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Chapter 1 : Soap, Mirror, Hairbrush, Doll
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“This is like taking us to the loony bin section of St Mungo's to ask for answers on You-Know-Who,” Dorian, who had been silently muttering to himself all along, finally spoke up. Then, after some thought, he added, “No, actually taking us to the loony bin might have been better.”
Kingsley gave a noncommittal grunt, Dorian had been the one who had been more vocal on their reluctance to take up the Azkaban Project, he argued loudly and all night with Bagnold that Kingsley feared that he might have gotten sacked had he continued. But who could blame him? His own brother had just been arrested for Death Eater activity and now, Dorian was under pressure from his family for his betrayal- they did not understand why he fought the war on the side of the enemy, why he could not defend his brother and all that was pure. Now, part of his job had become going back and forth to the very place his own flesh and blood had been sent to rot.
“So, been burned out of the family tree yet?” Kingsley asked jokingly, trying to brighten up the mood.
Dorian sighed, “Not sure, mother thinks I’ll turn round and come back to my senses,” the young man ran a hand through his dark hair, “so I must still be on it…but sooner or later…”
“And Maya?” Kingsley asked.
“They will never find out,” Dorian whispered, his eyes darkening, “you know what they would do to her…and Dean.”
Kingsley nodded slowly, Dorian had fallen in love and married Maya Costa over a year ago, and a few months ago, they brought into the world a son they named Dean. Now, for any family this would have been something to have been proud of but Dorian hid both his wife and his son from his family protectively. Why? Maya Costa was not a muggleborn, she was worse, a muggle. He, Dorian Rosier had fallen in love and married a muggle and he knew that his family would kill them within the blink on an eye had they found out. He planned to leave the country, possibly flee to a distant part of the world before any of this could happen and he planned to do it soon. But that was until the minister appointed he and Kingsley this task and now, he was set back, forced to protect his family by Fidelus Charm for that was the only way they would be safe during the war. He had told Kingsley all this of course, and that was why the latter could not help but feel sorry for his friend.
They were an odd pair those two, Dorian and Kingsley; Slytherin, whose wealthy family radically promoted blood purity and Gryffindor, whose family, though pureblood, had little money and were condemned for bearing no loyalties and living among muggles. Yet, Kingsley and Dorian had been best friends since Hogwarts, despite being in different houses and despite what their families thought of each other.
The little boat hit something and they knew that they had reached Lighthouse Island, the two wizards got out and climbed the rock staircase that appeared as soon as the boat docked. The stars were steep and winding and with the wind beating against their robes, Kingsley was sure that he might have lost his balance. Dorian reached the red door first, gripping the handle, he pushed it open and led the way, the entrance was dark, but not for long as the wizard flicked on the lamps as he walked ahead. There were cobwebs and dust and the little round room bore the smell of wet dog.
“Well, I guess we’d better start with clean up,” Dorian muttered.
Raising their wands, they waved the enchanted twigs around the room and slowly, everything started to put itself back in order, broken chairs fixed themselves, cobwebs disappeared, the dust was gone and the boxes and boxes that contained rolls of parchment were now in a neat row by the corner.
“Looks like the last people to have been in here must have had a duel before leaving,” Kingsley laughed as they finished up the rest. He took off his cloak and hung it on the wiry old cloak hanger in the corner, after rolling up his sleeves, he walked to one of the desks and sat down, taking out his quill, eager to get to work and finish what they had to do that night. Dorian joined him and together, they started to go through the prisoner files, trying to see which would be useful to them and who they would start with. In the distance, there was a roll of thunder and a few moments later, Kingsley could hear the soft patter of rain on the high roof, he sighed as he picked up another sheaf of parchment, this was going to be a long night.
Kingsley woke up with a start, he thought he had heard someone whisper something. Looking around, he saw that they were still in the tiny round room, with parchment scattered all around them, they somehow must have drifted off while still working on the records. The rain was now pounding heavily on the roof and from the window, Kingsley could see and hear the waves as they splashed against the rock. Checking his muggle watch, he saw that it was 3am- always believed to be an odd time to wake up in the Wizarding World. It was believed that anyone who woke up at exactly 3am was either in grave danger, or had had some contact with the world of the dead. Kingsley knew that it was just some old hag’s tale, but he could not help but feel a little chill run down his spine.
