The Last Passenger CarIt wasn't my first idea to attending Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in fact, if I had stayed home I probably could have saved the professors a whole lot of trouble, including the janitorial staff. My magical journey started off normal enough, or as normal as magical journeys could go.
I didn’t have very high expectations for that evening clutching housekeeper Sabrina’s note in one hand as I dug through my carry on bag with the other. It had been fairly simple to reach platform 9 ¾ after watching several children and older teens run head first at the wall with magical looking luggage. I had expected it to be much harder, it being a secret entrance to a school for magic and all. Weirdly enough the average looking people at the station didn’t seem so bothered as families with dollies loaded with luggage sprinted for collision with a brick wall. Several men in business suits watched the proceedings with mild interest before going on their way. I watched them with slightly more than mild interest, leaning heavily on my wand which looked like an average ash wood baseball bat. I figured if the magic wall didn’t get people’s attention then maybe the bat would since British folks play cricket. Most people didn’t even bat an eye, pun definitely intended. I stuck my tongue out at one happy looking family as they passed and blew a mediocre orange gum bubble in their direction.
A lanky boy caught my eye since he seemed to be alone like I was. Most of the other potential wizards and witches I had seen before had been accompanied by parents or older siblings or even a few senior adults that could have been grandparents. The boy stopped a little ways from the entry point like he was afraid to enter. His head was covered in puffy white blonde hair like it was his personal cloud, he had a round face and similarly round light blue eyes. His luggage cart only held average looking suitcases and I couldn’t see a wand, though I couldn’t with many of the others as well. He took a few steps backwards causing an elderly woman to veer off course to avoid a collision, and then he sprinted at the wall disappearing on the other side. After a few more moments of quiet observation I followed after phasing through a wall like it was a casual thing to do on a Friday.
Despite waiting a long while to enter the platform I found an empty passenger car. It was towards the back of the train, so that could have explained the lack of people, or perhaps it was because they avoided the crazy looking girl who had self sheared hair and over the knee lace up boots. Either way I was fine with the solitude.
I finally located the object I was searching for in my bag, it was a paperback novel which I pulled out and flipped to one of the many dog eared pages. I shoved Sabrina’s note in the space the book had left. I was sure I had heard all of what she wanted to say already. The train made a hissing sound like it was preparing to depart when the door to my cabin slid open. A slightly pudgy but still tall boy stood in the doorway a baleful expression on his face.
“Can I sit here?” He asked, hands nervously worrying at the edges of his brown trouser pockets, “Everywhere else is full.” From behind my head something hissed at him in three tones. He paled pointing a finger in the direction of the sound. “Is that thing regulation?” He asked.
He was referring to a white furred, long tailed, three headed opossum who had climbed from my shoulder onto the back of the seat and was now partially obscured by my head.
“He absolutely is not,” I replied and then, “I don’t care, sit here if you want.”
The boy’s fear seemed to dissipate slightly as he moved into the cabin sitting across from me and towards the window as far from the rodent monstrosity as he could get. The train begin to depart.
“Is he like…” the boy hesitated moving his hands to fidget with the rectangular glasses perched on his nose, “your pet or something?”
“Clovis II is my friend,” I said.
“Is his father’s name Clovis I?”
I shook my head, “no,” and then I didn’t elaborate. I returned to my book and two of Clovis II’s heads returned to their nap, the third kept it’s beady eyes trained on the newcomer. The boy stared back, fiddling faster with his glasses by the second. We rode in silence for a few moments before the boy spoke up again.
“How did you get him to look like that?”
I looked up confused, catching the moving scenery out of the corner of my eye. “Whaddaya mean? Look like what?”
“You know,” said the boy even though I clearly didn’t, “He’s got three heads.”
“Oh, he was born that way.” I said losing interest in the conversation.
“No way,” the boy said with a head shake, “that has to be a spell’s work.”
I snorted, continued my reading, and popped my gum loudly for good measure. “You can believe what you want, but I’m telling you, he was born with three heads.” The boy turned back out the window.
I was nearly finished with the second to last chapter before something interesting happened again. And by interesting I mean the frog that squeezed it’s way through the crack in our door. On close inspection, I realized that it wasn’t a real frog at all, but a piece of enchanted chocolate shaped to look like a frog. In a split second Clovis II scrambled over my left shoulder, long claws creating pulls in the knitted fabric of my sweater. He sailed through the air all three mouths watering. The boy yelped pulling his legs up onto the seat having apparently missed the newest visitor and believing that the opossum was on the attack.
Clovis II landed hard on the candy frog biting down and ending it’s movement with his middle head. The cabin door slammed open and another figure tumbled through. “Hey!” The newcomer hollered as his foot caught the door slide sending him falling in front of the opossum and his newly captured prey. Clovis II leaped back hissing violently, leaving a half portion of the mutilated body of the chocolate frog behind.
