Chapter 1: The Ol' Hogwarts Express

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            It wasn’t bright out―a typical cloudy day in London, England—but I still felt like a spotlight was trained on me. It was going to be my first year in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—my mom and dad went there once.

          We were between the platforms nine and ten where the barrier to platform nine and three quarters can be secretly found. Two large cages rattled on top of the laden trolleys my mom and dad were pushing; the owls inside them hooted indignantly, and Lily trailed tearfully behind me, clutching my dad’s arm.

          “It won’t be long now, and you’ll be going too,” dad told her.

          “Two years,” sniffed Lily. “I want to go now.”

          The commuters stared curiously at the owls as we wove our way towards the barrier when my older brother, James, started to scare me again with the sorting-of-houses whereabouts.

          “I won’t! I won’t be in Slytherin!”

          “James, give it a rest!” said mom.

          “I only said he might be,” said James, grinning at me. “There’s nothing wrong with that. He might be in Slyth—”

          I saw him caught mom’s eye and fell silent. Well, that taught him.

          We—finally—approached the barrier. With a slightly cocky look at me, James took the trolley from mom and broke into a run. A moment later, he vanished.

          “You’ll write to me, won’t you?” I asked my parents immediately, capitalizing on the momentary absence of my brother.

          “Every day, if you want us to,” said mom.

          “Not every day,” I said quickly. That was quite embarrassing, owls chasing you with letters tied on their feet. “James says most people only get letters from home about once a month.”

          “We wrote to James three times a week last year,” said mom.

          Is that really? That was rather a laugh. You wait, James Sirius Potter.

          “And you don’t want to believe everything he tells you about Hogwarts,” dad put in. “He likes a laugh, your brother.”

          Side by side, we pushed the second trolley forward, gathering speed. As we reached the barrier, I winced but no collision came. Instead, we emerged onto platform nine and three quarters, which was obscured by thick white steam which was pouring from the scarlet Hogwarts Express. Indistinct figures were swarming through the mist, into which James had already disappeared.

          “Where are they?” I asked anxiously, peering at the hazy forms we passed as we made our way down the platform.

          “We’ll find them,” said mom reassuringly.

          But the vapor was dense, and it was difficult to make out anybody’s faces. Detached from their owners, voices sounded unnaturally loud. I suddenly heard someone saying something about brooms.

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