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The Copyright Office Finished IC Books

 
 
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:06 AM
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Default Plimpy Soup for the Wizarding Soul



We all have stories, our own hilarious mishaps and white knuckle tales of terror, our fairy tales and our tragic retellings. But more than any other type of story, more than all the jokes and caustic warnings, we share those moments that change us.

Join Whizz Hard Books in enjoying the stories that follow. These true tales come from the hands of your fellow witches and wizards, and we hope the moments that changed these writers will also change you. And remember that Whizz Hard is always looking for more heartwarming tales. If you have a story to share, you can submit them by owl directly to the publisher.

Sincerely,
Hugo Meade Beverley
Whizz Hard Books, Publisher
***


Table of Contents
We Are Human
For Each A Key
The Secret Ingredient - Top Contributor
The Man (and Dog) Who Saved My Life
What Has Been Lost
What It Means To Be A Hero
Handy Work
It's All About (the Way) of Balancing
Bitter
A Change of Heart
Leave No Man Behind
Old 07-09-2012, 04:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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We Are Human
By Ryan Chambers


It was going to be one of those seminars I gave about Psychotherapy for Witches and Wizards during the time when I was working as a Psychology Consultant. Ready as usual, I was waiting outside of the conference room drinking my coffee among the people who were in a deep conversation about what this conference was going to be like. Their comments were of their own observations and knowledge about the topic, some of them made me smile, and hearing them I was glad to know there were people who participated in this because they wanted to be illuminated about the topic, not because their boss had sent them to take the seminar. That kind of person, those who were sent by others, were the ones who liked to criticize the topic harshly. Giving them the vital information they needed to change their ideas was a pleasure to me and something fun to do, but when I heard, as I made my way back to the conference room, what one large group was talking about, I could not help halting and listening in a bit. The topic of that conversation had nothing to do with psychotherapy for Wizarding people. What they focused on was giving out numerous reasons for how wizards were superior to Muggles.

'Most importantly, we have the gift of magic! They are unaware of what really goes on in this world. They are blind to reality'

This was a strong point of argument, no doubt, after glancing at the woman who had said it, I finally walked into the conference room. After a few moments, the crowd gathered, and I carefully observed them as they did so. The woman and her group was in the room as I expected them to be. Hopefully they seemed to have dropped their topic and they were ready for the seminar. As usual, I welcomed them kindly before jumping right into the topic.

''Does anyone here have a fatal illness?''

I waited as people looked at each other questioningly. No answer came, so I went on.

''That’s great. Then, who can tell me something that will certainly happen to every person living on this planet? To all of them, without exception. Something inevitable, something we fear the most.''

''Death,'' one of them voiced and I gave him a kind nod. The question was an easy one, but it had vital importance for the rest of the seminar.

''That’s right. Death is the only inevitable thing that all people in this world will face sometime. So, if it is inevitable that I will die, does not it mean that I already have a fatal illness?'' I waited for a moment or so after that, giving them some time to think and take it in. When it seemed no one had a counter-argument for it, I went on. ''Do we know when are we going to die?''

''There is a such thing as a death omen,'' the man who had previously answered my question said. He was right, so it made me smile. ''Yes, but I asked 'when'. Can even a prophecy tell us when exactly we are going to die? Is there a way, any way, to know when we are going to die?'' Silence fell on everyone in the room for a few moments, I waited patiently. Then finally someone said ''No''.

''Is there a possibility that it can happen now or the next moment?''

The answer came quickly this time. ''Yes.''

''Tomorrow?''

''Yes.''

''Twenty-five years later?''

''Yes.''

My smile widened as they were doing a good job so far even though some of them seemed to be annoyed, probably at the way I was repeating this. ''Okay, then, do you know which one of these will happen to you? Do you know if you will safely be back to home tonight, alive? Is it guaranteed?'' A few murmured 'No', some seemed to be curious to see what this was going to lead to and the annoyed part of them, well, was still annoyed. ''Let’s think about it this way now: do we know, for sure, that our loved ones, whom we have left behind to come to this room, won’t face death by the time we come back to them? Can we say that we would not get a message any time telling us one of our loved ones is dead?''

''Why are you talking about this? We did not come here to hear some questions that we already know the answers to or to hear things about death.''

This man was one of the annoyed group, I was glad to hear that someone had finally risen up to ask. ''But we are talking about a pure, inevitable truth which concerns everyone in this world.'' I was talking to everyone in the room, not particularly for the man. ''Just assume you know that tomorrow is the death day of one of your loved ones. Would your priorities in life would be the same? Would you prefer to come here to listen to me or spend your time with that loved one? And what if tonight is the time you will die? Would anything in the world have any importance? Your money, your job, your school, things that make you proud of yourselves, …your magic.''

This time, the silence was deep but meaningful. I knew all of them were intensely thinking about it. ''Muggles.'' I went on. ''They have loved ones too. They will die, as well. And when thinking about the possible death of a loved one or facing death themselves, they do as we do: leave everything behind. And everything left behind, we, wizards and Muggles, are the same. We all have this same fatal illness. In this case, we are not wizards or Muggles, we are all human.''
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Last edited by Cassirin; 08-04-2012 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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For Each A Key
By Sarah Edwards


I was having an awful day that day. I sat by the brook at the edge of our farm and watched the fish swim playfully in the cool waters. “Why am I unique? Why am I special? In whose life do I make a difference,” wondered I. Salty tears cascaded down my cheeks, yet the brook did not respond. I began feeling sorry for myself, dipping into despair. Sobs wrecked my body, my shoulders quacked with emotion. This is where my mother found me.

