Chapter 11: Spinner’s End
The healers at St Mungo’s thought that Lupin had most probably swallowed Bill’s blood through the mouth, for Lupin had been brought to St Mungo’s hospital that day bathed in blood. There was blood everywhere, in his nostrils and in his mouth. He must have unconsciously swallowed Bill’s blood in his mouth to clear off his respiratory track, by reflex, as his nose was blocked. They said that as Lupin had lost much blood, his blood flowed outward and didn’t return to the heart.
‘It’s quite sensible as an explanation’, Harry thought.
When Lupin brought the sample of Bill’s blood to the hospital, it was still daytime … A child who had been bitten by a werewolf on the previous month was there. His parents were afraid of keeping him at home during the full moon night, they had entrusted him to the hospital. In order not to waste an occasion for testing Bill’s blood effect, the healers have thought of a quick solution which simply consisted in mixing up just a little bit of Bill’s blood in a large goblet of solution that contained mead, Blood-Replenishing potion and a herbal sedative syrup, while waiting other more advanced medical researches. As it was to be administered by oral way and entirely harmless, the boy’s parents accepted the experiment. Everybody waited with beating heart for the moonrise in the hallway in front of the boy’s special chamber: Harry, Hermione, Ron, Lupin, the healers, and the boy’s parents. The boy manifested a beginning of transformation, some contortions of the body, but didn’t completely transform. Then falling asleep, he dropped on the floor and slept till the morning. Everybody was very hopeful. Before returning home, the boy was given a second cup of the potion that Hermione had kept in the cool box that Lupin had used to transport Bill’s blood sample. The boy’s family was asked to keep the discovery secret, and to bring the boy to the hospital on the next full moon.
Mr Weasley remembered that when he had been attacked by Nagini, there was a patient in his chamber at St Mungo’s Hospital who had been bitten by a werewolf. The healers found his file in their archives and sent him a letter asking him whether he would volunteer to test a new anti-werewolf treatment still in phase of experimentation. But the patient in question didn’t reply to the St Mungo’s letter.
That night the three friends Apparated to Gloucester. They took up position in a bush, keeping an eye on the back of Malfoy’s manor. Till three o’clock in the morning nothing happened, and they decided to return to the Head Quarters to spend the rest of the night. Before leaving to go to bed, Harry confided to his friends:
“When we were behind Malfoy’s manor, at a moment, I had the impression that I heard foot steps, or more likely that I felt foot steps, far away, I didn’t know where. On the moment, I thought that it were the strokes of my heart beating. But now, I think that it was real footsteps, underneath us, from under the ground. Perhaps there are underground passages, some tunnels. Haven’t you noticed or felt the same thing ?”
“If you said so”, replied Hermione, “I also had the same feeling. We should return to make sure. If there are underground passages, there must be some air vents, or ventilation shafts, don’t you think so ?”
The next days, the three friends, Harry, Ron and Hermione, spent the whole day visiting London. They made a complete sightseeing tour in the way of tourists by the London bus to visit all the nooks and crannies of London but could not find any “dark and horrible” tower. They also stopped at various kiosks to look at the post cards. Their London trip did not turn fruitful but they were happy of the anti-werewolf potion and very hopeful. If it was as simple as that, the war against the werewolves was already won.
Back to Hogwarts, Harry resumed his life as an ‘Invisible’. He read a lot and realized that reading was becoming easier everyday for him. Everything he read was assimilated without difficulty, the curses and spells, even the most difficult ones, Harry could master them at once without having to train, just by reading. He no longer attended the Defence Against the Dark Arts lessons, he found them boring, a real loss of time, but he still attended the lessons of Potions, Transfiguration, Charms, and Herbology, for he intended to present himself at the end of term examinations, the N.E.W.T. (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests). He read during the off hours in the day and when he waited for the arrival of his friends in the evening. Sometimes he helped Ron master some curses that Ron hadn’t yet succeeded in class.
“I got other elements in my dreams about the dark tower, well, if we could call them ‘dreams’, said Harry when Hermione and Ron arrived in his room. “There was a river, a black and dirty river. I was there, in my dream of course, in a tunnel, a kind of big and really disgusting sewer. And when I woke up a name lingered in my thoughts, the name of a place or a street, that I could not remember, it was like a name that I had known for a very long time, it wasn’t new to me, in my dream, and so I didn’t pay attention to it.
“A black river ? … Perhaps a canal ?” Hermione suggested and the three friends bended their heads on the map of London to examine the course of the Thames which went through London. But it flew through the capital from one end to the other and there was no tower mentioned on its course on the map.
“We must make another sightseeing tour in London”, Harry proposed. “Perhaps in my dreams, as in every dreams however, the light is dim, nearly ‘lunar’ light if one could say, and the tower looked threatening and horrible in darkness, but under the daylight, it may look differently and have another effect ? Surely last time we didn’t pay any attention, and we looked only for a dreadful, threatening tower !”
By a dark Saturday of mid-March, the three friends took again the London bus to make a tourist tour through the capital. They stayed on the bus, each one looked on one side, traversing the whole London, from luxurious districts to less luxurious ones, then poor districts and poverty stricken ones.
“Here !” burst out Harry. “We’ll get down at the next stop, it’s the tower, or rather the chimney, under the same angle as I saw it in my dream !”
“We’ll make a tour in the area”, proposed Harry when they all had got down from the bus.
It was a very sad district with rows of nearly identical and dilapidated whitewash brick houses. Planks were missing on certain windows, others were condemned by cross-fixed boards on it. The cobbled labyrinthine streets were dirty, desert … Empty beer cans and cigarette butts … were scattered all over the place. The towering chimney, a relic of a disused mill, reared up shadowy and ominous under the gray clouded sky seemed to hover like a giant admonitory finger.
“Spinner’s End !” burst out Harry seeing the plaque on the corner of a street. “It’s the name that erupted into my head in my dream. We are in the right area. Let’s make a tour on the river side.”
The river was separated from the house rows by a narrow cobbled street and a line of old railings. They squeezed through a gap in the rusty railings to reach the riverbank.
It was not a river but rather a canal to receive sewage from the area and from the mill. The water was black, low, and emitted a putrid smell. The bank was overgrown by vegetation and was becoming a gigantic dump strewn with all sorts of garbage: nappies, broken chairs, cans, bottles and shopping bags and what else …!. A scrawny fox was hopefully looking for some remaining food in the cans, it ran off with the tail between its legs as the three friends approached.
The sewer’s mouth was joining the canal high above the level of the water that stagnated in its bed.
“We’ll go down and try to get into the sewer”, Harry proposed.
“But it’s disgusting !”, Ron let out, looking desperate.
“Come on”, Harry said and stepped down the bank to the sewer’s mouth. “It’s passable, come on, be careful not to slip”, Harry added to encourage his friends.
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