Chapter 1: Home
Mother was yelling at me again. I
sat on my bed with my arms firmly crossed, staring determinedly at the peeling
wall. Clenching my jaw tightly, I blocked out her ranting and flailed
internally as I tried to ignore her insults, gritting my teeth in anger.
My mother was a brutal woman. My muggle father left her when he found out that she was a witch. That was not to say that she was wicked or cruel, but to say that she was a witch in the most literal sense –that she could perform real magic. When my father left us that fateful night, Mother was heartbroken and did not leave her room for days. I was scared. I was lonely. I didn’t understand. And since that awful time, she has never displayed any sign of love or compassion towards me again.
I realised much too late that I was staring too fiercely at the wall and with a jolt that shook the fragile floor boards, the wall in front of me blew apart and showered me with splintered wood. Glass from the dusty window grazed the side of my face and wood chippings drew blood on my arms and legs. I shrieked and threw myself backwards onto my bed, forgetting for a moment that my mattress was as hard as a rock.
Mother burst through the door having heard the explosion of sound and pulled me up by the collar of my sickly green smock.
‘What have you done?’ she screeched, spittle springing from her thin lips as she yelled. She gaped at the demolished wall and beat me hard across the face before throwing me to the floor where I caught myself, almost spread eagled on the floor, with a loud thump. I scrambled away quickly to the corner of the room and curled my knees to my chest, mind reeling, body aching, wide eyes watching. My hand shook as I raised it to my face and gently brushed my stinging cheek with my fingertips, trembling as I felt my strength waning. ‘What are the neighbours going to think? You useless little boy! Aren’t you lucky that I can repair it?’ She stalked from the room and returned seconds later with her thin black wand, the source of her power. I cowered, my head nearly between my knees, peering out from behind a curtain of long, black hair, my mind reeling, my body aching, my wide eyes watching.
She waved her wand. Nothing happened. She waved it again, more vigorously this time and shouted ‘Repairo!’ Nothing happened. She shook her head and a strand of greying hair fell into her face. Once again, she strode from the room, but this time, she did not return. I knew that I should feel ashamed of the damage I had caused my bedroom, but I reminded myself defiantly that young wizards could not control their magic at my age. I felt a surge of adrenalin at the thought, and then, with an awful jolt of my stomach, I realised that I had a large, permanently open window in my wall.
With a sigh, I picked myself up from the floor and examined the damage I had done. It was rather extensive, but this window could never become dusty. And, fantastically, I had a terrific view of the park.
Through my bedroom window, across the ten metres of browning grass and over the short hedges was an oval of even browner grass and dark red dirt that stained shoes, creating memories of fun that could never be washed away. In the middle of the park was a simple, old playground. It was a slide and a swing set and that was all. It wasn’t much. But it was special to me. As a younger child who was part of a tremendously underprivileged family, it was a place of fun, an escape, a refuge – it held an extreme amount of sentimental value.
There was a girl who visited the park with her sister every day to play on the swing. She was desperately pretty, with a long wave of shocking red hair that rippled in the wind as she flew from the swing and landed gracefully (much too gracefully) on the dry, cracking dirt of the playground. Her pale skin seemed to glisten in the dull, European sunlight. She was almost… magical.
Her sister, shorter and possessing an exceptionally long neck, did not resemble the pretty girl in the slightest. Her hair was short and dark and from my eaves-dropping, I understood that her name was Petunia or ‘Tuney’ for short.
The seemingly nameless, red-headed girl and the prospect of going off to Hogwarts were what got me through the frequent outbursts from my mother and drove me to persevere through every day. I walked to my bed and lowered myself onto it, trying hopelessly to remember a day when I wasn’t hoping that tomorrow would be better.