Her fingers stroking my back made me aware of her presence; I had not noticed her shadow or sound. I jumped out of my skin at her touch. “Sarah,” she said in a gentle motherly voice, “What woes you so?” (my mother and I sometimes speak in that way to another, both linguistic geeks, our vocabulary comes straight out of books). I stifled a sob and wiped my tears on the sleeve of my simple blue-checked frock. I hiccupped and began to tell her what saddened and worried me. When I was finish there was silence for a while, my mother gazing ahead at the calming brook, gathering her thoughts. “Sarah,” she began, “I cannot disagree with you more - you mean the world to Father and me. Do you know how much we will miss you when you are away at Hogwarts?”

“Parents are meant to love their children unconditionally,” retorted I.

“But your brothers love you and protect you underneath their tough exterior. They want to feel that they are strong men, strong with their emotions, yet inside their heart they love you more than they can express,” she said.

“Fine, they are family, but outside the family I am no one,” I replied.

“No, Sarah, you are getting this all wrong. Let us say you forgot to feed the chickens or horses or milk the cows, would they not need you?” she said again.

“But they are animals; animals are not humans," I protested. My mother sighed, she got up, dusted the dust off her apron and said, “Come Sarah, I have something to show you.” She picked me up and put her arm around my shoulders and I grudgingly followed her into the house.

She and I walked into the living room, where my mother headed directly towards the mahogany piano that stood proudly in the corner. She then did something she had never done before, she opened the back of the piano – something she had once reproached my brothers for doing. She indicated that I come look; I stood on the piano chair and gazed inside. Inside were hammers and strings, one for each piano key. I looked at her quizzically. “Sarah,” she said, “What is the difference between the amount of keys on the piano and the amount of strings on my violin,” she said taking out her violin from its case. I counted the strings on the violin, there were four strings, I then counted the keys on the piano 1,2,3,4….75,76…81,82,83,84,85,86,87,88. “There are Eighty eight keys on our piano and four strings on a violin. The piano has much more keys/strings then a violin,” I said.

My mother nodded and began to play a beautiful piece on the piano using keys from each end of the pitch spectrum; she then brought her violin to her chin and played the same song. “The music sounded different,” I observed. My mother smiled. “See, Sarah, there is music played on the piano that cannot always be achieved on the violin, as the piano has more keys. Each key on the piano contributes its own unique sound, producing a beautiful blend of song. Can the music on a piano be achieved with, let us say, 10 keys,” she asked. I shook my head. “Each key is important, the keys on the left cannot make the high pitched sound on the right and vice versa. This is what happens in a choir”. I nodded, this was interesting. Yet my mother had another trick up her sleeve.

She headed for the stairwell, indicating that I follow her. I numbly did so, her message still absorbing into my mind. Together the two of us climbed the stairs past the landing of our house and finally reached the top –the attic. The attic was for storage, mainly of family heirlooms and items. “Alohomora” my mother cast on the door and it opened. It was dark and musty in here, yet my mother took out her wand and said “Lumos”. The light from her wand lit up the room. There were boxes, chests and trunks of all different sizes, as well as some old furniture. My mother headed for a mahogany chest that was against the wall. She cast, “Cistem Aperio” and the lid opened, revealing some musty old objects. My mother groped around it and pulled out a Muggle typewriter. “This belonged to my great-grandfather, also a writer,” she said softly, dusting off some dust. I watched in wonder as she loaded paper and ensured that there was ink. She typed the following letter to me.

Quote:
This typXwritXr your grXat-grXat Grand fathXr usXd until it workXd no longXr –thX lXttXr ‘X’ fXll off. Without it hX could not writX out his articlXs and storiXs as thX lXttXr ‘X’ was so important. So too with you Sarah, you arX likX thX lXttXr ‘X’, without you thX world can’t Xxist.
Merlin, I looked down, indeed the letter ‘E’ was missing. I smiled at my mother. I was indeed very important.

Last edited by Cassirin; 08-04-2012 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The Secret Ingredient
By Norma Smith

“Grammy, what is the secret ingredient in your cookies?”

This has been a question that my grandchildren have been asking me since their very first bite of my sugary delights. I cannot help but giggle each time they ask me to reveal my secret to them. After not getting a response from me, they start rattling off a list of things I possibly could have added more of to make my cookies taste extra special. But they never do guess correctly.

“Did you add extra vanilla?” my only granddaughter asked me, putting what had to be her seventh cookie in her mouth. “I could definitely taste–”

“Really, Hayley? Extra vanilla?” Tyler butted in, scoffing at her as if the secret ingredient was sitting right there in front of them. He rolled his eyes, giving off the attitude that what he had to say had to be right because he older and smarter than her. “She obviously put more Chocolate Frog chunks in them. Didn’t you, Grammy?”

