Elizabeth woke as she heard a floorboard creak over her head. She lay as quiet as a mouse trying to make sure that there was no one moving outside her room.
If Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon knew she was awake but was still in bed, she’d get in trouble again.
She did her best to stay out of trouble with her aunt and uncle but sometimes she just couldn’t avoid it.
Only last week her cousin Dudley had tried to trip her up whilst she carried a frying pan of freshly cooked bacon over to the table. Elizabeth had tripped, but instead of the hot bacon grease burning her, it had burnt Dudley even though the pan had fallen the other way. Even though this was all Dudley’s fault, it was her Elizabeth uncle Vernon had shouted at and then thrown into her cupboard.
That was a week ago, but she still had the bruises on her legs from when he had thrown her, and she had landed on the floor. At least she hadn’t bled, that time.
She fumbled around for an old watch of Dudley’s and a torch so that she could check the time.
Eventually, she found the watch under a fairly large spider.
Five twenty, that meant that she had nearly an hour until Aunt Petunia woke up.
She crawled over to the end of her mattress, she didn’t have a bed, and if she tried to stand up, she would probably hit her head on the ceiling and maybe even horror of horrors, wake up uncle Vernon!
She didn’t have many things in the world apart from some oversized clothes from the charity shop when she was nine, that aunt Petunia had bought with room to grow. Elizabeth was nearly eleven now and the clothes were still far too big, for Dudley’s clothes they’d go shopping in the fancy department stores in London, but Elizabeth wore oversized charity shop clothes. She had a feeling that if they could have got away with it, she would have worn Dudley’s clothes, but firstly, Dudley was four times her size, and secondly, they were boys’ clothes.
The only other things that she had was the torch that was now running low on battery and Dudley’s old watch, but Elizabeth kept her most precious things under her mattress, it made sleeping a bit uncomfortable, but at least her things were hidden.
She lifted the mattress and found her secret stash. There was an old teddy, it was practically threadbare now which is why she no longer slept with it. This teddy bear, Boris was the last thing she had left of her parents, she had brought it with her to the Dursleys when her parents had died.
There was also an old shoebox full of scrap pieces of paper, most of which Aunt Petunia had tied to throw away and a few pencils. The box was full of drawings on the back of old envelopes, sketches on old receipts.
She loved to draw and drew whenever she had the chance. Her art teacher had said she had a real talent, he had tried to tell her aunt and uncle this, but they had just ignored him. If anyone tried telling them that Dudley was talented or special, they would jump for joy, but if it was Elizabeth, they would just think that somebody had made a mistake.
The only other thing under the mattress was a paperback book. She was changing schools in a few months; she had finished at primary school last week. At the end of the year, their class teacher had given everyone a leaving present, everyone was given something different, some of the girls had been given little charm bracelets. Dudley had been given a teddy bear which he had taken great joy at ripping its head off in front of Elizabeth. Dudley had so many toys that he took fun in destroying them.
Elizabeth had been given a book, it was the Puffin Classics edition of King Arthur and his Knights of The Round Table. They had been reading it in class earlier on in the year, and Miss Lucas their teacher remembered that Elizabeth had enjoyed it. Also, from the few meeting she had had with the Dursleys that year, she could tell that Elizabeth’s aunt and uncle didn’t care much about her wellbeing.
She opened the book to where she had left off the night before. There was an envelope that she was using as a bookmark. On the one side, it had Uncle Vernon’s name and address, on the other, it had a drawing of the brave Tristam and his fair Iseult.
She was halfway through the story of Lancelot and Elaine when she heard the creaking of the floorboards above her again.
She sighed deeply, so her brief moment of quiet was finally over, the Dursleys were waking up.
She quickly brushed her hair out of the way into a ponytail. She left her fringe down as it covered up the lightning-shaped scar on her forehead. She had bronzed colored hair which was a warm brown with just a hint of red. She pulled on a pair of jeans, which even though they said on the label they were for aged nine to ten they were so big on her, that even with a belt they hardly stayed up. She then pulled a ghastly jumper which would have been bad enough even if it wasn’t three sizes too big. It was fuchsia with teal bobbles; she was quite sure that Aunt Petunia had only bought it because of the appalling color.
There was a knock on her door as she pulled the jumper on over her head.
“Get up!” screamed Aunt Petunia, “you need to make the breakfast.”
Elizabeth opened the door and found Aunt Petunia who had a dressing gown over her pajamas.
“Oh, you’re already up,” she said slightly surprised.
“Well go get started on the breakfast, you know where we keep everything.”
“Yes, Aunt Petunia,” she muttered going through to the kitchen whilst Aunt Petunia went back upstairs to get dressed.
She found a carton of eggs and a pack of bacon in the fridge. She wasn’t allowed bacon and eggs herself, she usually only got some toast, and if she burnt any of the toast then she got the burnt piece.
She laid the table with the plates and put Uncle Vernon’s newspaper that had just been by his place.
By the time that she had finished the cooking, Vernon and Petunia had both come back downstairs.
“You burnt any girl?” grunted Vernon as she finished cooking the eggs and bacon.
