"What's with the glum face?"
The voice made Dandelion glance over to the train seat next to her. A boy plopped himself down in the seat next to her. He was about her age, with tousled brown hair and sparkling blue eyes. He's rather cute, thought Dandelion, surprised. She blushed. She was eleven, and just starting to notice boys.
"He-he-hello," she stammered.
"Hi," he said with a smile. "My name's Tommy. What's yours?"
"Dandelion," she replied simply.
"With a name like that, I can see why you're so glum!" he exclaimed.
"I like my name just fine, thank you," said Dandelion defensively.
"Sorry," he said. "But, seriously, what's the matter?"
"Oh, nothing important," muttered Dandelion.
He didn’t say anything, but looked her expectantly. Clearly, he wanted to hear what she had to say despite her protests.
Dandelion continued. “I’m just not too excited because it’s my first day of summer break from boarding school. I haven’t seen my family since Christmas, and right away I have to go stay with my great-grandparents without seeing my mum or grandfather.”
“And you don’t like your great-grandparents,” he guessed.
“You could say that! They’re awful. They’re always criticizing my mum and Grandpa Dudley and even me sometimes. If only Grandpa Dudley had raised her better, then Mum… Mum’s shirt is too tight, she’s such a… I should be disciplined better, or else I’ll turn out like my mum…”
Dandelion became quiet. She never said much to strangers, especially not anything personal. Really, she’d said way too much about her family, or so she felt.
They rode in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. Finally, she turned to him and asked, “So why are you all alone on this train?”
Just then, there was a great jarring of the carriage. The force of the crash made Dandelion and Tommy fly forwards towards the opposite wall. Tommy’s head hit the wall with a sickening crack, and he fell to the ground. Somehow, the seats had free of the wall, and they landed on top of him.
Meanwhile, Dadelion floated in midair, watching the scene unfold below her. She was in such shock that it took her a minute that she sitting comfortably in the air, nothing holding her up. She was perfectly fine. Her magic had saved her.
She let herself fall, and she reached the floor with a bit of a thunk. As she stood, she felt some pain in her right ankle. Otherwise, though, she was fine. Tommy wasn’t, though.
She assessed the situation. Tommy was alive, though unconscious. Much of his body was trapped under the train seats and there was a gash on his head, which was bleeding profusely. She was no medical expert, but she was pretty sure that his injuries were serious, maybe even potentially deadly.
Use magic, whispered a little voice in Dandelion’s head.
No! she argued back. I’ll reveal myself to be a witch.
So what? The first voice was back. What if you were born a witch to save this boy?
Nonsense! she thought. I’m only a second year. I haven’t learned how to do healing spells yet.
You do know Wingardium Leviosa, the voice replied.
Before she could make up her mind, a fireman rescued the two children. Tommy was immediately rushed off in an ambulance, and Dandelion didn’t see him again. However, she read in the paper about Tommy Banks, a schoolboy who’d survived the horrific train crash, but been paralyzed for life. Could I have saved his legs? Dandelion wondered.