Author’s Note: A
submission in response to Potionsmist2000’s request for a fanfic challenge: The
Canon Character College Application Essay.
Alastor Moody belongs to JK Rowling.
Many thanks once again to Catherine, who suggested a “family
friendly” fanfic challenge, Yolanda and the SQW for putting up with this little
scribbling in between chapters of The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus,
and to Emma Dalrymple, who deserves both a Hagrid-sized pint of Guinness and a
Madame Maxime-sized bottle of 1986 Chateau d’Yquem for her meticulous eye for
detail and unfailingly infectious enthusiasm.
Applicant: Alastor Boniface Moody
Question 141.A -- ESSAY
order for the admissions staff of our university to get to know
the applicant, better, we ask that you answer the following question: Are there
any significant experiences you have had, or accomplishments you have realised,
that have helped to define you as
Please be warned that I have one eye. That is, one normal eye. I feel this is something you should know,
partly because if I were to pitch up at the Matriculation Ceremony at
Ulfric-Borstal Academy, some attention may be diverted from the Dean’s
welcoming commentary and you should probably be forewarned. I am, in fact, a great advocate of advanced
Five years ago, when I was twelve, my
family lived in Bavaria, on the outskirts of a tiny nameless village in a
ramshackle cottage of worn oak planks.
It doubled as both my father’s store and our residence, except for the
cellar which had been deemed off-limits to myself and my younger brother. That was where my parents, both originally
born and bred in North London, insisted that we be raised. And who was I to question them? I was only four, and Alvin two, when we
The Black Forest is a great place to hide
if you’re a wizard on the run from customs inspectors and the Magical Inland
Revenue, which is exactly what my father, Aelfred Moody, was doing (though I
should mention that he was later cleared of all charges and given an OBE by the
Queen herself, long may she reign).
Back then it was easy to lose yourself in the parts of the world where
even the local Muggle populations are considered a little odder than the rest. Misfits, if you will. And we Moodys fit right in. My father ran a pet store and sold cats,
toads, owls—anything that didn’t have opposable thumbs. For the first eleven years of my life, I
thought this was all my father was doing, and that this was all those pets
were. Pets. Commerce.
It was only by accident that one day Alvin
and I returned early from a village Quidditch match to discover the shop’s
cages empty, the little doors hanging ajar, and Mam and Papi missing. I set my battered broomstick by the door and
we followed two sets of shoeprints, which ran alongside pawprints, hoofmarks
and little glutinous web-footed indentations in the thick dust on the wooden
planks. The parade of tracks led us
right to the cellar door.
The stairs dropped steeply into blackness,
and we lit our wands, holding them ahead of ourselves like feeble torches,
shivering slightly all the way down.
Neither of us had ever disobeyed orders, never once having dared to
cross the threshold and risk the sparsely used, but powerfully and
painfully-aimed paddle Papi kept in the pantry.
By the time Alvin and I had crept down the
stairs, we only managed to catch a glimpse of a circle of people, a motley
collection of wizards and witches. A
couple still had fur on their lips and cheeks and others had webbed hands.
“There’s no point in complaining, Sardis,”
said my father, from beyond the circle.
He dropped the green, wart-covered hand of a bald, bug-eyed wizard who
was hissing at him with a forked tongue.
“Anyway, we haven’t much time, or we’d all have done the Transfigurations
the right way. Agents Cabot and Linley
at the Ministry will fix you up when you arri—“
At that moment, the great thundering of a
door being blown off its hinges silenced the group. In the dark, I could see Papi’s eyes fly to the door, and then to
us on the stairs. I’d never seen him
look so pale. Loud voices in
unintelligible German sounded like gunfire from the ground floor above. In hindsight, I am fairly certain that my
legs froze and my jaw dropped. There
was no time to think. So I’m sure it
was only on reflex that Papi levitated me and Alvin behind a mound of stinky
wine caskets that smelt like old socks.
I pressed my eyes in between the crates and saw the people in the circle
vanish in a flurry of green powdery dust, seconds before several wizards,
dressed in charcoal military robes sprinted down the steps. All they found were my parents, each with a
bottle of Gewurztraminer in hand, quietly discussing which to have with the
pheasant Papi supposedly caught that afternoon.
Grindelwald’s Gestapo had failed to catch
my father operating what we later discovered was his safe house. I realised then that my father did what he
did in this world because there is rarely the luxury of advanced notice
when you need it. This is why I wish to
pursue a concentration in Covert Intelligence Operations at Ulfric-Borstal
Oh, and my missing eye?
Yes, that’s another lesson I learned about
the rarity of advanced notice. Two
weeks after Grindelwald’s attempted raid on my father’s shop, I was playing
Beater in a village match against Little Bayern. I lost it squarely in a momentary lapse of concentration to a
fierce Bludger. If you’ve ever been to
Bayern’s pitch, you might have noticed that those Little Bayern barmaids on the
field can be rather distracting.
So, there you have it. The importance of constant vigilance.