In the sweltering heat, Rosabelle Walker stepped off the motorboat. She squinted against the glare of the sun, her destination — New York Penitentiary for Witches and Wizards— ahead. She spotted the brown turrets and grey chimneys. From a distance, it looked to be a relic from the Antebellum North. The prison was nestled in the middle of a primeval forest of browns, and greens and there was a single beaten road. A lone metal sign stood with a single white arrow pointed up. Rosabelle suddenly felt alone. She glanced over her shoulder at the retreating motorboat and the lapping waves of blue-grey breaking on the stone shore. It was too late to regret her decision. She got to walking.
Rosabelle felt a dull pulse of happiness when she realized how short the walk was. Less than ten minutes and more than five, she stood in front of the prison. Using her smartphone, she took a couple of photos of the outside. Faded and battered, and grey it looked less like the home of some of the most infamous and dangerous Maj criminals and more like a dated fortress on its last leg. Rosabelle frowned, she was doubtful that inside it would be any better. Not quite an advocate for prison renovation, she thought that they could at least spruce their appearance.
And she was right. Inside was no better. Her frown dug deeper when she saw the grey room filled with ripped sofas and rusty metal chairs, heard the wheezing death rattle of the hidden air conditioner, and felt the obnoxious way the lightbulbs coalesced into one, somehow harsher than the sun outside.
Still, Rosabelle went forward.
“I'm Rosabelle Walker,” Rosabelle said to the stout man behind the thick window. “The journalist from the Wicked, here to interview the inmate ___” She slid her I.D. and wand through small space provided. The stout wizard did not make pleasant conversation. He waved his wand, thick and short as him, over hers checking to see her spell records. Satisfied, he gave Rosabelle her I.D. back and a sticker name-tag imbued with the prison’s magic signature. Though he kept her wand, the policy was a wand and any personal items aside from her recording device, and money for the snack machines would not be allowed during her visit and would be returned after visitation.
Rosabelle listened to a short lecture on what she could and could not do before she was allowed to pass from the reception area into the actual prison. The door to the prison was opened. There was a single strip of yellow tape on the floor, Rosabelle assumed she was to follow. She did until she came to another stopping point, Thief’s Downfall written in bold lettering on the wall. Rosabelle gasped when freezing cold water was dumped on her. Her thoughts skittered to a stop.
“What the hell?” She had not expected that. At. All.
“You’re clear,” she heard from above.
Sopping and affronted, she resumed following the yellow line. With each step she took, she felt herself getting dryer. Her appearance turning back to what had been before. She assumed there was some type of magic in the place for an informal clean up after her impromptu shower.
Abruptly, the yellow line tapered off. There were two prison guards, and a young man. Tall and lean, he was pale with a head full of dark hair and dark eyes. He was objectively handsome, but a handsome face did not erase the prickling inside of her. She had thought she had seen the last of this man during graduation.
This was her fault, coming back into the Maj world meant she would have to deal with its people.
“Andrew,” Rosabelle said. She had remembered how much trouble he had caused while at Ilvermorny. She had stayed far, far away from him. Rosabelle had no tolerance for troublemakers, then as she did. However, she was taught to be cordial even if she did not care for the person. "How are you today?" TAG ALISTAIR DUVALL