Harry Potter never had what one could call a happy childhood. Ever since he could remember, the Dursleys had ignored him the majority of the time and gone out of their way to make him feel unwelcome. His aunt and uncle often treated him like a criminal and blamed strange occurrences on him. Harry recalled being excited when he was old enough to go to elementary school, because it meant escaping from the Dursleys for a few hours. However, Harry's cousin went to the same elementary school. Anyone that decided to do anything other than ridicule Harry would pay for it, thanks to Dudley and his friends.
Things had started to look up for Harry when he found out that he was a wizard and would be attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He'd made some amazing friends, learned quite a lot and been able to get away from the Dursleys for an entire school year. Of course, he also had a nearly fatal encounter with the same dark wizard that had murdered his parents, but everything had turned out okay in the end.
Now, Harry had returned to live with his relatives for the summer and matters were progressively becoming worse at the Dursley household. His Uncle Vernon lost his job months ago, though no one had bothered to tell Harry why (he had overheard muffled discussions about accusations of fraud). Since then, Vernon had decided to do something else to occupy his time. Alcohol, Harry had found out quite quickly, made Vernon an even angrier person. Vernon was physically abusive prior to becoming an alcoholic, but it had been very frequent or severe up until now.
In one of his drunken rages, Vernon had forbid Harry from going back to school. Harry had lost track of the date a long time ago, but he imagined that school would already have resumed for the year. He was supposed to be the extraordinary Boy Who Lived, right? Then why, he asked himself, was he being imprisoned by his completely non-magical family? He couldn't believe that he had been pitying himself for all these years when the worst had still been yet to come. At least his uncle had never treated him this badly before.
If only the wizarding world could see me now, Harry thought bitterly. He vaguely wondered how many of his bones his Uncle had broken this time. It felt as if every bone in his body was broken, but surely it couldn't be that bad...
-The previous night-
"Why is this house such a bloody mess?" Vernon screamed, enraged. He was obviously forgetting that he had made an awful mess of the house earlier that day when he had been in another one of his rages. "Petunia, get me another drink!"
Aunt Petunia scrambled off of the sitting room couch nervously. Earlier, Petunia and Dudley had discussed pouring the entire contents of Vernon's alcohol collection down the sink. Obviously they hadn't followed through on this because they were terrified of what Vernon would do to them. And they all knew that he would just go out and purchase more once it was gone.
Vernon was roaring drunk at this point. Harry had taken a lot from his uncle over the years, and had learned by experience that it was best to let his uncle's rages take their course. But Harry couldn't recall ever seeing his uncle this drunk before. Vernon was already incensed and it would only become worse if he was to drink more. Better me than Aunt Petunia or Dudley, Harry thought, imagining how Uncle Vernon would react to anyone that did away with his alcohol collection. Harry reached out and grabbed the bottle that was closest to him, loosened the top of it.
"I'll be up with it in a moment, Vernon," Petunia called out nervously.
Harry was nearly through with getting rid of Vernon's collection at this point. He opened yet another bottle and stared as its contents went down the sink. I'm really going to pay for this, but at least I'm used to Uncle Vernon's beatings. I can handle it better than Aunt Petunia or Dudley would be able to, Harry thought. It wasn't as though Harry particularly liked his aunt or cousin, but he still had no desire to watch Vernon kick the crap out of them. There had been a time when Vernon had cherished his wife and doted, perhaps too much, on his son. But the alcohol had taken over Vernon's life, and he seemed to care about little else.
Petunia entered the kitchen as Harry had just emptied the last bottle. "What do you think you're doing?" Petunia asked in a furious whisper.
"I did exactly what you and Dudley were talking about earlier. It's pretty obvious that he's still drunk from his last round! What do you think he'll do if he gets his hands on more alcohol? He's already furious and he's getting more violent. How long do you think it'll be before he puts his hands on you... or Dudley?"
"Petunia, what in the bloody hell is taking you so long? Do I have to do everything myself?" Vernon snarled.
Harry barely heard Petunia inform Vernon that he must have just finished the last of his alcohol. With a look of absolute fury, Vernon took in the sight of the empty bottles that were lined up on the counter, and eyed Harry, who was standing directly in front of them. Vernon grabbed Harry by the collar of his shirt, dragging him to the cupboard under the stairs. Harry assumed that this was to be his room once again. After what seemed like hours of his Uncle Vernon punching and kicking him with full force, he finally threw Harry in the cupboard and locked him in.
Petunia and Dudley had hardly been able to do anything to assist Harry. The only time Vernon went out of the house was when he had gone to the store to buy more alcohol. Harry had no clue where the money that bought it was coming from, as Vernon had lost his job. While Vernon was gone, either Petunia or Dudley would bring Harry a miniscule amount of food. At one point, Aunt Petunia had actually apologized to Harry for not being able to bring him more because she was afraid that Vernon would notice it was gone. Harry suspected that both Dudley and his aunt were grateful that he had stopped his uncle from drinking more that night, and therefore possibly stopped Vernon from hurting them. Harry would stare at the food they brought him, but he was too sore and weak to move at all, let alone to eat, so it wasn't as if the food they brought him did any good.
Harry felt horrible, and was certain that he must look horrible as well. The first time she had snuck Harry a bit of food, he had seen her pale considerably at the sight of him. He was sure that he needed medical attention, but he couldn't ask his aunt to take him. If she did, she would pay dearly for it once Vernon noticed that Harry was gone.
Harry had no idea how long he would be locked in the cupboard. What if no one ever came looking for him, or they came and couldn't find him? After all, who would expect The Boy Who Lived to be locked, once again, in the cupboard under the stairs?