I Believe I Can Fly
On the Tuesday of the second week Zacharias and Neville were gathered around the notice board in interest.
Apart from the brief spat a week ago on the first night Zacharias and Neville had become very firm friends. They sat together in class, Neville helped with Zacharias’ herbology homework and Zacharias stood up to people when they tried bullying Neville.
“What’s up Zach?” asked Susan as her Elizabeth walked over to the notice board.
“We’re starting flying classes!” said Zacharias beaming.
“Yes!” enthused Artie, “my moment has come!”
“I’m terrified,” mumbled Neville, “Gran never let me on a broom.”
“You’ll be fine Nev,” assured Zacharias.
“My brother Pete said that all you do in the first lesson is go a few feet off the ground,” said Artie, “the brooms don’t fly any faster than a butterfly.”
“Are you sure?” asked Neville.
“Positive,” said Artie.
“Besides,” said Zacharias, “if you do fall it will only be a foot or so and you’ll land in the soft grass.”
“When’s our first lesson?” asked Susan.
“This afternoon,” said Artie bouncing with excitement, “we’re with the Ravenclaws.”
“Well that’s a start,” muttered Neville, “Malfoy and his friends won’t be there to laugh when I fall off.”
“If you fall off,” corrected Zacharias, putting an arm around Neville and heading down to breakfast together.
“I still cant believe that I have to wait till next year to try out for the team,” grumbled Artie as she headed down with Susan and Elizabeth.
“That’s ok,” shrugged Elizabeth, “I’ve never flown before either so you can help me and Neville.”
“And Justin,” added Susan.
“I guess so,” beamed Artie cheering up.
“Oh, we’ve got defence today,” said Artie her face lighting up, “I’m going to ask Quirrell about his turban again!”
After lunch the first year Hufflepuffs headed out to the grounds with the Ravenclaws and lined up by the broomsticks.
“Alright first years, welcome to your first flying lesson,” said Madam Hooch.
“Stand firmly by your broom and call up.”
“Up!” called Artie firmly.
The broom jumped up immediately and landed in her hand.
“Up,” Elizabeth called nervously.
The broom didn’t move.
“Just keep trying,” said Artie, “you’ve got to let the broom know you’re not scared.”
“So it’s like a horse, it knows if you’re scared?” asked Elizabeth.
“Spot on!” nodded Artie.
Elizabeth took a deep breath.
“Up!” she called firmly.
The broomstick came flying into her hand without a second thought that time.
“See,” said Artie, “it worked.”
“Ok then,” said Madam Hooch “I want you all to her mount your brooms and when I blow my whistle kick off from the ground and fly up a few inches.”
“Three two one.”
But Neville left the ground too early and flew as tall as the astronomy tower, he somehow manged to get his robes caught on one of the spikes, and then he started to fall through the air.
“Neville!” yelled Artie kicking off the ground.
“Miss Nightshade get back down here!”
Neville was falling so quickly but Artie was faster.
She flew up like a dart and grabbed Neville by the wrists and stopped him from falling. She helped Neville up onto her broom and flew back down to the ground much more slowly.
“That was fun,” she beamed as she came back down to the ground.
“That was dangerous!” stammered Elizabeth.
“Are you ok Nev?” asked Zacharias as Neville got off the broom.
“I don’t like flying,” he mumbled.
“Miss Nightshade,” said Madam Hooch, “that was extremely dangerous, you could have both been hurt, this is your first lesson!”
“I’m sorry Madam Hooch,” said Artie blushing, “but I couldn’t just let my friend get hurt when I knew that I could help him. I knew that I wouldn’t get hurt, I’ve been flying since I was four.”
“Hmm,” muttered Madam Hooch, “let’s get on with the lesson, shall we?”
The rest of the lesson went without a hitch.
They were halfway through dinner when two older boys came walking the table to talk to them.
“Excuse me,” said the older of the two boys who was a sixth year, “which one of you lot is Artemis Nightshade?”
Zacharias smirked slightly at the use of her full name.
“What’s it to you?” asked Artie as she ate her dinner.
“You related to Peter Nightshade?” asked the younger boy who was a third year but tall for his age.
“Yeah, he’s my brother,” she shrugged.
“He was a good captain,” nodded the sixth year.
“I’m the Hufflepuff Quidditch captain, Malcom Fforbes, I’m one of the beaters, this is our seeker Cedric Diggory.”
“Your brother taught me everything I know,” nodded Cedric.
“What is it that you want?” asked Zacharias, “we’re trying to eat our dinner.”
“Right,” nodded Malcom, “Hooch told us you did some pretty impressive flying in class today, what position do you play?”
“How do you know I play?” she asked raising her eyebrows.
“You’re a Nightshade they all play Quidditch,” pointed out Cedric.
“Henry doesn’t play,” she pointed out.
“But you don’t have your nose stuck in a book,” said Malcom, “and according to Hooch you looked like you were born on the broom.”
