“Raven Chronicles” Chapter 2: Minerva McGonagall – Part 1
Our childhood home, a two-story house, stood before Alice and me. Gray and made of stone, big blocks formed the walls. Green trim peeled away from the windows. The front door was the same color but thankfully not peeling. The doorknob was bronze, blackened by time, and always cold no matter the weather.
Three big steps sat before us, leading up to the front door. Inside, the walls were made of plaster, except for the center of the house where one wall was made of stone and contained a fireplace at the bottom of it. The living room had floral wallpaper, a rose and vine-themed design; the rest of the rooms were painted cream. The bottom floor had five rooms – a kitchen; a bathroom; two offices, one for my dad who was never home to use it, an office for my mom; and a living room with a big dining room table.
Alice and I walked up the steps and opened the door. I could feel the cold from the knob through my glove. The mudroom – the small space where we could hang our coats and take off our shoes – was dark as normal. Mother never had that light on. The sun had just set – being early January – but the living room lights were on.
A woman sat in one of the two upholstered chairs by the fire. She wore green robes with black lace on the bodice and black leather boots – very clean for having walked through the winter weather. Too clean. Cleaned by magic. She wore a large black hat with a wide brim and craggily sort of point, square glasses, and a large ring with four stones set in a diamond shape.
The woman’s face contained wrinkles on almost every part besides her cheeks, which looked smooth except for when she smiled. Her lips were pursed – a formation that her wrinkles seemed accustomed too – as her eyes focused on a piece of parchment that floated in front of her.
A small cup floated up from the table next to her and rose to her lips. She took hold of it, sipped, and let go. The cup returned to the coaster unassisted. The golden liquid never wavered. The cup was made of porcelain and had a small handle. It was white with small green stems and roses circling around the outside. This was the good china – the one my mother brought out for special guests.
The woman did not look up from the parchment. She indicated the couch across from her – upholstered in the same cream, green, and pink upholstery as the chair she sat in. I did not move. Neither did Alice – who stood a step behind me – the door to our house still open, letting all the cold air in.
We were still in our boots, snow and sleet clinging to the soles. There was snow on my shoulder I had yet to brush off. My bookbag lay on my shoulders, my winter cap still in my hands.
“Christine,” the woman called, “the children are home.” I did not see her produce her wand, but there it was in her hand. She swished it, and both my and Alice’s scarves pulled us through the entryway into the living room and in front of the couch. The front door shut. “Sit.”
It registered only then that her accent seemed normal, local, and I wondered if she lived in town; though, I’d never seen her. Her wand was gone, and she took the parchment from midair. I saw a second ring on the pinky. It looked silver and had a silver and black crest of a magpie in the center.
“Do you support the Magpies?”
Her lip twitched upwards – I’m not sure if she kept herself from smiling or if her muscles couldn’t handle the shape due to lack of practice. “I do, Mr. Husher.”
“Did you see the last match? I heard Wood was the hero of the game. I thought it was odd we picked him up midseason. But the manager was never keen on old Howard for Keeper. Can you believe we’re leading the league? I -”
But my mother entered the room and put one finger to her lips. My mother had brown hair, pulled into a tight circular bun from three different angles atop her head. She was very thin still, which – even at my age – I understood to be an accomplishment for human beings. She wore an apron – the same pattern of roses on the fabric as on the teacup – and had a tray of scones, steam rising from them.
Why did Professor McGonagall, Headmistress of Hogwarts, sit in my living room? And why on Merlin’s pimple were her eyes fixed on my every move?