by Amber Wazacz
I stood awkwardly in the line next to my new friend, Ron Weasley a rather tall, ginger, freckled boy. It was time to put on our brave faces because we were first years which meant that we HAD to be sorted into our houses. Unfortunately this wasn’t optional and that’s understandable but did the ceremony have to take place in front of the whole school? This was something I was definitely not looking forward to. I had issues with being judged, I mean it doesn’t bother me but I don’t like it when it happens… Not that anyone likes being judged.
I was really nervous now because Professor McGonagall had started calling out the names which she read off a long piece of paper or parchment as they called it here, there were two things I did when I was nervous. Mainly my palms get really sweaty but that was fine because I had the long sleeves of my precious black Hogwarts robe. The other thing I did was talk. A lot. When I’m nervous I can talk for hours straight. And that’s exactly what I did…
I looked at Ron and said, “Are you nervous? Because I am. I am really nervous… Really, really nervous!” Ron gave me this strange look as a reply which I assumed meant he was nervous as well.
“What house do you want to get put into because you know if you got put into a house you don’t like you will be stuck with it forever and ever… Or at least until you graduate…”
He stared at me again this time he looked at me as if I had two heads before saying, “I’m nervous but I’m not worried because I’m a Weasley and all Weasley’s get put into Gryffindor.”
I started to think that for a new friend he wasn’t talking a lot but I knew I was. I thought about the Sorting Hat’s lyrics: “You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart, their daring, nerve, and chivalry set Gryffindor’s apart; you might belong in Hufflepuff where they are just and loyal, those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid to toil.”
I wasn’t too sure what toil meant but I did feel that Hufflepuff would suit me best. I looked at Ron and said, “You know the last time I was on a stage by myself I threw up… That was in kindergarten and I haven’t been on a stage since…”
Ron gave me one last weird look before Professor McGonagall called his name. Just like Ron had predicted he was instantly put into Gryffindor. I realized that sometimes it took the Sorting Hat a while to make a choice but sometimes it was made instantly.
I continued to think about which house would suit me best – Gryffindor or Hufflepuff… My thoughts were disrupted by Professor McGonagall’s strict sounding voice. I heard a few whispers as I started making my way to the stage. I didn’t understand why until I realized that Professor McGonagall had called my name a few time before she had caught my attention.
I slowly pulled the hat over my head and I instantly heard a quiet deep voice whisper in my ear, “Slytherin seems like a good fit…” I felt the terror growing in my heart. Then I heard a chuckle which was followed by, “Only joking…”
“Hmm… Hufflepuff or Gryffindor?”
“I don’t know,” I thought to myself. Once again I heard the deep throaty chuckle. Then I heard the Hat bellow “HUFFLEPUFF” to the people seated in the Great Hall and my poor ear drums.
First day of school and I was lost! Of course I was! This sort of thing only happens to me… I made a sharp right and glanced down a never-ending hallway… If there weren’t all those creepy moving pictures on the walls I would have sworn I was already here… I glanced to my left and not to my surprise was another never-ending hallway…
I paused in between the two corridors thinking about my options… Go down hallway number 1 with the weird unicorn painting or go down hallway number 2 where all the paintings were perfectly aligned and evenly spaced except the paintings stopped half way down the hallway and then continued on after 5 empty spaces… I wondered if the paintings were missing or nonexistent…
I stood up and went to my right to take a closer look at the unicorn painting… It really was beautiful. The unicorn had a pretty silvery purple body with a lilac mane that seemed to be flowing in the wind. The background was breathtaking. It was like a never dying garden with flowers of every color and size with a gorgeous pinky orange sunset.
“Like it?” I gasped and jumped and turned around to see Ron standing in front of me. I slowly nodded my head.
“Are you lost?” he questioned me.
Once again I slowly nodded my head admiring how the sun from the clear glass roof fell on his hair making it look even more ginger if that was even possible. I looked up to admire the beautiful sky that was a clear blue that made you feel like there were endless opportunities waiting for you out there.
“Are you lost as well?” I asked suddenly wondering how he had got here. He laughed, “No, I can never get lost in this school luckily.”
“Even though it’s your first day?” I asked curious.
“Well my brothers gave me a full run down of the whole school every day of summer,” he explained. I nodded my head slowly. Then it hit me wasn’t he supposed to be in class with Professor McGonagall. He must have understood what I was thinking.
“McGonagall sent me to look for you…she figured you got lost.” My mouth formed an O shape. I thought about how his brothers had told him everything about Hogwarts. I wondered if I should ask him about the 5 missing paintings…
“Listen, I was just curious if you knew anything about the five missing paintings over in the opposite hallway.”
He glanced over his shoulder and I could see him studying the hallway. I watched his blue eyes dart from painting to painting until the rested on the gap that I was talking about. He bit on his lower lip and I desperately wanted to know what he was thinking.
“Yeah,” he said, “I know about them.”
After a few minutes of silence I couldn’t hold my questions in any longer so I exhaled loudly and said, “Are you going to tell me or…” He looked at me and with a cheeky grin.
“I will but not yet.”
“Why not?” I argued instantly.
“Just because,” he said, smiling at me tauntingly.
He started walking away and I briefly heard him yelling something. I took one last glance at the empty spaces before running after him as I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to find the same hallway ever again.
The first lesson was quite amazing except everyone was laughing at me because I was late and because I fell over in front of the whole class. Honestly it didn’t bother me as I was used to it. The rest of the day went alright; I kept my head down mostly.
It was after dinner and I was sitting in the Hufflepuff common room. The place looked quite cozy and happy because everything was decorated in yellow and there was the occasional badger but it just made the room look more proud. I stood by the fire and gazed into its yellowy orange flames. I found it a little funny that even the fire matched the whole room.
