It had already been six months since the first time Meera came to realize that she was a witch. She missed home dearly, especially her sister. Hogwarts was sealed with magic so there was no way she could use muggle devises like smart phones. Thanks to her friends Neal and Benny, Meera seemed to be catching up with her classes. Professor Zuck and Rufus had also been giving extra lessons to help her.
An owl flew over to Meera’s table during breakfast.
‘It’s got a letter for you,’ Benny said casually.
‘I haven’t received a single letter since coming here,’ Meera exclaimed. Was it shock or happiness, no one could tell.
‘Then may be its time you do,’ added Neal, putting some tomatoes over his plate.
She detached the letter from the owl’s feet and opened it. It was from Mayna.
Signs, Meera thought. What kind of signs?
By the time Meera turned up, Benny was running.
‘Bye Meera, late for my extra class!’ she said waving.
Meera did not like how Mayna had behaved with her. She had not uttered a single word about magic, despite being a witch herself. Even when Zuck arrived to get Meera, Mayna refused to say anything that would clear her mind. And now she added the confusion by asking Meera to look out for signs.
Meera stood up and headed towards her dormitory. Mayna’s words troubled her. What was coming ahead? Could she avoid it? She was completely lost in her own world until, she knocked over someone.
‘Oh sorry!’ she said. Meera flushed. It was Li.
Meera had previously been able to thank Li for saving her from the rotten eggs, thanks to Benny’s constant encouragement. But this was not expected. Li’s bag was on the floor with his books spread out. Meera immediately picked them up and handed it over.
‘I’m really sorry,’ she said again.
‘Not a problem at all.’
Meera had already moved a few steps ahead when Li called out.
‘Eh, Meera!’ he said.
She did not know what to do. What did he want anyway?
‘Ah yes,’ she said turning back.
‘Ahh…school’s looking to form a Quidditch team. Professor Zuck told me that you’re quite good at flying. How about you give it a try?’
Meera stood there, frozen for a few seconds.
‘Ah…I’m…n-o-t sure if I can manage to fly.’
‘Really? Professor Zuck was really impressed.’
‘I’ll think about it then.’
‘If you’d like to try out, be there at the Quidditch ground tomorrow at 4.’
She nodded and walked out as quickly as she could. Why was Li asking her to play Quidditch, why? Is this a sign? She dissed the thought out of her head. She decided that Mayna was just playing games as always, even when she was not close by.
Meera put the letter under her pillow and carried her books. She could see the sky through one of the little windows beside her bed. The sky was clearer today. May be should could fly, she thought for a moment. After all she had managed to the very first time without much of a problem.
She hurried back to her class where she met Benny.
‘So, Li asked you to try out for the Quidditch team?’ she asked with a glare in her eyes.
How did she know, Meera thought.
‘Don’t be surprised,’ Benny added. ‘Anything that Li does is bound to become news, especially when it involves you. So are you going to go?’
‘I don’t know. I’ve never played Quidditch before.’
‘I haven’t either. Its a funny game I think, but very thrilling. We should both try.’
‘Really?’ said Meera.
‘Of course, Neal and some of his friends are trying too. It should be fun to represent Hogwarts.’
‘Represent Hogwarts?’ Meera looked perplexed.
‘Where have you been Meera?’ Benny exclaimed. ‘Hogwarts is looking to form the team for the upcoming inter school Quidditch Competition with other magic schools from Europe. I think they call it the Quidditch something.’
‘It’s called the Quidditch League, stupid,’ said Redna, the Ravenclaw girl.
‘Whatever,’ exclaimed Benny.
‘And what happens if we get selected?’ Meera asked.
‘We get to play for Hogwarts with the other schools. I’ve heard that they have this beautiful place designed for the games this time around,’ Benny said all excited. ‘You know what Meera, you already have a Nimbus Two Thousand, you should definitely try. I’ll just have to borrow from somewhere,’ she added.
Meera had no clue, but she could sense that Benny wanted to be a part of it.
It was already dark by the time they had finished dinner and were getting back to their dormitories when Meera remembered that she had to meet Professor Zelda for one of her assignments that she had spoiled the previous class.
‘I’ll be right back Benny. You get going.’
Meera took the other corridor that led to Professor Zelda’s office. She was sure Professor Zelda was going to get mad at her for spoiling her assignment even after being tutored on it for three days. Meera reached the door. Whatever was visible was only because of the moonlight that entered through the balcony beside the door.
