did not appear pleased willingly let me sit lap. It seems like both Crabbe and Goyle just did whatever Draco would tell them. I wonder if I can get them to do the same for me.
Fortunately for the five of us, our boat floated close to the back so Hagrid did not notice us. Once we reached the other side of the lake, we were shown to the castle. We then saw a woman in green robes with a stern look on her face. The first years followed her down the entrance hall, which was huge, and then to a smaller empty chamber. She then introduced herself as Professor McGonagall and explained to us about the four houses and that we will each sorted into one of them. She then instructed us to wait here until the ceremony begins.
I gulped and whispered to Draco, “So how exactly do we get sorted?”
Draco shrugged. “I don’t know. Don’t worry. Dad says if your pureblood and proud, you’re almost guaranteed to be sorted into Slytherin.”
But how do they determine who’s pureblood, I wanted to ask but couldn’t.
I listened to other first years talk about possibly taking a test. That really doesn’t sound good. I don’t even know any magic yet and I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of the whole school.
“Look!” Lenora said suddenly pointing up.
As I gazed, I observed what appeared to be ghosts. I gasped, partially terrified and partially fascinated. The ghosts briefly commented about us first years before Professor McGonagall returned to show us to the Great Hall.
This place is amazing! Candles floated about in midair and the ceiling looked like the night sky. I overheard the girl Pansy wouldn’t let sit with us on the train whisper that she read the ceiling was bewitched to appear like the sky.
We were led down the hall by these four long tables. We then saw a witch hat sitting on a stool and it began to sing.
As I listened to the words I commented in a whisper, “So this hat determines which house we will be in.”
“That’s what it sounds like,” Lenora agreed and then smirked. “So much for taking a test. Did you hear what it said about Gryffindor? We might get put there because we’re daring.”
Draco then added, “Gryffindors are just a bunch of eggheads who think they’re all that. They’re not really all that brave.”
Everyone applauded as the hat finished its song. Professor McGonagall then stepped up and said that she will call our names and we will try on the sorting hat.
Though I was relieved we didn’t have to take a test, I still felt nervous. How exactly does this hat determine which house you belong in? Oh, I hope I get put in Slytherin.
I watched as one by one, us first years were called up. The first two girls were put in Huffelpuff. The next boy was put in Ravenclaw. After a couple more, it was Millicent’s turn. I knew I must be next since they seemed to go in alphabetical order. Millicent was then put in Slytherin.
“Chamberson, Melanie,” McGonagall called.
“If you get put in Gryffindor, I try to think that house too when I try on the hat,” Lenora whispered. “Just try to avoid Huffelpuff. I heard that house is for losers.”
“She’ll definitely get into Slytherin,” Draco whispered with assurance. “After all, she can talk to snakes.”
“Chamberson, Melanie!” McGonagall announced, this time sounding more impatient.
Draco shoved me forward saying I’ll be fine. I gulped as I walked to the hat. Okay, all I need to do is get into Slytherin and then it will be smooth sailings as far as my reputation goes.
McGonagall looked at me sternly but said, “No need to be nervous dear. The hat will place you in what it feels is the most appropriate house.”
I only nodded as I sat on the stool. She then placed the hat on my head.
“Hmmm,” a voice spoke in my ear. “You are one of those difficult students, are you not? There is more than one house here at Hogwarts in which you would fit in rather well. You have plenty of courage I see, but you are also quite cunning. So where should I put you?”
Slytherin, I thought in my head. Please put me in Slytherin.
The voice continued, “Slytherin, eh. That does seem like the appropriate choice at this moment, but that may change in due time. You may come to regret this decision.”
No I won’t! I want to be in Slytherin. My thoughts grew even louder in my head.
“Very well then, but don’t say I didn’t warn you,” the hat finished before announcing out loud, “SLYTHERIN!”
I sighed in relief as I walked over to the Slytherin table and sat down next to Millicent. Most of the students at this table clapped for me, but few of them smiled. I just shrugged it off.
Millicent leaned over to me and asked, “Why did it take so long for you?”
I couldn’t think of a good lie so I just said, “It wanted to put me in Gryffindor since I’m brave, but it decided that since I’m pureblood and can talk to snakes, I best belong in Slytherin.”
“You can talk to snakes?” A boy a couple years older commented looking at me in awe and shock.
I smiled with confidence. “I sure can. I’ll prove it to you later in out common room if you like.”
