The patron of Magical Menageries nearly threw the cat and all the supplies she would need at her as she pushed them out the door. Apparently she didn’t want Eva or Michael to return their purchase. The cat was placed back in its small wooden cage for the trip back home. After a short floo, Eva and Michael were back in Caterjune Square.
When entering her room, Eva found all of her belongings for the daily purchases set neatly around the room. Her first concern was her new pet that she had. Opening the small cage she let the animal come out on his own terms. It took a few moments but he managed to step onto the plush area rug in front of the light fireplace.
“So, this is my room, but as long as Michael is okay with it you can have the whole house to your disposal until we go to school,” Eva said with a smile. She wasn’t sure what kind of pets would be at this shop but she was pretty sure they weren’t ordinary. The cat had some kind of recollection of what she was saying, or at least she thought so.
Soon Michael had come upstairs to check on her. The cat seemed slightly wary of the stranger.
“So, what are you going to call him?” he asked looking down at the small animal. Really the cat could fit in the palm of Michael’s hand.
“I don’t know, he is such a strange little thing,” Eva said and with that the cat hissed and slid under the bed out of sight. “What a mysterious thing? It is almost like he understands me.”
“He probably does, most magical animals can understand us that is why they are perfect school use. And I am sure he will be great company if you are ever lonely.”
“A mystery. Myster. That’s what I’ll call him. Myster.” Eva gave a smile and laid down on her stomach to look under her bed. The cat was laying on the floor looking straight back at her. “Sorry, that I called you little and strange but what if I called you Myster. Would that be alright?” The cat didn’t seem to realize she was even speaking.
Eva sat up right and looked at Michael, “I guess I offended him.”
“I’m sure you two will become the best of friends in due time,” Michael began but then was stopped by a crackling noise downstairs. He walked out but soon returned with a wide smile on his face. “Eva, there is someone who is extremely excited to see you before you go to school.”
Eva looked once back to see if there was any movement from Myster, and he still seemed to be under the bed. She hoped that he would at least come out before she went to sleep later. Eva followed Michael down the steps and into the sitting area.
“If it isn’t Miss Eva Highmore,” came a familiar voice and Eva ran towards Markl, her soon to be uncle. He gave her a deep hug as she flew into his arms. It seemed that Markl, had left a lasting impression during his few visits to her in the institution. He was a very handsome man; tall and rugged and built like a horse. He had short brown hair and brown eyes like so many but it was his face that was most memorable. He had a heavy set jaw and pronounced cheekbones, though much of his skin was covered in scars from playing quidditch.
Eva was soon hugged again by Lucy who was hidden behind her fiancé. It was absolutely wonderful that they came, because Markl would be off with his quidditch team for another season of training.
“I have a gift for you,” Markl began pulling out his wand. With a small tap an object apparated into the middle of the room. It was a broom. “I thought you might need one for your school year. I mean you can’t get on a team but you can use it for your flying class. It was my old one, but trust me it is the best broom you will ever have.”
The broom was levitated in the middle of the room. Eva reached out to feel it. It was a dark wood with a the engraving of M.O. carved on the end. She was too excited to even control herself, all she wanted to do was take this broom out for a ride. Unfortunately she knew what Michael would say.
“I also got you this,” he started again pulling a shirt from his jacket pocket. It was a black and white jersey with a bird emblazed on it. On the back the number 14 was placed and the name ‘Highmore’ written above it. “You’re a Montrose Magpie now,” he said with a smile and Eva couldn’t help but give him another hug. “I was hoping to give you a few pointers so you don’t hurt yourself, but that’s only if Michael approves.”
Eva turned quickly to face Michael who stood with his arms crossed clearly deep in thought. He had made it very clear that she was not to use any sort of magic. Lately she hadn’t had many accidents like she used to at the institute. In fact nothing magical had happened to her besides the earlier trip to the wand shop.
“Is that alright?” she asked longingly. The broom was hovering next to her and she could only dream of climbing on it immediately.
“Remember, our agreement Eva, you are not to do magic in this house,” he began saying and her heart dropped, “but I am fine with you flying around in the backyard.” Eva perked up immediately turning to Markl and Lucy who seemed thrilled as well. In a wink the four where in the backyard, surrounded by trees. Lucy and Michael sat down in two chairs, spectators to Eva’s possible failing. She was so excited yet frightened that she wouldn’t be able to fly.
