Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Bathilda’s Secret

ForamomentHarryconsideredsuggestingtheytakerefugeinsideit,butbeforehecouldsayanythingHermionemurmured,"Let’sgothisway,"andpulledhimdownthedarkstreetleadingoutofthevillageintheoppositedirectionfromwhichtheyhadentered.Harrycouldmakeoutthepointwherethecottagesendedandthelaneturnedintoopencountryagain.Theywalkedasquicklyastheydared,pastmorewindowssparklingwithmulticoloredlights,theoutlinesofChristmastreesdarkthroughthecurtains.

"HowarewegoingtofindBathilda’shouse?"askedHermione,whowasshiveringalittleandkeptglancingbackoverhershoulder."Harry?Whatdoyouthink?Harry?"

Shetuggedathisarm,butHarrywasnotpayingattention.Hewaslookingtowardthedarkmassthatstoodattheveryendofthisrowofhouses.Nextmomenthehadspedup,draggingHermionealongwithhim;sheslippedalittleontheice.

"Harry"

"Look....Lookatit,Hermione...."

"Idon’t...oh!"

Hecouldseeit;theFideliusCharmmusthavediedwithJamesandLily.ThehedgehadgrownwildinthesixteenyearssinceHagridhadtakenHarryfromtherubblethatlayscatteredamongstthewaist-highgrass.Mostofthecottagewasstillstanding,thoughentirelycoveredindarkivyandsnow,buttherightsideofthetopfloorhadbeenblownapart;that,Harrywassure,waswherethecursehadbackfired.HeandHermionestoodatthegate,gazingupatthewreckofwhatmustoncehavebeenacottagejustlikethosethatflankedit.

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