It was an early Saturday morning near the end of July. I woke to the sound of sizzling bacon and the ding of the toaster. I climbed out of bed and slid my glasses onto my freckled nose and stumbled groggily out of my bedroom. Holding the railing, I slowly decended the stairs into the kitchen and was instantly enveloped with the smell of coffee, toast, and other breakfast delicacies. My mother was standing at the stove, wearing a patterned apron over her aqua t-shirt and khakis. Her almond colored hair was pinned up in a tight bun, however there were a few strands of hair hanging down against her face. She was flipping bacon and eggs in a few frying pans. A carafe of coffee sat on a wicker trivet on the counter beside some wheat bread covered with gooey, red jam. My father sat at our round dining table with the daily newspaper opened in front of his face. He wore his usual brightly colored dress shirt and wacky tie with dark slacks and black dress shoes.
My mother noticed me and rushed over, giving me a tight hug. "Good morning, darling! Happy birthday!"
I smiled and hugged her back. Her apron smelled like strawberries. "Thank you, mum."
"I made you breakfast. Sit down and eat, then you can run upstairs and get ready while I get your gifts out. Today is a big day for you!" She thrust a plate with two pieces of the toast, some fried eggs, and a few slices of bacon at me. I walked over to the table and sat down. My mother rushed over with a glass of ice cold orange juice and placed it in front of me. She then placed a mug of hot coffee near the cream and sugar for my father and went back into the kitchen.
I took a bite of the savory bacon and warm eggs. My father began folding his newspaper, then set it on the table and fixed his coffee the way he has always liked it; a little cream and two spoonfuls of sugar. He sipped it then placed it on the table and stared at me. I noticed he had shaved this morning and his dark hair was combedback out of his face.
"Happy birthday, Izzy. Excited for the post today?"
"Oh, most definitely!" I said around a mouthful of toast and jam.
He chuckled and sipped his coffee again, "Auntie Sam said she sent something out for you when she phoned me yesterday."
I giggled, "I'm more excited for my first Hogwarts letter to come!"
He smiled, "I thought you would be."
You see, my parents and I are part of the large, and very secret world of witches, wizards, and other mythical creatures. There are schools throughout Europe that young witches and wizards get accepted to. Hogwarts School of Witch Craft and Wizardry is one of the most famous schools. It is where both of my parents attended. Each of them comes from a pureblood family, a family of all magical blood. Now, we live just outside of London, England in an odd sort of house called "The Phoenix Feather". My mother and father both have wands with Phoenix feather-cores, so the house is named accordingly.
The house is larger than it seems. It has three bathrooms, two bedrooms, a guest room, a den, and a rather large kitchen and dining room with an island dividing the two rooms. all of the bedrooms and two bathrooms are upstairs, and the rest is downstairs. There is a tight, metal staircase that comes down from the top floor and spirals into the kitchen. There is a doorway separating the kitchen and dining room from the den. There is a short hallway that off of the den that brings you to the front door and a coat closet.
My mother came over and sat down with two plates of the same meal she had given me. She set one down in front of y father and the other in front of herself and they began eating. I was about half done with my birthday breakfast. We ate mostly in silence. I dropped the crust from my bread on the floor and Dozer, my little beagle, came running over and gobbled it up then looked up at me for more. When he didn't receive more scraps, he nudged my arm with his little, black nose. I gave him the last of my bacon then bit the last of my scrambled eggs off of my fork.
"Thank you for the lovely breakfast, mother." I said, before quickly gulping down my orange juice. "I'm going to go get ready now." I stood from the table, leaving my plate for my mother to take care of, and left the room. Upstairs, I quickly showered; put on my bathrobe, and walked to my room as I towel dried my red hair. I slid on clean underwear and a graphic bra from my drawer and fresh jeans from my closet. Then I chose one of my many random t-shirts with funny sayings, pictures, or band logos on it and put that on too. This was my usual attire for the day. Today's t-shirt was a grey shirt with a picture of a green Tyrannosaurus Rex with a black mustache and under it in black lettering said "DINOSTACHE". Then I slid on two mismatched socks and laced up my knee high combat boots. I quickly dried my curly hair and ran my comb through it, then bounded down the stairs.
My mother and father were sitting in the den now, watching the news reporter on television talking about the finding of an abducted girl that happened in Oxford earlier that week. A stack of colorfully wrapped presents were placed beside the TV stand.
I walked in and sat in one of the cushy arm chairs. My mother reached for the remote and turned off the television then she stood up and handed me a present. I tore the paper off and opened the box. Inside was a five book series, called The Mortal Instruments.
