Blood scattered, spreading itself throughout the operating table, onto the ground, and all over the struggling doctor's hands and clothing. A brown-haired woman tried to contain the blood and mend the wound that did not seem to want to heal. It took all of her energy and brainpower to stitch him up, but there wasn't much she could do to save him in the end. The dreadful red substance continued to spread everywhere and she could not figure out what to do to stop it from flowing.
She wondered why there had been so many similar cases and why they had just suddenly started to appear.
It all started about three months ago. First, her patients would come in with wounds like bite marks. She did not think much of them, for there were many creatures that could leave those marks. But in the past week it had gotten significantly worse and by now every one of the patients bore the same symptoms: ragged fur, scorched skin, and bloody wounds. Those were the lucky ones though. They were able to escape to their owner's crying fury. Several of them had turned up missing and she was not naïve. Something was out there. She could hear it late at night… a piercing roar always followed by the whimpering of her favorite kind of creature. Every time she heard that noise, she hugged her own furry critter and held her close.
It was terrible. She had sought after her job to help save these creatures, but now she felt defeated. She could only save but a few, lately. There was some kind of enemy attacking the town's defenseless dogs, and she could barely help.
This deranged pooch that was currently fighting for his life came in with more wounds than she had ever seen. His coat was completely damaged, like someone had set him on fire. There were wounds on every part of his skin and his tiny body shook of pain; he was so scared and so hurt. She could instantly tell that some of his bones were crushed, as with previous cases, and his stomach was a mess, full of disentangled organs. It would take a miracle to cure him and tonight did not seem hopeful.
She fought to keep him free from pain, but in the end death took over his body. He looked helpless, lying motionless on the table and she couldn't help but tear up herself. So many of them had been taken from the world lately, and each one of them affected her even more. She thought that each loss would get easier to handle, but that was just a myth. Each loss became more difficult to handle. Owners had to be careful not to let their dogs out for too long, but it was difficult. For some strange reason, the dogs were escaping more and more these days. Maybe the creature that was attacking them was calling out to the dogs in some way.
What a cruel trick.
The worst part of her job was informing the owner. The owners came in devastated and distraught, and they looked to her to fix everything. She knew most of the dogs and she especially knew this one. She met Champ, a white Maltese, two years ago when she first started her job. He was just a pup then, and he was a sick pup for awhile. He had worms when she first met him, and it took lots of medicine to get him over that. After three months of treatment he was better and she felt successful. Now she had to inform his owner of his passing… after everything that she had been through. It was not an easy job and she hated being the bearer of bad news. That had to be the worst part of the job.
She walked through the hallway, and into the waiting room, which was relatively empty. Even though there were many attacks, they did not all come at once. The small town did not have enough dogs to fill the waiting room and she was sure that the enemy only found one or two victims at a time.
She could see Champ's owner with tear-filled eyes as she walked into the lobby. She instantly responded to the doctor's presence as she entered the room, ready to pay attention.
"I'm sorry," Dr. Reynolds said.
Champ's owner, Sally Martin, allowed her face to collapse into her arms. She was devastated. Her best friend had just been attacked and was now deemed dead, as the doctor's words resounded in her head, "We did everything we could."
Tears washed down Sally's face and she tried to hide her pain. Dr. Reynolds was ready to cry again herself when she saw Sally's tears. But she had to stay strong. No one wanted to see the veterinarian cry. Part of her job was to keep her appearance up in front of saddened owners.
Sally's face perked up and she suddenly felt the need to speak. "I know you did everything you could. It was my fault for letting him get out. I just hope he did not suffer too much."
"We gave him as much pain medication as we could." Dr. Reynolds placed a hand on Sally's shoulder, trying to ease her. She wanted to tell her that it wasn't her fault, but she was supposed to keep that to herself. No one wanted to hear that there was some monster out there. Even though people were suspicious, she was told not to reveal that information. "He did not suffer in the end."
"Thank you," Sally reached out and gave Dr. Reynolds a hug. "For everything."
Dr. Reynolds felt like she let Sally down, but she continued forward. She went to wash up and pack up for the night. It was a long day and an exhausting night of fighting to keep a sick dog alive. And when the battle ended in dreadful consequences, it just made everything worse. She needed to just leave and she needed sleep.
She started to walk out the door, tirelessly and impatiently awaiting the feeling of being in her bed, snuggling her pooch, Taffy, in her arms. That would make her feel better. Her favorite animal in the entire world. The dog who always made her efforts feel worthwhile and meaningful, no matter how depressing the outcome.
