The Sugar Quill
Author: TyCelchu  Story: Neville Longbottom and the Boy Who Lived  Chapter: Chap 2 The Cruciatus Curse
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Chapter 2 – The Cruciatus Curse

Chapter 2 – The Cruciatus Curse


The next five months were both satisfying and hectic.  In the wake of Voldemort’s demise it felt like a ray of sunshine was making its way through some very dark clouds.  Christmas came and went, and contained more cheer then the previous ten years combined.  Wizarding shopping centers such as Diagon Alley had all reported a tremendous upswing in business.  Holiday spirit replaced anxious glances, and news of the upcoming Quidditch season knocked Death Eater attacks from the front page of the Daily Prophet.


But as good as the news was, Frank Longbottom was busier then ever.  From tracking down the remains of Voldemort’s inner circle, to differentiating those guilty of crimes from those unfairly accused while being under the Imperius Curse, Frank’s days were packed.  Things had become so hectic at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement that Alice had been recalled on a part-time basis.


“Good Evening, Frank.”  It was Cornelius Fudge.  Fudge had received the credit for the capture of Sirius Black, which quickly ran him up the promotion ladder.  Talk was running rampant that the ambitious Fudge had designs on the position of Minister of Magic.  “Did you get my report dated February 16?”


“Yes, Cornelius, I did.  And it was a shoddy piece of work.  Do you really believe what you wrote?”


“Of course I do!  I examined the three in question and believe them entirely.”


Then I’m afraid I’m going to have to stand against you on this,” Frank said.  “There is no proof that Lucius Malfoy, Walden McNair or Augustus Rookwood, were ever under the Imperius Curse.  We may not yet have solid evidence of their complicity, but I refuse to clear them at this time.  Why are you so keen on clearing them?”


“Oh, no reason,” stammered Fudge weakly.  “Just trying to carry out proper justice in a timely manner, that’s all.”


“We may not convict without evidence, “replied Frank.  “But we don’t clear someone without evidence either, not until all avenues of investigation have been thoroughly exhausted.  The stakes are just too high.”


Fudge paused to consider that.  With the number of Death Eaters still at large it was clearly a time for caution.  And rumors had started to crop up all over England that Voldemort might not be entirely dead.  His body had never been found, and it was suspected by a few conspiracy theorists that he was biding his time, waiting for his most loyal servants to help him return to vitality and then to power.  Although Frank put little stock in conspiracies, it did motivate him to find the rest of the confirmed Death Eaters and deal with them appropriately.


“Do you really think he’s alive?” asked Fudge.  “He can’t be, can he?  We have an idea as to why little Harry survived, but how could You-Know-Who have survived that powerful spell?  How could he come back?”

“I only know of a couple of ways, which is why it is so important that we take care of his followers.  The most important way to keep him from coming back is to deny him any help.  Why do you think I have been crusading so hard over the past five months?”


“I thought you were trying to make up for the death of Peter Pettigrew.  You did seem to take it extremely hard when I captured Black, and found the remains of his former friend.”


Frank was amazed at both Fudge’s ego and audacity.  To hear him speak, Fudge had captured Black single-handedly, protecting hundreds of Muggles in the process.  And his implication that Frank was to blame only served to open an old wound.  Frank did indeed blame himself for the tragedy last fall.  “I still say there was more to that incident than met the eye.  After all, how does a single finger survive an explosion that the rest of the body can’t.  Not to mention all of the wizards present survived.  No, something is clearly not right, and I am very interested in Black’s trial to find out exactly what happened that Halloween.”


“If he comes to trial.”


“Of course he will be tried.  We still believe in innocent until proven guilty, and therefore must follow our laws; otherwise we will fall either into anarchy or an autocracy, and neither of those prospects holds a promising future.”


“Well I will definitely be there to do my part,” Fudge bragged.  “I didn’t catch him, just to see him released on a technicality, or because of a sympathetic jury.  My only hope is that he will be sentenced to the Dementor’s Kiss.  Have you ever...”


Fudge was interrupted by the arrival of tawny owl with a letter.  The owl did a complete circuit of the room, dropped the letter on the desk, and headed back the way it came.  The letter was addressed to Frank, but there was no return address.  When letters came in that way, they were either really good news from field agents, or threats against his life from Death Eaters.  Either way, he’d wait until his visitor left before opening it.


