It was past three in the afternoon when Deitha took a stroll along Knockturn Alley. Upon reaching the opening to the street, she smoothed her dress robes - alternating shades of deep purple along its length, puffy shoulders, corset with shining brass clasps on the front. In fact, she took the moment to mentally inventorise her look: wide-brimmed hat at jaunty angle: check. Shoulders ruffled and bristling: check. Figure-hugging bodice: check. Cameo necklace at a provocative location: check. Skirts and petticoats at suitably voluminous distance: check. Finally: dainty boots with enough heel to keep the hem of the dress out of the mud: check. Hair in pigtails: double check.
She didn't make a great show of this checklist, not wanting to show off to everyone that she was showing off, but truth be told, clinging on to such trivialities of order was largely how she kept herself looking this fabulous - and whatever else at bay. There was something to be said for the value of "striking a pose" to ward off the unseemly, for just a little while.
Swinging her parasol as she strode purposefully down the Alley, she breathed in deeply. Then grinned just a little too wide. The air felt good here. No-one would ever suggest that Knockturn Alley's air was wholesome, sweet or delectable; truth be told it was the antithesis of all of these, but it has a familiarity and a taste that reminded Deitha of happier times. Definitely not good times, merely happier ones than the present.
In fact, that was why she was here, strutting down the Alley with purpose: she was looking for a place that a former... acquaintance... had talked about and, somewhat incoherently, babbled that this was the place to go for some light relief from the pressures of the world, such as one has those. She didn't exactly have a business card, but she was informed that the place to go was the "Meridian Clinic for Mind, Memory and Spell Damage". You'd think such a noble sounding venture - and presumably equally noble in practice - would have a less unlikely location, but it occurred to Deitha that not everyone necessarily wanted to be cured, some merely wanted to be able to live with their situation.
Reaching the far end of Knockturn Alley, she found herself facing a... place of unusual proportions. Most of the locations even here in Knockturn were solidly wide and often quite short and squat; this Meridian Clinic - so read the sign - was anything but. It was tall, describable at the very least as narrow, if slender was not too egregious a description, and tucked in between other buildings in a curious way. In her present state of mind, Deitha would only consider it pleasant to look at, but with all her faculties present, she might even regard it as beautiful. The Art Nouveau lines flowed and ebbed around the place, and Deitha found it curiously calming to study it.
She shook her head ever so slightly, and tutted. "But of course, that's entirely the point."
No bell or pull-cord was immediately evident, so with a deep breath and more trepidation than she would ever admit to feeling, she pushed the door open to see its low-key greens and greys, its minimalist and elegant lines forming a sense of neutrality, if not safety.
Taking another deep breath and willing up all the courage she currently possessed, she stepped over the threshold, miraculously not taking some of the paint of the doorframe out with her parasol.
"Ahem," Deitha cleared her throat loudly. "Is Mr Daly in?"
There was a stone-faced glare from across the room; the receptionist seemed none too impressed.
"Ah, I see how it is. Mr Daly is much too important to greet patients on their first visit, thus I must make do with you. I will take the next appointment slot that you have today. I don't care if you have to clear out some fuddy-duddy with a slight memory problem to make way; my problems are more important."
If the intensity of the glare rose from across the room, Deitha wasn't feeling it. She didn't have all day.