The cold evening air swept through an open fifth-floor window that was part of a dark, empty office. With the lights put out, the room duly presented itself in multiple shades of gray. The only thing that gave light was a computer that stood on the desk in the middle of the room. Its blue light shone with the lock screen that had a picture of a family of four. The family was dressed formally for the Christmas holidays and snow was falling in the background. Also on the desk was a stick that was situated in a glass box. It may have been identified as an ordinary piece of wood that was plucked off an old oak tree to any other passerby.
Overall, the office had a modern, minimalist feel to it. Empty and cold.
A click of a lock sounded from the closed door, and the door handle turned slowly. A man entered the room and softy made his way over to the desk. The tall man had a gray business suit with short, brown, combed-down hair. Nothing about him made him stand out, for he was just an average-looking man. With him was a bag that slung over his shoulder. He studied the desk in the dark room, particularly the glass box. Only the light from the hallway and computer screen revealed its contents.
Opening the glass box, he took hold of the stick and held it up to get a better look at it. He then pulled a device from his pocket that was the size of a smartphone. Holding it up to the stick, the device gave a series of shrill beeping noises. The man's smile slowly inched across his face, pleased with the results. He put the device back into his pocket from where it came.
Holding the stick ever so gently, the man placed it into a plastic bag and slid it into his bag. He pulled another stick out of the bag that looked almost identical to the one he took. Placing the fake in the glass box, he took one last look at the computer screen and exited. The door clicked shut behind him, leaving the room a bit colder than it was before.
The sound of train brakes echoed around the train station as the old steam engine pulled in to meet the crowd of parents and family. When it finally stopped, the doors flew open, and children came one by one out of the thin car doors. The sounds of greeting mixed with confusion bubbled within the crowd as the students met with their families. Others were digging through a pile of luggage that was stacked to the side.
Adjusting his glasses, Harry Potter stood off to the side with his luggage and his caged owl, Hedwig. Balancing on his tiptoes, he tried desperately to look over the crowd for two of his friends. He wanted to say one last goodbye to them before heading back to his relative's house for the summer.
Ron snuck up behind him and tapped Harry's shoulder. Harry jumped a bit but then laughed when he saw his friends. Hermione was beside Ron, smiling at both of them warmly. She then gave them each a letter.
"Since we have forgotten to write to each other over the last three summers, I wrote all of our addresses on each of these letters. No excuses!" Hermione put her own in the side pocket of her shirt.
"You know, you're starting to sound like a certain professor we all know and love." Ron scoffed with sarcasm. Harry, thinking of the best, made a guess.
"Snape," Ron answered with a laugh as Hermione lifted her book to smack him across the head. "Acts like him too!" said Ron as he rubbed his head. Harry smiled as Ron just barely dogged a second swing. Hermione then turned to Harry, ignoring Ron, and hugged him.
"I'm gonna miss you," she exclaimed. Ron then hugged them both from the side. Hermione sighed.
"I'll miss you too Ron. Although, maybe not your jokes." They left the hug and stepped back. Ron looked a bit disappointed but happy that she acknowledged him.
"I'll miss both of you," said Harry as he watched Ron's family start to move toward the gate. Ron looked in the direction and his eyes widened.
"Wait for me!" he shouted after his family as they disappeared through the gate. Taking his luggage cart, Ron nodded to Harry and Hermione and took off toward the gate with one last shout goodbye.
"Don't forget to write!" Hermione shouted after him. She, too, began to put her items on a nearby cart. She looked at Harry, "I really must be going now. My mom and dad are waiting outside. I will see you in the fall!"
Then she was gone as she too entered the gate that was located in a brick wall. Harry took a deep breath as he thought about spending, yet, another summer under the Dursley's roof. He slowly walked toward the gate as if those were his last moments in the wizarding world that he knew and loved.
He then picked up momentum and disappeared through the brick wall.
Mr. Vernon Dursley was tapping his foot impatiently on the cobblestone floor. It unnerved him to see the many kids and parents rushing out of a brick wall. He didn't want to stay there for long. Being around these "freaks" scared the hell out of him. Seeing Harry tumble out of the wall, he shouted.
