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Chapter 14 : Arrested
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Laughter. He had no clue as to where he was, or even who he was for that matter, but he was safe. Safe... if felt like such a foreign word to him, and tasted strange upon his tongue. Was he ever safe?
There were people everywhere, most walking briskly this way or that, some pushing carts of luggage, others huddled in tight groups chatting and gossping freely. The robes some were dressed in did not seem odd at all, but the others... the muggles' clothes... he felt like he'd stepped back in time a century.
“Right through there, honey,” a middle aged woman with deep set, weighted eyes pointed straight at a large, brick pillar. The smile on her lips seemed both happy and yet still hesitant. He did not know who this woman was, but at the same time he still recognized her from somewhere, and more than that, he felt a close connection to her.
He glanced over his shoulder to a wide pillar identical to the one he'd just been staring at. These too both looked familiar and yet foreign. “Platform Nine,” a posted sign read against it. He turned back ahead to another, still identical pillar just beyond. “Platform Ten.”
An understanding settled on him. Suddenly he knew where he was. He been here many times before, but at the same time, it was also his first. An overwhelming sense of urgency and excitement swept through him, but then, the emotion was not his own.
Setting his eyes on the unmarked pillar, he felt himself surge forward at a quickened but steadied pace right for it. He was going to hit it! He flinched – blackness.
And then he felt himself pinched and pulled, tossed in all directions. Things were changing again.
Finally, he landed on his feet. He was in a wand shop. His hand, by no control of his own, sat his wand out on the counter before the other, elder wizard. This wizard he was sure he did not know.
Fear and doubt engulfed him as the elderly shop keeper lifted it and studied it carefully behind a thick set of spectacles. He watched uneasily as a wide, eerie grin spread across the wizard's lips. It was true, he knew it before the man even spoke, but then he'd always known.
“I'll give ya a hundred Galleons for it, boy,” the wizard offered with a crooked, eerie smile, hoping the boy would be gullible enough to accept the offer. He was not so gullible, but he'd come here for a reason.
“It's yours. I don't want it,” he felt himself speak. He needed the money to care of his family. They'd lost nearly everything in that humiliating debacle with his father, and he was glad to be rid of its burden.
A deep, black fog began to sweep in, consuming them both like a rising storm. He was frozen to the spot. The silhouette of the wizard moved forward through the shadow, and then it was upon him and he stared face to face with a shrieking corpse, it's cheeks eaten away, giving it that unnatural appearance of a smiling demon. His throat burned to scream, but he'd no sooner fallen back than its talon like fingers came flying at him and sank into his chest.
“Hughhh!” Harry sucked in a raspy lung full of stank, stale air as the icy water from the bucket crashed over him. He started coughing and spluttering, shaking with cold. What in the bloody hell?! He heard voices shouting, but in a tongue he could not understand. They were followed by a sharp slap to his face, awakening the last of his dull senses.
“Good you to join us,” a mocking voice rang in is ears. It was of broken, uneasy English, but at least he could comprehend it.
Harry's sight slowly returned and squinting up past the dim light, he found himself sitting within a small, dank room with a single lamp hanging from overhead. His vision was blurred, he was without his glasses, but he could still make out a large, brute of a man standing in front of him. Behind him there was a wooden table where two additional men sat. He noticed their notepads and pencils readied at hand. And lastly, a tape recorder. The one on the right hit a button, setting it into motion. Muggles...
Smack! The large man before him struck Harry across the face with an open palm. Harry tried to stand, but was alarmed to find himself restrained to the chair in which he was sat. He glanced to his wrists, finding either of them cuffed to the arms of the chair.
“Wha... what's going on?!” Harry found it hard to find his voice. He struggled, but it was pointless and his body ached in protest. He felt like he had been run over by a freight train.
The man before him grinned with a devilish smile as he leered down upon his prey.
“What is name?!” the man demanded of him with a deep, Indian accent.
“Where am I?!” Harry fought at his bounds, his strength slowly coming to him.
“Unghh!” Harry grunted as the man smashed his fist into Harry's stomach, robbing him of all the air he'd only just regained. Harry bent in the chair, coughing and wheezing and gasping, desperately trying for refill his lungs.
“Let him speak, Raj!” one of the men sitting behind the table commanded. They were all shoddily dressed in some sort of uniforms, but this man perhaps a little better so. The one in charge.
The one called Raj grabbed Harry roughly by the hair and bent his face upwards towards his. “Answer me!” he spat in Harry's face.
Having only just come to, Harry was confounded. What in the name of Merlin was going on?! His mind raced back, recalling all that he could remember.
He remembered telling his and Hermione's story to her parents. Giving them the potion. Leaving them in their room. With a start of adrenaline, he remembered the old man fishing in the ocean. His pouch. The chase. The fight. And then nothing but blackness.
“I... I...” Harry fumbled, shaking his head back and forth in confusion. Why was he here? How did he get here?
Raj crashed another powerful fist into Harry's stomach with a loud thud, sending Harry wrenching, but Raj would not let go his grip on his hair.
“I give you one more chance, white boy, then beat you to pulp!” Raj threatened with gritted, yellow teeth. Harry did not doubt him, the man was a giant.
