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J.K.Rîwling >> Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (page 18)


“Slytherin has better brooms than us,” he began. “No point denying it. But we've got better people on our brooms. We've trained harder than they have, we've been flying in all weathers—” (“Too true,” muttered George Weasley. “I haven't been properly dry since August”) “and we're going to make them rue the day they let that little bit of slime, Malfoy, buy his way onto their team.”

Chest heaving with emotion, Wood turned to Harry.

“It'll be down to you, Harry, to show them that a Seeker has to have something more than a rich father. Get to that Snitch before Malfoy or die trying, Harry, because we've got to win today, we've got to.”

“So no pressure, Harry” said Fred, winking at him.

As they walked out onto the pitch, a roar of noise greeted them; mainly cheers, because Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were anxious to see Slytherin beaten, but the Slytherins in the crowd made their boos and hisses heard, too. Madam Hooch, the Quidditch teacher, asked Flint and Wood to shake hands, which they did, giving each other threatening stares and gripping rather harder than was necessary.

“On my whistle,” said Madam Hooch. “Three... two... one...

With a roar from the crowd to speed them upward, the fourteen players rose toward the leaden sky. Harry flew higher than any of them, squinting around for the Snitch.

“All right there, Scarhead?” yelled Malfoy, shooting underneath him as though to show off the speed of his broom.

Harry had no time to reply. At that very moment, a heavy black Bludger came pelting toward him; he avoided it so narrowly that he felt it ruffle his hair as it passed.

“Close one, Harry!” said George, streaking past him with his club in his hand, ready to knock the Bludger back toward a Slytherin. Harry saw George give the Bludger a powerful whack in the direction of Adrian Pucey, but the Bludger changed direction in midair and shot straight for Harry again.

Harry dropped quickly to avoid it, and George managed to hit it hard toward Malfoy. Once again, the Bludger swerved like a boomerang and shot at Harry's head.

Harry put on a burst of speed and zoomed toward the other end of the pitch. He could hear the Bludger whistling along behind him. What was going on? Bludgers never concentrated on one player like this; it was their job to try and unseat as many people as possible...

Fred Weasley was waiting for the Bludger at the other end. Harry ducked as Fred swung at the Bludger with all his might; the Bludger was knocked off course.

“Gotcha!” Fred yelled happily, but he was wrong; as though it was magnetically attracted to Harry, the Bludger pelted after him once more and Harry was forced to fly off at full speed.

It had started to rain; Harry felt heavy drops fall onto his face, splattering onto his glasses. He didn't have a clue what was going on in the rest of the game until he heard Lee Jordan, who was commentating, say, “Slytherin lead, sixty points to zero. '

The Slytherins' superior brooms were clearly doing their jobs, and meanwhile the mad Bludger was doing all it could to knock Harry out of the air. Fred and George were now flying so close to him on either side that Harry could see nothing at all except their flailing arms and had no chance to look for the Snitch, let alone catch it.

“Someone's—tampered—with—this—Bludger—” Fred grunted, swinging his bat with all his might at it as it launched a new attack on Harry.

“We need time out,” said George, trying to signal to Wood and stop the Bludger breaking Harry's nose at the same time.

Wood had obviously got the message. Madam Hooch's whistle rang out and Harry, Fred, and George dived for the ground, still trying to avoid the mad Bludger.

“What's going on?” said Wood as the Gryffindor team huddled together, while Slytherins in the crowd jeered. “We're being flattened. Fred, George, where were you when that Bludger stopped Angelina scoring?”

“We were twenty feet above her, stopping the other Bludger from murdering Harry, Oliver,” said George angrily. “Someone's fixed it—it won't leave Harry alone. It hasn't gone for anyone else all game. The Slytherins must have done something to it.”

“But the Bludgers have been locked in Madam Hooch's office since our last practice, and there was nothing wrong with them then...” said Wood, anxiously.

Madam Hooch was walking toward them. Over her shoulder, Harry could see the Slytherin team jeering and pointing in his direction.

“Listen,” said Harry as she came nearer and nearer, “with you two flying around me all the time the only way I'm going to catch the Snitch is if it flies up my sleeve. Go back to the rest of the team and let me deal with the rogue one.”

“Don't be thick,” said Fred. “It'll take your head off.”

Wood was looking from Harry to the Weasleys.

