today, Mary, they think he’s going to make his move today.”
How appropriate, on all Hallows Eve.” Her voice shook a little despite her best
efforts to keep it calm. She forced a nervous laugh. “And you’re on duty?”
am.” He avoided her eyes.
do they think he’s going for this time?”
thinks the Longbottoms. I’m not so sure, although I reckon it will be an
he looked at her reproachfully. “Come on, you’ll be fine! The amount of
protection we have on this little place… and Henry isn’t just going to sit by,
on earth are you kidding, Robert Hutchinson? We’re talking about You-Know-Who
here! The most powerful Dark wizard in god-knows-how-long! If he so chose he
could just waltz in here and curse the lot of us right now without getting a
not going to come here.” He said quietly.
He smiled ruefully and held her gaze so
that she couldn’t look away. “I haven’t caught a single Death Eater. Not one!
Why would Voldemort want me or my beautiful family? He’d be more likely to
reward me for being so inept.”
Her shoulders slumped a little as she
relaxed. “Yes, I suppose you’re right. So long as you don’t go and get one
tonight. Perhaps he knows the instant one of them dies…”
“Don’t be silly, Mary. That’s the sort of
magic Muggles believe in.”
“Henry! Come and help me put these fairies
A gangly fifteen-year-old thrust his head
out from between the curtains of his bedroom window. It was five in the evening
and a typically bright summer sun still shone high in the sky. Henry’s curtains
had been closed all day, though, and loud music by a wizarding rock group had
been blaring out.
“Do I have to?” he whined.
“Oh, Henry, you’ve been in there all day,
come and help with the decorations!”
His scowling face disappeared between the
curtains once more, and soon he came loping out of the door, his long legs and
arms looking unnatural on his growing body. “Honestly, I don’t see the point!
You’re only going to want help taking them down tomorrow.”
“You used to love doing the Hallowe’en
decorations.” Mary sighed wistfully, directing the orange and black sprites
around a tree with her wand.
Then after a few moments: “Mum, you’re not
going to invite down that attic poltergeist again are you?”
“Michael lives with us, Henry! It would be
rude not to ask him down occasionally!”
“What? I don’t get you at all! All he does
is wreck stuff! And I though Dad was gonna get rid of him?”
“Your father’s a busy man! Plus, I think
when he said he’d ‘extract the Michael’ he meant he’d take the Mickey. He had
been talking about his boss, you know – you missed most of that conversation.”
Henry grunted again - apparently unamused -
but Mary thought she caught the twitch of his lip in the shadow under his
“Mom, I’m asking nicely again! Please don’t let the poltergeist out!”
Mary cast her son a suspicious glance. Over
his shoulder she saw Robert’s look of surprise too. “Henry, you normally love
seeing Michael ‘wreck stuff’ as you so delicately put it. What’s got into you?”
“You haven’t been playing with our ghost
and your spell books have you?” Robert asked shrewdly, edging past Henry and
Mary to reach the attic door.
As soon as the spell was off, the door flew
open and Michael the poltergeist shot down the staircase.
Michael hovered upside down at the bottom
of the stairs, wiggling his fingers about two inches away from the ground.
“Ooh, you’re going to pay, Henry Hutchinson!”
“Whoa, hey, remember I let you out!” Henry
back-pedalled up the stairs, arms held out. He stopped when he trod on his
father’s foot. “Uhh…I mean I…”
“He put a freezing spell on me!” The ghost
shrieked, flipping the right way up and pointing a translucent finger at Henry.
“He used me as a table!”
Mary fought to restrain a mystified giggle.
“Well, I – my table was covered in stuff
“And he was too lazy to move it all, so he
froze me and used me instead!” To demonstrate, the ghost flipped sideways and floated
like that for a moment without moving. “Plus he graffitis, the little—“
“I do not!”
“Yes, you do!” Michael pointed to a spot on
this shoulder blade where Mary and Robert could discern some inky scribbles.
well I’ll sort that out for you tomorrow in the light, Mike, but only if agree,
for once, to be civil now that we’ve let you
out,” Mary reasoned.
“Not being civil to him,”
the poltergeist said in a whiny voice, pointing at Henry.
“Would it help if Henry apologised?” Robert
“S’pose.” Michael said sulkily.
Robert and Mary looked pointedly at their
son. “Sorry.” He mumbled just as sulkily.
“Well then! That’s that,” Mary clapped her
hands together cheerfully. “Let’s go and eat; Robert doesn’t want to be late
for work tonight.”
“Goodbye dear, see you tomorrow.”
“Night, you two. See you at breakfast,” and
Robert Disapparated with a pop.
“You’re not going to put me back in the
attic are you?” Michael immediately whinged.
“Well…you’ve been very good today. I’ve
never seen you so well behaved. I suppose until tomorrow morning when I’ve
cleaned you up, you can stay out.”
Henry stared at his mother in horror.
“What! Mum, he’ll come and do something to me in the middle of the night to get
“Oh, very trusting, aren’t we?” Michael
sniffed, turning away.
“Now Henry, just put a spell on your door,
he won’t be able to touch you!” Mary whispered in irritation, walking briskly
back to the kitchen and pointing her wand at the full sink.
Henry grunted and dragged his feet up the
stairs. After checking that he wasn’t locking himself in with the ghost, he
performed a locking spell on his door to keep ghosts out and flopped onto his
“Michael, get lost! You can’t get in!”
Banging outside his door had waked Henry. He didn’t know what time it was, but
it was dark and he was tired, so he just wanted to get back to sleep.
The banging didn’t stop though, so Henry
rolled over to face the door, determined to get rid of the pesky poltergeist.
High cackling laughter had joined the banging. “Michael, bugger off you stupid
A flash of green light and a dull thump
came next. Henry squinted his eyes – even through the crack at the bottom of
his door the light had been blindingly bright. “What has he done now?” He
grumbled, pushing his covers aside and rolling out of bed.
Henry raised his wand groggily to perform
the unlocking spell when the door burst open. He was thrown across his room and
landed heavily on his back with the ruined door pinning him down. “What the—“
He gasped, seeing the figure silhouetted in the doorway. He tried to lever the
door off his bruised chest whilst desperately trying to get his wind back.
Then came the high, cackling laughter
again, and Henry felt his blood run cold as a scaly, snake-like face with livid
red eyes peered down at him. He let out a shout and instinctively raised his
The man laughed again. “Avada Kedavra!” The green light engulfed him and Henry knew
Robert Apparated onto his front path just
in time to hear his son’s alarmed shout and see the green light from his
He ran up the front steps and into the
house. He ran up the stairs and stopped abruptly as his feet skidded in a
puddle of red liquid. “Oh, God, Mary…what
has he done to you…?”
“Hello, Robert Hutchinson.” A cold, wispy
voice addressed him. “I believe you killed one of my Death Eaters tonight.”
“How-how…?” Robert stammered, unwilling to
move now that he saw the infamous wand of Voldemort pointing at him.
“I know all, Robert Hutchinson. Do you know
what else I know?” The thin lip curled.
Robert figured he might as well go out with
a little sarcasm - as he was going to die anyway – and he replied, “If you know
all, then why do you need to ask me anything?”
Voldemort laughed. “Oh dear me, Robert
Hutchinson. You are boring. I also that you will die tonight.” All mirth left
his voice as he said those last words, and the wispy quality in his voice
became hard like Basilisk fangs. Robert grimaced and raised his chin. “Avada Kedavra!”
Michael chased the figure and his laughter
down the dark garden path. “Hey! What have you done to them? They were going to
clean me up tomorrow! What have you done?”