Chapter 1 : Malice
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The rhythmic metallic ticks of the grandfather clock in the sitting room steadily counted the seconds. Kaspar Teufelshunde’s flinty eyes followed each swing of the pendulum with an intensity born of an all-consuming urge to survive. For two and a half years, he had lived on the run. Twenty-eight months and three weeks of constantly moving from one town to the next, avoiding his own kind and taking advantage of the muggles for food and shelter. It sickened him, thinking of the life he’d led. It was shameful, beneath him. But in twenty minutes and forty-five seconds, it was going to be over.
His gaze drifted to the dusty wine bottle sitting on the end table next to his seat. He resisted the urge to cast another revealing spell on it. Six times he’d checked since trading the last of his gold for it. Every time, the answer was the same. An illicit portkey, charmed by a mysterious wizard known only as The Stranger. The scrawny, half-starved house elf who’d delivered it assured him that it would take him back to Bavaria. Kaspar couldn’t decide whether to feel reassured or troubled by the fact that the bony little creature had been scared out its wits. He’d never had much use for elves.
Shaking off his contemplation of the pathetic elf’s prattling, Kaspar swallowed and forced his eyes back to the clock. If the elf had been lying to him, he’d soon know. He would remain stuck in this godforsaken place, penniless and alone. Unless he’d been deceived so thoroughly that it was charmed to take him directly into the clutches of his enemies. His fingers tightened around the grip of his wand. If that was the case, he didn’t plan to die alone. After eight hundred and sixty-two days of hiding among the muggles and their filth, he was more than ready to make his final stand.
It wasn’t supposed to end up like this. When his cousin Emmerich first came to him with word of Britain’s legendary Dark Lord returning, he’d been skeptical. Wizards as powerful as Lord Voldemort didn’t just disappear for fifteen years. But the reports of the Dark Lord’s rebirth kept coming. By the time the British Ministry fell, Kaspar had already made arrangements to join the Death Eaters. What followed had, in all honesty, been a glorious few months. He joined a band of Durmstrang graduates who traveled across northern England, spreading terror in the Dark Lord’s name. They burned, raped and pillaged their way through town after muggle town, even capturing a few fugitive muggle-borns along the way. As word of their exploits spread, they attracted the notice of the Dark Lord’s inner circle. When they were summoned to the ancient wizarding school in Scotland, Kaspar was sure that they were about to receive their marks.
Then it all came crashing down. Lord Voldemort fell before the wand of a half-blood boy. Kaspar had been fighting outside the castle gates when word first reached him. It initially seemed like a desperate ploy on the part of their enemies, but then he encountered one of his fellow Durmstrang alumni fleeing from an Auror and a pair of school children. Together, they disapparated away and sought shelter in Wales. That was how the game of cat and mouse began. After a few weeks, he’d been forced to abandon his companion when the Aurors raided their purloined muggle flat in Cardiff. Leaving had been a major inconvenience. The flat was quiet and comfortable and they’d placed the comely young muggle who lived there under the Imperius Curse. Thinking about it still made Kaspar angry. He’d warned Gustav again and again not to use magic when they stole from the muggles. It was the fool’s own fault that he was now rotting in Azkaban.
Kaspar rose to his feet and started to pace. Soon, gods willing, he’d be back on his native soil. Surely he was wanted there as well, but hiding out among his own people would be far easier. His family and his old friends from Durmstrang would be able to help him. Even if he was caught, the worst the Zaubergericht could try him for was trafficking in cursed objects. And Nurmengard was a damn sight more pleasant than Azkaban.
A knock at the front door sent a chill down Kaspar’s spine. The two muggles lying dead in the cellar had made a point of informing their friends, coworkers and relatives that they would be vacationing in Spain for a week. He’d made sure of that after placing them under the Imperius Curse. The lights were off, the curtains were drawn and the post had been stopped. The house couldn’t have looked less inviting if he’d seeded the front garden with Devil’s Snare. The knock came again, more insistent this time.
Moving silently across the carpet, Kaspar chanced a peek through a small gap in the curtains. A slender young woman was standing at the door, holding a plastic clipboard in her hand. He quickly ducked away from the window as she leaned to the side and tried to look inside. Then she knocked again, loudly. The sound grated on Kaspar’s already frayed nerves and he was starting to worry that perhaps she had some reason to expect the house’s owners to be there. Thirteen minutes and thirty seconds remained. There was no point in taking chances. With a swipe of his wand, he removed the protective enchantments securing the door.
