Chapter 4 : Punishment Like No Other
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Misericordia stood over her mother’s bed side, she kissed her forehead lovingly and then she turned back to Severus.
Severus could not believe his eyes. The woman lying lifeless looked nothing like Missy. Her hair was pure white, and her gray face held no emotion besides a permanent shocked look. This woman could not have been a day over thirty.
”I was about seven,” Missy had said, “when it happened. She hasn’t aged a day.”
Missy saw sitting in the chair next to this woman. She reached for her hand and held it firmly. Mrs. Gethsmane didn’t show any sign of acknowledgment by her daughter’s gesture, she didn’t even blink.
Severus recognized the eyes however. Missy had her mothers green eyes. He glanced around the hospital room he had found himself in. The room was almost double the size of the Great Hall in Hogwarts castle. The walls were a pale green color accentuated by florescent lights shining brightly overhead. Over a hundred patients were lying in their own beds, each one in an almost comatose state identical to Mrs. Gethsmane. All had the same shade of white hair, the same graying skin and the same rash around their mouths.
That was how the dementors took your soul after all. They sucked it out through your mouth. And each one of these poor people bore the signs of it.
He never would have imagined that they all lived somewhere like this. But then, he should have assumed it. He knew that the kiss didn’t kill you. He had just never really thought about what would happen to them after receiving it.
His legs ached. He had been standing, feeling awkward, for only about ten minutes but his heart seemed to way a ton.
Missy seemed to notice. “Sorry. I know it’s kind of uncomfortable.”
Severus didn’t have it in him to nod his head.
Missy stood up, kissing her mother gently goodbye. She released her hand and it fell back in place limply hanging over the edge.
Missy strode over to the large metal door and swung it open, letting Severus through first.
“I’ll see ya’ next week darlin’,” a slightly plump nurse with an American southern accent said to Missy from behind the reception counter in the sparkling clean lobby. The whole place smelled of antiseptics.
“Alright,” Missy said smiling. She waved to a couple nurses before leaving. Everyone knew her, and it made Severus even sicker to his stomach. She comes here often, to visit her mom.
The wind outside was chilly, and nipping at Severus’s ears. Missy wrapped the cloak tightly around her body, her nose and cheeks turning a tickled pink. The sun was barely visible on the horizon; it was probably around five in the morning. They had left the castle completely, which wasn’t something that Severus had expected to do. Missy had pulled him along; using the map she had found to guide them.
There was a question that Severus was dying to ask. “How did-“
“My mom never was a law abiding citizen.”
“Poison Lips has the map!” Peter squeaked. He had practically fallen on his was to jogging over to his friends.
“I knew it,” James said weakly. He lifted his head slightly from his pillow; he held a wet wash cloth to his forehead. He had been lying in his bed ever since detention, refusing to get up. “She’s a witch.”
Remus rolled his eyes; he was sitting up on his own bed. He had been listening to James moan all day. He had skipped his classes and forced Remus and Sirius to come by in between to comfort him.
James had fashioned the story of his detention to make it seem as if Missy had hoodwinked him and now he was a hopeless medical case, ill beyond repair. Sirius however had told Remus the real story.
“Well James, it seems you have your brain in the right path. She is a witch. In fact, the whole school is full of them!” Sirius said. Sirius was examining his most recent test paper, in which he had failed.
James ignored Sirius’s statement. “I feel so feverish. I think I’m going blind.”
Remus felt James forehead for a fever. “I think you are a hypochondriac.”
“I don’t even know what that word means!” James said exasperated.
“It means that you are convincing yourself that you are sick so much that you actually believe it.”
James ignored Remus this time and turned he head slowly to look at Peter. “Wormtail, what news do you bring me from the world beyond.” Remus rolled his eyes. James was a definite drama queen.
Peter waddled over to James sick bed. “I said, ‘Poison Lips has the map’.”
“And I said ‘I knew it’.”
“Did you see it?” Sirius asked, genuinely interested. He wanted his goddamned map back. He had made it for god’s sake. Well, Remus had actually made it, but he had sniffed out all the hidden passages.
“Well, not exactly…”
“So basically, you don’t know if she has it,” Remus said chuckling.
“No! She does. I saw her coming out from behind the statue. You know the one that leads to the Honeydukes cellar?” Peter always talked really fast and Sirius had to run his words through his brain a second time.
“Aha!” James had ditched the washcloth and jumped out of his bed. “Come on men. We must retrieve what was stolen from us!”
“She’s a smart girl you know,” Remus said tilting his head thoughtfully. James looked dumbstruck.
“What on earth are you talking about?”
“I mean, in Potions class today she finished only a couple minutes after me.”
“So?” James’s face looked as if he had just become ill all over again.
“So, it would make sense that she found the way on her own. It doesn’t mean she has the map.”
“But she’s in Filch’s office all the time! She probably nicked it from him before we went to look for it.” James wouldn’t listen to Remus’s logic and truthfully, Sirius didn’t want to either.
“Do whatever you want,” Remus said slightly annoyed, “but don’t ask me to go setting traps again. Leave me out of your vendetta’s.” He slouched back against his headboard and grabbed a book from his nightstand.
“Sirius, do you remember the password to get into Slytherin?” James asked getting back to business. Sirius could practically see the wheels in his brain working and evolving a plan.
“It was Rimshackle the last time I checked. Why?”
“’Cause I think it’s about time we ventured into the stronghold of the enemy.” James was grinning. Sirius hated the Slytherin’s as much as anybody, but the way James looked at the rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin is was like a war, and he was the Commander in Chief. It was almost humorous in a way and Sirius wasn’t going to lie, it was fun as hell.
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