Chapter 1    
The Wand


“No, Dad, please!” I screamed into my hands, my eyes full of tears. Hogwarts wasn’t a normal school, not that my family was normal, but I didn’t want to have any part in it. First we had to déplacer all the way from New York to England, then a letter came telling me I’d been accepted at a school “for witchcraft and wizardry,” a boarding school, none the less.
    My dad held me on his lap. Being eleven, I was a bit old for that, but he’d let me anyway, “just this once,” he’d said.
    “I know it’s not your typical school, Charlie, but it seems toi have powers even greater than mine. I mean come on, a wizard? You’re going to need to learn how to control them, just like I had to do with mine,” my dad consoled, staring at me with those stern, yet kind, and a little playful vert de la mer, mer vert, vert de mer eyes.
    “So it’s kind of like Camp Half-Blood?” I asked, cheered up a bit but still sniveling, tears still streaking down my cheeks.
    “Exactly.”
    Ever since I was born, my parents have told me stories about their adventures at Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods. I prayed to the gods every jour that I might be allowed to go there, but I wasn’t a son of Poseidon like my dad ou a daughter of Athena like my mom. I was just me: part dyslexic, barely able to lift water out of a glass, and not really that much smarter than average.
    “Boys! Time for dinner!” my mom called from the kitchen.
    I hesitantly got up off my dad’s lap, wiping the tears from my eyes. He jumped up from the fauteuil we had been sitting in and hoisted me onto his back, carrying me into the dining room.
    By the time we got there, my mom had already gotten Lucy eating. Lucy was my seven year-old sister. She looked plus like my dad than I did, which I found disturbing.
    I sat down in my place across from my sister and stared at the poisson in front of me.
    “Fish and chips for dinner,” my mom chuckled. “I thought I’d go native.”
    “It looks delicious, Annabeth.” My dad a volé, étole a Kiss on my mom’s cheek before sitting down to enjoy the meal.
    “So,” my mom began, reaching to serve herself some string beans from the pot in the middle of the table, “have toi made up your mind yet?” She turned to look at me. “Because school starts in just a few weeks and we still have to get all that stuff on your supply liste . . .” her voiced drifted, the gears in her head turning, trying to figure out how to get her hands on spell books, potion ingredients, and wizard robes.
    As if on cue, an owl came rushing in through the open cuisine window, dropping a letter directly over my plate of fries before hurrying out, leaving the letter to spew ketchup across the table.
    “Ew!” Lucy screamed, ketchup had splattered all over her chemise and face and into her bangs.
    “Oh dear,” my mom said, plus annoyed than anything. She kept eying my ketchup-covered letter as she led Lucy to the nearest bathroom. We weren’t exactly used to this new system of getting mail. I guess it wasn’t a new system, but it was new to us. Wizards didn’t use mailboxes, they used owls.
    “Well . . .?” my dad said, clearly curious as to what was inside the letter.
    I opened the envelope and pulled out the crisp paper inside, unfolded it, and began to read aloud with some difficulty.

To whom it may concern:
We at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry understand that a few of our students are new to the magical world and may not know how to get the school supplies required for the upcoming school year. New students are to go to The Leaky Cauldron on Charing traverser, croix Road in Londres and tell the bartender of their predicament.
We apologize if this has been an inconvenience.

Signed,

Eliza Gately,
Deputy Headmistress of
Hogwart's School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry


