I threw my magazine down on the seat next to me with perhaps more force than necessary. After being on the train for a few hours, I had already read through it about forty times and was getting bored and frustrated with re-reading the same nonsense articles. Curse this long train ride and my amazing speed-reading skills.
I looked around my train compartment, searching for something to amuse me or to at least stare at, and instead caught the eye of the little old lady sitting opposite me. She really was little and coming from me, that says something. Standing at five feet, I am an honoree member of the Fun-Size Club and this lady may as well have been the president. She was cute though in her little flower-patterned dress and glasses too big for her elfish face. I smiled at her and she grinned back, offering me a piece of chocolate from her purse. I gladly accepted, completely ignoring my mother's warning to the five year-old me about taking candy from strangers. But I'm pretty sure that excluded sweets from a nice old lady. I nearly choked at the image of her trying to abduct me with her little scrawny arms and legs. That would be a sight I'd pay to see.
We remained pretty quiet after that, making small talk here and there. I told her about how I was returning from boarding school for the summer, how I hadn't seen my family since Christmas time. She was visiting her granddaughter who had recently had a baby boy and upon my request, very proudly showed me a photo of her great-grandson; he was adorable.
Not too long after that, the train came to a halt. I quickly collected my things and made my way to the compartment exit.
"It was very nice talking to you," I told the woman.
She smiled. "And you, deary. Enjoy your summer!"
I thanked her and made my way off the train and onto the platform. I tried to ignore the pain in my slowly-awaking legs while I looked around for my father who was supposed to pick me up and take me back to his flat. My parents had divorced when I was seven so ten years later I was very much used to being passed back and forth between my mum and dad like a game of Hot-Potato.
I spun around in circles like an idiot for about ten minutes trying to spot him in the sea of people but found no luck. But I suppose I looked less stupid doing that than when I was jumping up and down trying to see over the heads that towered over mine. I took my phone out of my duffel bag and angrily dialed his number, tapping my foot as I anxiously waited for him to answer. Clearly, I had yet to master the art of patience in my seventeen years. On the fifth ring he finally picked up.
"Hullo? Who's this?" I rolled my eyes and let out a heavy sigh. Not a good sign; he bloody damn well knew it was me, he had Caller-ID. This could only mean one thing:
"You forgot, didn't you?"
"Oh, hey pumpkin, how's it going?" Avoiding the subject: also not good.
"You forgot that you had to pick me up, didn't you?"
A pause. "No I didn't."
Typical, absolutely typical. "Yeah you did."
"No I didn't."
"Yeah you did."
"No I did-"
"Okay, for arguments sake, let's just say that you didn't forget." I could feel my face getting hot with anger. Why am I always taking on the parental role between the two of us? Maybe that's why my mum divorced him; being married to a twelve year-old must be exhausting. "Do you at least have any idea as to when you're gonna be here?"
He sighed. "I'm not sure, love. I have a lot of work I need to catch up on since I accidentally slept in this morning. I'm sorry." Although I was really mad at him, in his defense he really did sound sorry. "Sit tight until I get there?"
I let out a heavy sigh. "Fine," I mumbled. "See you soon." I hung up and shoved my phone back into my bag. This wasn't the first time he had stranded me until further notice; the universe clearly hated me. I'd probably be dead by the time he finally decided to grow up.
I realize it would probably save me a lot of grief if my mum just picked me up but whenever I came home, my dad volunteered to do the job. And I didn't want to tell on him every time he forgot or was ungodly late. It was one of my biggest fears that my mum would use it against him when they argued, which was pretty frequently. I didn't need to give her another reason to think that he was an unfit parent.
Accepting that I was going to be there for a while, I maneuvered myself away from the line of traffic of people and headed straight for the wall that was in between Platforms Nine and Ten. Placing my trunk and bag on the ground next to me, I folded my arms and leaned up against the wall, immediately regretting it.
When my back made contact with the wall, it was if it hadn't at all. I kept falling backwards, literally through the wall, disappearing into the bricks. It happened so fast that I almost didn't have time to comprehend it; there was no way to stop it.
When I landed flat on my arse, my first thought was that I had leaned into the air thinking that the wall was behind me when it in fact wasn't, but something didn't seem right. Sitting on the concrete floor, I was staring directly at a wrought-iron archway I was pretty sure wasn't there before labeled Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Was there such a thing? That's not possible, is it? Maybe I hit my head on my way down and am imagining things.
I got up off the floor and looked around for my things; they were no where to be found. How strange, they were there only a second ago.
I turned around to evaluate my surroundings when I all of a sudden I realized I was in Wonderland.
