“How many times have you read that book, Aimee?”
Aimee Vass was propped up on her elbows on her bed, reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the seventh time. She didn’t look up from her book, but she sighed in response.
Her mother walked into the room and snatched the book out of her hands and made her way across the room to Aimee’s desk.
“Mom!” Aimee cried, her hands still grasping the air. “What are you doing?”
“You’re spending way too much time reading these silly Harry Potter books. Actually, you’re wasting your time. Do something else! Go outside! I’m not even sure you’ve finished your homework,” her mother replied as she slammed the book down on the desk.
“Mom! Watch out for--” Aimee started to say.
Too late. The book slid off the desk, taking Aimee’s wand that she had bought at a gift shop. The label claimed that J.K. Rowling herself had fashioned for her fans. The wand split in half as it started falling down with the book on its tip, and Aimee’s mother pulled the wand back.
“Mom! Now, look what you’ve done!” Aimee leaped off the bed and started to grab the two pieces, but her mother had already thrown them away in the trash can next to her bed.
Her mother huffed and said, “Why do you need it anyway? It’s just another piece of wood, you can always get another one from a tree outside!”
“JK Rowling herself made it!” Aimee protested, throwing her long blond hair behind her shoulders. Her brown eyes flashed with irritation.
Her mother smiled at her daughter’s childish folly, and said, “That’s what they say, so kids like you buy it. Anyway, come out for lunch now.” and walked out of the room, picking up Aimee’s fake Maurader’s Map and placing it on her bed on the way out.
Aimee sank into her chair, frustrated at her mother for once again, not accepting the fact that Harry Potter was the best series around. It wasn’t like her mother loved to read that much anyway, so why not let her?
When she opened her computer, she noticed she had just received an email from none other than JK Rowling herself. Aimee was such a big fan that she had dared to email her favorite author and had expected a response. She hadn’t gotten one, so it was surprising that Rowling would email her now. The email wasn’t a “Hi, how are you doing”, but instead it contained a special invite for Aimee.
Hope you still love Harry Potter! I’m hosting a book signing tomorrow afternoon at the lighthouse near the lake. It reminds me of the place where the Dursleys had run to when Harry started receiving thousands of letters from Hogwarts! I’d really love it if you could come, and maybe you can bring your books!
Aimee read the email three times before finally believing it, and pumped her fist in the air, shouting, “YES!”. Without waiting for her mother’s call, she skipped out the door to lunch.
Was it too good to be true?
The next afternoon, Aimee stuffed all of her Harry Potter books into one large bag and ran off to the lighthouse. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day, and the water soaking her hair and falling in her eyes wasn’t helping her reach quickly. She swung off her bag and covered her head with it, determined to get her books signed first. When she reached the lake, she looked around, bewildered. Where were all the people? Where were her fans? Where was J.K. Rowling herself? The email had been from her….right?
Aimee walked on, crossing the bridge that led to the lighthouse. She didn’t find anyone there, either. She set her soggy backpack down, climbing up the stairs to see if people were there. She knew that it wasn’t possible for people to be there, but it didn’t hurt to check. No one there.
She went back down the stairs to leave and picked up her backpack, but she pushed against the door, it wouldn’t budge. She tried harder, but still no result, just that the door wouldn’t move.
“Come--on--door.” she strained as she put one hand on the handle and the other pushing against the wood. Come to think of it, she didn’t remember closing the door at all. But she didn’t hear a thud or a slam of a door closing when she was upstairs either. Starting to get worried, she pounded on the door, until her hands started hurting and were splintered.
“Ow,” she moaned, glaring at her swollen hands.
She threw herself against the wall, but still, the door wouldn’t budge. Aimee was sure she had cracked her rib cage. Tears welled up in her eyes, and one mischievous tear slipped down her cheek.
“HELP!” she cried. “SOMEONE HELP! I’M STUCK IN THIS LIGHTHOUSE!”
But no one was outside, because of the rain. She thought she heard heavy footsteps near the lighthouse, so she yelled again.
“HAGRID! IT’S ME, AIMEE! HAGRID!” she cried, remembering how a half-giant named Hagrid had come for Harry Potter in the first book.
Another idea struck her head, and she ran upstairs, to the large flashlight above. She clicked it on, and it began to spin. Hopefully, this would signal to people that there was someone stuck inside. But wait…no one was outside either, and the rain was falling fast now, and it clouded everything outside.
Desperate, she ran to the windows and pounded, screaming. When nothing happened, she ran back down, and with one last shred of hope, pointed her finger at the handle and whispered, “Alohomora.”
That was the spell to open anything that was locked, and Aimee thought it might work. If it worked for Harry Potter, Ron, and Hermione, why wouldn’t it for her?
Still, nothing happened. She turned her back to the door and slid to the ground. Her stomach rumbled from hunger, but she couldn’t do anything. She had planned to get her book signed, linger for a while, and then return home for lunch. Worst of all, she hadn’t told her mother where she was going, because she was afraid that her mother might not let her go. Even if her family looked for her, they wouldn’t find her in the lighthouse. She was going to starve to death. And no one would even know.
Aimee sobbed uncontrollably, wondering why Rowling had sent her that email but never decided to show up. Was it possible that it was all a hoax? But it couldn’t be. She wouldn’t do that to her fans.
Several hours passed, and night was falling now, but the rain still thrashed as hard as it had before. Still, no one had come. A clap of thunder rang, and Aimee jerked awake. She had cried herself to sleep, hoping that maybe an owl would notice her and send help, or maybe someone would send a Patronus. None of those had happened.
Aimee started to question herself and, she had never imagined that it would come to this point, Harry Potter. She had read the books so much that she believed it was real. Even at home, she would think that she was a witch and would try to curse her annoying little brother. But now, she realized, none of that was real. Harry Potter was a different person in a different world, but it was not the real world. There was no such thing as magic, no such thing as giants, no such thing as three-headed dogs, and no evil sorcerer named Voldemort who wanted power for himself.
As this dawned upon her, Aimee realized with disappointment that she needed to find her way out, the Muggle way. No, not Muggle. The real, human way.
At that moment, the door clicked open, and Aimee quickly stood up, and before she could hide, the man who came in spotted her.
“Hey, you lass! What are you doing here?” he shouted.
“I-I got stuck in here,” she stammered, and she pushed past the man and out into the open. She kept running, running, running.
“You forgot your bag!” she heard the man cry.
She stopped in her tracks and turned around. She considered going back, but she turned around again and continued running. Those books weren’t that important that she would risk her life again. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t real, because it really wasn’t, and that’s what fiction is all about. It felt as if a veil had been pulled off her head, and that was why she had finally come into the real world. Her mother had been right. She was wasting time on it. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real.
She was glad to be back, in her real home, with her real family.