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I’ve always been a typer. Makes it easier to write essays on faster-than light travel, code simulations, and find Ryan Chandler. For months we had been looking for the best find, the cream of the crop, the top of the top, and we found him. Nowadays, with the introduction of the Z GENE, a special, choice chemical, implanted within the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy, the new Einsteins, Picasso's, Musks, and Hawkings of the world are found. The ZG enhances the premature mind to reach adult level thinking at the age of 10. So, “The System”, a group of anonymous people who evaluate ZG user's, gives us the divisions of the world. Geeks and Nerds. Everything about The System is very secluded and secretive. The camps are secret. The selection is secret. The mother and father are not allowed to tell their child about his or her secret until the child figures it out. The memory of “too specific details” and “memorable events” are wiped from the user's memory during their time at camp, until the world eventually knows who they are, as their name becomes a household one in their early 20s. But, The System allows “scouting”, a use where fake users and real users are given, every year to us. We must tell the good from the bad, and every 5 years 1 “super genius” is hidden among the herd, that could possibly become either faction, and lead it, becoming a “head nerd” or “head geek”. Well, guess who’s head geek? Moi. But, the system is only for ages 11-19. I’m 15. So, we needed to find someone fast. Based on patterns and evaluation, this was our year. The stronger and more recent a head member, the more powerful the faction. So, that’s why it’s imperative to find the next one. So, there he was, Ryan Chandler. The highest IQed 14 year-old EVER. Whether he knows it or not (The System tweaks things a little too. It’s what they do). This gave us a chance. They outnumber us 10 to 1. Literally. But Ryan, Ryan was worth the past 5 head geeks and nerds, myself included (We don’t know the opposite team members names. Yet another wonderful thing The System does for us). We found him, and the nerds probably did as well, so the trouble was getting him to our camp. Our quantum kids engineered a situation in which some of the atoms at camp were vibrating at exactly the same frequency of Ryan’s body, and in exactly the same position, so the two could switch places instantaneously. But it was back and forth, so that he would be in one place (East High, his home, at the library, wherever), and here, Camp G. So it looked like he was nowhere. We tried to stop just the oxygen atoms, but failed. Multiple times. We kept trying though. If we stopped it right between transition, he would be in the middle of nowhere. Not exactly a plan. We kept working on it, until, POOF! He was right here, and we hadn’t stopped the oxygen atoms. The quantum kids said that maybe it was just luck, the fact that the atoms were “drawn” toward each other. Weird things happen here, but this was a good weird. This weird wanted to make me climb one of the mountains here. We had him. We had Ryan Chandler. Yet again, we weren't safe. Only the oldest of us knew about Operation A.R.M.A.D.A., because nearly 4 years ago, my first day, a piece of it crashed. We ran fingerprints through servers, and it matched previous possible ZGers. With some logic and thought, as well as the limited hardware knowledge we had, we were able to come to the conclusion that the Nerds were spying on us, but for what? We still couldn’t figure that out. That is not was what was the idea. If we could get a major player out on the field, and have him outpace any nerd in the range of 190-210 within 5 years.
Read that again.
And that is when everything started happening.
Dumbledore's office stands tall and majestic, every detail meticulously preserved even a year after the battle of Hogwarts. The shelves of hundreds of books, which have not been touched since, perhaps admired by Headmistress McGonagall, are still just as dusty as they were twenty years previously, and perhaps fifty years previous of that. The golden ceiling with intricate designs curves around the office in a bowl shape, perfect for the Astronomy tower, which stands just above Dumbledore's desk and has a perfect view of the twinkling stars above the Great Lake. Dumbledore's desk is arguably the most beautiful thing in the room; the golden metal is still somehow shining, next to the grand throne he sat in. His wand, the Elder Wand of the Deathly Hallows, still sits on his desk, and a perch next to it holds a brilliant, red and gold bird, more commonly known as a phoenix. Hundreds of previous headmaster paintings line the room, Dumbledore himself next to the desk. There was one problem. The room was completely dark.
