It was September first 1993 and Remus Lupin stepped aboard the train. It was only ten o’clock, there were not many witches and wizards yet on platform 9 ¾. He walked towards the end of the train and entered the compartment he, Sirius, James and Peter had shared all those years ago. He put his trunk in the luggage rack and with a sigh he sat down. Remus was exhausted. It had just been the full moon, he had barely slept the past couple of days. He knew he must look exhausted and probably ill, but there was nothing to do about it. People materialised every now and then, pushing trolleys and carrying animals. Remus felt his eyelids droop, a nerve twitched in his cheek. Slowly he slid down a little in his seat and closed his eyes. The train would not be departing for another hour, he could take a little nap…
Remus heard voices from far away, but it was all hazy. A part of his brain wanted to wake up, but his body didn’t allow it, so he shifted slightly in his seat and slept on. A sudden cold seeped in. It started at his extremities and crept toward his heart. He knew this feeling all too well, but he had been so fast asleep, it took a while to realise where he was. He opened his eyes, but all was dark.
“Not here! I’m here.” he heard a boy say.
“Ouch.” said another.
“Quiet!” he said sharply, noticing how hoarse he sounded. It felt like he had been sleeping all day, and that must indeed have been the case because the sun had already set. Remus grabbed his wand from his inside pocket and performed a non-verbal spell to conjure flames in his hand. He glanced around the compartment and encountered five figures, but he couldn’t make out who they were from this distance. The cold was becoming more intense.
“Stay where you are,” he said, and got slowly to his feet with his handful of flames held out in front of him. But the door slid open before Remus could reach it. Standing in the doorway, illuminated by the shivering flames in Remus’ hand, was a cloaked figure that towered to the ceiling. Its face was completely hidden beneath its hood. There was a hand protruding from the cloak and it was glistening, greyish, slimy-looking and scabbed, like something dead that had decayed in water… It was visible for a only a split second. As though the creature beneath the cloak sensed something, the hand was suddenly withdrawn into the folds of the black material. The Dementor drew a long, slow, rattling breath, as though it was trying to suck something more than air from its surroundings. An intense cold swept over Remus, a cold that penetrated every fibre of his being. He knew why this Dementor was here. From the corner of his eye he saw a boy go rigid and fall down. Immediately Remus stepped over him toward the Dementor, raised his wand and said: “None of us is hiding Sirius Black under our cloaks.” The Dementor didn’t move. Without hesitation Remus muttered: “Expecto Patronum.” and within seconds the Dementor had retreated. Remus exhaled and turned around. Two of the figures knelt down at the one that had fallen out of his seat. The flames in his hand cast some light and he saw a redheaded boy and bushy-haired girl of around thirteen looking worried. He felt a sudden jolt in his stomach, as the boy on the floor was the spitting image of his best friend James. The cold seemed to retreat and a few seconds later the lights flickered back on. The floor was shaking and the Hogwarts Express started to move again. Remus gawped. It was like James was lying there, shaking uncontrollably, rolling his eyes. All Remus wanted to do was kneel down and hug the friend he hadn’t seen in almost twelve years, but he knew he couldn’t. Harry couldn’t know, not yet, not now.
“Harry! Harry! Are you alright?” The bushy-haired girl was slapping Harry around the face.
“W-what?” muttered Harry and he opened his eyes. Another jolt shot through Remus, because Harry’s eyes were exactly like his mother Lily’s. James and Lily had been Remus’ best friends in the world and now their son was lying here on the floor of the very compartment he had sat with them 17 years ago. It took effort not to start crying. He saw Harry push his glasses back on, and his two friends heaved him back onto his seat.
“Are you OK?” the redheaded boy asked nervously.
“Yeah,” said Harry, looking at the door. “What happened? Where’s that – that thing? Who screamed?”
Remus turned around and reached for his trunk. He was glad he had packed some chocolate when he heard there would be Dementors at Hogwarts. He fumbled with the fastenings of his trunk, groped around and took out an enormous slab of Honeydukes chocolate.
“No one screamed.” said Harry’s friend even more nervously. Remus wondered what Harry had heard. Dementors could let you relive your worst memories, he knew from experience.
“But I heard screaming-” Harry said.
Remus broke off a piece of chocolate, making them all jump.
“Here,” he said to Harry, handing him a particularly large piece. “Eat it. It’ll help.”
Harry took the chocolate, but didn’t eat it.
“What was that thing?” he asked him.
“A Dementor,” said Remus, now giving everyone else chocolate. “One of the Dementors of Azkaban.”
The three boys and two girls were staring at him. He crumpled up the empty chocolate wrapper and put it in his pocket. He needed to send an owl to Hogwarts right away. They needed to know what had happened to Harry. Remus had never seen anyone react so strongly to the presence of a Dementor, he took it as a sign.“Eat,” he repeated. “It’ll help. I need to speak to the driver, excuse me…”
He strolled past Harry and went into the corridor. Walking past compartment after compartment, he saw nothing but frightened and pale faces. Why did those Dementors have to come aboard the Hogwarts Express? If a big black dog had boarded the train, someone would have noticed, right? Someone would have seen…
Remus had reached the door to the train driver and knocked.
“Who’s there?” a scared voice answered.
“I’m Remus John Lupin, a teacher at Hogwarts. I need to send an owl immediately.”
The door opened and a pale looking wizard appeared. The other driver was in his seat, but he didn’t look up.
“Come in, mister Lupin. The owls are right there.”
-Perla Schippers, 20/9/16