Happy Holidays folks.
This is the first three chapters of the story I am writing about,
Sarah Goode and the castle of witchcraft and wizardry
by Phil Vlasak
Disclaimer: This story
is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling,
various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books,
Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is
being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

CHAPTER ONE The sanctuary.
Salem Massachusetts, June 1995

Sarah flew through the forest, her long thatch of straw-colored hair
disturbed by the air rushing past her ears. Gripping her racing broom
tightly, she was concentrating on her prey, not noticing the cloud of
dust and leaves billowing in her wake. She flew hard and fast, as if she could escape the storm, which had peaked behind her, over the large oak trees.
It was already casting huge raindrops in her face drenching the lush
landscape. Soon she would be soaking wet and when she caught up to it, the little bird might slip out of her slick fingers. Just ahead was a rock formation, and she knew under it was a labyrinth of caves, a perfect sanctuary. The creature flying ahead of her was small and its golden color flared blindingly as the lightning flashed behind them.
The bird rushed just a little faster than her, seeking a means of escape.

With the Snidget's wind chime wings slowing, the bird shot quickly into the cave opening not much larger than it. A moment later, Sarah slowed herself and dropped to the ground with a thud,twigs breaking off, swiftly dismounting. She pulled the wet hair from her eyes, then looked at the opening in the cliff face. Whipping her wand out, pointing it into the small crack where the bird went, she tried a Summoning Charm without luck. Sarah put her ear to the hole and could hear the fading ring of the Snidget's wings flying away.
"Merlin's Beard!" she
exclaimed, pounding her fist on the unmovable rock.
She knew that finding the location of the endangered Snidget hideout would need her to recover a bird as proof. Even her best effort at catching the bird in the air failed. It was obvious she would need a
faster broom than her old Shooting Star to succeed.
She was so over school. "Same people, same
teachers, going to your room, worrying about stupid boys . I wanna get something going, I wanna travel," she kept telling herself over and over in the past weeks. Then, a friend told her of a Snidget sighting that put Sarah on her quest to find it. Sarah had enjoyed exploring the dense forest around Salem alone after her graduation searching for the Snidget .
But now she only felt frustrated that the bird had escaped into the hill.

Rain pelted the teenage girl as she examined the massive boulder looking to find a larger way inside. Sarah heard that the caves were once home to a group of Puritan Religious dissenters escaping during the Salem
Witch Trials of 1692.

The rain was falling harder now and her robe was drenched. At a flash of lightning Sarah noticed a snake slithering into a bush about ten feet to her left. It was muttering in snake language, "dry, dry, must get
dry."
Sarah carefully stepped over to that bush and examined where the snake went.
When she pulled the branches away, she found a gap large enough for her to squeeze through. "Lumos!" She illuminated her wand and examined the opening, then said, "This better be good," She stepped inside the mouth of the cave. It was cool and dark, and the smell was musty and acrid. The snake had long gone so she couldn't talk to it in parselmouth, but she could still hear the ringing of the birds wings.
Sarah left her broom near the
entrance and continued on, following the faint, but distinct sound
through a tunnel to the left. Sarah glanced back in the direction of the opening to the forest listening to the thunder getting closer, then said, "Flagrate" and placed a fiery X on the wall, and continued down the
side tunnel. Sarah heard tell Some of the passages ran on for miles.

She reached an area that looked like it was caved in from the rocks covering the ground. She seemed uncertain about what she should do, running her fingers through her hair, then made up her mind and
scrambled ahead.
"Okay, Snidget, I'm coming for you." She mumbled under
her breath.
The passageway was darker and cooler and obviously not well
used. Each time she made a turn or reached a fork she listened intently
then placed a mark to help her find the way back.
The sound of the Snidget's wings were louder now. The walls ahead were slightly
illuminated, and lights danced across them.
Sarah pressed herself
against the wall as she whispered, "Nox." putting out her wand. Then she slowly, very slowly crept towards the ethereal lights. As Sarah rounded a corner, she held her breath as she spotted three Snidgets lit by a glowing object. Looking down she was mesmerized. It was a wand held in the bony hand of a skeleton that was lying on the ground, almost covered
in rocks.

Sarah peeked over at the birds, trying not to attract their attention.
One of the birds was smaller than the others, and now she could see that
it wasn't an adult bird at all. It was a chick, just out of the egg. It flew around the small area, its wings twinkled in the light, then it
swooped down  into its nest.

