This has been a very horrible, terrible, no good month.
It started on the day Harriet got a rather strange letter in the mail. She handed it over to her aunt and uncle, obedient. Did not try to open it. But it scared them. Angered them. They've been odd ever since.
Harriet hasn't tried to open a single one of the strange letters since, but her aunt and uncle are still rather cross. Especially since Harriet's Weirdness flared - Dudley got caught in a snake's pen, and Harriet accidentally released a snake after talking to it (it was a very nice snake, too, she hopes it can get home). Some of the letters caught on fire when she got stressed about them making Uncle Vernon mad.
Uncle Vernon was the one who decided on this trip. Fleeing the strange letters, somewhere he hopes nothing can find them. It's wet and windy and cold and miserable, and Harriet doesn't even get to go pet the neighborhood cats on her birthday.
It's midnight. She stays up for it, watching the clock.
Harriet blows out the dust candles on her dust cake.