Chapter 3 : The Zombie Queen
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The Zombie Queen
Chapter image by LovlyRita (That's me!)
The back alleys of London always seemed dingy and unsafe, but that didn’t stop the young beggar from standing his normal post on the street corner. He prayed each night that someone might spare him a few pence, maybe even a pound or two, if he was lucky. After a few days of saving, he’d head down to the shop to get a loaf of bread and some cheese for himself and his sister. It was the way his life had been ever since his mother had been busted for drugs and his father had died from an overdose. Instead of being taken by social services to find a foster family, he and his sister had gone on the run. He was only seventeen years old, but he had grand plans to get a job and maybe even get back to school somehow... or at least get his sister to school. She deserved that much at least.
Despite the recent arrival of spring, the frigid air sent a chill through his bones. He blinked a few times, trying to keep the familiar stabs of fatigue at bay. It was easy to grow tired with the unending monotony of begging for spare change. If he stood too long, sometimes the people meandering by would all start to look the same, blurs of well-to-do women with expensive handbags and upturned noses, and men in black suits with silk ties and extramarital affairs on their minds. It was all the same mundane routine, and yet his pockets remained woefully empty.
Suddenly, he heard a scrape from behind, and he turned quickly. A figure was making its way down the alleyway. It was a male, completely naked, and his gait pattern was oddly broken up and halted.
“Erm...sir? Sir?” The beggar had an extremely uneasy feeling about the man, but something seemed to draw him in. He felt completely rooted to his spot, unable to tear his gaze away from the horribly disfigured, pockmarked arms. As the man grew ever closer, he could hear a low rumble in his throat, and the scraping noises of his feet began to grate on his nerves. It became increasingly obvious that the stranger was not in his right mind.
“Sir... you’ll want to cover up. The-the police around here are... are pretty hard on... erm... criminals...” the beggar trailed off. The stranger passed through a street lamp just then, and a hazy yellow light cast a glow across the face. His eyes were coal black with no iris, and his mouth hung at an odd angle. The beggar noted a scar above his eye in the shape of a lightning bolt.
Finally, the boy found his legs, the connections between synapses firing frantically, sending the signal that danger was approaching. But he had waited too long. Despite the fact that the stranger had moved slowly and clumsily, he snapped to some sort of attention and lunged gracefully like a jungle cat. The beggar never had a chance.
As the zombie struck his fourth victim of the night, it was quite apparent that he was no longer hidden by the shadows. The people who had been passing by had stopped, gripped by terror and yet also strangely drawn to this creature, as though someone had tied their feet to the well worn concrete. The street corner filled with high pitched screams.
“GINNY!” Hermione pounded on the windows of the Potter’s house. “OPEN UP, PLEASE!”
Neville whispered quietly, “The door’s opening...” A red head popped her head out from behind the glass.
“What do you want, Aunt Hermione? It’s nearly 2 AM!” Lily Potter exclaimed. “Come in.”
“I need to speak with your mother immediately,” Hermione pressed, passing her niece in her race to get inside the house.
The dark sitting room did little to unsettle Hermione, as she rushed to the back of the house and knocked on the large door that used to belong to two.
“Ginny! Ginny, please! Open the door!” She heard some rustling behind the door, and decided not to wait for her sister-in-law.
“Hermione! Merlin! What do you want? It’s the middle of the night!” Ginny spat, trying to cover herself in a robe.
“Ginny, I’ve done something terrible and you might be in danger, and...I need to get you and the kids to safety.”
“What? You’ve done something? Is... everyone ok?”
“I’ll explain later, I just need to get you to safety. Come on.”
“I can’t just... leave,” Ginny said quietly, as she stood from her bed.
“I have reason to believe that there might be a... creature... that might try to come here and... possibly... harm you. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t want to take any chances. I have... no idea what this... creature is capable of.”
“Why would he come after me? What is all this about?” Ginny frowned deeply, and Hermione could instantly see the toll that Harry’s death had taken on her inexplicably youthful features. Ginny Weasley finally looked her age.
“No time to explain. Come on!”
Lily’s sudden scream sent shivers up Hermione’s spine. It had happened... he was already there.
“No!” she yelled, leaving a confused Ginny standing her room, her mouth agape. The hallway was so black, Hermione hit her hand on the door frame and swore loudly as she illuminated the tip of her wand and ran.
“Lily! Are you ok?”
“I-I’m fine,” she stuttered. “Neville just scared me... I didn’t even know he was here.” Neville sheepishly grinned at Hermione. He was standing in the middle of the living room, mud covering his shoes.
“I stayed outside. She saw me and... I reacted poorly.”
“Why were you just randomly standing outside? That’s weird,” Lily put in, rolling her eyes in typical teenage fashion.
Hermione felt her heart beat wildly against her chest as she lowered her wand.
“You scared me half to death. Neville... get Albus and James up.”
“James isn’t here. He didn’t come home last night...” Lily said simply, before taking a seat on the couch.
“What the hell is going on out here?” Albus stood in red flannel pants and no shirt, his hair just as unruly as his father’s had been.
“Albus! Language!” His mother appeared behind him and tapped him on the head in warning.
“We have to go. There is a creature loose, and he might come here, and we need to go now!”
