Amazing image by haunted. @TDA
There was something slimy on my leg.
was there something slimy on my leg?
Hardly daring to breath, I adjusted my legs slightly and opened my eyes.
“HOLY CRAP!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.
I leaped out of my bed and backed against my bedroom wall. Well, I stumbled against my bedroom wall to be honest. My bedroom floor is littered with junk - the usual type of course: crumpled clothing, spare quills and parchment, chocolate wrappers. It was hardly my fault I tripped over my trunk as I leapt heroically off my bed.
That was a lie. First thing you should know about me: I’m super clumsy. And very accident prone. There was this memorable moment last year at school when I dropped my wand into a cauldron full of the Hiccoughing Solution we were making. Well, it was supposed to be Hiccoughing Solution. I also happen to be not so good at making potions. Anyway, because my Hiccoughing Solution had somehow turned into a Blasting Potion, when my wand fell into it, I blew up the classroom.
You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you?
I literally blew up the classroom.
Every single person in the class had to be sent to the Hospital Wing for severe burns and old Sluggy had a minor heart attack. I got a months worth of detentions, cleaning up the potions classroom I’d damaged. It was not pleasant work. You see, Sluggy keeps these revolting jars of eel eyes and spleens and stuff around the classroom and when I blew it up…well, they smashed all over the floor, didn’t they? I had duck guts underneath my fingernails for weeks.
I tripped over my trunk and staggered against the wall, holding a pointed lampshade out in front of me to defend myself from the disgusting thing in my bed. “AIDAN BOLLUP I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!” I screamed pleasantly, giving the creature in my bed my fiercest, most terrifying look. I’m told I have very scary facial expressions. In fact, I’m often told I’m scary, full stop. A normal person would usually take these comments as an insult but I…well, I guess I’m not a normal person.
The snake in my bed (yes people: a snake!) suddenly reared up or whatever you call it when a snake lifts its head, and hissed at me, revealing its great dirty fangs.
I screamed loudly, threw the lampshade at the disgusting creature and bolted out of my room, wondering whether I’d ever recover from this fatal encounter. I knew exactly who was behind this attack -my pervy little brother, Aidan.
Aidan isn’t really my brother, thank Merlin. Actually, he isn’t related to me at all - if he was, I’d be seriously disturbed. In fact, I’d probably have to be sent to an insane asylum where I’d live on a diet of broccoli and stale bread, which is probably all they serve at places like that. And because I firmly believe broccoli is poisonous I’d die of starvation and that would be the end of me, Isabella Grace. Which would be tragic, because I am an amazing person, not to sound conceited or anything. I just hope that if I do die of starvation, my best friends will throw me an awesome funeral. Without any of that sad, depressing music and boring black clothes.
Aidan is actually my foster brother. My own parents ditched me when I was a baby so I was put into the WFC (Wizarding Foster Care). Not the most pleasant experience, I can tell you. In fact, it’s probably why I’m so screwed up in the head. In total, I’ve lived in fifteen different foster homes. Sometimes foster families aren’t that bad, but most of the time they’re downright horrible. A couple of years back, before I came to be under the care of the Bollups, I was taken in by this cranky old couple who sold illegal potions in Knockturn Alley. Once the husband lost his temper at me, after I smashed his favourite collection of (stolen) wine glasses. But did he just send me to my bedroom like a normal parent? No, he whipped out his wand and performed a brutal Stinging Hex on me. I still have the scars to prove it - one running down my arm and a hideously knotted one down my back. I went back to the WFC shortly after that. There was no way I was going to put up with an abusive family for longer than necessary.
Now I live with John and Pauline Bollup and their ten year old son. At first I thought they were going to be alright. But after over a year with them, I’ve realised what a raging bitch Pauline is.
“PAULINE!” I screamed, running down the stairs and storming into the kitchen where my kind-hearted (not) foster mum was cooking bacon and eggs over the stove. “Can you kindly try to control your son?”
“Don’t you speak to me like that, girl,” Pauline said, glowering at me over the bacon.
“Your son just put his pet snake in my bed!”
I cried, outraged. “He has no right going into my bedroom and…”
“He has every
right,” said Pauline, pursing her lips. “You, girl, are only welcome here because we permit it. This house does not belong to you. You
do not belong here!”
This is the kind of stuff I have to put up with every day. Pauline reminding me that I have no family, that I have nothing. That she and her dickhead husband only took me in out of the kindness of their hearts. But I know the real reason. I’m only here because the Bollups get an extra twenty galleons a week for looking after me.
