Chapter 2 - Reflections
Chapter 2 – The Secret Life of Flobberworms
Acknowledgements: As always,
thanks to the SQ Workhop. While our name may change our friendship won’t
– you guys are the best inspiration any writer could ask for! Special
thanks to Yolonda, for her help in the eleventh hour, I really appreciate it!
To my readers, thanks for you patience and for reading.
When Kit stepped off the train, the heavy rain blanketing the platform soaked
her robes in seconds. She had to strain to see past all the students rushing
about and shrieking at the downpour. She hesitated uncertainly on the worn boards
of the platform.
“Firs’ years this way!” boomed Hagrid from
down at the other end.
But she wasn’t a first year anymore, so where was she
supposed to go? Verity hopped down beside Kit, both hands over her head like a
small, ineffectual umbrella.
“What are you standing around for?” Verity
demanded. “Get in one of the school coaches before we’re washed
Kit threw Verity a harassed look and glanced around again.
Students everywhere but not a single coach. “Where?”
Verity shoved at Kit’s shoulders impatiently as Ellie
and then Serena appeared beside them. Kit stumbled forward and was caught up in
the huge mass of students shuffling across the platform toward a muddy dirt
track. Predictably, Serena melted into the crowd and disappeared without a
backward glance, but Ellie clung to the back of Kit’s robes and Verity
was busy elbowing and shoving other students aside to keep up with the two of
them. For the moment Verity seemed to have forgotten about her bandaged arm and
she wielded as mercilessly as the other.
Soon Kit was on the track itself and listening to the thick
“schuck, schuck” of her shoes pulling at the mud. It was like
walking through cement. The crowd in front of her thinned and Kit could see a
hundred old-fashioned stagecoaches. They were large and black, with smudged
windows that looked like blank grey eyes in the evening light. Torches
flickered at the front corner of each coach, defying the rain and casting a
fitful orange light over the students scrambling inside.
Verity shot past Kit and threw herself into the nearest
unoccupied coach. Kit stared at the empty traces. How was the coach supposed to
go anywhere without a horse to draw it? She was answered a moment later as,
with a loud squelch, the first coaches began lumbering away. Self-propelled
coaches. Kit shook her head; she should have known. By now Ellie was in the
coach as well and both she and Verity peered out at Kit incredulously.
“Are you trying to drown yourself? Get in here!”
Kit stopped staring at the coach and waded her way through
the students and mud. For a moment she thought she saw a skeletal horse with
something black and bulky on its back between the traces. But when she turned
her head there was nothing there. I must be more tired than I thought,
Kit decided, climbing into the coach. It was dank
and dim inside. Kit suddenly missed the Hogwarts Express with its plush seats
and cheerful light. This was like traveling in a funeral party.
The coaches reached Hogwarts long before the boats crossing
the lake had even reached midway. The entrance hall was slick from the many wet
shoes tramping across it. Kit walked carefully, trying not to slip. Ellie wrung
out her hair and grabbed Kit’s arm, dragging her into the great hall.
“Come on, I’m bloody well freezing. There should
be a fire in here.” Ellie gave a dramatic shudder. “I could climb
right inside it.”
Verity followed the two of them with reluctant steps and Kit
sent a sympathetic grimace her way. Verity had to join her classmates at the
Slytherin table in the great hall, and they weren’t exactly a friendly
lot. In their first year, Verity had had a lot of trouble with her Slytherin
classmates because she was friends with Kit and Ellie. Fraternizing with
Muggle-borns wasn’t something the house encouraged. Kit thought again how
grateful she was to be in Hufflepuff. The warm light of the hall splashed over
the Hufflepuff table, seeming to linger and highlight each smiling face. There
were few smiles at the Slytherin table and their laughter had a nasty, sharp
edge to it.
Verity threw back her shoulders, lifted her chin and marched
toward her house table. “Catch you two after the feast,” she called
Kit gave a little wave and Ellie nodded. Still preoccupied
with what had happened on the train, Kit paid little attention to the
headmaster’s opening speech. But the seriousness of his tone finally
caught her attention.
