Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or universe in which this story takes place—nor do I fully own its prologue. Much of the text below was copied directly or paraphrased from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (American, 16-19, 31): the sole difference is that the excerpt is told from Dudley's point of view. This, however, only applies to the prologue; all further chapters will be fully original in plot and phrasing.

Because my author's notes are usually pointless, I'm trying to break the habit, and this is probably one of the few you'll see in this story. Thus I'll say it collectively for all the chapters, this one and ones to come: I appreciate reviews, particularly constructive criticism, and my updates will probably be slow because of advanced classes and life in general. Apologies in advance if I follow my unfortunate trend and put this on hiatus.

Prologue

Something had happened to the night. The star-strewn indigo sky was suddenly pitch-black and lightless—the stars, the moon, the misty streetlamps at either end of the alley had vanished. The distant grumble of cars and the whisper of trees had gone. The balmy evening was suddenly piercingly, bitingly cold. They were surrounded by total, impenetrable, silent darkness, as though some giant hand had dropped a thick, icy mantle over the entire alleyway, blinding them.

A cold, clammy sweat broke over him, and solely one word echoed emptily through Dudley Dursley's mind: Harry. Terrified, Dudley nervously glanced at the blackened sky above him as hopelessness stole over him, darkness pressing on his eyes like a weightless veil. No human force, no natural disaster, had the power to turn off the stars.

"W-what are you d-doing? St-stop it!" Dudley stuttered into Harry's ear.

"I'm not doing anything! Shut up and don't move!" Harry spat back.

Shaking, he refused to believe it and replied, "I c-can't see! I've g-gone blind! I—"

"I said shut up!"

Dudley eyed the empty space he thought was Harry in a would-be suspicious manner if he weren't so terrified already. Crossing his arms in response to the erupting goose bumps, he whimpered, "I'll t-tell Dad! W-where are you? What are you d-do—"

"Will you shut up?" Harry hissed, "I'm trying to lis—"

Harry suddenly fell silent. Dudley opened his mouth—but no sound came out.

There was something in the alleyway apart from themselves, something terrible that was drawing long, hoarse, rattling breaths. Trembling in the freezing air, Dudley exclaimed again (for there was no doubt in his mind that this was all Harry's doing), "C-cut it out! Stop doing that! I'll h-hit you, I swear I will!"

"Dudley, shut—"

Dudley couldn't help but finally notice that Harry was not smug or arrogant but equally horrified… but his cousin's fear was not of the unknown but of what he seemed to be dreading. He heard another rattling breath and realized that whoever was in the alleyway was doing it—

But he acted too fast, realizing that his fist had already made contact with the side of Harry's head; a loud thud meant he had knocked Harry to the ground. "You moron, Dudley!" Harry yelled, but Dudley couldn't bring himself to apologize, not after fifteen years of terrorizing this boy for some sense of control to make up for the lack thereof around such strange and scary magic…

He blundered off, hitting the alley fence, stumbling, and heard Harry's voice echo through the darkness: "DUDLEY, COME BACK! YOU'RE RUNNING RIGHT AT IT!"

A horrible squealing yell escaped him; Dudley halted in his tracks and felt an invisible presence just before him. Whatever it was, he was blinded to the current happenings; Harry's panicked warnings faded away as a rushing noise overpowered him. He curled up on the ground for who knows how long and threw his arms over his face, and for a moment, he thought he was safe…

Until a hand, a brittle-boned and slimy hand, clamped over his left wrist and began to pull.

Shrieking, Dudley pressed his arms closer to himself, but another hand had begun to pull on his other wrist, and he felt his arms slowly being prized apart. The cold drew nearer, and as the sense of humanity began to escape him…

For the first time, a feeling of misery escalated to such proportions that it was not blocked out by fear, and he saw—he felt—memories that were surely, certainly not his own.

They were mere noises at first: an unconscious sob here, a scream of terror there, again the rattling breaths coming now from his own mind…

The rattling before him was stifled as though being fed, flashing images of an island and hooded monsters darted into him, and he realized, as if from a past life, that he was being given the Kiss.

A flash of silver pushed aside the invisible presence, and one last thought burst into his mind before he recalled himself, from some memory of years past, in an echoing voice sounding unfamiliar and cold.

"They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban."