The cold rain chills my skin. I pull my raincoat tighter, trying to stop the wind from tearing through my body and freezing me. Another cold drop rolls down my back. They feel like freezing fingers drawing abstract pictures on my back. I tug my hood up over my head to prevent any more falling onto my back. I close my eyes and trust my feet to go the correct way. I slip off the footpath and onto the road. Eyes snap open and my head jolts up. My arms fly out to keep my balance. But it's not enough. My feet slip out from under me and my knees scrape along the ground. My head hits the road and my vision flashes white. I lie on the ground in shock. Then a voice speaks.
"On your feet. Come on chop chop we don't have all day!" I look up. A man stands in front of me wearing a starry robe that drags on the ground. His hair and beard are snowy white. His ice blue eyes drill into me, seemingly finding all my darkest secrets. Half moon spectacles sit almost daintily on his nose. A hand reaches out. I take it. I'm pulled up and my feet come under me again.
"Good, now let us be off!" He whistles loudly. Nothing happens. He glances down to his shiny silver watch, a frown wrinkling his face.
"Blasted creature. It's always late" The man grumbles. Then a strange thing comes into view above us. It dives down and land on the road just in front of us. I gasp. Its a hippogriff. The man mounts it and strokes its neck.
"Jump on Elise" He calls. I sit in front of him and hug the hippogriff's thick, silver neck.
"You know my name but I don't believe I caught yours" I say
"No you didn't " he laughs.
Well I must be dead if this man is what I think he is. The thought swirls around in my head, my brain automatically dividing the logical from the improbable. Well this is almost impossible but I'm gonna roll with it and see where this goes. The thought sticks into my head developing into a plan. At the moment we're surrounded by clouds, and they envelop us in a damp, cool embrace.
The hippogriff breaks through the cloud cover and a beautiful landscape enters my view. Mountains the size of skyscrapers covered with a blanket of snow create almost impenetrable walls for a valley with a silvery river flowing straight through. A lush green carpets the lower region of the valley. The hippogriff swoops down and flies roughly two metres above the water. We follow the river while it rounds a corner. A grand castle sits on a small rise. The building is built of beige brick and the many roofs are made up of faded blue slate.
"Welcome to Avalon, a school of wizardry" He announces proudly, his chest swelling like some kind of pompous bird showing off. I am gobsmacked. Am I a wizard?