Expecto Patronum

A fist made contact with the side of Harry’s head, lifting him off his feet. Small white lights popped in front of his eyes. For the second time in an hour Harry felt as though his head had been cleaved in two; next moment, he had landed hard on the ground and his wand had flown out of his hand.

‘You moron, Dudley!’ Harry yelled, his eyes watering with pain as he scrambled to his hands and knees, feeling around frantically in the blackness. He heard Dudley blundering away, hitting the alley fence, stumbling.

‘DUDLEY, COME BACK! YOU’RE RUNNING RIGHT AT IT!’

There was a horrible squealing yell and Dudley’s footsteps stopped. At the same moment, Harry felt a creeping chill behind him that could mean only one thing. There was more than one. ‘DUDLEY, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT! WHATEVER YOU DO, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT! Wand!’ Harry muttered frantically, his hands flying over the ground like spiders. ‘Where’s – wand – come on – lumos!’

He said the spell automatically, desperate for light to help him in his search – and to his disbelieving relief, light flared inches from his right hand – the wand tip had ignited. Harry snatched it up, scrambled to his feet and turned around.

His stomach turned over. A towering, hooded figure was gliding smoothly towards him, hovering over the ground, no feet or face visible beneath its robes, sucking on the night as it came.

Stumbling backwards, Harry raised his wand.

‘Expecto patronum!’

A silvery wisp of vapour shot from the tip of the wand and the Dementor slowed, but the spell hadn’t worked properly; tripping over his own feet, Harry retreated further as the Dementor bore down upon him, panic fogging his brain – concentrate –

A pair of grey, slimy, scabbed hands slid from inside the Dementor’s robes, reaching for him. A rushing noise filled Harry’s ears.

‘Expecto patronum!’

His voice sounded dim and distant. Another wisp of silver smoke, feebler than the last, drifted from the wand – he couldn’t do it any more, he couldn’t work the spell. There was laughter inside his own head, shrill, high-pitched laughter. He could smell the Dementor’s putrid, death-cold breath filling his own lungs, drowning him – think something happy –

But there was no happiness in him. The Dementor’s icy fingers were closing on his throat – the high-pitched laughter was growing louder and louder, and a voice spoke inside his head: ‘Bow to death, Harry..it might even be painless. I would not know, I have never died.”

He was never going to see Ron and Hermione again –

And their faces burst clearly into his mind as he fought for breath.

‘EXPECTO PATRONUM!’

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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