Disclaimer: I obviously don't own Harry Potter.
This story is finally being rewritten! Yay! If you've noticed, I've changed from the past to the present tense and (hopefully) made Harry sound a bit younger. He still sounds a little old for his age, but that's just the way Harry is in my story. He has to be somewhat mature.
This is the first chapter to be redone. I'm deleting the last three as I absolutely loathe them. I've decided to change my plot yet again, but this time, I assure you, it's permanent. Everything up to the last three chapters did happen, though. Just the way the story goes after that has been edited in the final scheme of things. I think you lot will like this version better, but only time will tell, won't it?
Somebody bangs on my door and a loud voice says, 'Get up, boy!'
They say that every morning, and I have to listen to them or they'll shout at me again until I do.
'I'm awake, Aunt Petunia.'
'Get up, so you can fix breakfast!'
'Yes, Aunt Petunia.' I hear her walk away. I'm thinking to myself that it's good she didn't stay this morning, because I've still got Dudley's new book and I don't want her to see it. I'll get into trouble for stealing, and I'm too hungry to do that. I'm always getting in trouble here. Aunt Marge says I'm a bad boy like my mum and dad were bad people. I think she must be a little right, because I've never heard of good boys living in the cupboard under the stairs.
'Hurry up, boy!' Uncle Vernon cals from the kitchen. He doesn't like to wait for things.
'Yes, Uncle Vernon.' I open the door of the cupboard that's been my room for eight years and climbed out. Uncle Vernon says the cupboard is good for me. Bad boys go into the cupboard, he tells me, and they come out model citisens. I want to know how long it will take for me to be a model citisen; I hate the cupboard. It's always dark and smelly in there, and I'm always hungry and have to use the toilet. Dudley laughs at me when I run to the loo in the morning, but I can't stop to notice him. I'll wet myself if I do. Uncle Vernon would be furious then.
'About time.' He grumbles at me. His big moustache moves up and down when he talks to me. If I were any other boy, I could laugh at that moustache. I could laugh really loudly and not have to worry about cupboards and angry uncles. But, I'm Harry Potter. When you're Harry Potter, you can never laugh at things like Uncle Vernon's big moustache moving when he talks. You're lucky if you ever get to laugh at all.
'Sorry, Uncle Vernon.' I walk over to the stove and start it up. The eggs are already on the table and the bacon in the pan is crackling and making lovely smells. My stomach grumbles as I stand there watching the bacon cook in the frying pan, smelling it. I know that when it's on the table, Dudley will take everything before I'm allowed my own food, and i will never get to taste the bacon. Maybe they won't notice if I take a little bit.
It's good that I nicked the bacon when I did, because the next minute it's done and I'm serving it to my family and they're eating like they've been starving for years like I have. I know I'll never get any now.
'I'm making a big sale today, Petunia. Indian man, Mr. Sadi-something or other is buying for his company. Some building company. Been one of the most difficult sales, couldn't understand a damn thing the man said! Big sale today...' Aunt Petunia just purses her lips. She's always doing that, like she's sucking on a lemon or something.
'I need money for a trip.' Dudley says loudly. This is always how it is in the morning. I make breakfast, Uncle Vernon talks, I stand against the wall, Aunt Petunia makes her lemon-sucking face, and Dudley asks for money.
'Where to?' Uncle Vernon askes between bits of bacon.
'The London Zoo.'
As soon as I say it, I wish I didn't. I'm not supposed to talk to them unless they tell me to, and no one's told me to say anything about the zoo trip. They had passed the permission slips for the trip out at school a few days ago and today was the last day to turn them in. I know I'll be the only boy without my paper and money. They'll all laugh at me like they always do, and I'll have to stay in the classroom all day making drawings. I don't really want to go to the zoo, anyway. I don't need to pay to see animals when I can just watch Dudley and Uncle Vernon eat their breakfast. I don't want to go to the zoo, but I want to be allowed to. I want Uncle Vernon to give me money and tell me he'll sign my paper when he's finished with his toast. It won't ever happen, and that's all right. I don't need the zoo.
