"Vernon, watch out!" Petunia screamed. A massive rock slide was happening in front of the car. Right where the road work was taking place. The boulders came crashing down, killing one of the road crew in front of them. Vernon slammed on his brakes, and the car slid forward. Dudley, who had never worn his seatbelt in his life, went flying to the front of the vehicle. He crashed through his parents, injuring both before going through the windshield. Blood from the multiple cuts Dudley sustained coated everything. Dudley landed on the road in front of the stopped car, not moving. Suddenly, something burst out of the ground, with Dudley in a beak-like mouth. The creature and Dudley were in the air about 6 feet before suddenly disappearing into the ground, only leaving a crater where Dudley had once been lying.

Petunia had started screaming bloody murder when Dudley had sprayed her with blood as he went through the windshield. The pitch had climbed with horror with a creature eating her little Dudlikins. Suddenly a deformed snake hit the passenger side window, which Petunia had kept raised as she tried to control the airflow with the top of the convertible down. One, two, three snakes slammed their heads into the window shattering the glass all over Petunia, cutting her up worse than when the glass from the windshield hit her. The snakes grabbed her and started yanking. The seatbelt held her in the car for a moment before it ripped, and Petunia was torn from the vehicle and dragged screaming into the open mouth of another creature just like the one that ate her sweet little baby.

Vernon sat up, dazed, knocked temporarily unconscious, when Dudley went through the windshield, kicking his father in the head. On top of the driver's side airbag coming out of the steering wheel. He could hear Petunia screaming; he shook his head and watched, confused, as a creature ate his son. Vernon blinked; Petunia was suddenly dragged out of the car; he opened the door only to stop as another creature rose from the ground in front of him. He jumped into the backseat of the car and was up and out over the boot, running as fast as his extremely out-of-shape body would let him. A third creature rose out of the ground in front of him; the fuckers had surrounded him. He dashed away from the beast running to the right, hoping the creature currently trying to gulp his struggling wife down its throat was too busy to try to grab him. He tripped and landed in the creek bed. The brute who had been behind the vehicle dived into the ground like it was swimming, only to come halfway out of the creek bed, shooting three snake-like tongues towards Vernon. Vernon had never wished to have the "boy" with him more than now, hoping to throw the boy towards the creature to escape. Vernon tripped and fell into the creek again. Crab-walking as fast as his fat body could away from the monster before finding his footing and getting up and running up the creek the way they had been driving. Two creatures had now all had their heads sticking out of the creek bed with six tongues sticking out their mouths, trying to catch him. Vernon heard a truck slam on its brakes on the road but couldn't see it from his vantage point in the creek; he heard the truck back up and stall out, but he was too out of breath to call for help. He figured the missing third creature, the one that had eaten Dudley, was about to have another snack. Vernon kept running up the creek and away from the behemoths. At one point, the creatures stopped hunting him, but he kept to the stream, believing they couldn't handle the water.

Harry couldn't believe it; his uncle Burt and aunt Heather were terrific! They let him have a whole room to himself, and they both tucked him in after he changed into some new clothing that aunt Petunia had bought for him and packed into the suitcase she gave him. Clothing Harry had never seen before. He was shocked. He figured aunt Petunia didn't want uncle Burt to think worse of her than he apparently did. However, Harry had a hard time falling asleep in the big bed that uncle Burt said was all his for now on. It was too soft, and the room was too big. Harry crept out of bed, took a pillow and blanket with him, and opened the closet door before lying down in the closet. He shut the door, mostly wanting to see out just a little bit.