Before long, a creaking sound emitted from the door, which signalled that the office was being opened. Broken into, to be more precise. A shadow fell across the already dark floor as footsteps enter the room at a steady pace. There is an intake of air and a pause. Then-
"Lumos Maxima," a low, gruff voice says, and a brilliant white light flooded across the room.
The wizard in question raises his wand to sweep the light around the space, illuminating the young wizard's facial features of high cheekbones with a square-like jawline, looking annoyingly handsome with his black, slicked back hair. It soon becomes clear from the Slytherin robes he wears that he is a current student at Hogwarts.
He strides forward with purpose, his wand light moving with him as he approaches Dumbledore's desk, then pauses, his eyes sweeping over the cluttered spot. He then reaches out and touches the Elder Wand, a gleam of almost a power hungry look in his eyes. He then looks up to the brilliant red and gold phoenix, his expression softening a little as he quickly pulls back his hand.
An odd, almost mystical creaking sound causes the young wizard to turn around to face a golden cabinet filled with tiny vials, all of which have a golden swirl in them, all of them identical. His eyes come to rest on a golden time turner that lies on top of the cabinet. He moves towards it slowly, his wand aloof, until a sudden voice makes him jump and he whirls around to face the wall with Dumbledore's portrait. He could have sworn that the painting was asleep, because he had planned it so.
"I wouldn't touch that, if I were you," Dumbledore says, smiling kindly down at the boy.
"Why should I listen to you?" the boy asks boldly. "You're nothing more than a painting."
"True," Dumbledore agrees with a wise nod. "I am nothing more than paint...and memory. Two things death cannot touch. I've been here long before you, and I'll be here long after you. I am much older, much wiser, and much cleverer. So I'd advise you...don't touch the cabinet."
The boy drops his wand in defeat and begins to pace, traces of tears in his eyes as he does. Dumbledore instantly picks up on this, and tilts his head as he watches him.
"You've lost someone, am I correct?" Dumbledore asks. "What was your name?"
"My father," the boy replies without hesitation. "Graves. Anthony Graves. Seventh year."
"Graves," Dumbledore says thoughtfully. "Yes, I knew your father. Percival Graves. He was a very fine Auror. Of course, he lived in North America. Is there any reason he sent you here to Hogwarts instead of Ilvermorney?"
"He wanted me to get experience abroad," Graves replies, his American accent more prominent through his British undertone that he had developed during his years at Hogwarts. "Also, Slytherin is much better than Pukwudgie, in my opinion."
Dumbledore chuckles at that, his soft, warm laugh causing Graves to give a slight laugh of his own.
"I agree with you there," Dumbledore says. "Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but your father was murdered, wasn't he?"
The boy instantly goes back to pacing, grief flashing through his eyes as he gives a slight nod, not looking at the painting as he examined the wood floor.
"And you will go to any length to avenge his death, and, if possible, bring him back?" Dumbledore asks.
"How did you know?" Graves asks, looking up at the painting in curiosity, his eyebrows narrowing in confusion.
"Because I was once the same way," Dumbledore replies. "But not with my father. With my sister, Ariana. I still don't know to this day if I was the one who killed her, or if it was the dark wizard, Grindelwald.
At the mention of the name, the boy's eyes grow wide, and, almost as if it's a trick of the light, his pupils grow darker than they are already, and his mouth forms a thin line. Something almost akin to fear can be seen in Dumbledore's eyes if one looks closely enough.
"I see the name is familiar to you," Dumbledore says, and pauses for a minute, his eyes flicking over to the wand on his desk before quickly looking back at the boy. "You seek the Deathly Hallows."
"Yes," Graves replies, glaring at the painting with sudden hatred. "Now, tell me, old man...if I take that wand, it'll be the most powerful wand in the world, yes? And it will do anything I want it to?"
"Graves, please...the people who have gone on the same path as you have only had misfortunes and led a life of disaster," Dumbledore tries to warn him. "Please don't do this."