She moved soundlessly ahead a couple of steps to get a better look.
Water was dripping off her hair down her forehead and onto the ground.
Sarah's sneaker slipped on a wet stone. It made a soft, crunching noise,
and the girl winced and slapped the wall to regain her footing. She hunkered down low, trying to blend in with the shadows hoping her noise
would be drowned out by the sounds of the  Thunder rumbling  outside.
One of the adult Snidgets near the light turned slowly, raised its head,
and looked her way. It flapped its wings and then turned back to its nest and continued to feed its chick.
Sarah noticed with rapt attention
that water was pouring from a crack  over a mineral-shrouded object. In
the pale light, Sarah could make out that  it was a gold colored wand.
Now that Sarah was close enough not to miss she whispered quickly, "STUPEFY." and the three birds fell into their nest. Sarah stood up and walked over to the pool of water then picked up the gold wand. She turned it in her
hand, appraising its beauty and value with a crazy flicker of her eyelids.
It was covered in gold and precious jewels. Sarah was astounded
by its beauty and richness. Unnoticed by her, as soon as her hand touched the wand, a pale glow surrounded her body. Sarah was holding her breath without realizing it, unable to contain her excitement then she
exclaimed. "Oh, my goodness, It's the wand of Merlin!"
Her words echoed
through the tunnel as she thought about  the implications of its
existence.

Sarah examined the skeleton covered in loose rocks. Its scull was
crushed by a large stone,  and the right hand was reaching out, inches
away from Merlin's wand when the person had died. It looked like an unfortunate wizard found the treasure right before a deadly cave in.

Sarah couldn't understand how the ordinary wand in its other hand was still lit. She remembered from her lessons that when a wizard died, so
did his or her spells. She started to bend down and reach for the lit wand,
then thought about it and stepped back. She was reluctant to take the
wand as it might be cursed.
Her own wand was a hazel  and niffler
hair  Magic wand. It was good for finding treasure, and maybe
that was why she always had a flair for finding valuable things.
She knew that nifflers often tore places apart in their search for shiny
objects and thought her wand might have been helpful in finding this chamber.

Sarah shifted her gaze toward  the stunned Snidget family in their nest
and thought they would be better off here .
"I'll come back for you when
you're older." she whispered while petting the smallest bird with concern.
Sarah slipped the treasure into her robe, spun around and dashed along the passageway, retracing her steps out of the cave. As Sarah rushed by the first corner she failed to notice that the bony hand holding the lit wand crumbled into dust. The
ancient wand falling from its grasp was extinguished.

CHAPTER TWO Bell In Hand Tavern, Boston
July seven, 1995.
They stood in the nearly
secret basement of the centuries old beantown barroom, a room with
sparse furniture, only benches around its perimeter that permeated with
a  smell of moldy oak and beeswax.

All the shelves held distinctive objects, each picked to represent the
country where the traveler wished to go, a crystal Pilsner mug from
Germany, a bottle of Champaign from France, and a black umbrella from
Great Britain. Sarah's parents were in their best clothes, smelling of
cologne and perfume. She too,was dressed in her maroon and white school
robes that had a dramatic black velvet cape and black slip on shoes with
side gold buckles. Sarah reluctantly had put on makeup and lipstick, and
her freshly washed cloud of wild and wavy blond hair hung halfway down
her back. She was glad her school stopped wearing the pointed wizard's
hats years ago.

Her parents were smiling at her. They  seemed to appreciate the care she
had used in dressing for this trip. It was not as formal as the Hogwarts
school uniforms which her reading told her included a black pointed
wizard's hat, white cotton shirt, pleated wool skirt, button-down
cardigan, blue & gray striped tie, gray tights, and leather Mary Janes.
She had spent many days reading Sites of Historical Sorcery which gave
her a general knowledge about some of the places they planned to go in
and around London.

She looked at the package her Dad was holding and recalled the surprise
looks on her parents faces a month before when she showed Merlin's
golden wand to them. Sarah remembered from her history lesson that King
Arthur gave it to the marvelous  wizard, but the wand was stolen from
the Tower of London much later. She had recognized it in the painting of
Merlin in her school's library. According to legend, In 1628 a party of
Puritans led by John Endecott settled at Salem under the auspices of the
New England Company. They had probably been the ones who buried the
treasured wand in the cave.

Waiting for the London Portkey to transport  her family at the
prearranged time, Sarah thought about her life and what she would say to
the Minister.