Burt and Heather stayed up late talking about his two sisters, Heather had known Burt had sisters, but he didn't talk about them often. He and Heather had gotten together shortly after Burt suspected his youngest sister had died. He knew Petunia was a major bitch to their younger sister, but he never imagined that she would treat Lily's son the same way. Oh, Burt knew that Lily had been a witch and that Petunia was jealous; he suspected that Hiram, too, would be able to weld magic. Bert's great-grandmother, Christine Gummer, née Lord, had been a witch and kept journals about her life. As a curious child, Burt loved spending his time at the great house, a large Victorian built up in the hills above Perfection, closer to the silver mine; Hiram Gummer had used the house as an office while he got the mine up and running. Christine's books, journals, cauldrons, and other oddities were in the house's attic. Burt had never finished reading his great-grandmother's journals; he stopped reading at the point when she left her intended at the altar and fled to Perfection.

Heather was worried about Hiram, afraid that he had been abused. He had all the classic signs, flinching around adults, not looking anyone in the eyes, shying away from even children, and he was oh so skinny. Nancy had mentioned to Heather the tremendous size Petunia's husband and son were. If they could afford to gorge themselves, clearly, they could have fed Hiram. So they decided they would worry about Hiram being abused when they contacted the Sheriff in Bixby and filed an abandonment charge against the Dursleys, even if they have died. They needed to document the abuse and abandonment to adopt Hiram and get him dual citizenship like Burt.

Before turning in for the night, Heather and Burt opened the guest bedroom door to check on Hiram but immediately noticed he was missing. They both started to look around the room; Heather was on her knees on the floor looking under the bed when she noticed the closet on the other side of the bed was cracked open. She could see Hiram's face sticking out. "Burt," Heather whispered, "he's in the closet."

"Damn," Burt whispered back, "do we leave him there or try to put him back in bed without waking him?"

"I think we should leave him there for tonight," Heather whispered as she climbed to her feet. "I think every night we should tuck him into the bed, and eventually, he will know it's okay for him to sleep in the bed."

"I am going to be beyond pissed if I find out my sister had him sleeping in a damn closet this whole time," Burt whispered to his wife as they left the room.

Harry…no, Hiram was surprised when he woke up to make his uncle Burt and aunt Heather breakfast. His aunt Heather had just finished setting the breakfast on the table and was headed to the bedroom to wake him up. Burt was already sitting at the table eating and working on something; Heather ushered him to the round table and had him sit next to Burt. "Hiram, darling, what would you like to drink with breakfast? Milk, OJ, tea?

"Tea, please." Harry…no, Hiram said quietly.

Hiram's eyes went wide as he watched his aunt Heather fill the coffee mug with water, then place it in the microwave for a minute before taking a teabag out of a box and dunking it into the cup. Burt snorted as he watched Hiram watch Heather, "Son, you have to know something about Americans," Hiram turned to look at his uncle as Heather sat down and looked confused. "Americans are savage when it comes to tea," Burt stated. Heather slapped his arm, "if you want a proper cup of tea, you will have to make it yourself," Burt said, winking and then taking a sip of his coffee. "Do you want any milk, lemon, or sugar in your tea?"

"Yes, please," Hiram said as he looked at his coffee mug of tea, it had barely started to turn color. Burt stood up, went to the fridge, and grabbed the milk and what looked like a plastic lemon before setting them on the table near Hiram. He went to the cupboard near the stove and brought down a sugar bowl next to the plastic lemon. Burt picked up a spoon near Hiram and stirred Harry's tea, which released all the color; he picked up the teabag with the spoon, then wrapped the string around it and squeezed even more color out. He placed it on the edge of the plate in front of Hiram.

"How much milk, young man?" Burt asked.

"Just a dash, please," Hiram responded.

"And lemon? Sugar?" Burt asked as he bent down to look Hiram in the eyes.

"A dash of lemon, no sugar, aunt Petunia would never let me," Hiram said, whispering the last bit.

"Well, sugar isn't good for you, so that is one thing your aunt may have done correctly, but if you want a little sugar in your tea, it won't kill you." Burt replied as he flicked the lid off the plastic lemon before squeezing a couple of drops into the cup. "It's hard to get lemons up here, so we buy this pre-squeezed lemon. It's concentrated, so take it easy when using these. Go ahead, take a sip, and doctor the tea how you like it." Burt said, standing before returning to his seat to finish his breakfast.

