Monday, April 4, 2022

Derek Mackie: The Chamber of Secrets

H: Harry (Seymour) R: Ron (Shaw) D: Draco (Luxon) 
J: She who must not be named (you know who!) 

R: Back at good old Beehives for another year. 
H: Wonder what “She who must not be named” will have in store for us in her second term. 
D: Whatever it is, I will broadly support it in private while saying how much I disagree with it in public. I find that works best. 
R: You must admit though, “she who must… etc” did a great job of cancelling that unforgivable Covid curse that mysteriously hit us at the end of term 1. 
H: Yeah! Just in time to save her when the Beehives Head Principal elections came around. 
Don’t you think that was a bit too coincidental? 

R: What are you saying, Harry? That “she who must… etc” was responsible for it? 
D: Come off it, Seymour! I know she can be pretty unsettling, with her creepy calls for kindness, while giving you that dazzling smile and pointedly stroking her wand. 
But she wouldn’t go that far just to get re-elected….would she? 
H: I wouldn’t put it past her. There have been lots of strange happenings over the mid-term holidays. 
That pink-haired witch kept appearing on muggle TV and casting a mask-wearing charm on everyone. Then there was her wizard chum who conjured up prophecies of deaths, none of which were anywhere near right. Every time he appeared he used the Obliviate spell to make everyone forget his last set of numbers. 

R: You’re imagining it! 
H: Oh, am I? Have you heard the latest? 
Apparently, there's a secret document hidden somewhere at Beehives which proposes giving the Slytherins special rights and privileges over all the other houses. 
D: Now, I fully support that. Slytherin has always produced the best witches and wizards and it was the first house to be established at Beehives so it deserves special indigenous house status. 
H: And which house do you belong to, Draco? Oh, that’s right….Slytherin!!
D: Blame the Sorting Hat, Seymour. 
Tough luck you ended up in Gryffindor. Mind you, not as tough as Shaw there, who got “sorted’ into Hufflepuff - the weakest and wokest house. 

R: You don’t intimidate me, Luxon. We care more about the natural wizarding world and all its magical creatures than any other house. 
Do you know how much heat is dissipated into the atmosphere by a simple Stupefy charm? That’s why we’re campaigning to phase out the casting of spells at Beehives and the confiscation of all wands, eventually. 
D: Aw, poor Ron. Sounds like the heat from all our charms is affecting your brain. This is a wizarding school, you know. Spells are what we do. 
H: I hate to agree with Draco but that’s just Hufflepuff-crazy, Ron. 
No wonder you can’t even cast a Lumos spell and have to carry a muggle torch with you. It’s embarrassing. 

R: I think we’re getting side-tracked. You mentioned a secret document. Where do you think it might be? 
H: Hermione reckons there’s a hidden chamber at Beehives. She read about it while researching ancient wizarding fables in the library. 
D: So why has nobody found it? 
H: Duuh! Cause it’s hidden! But we might find it. 
Hermione came across some old Beehives plans and she thinks there’s something under the girls bathroom. Deep down in the basement…….where the earthquake base isolators are. 
D: Great! Lets’ send Shaw in. The girls won’t notice anything suspicious! 
H: No. Best to wait until tonight. Meet at nine, by the picture of the fat lady. 

Later that night 

D: Hey, did you bring your torch, Ron? Or will you give your wand a try? 
R: I can do it, you know. LUMOS!   LUMOS! Come on you useless piece of…! 
D: Here, try my wand. Yours is probably rusty from lack of use. 
Actually, the wood looks very green, limp and sappy. No wonder it doesn’t work. I’d get a new one if I were you. 
H: Shut-up, you two. LUMOS! 
Now, Hermione thought the best place to look for an entrance was around the central wash-hand basin. Look and feel for any secret buttons or levers.

R: I think I’ve found something. Stand back. 
H: Wow! So, Hermione was right. Look, there’s steps leading down. 
D: You should go first, Harry. It was your idea. I’ll stay at the back and guard our rear. 
R: Ha! Not so brave now, Luxon. 
H: Of course, there will almost certainly be a huge scary beast guarding the chamber so get your wands ready. 

D: It’s so big and empty down here. Apart from that desk over by the wall.
H: That must be where the secret document is. I’ll check the drawers. 
R: Can anyone hear that hissing sound? It’s coming from the tunnel behind us. 
H: Drat, they’re all locked.   ALOHOMORA!   That did it. Look, here it is! 
D: What’s it say? 
H: It’s written in parseltongue. The title sounds like he-pu-a-pu-a, or something similar. 

