Mars is Bright Tonight…
A flying washtub involves one
ministry worker in a war that did not concern her.
Disclaimer: I’m only an uninvited guest playing in this
magical world. Everything related to
Harry Potter belongs to the talented J. K. Rowling. The only thing I get out of this is a giddy,
A very grateful thanks to sveltskye.
dissonance n 1
: a mingling of discordant sounds 2 :
lack of agreement 3 : an unresolved musical note or chord
- Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
reverberated through out the atrium of the Ministry of Magic as employees
reported for work. Today, the usual
monotonous chatter and half-hearted greetings yielded to a chaotic symphony of
gossip and discontented murmurs. Despite
this new clamor, strands of the usual rhythm pressed onward.
Eric,” a hurried voice exclaimed to the guard as a bundle of pink umbrellas
fought their way through the crowd.
“Kay, is that
you under there?” The guard eyed the teetering, florid pink stack. Dismissing the bundle as another daily
peculiarity at the ministry, he started in on the latest gossip circulating the
ministry. “Hey, did you hear what happened here last
night? You-Know-Who was here, right here in the atrium! They say Dumbledore himself…” He broke off as a pair of icy blue eyes
finally peered around the bundle as it threatened to plunge to the ground after
brushing against a crass man with terrible sunburn.
Eric, I can’t talk. I’ve got to get this
stuff to the office before I drop it and see if my delivery has arrived. I don’t have time for useless news.” With a quick, forced smile, Kay and the
bundle of umbrellas made their way to the lifts. The clicking of her shoes against atrium floor
was overpowered by the sound of various witches and wizards stopping to talk
about the events of the night before, only to be soundly rapped on the shoulder
by the bundle of umbrellas parting the crowd.
After a treacherous encounter with a fallen gold centaur arm that nearly
sent the thirty pink umbrellas flying, Kay entered a waiting lift. Closing her eyes as the lift descended, Kay
calmed herself, imagining the creaking of the lift
was an old oak, swaying in the whispering wind.
“Level six, Department of Transport, incorporating the Floo Network
Authority, Broom Regulatory Control, Portkey Office, and Apparation Test Center.”* The cool voice jerked Kay out her trance. Begging pardon for nearly blinding several
people, she exited the elevator and sped past a small queue of nervous teens
and even more nervous parents. Finally
she reached a plain door at the end of the hall with a small hand written sign
that proudly spelled out “Space Division.”
magically expanded office was a cluttered mess of bits of parchment, broken
quills, and books surrounding a large, wooden washtub. Propping the umbrellas in the corner near the
sole desk, Kay was disappointed to see that her shipment had not yet
arrived. With a clatter, the framed
Muggle photos of Mars, the Moon, and various other planets found themselves
gently thrown in a box on a stool, deprived of their usual place of prominence
on the desk. A bright pink umbrella now
stood at attention on the cleared desk, resembling a satellite dish.
it’s considered bad luck to open an umbrella indoors.” With a jolt, Kay spun to find Orion O’Reilly
from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, Beast
Division leaning casually against the door frame. A blush spread slowly on her pale cheeks, but
her shyness was quickly overcome by excitement.
“Did my shipment come?” In reply, a soft package flew towards her
head. Reaching out to field the package,
Kay managed to slip on one of the umbrellas scattered on the floor. She suddenly found herself seated on the
floor, with the package sitting neatly on her stomach. She tried to hide her burning face as she
murmured a word of thanks and tore open the package. The blush receded as her face became awash
“Wow. This must have been hard to
get,” she exclaimed as she ran her fingers over the fur cloth that felt like
moonlight itself trapped in a frozen, liquid confine. “Thank you so much for getting it. I’ve got the department reimbursement papers
around her somewhere…” Stiffly, she got to her feet and started rummaging
through papers piled on a cabinet near her.
Quickly becoming frustrated, she pulled out her wand and tried a
summoning charm with no success.
“That’s okay. Orders came in from above asking the
department to find you high quality demiguise pelts,” Orion explained, picking
invisible hairs off his pressed and tailored robes. “They’re covering the bill.” Kay continued to finger the slippery cloth,
apparently oblivious to this newfound interest in her work. Orion cleared
his throat, clearly annoyed by the attention afforded to the animal pelt
instead of him. Kay looked up at him,
feeling heat rise once more in her cheeks.
The tailored robes that draped him showed
off a well proportioned body aided by deep, cold blue eyes that hid under a
lock of artfully untidy brown hair.
“Um, th-thanks for the pelts. I…I mean…it…it must have been a lot of
work…for you, I mean.” The butterflies in her stomach gave her voice a slight
tremor as she stuttered her way through her thanks. She tucked a lock of dishwater blonde hair
that was escaping her pony tail behind her ear.
“I…want to thank you…maybe I could…buyyoulunchtoday.”
The end came out in a rush as she fought to make the offer before her courage
The lopsided grin on Orion’s grew,
showing pearly white teeth. “Sorry, I
can’t,” he replied, not sounding the least bit sorry. “I have a meeting with those idiots from the
Werewolf Support Services. It seems that
they are trying to get those soulless beasts classified as beings again. ‘To improve their relations with the ministry and their moral.’”
He snorted. “Who wants high werewolf
moral? Maybe if those stupid beasts
stay depressed, they’ll all off themselves and we’ll all be better off. Anyway, must run.” His hatred fell on deaf ears, as Kay was
first distracted by Orion’s heart melting smile, then by the pelt in her hands
as he turned and arrogantly strode down the corridor. Kay turned back to the desk, carefully
avoiding the fallen umbrella, and began to work.
