Chapter 1 : Not What You Think
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“Good morning Fudge!”
“Good morning, Boyd!”
“Good Morning, Carter!” Cornelius Fudge walked down the halls of the Ministry of Magic one glorious morning.
“Nice to see you Fudge!”
“Nice to see you too Bursar!”
“Any news on Nigel’s disappearance, Fudge?” Said a bleak voice. Fudge froze dead in his tracks. He looked around. A tall, dull man stepped out of the shadows. His appearance wasn’t very cheerful. He scared everyone he walked by just by looking at them. He stared at Fudge with his dark, empty eyes.
“Oh! Chester! Uh…no unfortunately. Are you sure he hasn’t been reporting at all?” Fudge asked. He knew as well as the other ministry members that Nigel Lederer had been missing for weeks now. Nigel, as well as Chester, worked in the Department of Investigation of Suspicious Situations- it was in the Department of Mysteries. Nigel was sent to investigate an attack on a widowed witch in Belgium. Nigel hasn’t reported his status and hasn’t returned to the Ministry yet.
“Yes, I’m sure.” Said Chester austerely. “I suggest Fudge that you push your so-called-search a little harder or else I’ll-“
“Fudge! Fudge come quick!” a young pretty witch ran down the hallway. Chester glared as she spoke. “Fudge you have- to come- downstairs! NOW!” She gasped her hands on her knees.
“Now, now Ellie. What’s with all this excitement?” Said Fudge calmly.
“You won’t believe who just came in the door! Fudge, it’s Nigel Lederer! But he’s-“ she jumped against the wall as Fudge and Chester rushed past her down the hall and downstairs. There, on hands and knees at the door, was Nigel himself. He was different though. His robes were ripped and bloody. His hair was shaggy and his face was unshaven. He was white with fatigue and fear. His behavior was most peculiar indeed. Eyes bulging, he was muttering to himself about nothing in particular. A confused old witch was trying to calm him down and was trying to make sense in what he was muttering. Fudge and Chester pushed her away and Fudge pulled Nigel by the shoulders and held him arm length.
“Nigel! Are you okay? Where’ve you been?”
“Could you tell my wife that I cannot attend the Quidditch tournament due to the fact that I saw a rat try to chase me.” Said Nigel normally and casually. It seemed as if he had no trouble saying such things. This behavior was so strange!
“Nigel!” Chester pushed Fudge aside and held Nigel in front of him. His head dangled from side to side. “Nigel! Your not even married!”
“Oh well in that case have you ever wondered why birds fly south for the winter? The lost birds should fly east.” Nigel explained in the same casual way as before, spittle running down to his chin.
“What is he talking about Fudge?” Asked Chester nervously. Fudge was just as concerned and curious as he was. Chester still kept a firm grip on Nigel’s shoulders as Nigel looked at the ground swaying in circles as he sang his own little tune. “It’s as if he’s gone mad!” Nigel shot a serious look at Fudge.
“Him…com-coming…” Stuttered Nigel. It looked like it took him a lot of effort to say one word. “com-coming…” Fudge and Chester gave each other quizzical looks.
“Who’s coming?” Asked Fudge calmly.
“Coming…Him…soon…” Fudge’s stomach dropped. He recognized his tone in his voice. People had the same fright and nervousness in their voice when they talk about Voldemort. He turned white. Surely Him cannot be He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. It couldn’t be…Voldemort.
“Where Nigel? Where?” Fudge needed to know who he was talking about! Fudge grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him vigorously, determined to get an answer. “Where is he going?”
“The tree outside my home is cold because it has a hole in it. Of course, it’s forbidden. So, naturally, I followed the fish down the stream.” Replied Nigel. He was staring at the floor to the side of him. His head rolled back but Fudge pulled him forcefully.
“Nigel!” He yelled, a slight panic in his voice. “Where is He? Where is he going?” But Nigel stared over Fudge’s head. He stared at the wall as if amused and amazed. Fudge gave a heavy sigh. “It’s hopeless Chester. Nigel just isn’t-“ Nigel shot another serious at Fudge. He grabbed Fudge by the front of his robes and pulled him closer. His eyes bulged that it looked as if they were to fall out.
“ School…Harry Potter…com-coming…AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHH!” Nigel started to scream. Fudge tried desperately to release himself from Nigel’s grasp. But the harder he tried to pull free, the tighter Nigel’s grasp became. His blood curdling screams were piercing. Ministry members ran in to see what the wailing is about, curious of the scene. Fudge cried for help but everyone stood petrified in their fear. Nigel let go of Fudge and let himself fall backwards. Finally the screaming ceased. They all looked at Nigel wide-eyed in shock and curiosity. Nigel just lay there, staring blankly at the ceiling.
“Is he…dead?” asked a voice amongst the crowd of curious Ministry members, breaking the dead silence.
“No. He’s still breathing and he’s blinking.” Replied Fudge. “I think…I think I need to have a word with Dumbledore.” Fudge walked out of the room, white as a ghost, wide-eyed in shock and very curious at Nigel’s lunacy.
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