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Chapter 2: The Competitors
Before Hermione could see, she could hear. She heard a variety of things and amused herself by pinpointing what exactly each of them was. For one, there was a steady dripping that was coming from above her. The drops were landing near to her face, for she could feel gentle splatters across her right cheek. She could hear the sound of mice, maybe rats, scuttling across the ground, and Hermione determined that she had to be in the dingiest of places. The thing that she was really straining to hear was voices, if any, that could be there with her. If she could hear that, Hermione would be quite happy. She would know that she wasn’t alone, but what she could only hear was the whistling of the wind –a draft, really, coming in from somewhere.
Hermione dared to open her eyes. She found that she was lying on her back, arms and legs spread out as though she were in the middle of making a snow angel. She turned her head to right to see a stone wall and felt a drop of water hit her cheek. She raised a hand to wipe it away and found that she was sore. She now dreaded to know what had been done to her while she was unconscious, and as best she could, moved her arms all about her body to see if her clothes were torn and if her underwear was still intact.
With a satisfying sigh she determined that she hadn’t been tampered with, and Hermione used all her might to roll herself over onto her right and stand up. She turned around and found that she was in what resembled a jail cell. There was also a man sitting in a chair in front of the cell, heavily asleep. Hermione smiled. She then searched frantically all around the cell for any point of escape. She wouldn’t dare try opening the cell door, not knowing what lay behind it, and especially not without her wand.
After a minute or so of searching, Hermione began to smile, and saw that near the top of the cell there was a window big enough for her to get though. The wall of the cell was stuffed with jagged rocks, like a rock climbing wall. She got a good grip for her hands and feet and started her climb. At first it proved a bit difficult, but there was no way in hell that she was giving up. She got the hang of it and went up, getting closer and closer to the window until she was close enough to touch it. When she did however, Hermione felt a huge electric shock overcome her body. She let out a shriek and lost her grip and footing. Hermione fell onto back, hard, making her realize that a two foot drop could hurt like hell. Her fall had woken up the man in the chair, and he stood up, moving over to the cell and stared at her.
“’Mornin’ sunshine,” He smiled, showing off two missing teeth. Hermione stared up at him and pushed herself up from the ground, her back aching considerably. “Sleep well?”
“Sure,” Hermione grinned. She nodded to him and crossed her arms. “Yeah, I’d say so. How about you? Did you sleep well?”
The man scowled and went over to the chair that he had just gotten up from. He leaned down next to it and picked up something from the ground. It turned out to be two articles of clothing of which he pushed through the bars of the cell door one by one. Hermione watched them fall to the floor and then looked back up at the man.
“Put those on.”
“Yeah, that’s right, no. What are you? Deaf?”
The man raised his wand and a moment later Hermione had been reduced to her knees. Another wave of an electric shock had rippled through her body. The shock only lasted for a few seconds but the effects of it seemed to last for several minutes. She raised her head up to the man and took several deep breaths.
“What is that?”
“A little somethin’ ter keep ya and the rest in check.” He motioned to the clothes on ground and then spat to his left. “Put ‘em on.”
Hermione, still on her knees, pulled the pile of clothing towards her. She was looking for the man to leave the room, but he was still there, having resumed his seat and now smiling broadly. She knew now that he would watch her as she dressed, and an awful shiver rose up and down her spine. She stood to her feet and turned her back to him. Hermione wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing her dress from the front, and quickly stripped herself of the t-shirt and shorts that she had been sleeping in.
Thank Merlin I had forgotten to take off my bra before I slept… Hermione thought as she slipped on the army green tank top. She pulled on the khaki-colored pants and then looked around for shoes before realizing that there weren’t any. She turned back around, startled to see that two more men had joined the first one, all on their feet.
“I was hoping to see a second show.” One of them said. “The other female Auror was a right pleasure to watch dress.”
“Too bad,” Hermione snapped at him, and all three began to laugh.
“Oi, I like her.” The third man spoke as he walked up to the cell door. Hermione took several steps back as he opened it and balled her hands into fists. She wasn’t a fighter, not with her hands, but she damn sure would try. As the man saw her stance he chuckled. “Calm yourself down. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Oh, really? Why should I believe you?”
“Because he’s been ordered not to,”
Hermione looked beyond the man who had entered her cell and saw that a door had opened, letting in a tremendous amount of light. She could only see his shadow, but could see that he was a built man, tall, and obviously the leader of all this.
“Bring her along then, gentlemen. We have a schedule to keep.”
Hermione was roughly grabbed by her upper arm and led out of the cell. Someone tossed a pair of shoes her way, boots really, perfect for hiking, and she put them on. Of the other two men in the room one walked in front of her while the other walked behind. She was taken to the door the leader had come from and she had to use her free arm to shield her eyes from the light. Once her eyes became adjusted Hermione realized that she had been brought to a large room where she saw three people that she instantly realized.
“Oh, no, not you too!” Angela, an Auror, exclaimed as she gave Hermione a tight hug. Once they pulled away Hermione was able to see who else had been taken in the night.
