The sound of humming filled the room, dancing out of the open window and exchanging a cheery greeting with the sunlight bursting in. I gave Whispers a soft pat on the head before she crept over to lap up some water. It had been an unremarkable day thus far, but that was soon to change.
At my mother's voice I pulled my head out from under the bed, where I had been looking for my other sock. "Yeah?" I hollered back.
"Come to the sitting room, alright? We have a guest!"
"I'll be right down!" I clenched my fist in silent victory when I spotted a pop of loud yellow in the far corner of my room and scrambled over to pull the brightly-colored sock out from behind the leg of my writing desk. Tugging it onto my foot and quickly trying to straighten my disheveled hair, I nearly tripped over myself as I hurried out—into the hallway and down the stairs, comb still clutched in my hand.
A severe-looking woman with glasses perched delicately on her nose was sitting on the couch across from my parents. Her dress was the color of spinach. My father shifted, his eyes moving from me to the strange woman to me and to her again—and so on.
"London," my mother began, "this is Professor McGonagall."
"It's a pleasure, miss…?" A Scottish brogue thickened her words.
"London Taylor," I supplied, smiling cheerfully enough, "and the same to you." I didn't have the slightest idea as to why a professor would be visiting us and honestly I didn't really care, but I knew better than to be rude to her in front of my parents. We shook hands. She had a firm, confident grip, and my opinion of her rose a notch.
"Well, London," my mother said yet again, "it's… unfortunate that we have to tell you so abruptly, but…"
"We aren't your biological parents," my father finished for her. Abrupt indeed.
For a moment, the only thing I could say was— "Really? Really?"
Before they could reply, I let out a short laugh. "Are you serious?" My comb shuddered weakly in my grip. There was a thick silence that assured me, yes, they were serious. Ignoring the look my mother gave me, I took a deep breath, shook my head, and counted to ten. I could deal with that. With one last calming breath, I looked back up, a calm expression plastered onto my face.
"Okay," I said, "I'm fine. Continue on."
"Well, you might be surprised to know that magic exists," said the professor.
My eyebrow twitched. Forcing it back down, I decided to humor the lady for a while and nodded along as she continued her delusional storytelling. "In fact, a whole world of magic hidden away from Muggles, or non-magical folk. A decade or so ago, there was a war between a light and a dark side, so to speak…"
Alright then, I thought, we've gone past fantasy novel territory now and straight into insanity. As her tale went on, I was finding it more and more difficult to keep my expression away from utter skepticism.
"… so your biological parents, Reina and Mitchell France, decided to send you overseas to this nice couple here. Why, they didn't tell you earlier?"
"Umm," I responded eloquently. There was a pause. "No, they didn't."
"Well, miss France, you will be going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which is in Scotland, in the fall. Normally, young witches in your area would attend classes at the Manhattan Summer School for Magical Development, but you are a special case. I have your acceptance letter and supplies list for you here, and instructions on where to buy such supplies should be in the envelope also."
I blinked. Is she even giving me a choice? It would seem not. Reluctantly, I took the envelope and thanked her. I wondered why my mother, usually intolerant of nonsense, had not yet herded the clearly schizophrenic woman out the door.
"Would you like to see a demonstration of some simple magic before I leave, miss France?"
It was a moment before I remembered: France, not Taylor. Lord… London fucking France, huh. Idiots—all of them. "Yes, I would," I said with a healthy dose of veiled sarcasm, waiting for the 'professor' to pick up a deck of cards or pull a coin out from behind my ear.
And cursed out loud when her empty cup of tea rose up to eye level and bobbed up and down in front of me. "ASdfyobkgdj—holy shit!" Increasingly foul words streamed from my mouth as I scrambled away and fell back onto the doorframe, holding out my comb in front of me like a weapon.
"Language, London!" my mother scolded, shrinking back as I reflexively turned my comb on her. I fell silent. Stuffing the weapon of mass destruction into the pocket of my hoodie, I walked back into the room and plopped myself onto the lone armchair with a thump. A sigh escaped my lips. I would have to reevaluate everything I'd thought about the professor and what she'd told me. It seemed like magic was real, after all.