Slumped against an old tree, knees pulled tight up against her chest, sat a young girl about nine years old. Her brown hair fluttered around her face with the chilly wind, occasionally catching a fallen leaf as the steady stream of autumn leaves fell from the tree’s branches. She sniffled and hugged her knees tighter as a gang of girls walked by, giggling quite loudly.
‘There’s that weird
girl, Granger,’ the blond in the front said, who was obviously the group’s leader. The mean words were just loud enough to reach the sniffling girl’s ears and another wave of humiliation washed through her, which hurt worse than the cold air seeping through her coat.
She didn’t understand why there wasn’t a single person in her year like her. Her entire life, she knew she was different, meant for something bigger than this stupid playground and those giggling girls who constantly humiliated her in front of everyone.
It wasn’t fair; the things that she did were accidents, some kind of unexplainable phenomenon. She wiped her eyes angrily. It wasn’t her fault that Robert Darby had wound up stuck inside the teacher’s desk last week after he had called her geeky. And she shouldn’t be the one to blame for Teresa Lemming’s bag splitting open spontaneously.
There wasn’t any proof, in yet her peers mocked her and called her Hermione Stranger
and never invited her to play.
A brief gust of wind blew more of the golden leaves around her, naturally swirling in slow circles by her feet. Intrigued, she stretched her legs out in front of her and concentrated on their movement. The leaves began to churn faster and faster, spinning violently like a wild cyclone, sucking in more leaves with each perpetual twist. She scrambled to her feet, barely noticing the chill smacking her face raw, and watched in amazement as her multi-colored tornado grew and grew, inhaling twigs and other debris as well. Her heart leapt inside her ribcage when she waved her arm and caused the whirlwind to pick up speed even further.
‘How are you doing that?’
The sudden question frightened Hermione so much that the whirlwind came to an abrupt halt as she whipped around; she gasped and the leaves blew away naturally as if nothing abnormal had just happened.
A boy stood a few feet away, dressed in a dark red coat and matching cap, clashing perfectly with the surrounding landscape. His jaw hung slack and he ogled at Hermione with an amazed expression.
‘Well go on,’ Hermione started, balling her small hands into fists, ‘take the mickey out of me.’
‘Why would I do that?’ The boy asked in a small voice, sounding genuinely surprised, ‘That was the coolest thing I ever saw! Can you teach me?’
Taken aback, Hermione relaxed her fists and looked at the boy questioningly, waiting for him to turn on her. After a few moments, she looked back at the ground where a small amount of leaves had begun to spin on their own again.
‘I dunno if I can teach it, exactly, it just sort of happens to me.’ Hermione answered. She concentrated and soon enough had a smaller version of the cyclone spinning at an unnatural rate. She looked back up and saw that the boy’s face cracked with blissful laughter—he clapped his mitten-laden hands together as if enjoying a show.
‘You must be…magical
.’ The boy declared, eyes watching the spinning array of color that somehow resulted from Hermione herself.
Hermione smiled; for once in her life, here was someone to understand her, even take amazement at what she had no explanation for doing. She waved her arm again and the cyclone began to spin itself around the boy playfully, causing him to laugh even more.