“Cool!” the boy said.
Soon Crabbe came and sat on the other side of me, immediately looking for food on the table, which was not there yet. I noticed that frizzy haired girl I from the train, Hermione Granger, got put in Gryffindor after Goyle joined us at the Slytherin table. Daphne then came to our table as well and smiled at me as she sat down across from me. I anxiously waited for both Draco and Lenora, hoping they would both be in Slytherin.
I smiled at Lenora as she walked up and placed herself on the stool. If she was nervous, she did a lot better at hiding it than I did.
Lenora smirked proudly as she walked over to the table to join us. After a few more students Draco got called up. The hat barely touched his head before shouting, “SLYTHERIN!”
Looking incredibly pleased with himself, Draco joined the table, seating himself between Crabbe and Goyle, shooting a grin in my direction which I returned.
To both Lenora’s and my despair, Pansy Parkinson was put in Slytherin as well. Soon after that, Harry Potter was called. The Great Hall went quiet with only whispers.
“So it’s true,” one girl said in a hushed voice. “Harry Potter has come to Hogwarts. I can’t believe it.”
I sighed slightly annoyed. I wonder if I would be this famous if all I did was survive someone’s attack. Though I suppose from what Aunt Becky told me about this Lord Voldemort, that wasn’t so easy.
Harry Potter seemed to be the only one in which the hat spent a longer time with than me. At least I’m not the only person the sorting hat had trouble with. After a few long moments, the hat placed him in Gryffindor. That house seemed to cheer louder for him than anyone else, which annoyed me even more. I noticed two red-haired twins shouting, “We got Potter, we got Potter!”
At the end, Ron Weasley was put in Gryffindor and last, Blaise Zabini made his way to our table, and that ended the sorting ceremony.
Dumbledore, the headmaster then arose, and welcomed us. He then announced that he would like to say a few words, Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment, and Tweak. Everyone applauded once he finished.
I looked at Lenora with uncertainty. She only rolled her eyes and clapped. Before I had a chance to say anything, the feast began. I stared at the table, amazed. Never in my life had I seen so much delicious food!
The ghost then entered the Great Hall. One with silver blood came and sat down next to us. Draco appeared rather uncomfortable.
To my surprise, I felt pretty calm as I asked the ghost, “What’s your name?”
“I’m the Bloody Baron, the ghost of Slytherin.”
“How did you get covered in so much blood?” Lenora demanded eagerly.
The Bloody Baron answered, “That’s a rather unpleasant story, I’m afraid.”
“Oh come on, tell us!” I pleaded with excitement. “Is that how you died? Did it hurt terribly?”
“Do all wizards become ghosts when they die?” Lenora chimed in.
Having grown tired of our interrogations, the ghost rose up and floated away to the other end of the table.
“Wait, come back!” I called.
“Don’t call him back, Melanie!” Draco grabbed my hand and pushed it down.
“Why not? He’s only a ghost. He can’t do anything to us, right?” I looked to Lenora for confirmation, but she only shrugged.
I guess I do have some courage after all, just as the hat said, though I partially felt this it was mainly because now that I got put in Slytherin, I had nothing more to worry about. I just knew in my heart this is going be a great year at Hogwarts.
Chapter 12: The Third Floor
The Third Floor
It took quite a while for me to get use to finding my way around in this enchanted castle. For one, the stairs constantly moved all by themselves so we kept on having to find an alternative route to whatever class we were going to. Fortunately, I even my fellow Slytherins from all magical families seemed to be struggling to adjust just as much as I was. Lenora and I were late to almost every one of our classes the first week. Most of the professors were pretty sympathetic. Only Professor McGonagall seemed displeased. At least we were not as late as Potter and Weasley. I found myself fairy interested in most of the classes so far but not all of them.
“Man, Defense Against the Dark Arts sounded like it would be interesting,” I commented disappointed as we left Professor Quirrell’s classroom, which smelled strongly of garlic. “But I think I paid better attention in History of Magic.”
“That class is a joke,” Draco added. “In Durmstrang, they actually learn about the dark arts, not just these lame defenses. Not to mention, that school has the sense not to let mudbloods attend.”
I starred at the ground quietly with no response to that last statement.
“At least potions should be pretty good,” Lenora commented changing the subject. “Especially since Snape’s the teacher.”
“He seems pretty strict to me,” I pointed out remembering his stern gaze in the Great Hall.
