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He didn’t mean to do it, it just sort of, happened. If they really did insist on interrupting his football match with something so trivial like a multiple UFO sighting, of course he was going to get a little bit annoyed. The ministry, it seemed, did not agree:

Dear Randall Baxter,
We have received intelligence that you performed the Fulguralis Jinx at thirty-seven minutes past nine on the twenty-eighth of August on a Muggle.
If the Muggle in question had been aware that this was anything other than a natural occurrence, this breach of the Decree for the Restriction of Underage Sorcery, 1875 would have resulted in you expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
This breach is in addition to breaches of the same legislation on numerous previous occasions. Further spellwork by you may lead to your permanent expulsion from said school and possible prosecution under the section 13 of the International Confederation of Warlock’s Statute of Secrecy.
Enjoy your holidays!
Yours sincerely
Anastasia Prewett
Improper Use of Magic Office
Ministry of Magic

Randall chuckled to himself as he lay spread eagle on his bed, and open trunk on the floor with all manner of strange items strewn haphazardly around it. He re-read the letter to make sure he wasn’t in any real trouble. The news reporter who had interrupted his football had been mysteriously struck by lightening; always unlucky, especially when sitting in an enclosed television studio.

The 16-year-old wizard twirled his wand in his left hand, examining it. He could remember the first time he held it s though it were yesterday, 15 inches long, willow with a single dragon heartstring in its core. Randall longed to use it again, but knew better than to risk it, as he was the only wizard in the area (as far as he knew) after his father disappeared before he was even born.

His mother knew as much about magic as the unfortunate reporter, though Randall didn’t begrudge this, as it gave him certain liberties he was certain weren’t allowed in wizarding homes. He felt less sympathetic towards his father, who had never even told his mother that he was a wizard. All she knew was his name: Devlin Aubrey. Although Randall had discovered in his last five years at Hogwarts that he can’t have been a very good student, as he wasn’t on the list of prefects, hadn’t been awarded a prize which might reside in the Trophy Room and none of the teachers could tell him anything.

Without warning, a very dead mole soared through the open window and landed on Randall’s stomach with an odd squelching sound. Whilst jumping three feet into the air through shock, he didn’t realise that he was still holding his wand. The resulting explosion shook all the dust from the ceiling and deposited it on everything else.

‘Oh bugger, I’ve really done it now,’ muttered Randall, turning to see his cat, Leeu, climb up on to the windowsill with a bemused expression on her face. ‘Look what you made me do, that’s the second spell I’ve done in three days, they’ll have my wand if I’m not careful.’

Walking over to the window to pick his mischievous moggy, Randall caught a glimpse of a small black speck moving steadily towards him over the mass of houses that constituted the moonless London skyline. Fear flooded him, had the ministry found out about the spell that quickly?

‘No, they couldn’t have,’ said Randall, to himself as much as to Leeu, ‘it took them two and a half days to send me a warning last time, which, come to think of it, was a lot slower than last time. Ah well, nice to see the ministry’s been keeping busy.’

The imperious looking owl gracefully landed on the end of Randall’s bed and presented its leg, to which was attached a large yellowing envelope with the Hogwarts crest on the back. With another jump, Randall realised that with all the commotion with the mouse, he had forgotten why he was lying on his bed with the window open: to wait for his OWL results.

In a hurry Randall took the letter and ripped it open, unfolding the heavy parchment within. He wasn’t as worried as he knew many of those in his year would be, as he had consistently done very well throughout the year, but a slight fluttering in his stomach reminded Randall that the contents of this parchment determined whether or not he could continue with his ambition to become a Mungo’s healer.

Randall scanned the results quickly and gave a huge sigh of relief; he was all right:

ORDINARY WIZARDING LEVEL RESULTS

RANDALL AUBREY BAXTER HAS ACHIEVED:

Transfiguration: O
Charms: O
Defence Against the Dark Arts: E
Potions: O
Herbology: E
Arithmancy: A
Care of Magical Creatures: A
History of Magic: D
Astronomy: P

With renewed energy, Randall threw all his remained belongings into the large trunk, apart from his broomstick, which he valued too much to try and squash it in with something else. He usually used his wand to force the trunk closed when it was full, but thought that, this time, he really couldn’t risk it, so spent another half an hour jumping on top of the trunk to try and get the lid shut.

‘This really makes you feel sorry for muggles,’ Randall told Leeu, ‘but at least we’re going back to Hogwarts tomorrow, then it’ll be business as usual, especially when we get to test all those jinxes,’ he indicated the just visible spine of a book entitled Curses and Counter-Curses by a Prof. V. Viridian, which he had borrowed over the summer for some, ‘inspiration’.

By the time he had finished, the only things left out were some clothes, Leeu’s cage and two, small badges, both sapphire blue and silver, one bearing the words ‘Prefect’ the other ‘Quidditch Captain.’

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