Artie beamed; Hooch had told her off earlier for being reckless but had also realised she was a great flyer.
“I’m a chaser,” she admitted.
“Great,” nodded Cedric, “because we need one!”
“Practise at seven?” asked Malcom.
Artie nodded enthusiastically and Cedric and Malcom went off to go and eat their dinner.
“What just happened?” asked Zacharias who was dumbfounded.
“I just got recruited for the Quidditch team,” she chuckled, “even if I am a first year.”
“I think that’s twice now,” said Justin.
“What is?” asked Ernie.
“The times that Artie has proven Zach wrong.”
A pair of Ravenclaw third year twins with brown hair came walking over to the table.
“I am popular tonight, aren’t I?” beamed Artie looking up at her twin brothers.
“What did Diggory and Fforbes want?” asked Nigel.
“They asked me to join the Quidditch team.”
“How did you pull that off?” asked Nick, “you’re a first year.”
“I know that, but Hooch told them I was a natural.”
“We could have told them that,” said Nigel shaking his head.
“Well done little sis,” said Nick patting her on the back.
“We’ll tell Mum and Dad for you yeah?” said Nigel.
“See you on the pitch,” they called as they walked away.
“Can we come watch?” asked Hannah.
“Sure,” beamed Artie who was walking on air.
The boys went back to the common room to play gobstones but the four girls headed down to the pitch.
“Artie!” called a sixth year Ravenclaw prefect as they passed the library.
“Nigel and Nick just told me about you getting on the team, well done, don’t get hurt!”
“I won’t,” she said rushing down to the pitch.
“Are all your family Ravenclaws?” asked Hannah.
“No, Peter was a Hufflepuff, and so was Dad, but Mum was a Ravenclaw.”
When they got down to the pitch there was already six people gathered, four of them looked very confused.
“Why are there a bunch of first years coming down?” asked the keeper.
“Yeah I thought you said we’d got a new chaser,” said the other beater.
“We have done,” said Malcom.
“This is Artemis Nightshade,” said Cedric.
The others shut up very quickly at this point.
“Actually it’s Artie,” she corrected.
“Fair enough,” said one of the chasers.
“Artie,” said Malcom, “this is Mary and Emily, they are the other two chasers you’re going to be spending a lot of time together so lets see how well you fly.”
Artie nodded and got onto her school broom and did a few laps of the pitch before running some basic drills with the other chasers.
“Hooch was right,” said Hannah, “she is good.”
By the end of practise, Artie had managed to score ten times.
“Well done kid,” said Malcom as practise finished, “you got a decent broom?”
“It’s at home,” said Artie, “I can go send for it.”
“Go do that then,” said Mike the keeper, “we don’t want to lose to Slytherin.”
The four girls headed up to the owlery and Artie scribbled a quick note to her parents.
“Do you think they’ll be pleased you got on the team?” asked Hannah as they headed away from the owlery.
“Mum will be furious,” she muttered, “I was supposed to wait a year, Dad will be pleased though.”
The staircases changed suddenly, and they found themselves on a floor they didn’t know.
“What floor are we on?” asked Susan as they walked down the corridor.
“I don’t know second I think,” shrugged Hannah.
“No, it’s not it’s the third, and its forbidden,” said Elizabeth.
“Well if we’re already here, should we try and find out why it’s forbidden?” whispered Artie her eyes wide with excitement.
“Fine,” sighed Susan giving in, “but if we get scared, we’re turning back.”
“Deal,” said Hannah.
They lit their wands and headed down the corridor their wands lit, watching for Filch or his cat.
“It’s a dead end,” sighed Artie as she reached a locked door at the end of the corridor, “what’s so dangerous about that?”
“Let me try something,” said Elizabeth thinking for a moment.
“Alohomora!” she said checking there was no one watching.
There was a satisfying click.
“Nice one!” beamed Artie.
“Are you sure we should go in there?” asked Hannah.
“If you’re scared Hannah, we can go back to the common room,” said Elizabeth.
“No, I’m fine,” she stammered.
Artie opened the door and the four girls found themselves confronted with a huge three headed dog. Elizabeth noticed that the dog was standing on a trap door.
The dog woke up and started snarling at them as they opened the door.
“Jesus Christ!” screamed Susan.
“Shut the door Artie!” yelled Elizabeth as the dog tried to bite Artie’s hand off.
Artie slammed the door shut and they all sprinted back down to the Common Room.
“That was awesome!” said Artie as she got her breath back in the dorm.
“It was terrifying!” stammered Hannah.
“What’s a dog like that doing in a school?” asked Susan.
“The question I’ve got is what is it guarding,” muttered Elizabeth.
“What?” asked Artie.
“It was standing on a trapdoor, what could be so important it was to be guarded by a killer three headed dog?”
“I don’t know,” said Hannah, “and I don’t want to know!”