Supplies and the Train Ride
I wake up at sunrise, too excited to sleep. I get dressed and head downstairs. My mother is already there, waiting for me. “I knew you would be up early! Come, we have lots to do.” We get in the car (“It might be your last time using Muggle travel!” my mom had said) and drive into London, which takes about an hour. We park at a small pub called “The Leaky Cauldron” just off Charing Cross Road. No one seems to know it is there.
“This is where I get my supplies?” I ask skeptically as we walk in. It is dark and shabby, with only a few people sitting here and there. The bartender glances up and gives us a toothless smile. “Why, Kendra, I see your little girl is a witch afterall!” My mom just smiles politely and remarks, “Yes, Tom, she is. It’s her first year.” He nods and leads us through the bar and into a tiny, walled courtyard that looks pretty boring. That’s when I witness magic for the first time.
My mom pulls out a stick (correction: I believe it’s her wand) and taps the wall three times. The bricks start to shake, then they move aside until there’s an archway. “This is Diagon Alley.” Everywhere I look, people bustl about, some of them children with arms full of books, others with little gold, silver, or bronze coins in their hands.
“Mom, what are those coins they’re holding?” She reaches into her pocket and pulls out some herself. “The gold coins are Galleons, the silver ones are Sickles, and the bronze are Knuts. Seventeen Sickles per Galleon and twenty nine Knuts to a Sickle. I happen to have a fair amount of money, enough to have a happy living for a family of four; however, I only use them for Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, and other things.”
We go to a store called Ollivander’s (open since 382 B.C.) to get my wand. The walls were lined with narrow boxes piled from floor to ceiling. It is like a library, except there were no books. A quiet voice from the back said, “Good morning. Getting supplies early today, aren’t we?” I follow the sound of the voice to find an old man with pale eyes. “Ah, I see you have brought your daughter today. Well come come, don’t be shy. The wand chooses the wizard, you know. Don’t want to give it the wrong impression.”
He pulls out a measuring tape and measures me every which way. Except, the tape measure does it on its own. When it’s finished, Mr. Ollivander says, “14 ½ inches should do it. But what core…” He shuffles around and pulls out a box. “Unicorn hair, vine wood, slightly flexible. Give it a swish.” I raise it, but Mr. Ollivander snatches it out of my hand. “Wrong core, wrong wood. Here, try ebony wood, phoenix feather.” As soon as I pick it up, he takes it away. “Okay, I think I got it this time. Hazel wood, phoenix feather, 14 ½ inches, slightly flexible.”
I pick it up, and Mr. Ollivander doesn’t take it away. I give it a small swish. Yellow and white sparks drift out and make little swirls in the air. “Yes, it’s perfect!” he exclaims. I look at it more closely. It is a very light brown, almost white color. The handle is carved with what looks like little vines. There is a small sphere about seven inches from the bottom that separates the handle from the tip.
“It’s… beautiful.” I whisper. “Thank you so much.” I walk out with my mom. “How does everyone know you?” I ask. She shrugs and says, “Oh, I’m an Auror. We happen to be well known.” We go around to each store to get my books, robes, and other equipment. Last but not least, we go to get my pet. I automatically say I want an owl, so we go to Eeylops Owl Emporium- Tawny, Screech, Barn, Brown, and Snowy. When we walk in, we’re greeted by hoots and screeches.
I look around in amazement that so many owls can be in one place. I wonder how I will ever decide. That’s when I see a female barn owl. She’s the prettiest bird I have ever seen. I point her out and say, “That’s the one. And her name is going to be Cinnamon.” I walk out with Cinnamon, feeling joyful. As we’re getting in the car, mom says, “We’re going to have to send her to Hogwarts so Mia doesn’t see. Don’t worry; they accept them as early as May, but no later than July 31st.” I then begin the long wait (115 days) until September 1st.
We told all my friends and family that I’m going to a boarding school. In a way, that is true, but not the kind of school they’re thinking of. On September 1st, we go to King’s Cross Station. Mom says we have to go to platform 9¾ and the Hogwarts express leaves at 11 o’clock. When we get there, we stand between platforms nine and ten.
“Now Kassandra, this may sound crazy, but you have to run straight into that wall. Don’t worry, you’ll go right through it. Then dock the train. I love you, and write me a letter telling me all about your first day and what house you’re in.” She gives me a hug and I look at her face, trying to picture it. Blonde hair, blue eyes, beautiful. The face of my mother. She waits for me to enter the platform.