“You will stop making my son out to be some sort of criminal!” Pauline continued, and I glared at her with all the evil I could muster. “Aidan has been coming to me recently, girl, complaining that you are being horrible to him. I will not put up with it any longer.”
“That is not
true!” I said furiously. “Do you really believe him over me?”
Pauline ignored me. “I want you to look after the bacon,” she said. “And after breakfast you can degnome the garden, like you were supposed to yesterday.”
“Are you kidding me?” I said, feeling my heart sink. “I was working all of yesterday! I have plans, Pauline. I’m not your slave…”
“Well you’ll just have to cancel those plans, won’t you,” said Pauline, ignoring my protests and handing me the spatula.
As she walked out of the room, I stared after her angrily. There are only two weeks left of the summer holidays before I go back to Hogwarts, and I haven’t seen any of my friends all holidays. Pauline hates it when I’m happy. She’s a right bitch that way.
You all probably think I’m some angry, hormonal teenager, don’t you?
Well, I’m not.
Okay, that was a lie. I am an angry, hormonal teenager, but that is because I am forced to deal with Pauline and her pervy little son whose sole purpose in life is to make me miserable. Need some proof? Okay, I’ll give you some examples:
Isabella’s List of why Aidan Bollup is a pervy little twat:
1. Last Friday when I was weeding the garden he snuck up behind me and shoved fistfuls of wriggling garden worms down my shorts. I pulled my wand out from my safekeeping place (tucked in between my cleavage) and attempted to curse him with the Bat-Bogey hex, but he ducked behind a rose bush and started to cry very loudly (and fakely.) Unfortunately at that moment, Pauline came home from her shopping and saw what appeared to be me attacking her innocent little baby. She screamed and yelled at me for an hour and a half after Aidan told her I started throwing curses at him for no reason. Then she locked me in my bedroom. I wasn’t allowed out for two days.
2. On Wednesday night when Pauline forced me to cook dinner, I was making spaghetti bolognaise when Aidan came up behind me and pushed the whole pot onto the ground. The pot cracked and the bolognaise spilt all over Pauline’s perfect white kitchen tiles. Why she chose white tiles for the kitchen is beyond me. Anyway, I bet you can guess what happened next. Aidan opened his big fat mouth and spun a cock and bull story to his charming mother about how I’d purposefully knocked the pot over so I wouldn’t have to cook dinner. Sometimes I think Pauline must be really thick to believe him. We had another big shout fest, resulting in our elderly next door neighbour, Mrs Perkins, coming round to check if everything was okay and Pauline forcing me to pay for the broken pot out of my own money-the money I’d earned working at the Leaky Cauldron last summer. I’d only gotten the job because my best friend Rose’s family is tight with the Longbottom’s.
3. Yesterday, in the middle of the night, Aidan climbed out of bed and went wailing down the corridor. He told his delightful father that I had come into his room dressed up as a dementor because I wanted to give him nightmares. This was the most ridiculous story I had ever heard. For one thing, where the bloody hell would I have gotten a dementor costume from? Secondly, why would I want to scare Aidan when I knew he’d go straight to his parents and lastly: WTF?? Anyway, Mr Bollup being the total wanker that he is, believed his son at once and stormed up to my bedroom to give me a nice little slap across the face. I know: Fatherly love is sweet. When I woke up the next morning I still had a great red handprint across my face.
Anyway, if that list didn’t show you why my life sucks, then you must have an even suckier life than I do. I feel sorry for you.
I stormed over to the stovetop and began savagely prodding at the curled up rinds of bacon inside it. Not only was Pauline a horrible person, she was also an awful cook. She can’t even make toast. She almost burnt the house down at the start of the holidays, as a matter of fact.
“Mummy says you’re in trouble.”
I didn’t need to look up to recognise my cuddly little brother’s voice. But I did anyway. Just for the laughs.
He was standing at the kitchen counter, looking up at me with these big innocent eyes. But I could see past the innocence. I could see into his evil soul.
“Clear off, snot,” I said maturely, attempting to swipe at the little bugger with my spatula. Unfortunately he ducked exactly at the right moment, only to re-emerge from under the kitchen bench moments later with a smug look on his face.
“Mummy says you have to make me breakfast.”
I glared at him. “What does it look like I’m doing?” I hissed, seizing the handle of the pan and dumping a pile of bacon and eggs onto a plate before I was tempted to throw the whole damn lot over his pathetic little head.
“My bacon is burnt,” Aidan complained when I dumped the plate in front of him.
“What a shame,” I snapped. “Maybe you should try cooking it yourself. It would give us all a laugh to see you burn yourself on the hot gas.”