“Don’t worry, he’s only like that to keep appearances from what I heard,” Lenora assured. “Besides, he always likes the students in his house and acts more favorably towards them, which is good for uss.”
“And he won’t give Potter special treatment just because he’s famous unlike all the other teachers,” Draco added smugly.
I frowned. Professor McGonagall did not seem to treat Potter any differently from the other students in Transfiguration class and she’s the head of his house. I decided best not point this out.
“So when do we have Potions?” I asked instead.
“Not till the end of the week,” Draco replied sounding disappointed.
That night I found myself unable to sleep. I guess it must be from all the excitement of this new school. For the past three mornings, I keep thinking that when I wake up I will be back in Little Whinging and Mother would be making me breakfast and lecturing me about my behavior in school. I do sometimes miss home and my parents but I would never in a million years give this up.
With caution, I tiptoed down to the common area, which was completely dark. Even the people in the portraits were asleep.
“Melanie. What are you doing?”
As I heard the whisper from behind me I turned to see Lenora coming down from the stairs.
“I couldn’t sleep so I thought I would go for a walk.”
She raised her eyebrow. “You know we are not suppose to go out after 11 pm.”
- “I was planning on being careful. I use to do this kind of thing at home all the time. No one will notice me.”
Lenora just laughed. “I didn’t say I cared. I was only making sure you knew.” She walked up to me. “Since I can’t sleep either, I’m coming with you. So where are we going?”
I shrugged as we opened the painting. “I don’t know. I just wanted to explore the castle a little.”
At that moment, Lenora’s eyes lit up. “I have an idea! Do you remember Dumbledore said about the 3rd floor above the corridor?”
“Sure.” My heart began to beat faster when I thought of where she was going with this.
“Let’s go see it!” Lenora declared eagerly.
“Um, I don’t know.” As intrigued as I was by this I also recalled something at our welcoming ceremony. “Didn’t Dumbledore say it was dangerous there and we could die?”
Lenora rolled her eyes. “Duh, I was there when he said it. I just want to have a peek. We don’t actually have to go near whatever it that could supposedly kill us. Come on, Melanie. Where’s your sense of adventure?”
I use to think of myself as pretty adventurous and risk-taking. When I was seven, I almost willingly on Dudley’s dare to climb into a tank containing an 8-ft snake. I would have done it, except Mother grabbed hold of me before I had the chance. Also, of coarse, there was my eagerness to take on Jordan Scott, a well-known bully at my old school, one on one. Now, however, here stood Lenora Lane, ready to put me to shame. I could not allow that.
Hiding my fear, I nodded. “Let’s do it.”
It took some time to get to this mysterious room on the third floor. The castle’s changing staircases and darkness did not help, but eventually we found it. Lenora held up the lantern, walking straight ahead as I followed. We came across a room filled with trophies.
“I don’t see anything scary here,” I commented disappointed.
“I don’t think this is the area Dumbledore meant,” Lenora pointed out as she turned to leave the Trophy room. “Come on. Let’s see what’s over there.”
I followed her into a darker room filled with the sound of deep snoring. Quietly tiptoeing, the two of us crept closer to the sound to see what it was.
“It looks like a just bunch of giant dogs sleeping,” Lenora whispered, unimpressed, as she began to turn around.
I froze solid as I got a closer look. “Wait. It’s only one giant dog…” I gulped. “With three heads.”
Lenora gasped as the lantern fell from her hand, shattering as it hit the ground. Slowly, all six eyes lifted open as each head shot up one by one. As drool fell from each of the three mouths, a raging snarl filled the room.
At first, we both froze our bodies’ ice cold. I then grabbed Lenora’s hand, shouting ‘let’s get out of here,’ as I dragged us both out of the room, my heart pounding franticly. Fortunately, the dog (or dogs, I don’t know; this is my first encounter with a three-headed dog), were chained so it couldn’t come after us. We both scurried down the stairs away from the third floor, out of breath.
“I cannot believe they have something like that here!” Lenora panted as we slowed our pace.
“Dumbledore wasn’t joking when he said we could die a painful death, was he,” I added as I suddenly recalled something I saw in the room. “I wonder what it was sleeping on. It looked like some kind of door. Maybe it leads somewhere they don’t want us to go.”
Lenora looked at me, raising her eyebrow, “Are you saying you want to try to somehow get through that door?”