"Too late, old man," Graves smirks, and in a sudden movement, he whips around to Dumbledore's desk, grabbing the Elder wand and pointing it at the painting threateningly. "I made up my mind a long time ago. And I would listen to yo, but you see...not all of us can live forever. Least of all, you."
There is no denying it now. Dumbledore is afraid. Anthony Graves, the decedent of the great auror Percival Graves, whom even Newt Scamander had been afraid of, has the Elder wand and is staring him down. There are perhaps a million things he can do with this wand, and all of them would not end well for Dumbledore. Graves faces the cabinet of memories, glaring at the painting.
"I want to go back and save my father," Graves says. "Tell med what I need to do. You said he was around when Newt Scamander was. Tell me what I need to do, or I'll destroy your pathetic little painting."
"What you are looking at are memories," Dumbledore says as Graves moves towards the golden cabinet. "All of them connect to one individual, in this case, Voldemort. Your father was part of the reason why the first dark wizard, Grindelwald, rose to power using the Hallows. This inspired Voldemort to do the same."
"It's easy, then," Graves says. "Destroy Newt Scamander for my father and help bring him back to complete his quest for the Hallows."
"It's a mysterious thing, time," Dumbledore cautions. "Powerful, and when meddled with, dangerous. You must use caution."
"Thank you, old man," Graves smirks. "But your services are no longer required."
Graves pulls the wand back and jabs it forwards, destroying the painting that held Dumbledore. The glass shards ricochet everywhere, flying around the office as the gold painting frame falls to the floor with a bang. He raises his wand again and swipes it in a circle above his head, causing the hundreds of other paintings of previous headmasters to fall from the ceiling, clanging down in a cacophony of bangs and shouts, thousands of shards of glass falling on the floor around him. Graves jabs his wand forward again, destroying the golden cabinet of memories. More glass falls to the floor, mixed with the still falling silver and multicoloured pieces and frames from the paintings that are still falling, hundreds of broken potion vials now added to the mix. They break on impact when they hit the ground, spilling the silver contents around Graves on the floor.
Graves summons the memory he's looking for, the one with Newt Scamander and his father, to get the exact date to travel back to. He quickly snatches the remaining memory from the destroyed cabinet, neatly labelled in cursive writing, 'New York, 1920.' He then quickly picks up the time turner as footsteps and shouts of alarm sound. He turns it multiple times before it seems to spin on its own, the office disappearing around him in a whirl of colors.
He enters a disoriented world, thousands of voices echoing around him as he clutches the Elder Wand and the time turner tightly. One voice stands out among the others.
"You're an interesting man, Mr. Scamander," it says.
And then there was chaos.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Remember when you were younger? How happy you were? How much you smiled and laughed? Even when times got rough, you found a reason to be happy; and you just were. You didn’t have to fake anything.
Now you’re a teenager. Some days you’re happy, others you’re sad, sometimes it’s a mix of both. Somehow even when you are sad you find your wolf skin and you hide. You smile and say everything's alright.
Now you’re at the point where you constantly feel tired, yet you can’t seem to sleep. You smile and laugh, but you don’t know why. You can’t feel much. You refuse to believe you are sad or depressed. You notice that you are getting disconnected, yet you refuse to say you feel lonely.
Then you go to a have frozen river. You sit by the bay. You get lost in your own head. Your eyes look all around. A gap in the river seems to catch your attention. It feels like you are being sucked in but your stuck. You start to think. You think about how painful it would be to fall in and get hypothermia. But how painless it would be get caught under the ice. It will only hurt for a second. You think to yourself.
You stop your thoughts by standing up. As you’re walking you can see yourself jumping into the gap. You can see yourself getting caught under the ice. You walk quickly away, still pretending to be okay.
Yet now, every time you see something it do it with, you think how? You can see yourself doing it. You pass by rope and the first thing you think is, It would be too painful. You pass by razor’s and think, It takes too long.
