Chapter Four: All Aboard for Sodor
The next morning, Harvey and Thomas made their way down to the train station so Thomas could catch the train that would take him to Sodor.
"Blimey, is that the time?" asked Harvey in surprise, looking at his watch. "Sorry, Thomas, I'm gonna have to leave you. Awdy'll be wanting his... er, well, he'll be wanting to see me." He then handed Thomas a train ticket. "Your train leaves in 10 minutes. Here's your ticket. Stick to it, Thomas, that's very important. Stick to your ticket."
Thomas looked at his ticket.
"Platform 9 ¾?" Clearly this had to be a typo.
"But Harvey," said Thomas. "There must be a mistake. This says Platform 9 ¾. There's no such thing...is there?"
But Harvey had mysteriously disappeared.
Thomas looked up and down the lanes, trying to find his platform. At last, he came across a station master.
"Excuse me!" called Thomas. "Can you tell me where I might find Platform 9 ¾?"
"9 ¾" the stationmaster scoffed. "You trying to be funny, boy?"
Thomas was feeling like giving up when he heard a woman's voice.
"It's the same year after year," the voice grumbled. "Always packed with Muggles, of course."
"Muggles?" murmured Thomas. He looked over and noticed a woman dressed with green leading about 4 or 5 children along.
"Come along," she called to them. "Platform 9 ¾ this way!"
Amongst the children were two near identical twins of thirteen, a girl of twelve, and a boy of eleven.
"All right, Stafford," said the woman. "You first."
The eldest boy, wearing brown, came forward with his trolley and charged towards the brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. But instead of crashing into it, he vanished right through it. Thomas was amazed.
"Donald," said the woman, turning to one of the twins wearing black. "You're next."
"He's not, Donald, I am," said the other twin with a Scottish Accent.
"Honestly, Mrs. Avonside," said the first twin, also with a Scottish Accent. "you call yourself our caretaker."
"Oh, I'm sorry, Douglas," said Mrs. Avonside.
"I'm just joking," said the first twin. "I am Donald."
With that, the two twins charged at the wall, vanishing just like Stafford.
"Excuse me!" called Thomas, catching up.
"Yes, young man?"
"Could you tell me how to..." Thomas pointed over to the wall.
"How to get on the platform?" asked Mrs. Avonside, understanding what Thomas meant. "Not to worry, dear. It's Percy's first time to Sodor as well."
The boy in green waved.
"Now," said Mrs. Avonside, "All you've got to do is walk straight at the wall between platforms 9 and 10. Best do it at a bit of a run if you're nervous." She then turned to the girl in emerald green. "Emily dear, you're next. Mind showing him how it's done?"
"Good luck," said Emily. She charged through the wall with her trolley, and just like the others, vanished inside of it.
Nervously, Thomas charged at the wall and walked through it. On the other side of the wall was a magnificent station and bundles of people. Standing next to the platform was a majestic steam locomotive. It was a red LSWR N15 with black wheels and had five coaches in a matching livery.
"Wow," Thomas breathed. Suddenly, Percy came out through the wall as well, bumping his trolley into Thomas's.
"Sorry about that!" said Percy.
"It's alright," said Thomas. "I wasn't paying attention either."
"I'm Percy, by the way. Percy Avonside."
Then he took a look at the scar on Thomas' forehead.
"No way!" he cried. "You're Thomas Billinton!"
The two boys turned to find a girl of eleven with black hair.
"I'm Mavis Drewry," said the girl. She then looked to Percy. "And you are..."
"I'm Percy Avonside," said Percy.
"You've got dirt, on your nose, by the way, did you know?" asked Mavis.
Percy looked at Mavis in confusion, but then rubbed the dirt off of his nose.
"We'd better get on board before we miss the train," said Thomas.
Before long, the Sodor Express was steaming through the Country Side. Thomas was in a compartment in one of the coaches by himself, watching the scenery.
"Hey," Percy called to him. "Do you mind if I come in? Everywhere else is full."
"Be my guest," smiled Thomas. "I could use some company."
So Percy sat in the seat across from Thomas.
