The Vanishing Glass

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The first rays of the sun shone through the upper windows of the house at number 4 Privet Drive. The house was quiet as most of the occupants of the extraordinarily normal house were asleep.

I say most, because on the upper floor, watching the sunrise was a young girl, not yet eleven years old. She sighed as the sun continued to climb into the sky, knowing she had to be up and making breakfast for the rest of the household.

The girl slipped through her door and tiptoed down the stairs. Once in the kitchen, she pulled her messy, black hair into a ponytail that draped all the way down to her mid-back. She glanced at the calendar and groaned when she saw the red writing marking Dudley's birthday.

Aunt Petunia brushed into the kitchen. "Don't burn the bacon. I want everything perfect for Duddy's birthday."

"Yes, Aunt Petunia." She smiled mentally at her aunt's request. Everything Petunia ever cooked ended up charred beyond recognition. It was why she did all the cooking after they discovered her natural aptitude for it. But physically she only pursed her lips and flipped the eggs as Petunia piled Dudley's presents so high that they couldn't see the table.

Dudley stormed down the stairs, sounding like an elephant.

That was her cue. She grabbed a single strip of bacon from the platter and took the roundabout way through the sitting room to her bedroom.

Unfortunately, she ran into her uncle at the top of the stairs.

"Comb your hair!" He barked, by way of a morning greeting.

About once a week, Vernon would shout at her to fix her hair. But it never seemed to make any difference. No matter what she did, her hair was just untamable.

The lone Potter's features differed vastly from any of the Dursleys'. Her hair, as previously mentioned, was ravenous, raven locks. She was short and scrawny, very different from her overweight uncle and cousin. Her eyes were the most astonishing emerald green she had ever seen and she thought that at times, they seemed to glow, though they were often hidden behind her wire-rimmed glasses.

Vernon forced her into the wall as he passed. She winced as his large hand dug into her ribs and the bruises already there.

She closed the door to her room softly and opened the doors to her wardrobe, scanning the clothes. She knew she should be grateful for even having her own clothes (they were the only thing the Dursleys ever bought her) but she couldn't help but cringe at the hideous, floral patterns that Aunt Petunia adored. Luckily, she found one tucked into the back that wasn't too awful, though there wasn't any cinching, making it fairly unflattering in that aspect. She slid her feet into the only pair of shoes she owned, large, clunky boots that had been Dudley's at one point. She didn't even bother touching her hair. She sighed as she studied her appearance in the mirror.

"Girl!" She heard Vernon call. Evidently they finished breakfast and it was time to go. She bounced down the stairs, following her aunt and cousin out the door. Or at least she tried to, but Vernon grabbed her arm in a vice-like grip. "I'm warning you, I'm warning you now, girl — any funny business, anything at all — and you'll be locked in until Christmas."

"I'm not going to do anything," she said, "honestly..."

But Uncle Vernon didn't believe her. No one ever did.

The problem was, strange things often happened around her and it was just no good saying she didn't make them happen.

Once, Aunt Petunia got tired of dealing with her long locks and sheared them all off, giving her a variation of a pixie cut that didn't turn out to well because of her unruly hair. Except, the next morning, her hair had grown twice it's original length.

But I digress.

She rested her elbow on the railing with her head in her hand.

"Make it move." Dudley complained, banging on the glass. When the boa constrictor refused to respond, Dudley shuffled on to the next exhibit. "This is boring."

She remained behind, admiring the scales of the large reptile, when it raised its head and stared back at her. She watched, wide-eyed. "Hello." She murmured.

The very tip of the snake's tail lifted up in a wave. The snake jerked its head toward Uncle Vernon and Dudley, then raised its eyes to the ceiling in exasperation.

Her lips twitched. "I know. It must be really annoying."

An elbow jabbed into her side and she fell with a startled cry. She glared at her cousin and climbed to her feet as he pressed his face against the glass barrier. In the next instant, the glass was gone and Dudley flailed about, losing his balance and tumbling onto the damp rocks at the bottom of the enclosure with a scream.

The boa constrictor slithered out onto the concrete floor. People throughout the reptile house screamed and started running for the exits.

"Come here." She urged quietly. "Hide. I'll get you out of here."

The great serpent slid towards her and coiled itself around her midriff, underneath the baggy dress (which for once she was thankful for) and as it disappeared from view, she heard it hiss. "Thanksss, amiga."

But this was just another day in the life of Rain Potter.

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