“Is there anything else I can do for you?” Frank asked.  “I have quite a bit of work still to do, and I would like to get home before my son is old enough to go to Hogwarts.”


“No, I believe that is everything.  I’ll see you in the morning then.”  Fudge huffed out of the office.


Not if I see you first, thought Frank.




The letter was indeed from a field agent.  Sebastian Hauser had been handpicked by both Frank and Moody to infiltrate the remaining ranks of the Death Eaters.  Hauser came from a pureblood family, whose members had acquiesced to Voldemort in the past, even if they hadn’t actively joined his cause.  He had been a member of the first Auror class trained covertly for just such a mission.  The idea was to plant a spy in Voldemort’s presence, but the plan seemed equally valid in rounding up those remaining loyal to the Dark Lord.


Hauser indicated in his letter that he and Frank needed to meet, and had chosen a small out of the way restaurant in Puddlemere, called The Last Refuge.  It was a dingy, dusty location, one of several that were prearranged for clandestine tête-à-têtes.  The meeting was set for seven o’clock that evening.  With luck, he’d have the information he needed, and be home in time for supper.




Alice Longbottom was having a good day.  She had awakened in the loving arms of her husband, had an uneventful morning shift at the Department, and had a wonderful time in her garden with her healthy young child, before laying him down for his nap.  She loved her garden.  It was her refuge from the world, and she took great pride in the variety of plants both magical and non.  She had found she had a special gift for making things grow back in her second year at Hogwarts.  When she and Frank moved into this home, she had been determined to have the most beautiful arboretum in town.


When she found out she was pregnant, the garden had suffered.  She had focused all of her tending energies into the child as it grew within her.  Frank’s mum had  objected, believing this would make the child too dependent on her, but Alice knew better.  She knew that by carefully tending a seed, it could turn into the strongest of entities.  Once Neville was born, she reapplied herself to her garden.  And in the last year and a half, it had regained all of its former glory.


Neville loved being out there too.  Whether he shared his mother’s enthusiasm with nature, or could sense Alice’s joy and fulfillment was still unclear.  But the toddler was more than content in his mother’s creation.  Alice was reflecting on this when the owl came, with a single red rose, and a letter written in her husband’s handwriting.




I have wonderful news that we must celebrate.  Meet me outside The Last Refuge Hotel and Restaurant in Puddlemere at six tonight.  Tell no one.  It’s a surprise.




Yes, Alice thought.  This has definitely been a wonderful day. 




Frank looked up at the clock and noticed the time.  He had been preparing for his meeting with Hauser for nearly forty-five minutes, and realized he hadn’t told Alice he would be a little late coming home.  He quickly jotted down a few kind words for his wife, signed it and summoned an owl to take it to his home.  He glanced at the clock as he tied the note to the owl’s leg.  5:45.   I hope she isn’t too far into preparing supper.  Using magic to reheat your evening meal never leaves it tasting the same.  Once the owl was gone, he went back to his notes.



At 5:55, Alice was still putting on Neville’s shoes.  At 5:56, she dressed her son in his coat.  At 5:57, she put on her on coat, and made sure the house was secure.  At 5:58, she threw the nappy bag over her shoulder, picked up her child, grabbed a handful of Floo Powder, and stepped into the fire.  At 5:59, she cried clearly, “Puddlemere” and two Longbottoms sped through the flame.


At 6:00, an owl appeared in the window, bearing a letter from Frank, explaining he would be home late.




The Last Refuge Hotel and Restaurant was only two streets over from the Wizarding Town Hall where Alice and Neville emerged from the Floo Network.  Alice took a moment to set up the stroller, and set her child in it to free her arms.  As she covered the remaining distance, she made a list of the new plants she wanted to try in her garden, and she reveled in the feeling of comfort and security she, and the wizarding community, felt now that Voldemort was gone.


She arrived at the front of the restaurant and entered.  She approached the host, and indicated “Longbottom, party of three”.


The host looked at her and cringed when he saw Neville, clearly not interested in having a toddler in the restaurant.  “Let me see.  Longbottom…Longbottom…No, I don’t see a Longbottom here.  Let me see if we can fit your party in.”