Their assumptions didn’t stop Colton, the youngest by a number of years, from making a guess as well. He couldn’t help put spit out cookie crumbs as he excitedly shrieked, “SUGAH! SUGAH!”

I beamed down at them all, shaking my head at each of them. “No, my little darlings. I made those cookies just like I always do,” I responded honestly. “And we best put these away before you all ruin your appetites.” They might have done that actually (they devoured half of the batch I had made), but they were ready to eat again in a few hours anyway.

As I took the plate of cookies from them and placed them out of their reach, I couldn’t help but overhear them bickering over who was the closest to guessing the secret of my cookies. Hayley got frustrated with Tyler’s stubbornness; Tyler was offended that Hayley couldn’t see that his assumption was the most logical; and Colton continued repeating the one ingredient that every child was addicted to. So I decided to make a deal with them, if they promised not to tell a single soul what I was about to tell them.

“I promise that I will never tell anyone, Grammy. If I do, you can snap my wand in two!” declared Hayley right away.

“I bet you’ll run off and tell all of your friends,” Tyler taunted with a smirk. His eyes then met up with mine. “But I will make sure Hayley won’t blab. We all know she would die without her wand.”

“SUGAH!”

For the next hour, we all stayed in the kitchen to bake a fresh batch of my cookies. I couldn’t help but notice how alert my grandchildren were as I collected the ingredients, mixed them all together, and placed them in the oven. After closing the oven door, I turned around to three puzzled faces staring up at me.

“You didn’t tell us your secret ingredient,” Tyler explained disappointedly.

“I didn’t,” I admitted with a smile. “But you would have seen it, if you were paying very close attention.”

“What are you talking about, Grammy?” Hayley asked, looking around the kitchen for something that might have been overlooked. “We watched you the entire time. You got your ingredients, mixed them up, and put them in the oven. Was there something we missed?”

“HEART!”

The one word Colton shouted made me smile from ear to ear. Even though it wasn’t the exact word I was looking for, the toddler seemed to have gotten the point I was trying to make. I gave the small boy a pat on the head, a sign of agreement.

“Merlin’s beard! You put hearts in those cookies?!” Hayley immediately asked, staring at me as if she had just been petrified by a basilisk. The look on her face made me chuckle.

“No, Hayley, I did no such thing. But Colton is on the right track.” I paused for a moment, quickly glancing at the oven, before continuing. “Did any of you notice something that I didn’t use at all while baking?”

“Well … you didn’t use your wand,” Tyler answered. “You just used your hands and some cooking utensils.”

“Exactly. No magic whatsoever. I baked those cookies from scratch the Muggle way. Do you know why?”

There was a moment of silence. I could tell each of them was thinking hard about what I had asked them. But it was Colton that spoke first. “HEART!”

I nodded as the biggest of smiles grew on my face. “Yes! Heart! Or, as I like to phrase it, love. I could have baked those cookies in a matter of seconds if I had used my wand, but the outcome wouldn’t nearly have been as good. So I took my time, made everything by hand, and poured love into what I was baking. Love, my little darlings, has and always will be my secret ingredient.”
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The Man (and Dog) Who Saved My Life
By Ivy Bunbury

Actress, Singer, and Professional Dog Nanny

Once upon a time, a stranger saved my life. It was a little over a year ago, and at the time, I was really down on my luck. I was soooooo sad, so lost, and so hopeless. But this stranger saved me from myself after I had just found out that the part I’d been banking on, the big break I’d really needed, the salary that would save me from eviction.... had gone to someone else.

I’m an actress by trade, you see, WADA-trained and fully equipped in the performing arts with concentrations in vocals, violin, piano, and guitar. But this story isn’t about me or my résumé or my struggles to make it big; it’s about him. That great guy (and his dog!) that saved my life without even knowing what he was doing.

It was a cold, rainy January day when the life saving occurred. I was sitting on a wet old bench in this pretty London park, all wrapped up in my white trench coat (it was about to rain) and matching green sweaterdress outfit (you should see the shoes!), when along came one Mr. Weddell Bott, walking his reluctantly adopted stray dog. Now, at first I didn’t notice Mr. Bott, you see, as I was very busy mourning the bad news I’d just received. Tears were streaming down my face as I kept hearing the words of rejection play over and over again in my mind. Apparently I was, and I quote, “Too polite. Too shy. Too sweethearted,” for the play I’d just auditioned for. I had five galleons in my purse and none in my bank account, and just as my luck was running out, along came my saviors.

My first savior was actually Dell’s furry friend, whom I later came to know as “Francesca.” I looked up upon hearing the sound of footsteps and suddenly found myself face-to-face with a large, furry canine, breathing heavily and trying to lick my face. As Francesca got to know me on close terms, her owner stood awkwardly off to the side, clinging to her leash like it was a liferaft and he was shipwrecked. He mumbled some apologies and tried to get Francesca to GO, but she was NOT leaving without me.

What a sweetheart Francesca is! So is her owner, but, he takes time to warm up to.

Anyway, Francesca kept licking my tears about as fast they poured out my eyes, and all Dell Bott could do was offer me a hanky. I took it and tried to clean myself up so he wouldn't think I was part raccoon or something while he continued to try to yank his dog away. Well one thing led to another and somehow I ended up blubbering out my most recent troubles to this stranger… and his dog. I guess it was the presence of the compassionate dog plus the ridiculously handsome patient face of Dell that led to my telling him all my worries, but just as I got into the worst of the things (finding out that my long-term boyfriend had been CHEATING ON ME for about a year), it started to rain.

