If I’d Known (Alex Thériault)

The students in secondary 4 “anglais enrichi” recently read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Part of their evaluation was to write a ‘missing chapter’ from the book. Eighty students completed this task. The three stories that follow were judged by their peers to be the best of the lot. (Gail Hogan)
If I’d Known

- Could you give us the answer, Tom? said Dumbledore loudly.

He was wearing a long maroon cloak and was standing just in front of a big blackboard, slowly filled by the repetitive moves of an enchanted stick of chalk. Dumbledore’s eyes were now fixed on a young man in his sixth year who had a piercing look and nice brown haircut.

- Yes, sir, murmured Tom. The longest transfigurating charm lasted 3 years and was cast by Campollo Metam.

- And what do you think of Metam experimenting with transfiguration at the Ministry of Magic?

- He was right, answered Tom. I think the underpaid employees were the perfect people to be his guinea pigs for the torture transfigurations.

Dumbledore’s face became very stern. It was the dirtiest look the Slytherins had ever seen on their Professor’s face. Albus’ emotions were now boiling. He tried to control them but the room had already become draughty. Parchment paper was flying everywhere. The students started to panic, but Dumbledore took a deep breath and the winds stopped. There was complete silence. The old man seized one of his books from the floor and declared:

- Class’ finished.

Tom Riddle walked faster than the others, closely followed by his friends.

- I thought he was going to swoop on you, admitted Dran Vilan, Tom’s best friend.

-He wouldn’t, answered Tom. He’s just a foolish old man.

They all entered a big room close to the dungeons. In the middle of it, there was a chair. On the chair, there was a first year girl. She’d a black eye and a large scar all over her face. She was crying. Tom put a spell on the door so that nobody would hear them.

- How are you, today, Myrtle? he started, looking at the girl.

He was now very close to her and muttered something in her left ear:

- Don’t worry, it’ll be the last time.

He waved his wand and screamed:

- Crucio!

Myrtle’s reaction was immediate. Her frail body moved faster as she screamed louder and louder.

Tom’s friends were laughing and the boy stopped. Myrtle was quivering violently. Her tears were dropping as fast as drops of blood on the cold stone floor.

- Together! screamed Tom.

- Crucio! yelled all the Slytherins in the room.

This was too much for one person. Her bones were shaking and the pain was so intense that no sound came from her mouth. They all stopped at the same time and Tom started to wind around the girl. He murmured some unintelligible words and they suddenly heard a powerful noise coming from the plumbling. A huge snake swayed slightly next to Tom. The other Slytherins became frightened and ran away.

Tom said another thing nobody could understand, It was snake language. The basilic got in front of Myrtle and his eyes went red. There were fumes coming out of the girl’s mouth and then, nothing. The giant snake put his fangs around Myrtle’s body and returned to the plumbing…

The teachers found Myrtle’s body the next morning in the girls’ toilets. Dumbledore saw that something was still in her pocket. He took it out. It was a hairbrush.

- If I’d known, he said to himself.

. . .

After Cedric Diggory’s death, all the Hogwarts students were sad. For Dumbledore, it was another feeling. Something deeper. It was the second time a student was killed, just in front of him. And this, by the same person. The headmaster bustled to his office and ran to his desk. He pulled out a drawer and took out a hairbrush.

- If I’d known, he repeated, exactly like fifty years before…


Alex Thériault (46-01)

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