J: Well, well!  Seymour, Shaw….and Draco, my boy. 
So, you found my Chamber of Secrets. Where I keep my most precious and valuable possessions. 
R: It’s “she who must not be named”! We’re in for it now. That hissing’s getting louder. 
J: Ah, yes. The hissing. You haven’t met my most endearing horcrux, have you. This is Nanaia. Isn’t she magnificent? 
R: She’s the biggest snake I’ve ever seen! 
J: And with an appetite to match. Loves Hufflepuffs! 

J: So Harry. What are you going to do now? 
H: We’ve found the secret document and we know all about your plans to give Slytherins special rights and privileges over all the other Beehives houses. 
They’ll control everything and have a veto over all decisions, even though they’re only a 25% minority. That’s not democracy! 
J: Such an old-fashioned and inefficient form of magical rule. I prefer the dark approach. 
H: You won’t be able to shut us up. There are three of us. 
J: Well, you’ve clearly not been skipping your magical numbers and notions classes. If only Ron could say the same of his spell-ing, which leaves much to be desired. 

J: However Harry, you may have overestimated your position. 
Many thanks for your help, Draco. I won’t forget it. 
R: What! Luxon, were you helping her? 
D: I had to. She can be very persuasive. And when we sat down in her office…with Nanaia curled around my legs…I realised that we actually shared a common vision. 
H: Typical! I should have realised there was nothing in it for you in exposing a report which favoured Slytherin. 

J: So Harry. That leaves you and Ron. I’m sure we can reach an accommodation. The alternative is really quite…final! 
H: Sounds like a threat. 
J: Nothing wrong with your hearing, then. 
This is what I propose. I make you and Shaw honorary Slytherins. That way you get to share in the extensive pureblood benefits package my secret document recommends. 
The offer only extends to you two - none of your mudblood friends will be considered. Eminently fair, I suggest. 

H: And if we refuse? 
J: Well, Nanaia hasn’t eaten for a while and is getting tired of feasting on unicorns and hippogriffs. 
R: So that’s why the local magical wildlife has been declining! I thought it was plastic waste from our wand packaging getting into the local waterways, then lodging in the lower digestive tracts of… 
J: Oh shut-up, you annoying boy! 
The only thing getting into the water supply is Nanaia. That’s her favourite habitat and hunting ground - clean, dirty, stormy - she loves all waters.
Now, enough time-wasting. What’s your decision? 

H: Ron, come over here so we can discuss it. 
J: Don’t try anything, Seymour, or I’ll summon Mallard, the Dementor, to play with you awhile. 
He even gives me the creeps but I can’t get rid of him. He knows too much.
H: EXPECTO PATRONUM!!   Quick, Ron. Run! 
R: I can hear Nanaia hissing behind us. She’s getting closer! 
H: We’re almost at the top of the stairs. Hit the secret button to close the opening. 

H: Neville!! What are you doing here? 
R: I think he’s sleepwalking. Why does he have the Sword of Gryffindor with him? 
Yikes! Nanaia’s “slytherin” through the opening. Do something, Harry! 
H: What’s the opposite of water - fire!   INCENDIO! 
R: It’s not working. She’s just getting more belligerent! I think she’s going to eat us. 

     HISS!          SWISH!         THUNK! 

H: Jeez! Neville’s chopped her head off! And he’s still asleep. 
R: Normally, I deplore the mindless slaughter of animals but I'm happy to make an exception this time. 
H: Can you hear that scream? It’s coming from the Chamber of Secrets. It sounds like “she who must…etc”. 
R: She must have really loved that snake. 
H: More than that, Ron. It was a horcrux that held part of her soul and now it’s dead. That’ll make her weaker, but twice as dangerous. 

D: Harry and Ron! Good to see you made it out safely. 
H: No thanks to you, Luxon. 
D: Oh come on. I did what I could. I played along with her plan then distracted her so you could use the Patronus Charm. 
R: So you were on our side the whole time, were you? 
D: Definitely! You don’t think I would support “she who must…etc”’s crazy plan to give everything to Slytherin. It’s just not fair. 
And, say what you like about me, I do believe in the founding principles of Beehives - all houses have the same rights and opportunities, regardless of birth and blood-status. 
H: I guess we’ll just have to give you the benefit of the doubt then. 

 Later, in the Chamber of Secrets 

J: Come Draco. Sit by me. 
I’m weak after the loss of Nanaia but my He Puapua vision burns strongly.
Seymour and Shaw think they’ve won. We’ll let them believe that…for now. You have to be my eyes and ears at Beehives until I regain my strength. My loyal servant. 
Can you do that for me? 
D: Yes, mistress. 

Derek Mackie is a geologist with a keen interest in current affairs.


Lesley Stephenson said...

Derek you are starting to sound a bit manic. Think I need to use my calming wand to help you scream.

Geoffrey said...

Compelling reading and disturbingly prescient!