• I broke away from my brother, Max, my sister, Monica, and my cousin, Draco, as soon as I was aboard the Hogwarts Express. I knew Monica was excited about going to Hogwarts, but I didn't want to have to deal with her blabbing during the six hour train ride. Max has some other friends he'd want to hang out with during the ride, which was fine with me. And Draco? Well, he was a brat. So that left Jynx, my little black kitten. She was the only one I really trusted.

    I--thank goodness--found an empty compartment not too far from the front of the train. I slipped in and shut the glass door. Jynx jumped from my hands and made herself comfortable near the corner of one of the hard leather maroon seats. I heaved my bags onto the luggage rack above the seats.

    “Do you mind if I sit with you?” I jumped at the voice. There was a girl at the door of the compartment, about the same age as me. She had bushy brown hair and really bad teeth.

    “Er… sure,” I replied.

    “I’m Hermione Granger, by the way,” she said matter-of-factly, bringing in her suitcase. “And you are?”

    “Shelby Lestrange.” I watched her struggling with her bags. “Let me help.”

    I pulled out my wand, and pointed it at the bags. “Wingardium Leviosa,” I said, swishing the wand and giving it a little flick. It started to levitate slowly, and found its place in the luggage rack.

    “Show off,” I could’ve sworn I heard Hermione mutter. I looked past it. “Thank you,” she said more loudly.

    “No problem.”

    “So, are you looking forward to Hogwarts?” she asked. Ugh. I hated small talk. Why didn’t she just poke my eye out?

    “I guess so,” I replied. “Well, it’s going to be better than being at home…”

    Hermione nodded. “What do your parents do for a living?”

    Great. My parents. I dunno what happened to my father, Rudolphus. My mother, Bellatrix Lestrange, was in Azkaban prison, for torturing two people named Frank and Lisa Longbottom into insanity. But no way was I going to mention that to Hermione. “Well, my father works at the Ministry of Magic, and my mother er…shoots photography for Witch Weekly,” I lied.

    “Cool,” Hermione replied. “My parents are dentists…They’re Muggles.”


    There was a knock on the door. A chubby boy with sandy brown hair slid the compartment door aside a little. “Excuse me, but have either of you seen a toad? He’s my pet you see, his name’s Trevor. I really need to find him…”

    “Oh, no, sorry,” I replied, watching Hermione stand up.

    “I’ll help you, er—“

    “Neville Longbottom.”

    I froze for a moment. No, Longbottom…that was a common last name, right? I sure hoped. “Well, come on Neville, I’ll help you find Trevor,” Hermione said.

    “Thanks,” Neville replied, moving aside to let her out.

    “See you later, Shelby!” Hermione called as Neville slid the door shut.

    “Good riddance,” I muttered. I hated having to talk to people.

    There was another knock on the door. “What is this? Mobile trick-or-treating?” I muttered, looking over through the glass compartment door.

    A boy stood there, holding a cage in his left hand, a screech owl perched inside, and gripping the handle of a rather large suitcase with his other hand. He had squarish glasses, tanned skin, dark chocolate brown eyes, and black hair that was very unkempt. “Come on in,” I sighed, and the boy slid the door open.

    “Thanks!” he said. “I thought I’d never find a compartment where I was welcome.”

    “Yeah, sure,” I grumbled, looking out the window as he lifted his bag on to the luggage rack on the other side of the compartment (my bag and Hermione’s had completely occupied the one above my head), and he tucked his owl and its cage neatly in the corner of the compartment.

    Jynx didn’t pay any attention to the bird.

    “I’m Josue Turrubiates,” he said, holding out a hand.

    “Shelby Lestrange,” I replied, ignoring his outstretched arm.

    “Cool,” he replied. “What’s your middle name?”

    “Malynn. You?”

    “David.” Josue sat down on the leather booth opposite me. “Looking forward to Hogwarts?”

    “Yeah, I guess,” I replied.

    “What house do you want to be in?” Josue asked.

    I hadn’t really thought about that much. Everyone in my family tree that went to Hogwarts was a Slytherin—except for my mother’s cousin, Sirius Black. He was a Gryffindor. I didn’t really think I wanted to be a Slytherin. But I didn’t want to have to deal with that brave and daring crap in Gryffindor, either. I definitely didn’t want Hufflepuff. Almost nobody ever did. So that only left… “Ravenclaw,” I replied.

    “Oh, really? Me too,” Josue said. He nodded up to his suitcase. “’S full of books.”

    It was quiet for a few more minutes. “Does anyone else in your family go to Hogwarts?” he asked.

    “My cousin, my brother, and my sister,” I replied. “It’s the first year for my cousin and sister.”

    “How long has your brother been in Hogwarts?”

    “This will be his fourth year,” I replied. “D’you have anyone going to Hogwarts that you know?”

    “My sister, Candy,” Josue replied. “She’s in her fourth year too. Dulce and I are the first in my family to be witches and wizards.” He beamed with pride. I half smiled.

    “Everyone in my family’s got magical talent,” I replied, but my tone was far from the 'my-family-is-better-than-yours-gloating.' “But they haven’t exactly built a good reputation…”



    Josue opened his mouth to say something else, but there was another knock on the door. “Not again!” I looked to the door. Two girls stood there. “Come in…”

    They did, and Josue helped them get their bags onto the rack. Luckily mine was able to fit on top of Hermione’s, or the blonde girl wouldn’t have had much room.

    “I’m Brittany,” said the girl with long brown hair.

    “Nicole,” said the blonde girl. She had sort of like a boy’s hair cut, but the bangs came down to her chin in the front. It was kinda cool looking, but I knew that I could never pull that style off.

    Nicole sat down beside Josue and Brittany by me. They didn’t really talk much. I was fine with that. Actually, all they did was sit there and draw. Nicole had a little sketch book, but Brittany just had a clipboard with a small stack of white paper, like Muggles use in computer printers.

    Hermione didn’t come back until she wanted to get her uniform out of her suitcase to change. “We’ll be arriving soon,” she said, all smart aleck-y. “I suggest you all get changed into your robes.”

    “She’s got such a smart a** attitude,” I muttered when Hermione was gone.

    “Got that right,” Brittany muttered. That was the first time I’d heard her speak since she said her name three hours earlier.

    There was another knock on the door. “Anything from the trolley?” an old lady asked, passing by with a cart of sweets.

    I got up, and pulled a little coin pouch out of my hoodie pocket. “I’ll take four of everything,” I whispered, handing her twenty Golden Galleons. When she was gone, and I turned around, my arms filled with candy, I said, “Alright y’all take one of everything.”