InLibrary.org

HOME | SEARCH | TOP | SITEMAP      

 
 


 

J.K.Rîwling >> Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (page 23)


“How thick can you get?” Ron whispered ecstatically as Crabbe gleefully pointed out the cakes to Goyle and grabbed them. Grinning stupidly, they stuffed the cakes whole into their large mouths. For a moment, both of them chewed greedily, looks of triumph on their faces. Then, without the smallest change of expression, they both keeled over backward onto the floor.

By far the hardest part was hiding them in the closet across the hall. Once they were safely stowed among the buckets and mops, Harry yanked out a couple of the bristles that covered Goyle's forehead and Ron pulled out several of Crabbe's hairs. They also stole their shoes, because their own were far too small for Crabbeand Goyle-size feet. Then, still stunned at what they had just done, they sprinted up to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.

They could hardly see for the thick black smoke issuing from the stall in which Hermione was stirring the cauldron. Pulling their robes up over their faces, Harry and Ron knocked softly on the door.

“Hermione?”

They heard the scrape of the lock and Hermione emerged, shinyfaced and looking anxious. Behind her they heard the gloop gloop of the bubbling, glutinous potion. Three glass tumblers stood ready on the toilet seat.

“Did you get them?” Hermione asked breathlessly.

Harry showed her Goyle's hair.

“Good. And I sneaked these spare robes out of the laundry,” Hermione said, holding up a small sack. “You'll need bigger sizes once you're Crabbe and Goyle.”

The three of them stared into the cauldron. Close up, the potion looked like thick, dark mud, bubbling sluggishly.

“I'm sure I've done everything right,” said Hermione, nervously rereading the splotched page of Moste Potente Potions. “It looks like the book says it should... once we've drunk it, we'll have exactly an hour before we change back into ourselves.”

“Now what?” Ron whispered.

“We separate it into three glasses and add the hairs.”

Hermione ladled large dollops of the potion into each of the glasses. Then, her hand trembling, she shook Millicent Bulstrode's hair out of its bottle into the first glass.

The potion hissed loudly like a boiling kettle and frothed madly. A second later, it had turned a sick sort of yellow.

“Urgh—essence of Millicent Bulstrode,” said Ron, eyeing it with loathing. “Bet it tastes disgusting.”

“Add yours, then,” said Hermione.

Harry dropped Goyle's hair into the middle glass and Ron put Crabbe's into the last one. Both glasses hissed and frothed: Goyle's turned the khaki color of a booger, Crabbe's a dark, murky brown.

“Hang on,” said Harry as Ron and Hermione reached for their glasses. “We'd better not all drink them in here... Once we turn into Crabbe and Goyle we won't fit. And Millicent Bulstrode's no pixie.

“Good thinking,” said Ron, unlocking the door. “We'll take separate stalls.”

Careful not to spill a drop of his Polyjuice Potion, Harry slipped into the middle stall.

“Ready?” he called.

“Ready,” came Ron's and Hermione's voices.

“One—two—three—”

Pinching his nose, Harry drank the potion down in two large gulps. It tasted like overcooked cabbage.

Immediately, his insides started writhing as though he'd just swallowed live snakes—doubled up, he wondered whether he was going to be sick—then a burning sensation spread rapidly from his stomach to the very ends of his fingers and toes—next, bringing him gasping to all fours, came a horrible melting feeling, as the skin all over his body bubbled like hot wax—and before his eyes, his hands began to grow, the fingers thickened, the nails broadened, the knuckles were bulging like bolts -his shoulders stretched painfully and a prickling on his forehead told him that hair was creeping down toward his eyebrows—his robes ripped as his chest expanded like a barrel bursting its hoops—his feet were agony in shoes four sizes too small.

As suddenly as it had started, everything stopped. Harry lay facedown on the stone-cold floor, listening to Myrtle gurgling morosely in the end toilet. With difficulty, he kicked off his shoes and stood up. So this was what it felt like, being Goyle. His large hand trembling, he pulled off his old robes, which were hanging a foot above his ankles, pulled on the spare ones, and laced up Goyle's boatlike shoes. He reached up to brush his hair out of his eyes and met only the short growth of wiry bristles, low on his forehead. Then he realized that his glasses were clouding his eyes because Goyle obviously didn't need them—he took them off and called, “Are you two okay?” Goyle's low rasp of a voice issued from his mouth.