I run right at the wall. Thankfully, I go through it. I arrive at a train station with a gleaming red train waiting. Students are saying their goodbyes and hopping in. I also get on. I find an empty compartment, put my stuff away, and sit down. People walk past, trying to find a seat. Eventually, someone opens my door. It’s a boy my age with brown hair and honey brown eyes. He’s about 5’ 3”.
“Can I sit here?” he asks shyly. “Of coarse!” He comes in and sits down across from me. He’s kind of cute. He’s wearing some jeans and a white t-shirt. “I’m Kassandra. Kassandra Albers,” I offer, holding out my hand. He shakes it firmly and says, “Ethan. Ethan Ross.” I hear a knock on the door. A girl opens it. She has honey blonde hair and ice blue eyes. She’s wearing a white skirt and a pink blouse.
“Can I join you?”
“Sure, come on in!” I reply. She sits down next to me. “I’m Angelica Hale.” I smile and say, “I’m Kassandra Albers, and this is Ethan Ross. We just met.” She nods. The train starts to pull away. I look out the window as the station slips behind us.
“So, what houses do you guys think you’re going to be in?” I ask. I personally have no idea, so I’m seeing if they do. Ethan just shrugs while Angelica asks, “What are the houses? Sorry, I’m a muggleborn. I don’t know anything about any of this.”
“Oh, I didn’t either. At least, not until recently.” I then proceed to tell her about the wizarding world and how I found out about it. As I was talking, we left London. At around one o’clock, a wrinkly old woman opens the door. “Do any of you want something from the cart?” I take a look and see a whole bunch of delicious looking sweets on it (FYI, I LOVE sweets). She had Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Licorice Wands, Acid Pops, and many other crazy things.
“I’ll take two chocolate frogs, one Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, two Pumpkin Pasties, and two Cauldron Cakes.” I pay her three Sickles and ten Knuts for them. “I’ll take five chocolate frogs, two Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, and three Acid Pops.” Ethan says, paying five Sickles. I realize Angelica wouldn’t have any money, so I turn to her and say, “What do you want? I’ll pay for it.” Her face lights up with excitement. I end up getting her a chocolate frog, Pumpkin Pasty, Cauldron Cake, and two Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans for only three Sickles.
I open a chocolate frog and it comes hopping out. I quickly grab it and bite off it’s head. It’s the sweetest, richest chocolate I have ever tasted. After I’ve eaten it, I look at the card. Helga Hufflepuff Medieval (precise dates unknown) One of the four celebrated founders of Hogwarts, Hufflepuff was particularly famous for her dexterity at food-related charms. Many recipes traditionally served at Hogwarts feasts originated with Hufflepuff.
“Who’d you get?” Ethan asks as he eats one himself. “Helga Hufflepuff.” Ethan’s face lights up. “That’s one of the rarest you can get! I got Minerva McGonagall. There’s a lot of her. By the way, if you ever hear that someone is selling these at any point, let me know. They’re my favorite.” We finish our sweets in silence, watching the landscape as it goes by.
Once we change into our robes, I hear a knock at the door. Three blonde girls stand in the doorway. The one on the left is a Ravenclaw, probably in her third year. She has gray-blue eyes and her name tag says “Vivian Beth”. The one on the right is a third year Slytherin with with blue eyes. Her name tag says “Vanessa Ann.” The one in the middle is a first year with hazel eyes. Her name is Victoria Sanders.
“Well well well. Look what we have here. A bunch of freaks,” she says. Her friends laugh. “Actually, maybe we have someone valuable here. You! With the dirty blonde hair. What’s your name?”
“Kassandra Albers.” I answer, hoping they aren’t as mean as they seem. “Well, Kassandra, how would you like to ditch these losers and come with us?” Okay, maybe not. “Why don’t you go find someone that’s at your intelligence level? Oh look, I just saw a boulder pass. Why don’t you go talk to it?”
Her expression hardens and she stares at me with ice cold hatred. “You’re messing with the wrong girl, Kassandra.” I smile innocently and reply, “Oh, I know exactly who I’m messing with.” They saunter off, leaving us alone. Ethan and Angelica stare at with with shocked expressions. “What? She called you losers. I never let anyone mess with my friends.” From somewhere in the train, someone yells, “We’re here!”