* * *
later, a rumbling stomach caused Kay to stop working and pocket her wand. Standing and stretching, she looked over her
accomplishment. The florid pink umbrella
on the desk was now lined with the shimmering demiguise pelt. Demiguise hair would normally make an object
invisible, but the near parabolic shape of the umbrella caused the light be
reflected back and create a dazzling bright light that radiated from the
interior of the umbrella. The entrancing
sight encouraged her to neglect the rumbling in her stomach for a few more
a swish and flick, a few words, and a couple of pokes, the pink umbrella now
rose, correct side up, from the center of the washtub. Overall, it looked like some strange alien
plant had just sprouted in the tiny office.
A brilliant light reflecting from the umbrella followed the shaft and
suffused the washtub with a warm glow. Satisfied,
she left for lunch with a rapidly growing grin.
was located on the atrium level of the Ministry of Magic. This caused many rumbled complaints from
those who worked on the lower levels who had to trek the long distance for a
bite to eat, although no argument was ever heard from the Unspeakables. The spacious cafeteria consisted of a hundred
small, round tables that remained Kay of the ball at Hogwarts she had attended
while in Ravenclaw. Each table was
fitted with six empty silver table settings as well as a satin white table
cloth and a single red rose. The ceiling
above the tables vaulted into soaring skylight windows that were enchanted with
the same charm as the rest of the Ministry windows. Today they were a stormy grey. A low bubbling of conversation reached Kay’s
ears as she entered the cafeteria. A
third of the tables were full of people at various stages of eating. A wisp of red hair caught her eye as she saw
a tall man sitting down alone at a table.
Heading towards the man, Kay wove her way through the maze of
Arthur. Mind if I eat with you?” Kay
asked the red headed man.
Weasley, a kindly older man who worked in the Department of the Misuse of
Muggle Artifacts, looked up from his dazed stare at the rose on the table. “Oh, hello Kay. Sorry I didn’t see you. I’m a bit distracted with all that’s going
on. Have a seat.” He and Kay each grabbed a menu and placed an
Witch,” Kay spoke to the air. A few
minutes later, a breast of chicken appeared on her plate, nestled in a beach of
rice and couscous, while a charmed sea of sweet and sour sauce lapped at the
shore of rice. The house elves certainly know what they’re doing, she thought
“So, are you
still studying Muggle Roke Its?” Arthur asked as he started in on his
“Rockets. No, I gave up on those along time ago. Too many computers to guide it. It would go haywire with a witch or wizard
aboard. I did discover this Muggle idea
for these ‘light sails’ or some nonsense.
I don’t think they would work with light, but I do think I can make one
that uses magic.” Kay had clearly
forgotten her chicken as she dove into the topic that was the love of her life.
always worry about something they call ‘The Conservation of Mass, Energy, and
Momentum,’ but they always forget that magic is a form of energy. By their equations, having a sail on the same
object producing the radiation stream would be impossible. Kind of like in those Muggle
cart tunes you showed me. Most of the
things that coyote invented would never…” Kay trailed off as a long black
haired woman approached the table with a sad half smile.
how are you holding up?” The woman
limped a bit as she approached.
are you doing here? You shouldn’t be on
your feet,” Arthur rose quickly to pull out a chair for Tonks. She sat with a wince, but nodded her
thanks. Kay surprised to see the
normally chipper auror looking so dull and down.
“Paper work for last night.
It couldn’t wait. The sooner that
man is impeached, the better…” Tonks
trailed off as she looked furtively in Kay’s direction and then glanced at
Arthur. Kay looked down and picked at
her chicken as Arthur and Tonks continued to converse in hushed tones. Their whispers combined with conversations of
other tables to create a wind that whistled and gusted about the
cafeteria. Finishing her chicken, Kay
looked at Arthur and abruptly cut off Tonks.
time before he strikes.”
not prepared, and now, with- with everything…”
“I’m sorry to
interrupt, Miss Tonks, but I need to get back to my project. Good bye Arthur, stop by sometime to see my
project. I have some Muggle models you
might like.” With that she left the
windy cafeteria and entered the atrium. Passing
through the ornate space, she noticed something that had escaped her attention
earlier; something was missing. There was no longer a beautiful trickling
fountain to drown the wind.
* * *
back at the office ready to work. With
the umbrella lined and fixed to the tub, the only physical work that needed to
be done was building the core. The core
would provide the energy needed to propel the washtub into orbit. “Of course, the tub will need various
enchantments before it’s space worthy,” Kay thought aloud with a laugh, caressing the edge of the
battered tub. Fumbling in a filing
cabinet drawer, she began the search for the core blueprints. Twenty minutes and five summoning charms
later, Kay determined that the blue prints and the reimbursement forms had
disapperated together, seemingly for the sole purpose of annoying her. Sighing, she gathered her notes from various
secure locations about the office, such as under the desk, beneath a Muggle model rocket, and inside her coffee cup. Extracting a quill from the bottom of a paper
pile by the door, she began to recreate the core blueprints. Several hours later, the unfinished
blueprints were hastily placed not in the stack by the cabinet this time, but
under her small office plant as she left to greet her cat, cook herself diner,
and spend a quiet night reading Modern Compressible Flow with a Historical
To be continued in “Beats”…
* Quoted from Harry Potter and
the Order of the Pheonix, by J.K. Rowling
* *A real Muggle book, I kid you