“Yeah,” came the deep grunt of Crabbe from his right.

Harry unlocked his door and stepped in front of the cracked mirror. Goyle stared back at him out of dull, deep-set eyes. Harry scratched his ear. So did Goyle.

Ron's door opened. They stared at each other. Except that he looked pale and shocked, Ron was indistinguishable from Crabbe, from the pudding-bowl haircut to the long, gorilla arms.

“This is unbelievable,” said Ron, approaching the mirror and prodding Crabbe's flat nose. “Unbelievable. “

“We'd better get going,” said Harry, loosening the watch that was cutting into Goyle's thick wrist. “We've still got to find out where the Slytherin common room is. I only hope we can find someone to follow...”

Ron, who had been gazing at Harry, said, “You don't know how bizarre it is to see Goyle thinking.” He banged on Hermione's door. “C'mon, we need to go—”

A high-pitched voice answered him.

“I—I don't think I'm going to come after all. You go on without me.

“Hermione, we know Millicent Bulstrode's ugly, no one's going to know it's you—”

“No—really—I don't think I'll come. You two hurry up, you re wasting time

Harry looked at Ron, bewildered.

“That looks more like Goyle,” said Ron. “That's how he looks every time a teacher asks him a question.”

“Hermione, are you okay?” said Harry through the door.

“Fine—I'm fine—go on—”

Harry looked at his watch. Five of their precious sixty minutes had already passed.

“We'll meet you back here, all right?” he said.

Harry and Ron opened the door of the bathroom carefully, checked that the coast was clear, and set off.

“Don't swing your arms like that,” Harry muttered to Ron.

“Eh?”

“Crabbe holds them sort of stiff...”

“How's this?”

“Yeah, that's better...”

They went down the marble staircase. All they needed now was a Slytherin that they could follow to the Slytherin common room, but there was nobody around.

“Any ideas?” muttered Harry.

“The Slytherins always come up to breakfast from over there,” said Ron, nodding at the entrance to the dungeons. The words had barely left his mouth when a girl with long, curly hair emerged from the entrance.

“Excuse me,” said Ron, hurrying up to her. “We've forgotten the way to our common room.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the girl stiffly. “Our common room? I'm a Ravenclaw.”

She walked away, looking suspiciously back at them.

Harry and Ron hurried down the stone steps into the darkness, their footsteps echoing particularly loudly as Crabbe's and Goyle's huge feet hit the floor, feeling that this wasn't going to be as easy as they had hoped.

The labyrinthine passages were deserted. They walked deeper and deeper under the school, constantly checking their watches to see how much time they had left. After a quarter of an hour, just when they were getting desperate, they heard a sudden movement ahead.

“Ha!” said Ron excitedly. “There's one of them now!”

The figure was emerging from a side room. As they hurried nearer, however, their hearts sank. It wasn't a Slytherin, it was Percy.

“What're you doing down here?” said Ron in surprise.

Percy looked affronted.

“That,” he said stiffly, “is none of your business. It's Crabbe, isn't it?”

“Wh—oh, yeah,” said Ron.

“Well, get off to your dormitories,” said Percy sternly. “It's not safe to go wandering around dark corridors these days.”

“You are,” Ron pointed out.

“I,” said Percy, drawing himself up, “am a prefect. Nothing's about to attack me.”

A voice suddenly echoed behind Harry and Ron. Draco Malfoy was strolling toward them, and for the first time in his life, Harry was pleased to see him.

“There you are,” he drawled, looking at them. “Have you two been pigging out in the Great Hall all this time? I've been looking for you; I want to show you something really funny.”

Malfoy glanced witheringly at Percy.

“And what're you doing down here, Weasley?” he sneered.

Percy looked outraged.

“You want to show a bit more respect to a school prefect!” he said. “I don't like your attitude!”

Malfoy sneered and motioned for Harry and Ron to follow him. Harry almost said something apologetic to Percy but caught himself just in time. He and Ron hurried after Malfoy, who said as they turned into the next passage, “That Peter Weasley—”

“Percy,” Ron corrected him automatically.

“Whatever,” said Malfoy. “I've noticed him sneaking around a lot lately. And I bet I know what he's up to. He thinks he's going to catch Slytherin's heir single-handed.”

He gave a short, derisive laugh. Harry and Ron exchanged excited looks.

Malfoy paused by a stretch of bare, damp stone wall.

