// THE MAGICADEMY //
Myrtle Marscapone sits alone at a desk in the house known as the “Magicademy” of Astoria, New York. Open in front of her is an album of monochrome photographs. They are not her students, rather, they’re her own family members, most of whom are estranged from her.
She’s been pouring over the images off and on for years, decades even, desperate to recapture a glimpse of knowledge she might have forgotten. Some scrap of a hint her father might have said, thinking it trivial while partaking in libation.
Her mind is blank until she hears the distinct pitter-patter of footsteps from behind her.
One of the children was out of bed. Such flagrant rule-breaking, and just after the recent Spring Break!
She turns around in her chair halfway to see, standing pigeon-toed in slippers, none other than the young woman Hermione Granger, now seeming hardly adolescent in her shame. No, she might have been ten years old and Myrtle’d have thought little off.
HERMIONE. WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT OF BED AT THIS HOUR?
She glances at the clock to see that the hour was eleven. The minutes could not be trusted.
She fumbles on her words. A nearby candle flickers and threatens to extinguish, but reasserts itself. The window was allowing an uneven breeze to tickle the inhabitants.
I NEED TO TALK TO YOU.
LAND SAKES CHILD!
COULDN’T YOU HAVE CHOSEN A MORE APPROPRIATE HOUR?
Hermione wrings her hands anxiously.
I’VE ALREADY WAITED LONG ENOUGH AND I DIDN’T WANT ANY OF THE OTHERS TO OVERHEAR.
I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE.
ABOUT… SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED ON VACATION.
Myrtle senses the gravity of what is about to be said and uses the opportunity to complete her chair’s swivel.
Hermione sits on the floor, kneeling, looking down at her knees. As Myrtle often lectured from seatback, this was a common position for the students. They had no qualms about sitting on the floor.
The young woman hides her face, looking down at her knees, showing the Headmistress her mane of messy brown hair. She cannot bring herself to look up and Myrtle gets the impression that she is becoming tearful.
OUT WITH IT.
WHEN WE WERE AT THE HOUSE, I… I WAS DRIVING SOME OF THE KIDS AROUND AND…
I HIT CEDRIC WITH MY CAR.
YOU STRUCK CEDRIC WITH YOUR CAR?!
BUT I RESURRECTED HIM!
The two women finally meet in a strange gaze. Hermione has a cautious pride behind her frustrated tears, but Myrtle seems to be looking past her into the abyss.
I RESURRECTED HIM!
HE WALKED AWAY FROM THE CRASH.
Resurrection magicks were generally far outside the purview of her introduction to the arcane.
WHERE DID YOU LEARN SUCH A SPELL?
I DIDN’T LEARN THE SPELL, PER SE.
I… I HAD A SCROLL.
At this revelation, Myrtle freezes in terror.
No… Please no. Please don’t say…
I HAD TAKEN THE SCROLL FROM YOUR COLLECTION.
I HAD FOUND IT –
THOSE SCROLLS WERE NOT MEANT TO BE USED, LEAST OF ALL BY A NOVICE SUCH AS YOURSELF!
Hermione’s nervous show of pride is quickly evaporating.
YOU STOLE FROM ME!
THOSE ARE NO ORDINARY SCROLLS!
DID YOU TAKE THEM ALL? DID YOU USE THEM ALL?
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!
THEY WERE DELIBERATELY STORED AWAY SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT BE USED!
BUT IF I HADN’T HAD THE SCROLL, CEDRIC MIGHT HAVE DIED!
AND BY USING FORBIDDEN WORDS UPON HIM, HIS FATE MIGHT VERY WELL BE WORSE THAN DEATH!
HERMIONE, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA THE DAMAGE YOU’VE DONE?
She tries to muster strength.
I SAVED HIS LIFE…
CURSES, MISS GRANGER, CURSES!
EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE!
YOU IMBUED HIM WITH ANCIENT MAGICKS, MAGICKS OUR PEOPLE SWORE LONG AGO TO NEVER TOUCH.
AND FOR GOOD REASON!
IF YOU’D HAVE BROUGHT HIM TO ME, MAYBE I COULD HAVE –
WE WEREN’T GOING TO MAKE IT IN TIME!
HE WAS BLEEDING, AND HIS…
BACK WAS BROKEN.
AND WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR CROSS TO BEAR IS NOW HIS.
HE’LL NEVER BE THE SAME, HERMIONE.
BUT HE GOT UP AND WALKED AWAY LIKE NOTHING HAD EVER HAPPENED!
CURSES WORK IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS.
BUT THIS WASN’T LIKE ANY CURSE YOU EVER TAUGHT US ABOUT.
AND YET YOU SHOULD HAVE NO IDEA HOW A CURSE IS FORMED, SHOULD YOU, HERMIONE GRANGER?
She looks down again, her eyes oscillating up and down as she tries to face the Headmistress.
I HAVE TRIED…
A FEW TIMES…
ON SMALLER FORMS OF LIFE.
I NEEDED TO KNOW THEIR SYNTAX. HOW ELSE CAN WE BE EXPECTED TO DEFEND OURSELVES FROM THEM?
If Myrtle’s volume hasn’t already awoken the students, it may have now.
YOU KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION, MISS GRANGER.
ALWAYS BE PREPARED.
Hermione’s face is a mess of watery tears and streams of makeup.
BUT THAT’S NOT ENOUGH FOR ALL SITUATIONS!
SOMETIMES YOU CAN’T JUST BE PREPARED!
JUST AS CEDRIC WASN’T PREPARED BEFORE YOU CURSED HIM.
BUT THIS WASN’T A CURSE! I COULD FEEL THAT IT WAS DIFFERENT.
WE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE SCROLL.
I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE SCROLL.
There is a heavy silence between the two.
DID CEDRIC RETURN TO HIS APARTMENT?
I OFFERED TO DRIVE HIM BACK TO THE HOUSE BUT HE WOULDN’T GET IN THE CAR.
HE… LEFT OVERNIGHT.
I’LL DECIDE YOUR FATE ON THE MORROW.
GET OUT OF MY SIGHT.
As Hermione removes her sniffling face from Myrtle’s presence, something in the Headmistress’s mind nags, “I told you so”. And she knows, deep down, that she hadn’t kept her stores locked up well enough. She knows her wards hadn’t been refreshed in some time. She knows her safeguards had been lax.
“I told you so”.
A faulty security system might as well be an invitation.