Disclaimer all characters, settings, etc, are the copyright of JK Rowling and Bloomsbury Publishing.
Meeting the old Lady
The grey haired old lady we called 'Witchy poo' was walking slowly up the lane toward us, leaning heavily on her stick she seemed to be moving very slow, even slower than usual.
I could tell there was something wrong with her even though as I was just fourteen, I did not know what. I watched as she made her way toward us. Looking at my friends I knew they had noticed nothing different.
"Hey there Witchy poo," called my pal Greg. This time though I did not join in what had become a sort of ritual. We had teased the old lady for as long as I could remember; my parents had done the same thing and as far as I knew so had my grandparents.
She never once complained or shouted back at us. Instead she would look at us with those piercing bright brown eyes, the only part of her that did not look ancient. And continue on her way to her run down old house.
From what I knew from the rumours and gossip I had overheard, people in the village had been afraid of her for many years. None of them had ever tried to get to know her. Instead they took great pleasure in harassing her, we kids were almost encouraged to carry on the tradition by the grown ups.
I looked again as she struggled very slowly seeming to get no closer. She was dressed as she had been every time I saw her a faded blue dress that was frayed around the bottom. One of the pockets hung down torn loose at some time long ago. Around her shoulder she wore a very old worn out shawl that had holes in it here and there. On her feet an old pair of shoes that looked as though they had passed their best some time in the last century. It was all finished off with a very ancient looking cloak of some sort. You could tell it had once been black but the colour had faded to grey long ago.
I noticed Jimmy picking something up from under a tree nearby. Before I could ask what he was doing he threw an acorn at her, luckily it missed and ended up going over her shoulder. I grabbed at his arm as he made to throw yet another one.
"What the hell are you doing?" I asked him fiercely.
"Well just thought I would wake her up a little," Jimmy laughed as he tried to free his arm.
"You do that again, I'll shove your head where the sun never shines," I hissed.
We had teased her relentlessly for years, but we had never thrown things at her. I was furious.
"Have we really sunk so low, we throw things at old ladies," I asked my friends as they all stared at me.
My outburst was enough for them to decide it was time to go home. One by one they said 'see you', and drifted off toward the village. By the time the six of them had gone, the old woman was just a few feet from me.
It was a lot closer than she had ever been before. We had always run away laughing as she watched us, this time though I did not run. I was still scared, after all every one in the village said she was a witch. She looked unwell as I watched her struggle.
She was passing me when she stumbled on the uneven surface; I rushed toward her and caught her arm just before she fell.
"Thank you young man" she said with difficulty, her breathing was laboured as though she had just finished a marathon.
"Can I help you home?" I found my self saying as I put my arm around her waist.
I was stunned at how light she felt, my sister was about the same size yet must have been twice the weight I now found myself supporting.
Slowly and carefully I helped her to her front door. I was about to leave her there when she asked if I would be kind enough to help her inside. She gave the door a gentle push and it swung slowly open.
"You really should keep the door locked when you go out," I said politely.
"Oh it was locked dear, it was locked," she said and she sounded so sure.
I knew it had not been locked she had not used a key or even the door handle, she had just pushed it. I helped her up the steps and into a long well lit hallway. I looked up to see the source of the light and it seemed the entire ceiling was made of glass. Looking around I saw a totally different house than the one portrayed from the out side, the inside seemed to be huge. The hall was sparkling clean not a speck of dust to be seen. The old lady must have seen my expression as she turned to thank me for helping her home.
"If you can take a few surprises with out getting too scared, would you like to take a look around?" she asked.
Surprised and intrigued I nodded. I had expected to see peeling ancient wall paper, not a gleaming well kept home. As we entered what I assumed to be the living room, she surprised me by saying "Muggle present."
"Pardon, did you say something?" I asked baffled by what she had said.
"No that's alright dear come on in."
She led the way into a luxurious living room. It was beautifully decorated with highly polished furniture set around a huge comfortable looking leather couch and matching chairs. Near the fire was an old well worn armchair that was similar in colour to the others but was obviously not a match. She invited me to sit asking if I would like a drink, I nodded as I surveyed the room. There wasn't a house in the village could match this one for grandeur not even Jimmy's and he lived in the old manor house.
The old lady hobbled out of the room to fetch the promised drink as I looked about me. looking at the large coffee table I noticed an old newspaper, it had begun to yellow slightly but it looked like it had been looked after even though it had been well read. I read the headline. My curiosity aroused I picked it up and began to read it properly. It read,
Mr Harry James Potter of Godricks Hollow was today awarded the highest award ever received by a member of the Queens special protection unit.
Along with Mr R. B. Weasley and Miss H. J. Granger, they were presented the medals in a ceremony that also saw them receive equally prestigious medals from countries around the world. As the unit Mr Potter belongs to is a national secret we are unable to specifically say what the medals were for, suffice it to say they saved the world from a very dark and unhappy future. Mr Potter declined to be interviewed as he left the Palace…………….
She came back unsteadily carrying a small tray with tea and biscuits. She placed it on the table in front of me and instructed me to help my self and if I did not mind would I pour one for her. I was happy to obey her instructions asking as I did so if she knew the man on the front page I was looking at.
"That's Harry my husband, he died some years ago now I don't remember how many just off hand," she said, I noticed she had a small tear running down her cheek.
I looked at her, then around the room. I was feeling so guilty, the wife of a hero and we had all treated her so bad. The shame was gnawing at me as I finished my tea, I tried to say sorry but it seemed so inadequate. Having finished my tea I stood to leave.
"Would you like to call again soon?" she asked a smile on her wrinkled face.
Fascinated by the house I promised to call back the next day to check she was ok, she seemed pleased with my answer and led me to the door.
Walking down the hall way I tried to call my friend Greg on my communicator.
"Afraid that won't work in here, none of the new gadgets do," she chuckled and it sounded like a private little joke she had.
I walked home slowly trying to figure out why the villagers treated such a nice lady the way they did. I gave up thinking about it after promising myself I would never be so cruel again.
I was still feeling guilty as I went to bed that night and vowed that I would never again pick on anyone or make fun of them just because they are a little different than I or my family are.
A/Note, thanks to all who leave a review, this story will not be very long having only 11 chapters.