Don’t you look at me like that! You have no idea how easily Aidan gets under your skin! Trust me, that boy is not a normal ten year old. Thank Merlin I’ll never have to attend Hogwarts with him - this year is my last and next year will be his first. And the moment I finish Hogwarts, I get to leave foster care forever.
“GET OUT OF THE SHOWER, GIRL!” my delightful foster mum screamed at the door. I closed my eyes and let the water wash over me, trying to block out the sound of her heinous voice.
I actually have no idea what the word heinous means, FYI. But it makes me sound smart, so I felt the need to use it.
Pauline began to rap sharply on the door with her bony knuckles and I fought the urge to scream at her, wishing that I could just drown in my dirty shower water already.
Okay, that was a bit of an over exaggeration. I have no wish to die. Anyway, if I was to die, drowning in the shower would not be my chosen method. I mean, what would people say at my memorial? “Isabella Grace died a very tragic death while washing herself off in the shower. She was found dead on the 17th of August, wearing nothing but a shower curtain that had been draped over her.”
I don’t think I could stand the shame.
“GET OUT OF THE SHOWER RIGHT NOW OR I’LL BLAST THE DOOR OPEN MYSELF!” Pauline screamed. “YOU ARE WASTING HOT WATER, YOU USELESS WASTE OF SPACE!”
“ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT DON’T GET YOUR KNICKERS IN A TWIST!” I screamed right back at her, turning off the tap and clambering out of the shower.
Honestly, it’s like Pauline wants me to stink or something. It’s not my
fault she makes me spend my valuable time weeding the gardens - and her favourite fertiliser happens to be dragon dung. Which, incidentally, smells like Aidan’s room when he farts. Which is all the time, because he has serious gas issues.
I wrapped a fluffy white towel around me and tied my long wet hair up into a knot at the top of my head, which promptly fell out. I’m not so good with fancy hair-do's and fashionable clothes. That’s more my best friend, Rose’s area than mine. I’m the type of girl who ties her hair back in a pony tail and wears jeans and graphic tees to parties.
I clicked open the bathroom door and hurried along the hallway towards my bedroom-which is the smallest room in the house. It’s even smaller than the airing cupboard. I once suggested to Pauline that she let me sleep in there, but she told me that the laundry is more important that my personal well-being. Which I personally thought was rather rude.
“You’ve got big boobies.”
I whipped around at once to see the little devil himself standing behind me and grinning that evil little grin of his. “Fuck up, you little bugger,” I spat, fighting the urge to smack him round his stupid face.
Aidan smirked up at me. “Mummy says you’re not allowed to swear.”
can go dig herself a hole - preferably in a place far away from here.”
Pleased with this very original comeback, I spun on my heel and began to march away. However I didn’t get very far, because the stupid little pillock reached out one of his chubby hands and ripped my towel from my body leaving me standing in the middle of the hallway, stark naked.
For a moment I just stood there, eyes wide, not quite registering what had happened. Then; “Haha!” said Aidan. “Now I can see your boobies!”
“SHUT THE HELL UP YOU HORRIBLE LITTLE BRAT!” I screamed (unwisely) at the top of my lungs. Then, without bothering to cover my naked body up with the towel, I threw myself at the little twat and tackled him to the ground. I raised my fist and prepared to deliver a fatal blow when…
I looked up at once to see Pauline staring down at me with a horrifying look on her face. She rather looked as though she had swallowed something rotten and was now choking on it. The look did not suit her. I lowered my fist and Aidan promptly burst into tears.
in the name of Merlin do you think you’re doing
girl?” Pauline said in a horrified whisper.
Suddenly aware that I was still starkers, I hurriedly stood up and wrapped my towel around me. “Tut tut Pauline,” I said furiously. My whole body was shaking. All I wanted to do was hit something. Preferably something with a face. “Inside voices please.”
I knew I was being an idiot, talking back to her. But the whole family got on my god damn nerves - what’s a girl to do?
Pauline suddenly rounded on me, ignoring her bawling son. “You were assaulting my son!” she spat, jabbing me in the chest with her knobbly finger. “Who do you think you are, girl?”
“Well actually, my name’s not girl,” I sad, in an imitation of forced calm. “It’s Isabella Grace. Which you’d know if you paid the tiniest bit of attention to me.”
“I HAVE ALLOWED A SEXUAL PREDATOR INTO MY HOME!” Pauline suddenly screamed. “HOW DARE
YOU FORCE YOURSELF ON MY SON, YOU DISGUSTING ANIMAL!”
