The Sugar Quill
Author: A.L. de Sauveterre (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Alastor Moody's... College Application Essay?  Chapter: Default
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Question 141

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

In order for the admissions staff of our university to get to know
you, 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
a person?



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 notice. 


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 moved. 


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 Academy.


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.

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