As Anna burst through the thick
clouds and into a bright blue sky, the sun stretched across a beautiful morning
ocean hundreds of feet below her. The deep water shimmered beneath them while
gusting winds blew each cap over onto itself, creating foamy white paint across
an emerald surface. She could smell the late-summer flowers on the distant
shore and recognized many of their wonderful fragrances. She was tempted to
close her eyes and try to match each smell to the flower it belonged, but she
didn’t want to miss anything right now. She wanted to take it all in — to see
all there was around her. She dare not close her eyes now, not even to blink.
“Let’s turn toward the beach,”
she said, and her flying steed immediately banked right and plummeted straight
down several hundred feet before Anna realized what was happening. The water
was rushing toward them so fast she had to lean forward over the horse’s huge
back and grab a handful of his mane to remain saddled. She flattened herself against
his spine and stretched her legs behind to grasp as much of his muscled midriff
as she could manage.
Here he goes, she
thought excitedly. He’s doing it again, “but this time I’m going to
She leaned to the side to see
where he was looking and wasn’t surprised to see his head turned slightly
toward her, a single eye peering back, testing her resolve. The green of the
water was reflected in that eye as he began to squint from the rush of the wind
now hitting them hard. As water’s surface came closer, the deep ocean smell was
pushing into Anna’s nose and her eyes could feel the salty spray. Panic was
“Okay…” she said, in a hopeful
voice. But there was no change of course as they continued to plunge toward the
“I said — all right!” she
yelled out, this time with more urgency as she moved her head to the right to
look down. Her eyes, still focused on the expected distant view of the ocean’s
surface, penetrated the water straight through to its rocky bottom. It was too
late; they were going to crash.
“AHHHHHHH!!!!! YOU WIN! YOU
WIN,” she screamed frantically, burying her face into his black mane.
At the last possible moment the
mighty stallion pulled up, banked left, and slid the tops of his hooves across
the surface of the water. Wet, salty and warm, the ocean shot up behind them as
he gouged a huge, arcing plume in their wake. Anna raised her head just as he
flipped over to his right and into a turn so tight she could feel her insides
gathering in her legs and against the side of his ribs.
“I’M LOSING IT!” she screamed,
feeling herself slowly slipping over his right shoulder as he leaned further
and further toward the water. The ocean was just inches from her now, the white
paint slapping at her knee. They flew in a large slowing circle, which must
have ended where it started, because she could feel the warm water they had
disturbed falling like rain on their backs. He straightened and, with a
purposeful flick, tossed Anna back to center on his wide back.
“You’re so bad….” she told him
condescendingly. His response was immediate. He jerked his head down and with a
vulgar grunt started jiving and jinking abruptly left and right, tossing her
back and forth. Anna was slipping and sliding over his wet back and off center
“All right – I take it back,”
she screamed. “You’re absolutely fabulous!” She leaned forward to grab him
around his huge neck to stabilize herself. “You really are beautiful,” she
said, this time in a soft whisper next to his ear.
With a sharp jerk, the mighty steed
raised up over the water in standing jubilation. He bellowed in triumph,
kicking his front feet wildly into the air around them.
“Showoff…” she said
indignantly. “Can we go home now?”
With a gruff snort, the
jet-black horse suddenly leapt forward and started running across the top of
the water. Galloping faster with every stride, he slowly began to rise again.
Higher and higher, his splashing hooves lifted off the water and into the air.
Anna could see the white cliffs
of the shore coming into view now; the water’s edge and beach below were
passing a mere ten feet under them as they headed straight toward the cliff’s
Here it comes, she
thought with an eager smile curling on her face, my favorite part.
The horse started arcing up the
cliff’s face, finally touching his hooves and running against its rough
surface. Now racing vertically, Anna could see the cliff’s edge coming into
view. From her seat in the saddle, it looked as though they were running with
the ground at their feet and the sky above. Only the gravity pulling at Anna’s
back gave away the fact they were now racing up the cliff’s front. Her sense of
the speed was heightened now that she could see very close objects, boulders,
bushes and outcroppings, flying past them in a continuous blur.
“Faster!” she hollered as she
twisted herself expectantly into her seat. They finally reached the edge of the
cliff and the stallion gave a mighty heave. As if jumping across a great chasm,
he leapt into the sun and Anna could feel them soaring into the morning blue,
turning over and over as they somersaulted backwards. She could see the blue
sky, the ocean below, the beach and cliffs, as they wheeled completely around -
rising still higher. They shot over the tops of the trees anchored for centuries
at the cliff’s crowning summit and there, finally, rising before them was her
manor home Grayson.