“-I therefore warn each and every one of you to give
them no reason to harm you. I look to the prefects and our Head Boy and Girl,
to make sure no student runs foul of the Dementors,” Dumbledore said. He
moved on to announcing new staff appointments and Kit lost interest again.
Their new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher was likely just as useless as
last year. When Dumbledore had finished speaking the students clapped more
enthusiastically than Kit thought an opening speech warranted. What had she
missed? The students around her erupted into a flurry of whispers.
“Yes, but why,”
Ellie said, “are the Dementors at Hogwarts?”
Annemette gave a sniff. “Looking for Sirius Black of
course. Do you live in a box when you’re not at school?”
Ellie glared and Kit sent Annemette a dirty look. Maybe
she’d set Puck loose on Annemette’s precious wardrobe – see
how snotty she was when she was trying to find all the pieces to her fuzzy pink
sweaters. Annemette had been friendly to them once. However, when all the
trouble broke out last year over the Chamber of Secrets with Muggle-borns being
attacked, suddenly Annemette was too good to mix with mudbloods.
Ellie ignored Annemette and turned to Merrilee, a
round-faced girl with a perpetual smile on her face. “Who’s Sirius
“He broke out of Azkaban Prison,” Merrilee said,
“What was he in for?” Kit asked.
“Murdering 13 people. With a single curse.”
Kit blinked. “Must have been a good curse.”
so,” Merrilee said with a shrug, “blew up a street or
“My mum says Sirius Black is a nutter,” Calliope
interjected with a nod. Sallow-skinned with improbable yellow hair, Calliope
was Merrilee’s best friend. The two were seldom apart. “I heard he
can make himself invisible. He could be standing right behind you and
you’d never know!”
Merrilee gave a small yelp and looked wildly around.
Annemette almost fell off of her seat laughing. She recovered and gave Merrilee
a haughty smile. “That’s such rubbish. He’s just a common
criminal and they’ll have him back in Azkaban in no time. You wait and
“I’ve got a new book of defensive spells. We can
practice with it after the feast,” offered Jynx. There was a marked
silence. No one, not one of them, was brave enough to practice magic with Jynx.
She had a way of making even the easiest spell dangerous. They might be safer
with the maniac, actually.
Ellie shook her head in disbelief. “Last year
it’s monsters chasing students through the halls, and now we’ve got
an escaped lunatic stalking the school. I can’t wait to see what we get
to deal with next year. How does this place stay open?”
Kit shrugged. “Guess it’s normal for them. You
never hear about stuff like this in regular schools, do you? Something about
magic makes it all a bit weird.”
“Still,” Ellie said, loading her plate down with
food, “I think this school must attract dangerous things. I hope they
catch that man soon. I don’t like those Dementors – they’re
Kit nodded absently and played with the food on her plate.
The Dementors were horrible, but there was something about them that made Kit
almost want to sneak out of the school. Just to see what would happen. The
feeling of power and energy she’d felt on the train had been
exhilarating. Kit felt as if she could have dismantled a tank in those moments.
Classes were much the same as they had been in her first
year. Professor McGonagall was as strict as ever, Professor Flitwick as
squeaky, and Professor Snape just as bad tempered. Kit was really looking
forward to her Care of Magical Creatures class on Tuesday but it ended up being
canceled. Some idiot Slytherin had gotten flayed by a hippogriff, whatever that
was. Trust a Slytherin to ruin it for everybody else. Kit had to wait until
Thursday to finally attend the class. She left Ellie in the entrance hall
“I’m sorry Ellie, but you’ll be able to
take it next year,” Kit said.
Ellie just frowned. “Yeah but you won’t be in it
then either will you, cause you’ll still be a year ahead.”
“Look at it this way, I can warn you what’s
coming up,” Kit said. “Why don’t you find Verity?”
“She’s studying, as usual. I can’t pry her
out of her books. Guess I’ll just wander the halls,” Ellie said
with a tragic look.
