Chapter 4 : Chapter Four: The Secrets Are Multiplied
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Ron's breathing grew shallow. “Pleas tell me that was meant to happen.”
“It's a Grandfather clock,” Hermione whispered, peering around the corner. “It's perfectly apt that it would sound like that, but I didn't see it when we moved here, did you?”
“No,” Harry said. “I didn't.”
“Let's just go ahead and find this door, yeah?” Ron budged in, trying to lighten the darkening mood that was slowly but surely quenching the room.
Harry didn't appear to pick up on his hints, the seriousness spreading. “I don't understand what's happening. Did anyone count how many times the clock-”
“Twice,” Hermione replied in a voice that showed she really hadn't wanted to say it. “It's two oclock in the morning.”
“- but, that's impossible,” spluttered Ron, gripping his wand tightly and darting more looks like a scared rabbit. “We've only been here for about an hour, two hours - tops.” He bit his lip, glancing around, all on edge. “Malfoy, what do you think?” He turned round. “Malfoy? Malfoy??? Hermione, he's gone! He was, he was right here!” Jumping around as though dancing on burning coals, Ron caught his breath and stopped panicking. “Maybe the posh git just went off somewhere, you know, to get away from us?” The others said nothing. “It's possible, think about it, he-”
“Where's the ouji board?”
Harry frowned. What was Hermione asking that for?
Ron turned the colour of a sheet. “I don't know what you're talking about.” Instantly though, he pulled his robes closer around him. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
Hermione's despair shone on her knowing, disappointed features. “You took it,” she paused. “Don't lie. Why else would Draco have disappeared like that? What did you do? Use an excuse when our back's were turned to put a dangerous curse on him?” Fury frosted her face. “I thought I told you that the most essential thing about tonight was to make sure we look out for eachother.”
“No you didn't, you said -”
“Well whatever I said!” Hermione screamed, increasing the tension all the more, “You have got to be careful! You really have no clue what you could have done! This isn't like your silly little Quidditch tournaments-”
“Hey!” Interjected Harry.
“Sorry, but what I mean is -”
“I know what you mean,” Ron exploded. “'It isn't a game, we could die', but 'mione don't you see? We have no food and no water, no communications with anyone but ghosts - how can we possibly survive anyway?”
“So you're just giving up? After everything we've gone through? This is a blip, a minor blip and you're surrendering, already.” Hermione looked exhausted. “We had candles, and we had eachother............. but now, because of your foolishness, we're one person short, and we have to save them!”
Ron snorted. “Not bloody likely. Why should we go after that waste of-”
“............. because it's the right thing to do, Ron - regrettably,” Harry grimaced. “Much as we hate the prat, you know deep down that none of us would want him dead.” Silence swallowed the dust. “Proves my point. Come on. The faster we go and find him, the sooner we'll be here again. Wait! There's another - hang on, that isn't a door.” A little bookshelf was gleaming, its beams crusting the walls in front of them. A second passed, and it swung forwards, revealing a black hole behind. “Looks like we're going in there. Ready?” They nodded. “Here goes.” Expecting something disastrous to happen, Harry held his wand out instintively even though he was fully aware that nothing could have happened. Why didn't magic work here? It just didn't add up.
“He could have been taken somewhere else though, mate,” Ron probed nervously, as it was clear Hermione still hadn't forgiven him. “What makes you so sure he's in there?”
“I don't know,” Harry said honestly. “I'm just being drawn to it. I can't begin to describe it, but I'm a hundred percent convinced he went that way - or whatever took him, went that way.” Hermione gave him a sympathetic smile. “I'm not being stupid, I know what I feel...........”
“I never said anything of the sort. I have faith in you,” the witch said graciously, “We both do.”
“Yeah well, let's hope Malfoy appreciates all the trouble we're going to...................” Ron poked tentatively into the conversation. “We could die because of that posh prat.”
Too late. “No, we could die because of you!!!!!!!!!! DON'T YOU DARE try and blame your mistakes on Malfoy. He had nothing to do with this! Do you think he asked to be abducted?” Hermione looked quite frantic now, almost mad. “If you hadn't messed around, if you had just listened, we would-”
“Still be here,” Ron mumbled. “So......”
“We would have put aside our arguments and worked together!” Hermione screamed. “......... and yes, we would still be here but four people are stronger then............”
“I'm going in,” Harry shouted, fighting to break up the spat. “I'll let you know what's on the other side. If I get lost.......”
“You are not entering that bookshelf without us. It's out of the question! Malfoy has just been snatched. What would we do if you were too? I'm not letting you!” Hermione stood her ground. Breathing hard like some fire breathing Nundu, she relaxed a little and ran her fingers through her hair. “Listen, I want you to be safe. That's all. I don't mean to come across as Little Miss Bossy Boots.................”
“Bit late for that...........” Ron grumbled to his shoes.
This time, Hermione ignored him. “I only get angry because I worry. If we had our magic, I would feel a lot more confident but in acutal fact, if any strangers or mass murderers would come in, all they would see would be four vulnerable children because even though we never like to say, it's what we are. Now, we may not be experienced wizards, but we're certainly not experienced adults. Right, we walking in together then?”
Harry nodded, Ron too - though looking slightly put out and a tad guilty.
Harry caught his breath.
There in front of him lay five skeletons. That in itself was frightening enough, but the impending fear came from the fact that they weren't dead. They were moving. Unless it was some sporadic trick of the light, the skinless bone figures were twitching, rattling. Ron made a moaning sound, stepping back quickly and Hermione's disgust became obvious when she put a hand over her mouth, turning away from the scene before them. “You don't think one of these is?..............” He let the question hang in the air, the unfinished sentence being filled by their fear. Could one of these bodies have once been Malfoy?
Harry stole a look over his shoulder, debating whether to return to the candles again. Like before, the exit had vanished. It really was a good thing they'd decided to enter behind the bookcase together. Hermione was right. In order to escape, the situation was becoming clearer and clearer. They had to play by the tower's rules or they would never get out alive. “Hello?”
Hermione and Ron shot him 'What in Merlin's name are you doing?' looks but he would go with his gut instincts, which were to communicate with these things. If he was able to open up some lines of contact, there would be a higher chance of them getting out of here in one piece.
“Excuse me, I don't mean to be rude, but did any of you see a blonde haired boy pass through here?”
Nothing happened, even the air couldn't have talked if it had tried. That was until, a wobbly skeleton staggered to its feet, smiling like a joker. Opening its mouth, it made a sound like a bird being strangled and then walked towards him.
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