"What does it say?" Sebastian asked, sounding worried as I stared at my letter in horrified shock.
"It says... It s-says..." I gave up and just passed him the letter.
The letter said,
We understand that your mother has committed serious crime. Evidence from an anonymous supplier proves this correct. For this crime, we have arrested your mother and jailed her in Azkaban.
Your father has been taken in for questioning leaving you with no relatives who are able to care for you in the holidays.
If your parents continue to lie we will have to go through necessary measures.
We understand that you will not know of this crime, but if the crime is further proved to have been committed by your mother, you will be expelled from Hogwarts.
"Brook?" Sebastian's voice brought me back to the present and I realised I was shaking. "Brook. I... I think there's something else. In, in the envelope, I mean"
I tried to take whatever else was in the envelope out, but my shaking hands wouldn't let me.
"Y-you do it" I told Sebastian quietly. "I, I, I c-can't"
Sebastian took out the remaining contents of the envelope and opened it for me. It was the Daily Prophet newspaper.
The headline was,
WITCH, JULIA WINTERS, ARRESTED AFTER COMMITTING HORRENDOUS CRIME
Underneath was a picture of my mother, handcuffed and looking defeated and weak. She was being forced to look into the camera. Her eyes were wide and scared looking, a tear could be seen trickling down her cheek. She didn't even struggle. The muscular man holding her from behind kept jerking her, making her stand more upright. The movement stopped as her dark hair fell over her face. It then started from my mother looking terrified into the camera again.
There was then a smaller picture of me, with a caption saying that I was the 'innocent young daughter, left alone'. Underneath that was a picture of my father, with a brief description of how he was to be questioned.
"W-what did she... what did she do?" Sebastian sounded nervous and guilty just for asking.
"Sh-she didn't do a-a-anything. It-It's all a b-big lie" I whispered. My mum would never commit a crime. Never. Whoever had supplied the evidence had forged it, made it all up.
Two snippets from the letter echoed around my head, drowning out any other thoughts.
We have arrested your mother and jailed her in Azkaban... jailed her in Azkaban... jailed her in Azkaban...
You will be expelled from Hogwarts... expelled from Hogwarts... expelled from Hogwarts...
I took out my wand, muttering "Incendio," as I pointed it at the Daily Prophet, making the newspaper burst into flames.
And everyone was looking at me, or looking for me. Because, of coarse, they had read the newspaper too. And if they hadn't, someone else had shown them.
I got up and rushed nervously out of the Great Hall, tripping as a ran along the corridors with tears streaming down my face.
Eventually, I did fall. I didn't bother getting up. I just curled up into a little ball against the wall and sobbed into my knees.
It was then that I realised Sebastian still had the letter.