“No sir,” she said shaking her head frantically.
She winced slightly as a bit of hot bacon grease flew at her face out of the pan.
“There something wrong?” asked Aunt Petunia raising her eyebrows as she stirred her tea.
“No Aunt Petunia,” she said shaking her head again as she brought over the frying pan.
Elizabeth tucked into her piece of toast, as she hadn’t burnt any breakfast today, she was allowed jam rather than having it dry.
She watched in slight disgust as her pig of a cousin ate his breakfast. To say that Dudley ate enough for both her and Dudley would be an under exaggeration, Dudley ate enough for at least five eleven-year-olds.
“I need you to help me in the garden today,” said Aunt Petunia.
Elizabeth was looking out of the window and thinking about her book.
“Oi freak!” said Dudley hitting Elizabeth on the shin with his new Smelting’s stick.
She winced again slightly and bit her lip to stop herself from crying out in pain.
“Pay attention when your Aunt is talking to you,” snarled Uncle Vernon.
“Yes Uncle Vernon, sorry Aunt Petunia,” she muttered.
“Go and get the post, do something useful for once.”
She got up from the table and out to the hallway where the post was kept. There were postcards and a few bills, but on top of the pile was a very peculiar envelope. It was made of parchment, which was interesting enough on its own, but other than that, it was addressed to her.
“What are you doing girl!” called Uncle Vernon, “checking for letter bombs?”
“No sir,” she called stuffing the letter under her jumper to open in a minute.
She took the post through to Uncle Vernon.
“I forgot, I’m having tea at Mrs. Polkiss’ this morning,” said Aunt Petunia, “you’ll have to help me with the garden tomorrow.”
“Yes, aunt Petunia,” she nodded.
After she had done the washing up, she rushed to her room before they could find her any more work to do.
She turned on the lightbulb and pulled out the envelope from under her jumper.
Miss E. Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs
4 Privet Drive
Questions started to fill her mind, she wasn’t supposed to ask questions but sometimes her curiosity bubbled over. How did these people know where she slept? There wasn’t even a stamp on this letter!
She pulled the envelope open carefully trying not to tear the parchment too much, she wanted it for drawing on later.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
Dear Miss Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl no later than 31 July,
There must have been some kind of mistake, wondered Elizabeth. She believed in magic, but then again, she believed in a lot of things. She believed that someday someone was going to come and take her away from this awful place. But she wasn’t a witch.
Well, there was only one way to find out. She waited until the sitting room was empty and the coast was clear.
She stole her way into the sitting room a took an envelope and a stamp and a piece of paper from the desk where all the writing things were kept.
She dashed back to the cupboard and scribbled a quick reply.
Dear Mrs. McGonagall,
Thank you for your invitation to attend your school. But I regret to inform you I cannot attend. I am not a witch, even if I was, I cannot pay any school fees as I am an orphan. Thank you again for your invitation and for considering me,
Yours Sincerely, Elizabeth Lily Potter.
She put the note in the envelope and attached the stamp and then carefully wrote out the address.
There was a post box at the end of the next road so if she was quick, no would even know she had gone out.
She walked out of the house clinging on tightly to the envelope, she didn’t want to lose it.
As she walked down Privet Drive, she saw a woman walking towards her.
Elizabeth started to walk faster, she had always been told to never talk to strangers. She wanted to get this letter posted and get back to the house as fast as she could before anyone knew she was missing.
“Hello Elizabeth, what have you got there?”
“Oh hello Mrs. Figg,” said Elizabeth sighing in relief.
Mrs. Figg sometimes looked after her if the Dursleys wanted to go somewhere without her.
“It’s a letter.”
“Well I can see that,” chuckled Mrs. Figg, “would you like me to post that for you?”
“Um” stammered Elizabeth thinking for a moment, this was a very important letter, but the sooner she got back to the house the less chance there was she would have been caught.
“Yes please,” she smiled, handing Mrs. Figg the letter and running back down the road to the house.
She dashed back into the house and went in the door breathing slightly heavily from running.
“And where have you been girl?” snarled Uncle Vernon menacingly.
“Nowhere,” she stammered.
“Don’t lie to me girl!” he said gripping on to her arm.
“What have you been doing?” he shouted.
“Nothing,” she sobbed, “I just wanted to go for a walk.”
“Well I hope you enjoyed your walk,” he said raising his eyebrows and gripping even tighter onto her arm, “because you won’t be seeing daylight again for a month.”
He dragged her over to the cupboard pulling her by the arm and then threw her into the cupboard.
As she landed on the cupboard floor she nearly screamed out in pain as she landed on her knees.
She turned back around as the cupboard door was slammed shut, locking it from the outside.
It was pitch black; she was all alone
She thought of banging on the cupboard door in protest, but she knew that would only prolong her punishment.
She pulled herself up onto her bed and checked herself for injuries. No bleeding today, but there would be bruising in the morning.
She found her thin blanket and climbed under it with her threadbare teddy bear Boris that she pulled out from under her mattress.
She held Boris close as she cried quietly under her blanket. She had to try not to cry too loudly, or Uncle Vernon would shout at her.