An old man's memories

Tonks works extra as an obliviator, a job that can produce unexpected challenges.

Charles strained his eyes to see the small, cramped text in the dim light of his study. His stuffy desk was overflowing with newspaper cuttings, books and computer-printouts. An old typewriter stood cramped into one corner. He had cleared a small space in the middle of the desk, just enough for a large cup of tea. It was still half-filled, but cold and completely forgotten. The day had turned to evening and he had not noticed. He had it now. He really had.

'Yes, yes' he muttered for himself, reading the letter again. 'That flying car was seen in London in the morning, flying north. An hour later in Stamford, and then again in Scotland. Three different observations, and the timing is right. It is for real! It really is!'

He could feel the triumph building in him. Weirdo, they had called him. Stupid. Mad old fraud. Waste of time. But now he would show them. Something was going on, right under their noses. Something extraordinary. And he was on to it. The doorbell rang, interrupting him in his thoughts.

'Coming' he yelled, standing up from his old chair with a crack. He had been sitting there for hours, he realized. No wonder his back was stiff.

Limping, the old man moved to the door as fast as he cold, kicking away the stray books and clothes to make it seem a bit less untidy for the visitor. A bit out of breath he opened the door.

He was amazed to see a young girl standing outside - no more than twenty or thirty years old. She wore baggy jeans, a green coat and a t-shirt with something written on, which he couldn't read without his glasses. Her hair was pink as a neon sign. In her hand she held what might have been a wooden pen.

'Hello mr Newbury!' she said, smiling at him.

'Er... Good evening, young miss... er, Do I have the pleasure to know you?'

'You don't remember me? Terrific!' she said, looking pleased. 'May I come in?'

'Miss... er... Not meaning to be rude, but what can I help you with?'

'Oh, yes of course. Sorry, where are my manners. My name is Nymphadora Tonks, Tonks for short, and I work for the Ministry of Magic. The oblivation bureau.' She extended her hand and he took it, shaking it distractedly.

'The ministry. I see. Er... I don't think I heard you correctly. Did you say...'

'May I come in?'

'Sorry, of course, please come right in. I am sorry it is a little untidy, er... May I offer you a cup of tea? Now ...Did you say...'

Tonks walked past him, into his flat, hanging her coat on the hook next to the door and continuing straight to the kitchen.

'Tea would be lovely, please'

He followed her as fast as he could. She was already busy with the kettle when he arrived into the kitchen, and the water seemed already to boil.

'Sit down Charles, I take care of this.'

And before he really knew what had happened, two big mugs of tea were produced and they were sitting at the table.

'Thank you very much' she said, smiling again. I like your place. It is cosy in they way you can't get a place without living in it for a long time.

'Er... thank you miss... Tonks? ...I must have misheard you. Which department did you say you work for?'

'The Oblivation Bureau, at the ministry of magic.'

'Of... magic?'

'Yes. I understand it must come as something of a surprise for you, but all witches and wizards in Britain are governed by the ministry of magic. We try to minimize the harmful contact between wizards and muggles - that is, non-magical people. Sometimes something accidentally happens though, as that flying car for example.'

'You... know of the car?'

'Yes of course. It is actually a friend of mine who bewitched it. He is an old dear, but he is far to fascinated by muggle artefacts to be very sensible all the times.'

'But I found out of the car only minutes ago so...'

'Yes Charles. That is why I am here. Have you finished your tea? Good.'

And she pointed at his head with that wodden stick.