Chapter 1- A Chapter of Introduction
By Lydia Gleaves
Some witches worried about classes. Others worried about boys. Some even worried about a sick pet or an animal they found half-dead. Rachel Artemis Black worried about whether or not she would be able to live to the next week. Her mother, Elizabeth Riddle, had been killed in a fight against Death Eaters- some said she was killed by You-Know-Who himself, but nobody ever knew. She had been found amongst the other bodies and was immediately given a solemn, respectable funeral. Her father, Sirius Black, was convicted of killing Peter Pettigrew and was widely believed to be the one that betrayed the Potters, so she had never known him well. Rachel was believed to have been killed in the explosion that also supposedly killed Pettigrew, but she had in fact been living with her great-uncle Alphard. Unfortunately, had died at the age of fifty-two, leaving ten-year-old Rachel to fend for herself. Rachel did well. First, she looked for any other members of her mum’s family, but she found none. She knew nothing of any of her grandparents, because her parents both despised their parents. She knew that the only relatives that would be willing to take her in were dead, missing, or convicted. She considered asking her dad’s friend Remus Lupin for help, but everyone she had asked had said that they didn’t know him or that she was wasting her time looking for a dead man. Five years later, she looked like she was still a pampered little princess, but she rarely thought of her stunning looks. Her long, curly, raven mane was at the back of her mind, and her shining silver eyes were never bragged about. She knew there were things more important than clear skin and a gentle voice. She was more concerned about her life. One day, while waiting for the woman with all the free samples to come around the block, she decided to make a trip back to her home. Maybe it’ll jog my memory as to where I can go, she thought. But where first… my mum’s house, or my auntie’s house. What if I went to the… Black Manor!
Once Upon a Time:
The moment the notion struck her mind, she was off. She packed up all her things (which didn’t take long to do, as she didn’t have much) and used her broomstick, the only thing she had left from her dad, to get to her auntie’s house. There was nothing there of meaning. She glanced around at the pastel walls of her old bedroom, at the green walls of the kitchen, and finally her eyes rested on the window. In that second, she knew she had to leave. Immediately. Pronto. ASAP. Now. There was a moving truck being unloaded and she then realized why it was empty. The bank had sold the house, and somebody was moving in. That wasn’t good. At all. She flew off on her Cleansweep 87, searching for the house she had spent her earliest years inside. Finally, she found it. Fortunately, it was unoccupied. And with good reason. The entire left side of the house was scorched, and the balcony had a gaping hole in the front center. She explored the inside, and discovered a letter from her mother to some woman named Molly Weasley. They seemed to be good friends, so she decided to go to the address on the outside of the envelope. She was saddened to see that it was her own address. Rachel cursed herself for expecting a letter to her mother to have the address of the woman it was from on it. That would have been too easy. She searched around and finally found a crumbly invitation to the first birthday party of some kid named Ronald. Ronald? Rachel wondered, Who in their right mind would name a kid Ro na ld ? Nevertheless, she made up her mind to fly to the village written in neat writing on the invitation. She packed up a few things from her mother’s room that she thought were nice-looking, found a pair of shoes from when she was a newborn, grabbed the invitation, and was on her way. When she arrived at the specified address, though, she was sorely disappointed. The only person there was a nerdy-looking boy; he seemed to be about seven or eight years older than her. He had a pompous air about him, and when Rachel asked him where Molly Weasley was, he told her that he would be glad to explain where she was, but that he advised to stay away from the dangerous people around in that house. “Like who?” Rachel asked. She wanted to be sure she was going to the right place. “People like Harry Potter. Alastor Moody.” “Oh, they’re both quite alright. Rather eccentric, Moody is, but alright just the same.” “Fine, fine. When they find your body in pieces because of the rogue hippogriff they keep in the attic there, don’t come haunting me!” “They have a hippogriff? That is awesome! Never mind about that. Of course not. Now can you tell me where to go?” She gave him one of her best “if-you-do-not-help-me-you-will-be-very-very-sorryvery-very-soon” looks, and he gave a little jump and wrote down the instructions to the place. Well, he started to. The minute he wrote down the address, she tore the paper from him. “Watch it! I was doing what you said!” “Never mind, I already know where this is.” “How do you-“ “That’s my dad’s house,” she replied softly. “Well, my dad’s parents’ house.”
“No wonder you can glare like that,” he muttered. “What was that?” “Nothing… nothing…” “Well, I’d best be off.” “Yes, please go. Please.” “Gladly. Well, thanks for almost helping.” “You’re welcome,” he replied. “I think.” He was about to question her as to why she wanted to see his mother, but she was already gliding across the sky. Faintly, he could make out her troubled-looking face. He shrugged slightly to himself and closed the door, returning to his essay on cauldron bottoms.