And naturally, I did not have an umbrella.

Dell and his dog didn’t have an umbrella either, but he DID happen to spot a gazebo nearby and of course we ran there for shelter. Francesca and I, fast friends already, sat down and eventually coaxed Dell into a seat, since it seemed the rain wasn’t about to let up. We introduced ourselves and made some small talk and, as it turned out, Dell was a pretty nice guy.

For a hot celebrity heir-to-a-business-empire, after all. Heh.

He asked me if there was anything he could do to make my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day better, and, being the honest person I was, I gave him a straight answer:

"Job. I could use help finding employment."

Dell, then, assumed I was not only unemployed but also homeless – and he wasn’t far off. I had been renting a room at the Leaky Cauldron for a few months (ever since the break-up) and was close to being homeless since I couldn’t afford the next month’s rent. Dell saw this and, somehow, was able to open his heart and his home to me just enough to offer me a job. And a place to stay. And money to go along with this job and this place to stay.

"I do need a dog walker," I remember him saying gently. "If you can prove to be adequate enough," I swear this is exactly how Dell talks, "the job is yours."

I, of course, accepted‼ Just the thought of being offered a job by the Weddell Bott was more than enough for me. I thanked him graciously, offered him hugs, offered Francesca hugs, and agreed to his terms right away. I’d be staying in the servants’ quarters (which are actually bedrooms larger than the size of an average home) and would be taking care of Francesca pretty much 24/7. We shook hands on the deal and just like that, my life changed in an instant.

That was a year ago. Now, I have a permanent residence in Antarctica, even though I’m hardly there anymore! I even met a lovely man while I was out walking Francesca at a dog park one day. He helped me get a few singing gigs at the Blood Tangerine club, which I highly recommend everyone checks out on Tuesdays and Thursdays (my nights to sing), and I’m looking into doing a wizard biopic now.

I just have so much more zest for life thanks to Mr. Bott and Francesca. If it weren’t for Dell and his delightful dog, I wouldn’t be in the happy place I am today. So here’s to the man (and the dog!) who saved my life! Cheers, boss!
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What Has Been Lost
By Elinor Danvers

From a very young age, I believed in karma. Do good things, and good things will happen. I was convinced that the universe balanced out. I met a man when I was fifteen. He was in Gryffindor and I was in Ravenclaw. Two years later, we were madly in love. It was the kind of love you read about in story books as a child. It was too good to be true. I married him, and we were happy together.

I continued my education. Turns out I had a passion for law enforcement. I now realize I was simply trying to help the universe by catching the wrong-doers. But one day, the bad guy caught me. My husband was murdered just outside our home, right in the street. I waited up for hours for him to come home. I had no idea I just had to look out the window.

That was when I lost my faith in karma. What had I done? I was a good person. I never wanted to be rich or beautiful. I wanted to help the unfair victims of the world. Now I was the victim. My life was ruined, and I stopped caring. I went nine years without sleeping in a bed. I was angry at the world because I felt I was being punished for something I didn't do.

Just when I believed there was no reason for my pathetic life, my eyes were opened. I met someone just as lost as I was. The difference was, he didn't know just how alone he really was. He convinced himself he was happy living his life with no one appreciating who he was or what he did. I knew my mission now.

It wasn't love at first sight, I promise. But he was my motivation to get up in the mornings. I created excuses to see him, to talk to him. I knew the universe was on my side again when we met so many times by mistake. I had to show him that there was a big, wide, world out there that he was missing. This task would prove to be harder than I thought. How do you convince someone that they're living an illusion?

I didn't mean to fall in love with him. But I did. I fell hard. On one hand, our closeness helped me to get him out of his shell. On the other, I was certain my feelings for him were not returned. I didn't care that I was a Pureblood and he was a Muggle-born. I didn't care that the shop where he worked smelled of various pickled creatures. I didn't care that his boss hated me. None of it mattered. I was determined to help him. I was scared. It wasn't the sort of 'help' I was used to giving. And it was definitely not the sort of help he was used to receiving.

Just when I thought I had failed, when all was lost, I tried one last time. This time, I spilled everything. I told him that I had thought about him every day since we met. I told him that I had fallen in love with him. That it made me sad to see him so alone, with no one he could really confide in. I told him he was my best friend-- He was a good person, who deserved much more than he got. I told him everything.

And, miraculously, he finally understood. He finally saw what I was trying to do for him, even if I didn't fully understand at this point. My faith in the universe was restored the moment he told me he loved me, too. I learned that day that nothing is ever taken from you unless you have the chance to win it back. I thought my life was over. But, it turns out, I was just waiting for my opportunity to help someone, and, in turn, help myself.
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Last edited by Cassirin; 08-04-2012 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What it Means to be a Hero
By Freyr Rowle

What defines a hero? Superhuman strength? The ability to shoot lasers out of their hands like those Muggle comic books? Is it bravery that distinguishes heroes from the crowd? Honesty? Integrity?

My father had none of these. But he was still my hero.