Something was happening inside. Professor Zelda was not all by herself. Meera could hear voices whispering. She wanted to walk back to her dormitory, she could say that she was unwell, but something prompted her to place her ear on the door and listen.
It was Professor Rufus and Professor Zelda, in deep conversation. The voices were not clear, but they were talking about someone.
‘It’s coming to get her,’ Zelda said.
‘It can’t get any closer, you know that we have strong walls and spells all over,’ Rufus said looking slightly agitated at the other.
‘But it’s coming just the same,’ Zelda insisted.
Meera wanted to know what they were talking about. Sneaking in seemed like an exciting idea at this point.
‘That’s why we have her here at Hogwarts and not at her home, Zelda.’
‘I’m not sure if we can keep her safe either. Her magic is too weak.’
‘We must follow commands. Thats the only thing we can do for now,’ Rufus replied.
‘But why would Headmistress Elysian want her here, with all the trouble and confusion?’
‘I do not know. But Meera stays.’
Meera thought she had been dreaming. Were they talking about her? She could hear footsteps on the other side. She immediately pulled herself and stood stiff. It was Zuck.
Does he know I was eavesdropping? Meera thought. Her heart palpitated faster. What was he going to say?
‘Meera,’ he said.
‘Yes,’ she said nervously.
‘You shall be there tomorrow right?’ he asked.
What was tomorrow? And why was he asking about it now? He was supposed to be angry for listening to Zelda and Rufus.
‘The Quidditch Team,’ he added looking at Meera’s confused face.
‘Ah.. Professor, I think I will.’
‘Good good. I knew you were good at flying since the very first day.’
Zuck walked away leaving Meera at the door. Why was he not suspicious? She did not understand. Meera quietly left the scene after a while thinking it was already too late to be standing there.
Meera walked back to her dormitory and slipped in her bed. Benny and her other room mates were already asleep. She closed her eyes but could not focus anywhere. There were so many questions. Was this the sign? The only thing that she wanted to focus on was Li asking her to try out for the Quidditch team.
It was already 4.15 in the afternoon. Meera was running late. She had to stay back after her Defense Against the Dark Arts class to cover up on homework that she did not get right. She pleaded Professor Rufus, but he was adamant that she finish it before she leave.
‘You must bear the consequences,’ he said sternly.
Meera ran past the corridors and out of the Great Hall. She ran as fast as she could, panting, to reach the Quidditch Ground. A group of students noticed her as she came closer.
‘So Meera’s trying too, eh!’ said Redna.
‘Why shouldn’t she?’ interrupted Benny.
Meera reached beside the group, still panting.
‘Relax Meera,’ Benny said.
‘I thought I was about to miss it.’
‘You won’t,’ said Neal.
Meera was clearly surprised to see Neal too.
When it was finally Meera’s turn, she took her Nimbus Two Thousand and flew.
‘She’s a natural flyer,’ said Zuck as he watched close by the ground.
Headmistress Elysian was besides him. She nodded. ‘Just like her grand father.’
‘You must remember him well, Headmistress,’ Zuck added.
‘I do indeed,’ said the other as the color of her face faded away.
The next day, after breakfast, Meera and Benny headed back to their common room. It was Saturday, so they could enjoy the entire day for themselves. Benny noticed a paper pasted over the entrance. It was the names of the students selected for the Quidditch team. It had to be on the entrance to the common room of all four houses. Benny touched the paper and began reading the names.
With each name, Benny looked disappointed. She did not tell Meera whose names were there. Meera looked at the piece herself. Benny was dejected.
She hadn’t made it. But Meera certainly had, so did Neal. Meera looked at the list one more time.
‘It’s ok,’ said Benny and entered the room.
Meera did not know how to react.
May be this was a sign.
Writing is a difficult task. I’d read it, heard it over and over again, but I’d never quite understood it. As I dive into this little journey of writing a fan fiction, I think I am slowly understanding the mountain of motivation writers all over the world put up to do what they love. The chaos, the self doubt, the madness, the resolution.
Thank you dear beloved writers all over the world! It is because of your endless toil that there’s something for everything. Thank you for trying the complex work of putting into words what you feel, which can perhaps never be truly justified by any word anywhere.