Always inspiring, this vision
forever confirmed Anna’s feelings that her home, perched atop the cliffs
overlooking the ocean, was the most beautiful place in the world.
And then, as if coming from
some far off point of land on a distant shore, a familiar and squeaky voice was
“Miss Anna? You is going to be
late for school…”
The horse looked back at Anna
and she knew he would soon fade away. She was dreaming again. But she also knew
if she could just kept her eyes shut, she could prolong her sense of flight,
her sense of freedom… this bit of magic.
“Miss Anna is goin’ to be in
trouble, she is,” said the voice invading her dream once more.
“Oh Gabby leave me alone. I’m
She shouldn’t have replied. For
the moment Anna spoke, she saw the black stallion begin to melt into
nothingness, leaving only the blurred outline of her horse fading into
oblivion. The picture in her mind went black, and Anna realized what she was
seeing now was nothing more than the inside of her closed eyelids.
“You is not flying Miss. You is
sleeping in a bed,” squeaked the voice from across her room.
“Gabby… please… just a five
more minutes. Will you please…just…?” But Anna’s pained appeal faded away as
the black stallion she was now struggling to retrieve disappeared entirely.
“Gabby ‘as chores to do, works
to be done. Miss Anna is to be getting up!”
“Ohhhhh…” Anna sighed
painfully. “You know Gabby, sometimes you can be such a pain,” she said with
“I is a good house elf!” the
A bright light burst through
her closed eyelids and Anna jerked the blankets up to shield her face from the
morning sun now pouring into her four-poster bed. Gabby, the Grayson house elf,
had ripped the curtains open to reveal a very large window, overlooking the
same blue ocean Anna had been flying over just a moment before.
“Up-up-up!” said Gabby, as she
bounced about Anna’s room opening all the drawers in her dresser and flicking
on the lights in the adjoining bathroom.
It always amazed Anna that
despite the elf’s obvious age she was so nimble and quick. Gabby was tiny, no
more than two and a half feet tall. Her skin was a greenish brown color with
blotches of black on her face and arms. Although she didn’t know exactly how
old Gabby was, Anna attributed the blotches to her advanced years more than
some unknown ailment. The elf’s hair was very gray, and clumped in short tufts
just above her long, pointed, bat-like ears. Her flattened head was bald on
top, and it seemed rather comical to Anna that Gabby looked more like a little
old man than the female elf she claimed to be. Her skin was wrinkled and
weathered, but her huge oval eyes were clear and bright as she dashed from one
end of the room to the other, scampering about like a monkey on all fours.
“What is you wearin, Miss?”
asked the elf, now waist deep in the top drawer of Anna’s dresser. She was
tossing various pieces of clothing into the air and onto the floor around her.
“Oh I don’t know… I’m still
waking up,” said Anna, as she flopped back down on her back and threw a pillow
over her face. “I hate Mondays!” Anna screamed in a muffled voice.
She heard a faint pop
from across the room and then another loud pop right next to her ear.
Anna slowly lowered the pillow to see Gabby’s large, brown eyes peering down at
her. The elf had Disapparated from her dresser drawer and reappeared again next
to her in the bed. Elves were highly magical creatures and were known
throughout the entire wizarding world as very useful house servants. Gabby had
been with the Grayson family for a very long time. Exactly how long, Anna
wasn’t sure, but she often heard the elf speaking of Anna’s grandmother as a
“Is you feelwin awright, Miss
Anna?” asked the elf, turning her head sideways with an animated look of
Anna realized she had pushed
her luck too far, and if she didn’t start moving soon, Gabby was going to raise
an alarm throughout the entire house. In short order, she would find herself
tied down to her bed with a thermometer in her mouth and a hot water bottle
under her rump.
Anna looked up at Gabby’s huge
oval eyes and smiled. She raised her hand and placed it upon the elf’s dull,
grayish face and stroked it softly.
“I’m fine, Gabby,” she said, in
an affectionate whisper. “You know… I
love you… very much,” she said in serious tone. “You are my dearest friend.”
Gabby’s eyes welled with tears.
“You is too kind to this old house elf, Miss Anna,” she replied. Then she
leaned forward and whispered, “You is always been my favorite Grayson.”
