I never asked to be a witch, but when I, Sarah Williams, designated smart kid, got a Hogwarts acceptance letter, I could have never been any happier and relieved.
I felt relieved because I had always known that I was different from all the other kids. Strange things always happened when I was around.
Once I was too lazy to stand up to get the television remote, which was at the opposite end of the couch, so I reach out my hand to see if it was close enough for me to grab. It wasn’t, but the television remote began to hover, and then it somehow levitated its way towards me.
Another time, I had bought a pink notebook because it was the only color left, although I strongly hated pink. On the car ride home, the notebook somehow turned blue.
At age nine, I just accepted the fact that I was different from the other kids and that I could do strange things with my hands and mind that almost seemed like — magic.
Never once had I realized that the things I could do were normal for a witch, that I was.
My first time at Diagon Alley was wonderful, although my mother wasn’t there. For once, I felt normal. There were so many amazing, magical things to look at. The knitting needles that seemed to be making a scarf itself, the strange plant that fed itself using its vines, the people, and the kid who looked like he was ready to puke after eating a single jelly bean.
I later learned that the kid had eaten a puke flavored Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.
It was all so fascinating and I wanted to learn everything about magic. I no longer thought that I was a strange and different person.
There were other people in the world who were exactly like me.
The Wizarding World was a magnificent and amazing place.
Well, it used to.
It used to be such a wonderful place back before Professor Dumbledore died. Back before Professor Umbridge came. Back before Cedric Diggory died.
Back when all seemed safe and nothing chaotic happened.
Except, now He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is more powerful than ever. People are dying. Aurors are going missing. And more people are joining the dark side.
In the Muggle world: the bridge snapping cleanly in half; the two horrible and well-publicized murders; and the freak, unpredicted hurricane that caused much damage to both property and people, all seemed — inhuman. As if something, or someone, wanted to cause chaos and destruction to all people, magical or not.
In both the Daily Prophet and the Muggle newspaper, almost everything you read was about something horrific.
And the Muggles who read both, like my mother, knew that something was really wrong.
“What do you mean by, ‘You’re not going to a normal secondary school this year?’ Hogwarts is the safest place there is! How could a Muggle school be any safer?” I yelled at my mother.
But deep down, I knew that now in the Second Wizarding War, a Muggle school might actually be safer than Hogwarts
I might as well just live in a vault at Gringotts until the Second Wizarding War ends.
Rubbing her forehead, my mother handed me a copy of the Daily Prophet and then left my room. NEW HEADMASTER FOR HOGWARTS, SEVERUS SNAPE. CONFIRMED. Next to the heading was a picture of Professor Snape, oily hair and all.
A Muggle school is probably going to be safer than Hogwarts. For some reason, I had thought that Professor McGonagall was going to become the new Headmistress of Hogwarts.
Although I haven’t been reading the Daily Prophet in ages, my mother has.
To me, the news was never new. But to my mother, being the old person she is, reading the news was an important daily basis, no matter what it was about.
The Daily Prophet, now, was always just death, Death Eaters, disappearances, and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named over and over again.
Ever since mid-June, the Daily Prophet just have been piling up, higher every day, on the kitchen counter until last week when I realized how unsafe it was to have an owl fly from Diagon Alley to my house every day. Who knows what dangerous things could follow it. Especially now that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has taken over the Ministry of Magic, which included the Daily Prophet.
I now depended on The Quibbler for true information about the Wizarding World.
Luna Lovegood, the daughter of the publisher, was also in Ravenclaw. I could trust her to make sure that nothing or no one would follow the owl to my house. And unlike the Daily Prophet, The Quibbler came only once a month.
Flipping through the rest of the Daily Prophet, an article caught my eye. MUGGLE-BORN REGISTRATION COMMISSION.
Skimming through the article, I read:
"The Ministry of Magic is undertaking a survey of so-called "Muggle-borns," the better to understand how they came to possess magical secrets. Recent research undertaken by the Department of Mysteries reveals that magic can only be passed from person to person when Wizards reproduce. Where no proven Wizarding ancestry exists, therefore, the so-called Muggle-born is likely to have obtained magical power by theft or force. The Ministry is determined to root out such usurpers of magical power, and to this end has issued an invitation to every so-called Muggle-born to present themselves for interview by the newly appointed Muggle-born Registration Commission"
Crumbling the Daily Prophet into a ball, I grabbed my wand off the nightstand. Angered, I threw the balled up Daily Prophet and pointed my wand at it as it fell.
“Incendio!” The Daily Prophet burst into flames.
With He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in charge, I was surely going to die. The Slytherins at Hogwarts used to always taunt me that I was going to die a very painful and gruesome death just because I was a ‘Mudblood.’
“Sarah!” yelled my mother from the kitchen. “You better not be using any magic! You’re not seventeen yet!”
It wasn’t like the Ministry of Magic cared anymore. I could just start using magic as much as I do at Hogwarts and the Ministry would still not give me a warning.
