13 Days of All Hallows’ Eve: “Murderous Mascots”
A group of first years were sitting anxiously in their cabin of the Hogwarts Express. Three young witches and two young wizards stared wide-eyed out the window at the passing British countryside. A young wizard was the first to break the silence.
“I don’t want to be in Slytherin,” said one first year who had introduced himself as Michael.
“Why?” a timid little bright-eyed boy, named Phillip, questioned.
“Because of the Basilisk,” said Michael.
“What’s a basilisk?” asked one Muggle-born named Evalynn.
“It’s the giant pet snake of Salazar Slytherin. It can kill you with just one look, and it’s as big as three Quidditch pitches! The rumor states it lives in the school in a secret chamber! If a Slytherin student misbehaves, the snake will show up and eat them!!”
“Oh, my!!” Evalynn exclaimed.
“Yeah, but at least it’s a fast, painless death. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in Hufflepuff,” the redheaded girl seated by the window said to her peers.
“Why?” Evalynn asked. “Isn’t that the house with a giant badger as their mascot?”
Snickering broke out among the first years in the cabin.
“What’s so scary about a badger? Don’t they just sleep all day?” a sarcastic girl called Abigail asked.
The first years’ snickers were overheard by other students crowding around the food trolley parked outside their compartment.
“Wait… you guys haven’t heard about the Hufflepuff badger? My big brother’s told me all about it.”
“No, what about the badger?” asked Phillip.
“My brothers told me that there is a giant badger that roams the corridors looking for Hufflepuff students that have wandered off alone or gotten lost. His favorite students are the ones who are upset and crying. The badger tries to be lovable and make the students feel better, but it gets overexcited. The badger charges toward you and wraps you up in a massive hug. Due to the sheer size of the badger and the force of the hug, the students end up suffocating and getting crushed to death. Teachers find the bodies of the students lying in the hallway, the badger long gone. They have been trying to catch it for years but have been unsuccessful.”
“Oh, my…” whispered Phillip.
“If you think that’s bad, you wouldn’t want to be in Ravenclaw,” stated the redheaded girl.
“Why, what does the eagle do? Pick you up and drop you in the lake?” Abigail said sarcastically.
“No,” said the redhead staring straight into her eyes. “Worse.”
“What happens?” Phillip questioned in a small voice.
“Well, my brothers say that honor is a big thing in Ravenclaw. Their House saying is ‘wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.’ The biggest dishonor that a Ravenclaw can commit is to answer a question incorrectly. The way to enter Ravenclaw Tower is by answering the question that the guardian asks. The guardian is a huge eagle that is made out of brass. If a student gets a question wrong, the eagle opens his mouth and swallows the kid whole. No second chances, no switching your answer. One mistake and BOOM! You’re gone.”
A shudder ran through the first years in the cabin.
“Wait, isn’t Gryffindor’s mascot a lion?” Phillip squeaked from his corner.
“Yeah, so?” said Michael.
“Well, if these mascots cause so much death and mayhem, then the Gryffindors must have the highest body count of all!” Phillip stated through shivers.
All eyes turned to the girl with fiery hair nonchalantly looking out the window.
“Oh, the body count isn’t higher because it’s a lion,” she said still looking out the window.
Stunned faces with confused eyes stared back at her.
“The body count may be lower, but more students are sent to the hospital wing. A few even went to St. Mungo’s.”
“How is that even possible?” Abigail asked with a roll of her eyes and disbelief dripping from every word.
“Well, you would go crazy and need hospitalization, too, if you were starved for days on end. The Gryffindor lion takes his victims back to his den and proceeds to wrap them up in yarn and…”
A snort of laughter broke out from Abigail the corner “Yarn, really? Yarn isn’t scary.”
“No, but how would you feel if you were wrapped up in yarn for days on end? Either in a large ball being rolled around the floor or suspended from the ceiling like a human piñata? No food, no water until you either escape, he gets bored, or he accidentally kills you. Still not scary?”
Abigail’s eyes fell to the floor, and a small shudder ran through her.
“Yeah, didn’t think so,” the redheaded girl retorted as the train began to slow down.
The cabin door opened, revealing twin boys with flaming red hair. The first years in the cabin jumped at the sudden noise, and the new pair snickered at their obvious jitters. They looked over to the girl by the window, with a new smirk on her face.
“So is everyone ready for the sorting?” one of the twin boys said.
“It’s always quite a spectacle,” stated his brother.
Seven pairs of terrified eyes stared back at them. As the first years changed their robes, everyone stared at the ground imagining the terrors that awaited them.