A Visit to the Zoo
It was a grand day for a drive, for a visit to the zoo; the first time in her entire life that Harry had actually been invited on a family outing. As Mr Privet drove the car slowly along the road (he always drove slowly, saying cars lasted years longer if they were treated that way), Harry stared out of the window, enjoying the moment, the feel of companionship, of being part of a family. Thus mellowed, she began to see the good in people, the Muddles. Mind you it was only for a moment, because soon, all too soon, her defences returned, protecting her from such nonsensical stupid ideas.
Box came along; it took them a while to convince him, but Mr and Mrs Privet had no intention of suffering the day’s outing if their son was at home, enjoying himself in his room with his electronics. No. He had to come and be miserable along with them.
When they arrived at the zoo, Mr Privet carefully parked his car (he said tyres lasted much longer if you parked your car carefully), and the not so happy family made their way towards the entrance.
“Two adult and two children, please,” said Mrs Privet, as she handed a five-pound note to the pimply attendant behind the counter.
“Isn’t she paying for herself?” Mr Privet whispered to his wife. “Her part of the family is supposed to be loaded, or so you have told me.”
“Hush,” Mrs Privet chided, hoping their niece hadn’t heard him.
For a Saturday, and such a fine one, the zoo was quiet, giving the Privet’s and Harry the place almost to themselves.
“Where are you going?” asked Mrs Privet, when she spotted her son skulking away.
“I was just going to…” he replied, trying to think up an excuse.
“You stay right here, with us,” she ordered. “Harry especially asked for you to come.”
“I know,” he whispered, “and that’s what worries me…”
As they made their way through the animal displays, from Crocodiles to Buffalos, from Elephants to Chimpanzees, from Parrots to Moorhens and almost everything else in between, Box
couldn’t shake off the feeling that something terrible was about to happen, that his horrid cousin was going to perpetrate some dastardly deed upon him. Unfortunately, he was soon to prove himself right…
They were in the reptile house when Harry made her move, to corner her wimpishly thin cousin, the boy she so distained, but needed the help of…
“What are you doing?” Box yelled, when Harry opened the door of a particularly large snake’s enclosure (he had no idea how she had opened it, for it had a hefty bolt padlocked upon it).
“You’ll find out soon enough,” she replied, as she pushed him into the enclosure, slamming the door shut.
“Let me out!” he shouted, banging upon the glass partition that separated the viewers from the viewed.
Seeing its ‘guest’ the huge snake began slithering its way towards Box.
“LET ME OUT!” Box yelled again, banging even harder on the glass partition.
At the far end of the room Mr and Mrs Privet, inspecting an unusual albino tree snake, were totally oblivious to their beloved son’s growing distress.
“Well?” said Harry, folding her arms, smirking at her panicking cousin.
“WELL WHAT?” Box yelled, watching the huge snake slither ever closer.
“Are you going to help me?”
“HELP YOU WITH WHAT?”
“All in good time,” she said, enjoying the moment, her power over him. It was like eating a creamy ice cream – so very satisfying.
The snake, now less than a foot away from Box, tasted the air with its tongue – human being was on the menu.
Screaming with fright, Box hollered, “OKAY, OKAY, I’LL HELP YOU. NOW GET ME OUT OF HERE!”
She did, withdrawing a wand Harry waved it from left to right, saying, “Open Ses Me.”
In less than a millisecond Box was magically transported to the outside, the right side of the glass partition, the hungry snake having just missed its scrawny meal by mere inches.
“H, how did you do that?” he asked, shaking in fright.
Having returned the wand to the safely of her pocket, Harry said, “Do what?”
“What you just did, with that thingamajig…”
Ignoring his question, she said, “Come on, I have need of your assistance…”