Anna smiled tenderly at the
little creature, and then leaned up to touch their noses together.
“You know, Gabby, I won’t be
able to make the bus if you don’t get off my chest.”
“Eeeeeekkkk!” Gabby yelped with
a short chirp as she jumped to the floor and scampered back to the drawers. “I
is terrible holding up my mistress. What is you said you was wearin’, Miss?”
Anna threw back the covers of
her bed and jumped to her feet. Immediately, two pink bunny slippers started
hopping across the room toward her. She slid her left foot into the right
slipper, and then dashed into the bathroom as the left slipper hopped
frantically behind to catch up.
“I dunno Gabs. Just pick
something for me.”
As soon as Anna let those words
slip through her lips, she knew it was a mistake. For Gabby had already proven
long ago she had absolutely no sense of style. Anna clearly remembered the last
time Gabby had set out her clothes. She had laid out a pair of bright green
pants and a shockingly pink sweater that Anna had received from one of her
sisters. Gabby topped off this ensemble with two different socks, one
ankle-high red sock and one knee-high blue sock with black tassels. Anna was
also expected to wear her bunny slippers with the socks.
No, Gabby’s sense of style was
definitely lacking. Maybe it was because she didn’t have or wear much of
anything herself. The elf was always dressed in an old dishtowel, wrapped
around her like a toga. House elves, it would seem, show their servitude to a
family by wearing a minimum of garments. Anna had once tried giving Gabby a
nice dress with matching socks to wear, and although her efforts were meet with
tears of overwhelming joy, the little elf always refused these articles of
“Only the Master is able to
give the house elves real clothes, Miss Anna,” she said with a sad face,
looking at the dress she longed to accept. “And only when he wishes to set us
Anna’s father found out about her gifts, he flew into a rage. “Don’t you
realize how such a mistake could unwittingly release an elf from our family’s
service? If you had been the mistress of this house, we could have lost Gabby
for good, and house elves are nearly impossible to find these days,” he
stormed. “I want it understood — you are not to give clothing to the elves!”
Mister Grayson had made his
point, but went a step further still. Despite the fact the incident didn’t make
any difference to the freedom of an elf, he let it be known to all his children
they were never to give anything to the servants.
Anna opened the bathroom door
and ran back into the bedroom.
“Wait — stop — I know what I
want to wear!”
Gabby popped up out of the
bottom drawer of the dresser just as a pair of Anna’s underwear fell upon her
head; one of her pointed ears was now sticking out of a leg hole. She had
undoubtedly begun the process of choosing Anna’s attire.
“Is you sure, Miss?” Gabby said
in a slow, disappointed voice. “I… I is good at clothes,” she said
“Yes you are Gabs, but I have
to wear something very specific today,” Anna explained, as she searched the
back of her mind for her best excuse. “Ahhh, yes, I have to wear what I wore…
on Friday. You see, a girl from school liked what I wore on Friday so much
that, ahhhh,” Anna began to stammer, “that she wanted me to wear it again
today, okay?” She looked at Gabby with a hopeful gaze.
“Ohhhhhh, I’s cleaned those
wears on Friday! I is a good house elf,” she repeated, now hopping across the
floor to Anna’s bed.
“Sorry I’s did not put the
Miss’s clothes back in the drawers. I is going to do that after I’s cleaned
your room,” she said happily, disappearing under the bed.
“Hurry Gabs — I’ve got to go,”
Anna pleaded, looking down at her feet. The other bunny slipper had finally
caught up with her and was hopping up and down on the right slipper on her left
foot. It was obviously upset about the other slipper being in the wrong place.
With each blow, the slipper was giving off little plastic squeaks, and little
pink puffs of fuzz were jetting sideways as the left slipper squashed its twin.
“Let off!” Anna said
indignantly, tossing both slippers across the room with a flick.
Before she could regain her
balance, a heavy lidded box slid out from under the bed and hit Anna’s only
standing foot, knocking her to the floor.
“Ouch!” she yelped, rubbing her
banged ankle. She tossed open the lid, grabbed her freshly laundered clothes,
and headed for the bathroom again.
Two minutes later she emerged
looking for her shoes. She was surprised to see her bed made, clothes neatly
folded and put back into the drawers, curtains tied back, and toast with jam
sitting on the corner of her end table. Gabby was standing before her, holding
up a shoe in each of her tiny hands.