“We were wondering.” A man named Charles said. “We were wondering who else they had taken. We were hoping that it wasn’t you.”
“Your thoughts just gravitated to me, did they?” Hermione gently chuckled, and James, the third Auror, quickly shook his head.
“We heard them talking. They were talking about you, or at least we thought they were. We weren’t sure until now.”
“What were they saying?”
“They were talking about you and a prisoner.” Angela explained. “About how the two of you would make this episode the best one yet.”
“I wonder why they’d say that..?”
Before Hermione could get her statement answered, a door on their left opened. There they were, the convicts, and they were led out of a room unaccompanied by guards or any other sort of restraints. Hermione scoffed. It was easy to see firsthand where the creator of this little game’s loyalties was held. As the four convicts took their positions in a straight line, one in front each Auror, Hermione found that she recognized them all. The first two, Edmund Vandy and Olivia Evans, Hermione had only read their profiles and had never had the luxury of meeting them face to face. The next, Harland Conrad, she had arrested personally, and he at the moment was currently blowing soft kisses her way. The fourth convict, Draco bloody Malfoy, she had never arrested. Harry had, and even if this wasn’t the perfect opportunity to seek revenge on him by killing his best friend, there was a whole past full of hatred of her that he could act on.
“You’re the first one I’m going after.” Conrad said to Hermione. Draco eyed him and gently chuckled. The leader of all this heard Conrad’s comment and addressed him.
“You know her?”
“’Course I do. She’s the pretty little thing that arrested me three years ago.”
“Oh, that’s bloody fantastic!” He replied enthusiastically. “And here I thought the only show would’ve been between Granger and Malfoy. This is the best selection I’ve made yet.”
“No hard feelings, mate.” Conrad said to Draco. “But I’ve got a bit of a score to settle.”
“…Don’t worry about it.” Draco answered without looking at him. He was standing in front of Hermione and staring straight at her. Their eyes were locked, and in that instant she knew that he was saving her for last. And when he finally moved his eyes from her, giving a small and casual smirk, she knew that he also thought that she wouldn’t live pass five hours –seven, if someone took out Conrad first.
“Alright ladies and gentleman,” The leader said to everyone. “My name is Matthew Thorn, and those people back there,” He pointed to ten rather large men who were standing in a line of their own. “They’re my men. To the Aurors, they’re the ones who bound, gagged, and brought you here. To my fellow convicts, they’re the ones who released you from Azkaban.”
Vandy, Evans, and Conrad let out hoops, hollers, and a round of applause while Draco simply rolled his eyes and sucked his teeth, obviously bored of this whole ordeal already. Hermione let out a soft laugh, and Draco quickly snapped his eyes to hers.
“Find something funny, Granger?”
“Yes,” Hermione smiled and Draco’s upper lip turned up into a snarl as Thorn began speaking again.
“Now, I’m pretty sure that all of you have noticed a device strapped to your wrists.”
Hermione looked down at her right hand and then to her left, finally noticing the lovely piece of jewelry that they had strapped her with while she was out cold. It was two inches long in width, a dark shade of brown, and with a small square screen.
“That little bit of machinery is what’s keeping you here.” Thorn informed them. “You try to leave here other than by death, a wave of electrocution will ring through your body causing a tremendous amount of pain.”
So, that’s where that came from… Hermione reflected on her two shocks that morning, and then instantly decided that she hated the stupid thing that was attached to her wrist.
“Now, the rules of the game are simple. You work hard as hell trying to kill each other until one of you is left.”
“The muggle way..?” Evans pouted. She crossed her arms and huffed. “Well, that’s not much fun.”
Thorn laughed and began shaking his head. “Oh, well aren’t you the cute one. No, no, you’ll have wands.” He motioned to two of his men who were still standing in position and they came with two small open cases, inside of them being wands. “Now, they’re not your wands, obviously. And I know the whole malarkey about a certain wand being destined for you and all of that, but if the wand you’re using doesn’t work that well for you, well, you’ll just have to make it.”
Thorn smiled as everyone picked their wand. Hermione eyed Conrad who was smiling endlessly. He blew another kiss at her and she turned her head, more than disgusted. She caught Draco’s eye once more and instead of scowling, he mouthed two words to her.
“Likewise,” Hermione mouthed back, and then watched as Thorn took out his own wand.
“Oh, and one last thought before you go. Do try to kill off each other by 8 pm tomorrow.”
“Why?” Angela asked. “Why until then?”
“Because if you don’t and I don’t see anyone coming here, to the Watch Tower, claiming victory, those charming devices on your wrists will electrocute you until death. I don’t know about you, but, I’d rather the Killing Curse to that. Anyway,” Thorn smiled, and raised his wand. “Be swift. Your time starts now.”
Hermione felt as though she was apparating, but it wasn’t her who was doing it. She was being taken somewhere, and in a flash, she felt her body collide with the ground and she was lying face up, arms and legs spread out for the second time that day.
author's note: and voila! chapter 2!! the action hasn't hit yet, but come the next chap it definitely will :) but what do you guys think about it so far??
i hope that you guys like it and don't forget to review! i'll reply as always ^_^