The Making of Harry Potter, Leavesden, UK, 2014

The Making of Harry Potter, Leavesden, UK, 2014


Bottles, a book, a tin, some implements for stirring and measuring.

A smell of sulphur, eggy and rotten lingers over the table. Peggy holds her breath until her cheeks redden and her nails dig crescents into the palms of her hands. She breathes in, desperate for air. The foul odour scrapes at her senses and her head swims. The image of the room before her wobbles. She grabs hold of the nearest object, the back of a chair tucked under the table. She concentrates on her breathing to steady herself. The odour becomes less. She breathes through her mouth to stop the smell reaching her nose.

The bottles are old. The labels are faded. A careful hand has written identifying names on each one but the words don't make sense to her. She picks up the tin, prising the lid off with her thumbs. A fresh scent of black earl grey tea pushes towards her. She takes in the perfume. A sharp memory of her mother making tea in a pot comes into her mind. There she is, straining out the leaves as she pours the tea into a cup, drops in a dash of milk and slips in a spoonful of sugar. The memory fades.

Peggy replaces the lid and puts the tin back down on the table in the position she remembers. A pestle and mortar sit to the side containing something resembling salt. She lifts the pestle and moves it around the bowl, listening to it scratching against the sides, the sound setting her teeth on edge. She knows she shouldn’t be here. And yet. Here she is.

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