the pearl


On the 20th anniversary of his parents' deaths, Harry Potter defeated Lord Voldemort once and for all. It cost him his own life, and the lives of several of his fellow soldiers, but the darkness that had swept over the wizarding world was banished once and for all.

Many people called him a hero.

Some called his death lucky.


She lived in the Midlands and ran a bookshop specializing in non-fiction, new and used. She avoided most fiction (keeping only Penguin Classics in a dusty rack in the far corner), and strenuously avoided all fantasy. Her biggest sellers were large and brightly coloured business textbooks, the kind that teach people how to manage other people.

It was difficult for her to stay afloat, and if it wasn't for her prime location near a university and the occasional cheque in the post, she would have been forced to shut down years ago.

She lived above her shop, with a dying ficus plant and a single teacup, and only spoke to customers when need be.


She kept a year-long calendar on the wall behind the register. One date was circled in red ink. Halloween. Customers occasionally asked her about the circle, but she would ignore their questions, packaging up their books carefully, never meeting their eyes.

Most thought it was her birthday. Once, a couple of girls timidly asked her if she was attending the Samhain festival a local pagan group was holding. She looked up then, and her glare was enough to silence them.

Each year, on that day, the bookshop was closed.


She saw a red-haired girl looking in the window once. She was startled enough to drop her teacup, shattering it against the floor, before she realized that it was just another student, trying to choose the right management book.

She swept up the remains of her only teacup, and forced herself to forget.


She was nearing forty, unmarried, unloved, still running her tiny book shop and still living alone. She still circled the date in red, and spent that day mourning.

This Harry Potter story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at