CHAPTER-1

PROLOGUE

The soft pitter patter of the rainfall was a thing of the past, as the rain had been crashing down with incredible force in the suburbs of Little Whinging, and in a house that looked no different than any other, especially to the casual observer, stood in a place where everything was normal, that house was Number 4, located on a street called Privet drive. It was clean-cut; the hedges were trimmed, the rose beds blossoming magnificently. The household was right now considered as the domain of the Dursleys. They were proud to say that they were completely normal. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything unnatural or abnormal, thank you very much.

Mr. Vernon Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, out-of-proportion, obese man with hardly any neck. He also had a really large moustache. Quite frankly he looked a huge bit like walrus. He was one of those people who would just sit on an armchair reading a newspaper and criticizing everything from the government's administration to his boss to the people working under him to the neighbors to the plumbers etc...Etc...Etc.

Mrs. Petunia Dursley (nee Evans) was a very thin blonde with nearly twice the usual amount of neck which was quite useful in her favorite past time i.e. spying on her neighbors. She could have easily carried off a look of a giraffe. She was simply a housewife with an almost unnatural inclination towards keeping her house clean. She was one of those women who would never miss a chance to criticize and gossip about others but would do everything in her power to keep herself and her family out of them. She was quite jealous of those who were better than her in anything and was quite determined to put them down whether by hook or crook. From her point of view her husband and son were the best anyone could hope for and they couldn't do anything wrong in her eyes.

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley only had a single child, a son named Dudley. He was a spitting image of his father. He had the same round face with blonde hairs and big watery blue eyes. But with the way he was growing (more so in horizontal as compared to vertical direction) you could say that he would easily be giving quite a competition to a baby whale. He was totally spoilt by his mother and father who never refused anything he asked from them. He had gathered for himself a small group of children who were towards making of a gang with there only work was being creating trouble. So he was growing up to be a very lazy boy who just woke up either to eat, watch television, play videogame or bully small children.

There was one other member in the Dursley household but surprisingly he was not much welcomed in that house. He was considered as a sort of burden on the family. His name was Harry James Potter. He was the son of James and Lily Potter, Lily being the sister of Petunia. But unfortunately both of them died in a car crash on 1991'hallowe'en. The next day the Dursleys found Harry on their footsteps. From that day onwards Harry was staying with the Dursleys.

Harry Potter was a pale skinned boy of just above average height, having aristocratic features and just a bit out-of-control black hair with just a hint of red tint to it. However his most prominent feature was his eyes which were of an exotic green color. They glowed brightly when he was happy and turned dark when angered. He also possessed a distinct lightning shaped scar on his forehead which according to the Dursleys he received when he miraculously survived the car accident that killed his parents.

He'd lived with the Dursleys as long as he could remember, ever since he was a baby and his parents died in that car crash. He couldn't remember being in the car when his parents had died. Sometimes, when he strained his memory during long hours in his cupboard, all he came up with was a blinding flash of green light and a burning pain in his forehead. This he supposed was the car crash though he couldn't imagine where all the green light came from. He couldn't remember his parents at all. His aunt and uncle never talked about them, and of course he was forbidden from asking questions. There were no photographs of them in the house and he only knew their name because it had to be entered in the school records.

When Harry had been younger, he had dreamed of some unknown relation coming to take him away, but it had never happened and as the time went by his hope went on diminishing more and more. Yet sometimes he thought (or maybe hoped) that strangers in the street seemed to know him. Very strange strangers they were too. A tiny man with a violet top hat had bowed to him once while out shopping with Aunt Petunia and Dudley. After asking Harry furiously if he knew the man, Aunt Petunia had rushed them out of the shop without a second glance. A wild looking woman dressed in all green had waved merrily at him once in a bus. A bald man in a very long purple coat had actually shaken his hand in the street the other day and then walked away without saying a word. The weirdest thing about all these people was the way they seemed to vanish the second Harry tried to get a closer look.

Harry's bedroom was the cupboard under the stairs for his first five years. But later on the prompting of Petunia, Vernon shifted him to the attic. Harry was not ever abused per say but that doesn't mean that he received an ideal childhood. His uncle never really accepted his presence in the household and tried his best to totally ignore him. Harry felt hurt initially with it but later he came to realize that it was much better than other negative scenarios. But one thing that Harry always remembered was that even though he despised him, he still took Harry in his house when he could have sent him to the orphanage which Harry knew provided much worse living conditions. So he tried his level best to repay it by doing the given chores efficiently.

Harry never lived an easy life. As soon as he turned six, he was taught by his aunt how to cook, do the laundry, cleaning of the house and gardening. So from then on he was doing the chores regularly. He was given regular meals but after the Dursley ate. He also received clothing but it was never more than two sets. Even then Harry was satisfied because at least they were his. Whenever Harry required something out of ordinary like new clothes or stationary, he had to do additional chores and only then was he provided with that commodity. Then too, if Uncle Vernon was in a good mood. Unknowingly, the Dursleys instilled in him a virtue 'If you want something, you have to earn it because nobody owes you anything'. This was going to give him a distinct edge over other people in the future even if Harry hadn't realized it yet.

