It felt just like one of those old bookshops, with the stacks of books and the old chairs and the piles of maps and the hidden corners. People would go to it, explore through shelves of ancient books, laugh at the doors that were blatantly too small for even the shortest human, and occasionally buy a book from the bored teenager at the desk, who had school work open on the desk in front of her and an apparent lack of interest in anyone or anything that happened.
But if you knew which shelf to go to, which book to open, which words to say, then another door would open, and you could go through to another shop. One that couldn’t be more different. One that was instantly, obviously magical.
Bundles of herbs hanging from the ceiling, tied with colourful string. Rows and rows of different coloured glass jars, containing everything from dried flies to human toenails to vampire blood. Sacks of lentils, beans, soil, gravel, sands from the furthest deserts and snow from the coldest tundras. There was a whole clothing section, with hats and cloaks and flame-proof gloves and water-proof boots and thermal underwear. There were racks of broomsticks, from the cheapest model to the racing class. There were crystal balls and cauldrons and amulets and spell books and quills and parchment and knives (for potion making or for self-defence). There was a wall with hundreds of tiny bits of paper, offering casting lessons or needing a special rare herb or asking if anyone had seen a missing cat or informing everyone of a group meeting to knit.
The air smelled of smoke and rum and strange herbs and incense. To me, it always felt like coming home.
[19/02/17: picture of bookshop]