Parents of disagreeable or ungrateful children often tell said children things like 'there are children in Africa who starve to death everyday and you are given food three times a day, don't be so fussy' and 'there a children all over the world who's parents beat their children and you complain when we send you to your room, your lucky to even have your own room and to have the kind mum and dad that you do'. Well, there were such children in England and Harry Potter, was one of them.
Harry was awoken at dawn by his aunt rapping on to door to his room, the cupboard under the stairs. He felt around for the door-handle and pushed the door open, staggering through it, blinking and squinting. He traveled down the hallway, arms outstretched, and slipped through the kitchen doorway, not speaking to his Aunt, who sat primly on the edge of her seat, drinking a cup of Earl Grey. She always had Earl Grey. In fact, she'd been having Earl Grey for as long as Harry could remember.
He reached over the counter for the frying pan that was sure to be there. It was right there. It always was. He picked up the pan with difficulty (the stupid thing was made of cast iron) and turned to where he knew the stove was, putting it on one of the burners. He walked to the fridge, opening it and squinting at its contents, trying to make out the bag that contained the bacon. There it was! He grabbed it, closed the fridge and set the food cooking. He went about finishing the making of breakfast in a similar manner.
Within minutes, the smell of food attracted his uncle and his beach ball of a cousin. The pair thudded down the stairs and squeezed themselves through the kitchen door (how they managed it, Harry would never know), seating themselves at the table. Harry served breakfast along with a cup of straight black coffee for his uncle ('I won't have any of this namby-pamby, wishy-washy nonsense about putting sugar in good coffee'), juice for the baby whale and a little tap water for himself. Then he scampered out of the kitchen and to his cupboard to hide.
Minutes passed and little Harry sat in his cupboard, fidgeting. He waited for his uncle to leave so he could get to his chores and then perhaps a little food, if he finished them all. But only if his Aunt was in a good mood. He heard the front door open and close.
Finally! He was gone. Harry snuck out of his cupboard and into the bathroom to begin the long, tiring day of housework.
Harry scrubbed and polished until the skin of his fingers was red and raw and every movement hurt. Then, he moved out into the garden. He pruned, watered and weeded his aunt's flowers. He cut the lawn. By hand. Then, and only then, did he skulk into the kitchen and stood, head bowed and hands cupped, waiting for his aunt to put the regular bread crusts and cup of stale water in his hands. She did and Harry crouched in the corner of the kitchen, scoffing his 'meal'.
The rest of the day was spent in his cupboard, tending to his hands and ignoring the hunger pains that ripped through his stomach.
*HPGW*RWHG* Hours later * HPGW*RWHG*
Harry flinched as his uncle's voice rang through the hallway and reverberated around the cupboard under the stairs. Vernon stomped up the corridor and wrenched the door of Harry's cupboard open.
The light blinded him for a portion of a second before his uncle's fist grabbed the front of his shirt and yanked him out of the comforting darkness and back into the light. Blinded again. Harry kept his eyes closed then, relying on his other senses, his hearing and smell, both enhanced due to his less than perfect eyesight.
The sounds of a door slamming against the wall as Vernon threw it open with too much force. The smell of alcohol was on Vernon's breath. Brilliant. His uncle's beatings hurt more when he was drunk. His aim wasn't as good and more than once his uncle had knocked him out by belting him around the head by mistake.
Vernon dropped him. Harry kept his eyes closed as the belt smacked into his back the first time.
Crack. His teeth clenched.
Crack. Air hissed through his teeth.
Crack. Blood flooded his mouth as he bit his lip.
Harry tensed, waiting for the next blow. But it never came. He opened his eyes to see his uncle staring at him. Oh no. He knew that look. He could almost see the light bulb sputtering to life above Vernon's head.
'Yes, yes, hmm.' Vernon muttered. 'You will not stay in this house anymore. I don't like you. What to do, what to do with you.' He paused in thought. Harry hoped it hurt. Then he spoke and Harry could clearly imagine the cruel look in his Uncle's eyes as he said, 'It's the streets for you boy!'
'The streets!!' That was all Harry could think as Vernon picked him up, carried him through the front door, into the car and then as he drove and drove and then he stopped, put him on the sidewalk and drove away. And that was that. The enormity of his situation hit him suddenly. He was alone, beaten bloody and homeless. He gasped. Panic siezed him and his throat suddenly seemed to close off. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't think.
He clutched at his throat.
He struggled to breath, every breath seemed to be harder to take.
Would he die here? On the pavement of a street of who's whereabouts he had no idea?
'So?' He suddenly thought. 'I've been alone my whole life. Why does this matter? It doesn't. It doesn't matter, doesn't matter, doesn't matter...' He repeated this mantra in his head for what felt like hours but was really only a matter of minutes.
Finally, when he was calm (or as calm as one could be in his situation), he stood up from his position on the floor with difficulty, Harry looked around. Ok. Where was he? And more importantly, who were they.