When Harry went to the school, one thing that very quickly came out was that Harry was quite intelligent. Initially when he scored marks higher than Dudley, the Dursleys were not in the least bit happy. They even accused him of cheating. But later on when he started receiving scholarship for school and stationery, Uncle Vernon decide that as long as he didn't bother them and additionally they did not have to pay for his education, he didn't care how he did in his school. So in the later years he very steadily started rising in his grades. Till the time he was ten years old he had passed grade eight as compared to Dudley who was in grade five.

According to the teachers, Harry was a really polite and well mannered boy. The hard work that he dedicated in his studies was not something that could be seen often. He was the favorite student of a lot of teachers. When talking about his academics, he was quite a good orator and had even won a debate championship on national level in his age group. He had also represented his country in an international level quiz competition leading it to a glorious victory. He was also a rather a frequent visitor in the library with a keen interest in history because he believed in the saying 'a wise man learns from the mistakes made by him in the past and make sure he dos not repeat them'. He also liked to learn different languages and could fluently speak French, Spanish and Latin.

Harry was not a bookworm. He was far from it. It was just that he understood the subjects easily. He was not just limited to academics. He was a brilliant sportsperson too. He got selected in the school football team at the age of seven as a midfielder and became the most important player of the team in just a few games. Harry had even succeeded in winning the inter-school trophy for two consecutive years. In order to be fit for the game he had also started running in the evening. Because of this physical labor and stress he had accumulated quite a body build which felt appropriate for an athlete or a dancer.

The thing that Harry despised or hated with true passion was his cousin Dudley Dursley. He was the bane of his existence. Dudley always tried making Harry's life hell but somehow Harry was able to escape pretty much unscathed. When they were about four years old, from then on Dudley never lost a chance to make Harry look bad in front of others.

The favorite game of Dudley and his friends was 'Harry hunting' where they used to catch him and then beat him. But then they reached school where Harry due to his intelligence got years ahead of him. This in turn reduced there quarrels but didn't totally stopped Dudley from bullying. In the initial years he made sure that no one would befriend Harry. But after Harry got two years ahead of Dudley, he got out of his area of influence and made a few friends. It was a great experience because Harry got a chance to converse with children of his age group and he really liked the feel of it. Then he started getting scholarship and collected a bit of money so that he could enjoy with his friends.

One more thing that troubled Harry a lot was the inconsistent behavior of Aunt Petunia. When Harry was young and she was teaching him how to cook a meal or how to do different chores around the house, she was someone who was a bit kind-hearted and treated him like he imagined how one aunt should treat her nephew. But at some instances she came out to be so cold and harsh that Harry got confused. Like sometimes when Harry got hurt because of Dudley she would treat him medically or take him to the doctor but she did it like she was forced to do it. She never even tried to stop Dudley from bullying him so her erratic behavior really confused the hell out of him. But still he felt hopeful that may be one day they could share a good relationship. Because whether he liked it or not, she was his last link to his mother.

As if this isn't enough, Harry felt that sometimes strange used to happen around him. Once, Aunt Petunia, tired, irritated and frustrated of Harry coming back from the barber's looking though he hadn't been there at all had taken a pair of scissors and cut his hair so short that he was almost bald. Dudley had laughed himself silly at his haircut. Harry spent sleepless night thinking about how other children were going to laugh at him in school. But fortunately for Harry, next morning he found that his hairs were exactly the same as they were before the cut. He could never figure out how he did it. He was given a lot more chores when he couldn't give a reason for this unnatural instance.

A few months later the hairs of Harry's classmate suddenly turned blue when he was making fun of one of Harry's favorite teachers. Similarly when he was running from Dudley and his gang, he found himself at the end of the alley with nowhere to go. He was so desperate that he somehow found himself on the other side of alley. Just on the last birthday of Dudley when they had to take him to the zoo because of unavailability of any baby-sitter, he found that he could talk to the snakes. Thank god no one knew about the last two instances because whenever something like that happened and Dursleys came to know about it, they became really angry.

These was the only time when he got worse punishments like no diet for a day or not being allowed to go to school for three days. One interesting thing he found out during these instances was that when Uncle Vernon was angry, his face color used to turn so fast that Harry was sure he could give a chameleon a run for money. His aunt on the other hand first made sure that not a single neighbor was listening and then had an ugly grimace on her face with veins almost popping out all over her neck.

After reviewing these incidents, Harry came to the conclusion that there was something different about him and one day he was going to find about it and disclose other secrets that were in the outside world waiting to be uncovered. What he didn't know was that the biggest secret or reality of his life was coming to greet him very soon.