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Are the months of waiting ever going to get over with? How much longer is it going to be before someone opens that door and lets in some sunlight and fresh air? How much longer will it be before I am given a new partner and the lessons begin?

I just love tormenting and terrifying First Year students, especially those who are here for their first flying lesson. Most of them show up to their first class with bellies full of butterflies, but the one who deals with me ends up with a belly full of dragons for a week or so. I know that it’s not fair to them, but it’s just so much fun!

Oh, yes, I guess that I should introduce myself. I am Practice Broom number twenty-three, although my number has long been worn off and is now quite unreadable. The First Year students here at Hogwarts aren’t allowed to bring a broomstick to school and that is quite fine with me (I get to have a lot of fun because of it). It gives me a chance to give them a taste of what dealing with an unknown entity is.

Yes, a lot of students have planted their little backsides on me over the years and then have gone for the unexpected ride of their lives. I do have to behave myself somewhat otherwise Old Hooch won’t let me out of the shed to stretch my bristles and create havoc. But, on that first day of the first term that the new students are here for classes, I get my chance when some unsuspecting First Year follows Hooch’s directions and mounts me and then it’s fun time (for me at least)!

What angers me, and maybe this is the reason that I do what I do, is the fact that I don’t get near the recognition that the Nimbus model brooms get when their helping one of the Houses win a Quidditch match, even though we practice brooms help the little cretins learn how to fly.

I don’t look so good anymore; in fact, I can’t even start to remember what it was like when I was new. It was a long time ago when I was made in that dingy shack and put to use for the first time. I do remember with pleasure the shock that the old woman had on her face when she was holding me between her legs to try to tighten the binding on my bristles and away we went around her hovel with her hanging on for dear life. Her husband came to the door to investigate the noise and we nearly ran him over as I sailed for the open door and freedom, still with a wailing banshee on my back. Well, to make a long story short, it took a few climbs, dips and dives and then loops to shake her off of me and she landed rather ingloriously in a fresh pile of cattle droppings. The last that they saw of me I was sailing away over the hills without a care in the world as they stood there with their mouths hanging open.

I roamed for a long while until I landed here at Hogwarts after leaving mayhem and madness in my wake after one housewife or another tried to claim the new broom that she had found lying in the woods. I should imagine that they remembered me until their dying day, but never spoke of the experience for fear of being labeled mad or a witch. It is indeed a strange bit of irony that I should end up serving witches and wizards for a very long time. It seemed to be a calling, but one day I landed on the practice field outside the castle and she came upon me.

One of my first memories here at Hogwarts was when the professor who taught flying, I can’t remember her name but I remember the look on her face, took me up for a test flight. But after that flight there is no doubt that when she dismounted (rather wobbly on her feet) that her hair was much grayer than it had been before the experience. I remember her leaving me lying on the ground and swearing that she would never pick me up again. Later that day her assistant, thinking that I had been left on the ground by some careless student picked me up and carried me into the castle where I received my number. Then I was put into the shed to await use for flying practice and have been giving interesting experiences to new students ever since.

There have been rather amazing feats performed while a student is hanging onto me for dear life while I try my hardest to relieve myself of my burden. I have seen students full of bravado and courage mount me only to be crying for their mommies (whatever those are) minutes later and then losing their breakfasts once they climb off of me. Yes, I have seen more than a few meals lost onto the ground after a session with me. There have also been more than a few who have had to go and change their robes after we take a flight together.

I will always remember the flight that Neville Longbottom took with me on his first try. I was just waiting for him to mount me and when that whistle blew for them to push off and hover for a moment I knew that my time had come. He had his directions but I wasn’t listening to them. It was show time!

The twists and turns and dives and climbs that he endured would have made any of the older students on the Quidditch team proud (maybe even a little envious). Screaming like a banshee, he held on for dear life while the other first years could only stand and watch with their mouths hanging open. Madame Hooch thought that she could stop me with her pointy stick, but that didn’t work as I made a dive for her and made her (and the other children in the class) hug the dirt. Of course, I did do a bit of damage to myself during that flight but that just added to my character. It all ended when he was on the ground and I was drifting away free as can be while Hooch took him to the Hospital Wing. It was only when one of the Quidditch players caught me and brought me back to earth that I was sent back to that shed.

I hate that place, it’s so dark and gloomy and confining, and I have to endure being shoved to the back of the thing in an effort to keep me from being pulled out for use. Somehow I always manage to get towards the front of the pack and have a chance to give a student a ride like no other. Meanwhile, one of the more docile brooms sits in the shed and mopes in the shadows and yet another student wonders what he or she did to deserve the treatment that I give them.

They have tried so many times to make me identifiable, my number has been reapplied and a permanency spell put upon that number, but nothing seems to work and it isn’t long before I am one of the masses once more. They have even put me in the Room of Requirement, but event that doesn’t work because I manage to make my way back to the front of the line in the shed. I guess that the old saying “You can’t keep a good broom down on the ground” was made for me!

