Kellen Douglass was a miracle child.
Born at 6 months, he wasnât supposed to survive. There were no great medical advances, so Kellen had to stay in the hospital a lot. No one could touch him, and his parents were just waiting to see if he survived. Then, by some miracle from the unknown, he took a turn for the better. He lived.
Kel didnât remember any of this, he was way too young. But for all of his life, no one let him forget these facts.
Being a miracle child had its disadvantages.
First, the attention. They could never go to any family functions without someone fawning over him, telling Kellen how lucky he was to be alive.
Kellen hated attention.
But some attention he couldnât avoid, like from the doctors. For as long as he could remember, Kellen was taken from one doctor to another, because of his health issues.
Just because he was a miracle child didnât mean he was perfectly healthy.
His parents explained it to him once; that his early birth meant he didnât have properly developed lungs. So he would probably deal wit his asthma for the rest of his life. It was annoying, carrying around his inhaler, never being able to go out for sports. And of course, it brought on more attention.
Kellen distinctively remembered when he was five, and started public school for the first time. It was recess and all the kids were running around. Kel was too excited about school to remember he wasnât supposed to run around.
An asthma attack feels like death to a five year old.
One minute he was laughing, and the next he was on his knees, trying to breathe with all his might. He didn't have his inhaler; it was in his bag beside the swings. And just when he thought he would never catch that breath, Bryce was there.
Before he could get a word out, Kellenâs older brother had already pressed the inhaler into his mouth and released the medication. Kellen breathed deeply. Through his tears he noticed the large crowd of students gathered around, and Kellen reached again for the medicine. Bryce saw the panic in his brotherâs eyes, and somehow managed to get Kellen away from the crow and into the quiet safety of the nurseâs office.
Bryce Douglass was a hero to his little brother.
Kellen idolized him. Where Bryce was, one could guarantee that Kel was right behind him. Anytime Bryce tried something new, Kellen had to try it also. There was nothing his brother could do wrong.
Was is a past-tense verb.
Kellen thought his brother could do nothing wrong, until the day that ruined their family forever. He didnât know who the mysterious visitor was, or how he suddenly appeared in their kitchen, but Kellen was scared. Everyone was yelling, using words the six year old couldnât make sense of. Then mum was crying. Kellen ran to her, tears filling his own yes, but he was sent up to his room. He was confused, why was everyone fussing over Bryce? Kellen didnât even get any answers from his older brother when he returned to their room. He didnât understand why Bryce was so mad, why he didnât pull his brother to his side to tell him everything would be ok, as he had always done in the past.
And then there were just two.
Not long after that eventful night of yelling, the one person Kellen looked up to the most left. Without explanation or apologies, Bryce was suddenly gone from their lives. Kellen watched as his parents argued more and more until eventually, his father left also. Kel wanted to know why, but his mother couldnât explain it at that time. She promised he would know when he was older, when the time was right.
He accepted that answer, because really, there wasnât any other choice for him. He was just a kid, stuck in a situation he didnât understand, and Kellen had to just let it happen. Kellen had to watch his mother cry day and night, over losing her husband and oldest son. He had to see the look in her eyes every time she looked at him, because Kellen looked so much like his father. So he had to learn to deal with it, and to adapt.
Adaptation isnât the easiest when you donât have a secure home.
Kellen adapted the best way he knew how. That was through just keeping everything in and not bothering to care about stuff. But he did care. Kellen cared deeply for his mother. He was very protective of her. Kellen was alway quick to lash out, physically and verbally against anyone who would dare utter an ill-word about her. No one talked about his mother in a negative way.
Anger. That was also his issue. Because he bottled everything up, when Kellen did finally go off, he WENT OFF. Heâd been in numerous fights already, most of them for situations which probably didnât warrant a physical altercation. But those situations just happened to be things which tipped him over the edge. None of this went very well with Kellenâs asthma, and he always ended up losing those fights. Either because he had to stop cause of an attack, or simply because Kellen really wasnât a strong kid. He just acted like it.
So it was just Kellen and his mother, trying to get through life with just each other, knowing that it just wasnât the same when half of their family was missing. But Kellen tried to stay strong, for her. Because it was obvious that his mother never got over the fact that Bryce and her husband left them.
Suddenly the time was right.
