// OLD GALLANTOME ESTATE //
There is a firm chill in the air as Cassandra Goth prepares to make her way downtown, following the wizard Larry Potter. She’s come a far way from aiming a gun at his face several seasons prior; it’s been nearly a year since he took up residence in one of the house’s spare bedrooms. Mother might not have approved of the semi-permanent guests in Grandmother’s house but they took care of the place and for the first time in a long time, Cassandra could say that she had friends.
YOU’RE SURE YOU WANT TO COME WITH ME?
YOU’RE JUST GOING TO END UP SITTING IN THE WAITING ROOM FOR AN HOUR.
I DON’T WANT YOU TO GET TOO BORED.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT ME. I HAVE MY PHONE.
PLUS I’M DYING TO SEE IF YOUR NEW DOCTOR IS ACTUALLY A VAMPIRE HUNTER.
I TRULY DOUBT IT.
MAYBE A DESCENDANT OR SOMETHING BUT MORE LIKELY SOMEBODY’S PARENTS THOUGHT THEY WERE INVOKING SOMETHING AUSPICIOUS.
YEAH, I GUESS.
BUT IT’S NOT LIKE I HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO DO.
WELL, I’M HAPPY TO HAVE THE COMPANY.
Ever since he’d come, the ghosts had become manageable. Of course, there were still moments she wondered if the ghosts were really real. And magic? Sometimes it was the stuff of dreams. Maybe they were all just pulling her leg.
But no, she’d seen the strange, impossible feats worked before her eyes. She’d not soon forget the collar of ice Kevin’s mother had collapsed around Lucia’s neck. Suddenly, life felt very fragile indeed. If such things could be worked at a whim, then the world was infinitely more frightening than she’d once believed. She did not look forward to the day she met a mage who did not count among her allies.
Each and every time she traveled with him, she felt she were wandering alongside an elephant in a tutu. But Larry had an effortless calm that came with a lifetime of keeping the secret.
The train ride seemed to stretch on into eternity. She cautiously eyed the strangers with whom they were sharing the car but each was buried in their own concerns. None seemed any the wiser that her companion was no mere Man.
The mages she’d met were conservative with their powers. Larry had shared with her that he was able to control small flames one night during a séance. But outside the specific application, he still walked about the house and flipped light switches like anyone else she’d ever met.
Nature rarely answered the inquiry of “Why?” but she still wondered. Had people of exceptional ability existed since time immemorial? Why had they remained hidden? Couldn’t the world be a very different place if a few special people stood up and said something?
YOU EVER BEEN TO THE TRANSIT MUSEUM?
His voice interrupts her wheeling thoughts.
THE TRANSIT MUSEUM OF THE MTA. IT’S IN BROOKLYN.
IT’S A REALLY NEAT PLACE.
THEY HAVE A COLLECTION OF OLD TRAIN CARS LINED UP IN AN UNUSED STATION.
YOU CAN WALK AROUND AND SIT ON THE BENCHES AND VIEW OLD ADVERTISEMENTS FROM WHEN THAT TRAIN WAS IN SERVICE.
The words drift past a lapse in her attention.
THAT SOUNDS FUN.
I FIND IT FASCINATING WHAT WAS BUILT IN SO LITTLE TIME.
JUST THINK OF HOW MUCH THE SYSTEM HAS CHANGED IN THE LIFETIME OF SOMEONE LIKE THE HEADMISTRESS.
NOT MUCH HAS BEEN DONE SINCE THE SIXTIES OR SEVENTIES, I IMAGINE.
THEY PROBABLY HAD FINISHED DISMANTLING THE ELEVATEDS BY THEN.
I REMEMBER SEEING OLD MAPS FROM THEN AND IT WAS MORE OR LESS LIKE IT IS NOW EXCEPT THERE WERE ALL THE DOUBLE-LETTER LINES.
The train lurches a bit as it pulls into the station.
WE’LL GO SOMETIME.
In the shady downtown streets, dirty snow still clings beneath darkened corners.
HERE WE ARE, POST.
I’VE ONLY BEEN DOWN HERE A COUPLE OF TIMES.
MOM AND DAD NEVER LIKED ME TRAVELING WITHOUT AN ADULT.
THE OFFICE IS NUMBER ELEVEN.
She looks around the tightly packed brownstones.
PRIME REAL ESTATE.
WHAT KINDA POST THERAPISTS YOU BEEN SEEING?
Now it was Larry’s turn to falter.
WELL, I HAVE GOOD INSURANCE…
SOMETHING I GOT THROUGH MY ASSOCIATION AT THE SCHOOL.
A pedestrian walks through the pair. She’s dressed in all black.
ELEVEN, YOU SAID?