Jun 11, 2014


Describe a setting where something dramatic has very recently happened. The narrator is alone, there for the first time.

An unusually large man arrives at a modest-looking two-storey house, straightens his tie, and knocks. A pause. He knocks again, louder. He tries the door once, twice, and breaks the handle. Well, that solves the problem.

He stands in the doorway for a moment, considering the warmly-lit corridor, before stepping inside. An inviting red rug with gold and green patterns leads him to just the right room. The man smiles. In his left hand he holds a battered grey cardboard box, which he opens in preparation to reveal a messy chocolate cake with green lettering. Hey, he tried. He forgot the candles, but where he comes from, they don't use candles for fire.

He’s probably inside, sleeping, but this is the most important day of his life, the big reveal. The man pats his coat pocket, the precious letter concealed. 

This door is unlocked. He flicks on the light, a naked yellow bulb. Empty.

Too large for normal homes, the man puts his free hand to his fuzzy black beard and stoops to get through the door, and stands to review the triangular room. The old brown quilt is neatly drawn over the bed, and a pair of shoes are lined up beside it. Where would the boy be without his shoes? On a row of shelves lies a messy array of typewritten documents and a broken radio, a few rusty model automobiles, a few books too thick to belong to a child. No photographs or wall decorations, nothing distinctly his. The objects on the shelves must belong to other members of the family. The room under the stairs is often a storage closet, after all. And this is a poor boy, loathed by his very own pseudo-parents. He knows, even though he has never seen. He has his ways… This empty bird cage, though, will be very useful in no time at all. 

On the other side of the cramped room is a small old TV – definitely not the boy’s. A few horse and soldier figurines. One has fallen to the floor. The man crouches to take a closer look, and sees a squashed spider among the toys.

Well, this was a wasted trip. The large man, tired of hunching, leaves the cake on the floor outside and takes a seat on the bed. A loud groan, and a snap: the bed gives way. It is now a big mocking V, both ends pointing down towards the befuddled mass of a man. He can’t get up. He notices a few black dots moving up the pillow. Reaches for it – notices it is wet. A leaky ceiling? Tears? Was the boy crying? Grabs the edge of the quilt, pulls it towards him – he uncovers a group of small scurrying spiders, then a clump then a mass, all fleeing in terror. Fleeing from where? The spiders scurry in a never-ending stream. They flow down the bed posts to the floor. They crawl onto his mountain-like feet – he’s alright, he loves spiders. After a struggle, the big man manages to free himself from the mattress. He removes the quilt. A squashed black notebook beside a crumpled brown envelope.

His heart jolts.

Tentatively, he bends down to pick up the envelope and straightens it out – there, neatly printed in old-fashioned lettering, spells out the boy’s name and this very address. On the back, there is only an outline of a basilisk.

His hands shake. Crushes it into a ball. He flips open the black book. Blank.

His fears rush to the surface. Who is intending to harm the innocent boy, take away his life before he has it?  The man clumsily fishes for a thin feather quill in his pocket, makes a little blotch.

The ink dissolves, but in return a string of black scratches fade onto the paper, that come together to form words, letters.

I see you have found my diary, Hagrid.

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