Kit laughed. “After last year, you should be glad
that’s an option.”
Ellie waved a hand at her. “Better get going or
you’ll be late and the creatures will have already eaten all the
Kit laughed and waved at |Ellie as she sprinted through the
front doors and down across the lawn. Care of Magical Creatures was being
taught in front of the grounds keeper’s hut. There were already a lot of
students there when Kit arrived and she smiled at a few of the older
Hufflepuffs she recognized. Hanah Abbott was attending the class and there was
Ernie McMillan and Justin Finch-fletchly. The three of them always seemed to be
together, as if they shared a brain or something. Still, Hanah had always been
nice to Kit. She didn’t feel like joining them though, especially with
Hanah giving her odd looks. Kit could almost see the questions quivering on
She didn’t know any of the other Hufflepuffs,
she’d only seen them around the common room. It was actually rather
shocking how the various years kept to themselves and didn’t mix with one
“I’m telling you Enid, the quality of this
lettuce is just terrible. I mean we’re important creatures, the least
they could do is feed us something edible. But no, it’s all cheap
imported lettuce, mealy and bland. I won’t stand for it. I just
Kit looked wide-eyed at the giant box sitting in front of
the grounds keeper’s hut. Hagrid, the Hogwarts grounds keeper, appeared a
moment later from the side of the hut. He looked red-eyed and somber. His
shaggy black hair was unkept and matted.
“Come closer, move in, move in now. Firs’ off I
wan’ y’all ter take out yer books. Some of me other classes had
trouble opening ‘em. Any of you lot manage?” Hagrid asked.
The Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws shuffled forward, dragging
their books out of school packs and satchels. Every book had been tightly
fastened with tape or rope, a couple were bound shut with belts or ties. Kit
pulled her own book out of her bag with a guilty look at Hagrid. Her book was
the only one not strapped down. It whimpered as she pulled it out and tried to
scuttle back into her bag. The cover was ripped in several places, one entire
corner was missing from the lower edge, and a couple pages threatened to fall
out at any moment.
Hagrid looked at the tightly bound books and sighed. When he
saw Kit’s book, however, his mouth fell open. “What in the blazes
happened ter yer book?”
Kit’s cheeks burned as every eye turned to her.
“Um … he didn’t mean to, really. It’s just that the
book growled at him and well … Puck likes to do all the growling you
“Puck?” Hagrid asked.
Kit put down the Monster Book and dug Puck out of his pouch.
The Monster Book huddled behind her shoe and shuddered. Puck glared down at the
book and snapped playfully. The Monster Book let out a howl and scrambled away,
diving into Kit’s bag.
“Puck!” Kit scolded. She glanced up at Hagrid.
“Sorry, sir.” Puck snuggled happily in her hands and looked around
at her classmates, baring his teeth at a few. His dislike of other people
seemed to be getting worse.
Hagrid shambled over and bent to take a closer look at Puck.
Puck stared up at him haughtily.
“Its jus’ a knarl,” Hagrid said, looking
“Just? Just?” Puck tried to launch himself at
Hagrid, tiny claws scrabbling. Kit tightened her grip and Puck snarled.
“I’ll show him just.”
Hagrid was smiling as he reached out to tap Puck under his
chin. Puck tried to take his finger off. “He’s a cute little
Puck subsided into Kit’s hands with a glower.
“More like it.”
“Right,” Hagrid said, turning back to the rest
of the class. “The way ya open yer books is to stroke the spines.”
He took one of the books and ripped a double coil of rope off it. As soon as he
ran his finger down the spine the book flopped open with a little cooing noise.
It was almost cute. “We’ll be starting at the beginning
with,” He paused and sent a doleful look at the box in front of his hut,
Kit grimaced. Whatever Flobberworms were, they sounded
There was a groan from one or two of the other students.
“Flobberworms?” said a dark-haired Ravenclaw boy, “but
they’re the most boring things on earth.”
“The cheek.” Squawked a thick, phlegmy voice
from the box.