The host went back to his list, and Alice looked around the room.  Why would Frank want to eat here?, she thought.  The windows were dirty, the floor unsanitary, and the grime penetrated the tables like a thick coat of lacquer.  The closer she looked, the more disgusted she felt.  The lighting was low, which gave each table a semblance of privacy.  But the mood was as far from romantic as you could get.  Instead it felt seamy.


“Sir,” Alice started.  “I’ve changed my mind.  If you could just leave a note for Frank Longbottom, telling him that I’ve left for home, I would appreciate it.  You are clearly busy and we don’t want to be a bother.”


“Leaving so soon?” said a female voice calling down to her from the stairs.  “And after all of the trouble we have gone to, just to get you here,” Alice directed her attention upward and her eyes fell on the slim form of Bellatrix Lestrange.  Behind Bella on the second story landing were Bella’s husband and brother-in-law.  “Take her, and her runt.  Take them upstairs.  Quietly.”


Before Alice could react, two men grabbed her from behind.   Alice cried out for help, but she knew it was futile.  In a place like this, no one saw anything, and they remembered even less.  As long as the Lestranges had the upper hand, no one would come to her aid. 


But that didn’t mean that Alice was helpless.  She had been one of the top Aurors at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement before her maternity leave.  Although the odds were long, she knew she would have to fight, if for no other reason, than to save Neville.  She looked behind her to identify Bella’s cronies.  Behind her to her left was Barty Crouch, Jr., and to her right was Sebastian Hauser.  And Hauser had a glazed look in his eye that Alice immediately identified. 


So they’re using the Imperius Curse on him are they?  That will interest Frank and Alastor.  But why isn’t he resisting?  Moody would have never let him out in the field if he couldn’t throw it off.  She looked back up to the landing to see both Rodolphus and Rabastan concentrating on the spell.  It looks like they’re both controlling him.  If they have learned how to combine the effects of Unforgivable Curses, the Department needs to know.  It had become even more important that Alice escape with this information.


One of the men released his hold on Alice to pick up the stroller containing the now crying Neville.  The other, Crouch by the feel of the position, tightened his grip on her.  As she was being forced to the foot of the staircase, she pretended to faint.  The man holding her failed to react to this unexpected turn of events, and took a step back to try to keep her upright.  He released her left wrist in order to gain better leverage over her body, and Alice had her opportunity.


Despite being supported three feet above the ground by her captor, Alice reached back with her left hand and grabbed Crouch’s ankle.  She dug her nails into his Achilles tendon and his knee buckled under the pain.  Both Alice and Crouch went down, but Alice was prepared.  She tumbled over the top of the injured man, and rolled onto her feet, drawing her wand in the process. 


Expelliarmus!” shouted Bellatrix from the top of the stairs, but again Alice was ready.  She dodged the spell and dove for the nearest table, turning it over and hiding behind it like a barricade.  Alice looked around pleading with the customers to help, but the other people in the room looked both amused at the entertainment playing out around them, and fearful of the five people she was battling.


“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” Bella cackled.  “Well done!  Now I see why Moody has such high regard for you.  But you do realize that it doesn’t matter.  You have no one to help you, and no way to escape.  We know you won’t abandon your offspring, so you may as well come quietly.”


Alice had one chance.  She peered around the edge of the table and saw a still controlled Sebastian carrying the stroller to his masters.  Accio Neville,” she cried, and her toddler son flew out of the stroller and through the air towards her.  She reached up to catch her son.


Reducto! Bellatrix shouted, and the table exploded as the crying child fell into Alice’s arms.  The shattered remains of the table caught Alice square in the chest, and knocked the breath out of her.  Oh, Merlin that hurt, thought Alice.


“If you think that hurts, just wait until I get through with you,” muttered Bellatrix, reading Alice’s mind as she closed the distance on the wounded Auror.  “You’ll be begging for oblivion.  Petrificus Totalus!  As Alice and Neville lay paralyzed on the ground, she turned to her brother-in-law.  “Clean up this mess.  The main prize is still to come, and we can’t tip our hand to what we have in store.”




“Where are you going, Frank?”  Moody stood in the doorway, glowering at him.


“I received an owl today from Hauser,” Frank answered.  “We’ll likely know today whether or not he’s been successful in his mission.”


“When were you going to tell me about that?  You know better then to prepare a meeting without giving someone a heads-up as to where you are going.  Where’s the meeting?”