She was outside of the door, searching through her purse for her car key, when another presence caught up with her, running to track her down. "Emilia," she heard a voice say, from behind her shoulder.
Emilia instantly stopped walking and turned around to see a blond-haired woman with bright blue eyes chasing after her. "Hi Talia," Emilia answered. Talia was Emilia's co-worker, a Vet Tech, and Emilia's best friend.
"Hey," Talia said in between breaths, catching up to Emilia. "It's been a crappy night. Why don't we go to Teddy's?"
Emilia thought about the offer. Teddy's was the local pub, and Emilia and Talia often went there at night. It was usually Talia's pushing that landed them there, as Emilia could do without drinking right after work.
"I just need to go to sleep," Emilia announced, as she tried to keep her eyes from shutting.
"Exactly," Talia announced. "It will make you feel better. Please."
Emilia tried to sort through her thoughts, and yet she had trouble coming with a valid reason for fighting Talia. Once again, her weak defense system took over, and she agreed. "Oh, alright," Emilia sighed. "Let's go."
Charlie Weasley walked sloppily to his supervisor's desk, trying to think of all of the possible reasons that he had wanted to meet with him. He knew it was something bad because that idiot sent him an owl… an owl at his own work to tell him about the confrontation. He could not figure out what he had done wrong, though he knew his boss could possibly blame him for anything.
"Hello," a curly-haired man with pale blue eyes smiled as Charlie took a seat opposite him.
"What's going on?" Charlie asked, wanting to skip the formalities.
"I have a new assignment for you," he announced. Maybe it wasn't so bad. He was getting a new assignment. "There's a dragon loose in the Muggle town of Newberry. I need you to go there and relocate it."
"How did it get there?" Charlie asked first, though that wasn't actually his first concern.
"It escaped from Gringotts," the curly-haired main explained in short and simple terms. Charlie did not expect anything more from him. His boss was a simplistic man, which annoyed Charlie most of the time.
"And why do I have to do it?" Charlie fumed. He was sure someone else could take care of it. He was not in the mood to have to relocate for awhile to hunt down the old dragon from Gringotts. He had other work to do.
"You're going to have to work with Muggles," the man explained, "And given your family…-"
"My dad used to work in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Department," Charlie interrupted. "That doesn't mean that I know anything about Muggles."
"You're best suited for that job, and that's that," Charlie's boss scolded. "Now here is the protocol." The man handed Charlie a packet of papers and Charlie briefly looked through them. He then stormed out of the office and went back to his flat to pack.
Soon after packing, Charlie Apparated to the town of Newberry, where the dragon was said to be located. His boss at least set up a hotel room that he could stay in during his unneeded visit. It was a dumpy old shack and Charlie couldn't do anything about it. The whole town was a Muggle town and they would not understand if his room suddenly turned into a palace or even just an ordinary clean room.
He quickly sent an owl off to his parents, telling them that he was in nearby England. He did not suggest that they visit though, for the town was all Muggle. He would just hopefully catch the dragon, and send him back to the bank or wherever they wanted him to go. He would have to look over his papers later.
Charlie started to unpack his clothes, though he left many of his items buried away in his trunk. The only supplies that he actually needed were ones that would help him catch the dragon. He did not need many clothes because he would not be staying for long. At least that was his hope as he left many of his clothes lying in his trunk.
By the time evening came, Charlie started to get hungry. He would have killed for his mother's cooking, but he was also used to not eating the most delectable food. Being on his own taught him about the world of restaurants and take out food. Anytime that he tried to make food himself, it came out looking like dragon's vomit, and it didn't taste much better. That's what he got for working with dragons.
As Charlie's stomach growled of hunger, he decided to search for a place to eat. He figured that he would be staying in this town for a little while. It couldn't hurt to get to know a little about it. However, food was his first priority.
He started to walk through the town's colonial styled streets. Everything looked old fashioned and somewhat beaten up. There were not too many people walking along the streets, as the sun started to fade and the moonlight took over. He wondered how the dragon that he was supposedly trying to capture would hide itself from these people. Dragons typically stayed away from Muggles, so he pondered how the dragon chose this town to reside in.