“Aw man.” The boy moaned from the floor adjusting his head so his chin rested on the ground though he made no effort to stand. He gazed solemnly at the half eaten frog. “My chocolate frog.” Clovis II crept forward cautiously meeting the boy’s interested gaze with three heads. He clamped the frog in one jaw and backed up in a flash to the corner of the passenger car where he finished his meal.
The first boy looked concerned, eyes flicking from Clovis II to Hart’s position on the floor, but he replied, “I’m Andrew Davis.”
Hart laughed loudly, confusing me and startling Clovis II who looked up to insure that he wasn’t dying. “What?” Andrew Davis replied somehow looking even more concerned, “What’s so funny?”
“It’s just that you have a Muggle name!” Hart erupted laughing even louder than before, rolling over onto his back and clutching his hands towards his chest.
“Says the boy on the floor,” Andrew retorted even though it didn’t have anything to do with having a Muggle name or not. I always thought that muggle was a silly word to call someone who didn't have magic, it sounded like a fancy breed of dog or some sort of dessert. My house keeper Sabrina said that she was a muggle born to wizard parents like how I was a wizard born to muggle parents. It also struck me as odd how two normal humans could produce a child with magical inclinations, it seemed like it ought to be something related to bloodline or something like that.
"What's your name?" Hart asked. He had pushed himself off the floor and was sitting next to Andrew even though neither of us had invited him to join us.
"Lacy Lavora." I replied realizing that I was the only one who had yet to introduce themselves. Hart nudged Andrew with an elbow.
"See, that's a proper wizard name."
"Whatever," both Andrew and I replied at once.
Now that the commotion with the chocolate frog and the boy falling through the door was over, I recognized Hart as the lone boy from the train station. I don't know how I didn't recognize his cloud of hair immediately. Perhaps it was the pointed hat that had fallen off when he entered that he now held in his hands. Hart was the only one of us dressed in proper robes.
"So," Hart started, drumming his hands on his knees, "What's your stories then?"
"Our stories?" I questioned incredulously, giving up on finishing my book and placing it back in the bag. Sabrina's note crunched under the weight of it.
"You know, the reason you're coming to Hogwarts."
"I got a letter," said Andrew.
"Well obviously," Hart laughed, "We all got letters." I nodded, thinking back to when my letter came in the mail. Sabrina had come screaming up the stairs, she read it to me herself, excited enough to where it appeared like she was invited to wizard school instead of me.
"Oh..." Andrew returned, sounding like he felt foolish, "In that case I came because I thought it sounded fun. Also, my father works there."
"Really!?" Hart gasped, "Is he a professor!?"
"No," Andrew shook his head, "He's a janitor."
Hart's excitement deflated, "Oh." And then recovering, "But that's cool too, I bet he knows all of the secret passage ways, you know, since he's probably been all over the castle." He shifted a little in his robes. Outside great fir trees rushed by and a plume of the train's smoke dispersed by the window. "What about you, Lavora?"
I narrowed my eyes at him, holding my arm out to where Clovis II huddled in the corner. The opossum eventually scurried up my arm and repositioned himself on my right shoulder. One of his mouths was stained in chocolate and Hart glared at the rodent distastefully. "I was forced to by my housekeeper." I said, there was no need to lie about it.
"Your housekeeper?" Andrew asked pulling his feet back up on the seat now that Clovis II reappeared in his line of sight.
"Yeah, her parents were wizards, that's all she ever talked about when I was little."
"Are your parents not wizards then?" The spectacled boy asked.
"They're just normal. My dad runs a candy company, and my mom's a model."
Hart had taken his hat and rug it in his hands, creating deep wrinkles over it's black felt surface. "A mudblood then." He said it quietly, under his breath, as if it was a curse and someone of authority was around to hear him.
I huffed loudly edging on Clovis II to hiss in my defense. "That's very condescending. What does it matter if my parents are Muggles? I have just as much right to be here as either of you. I got a letter."
Hart immediately blushed, "Of course, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to insult you."
For some reason his apology surprised me. He averted his gaze as if he was suddenly shy and plopped his hat back on his head. His mountainous curls of blond hair crunched down and bulged out the bottom of the hat slightly. His fingers found a loop in his belt where a short, sturdy looking wand hung.
"I'm going to go," he said, still studying his shoes like they were the most interesting pair in the world, "I left my friends back in another car."
Something inside fell a little. I don't know why I was disappointed that he had other friends, of course he did. He was probably part of some ancient wizard bloodline, I'm sure everybody wanted to be his friend. It would hurt his reputation to be seen sitting with a girl who looked like a shoddy patchwork quilt, and the son of a janitor, not to mention a proabably rabid three headed opossum that was horribly against regulation. I frowned and looked out the window. The sun was beginning to set.
"By the way, we're almost there. If you don't want to get in trouble, I would put your robes on." Then there were soft footsteps, and Hart was gone.