'Did I ask you to speak, boy?' Uncle Vernon's moustache is moving again. I can't laugh. Don't laugh, Harry. Don't even smile. He's angry. You can't laugh when he's angry.
'Then why are you speaking?' He stands up and I back into the wall. Uncle Vernon can be very fast with his fists, if you know what I mean.
'I-I don't know, Uncle. I'm s-sorry.' The counter top is digging into my back and Uncle Vernon looms over me like a fat house cat over a little mouse.
'How much do you need?' Aunt Petunia asks quickly. She never likes to see Uncle Vernon hit me. She can hit me all she wants to, but she's always stopping Uncle Vernon getting to me.
'I dunno. Ten–twenty pounds ought to cover it.'
Ten or twenty pounds? The trip is only five and lunch only costs about two. I wonder what I could buy with twenty pounds. I could get all the fish and chips I wanted, enough crisps to stuff a pillowcase, and pounds of sweets. Enough to make all my teeth rot out and put as much fat on me as Dudley's got on him. I could buy myself anything I wanted---anything at all---With enough left over to go to the zoo twice and take a bus back home.
They finish breakfast and Dudley goes off to get his school stuff while I clean up their mess. If I had twenty pounds I could make someone else do it, and then I wouldn't have to work. All I ever do here is work, work, work. When I was little, about six, I used to think maybe someone would come and take me away forever. I'd like that. I shouldn't be with the Dursleys and their cupboards and trips to London that cost twenty pounds. If I had a nice uncle, he could take me to London any time I wanted to go, and we would go to better places than the zoo.
'G'bye, mum.' Aunt Petunia kisses Dudley all over his face. I'm glad I don't have those lemon lips pushing against my face. Dudley doesn't like it either. He pulls away and runs for the door. Well, he can't actually run. He sort of walks like a duck.
It's cold out today. My t-shirt has enough room for me to pull my arms into it, which is what I do. Happy Birthday, Harry. I'm so cold I don't even notice that I'm talking to myself. How are you today? It is your birthday. Nine? That's an awfully big number. I'll nick you some of Dudley's Turkish Delight tonight for your birthday. You are nine, after all.
Maybe I'll get lucky and the zoo trip will be cancelled. No one can laugh at me for not having the paper and money then.
'Good morning, children.' Mrs. Henley smiles at us all and pulls out a sheet of paper to take roll.
'Pssssst!' Someone is kicking my chair, hard.
'Pssssst! Potter!' Dudley's friend–Piers Polkiss--pokes me in the back.
'Here!' I say, a little too loudly. Uncle Vernon would have shouted at me.
'Harry!' Piers gives my hair a good tug and a few other kids laugh. I want to ignore them like the teachers always say we should. The boys in my class are always taking the mickey out of me, and the girls say things about my clothes when they know I'm listening. They don't understand that I don't have twenty pounds for new clothes and lunch and trips to the zoo. They don't understand that I'm here for the summer because Dudley got bad marks and Aunt Petunia said she didn't think it was fair if he went alone. If I could, I would just take my A-Levels now and be done with school for the rest of my life.
'What?' He smiles.
'I'm not going to the zoo either, and I'll—'
'Is there a problem?' Mrs. Henley is standing by my desk with her arms crossed over chest. I shake my head because I can't think of anything else to do, my eyes as wide as footballs.
'No.' Mrs. Henley is nice, but she still frightens me. In reception year, Mr. James hit me with his ruler while were doing maths. All of my teachers frighten me now, all the way from reception to the fourth class.
'Turn around, Harry.'
I turn around as quickly as I can. I like Mrs. Henley. I don't want to be in trouble with her. She could send me back to the third class like they tried to do to Dudley. I'd be laughed at even more in the third class, even if Dudley wouldn't always be there.
