(Disclaimer: I am not now or ever have been JK Rowling. I'm only borrowing some of her wonderful characters for an idea I thought of. If I've accidentally stumbled into somebody else ideas or plot, I apologize. You'll recognize some of the original storyline but then it just wanders off on its own legs and goes.)
At first glance, there was nothing to distinguish the house at 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey from any of the other thousands of houses in English suburbia. Typical size and color, ordinary car in the driveway, ordinary landscaping and gardens – nothing that would cause it to garner any special attention whatsoever. There probably was a typical family inside of mother, father and children to complete the picture of normalcy.
But if one looked a little closer, one could see something very different at this house. At least this afternoon. In broad daylight, there was one owl perched atop the chimney. A rather bored Barred owl if anyone could read the flat expression on its face. Little did it know that it had just delivered a post which set into motion a great change into the world. Especially for one special boy.
The Dursley family who lived in the house was the very standard of normalcy. At least they thought so; unfortunately there was one glaring exception to their own ideal of the proper English family.
It was this exception that the owl post was addressed to. Harry Potter had been the cause of their greatest fear and shame. They hoped that no one would ever discover that the little boy who lived under the stairs was – gasp - different from everybody else and, even worst, that he was actually related to them.
Harry Potter was at the moment spending time locked in the cupboard that served as his bedroom and punishment hole. Truth be told, he had spent most of his childhood in that cramped, filthy, hot little space. And he no idea why.
But he kept trying to figure it out. He had been told that his alcoholic parents were killed in a car accident. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had sacrificed their lives, as they kept reminding him, to put a roof over Harrys' head and to raise him. That he was treated as a virtual slave and a burden since he could walk and talk was a constant mystery and conflict for Harry. The fawning over and spoiling of his cousin Dudley contrasted sharply with the physical and emotional abuse he endured on a daily basis.
Harry wore hand-me-down clothes from his portly cousin and a set of oft broken glasses that had been rescued from a garbage bin. His appearance was distinctive in itself, which was another reason the Dursleys treated him shamefully. He had bright green eyes, a mop of ever unruly black hair and a permanent jagged scar on his forehead. He just didn't look normal or part of their perfect little family. There was also the matter of the "occurrences" as the adults called them. Strange things happened around the boy and the Dursleys found any and every opportunity to punish Harry for everything.
Right now, Harry figured out that he was being punished because his birthday had actually taken place. When Harry had actually asked for part of the dessert he had fixed as it was his birthday, Dudley had actually laughed at him. Uncle Vernon had simply grabbed him by the neck and growled about "learning his place among betters", and thrown him bodily into the closet. He had been there, about 24 hours now, only being let out to cook the Dursleys' their usual breakfast. Harry had managed to snag a couple of pieces of dried toast before he was locked up again.
The summer was hot and long, especially when one was confined to a tight spot without ventilation. Harry was looking forward to going back to public school, if only for some freedom of movement and a chance to talk to some real people again. With Dudley headed off to Smeltings Academy, Harry might actually get to stop and talk to other children instead of avoiding Dudley and his gang in every spare moment. Dudley's reign of terror and harassment had kept Harry from ever having a friend; Harry never had a chance to get to know any other children his age. He never had any enjoyment in his life other than the books he read when he was hiding in the school library. Harry wondered if he ever would have a normal life with friends to talk to.
Harry's thoughts were interrupted as the door was thrown open abruptly and a pudgy hand reached in and hauled Harry out.
"Well, freak, the postman has come and gone. Go and fetch the mail and don't be slow about it or you'll get the back of my hand again"
"Yes Uncle Vernon", Harry said. As he headed for the front door, Harry wondered what bad luck would get thrown his way today to get him punished again. He spied an owl, of all things, flying away and hoped that Aunt Petunias' garden was ok. He didn't want any damage to be blamed on him.
Little did he know that one untypical owls' appearance would lead him into a new life and something he had never known before….a chance for a future and some happiness.