I turned around and walked back to an old battered looking yellow checked armchair and sat in it. I reconnected my gaze with the fire. I couldn’t stop thinking about those 5 missing paintings. All sorts of scenarios popped into my head about what could have happened to them.
Maybe they contained some top secret information and had to be removed due to the secrets being leaked… or maybe they had had to be removed because someone had been murdered in front of them and they were covered in blood or maybe…My thoughts were interrupted by a voice telling me that someone was looking for me outside.
“Who?” I yelled as I didn’t catch their name.
“Ron!” she yelled back.
“Thanks,” I muttered unsure of whether she had heard me or not. I walked outside and I saw Ron standing there that same smile on his face.
“So are you going to tell me?” He just smiled. Then I went into this ridiculous rant about all my thoughts on what could have happened to the paintings. He didn’t say anything while I was speaking but when I finished he asked, “Are you done now?” I slowly nodded my head eager to know more about the paintings.
“The paintings were moved to Dumbledore’s office,” he replied to me simply.
I looked at him confused before stuttering, “W-wh-what?” I paused before continuing. “That’s it?”
“Pretty much,” he replied a satisfied smile on his face.
“But why are they there?” I exclaimed. The smile on his face slowly grew bigger.
“Ah, that’s a different story you see.” I turned to the window on my right and inhaled and exhaled deeply. I looked at the window and in my mind I saw Ron go right through the window his ginger hair flying everywhere, his blue eyes filled with terror and his arms flailing. I laughed at the image.
“So are you going to tell me why?” I asked him.
“Another time,” he said calmly before walking away one hand in his pocket. He probably thinks he looks cool. Well he doesn’t.
I really wanted to know why! And now I have to wait.
I slowly walked back to the Hufflepuff common room… As annoyed as I was at Ron for being so mysterious, I felt a fire growing inside me… My dad had always said I had a tendency to love mysteries. I smiled wondering when I would hear the next part of the story. I sat back down on the old battered yellow checked arm chair. After a few minutes of staring at my hands I looked up and almost instantly reconnected my gaze with the glowing fire. I probably stared at it unblinking for at least an hour just thinking. Wondering if my dad was right. I thought about my childhood and all the small mysteries that I had solved. Like the mystery of the missing car keys (they had fallen out of my dad’s pocket and had been pushed under the car by our fat cat who usually sat there during long hot summer days). Finally I stood and walked too my dorm room feeling sleepy but still extremely curious.
A week had passed since my last conversation with Ron. Nothing interesting had happened in the last week except Professor Snape (he was our potions master. No one really liked him) had hit a classmate of mine over the head with a book. I admit it was pretty hilarious but I did end up asking a few people if it was legal. Everyone just laughed at me and I didn’t understand why. I soon learned that muggle (non-magic people) laws don’t apply to witches and wizards.
It was the end of a very long Friday and I was walking down one of Hogwarts’ many dark hallways carrying way too many books and of course I drop them all with a loud thud. A lot of people just stared at me as they walked past, all of them hurrying to get to the Great Hall to have their splendid feast. One person did stop. I didn’t have to look down at the face to recognize who he was because you could tell by the bright orange hair growing from his head that it was Ron Weasley.
“Having a little trouble there?” he smiled. I looked at him a little annoyed that he had to ask as if it wasn’t obvious enough. He laughed and smiled even bigger.
“What’s wrong sunshine? Those silly paintings still bothering you?” I glared at him. I hadn’t realized I was angry at him until that very moment.
“Yes,” I said stiffly. He laughed again.
“You know if you wanted to know why those paintings are in Dumbledore’s office you just had to ask?”
“Why are they there then?”
“How much time do you have?” he chuckled.
I just looked at him. And he obviously understood because he helped me to my feet and handed me my books before leading me too an empty classroom. I waited for him to explain. His smile was suddenly gone was replaced by a serious look which completely didn’t suit him. He looked almost grave.
“About 50 years ago…” he started slowly…almost unsure. “There was a boy who went to our school. His name was Tom Riddle. You grew up with muggle parents in the muggle world right?” He looked at me and I slowly nodded my head confused as to why he was asking. “That makes sense as to why that name doesn’t strike fear in your heart.” I glanced at him even more confused.
“Tom Riddle had a very evil soul and I’m sure that wherever he is now he still has an evil soul… he was also a very dark wizard at the age of 16 and now as an older man I’m sure he’s even worse. Tom Riddle grew up to become one of the most feared wizards of all time.” He paused.
“What?” I asked eager for him to continue on.
“I’m trying to think of a way to show you how evil he was…. Tom Riddle or Voldemort as he preferred being called is our version of Hitler… except he’s not dead… yet…” I looked at him surprised not saying anything.
“If you want details about all the people he’s killed I’m sure you can find them in the library. The reason those paintings were taken away was because he was in them. Students everyday would faint or start screaming when they saw his face in those paintings. So Dumbledore decided to move them so as to stop the fear.”
I slowly nodded my head signaling that I understood what he was saying. From the corner of my eyes I watched him get up and when he reached the door I heard him mutter something. I was intrigued by this dark wizard but mostly I was disappointed because that’s how the mystery ended. A bunch of wimps were terrified by a few paintings. So they were moved. That’s it. The end.
I stood up and walked back to my dorm room. I felt hungry earlier but now the hunger replaced by disappointment. I walked back to my dorm room empty, cold inside. I missed the high I got being excited about something. Now it was wake up, go to class, eat and just live. Back to being boring. I missed the excitement of not knowing.
My life was dull then it got better, but it ended too soon and now its dull again and I have to live with it. Back to being bored.