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Chapter 1 : Mrs. Crouch's Gift
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She snickered to herself. Why was she worrying about petty things like catching a cold? Soon enough she would have no thoughts, at least no private thoughts, of her own. The dementors of Azkaban would see to that.
She loosened her cloak, suddenly glad for the rain. Glad for the quiet streets and occasional glimpses of the neighborhood. Her husband Barty Crouch would nudge her if she looked around too much for fear of her being recognized. At these moments, she had to remind herself this was her idea. Her last gift to both her husband and her son. She would give her life to give her son his freedom. Soon enough, Azkaban Prison would be her home.
She felt it long before she could see it. A cold hatred began to consume her. She was angry she had decided to do this. Angry she had felt it her responsibility to give up her last few months of life. Most of all, she was angry that with each step she took, more of her happiness seemed to melt away.
When she finally caught site of Azkaban, all thoughts of happiness and giving had gone. The ghostly gray pillars stretched high into the sky. Large fires, in the guard towers she suspected, lit up the prison walls. Crossing the drawbridge, she tried to imagine what it would look like in the daylight. Would the fires be extinguished? Would the islands of flames scattered in the moat go out? Then, with a dreaded thought, she remembered: daylight never comes to Azkaban.
She vaguely heard her husband announce their arrival to visit their son. She kept her face hidden with her cloak. She knew the dementors couldn’t see her but she had no desire to see them before it was time.
She longed to cover her ears, but didn’t want to chance it. Squeals, whimpers, screams and cries came from so many places you couldn’t even determine their direction.
Sinking into a chair between her husband and son, she tried to focus on their hushed conversation. How could they hear each other over the horrible noises? She couldn’t concentrate. She could barely breathe as the world of Azkaban closed in on her. They made her drink something. It tasted horrible. She hazily thought it had a name. PolyJuice. No. That couldn’t be right. What a silly name. She had to think harder.
Suddenly, she felt a brush of lips on hers. Then a hug and another kiss on the cheek. Who were these people? She struggled to remember but very few words came to mind.
The strangers that she somehow thought she should know were talking to her again. They were leaving. Forever.
Good, she thought silently. Now I can try and concentrate on what I was doing. What was I doing? Oh, yes. Looking for something.
She walked into the hallway of her new home. Hysterical laughter followed her down the corridor.
“Don’t I know you?” the man asked, his maniacal laughter continuing. “Lost something have you?”
“My gift.” She answered.
The laughter erupted again and others soon joined in. But she was already searching, her eyes closed in concentration as she tried to remember.
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