Congratulations to Gaynor Cooper for Winning the August 2020 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)
The challenge was to write an essay that answered this prompt:
What fictional world or place would you like to visit and why?
Gaynor brought us into a fabulous adventure at a school many of us dream of someday visiting… Enjoy her winning submission:
A Virtual Fantasy in Ada’s Shoes
Time again to escape… so I press the app, and immediately I’m transported to Hogwarts Castle, where I become Ada Jenkins.
I’m in my third year at the famous school of wizardry. The building is a magical place surrounded by protective enchantments to keep the Dark wizards away. It sprawls over at least six storeys with areas yet to be revealed to me. I’m intrigued, and I love its atmosphere and mystique.
Encircling Hogwarts is the magnificent castle grounds, where I’ve learnt to ride a broomstick. Farther along is the colourful quidditch stadium with flags and tall posts representing the four schoolhouses. Yes, I know how to play. Skye Parkin, an elite player, has been teaching me. I’m eager for the chance to join her team as a chaser.
Nearby is the Magical Creatures Reserve. I frequently go to its grasslands to feed and bond with my niffler and porlock. Then I venture into the forest to face a rather aloof fairy. She’s proving difficult and needs tender loving care. I hope to adopt some more magical creatures soon. I have the abraxan, fire crab, and bowtruckle in mind. Other pets follow me around; Fitzplume the kneazle and Feathercrook the one-eyed frog are my faithful companions.
I’m in Gryffindor House and proud that we have won the House Cup again. My progress in classes has contributed to the win. I’ve learnt to cast spells and charms, mix potions, change owls into opera glasses, and pot screaming Wiggentrees. Each subject has a dedicated room and professor. I admire the teachers, even Professor Snape.
Surprisingly, I’ve gained the reputation of Cursed Vaults Breaker. Penetrating the vaults in Hogwarts is dangerous and exciting. One can turn you into ice, and another is barricaded by fire. Others are necessary to negotiate as I’m trying to find my brother, who disappeared three years ago while studying here. The vaults are providing valuable clues. The library’s restricted section is proving useful, too, although librarian Pince shushes you if you dare to breathe a word. The next place to search is the Forbidden Forest!
I love hanging out with my friends, including gentle giant Hagrid. We often meet in the courtyard, near the fountain, to play gobstones or just chat. Most days we eat together in the Great Hall, where important ceremonies with Professor Dumbledore take place. Tonks, the joker of our group, introduced me to Zonko’s Joke Shop in nearby Hogsmeade recently. Then we went to the Three Broomsticks for a butterbeer. So cool!
Now I’m standing in the Training Grounds with Merula, ready to cast my banishing spell on a Dementor. It has mercilessly tormented her and other students. My Patronus, a ghost leopard, will chase it away for good. I wave my wand.
Dinner’s ready! Abruptly, I’m interrupted. It’s time to return to Muggledom. Reluctantly, I press the Home button and am transformed back to reality. The child in me is left behind at Hogwarts. Until next time!