When I was five, I asked my father about the strange black tattoo on his forearm. He hit me across the face. Hard.

My mother dabbed essence of Murtlap on my bruised, swollen cheek and begged me to never mention it again. I was sent outside to play, but curiosity led me back inside the dark house. I heard something. A sound I’d never heard at the expansive manor I called home.

Crying.

I know, I know; curiosity killed the kneazle. But I couldn’t help myself, and before I knew it, I was on my knees, peering into the majestic library. My father sat hunched over at his desk, his head in his hands, his shoulders shaking. At the time, I was beyond bewildered, but I think I understand better now. My father – the proud, dignified idol I looked up to – was ashamed.

When I grew older, I went to Hogwarts, and there, thanks to History of Magic, I learned the truth. The truth about Death Eaters and war and the Dark Mark. The truth that my father, my childhood hero, was hardly a hero at all.

At that point, I began severing ties with my family. I was already in Slytherin – that couldn’t be helped – but I refused to defend their twisted pureblood ideals. By the time I turned seventeen, I had left home to move in with my best mate’s family. A few years later, I was married to my longtime girlfriend and we had a young son. Life couldn’t have been better.

Then the unexpected happened.

I got an urgent message from my mother – my father was at St. Mungo’s, and he was dying. I remember I Flooed there, because I was so shaky I would’ve splinched myself for sure. I don’t know what I expected. A tearful reunion? A cold rebuke for my being a horrible son?

It was neither.

My mother was crying silently as I knelt by his bed. It was a struggle to form words. “I’m sorry.”

Sorry for his dark deeds? His failure at fatherhood? I didn’t know. It didn’t matter. His gray eyes, full of shame, were desperately seeking repentance.

So I forgave him.

But something still tugged at me. My thoughts drifted to my own son, sleeping safely at home, and I tried to imagine him leaving the family, renouncing any connection with me. It was beyond painful.

“I’m sorry, too,” I finally confessed.

My father’s face relaxed and I was still holding his hand when he left the world.

The rest of the night after that is hazy. I remember I didn’t cry, but walked home, stunned and dazed.
I didn’t cry at his funeral, either, a solemn affair with speeches full of empty words. They called him a “hero” and a “great benefactor to the community”, and praised his “accomplished life.”

No one knew how much of a hero he really was.

He might not have saved the Wizarding World or defeated a Dark Lord, but, in his final moments, he set aside his dignity and showed remorse for what he had done. And that’s hero enough for me.

Last edited by Cassirin; 08-04-2012 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Handy Work
By Imogine Nepman

Things can be so much easier when they happen quickly. If magic didn’t exist, simple tasks would take forever! “Mom, I’ve finished mopping the floor,” I called upstairs, looking up from my book. “Good timing, Imogine, it’s time to go,” Mother said, glancing at our ticking analog clock. She adventurously strapped on her boots and jacket, “You coming?” she asked.

I remained seated. “Why can’t we just apparate to the post office?” I asked. “Oh, come on Iggie don’t be so lazy,” she replied. I put down my book and traveled out the door after my mom.

“And what did the owls bring for us today?” Mother asked postman Aiden, when we arrived. “There are two letters for you,” he said, handing mom two rumpled brown envelopes. “And one for you too, Imogine”. This was strange. I rarely got mail besides my weekly subscription to “Witch Weekly Teen” magazine. This was probably some letter from Hogwarts congratulating me on my recent graduation. Surprisingly, Aiden handed me an unfamiliar crisp white envelope.

“Can I see it?” Mother asked when we got home. She was practically hovering over me as if she wanted the mysterious letter for herself. “Sure” I said, handing her the letter. I really was not that concerned with its contents, and I started reading my book again. Mother whimsically fluttered open the envelope. “Imogine!” she gasped, “It’s from your long lost cousin Shelby!” I immediately came back over. She thrust the note into my hands, it read:

Hey Imogine, It’s Shelby. Do you remember me? We used to play together when we were kids. It’s been so long and you should come visit me. I finally found your address, hopefully you won’t have too much trouble finding ours. Actually, you won’t; cause I included it on the back of the note. Drop by any time!

-Your cousin, Shelby Nepman


“This sounds like such an adventure, you should go!” Mother exclaimed. I decided this was a good idea. I could vaguely remember having a cousin to play with when I was little, and it would be fun to see her again and maybe relive some childhood memories “She said I could come any time so I’ll go right away.” And then I apparated. Instantly.

I was in the middle of a road, surrounded by white houses that looked as if they were cut from a cookie cutter. I was in the right place. Shelby’s house was number 10 Ridgecleff Drive. It was easy to find. Living in a Muggle subdivision was a crafty idea to hide from Muggles by blending right in. How would people know they were wizards?

I knocked on the door and a girl in a bright orange sweater opened it. “Hey, you must be Imogine. Come on in.” We sat on the sofa and chatted. It was fun to be reconnected with Shelby. We talked about the adventures we had as kids and what it was like living in the Muggle world. Shelby checked the time on her “cell” and said it was time to pick her brother up from work.

“You can come too,” she said. “I didn't bring my broom!” I replied. How could I forget?

“Hah, you're funny, we aren’t going to clean the floor,” Shelby said.