"It's perfect, uncle Burt," Hiram replies after taking a sip.

"Hiram, would you like some scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast?" Heather asked.

"Yes, Ma'am, just a little," Hiram replied, eyes wide at what Heather thought was just a little.

"Just eat what you can, son," Burt said as he took a bite of his own eggs and started writing.

"Uncle Burt?" Hiram said after taking a bite of each item on his plate.

"Hmmm?" Burt replied, not looking up from what he was doing.

"What are you writing?" Hiram asked after a moment, hoping he wasn't disturbing his uncle.

"Just writing a list of what we need to do to adopt you and get you American citizenship," Bert responded, looking up at Hiram.

"You…you…want to adopt me?" Hiram asked, shocked and a little teary-eyed.

"Of course I do; we are family!" Burt stated, firmly looking at Hiram. "I loved you when I heard your mother was pregnant; I loved you more the first time I saw your picture and your name. We are family; you and I are the last of the Evans family; we only have each other left; why would I not adopt you?" Heather snorted, slapping Burt on the arm again. "You, me, and Heather," Burt corrected himself. "Now, eat as much as you can, son. We need to get to Chang's market soon."

"Yes, sir," Hiram said as he watched Burt like he was the weirdest thing he had ever seen. Heather snorted again, kissed Burt on his head, and started to clean up the table and kitchen.

Hiram sat in Chang's market as all the adults discussed the murders; they had decided the snakes were doing it, not a person. Walter kept pulling people away to take their picture with the snake for $5. He asked Hiram a couple of times to come to sit with the snake, but he kept shaking his head no, not wanting to spend his new uncle's money.

"The phone's out. The road's out. We're on our own," Hiram heard his aunt Heather say as the adults pow-wowed, as he heard Mel say earlier to Mindy.

"You, two, are just loving it, aren't you?" Nancy said snidely to Hiram's Aunt Heather; Hiram didn't understand. He thought they were friends, but they had been snapping at each other all morning.

Hiram looked at Mel as he was posing with the snake pretending to be scared, before he heard his uncle start yelling, "Hell yes! We are completely cut off. We have the cliffs to the north and mountains to the east and west. That's why Heather and I settled here in the first place—Geographic isolation."

Mindy pulled Hiram out of the chair he was sitting on and pulled him to the wall with Walter's movies to rent. She tried to get him to tell her his favorite TV shows and movies, but not having ever watched any, he just shrugged his shoulders. Nevertheless, he listened while she prattled on about her favorites.

Hiram watched as the two men from yesterday, Val and Earl, he had learned, saddled up some horses; he had never seen horses, so he was a little nervous getting close to them, but they were stunning. He looked over to Mindy as he heard her giggling; it seemed Val and Earl were doing something with their hands, and Earl was upset. The two men mounted the horses before his aunt Heather offered the older man, Earl, her rifle. Uncle Burt told him he would be teaching Hiram all about guns at a later date and asked that Hiram not touch any of them until Uncle Burt could teach him. Guns were not toys, apparently, even though Walter sold toy guns in his shop. He had seen his cousin Dudley add three different types to the pile at the cash register yesterday before aunt Petunia pulled him away.

"You guys all set?" Hiram heard his uncle Burt ask. "Heather, Hiram, and I are going to drive around a little, see if we can find that college girl, tell her to get her ass back into town."

"Aah! Aah! It's got me!" Melvin screamed, knocking Hiram to the ground as he came out of the store with the dead snake wrapped around his neck. Mindy shrieked, and all the adults swung around to face Melvin while pulling their weapons. Aunt Heather rushed up to Hiram and pulled him off the ground and away from Melvin.

Melvin dropped to his knees laughing, and Hiram looked at uncle Burt; he was pissed. Uncle Vernon type pissed, Harry…no, Hiram was afraid uncle Burt would hit Melvin, but he just pointed at the boy, yelling he was "this close," whatever that meant.