“Gabby, have you seen…? Oh…
thanks,” she said, taking the shoes from the elf.
“Was Widwick here?” Anna asked,
spying the toast and jam.
“Oh yes, mum,” said the elf,
her eyes bright. “He saws you is runnin’ late, and wanted to help wif you’s
breakfast. He is a good old elf, he is,” Gabby said, in a low voice, “but…
“But what?” Anna sat to put on
“Well…” Gabby started, coming
closer to Anna as if hoping for a more private conversation. “Widwick is sad
about losing his…” she paused briefly to look around again, “his elfishness,”
she said, in a very low-whispered voice.
“His elfishness… his
magicalness,” Gabby repeated with wide eyes, hoping not to explain more.
“Ohhhhh… well… I think he’s
okay… isn’t he?” said Anna, silently admitting to herself she hadn’t noticed
any real differences in Widwick’s abilities.
“Oh yes, mum. Widwick is old —
but very elfish. He is just sensitive, he is. It happens to us all, it does…
eventually… but old Widwick is golden,” she finished happily, and then
scampered off to finish cleaning the room.
It seemed remarkable to Anna
that Gabby would call Widwick old. Widwick was the other house elf in service
in the Grayson mansion. He was shorter than Gabby, but just as agile. He didn’t
look nearly as old as Gabby, but Anna could tell by the things they said to
each other, and especially when they were fighting, that Widwick was indeed
quite a bit older than Gabby.
“Where is he?” asked Anna,
trying her shoes.
“Is standing outside the door
wif yer lunch ’n books,” Gabby replied, sliding the now empty box back under
the bed. “He knows you is late!”
“Thank you Widwick — the toast
is wonderful!” Anna sang to the door through a mouth full of crust.
“You is very welcome, Miss,”
twittered a tiny, boyish voice from the other side of her bedroom door.
Anna grabbed up a brush and
started combing her hair frantically. “I saw his eyes this time, Gabs,” she
said, looking at the little elf dashing about the room behind her in the
“Who eyes?” said the elf, not
stopping to listen.
“The black stallion’s eyes,
silly. I saw them this time in my dream — they were blue,” Anna said, still
brushing her long, red hair.
She saw movement all over her
dressing table as various pins and hairclips dashed about, trying to get her
attention. Anna picked up a pretty red one, stopped suddenly, and then looked
at it again. She raised the clip under a watchful eye.
“Once seated — no moving around
this time, right?” The little-red clip popped open by itself as if agreeing to
the deal. Anna had some difficulty with this little hairclip moving about her
head in public. Apparently, it was trying to change her hairstyle on its own
several times over the course of the day. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing
most of the time, but there were Muggles around who might have seen what it was
Anna slid the clip into her
hair and snapped it closed. Then she leaned into the mirror, turning her head
slightly to get a closer look at the adornment.
“I mean it,” she said, with a
pitch of warning in her voice. The clip didn’t move. “Good — stay that way,”
she said, picking up her brush again.
“’Is eyes were blue?” repeated
Gabby, this time standing motionless behind Anna.
“Huh? What? Oh… yeah… big blue
eyes; beautiful — like sapphires. Ahhh, if only I could meet a boy with eyes
like that,” she said, pushing her red hair up next to her ears, contemplating a
bun. She looked at Gabby standing behind her. She was very still now with a
look of fright moving over her face.
“What’s the matter, Gabs? No
boy could ever replace you,” Anna said, jokingly.
“Is not that, Miss,” said the
little elf in a lowered voice.
“What then?” asked Anna, giving
up on the bun and moving to the hanging necklaces beside her mirror.
“Is saying you is flying… on a
black horse… wif blue eyes?” asked Gabby, now looking very serious, her ears
beginning to droop.
“Yeah, that’s right… so?” She
turned around to look at Gabby while trying to work the clasp of her necklace
behind her head.
“Is bad luck, it is. Dread
anything so black,” said the elf under her breath.
“What are you talking about?”
Anna laughed as she began pulling the tiny pieces of lint off of her shirt
before looking up to realize… Gabby was serious. She walked over to the elf and
bent down on one knee to look into her eyes.
“What’s the matter Gabby?
What’s troubling my best friend?”
Gabby’s ears began to rise
again upon hearing Anna’s compliment.
“Ohhhh — finkle-fackle. Is
ancient legends from the old country,” Gabby said, trying to shrug off her
“What did you mean… ‘Dread
anything so black’?”