'Harry got in trouble!'
Soon, everyone is laughing about how I've gotten in trouble when Piers didn't. Something inside of me feels funny. I'm afraid I'll do something odd again and Uncle Vernon will lock me in the cupboard for another week. I hope I'm just hungry.
'That's enough.' says Mrs. Henley and finishes making sure everyone is here. They'll be leaving after lunch, and I'll have the class al to myself. Just me and Piers and little Mr. Benson from down the hall. He never lets people laugh at me.
My lunch is a peanut butter sandwich and a crushed bag of crisps. It looks like Dudley's been in my crisps, but that doesn't matter. I'm hungry. Just looking at everyone else makes me feel like my stomach is as big as the whole car park at the shopping centre Aunt Petunia goes to. They have their sandwiches in little bags with cartoon charactres on them and chocolate milk with colourful straws. If I get thirsty, I can go to the water fountain by the boys' lavatory.
Piers shoves chocolate biscuits into his mouth and grins at me. Alison is easting the sweets her mum packed her, and Liam Muggrer has chips that he eats very slowly, because that's all he has. Aunt Petunia talks about the Muggrers sometimes. She says Liam's dad is a slob and a horrible man and his mum isn't any better. He's the only other boy that drinks from the water fountain by the lavatory, and he tries not to laugh at me like the rest. The only reason he doesn't get made fun of is because of me.
'Harry?' I feel a hand on my shoulder and jump at least a metre. I don't like it when people touch me, especially if I don't know they're going to touch me. A lady hugged me once in the sweet shop. I never knew why, but I didn't like her doing it. She didn't tell me she was going to hug me.
'Harry?' It's Mrs. Henley.
'Harry, are you all right?' Mrs. Henley bends down so she is my height. 'Is there something wrong?'
I shake my head. I'm fine. Just watching the food.
'Are you certain? There's nothing you'd like to tell me?' I shake my head again. Mrs. Henley is the nicest person ever, but I could never tell her anything. She won't understand.
'No, thank you. I'm alright.' She doesn't look like she believes me. She should. 'Really.'
'Alright. If there's nothing...'
'There isn't,' I say in the same kind of voice Uncle Vernon does when his business people want to pay less money to him.
'You know you can always talk to me.'
And she leaves me sitting there, staring after her and wondering if she knows. I'd be in the cupboard for ages if Uncle Vernon thinks I've been telling people that I'm hungry and cold.
'Boy! Is that you?' The vacuuming stops and the door to the cupboard under the stairs flies open. I'm packing my clothes to go and visit Aunt Marge. I don't want to go. She isn't my real aunt, but they make me call her that. She doesn't like me anyway.
'Hurry up. We're leaving in ten minutes.' She closes the door again, leaving me to my dark room. I'm done packing, so I don't need the light anyway, but it was nice to have.
'Yes, Aunt Petunia.' My bag from school has two shirts, some pants, trousers, and an extra pair of socks that used to be Dudley's. All of my stuff was Dudley's once, except the underpants. Those are mine.
My cupboard opens again and Dudley is there, smiling like a fat pig with blond hair stuck to his head.
'You didn't wait for me after school.'
I don't care if I was supposed to wait for him. If I had, he would have chased me all the way home or beaten me up with his mates. I'm pleased with myself for making it all the way to my cupboard without Dudley catching me.
'I didn't know you needed help finding the way home, Dudley. Sorry about that.'
His face is screwed up as he tries to work out what I've said. It will take ages for him to grow a brain, and I'm not waiting. The door slams right in his face. I can see his eyes wide. I've never. That was when the light bulb went out. done that before.
'I'll get you back really badly for that. Just you wait.' He's gone and I'm alone again. Alone is the only way to live properly with the Dursleys. I'd be going spare if I had to spend every minute with them.
