With heavy breaths I stopped at the edge of the woods. My basket was full of herbs and various dead bugs. The beaten dirty stained wooden basket was falling apart but it was still able hold jars filled with my findings. I looked toward the small bundle of houses knowing the stares I would receive. Holding my basket tighter I headed toward my house. As I past the pond directly behind the cozy houses a group of kids stood in a group blocking my way. I went to avoid them but the leader stepped in front of me. A sudden wind pushed my raven hair into my face and ran through my dark jacket. Looking up at the leader I saw he had a new schooling clothes on and his bleached hair recently was cut. Glancing at the other I counted three boys and two girls biting or licking their lips in anticipation. The leader's name was Big B or Big Billy. At only eleven he was taller than most kids his age, giving him the name. Overhead a clap of thunder rolled in the sky. Spinning I counted until I saw lighting. It was two miles away. Papa would kill me if I wasn't home before it rained.
"Little Anna's afraid of the storm." Big Billy said with a pitiful voice. I spun to face his staring into his ugly mud eyes.
"At least I didn't pee on my sheets last time we had a big storm." I snapped back. Everyone bolted up looking like they were going to kill me which wasn't new. Billy grabbed a jar in my basket and held in up to the darkening sky. It had white fuzz balls as pale as snow in it. "Give it back!" I shouted.
"What is this stuff?" He asked inspecting it. My lips sealed shut. They didn't need to know that it was mistletoe. I had seen it on the very top of the tree. It was papa's favorite so I got it. Thankfully it hadn't died by the heat of summer. Suddenly the basket was ripped from my hands and I stumbled toward the pull. One of the goonies started passing my findings of the day. Each one held a bottle and Billy had two, the mistletoe and asphodel. Then Billy took the basket and crushed it under his foot. My shriek no was covered by the rolling thunder. He laughed and with a sudden nails on blackboards all the glass bottles exploded sending shards everywhere even cutting my cheek. The only glass that wasn't broken was the bottle of white fuzz which fell in the grass. I dove to catch it and it barely slipped into my fingers. Sighing heavily I looked up to see Billy's foot collide with my shoulder. Pain shot through my arm. Suddenly everyone started hitting me. Pain blossomed everywhere. The only relief was the start of icy drops of water falling. I don't know when they had lift me up so that Billy could hit my chest but I felt myself fall towards the ground. I was late to catch myself leading to a awful crunching sound in my right wrist. Safely preserved was a round tiny bottle was making my knuckles white. The rain fell harder as I struggled to stand up. Instead I fell onto my knees and looked at the spoiled ingredients littering the ground. Pocketing the bottle I wrapped a soaked jacket tighter around me and closed my eyes.
"Anna! Anna!" Screamed a voice.
"Here" I could barely hear my own voice over the thunder and rain. Opening my eyes I saw a light coming closer to the spot where I sat unable to get up. My vision somewhat cleared as I saw papa fall to his knees and embrace me. He sat back with worry filling his eye. Papa didn't even have a coat on over his black clothes. His hooked nose and coal colored hair were drenched already.
"Anna..." His voice was filled with some kind of sadness. He picked me up like I was a child and carried me home. My chest felt heavy with regret that I made him worry. I closed my eyes yet again.
Sipping a potion I watched as papa looked at my wrist. I was feeling slightly better thanks to the potion and sitting at home where I was safe. Papa had gone back out in the weather to get the basket which he fixed with a wave of his wand. Sitting on the potion's counter with my potion I still felt guilty for worrying him.
"At least it wasn't your hand you write with. I can fix it but you'll still need a splint." I looked at him with knotted eyebrows. "You can't be fully healed after a night's rest in the muggle world." He answered my look. I nodded and took a sip. The stinging potion slid down my throat making me shudder. Papa waved his wand and with a sharp pain, it was mended and I could move my wrist. Turning his back away he started putting bottles back onto the shelf where they belong.
"I'm sorry, papa." Papa turned at my words and gave me a confused look. I stared at the floor trying to fight the tears. When I had gotten in the house he used his wand to dry our clothes but suddenly I felt drenched. Then I held out my left hand. Papa moved and opened my hand with his warm fingers sending shivers up my arm. Inside my fist was the bottle of white fuzz. He smiled and pocketed the bottle. He then hugged me.
"It's not your fault my little witch." He said and rubbed my back like he used to do when I was younger. Standing back he pointed to the door. "Now get ready for bed." I nodded slipping off the counter. Papa took the potion from my hand and kissed my forehead. I hurried from the room to mine which was up the stairs. I closed my door behind me and looked at the too clean room. A patchwork quit lie on my bed where there were a pile of clothes and socks. I walked over to my desk ignoring the clothes to see a note with papa's chicken scratch writing. It was a reminder that we were going to Diagon Alley tomorrow for my school books and things. That sent a shock of excitement through my veins making forget about what had happened. Grabbing the forgotten clothes I stashed them in the wardrobe and quickly got into my pajamas. Smiling I hurried to the bathroom to brush my teeth and glance at the mirror. If I didn't like what I saw I could easily change it with a haircut and new robes. Looking in the mirror I saw a girl of eleven going to Hogwarts, accepted on my birthday, with inky wavy hair that passed my shoulders, bright sparkling sky eyes, and really pale skin. I loved what I saw. Heading out I saw papa ascending the stairs.
"Papa, am I really going to Hogwarts?" I said as he stopped on the top of the stairs.
"Yes, Anna, you are going to Hogwarts." He said with a small smile and lead me to my room.
"What house am I going to be in?" I asked climbing into bed.
"What ever the hat chooses." He answered with another smile.
"Anything but Gryffindor" I crossed my arms sitting up determined not to get that house.
"Not the house of the brave?" Papa asked sitting on the edge of my bed.
"The dim-witted you mean." He raised an eyebrow. "I listen to those stupid Gryffindors when I'm visiting."
"They're not all that bad." Papa said looking up at the ceiling in thought. He looked back at me and laughed.
"I'm glad with whatever house it chooses for you." He said and kissed my forehead.
"No buts." He interrupted and stood up. "Goodnight Anna." I laid down with my arms still crossed. "I love you." I smiled and uncrossed my arms as the light turned off.
"I love you too, papa" Rolling onto my side I fell asleep.