“Harry, get back!” Hermione called from somewhere to his left. “They're probably cursed souls, the Muggle equivalent to Inferi.”
“No, I'm gonna try and - is this for me?” He stopped, staring down at the object in his hand that had just been handed to him. “Thank you. Whoever he or she is, they've given us a – me, a necklace, with a moving picture of Malfoy on it........ wait a second, Malfoy? Hermione, how can he be moving if this place isn't magical? Oh my Mer - I know what's, I've figured it - he's trapped in the pendant!”
“What?” she screeched, blocking out squeaks in the background, “How can he be? This tower has no enchanting qualities!”
“You can say that again!”
“Shut up, Ron! Stop joking around for once!” Harry bellowed. “So, Hermione, what do you think's going on? Could anyone be here that we know, are they purposely trying to scare us? Is it some sort of sick joke, what?”
She threw her hands up. “I don't know.”
“What do you mean you don't know?” Harry cried, wand in hand again. “You always know!”
Instead of shouting, she sank onto the floor, hands covering her head. “Please Harry. Stop. I've just got to think. Let me work something out. We're all going to be fine, but we need to...................”
Harry didn't need to confirm the validation of the scream. One word........ was all he needed - to know his friend wasn't acting. Hermione dropped her wand on the cry, gasping as it rolled away across the ground. Speeding past the bemused skeletons, they were about to leap out the door when - “Wait, I got to go back!” Ron's shadow passed their vision. Stopping in limbo, the two friends craned their necks to see what was happening. Harry rose his eyebrows. Ron was........... no, he wasn't - he was......... he was retrieving the wand!
A smile flitted across Hermione's features. “I forgive you! I'm sorry for being so stupid!”
“Mione, we can talk about this later! Right now, we gotta concentrate on a little thing called 'Not Dying!”
“Right yes, of course.”
Harry grabbed his hand (just as whatever was pursuing them was on the verge of killing), swung open the door and burst through into light. Light? No, could it be, were they really - “False alarm,” Harry said, head low. “I thought we were outside.”
Hermione smiled weakly. “So did I.”
Ron turned red, handing over her wand. “There you go. I'm sorry I acted like a, well , I won't say the word here, but you know what I mean.”
She shook her head, taking him by the arm. “Please, don't apologise. It's my fault. If I hadn't have been so narrow minded, everything would have been a lot easier. Sometimes I shout when I shouldn't. You may need to learn the lesson of 'thinking before you act' but I need to learn one too, 'not to act like I know everything, when I actually don't.” Ron didn't reply, but his lack of response said a lot. Ashamed, Hermione leant against the door frame, sighing. “What were those things, following? Did anyone see?”
Harry shook his head. “We just had to leave.” Ron, however was silent. They turned to look at him. “Did you notice anything, anything at all?”
“Mate, it didn't, what I mean is.......... I wouldn't worry about it, it was probably a trick of the light.”
Ron had his full attention now. Harry stared, frowning with Hermione. “What did you see? Something we've passed before? Was it the ghosts, another skeleton? What??”
He turned a shade of cream. “It was............... I think I saw...... a Death Eater, but the thing is, it was difficult to tell.”
Harry's terror was masked by his desperation. “What did he look like?”
It took a minute before Ron could come up with an answer. “Well, I couldn't see him properly cause his head was covered with a cloak, but from what I could picture he looked, sort of, dead.”
“Dead?” Hermione intervened, stepping closer to him.
“The cloak was black, but you could see through it. I didn't get his face, but I saw his back as I grabbed Hermione's wand. He tried to snatch at me......................”
Hermione gasped. “What are we going to do? Whoever it was clearly wanted to hurt you, Ron........ but why you? Isn't Harry usually the one who people want dead? Sorry,” she quickly apologised.
He shrugged. “I'm used to it. The skeletons are the more worrying thing, aren't they?” Harry pressed. “I mean, where did they come from? Do you think they really live here or someone planted...........”
“I don't think you'll want to know this, Harry,” Hermione began furtively, sitting down and putting her head in her hands. “ ......... but I have to tell you.” She took a deep breath, frowning into blackness. “Those creatures must be people that the Faceless Death Eater has killed. I have a feeling we've been set up. We're in terrible danger, and those trapped souls were in the bodies of those skeletons.”
Ron shivered. “Makes you wonder why this isn't a holiday resort,” he said sarcastically. “ - and through this room, we have a thousand ghosts just waiting to pull your eyes out.”
Despite everything, Harry snickered then straightened up again. “Alright. The way I see it we have two things to do. One, help Malfoy out of the pendant. I know he's stuck in there, I just don't know how. Two, escape. Oh and three, discover who actually lives here because I have a feeling those people you put trust in, Hermione.............. I don't think they were people.”
Hermione looked ashamed once more. “I am so sorry, about all of this.”
Ron waved a hand. “Don't be daft, it's our fault too.”
The pendant glowed in Harry's hands, and a terrible wailing emitted from the middle. Wondering what was going on, they bent close to the item. Words couldbe heard, nonsense sentences, tangents, ramblings............... but nothing Harry could define. To anyone else, it would seem as though a monster had at that second posessed a tongue and was trying out the feel of it, but the three Gryffindors knew that this was not the case.
“What's he saying? Is it a cry for help?” Ron asked stupidly. Harry and Hermione didn't say anything. “What?” He looked at them. “If he's really stuck, why can't we just leave him there? Save us a lot of hassle. Don't you think?”
“This isn't you,” Harry said, walking around in circles. “I mean, it is you, but normally you're not that selfish. Maybe the tower is getting a hold of you. You didn't fiddle with those letters on that board, did you?” Silence. “Well, that answers that question.”
Hermione just shook her head. “I'm not surprised. Look, Ronald. I have no shouting left in me, ok, so I am not going to lecture, but you have to let us know. How many did you move?”
He sighed. “Two, three, no, four actually.”
“Four?” They exclaimed.
“Five?” Gasped Hermione.
“You moved FIVE letters??” Harry was about ready to yell.
“Yeah, I tried,” Ron started, choking on the anger that was publicised all over Hermione's face, “to contact my Aunt that died.”
“Why?” Now, even Irate wasn't close to how the witch was sounding. “What could you have possibly thought of achieving? She didn't live here!”
He shrugged. “Might have come down, I don't know............. seems like a spooky tower. Maybe every ghost has a meeting together, from across the country?”
“Oh, yes,” Hermione spat sardonically, “because your first thought when you die is, 'Oh, I could do with a cup of tea, let's go and meet the neighbours.”
“No, that's not what I................”
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