"I saw them at the store. I know you like to read that fantasy stuff, so I picked it up and hoped you'd like it." My father said.
I smiled. "I noticed these the last time Taylor and I went to the mall. We both agreed that they sounded brilliant. Thank you, daddy!"
My mother handed me box after box, and I opened them all. There were about ten or eleven presents. When I finished opening them, I had two no books series', a handful of new t-shirts, some new rubber and string bracelets, and a new pair of bright green Converse high tops. I stood up and hugged both my mother and father.
"Thank you guys for a wonderful birthday" I said to them and gathered all of my new things. I brought all of my new things up to my room. in the closet, I hung up the new shirts and placed my hightops beside the rest of my shoes. The only color hightops I was missing was blue, then I would have the rainbow. I put the braelets on my dresser with the rest of them and lined the books on my shelf next to the window. I happened to glance out and see the postman walking toward our house. I ran down the stairs, through the den, and to the front door. I threw it open and came face to face with a very confused and surprised postman as he was getting reading to slide the few letters in his hand through the mail slot. I grabbed them from him.
"Have a nice day, sir!" I said and closed the door before he could respond. "The post is here!" I yelled to my parents in the other room. I quickly flipped through the mail. Bill, bill, bill, letter from Aunt Samantha… no Hogwarts letter! I thought. "Muuuummmm!" I shouted, and she came running.
"What? What? What is it, Izzy?" she said worriedly.
"It's not here!" I screeched, getting frustrated and upset.
"Darling, it's not delivered by the postman. We couldn't risk exposing wizardry. You'll know when it arrives. In the meantime, why don't you open that letter from Auntie Sam and maybe start one of your new books." She said comfortingly.
I sighed and walked into the den, handed the bills to my father, and sat myself in the arm chair with my letter from Aunt Sam. I slowly and meticulously opened the white envelope and pulled out a colorful card decorated with sparkly cursive writing, flowers, and ribbons. It was one of those cheesy cards that someone buys at the store for birthdays or other special occasions. But inside the card were two golden coins I knew as galleons and a silver chain with a ring attached.
The ring was big and silver. however, it looked old. I turned it over and over. Carved into the side was a cursive letter B. Around the rest of the band, intricate, swirling patterns were engraved into the thick metal. I guessed that the B stood for my last name, Bardsley. A family ring, I thought, Aunt Sam gave me our family ring. I untapped the chain from the card and clasped it around my neck. The ring sat nicely on my chest, just below the collar of my t-shirt. Then I untapped the galleons and slid them into my jeans pocket and went to hang the cards with the others I had received from friends and family for my birthday.
Mum had made a cake for the three of us for the occasion. She left it on aglass stand on the kitchen counter. It was covered in dark chocolate frosting. A tube of green icing for writing on the cake sat beside it on the granite countertop. I stuck my finger out to lick some of the frosting off the cake. I was just about to touch the frosting when a loud squawk made me scream and jump away from the cake. I ran into the living room and looked around.
"What was that?!" I yelled
My father just chuckled. "Go check the doorstep." Was all he said.
I ran out of the room, my heavy boots making satisfying thuds on the hardwood floors as I ran down the hall and threw open the front door. I looked around, but saw nothing. Then I heard soft cooing and looked down. I gasped. On the tweed welcome mat stood an ebony owl, staring up at me with huge yellow eyes. The tips of its wings were snowy white and there was a star burst of white feathers around its beak. At its feet was a parchment colored envelope with emerald green writing on it. I picked it up and read the outside.
Ms. I. Bardsley
The Phoenix Feather
I turned it over. On the back was a glob of red wax that had been stamped with an elaborate crest. In the middle of the crest was a large H. I carefully peeled the wax off and opened the envelope. Inside were three folded pieces of paper. I pulled them out and unfolded them. Across the top, in large formal looking letters, was written "Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" next to the same crest that had been on the wax, except now it was in color. It looked like a shield, split into four and outlined in gold. Each corner was a different color and had a small gold animal in it. Red, green, yellow, and blue. The house colors. I held in a squeal as I read down the rest of the page:
Dear Ms. Bardsley,
We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl no later than 31 July.
"It's here!" I yelled and ran into the den, "It's here, it's here, it's here!" I jumped around and my mother ran into the room. I turned and looked at her with a huge grin on my face. She leaned against the door jam and smiled too while my father laughed on the couch.
"Give it here. Let's have a look." She said. I handed her the envelope and all of the papers. She quickly skimmed through the three pages. She laughed and looked at my father, "Oh, Thomas, I think it's time to visit Diagon Alley again."