Along Came a Spider…
“Sugar-ugh! Does anyone else reckon that we’re too good to
Hagrid?” Ron grimaced, pulling his foot out of yet another ditch with a squelching
noise. Hermione fiddled with the dragonhide leash in her hands. Looking around
the clump of trees, she began to look anxious.
“He can’t have got too far,” she assured herself, stalking
ahead of Harry, who was pointing his wand about feebly.
“Hermione,” he said with a heavy sigh, “I think it’s safe to
say we’ve lost him.” He looked around then groaned, dropping his wand-hand to
his side. “And I think it’s safe to say we’ve lost ourselves, too.”
Ron, who was looking in horror at the gloop that was hanging
stubbornly under his trainer, looked up.
“Please tell me you’re joking,” he said aghast,
“because there is no way I’m sleeping anywhere near a bunch of
fifty foot spiders!”
“Oh, honestly, Ron!” Hermione said sharply, turning to look
reprovingly at him. “Don’t be ridiculous! You know it says perfectly well in Fantastic
Beasts and Where to Find Them that the Acromantula can only reach up to
fifteen feet in leg span--”
“And why would I know that?” Ron demanded grouchily,
stamping his foot back on the ground with another wet squelch. “Not everyone memorises
the whole library like you do. Besides, I know all I want to about those
monsters for a lifetime, thanks!” Hermione glared at him.
“Just because you aren’t fond of them, Ron, it doesn’t mean
they’re monsters! In fact, their history is fascinating--”
“Hermione, they tried to eat me!”
Hermione waved her hand as though this was an easy mistake
before calling out, “Sugarplum!” and disappearing into some bushes.
Ron turned incredulously to Harry.
“I can’t believe her sometimes! It’s like spew all over
again! What, does she think they’re overgrown crabs or something? What’s next –
S.H.E.L.L? Society Helping Eight Legged Lobsters?” Harry couldn’t help but
smile at this.
“Come on,” he said, traipsing his way after Hermione.
Following a bad-tempered grunt from Ron, they waded their way through sharp
twigs and wayward bushes. Sore and with leaves sticking from their hair, they
found nothing but more trees. Tree after tree yet no sign of Hermione anywhere.
Ron looked around warily.
“Uh… Hermione?” he said, beginning to feel guilty he had
yelled at her.
“She can’t have just disappeared like that,” said Harry,
feeling uneasy. “She was only here a minute ago…”
There was sudden purring noise from behind them. Both Ron
and Harry jumped.
“You don’t think she’s being eaten by a Kneazel, do you?”
Ron whispered frantically. Harry was about to reply how absurd that was but…
this was the Forbidden Forest. Maybe Hermione was being devoured
by something on the other side of that hedge…
He swiftly lifted up his wand arm and could hear Ron doing
the same behind him.
“On the count of three, ok?” Harry said, sounding braver
than he felt. “And be ready for anything. All right… one… two… three-- Reducto!”
Two beams of light exploded out of their wands, hitting the
thick foliage with a blast that created a sizzling hole.
Jumping through, Harry managed to trip his way over while
the end of Ron’s robes almost caught fire. Both boys eventually landed on the
other side though, their wands before them, breathing heavily, the remains of
battling bushes in their hair, ready for a duel…
"What on earth are you two doing?"
It was Hermione. She was standing near the back of the
clearing and was looking at them like they had lost their minds. Harry slowly
lowered his wand sheepishly as Ron scowled, pocketing his own irritably at her
lack of gratitude. She shook her head at them as she carried on, “Anyway, look
who I found!” There was a fluffy custard-coloured ball humming contentedly in
“Wouldn’t happen to be Sugarplum, would it?” Ron asked
sarcastically. The puffskein cooed happily at him in response. Hermione sniffed
haughtily at the redhead before she properly took in his appearance. Her eyes
“Ron, your hair!”
“Yeah, about as messy as Harry’s now. Sorry, mate,” he added
on seeing the glare Harry threw at him.
“No,” Hermione gasped, “I mean… Gobbernishank!”
“Bless you,” both boys said simultaneously. Hermione let out
“Oh for heaven’s sake, what do you two do during
“Sleep?” Ron suggested. Hermione sighed.
“It’s an extremely rare plant. African witch doctors
use it to increase the potency of certain potions. I can’t believe we’ve some
growing this deep within the forest…!” Hermione, positively giddy with
excitement, set Sugarplum down and whipped a test-tube from her robes. “Oh Ron!
You’ve some of the root in your hair! Let me just pick it out…”
“Hold still and stop squirmi--!”
Both Ron and Hermione jumped in shock. Turning to where
Harry’s wand was pointing, Ron’s face went white.
It was a three-foot high Acromantula. And Harry’s spell had
bounced right off it.
“Sugarplum!” Hermione cried horror-struck, her test-tube
falling to the floor, the spider approaching the creature from behind.
Ron, unable to move a facial muscle, made an odd noise and
robotically grabbed the back of Hermione’s robes, pulling her back against him.
“Stupefy! Impedimenta…! It’s not working!” yelled
Harry, the spells ricocheting off the hairy black body and into the forest. Even
when all three of them started firing hexes, Ron eventually getting a grip, it
did no good and before they could even stop it, the spider had its legs wrapped
around the small, trembling beast.
None of them expected what happened next.
The sounds of crunching, slurping and lastly, a pleased lick
of the lips echoed and thirty seconds later the remains of the spider lay on
Sugarplum let out a satisfied burp.
The three teenagers looked at him in shock.
Ron moved first, letting go of Hermione awkwardly. Hermione,
noticing her body was still pressed up against Ron’s, blushed as red as he did
and stepped away. Harry pretended not to notice anything. Ducking her face,
Hermione bent down to warily pat the considerably larger Sugarplum, who was
nuzzling against her leg affectionately.
“Well…” said Ron, in a daze.
“What a way to go,” Harry added. At this, Sugarplum coughed
up a pincer, which landed by Ron’s feet.
Ron, looking faintly green, turned back to Hermione.
“You’re carrying him back to Hagrid’s.”