“Lumos,” he flicked his wand on and looked around, the candles had burned out and only one remained dimly flickering in the corner. Dorian was opposite him, asleep, his head supported by his hands as he lay face down on the desk, his usually neat dark hair dishevelled. Kingsley directed his wand light to the tiny staircase that stood dear the window, both had ignored it all this while and had not bothered to look up into the tower of the lighthouse. There was a flash of lightning and a deafening peal of thunder, Dorian twitched slightly, but did not wake up, Kingsley got up and headed for the staircase, as if trying an experiment, he tentatively put his right foot on the wooden surface of the first step and took a deep breath. What if there was something at the topmost room he did not want to see? But again, what if there was nothing but dust and cobwebs? He looked back at his slumbering friend and wondered whether to wake him, deciding against it, he shook his head and slowly made his way up the winding stairs. With each step he took, more courage flooded his body and soon, he was walking surely on the creaky stairs. Then suddenly, something to his left moved, it was a swift movement, but Kingsley saw it, pointing his wand at the place, he saw that there was only the dull grey stone wall. He looked behind him, hoping that it was Dorian who must have woken and followed him, but still, there was no one. Taking a deep breath, he concluded that he must have imagined it and carried on with his exploration. The rain seemed to get louder now that he neared the top, the landing was a tiny space and Kingsley could see a little wooden door at the end. The brass handle seemed to be moving, shaking as if someone was trying to open it, wand leading the way, Kingsley touched the cool metal and pushed the door open half expecting to fight whatever was on the other side.
Disappointment washed over him at the anti-climax he just had, inside the little round room was nothing but a lone window and wood panelled floors, but what he found odd in here was that unlike the ground floor where everything was strewn apart, the little room was spotless. The floors were clean, gleaming even, and the window had no trace of any grime or dirt, the white curtain that partly covered it looked like it had just gotten out of the wash and the little table near the window had some things on it, neatly arranged. Kingsley slowly walked towards the table and found on it a bar of soap, a little marionette on a music box, a jewel encrusted mirror and a hairbrush which, when he took a closer look, had a few golden strands of hair on it. Kingsley stretched out his arm to touch the brush when the things on the table started to vibrate, just like the way the door handle did when he approached it, they shook with an increasing force and soon, the table started to shake as well, the vibrations stretched to Kingsley’s ears in form of a piercing, almost static sound. The room started to spin and Kingsley tried to block the sound by putting his hands over his ears but to no avail, then suddenly, a shrill voice cried,
Kingsley opened his eyes and found himself back at the desk, quill in one hand and in the middle of picking up another roll of parchment. Dorian, who was opposite him, looked at him quizzically.
“How…” Kingsley trailed off as he looked around, just a few seconds ago he was in the tower and now, here he was. How was that even possible?
“Kingsley,” his friend looked at him through his hooded eyes, “are you okay?”
“No…no,” Kingsley stood up, “something’s not right here…I…we were asleep, the both of us, I woke up and left you here and walked up to the tower…something’s not right.”
“What do you mean?” Dorian asked, “We’ve been here the whole time, you’ve actually been covering more work than me…you haven’t gone anywhere.”
“No…no I went up to that tower, I know it!”
“So…you’re saying you had a time lapse?” Dorian asked, “You know that’s just a theory…the only way you can experience time change is with a Time Turner…”
“I don’t know what I’m saying…I don’t even know what to think anymore!”
“Okay, first, calm down,” Dorian said calmly, “I know that we’re on an island alone and there’s dementors not far off from where we are…you must have just phased out and imagined it all for a second.”
“Are you calling me mental?”
“I am not-”
“Okay, up that staircase is a room,” Kingsley pointed at the stairs, “brown door, made of oak, brass handle and the inside…it was spotless, not like down here…okay, come with me…”
“Kings-” Dorian sighed resignedly as he followed his friend up the stairs.
They reached the door and Kingsley pointed, “You see? Inside there’s a table with a hairbrush, some soap, a mirror and one of those figurine dolls standing on a music box.”
He opened the door to walk in but stopped in his tracks to look at the state of the room. Unlike when he saw it, it was as torn apart as the bottom room they were working in, the floorboards were coming out, the white curtain was torn and a thick layer of cobwebs graced the window. Kingsley sighed in shock as he slowly walked in, his friend walking ahead of his shrugged and looked around.
“Looks like this one needs clean up too eh?” he laughed, looking back at Kingsley, he said, “You see, you must have just phased out.”
Kingsley drew in a deep breath and looked around, in a way, he was half glad that they found nothing, that it was something he had merely imagined. Nodding, he shrugged and said, “Yeah…I guess so. Anyway, sorry for wasting our time, let’s go back to work now,” he turned back to walk out of the door when Dorian stopped him.
“Kingsley,” he said quietly.
“What is it?” Kingsley turned around to face the man who was now by the dusty old table.
“What is it you said you saw in your…?” he asked, referring to what Kingsley had told him, “you know…on the table.”
“A mirror, a doll on a music box, a hairbrush and a bar of soap,” Kingsley replied.
“Well then,” Dorian could only point at the table.
Kingsley drew closer and once he saw what his friend was looking at, the buzzing in his ears returned. There on the table lay a jewel encrusted mirror, a bar of soap, a marionette on a music box and a hairbrush.
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