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Thick Smoke

By Ana Chirila

Romance / Fantasy

Chapter 1

In Clifden, West Ireland was a house just like any other house built for a large family and hidden between thick trees. It looked like whoever was living there was a very private person with quite a large bank account.

It was a sunny day, that one, which was the first after a long series of gloomy days. A girl about 4 years old with short brown hair and bright green eyes was running in the garden. She was playing with her mother. Ophelia Molley was a woman whose pale green eyes attracted attention right away especially since they were complimented by her long black hair.

They were both smiling happily, playing a game of chase. Everything was perfect. Well, as perfect as it could be. The woman caught her daughter and tickled her, making the little girl laugh loudly.

As the mother was playfully glaring at her daughter, a tree fell down right in front of her house. She stopped playing and took in the change of environment. Dark clouds were slowly moving over the ground, the wind pushing them particularly towards the house.

She smiled kindly at the child and grabbed her hand. “Honey, let’s go inside.”

They entered the house in a hurry and Ophelia led her daughter upstairs, inside her room. Even for a 4 years old child, she knew something bad was going on. Her mother’s green eyes darkened and fear spread through her entire being. The house seemed to have gotten colder and the bed where the little girl would crawl to sleep with her mother seemed to have lost all comfort.

Once the kid got inside the room, the woman closed the door and locked it. There was only one problem: she didn’t enter.

“Liz trust mommy, alright?”

The child placed her hands on the door and tried to open it. The doorknob wouldn’t budge and the harder she tried, the harder it was getting to unlock it.

“I know it may sound weird but I want you to do something.” The woman mumbled from the other side of the door. Liz nodded and waited. “Under the bed you will find a broom. Did you find it?”

The girl hurried and searched for the supposed object.

“I found it!” She exclaimed happily.

“Good. Now, listen to me closely. Get on it and leave the house.” The woman said firmly.

Lizzy frowned and looked at the mirror. She wasn’t sure what game that was but she did as she was instructed. She got on the broom and walked closer to the window but wasn’t sure what to do next. Even if she waited for the broom to magically fly, nothing happened.

The front door suddenly opened and even the kid could hear a number of people walking through the house.

“I came, just like I promised I would, Ophelia”

His voice was echoing through the whole house even though he wasn’t yelling. It sounded so cold and firm. Whoever that man was, he was intimidating.

Ophelia glared at the stairs before she opened a secret compartment in the wall from the far back of the hall. Her hands were shaking as she grabbed an elongated object that looked like a stick and grasped it. She had to be strong for her daughter. She had been entangled into his web for far too long and she had so many regrets that were still haunting her. That man tainted everything in her life and she didn’t want that to happen to her daughter as well.

The person who got first in the hall was a woman with strange and messy hair and with a terrible expression on her face. She was content and cocky, in a bad way.

The little girl walked closer to the door and listened.

Those pale green eyes narrowed at the crowd getting on the first floor, “You will never have her. Never.”

“Stupid woman. You’re doing the same mistake as my stupid cousin.” The messy haired woman sneered. “Give us the girl!” The woman screamed while waving her hand dangerously towards Ophelia.

“No. She is my daughter and I won’t let her end up like I did.” Ophelia said as she squeezed her wand angrily and straightened her back. She had no chance against them but it didn’t matter.

The crowd of strange people scattered as a cloaked man walked towards Ophelia.

“Be it as you want,” The cloaked man muttered as he swayed his hands towards the woman. “Avada Kedavra!”


Eliza woke up with a jolt. She was sweating and shuddering while half of her body was entangled into the white sheets. The brunette needed a moment to calm her alarmingly beating heart before she pulled the covers aside and rubbed her face tiredly. The sun wasn’t even up yet.

She’s been having that nightmare more and more frequently with the same scene happening over and over again. Eliza walked inside the bathroom and washed her face. She leaned on the sink and look at her appearance more closely: her face looked healthy and clean, her green eyes were a bit swollen but not enough to draw attention. Her long black hair was exactly like her mother’s but her eyes were a bit different; darker and slyer.

Nine years have passed and the only thing that changed was her. The dreams have been haunting her from that day on; the day her mother sacrificed her life in order to save Eliza’s.

It’s also been nine years since Eliza moved in with Remus Lupin, a good family friend and her godfather. Her mother chose him after all they were good friends during school. Truth be told, Remus didn’t know much about raising children but he tried his best in her mother’s memory. He’d often stare at her for a few minutes before smiling and telling her just how much she looks like her mother and how much she acts like her father.

In those nine years, Eliza learned a lot from her godfather. She wasn’t sure if it was for revenge or just for the future in general but Remus taught her a lot of stuff that weren’t even heard of in her former school. She asked many questions as she grew up but Lupin’s answers were always vague yet believable. Somehow, he knew how to shift her attention on something else, at least for a while, about the differences between her and her classmates in school.