“Oliver, this is insane,” said Alicia Spinner angrily. “You can't let Harry deal with that thing on his own. Let's ask for an inquiry...”

“If we stop now, we'll have to forfeit the match!” said Harry. “And we're not losing to Slytherin just because of a crazy Bludger! Come on, Oliver, tell them to leave me alone!”

“This is all your fault,” George said angrily to Wood. “Get the Snitch or die trying,” what a stupid thing to tell him!”

Madam Hooch had joined them.

“Ready to resume play?” she asked Wood.

Wood looked at the determined look on Harry's face.

“All right,” he said. “Fred, George, you heard Harry -leave him alone and let him deal with the Bludger on his own.”

The rain was falling more heavily now. On Madam Hooch's whistle, Harry kicked hard into the air and heard the telltale whoosh of the Bludger behind him. Higher and higher Harry climbed; he looped and swooped, spiraled, zigzagged, and rolled. Slightly dizzy, he nevertheless kept his eyes wide open, rain was speckling his glasses and ran up his nostrils as he hung upside down, avoiding another fierce dive from the Bludger. He could hear laughter from the crowd; he knew he must look very stupid, but the rogue Bludger was heavy and couldn't change direction as quickly as Harry could; he began a kind of roller-coaster ride around the edges of the stadium, squinting through the silver sheets of rain to the Gryffindor goal posts, where Adrian Pucey was trying to get past Wood...

A whistling in Harry's ear told him the Bludger had just missed him again; he turned right over and sped in the opposite direction.

“Training for the ballet, Potter?” yelled Malfoy as Harry was forced to do a stupid kind of twirl in midair to dodge the Bludger, and he fled, the Bludger trailing a few feet behind him; and then, glaring back at Malfoy in hatred, he saw it—the Golden Snitch. It was hovering inches above Malfoy's left ear—and Malfoy, busy laughing at Harry, hadn't seen it.

For an agonizing moment, Harry hung in midair, not daring to speed toward Malfoy in case he looked up and saw the Snitch.

WHAM.

He had stayed still a second too long. The Bludger had hit him at last, smashed into his elbow, and Harry felt his arm break. Dimly, dazed by the searing pain in his arm, he slid sideways on his rain-drenched broom, one knee still crooked over it, his right arm dangling useless at his side—the Bludger came pelting back for a second attack, this time aiming at his face—Harry swerved out of the way, one idea firmly lodged in his numb brain: get to Malfoy.

Through a haze of rain and pain he dived for the shimmering, sneering face below him and saw its eyes widen with fear: Malfoy thought Harry was attacking him.

“What the—” he gasped, careening out of Harry's way.

Harry took his remaining hand off his broom and made a wild snatch; he felt his fingers close on the cold Snitch but was now only gripping the broom with his legs, and there was a yell from the crowd below as he headed straight for the ground, trying hard not to pass out.

With a splattering thud he hit the mud and rolled off his broom. His arm was hanging at a very strange angle; riddled with pain, he heard, as though from a distance, a good deal of whistling and shouting. He focused on the Snitch clutched in his good hand.

“Aha,” he said vaguely. “We've won.”

And he fainted.

He came around, rain falling on his face, still lying on the field, with someone leaning over him. He saw a glitter of teeth.

“Oh, no, not you,” he moaned.

“Doesn't know what he's saying,” said Lockhart loudly to the anxious crowd of Gryffindors pressing around them. “Not to worry, Harry. I'm about to fix your arm.”

“No!” said Harry. “I'll keep it like this, thanks...”

He tried to sit up, but the pain was terrible. He heard a familiar clicking noise nearby.

“I don't want a photo of this, Colin,” he said loudly.

“Lie back, Harry,” said Lockhart soothingly. “It's a simple charm I've used countless times—”

“Why can't I just go to the hospital wing?” said Harry through clenched teeth.

“He should really, Professor,” said a muddy Wood, who couldn't help grinning even though his Seeker was injured. “Great capture, Harry, really spectacular, your best yet, Id say—”

Through the thicket of legs around him, Harry spotted Fred and George Weasley, wrestling the rogue Bludger into a box. It was still putting up a terrific fight.

“Stand back,” said Lockhart, who was rolling up his jade-green sleeves.

“No—don't—” said Harry weakly, but Lockhart was twirling his wand and a second later had directed it straight at Harry's arm.