“No really, do you have an extra I could borrow or are we going to ride thestrals?”

“What are thestrals? Are you nuts?” Shelby said. “We're driving”

“Where do you go to school?” I asked in the car.

“Camebridge Senior High,” Shelby replied. A muggle school, a cell phone, no idea what thestrals were. Why didn't I see this before? Shelby was a Muggle, and that’s why we hadn't seen each other for so many years. Our families had started avoiding each other since I started showing signs of magic and she hadn't.

We pulled up at a fenced off area teeming with loud machinery. Muggles were shoving a heavy drill pipe into a deep hole in the ground while others were hammering at a huge rock face. The workers all looked extremely worn out. “Look out!” someone yelled, and before I had time to look a huge piece of rock snapped off the rock face and crashed upon a piece of machinery. I knew the perfect spell to fix this, and instinctively, I motioned for my wand. But then I remembered was in the Muggle world and couldn’t use magic.

I watched helplessly as the Muggle workers crowded around the area, moving shrapnel and repairing broken equipment with their bare hands. I suddenly felt lazy and unhelpful compared to them, because while wizards can solve any problem with a flick of their wand, Muggles have to do all the hard work themselves. I suddenly felt the need to get out of my chair and get moving.

“Don’t forget to wash the dog,” Mom said. I got buckets of water and some soap and began scrubbing the dog. I then baked a heartwarming batch of cookies for my friend Shelby in the Muggle world. All with just my hands, with no magic.

Last edited by Cassirin; 08-04-2012 at 02:22 AM.
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It's All About the (Way Of) Balancing
By Roxanne Carter

When I was nineteen, I wasn't even thinking of my future career. Nope, like others my age, I was just focused on getting through university in one piece. And while having as much fun as possible. That wasn't too much to ask, I thought. Key word there is thought.

While I did manage to balance the grades and the fun, it came at a price. Sleep. I was getting very little to none of it. I thought that guzzling coffee and energy potions was a good substitute. Wrong. One day, all the sleeplessness caught up with me and I passed out. Right during one of my classes. During one of the most important tests of the year. One that would decide whether I would pass or fail the class.

As I woke up in the hospital, tubes running in all directions (and having failed that rather important test), I realized that the incident was my wake up call. It wasn't that I couldn't have that balance of grades and fun, no. It was just that my way of balancing them sucked. Really sucked. So, after trying (and failing) a few more times, I managed to find a way that did work. And still does to this very day.
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Bitter
By Everett Scabior

I hate coffee. It’s almost the exact equivalent to drinking tar. Hot, dark and bitter, with a strange aroma as well. To make a cup even remotely drinkable you have to add a truckload of things sugar, cream, milk, and even then with all the good stuff mixed in around it, the bitterness still resides.

It’s probably why most members of my family don’t drink that much coffee, we are too bitter already.

I remember a lot about that day. Or perhaps I don’t remember a thing, and much of the events in my head are only fabricated thoughts sewn together to keep the remains of an extremely faded memory.

I was drinking coffee though.

“Are you awake?” My older sister Ray’s voice broke the silence that I was enjoying in the empty kitchen. I didn’t even so much as look up as I leaned against the breakfast bar with my coffee.

The cup seemed cool enough, and I brought it up to my lips to take a testing sip before grimacing at the taste. “Don’t know. It’s possible that I might be dreaming, but since you’re here it might be more of a nightmare.” Jerking to the side I managed to avoid the swat to my head by just a few inches, without even spilling the coffee too.

“He’s looking for you.”

I just nodded, saying nothing else, I made my way to the living room, where for some reason I knew my father would be.

I was right. He had been sitting there, Daily Prophet in hand, a pointless silly picture moving around on the front page. His dark black hair was flickered with bits of grey. He was reading, not exactly looking all over for his only son.

“Morning.” Taking the seat right beside him I held out my mug. “Coffee?”

“I don’t drink it.” My fathers voice was dull as he slowly folded his newspaper in two.

I took another sip. “Oh. I figured.”

“So.” Blue eyes identical to mine, stared at me, almost hawk like. “Where have you been?”

“Around.”

“In Scotland?” It was a loaded question, that much I knew.

“Not unless Egypt has a city named Scotland. Which I’m almost certain it doesn’t. It does happen to have a town named Zagazig however so I bet there has to be some confused people around there. I’d be confused if I lived in a town called Zagazig. They said that Marius Black moved there.” The man had been a squib, so he had to live a confused life in Zagazig.

It was silent for a few more minutes, and I knew why. I had said so much, and yet nothing at all.

“Care to spit out more pieces of useless information?”

My brows came together. “Oh no, that’s quite alright, I wasn’t a Ravenclaw you see, I can control myself.” I wanted to tell him that the information was probably not useless to the people who lived in Zagazig, but the fact would be wasted on that man.

“I thought you worked at that Muggle place”

“Hmm.” I leaned forward lowering my voice just a bit. “Most people call it a library.”

He ignored it, or just me in general. It was something he did often. “They let you have more time off?”

I just shrugged. “I wasn’t really needed so I didn’t go in. When I went to Germany last week it was all good.”

“And Korea the month before.”

Actually it was Japan and that didn’t really count because I didn’t spend more than a day there with that one girl.” Shame. “Think I should go to Korea? North or South?” I took another sip of my coffee. The taste was oddly starting to grow on me.

