The Tragedy of Magic
As the red headed child grew, her parents were happily recording her milestone events: first steps, first word, silver baby spoon and bronzed baby shoes. There was no doubt that she was a well-loved child.
When she got older, Petunia trained her to clean up her room, putting away her toys. Petunia was enjoying being a big sister, and Magnolia happily let her help show Lily how to do her chores. Once the chores were done, they were allowed to play in the yard, and their favorite game was tea party.
Things went along calmly until Lily started at a local primary school. The teachers studiously ignored the odd things that happened around Lily Evans. No one ever got hurt, so they didn't have to file any reports.
Magnolia first began to see something was not 'normal' with Lily when she took her on a bus ride to get her annual flu jab.
"Mummy, I'm cold," Lily complained loudly, staring at the man in the seat in front of hers, who had his window down.
Magnolia shushed her and pulled Lily's coat together and buttoned it. "Shh! Quiet! If you keep your coat buttoned you will be fine." She didn't want Lily being bratty on a public bus, it would be so embarrassing.
Lily stood up and stamped her foot, her face twisted up in anger and determination.
Every open window on the bus slammed shut at the same time. The other passengers fearfully glanced over at the little girl.
Magnolia was just as frightened although she tried her very best to hide it, and she grabbed Lily to her and hugged her tightly.
At the doctor's office, Magnolia tried putting her fear behind her, concentrating on digging out her diary to note down their next appointment.
Lily fought the nurse, as the doctor approached with the needle.
"I don't want it!" she cried.
Magnolia spoke in a calming voice, "It's to help you stay well, darling."
"I don't want it! I don't want it!" Lily screamed as she was held firmly by the nurse and her own mother.
Outside, Magnolia thought she could hear two dogs savagely fighting. It was an ominous sound.
As the needle pierced Lily's skin , Magnolia heard the sounds of car horns blowing, and then the sickening sounds of impact: the screeching of tires, the cry of breaking glass, the scream of tearing metal, and the dull thud of bodies falling to the pavement.
Magnolia saw the way the nurse and the doctor looked at Lily as if she had somehow caused it. Then they looked at Magnolia, who was sure her eyes were as full of fear as their own.
"You might need to see a specialist," the doctor said, his voice shaken. He wrote on a card and handed it to Magnolia, who nodded woodenly.
The bus ride home was quiet. Magnolia could tell Lily had picked up on her fear and she seemed unusually subdued. Magnolia suspected that Lily knew that if her mother was scared of something she should be scared of it too.
After both girls had gone to bed, Magnolia took her husband into the kitchen, to talk about what had happened that day on the bus and then at the doctor's office.
Basil listened and then smiled at his wife, putting an arm around her.
"I don't think it's anything to worry about, luv. She didn't touch anything. It's got to be a coincidence."
Magnolia didn't agree, but she nodded anyway, handing him the referral card.
"All right, Basil. I'll trust you on this. But if it turns out to be something after all, I want you to handle it. I can't take having to help hold my baby down while she screams."
He hugged her close and kissed her brow. "I wouldn't ask you to, either."
Basil looked grimly at the card and Magnolia could see he was realizing that something was seriously wrong with his little girl.
As Lily's magic grew, it started coming out more and more, when she became angry or upset. Basil told Magnolia one evening about a full blown temper tantrum he had witnessed that exploded Lily's tea party tea set.
Lily had put out the teacups and teapot, and cut off the crusts of the little sandwiches she wanted to serve on little plates.
"Tunie! Come on! It's tea." she had called her older sister.
Petunia had then yelled back, "I'm doing my hair - I told you to wait an hour. It's not done yet!"
Basil then went upstairs to chastise his older daughter about yelling in the house.
Lily stamped her foot and screamed, "Now, Tunie! Come right now - you promised me!"
Having scolded Petunia, Basil then returned downstairs and went out the kitchen door, to the back garden. There, he had seen Lily, her arms crossed over her chest, glaring at the tea set, which looked as if it had been thrown up into the air and was somehow hovering there.
"Lily Evans!" He had scolded her.
Basil recounted with concern how Lily had startled and looked at him, breaking her concentration. The tea set had fallen and shattered to pieces.
"What have you done, girl?" Basil had cried.
Lily had looked chastised.
As time went on, more and more incidents occurred. While the incidents began innocuously enough, with broken toys and missing household items, they increased in severity over time, until Magnolia and her husband were terrified of the harm Lily could do.
Magnolia picked up the business card she'd received from Lily's pediatrician and shakily placed it in her husband's hand. "We don't have any other choice," she said, her voice trembling with unshed tears.
Basil took Lily to the child psychologist they'd been referred to, but the man had to admit that he had no explanation for her behavior. Basil took her to another specialist, and then another, but none of them seemed able to help.
Magnolia looked up the address for the parish church. Her family wasn't overly religious, but if faith could somehow cure Lily, she was going to give it her all. She put up crosses in Lily's room and in the sitting room. She created a personal alter space in the living room, with icons of Mother Mary and the baby Jesus. The family began attending church services weekly, and Lily was taught how to pray using a rosary.