Next to the platform stood a large steam engine train, red in coloring, and on its black face said the unfamiliar words "Hogwarts Express" and the number 5972. I gaped at the train, at its beauty and massive size. I was in complete awe.
But the train wasn't what baffled me the most. There was a rush of people, some of them wearing funny clothing and hats; the children and teenagers had trunks and carts at their sides, many with owls in cages and cats in their arms; and they were all carrying wooden sticks. I heard parts of some conversations, discussing topics I'd never heard of and didn't understand.
"…Yeah, well Gryffindor may have won the Quidditch House Cup this year but once we get rid of that bloody Parkinson as captain, Slytherin's gonna take the trophy…"
"…Guess what? I passed my Apparation Test on the first try…"
"…The Hogwarts castle is so cool, mum, you should have seen it! The staircases change…"
"…Do you think I'll be made a Prefect for next year?…"
It was all so odd I half expected a giant rabbit to go running by wailing "I'm late! I'm late!" Tea party anyone?
I had to be dreaming; this wasn't real. What's wrong with these people? What are they doing here? What's a Hogwarts? What the fuck was in that chocolate I ate?
I looked around frantically to see if anyone else looked as confused as I felt. I had no idea where I was or if the means that I thought I had gotten here with were even possible.
"Are you alright?" a voice said from behind me, startling me out of my panicked thoughts. It belonged to a teenage boy. "You look like a mental case just standing there looking around like that."
I spun around to face him and ask him how I could possibly be the mental case here but my words got caught in my throat. The first thing I noticed about him was his height. He towered over me by about a foot and I had to crane my neck up to see his face properly. And boy was I glad that I did. Standing before me was possibly one of the best-looking boys I had ever laid my eyes on in my entire life. And he was talking to me.
This guy looked my age and had raven colored hair that stood up in many different directions, creating a "I-just-rolled-out-of-bed" type look that seriously worked for him. His eyes were brown and bored into mine, I felt as if he could see into my soul. Okay maybe not, but I definitely felt like he was judging me. What, a girl can't fall through brick walls and look like a mental case every once in a while?
The beautiful boy was obviously amused at my reaction to him and patiently waited for me to pick my jaw (and dignity) off the floor and answer him. But I couldn't think of anything to say that made sense. Or was coherent for that matter.
After what felt like forever, but was probably just a minute at most (I hope), I finally said something. "I…I fell…through the wall." I have a way with words, don't I?
He raised one eyebrow and pointed to the archway behind me. "You mean the barrier?"
I scratched my head. "I…guess so. Listen, could you just please tell me what's going on here? I'm so lost…"
I trailed off as he stared at me, the amusement leaving his eyes and he seemed to have come to some sort of realization that I didn't quite understand.
"What's your name?" he asked finally.
Giving strangers my name was another one of my mother's rules but he seemed harmless enough. Then again, so did that old lady on the train and all signs seem to be pointing to that she may have drugged me. But then if that were true, then that would mean that this was a hallucination, therefore I wasn't really giving him my name, was I? None of this was real. Right? This is how I rationalized my next move.
"Spencer Lockwood." I looked around me before I said my name-whispered it actually. I didn't want any of the crazy stick-carrying people to hear me and try to steal my identity.
"Nice to meet you Spencer, I'm James Potter," he replied, startling me by grabbing my hand. "Would you mind coming with me for a moment?" I stared at him unsure. He laughed, most likely at my facial expression. "Don't worry, you'll be safe with me."
"Okay," I mumbled before I could stop myself. I should really stop staring into his eyes, I thought. They're enchanting me into agreeing to things I normally wouldn't.
But before I could change my mind or even protest, James was walking, towing me behind him. We were headed towards a family, one that I assumed was his due to the fact that they looked like him. We stopped in front of a man who I assumed was his father since he looked just like James with the exception of distinct green eyes, glasses, and a funny looking scar on his forehead, which if I saw correctly, was in a shape of a lightning bolt.
"Um mum, dad…" James said, looking back at me. His parents stopped their conversation with their two younger kids, looked first at their eldest son, and then their eyes settled on me.
"Who's this, James? A friend of yours from school?" His mother smiled at me. She was really pretty with fiery red hair and was tall and thin; she hardly looked like she could be a mother of three.
With his free hand, James nervously ran it through his messy hair. I suddenly became very much aware of the fact that he was still holding my hand. His warmth felt nice against my cold fingers. "Um no, actually," He lowed his voice to a whisper so I wouldn't hear but his words reached my ears anyway. "I found her over by the archway. Her name's Spencer. She's a muggle, said that she fell through the barrier. What do we do?"
