“Raven Chronicles” Chapter 2: Minerva McGonagall – Part 2
My mother commanded me to make a fire, and I sprung to my feet. But the Headmistress insisted she could do it. Her wand was out again, and six logs zoomed into our home from the shed outside – bringing a cold draft with them. They piled themselves on the grate and erupted into flames.
My mother then told Alice and I to take off our jackets and boots. I basically ran to the mudroom and sneaked a glance up the stairs to where my room was. I then turned back to the living room, took a breath, and walked in.
My mother sat in the other chair by the fire. She leaned on one hip, closer to McGonagall, her legs crossed, and her eyes following me like the Headmistress’s. They must’ve known.
“Children” – not a good sign, children, too formal, and too distant – “this is Headmistress McGonagall.”
“Of Hogwarts!” Alice practically squealed. I winced.
“Of course, you dolt,” I said. “Where else – ”
“Raven.” A verbal slap from my mother.
“I mean, obviously, she – ”
“Sorry, Mum. I just mean that she doesn’t sound French or American. She’s Scottish. She must be from Hogwarts.”
“You could be nicer about it,” Alice snapped.
And you could be less of a dolt, I thought.
My mother fidgeted with her skirt. “Yes, this is the Headmistress, and she, um, they, well, I’ll just let you explain it, Professor – Headmistress.”
McGonagall looked at Alice first. She looked at her for a long time. Alice sat looking between our mother and the Headmistress. But McGonagall’s gaze turned to me without comment. Her eyes – encapsulated by wrinkles – were surrounded by thick eyelashes, long and dark. The eyes themselves were blue, a sharp blue – not a faded blue I’d come to expect by the elderly.
“Mr. Husher,” she addressed me first, then added in Alice. “Ms. Husher, are either of you aware that at 12:42 this afternoon someone broke into the Hogwarts Express?”
Alice quickly said no, but I could feel her eyes wanting to bore into my skull. I could hear Alice’s thoughts too – or at least what I thought they’d be. Told you so! Told you so! I told you you’d be in trouble.
I looked to my mother – her I could fool. I could lie, say I was in class, and if Alice remained quiet, I’d get away with it. I looked back to the blue eyes, but I knew she already knew.
Headmistress McGonagall nodded back.
“Raven Alexander H – ”
But the Headmistress’s words cut through Mum’s. “Who took you?”
I don’t think Alice or my mother understood the question, but I did. “No one. I did it myself.”
The Headmistress pursed her lips again. “Show me.”
She did not have to ask again. With a large crack, I Apparated from the couch to the kitchen doorway. Both my mother and the Headmistress swiveled in their seats to look at me. The smell of scones was strong by the kitchen, and my stomach rumbled. I think my mother put extra butter in them that day – it smelled as such. I took a good whiff of it before I walked back to the couch and sat again.
My mother’s mouth remained open the whole walk from doorway to couch. Alice crossed her arms as she glowered at me. I searched the Headmistress’s face for a sign that she was impressed; from my understanding, I was the youngest person to Apparate ever, at least in recorded history. I found no sign of pride. I only saw her eyes follow me to the couch and watched her hands fold in her lap.
“You ought to be glad, Mr. Husher, that you are not in more trouble,” she said.
I didn’t look at Alice, but I could feel her smile encroaching upon me.
“Underage Apparition is illegal, and the penalty for it is one most families cannot afford, as is the penalty for breaking into the Hogwarts Express.” She leaned forward toward me. “I’ve caught two students Apparating underage, and each have lost their respective Houses 50 points. And if any student ever tried to break in or out of the train, I’d expel them. Let this be a warning to you, Mr. Husher. Another attempt at Apparating and you will not be invited to attend Hogwarts.”
I felt empty in my chest at that moment, and my lip started to tremble.
“Do you understand?”
I couldn’t stop myself from bawling. It was an ugly cry, lots of liquid spewing from my nose, mouth, and eyes. The Headmistress leaned back, and her eyes softened. I hopped off the couch and – to the protests of my mother – ran up the stairs, stormed into my room, and jumped on my bed. My door slammed shut and locked as I cried into the scratchy tan blanket sprawled on my mattress.