Harry sat in his office, reading the memo in disbelief.
I need you to look into the disturbance of graves in Ottery. St. Catchpole.
Over the last two weeks, several graves have been dug up and the bodies
stolen, including that of Fred Weasley.
Please investigate and keep me informed of your progress.
Please keep the Muggle authorities Confunded.
Conner MacKinnon, Chief Auror
"Why would someone be digging up bodies, especially Fred’s body?” mused Harry. He steeled himself for the bad memories the upcoming investigation would inevitably stir up, gathered up his Auror robes, his wand, and after a few seconds thought, unlocked his desk drawer and drew out his shiny nickel-plated pistol. Harry regretted the necessity of carrying a pistol, but Conner insisted that all Aurors be trained in firearms and that they carry one at all times. Harry had never used it on the job and hoped he would never need to use it.
Harry turned and with a loud crack, disapparated. He reappeared a few seconds later just outside the cemetery in Ottery St. Catchpole. He reverently walked the path between the headstones, reflecting on how many died in the two wars with Voldemort, and how many had died since in the terrorist attacks of the remaining Death Eaters. As he approached Fred’s grave, he saw the desecration first-hand. The dirt was roughly pushed aside, not like it had been dug up at all, but instead like Fred’s body had clawed its way out on its own. Harry went to look at the other disturbed graves and discovered that each of them had been opened the same way. At the grave of Wilhelmina Krupp (1984-2001, Beloved Sister), his eye was caught by the glint of a metallic object sticking out of the dirt pile. He gently probed the exposed metal with his wand, carefully checking it for curses before he picked it up. Wiping the dirt off it, he discovered a small die-cast toy car. Harry pocketed the car in his robes, searching the dirt for any other signs of things out of place.
Sighing, Harry went back down the path leading to town. He would have to go and talk to the police constable in charge of the investigation. Harry made sure no one was watching and cast a charm on his Auror robes, making them appear to be a Muggle business suit in a rather severe charcoal grey. Harry walked the half-mile into the small town and approached the police station. Walking inside, he presented himself to the desk sergeant and asked to see the constable in charge of the grave robbing investigation. After waiting just a few moments, he was directed to a small office near the back of the station.
“Hello, I’m Detective Inspector Singh,” said the petite dark-haired woman in a constables’ uniform. “I understand you have some questions about the grave robbing investigation?”
“Yes, Detective Inspector, I’m authorized on behalf of MI-5 to give any assistance necessary in your investigation,” stated Harry, pulling out his MI-5 credentials. Harry was glad that MI-5’s agreement to provide Aurors with credentials under aliases had made these situations much easier to deal with.
“What interest does MI-5 have in a simple grave robbing?” asked Singh quizzically.
Harry had been hoping to avoid this, but he reluctantly pulled his wand from his pocket, pointed it at Singh and said, “Imperius”. “You have been relieved of this case by MI-5. You will give over all your files and data regarding this case to Harold Peters, and your office holds no further interest in this case.” Harry then used a Memory Charm to modify her memories of the case and his interest in it. Harry took the file from her unresisting fingers and went into the bathroom down the hall, then Harry disapparated back to his office to read the file.
The information in the file confused Harry even more. There seemed to be no connection between the graves. Two of the graves were Muggles and two were wizards, one was a woman, one a girl, and the other two men. The only thing of interest Harry saw in the photographs of the crime scenes was a set of small footprints leading from the grave of the Krupp girl. Harry hoped that didn’t mean that a child had witnessed the corpse rising from the grave. Harry went down the hall with the photograph of the footprints to a door with a frosted glass window that declared it the office of “Maribel FitzHugh, Photographic Evidence.” Harry knocked on the door and waited. A few seconds later a tinkly voice declared from inside, “Come on in.”
“Harry, what brings you my way today?” asked the heavy-set blonde woman behind the desk. Harry was surprised as always at her eccentric appearance, dressed as she always did in safari gear and a pith helmet, even indoors.
“Mary, I was wondering if you could get anything more out of this picture, perhaps by retrograde divination?” Harry asked.
