It was undoubtedly the worst summer yet of Harry's life. He had only been at the Dursley's for a day and he knew he wouldn't be able to withstand much more of their brutal treatment.  The second they had arrived home for the summer, his uncle had dragged Harry into the house and up the stairs to his room.

 "There are going to be some changes, you little brat.  All of your belongings are to stay in the cupboard under the stairs.  There will be absolutely no talk of magic in my home, and if you even dare to threaten us with your godfather you will regret it for a week.  You will work for the roof that has been put over your head and the food that you eat.  You will obey any rules that I see fit to add to my little list and if you are good, I just might let you return to school after summer." Vernon huffed out his speech to his nephew in one breath it seemed and was just begging for a reason to lash out at Harry.  Knowing now wouldn't be quite the time to inform him that there was no force in the world that would keep him away from school when the time came; Harry kept his mouth shut, also knowing the wrath that his uncle could put forth.  "Good.  Now get downstairs and help your aunt Petunia with supper."

Harry silently followed his uncle down the stairs and into the kitchen.  Petunia had already begun the meal, but was more than willing to let Harry take over as he walked into the room.  "It's about time.  Finish with the lasagna and then get started on the green beans."  As she walked past Harry, she bumped into him with enough force to send him into the stove.  Harry bit back a yell as his hand came down directly onto one of the burners.  "Watch where you're going and maybe next time you won't get the tar burnt out of your hand."  Petunia hissed at him as she walked out of the kitchen.  Harry quickly ran over to the sink and ran cold water over his fresh wound.  He hoped it wouldn't blister, and as luck had it, it didn't.  It only turned a nasty shade of red and was painful to touch.  Wrapping a towel carefully around his hand, he went back to work on supper.  After everyone had finished eating, he was finally allowed to eat the measly amount that remained of the meal he had made. 

"After you have cleaned up the mess in here, you can go to bed.  Tomorrow we will discuss your chores." Said uncle Vernon, obviously enjoying the fact that cleaning would be difficult for Harry with his hurt hand.    Harry slowly started cleaning up the kitchen, being careful not the use his burnt hand.  After a difficult dishwashing session, he was finally able to escape to his bedroom.  He threw himself onto his bed, without removing his clothing or glasses and fell into a fitful sleep.  The nightmares were always the same.  He saw Cedric fall to a heap beside him, dead.  Then the screams began.  They were his own tormented screams at having to relive the event over and over again.  Everything that had happened after the third task was slowly eating away at him.  He was ripped from his own personal hell when he found himself being thrown violently to the floor.  "Are you trying to wake up the whole damn neighborhood?  Shut up!" Vernon yelled, repeatedly kicking Harry in the stomach and head. 

"Stop, please!" Begged Harry from the ground, rolling tightly into a ball to protect himself from the kicks.  But his uncle kept kicking until Harry was thrown into blissful oblivion. 

"Teach you to wake up the whole family in the middle of the night, you freak!" Vernon spat at his nephew, who lay unconscious on the floor. 

The next morning brought nothing but pain for the boy who still lay on the floor of his small room.  Harry sat up, cradling his cracked ribs, and took a deep breath, trying to ease the pain.  He knew he had to get out.  This was the first time that his uncle had actually shown him physical violence.  He didn't think he could take another beating like the one he had received the night before.  Thankfully, his uncle hadn't taken Hedwig away from him, as he didn't want the responsibility of taking care of an owl, let alone his nephew's owl.  He slowly dragged himself over the Hedwig's cage and opened it up, allowing the owl to fly onto his awaiting arm.  Harry gently patted Hedwig before setting her onto the floor.  He rummaged through his room until he found a piece of parchment. 

"Who should I write to Hedwig?"  Asked Harry, but Hedwig just hooted and lovingly nipped at his finger.  "I guess I'll just write to Ron, he'll help me escape if it comes down to that."  Harry knew this from personal experience, as Ron had already came and rescued him before.  Taking out his quill and parchment, Harry wrote a quick letter to Ron.

Ron,

I need to get out of here, can you help me?  Please be quick.

Your Friend,

Harry

Harry finished writing the letter and tied it to Hedwig's leg.  As she flew out the window, Harry was hoping for a quick rescue.  He could hear his uncle's booming voice coming from behind the door.  "Get up you lazy git!"  Harry stood up painfully, awaiting the beating he knew was coming.