“What's the new password again?” he said to Harry.

“Er—” said Harry.

“Oh, yeah -pure-blood!” said Malfoy, not listening, and a stone door concealed in the wall slid open. Malfoy marched through it, and Harry and Ron followed him.

The Slytherin common room was a long, low underground room with rough stone walls and ceiling from which round, greenish lamps were hanging on chains. A fire was crackling under an elaborately carved mantelpiece ahead of them, and several Slytherins were silhouetted around it in high-backed chairs.

“Wait here,” said Malfoy to Harry and Ron, motioning them to a pair of empty chairs set back from the fire. “I'll go and get it my father's just sent it to me—”

Wondering what Malfoy was going to show them, Harry and Ron sat down, doing their best to look at home.

Malfoy came back a minute later, holding what looked like a newspaper clipping. He thrust it under Ron's nose.

“That'll give you a laugh,” he said.

Harry saw Ron's eyes widen in shock. He read the clipping quickly, gave a very forced laugh, and handed it to Harry.

It had been clipped out of the Daily Prophet, and it said:

INQUIRY AT THE MINISTRY OF MAGIC

Arthur Weasley, Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office, was today fined fifty Galleons for bewitching a Muggle car.

Mr. Lucius Malfoy, a governor of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where the enchanted car crashed earlier this year, called today for Mr. Weasley's resignation.

“Weasley has brought the Ministry into disrepute,” Mr. Malfoy told our reporter. “He is clearly unfit to draw up our laws and his ridiculous Muggle Protection Act should be scrapped immediately.”

Mr. Weasley was unavailable for comment, although his wife told reporters to clear off or she'd set the family ghoul on them.

“Well?” said Malfoy impatiently as Harry handed the clipping back to him. “Don't you think it's funny?”

“Ha, ha,” said Harry bleakly.

“Arthur Weasley loves Muggles so much he should snap his wand in half and go and join them,” said Malfoy scornfully. “You'd never know the Weasleys were pure-bloods, the way they behave.”

Ron's—or rather, Crabbe's—face was contorted with fury.

“What's up with you, Crabbe?” snapped Malfoy.

“Stomachache,” Ron grunted.

“Well, go up to the hospital wing and give all those Mudbloods a kick from me,” said Malfoy, snickering. “You know, I'm surprised the Daily Prophet hasn't reported all these attacks yet,” he went on thoughtfully. “I suppose Dumbledore's trying to hush it all up. He'll be sacked if it doesn't stop soon. Father's always said old Dumbledore's the worst thing that's ever happened to this place. He loves Muggle-borns. A decent headmaster would never've let slime like that Creevey in.”

Malfoy started taking pictures with an imaginary camera and did a cruel but accurate impression of Colin: “`Potter, can I have your picture, Potter? Can I have your autograph? Can I lick your shoes, please, Potter?"'

He dropped his hands and looked at Harry and Ron.

“What's the matter with you two?”

Far too late, Harry and Ron forced themselves to laugh, but Malfoy seemed satisfied; perhaps Crabbe and Goyle were always slow on the uptake.

“Saint Potter, the Mudbloods' friend,” said Malfoy slowly. “He's another one with no proper wizard feeling, or he wouldn't go around with that jumped up Granger Mudblood. And people think he's Slytherin's heir!”

Harry and Ron waited with bated breath: Malfoy was surely seconds away from telling them it was him—but then

“I wish I knew who it is,” said Malfoy petulantly. “I could help them.”

Ron's jaw dropped so that Crabbe looked even more clueless than usual. Fortunately, Malfoy didn't notice, and Harry, thinking fast, said, “You must have some idea who's behind it all...”

“You know I haven't, Goyle, how many times do I have to tell you?” snapped Malfoy. “And Father won't tell me anything about the last time the Chamber was opened either. Of course, it was fifty years ago, so it was before his time, but he knows all about it, and he says that it was all kept quiet and it'll look suspicious if I know too much about it. But I know one thing—last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened, a Mudblood died. So I bet it's a matter of time before one of them's killed this time... I hope it's Granger,” he said with relish.

Ron was clenching Crabbe's gigantic fists. Feeling that it would be a bit of a giveaway if Ron punched Malfoy, Harry shot him a warning look and said, “D'you know if the person who opened the Chamber last time was caught?”

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K.Rîwling
Viewed 95397 times

123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536


 
              
Page generation 0.001 seconds