Chapter 15: Godric's Hollow
“I would like to search again through the rubble of the house. Last time we stopped the search when we found the bedside table, but we haven’t done through all the amount of rubble. We’ll do it now methodically, removing layer by layer, and so transferring the amount of rubble from one place to another; that way, we’ll not miss a single stone.”
The three friends were again at Godric’s Hollow. They concentrated on this meticulous and laborious task for over three hours. When they arrived near the two sections of walls that were still half standing, they found some wooden planks that might have been parts of a child bed.
“Surely that was part of my bed”, said Harry.
He tried hard to remember his bed, and what had happened around it on that day when Voldemort had come to kill his parents, but he couldn’t. He only saw the green dazzling flash. Perhaps it was here, on this precise place that Voldemort had cast him the killing curse. Perhaps it was here that the combat between his mother and Voldemort had taken place. It was here that Voldemort was before being reduced into a wandering soul.
“I can’t remember anything about my bed and what had happened around it, but there must be something of Voldemort left in this place”, Harry insisted.
They went on removing the rubble layer by layer till they saw the marble floor. Harry was on the point of giving up the job, when suddenly he saw something shiny that a sunray brought out from underneath some pieces of rubble. With his hand, Harry squeezed it out. It was a small golden flask, a kind of round ink pot with an eagle wonderfully wrought in relief on the front face and a cap on a hinge. It was miraculously intact, perhaps protected by the big pieces of rubble nearby.
Hermione and Ron gave up their work and in a bond were beside Harry, to examine the object.
“A Ravenclaw’s ink pot ! But of course !” cried out Harry, “He must have had it with him when he came here to kill me. Dumbledore said that he had the intention to create his last Horcrux with my murder.”
“Then Dumbledore was right about Voldemort’s choice of objects meant to become his Horcruxes. But if it was so, the ink pot is not yet a Horcrux”, Hermione pointed out, “because he was reduced into ‘Vapormort’ before having the chance to do it.”
“And after that, he made Nagini his last Horcrux”.
The sun was setting down on the horizon. Harry wanted to make a tour in the village, and the three friends walked down the hill slope. It was a nice and pleasant small village. On the village square, there was a park with tall flowering acacias along with benches here and there among some rhododendron bushes. The village trade life gathered around the park with its stores, a restaurant, a coffee terrace, cloth shops, gift and souvenir shop, an attorney office, a small bank, an architect office… Harry stopped in front of this one to read the plate, then stepped inside. There was just a young clerk on a desk with a plate ‘Reception’.
“Good afternoon, Madam. Excuse me… I would like some information. I would like to rebuild an old structure, which is now only a ruin. I have only a photo of it. Would it be possible to reconstruct it as the photo shows ?” asked Harry politely.
The clerk stared at the three teenagers, not very much convinced by their age:
“Good afternoon ! Do you have the photo here ?”
“No, it was just when I passed by your office that the idea came to my mind.”
“I’ll ask Mr William. If your old structure was in the region, we may have kept the plan. Our office is the only one of the region, and they have been architects from father to son for generations.”
“Yes, it’s in the region. It’s the ruin on the hill.”
The clerk looked startled.
“I’ll ask Mr William”, she said then went inside by the door beside her desk. Minutes later she came back with a man of about thirty.
“I’m William Fairfax, assistant of my father”, the newcomer presented himself holding out his hand to Harry.
“I saw on the plate that it’s ‘d’Urbervilles’
“Yes, my grand grandfather had inherited the office from his father-in-law. He wanted to keep the name ‘d’Urberville’ because at that time the office had already existed for over half a century. My father is not here today, but if you said that it’s the ruin on the hill, I think that we still have the plan of it in our archives. Everybody spoke of the manor when the tragedy happened. And I remember having heard my father speak of its architecture, that it was a master piece of our office … You are a relative of the Godric’s Hollow owners ?”
“Yes”, Harry replied simply. “And when could I have the answer whether you still have the plan of the manor ? Shall I come back next week ?”
“Harry, the exams !” whispered Hermione beside him.
“No, in a month, because of the exams. Will it be possible ?”
“Yes”, nodded Mr Fairfax.
“Thank you very much and good bye.”
“It’s I to thank you”, replied Mr William.
The three friends walked out from the office. Very glad about the way things were going on, Harry set forth with his friends to the cemetry. On the way, he stopped at a florist’s and bought a hydrangea pot.