Val and Earl left on the horses, warning Melvin that someone would one day kick his ass. Hiram secretly hoped he would be there to see it, call-me-Mel was annoying, and now his palms hurt from when he was knocked over.

Uncle Burt noticed and took Hiram inside to wash his hands and spray a little disinfectant on them from Walters First Aid kit.

Hiram and Burt joined the others outside, where they were all still talking as they watched Val and Earl ride off down the road.

"Well, as I said," Burt started getting everyone's attention, "Heather, Hiram, and I will drive out and look for the college girl." Burt guided Hiram towards his vehicle, "everyone keep an eye out and stay safe."

The Gummer family spent the morning driving around Nevada looking for some college girl studying something in the desert. Burt kept a running commentary about each area they were in. Burt owned a lot of the land they drove through. If someone else owned it, Burt would tell him who. Even some of the land was owned by the BLM, whatever that was. Occasionally Burt would ask Hiram a question; at first, Hiram answered honestly. As the day went on, Hiram became suspicious of uncle Burts's questions and would either shrug when he knew Burt was watching him in the rearview mirror or answer with, "I don't know." Finally, uncle Burt went back to talking about either the land or the people who lived in Perfection.

"Burt, why don't you stop at Flatrock so we can eat some lunch." Heather interrupted.

Burt looked into the rearview mirror to look at Hiram, "yeah, okay," Burt said, "that sound good to you, Hiram?"

"Ummm…sure," Hiram said, not knowing if he could eat anymore since he had what would typically be a huge meal for breakfast. He wasn't used to eating breakfast, just cooking it before getting shoved out the door for school. He got lunch at school; aunt Petunia had him signed up for some free lunch program that provided a balanced meal for the poor kids. In contrast, Dudley usually got money for pizza and burgers. Then back home to cook dinner, he only got scraps, that is, if Dudley didn't eat all the leftovers.

"Welcome to Flatrock," Burt said as he pulled up to a bunch of boulders. One looked like a flat rock sitting on a boulder to make a table; by the boulders was a small creek that fed into what looked like an artificial pond that branched out into two separate canals, each going the opposite direction. They all got out of the car and walked towards the boulders.

"Wooh, nice," Hiram said, looking around. Because of the creek, some scraggly-looking pine trees were growing, providing shade, and some nice-looking flowers and grasses were growing near the stream. They no longer looked like they were in the same desert as the rest of the valley.

"My grandmother added the Irises before I was born; about every five years, my grandfather, Jacob Gummer, comes out and either replants some, moves them around, or adds to them. According to my late mother, this was their spot," Burt said as he helped Hiram climb up on the flat rock where Heather had already spread a blanket and had a picnic basket out.

"Is your grandfather still alive?" Hiram asked, confused since Burt had said he was alone.

"He is, but is very much…he doesn't like people very much. But unfortunately, he is a representative for this area in New York and isn't home very often. He wasn't even in the country when my mother died, so I went to live in Britain with my father instead of living here with my grandfather." Burt said as he picked up two sandwiches. "Turkey or ham?"

"Ummm, I thought Jews couldn't eat pork; isn't ham pork?" Hiram asked.

Burt laughed, "yeah, but I'm non-practicing, and you haven't been taught at all; not to mention we have bacon this morning. Plus, it's an old law before animal hygiene was invented." Burt waved the two sandwiches in the air in front of Hiram.

"Ham, please," Hiram said. Burt handed the sandwich to Hiram and opened up the turkey. Heather pulled out a plastic bag with chips, another with mixed vegetables, and a third with orange slices. Burt raised an eyebrow at Heather but didn't say anything as she tried to get Hiram to eat more.

"Uncle Burt, what does your grandfather do in New York?" Hiram asked as he put down his sandwich and took an orange slice that Heather offered to him.

"He's both a Lord and a voted representative to MACUSA," Bert said as he eyed Hiram for any sign of recognization.

"Huh?" Hiram mumbled, his mouth full of the carrots Heather was now forcing on him.

"Magical Congress of the United States of America," Bert replied.