Laughing a little, I shook my head. “Of coarse not. I may enjoy taking a few risks every now and then, but I don’t have a death wish.”
“That was quite an adventure,” Lenora reflected grinning. “I can’t wait to tell the other Slytherins tomorrow.” She then stopped to face me as she asked, “So what’s next? Do you want to check out what’s in the Dark Forest?”
Before a could finish a soft by stern man’s voice interrupted with, “And what do you two think you are doing?”
We turned to see that in front of us stood Professor Snape, head of our house. In his long black robes, he folded his arms, his black, greasy hair, hung above his shoulders.
“We were, umm…” I began desperately trying to think of some excuse.
“We were trying to get to know the castle better,” Lenora spoke up more confidently, her head up high. “You see, we’ve been getting lost trying to find all our classes all week so we thought we’d have a look around so we could become more familiar with the place.”
Snape raised his eyebrow. “At 12:30 in the morning?”
Lenora turned her gaze downward as she replied more weekly, “There was no time earlier.”
Snape shifted his gaze between both Lenora and me as he spoke sternly, “Here at Hogwarts we have rules that forbid students to roam about the castle after hours. In the past, students have found themselves in serious trouble when caught.”
With guilt, both Lenora and I looked down to the ground as we waited to hear our punishment. My heart began to pace rapidly. Sure, I’ve been in trouble loads of times at my old schools but never this soon in the school year and never at a school I actually liked.
“However,” Snape continued in a slightly softer tone. “Seeing as you are both first years I will let this one slide and award you each five points for Slytherin and you promise to go straight back to your dormitories.”
To startled for words, we both nodded as we turned to make our way back to the Slytherin common room.
“Guess we’ll have to try the Dark Forest another night,” Lenora said after she said the password and we entered the Slytherin common room.
“I still can’t believe our luck. We get caught sneaking and the next thing I know, we’ve won our house ten points?”
Lenora smirked. “That’s one of the perks of being in Slytherin.”
“No kidding,” I commented, now even more glad I told the hat I wanted to be in Slytherin. “You know what I can’t wait for?”
I smiled. “Our Potions lesson tomorrow.”
Chapter 13: Chapter 13 Potions
“So you two actually went to the third floor and saw a three headed dog?” an older Slytherin (I think his name is Montague) asked enthralled.
I nodded, grinning smugly. This could not be better. Here, Lenora and I sat in the center of the Slytherin common room, surrounded by our classmates anxious to here about the events of last night. I had never been this popular in my old school. I guess since all those kids were muggles it was difficult for people like me to fit in.
“You know you two should be more careful,” Pansy’s voice interjected. “If another teacher had found you then you could have lost Slytherin several points.”
“Chill out, Pansy,” Lenora argued with an exasperated sigh, though still smirking. “You’re just jealous you missed out on all the fun.”
“I would hardly consider a near death experience fun,” Pansy exclaimed hotheadedly. “Besides I’m the one who cares about our house winning which won’t happen with people like you always looking for trouble.”
Now it was my turn to jump in. “What are we suppose to do, just stay cooped up in the common room because we’re afraid we’ll get in trouble if we don’t.”
Pansy walked up closer to me, a dark look in her eyes, and spoke softly. “I warned you about hanging out with people like her unless you want to be expelled soon.”
I rolled my eyes as Pansy stormed off beckoning for Daphne and Millicent to follow.
“Come on, Melanie,” Draco ordered in an irritated tone. “We are going to be late for Potions. You want to stay on Professor Snape’s good side, don’t you?”
“Alright.” I followed him wondering why he seemed so annoyed.
“Hey, Chamberson,” A second year rushed up to me as she departed the common room. “Is it true you can actually talk to snakes? That’s what I heard.”
“Yeah,” I answered smiling. “I can prove it sometime if you happen to have a snake on you.”
“Cool.” He hustled off to talk to his friends.
“Well, I think now the only person who can outshine your celebrity is Potter,” Draco grumbled as we made our way to the dungeon for class.
“What is your problem?” I demanded thinking Pansy is not the only jealous one.
“Why did you even go out last night, without me I might add,” Draco demanded. “Are you that desperate for attention. I would have thought talking to snakes would be enough.”
“You were asleep,” I huffed in defense. “Besides, I wasn’t trying to get attention. Lenora and I were just bored so we went out to see if there was something to do.”
“Yeah and look how much you benefitted from it,” Draco grunted.