“Neither.” He stared at him, blue eyes digging into mine like daggers. “You should stay here.”

“Aw, never knew you missed me so much to-” I started.

“Don’t be ridiculous Everett. I mean in Scotland. Or even England. Enough travelling.”

“When I travel I learn. Books can teach me a lot but when I trav-”

“And what is the point of it Everett?” He stood up quickly, staring down at me.

I took another sip. “You know, If you’re trying to make sure I do something amazing to spread the Scabior name I don’t think it will work. It’s Muggle you know, not directly but like three generations before you. I’m sure you know.” I leaned back in the chair. “The most famous Scabior was…hm…wasn’t he that one who helped capture Muggleborns with a group of other men? Called themselves Snatchers?-Oh but you know that since that was your uncle righ-”

The cup exploded in my hand, sending the hot coffee and broken pieces everywhere. I expected it was done out of anger, but when I blinked, wiping the scolding drops from my face I noticed my fathers wand.

“Should have poured it all over you.” His voice was strong, yet strangely quite. “Now listen. You received six NEWTs. That was two years ago. You didn’t go to university. I didn’t force you. You didn’t want to get a job in our world and I didn’t force you either. I’m not going to force you now.” He pocketed his wand. “I don’t know what you’ve been doing on these trips, but they really don’t seem to be any benefit to you.”

“They-”

“-They aren’t. Why don’t you do something. Actually go out and do something. Something meaningful. Something that will make a difference to you or someone else, and if not then perhaps we need to glue your mouth shut since you are starting to get on my nerves. You are no idiot, and there’s no reason for you to act like one.”

I blinked, before slowly opening my mouth once more. “There’s coffee on my lap.”

“Good. You’re too bitter already, you don’t need to drink that.” He left the room before anything else could be said.

His quick leave was probably why I applied for the Magical Law Enforcement the next day.
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Last edited by Cassirin; 08-04-2012 at 02:26 AM.
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A Change of Heart
By Dia Thriftwood

It was the sudden sound of her doorbell, which she had charmed to make screeching sounds instead of the standard ‘ding’, that had suddenly woken Dia from what might have been the best dream she had ever had. Whoever was at her door had better have had a good excuse because she was now awake and annoyed.

Hurrying down the stairs, wand in hand, she turned the corner sharply in the living room and threw the door open. Her eyes went wide at the sight before her. On her front porch stood her mother with a little girl that didn’t look any older than 3…maybe 4. She tilted her head slightly at an angle and crinkled her eyebrows, clearly not knowing what to make of the scene before her.

Allison eased the little girl through the front door then began making her way back down the driveway. “Her name’s Mora, I’m supposed to be watching her, but I have plans and can’t possibly concern myself with her. That’s where you come in, I’ll be back by four, don’t make it starve.” She shouted over her shoulder.

Dia blinked twice as she watched her mother hop into her car and drive off. She referred to the child as ‘it’…she hopped into her car and left her with some little girl she called ‘it’! There was no point in acting surprised; this was typical of her mother.

Her eyes drifted down to the little girl who was now staring up at her with big green eyes. She felt herself cringe under her scrutiny. Children were never a good sign and that was exactly why she didn’t want any. All they did was cry and pull on your clothes with their snot covered hands—they peed themselves when they were scared and expected you to have them cleaned up when they were done throwing a tantrum and the worst thing about them was that having one made you a mother. That word was enough to send her into a cold sweat. Motherhood came with responsibilities and it meant you had to grow up so you could help the child do the same. Growing up meant having to take life seriously and nothing scared her more. Ugh. Why anyone wanted children was beyond her.

“Uh…hi…I’m Dia…” She didn’t know what to do and felt completely lost.

The little girl giggled as she began squirming and twisting her dress. “You look pretty.”

“Right…” Was that the appropriate response? Well it seemed to be because little Mora just started on another giggling spell. Were all children so strange? “So you sit there—just stay there now and I’m going to go to the next room.” She said, pointing to the couch. “When you think you’re hungry then you can come find me.” In the mean time, she would head into the kitchen and get herself a glass of milk. It always calmed her down and right now she really needed it.

After taking the first gulp, she noticed a little person scampering into the kitchen. Puzzled, she followed her with her eyes until she stopped directly in front of her with a wide smile. This confused Dia even more. She stared down at her, hoping she would feel awkward and say something but, as she soon realized, that didn’t really work on children. She took another gulp before looking back at her. Mora giggled then rested her hand on Dia’s mouth with wide, bright eyes staring up at her.

“You have a musnach.”

If there was one thing Dia was sure about, it was that ‘musnach’ was not a word…but it wouldn’t have made much sense correcting her, now would it? Without knowing why, she felt this sudden compulsion to offer her some so she rose and got her a glass of milk as well. She watched Mora take a sip then another before filling her mouth with the liquid. With full cheeks she turned to look at Dia.

“Hey…” Dia said with a reminiscent smile… “That’s kinda cute I guess…” She couldn’t exactly deny the fact that this little girl was adorable, now could she? She watched on curiously to see what else Mora would do and found her smile widening when the little girl turned and began walking the length of the kitchen with a little hop in her step. Though she couldn’t quite figure out how, Mora reminded her of herself. Even more so when she propped herself unto the counter so she could see the bird that had flown to the window.

