Harry had only wanted something to eat.
He honestly had no idea why eating one plain slice of bread would warrant the response it had by his relatives. If he hadn’t been caught doing it, nobody would have even noticed the lone slice was missing.
Harry hadn’t been fed in four days. And he was only allowed to drink water once a day, under the shrewd eyes of his aunt.
He was so hungry, he’d been working non-stop that day. First it was the laundry,then it was the cooking, then it was the vacuuming, then it was the gardening.
After his one glass of water, his aunt had ordered him to clean up the kitchen and prepare lunch for the family. His Aunt Petunia had sniffed disdainfully as she told him that, “Sandwiches will do.”
While making the food, Harry felt his mouth water and his stomach cramp. It was right in front of him and he could have none of it! It just wasn’t fair. He knew he was a Freak, but even freaks needed food.
He finished making the sandwiches, three for Dudley, one for his aunt, and four for his Uncle Vernon. Their lunch alone almost depleted the whole loaf of bread. It was just so soft and nice… So before he took the sandwiches out to the dining room, Harry grabbed a piece of white bread and took small bites of it.
He had no way of knowing that his uncle would come into the room, about to demand Dudley get an extra sandwich, to find the malnourished boy hunched over the bread. Whatever words he had, died on his tongue.
Harry turned and saw the blood rushing into his uncle’s face. Harry wish he could have run away, but Vernon was blocking the only exit. There was nowhere to go.
“Freak!” his uncle roared, grabbing his tiny arm. “Stealing from us? After all we’ve done for you? Into your cupboard!”
The man marched Harry into the hallway, wrenched open the small door, and hurled him in.
Harry could only lay in a daze on the thin mattress that took up nearly all the floor in the enclosed space. The door slammed shut and he could hear the lock slide into place. He was stuck here, as always.
When Harry didn’t hear ringing in his ears anymore, he carefully turned onto his side. He had no idea when he had started crying, but he felt the hot tears slip down the side of his face. He sniffled, trying to at least prevent snot getting on his bed.
He just couldn’t understand why he was treated so differently. He wanted to be loved like Dudley. He wanted to be able to play outside. And eat all the food that he wanted. He wanted a hug. At least once. As his tears slowed, and his eyelids grew heavy, he made a wish.
I wish I could find a place where I could belong and I wouldn’t be a Freak. I wish I could find a place where someone would love me.
When Harry opened his eyes, he realized he wasn't in his cupboard at all. He was lying on the ground in front of some sort of shop. It was in between a couple of other buildings, but this one stood out. This shop had a bright purple door with purple coffin beside it.
As Harry stood up and continued to look at it, he could see that the sign was purple as well with a skull above the lettering. It read, “Undertaker”. He wasn’t sure where he was or how he had gotten there, but obviously he was there for a reason. At least, that was his thought.
Maybe someone inside could help him figure out where he was. Though he had no idea what he would do with that information when he found out.
He tried the door, which was unlocked, and decided to step inside. The shop was dimly lit, with many different coffins displayed about the room.
“Hello?” Harry called. “Is there anyone there? I need help!”
High pitched laughter filled the air. He couldn’t tell where it was coming from.
Suddenly, a coffin creaked open and a man stepped out.
“Welcome to my shop, young man. What is it you seek?”
The man was pale which his black dress (was it a dress? Harry didn’t want to be offensive) only accentuated and long gray hair. He had bangs that covered his eyes, but Harry could just make out the beginning of a scar on his cheek. The man’s cheshire grin, however, was apparent.
The man stepped toward him and bent down a bit, to be more on level with Harry.
“Is today a special day today? Are you in need of a bed for a loved one?”
Harry looked around a bit. Beds? Did he mean the coffins?
“No, no, sir!” he said hastily. “I just need help finding out where I am. I’m lost.”
The man laughed again, standing at his full height, and holding an arm above his face dramatically. “Lost? I suppose we are all lost, are we not? And what a strange and wonderful place to be lost, in the Undertaker’s shop.”
As Harry stared at him blankly, the man sighed. He seemed to stare at Harry as well. (He couldn’t tell with the bangs, but Harry swore he did.)
“Your clothes are a little… unusual. Where are you from?”
Harry looked down at his baggy t-shirt and jeans. “What’s wrong with my clothes? I’m from Surrey.”
The man knelt down in front of Harry, reaching forward and rubbing the t-shirt material between his fingers.
“Surrey, you say? Is that a country I have not heard of? You speak English well enough for a foreigner, I have to say!” The man giggled.
“Mr. Undertaker, I’m from England. I live a couple of hours away from London.”
The Undertaker laughed uproariously again. “Little boy, you are in London.”
“But how did I get here? I just remember wishing… I was somewhere else.”
“And you appeared in front of my shop? How peculiar.”
There was a moment of silence as the two of them stared at each other.
“Tell me, little boy-”
“Harry,” Undertaker giggled. “What was the date when you went to sleep?”
“July 31st, 1986.”
As Undertaker began to laugh again, Harry couldn’t take it anymore. “What’s so funny?! I don’t get it.”
“Harry, you have landed in a whole different time. The year is 1881 here.” Undertaker stood up, throwing his arms wide with a flourish. “Welcome to the Victorian Age!”
“I - I went back in time? How? I-” Harry didn’t know what to think.
Undertaker laid a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “Do not worry too much, dear. Do you want to go back?”
“No, but what will I do here? Where will I go?”
“You will be staying here, of course. This is where you landed. Unless you wish to leave.”
Harry knew of nowhere and no one else. Even if the man was strange, at least the Undertaker didn’t mean him harm.
“No, sir! I’ll stay here if it’s no trouble.”
“No trouble! Ha! Harry dear, this is the most interesting thing to happen in the past ten years! Now, we simply must get you out of those dreadful clothes. Is that the latest fashion in the future?”
“No, sir. There were my cousin’s hand-me-downs. He’s quite larger than me.”
The Undertaker laughed as he took Harry’s hand. “I can see that. And do please call me Undertaker, there is no need for formalities now that you will be living here. And it will only make me laugh.”
“Undertaker, is everyone like you in the Victorian Age? You’re kinda weird.”
“If only! If everyone were like me, this place would get a lot more… interesting.”