Chapter 2 / The Potions Master
(Excuses voor de late update 😘)
After putting the kids to bed, I went downstairs and settled in the kitchen, pulling out a quill and parchment.
I’m sorry I haven’t written you since last week. I’ve been so busy with the bakery, Carry and Christian and schoolwork, off course. Snape gave me a huge assignment the other day. I’m sure he hates me. I think you don’t even learn the potion he’s teaching me in school this year, but he expects me to nail it anyway.
Flitwick’s a cutie though. I really look forward to Wednesdays, just because I know he’s teaching me. I hope everyone at Hogwarts is doing okay. Say hi to Hagrid!
Ginny’s keeping me updated on the Triwizard tournament. I wish I could be there to experience it all with you. I feel sorry for Harry, though. Did you read the prophet last week? I don’t see him and Hermione snogging, but Rita’s making it sound like some Greek tragedy. Send me some Quibblers, would you? Muggle papers are no fun at all.
Life is dead boring without you and your letters! Write soon!
Lots of love,
P.s.: I got another job, so I might be able to actually get you a present for your birthday this year! Look forward to that!
I finished the letter, wrote Luna in big letters on the parchment and opened the kitchen window. I whistled through my teeth and only moments later, a raven black elf owl landed on the windowsill. The bird chuckled as I scratched his belly.
‘Hi there, beautiful!’ I said as I showed him the letter, ‘I know it’s a long trip, but can you take this to Luna?’
Thoth chuckled again and held out his paw. Although Thoth was now three years old, he was still small for his age. Elf owls were a tiny species to begin with, but Thoth must have been the smallest one I ever saw. It didn’t matter. He had been with me since the very beginning.
‘Good boy,’ I said, stroking his feathers, ‘be careful.’
He gave a little nibble on my finger and spread his wings, disappearing in the dark night. At that moment, I heard a key being turned in the lock.
‘I’m exhausted,’ Julia greeted me, throwing her bags on the floor and kicking off her shoes as she grabbed a drink. I smiled, pulled back a chair, which she gladly accepted.
‘The kids are in bed,’ I said, after cleaning up her bags and shoes. ‘Christian was a little troubled today, but I think he’s sleeping now.’
‘You are my angel, Katherine,’ Julia sighed after taking another sip of her wine. ‘I don’t know what I would do without you.’
‘You’d be fine,’ I grinned, throwing my bag over my shoulder. ‘anyway, I have another appointment. Do you mind if I leave?’
‘Another appointment?’ Julia got up to see me out, ‘dear, it’s eleven o’clock already!’
‘It won’t be long. After that, I’m getting into bed,’ I lied, smiling, ‘see you tomorrow?’
I waved one last time, then sprinted onto the street and hurried back home. Climbing the slope to the cottage on the hill had become easier through the years. I had gotten sportier than ever before, because I usually had to run from one job to another. When I couldn’t sleep at night, I would take my bag and run to the lake, a bit outside of Castle Combe, to take a swim. I never really cared about my looks, but somehow, I went from being chubby to being fit.
I opened the gates and made sure they were locked before I turned towards the house. The roof was still a misshapen slate and the stones were still so old that it was a wonder it didn’t yet cave in. The hostile thorn bushes that used to surround the house, however, had turned into a nice garden, with some patches to grow vegetables and other ingredients. Professor Sprout had helped me clean everything up and now, I used my own ingredients for the potions Snape taught me.
The deserted house didn’t look like a ghost house anymore. Whenever I had a free day or when I was practising transfiguration spells and charms, I would actually try and clean the place up. Flitwick had even been so kind to remove the curse that showed horrible faces of my ancestors, that appeared to be staring down on me at night, their features twisted into looks of hatred.
‘You’re late,’ a contained voice came from the darkness as I came closer to the house.
‘I’m sorry, professor,’ I turned towards the person on the porch. Severus Snape was a thin man with sallow skin, a large, hooked nose and yellow, uneven teeth. His greasy black hair framed his face in curtains. He was dressed in his usual flowing black robes. ‘I had to work.’
‘If you don’t care about your education, then don’t bother me with this home tutoring,’ he snapped. I looked down as I stepped onto the porch.
‘Please, come inside, professor,’ I opened the front door and stepped back, making room for him. He strode in, filling the little hall with his tall posture.
‘Let’s get to work.’
It was after midnight when Snape was finally satisfied with the potion in my kettle.
‘Could be worse,’ he said, which, coming from him, meant ‘You did an excellent job!’
‘Thank you, professor,’ I smiled.
‘I want you to have perfected this potion when I return next week. I will not tolerate laziness or excuses.’
I nodded. Even though Snape was the professor who gave me the biggest assignments and hated me the most, I actually liked having him as a teacher. He knew his stuff and was a true potions master. If only he would lighten up some of the time, he would be a great teacher.
‘Oh, by the way,’ Snape turned in the doorway and threw me a piece of parchment, ‘the headmaster asked me to give you this.’
‘What is it?’ I asked, catching the letter. The green ink shone in the moonlight.
‘I don’t nose in other people’s letters,’ Snape pulled up an eyebrow, ‘but I suggest keeping a spot in your agenda on the 24th of June.’