She thinks I was trying to rape her son. A bit ridiculous really, but I can see where she was coming from. I mean, I was naked. Not that it was my fault, of course. The whole situation would be rather amusing if it wasn’t so serious.
“You’re mental,” I said, shaking my head, and backing away from her. “Mental.”
“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!” Pauline continued to scream, and I took another step backwards, almost stepping on Aidan - the worm who had stopped fake crying and was now staring at me with triumphant eyes. “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE I TELL YOU! YOU’RE NOT WELCOME HERE!”
I glared at her, putting all my hatred for her into that one expression. “GOOD!” I shouted. “GOOD!
I HATE LIVING HERE! I HATE YOU ALL!”
And then I bolted, without waiting to hear what Pauline would say - or do - in response. Slap me across the face, probably. I ran into my room and slammed the door shut after me, seething. I could still hear Pauline yelling out of the hallway, though I couldn’t make out what she was saying.
“FUCK!” I shouted, because there was so much anger coursing through my veins that I felt like I was about to explode. Running my hands through my wet hair, I aimed a good kick at my trunk, which resulted in nothing more than a sharp throbbing on my left toe.
“…WASTE OF SPACE, DON’T KNOW WHY WE TOOK HER IN IN THE FIRST PLACE!” I vividly heard Pauline screaming down the hall.
Well. That was the last straw for me. Honestly, I don't know why
Pauline constantly feels the need to shout. Admittedly, I'm the only person she shouts at. Whenever she's talking to Aidan it's all "Oh my little Aiddikins -whatever can mummy buy you today? You want a new broomstick? Alright my darling little boy!" and so on. Which is almost more painful than the shouting.
Still furious, I pulled on a t-shirt with a large coffee stain on the sleeve and a pair of ripped jeans. Then I loaded all my junk into my trunk and slammed it shut.
“…MY HUSBAND COMES HOME HE’LL BE HEARING ABOUT THIS!” Pauline hollered.
I glared at the closed door. “Glad I won’t be here to listen to all the yelling,” I muttered, before opening the window and dropping my trunk out of it, where it landed in the bushes below. Then I scrambled out the window (which was a very hard feat, mind you, as I’m so damn tall) dangled my legs out of the side of the house and jumped.
I landed in the bushes below with a loud THUMP.
didn’t I get my Apparating License last year when I had the chance?
After clambering out of the bushes and brushing twigs and leaves out of my wet hair, I picked up my trunk, grabbed my wand and strode down the driveway and out of the Bollup household, without looking back once. I don’t want to see that place ever again.
As I strode down the peaceful little street on which the Bollup’s live, I began to realise I’d just put myself in a bit of a sticky situation.
I have the unfortunate bad knack of always finding myself in situations like these. For example once, when I was nine or ten, I was living with this family who had a son who was a few years older than me -and he was a right jerk, too. One day he decided it would be amusing to turn me into a frog. I hopped around the house for two days - two days -
before anyone noticed I was gone and changed me back. I even ate a fly I got so hungry.
And trust me, it was not a pleasant experience. Sometimes, if I think about it too hard, I can still taste that fly in my mouth.
Anyway, I continued to stride down the street with what I hope was a determined expression on my face, mulling over possibilities of what I could do next - after all, there was still two weeks to go until I started my seventh year at Hogwarts.
The Bollups didn’t live too far from Diagon Alley, so I could stroll on down to the Leaky Cauldron and book a room there. This possibility had several merits, but also had a few very large problems. For one thing, I virtually have no money left, seeing as Pauline made me blow all my savings on a new pot after the spaghetti incident and for another, that would involve awkward questions from Professor Longbottom. Don’t get me wrong, the Professor is great, but teachers and holidays just don’t mix.
I could stroll on up to the WFC and complain that the Bollups have forced me out of their house, but that does not seem a very appealing idea at all.
There seems to be only one option: I’ll have to go and stay at Rose’s house.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Rose dearly - she’s the best friend a girl could ask for - but her house is a little…chaotic.
For example her dad is kinda obsessed with me. Not in a creepy, paedophile way, but in an “Oh, hey Izzy, how are you? Do you want to talk? Oh, I insist! How have your holidays been? Do you have a boyfriend? Is Rosie a good little girl in school?” type of way. Also, her house is always super crowded. There are like, a bajillion members of the Potter/Weasley family and for some reason they all like hanging out together.
Though I guess if I had a real family, I’d like hanging out with them, too. Unfortunately, my parent ditched me before I could even talk, so I’ll never find out.
But anyway, I’d rather spend the rest of the holidays at Rose’s than taking refuge under a dumpster or something, so what the hell?