She knew she was a witch at three-and-a-half. She didn't remember much
about it but her mom said she was chased by a big dog in their back yard
and all of a sudden she found herself on the roof of the house. Her mom
heard Sarah's cry and she ran out and pulled something out of her robe
and little Sarah was slowly picked up and lowered to the ground. At the
time Sarah didn't know it was a Levitation Charm .

Then her Mom told Sarah that her family were all magical and that she
shouldn't try that again until she was much older. Looking back now, she
realized how the passion and need to do real magic was so deep in her,
that she wanted nothing more than that. The seven years at the Salem
Witches' Institute finally taught Sarah to know how a spell worked. She
studied all about magic from the few books that the school owned.

Her dad had always been a keen and talented wizard and he had always
encouraged Sarah to practice casting spells. They never had enough money
because he wrote fiction for the Wizarding world and there just wasn't
much demand for it. He was her skinned knee healer, her flying coach, her fellow motorcycle enthusiast, her teacher, as her Mom
spent the day zooming from one kitchen to another. She was a
professional chef, and that forced her to leave early and come home
late, to late to make their dinner.

All the events following her amazing find were jumbled in Sarah's mind
while she fidgeted with her hair. She heard her watch's quiet ticking turned to the pealing of its small bell.
As the room's light became
brighter, Sarah looked at the ceiling. A circle of sky appeared overhead. As
the umbrella Portkey  took over, she felt as though a rope wrapped
around her waste had suddenly jerked her irresistibly upward. Her shoes
left the floor, her parents on either side banged their shoulders into
hers, They were on a strange magical elevator moving up and up and as
they reached the rooftop the umbrella pulled them sideways.
They were speeding forward for a long time in a howl of salty wind and swirling deep blue color below, and the sun streaking across the sky above.
Her finger was stuck to the umbrella as though it was glued on, and then,
the sun set behind them and the stars lit the sky over London.
Her shoes slammed into a thick carpeted floor. They landed in a room at
the Ministry of Magic, in the middle of London England, where Sarah and her parents stood up facing the minister.

"Merlin's beard," said Cornelius Fudge, his eyes widening at the sight
as her dad presented him with the famous ancient wand.

Chapter three Ministry of Magic, London England.
The Minister was a stout man  in a
long pin-striped cloak, and his face had a weary crushed look. He spent
a few moments staring at the wand, rubbing his eyes. She was so
disappointed when the Minister said he had no time to talk to them. Her
Dad got a bag of money as a reward for bringing in the wand, which made
Sarah peeved as it was her discovery not his. She knew her stingy  Dad
would just put the money in a bank or something boring like that. On the
sixth floor of the Ministry Sarah got her Temporary Apparator's License
at the Department of Magical Transportation from Madam Edgecombe.

Then they used floo powder to travel to the Leaky Cauldron Pub. After
dinner they they walked up to the bed rooms on the first floor. Sarah
thought it was funny that in England what she called the second floor is
what they called the first.

Sarah was glad that she at least got her own room for the night, and she
finally had a chance to read her License: She skipped the top until she
got to the line, Dear Ms. Sarah Good, This is a temporary Apparator's
License. You may retain this  License until a hearing on 12th August, at
which time an official decision will be taken to extend the expiration
date.

She wished she could extend her stay in this mystical town, but by that
date she would be back in the States. She skipped some more until she got
to, Before attempting to use this License, be aware that Apparition
becomes more difficult over long distances, and travel should not be
attempted across continents.

"Rats!" Sarah thought, this means she'll have to take the Portkey  back
with her folks. Sarah put the License in her robe pocket, then noticed a
stack of magazines on the end table. She picked up the March Quibbler,
and read about Harry Potter in the article by Rita Skeeter, telling the
shocking story of what Happened to Harry after the Triwizard Tournament.
She wished she could meet Harry, who had just finished his fifth year at
Hogwarts, but the article didn't say where he lived. She realized from
an advertisement in the magazine that Harry's best friend had twin
brothers who owned the recently opened Joke shop down the street that
was filled with funny novelties like Hiccup Sweets  and trick wands.
Sarah knew they had planned to explore the stores the next morning but
she just couldn't wait. She quickly threw on some Levi Jeans, an
oversized burgundy T-shirt  and sneakers, slipped her robe over her
clothes, then hitched the straps of her bag over her shoulders and
slipped softly out   the door.