Gabby’s ears started to lower
again, and this time she looked around to ensure nobody else could hear her
“Black with wings as bats, and
eyes of bluish-white is bad, is unlucky, is dread,” she said, mournfully.
“Cannot be ridden…. nobody is knowing how. Take you’s up and drops you’s down.
Dread the black ones that fly — they is killers,” said the elf, in a shrewd but
experienced voice. “Best my mistress stay on the ground,” she finished,
“Well,” Anna said in a sobered
voice, “would it help to say my horse doesn’t have wings?”
“But you’s said it flies,”
Gabby replied, raising one of her hairless eyebrows.
“Oh Gabs… it’s just a dream,”
Anna said, straightening to stand again. “Tell you what; I promise — if I ever
have a chance to fly on a black-winged horse, I’ll say, ‘No thank you — because
my friend Gabby says it’s not safe’, all right?” Gabby smiled triumphantly.
“Good. Well, I’d better get going. See you Gabs!” said Anna, as she grabbed her
book bag and ran for the bedroom door.
She opened the door with a
quick glance back at the smiling elf behind her, took two steps on the other
side, and promptly tripped and fell with a heavy THUMP.
“Ooooooweeeee,” hollered a tiny
voice beneath her. Anna rolled over to find poor Widwick flattened in the
hallway under her bag.
“Oh… I’m sorry, Widwick. I
forgot you were standing there. Are you okay?”
“Of course he’s okay; he’s just
a stupid house elf,” said a malevolent voice above her. Anna looked up and saw
her older half-brother Damon standing over them. “They bounce up and down
around here all the time. What’s the matter with you, Anna? Just give him a
kick. They’ll move quickly enough,” he said, with a smirk. Then he reached out
and kicked Widwick in the side.
“Oooooowwwweee” Widwick yelped,
“Stop that!” screamed Anna.
“What’s the matter with you?” She tried helping the elf to his feet.
“Pay me no mind, Miss Anna,”
said Widwick. “The young master is quite right. Is all Widwick’s fault, mum. I
is awlright. I is off to my chores now,” he said, wobbling to stand straight,
only to fall down on his backside with a bump.
“Oh look. There you go again,
Anna. It’s so embarrassing… you and your little creatures. Maybe you should
adopt him to add to your little collection. But you might as well put this one
out of his misery, or haven’t you noticed… he’s loosing his magical steam. We
might as well hire a Muggle slave to replace this useless vermin,” Damon
finished with an ugly sneer.
Anna’s eyes quickly glanced
down at Widwick and she saw him slowly drooping his head in personal disgrace.
Anna leapt to her feet. Although two years younger than Damon, she was every
bit his physical match. Her brother was skinny, gaunt in the face, and sickly
looking. His eyes and hair were as black as coal, and his chin nearly
invisible. If he were any other person in the world, Anna would find compassion
for somebody who looked like her brother, but Damon’s cruelty and arrogance
were almost legendary in Anna’s mind.
“What the hell is wrong with
you?” she yelled, getting face to face with her brother. “The only vermin I see
in this house is you!” she said,
touching noses with him.
She always enjoyed doing this
to Damon, because it was standing here like this that made it most obvious Anna
was a little bit bigger than her older brother. Anna could see Damon’s eyes
moving slightly upward to match her gaze.
“Careful there, little sister,”
he said slowly. “Remember… in the real world, size doesn’t matter nearly as
much as the gifts we possess.” He broke their locked gaze with the wood of his
wand. “Be very careful.”
“How would you like that wand
stuffed up your…”
“I think… I is off to my chores
now,” said the little elf at their feet.
“The go!” Damon demanded in a
very curt tone.
“Yes, Master Damon,” said the
“No, stay!” ordered Anna,
“Yes, mum,” said the elf,
freezing where he stood.
There was another long pause as
brother and sister stared at each other before Damon stepped back and turned to
walk away. Hands in his robes and walking toward his bedroom, he sang out,
“Take care in school today, little squib.” He turned to look back at her with
an evil grin as he slowly closed his bedroom door.
“Someday that arrogant little
jerk is gonna find himself in a dark alley without that wand, and that will be
the day he learns the truest lessons in life,” Anna said, smacking her closed
fist into her other cupped hand. “Wham!” she snapped angrily, “right in that
skinny, bony little nose. Says everything about him to see he has to carry that
wand around his family — even in his pajamas.