I was now on the very corner of the street, so I put my heavy trunk down on the pavement and held my wand out towards the road, waiting. If a Muggle passed by right now, they’d probably think I was a bit of a loony, standing on my own and holding a bit of tree in my hand. But any witch or wizard would know what I was doing.
Calling the Knight Bus, of course.
There was suddenly a loud BANG and the huge triple-decker bus appeared out of nowhere and pulled up right in front of me.
I’ve only ridden the Knight Bus once before, and it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience - I’d hoped to never to it again. But, when life gives you lemons…
The doors of the Knight Bus slid open and a young wizard with curly red hair and overly large spectacles stepped out. He was clutching a very dirty handkerchief in one hand and looked faintly green, as though he were coming down with the dragon pox. “Welcome-sniff-to the-sniff-Knight Bus,” the wizard, erm…sniffed.
I looked at him with what was probably a very rude expression on my face.
What? Sick people and sniffly noses and diseases gross me out. Don’t judge, I’ve grown up in foster care and never had any of those spells cast over me that protect you from diseases. These spells are sort of like immunisations to Muggles. Anyway, I just can’t afford to catch a deadly illness and suddenly snuff it.
“Where-sniff-would you-sniff-like to go?” the wizard continued
God, all that sniffing is distracting. All I can see is his overlarge nostrils flaring - I can’t even understand what the bloody moron is saying!
“Excuse me, sir?” I said in my politest voice. “I really think you should blow your nose. I can see a bit of snot dangling there, threatening to shoot out.”
I’m not lying. There’s this big, green stretchy thing, dangling between his two nostrils.
The wizard frowned at me. “You did-sniff-call the-sniff-Knight Bus-sniff-didn’t you?”
“FOR THE LOVE OF MERLIN!” I shouted, and the sniffy wizard jumped back slightly, looking startled. “Will you please
just blow your nose already! Jeez, is that so hard to do?”
The wizard glowered at me but took my advice and blew all those boogers into his filthy handkerchief. Clearly the guy has never heard the word hygiene before. “Thank you!” I said in exasperation. People really get on my nerves. “Can you take me to 16 Oak Lane, please? That’s where my friend Rose lives.”
“Sure,” said the wizard in a bored voice, readjusting his spectacles. “That will be eleven sickles.” He held his hand in a demanding sort of way.
“Er…hang on a second,” I said, quickly opened my trunk and began rummaging for the sock in which I keep all my loose change. I noticed the sniffly wizard observing me with a mildly interested expression on his face. “Here you go,” I said, tipping the very last of my money into the sniffly conductors hand, and hoping desperately it would be enough.
“This is only nine sickles,” the wizard said, and my heart sunk faster than the Titanic. Which isn’t saying much as the Titanic sunk pretty damn slowly. I think if I was on a ship that was sinking, I’d rather just get it over and done with. Then again, because I am a witch, I could probably perform an anti-freezing charm and swim to safety. But that is not the point.
“That’s all I have,” I said, shrugging apologetically.
“It costs eleven sickles to ride the Knight Bus,” the conductor said, looking at me with a smug expression on his sickly face.
“Look,” I said, beginning to feel irritated. “The Knight Bus is supposed to offer transport to stranded witches and wizards, right? Well, I’m stranded. And unless I’m mistaken, this is the Knight Bus so…”
“But it costs eleven sickles to ride the Knight Bus,” the conductor repeated, and I felt my temper flare up at once.
“Are you purposefully trying to annoy me?” I asked, through gritted teeth. “I am a poor, stranded Hogwarts student, who is seeking refuge with my best friend. Does none of this matter to you?”
“Not particularly, no.”
Merlin. I think the universe hates me.
“Look, if you let me on the bus, you can have this,” I said, shoving the pocket sneakoscope I was given last Christmas into the conductors hands. “It’s worth more than two sickles so…”
“Just let the girl on, Sid,” the bus driver suddenly croaked from upfront. “Madam Jiggle is feeling a little under the weather.”
There was suddenly the sound of someone vomiting from inside the bus. I wrinkled up my nose, wondering whether I still wanted to get on.
Sid the sniffly conductor scowled at me. “Fine,” he sniffed, moving aside. “Get on then.”
He didn’t offer to help me with my trunk so I lifted it up myself and heaved it onto the bus, sitting down at the closest armchair.
Then the driver, who looked as though he were about to snuff it, started the engine and with a BANG the Knight Bus was off.
And I was finally leaving the Bollups behind.
A/N: Hi! Thanks for everyone who has gotten this far! I promise more characters will be introduced next chapter.
I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review, telling me what you think.
Thank you so much!