Chapter 4 : Test Rat
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“No!” I shouted, and then, several very confusing things happened simultaneously:
1) Snape Disapparated
2) Bellatrix shrieked with joy and shot three consecutive spells in different directions.
3) Harry and Ron shouted, “Tam!”
4) Hermione Apparated next to me and grabbed onto me to try and perform Side-Along Apparition.
5) So did Voldemort.
I heard the exclamations of Harry, Ron, and Bellatrix as I watched Snape’s form vanish into thin air, and then my vision was clouded with darkness as I heard a pop in my left ear, and then the robes I was wearing were tugged on one side while my arm was yanked on the other.
I panicked, and instead of thinking it through clearly and clinging to Hermione to get to where she was trying to Apparate to, I tried to wriggle away from both people at once.
But it wasn’t working, and He Who Had My Arm had a much better grip on me than Hermione, whose fistful of my robes was simply not enough. I was edging towards the right.
Knowing I had barely seconds, I performed an actually brave and beneficial action for one of the first times that evening, and yelled, “Get Lupin and Tonks!” into Hermione’s ear, to my left.
And then I knew she was no longer connected to me, for I could suddenly feel only one singular force tugging on my poor arm, but even that sensation was soon numbed out as the most unpleasantly nasty aspects of Apparition began to take effect on me.
Like usual, the feelings ceased right when I was on the brink of believing it would never end, and I found myself on my knees, huffing and puffing, on some sort of jutting, rocky surface. A cold wind stole over my back, and in Harry’s loose robes I shivered.
“Silencio,” I heard, and then I felt significantly more irritated than I had a moment before (which is saying something), because I had been about to unleash a very strong desire to say something very anger and irrational to Voldemort at that moment, but maybe it was safer for me anyway if I couldn’t have.
I began to stand up, and after that it didn’t take me very long to figure out where we were.
I could see now that we had been at the Malfoys’s mansion all along, since a few copies of Lucius’s Patronus, the peacock, seemed to have been let loose in the gardens. These mentioned were very intricate, with an array of bush designs lining the enchantingly spiky gates. The Malfoys apparently owned a lot of land (not like I hadn’t guessed), for abundant orchards of silver and black fruit peppered the grounds behind the building for miles, along with several large hedge-mazes.
All this was made just a notch more impressive from the spectacular view we had from the mansion roof, which was triangular shaped and very difficult to keep one’s footing on. The shingles were all shaped like little skulls, which I could not manage to find amusing as they didn’t seem to be able to provide very handsome footholds. The height was making me dizzy and nauseous. Yeah, I suffer from vertigo. Sure, if I have a broom, I’m fine, but atop a crooked, four-story mansion without a wand or a voice to cry for help, and in the company of the most evil wizard in the world was not exactly my pictured happy place.
The wind, which was quite cold and whippy up there, was making me even more nervous by the second. My hair was swirling brightly all around my face, frequently obscuring my vision, and I was certain an especially strong gust of wind was going to tip me right off, if Voldemort didn’t find the urge to do it first.
This aforementioned villain happened to be glaring at me, and the moment I made the mistake of meeting his eyes, the roof was gone, and we were at some previous Order meetings, and we both watched the sepia-colored picture of Snape swearing his allegiance to us and then performing several very injuring actions to Voldemort’s cause right behind his back. I cursed myself as Voldemort probed through my memories as easily as entering Snape’s name into an internet search engine.
Finally, it was done, and I nearly collapsed from exhaustion, failing to do so only with the threat of tumbling from the roof.
“So,” Voldemort whispered, with a voice like satin stained with blood. “He was a traitor all along.”
I did my best not to look at him. Snape was going to kill me if either of us survived this. I clung to a tower that reached to the sky behind me. I knew there was no way I could hide my weaknesses from him now, beginning at the top of the list with “vertigo.”
He noticed. I was closing my eyes, and breathing deeply, face tilted upwards, arms magnetized to the tower, and my back against it. Really, there was no way he could not have.
He half-hissed, half-murmured the words, and I could hear the devilish delight in his tone. “Ahhh…afraid of heights, are we?”
Even I could tell how pathetic it must have looked when I, having still no voice, shook my head vigorously, eyes shut tight. “I have to wonder, Ms. Tamasine,” he continued, approaching and hardly concealing his enjoyment, “what would the affect be to a person standing on a roof who was hit by a wandering Cruciatus Curse?”
Oh, no, I thought. Oh no, no, no, no, no.
With an evilly obvious smile he hissed, “Shall I give you a moment to prepare?” I hated him. I loathed him so much, he and his sadism and his snake fetish and his stupid lack of nose. “One…” I wouldn’t have begged. I wouldn’t have, if I’d been able. But I knew I would have at least been whimpering. Why had the Hat put me in Gryffindor? Why? “Two…” I was on the point of screaming. I was clinging so tightly to the cold tower that my fingers were losing their feeling. What could I possibly do? My stomach was bubbling. My face was sweating, and my heart was bumping around my ribs in a panic. It was going to hurt. It was going to hurt so bad… “Three.”
“Crucio!” I dove to the roof to avoid it with such swiftness that the spell smashed into the wall where I’d been standing. I would have screamed, I would have screamed, I would have screamed. My stomach became filled with lightness like one experiences on a rollercoaster’s drop as I rolled at a terribly fast rate, scratching my face and bruising my arms on the shingles before I sailed off the edge of the roof, and oh, if I’d had my voice.
I barely breached twenty feet before I was frozen in the air by a Hover Charm, and the absence of wind rushing in my ears allowed the ring of his horrible, humiliating laughter to enter. “Oh, yes! Very brave, Ms. Tamasine,” he applauded mockingly as I was lifted back to his level and dropped on the roof, so I was left clinging on at an angle. “I myself would have hand-picked you for the bravest house, indeed!” He was unable to contain more laughter. “I must say, I was not expecting that at all…”
I did not reply.
“…My, my, I’d love to try that again, perhaps repeatedly to see what other creative reactions you’ve got harbored within your own pathetic brain! But unfortunately, I’m relatively confident that Bella has by now managed to dispatch our heroic trio. I do believe we’ve got an exchange to propose.”
I was summoned by another silent spell to his side, and every inch I involuntarily approached, I loathed him more. I could not decide whether I was glad or not when we Apparated away and were gone from the spot to somewhere possibly even worse.
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