Author Topic: Prompt 2: Even Stationery Moves Thru Time  (Read 76 times)

* Amos Feinbary

    (04/14/2018 at 08:10)
  • Hogwarts Portrait
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November, 1967.
Hallway near Gryffindor Commons


The Boy in Frames straightened his hat, took several steps away from Outside, and pointed his wand at his stool.  It wasn't a real wand any more than he was a real wizard; his was a depiction of a 10" sandlewood, kelpie-hair core, relatively swishy.  Amos took pride in the brush strokes- he imagined it looked about as close to the real thing as a painting could be.

Today he was practicing the new spell he'd learned in Charms that week, Wingardium Leviosa.  The Professor had complimented him on his form, prompting him to try all the harder.  Several of his fellow students failed miserably.  One- a friend named Phoebe- accidentally lifted his frame off the wall- a disturbing, dizzying feeling that left him in disarray.

It was strange, though- the Professor looked different than how he remembered him from before.  For one, he was female.  Reminiscent of the girl who used to read him poetry last term.

Two terms ago?  Ten?  He put his wand down, a look of consternation interrupting his normally pretty happy face.  It was getting harder all the time to keep things straight. Memories tended to overlap, blend together- much like the edges of his Portrait.  It was hard enough for an eleven-year old boy, just learning magic to grasp- without all this time winding by.

Like his friends- Caitlyn, Phoebe, Dennis- recently told him that their names were Jennifer, Mary, and Fred.  That their parents were named Dennis.  That Caitlyn was Jennifer's mother.  It was disconcerting.  He'd watched them walk by his Frame for years.  Helped two of them hide from prefects when they started snogging each other.

Hmm.

He'd watched the sun go down from the Lighthouse In Daylight over in the South Tower hundreds of times.  Seen the sunrise creep in through the window outside the Great Hall.  He'd seen...

Hmm.

He remembered when Mary graduated.  She used to read him poetry on those long winter nights down in the hallway by the Field with the Cow- next to Potions.  Or was that Phoebe?  And then he remembered her- was it her?  It was the Professor of Charms, but it looked like Mary.  Sounded like her.  Older, though.  An Adult.  An old woman, her hair going white around the fringes.  Fading out like a sun-bleached Portrait.

When had the Professor become Phoebe?  Er, Mary?  How could it be that she had taught him this new spell, when it had been her that had lifted him off the wall with it?

It was here, in the faded brush-strokes that made up this corner of his Portrait, that Amos came to a realization- a dreaded eureka moment that would change his existence forever.  "I am not a real boy," he declared, "and I am not really a student at Hogwarts."

Surely though, it wasn't true, right?  Here he was, within those hallowed halls.  He had a wand in hand.  Books over there by the stool.  Just where they'd always been.  For years, now.  He was Amos Feinbary, first year honorary Gryffindor (because he'd never been given access to their common room).  He took Potions.  And Charms.  Divination gave him a headache, because it was so hard to find (only one portrait allowed in that room, and it was a Static like the muggles took).  He was gifted at Charms, his Professor had told him so...

He was a Portrait.  An image of a child, with only as much memory as that picture could hold.  A thousand words, the old adage went- he was sure it was more than that.  He had the curiosity of a child- but only because he'd been painted that way.  He was gifted, he'd been told, at Charms- by his friend Phoebe, who used to snog Fred.

No, Dennis- Fred and Mary's father!  Mary was Phoebe, and Dennis was Fred, which meant that he'd actually been snogging his mother and...

Hmm.

This wasn't the first time he'd had this moment, he realized.  He'd had this mental exercise before.  He was not a real boy- he was a Portrait.  Eleven years old was only true in the artist's depiction- he was decades older in reality.  His memories were fragmented because he had attended the same classroom- year after year after year.  Learned the same 'new' spells with the same enthusiasm and exuberance because he had allowed himself to believe- for a while- that he was real.

This eureka moment would fade.  At some point, he would forget it again- as he had before- and he'd be the same happy-go-lucky eleven-year-old he was before.  The faces would stay the same, but the names would change.  He would learn Wingardium Leviosa for the first time.  Year after year after year.  But for now, he could know- he could tell- that he was grown.  He was more than the sum of his brushstrokes.

He could be content in that.

"Amos, c'mon man!  What was the somantic again?  I couldn't hardly keep my eyes open from that old bat's droning!"

He shook himself out of his reverie, "Sorry, Caitlyn!  Lost in thought.  Look, it's swish and flick.  Like this..."

Kathy didn't have the heart to correct him.  Again.  Caitlyn was her grandmother's name.

Daisy Kawaguchi

    (04/18/2018 at 12:00)
  • Fifth Year
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I really, really liked this piece. I had to go back to the prompts to decipher which one of the two you had chosen but when I did it was clear. To me this is about when Amos actually growing up - albeit for only a short period of time before his memory goes. It's a beautiful tragic loop of a thousand words, as much as his portrait memory can fit, one generation at a time.

What I really liked about this was that the structure itself was a loop. He begins with the 'new' spell he'd learned that week. Nothing is immediately given away. It's only as you progress that you realise his ease with Charms may be more due to the fact he has performed them many times before. The ending is great - it summarises the whole feel of the piece with real clarity.

The only place I really got lost was with the names and connections. How does Mary related to Phoebe and Fred and .... well, maybe that is the point. After finishing reading and reflecting this in itself could be a great mirror (pun?) to what Amos is going through himself.

Really awesome job. I enjoyed this a lot. Would love to see more portrait stories!

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