“Each o’ ye grab a worm out’a the box.
We’ll jus’ be feeding ‘em today,” Hagrid said.
Kit lined up with the other students. “Ew,” she
couldn’t help muttering when she reached the box. The flobberworms were
thick brown worms about the length of her hand, with flat heads, tiny eyes and
gaping mouths. Yellowish slime clung to them and oozed from their fleshy skin.
“You can say that again,” said a girl beside
her. She was shorter than Kit with a face round as a pumpkin and long blond
hair in a pigtail. She filled every inch of her Hogwarts robes, seeming about
to burst from them at any minute. With a smile the girl reached past Kit and
grabbed up one of the worms. “Ughhhh! Disgusting.” She smiled at
Kit. “I’m Persephone. You’re a second year aren’t
Kit nodded. “Yeah. I’m Kit.”
“So who’d you put a charm on to get in here? I
thought only third years are allowed to start new classes.”
Kit grabbed one of the flobberworms and followed Persephone
over to a low table where a selection of lettuce had been laid out.
“Dumbledore offered to let me attend. I think
he’s trying to keep me out of trouble or something. I got lost in the
forest last year chasing after Puck.” She grabbed a small bit of lettuce
and shoved it down the flobberworm’s throat as Hagrid was demonstrating.
“You went into the forest?” Persephone said with
a gasp. “That was brave.”
“I uhhh wasn’t thinking about it at the
time.” Kit said. “I just wanted to get Puck back.”
“Still you’re really lucky, I hear there are
werewolves in there and nundus and other mad creatures.”
“It’s not all bad,” Kit said, thinking of
the young centaur she’d met the previous year, Bearach.
“Yeah, well I don’t plan on finding out,”
Persephone said with a shudder.
Kit just nodded at her. She was finding it very hard to
carry on a conversation with all the flobberworms talking back and forth around
her. Every now and then a sentence would be cut off midway as lettuce was
shoved down the speaker’s throat. The wet, gulping noises the worms made
was a sort of language.
By the end of the lesson Kit had to agree that Flobberworms
really were the most boring creatures. And they never, ever shut up.
“You know Ruth’s not making as much mucus as she
use to. But will the old girl admit it? No, insists she’s young as a
grub.” Kit shoved a wad of lettuce down the worm’s throat and it
choked, falling momentarily quite. But then … “Definitely not a
good quality lettuce. Enid, is your feeder as clumsy as this one? I swear
she’s bruised my throat.” Kit glared down at the worm.
“Tha’s enough. Put yer worm’s back in the
box and read over the chapter on ‘em fer next time,” Hagrid called.
Kit gratefully flung her worm back in the box and ran up to
the castle to scour her hands. Slime had crusted under her nails and in the
folds of her skin. It was certainly a memorable first lesson, but not one she
wanted to repeat.
On Friday Kit attended Defense Against the Dark Arts and got
her first good look at the new professor. She wasn’t impressed. He looked
as if he could do with a year’s worth of sleep. His robes were patched
and worn, the dull grey color of elephant hide. His face was lined and weary
Ellie gave a sniff. “Bit of a change.”
Kit nodded. “Yeah, hope he’s a better teacher
than Lockhart, I don’t care if he looks pretty.”
Ellie shook her head, “Professor Lockhart was a great
teacher. And he dressed better too.”
“The man had a different color robe for every day of
the week. He belonged in a magazine, not a classroom. Besides, he was an
Ellie had just opened her mouth to retort when the new
professor stood up. “Good morning. Welcome to Defense Against The Dark
Arts, I’m Professor Lupin.”
There were a few muttered hellos, but for the most part the
class just stared back at him, waiting. What had Dumbledore given them this
“This term we’ll be studying Dark devices and
ways of detecting them. Please take out your wands.”
A murmur of interest rustled through the room. Professor
Lupin pulled out his own wand along with a tiny porcelain teacup. Ellie giggled.
“Are we going to have a tea party?” she
whispered to Kit.