Markl placed the brooms in front of one another and stood to the side of it. He asked Eva to do the same and she mirrored her uncle next to her broom. “Now, the key to flying is to become connected with your broom. Just like with a wand, a broom is an object that can have magic transfer through it. Put your hand over it.” Markl placed his palm down over the broom sitting lifelessly on the ground. As soon as his hand was fully flexed the broom rose quickly into his hand. Eva did the same and placed her hand over the broom. Nothing happened. She took her hand away and tried again. Still nothing.
From behind her Michael called out, “What do you want it to do Eva?” She turned her head, still holding her arm out.
“I want it to come in my hand,” she said quietly and suddenly it flew up and smacked into her hand. It scared her so much that she nearly fell over from the force. Applause came from the three adults but Eva was so concentrated on the tingling in her arm.
“Now you want to mount the broom,” Markl said and placed one leg over the side. Eva again did the same not sure if the broom was going to be able to hold her. “Now kick off the ground, and the broom will do the rest.” He made a slight hop and instantly the broom began to gravitate under him as he placed his feet on two metal pegs attached to the back.
This was it, her first experience on the broom. The anxiety filled up her stomach as she rested the broom between her knees. Her heart began to race, and the feeling of inaptitude filled her mind. She jumped, but landed right back on her feet. She had failed.
“With feeling,” Markl called hovering in the air before her.
Eva closed her eyes. She was having a battling match in her head about her ability to do magic. The thoughts of the months behind her began to emerge. She remembered waking up in the institute. All the random magical things that she had done without her own knowledge that had scared her so much as a child. The many dreams she had, and the nightmares. Then the night she dreamed of Michael and drew him. The day Michael told her that she was a witch, and when he took her into his family. When she held a wand for the first time. All of these things wrapping around her brain at once. The battle was over.
“Remember what Adams says about flying,” Michael began saying quietly behind her. He always quoted famous muggle authors just like his father. “There is an art, it says, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”
Eva bent her knees and pushed hard off the ground, the broom tight in her grip. A tingle shot through her arm once again and she found herself placing all her weight on the broom. Her eyes, which had been tightly shut, flashed open as she looked down at the ground beneath her. Feet beneath her. She was hovering a few feet off the ground. Lucy had gotten out of her seat and was jumping up and down. Michael was smiling and clapping proudly.
She smiled at them but soon focused again back on the ground. “I’m flying. I’m flying? Oh no,” she began her voice beginning to quiver. Her focus was gone and she felt the fear crawling back through her arm stopping the tingling.
“Just hold that thought,” Michael yelled out as she began to fall towards the ground.
That was all she needed. Inches from the ground the broom stopped stagnant in the air. Eva smiled and pulled the broom up with more confidence than ever. She floated up and up and past the trees and towards the sky.
Markl came up with her making sure she didn’t fall. Eva didn’t worry though; she knew that she could do this. She eased herself forward, figuring out the sensitivity of her movements. After a few preliminary tests and prepared herself to really fly. Markl was giving some directions and such but Eva couldn’t hear him over her own thoughts.
“Alright, I’m ready,” she said with a determined smile.
“Wait,” Markl began but she was already off. Eva took off at a great speed and began to soar through the air. Higher and higher she went quickly followed by Markl. “Eva, slow down, you’re gonna get hurt.”
Eva only began to laugh at how much fun she was having. She turned and began to head downwards as the whole of Caterjunes Square came into view. It wasn’t until she saw the trees surrounding her house that she began to worry. She missed the first few but soon was weaving through a thick of trunks. She got low enough to the ground but was still going to fast not to get hurt. Markl was weaving through the trees behind her calling ahead. Michael and Lucy came into view and Eva tried to slow down. The broom hit the side of a tree and began to swerve. Eva cried out as she came crashing to the soft grass.
She rolled over slightly mentally checking if everything on her body was alright. She only hoped that if it wasn’t, some sort of magic could help her. Luckily everything felt fine except for her bruised elbows and pride. Markl was there first, checking to see if she was alright.
“I’m fine,” Eva said and got up slowly. Markl still seemed concerned, the sweat dripping from his forehead. “I will definitely listen next time.”
The rest of the family arrived and all with severe concern. She reassured them that she was fine and asked if she could go again. Michael was more hesitant this time to let her go out again.
“I promise I will stay close to the ground and I will listen to Uncle Markl,” and with that Michael nodded going back to his seat.
After the long day Eva was more than happy to retire to her room. She would be leaving within two weeks and felt bitter sweet about the whole thing. Eva was about to turn the doorknob to her room when she stopped. A muffled humming could be heard from behind the door, almost as if someone were singing on the other side. That would be fairly odd since Lucy and Markl were gone, and Michael downstairs cleaning up after dinner. She was reluctant to turn the handle but eventually pushed it open quickly.
