THE VANISHING GLASS
Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had woken up to find
their nephew on the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly changed at
all. The sun rose on the same tidy front gardens and lit up the brass
number four on the Dursleys' front door; it crept into their living
room, which was almost exactly the same as it had been on the night when
Mr. Dursley had seen that fateful news report about the owls. Only the
photographs on the mantelpiece really showed how much time had passed.
Ten years ago, there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a
large pink beach ball wearing different-colored bonnets -- but Dudley
Dursley was no longer a baby, and now the photographs showed a large
blond boy riding his first bicycle, on a carousel at the fair, playing a
computer game with his father, being hugged and kissed by his mother.
The room held no sign at all that another boy lived in the house, too.
Yet Harry Potter was still there, asleep at the moment, but not for
long. His Aunt Petunia was awake and it was her shrill voice that made
the first noise of the day.
"Up! Get up! Now!"
Harry woke with a start. His aunt rapped on the door again.
"Up!" she screeched. Harry heard her walking toward the kitchen and then
the sound of the frying pan being put on the stove. He rolled onto his
back and tried to remember the dream he had been having. It had been a
good one. There had been a flying motorcycle in it. He had a funny
feeling he'd had the same dream before.
His aunt was back outside the door.
"Are you up yet?" she demanded.
"Nearly," said Harry.
"Well, get a move on, I want you to look after the bacon. And don't you
dare let it burn, I want everything perfect on Duddy's birthday."
"What did you say?" his aunt snapped through the door.
Dudley's birthday -- how could he have forgotten? Harry got slowly out
of bed and started looking for socks. He found a pair under his bed and,
after pulling a spider off one of them, put them on. Harry was used to
spiders, because the cupboard under the stairs was full of them, and
that was where he slept.
When he was dressed he went down the hall into the kitchen. The table
was almost hidden beneath all Dudley's birthday presents. It looked as
though Dudley had gotten the new computer he wanted, not to mention the
second television and the racing bike. Exactly why Dudley wanted a
racing bike was a mystery to Harry, as Dudley was very fat and hated
exercise -- unless of course it involved punching somebody. Dudley's
favorite punching bag was Harry, but he couldn't often catch him. Harry
didn't look it, but he was very fast.
Perhaps it had something to do with living in a dark cupboard, but Harry
had always been small and skinny for his age. He looked even smaller and
skinnier than he really was because all he had to wear were old clothes
of Dudley's, and Dudley was about four times bigger than he was. Harry
had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair, and bright green eyes. He
wore round glasses held together with a lot of Scotch tape because of
all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose. The only thing Harry
liked about his own appearance was a very thin scar on his forehead that
was shaped like a bolt of lightning. He had had it as long as he could
remember, and the first question he could ever remember asking his Aunt
Petunia was how he had gotten it.
"In the car crash when your parents died," she had said. "And don't ask
Don't ask questions -- that was the first rule for a quiet life with the Dursleys.