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The Kitchen Thieves (and the Kitchen Herself)

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Please, don’t be scared! I’m not a ghost, or anything from beyond the veil. I’m made from clay too, just like you humans! Look, I even have an arm to show for it. That’s fresh clay, I know, and you don’t look like that, and the rest of me doesn’t look like that. But see? This arm works for me totally fine because the rest of me is really just clay too.

So, please, don’t be scared!

Oh, I should introduce myself. My name is Kate, and I’m a house spirit. No, not the Gryffindor Slytherin chant kind. I simply watch over the house. The kitchen, specifically, for me. I’m one of the two spirits in this cottage—Brad is the other one, who watches over the slumber areas.

I understand if this comes as a shock to you! You must be wondering, oh, but I’ve been in loads of other houses before, so how come I’ve never heard from a house spirit? The answer is quite simple, really. We house spirits derive our magic from the people who live here, who use their magic to build a home for themselves. I can speak in a language you understand because the two wizards calling this place home right now are exceptionally powerful, because they’ve put so much of themselves in the beams and pillars and cabinets and stoves and oven and iceboxes that I’ve gained a skill or two too, like talking to non-spirits like you. But as I said, please don’t be afraid, because you’ve already heard from us kitchen spirits before. Have you noticed the low hum from the oven? The dull pop when a ring of flames comes to life? The drip, drip, drip from the tap you think needs tightening? That’s all us, actually. Good house spirits do that. They watch over everything in their area, don’t change the course of things that are meant to be…except sometimes, maybe, they give what they want to see a little nudge. Brad is really good at this—at being invisible, inaudible, that is. If the walls could talk, Muggles have said. Well, Brad can, he just doesn’t. Whereas I can’t help myself. I like people, and I’m too clumsy to hide my nudges anyway.

Who are the powerful wizards living here, you ask? See the couple fighting over a bicycle wheel by the threshold? That’s them. Harry and Draco.

Oh, please be careful! Are you all right? The chairs here, I know they can be a bit rickety. Every one of them is decades old, you know? And I’ve surprised you, haven’t I? But yes! Potter is Harry’s surname. It’s what Draco used to call him, too. He’s a living legend? Really? That … I can’t say for sure. I’ve known Harry is famous, of course. Some sort of a hero. Flocks of owls have knocked on my window since he moved in, and I’ve seen him on the front page of the Prophet loads of times. There are also those crazy calendars of him that Draco loves to bring home. But I’m not the one to ask about what’s going on in the outside world. You see, I don’t really go out much…

Sorry, lame joke. You know I’m bound to this kitchen, right? I’m not supposed to see or hear anything beyond these walls. Sometimes I do, a little, these days, but I’m not supposed to. So, if and when, this kitchen is gone, I’ll be too. Yes, that means it’s a bit of an occupational hazard to have Harry and Draco here. The way they are, the way they love, the way they fight. But I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else, not even Elaine and Alfred who’d been here for sixty some years before them…

And it’s more than because Harry is good looking! Seriously! Please, don’t listen to Brad. He teases me. I’d say he’s jealous; he looks more like Draco and…

Wait. Why do you make faces too when I mention Draco? Why do people do that before they get to know him? That’s a bit unfair, I dare say. Draco can be a smidge unpredictable, and I wouldn’t let him touch the stove if I could help it, but he’s a good person, sweet in his own way.

Pardon? He used to be a…what’s that again? Ha! Please, don’t be silly! Death isn’t food, and I say that with good authority, having spent my life here in the kitchen. Draco just shared a treacle tart with Harry before the fight, in case you wonder what Draco actually eats. He loves treacle tarts. They both do.

I’m not making much sense here, am I? I’m so sorry. Company is few and far between for a spirit like me! Maybe I’ll start from the beginning—well, not all the way from the beginning, since this cottage is over a hundred years old and the way I talk, it’ll be another hundred before I’m done. Maybe…I’ll start from, I don’t know, the day Harry bought this place?

It was such a good day. You see, Harry is only the third owner of the house. For the forty-some years after Elaine left, people have thought the cottage was haunted…

And it was really all my fault.