“Sure Harry, let me see that.” She pulled her wand out of one of her many pockets and a vial of some solution from out of her desk drawer. Mary opened the vial carefully, sprinkled a few drops of the solution on the photograph, then pointed her wand at the photograph and said, “Retrospectus Revelio”. Harry watched fascinated as the picture started to move, then blurred as it started to move backward in fast motion.
“I’ll run it back two hours, that’s about all this Muggle photographic paper will allow,” Mary stated. They both waited and watched as the photograph blurred and shifted. It took about ten minutes before the corpse of the girl shambled backwards into the picture. Harry asked Mary, “Let’s slow it down here, please?” Mary waved her wand at the photograph in a gentle anti-clockwise movement. The corpse started to flow back into her grave until just her hand was sticking out. At that moment a small boy started walking backwards into the photo. Unfortunately, the boy’s head was turned, so Harry and Mary couldn’t get a good look at him. The photo stopped moving backward suddenly and a great flash of light came from it. “Hmmm, looks like some powerful magic happened here,” stated Mary.
“Can you play it again forward from that point?” asked Harry.
“I can try,” Mary said, “but sometimes magic like that will overexpose the photograph permanently." Mary tried running it forward several times, utilizing several different charms in the process and splashing it with a variety of solutions. No matter what she tried, however, the photo stayed overexposed. Harry cursed gently under his breath. Harry asked, “Mary, what do you remember about the boy in the photo? All I saw was a yellow hoodie with writing on it.”
“I thought it said Brighton Primary,”said Mary.
“Thanks, Mary. You’ve been a great help,” Harry stated. He stood, shook her hand and headed back to his office. On the way, he pulled out his Blackberry and called Information Retrieval. The phone only rang once before a warm voice answered, “Information Retrieval, this is Hermione Weasley. How may I help you?”
Harry put on his best Geordie accent, “Eee, I’m all peckish like, I wanna order a large pepperoni pie for takeout.”
Hermione’s voice came back with a slightly frosty laugh, “Alright Harry, what do you need?”
“I need you to run some names for me and see what you can find about them please. The first is Wilhelmina Krupp, born 1984, died 2001. The second is Taggart Glenn born 1893, died 1972. The third is Geraldine McGee born 1955, died 2005. The last is Fred Weasley. How fast do you think you can do that?” Harry asked.
“Well, I can tell you something right away, Harry. They’re all buried in the same cemetery in Ottery St. Catchpole. Wilhelmina was a witch and Fred a wizard, as you well know. What’s this about, Harry?” asked Hermione’s voice curiously.
“It looks like someone or something has called all of them from their graves. I’m trying to find out what connection they might have,” Harry said.
“Someone turned Fred into an Inferi?” squeaked Hermione’s voice.
“I don’t know yet, but I hope not. Call me back when you have more information, Hermione.” Harry said.
“Alright Harry, I will,” Hermione’s voice came back.
“Wait Hermione! There might be some connection to Brighton Primary, there was a small boy outside the grave of the Krupp girl with a school hoodie on,” Harry said in a panicked rush, hoping Hermione hadn’t already hung up.
“Anything else you need to add?” Hermione asked impatiently.
“Nope, that’s all I’ve got. Thanks loads, Hermione. Talk to you later,” Harry said, thumbing the disconnect button.
Harry returned to his office, wrote a brief memo detailing where he was at in the investigation, addressed it to Conner, folded it into a paper airplane and sent it sailing into the hallway. He opened the bottom drawer of his desk, pulled out his laptop and started searching for information on Brighton Elementary.
He found the home page for Brighton Elementary and clicked the link entitled ‘More Information’. The page came up with a picture of a small brick primary school with the sun setting behind it. At the bottom it had a link titled ‘Come Join our Harvest Festival, Oct. 29th.’ Harry idly clicked the link.
Come Join our Harvest Festival.
There will be bobbing for apples, a pumpkin decorating contest, a costume Competition, free food and drink, and a Haunted House presented by our students.