Remember when you were younger and never had to worry about anything? When you were always truly happy, no matter what was going on. When mommy and daddy would fight, and daddy would take out his anger on you. But you hide it well. You hid it with that bright smile that was unbreakable. It didn’t matter if kids were being mean. It didn’t matter if the teacher said something to your parents about you not being smart. It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because no matter what you were always happy. Never lose that happiness.
"What just happened"? That was the question I asked myself out loud after fininshing the final page of The Smaller Evil. I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about it--but that's what I liked about it, and that's why I think you should try it out yourself.
The Smaller Evil is about a guy named Armand who is dealing with anxiety, among other things. He meets an interesting fellow named Beau and follows him to a self help retreat center. Right away Armand does not fit in and stuggles with the new group so he decides to leave the retreat. His exit does't last long, as he is a witness to a pretty sad event that brings him back to the compound. But once he's back things do not go as he expected. Is he crazy? Are the people at the compound crazy? Is it us, the reader who has gone mad? Read it and decide for yourself.
Crisp, fresh air pillowed itself in my lungs and drifted out back into the unpolluted atmosphere of the castle’s surrounding city. With a lazy breath, I scanned the horizons in an attempt to subside my inevitable boredom and prove myself a worthy citizen. Plucking small forms out of the evening sun miles away gave me a sense of importance without having to do anything involving human-oriented interaction. That, of course, was Ross’s job. Shifting from a family of giants off in the distance, my eyes swooped into the townspeople’s dwellings. With a quick scan, I found Ross tending to a small cluster of children. A girl wearing a makeshift knight costume was explaining the dilemma to him as a tiny boy clutched a fiddle to his chest behind her. With a slow nod, Ross straightened and began to gently scold the three boys standing sheepishly off to the side. Once he had cleared his rules over with the young boys, he sauntered off, but not before the tiny fiddler tugged on his shirt and handed Ross a slightly wilted yellow flower from the fields just outside the city’s west gate. I didn’t need any visual confirmation to feel the large smile that had formed on the huge teen’s mouth—the very smile had sent shockwaves through my spine—but was this a good vibration? Nevertheless, I had winced at the feeling. Deciding I had enough time to myself, my fancy robes fluttered around the tower’s corners and through the stone corridors. Just as I reached the large wooden doors to the outside world, my mother grabbed me by the collar. “Kai, be a dear and go run this to Mrs. Mayweather. It’s for my… medicine.” She pressed an envelope into my hands and twirled around to tend to kingdom affairs. My mother’s disease isn’t rare, but not common either. She suffers from a mental illness called lycanthropy, or in simpler terms, the belief that one’s self is a werewolf. Personally, I have never seen a werewolf before, but I know for sure that my mother is not one. She and my aunt were born into a family of wizards and mages. With a quick bound out the door, I scattered my thoughts and trotted down the main road. I branched off to the left and then to the left once more, into the more quieter and docile, Maior district. The peaceful district sent my feelings aflutter. My stress melted away more and more with every step I took. The tiny hum of life blew all around me—its soft whispers filling my head. An elderly woman stepped out of the cottage door and smiled at me. “Ah, Mrs. Mayweather. You were expecting me?” I asked, skepticism prickling along my tone. “Bah, don’t worry ‘bout it young man, come inside. Come. Come. I have what you need.” She made her way towards her medicine cabinet effortlessly, somehow avoiding all the clutter in the tiny home like it wasn’t even there. “Here, take this. Your mother’s probably pacing at the doorway already,” she then added with a wink, “Threw a little something extra in there for ‘ya.” I caught the package she tossed in my general direction and watched as Mrs. Mayweather walked further into her cramped living quarters. “Well, what more do ‘ya want from me? Get outta here, boy!” Hastily, I closed the door to the elderly woman’s house and hurried back to the castle. As I was twining through streets and alleyways, I slit the package open and examined the contents. Inside was my mother’s pill canister as well as an unknown bottle of more