After she changed, Eliza walked downstairs, where Lupin was making breakfast. He had his back towards her but he heard her enter.

“Another nightmare?”

Eliza scoffed and took a seat at the table.

“It’s getting more and more intense and I don’t understand why. Besides, it’s the same scene.” She continued, disappointed that she didn’t find anything new from that day.

“Maybe you need a change of scenery.” He mumbled while flipping the omelet. It wasn’t burned yet so he put it fast on the plate and covered it with pepper.

Eliza watched Remus place the food on the table and open the newspaper. Right there, on the first page was the article of an escapee from Azkaban. Eliza frowned and leaned over the table. Suddenly, breakfast and nightmares weren’t important anymore.

“Someone escaped from Azkaban.” She squinted in order to get the name, “Sirius Black…” she mumbled. “Wait, Sirius Black? Isn’t that my father?!” She shouted getting excited.

Remus turned the newspaper in order to read the article. He wasn’t sure how to react but he was definitely not as excited as Eliza.

“Why are you silent? Isn’t that great? That means I can finally meet him!”

She was growing more excited as she was making different scenarios in her head. Eliza had never met her father so she wasn’t going to waste such a rare chance.

“It’s not that easy. He escaped so they will hunt him down.” Remus added, thinking like a grown up responsible adult.

Breakfast was finished in silence and so continued the rest of the morning with Remus finding something to do and avoiding any questions Eliza had about Sirius. It was a bit strange since Remus used to speak a lot about the times he spent with his friends yet when one of them turned out to have gotten free, he begun sulking.

When a soft knock interrupted the awkward silence in the house, Eliza found it vital to rush and open the door in hope that may actually be her father. Already being one step ahead, Lupin rushed to the door and responded before she had the chance. Eliza didn’t know who was on the other side but Lupin’s expression was a mix of happiness and melancholy.

The reason for the rising tension in the room was an old man, incredibly tall with a white long beard. He smiled and patted Remus’s shoulder warmly before entering.

“It’s been a long time, Remus.”

His voice was low yet very warm; like one of a storyteller. His eyes were sparkling behind those small half-moon spectacles, especially when they landed on her.

”It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Eliza.” The old man continued,” My name is Albus Dumbledore. I am the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I believe you have heard of it.”

She nodded slowly, completely mesmerized by the new acquaintance.

“Is there something wrong?” Lupin interfered quickly.

Dumbledore stared at Eliza for a few minutes before he responded, “I’d like to speak to you privately.”

The elder fully turned to Remus and gave him a certain look that instantly made the younger man realize what was going on.

Eliza watched as the two men entered the kitchen and closed the door right in her face. She blinked and glanced to the side, at a certain object on the wall. Her eyes softened as she walked closer to it and looked at the framed picture sorrowfully: four boys were standing next to each other smiling joyfully. One of them was her father, laughing while his arms were wrapped around his two friends. Her eyes moved on the boy who seemed a bit uncomfortable: Remus Lupin. He genuinely took care of Eliza and taught what magic was and how to use it. He was a good teacher but he was also hiding something from her.

Inside the kitchen, Dumbledore’s eyes wandered around until they stopped on Remus.

“I’m here to ask you to join Hogwarts this year as a Professor of Defense against Dark Arts. I am fully aware of your problem and I assure you that it won’t be a concern, like it had never been.” Dumbledore continued.

“My concern is Eliza. I hid the letters from Hogwarts for a reason.” He stated firmly.

“I know,” Dumbledore started and took a few steps closer to Lupin. “She will find out eventually. I would like her to be close when that happens.”

Remus didn’t look convinced at all, “What if she gets sorted into Slytherin?” The werewolf man asked.

Dumbledore raised an eyebrow and glanced at the closed door.

“Then we will have our answer.” He muttered.

Eliza barely placed the picture on the table when the door to the kitchen opened and Dumbledore walked out first, followed by Lupin. The older man smiled softly at her before he left. On the other side, Remus sighed heavily and turned to her.

“What’s wrong? What did he want?”

She was sure something was wrong when she saw Remus’ hand twitch. He was agitated.

“Have you ever wondered why you never got the chance to enter Hogwarts?” Remus started. She genuinely didn’t care much about it before. “I hid your letters. Usually, once you turn eleven years old, you get a letter of acceptance into Hogwarts,” He continued, shifting when he saw her eyes narrow slightly at him. “I did it for your safety.” Remus added quickly.

“And?” She urged him on.

“I have been offered a teaching spot this year.”

“In Hogwarts?” She asked while walking closer to him.“He came personally just to say that?”

“Yes. If I’m going to Hogwarts, you come too. You’re going to Hogwarts, Liz.” He announced, still not sure if that was indeed a good idea.

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