The Sugar Quill
Author: Winters  Story: A Final Visitor  Chapter: Default
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A Final Visitor

A Final Visitor

 

                “It’s today, Mary, they think he’s going to make his move today.”

                “Oh. 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?”

                “I am.” He avoided her eyes.

                “Who do they think he’s going for this time?”

                “Moody thinks the Longbottoms. I’m not so sure, although I reckon it will be an Auror’s family.”

                “Oh, that’s reassuring!”

                “Mary…” 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, either.”

                “Who 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 blister.”

                “He’s not going to come here.” He said quietly.

“Oh?”

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 up!”

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.

Henry grunted.

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 peaked cap.

 

*                                                                                                              *

 

“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. “What?”

“Well, I – my table was covered in stuff and—“

“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.

“Okay, 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 suggested.

“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.”

“Bye, Dad.”

“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 revenge!”

“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 bed.

 

*                                                                                                              *

 

“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 ghoul!”

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 wand.

The man laughed again. “Avada Kedavra!” The green light engulfed him and Henry knew no more.

 

*                                                                                                              *

 

Robert Apparated onto his front path just in time to hear his son’s alarmed shout and see the green light from his window.

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?”

 

//
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