e boards the train and shoves through the pulsing and chattering river of students to his compartment. Ron is there. Hermione is there. Ron is too long and too tall for his robes and Ron is hungry because Ron is poor. Hermione studies. Somewhere in a summer land infertile for lessons Hermione has found something to study and so she studies and she does not look up. She does not look up. Outside the sweets trolley bangs and the train begins to move. Wheels slot to rail scream like a mother screams protecting her infant from murder as she is murdered in turn. The wheels scream like a man struck by a curse reversed. The trolley bangs and a prefect glowers but the attendant has long put away respect for the badges of children.
The Houses gather and meals appear and the sausages’ skins are split down to their essence of greasy dead flesh. Fricative shoulders and the babble of students but Harry is alone. He rubs the scar he carries that is a portal to the Dark Lord himself and he is alone. Neville has managed to transfigure his fingers into gardenias and he shrieks as if the Crucio curse has driven him insane. Hermione flicks her wand and Neville is happy because Neville now has fingers and he plunges them into the greasy dead flesh of the sausages. Luna’s eyes bulge and Harry sees the world reflected there, stretched and maimed nearly beyond recognition.
Harry stirs his cauldron but does not understand and Snape stalks his class and is pleased that Harry does not understand. Ron whispers about quidditch because Ron always discusses quidditch. When the Dark Lord returns he will pluck Ron’s liver with his gory talons and Ron will scream. He will scream about quidditch. Hermione is perfect and her work is perfect and the potion within her cauldron is perfect. It stirs itself as she stares at it and she does not blink. She does not blink. Snape arrives and he glances into Harry’s cauldron. Snape sneers. Fifty points from Gryffindor. Draco and Goyle gibber laughter. Goyle’s head is a pumpkin carved by an idiot and Draco’s teeth are wealthy and white and should be fangs but they are not fangs. They are not fangs.
Dumbledore is dead. Sirius Black is dead. Harry’s parents are long dead and the dead outweigh the living. Voldemort was once dead, but is no longer dead. The grass is dead but it is winter and the grass will return. It will return. Cho passes and says why are you out here alone? Harry can not explain and Cho is pleased he can not explain because Cedric Diggory is dead and in her onyx heart she blames Harry that Cedric is dead. Harry’s eyes tilt skyward to the gathering dusk and he says Voldemort is coming and Cho says that’s why I no longer snog you because you are such a downer.