“Ja... James! JamesSmith” Harry coughed, unwilling to give these savages his real name. And then just like that, Raj let him go. Harry fell forward in Raj's wake until his restraints caught him, still coughing and gasping. Raj stood back, looking to the one who spoke from the table for his next instruction.
“Where... where am I?” Harry finally asked, able to lift his head enough to see the three watching him. All three of the men smiled like they were witnessing an amusing skit.
“Mister James Smith, if that is your real name, you are in the Kolkata City Jail,” the man in charge said with a sneer. “You are under arrest.”
“Arrest..? Jail?!” Harry groaned, still panting. “For what?!”
“Where are your papers, Mr James?” the man at the table ignored his question.
“Papers?” Harry could not understand a thing.
“Your identification papers. You carried nothing on you and you are a foreigner here, yes?”
What was happening? What was this?
When Harry did not answer, the man nodded to Raj, who promptly slammed his fist into Harry's jaw, nearly sending him, chair and all tumbling over.
“Aagghh!” Harry grunted as he screwed his face with pain. The taste of copper flooded his mouth. He coughed, spitting out a mouthful of blood to his side.
“Perhaps I should make something clear, Mr James. You are under arrest for murder, a terrorist attack, and being in this country illegally. You have no identifying papers and we have been unable to find trace nor record of you. If I were you, I would start talking, Mr James, or you are in for a lot of trouble!” he hissed with venom.
Murder? Terrorism? Harry could not make sense of anything. Raj was glad to start working him over again.
. . . .
Who could say how long he was out. When he finally did come to, he was still in the small, dank room, restrained to the chair, and alone. His face was bruised and hurt like hell. His left eye was swollen shut. His lip was fat and split and all he could taste was blood. A sharp jolt of pain coursed through his ribs with every breath he tried to take.
Harry spat, marking the floor red. His mind reeled through what consciousness he could gather, but nothing came. Nothing made sense. Try all he may, he could not remember how he'd gotten here. He could only see those murderous eyes of Bart, laying bent upon the sidewalk with Harry's pouch clenched in his fist.
My pouch... How had Bart known of it? Where was it now? A sense of panic coursed through Harry. Everything was in his pouch. It was in his pouch.
They left Harry like this for hours, leaving him to torment in his solace. Finally, the loud cringing of the doors hinges awoke Harry from his latest slumber. This time it was only the single man who had been questioning him earlier that returned. He took a seat opposite Harry at the table. He hit a button on the recording machine, but still he only sat there studying Harry.
“What are you doing in India?” the man finally began, his words short and to the point.
Further Silence. Harry had no answer. 'I followed a wizard through a worm hole in Australia and was dumped out here,' Harry mocked to himself, the slightest of smiles forming on his torn lips. His interrogator was not amused.
“Who was man you kill?”
He died then? 'Of course he did,' Harry thought as he pictured the old wizard's broken and twisted body. Again, he had no answer as grief consumed him. I killed him.
“Must I bring Raj back in here?” the man raised a brow at Harry.
Harry sighed, leaning back in his chair. He had not the energy to even try to think of some clever excuse.
“You cause great deal of mayhem, Mr James. A man was killed. People's property destroyed. There are those who would like to string you up right now. I suggest you start give me answers.”
Harry was stone faced and grim. He had killed a man. And for what? He wished he had something to say.
“Tell me what happen,” his interrogator still tried.
Harry searched, but nothing came. Nothing. His brain felt empty. What could he say, 'I'm a wizard, not a terrorist.' The man tried to steal my pouch, so I hunted him down and killed him?' No... he had not meant to kill him. His pouch, what Harry held inside it... he could let no man take it. But it was gone now anyways.
“You hang!” the man slammed his fist down onto the feeble table, rattling the recorder.
Something snapped in Harry. At first it was deep and wrenching, twisting his gut into knots. The realization dawned on him like some epiphany. The massive guilt gave way to a startling laughter. It came as a chuckle at first, but deepened with each convulse of his bound body until it became outright bellicose, as if he had gone mad. He was Harry Potter. He had stood before the most powerful wizard ever to live and he had won. And now here he was, at the hands of muggles, he would die. He had fulfilled his mission in life. Now, he would die.
His ward became enraged.
. . . .
For three days the interrogations went on, but there was nothing Harry could offer them. And each and every day, of every hour and of every minute of every day, Harry kept his eyes on the door to his cell, waiting for some witch or wizard to come walking in.
It was not as if he were pleading for help, groveling for some rescue, but simply as if it were expected. He and Bart had had an outright duel on a street filled with muggles. In England, the Ministry would have been all over the scene. Surely someone would come, wipe these muggles' minds clean and take Harry for a proper interrogation, like all those he'd already had in the basement of the Ministry before. But none came.
And Harry took a beating. Day after day, the man asked him questions Harry could give no answers to, and day after day Raj beat Harry an inch from his life, until one day Harry woke up in a gurney within some run down infirmary. The interrogations were over.
The first thing Harry saw was some young, male nurse in scrubs cleaning his wounds and changing his bandages. The man was Indian, he hadn't gotten far.
“Where...” it took Harry all he had to gather the words. “Where am I?” he rasped.
It was now their turn to ignore him. The nurse offered no response.
“Please...” the words burned at his sore throat. “Just... where am I?”
“Dahkal Prison,” the nurse said without emotion, going on about his work.
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