“Look, it’s a bird!” She said, her green eyes were filled with excitement as she twisted her small frame so she was now facing Dia.

“Yeah it is…” She was beginning to think that she was coming down with some kind of illness. How was it that she was actually being enchanted by this little girl? Children were little devils; they did more harm than good. She wasn’t supposed to like them because they would only be a restriction to her if she were to have any of her own.

She continued watching as Mora busied herself with something that had fallen in her glass of milk. Unbelievable…even this was cute. But she knew the moment that truly left her defeated was when Mora walked back over to her, crawled into her lap and set her glass down next to hers. Just feeling the small figure resting against her gave her this strange feeling that she couldn’t describe. It was…nice…too nice and she couldn’t allow it to continue. Dia eased her off her lap then got up. The last thing she wanted was one of these that she was obligated to take care of. This little girl might have been cute, but she came with responsibilities that she just didn’t think she was ready for.

“It’s okay, I don’t bite, I promise…”

But that just melted her completely. She smiled down at her. Maybe one wouldn’t have been too much to handle…
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Leave No Man Behind
By Honora King

"To the fortress!"

I'd heard the small rout of children before they appeared over the hill, all dressed like those muggle explorers, their beige outfits were covered in debris and each child looked as if some fierce beast was out to have them for lunch. My friends and I only paused briefly in our conversation to glance over at them all running for the treehouse - their fortress - not far from where we sat in the garden.

The treehouse had many entrances, and the first three boys to reach it had chosen their respective entrance.

The shaggy haired one dangling off the rope swing, all of eight years old, was the leader of the ragtag group, Levi. When I had first been hired to watch over the Cresswell boys, he was just a toddler, the youngest of the four by more than a few years. Naturally he was my favorite of the bunch. He was also more than a handful with all his adventures. Once he'd painted the entire lower half of the sitting room blue. When I'd scolded him on it, he said, "But I'm a pirate! I NEED the sight of the sea!"

By this time we'd returned to our conversation as all eight kids presumably made it safely into the treehouse. It was only when Levi shouted that we looked back at them with mild concern. "Where's Chip?" Christopher, or Chip, was the same age as Levi and the boy's best friend. It was the only reason he was begrudgingly allowed to play with the others, as he lacked the speed and coordination of the other boys, and sometimes would fall out of graces with them because of it.

But Levi was loyal to a fault and wouldn't abandon Chip, even if it annoyed some of the other boys.

"Man down! They're gonna get 'em!" The twins had shouted. All where watching now as the Chip made it down the hill, his little legs not carrying him fast enough to outpace the four mutts trailing him blithely.

Levi jumped off the rope swing, and sprinting towards his best friend. "Lets save him!"

"No! We'll all be eatin!"

"He's not worth it!"

They all were shouting at their leader, to which he glanced over his shoulder and responded, "Leave no man behind! 'Specially no Chip!" He was a fast kid, but he wasn't fast enough to save them both and self-sacrifice was required for his buddy to make it to the fortress.

It had always been this way when they played and it continued to be for the remainder of the summer. It never bothered Levi, who enjoyed playing martyr and wouldn't even entertain the thought of leaving his friend behind.

One day in the fall I heard the familiar sound of many footsteps rush into the house. "Miss Ana! Miss Ana!" My eyes darted away from my book at the urgency in their voices and settled on the soggy trio, wondering what was the problem, and where Levi and Chip where.

I didn't need to voice those thoughts as Marc soon started rambling out an explanation. "We were in the creek catching double-ended newts and Charlie dared Levi that he couldn't climb that tree, the tall one with all the leaves. And he said he could, but we all knew he couldn't cause it didn't have no low branches and he was too short to jump that high!" He panted, and the other two boys started to take over.

"He cheated though and started to climb the tree beside it, hung right over the creek bed but it wasn't safe. We didn't know -"

"It had doxies! A whole nest of 'em and they was MAD. They made him fall! Right out of the tree and we don't know what happened after 'cause we had to run, get you and not get stung." They all stood panting and distressed.

"Stay here." I commanded, apparating away. I knew the creek they frequented and popped up on the trail running past it. Running down to the water I was shocked at the site. Soaking wet, and lying motionless beside the creek bed was Levi. Chip was standing above his friend with a tree branch too large for his bearing swinging wildly, determined to hit as many doxies as he could.

I rushed forward and conjured up a large gust of wind, sending the doxies back into the trees and knocking over small Chip. A cushioning charm lightened his fall and not a moment later I was by both of their sides, grabbing hold of them and returning them to the house.

Levi had thankfully, only been knocked out by the fall, but sustained a good number of doxy bites and a broken ankle. The number of bites on him didn't compare to the amount on Chip though, who I later learned had stayed to protect his downed friend. Overwhelmed with gratitude, I pulled him in for a tight hug. "You didn't have to do that, Chip."

He squirmed out of my grip and shrugged his shirt back into place, confused at why I was surprised by his act of loyalty. "Levi says, 'leave no man behind'."

"I leave no Levi behind." He picked up a deck of exploding snap and went back to his resting friend.
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