Groaning I face-planted onto my bed. How was I going to survive the year without my friends? Without magic, if my mother still keeps on bothering me about not using it? And how in the name of Merlin was I going to survive without Quidditch?
Rolling out of bed, I ran downstairs to make phone calls to my friends that I knew I might never see again.
At least, alive.
My mother forced me to go with her to register me at the Muggle secondary school seven minutes away. She told me that it was required for me to come with her, but I thought otherwise.
It wasn’t until my mother and I arrived at the Muggle secondary school when I realized that I was right. I didn’t have to be there.
In the waiting room, out of the seven people that were waiting to register, there was only one future pupil.
That future pupil being me.
But nevertheless, I didn’t complain. For whatever reason my mother wanted me to come was probably a good one because she told me to bring my wand.
What happened to the “You-Better-Not-Be-Doing-Any-Magic” mother I had earlier, I have no idea.
Breaking my stare off the floor, I glared at my bored mother. While she had spent most of the thirty minutes filling out paperwork, I had been staring at the floor.
The door to the Headmaster’s office opened and a plump man in a striped suit exited.
The secretary sitting closest to the Headmaster’s office door looked down at a list and finally called out, “Julie Williams?”
My mother gathered her things and entered the office the plump man had just exited. I followed behind, glad to finally stand up.
Entering the Headmaster’s office, I couldn’t help but observe the place. The office seemed quite empty.
At Hogwarts, the professors’ offices felt homely and were filled with amazing things. Ancient books, filled jars, and moving portraits. The offices at Hogwarts always seemed in movement. But here in the Muggle Headmaster’s office, the perfectly straight file cabinet and the off-white walls, all seemed — still.
Shutting the door gently, I turned to my mother. The Headmaster, a young man who was quiet pale, was still typing at the computer, most likely still finishing the previous parent’s child registration.
My mother sat at the desk and was doing some weird motions with her hands and was mouthing something that I could not decrypt.
What? I mouthed, forehead crinkling.
Looking around the office for something useful, my mother grabbed a pen off the Headmaster’s desk and started waving it around, making sure that the Headmaster wouldn’t notice.
Like a wand.
But she wasn’t waving the pen in any proper hand movement. There was no ‘squish and a flick,’ ‘circular-motion,’ or any other charms hand movement. It was more like a ‘swish and get this slug off the tip of my wand’ movement.
Leaning towards my ear, my mother whispered. “Can you do a spell to take control of the Headmaster?”
I nodded my head, but I only knew the Imperious Curse from when Professor Moody demonstrated all three of the Unforgivable Curses.
The Imperious Curse was the least harmful out of the three, but if anyone found out that I did one of the Unforgivable Curses, I would get in big trouble. But the Ministry of Magic didn’t care about underage magic anymore.
No matter what spell was used.
“Can I have your paperwork?” asked the Headmaster who had just finished typing at the computer.
“Yes,” said my mother hastily, “here you go.”
My mother shoved the clipboard at the Headmaster who took it and looked down at it and then back at me. Most likely checking if I was actually the girl in the picture.
Black sun-bleached hair? Check.
Too tan for her own good? Check.
Short? Triple check.
When the Headmaster looked satisfied, he began went back to the computer and began typing in my information.
“It seems that you’ve been homeschooled for the past four years. That is fine, but it makes things a little complicated. You are only going to be in year eleven, so that helps things out. This year, you need to take a maths, English, history, science and an elective credit class; you’re also only fifteen years old, so you still need to take gym.”
I looked at my mother weirdly. Homeschooled?
My mother nodded at what the Headmaster had said, and I slid the tip of my wand out of my sleeve as the Headmaster continued:
“Here’s a list of the classes you can take,” the Headmaster handed my a highlighted paper. “Choose what classes you’ll like to take.”
Looking at the list, I raised my wand barely over the desk and pointed it at the Headmaster who was waiting for me to decide which class to take.
“Imperio,” I whispered.
The Headmaster froze and stared at me calmly.
“Tell the Headmaster to change the fact that you went to a private school instead of being homeschooled for the past four years,” said my mother. “I had to put homeschool because if I had put private school, then I would have to put a school name also.
“Change homeschooled to private school,” I instructed, also telling the Headmaster what classes to put me in.
The Headmaster went back to the computer and began typing furiously. My mother nodded approvingly.
If only she knew about the three Unforgivable Curses.
The Headmaster finished typing and looked back up. Not knowing what to do next, I looked up to my mother for guidance.
“You can let him go now.”
Dropping my wand to my side and quickly stuffing it back under my sleeve, the Headmaster blinked twice and looked back at the computer screen, a little confused. “Good luck with all the A-Level classes. Before the school starts, remember to buy our school uniform.”
The Headmaster handed me a sheet of paper.
“Thank you,” said my mother.
Faking a smile, I stood up and turned towards the door. My hands were shaking the slightest bit when we exited the office. But it wasn’t because I just did one of the Unforgivable Curses.
It was because, now it was official that I was no longer going to Hogwarts, but to a Muggle secondary school instead.
And I knew that this Muggle secondary school will change my life — for a while.