“Puddlemere.  At seven, so I’d better get going.  Tell you what.  If you don’t hear from me by eight, drop in and make sure everything is all right.  I was going to have Doge stop by, but if it makes you feel better to do it yourself, by all means come.


“I’ll be there.  If there’s a problem, make sure you leave me a sign,” Moody growled.


“Don’t I always?  Alastor, you’re acting like you don’t trust me.”


“It’s not you I distrust,” Moody countered.  “It’s the forces of evil.  Don’t forget.  Constant vigilance.  Now go to your meeting, and I’ll see you at eight.”


Frank nodded, stowed his equipment, and with a pop, he had Disapparated.



Frank’s arrival point was a narrow alley to the rear left of the restaurant, just wide enough for two people to walk shoulder to shoulder.  He looked around quickly to make sure he wasn’t seen, and quickly covered the length of the alley to the street in front.  As he reached for the door, he chuckled.  Just like Moody to worry.  Must be why he’s not married.   Frank felt a surge of sympathy for the senior Auror as he pushed forward into the restaurant.

Frank quickly scanned the restaurant for any sign of his compatriot. The tables were a different configuration then the last time he was here.  Places like this lose furniture all the time, Frank thought.  But his training started to reassert itself, and his jovial attitude gave way to wariness.  He began to scan the room more carefully and found his target at a back table against the wall.  Keeping his eyes peeled he moved towards the table, and settled into a seat opposite Sebastian Hauser.


“Can we make this quick?  I want to get back before Moody presses all of his panic buttons,” Frank said.  When Hauser gave no reply, Frank studied him carefully.  The younger man kept staring at the table, not making a sound.  Frank reached across and lifted the chin of his co-worker and upon seeing the blank stare in his eyes, quickly pulled out his wand.  Quantotius Finite Incantatem!” he cried and in response, Hauser’s head fell to the table with a thud.


Frank pointed his wand at Hauser.  Ennervate!  As Frank supplied vitality to Sebastian, the younger man came around.  Hauser looked around wildly.  He kept starting to speak, unable to put two words together coherently.  Frank could see the confusion in Sebastian’s eyes, as he was trying to make sense of his memories while under the Imperius Curse.


“The Lestranges.  They’re here.  It was all a setup.  They’re upstairs, on the third floor, second room on the right.  Alice came in about an hour ago, she fought them, but they took her and Neville up the stairs.  I’m sorry.  I couldn’t do anything to stop them.  I tried to fight them.  They found out…they broke my cover the second week I was working with them, and they have been controlling me with the Imperius Curse ever since.”  Tears welled up in Hauser’s eyes.  “I’ve failed you, and I’ve failed the Department.  And it’s all because I wasn’t strong enough.”


Frank was caught in a whirlwind of emotions.  The amount of information coming from Sebastian had staggered him, and now with Sebastian falling apart emotionally, it took all of his training to keep from being overwhelmed.  Move, he thought.  Form a plan, and take action.


“Sebastian, get a hold of yourself.”  Frank calmed his young friend.  “Go to the Apparition point in the alley, and get to Moody.  Have Moody bring back a team.  I’m going to keep them occupied until help gets here.  If you are quick, we can still make this work.”


“What are you going to do?”


“Don’t know.  I’ll think of something.  We don’t have time to waste; you have to go, NOW!”


Hauser ran out the front door as Frank approached the stairs.  He cast a web of protective and detection spells in front of him in an attempt to be prepared for any traps laid out by his enemies.  As he reached the door, he paused, and listened.  With no sound coming from the other side, he quickly opened it, and passed through.  He made his way through the hall to the staircase which led to the third floor.

He knew he was in an impossible situation.  But he also he knew he couldn’t wait for backup to arrive.  With every minute in the clutches of the Lestranges, Alice and Neville’s chances of becoming casualties increased.  He reached the staircase and started upward.  He moved quietly, years of training and experience reflected in his being.  He found the warning ward that was left at the top of the stairs and carefully circumvented it.

Frank now stood on the third floor landing, and surveyed the hall.  There were six rooms on this floor, three on each side.  He crept down to the second door on the left, and listened carefully.  He could hear nothing, nor could he detect a silencing spell.  Cautiously he turned the handle, and with no reaction from any of the other doors, he opened the door.