Harry clicked a few more links, hoping to find more information about the school, like a staff link, but didn’t find anything helpful. He was just about to do a search for a Brighton Elementary Yearbook when his Blackberry rang. Caller I.D. showed it was Hermione returning his call.
“Harold Peters, MI-5,” Harry answered, affecting a Sean Connery accent.
“Get off it Harry, do you want your info or not?” asked Hermione vexedly.
“Yeah Hermione, what’ve you got?” Harry asked.
“Well, I couldn’t find a connection between the four, but I could connect Geraldine McGee to Brighton Primary. She was a physical education instructor there until she died last year of heart failure. She died right there in front of her class while supervising a football match. I can also tell you that Taggart Glenn was a very bad man, convicted in 1922 of the murder of his children. He claimed that they were possessed and he had to kill them, later it was found out the children were wizards just coming into their power.”
“Nothing to connect the Krupp girl?” asked Harry.
“No, no connection to Brighton Primary, but she was at Hogwarts as the same time as we were," Hermione stated. “I didn’t know her very well, as she was four years behind us. All I remember about her is that she was in Hufflepuff and that she liked to sneak food up from the Great Hall.”
“Thanks Hermione, if you find anything else, give me a call. Ta!” Harry said.
“Ta, Harry,” Hermione said as she hung up.
Harry had just got off the line with Hermione when his Blackberry rang again. This time it was Maribel, she said simply, “You better get here right away; I got something more from the photo.” Harry turned immediately and jogged back to Maribel’s office. When he arrived, she shoved the photo under his nose and said in a scared voice, “Just watch.”
The scene was still overexposed, but much clearer than before. Harry watched as a boy of about eight approached the grave of Wilhemina Krupp. The boy turned and looked over his shoulder and Harry finally got a good look at his face. The boy had stringy, slightly greasy black hair cut in a rather bad bowl cut, dark-brown eyes, and a haunted look in his face. He turned back to the grave, bowed his head, and his shoulders bunched like he was crying. There was a muted flash that filled the entire photo for about 5 seconds then the grass above the ground started roiling and lurching. A great mound of dirt started heaving up from the grave, and then a withered hand stuck out. The boy turned and ran out of the picture. Harry watched as the girl’s corpse clawed its way out of the grave and shuffled off in the same direction as the boy.
“I think I figured it out,” Harry said with a sick note in his voice. “I think that boy is a wizard, just coming into his power and making things happen for the first time. That girl must have been something special to him, even though he would have only been about two or three when she died.” Harry thought for a second, looked more closely at the tombstone in the photo and said, “She was a ‘Beloved Sister’, HISbeloved sister. Thanks Mary, I think you’ve cracked the case.” Harry gave Mary a sisterly peck on the cheek as he left. Even as he was leaving, he was pulling out his Blackberry again, dialing Ron’s number.
“Hello,” said the voice on the other end of the line blearily.
“Ron, get up, I need back-up on a case. We’ve got to track down some escaped Inferi raised by a newly fledged wizard,” Harry said as he was walking back to his office.
“Harry, I was up all night on that stake-out, can’t you call Grayson?” asked Ron’s voice hopefully.
“Ron, there’s no one I would rather have with me than you,” Harry stated firmly. “I’ll be at your flat in ten minutes, be ready.”
“Yes sir, Mister Auror Inspector, sir,” Ron said sarcastically. “Auror Constable Weasley at your service, sir,” continued Ron and then hung up.
Harry phoned Hermione again and got an old address on Wilhelmina Krupp. He hurried to his office, hastily wrote another memo to Conner, then turned and disapparated to Ron’s flat. Despite his protests, Ron was waiting for Harry, already dressed in his Auror robes and drinking coffee from a steaming mug. Harry quickly filled Ron in on the case, marveling at Ron’s composure at the news that his brother’s body might have been raised as an Inferi, then they both disapparated to the address that Hermione had given Harry.