“Hello. My name is Mary Goldsmith and I’m conducting a survey on behalf-”
The young woman’s eyes went blank and her rehearsed spiel died away mid-sentence. With a small turn of his head, Kaspar directed her inside the house. He leaned through the doorway and took a quick glance up and down the street. It was empty, save for a few songbirds in the trees and a small dog lounging on the front steps of the house three doors down. Satisfied that nobody had seen her come in, he closed the door and reapplied the locking charms.
“Hello, fräulein*,” he mumbled mostly to himself, studying the new arrival. Her hair was dyed a rather unsightly shade of orange and the neckline of her tight blouse plunged daringly. A tight, black leather skirt strained against her curvy bottom. Kaspar licked his dry lips. Perhaps thirteen minutes wasn’t such a short amount of time after all. There was no reason not to celebrate his imminent escape with a bit of entertainment. He started to cast a revealing charm, just on the off chance that she wasn’t what she seemed, but there really wasn’t any point. If she was hiding a wand inside that outfit, he’d be damned if he could figure out where.
Kaspar stepped closer and ran his free hand down the curve of her back and over her bum. Mary Goldsmith continued to stand perfectly still, staring vacantly at the far side of the room. He slowly turned her around, enjoying the absolute power he held over her. If he told her to turn, she turned. If he told her to stand, she stood. If he told her to stop breathing, she’d suffocate. Of the three Unforgivable Curses, the Imperius had always been his favorite.
With a quick flick of his wand, he severed the buttons holding her blouse closed. The thin fabric parted, allowing him a better view of her full breasts. He roughly grabbed one, squeezing it through the fabric of her bra. While she was under his control, he couldn’t enjoy the look of fear in her eyes, but under the circumstances he’d make do. Kaspar slid his fingers down her side until they reached the bottom of her skirt and hooked them underneath it. He paused and then sighed. Twelve minutes wasn’t enough time to fully indulge himself. Still...
“On your knees, filthy muggle whore.” He gestured to a spot in front of the chair he’d been sitting in and the young woman obeyed without hesitation. He’d make use of her and then slit her throat with a cutting hex before the portkey activated. No sense leaving any sign that her death was anything more than a random act of non-magical violence. He undid the buckle of his belt and eased into the chair in front of her. Just as he was about to relax, a voice echoed through the house.
“Kaspar Teufelshunde, this is the Auror Department. By the authority of the Ministry of Magic, we are placing you under arrest for crimes committed during and after the war. Throw your wand through the front door of the house and come out with your hands above your head.”
“Gottverdammt!**” Kaspar sprung out of his chair, pulling his trousers up as he rose. As soon as his belt was cinched, he grabbed the wine bottle and turned on his heel. Nothing happened. He cursed loudly as he set the bottle back on the table. The girl had been a ruse, a distraction to allow the Aurors to set anti-apparition jinxes. Now he was trapped inside them, but he wasn’t about to give up. All he had to do was hold out for eleven minutes.
“On your feet, bitch!” he snapped. As soon as she scrambled up, he wrapped his free hand around the back of her neck and shoved her toward the front window. Carefully keeping her in front of him, he blew out one of the window panes with a hex, then fired a Reductor Curse at a fireplug on the far side of the street. It exploded with a satisfying bang, sending a column of water high into the air. Now they knew that he meant business.
He placed the tip of his wand against his throat and sent his voice booming into the street. “If you try to come inside, the girl dies! You hear me, you boot licking swine? I’ll paint the walls of this house with her blood!”
A full minute of silence passed. Kaspar imagined the Aurors discussing their options, trying to decide what to do next. The fools obviously believed that time was on their side. Little did they know that every passing second brought him closer to his goal. Closer to freedom.
“Don’t do anything stupid, Kaspar!” The Auror’s voice seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. “You’re already going to prison for a long, long time. If you let her go, things will be easier for you.”
Kasper snorted his disdain to nobody in particular. Even if he let the girl go, he was going to spend the rest of his life in Azkaban. Since the British Ministry was now too enlightened to sentence men to be kissed, killing her wouldn’t change his punishment one bit. Still, if they wanted to negotiate, he was only too happy to oblige them. Just another ten minutes.
He waited for as long as he dared, then pressed his wand back to his throat. “I will trade her life for a portkey to Bulgaria. I want your Minister, himself, to deliver it. I want him to make the Unbreakable Vow that I will not be followed!”
Kaspar allowed himself a satisfied smirk. It would take them at least half an hour to relay his demands to the Ministry and get some sort of response. Longer if they waited to get that response from the Minister, himself.
“The Bulgarians have sealed their borders, Kaspar. We’ll get Freya Ormand from International Magical Cooperation here to verify that if you want. They’ll intercept your portkey and send you right back. There’s nowhere left to run.” Kaspar frowned. Assuming the Aurors weren’t bluffing and even the Bulgarians were turning away suspected Death Eaters, things had gotten worse while he’d been on the run. He thought for a second and then pressed his wand back to his throat. Maybe he could throw them even farther off of his trail.