pills. The mysterious bottle wasn’t labeled at all its white cap read: “PUSH DOWN AND TURN LEFT.” In all caps. Fiddling with the somewhat sketchy drugs, I ran into the back of a large, middle-aged man. He spun around and gave me a look of disgust. The impact had enough force to push me back and make me drop the various medicine. “Oh, uh, I’m sorry sir. I’ll just be taking these now.” I reached for the mysterious bottle Mrs. Mayweather gave me, but he pulled his hand out of reach. “What are you doing with these?” He said with a snort. “Oh, do you know what they’re for?” He looked at me like I was crazy. I kind of was—carrying around drugs I didn’t even know what were used for. “These pills are for when situations get hairy. They can stop a beast of tremendous size dead in its tracks. An overdose can even be lethal, just one of these can kill a person in less than an half an hour. What would a boy like you be doing with pills like these, hmm?” I stuttered, but couldn’t work out my words. I knew I looked like an idiot to these commoners, but I jumped and whined at the man anyways. “Give them back, they’re mine!” I yelled to no use. The man held them higher above my head, my eyes glaring into the sun. “Give. Them. Back!” I said between jumps. “They were given to me by a local pharmacist. She prescribes my family’s medications.” My reasoning had no effect against the solid man. I growled in frustration and lunged into the air, swiping the drugs out of his hand and ducking as I hit the ground—his heavy fist swinging just above me. I twirled low to the ground, my leg kicked out and tripped the man. I hit him in the jaw as he went down and bolted out of there. Oh geez, there’s no way mom won’t find out about the tough, perfectly-good citizen getting beat up by a scrawny teenager over mysterious drugs. Taking the long way home was my largest regret; the silhouette of my mother blocking any entrance back into castle. “Kai, give me the pills.” I handed my mom her prescribed medications. “All of them.” She said sternly. I gingerly handed them over, looking shy and innocent. She snatched them up into her hands and stalked off. I was in for a big lecture later and there is no medicine that could heal whatever my mom was going to do.
Later that day, I found myself leaning against the railing of the castle tower. I’ve been hanging around up here quite frequently lately--maybe a little too much. My eyes drifted ever-so-slowly downwards as they followed the setting sun. The smooth, evening sounds of the kingdom drifted through the air. The pounding cranium that sat upon my neck fell into my hands. I ran my fingers through my silky black hair. What am I doing? I thought. If I can’t even interact with people, how am I to save lives, more-so my friends? Grunting in frustration, my fingers pressed harder into my skull.
“It’s not your fault, you know. You’re just overthinking everything.”
“Shut up, you don’t know anything!” I screamed at the person behind me before realizing who they were. Ali was unfazed by my prickling hostility. She silently leaned against the balcony; scanning my averting eyes.
“Hey, I know the events in the recent past are unfavorable to your liking,” Why does everyone use such complicated methods of expressing their sympathy with me? “But you can’t give up, if anyone could save the day—it’s you. I’ve seen you do it before, why not now?” Her voice wiped away my tears as her hand glided across my tense shoulder blades in a comforting way.
“How? How do I save the day this time? This isn’t a matter of boss fights—it’s a mystery that needs somebody of high intellect and skill to solve. This is the kind of thing that takes a real hero, someone, whom of which is not me, that can protect others and is born from pure justice and righteousness. Someone who is physically incapable of laying harm to others!” I half-screeched-half-whined. The look on Ali’s face and the emotional support radiating from her only made me angrier. I don’t know why, but they did. “Stop, just stop it! Go away and take your filthy sympathy with you! I don’t need your assistance! Leave! Me! ALONE!” My voice boomed across the castle, rumbling through the walls and bursting out into the kingdom. I felt the flames spike up from their hiding place, licking across my insides and burning every manner, every sensibility, every humanity within, leaving only primitive instincts. I ran into the dark dwellings, stomping down the hall and leaving Ali outside on the tower in the darkening night. Oh Alisson, how I’ve lost you. If you weren’t mine, than you shall never be after tonight, was the only thought swirling inside the cesspool of painful and ruthless feelings. Eventually, night broke into dawn; the way most evil surrenders to good. But not my evil.