Alice lay on the bed on the other side of the room, petrified.  In her hands, being held at eye level was Neville.  Taking one more glance at the hallway, Frank entered the room, closing the door behind him.  “Defigo,” he muttered as the Locking Charm secured the door.  Feeling a little more secure, he took a closer look at his family.  They appeared bruised and battered, but alive.  “Finite Incantatem!” he cried and the spell released his wife and son.  He rushed up to Alice and caught Neville as he slipped from her grasp.  As he set Neville on the floor, the child started to wail.

Frank’s relief at finding his family whole was quickly dispelled as a throaty chuckle filled the room.  One voice was quickly joined by three more.  Expelliarmus!” cried a male voice, and Frank’s wand flew out of his hand across the room, and landed into an extended palm that was cut off at the wrist.  Invisibility Cloaks, realized Frank, and sure enough two cloaks were removed.  The room seemed much more crowded with four menacing Death Eaters in it.

“Shut the baby up!” Rabastan yelled.  “His caterwauling is driving me crazy.”

Crouch laughed and pointed his wand at the child.  Silencio!  The child continued to scream judging by the fact that his color was changing from pink to purple, but no noise could penetrate the Silencing Spell.


“You’re right, Rabby,” Bella cooed.  “This way we can hear Longbottom’s answers.  After all, that is why he is here.”  And with this they all laughed again.  Both male Lestranges pointed their wands at Frank, and Crouch had his trained on Alice, as Bellatrix twirled hers around her fingertips like a thin baton.


“I’ll make this simple.  You tell us where the Dark Lord is, and we will let you go.  You and your wife and your offspring are of no consequence to us.”


“Why would you think I know where Voldemort is?”


  Bellatrix hissed at the mention of the Dark Lord’s name.  “BECAUSE YOU WERE THE FIRST PERSON ON THE SCENE WHEN THE POTTER WHELP SURVIVED!”


“No, I wasn’t.  Rubeus Hagrid had taken the child before I arrived and Sirius Black was there as well.”


“Don’t toy with me, Longbottom.  I have read your file and your report.  Our spies in the Ministry tell me you were the Auror on the scene, that you did the initial fact-gathering.  Your reputation for thoroughness precedes you.  But we also know that you would hide facts, such as the survival of the Dark Lord, in order to create the appearance that he was gone.  Now tell me where he is.”


Frank turned to face Bellatrix head on.  “Even if I had such information, why do you think I would give it to you?”


Bella laughed, and was joined by her compatriots.  “Why?  Look around you!  We knew you wouldn’t tell us, if only your life was at risk.  We knew we had to raise the stakes.”  Bella’s mood turned dangerous, as she took a step towards him.  “It really is this simple.  You tell us what we want to know, or you will watch your wife and your child tortured to death.  And after your pleadings no longer amuse us, we will kill you as well.”


“Let them go and I’ll tell you what I know.”


“Tell me, and I might consider it!”


Frank looked at the silently bawling Neville and then to his wife.  Alice was shaking her head from side to side, imploring Frank with her eyes not to give into them.  Frank knew he had to drag this out.  He had to give Moody time to get there.  He racked his brain trying to remember the reports from that had crossed his desk.


“All right, all right,” Frank said.  “You win.  The ministry has received a classified report.  Voldemort is hiding outside of the Drumstrang school of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Siberia.”


“Wrong!” cried Bellatrix.  “Rabby here started that rumor.  Try again.”


Frank thought hard about other rumors he had heard.  “He’s hiding in the pyramids in Egypt.”


“That rumor was Rodolphus’.”


Frank became discouraged that his lies weren’t playing out.  “If you have resorted to starting rumors, why can’t you face the fact THAT HE’S DEAD?”


“Enough of this.  You’re stalling, waiting for you mentor to get here.  But I don’t intend to let that happen.  You clearly need some incentive.”  Bellatrix nodded to her husband.


Crucio!” cried Rodolphus, and Alice’s body was wracked with pain.  Frank watched his wife suffer through the Unforgivable Curse, his heart in his throat.  He looked back at Bellatrix with murder in his eyes.