“Enchant the portkey for Somalia, then.” The last he’d heard, Somalia didn’t have a stable government for either its magical or muggle population. It wasn’t like he was going there anyway.
The Auror’s voice once again echoed through the house. “Is that really what you want, Kaspar? To spend the rest of your life on the run, being hunted wherever you go? Give yourself up. Put an end to this.”
The arrogance of the British Ministry and its lackeys was unbelievable. They obviously thought that he was a fool. He’d show them soon enough. By the time they finally worked out what had happened, he’d be long gone and Miss Mary Goldsmith would be lying dead in a pool of her own blood. He fired another reductor curse at the pavement on the far side of the street before amplifying his voice again. “Go to hell, blood traitors! I’m not a fool. Either you bring me my portkey or the girl will die a most gruesome death.”
Two more minutes ticked by. Again, Kaspar imagined the Aurors wringing their hands and fretting over the life of a single, filthy muggle. A grim smile crossed his lips when the Auror’s voice resumed, sounding fairly resigned. “Stay calm, Kaspar. It will take us some time to arrange a portkey. We’re in contact with Mr. Reagan Freethought in the Department of Magical Transportation as we speak.”
Kaspar backed away from the window. The muggle girl stumbled a bit as he pulled her along, keeping her body between himself and the window. Was he supposed to be impressed by the Aurors dropping the name of some self-important Ministry lackey? Once he was safely sheltered behind a solid wall, he grabbed Mary Goldsmith by the hair and smacked her leather-clad bottom with his free hand. “Bring me that bottle, you useless muggle cow.”
He watched her obediently make her way across the room before turning his attention back toward the window. Three more minutes and he would be free. He pondered what sort of mess he wanted to leave behind for the Aurors. Since they already knew who he was, there wasn’t any need to try to conceal his actions. Perhaps he should sever her head and leave it on the coffee table. Maybe attach her decapitated body to the wall with a sticking charm. She was certainly going to make a beautiful corpse. Images of her naked, flayed body were the last thing on Kaspar’s mind before the heavy wine bottle made contact with the back of his skull.
As he stumbled into the wall, blinded by pain and struggling to remain on his feet, Kaspar flailed his arm around and fired a weak stunning spell that cracked against the far wall. A sharp blow struck his wrist, knocking his wand out of his hand.
“On the floor, you pig!” Kaspar turned and tried to lash out in the direction of the snarling female voice. She side-stepped the brunt of his attack, but he still managed to open up a small space between them. His next swing connected with her face at the same instant that her knee struck him in the groin. As he crumbled to the floor in pain, he saw the woman stumble backward and trip over a table.
Through his clenched eyelids, Kaspar spied a piece of broken glass on the floor in front of him, emitting a faint blue glow. Freedom lay just over an arm’s length away. With all the determination he could muster, Kaspar thrust his body forward, making a desperate grab. His fingers missed the glowing fragment by inches. He curled his knees toward his chest in preparation for one more lunge at the broken portkey. Even if it didn’t take him all the way home, he’d escape to try another day. He sucked down a painful breath and extended his arm. Before he could act, a sharp pain shot through his torso as a pair of bony knees crashed into his ribcage.
“You’re not going anywhere, arsehole!” Mary Goldsmith was on top of him and Kaspar felt her fist strike the side of his aching head. Fighting through the pain, he managed to land a clumsy swat in her midsection, driving her back for a moment, but she snarled and launched herself back at his face. Kaspar couldn’t catch his breath enough to simply shove her away, so he struggled to wrap his hands around her throat while protecting his battered body as best he could from her fists and knees.
Kaspar felt fingernails rake across his face, leaving long, painful welts. As she angled for another slash, he managed to thrust his elbow under her chin. The girl coughed painfully, clutching her bruised throat. He pushed her away and rolled onto his stomach, trying to get his hands underneath his body. A loud crack announced that the protective spells securing the front door had collapsed. The glowing fragment was still lying on the floor and he made a desperate grab for it but a quick swipe of a black boot sent it tumbling out of his reach. It was the last thing Kaspar Teufelshunde saw before a jet of red light struck him in the back and everything went dark.
* fräulein - German for “young lady”
** Gottverdammt - German for “goddamn”
Hello! Welcome to my first new story in... well, probably too long. The story will chronicle the adventures of Harry, Ron and the other former D.A. members who join the Aurors after the war. If people like it and my muse stays on topic, there might be future installments.
If you enjoyed this chapter, kindly take a moment and let me know with a review!
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