The house was in a run-down, poor corner of Ottery St. Catchpole. It was in disrepair with paint peeling from the exterior. Ron beat Harry up the stairs onto the porch and rang the bell. The door was answered by a sallow-faced woman in a stained bathrobe with a lit cigarette dangling from her mouth. “Not wizards again!” she bellowed at them, “Can’t you leave me and my family alone? We answered all your questions after Willy died. Go away and never darken my door again.” She started to slam the door in their face, but Harry stuck his boot in the way.
“Mrs. Krupp, we believe your son might be in trouble. We saw him raise Wilhelmina’s body from her grave and believe that it might be after him,” Harry told her.
“Not another bloody wizard in the family! Why do you people have to muck about with everybody’s lives! Anyway the boy’s not home; he’s at school at the damned Harvest Festival. Now get off my property!” she yelled as she shoved Harry off the porch and slammed the door.
“We’d better get to that school fast Harry,” said Ron.
“I’ve got the address here. Hold on,” Harry told Ron as he grabbed him and disapparated to the school. “At least it’s a Harvest Festival with a Halloween costume contest, so we won’t look out of place,” said Harry.
“Where do you think they could be, Harry?” Ron asked with trepidation. Wordlessly, Harry just pointed at the sign for the haunted house. With a growing sense of urgency, they both ran for the haunted house entrance. They arrived just in time to see a great exodus of people dressed in costumes running from the exit of the haunted house. They ran against the tide of people with their wands in their hands. Harry also had his pistol in his other hand.
The scene they came across was horrific. The room was made up like a medieval torture chamber. The boy from the picture was being held in the lap of an old rotted Inferi. The Inferi was stroking the boy’s hair with a leprous hand and speaking in a sepulchral voice, “Little demon, little demon, you know what happens to little demons.” The boy was terrified, but locked in the tight grip of the Inferi, all he could do was moan piteously. The Inferi of the girl lay broken and twisted by the old corpse in the chair. Fred’s body was chained to a corner of the back wall, and the Inferi of the teacher was strapped to a rack.
The old Inferi spoke again, “This demon tried to stop me,” pointing at the girl’s body, “but I showed her what happens to demons, oh yes I did.” It turned its wormy eyes on the two wizards, wrapped its rotted hands about the boy’s throat and said, “Don’t come closer or I’ll show you what happens to demons too.”
From back in the corner where Fred was chained came a rattle of chains. Harry looked up and saw Fred flick his eyes at his chains and wink at Harry. Harry knew what he had to do and was glad he’d spent so much time working on voiceless wand work. “Reducto!” he thought as he pointed his wand at Fred’s chains. Ron caught what was going on and to cover the noise of the breaking chains he screamed like a little girl and pretended to flee from the sight of the old Inferi.
“That’s right, demon! Run! Flee for your worth--urrrrgg.” The old Inferi’s words were cut off as Fred twisted its head off. The Inferi’s body dropped to the ground, still twitching slightly, spilling the boy into Harry’s waiting arms.
“All I wanted was some zombies for the haunted house,” wailed the boy. “I didn’t mean to bring back my sister too. Please, can you fix her?” he asked, gesturing at her broken body. Harry shook his head gently and said, “I can fix her body, but I can’t bring her back to life. Why’d you bring back that one?” Harry asked, pointing at Fred.
The boy said tremblingly, “I wanted a funny zombie, and was drawn to his grave, I don’t know why.”
Harry held the crying boy while Ron phoned Conner to get Memory Charms for all the Muggles who had seen what happened. Ron also arranged for a wizard counselor specialized in neophyte wizardy to come and talk to the boy (who they finally got to say, “George, my name is George.”)
They transported the bodies, the Inferi of the gym teacher and Fred’s body back to the graveyard. They reburied the two bodies first, then broke the curse on the gym teacher and laid her to rest as well. It only remained to lay Fred back to rest. Fred spoke up, “Well done gentlemen. I had been ordered by the boy to get into the chains, and I couldn’t resist his compulsion. I’m ready to go back now beyond the veil, but I have a message for each of you from beyond. Harry, your parents say hello and they love you a lot. Ron, Lavender says, and I quote, ‘Tell my Won-Won I wuv him.’” Fred laughed as Harry and Ron removed the curse and gave him peace at last.