“Nobody is going anywhere. Hermione, you’re stressed, so am I. I think you’ve been working at the ministry for too long now. The funeral is tomorrow; can we at least get through that? I’m so damned tired... I just want to sleep...” her voice broke and carried off, and Hermione recognized the familiar sheen in Ginny’s eyes.
“Oh God, not again,” Albus complained, turning to stalk off.
“Ginny, please, listen to me. I am telling you the honest truth, I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think it was a legitimate threat. Neville can back me up here, can’t you, Neville?”
Ginny’s tearful gaze switched sharply to Neville. The three of them had been friends since their days at Hogwarts, going from sharing class notes and battling Voldemort and the Death Eaters to sharing summer barbecues and loaning the children out for sleepovers. Hermione has never seen fear in Neville’s eyes before, not really. He truly belonged in Gryffindor, the house that nurtured him into the man that stood before her. But on this night, Neville’s face was dark, and Hermione noted the deep bags that had formed under his eyes, in less than three hours time.
“Ginny, what Hermione says is true. There’s a creature that is on the loose, and there is a credible chance that he might end up here.”
“What kind of creature? Centaur? Troll? Crazy unicorns with lazy eyes? Do you realize how ridiculous you sound? My husband’s funeral is tomorrow, and I can’t deal with this right now. Lily, Albus, go back to bed. Hermione, we will see you tomorrow at the service.”
“No.” Neville’s voice was clear and authoritative. “Ginny, you are being ridiculous. I’ve spent my life teaching and protecting children, and I’m not going to have you put your children’s life in danger because of your grief. Now you don’t have to come with us, that’s fine. But we are not going to leave Albus and Lily here. Not while there is a threat.”
“You won’t even tell me what it is!”
“Mum...maybe we should listen to them.” Lily’s voice was small and shaky, and Hermione noted the fear written there.
“We’re wasting time. Either you are coming, or you’re not.”
Ginny’s eyes darted wildly from her children to her captors.
“What is the matter with you? When Ron died, we did everything... everything to help you. Why are you not extending me the same courtesy? You will not take my children, we are not leaving, and that is the end of it.”
Hermione heard it first. The scraping noise outside was louder than she’d remembered it.
“What’s that?” Lily asked, glancing toward the window.
“Shit! We have to go, NOW!”
Scratches began emanating from the outside of the door, yet Ginny stood transfixed, staring at the door handle as it turned. The noise was a low hum, and Hermione instantly recognized what was happening.
“There are more of them. And there are some types of magical powers they still have control of.”
“Aunt Hermione!” Lily screamed and got up from the couch as the front window shattered into the living room, sending shards spilling onto the floor.
“Come on, grab my hand,” Neville instructed, pulling Lily over towards her brother.
“Harry...” She said in a distant voice. Hermione’s gaze shot to the door and there, stumbling through, was her husband, now clothed in a black suit and silk tie. Blood was drizzled around the fabric.
“No! Ginny, PLEASE!.”
“Harry... what’s happened to you...?” Ginny seemed ignorant of all of the other things happening in the room, her eyes transfixed on Harry broken body. A small army had formed around him now, zombies that Hermione didn’t recognize.
“Avada Kedavra!” Neville called, his wand shakily pointed at Harry. Nothing. Nothing but a whisp of smoke emanated from the end of the wand.
“You have to mean it Neville,” Hermione urged, as though they were sitting back in the classroom at Hogwarts.
“I did mean it! I want to kill this bloody bastard!”
“Dad?” Lily’s voice was small.
“Get them OUT of here!” Hermione shrieked. “Albus, take Lily and go!”
The zombies began lunging forward toward the family, and Neville grabbed the children and disapparated away. Hermione grabbed her wand and lit the tip so it was hot as fire. She grabbed Ginny’s arm, but it was nothing more than a cold, stony mass. It was as though there was a magical force field drawing Ginny toward certain death. Hermione pulled on her arm as one of the zombies zoned in on her.
Hermione quickly sliced the air with her wand, hitting the zombie at the elbow. The dead arm fell off and smacked the floor, where it reanimated itself and started crawling around blindly. A small shock of victory shot through her and she swiped again, aiming for the neck. The zombie fell, headless, to the floor.
“Yes!” She exclaimed. She turned to see Ginny and met her eyes at the last second before Harry closed in on her.
“GINNY!” She screamed for the last time. Another group of Zombies began to close in on Hermione and she ran to the back of the house to disapparate away.
The zombie king had found his queen.
A/N: Well there you have it! I need to thank some people again! First of all, to my beta AccioHPFF Because I apparently have a distaste for questions marks which I was unaware of. That's why he is bad ass. :p
To Giola my partner in crime for being the only person to review the second chapter! Woot!
Also, please don't think that I think my chapter image is an amazing work of art (even though clearly it is). I know that the great people of TDA make amazing graphics and I should be so lucky to have one. However, the banner (by the AMAZING AccioHPFF) and the Chapter images kind of play in with the theme of this story so I thought it would be fun to keep them up. Except for the gorgeous CI in my first chapter (by Mihali1432) which fits so perfectly it's staying up forever!
Please take some time to review. :)
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