It was the last year of Hogwarts for HermioneGranger. She wasn't looking forward to leaving the institute of learning that had been her home for most of the last seven years, but there really was so much to learn now on her own. And, with Voldemort still around, she'd need to be at her peak to protect her parents from his Death Eaters.
She'd be alone, as usual, on her way to the station to catch the Hogwarts Express, the magnificent red train that bore all of the students across England to Hogwarts Academy. She never liked going alone, but after her third year, her parents had been afraid to make the trip and be around all of the wizards and witches there. They'd always been dodgy about her going through the platform wall, but even more solately after they'd been told about Voldemort(something she'd never truly forgiven Arthur Weasley for, despite how she felt about his sons).
It wasn't that she, herself, was afraid. Despite Voldemort's presence in the world, nothing untoward had happened on the way to school. Still, since she'd made actual friends at Hogwarts, and would usually see them before leaving for school, she found that going to the train station by herself to be a lonely experience (which, really, is how one defines lonely, as being by ones self, so it was silly to think that way. But think that way she did).
She looked over her schedule one last time. She still needed to drop one course if she wanted to be able tot ake the advanced arithmancy (which she did, very much), and she hadn't decided. Her eyes kept sliding over to Divination.
"I really shouldn't. I promised Parvati I would give it just one more chance... but I do so want to take Arithmancy..." Hearing it aloud steeled her resolve.She took out her quill and crossed Divination from her list. Nodding, satisfied, she nodded and put her quill and list away, settling all of her belongings away before finally lying down to sleep. It wouldn't be so bad. She'd see Harry and Ron at the station, and might catch Parvati on the train.
She closed her eyes, and drifted to sleep.
It was foggy, which, for where they were, wasn't so odd. She was alone, sitting on a rock, waiting... for whom, she didn't know. Possibly Ron. It was just like him to be late.
She leaned against a rock, pulling her muffler closer over her hands, watching the road anxiously. It was a dirt road, and that seemed both peculiar and not, for some reason. Before long, the ponderings were brought to nothing by the clop clop clop of horses hooves. She looked up.
What was approaching was not the carriage she seemed to be waiting for, but a large black horse drawn hearse. She stood, backing off of the path slightly, as the hearse came close. However, the driver broughtt he hearse to a stop right next to her, and looked over. Her heart leapt into her throat.
The driver's face was pale and drawn, eyes wide and bulging a bit. He smiled at her, his cruel lips pulling away from stained teeth. His voice came out in a rasp, and as he spoke, she could hear screams coming from the hearse. "There's room for one more, I think..."
Hermione woke with a gasp, hand clutching her chest.After a few moments, however, she composed herself. It was only a silly dream. That was all. Looking at her clock, she decided there was really no sense in wasting more time. She gathered her luggage and pulled it out to the stair, loading it onto a cart to catch a taxi with. After a small breakfast (she really was too excited to eat) and a final goodbye to her mother and father, she set out.
At the end of her street, there were quite a few people out. She had just missed one taxi pulling away, and another was the only one on the street it seemed.A woman claimed it. "The train station, please!"
A man near her stepped forward. "I'm going to the train station, too. Could we perhaps share a cab?"
The woman nodded, and the driver got out, loading their luggage into the trunk. He turned to Hermione and smiled, lips pulling back from stained teeth."There's room for one more, I think..."
Hermione stepped back involuntarily, but stammered out, "N-no, thank you... I'll... I'll take the next one." The driver shrugged and closed the trunk, ambling to the door and getting in.
The next cab didn't arrive for another hour, but she was still half an hour early for the train. Before she stepped through the pillar, she overheard a conversation between two muggles.
"A tragedy, that's what it is. Just a tragedy."
She perked her ears, listening without looking likes he was. But, at the same time, her eye caught a picture on a newly installed monitor tuned to a local news station. There was the face of the driver, underneath the caption, "3 die in Taxi Cab Crash."
When Ron and Harry approached her, she was puttingDivination back on her class list. She could use theTime Turner for one more class...