The Secret of The Shrieking Shack

For the Hogwarts Contest

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1. The Dream

  “An honorable man is only a regular man who does honorable things. He is considered honorable because he took the initiative to be so.”

   Those words were the words that were frequently said by Mr. Charles Steffans. He and his wife were often said as normal people and a perfect pair by other people. They were the last people anyone would ever expect to be involved in anything weird or out of the ordinary simply because they just don’t.

   Mr. Steffans was the headmaster of a school called Dalton Prep, which is one of the most prestigious schools in Exeter. Despite being a headmaster, he was a big and jovial man who loved to tell jokes and gets along quite well with the students. Mrs. Steffans on the other hand was a slim and elegant woman who loved to cook and is very loving towards other people, especially children. She was also a volunteer at several charity places.  Although they are fine people who often interact with children, they do not have any of their own, even when they long to have a family. It was sad in the beginning but they realized that it was not something that they were blessed with.

   When they woke up on one cloudy Friday morning, not one of them guessed that there would be strange happenings all over the world or that anything abnormal was going to happen later that day. They followed their daily routine like any other usual weekday. Mrs. Steffans would take a quick shower and make breakfast while Mr. Steffans prepared for work. The two ate a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs with toast together while chatting about the weather and the latest news.

   At half past eight, Mr. Steffans picked up his briefcase and kissed Mrs. Steffans goodbye as he headed out for work. Before getting into his car, he retrieved the mail from the mailbox and began reading them. First was the electricity bill followed by his monthly subscription of “Teachers Weekly”. As he walks to his car, he noticed a bright gold envelope covered in small blue stars. He tried to open it but had no luck. He checked the front of the envelope and noticed that it was addressed to a Daniel Steffans. Mr. Steffans had never heard of a person with that name but he kept the letter, just in case.

   Mr. Steffans encountered some rather strange happenings on his way to work. Firstly was when he went into the car, he noticed that a bird was staring at him. Yes, a rather large bird in fact. He looked at it closer and was shocked to see that it was, in fact, an owl. And not just any owl, it was a rare Alaskan owl! What would an Alaskan owl be doing here? And why was it staring at him? In fact, why would any bird stare at him? He quickly shook the thought off and drove down the lane, not noticing that the owl was flying right above his car, as though it was tailing him.

   So far, Mr. Steffans’ day has been quite normal. He went into his office as usual. He asked his secretary to make him a big cup of coffee while he went through the school’s reports. He noticed that the students’ discipline had decreased since the number of fights started to increase. He also noticed that several students had found a way to cheat in their exams using bubblegum. Mr. Steffans decided to patrol around the school to look for miscreants. When he found them, he would give them a good scolding and give them detention. He didn’t know why he was acting this hostile to the students. Perhaps it was that stupid owl’s doing.

    After a long day at school, it was finally time for him to go home. As he got out of the car, he noticed that the owl from earlier was still sitting on the lamp post, staring intently at him. That was enough. This owl is starting to give him the creeps.

    ‘Shoo! Go on! Scram!’ said Mr. Steffans loudly, desperate to chase the bird away.

   His efforts were in vain, however because the owl was still sitting together, reluctant to move. And Mr. Steffans could have sworn that the owl gave him a hard look as though daring him to do more. With no other thing to do, he went inside.

   Mrs. Steffans had had a nice, normal day. She told him over dinner all about her visit to the orphanage at the end of town. She described it to be quite a happy place with the children around. Mrs. Steffans also told him about how she had taken a liking to a young little African girl named Nala who was abandoned when she was a baby. She spent the whole day with Nala and was most surprised when Nala asked if she could call her ‘mommy’. Mr. Steffans was deeply touched by that tale. He knew how badly he and his wife wanted children.  He began to wonder about adoption when suddenly the telephone rang.

   It turned out to be a call for Mr. Steffans. Apparently, one of the students attempted to jump off the school building but was stopped just in time. Mr. Steffans was asked to rush to the scene and calm the student down and explain it to the police. Mr. Steffans apologized to his wife and immediately rushed off.

He returned hours later feeling tired, hungry and depressed. He decided to have a late-night snack and watch some television. After that he went straight to bed.

   For some reason, he kept thinking how happier his life would’ve been if there were children in his life. The children would keep his wife company at home so she would not be so lonely at home. For some reason, he kept thinking back to adoption. It was really the only option since both him and his wife were sterile. The last thing he remembered before wistfully going back to sleep was the sight of him and his wife laughing while cradling two babies with dark brown hair in their arms…

   Unknown to him, there was someone outside, waiting at the door. Alan Dumbledore was a tall man with a white beard that nearly reached his toes and twinkling blue eyes that seemed to glow in the dim lights of Everglade Street.

   "They have received the the dream. I wonder how it would be like when the twins are given to him soon. What do you think, Agraria?" asked Alan to the hefty owl that was perched on his arm.

   She merely hooted but Alan seem to think that she responded to his question. With a swish of his robes, he dissapeaed into the darkening night.

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