"Diagon Alley?" I ask, looking around me. We're in a parking lot outside an old-timey music store and across from a rundown looking bar called The Leaky Cauldron. The professor nods and leads me across the parking lot and street to the bar. She holds the door open for me. I look at her questioningly, but follow her inside.
She nods at the bartender and leads me out the back. We're now standing in a yard that looks like it's seen much better days; the grass is dead and the shrubs planted look like they're about to go to the shadow realm as well.
The professor pulls out an intricately carved stick of wood and turns to me. "Listen up, Kenna. To enter Diagon Alley, you need to tap the third brick up and the second brick across three times with your wand. Stand back, now." The professor taps the wall, and suddenly, it's no longer a wall.
The bricks shutter and rearrange themselves into a large brick archway. This is super cool. I have to resist the urge to blurt out that this is like something from one of my books.
Professor McGonagall leads me into the alley, stopping to let me have a good look around. The alley is full of shops, each with a colorful display in the windows. It is paved in cobblestone, so it looks like something out of the 1800s. At the end of the Alley, there is a large building made of pure marble. It's almost blindingly bright.
"Alright, Miss Dursley. Do you have your supply list?" I nod and rummage through my purse until I find what I'm looking for. I open it and read through it again.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:
First-year students will require:
1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
4. One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)
Please note that all pupils' clothes should carry name tags
All students should have a copy of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1)
by Miranda Goshawk
A History of Magic
by Bathilda Bagshot
by Adalbert Waffling
A Beginners Guide to Transfiguration
by Emeric Switch
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi
by Phyllita Spore
Magical Drafts and Potions
by Arsenius Jigger
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by Newt Scamander
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection
by Quentin Tremble
1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 set brass scales
Students may bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad
I look up at Professor McGonagall. "Some of these last names are really ironic." I indicate the book list in my hands. "Spore has to do with plants and herbs and stuff, and isn't transfiguration like changing one thing into another?" Professor McGonagall nods. "Right, so Switch for transfiguration. Oh, and Tremble for self-protection." I shrug. "I just think it's kinda ironic is all."
The professor nods, and I think I see her lips twitch in amusement. That only lasts a second, though, before she is all business again. "Right. First to Gringotts, the Wizarding bank; it's the most secure bank in Britain, run by goblins."
I nod and follow her through the alley, past adults and students excited for another year of magic school. I climb up the steps in front of the bank, and nod at the goblin guarding the doors. He bows as we step inside, and I'm looking at another pair of doors, this one silver, with words engraved onto them.
but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.
Okay, then. These goblins don't play.
Professor McGonagall leads me into the large marble hall and over to a large security desk. As she talks, I take a curious look around.
There are about a hundred or so goblins sitting behind the long counter: scribbling in ledgers, weighing coins on brass scales, or examining gemstones with an eyeglass. There are a gazillion doors leading off of the main hall, and even more goblins are going in and out.
"Miss Dursley, I shall be only a moment." Professor McGonagall follows one of the goblins through a door and out of sight.
While I wait, I check my phone. I open the app that's connected to my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and look at the number and arrows on the screen. 108 and trending up slightly. I slip my phone back into my jeans pocket.
Professor McGonagall returns, looking a little green. "Are you alright, Professor?" I ask.
"Fine, Miss Dursley. Now, about exchanging your muggle money..."
We leave the bank a few minutes later, and I follow Professor McGonagall to Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions.
Madam Malkin smiles when we enter, and immediately directs me over to a footstool. I pull my pump off from where it clips to my jeans, and suspend the insulin delivery before disconnecting it from the site on my stomach. I wrap the tubing neatly around the small device, and slide it into my purse before stepping onto the footstool.
"I'm diabetic. That's just my insulin pump. I don't suppose there would be a way for me to have a pocket or somewhere I could clip them on?" I ask. Madam Malkin nods as she begins to pin the length of the robe.
"Most students wear open robes, meaning that they have clothes on under them, but I can certainly add in a pocket for your pump."
"No problem, dear."
After finishing up at Madam Malkin's, we buy parchment and quills, and then we step into heaven. Well, my version of heaven, at least; a bookstore. Not just any bookstore, oh no. This bookstore is huge, with books the size of paving stones bound thickly in leather; books the size of postage stamps with silk covers; books with strange symbols in them; and even a few books with nothing in them at all. I feel like a kid in a candy store.
Unfortunately, Professor McGonagall is the businesslike type. We stay just long enough to get our basic books, and then it's off to the apothecary to get basic potion ingredients. After that, we get the cauldron, brass scales, collapsible telescope, and a set of crystal phials (my insulin comes in glass vials, and those things are easy to break.)
"Just your wand left, Miss Dursley. Oh: and a trunk to put it all in."
The final shop we enter looks nothing like the rest: it's long, narrow and shabby. Peeling letters on the door read Ollivander's: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C. A single wand sits on a faded cushion in the window.
A bell goes off as we enter the shop, signaling an older man to emerge from the back. After the pleasantries, Mr. Ollivander begins to take a gazillion measurements.
"Alright, now, try this one. Beech and unicorn hair:. Eleven inches. Go on now, give it a wave." Before I can even lift my hand, the wand is snatched away from me.
We find it on my tenth try; Cool, because ten is my lucky number. Silver lime and phoenix feather. Ten inches. As soon as I take it, warmth rushes through my fingers and up my right hand to my shoulder. As I wave it, sparks go off, like fireworks.
"Oh, bravo! Yes, good. Very well, very well. I can see that we can expect great things from you, Miss Dursley." It's only after the fact that I realize that I never told him my name.