There was no one there. The noise had stopped completely as she peered around the room. The fire was crackling which filled up the sound of the room. Soon she saw Myster sitting on the carpet with one leg outstretch in front of him while his tongue was preparing to lick. He didn’t seem to move but was completely entranced by Eva’s entrance.
“Did you hear something in here?” She asked, feeling slightly foolish about speak to her cat as if it were a human.
“No,” suddenly came a voice and her eyes went immediately to Myster whose eyes were wider than his face. Both did not move but rather stared at one another. Suddenly, Myster bolted under the bed. Eva’s mind was completely turned around. There was no possible way he could speak, he was only a cat. But he was not a normal cat like muggles would have but an actually magical cat. Maybe it was typical for them to speak. The owl did not ever speak, but they were two completely different species.
Eva slowly walked towards the bed and crouched down. The small cat was laying down looking wide eyed at her. What do you say to cat that shouldn’t speak back?
“Pardon me, but I was wondering if you can talk? I mean actually talk so that I can understand you?” She said cautiously so as not to offend him. The cat just stared back at her with no reply. She looked at the creature for a long while hoping that it might actually say something. Her frustration was growing and she soon huffed a long sigh. “Well if you are not going to talk to me, then I guess that means you are just a dumb, normal cat.” When she said it she even felt bad but she hoped that it would do something. She stood up without looking at the animal and began to walk towards the door.
“I beg your pardon,” the voice came once again and Eva spun abruptly around to see that Myster had made his way out from under the bed and was sitting properly in front of her. “You know it is incredibly rude to think any cat is dumb and especially normal. Some may be ignorant of their abilities, but not dumb,” the cat said in a normal human sounding voice. Eva was more than taken aback. Part of her was completely thrilled but the other was quite frightened.
“Y-you…you can talk,” she said stupidly and fell to her knees on the floor in front of him. He barely even flinched but nodded his head lightly still with his nose in the air. “How is that possible?”
“How is it possible that you can use a wand to produce magic?” He asked rhetorically. “I honestly can say I do not know. I was born with seven brothers and sisters and I was the only one that realized my potential. The others are just normal magical cats, I suppose.”
“Well, I am incredibly sorry, if I would have known you would comprehend what I was saying I might have been more polite.”
“That is no excuse,” the cat said and moseyed towards the fire to lie down. Eva followed suit and sat on the carpet next to him.
“So can a lot of animals talk to humans,” Eva asked in earnest.
“Of course, most animals could talk to witches and wizards but most don’t. With all the laws that have been in place you would think that there would be more coming out and speaking but they are still scared, or have just forgotten.”
“How awful? I know I would be quite put out if I forgot how to speak,” Eva murmured dejectedly. Myster gave her a look but did not reply. “I wonder what Michael will say?”
“No, no, you cannot tell Michael…or anyone else as a matter of fact. I will not have it,” he commanded.
“Why not? I mean he probably will want to know that I have an extra magical cat that can speak.”
“I forbid you,” he said in a demanding tone. “It is my secret and I can choose who knows and who doesn’t.” Eva still did not understand but she swore all the same to the talking cat. For the rest of the evening she stayed up and spoke with the animal about the magical world. He had several interesting stories to tell about creatures he had met at the pet shop and the many adventures they had had. Myster certainly was not shy about his life, though it had been short, or about his opinions about the wizarding world.
“You see, long ago when, or so Bumbler the bulldog told me, Harry Potter was doing his duty, the big question of rights for all magical creatures was at large. There are still wizards who don’t believe that all magical things should have the same rights,” Myster was saying. “After the war at Hogwarts and the death of the Dark Lord, Minister Shacklebolt was very promotional on the idea of rights for everyone. Of course with Potter at his side he claimed all the support and passed several motions for all of these laws to protect the rights of creatures. But see magical pets, while they are treated properly can still not holds rights and such unless they can speak against it.”
“But you can speak, therefore you don’t have to be owned by anyone,” Eva said slightly confused.
“Who says I am owned by anyone?” he said rather bluntly and Eva felt hurt by his comment.
“Well, I guess you can do as you please, I don’t have to own you,” she said dejected and went to her closet to grab her nightdress.
Myster was silent for a long while, as if he were thinking incredibly hard on the matter. “Well,” he began, “I suppose, since you gave me my name, at least a better name than runt, you can be my owner. But that does not mean you own me.”
Eva gave a smile and sat down on the floor in front of him again. “How about we be friends…no ownership required.”
He thought it over for a moment then looked up, “I suppose that would be fine.” With that he walked to the bed and hopped up, curling into a small ball at the foot.