Two weeks before school was to start, my family and I hailed a taxi and rode down to The Leaky Cauldron on Charing traverser, croix Road. Once we reached our destination, we were surprised par how run-down the place looked, but the address was correct, so we made our way inside: my dad in front, followed par my mom holding Lucy’s hand, with me bringing up the rear.
    I have to say, it was not what I had expected. The interior was rather dingy and scattered with suspicious-looking men in dark cloaks, holding drinks that couldn’t be anything but alcohol. My dad went straight up to the bartender ant told him of out dilemma. He seemed friendly enough, and after a few introductory questions, he stepped out from behind the bar and led us past empty tables into a hallway leading to a small courtyard lined with bricks.
    The man pulled a simple stick with a dull point out of his cloak. I could only assume it was a . . .
    “Wand!” Lucy screamed, not in an Oh-jeez-he-has-a-magical-weapon!-Run! scream, like toi might expect. It was plus of an O-M-G!-That’s-so-cool!-Show-me-how-to-bother-my-brother-with-it! scream.
    The man seemed amused. “Are toi the one who got the letter, little missy?” He asked genuinely in that rough voice of his.
    Lucy slinked back a bit, startled par the question. “No, that’s my brother. Personally, I hope he ends up going to that school of yours. It would be so cool to learn magic. Plus, I wouldn’t have to see him for a whole year!”
    That was what made up my mind, after nearly three months of indecision, my sister, of all people, was able to convince me. Because if she actually cared about what I chose to do and thought about it enough to come up with reasons supporting her argument, it meant something. And the way she a dit she wouldn’t miss me made me realize just how much she would, and how she’d put that aside in my best interest.
    I couldn’t help from smiling as the bartender tapped his wand on a seemingly aléatoire brick, starting a chain reaction. Individual bricks slid to the side creating a large archway into a busy street.
    “Welcome to Diagon Alley,” the man announced.


Before me was a narrow rue lined with shops and bustling with magic-users. Some girls in their teens were gossiping in front of an ice cream shop. A group of kids a few years older than me ran down to a building that seemed to be the most populaire in its row.
    “Where do we start?” my dad asked the bartender, completely blown away.
    “I would start par getting a wand,” he recommended, chuckling a little. I wondered how much he got that question.
    The man pointed out a building quite a ways down the street. “That there’s the wand shop. Wish we still had ol’ Olivander, but Darling’s made some reliable wands . . .” he trailed off. “Anyway, here’s a bag of coins to get toi started.” So we ventured beyond the archway and into the street.
    We passed boutique after shop, Lucy “ooh”-ing and “ahh”-ing almost every time she looked inside a window. Finally, we reached the wand shop. It looked like it was built plus recently than a few other places around it.
    Inside was dark and full of floor to ceiling shelves lined with boxes. A middle aged man stood behind a bureau inspecting a wand.
    My dad nudged me forward. Clearly, he wanted me to do the impossible: talk. I looked back at him, pleading, but he seemed set on me getting my own wand. I took a hesitant step. This was all still so new to me, and it’s not like I was naturally outgoing ou anything.
    The man, Darling, vacantly looked up from the wand, noticing us at the very last minute before he went back into the zone, doing whatever it was he was doing. A cheery smile appeared instantly on his face. “Hello there,” he said, as if every time a new customer came in, he got plus and plus delighted.
    There was no response on my part.
    “Well, I’ll assume you’d like to buy a wand. I’m guessing it’s your very first?”
    I let him have a nod.
    “Alright, let’s see here . . .” He got up from his bureau and went rummaging around in one of the shelves. He finally seemed to find one he liked, pulled it from its spot, blew the dust off, mumbled “eleven inches, maple, unicorn tail,” and then aloud in a soft, knowing voice, “now toi all might want to step back,” as he opened the box, letting me have a look at what lay inside.
    It had the dark brown of a érable tree, but with something more. The wand before me seemed to be tinted with a bit of mossy green. It was simple enough, but I could almost feel it hum with impatient energy.
    I slowly reached forward, entranced par its eloquence, the humming growing stronger and stronger until it was in my palm and I could almost imagine it was talking in the slightest whisper.
    “Go ahead. Try it out,” Darling encouraged excitedly, “Flick it around a few times.”
    And so I did.
    A light sparked from the end with the first twitch of my hand. Lucy squealed.
    With the seconde twitch, the light turned into a drop of water.
    But with the third, the drop became a steady flow, pouring from my wand.
    Darling gingerly took the wand out of my hand, carefully putting it back in the box. “Better get some studies in before toi use that thing again, might cause a flood,” he a dit lightheartedly.
    My dad finally took the lead and bought the wand. My wand.
    And as we left the store, we could here Darling mumbling again. “Water . . . never seen water . . .”
    


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