The Poppet Maker, part 3

Page one. Contents page.

“I wasn’t trying to kill her.” Said the girl.

“I already said that I don’t think you did.” I said.

“I was trying to fluence her.” She said

“Do you mean influence her or do you actually know what a fluence is?” I said.

“I thought it was just a witchy sort of word for influence.” She said and looked down at her feet.

“Well influencing someone’s opinion is one traditional use for a poppet.” I said.

“I just wanted her to change her mind about us and go away.” She said. “I carried it with me and talked to it all the time. I told it that she was wrong and that we have to stay with Daddy and that if she took us away then Mummy was going to turn into a ghost and come after her. But when Daddy’s Solicitor friend made her go away I got rid of it.”

“Did you stick pins in it?” I asked.

“We don’t have any pins. We can’t have anything sharp in the house in case the boys get into it. I did throw it down the stairs a few times though.” She looked proud then guilty.

“And when you got rid of it you threw it into the undergrowth by Saint Nick’s Tower?” I said.

She nodded.

“Well I think you gave her a few nightmares and you might have made her think twice about what she was doing. If it hadn’t been for you she might have fought the solicitor a bit longer. Might. A bit. The poppet maybe even drew her toward Saint Nick’s because we still don’t know what she was doing there. You’ve been very lucky. This sort of magic is dangerous on the rare occasions it actually works at all and you are far too young to be taking on this sort of responsibility. The laws of magical consequences will not take account of your age. What I’m saying is don’t do it again. And if you need to talk to someone about this sort of thing…” and here I gave a kind of fluid hand waving gesture which I hope she took to mean ‘the sort of weird stuff you can’t talk to your Dad about’, “Give me a call before you do anything we’ll all regret.” I gave her my card.

She read the card then stared at it for a bit, then back at me, then at the card. “So you work for the Government then? In like a Ministry of Magic? Like in Harry Potter.” She said.

I should have seen that one coming. Bloody Rowling has a lot to answer for.

“No. Not like that at all. There’s no Muggles and floo networks and flying around on broomsticks. I do not own a wand and I have never duelled with someone. You can’t get anything done by shouting something that sounds like Latin and pointing a stick at at someone. Mind you… You can get stuff done with a carefully worded threat while holding the right stick. The real thing is much more subtle and boring. Just like everything else real. You think real British spy’s get to hang around in Casinos and drive Aston Martins?”

She shook her head again but looked slightly relieved. I suspected that she was relieved that she didn’t have to worry about Dementors coming to get her.

“And don’t tell anyone about this. No one will believe you, in fact you might end up in trouble for lying or seeing a psychiatrist, and I will probably be disciplined.”

“Ok. Can you tell my Dad that I’m allowed to call you or he won’t let me use the phone.” She said.

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