When they arrived at the cemetery gate, Harry saw that there was somebody in the corner of the Potters’ tombs, a woman.
“Come on”, said Harry to his friends. “Perhaps she is the person who had put flowers on my parents’ tomb last time we came here”.
He set off with brisk paces, and hastened toward his parents’ tombs. The woman, who was just about to leave, re-arranged a flower in the marble vase. She was no longer in the prime of life, wearing simple clothing with a shawl over her shoulders in spite of the warm weather of a sunny day.
“Please, Madam”, Harry asked politely. “You are a relative of the Potters ?”
The old woman startled; surely she had not heard Harry approaching.
“No, only a friend”, replied the woman. Then she stared at Harry, stepped back as by surprise and exclaimed: “Mr Potter ! Harry ?”
“Yes, my name is Harry. Thank you for the flowers you’ve put on my parents’ tomb. Do you know me ?”
With no forewarning, the woman put her arms around Harry’s shoulders and hugged him against her.
“I looked after you when you were a baby. When your mother had to go somewhere, she dropped you at my house. My name is Ann, Ann Cuthbert. Oh, how glad I’m to see you again. I’m really glad. I’ve so many things to ask you. You look very much like your father, I recognised you at once. Come on. I live not far from here, we’ll be better around a table and over a cup of tea.”
“Could my friends come with me ? Could I call you ‘Ann’ ?”
“Yes, of course. I live alone. Please come, Miss and Mr.”
“Me too, I’m very glad to meet you, Ann !” said Harry.
Harry put the Hydrangea pot on his parents’ tomb, and passed his hand on the cold marble as to greet ‘good day’ to his parents, then followed Ann out of the cemetery.
She lived not very far from the cemetery, just on the outskirts of the village, in a small alleyway with green vegetable. She showed the three friends round her house, on Harry’s request, as he wanted to know how she lived. It was a pleasant small house, orderly and well organized. But surely Ann was not rolling in richness judging by the number of patched holes in the curtains and cushions that Harry could see. Behind the house, Ann had a plot of land where she grew some tomato and lettuce … Ann invited the three friends to sit down on the small terrace, which had a view on the hill, then she started preparing tea.
“Please, Mrs Cuthbert, I’ll do it. Go and sit with Harry”, proposed Hermione, which Ann accepted willingly.
“Do you have children, Ann ?” asked Harry.
“No, I’ve a niece, my sister’s daughter. She lives on the other side of the village. She’s married and has two children. The eldest, a girl, is twelve years old, the other, a boy, is nine.
“And what do you live upon, Ann ?”
“I live on my husband’s pension. He worked as a mason for Mr Fairfax.
“Tell me about my parents, please, Ann ! I know nearly nothing about them.”
“Yes, about a week before the tragedy, you mother told me “Ann, if ever anything happened to me, you’ll take care of my son Harry !” I didn’t really understand what she meant by that. Your mother must have had some worries. I had been ill for two days, I didn’t leave my room, when a neighbour of mine came and told me that something terrible had happened at the manor. I went to the manor, it was about ten o’clock in the morning, you were no longer there, nor your parents. They said the manor had exploded. I couldn’t recover from the shock; especially I haven’t been able to fulfil what I had promised to your mother. I didn’t know where you were, nobody knew !”
“Yes, my parents died in that explosion, but I was miraculously spared. Some of my parents’ friends took me to my aunt, my mother’s sister. I lived with her till last year. Now, I live at the school where I’m attending. Now, tell me everything you can remember about my parents and me, please Ann !”
“Oh, how much I’m glad to see you again, and to see you in good health, my dear Harry !”
“Harry ! What about ordering a dinner from the restaurant, so we could stay here with Mrs Cuthbert ?” Hermione suggested.
“I have a better idea, I’ll ask Dobby to bring here our dinner”, Ron proposed.
“Very good idea, do you agree, Ann ? My friends will look after the dinner.”
And so, the three friends stayed and took their dinner with Ann Cuthbert’s that evening. When they returned to Grimmauld Place, it was nearly mid-night. Harry had in mind a programme to help Ann, as well as to rebuild Godric’s Hollow manor. Harry was very happy, as he had never been before. Until now, his thoughts could go as far back as to the moment of the dazzling green flash, but now he had found the other part of his life. That part of life took shape clearly and vividly in his mind thanks to the memories related by Ann. He felt as if he had just been born again and had the impression that he still felt the soft caress of his mother’s hand.
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