I sighed. It could not be more obvious that Draco could not stand someone else having the spotlight, just like Dudley used to be when we were friends, but what am I supposed to do about it? He’s just going to have to get over it.
We walked the rest of the way in silence. When we arrived I spotted Potter and his friends sitting on the right side of the room so naturally I followed Draco towards the left. Since the front row filled up after Draco, Crabbed and Goyle sat down, I decided to sit directly behind them with Lenora.
“So what were you and Draco arguing about?” Lenora whispered as we both pulled out our books.
I leaned back in my chair, crossing my arms. “He thinks I desperate for attention. Oh, and according to him, the only one here more famous than me is Potter. Can you believe he said that?”
Lenora just chuckled, briefly glancing at Potter. “Well, if you want just as much fame then we’ll just have to get you a nice big old scar on your forehead.”
I breathed not sure whether or not to laugh at that. Fortunately, at that moment, Professor Snape suddenly burst in already lecturing about proper behavior for the class. Not one person dared utter a word as his stern voice filled the room. Even Lenora remained quiet.
As he spoke, I half expected him acknowledge that I was there, but he did not even look at me, or Lenora for that matter. Based on him rewarding us points last night, I thought he liked us. He did not seem to want to make eye contact with any of the students as he lectured, except for Draco. I could have sworn I saw Professor Snape offer him a flicker of a smile, but I am not for certain. Even though I could only see the back of Draco’s head, I could tell he was gazing up intently, absorbing every word that came out of Professor Snape’s mouth.
I let out a soft huff. Well, it appears Draco will probably be Snape’s favorite in no time. At least this should put an end to his jealously. I’ll just have to put of with his boasting instead, the same way I did before with Dudley. I suppose I should be used to this by now.
Lenora, on the other hand, did not seem all that concerned with getting attention or whether or not Snape liked her. She just sat doodling in her notebook, clearly not paying any attention to the lesson.
“Lenora,” I whispered. “What are you doing? Don’t you think you should at least look like you’re listening?”
She whispered slightly more loudly than me, “Who cares. We’re not going to get in trouble. Besides, I don’t need this class. Actually come to think of it, the only class I do need for my future is something we don’t even have here.”
Just as I was about to ask her what that was, I heard the volume of Snape’s voice rise. “Some of you feel confident enough to not pay attention.”
Every part of me froze expect my heart which began to race rapidly. Slowly, I turned my head to the front of the room soon to let out a sigh of relief once I realized Snape was not talking to us. Instead, he was talking to Potter.
I watched in slight awe as I observed Snape tear down Potter, ending with Gryffindor losing five points. I could not believe Lenora and I got away with talking during the lesson. Meanwhile, Potter gets in trouble for doing, well, I’m not sure exactly what he was doing but it could not have been very disruptive.
Lenora smirked as we started his assignment. “See, I told you we wouldn’t get in trouble.”
The assignment turned out to be rather difficult. Neither Lenora nor I could get the potion just as Snape wanted. The only one who seemed to do it just right was, of coarse, Draco. This resulted in him receiving praise by Snape in front of the rest of the class. Oh, and that Granger girl seemed to make the potion right also, but Snape did not seem to notice this.
The class ended with some very ecstatic Slytherins along with some disgruntled Gryffindors.
“I can’t believe that!” a Gryffindor with an Irish accent stammered as we all left the classroom. “Those two Slytherin girls were chatting throughout the entire lecture but they don’t get in trouble, and Potter is taking notes and Snape takes points from our house. It’s not fair!”
Lenora leaned over to me and smirked, “Isn’t it great to be a Slytherin?”
- ‘Definitely’ was all I could think to say. The situation did not seem all that fair, but I suppose I should not complain about it. In my old school, I spent quite a bit of time in detention. Hopefully things here will be different. So far, everything seems to be looking up.
Draco then caught up to us in a gleeful mood. “Did you see the look on Potter’s face when Snape called him out. I knew he would never give Potter special treatment just because he happens to be famous.”
“Well, you seem a bit more cheerful now,” I commented. “You know I could act all jealous and not talk to you because Snape decided to give you all the attention in class today and completely ignored me.”
Draco did sigh but could not hide his proud grin as he offered me an insincere apology. “Fine. I suppose I was slightly out of line earlier. I should be honored to have a friend who can talk to snakes.”