“But we know that.  We’re waiting for YOU to tell us the information we need.”  Frank racked his brain trying to remember some rumor he had heard in the past two weeks.  “You’re thinking, but you’re not talking.  Why don’t you get a taste of what she is going through?  Crucio! Bellatrix concentrated her curse on Frank.


Frank had been hit by the spell before in his training, but never by someone who possessed the evil of Bellatrix Lestrange.  Every pain receptor in his body fired, and it was all he could do to remain conscious.  Bella let the curse drop after just a few seconds, but to Frank’s dismay, Rodolphus continued to press his spell on Alice.


“What do you think now?  You can taste my malevolence can’t you?  You sense my desperation, but are still unsure at how far I’m willing to go.”  Bellatrix paused.  “Do you know what happens when two people combine a Cruciatus Curse on a single person?”


“That’s not possible,” Frank gasped.  “When two curses of such power are concentrated on the same person, only the strongest can continue.”


“That WAS the case,” taunted Bellatrix.  “However thanks to our study of the Unforgivable Curses, during the Dark Lord’s reign, we have found a way.  It took much experimentation, and the deaths of many, many Muggles, but we succeeded.  When two Cruciatus Curses are combined, it takes only a short period of time until permanent brain damage sets in.  The result is a sort of walking death.  The victim literally becomes trapped within his own mind.  It takes about thirty seconds before the damage is irreversible.  However with a powerful mind like Alice’s here, it might take forty-five.”  Bellatrix signaled her brother-in-law.


Crucio! Rabastan shouted.


“Thirty seconds, Longbottom!  TELL ME NOW!”


“I DON’T KNOW!”  Frank looked with despair at his wife twisting in agony.  “I swear on everything we hold sacred that I have no knowledge of Voldemort’s whereabouts.”  He was clearly panicking now.  “His body was never found, it’s true, but there was no trace left.  I only know the same rumors that have been reported by everyone else.”




Frank was crying now, fighting through the tears.  Despite the pain she was feeling, a calm came over Alice’s face.  She bore through the pain to mouth three words to Frank.  I love you.  And then her eyes rolled back into her head, and she went limp.


“NNNOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” screamed Frank, and he leaped for Bellatrix’ throat.  Bella stepped back, and in that instant, the witch reinstated her previous curse.




Frank was hit by the spell, but his rage sustained him.  He continued to move forward, but the pain slowed his progress to a crawl.  It took every ounce of his strength to fight the debilitating effects of the spell.  The only thought on his mind was to kill Bellatrix, but it was enough.  He closed the distance to the woman to mere inches, but before he could wrap his fingers around her neck, he heard Rodolphus’ voice.  Crucio!


The second curse hit Frank and his agony increased exponentially.  His mind raced, searching for the ability to have a coherent thought.  Only one came to him, and he blinked hard to clear his vision.  Just seconds after the second Cruciatus Curse hit Frank, an alarm went off.  Through the haze of pain and hatred, he saw Crouch and Rabastan head for the door.  The locking spell Frank had placed on the door held briefly, but soon enough the door was reduced to splinters.  He could see spells being sent back and forth from the hall, and he knew that he only needed to hold out for a few more seconds before the cavalry arrived.  He bore down and stared into Bellatrix’ eyes.


Bella looked back, and for the first time, realized the true strength of Frank Longbottom.  His righteous anger kept him upright, his sense of duty propelled him forward, and his love for his wife demanded revenge exacted from the person who had taken her from him.  Bellatrix was truly frightened by the power at Frank’s command, and as Frank closed his fingers around her throat, Moody and Hauser burst through what was left of the door.


The Lestranges’ spells collapsed, and Frank plowed into Bellatrix as if he had tackled her.  As the two combatants fell, Rodolphus shouted “Avada Kedavra!  Moody jumped aside, and the spell hit Hauser.  He fell instantly.


Moody responded, “Stupefy!” The spell hit the last standing Death Eater and it was over.  Moody hurried to the fallen Auror, and pried his fingers loose from Bellatrix’ neck.  She was alive, but unconscious.  He looked into Frank’s face, and saw a vacant expression.  He picked up his friend and placed him on the bed, and there he noticed Alice, with the same unseeing look on her face.


Oh, Merlin.


Looking around the room, he saw a child nearly turning blue.  Finite Incantatem,” he whispered, and the room was full of the cries of a child, whose innocence was ripped from him all too soon.

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