All this was for naught, however, for not even the church could offer an explanation or solution to keep these inexplicable things from happening.
It all came to a head one summer, when Basil and Magnolia returned home from a brief visit to their new neighbors to welcome them to the local area. They had left their two girls alone in the house as they hadn't intended to be out long.
Magnolia could sense that something was very wrong when they opened the door. The house was strangely calm and there was none of the usual laughter between the girls or the sounds of them arguing over one thing or another. Lily was playing silently in the living room and with a sense of dread, Magnolia checked the kitchen and the sitting room.
That was where she found her eldest daughter hanging by the neck from the ceiling, dead. There were no visible ropes or chains, but Petunia's swollen face and glassy eyes left no hope that she might still be living.
They had Lily committed that day, after the police left. It tore at Magnolia's heart. They had always been afraid that Lily would hurt or even kill someone. That she had killed her own sister made them doubly sorry that they had not put Lily away sooner.
Lily stayed five years away from home and Magnolia told those that asked that they had sent Lily to a boarding school.
Magnolia and Basil went to visit their daughter on the holidays and Magnolia also asked the parish priest to visit to warn Lily of the dangers of opening her soul to the devil.
When she was finally released back to her parents, she was a well mannered young pre-teen, doing her best to stifle her magic so it could not get out and affect the world around her.
Magnolia hugged her tearfully, "Oh, Lily! I missed you every day!" She stifled her urge to scream "Murderer!" at her own daughter.
Lily hugged her mother back, but Magnolia could see she was taking care not to get emotional about it. She was pleased that Lily had been taught that such emotion brought out the devil in her, and made her susceptible to his orders to create mayhem.
"I missed you too, Mum and Dad." She hugged her mother and then her father. She bit her tongue and nobody mentioned Petunia.
Things settled back down into a normal routine. It was the start of summer, and Magnolia let Lily walk down to the playground at the end of their street, keeping a careful eye on her.
Magnolia could see that the children in the playground knew who Lily was, and they all stayed well away from her, not wanting to be her second victim.
She watched as Lily played on the swings, and leaped out of the seat, seeming to float to the ground. The children from her primary school kept their distance, watching Lily with distrust and fear. With a sigh, Magnolia turned and left Lily to her games, reminding her she should be back before sunset.
After some time playing, Lily sneaked away from the pointing fingers of the other children and hid in the bushes where she was startled by a young boy.
"I know what you are. You're a witch," he said.
"That's not a very nice thing to say," she replied.
"I don't mean it like that," he said. "You're a witch. I know because I'm a wizard. You can do magic. So can I."
Lily's thrust her chin out, "Prove it!"
The boy smirked, "Okay, come with me."
Lily felt unsure. She knew very well that going off with strangers was a bad thing but the boy seemed fairly harmless.
He looked exasperated, "I can't do it here, in front of all these Muggles. Come on. It's not far."
He led her through the bushes and down the street towards the great dirty river, but stopped by a ramshackle wooden building. She followed him past the building and down to a miniature meadow, where he flopped down on his back, to look up at her.
She sighed and sat down next to him. "So show me," she said.
"Okay," he said, closing his eyes for a moment.
Around them the grasses swayed without any breeze. Then a dancing gathering of leaves swirled overhead, before diving out over the river. They watched to see how far the leaves could go, before they fell in.
"There you go," he said. "Magic."
"Oh," she said, opening her hand to reveal a small rosebud that opened fully into a beautiful rose.
He smiled and pointed at the trees past the building and a shower of propeller-like seedpods flew over like a swarm of locusts. They danced above them like a flock of sparrows.
Lily laughed. "That IS magic!" She felt strangely sad as she thought about what had happened as a result of her magic. "Is there any way I can make it go away?"
The boy looked incredulous, "Why would you want to do that?"
Lily bowed her head and quietly admitted, "I killed my sister. Well, my magic killed her. I was just mad at her. I didn't really want her to die."
The boy looked serious as he considered her request. "I've heard it said that if you make a vow and swear by your magic, if you ever break that vow, you won't be able to use your magic any more. That might be almost the same thing as not having any, don't you think?"
Lily looked up. "That sounds good. So you think if I make a promise and really mean it, it will stop me from doing things that make people get hurt if I break that promise?"
The boy shrugged, "I don't know, but I just know you have to mean what you say. It can't be something like swearing never to smoke cigarettes, or eat chocolate, or play with dolls again. It has to be a real promise. It's irreversible too." He eyed her and his dark eyes glittered strangely. "That means there's no going back."
Lily smiled at him. "What's your name, anyway? My name is Lily Evans."
The boy smiled and answered, "Severus Snape. Pleased to meet you, Lily Evans."
Lily lay back and looked up at the clouds, thinking about the devil and how he wanted her to do magic so he could make her hurt people. She fingered the rosary that she kept in her jacket pocket, praying for guidance.
Basil and Magnolia Evans were having Sunday brunch when they had an extremely odd visitor knocking at their door. Basil put a hand on his wife's arm, having seen the strange woman's clothing through the front window. "Let me deal with this, dear." She nodded and returned to the dining room.