"Mmm…magic's not real." Hiram studdered.

"Of course it is; not everyone can do magic, and those that can normally hide that they are magical, but yes, magic is real."

"Your mother could do magic; she was a witch, like my grandfather is a wizard. Your father was a wizard; he was an interesting guy; I only met him once at their wedding. Have you ever done any magic?" Burt asked as he took a bite of his sandwich.

"Mmm…my parents could do magic?" Hiram again studdered, not comfortable with this line of questioning.

"Yup," Burt replied, watching Hiram, still waiting to see if Hiram would answer his question about being able to do magic.

"Is that why aunt Petunia hated my mom?" Hiram asked quietly, now just playing with the orange slice Heather had handed him. He had eaten two baby carrots, two orange slices, and a half-of-a-half of sandwich.

"Yes, Petunia, like me, is what you would call a Squib. We cannot do magic, but we have magical family members." Burt replied.

"I…I turned my teacher's wig blue once," Hiram whispered.

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" Burt laughed loudly while Heather giggled. "Oh, that's a good one. Your mother once turned a teacher's skin orange like an Umpa Lumpa."

Hiram giggled; he had once seen part of Charlie and the Chocolate factory while Dudley watched it and Hiram was cleaning. "Is that why aunt Petunia freaked out while Dudley was watching it on the telly?"

"Ha! Most likely!" Burt said with a smile, "Well, since you are a wizard, that will make adopting you and getting you American citizenship easier. I'll just let gramps know. He'll do the rest. Magically." Hiram nervously smiled; it seemed like Uncle Burt was proud Hiram could do freaky things.

"Do you know anything about geology?" Burt asked, and Hiram shook his head negative. "The landscape in this area is very distinctive. Take the creek; underneath the stream is a granite incursion; following this granite incursion is the least amount of work for the stream. The granite incursion starts in Bixby, runs down here, and stops at the cliff over there. If you look at the landscape, you can see some of the darker color and sharper boulders sticking up; those are also granite incursions. The mountains surrounding us are all made up of the same granite. The round boulders like the ones we are sitting on came from around 640,000 years ago when Yellowstone last blew up; the volcano at Yellowstone threw tens of thousands of boulders into the air that covered the landscape for 1,000 miles or roughly 1600 Kilometers."

"Woooh!" Hiram exclaimed excitedly. 'Uncle Burt is sure smart,' Hiram thought.

"Let's go for a walk," Burt said as he stood up and jumped off the flat rock to the boulder below it, he held his hands out and helped Hiram down after he had put the orange slice he had been playing with in his mouth. Heather stayed on the flat rock and started cleaning up the picnic. "So just up here, we have built this water corral, which feeds the canals; one goes that way, the other in the opposite direction. This, in turn, lets us water our fields and livestock in Perfection Valley." Burt had taken Hiram's hand as they walked and pointed everything out. They crossed a small bridge over one canal and kept walking. "You can see here where the stream used to be," Burt pointed to what looked like a dry stream bed. "The stream used to come all the way down here and ended at the cliff here as a waterfall."

"Were the people who live below upset when you dammed the water?" Hiram asked as he looked at the green valley below them.

"Yes, but look how green their valley is. The mountains on the other side have many streams that feed into the lower valley, so they don't really need the water like Perfection does. We have another stream at the other end of the upper valley that we have also dammed up for our use." Burt replied, pointing far to the right.

"Why is the valley so much lower?" Hiram asked.

"Well, about 30,000 years ago, there was a glacier that sat in the mountains over there," Burt said, pointing to the left. "A lot of water was gathering behind the glacier as it melted; it finally got hot enough that the ice cracked, releasing the water; it flowed down and swept half of the valley away," Burt replied as he swept his arm from left to right.

"Wow! That had to be a lot of water to do that," Hiram replied, his eyes wide.

"Yes, son, yes, it was." Burt replied as he squeezed Hiram's hand. "Come on, aunt Heather is done, and we have a college girl to find."