Chapter 5 // Gilderoy Lockhart
Unfortunately for me, Harry Potter had already disappeared from the bookstore and to make matters worse, there was an enormous row in front of the shop, all elderly witches poking each other in the ribs to get a better view, which meant that Gilderoy Lockhart was still inside. I sighed and started to get through the crowd. I almost got an elbow in my eye and a few times I had to push someone away because they were going to stand on top of my toes, but in the end, I got in unscathed.
A long line wound right to the back of the shop, where Gilderoy Lockhart was signing his books. I grabbed a copy of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1 and went to stand in line.
Gilderoy Lockhart came slowly into view, seated at a table surrounded by large pictures of his own face, all winking and flashing dazzlingly white teeth at the crowd. The real Lockhart was wearing robes of forget-me-not blue that exactly matched his eyes; his pointed wizard’s hat was set at a jaunty angle on his wavy hair.
A short, irritable-looking man was dancing around taking photographs with a large black camera that emitted puffs of purple smoke with every blinding flash.
After what seemed to be an eternity, I finally got to the table.
‘Hi there, beautiful,’ Lockhart flashed his white teeth and grabbed a bunch of books, ‘Hogwarts, I suppose?’
‘Yes, sir,’ I said, crossing my arms over my chest.
‘So, who can I sign these too?’ he asked, quill in hand.
‘I don’t want them signed,’ I said, as I snatched the books from the table, ‘I just need them for school. Whatever witch is teaching defence against the dark arts this year, I bet she’s just as shallow-brained as you are.’
I turned and left him speechless. After I had taken a few steps, I turned around again. A smile came to his face as he held out his hands to take the books again. As if I would have them signed by that git.
‘Oh, by the way,’ I said as I showed my own teeth and pointed at them, ‘there’s something between your teeth. Right there.’
When I finally made my way back to the cobblestone street, it was getting dark. I knew I had to hurry back home, but there was one more shop I wanted to visit.
I ran through Diagon Alley, my bags bumping against my legs. I smiled when I saw that Eeylops Owl Emporium was still open. I entered the pet shop, which was relatively small and dark inside. I walked around the shop, many unusual colours and species of owls hanging in cages, watching all the passers-by.
My eye fell on a cage that looked empty. I crept closer and stared inside. Two big, black eyes, surrounded with yellow, stared back. The owl was pitch black, very tiny and could probably fit in my hand. Its long legs appeared to be bow-legged. I smiled and stuck my fingers into the cage. The owl tilted his head, as if wondering if I could be trusted. He darted forward and gave my fingers a little nip. The owl let out a little high-pitched chuckle, which made me laugh.
‘That’s an elf owl,’ a tiny man came around the corner and nodded towards the cage, ‘he was pushed out of his nest when he was born. Lucky, I found him. It’s still a young one, so he will grow a little more, but don’t expect him to be gigantic, because then I’ll have to disappoint you.’
‘I think he’s cute,’ I answered as I stroked the owl through the bars, ‘can I hold him?’
The wizard opened the cage and the little black owl darted out, onto my hand. It stretched its tiny wings and let out another chuckle.
‘Funny,’ the wizard said, ‘your hair is the same colour as his feathers. You’re made for each other!’
I stared at the elf owl, wondering why any mother would push this little cute out of its nest. Whether you were a human or an owl, some women were simply not meant to become a mother.
‘fifteen Galleons, Miss,’ I pulled the money out of my pocket, payed the wizard and smiled at the little bird. He darted up my arm and nestled himself on my shoulder. His talons pressed softly into my flesh as he wrapped his wings around him.
‘What are you going to call him, Miss?’ the wizard as curiously. I bit my lip. There was one name that popped up in my mind, a name I read about in a book about muggle mythology.
‘Thoth,’ I said, nodding, ‘like the god of magic. He was a human with the head of a bird. That’s why the owl was a sacred bird to the ancient Egyptians.’
‘Very good choice,’ the wizard nodded, but stared at me like I was crazy. I guess knowing those things did kind of make me look crazy. I didn’t care.
‘How about it, little boy,’ I asked the bird, ‘do you like the name Thoth?’
Thoth chuckled and gave my ear a nibble, approving of his new name. I got some other stuff to take care of my new pet, threw him out of the window, hoping he would find his way home and went back to the Leaky Cauldron to use the fireplace to get back home myself.
I took some Floo powder and threw it in the fire. The flames turned emerald green as I yelled ‘Macmillan castle, Wiltshire,’ trying not to swallow a lot of hot ash. I felt as though I was being sucked down a giant drain. The roaring in my ears was deafening and the whirl of green flames started to make me feel sick again, but I tucked my elbows in tightly and tried not to breath in.
I came to a halt, pressed my hands against the sides of the fireplace to keep from falling and stepped out into our living room.
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