A strange and unpleasant sensation started at Harry's shoulder and spread all the way down to his fingertips. It felt as though his arm was being deflated. He didn't dare look at what was happening. He had shut his eyes, his face turned away from his arm, but his worst fears were realized as the people above him gasped and Colin Creevey began clicking away madly. His arm didn't hurt anymore—nor did it feel remotely like an arm.

“Ah,” said Lockhart. “Yes. Well, that can sometimes happen. But the point is, the bones are no longer broken. That's the thing to bear in mind. So, Harry, just toddle up to the hospital wing—ah, Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger, would you escort him?—and Madam Pomfrey will be able to—er—tidy you up a bit.”

As Harry got to his feet, he felt strangely lopsided. Taking a deep breath he looked down at his right side. What he saw nearly made him pass out again.

Poking out of the end of his robes was what looked like a thick, fleshcolored rubber glove. He tried to move his fingers. Nothing happened.

Lockhart hadn't mended Harry's bones. He had removed them.

Madam Pomfrey wasn't at all pleased.

“You should have come straight to me!” she raged, holding up the sad, limp remainder of what, half an hour before, had been a working arm. “I can mend bones in a second—but growing them back—”

“You will be able to, won't you?” said Harry desperately.

“I'll be able to, certainly, but it will be painful,” said Madam Pomfrey grimly, throwing Harry a pair of pajamas. “You'll have to stay the night...”

Hermione waited outside the curtain drawn around Harry's bed while Ron helped him into his pajamas. It took a while to stuff the rubbery, boneless arm into a sleeve.

“How can you stick up for Lockhart now, Hermione, eh?” Ron called through the curtain as he pulled Harry's limp fingers through the cuff. “If Harry had wanted de-boning he would have asked.”

“Anyone can make a mistake,” said Hermione. “And it doesn't hurt anymore, does it, Harry?”

“No,” said Harry, getting into bed. “But it doesn't do anything else either.”

As he swung himself onto the bed, his arm flapped pointlessly.

Hermione and Madam Pomfrey came around the curtain. Madam Pomfrey was holding a large bottle of something labeled Skele-Gro.

“You're in for a rough night,” she said, pouring out a steaming beakerful and handing it to him. “Regrowing bones is a nasty business.

So was taking the Skele-Gro. It burned Harry's mouth and throat as it went down, making him cough and splutter. Still tut-tutting about dangerous sports and ineept teachers, Madam Pomfrey retreated, leaving Ron and Hermione to help Harry gulp down some water.

“We won, though,” said Ron, a grin breaking across his face. “That was some catch you made. Malfoy's face... he looked ready to kill!”

“I want to know how he fixed that Bludger,” said Hermione darkly.

“We can add that to the list of questions we'll ask him when we've taken the Polyjuice Potion,” said Harry, sinking back onto his pillows. “I hope it tastes better than this stuff...”

“If it's got bits of Slytherins in it? You've got to be joking,” said Ron.

The door of the hospital wing burst open at that moment. Filthy and soaking wet, the rest of the Gryffindor team had arrived to see Harry.

“Unbelievable flying, Harry,” said George. “I've just seen Marcus Flint yelling at Malfoy. Something about having the Snitch on top of his head and not noticing. Malfoy didn't seem too happy.” They had brought cakes, sweets, and bottles of pumpkin juice; they gathered around Harry's bed and were just getting started on what promised to be a good party when Madam Pomfrey came storming over, shouting, “This boy needs rest, he's got thirty-three bones to regrow! Out! OUT!”

And Harry was left alone, with nothing to distract him from the stabbing pains in his limp arm.

Hours and hours later, Harry woke quite suddenly in the pitch blackness and gave a small yelp of pain: His arm now felt full of

large splinters. For a second, he thought that was what had woken him. Then, with a thrill of horror, he realized that someone was sponging his forehead in the dark.

“Get off!” he said loudly, and then, “Dobby!”

The house-elf's goggling tennis ball eyes were peering at Harry through the darkness. A single tear was running down his long, pointed nose.

“Harry Potter came back to school,” he whispered miserably. “Dobby warned and warned Harry Potter. Ah sir, why didn't you heed Dobby? Why didn't Harry Potter go back home when he missed the train?”

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K.Rîwling
Viewed 104235 times

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