It hasn’t been all fun and games and there have been a few disappointments over the years. One student who had a chance to equal me with his ability was that Harry Potter! I tried so many times to dump him off of me or scrape him off on one of the Quidditch hoops but, and I have to admit this, the kid was very good and stayed with me the entire way. That was so devastating that I went to the back of the shed and sulked for days. Whenever it was his class’ time for practice I would try to avoid being selected and stay in the shed.

Peeves, well, he is another one that I shall always remember. He wasn’t always called just Peeves, but over time even he has forgotten what his name was so Peeves he remains. He was so much fun when I took him up for a ride, he squealed like a pig as we flew through the air and many thought that he had become a victim like so many others, but the fact was that he was enjoying himself.

We spent hours together and he always tried to get me, which meant that I didn’t have to go back to the shed. We would soar far above the limit set by the professor, which drove her nearly mad, while we practiced aerobatics that brought notice from many. That term passed so quickly and, I’ll always be grateful to him for this, Peeves tried to sneak me out and take me for his own but got caught (much to the dismay of the others who managed to be paired with me). He is the only one in the castle that understands my nature; I guess that we’re what they call kindred spirits.

The students say that the term takes a long time to pass, and I suppose that they’re right, because first years are the ones that normally use the practice brooms this means that we only get used on class per day. If I don’t manage to get picked, I don’t get to fly and if I don’t get to fly I get a bit testy and the next person to use me has to pay. This means that, for me, the term seems to drag as the students catch on to what to look for and consciously try to avoid me. That’s when things get interesting for the unsuspecting. Okay, I know that it wasn’t nice, and I know that it was slightly dangerous (for him anyway), but it was just so much damn fun!

It had been days since my last flight and I had been hauled to the Room of Requirement once again and then he came into the room looking for a broom to use to sweep the floor. Well, he was looking for a broom and, never being one to pass up a chance to volunteer, I managed to catch his eye. He grabbed me in a heartbeat and down the stairs I went and into his office (dingy thing that it was). The next day he decided to sweep the floors with his new broom and he had the misfortune to notice that the binding on my bristles was loose. Just like the woman who tried to make me look better all of those years ago he mounted me, backwards!

Argus Filch must have thought that he had grabbed a hurricane and, while he may not have been able to do magic, he could certainly yell and scream. We bounced off of walls and ceilings and doors and every other sort of solid object that could be found inside the castle. That was until a student, thinking that he was doing the right thing (thank you, Ron Weasley) opened the main doors and out through them I went with my unwilling passenger still on my back, still facing where we had been.

I didn’t want to just dump him into the gorge (where’s the fun in that) but I did take him up and over and around the viaduct. It was just like a woman threading the eye of a needle and even when we were right over the lake, the fool held on. Well, to make a long story short he finally got off, the hard way! He landed with a terrible crash among the bramble bushes near Hagrid’s Hut and spent, I am certain, the next several days picking out the stickers from his posterior.

Of course I was captured and returned to the castle where I sat and brooded and sulked until the chance to return to the shed arrived and the rest is history.

Summers are terrible! I sit, day after day, waiting to have someone open the door to the shed so that I get a bit of sunlight and fresh air. As the time passes I think about the fun that I will have the next time some kid parks himself on me while he waits for instructions. It is dreadfully hard to be docile as they shout “up!” (J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone) and expect me to fly up into their hand to wait patiently. But it is a small price to pay for the fun that ensues once they climb aboard old Practice Broom twenty-three.

Wait, what’s that noise, is it? It is! The door is opening and there she is, my savior, well not really. It has to be the first day of the new term because she is pulling out brooms to lay them out for the first years. Oh, boy, she picked me, she picked me!

That’s it! Just lay me out on the ground next to the other practice brooms while the first years approach. I hope that I get a boy this term because they’re so much more fun to make scream than girls are. There he is, my new partner, a bit chunky but full of himself, I can tell by the way that he came strutting up to me. Well, by the end of the flight he won’t be so full (and I mean that literally.)

Go ahead, raise your hand and get ready for first year hell!

“UP!”

Here we go! You’re going to be sorry!

This was just a story that I started in January 2017 (and am just now finishing) when the notion to deal with yet another part of the Harry Potter universe that hadn’t gotten much attention struck me. Yeah, I know that brooms don’t think, but what if they could? Perhaps this explains Neville’s first flight!

I wish to thank J.K. Rowling for providing the Harry Potter Universe. Her wondrous work has given me so much inspiration that never would have been if not for her. I would also like to thank HPFF for giving us a place to exhibit the results of that inspiration we feel. Thanks also to my fellow authors and my readers as they review my work and offer advice on how to make things better in my writing.

Evil Otter
 

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