Chapter 4: Revealed
It was a week after my father had arrived and the stony silences had worn away but had been replaced by yelling and arguing outside in the middle of the night. Mother must have thought that I would be asleep and wouldn’t be able to hear the accusations she screamed at him in the night. However, due to the large hole in my wall, I could hear everything.
It was night time again and I was awoken by a particularly loud shouting match.
‘I am a witch!’ Mother screamed.
‘Oh please!’ Tobias yelled. ‘What crap!’
‘I AM! THAT’S WHY YOU LEFT US REMEMBER? BECAUSE WE’RE DIFFERENT?’ she raged.
‘I – that’s not what I – I –,’ Tobias spluttered.
‘I’M A WITCH TOBIAS! TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT! THAT’S WHAT I SAID TO YOU THAT NIGHT!’ she taunted him in a comical almost sing-song voice.
‘I DIDN’T LEAVE YOU BECAUSE YOU SAID YOU WERE A WITCH! I LEFT BECAUSE YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY INSANE AND YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE YOU ARE ONE!’ Tobias found his voice again.
‘I- AM- A- WITCH!’ she screeched, stamping her foot between every word.
‘I don’t see any proof!’ he yelled equally loudly.
I heard a bang and a groan of pain. I hurried to the hole in my wall and peered out cautiously. Tobias was lying on the ground, clutching at his face.
‘DO YOU BELIEVE ME NOW?’ she said furiously.
To my astonishment, he scrambled to his feet and retreated a few metres and I saw that his nose was crooked and bleeding. ‘NO! I DON’T! YOU DID THAT WITH YOUR FIST, YOU MAD WOMAN!’
‘AGGRRRR!’ she shrieked. There was another loud bang, but this time, Tobias was hoisted into the air by his ankle and was dangling upside-down in an absurd position as if he was being suspended by an invisible rope. The blood flowed thick and fast from his nose and onto the grass.
‘Now do you believe me?’ She whispered menacingly. Tobias did not reply.
When she let him down, he collapsed onto the ground in a heap. She swept her cloak around her and set off around the yard so that she could come inside. Father remained crumpled on the grass.
I met her at the door. She didn’t seem the slightest bit abashed that I had witnessed her shouting – this worried me.
‘Mother,’ I said cautiously and when she stopped to look at me, she had a mad look on her face. It was most like she was so ecstatic that she was ready to jump up and down on the spot. I didn’t hesitate to ask her my question.
‘What was that spell you used? The second one?’ and when her grin widened maliciously I added in a whisper, ‘”Cause it was awesome!”’
‘Levicorpus! But don’t go using that at school will you? You’ll get in deep trouble.’ Still smiling wildly, she turned her back on me and walked into her room.
The next day, I was surprised to see that Tobias was still here and even more surprised to see that Mother and he were acting with a stiff politeness towards each other. Encouraged by this turn of events I decided to go and watch Lily again for signs of witchcraft.
It had been driving me mad not being able to leave the house and I was longing to see Lily’s face again. I had stolen my father’s coat to hide my horrible smock and my jeans were much too short.
But off I went to my spot under the macadamia tree, shielded from view by the scrub surrounding it.
Lily was swinging a lot higher than Petunia.
‘Lily, don’t do it!’ shrieked Petunia, but Lily had let go of the swing at the very height of its arc and flown into the air, quite literally flown, launched herself skywards with a great shout of laughter, and instead of crumpling on the playground asphalt, she soared, like a trapeze artist, staying up far too long, landing far too lightly.
‘Mummy told you not to!’
Petunia stopped her swing by dragging the heels of her sandals on the ground, making a crunching, grinding sound, then leapt up, hands on hips.
‘Mummy said you weren’t allowed, Lily!’
‘But I’m fine,’ said Lily, still giggling. ‘Tuney, look at this. Watch what I can do.’
Petunia glanced around. The playground was deserted apart from themselves and, though the girls did not know it, me. Lily had picked up a fallen flower from the bush behind which I was watching. Petunia advanced, evidently torn between curiosity and disapproval. Lily waited until Petunia was near enough to have a clear view, then held out her palm. The flower sat there, opening and closing its petals, like some bizarre, many-lipped oyster.
‘Stop it!’ shrieked Petunia.
‘It’s not hurting you,’ said Lily, but she closed her hand on the blossom and threw it back to the ground.
‘It’s not right,’ said Petunia, but her eyes had followed the flower’s flight to the ground and lingered upon it. ‘How do you do it?’ she added, and there was definite longing in her voice.
I could no longer contain myself. ‘It’s obvious, isn’t it?’ I jumped out from behind the bushes and I regretted my appearance as soon as I did. I felt my neck grow hot with embarrassment and it soon spread to my cheeks. Petunia shrieked and ran backwards towards the swings, but Lily, though clearly startled, remained where she was.
‘What’s obvious?’ asked Lily.
I was filled with nervous excitement. I glanced at the distant Petunia, now hovering beside the swings, and lowered my voice and said, ‘I know what you are.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘You’re… you’re a witch,’ I whispered cautiously. To my horror, she looked affronted.
‘That’s not a very nice thing to say to somebody.’ She turned nose in the air and marched off towards her sister.
‘No!’ I said. My neck and face were very hot now but I did not dare take off my father’s coat for fear of the girls seeing my smock. I ran after the girls.
They seemed to consider me, united in disapproval, both holding on to one of the swing poles as though it was the safe place in tag.
‘You are,’ I said to Lily. ’You are a witch. I’ve been watching you for a while. But there’s nothing wrong with that. My mother’s one and I’m a wizard.’
Petunia’s laugh was like cold water. ‘Wizard!’ she shrieked, her courage returned now that she had recovered from his unexpected appearance. ‘I know who you are. You’re that Snape boy! They live right here at Spinner’s End by the river,’ she told Lily and she pointed in the direction of my house. It was evident from her tone that she considered the address a poor recommendation. ‘Why have you been spying on us?’
‘Haven’t been spying,’ I mumbled, feeling hot and uncomfortable in the bright sunlight. ‘Wouldn’t spy on you anyway,’ I added spitefully, ‘you’re a muggle.’
Though Petunia did not understand the word she could hardly mistake my tone.
‘Lily, come on we’re leaving!’ she said shrilly. Lily obeyed her sister at once and glared at me as she left.
I watched them leave through the playground gate, filled with bitter disappointment. I had been planning this moment for quite some time… and it had gone horribly wrong.