Writing Prompt: After arriving at Hogwarts, the hat has sorted you into Slytherin, you then learn this means you won’t be trained in magic

The easiest years of my life, that’s how I remember my first three years at Hogwarts. No one expected anything of me, or anyone else in Slytherin. We had extra lessons in things like The History of Magic, Muggle Studies and the like, but in year one and two these lessons aren’t exactly taxing.
Things got a bit more stressful in year three, because by then the teaching staff had worked out there was no way we could pass any OWLs, but there was also no way that we could be integrated back into the Muggle community to do GCSEs. That was a bit of a poser.
At about the same time, the other big problem surfaced. Some of the brighter Ravenclaw kids had worked this out the same time we did, but the staff didn’t cotton on until it was basically too late.
Puberty started arriving. And Magic will out, as they say.
If you’re a Slytherin, it means you’re bright. Not as head in the clouds intelligent as the Ravenclaws, but when has that ever been useful? Every single one of our parents had said the same things to us when the decree came down: “We don’t send you to Hogwarts to learn how to control magic, we send you there to learn how to control yourselves.”
To his credit, Potter spoke out against the measure. He knew. Something had happened to him when he was a kid – there were rumours he’d turned someone into a snake – but no one really took it all that seriously until Amanda Nosegay had her skin made transparent. The poor girl ended up in bandages head to foot while they arranged transport to St. Ced’s.
After that the whole house was a ticking timebomb. Three years worth of Slytherin intake, all of them wizards or witches the equal of any in the school, and none of them with the faintest idea how to control the power building up inside them.
There were random acts of magic. Some of them were hilarious. Some of them weren’t. But it was too late.
We now understand that there is a point at which untrained magic becomes contagious, and that when one person undergoes an uncontrolled magical event, it has the potential to trigger other, similar events in people nearby. The Slytherin common area and dormitories were what we’re now calling a “criticality”.
We believe the criticality started with Patrick Demense, a second year who had previously shown no signs of magic at all. According to surviving records, at least one master at Hogwarts thought he might be a Squib. On the night of September 23rd, Patrick proved them all wrong. According to survivors, he manifested an extraordinarily complex illusion – a gardenscape, complete with weather, flora and fauna appropriate to Ancient Greece. Patrick was asleep at the time, and the attempts to wake him may have pushed his dreamscape into a nightmare state. One of the witnesses describes the deterioration of the weather. We think now that it was the lightning that set off Martin Bracebridge.
Martin Bracebridge exploded. We believe he had an uncontrolled defensive reaction to the presence of lightning – something his parents indicated he was scared of – and spontaneously attempted to shift himself and most of the Slytherin dormitory area sideways by one hundred feet. This created a chain reaction as young, terrified Slytherin instinctively accessed their power and, completely untutored, made the situation exponentially worse.
The teaching staff attempted to enter the Slytherin common area some ten minutes after the start of the event. According to survivors, no one was aware that the situation had developed so rapidly and by the time experienced adults were on the scene, the criticality had become a runaway reaction. There was no possibility of stopping it. Even so, the evacuation of the rest of the school was badly handled and accounts for the high number of non-Slytherin casualties.
The Ministry was alerted, but there was a significant delay in finding wizards and witches with the right kind of experience or expertise and, by the time a team had reached Hogsmeade, the event was effectively over.
Ten years later, the reality around Hogwarts is still dangerously fluid. There is no indication that Hogwarts will stabilise, although monitoring continues. The best news that we have is that the warping effect has ceased to expand. The closest anyone can come is Hogsmeade, where the research unit has it’s main base and is where my fellow ghosts are anchored. Access inside twenty miles of Hogwarts is not recommended for the living.
My recommendations to the court of Inquiry are that another institute be founded to ensure the tuition of Britain’s Wizarding population, but the first act of that institute be to take the Sorting Hat and burn it. Take it from someone who will be thirteen and a half forever: kids are kids.


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