That ârightâ time to which his mother referred came before Kellen's 11th birthday. His mother had been called to the principals office at the school, because her son had gotten into a fight, yet again. While she wasnât happy to have to go to the school, it came as no surprise. Usually.
This fight was different. First, Kellen wasnât injured, at all. The kid who he swung at never got a chance to hit back and enact his revenge for Kellenâs flared temper. And the second thing that was different was the reason that the kid didnât hit back. No one could figure out how he ended up with a frog in his pants the moment before he charged at Kellen. It was enough to freak the other kid out, and stop him from doing any harm.
The principal saw nothing strange about the occurrence. At least, nothing to attribute to Kellen. He was just being suspended because he picked a fight again. Even Kel was confused about the appearance of the amphibian. His mother wasnât though. She knew exactly what had happened. It was that moment she had been waiting for. Although, at the time, his mother wasnât sure if she was relieved or upset that the moment had arrived. So when they got home, instead of sending Kellen to his room (as was normal after-fight procedure), she sat him down and told him the new he had been waiting to hear for a long time.
He was a wizard. Not only did she tell him, but his mother also informed Kellen that was real reason that Bryce had left, and the departure of his father was also tied to the incident. His dad wasnât a wizard, she made that much clear. But he couldnât deal with the magical world and the fact that Bryce was gone, so he decided to leave instead.
There was only one to blame. One community.
Kellen didnât take the news very well. He didnât want to be a wizard, or to be associated with any of that magic stuff. Not because he thought it was evil or anything. But simply because he saw it as the reason his family was torn apart. Bryce left because he thought it was the better life. And then their father left because he couldnât be a man and adapt to something different. Thatâs how Kellen saw it anyway.
He didnât have much experience with the magical world, but already Kellen had a bad attitude about it and didnât want to be related to it. His mother tried to convince him otherwise, to make him see that there was a lot of good in the magical world. But she couldnât prove it to him, because she couldnât do it herself (âsquibâ was the word she used to describe herself, whatever that meant). That last bit of information only made Kellen hate it more. Why would he want to be a part of a community where not everyone was given the abilities of the rest? He didnât understand it, and would rather just leave it all behind.
But his mother was persistent. She said that without proper âtrainingâ, Kellenâs powers would lose control again the next time he got in a fight. And it would get worse when he got older. So if he didnât learn to control it, he would be risking revealing what he was to everyone around. Kellen didnât care. There was no way he was leaving his mother to go be with a bunch of wizards. It made him feel just like Bryce to do that, and Kellen had already seen how that event hurt her. He couldnât do that.
Finally she gave up on trying to convince him, as long as Kellen agreed to take training lessons from home. Which wasnât so easy for her, being a squib. But his mother hired a tutor and Kellen reluctantly trained with him every afternoon. Not that it helped much. Kellen could only learn what he willingly practiced, which wasnât much.
Sooner or later, things were bound to blow up.
And blow up they did, in a big way. Kellenâs mom couldnât really say she was surprised; she did warn him. But there was another incident at school, when Kel got into an altercation with a student in the washroom. The next thing he knew, there was an explosion and one of the toilets blew apart, flooding out into the hallway. The other student wasnât entirely sure what had happened, but Kellenâs mother managed to get him to convince the school that he dropped a cherry bomb down the toilet, and that was what caused the explosion. Which was much better than telling them that his magical powers got out of control again.
Of course, that still wasnât an acceptable excuse, and Kellen ended up being expelled from the school. After a huge âI told you soâ lecture at home, and a lot of yelling, Kellenâs mother put her foot down on the decision, and told him that he was going to Hogwartâs when the new term started. That was the final decision.
And so it began.
He hated his first year at Hogwarts. And did everything in his power to get kicked out. But they werenât as easy to break down as the muggle school had been. All Kellen had managed so far was multiple detentions and loads of extra course work. He started trying to avoid detentions eventually, after one rather frightful evening with Professor Birch.
Kel made more enemies than friends, and usually tried to stick to himself. Nothing yet had convinced him that it was a good thing to be in the magical community and that he would benefit from it. Kellen wanted nothing more but to go home, and be where he belonged, with his mother. But she even refused to let him come home for the summer. âMaking more friends will be good for you.â He hated her for that decision, but only for a minute. Kellen could never hate his mother. But he still didnât like that he was stuck at the Hangout all summer, and that he was going back to school the next term.
And so it continues...