Basil opened the door and stepped out onto the porch, not intending to allow such an oddly dressed person into his home.
"How may I help you, Madam?" He asked.
The woman removed her black pointy hat and said, "I am Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and I have come to deliver your daughter, Lily Evans' admission letter, and to answer any questions you may have about the Wizarding World."
Basil pressed forward, making McGonagall have to step backwards. He backed her down the steps and led her to the lawn furniture under the front lawn shade tree, where he bade her sit.
"Are you having me on, Madam?" he asked tautly, keeping a lid on his anger.
"Decidedly not, Mr. Evans," she replied, "Your daughter is a witch, and has been selected to attend our boarding school."
"Selected by whom?" he asked, "Her mother and I have not sent out any applications to institutions of higher learning for our daughter."
McGonagall looked flustered, but pressed on. "We have a magic quill that writes the names of all witches and wizards in a book, once they are born. It's a quite natural thing. Those who do not have wizarding parents, we have to notify. We also escort them to Diagon Alley, so they can shop for their school supplies and get their wand." She held up what looked like a decorative stick to Basil.
Basil felt a furious anger at these words and clenched his hands into fists. "My daughter will not be going with you. She's no witch. We had those demonic powers exorcised from her when she was a young girl."
McGonagall looked horrified "May I verify her lack of powers?"
Basil growled, "If you can do it from here. I'm not bringing her out of the house."
McGonagall nodded and made a complicated pass with her wand. She looked confused and then did it again.
"This is most unprecedented, Mr. Evans. May I call our headmaster to attend us? I'm not sure what to make of this."
Basil shrugged, "Call whomever you want. My daughter is not leaving this house."
McGonagall opened a mirrored compact and asked for Dumbledore to Apparate to her at the Evans' house.
In moments, there was a windstorm, and once the black clouds faded away, a brilliantly robed old man walked over to them.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Evans. I am Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. How may I be of assistance?"
"Like I've explained to your Deputy Headmistress, my daughter is no witch, and she will not be attending your school," Basil replied.
"But if you don't let her be trained at school, she'll be dangerous." Dumbledore looked concerned and Basil noticed him exchange a glance with McGonagall.
Basil laughed roughly, "Oh, we know that all too well. She's a murderess alright. But we've had all that exorcised out of her, through prayer and medicine. I promise you, she may have once been possessed, but she is not a witch anymore."
"Merlin help her." Dumbledore said. "May I scan her, just to make sure?"
Basil was furious at the unwanted intrusion and despite his usually mild manners he found himself snapping at Dumbledore. "You do not have permission to enter my house, to be on my property, or to take my daughter away. I don't care who you are or where you are from. If you think you can tell if she has magic from where you stand now, then so advise us."
Dumbledore tried reaching out for the female presence he detected in the house. His magic swept past the first and sought the second. He tried to feel for her magic, but met resistance. It was as if her magic was sealed off from her. She was somehow shielded.
Dumbledore looked at McGonagall. "She has magic, but she can't use it."
"She's a Squib?" McGonagall looked confused. "How could that happen? The quill indicated she would be a very powerful witch."
Dumbledore sighed, "I do not know. I hadn't thought Muggle medicine had progressed to the point that they could pinpoint that which makes us different and bind it."
Basil looked from the man to the woman, feeling somewhat mollified by their conclusion. "So you agree that she is not a witch. It is as I said, she can't do those things anymore."
"It seems you are correct, Mr. Evans. If your daughter cannot perform magic, she cannot attend our school. It's such a shame really." Dumbledore still looked confused and McGonagall seemed concerned.
Basil snorted, "What's really a shame is that for nearly seven years you people think it is a natural thing to keep us in the dark over this. My daughter has been institutionalized, on heavy medication, for the last five years. It's a shame that no one knew what was wrong with her, to get it stopped or channeled before she killed. Yes, that's the real shame!"
McGonagall put a hand to her mouth, covering that it had fallen open in horrified disbelief. Dumbledore looked tired and aged. "It is regretful that her power manifested in so deadly a manner. You have our heartfelt sympathies. Such a thing is unheard of - it has never before occurred."
Basil fumed, "Well, now that it has, perhaps you will do something to keep it from happening to other good, decent people."
Dumbledore nodded sadly, "Yes, I promise you I will look into it personally."
Giving a nod to Mr. Evans, Dumbledore took McGonagall's hand and they both vanished with a loud bang, like the backfiring of an automobile.
Basil went back in the house, closed and locked the door, and leaned back on it, shaking, his eyes filling with unshed tears. If only the idiots had warned him when Lily had been born. They claimed to know that she had powers from that moment. Well why hadn't they visited sooner and helped her control them?
Basil wrapped his arms around Magnolia as she went to her husband and hugged him, then held him until he stopped shaking.
"They said they knew, from the moment she was born," he told her.
Her own eyes overflowed. "Why didn't they warn us? Or help us? What kind of monsters are they?"
Basil hugged back as hard as he could, without hurting his wife. "Well, they're gone now. I pray they stay gone."
Author's Note: Dr.'s office scene adapted from "The Exorcist," Snape-scene adapted from "The Deathly Hallows Part 2" movie.
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