Despite his tone, I smiled glad our little feud was over. “Great, that’s all I needed to hear.”
We then continued to poke fun at what happened to Potter in Potions today.
Chapter 14: Flying Lesson
The cool breeze gently brushed my face as I walked down to the Quidditch field along with my fellow Slytherins. It felt nice to be outside. That was not only one reason for my excitement right now. Today will be our first flying lesson, one of the things I looked forward to the most about attending this school.
When we arrived, we found a series of old beaten looking broomsticks laid out in the field for us along with a woman with grey spiky hair. She stood with her hands on her hips, in dark robes, waiting for us.
She spoke quite sternly yet bold. “Good afternoon, Slytherins. I am Madam Hooch. We will begin your flying lesson the moment your classmates arrive. Go ahead and choose your broom.”
“These brooms are ghastly,” Draco complained as we walked up to them. “They honestly expect us to fly on these things?”
“They are not nearly as nice as the ones we saw in that shop on Diagon Alley,” I agreed verbally even though I was too excited about flying I could care what the brooms looked like.
“I mean seriously,” Draco ranted on. “These are the kind of brooms I would buy my house elf.”
“Who cares?” Lenora picked up one of the brooms prepared to mount it. “As long as they get us in the air, I’m good with it. Now, let’s see what this baby can do!”
“Excuse me, young lady!” Madame Hooch bellowed. “You are not to touch the brooms until I say so.”
Lenora rolled her eyes and dropped the broom. Fortunately for her, Madame Hooch did not catch that last gesture. A few minutes later, the Gryffindors arrived. I spotted Potter among them talking to that red haired Weasley boy. They seemed to be looking at me so I casually inched in closer through the crowd avoiding eye contact with them.
“I’m telling you, Ron,” Potter was saying. “I know I’ve seen that girl somewhere before this. I just can’t put my finger on it.”
Weasley frowned. “I seriously doubt that, Harry. She’s a Chamberson. She wouldn’t be caught dead in the muggle world.”
My heart began to pound harder and harder. What if Potter suddenly recalled who I really was? It’s true, he may have only caught a glimpse of me every once and a while since his aunt and uncle always kept him well hidden when I came over (perhaps by my mother’s orders). But still, maybe he would remember me. If he did, I may lose all my friends as well as my popularity in the Slytherin house. That just cannot happen.
“Melanie,” Draco demanded impatiently. “What are you doing over there? The flying lesson is about to start.”
We were ordered by Madame Hooch to select a broom and stand on the left side of it and put our right hand over it and say ‘up.’ I noticed Potter’s came up on the first try. I rolled my eyes. Of course.
Draco’s came up shortly after. He smiled smugly with satisfaction. Mine broom, however, decided to be stubborn. It seemed to be teasing me as it rolled around on the ground refusing to come up on my command.
“With feeling,” Madame Hooch instructed.
After that, more of the other students’ brooms went up including Lenora’s. Am I going to be the last person to get my broom up?
“Come one, Melanie. You heard her. Add more feeling,” Lenora advised unable to hide her sneer.
“Alright then.” I put my hands on my hips, stomped my foot and bellowed, “UP!”
That time, my broom did indeed go up, but unfortunately I did not catch it in time. Now, it hovered about ten feet above my head.
“Er… down,” I tried while Draco and Lenora began to giggle. “Shut up, you two!”
Eventually my broom came to where it was suppose to be. At least I was not the only one having trouble. I saw Weasley’s broom smack him right in the face. I stared down at my broom annoyed. Draco was right about one thing. This school does need better brooms.
Once everyone had their brooms, we were then shown how to mount them. At the blow of the whistle, we were suppose to kick off from ground, fly a few feet and then come back down. I could feel my palms begin to sweat. I really hope I don’t make a fool of myself again.
“That’s it,” Lenora grumbled. “I thought we’d get to fly more than that.”
“It’s probably just for the first try,” I pointed out. “Maybe next time we’ll…”
“Ladies, no talking during the lesson!” Madame Hooch barked. “Five points from Slytherin.”
Madame Hooch then began to count down from three, but before she got to one a Gryffindor boy already rose up from the ground with a petrified expression on his face. Despite Hooch’s orders to come back down, the boy continued to fly.
Lenora mounted her broom. “If he’s flying then so am I.”
“Don’t you dare, Miss Lane,” Madame Hooch warned her then turned back to the kid in the air. “Get back down here this instant!”
