Halo, fine Bloggie friends! It has ARRIVED! Michael's Harry Potter Holiday Blogfest Short Story-mabob! Now among the parameters was a 500 word goal (I ring in at 526), so the post here is (for me) shortish, but when I wrote it originally, it was about 750 words, so if you want the FULL version (plus a thread of several OTHER Harry Potter-themed fan fiction short stories—including a couple Christmas ones) you can go HERE. The front page of the thread also has a link to my longer fan fiction, if you're so inclined, though I will tell you they are all post-as-you-write, as opposed to the carefully edited things we real writers go for *snort* But seriously... yeah... spell checked, but not rewritten or seriously edited... just so you don't take all this to be 'as good as it gets' from moi...
Anyway... the parameters of the Blogfest included (in addition to that 500 words bit) that we be a character in the story—which makes it first person—a rarity for me. I am also experimenting a bit. I've never written present tense before (I honestly don't usually care for it, but being... magical me... it seemed like it might work, so I thought it would be a good growing experience.)
So there is your background. Now, without further ado...
Seventeen years since I set foot in Hogsmeade. A cursebreaker goes where old treasures are found. I ended up in South America—treasures of Incans and Aztecs, protected by very old magic. It suits me, as does my side hobby. Llamas.
Divine creatures, llamas. They always seem to have something to say, yet I haven't found the magic to decipher it. I will.
Unfortunately, my mother has finally gone round the twist... unavoidable, really. I returned to check her into St. Mungos. After a day of paperwork, Hogsmeade seems the only place to sufficiently escape the reality that is straining my aura.
It is deserted—The Three Broomsticks isn't even open for business, but the Hogs Head is more my style anyway. The air is warm and a veiled hag is smoking something reminiscent of socks.
“Firewhisky. I'll pay extra for a clean glass.”
The blue-eyed barman leers but uses a spell instead of his dirty rag, then makes an odd bleating noise.
A pair of goats emerges and looks intently at him.
“Mehehehehe,” he says to them; they go again.
“You talk to them?”
“I only ask because I live in Bolivia. I've nearly worked out something similar with llamas.”
He raises an eyebrow but casts a spell on the hag. I can no longer smell the socks or hear her clearing her nasal passages.
“Charm or potion?” he asks.
“I've tried both.”
“Have you turned into a llama?”
“I'm no animagus.”
“No friend to do the honors?”
And suddenly there I am. A llama. I look around as the door opens. In comes Albus Dumbledore. He tips his hat at me as if he recognizes me, so I do a small, four-legged curtsy.
“Whaddyouwant?” the barman grumbles.
“Only to spend Christmas night with my brother.” Albus sounds tired, but hopeful.
“Aberforth, we only have each other.”
A troop of goats enters and eyes Albus, but take a much greater interest in me. I can almost understand them—like when I've traveled in Italy, having only studied French.
The brothers continue to argue. A goat butts me I am herded to the back room.
I help myself. They're kind, generous goats, which means Aberforth is a kind, generous man... if only with his goats. This I understand. I've been alone since booting Stubby Boardman in 1993. Llamas are better company than faithless men, no matter how good-looking.
Once I've had my fill, though, I am too curious to stay. The goats protest but they can't stop me.
Aberforth looks up in surprise; Albus grins. A flick of his wand returns me to myself.
“Miss Panillo, I should have known,” Albus smiles.
“Not at all, sir. It was my first run as a llama. It definitely helps my project. Thank you, Aberforth.”
“Can I pour you both a round before I leave?”
I pour firewhisky, concentrating hard . 'Amorifratrem, Amorifratrem, Amorifratrem.'
When I leave the bar, the brothers are chatting amicably. Merry Christmas, Brothers Dumbledore.
Notes: Llama image is ME (created by my buddy Joris Ammerlaan: I asked him to make me a llama and *poof* I was a llama!)
Panillo is some approximation of little bread, by which, I meant Tart...
Be sure to check out Michael's blog for the other entries!