Episode 2: Gone With The Wand
A Whale Eats Mickey Mouse and a Bloody Nougat: The Premeditated Adventures of Melissa and Ramona.
Melissa readies herself, arms positioned at the perfect angle. She knows she has only two and a half months to prepare herself for Hogwarts; Melissa needs to possess a firm grasp on her magic by then, she may have missed out when she was eleven but she’ll show them. She has skills.
She deserves this.
Melissa’s practiced for this moment with useless, non-magical, branches for years.
Hazel eyes narrow, arm muscles are rigid; she concentrates her entire being on this task.
She brings the wand down, flicking her wrist in two elegant twists, twirling the wood with a finesse known to few.
The adrenaline courses through her veins so hard that it takes a moment to register. Nothing but sparks emerge. And the sparks hardly count – the manufacturer promised sparks.
Melissa shakes it off, sweeps her long hair over her shoulder and tries again. These things take time. Maybe it’s different than with a branch. The balance is off.
Yeah, that’s it, the balance is the problem.
Melissa tries again. And again. And again. And again.
“Ugh! I’m worse than Neville Longbottom before he found his nerve!” Melissa rants, kicking the air with her foot. She learned her lesson years ago – never kick solid objects, you’ll hurt yourself more than them, objects are heartless like that.
Melissa, too stubborn to give up just yet, considers her options. She wishes she knew how to meditate. Or lived in the movies, they always have some sort of training montage where at the end the Leading Lady is suddenly brilliant. Plus, that way, Melissa could fast-forward through the boring effort part.
Real life gets in the way of that idea.
In search of inspiration she goes to the basement to bug Ramona’s Older Brother – arguing with him always makes her synapses fire.
She creeps across the carpet and peers into his room. He’s playing the Wii.
Maybe the problem is trying to direct her magic at an inanimate object – it may work for Harry but Melissa never does things the normal way – maybe she needs an animated object as a focus. Maybe coming down to see Ramona’s Older Brother is exactly what she needs.
Melissa crouches, arm snaking around the door frame, and points the wand at his toque-covered head. She centers herself, slows her breathing and, this time, urges her heart to calm.
She picks the first charm that comes to mind - the severing charm - and reminds herself to swish and flick. “Diffindo!”
Ramona’s Older Brother’s fingers mash the buttons of his controller, his arm jerking side to side, his attention riveted on the TV.
Melissa scowls; his body is still perfectly intact.
Rage fills her, clouding her vision, and she jumps from behind the door. “Difindo! Diffindo! Diffindo!”
His eyes flit to her for a moment, “Go away. I’m busy.”
“DIFFINDO!” Melissa jerks her arm so wildly the wand flies from her grasp clattering against one of the swords hanging on his wall.
“Those are valuable! What are you doing? Ramona isn’t even here right now.” He asks clearly annoyed at the intrusion. He has to pause his game. “Why are you throwing a stick at my wall? Is this a new thing of yours?”
Melissa picks up the wand, her knuckles white around the shaft. “It’s.Not.A.Stick. It’s my wand.”
“Never mind Older Brother! It doesn’t concern you.”
“You came into my room, threw it at my wall and yelled at me. I think it does.”
“And now I’m leaving.”
Back in the privacy of Ramona’s room, Melissa crumbles; a swirling miasma of disappointment, exhaustion and frustration.
Melissa throws her wand during her meltdown. It clatters against a shelf, knocking movies off so they smash against the floor. A Hunchback of Notre Dame figure crashes to the ground, shattering on impact. Half of Quasimodo’s face hits Melissa’s knee.
She stops to stare at the disfigured, half a face. An idea hits her like a semi truck – except it’s a lot less painful and a lot more like a light bulb illuminating over her head.
Melissa works at her task with a single-minded determination, she works and works, fingers systematically completing their tasks. She laughs her evil, I’ve-Outwitted-That-Inanimate-Object cackle.
Finally finished Melissa surveys her work, twirling her wand between her fingers – she mastered the art somewhere between the bedspread and the scrapbook drawer.
“I knew Mom was right – practice does make perfect.”
Melissa pauses, putting a hold on admiring her handiwork, because she hears a distinctive set of footsteps coming up the stairs.
She clears her throat, waiting for the perfect moment. Melissa hears the creak of Ramona stepping on the landing. “Diffindo!”
“Melissa?” Ramona steps into her room. She blinks hard once, as though she’s seeing things, before her eyes widen, horror marring her features.