“Are you okay, Widwick?” she
asked, looking down at the elf again with a note of returning sympathy.
“Oh yes, mum, I is fine,” said
the elf with a gaped smile
“Oh… yes… mum… I…. is…. fine,”
said a high mocking voice from behind Damon’s door.
“Shut up, stick boy!” Anna
“Poor Widwick… you work so
hard. You and Gabby deserve better than what you get from SOME OF THE
GRAYSONS,” she yelled out at Damon’s door. There was no reply. “Don’t worry
about that lout… he just didn’t get his dog biscuit today.”
“Hee-hee… yes, mum. If you’s
“Here is your books, mum, and
yer lunch. I is putting extra jam on you’s samich this time,” Widwick said with
a loving smile, “just as I knows you’s likes it,” he whispered behind a cupped
Anna smiled, straightened to
pick up her bag, and then stopped. “Tell you what… you keep it.” Then, looking
at the huge staircase to her left, she smiled. “Or at least, you can carry it
down the stairs for me, right?”
Widwick stared at her with a
puzzled gaze, and then over to the staircase to see where Anna was looking.
“Oh — no, mum. I…. I…I don’t think…” But it was too late.
Anna grabbed the little elf around the middle and dashed for the stairs.
“No… no, mum. Please… I is
not,” but he never finished the sentence before Anna flew herself onto the
banister in a seated position nearest the forth spindle. Their forward momentum
was so strong Anna could feel them reaching top speed by the tenth footstep.
“Yeeehaaaaa… it’s just like
flying on ol’ blue eyes!” Anna screamed in exhilaration.
is goin’ to break our heads!” yelled the elf on her lap as they arced their way
around the banister. Widwick was now clutching Anna’s shirt to hide his face.
“We is going belly up!” said the elf, now peering over his arm and down the
banister. The two were flying so fast that Anna couldn’t help closing her eyes,
looking for the blue sky in her morning dream.
“Ohh… is coming, Miss Anna. Is
coming!” screamed the elf
Anna opened her eyes and looked
down. The end of the banister was now in sight, and so was the massive sphere
on the newel post at the bottom. The size of a bowling ball, the sphere was
polished to a bright shine, black, and unmovable.
“You’re right, Widwick. You’d
better do something about it…” said Anna, holding the elf tight in her arms.
“Ohh, I’s can’t. I is not
knowing how,” screamed the elf.
“Yes you can, Widwick. Come on
— we’re going to crash!”
“I is not knowing…!”
“Widwick! Do something!” Anna
screamed, still smiling.
“AAAAAHHHHHHH!” they both
yelled at the sphere now looming before them.
Anna and Widwick suddenly
sprang off the railing at the last possible moment. They sailed over the sphere,
tumbling end-over-end through the air and across the extensive entranceway
toward a number of pillows piled high on the floor waiting for them.
POOF! They both landed
with a squashy thud as hundreds of feathers burst into the air around them.
Anna was laughing hysterically.
“I knew you could do it,
Widwick. I knew it!” she laughed, lying on her back as the feathers scattered
throughout the hall. “I knew it.”
Widwick sat up and shook his
head and floppy ears. “You! You is… a nutter!” he yelled, looking around them
in disbelief, astounded they were still alive. “My mistress Anna is a nutter.
Is for sure!”
Anna was still howling. “You
still have a lot of magic in you, little elf,” she said, with confidence.
“Don’t let them tell you any differently.”
Widwick smiled. “I… is a good
house elf?” he asked her, a look of pride building on his face.
“Yes you are, Widwick. But it’s
not the magic that makes you special… it’s what’s inside your heart.” She
smiled at the little creature. “My daddy told me that; and I should know.” She
then leaned forward to place her forehead on his and then whispered, “All
squibs know this.”
“The Muggle bus! The Muggle bus! The Muggle bus!” squawked a blue parrot from its cage. Anna’s
father had recently placed the enchanted bird by the door at the beginning of
the school year as an alert that her school bus was coming up the road.
“Gotta go!” snapped Anna. She
stuffed her scattered books back into her bag, grabbed her lunch, and kissed
Widwick on the top of the head. She dashed out the door, down the stone steps,
and into the driveway below. “See you tonight, okay?”
Widwick sat up to look around
and smiled. “I is still magic inside,” he said, folding his arms in
satisfaction. “I is still a good house elf,” he said, and then he flopped back
down into the pillows, releasing another puff of feathers into the air around