'Where's The Boy?' I hear Uncle Vernon ask. A minute later and I'm standing with them in the hall. Dudley's already gotten himself an iced lolly for the trip.
'Just like him to keep us waiting.' Aunt Petunia grumbles. She has her lemon face on again.
'Really Petunia! They're always promising this and that and then doing something completely different...' Uncle Vernon thinks politicians are the most horrible, dirty, disgusting liars in the world. Yesterday he thought I was the most horrible, dirty, disgusting liar in the whole world. I don't know who politicians are, but I don't feel sorry for them. They're lucky they don't have to live with Uncle Vernon, whoever they are.
'Mummy, Harry's talking up all the seat space!' Dudley whines, slamming his fist into his window. I would have been tossed into a ditch---cold and dead---if I did anything like that. Dudley always gets to do more than me. I don't mind so much, as long as he lets me alone.
'Move, boy.' Uncle Vernon doesn't even look at me, but Aunt Petunia does. Her nose is wrinkled up and she bites her lips like she wants to say something.
'I still don't have enough room!'
I'm not moving any more than I have. Dudley's bigger, but I'm worth ten of him. That's what Mrs. Henley is always saying. When you're worth ten of someone, you never have to move over for them in the car.
'Move over, boy!'
Maybe it wouldn't hurt to move a bit. Uncle Vernon can't reach me if I'm flat against the window.
'Daddy, I want to listen to music!' I want to listen as well, but I won't say that. Aunt Petunia puts on Dudley's new CD and we listen to the songs about Noah's Ark and sharing and little trains that climb mountains. Dudley whines that he hates this music, but Aunt Petunia won't let him turn on the radio.
'Horrible, nasty thing,' she says. I don't mind the music, even if it is for stupid babies. Dudley doesn't like it, which means it's perfect.
'Vernon! Petunia! You're here!'
And there she is, Aunt Marge–all five hundred pounds of her. Maybe not five hundred, but she is big. Bigger than Uncle Vernon, even.
'Dudley, you've grown!'
People are always saying that to Dudley. It's true he's taller than I am, but he hasn't grown in ages, except sideways. He'll be as big as Aunt Marge one day if he's not careful.
'Marge, how have you been keeping?' Uncle Vernon steps forward. He always acts funny around Aunt Marge. He complains more and he talks like the sales clerks in the shops I go to with Aunt Petunia.
'Wonderfully. Wonderfully, Vernon. Come, come inside.'
I'm following them slowly. If I'm not careful, Ripper might come out. He can smell me from Aunt Marge's house, and he comes running as soon as I'm near enough. I'm afraid he'll bite my leg again like last time. Uncle Vernon keeps calling me to come back and get his trunk, but he knows I can't. I have to run or Ripper will tear my leg into tiny pieces and eat it for his teatime snack.
It's a race between us, me and Ripper. I'm winning right now, but not for long. He's at my heels, biting and snapping and spitting all over Dudley's old trousers. I'm thankful for one that my clothes are a thousand times to big for me. Ripper's teeth don't hurt nearly as much when he bites my arm. Not until he lets go, and then the fire starts to burn in my skin and I can't get rid of it. I scratch and slap and spit on it, but the fire is burning and it won't stop.
'COME HERE, BOY!' Uncle Vernon will know what to do, even if he won't do it. Aunt Petunia won't let me stay like this. She'll wrap it in plasters and give me some soap to wash away the dog drool. 'Get my suitcase.'
'Yes, Uncle Vernon.'
I bite my lip because they aren't going to help me. Even Aunt Petunia just looks at my arm and tells me I'll live.
'Go to the loo, then,' she snaps at me. As soon as I get everyone's stuff inside, I do. There's no time to think about it or have a good look. I just splash on a bit of water and soap and squeeze my eyes again the burn. Behind me, Aunt Marge has a tiny statue of a dog with angel's wings. I swear to every superhero on Earth that it's smiling at me.