Loire Baker sighed. The brown haired woman had expected to spend the weekend relaxing, but it seemed the residents of Number Four had other plans. Her next door neighbors were – as usual - in quite an uproar. "I wonder what it could be this time…" she wonders aloud to herself.
A loud bang sounded from Number 4, followed by "In boy! And no food for a week."
"Ow! Uncle Vernon! Ow! That hurts!"
Loire sat up a little straighter and peered out of her kitchen room window and into the window of Number Four just in time to see Vernon Dursley dragging a boy by his arm, which was twisted at an angle so odd it seemed unnatural. If he keeps that up, he'll break the boy's arm, she thought.
"Shut up you little freak!" Vernon yelled, striking the boy with his fist. "I don't know how you did that to my Dudley, but you'll pay for your insolence!"
"I'm not a freak! And I didn't do anything to Dudley!"
"If you didn't then who did? Things like that don't just happen to normal people out of thin air!"
"I don't know! I didn't do anything!"
"A likely story!"
"I'm telling the truth! I didn't have anything to do with it! I'd have to have some kind of super powers to do something like that!"
Vernon turned a horrendous shade of puce and struck the raven-haired child hard enough to send him careening into the wall.
How old is that boy? Mrs. Baker wondered. I thought Pettie said he was Dudley's age? She watched through the window in horror as Vernon took off his belt and began whipping the boy, all the while holding his arm above his head at a decidedly perilous angle. My God… is this… this isn't… normal? Pettie wouldn't stand for this, would she? That's her nephew for Christ's sake. Her own sister's child! Loire was pulled out of her thoughts as loud thud followed by a piercing scream. All was silent for a moment, and then:
"Get up boy!"
Loire couldn't hear what the poor child responded, but she could see that his too big shirt was bloody and his arm was bent at such an odd angle that she was sure it was broken.
"Mark!" she called, watching as Vernon kicked the barely conscious child and locked him in a small cupboard located under the stairs. "Mark!"
"Yes!" came the reply from the basement. "Mum, did you need something?"
"Call the police!" she yelled, watching as Vernon stormed out of her view to some other part of the house.
"Call the police! Tell them to send a medic too!"
"Why?" he asked, coming into the kitchen and running a hand through his brown hair.
"Vernon's been abusing his nephew."
"What? What do you mean he's been abusing him?"
"He whipped the boy, broke his arm, and then locked him in a cupboard. That's what."
"Will you stop asking questions and call the police like I told you to? I'm going to see if I can reach Pettie on her mobile."
Loire picked up her mobile and hurriedly searched for Petunia's number. Oh Pettie, she thought as she listened to the phone ring, I hope I'm not too late.
Petunia Dursley growled in frustration. Today was supposed to her day to herself, but that nosy Loire Baker had to go and ruin it! "Calling the police on my Vernon!" she huffed angrily. "The nerve of her!" She slammed the car door shut and stalked into the police station. "I can't believe… that little freak! Just like his freak parents!" she spat. "You there!"
"Ma'am? What can I do for you?" replied the officer nearest.
"I'll tell you what you can do!" she said, "You can release my husband! I cannot believe that you arrested my husband, my Vernon, on the word of that no-good, nosy Loire Baker!"
The officer raised his eyebrow. "Mrs. Dursley, Mrs. Baker saved your nephew's life. You ought to be thankful."
"Don't you tell me what I ought to be!" she roared, indignant. "That… that… freak hasn't been anything but a burden to us! I don't know what I was thinking when I took him in! I should have listened to Marge and shipped him off to an orphanage when I found him on my doorstep!"
"Now really ma'am," the officer replied, "I know you're upset but-"
"Upset! Upset!" she screeched. "You arrested my husband! Upset hardly covers it!"
"Calm down, Mrs. Dursley." The officer soothed.
"Calm down! Calm down! I will not calm down! Not until you release my husband!"
"Mrs. Dursley, if you don't calm down, I'm going to have you removed from the building. Do you understand me?"
Petunia seethed but said nothing.
"Good. Now, your husband is being held for child abuse. You can see him, but he won't be released. Not until you post bail. Do you understand that, Mrs. Dursley?"
"Good. Now, if you'll follow me, I'll take you to visit with him for a bit…"
Albus Dumbledore was in a good mood. He'd finished all of the paperwork necessary for the upcoming school year, and was happily enjoying a lemon drop when one of the objects he had set to monitor Number Four, Privet Drive started flashing red and emitting low wailing sound. So much for a peaceful day, Albus thought, gathering a bit of Floo powder and tossing it in the fireplace shouting, "Cat Corner!" after a bit of whirling, the living room of one Arabella Figg came into view.
"Arabella!" the Headmaster called, trying to get the attention of a woman who was currently in the kitchen feeding her cats. "Arabella!"
"Oh!" she gasped, turning around. "Albus! I didn't see you there. What can I do for you?"
"Has anything unusual happened on Privet Drive? The monitors are going off, and I wanted to check with you. You can never be too careful."
"Yes, actually." She replied, prying one of her cats away from the fireplace. "But you'd better come through – it's a rather long story."
Harry Potter was having what had to be the worst day of his life. Dudley and his friends had played their favorite game, Harry Hunting, all afternoon. After hours of being chased around Little Whinging, he'd finally gotten tired of being pummeled and decided to try giving them a taste of their own medicine. As it turned out, climbing up a tree and trying to ambush four people by pelting them with pebbles wasn't a very good idea. He'd nearly broken his arm when he'd fallen out of the tree, and Dudley and his friends had taken great joy in kicking him until a swarm of bees had decided to attack them. After Dudley and his friends had been chased away, Harry had gotten up and hastily made his way to Number Four, only to find that his cousin gotten there first and somehow convinced his father that Harry had set bees on him. Despite how impossible the very idea was, Vernon had believed it anyway, and whipped Harry until he had started to go into shock from loss of blood. Then he had yanked Harry's arm out of its socket (or at least it felt that way) and thrown him into the cupboard under the stairs. At some point Harry had lost consciousness, and he'd woken up to find himself strapped to a hospital bed with a cast on one arm and IV in the other. Cheers, he thought glumly, could today possibly get any worse?
"I see you're finally awake." remarked a voice from his right. "That's good. How are you feeling?"
How do you think I'm feeling? Harry thought bitterly as he surveyed the impossibly old man sitting next to him. "Terrible." he answered.
"Yes," said the man, stroking his long white beard, "I suppose you are. But no matter, Madam Pomfrey will sort you out in no time."
"Madam… Pomfrey?" he asked.
"Yes… But you'll meet her later. You should rest."
"But I'm not…" Harry yawned as the strange, bearded man waved his hand over Harry's face. "…tired." He finished, closing his eyes and slumping into the pillows.
"Sleep… just sleep Harry. Tomorrow, today will feel like nothing more than a bad dream."
"Promise?" Harry asked.