Kit shrugged, watching as Professor Lupin balanced the
fragile cup on his palm. It was white with little painted flowers all along the
rim and the handle had a sort of molded curlicue. It was pretty in a fussy sort
“This cup looks quite ordinary,” Professor Lupin
said. “Something many of your mother’s might have round the house.
But not everything is as it appears.” He tapped the cup on the rim with
his wand and said, “Revelus.”
The cup glowed bright blue like the heart of a flame. “The Revealing
Charm, is one of the most basic defense charms wizards have. And one of the
most useful. It will reveal, by the blue glow you see here, if an item is
dangerous or touched by dark magic.”
Professor Lupin put the cup down and after a few moments the
“On an ordinary item, your textbooks for
instance,” he continued, “the spell will have no effect.”
Tapping a book on his desk, the professor said the incantation again. The book
remained steadfastly brown, not even a hint of blue creeping into the cover.
The professor looked up at them. “A Revealing Charm
can be fooled by powerful Dark magic, as can most spells, however it should
always be your starting point if you suspect a Dark device.” He picked up
the teacup again. “This charming cup turns any liquid into poison.
Something it’s rather helpful to know before you go drinking out of
it,” he added with a smile. “I’d like you all to practice the
charm on items at your desks please. Work on saying the incantation and getting
just the barest tap from your wand. Then you can each have a turn casting the
spell on this cup.”
Kit tapped her desk with her wand and said,
“Revelus.” Not surprisingly, nothing happened.
Ellie did the same. “That was exciting for about two
Puck shifted in his pouch and mewled to get out.
“Stuffy,” he muttered, shifting again. Kit gave in and took him
out, setting him on the desk.
“Keep your teeth to yourself. I don’t want to
lose another schoolbook. And please behave,” she begged him.
Puck glared. “Always behave,” he growled.
“You’d almost think he’s talking to
you,” Ellie said, “the way he growls and squeaks.”
Puck turned his glower on Ellie. “Don’t
Ellie laughed. “See,” she reached out to tickle
his chin and Puck snarled. “Ohhh you are in a bad mood, aren’t you?
Wonder if there’s a spell that could make him more cheerful?”
“I’d like to see you try,” Kit said,
“he’d take apart your wand before you could cast it.”
“Poor wittle knarl,” Ellie crooned, “does
the big nasty wand scare you.”
Puck growled louder and Kit sent an anxious look at the
professor, but he was busy helping Jynx restore her book. It looked as if
she’d blasted all the pages right out of it.
“Don’t care if she is your friend. Gonna bite
her,” Puck threatened.
“Puck, no!” Kit said, turning quickly back to
him. “Don’t you dare.”
“What?” Ellie said looking confused. “Put
a spell on him? I wouldn’t hurt him. Here, see.” She lifted her
wand and swooped in to tap Puck lightly on his head. “Revelus.”
A bright blue glow surrounded the knarl and Kit dropped her
wand she was so surprised. Ellie’s mouth fell open.
“Uh, maybe you should stop teasing him,” Kit
said, scooping Puck into her hands. The blue glow spread and covered her fingers,
wrapping around her wrists. “Weird.”
Kit shoved Puck into his pouch before the professor could
see him. She shook her hands until the blue faded and finally vanished
“That was fab!” Ellie said, “It really
worked. Did you see? It really worked.”
“Yeah, I saw. Professor Lupin should have warned us
that glow spreads so easy. Good thing it faded though, I don’t fancy
walking around like a firecracker all day.”
“Bring him out again, I want to give it another
go,” Ellie pleaded.
“Not a chance,” Kit said, “You’ll
have to settle for the tea cup.”
At that moment Professor Lupin asked them to line up to
begin testing their spells on the tea cup and Ellie was distracted. Good thing
too, Kit had the feeling Ellie wanted to try casting the spell on everything
she could reach. Puck’s patience was never a sure thing, and Kit was
certain another spell cast on him would have had him rampaging through the
End Notes: You can learn more
about Flobberworms in JKR’s schoolbook, Fantastic Beasts and Where to