"Boy!" Harry looked toward the noise and headed in that direction. He was quickly grabbed by his uncle and dragged toward the parking lot. Mumbling was heard from Mr. Dursley as they walked quickly toward the car. No words were exchanged between the two, and Harry liked it that way.
"Those freaks," Mr. Dursley turned to Harry, "...your kind, always have to be so secretive. If I wouldn't know better, I'd say you're all planning something nasty for us normal folk. Thinking you lot are so great and all." He spat as he spoke. Harry kept silent. If he were to say what he thought, he would be punished right when they got home.
Lifting his case in the trunk of the black car, Harry gave Hedwig a sad glance. It would be a long time before Hedwig would be allowed out of the small cage. Mr. Dursley shut the trunk with a loud bang, almost taking off Harry's fingers.
"Get in and put that creature in the back seat. If it makes any noise, you will not be letting it out for the whole summer." huffed Mr. Dursley. Harry put Hedwig in the back seat and made sure she was secure by putting a seatbelt over her cage. He then got into the front seat with his uncle who started the car.
"Not talking are we? Is that what they told you to do? Scared that you may spill some of their plans out into the normal world?" Mr. Dursley questioned Potter as he started to drive down the freeway that led out of the train station. Harry just looked out the window. He wasn't really in the mood to talk.
Huffing to the boy's silent treatment, Mr. Dursley mumbled as he drove back to number 4 Privet Drive.
The sound of a broom echoed in the large hallways of the Hogwarts school. Mr. Filch hummed a happy tune as he swept the school clean. Not another sound was heard, and he liked that.
No noise, no children.
If it were up to him, he wouldn't mind if it was like this all year. So quiet and peaceful. Just him and his cat.
The moment of peace was interrupted by the sound of harsh footsteps that echoed by the entrance. Looking up from his work, Filch made up three figures that were dressed in black suits. It was quite uncommon for visitors over the summer break. But, if anyone wanted to talk to Dumbledore, now was the time.
The three ascended the front staircase that led to Dumbledore's office. It was common for him to be at his office over the summer. He was one of those teachers that basically lived at the school.
The three looked to be representatives from the Ministry of Magic and it was confirmed when they arrived at the headmaster's office. They knocked at the door.
"This is Minister Eric Griffiths! I'm here to talk to Albus Dumbledore about an important issue that has arisen."
The door flew open, and the three men walked inside the headmaster's office. The Headmaster looked up from his desk, which in its position looked like a throne. The Minister gave a curious bow, and Dumbledore motioned him to sit down. The pen didn't stop writing as Dumbledore stood from his place at his desk to stand beside it.
"What brings you here today, Mr. Minister?" Dumbledore asked.
Griffiths cleared his throat and motioned his accomplices to leave them, "A matter of grave importance, Headmaster." Looking around as if he expected someone was eavesdropping, He continued, "From our intelligence, the muggles may have discovered that we, wizards, exist."
A short laugh from the headmaster echoed around the large office. Seeing that the minister wasn't joking, Dumbledore ceased his amusement.
"I dare say though," Dumbledore moved back to his seat as to be more formal, "don't you have whole departments for policing these situations?".
"Unfortunately, we can't pinpoint the exact event from whence the leaked information came. It spread like wildfire all over that cursed muggle news network. Our existence will be broadcasted in this evening's news."Griffiths looked away from Dumbledore's cold stare.
"Why did you come to me about this?" asked Dumbledore.
"The children," The minister paused, "The children, your students, are in danger if the muggle's knowledge of us is not neutralized. I have all my best people on it, but from what I hear," Griffiths shrugged, "it may already be too late."
Dumbledore sat back in his seat, "So what do you say we should do? Call everyone back to Hogwarts?"
"If you wish to. I would if I were you." Griffiths stood from his seat, "But I can't tell you what to do at this time. I just came here to inform you." Leaving for the door, Griffiths stopped and turned around. "The council and public are meeting in the courtroom tomorrow. You are most welcome to join."
Dumbledore bowed to the invitation, and Griffiths left the office. The headmaster furrowed his brow, deep in thought, and picked up his quill. He started to write on a new parchment with a newfound concentration and thought.