Sneaking out alone after sunset, Sarah was glad she decided to leave her
room without telling her folks. This way she could see what ever caught
her interest, instead of spending hours with them looking at cooking
supplies and used books. She found that the Diagon Alley shops opened up
her mind. Never had she seen so many stores filled with spell books,
potion ingredients, and cauldrons, and so many magical people! She
wished she had more money to spend, all her life she was ashamed that
her family wasn't rich. She knew it would take quite a while to visit
all the places and was sad that there wasn't enough time for her to
explore everything having only two days to visit. When She entered the
Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes  joke shop, Sarah was astounded to see it full
of an assortment of the craziest practical joke and gag toys she had
ever seen. They revolved, popped, flashed, bounced, and shrieked. She
had never seen so many  Outrageous and Atrocious Practical Joke items in
one place. She picked up the "Add Libitum" Daydream Charms, but found
them too expensive. Then she was attracted by a display of pointed hats,
decorated with fluffy pink Flamingo feathers, which claimed to make her
head disappear and scare away creatures. She tried one on, and looking
in the mirror, saw both the hat and her head were gone. She thought this
hat would be great for pranks and to joke with her friends back home. She
checked her pouch and was glad to find she had enough money to buy a
headless hat. She recognized one of the owners of the shop from the
little picture of him on the tag wearing a set of magenta robes that
clashed with his flaming hair.. Hat in hand she went over and said, "Are
you George or Fred?" He smiled, and answered, ""Blimey,I don't think I
know you. Which one would you like me to be?" Sarah smiled and with a
nervous toss of her hair replied, "The one who likes to talk to
strangers." His eyes brightened, and he said, "Well, that must be me,
I'm Fred."

Sarah spoke at length to Fred about herself and he said what a fantastic
experience it would be if She got a look at  the Hogwarts castle. He
looked thoughtful for a moment then said, "It would be a risk for you,
but, anyway, where's the fun without a bit of risk?"

He was right, Sarah couldn't get it out of her head and She found
herself bubbling with excitement about this idea. Fred was so cute, and
helpful, answering all her questions about the school. She wanted to
meet some of the professors, or students her age, but he reminded her as
it was the Summer holidays, they wouldn't be at the castle. Fred pressed
his hand to his chest and said, "If I'm not mistaken, I'm about your
age, and you're already talking to me!"
Sarah replied, "Yes, I know you just graduated from Hogwarts, or to be more correct, left Hogwarts this year, and I just graduated from the Salem Institute."
She looked around at all the customers, and continued, "But it looks
like you'll be too busy in the next day to show me around, and that's
all the time I have here."
Fred looked glum and said, "That's the down
side to starting your own shop, you don't have time enough to show
pretty girls around the town."
Sarah blushed, picked up a flyer on the counter
and said, "I got to go now, but thanks for telling me about Hogwarts."
Fred smiled and said as she started to walk away, I hope to see you here
tomorrow, and maybe people will all stay away so I'll have time to take
you on a tour of London."

Sarah stepped out of the shop and concentrated her attention on a
Hogwarts  flyer that had a picture of the huge, rambling, quite scary-
looking castle on the cover. It was Perched atop a high mountain on the
other side of a lake in the highlands of Scotland, and had many arched
windows and seven Rounded crenulated towers. When she felt ready, Sarah
repeated in her head those important words that were critical to the
spell, " Destination, Determination, Deliberation!
She felt squeezed
thin, not able to breathe, and in the blink of an eye, expanded all of a
sudden somewhere else. There was a loud bang, and she found herself
right outside the Hogwarts castle fence. "
Oh, thank you, thank you!
Thank you.  Miss Wilson!" Sarah checked herself over and  was relieved
she got there in one piece with no splinching, , glad she listened to
her teacher in apparating  class. She was tired, drained of energy, as
This was the farthest she had ever tried to travel. Sarah took a moment
to admire the beauty of the magnificent building's exterior, and to
recover from the spell. She found the gate open and slowly walked up to
the front stone steps of the castle. her mind was in a tizzy. Should She
try to go in or not? It was driving her nuts.She'd love to spend weeks discovering the
deepest secrets of the castle but she didn't know if she could even get
in or if she did, how long she could stay.

She thought a moment of what to say, listening to the crickets chirping
and smelling the fragrant summer air, and then She reluctantly knocked
three times.

To be continued in the next release of,
Sarah and the castle of witchcraft and wizardry.




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