As he walked past the town's main shopping area, he noticed a forestry, yet mountainous area in the background. Charlie figured that he must be hiding somewhere deep beyond those points, calling out to the town's wildlife. He figured that sheep and goats must be disappearing all the time, and yet Charlie did not notice many sheep or goats in the town. Even though it was old fashioned, it did not seem like a farming town. Everything was too modern and industrialized. Perhaps the dragon was eating some other type of wildlife. He would need to read over his assignment to see what exactly he would be doing.
Charlie passed by a small pub called Teddy's and he decided to try it out. There was a restaurant or two, but he was in the mood for a pub like atmosphere. Muggle alcohol might put him in a better mood. He needed something to make him feel better about being put in such a terrible situation.
He walked into Teddy's and took a seat at a table. He ordered some food and quickly tore through the it, ridding himself of hunger and filling his stomach with pub grub. He then moved himself into the bar and ordered a drink, trying to figure out what Muggle drink would taste most like his favorite, Firewhiskey. He finally picked one on the listed and contented to drink it in the loneliness of the night.
Two drinks later, Charlie decided that he probably should stop, for he did have to work the next day. He would just be content with sitting for bit, just as long as he did not have to return to that dump of a room of his.
As he rejected the bartender's offer of another drink, a blond haired woman took a seat next to him. She looked… as Charlie knew in Muggle terms… like a tramp.
She ordered her drink and then turned to face Charlie. "What is such a cute guy like you doing in a town like this, drinking all alone?" she asked. She then proceeded to put her hand on Charlie's face, turning him closer to her.
"Err…," Charlie was not quite sure what to do. She smelled like beer and he knew that she was acting strange… even for a Muggle. "I was just about to get going." He started to stand up, but then another blonde approached him.
"Oh, don't worry about Irma," she said. The second woman looked as if she had just entered the bar and she looked less like a tramp than Irma. "We don't get many outsiders and she's just excited to try to hit on someone new. To tell you the truth, she looks the look, but she doesn't exactly talk the talk." This second woman intrigued Charlie from her long blond locks, to her radiant blue eyes. She seemed as if she was in ownership of the place. She was confident, yet approachable and charming. Just in seconds, she had made Charlie feel a little bit better about being stuck in a Muggle town by himself.
Charlie smiled and sat back down in his seat. He liked the woman and he was appreciative of her help, as she pushed Irma away from him. "I'm Talia by the way," she announced.
"Charlie," he muttered, sticking his hand out to greet her.
"And this is my friend, Emilia," she said, as a curly haired woman walked hesitantly near Charlie and sat down next to Talia. She had dark curls and blue eyes as well. They were somewhat mysterious though, as if she did not want to reveal much about herself. She was relatively pretty, but she carried herself in a way that made her look not so pretty. She looked as if she was frightened or something and Charlie's mood instantly darkened. He liked Talia, but he didn't want to be stuck talking to her friend, who looked like she was too nervous to say a word.
"So what are you doing here?" Talia asked eager to start a conversation.
Charlie was not paying close attention as his mind began to evaluate the two women and the question caught him off guard. He raised his eyes up in concern and he thought about the answer. "I… uh…," he was having trouble saying exactly what he was doing. How was a Muggle supposed to understand? "Work," he finally decided on, thinking of what his boss would say. It was simple enough.
"Oh," Talia's eyes brightened. "Here in Newberry? What do you do?"
Charlie realized it probably wasn't a good idea to have stayed at the pub. The Muggles were curious. He would have to think of some way to get out of there. "I work with animals," he finally answered. Keeping his answers brief and general was the best thing to do. Maybe his boss was smart about that.
"Really?" Talia was intrigued. Charlie was not. That meant that she would ask more. "Me too. I'm a Vet Tech at the animal hospital. Emilia's a vet. She's amazing."
Charlie looked towards Emilia to see her briefly blush. He couldn't believe that Emilia was a vet. He heard about the Muggle animal doctor role and he thought it must be a pretty demanding job. It must be somewhat similar to healing dragons, which he helped with, and that was not an easy task. Plus, that was done with magic.
Maybe it was not as difficult as he thought. Or maybe he had gotten the wrong impression of Emilia, but first impressions were everything to him and she did not seem like the type of girl with much confidence in anything.
"I…," Charlie paused. "I have to go." He had to leave, before he was questioned anymore. He would have loved to stay and talk with Talia, but she had too many questions… and he did not want to be around Emilia. "Early morning." He stood up and started to leave.
"Well it was nice to meet you," Talia stated. She seemed somewhat disappointed as he rushed to leave.
"You too," Charlie smiled, as he walked outside of the pub, into the loneliness of the night.