"What's a muggle?" I blurted out without thinking. My face immediately flushed red as the Potter family turned to me. None of them responded to my question right away; they didn't seem to know what to say.
"Nothing you need to worry about," Mr. Potter said kindly after a few moments of awkward silence.
"So what do you think we should do?" James asked his father.
I knew he was referring to me when he said that but I wasn't sure what exactly he meant by it. "Do about what?" I felt like a nosy little kid.
They ignored my question and began discussing me as if I wasn't standing right there.
"Well technically, what we're supposed to do is bring her to the Ministry to have her memory erased," WHAT? "But that's completely out of the question." Whew, I can breathe again.
Mrs. Potter nodded in accord. "I agree with your father, James, and I'm sure that you do too."
He lightly squeezed my hand. "Yeah, I do."
James' younger brother who was almost an exact copy of Mr. Potter then spoke up. "Maybe she can just promise not to tell anyone and we can let her be on her way."
His sister snorted. I could tell that she was several years younger than me but she-like the rest of the family-was much taller than me. "Great idea, Al, your problem solving skills are astounding." Her tone was dripping with sarcasm.
Al glared at the redhead. "Shut up, Lily, I don't hear you coming up with anything better."
"Alright you two, that's enough!" Mrs. Potter scolded before Lily could even open her mouth to argue.
Mr. Potter put both of his hands on my shoulders and leaned down so that he was at my eyelevel. Way to make me feel like I was nine years old, Mr. Potter. Way. To. Go.
I could feel that James was still holding my hand. My heart pounded heavily at the thought.
"Spencer," Mr. Potter began. I could tell that he was choosing his words carefully, wondering how he should address this. "Are you going to mention this to anyone? The train, the platform, the people you saw, and the things you heard?"
"Well, this is all a dream," I paused briefly. "Isn't it?"
Mr. and Mrs. Potter looked at each other and nodded, communicating with one another telepathically as most married couples seem to be able to. "Yes, it is." he murmured. Ever so slowly he took a wooden stick out of his pocket and raised it, pointing it in my direction. He mumbled something I didn't quite understand and I suddenly felt a wave of sleepiness sweep over me. Before I knew it, my eyelids were heavy and I was fighting to keep them open. The last thing I saw was James' smile.
I woke up to someone roughly shaking my arm and calling my name. Blinking a few times in attempt to focus my vision, I realized it was my dad.
"Hey, pumpkin," he cooed. "You were out like a light. I've been trying to wake you for the past five minutes."
"Sorry." I stretched out my arms, cracking my back, and to my surprise realized that I was sitting on the floor. I was leaned up against my trunk with my bag in my lap. Funny, I don't remember sitting down…
"No need to be sorry, Spencer. Welcome home!" He enveloped me into a giant hug, crushing my inner organs, and stood me up.
"Thanks daddy," I yawned. I didn't realize before that I was so tired. My body felt weak and limp, it was a wonder that I didn't collapse.
"I was thinking of taking you out for ice cream to make up for being so late but you seem pretty exhausted. Do you wanna just head back home and sleep? We can go tomorrow instead." Silly father, thinking that promises of ice cream or other delicious sweets can amend any wrongs.
I nodded. "Okay." My dad picked up my trunk for me and I put my duffel bag over my shoulder. We were about to leave when suddenly all of the memories came rushing back to my mind: the falling through the wall, the secret platform, the train, the boy and his family. It had felt so real and yet, it couldn't have been. It was impossible, it had to be.
I pivoted on my heels and headed back towards the wall in between Platforms Nine and Ten. I gingerly put my right hand onto the wall's surface and pressed into it expecting my arm to disappear through its exterior, but nothing happened. I tried again and the same thing: nothing. It was like pushing a brick wall, but that was because I was pushing a brick wall. Feeling like an idiot, I turned around and walked back to my dad who was eyeing me suspiciously.
"Pardon, but what was that all about?"
I felt my face get hot with embarrassment. "Oh nothing, I just needed to check something."
He shrugged. "Okay, anything else you need to 'check' before we leave?"
"Nope, I'm good."
He put his arm around my shoulders and began babbling about something unintelligible, but I wasn't listening, my mind somewhere else. I was trying to convince myself that it couldn't have simply been a dream but that was the only conclusion that made sense. And all of my evidence that claimed otherwise was invalid; nothing happened when I touched the wall. I didn't end up in Wonderland again.
A/N: HI there, I'm Jess! So usually I post on (and I will continue to do so), I just wanted to start posting here as well. I have the first 15 chapters of this story already written so I'll be able to update once a week. After that, updates will take a few weeks at a time.
I hope you liked chapter 1! Let me know in a review :D