Annie (_pinkchocolate) wrote,

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Entry for MN's contest

I'm sure most people know this by now, but Mugglenet is holding a contest to see who can write the best beginning of book 7. My chances of winning are pretty much .000000001% (considering all the luck I had with the editorial editor position...) but I might as well give it a shot, right?

Therefore, instead of digging into my heaps of homework (like I should have), I spent this evening writing up this little 985-word piece:

Title: Harry Potter and the Serpent's Gift (haha I made up a title for fun...)
One-shot/Songfic/Chaptered: None really, but I guess one-shot
Genre: General
Rating: G-PG
Warnings: HBP Spoilers
Disclaimer: All recognisable HP characters and storylines belong to the wonderful J.K. Rowling.
Summary: ...

Prelude: The Forgotten Street

The end of July was drawing to a close, but the bitter winds that disturbed the normally quiet atmosphere of a small abandoned village in northern Britain refused to relent. If anything, they were, on this particular evening, even more violent and merciless than they’d been in the past few days.

Around the derelict shacks lining the streets of this village a thick, stifling mist hung, the only natural phenomenon that refused to be scattered by the rough winds. The mist snaked around lamp posts and decaying heaps of dead leaves, reaching from the roots of the overgrown weeds rising from every remotely fertile surface to the tops of the tallest trees.

The only sign of life in the deserted village came in the form of the mewing of a bedraggled-looking cat seeking cover from the winds under the porch of a small house. Every few seconds, it would poke its head out to test the conditions, only to shrink back under its temporary shelter with a plaintive howl.

Unfortunately for the cat, its attempts to escape back onto the streets would bring it anything but relief from the unnaturally cold summer’s day: Even if the blustery weather died down, there would be no loving family for the cat to seek warmth and food from. Not a single human had set foot in Godric’s Hollow for seventeen years.

Or so it appeared.

It turned out, however, that as the increasingly strong squalls of winds finally forced the heavy blanket of mist to reluctantly part, three huddled teenagers could be discerned at the very end of the street on which the house attached to the cat’s porch had been built, slowly fighting their way onward.

As the trio stopped at an intersection, the one in the middle – a thin, bespectacled boy wearing a sweatshirt three sizes too large for him – held out an arm, signalling to his two friends to halt. Obediently, they stopped.

‘Amer Extremitas…’ the boy muttered, squinting down at a map he held in his hands. The cat down the street perked its ears, having picked up the sound of a human voice.

‘I think that’s what Lupin said,’ came the girl’s voice. She leaned over and peered down at the map, one hand holding her copious, bushy brown hair away from her face. ‘Ron, check the sign again.’

The last of the trio waved a hand about as though to sweep enough of the fog away to get a clear view of the rusted guidepost next to him. Being the tallest of the three, he did not have to strain to read the sign, and quickly affirmed ‘Amer Extremitas’ to be, indeed, the name of the street.

‘Great,’ the first boy said, tucking the map into his back pocket and resuming his steady pace. ‘We’re nearly there.’

The teenagers lapsed into silence as they struggled against the gusts of wind to keep moving forward. Though each was distracted by his or her own troubling thoughts, they nonetheless shared the same uneasy feelings about being in the deserted village.

The boy referred to as Ron was the first to voice this sentiment. As they neared the cat’s hideout, he said rather warily, ‘Harry, d’you think that maybe we shouldn’t—?’

Unfortunately, his sentence was cut off by a shriek from his female friend as the cat leapt out from its refuge, hissing angrily at the intruders. It darted past their feet, across the street, and disappeared into the vapour on the other side.

‘It’s just a cat, Hermione,’ soothed the boy named Harry, patting the girl on the back in a brotherly manner, ‘just a cat.’

‘I’m sorry,’ said Hermione, sounding embarrassed. She paused to whisper, ‘Lumos!’ A bright beam of light burst out from the wand she held in her hand, illuminating her nervous smile. ‘I’m afraid my nerves are on end.’

Ron laid a hand on Hermione’s shoulder in a protective way that, unlike Harry’s pat, suggested traces of a more-than-friendly bond between the two of them. ‘Don’t worry,’ he said gloomily, ‘I’d be surprised if they weren’t.’

Before Hermione could open her mouth to respond, Harry said sharply, ‘I think this is it.’

Whatever reply Hermione had been planning to utter was lost as she and Ron turned to gaze in awe and fear at the humble house before them. It was, like all the houses around it, old and in shambles; yet unlike the rest of them, it gave off a strong sense of mystery and, despite its appearance, dignity that undoubtedly owed to its remarkable history – the history the three friends were there to uncover.

Seemingly transfixed, Harry’s hand fell to his wand as he took a few trembling steps forward. He reached out as if expecting to find an invisible wall around the house, but there was none, and he continued on until he was standing on the recently abandoned front porch.

‘H-Harry?’ Hermione whispered tentatively.

Harry turned around as if just realising his friends were still there. Exhaling loudly, he ordered, ‘Don’t do anything until I’m sure the house is safe,’ and returned his gaze to the door before him without further commands.

Exhilaration and trepidation coursed through Harry as he stood still, his fingers hovering just above the doorknob. Did he dare enter the place of his birth and the place of his parents’ death? What would he find waiting for him in the dreadfully dark, dusty rooms lurking behind that door before him?

His hand inched forward…slowly, he stretched his fingers out, terrified and excited at the same time…and then he grabbed the cold metal of the doorknob, twisted it in one quick motion, and thrust the door open.

The house of James and Lily Potter creaked in welcome. Harry smiled grimly. Then, without second thought, he stepped into the shadows of the inoccupied house and silently greeted the home he had never known.

It's not quite in the final stages yet; I think I'm going to try to cut it down a little more. But chances are that I'm gonna get lazy and just end up entering this anyway instead of taking the time to tidy it up.

Hmm, too late. I sent it already. So if anyone dares to point out any mistakes, I'll murder you :P

Oh yeah, I almost forgot -- I finally got a one-shot I wrote like, a bajillion years ago called 'The Night the World Ended' validated, so here's the link. *Orders you to hopes you read it*

♥ Annie
Tags: contest entry, harry
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