"Were those other kids with you and your mom your siblings?" asked Thomas.
"Nah," said Percy. "I've got an older sister, though."
"Where's she?" asked Thomas.
"She's away visiting another country," said Percy. "As for the others you saw me with, my parents and I run a sort of Boarding House. They live with us and feel like parts of the family."
Just then, a woman pushing a trolley full of sweets came up to them.
"Anything off the trolley, dears?" she asked.
"No thanks," sighed Percy, holding up a bagged sandwich. "I'm good."
Thomas could see that Percy really wanted something off the trolley. So, he decided to help him out.
"We'll take the lot," he said, pulling a handful of Galleons out of his pocket.
"Whoa!" exclaimed Percy.
Before long, the two were enjoying the sugary feast of kings.
"Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans?" asked Thomas, reading a box.
"You can even taste a chair if you're lucky," said Percy.
"You mean there's literally every flavor possible?" asked Thomas, a bit disturbed.
"They mean every flavor!" said Percy. "There's chocolate and peppermint, and there's also spinach, liver and tripe. Douglas swore he got a bogey-flavored one once!"
Thomas then picked up another box that read "Chocolate Frogs".
"These aren't real frogs, are they?" he asked.
"It's only a spell," said Percy. "Besides, it's the cards you want. Each pack's got a famous witch or wizard. I got about 500 myself."
"I've got Awdry!" exclaimed Thomas, picking his first card.
"I got about 6 of him," said Percy.
"Really?" said Thomas, opening his Chocolate Frog.
"Hey, look out!" cried Percy.
The Chocolate Frog jumped out of its package, and out of an opened window.
"Well, that's rotten luck," said Percy.
Thomas looked back at his card and noticed that the picture of Awdry was gone.
"Hey, he's gone!" cried Thomas.
"Well, you can't expect him to hang around all day, can you?" asked Percy.
Thomas then noticed a rat on Percy's lap with a little box on its head.
"This is Cheddar, by the way," said Percy. "Pitiful, isn't he?"
"Just a little bit," said Thomas.
"Donald once taught me a spell that can turn him yellow," said Percy. "Wanna see?"
Percy got out his wand and cleared his throat. "Sun-"
But before he could perform the spell, Mavis came in.
"Has anyone seen a toad?" she asked. "A boy named Luke has lost one."
"Sorry," said Percy.
"Are you about to perform some magic?" asked Mavis with interest. "Let's see then."
"Alright," said Percy. "Watch this - Sunshine daisies, butter mellow... turn this stupid fat rat yellow!"
Percy zapped Cheddar with his wand, but nothing happened. Mavis looked unimpressed.
"Are you sure that's a real spell?" she asked. "Well, it's not very good, is it? Of course I've only tried a few simple spells myself, and they've all worked for me."
Percy was feeling a bit jealous and irritated.
"Oh yeah, Little Miss Showoff?" he asked. "Care to enlighten us with an example?"
Before Mavis could say anything, they heard a thud on the hallway.
"What was that?" asked Thomas.
"Must be another student," said Mavis.
And it was. A fellow student named Whiff had tripped and fallen into the floor, breaking his glasses.
"Observe," said Mavis, pointing her wand at Whiff's glasses. "Oculus Reparo."
Suddenly, Whiff's glasses looked as though they'd never been broken.
"Wow, thanks!" he said.
"Don't mention it," said Mavis. She then turned to Thomas and Percy. "You two better change into your robes. I expect we'll be arriving soon."
Nightfall came when they arrived at Ulfstead Station. Harvey was standing there with a lamp shining.
"Right, then!" he called. "First years this way, please! Come on, now, don't be shy! "
"Hi there, Harvey!" Thomas called out to him through the carriage window.
"Whoa!" said Percy, upon seeing the tall bloke.
"Right then," said Harvey. "This way to the boats!"
Soon, all the first year students were on the boats, led by Harvey.
The boats floated across a vast lake, where up ahead stood a huge castle.
"Wow," breathed Thomas. This was his new home for the next few months. Sodor's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.