“Who is that boy,” I asked Draco as he laughed with Crabbe and Goyle.
“Neville Longbottom,” he replied still chuckling. “Great big lump that lives with his Granny.”
Longbottom seemed to have no control of his broom as he flew crashing into the walls of the castle.
“I can go try to get him down,” I suggested holding up my broom, wanting an excuse to go up in the air.
- Hooch shook her head as she ran out in the field after Longbottom. “Stay put, Miss Chamberson.”
Longbottom then fell off his bloom after one final crash against slamming hard against the ground. As I watched Madame Hooch help him up and lead him away, Draco picked up this round glass ball that contained smoke within.
“What is that?” I asked looking at it curiously.
Lenora raised her eyebrow. “Don’t you know what a Remembrall is, Melanie?”
“Oh, right of course.” I put my hand on my head pretending to feel silly. “A Remembrall.”
As Draco and most of the Slytherins continued to poke fun at Longbottom, Potter came up to him and held out his hand, demanding, “Give it here, Malfoy.”
“Actually,” Draco sneered as he mounted his broom. “I think I’ll leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find. How about the roof or perhaps a tree?”
Draco then took off on his broomstick, jesting for Potter to follow if he dared. Despite Granger’s protests, Potter boldly mounted his broom and flew up after Draco.
I gazed up with a sudden urge for thrill. “I’m going up too.”
Before anyone could stop me, I got on my broom, pushed my foot hard against the ground and shot up in the air with more speed than I intended. My heart pounding heavily, I held my broom tightly trying to keep balance. This was not nearly as easy as both Draco and Potter made it look. Despite my fear, I still smiled. This had to be the most adventure I ever had in my entire life. I looked back down at everyone on the ground wondering why Lenora did not follow. She seemed more than eager to fly earlier.
By the time, I approached the boys, Potter seemed to be the one doing the taunting.
“There’s no Crabbe and Goyle to save your neck up here, Malfoy,” Potter jested boldly.
Draco suddenly seemed to have the same realization as his face fell and his hand with the Remembrall lowered, slowly.
“He’s not entirely alone,” I called out riding up next to Draco.
Even though I was no Crabbe or Goyle, Draco’s confidence seemed to return. He lifted his arm with the tiny ball back up.
“Catch this if you can, Potter!” Draco sneered as he threw the ball with all his might.
Potter dove after it at the speed of light. I followed him but could not get my broom to go nearly as fast. To my amazement, Potter actually managed to catch the ball just I as flew up to him. Seeing that this was over, we both flew to the ground.
“Lucky catch, Potter,” I grumbled, getting off my broom, trying not to show any signs of defeat.
Before he had the chance to retort, a strict voice called out, “Harry Potter!”
We both turned to see Professor McGonagall with a look of utter shock on her face.
“Follow me, Potter,” she ordered.
“Just me?” Potter asked giving me sideways glances.
Ignoring his question, McGonagall beckoned, “Now, Potter.”
As Potter dreadfully trudged behind her, I heard other Gryffindors complain about how unfair this was, that it was Draco’s fault for starting the whole thing, and how I landed on the ground at the exact same time as Potter but did not get in trouble.
The Slytherins, on the other hand, rushed up to Draco and me in laughter and cheers.
“That was awesome, you two! Just brilliant!” Millicent cheered.
“Did you see the look on Potter’s face when McGonagall called him out?” Crabbe jested with a sneer.
“You were amazing, Draco,” Pansy praised him as though I was not even there.
I rolled my eyes. She’s probably just jealous that I was the one that had the nerve to follow Draco up in the air in the first place and not her.
“Thanks, Pansy.” Draco smiled at her and the two began laugh together.
Unbelievable! I glared at them with my arms crossed.
“Don’t worry about her,” Lenora said getting my attention away from them. “So how was it, the flying?”
I beamed, my annoyance with Pansy evaporating. “It was incredible! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so free in my entire life. I’m surprised you didn’t follow me up there.”
She sighed. “I saw McGonagall coming out of the castle right after you took off. I wish I had know we wouldn’t get into trouble.”
“Yeah, that was strange.” I pondered why on earth I did not get called out but Potter did, especially by his own head of house.
“Hey, you want to go on a real adventure,” Lenora asked in a soft yet bold tone. “What say you and I sneak off to the Dark Forest tonight?”
I grinned feeling more daring now than ever. “Alright, let do it.”