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  #1  
Old 07-28-2014, 04:43 PM
rand rand is offline
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Default Harry Potter parody

I wrote this a few years ago for a workshop in college. As the title says, it's a parody of Harry Potter. It mostly follows the story of Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone, but it actually started out as just a generic parody of HP, so the beginning is a little different. There's a bit of strong language (mostly coming from Dumbledore) and violence if anyone's offended by that...

I'll post chapter 1 in a little bit.

Anyway, hope you guys like it.
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:02 PM
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Harislav Potrowski and the Sorcerer Stoned

Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived, But Should Have Been Executed

Looking out the small window, he saw nothing but bleak desolation drift by as the wooden train groaned along its unswerving path. A fitful spread of shrubbery and a few weeds spat forth from the barren ground, but there was no sign of sentient life. The earth itself had a frosty white tinge to it, hard and cold; surely only a taste of the conditions yet ahead.

Sitting back, Harislav Potrowski lost himself in the rhythm, fractured as it was, of the train. The other children in his car had long since grown quiet over the past few days locked inside. Most of them lay on the open wood floor, though sleep surely eluded them. They must be getting close now, Harislav thought, but he knew that Siberia was a very big place.

A slight noise to his side alerted Harislav to the presence of another kid. Turning, he saw a dark haired boy about his own age. The boy was moaning and rolling in the hay, dirt, and assorted bodily fluids that covered the floor.

“Hello,” said Harislav, holding out his hand. “I’m Harislav. Harislav Potrowski.”

The boy sat up slowly as comprehension flooded his grimy features. “But…yes. You’re the Harislav Potrowski? I mean, the one everybody’s been talking about?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” replied Harislav. “I don’t really like to talk about it, though.”

“But why not?” said the boy. “Come on, we’re all in the same boat now. Well, train, really.” He held out his hand to grasp Harislav’s. “I’m Rinaldi Weslighanni, by the way.”

“What are you here for?” asked Harislav.

“Oh, me? Well, I…I,” Rinaldi stammered, blushing. “I was my dad’s assistant, you see. He’s the milkman back home in Florence. Every morning I’d go out with him. We’d collect the empty milk bottles and replace them with full ones. Only one day I…I…”

“Yes?” urged Harislav, curious. “Go on.”

“Well, I thought it might be funny to play a little joke one day. You know, get a few laughs, a little attention? Anyway, I…oh, God damn it all! How was I supposed to know all those cleaning supplies under my kitchen sink were toxic?”

“Wait, what?”

Rinaldi sighed. “I thought it would be funny to pour all that stuff under my sink into my dad’s milk bottles. Then I’d get a good laugh when all the people drank it and gagged and made funny faces at the taste.”

“Did it work?”

“No,” said Rinaldi, “they all died. Everyone on our route, I mean. The day after we delivered the milk, about six-hundred people were found dead.”

“And they caught you?” Harislav asked.

“Yeah. It was pretty obvious who’d done it once they discovered the milk and all. It seems a little harsh, doesn’t it? Shipping a kid off to this reform school in Siberia for a little mistake like that?”

Harislav nodded his agreement.

“But come on then,” said Rinaldi suddenly. “What about you? You’re story must be much better than mine.” He stood up, gesturing to all the other boys and girls. “Hey, everyone! Harislav Potrowski’s in our car!”

“Did he say Potrowski?”

Harislav Potrowski?”

The Harislav Potrwoski?”

“Come on, Harislav,” cried Rinaldi over the growing din. “Tell us your story.”

Harislav sighed, his shoulders slumping. Nothing good would come of this, he knew. Only bad memories were left lurking behind these doors in his mind. Resolving himself, Harislav opened his mind once more to the dark road of brutality that was his past and began his tale.


***


He had lived with his aunt and uncle after his parents died tragically in that bizarre petting zoo incident. They were nice enough, Aunt Petrov and Uncle Vorski Dursliev, but they had never been his true parents.

His Uncle Vorski had a very special job. Everyone thought they knew Vorski. Everyone knew he lived in a nice house with his wife and nephew. Everyone knew he owned a red Audi. And everyone knew he got up every morning to work at the local left-handed paperclip factory.

This last statement, however, was false (though to be totally truthful, he leased the Audi). Vorski Dursliev, in secret reality, worked for the PXQ, the Polish intelligence agency. Stationed in an abandoned paperclip manufactory, the PXQ was largely a secret even to the Polish citizenry, and certainly to the locals around the factory. Only the immediate families of PXQ workers knew about the PXQ. Harislav had been told when he was eight, three years after moving in with the Durslievs.

At first Uncle Vorski had enjoyed his job. The pay was good, the benefits were decent, and he’d gotten to assassinate that Venezuelan politician he’d never liked. But soon, Aunt Petrov had noticed a certain strain to her husband’s voice that hadn’t been there before. Bags formed under his eyes, he set his shoulders differently, and he developed a nervous twitch. In short, Aunt Petrov believed that Uncle Vorski had “got in too far.”

She was right.

As Harislav later learned, Uncle Vorski had spent much of his time with the PXQ fighting underground drug traffickers throughout Europe. Of particular note was a certain French crime lord and drug kingpin, Vol de la Mort. Controlling most of Europe, he was reputedly the wealthiest drug dealer in the world (according to Forbes).

It turned out that Vol de la Mort had his eye on Uncle Vorski, however. One night the infamous drug lord had shown up on their doorstep.

It was Aunt Petrov who answered the knock at the door, and thus it was Aunt Petrov who first got a bullet between her eyes. When he heard the ruckus in the foyer, Uncle Vorski went over to investigate. Vol de la Mort made short work of him, as well. Harislav heard the second shot take his uncle in the forehead as he cowered in the bathroom.

He also heard a high-pitched laugh sputtering out into a hacking cough come from the entryway. Gathering his courage, Harislav left the bathroom, head held high, resolved to die with his aunt and uncle.

Harislav entered the foyer with his arms shaking by his sides, his heart pounding in his chest. Vol de la Mort looked up from his coughing fit in surprise, instinctively aiming his gun at the new threat. After a moment, though, Vol de la Mort the crime lord, infamous ruler of all drug trafficking in Europe, lowered his gun upon seeing the defenseless ten year old.

“You got parents, kid?” Vol de la Mort asked.

“You just killed them, sir,” Harislav replied, indicating his aunt and uncle’s corpses.

“Yeah, well, life’s tough like that, kid,” said Vol de la Mort. “I think you’re a tough kid, though. Work hard and make sacrifices, and you’ll get what’s coming to you. Here.” He held out his gun. “Take this. You’re on your own now. A man. And a man’s got to protect himself.”

Harislav took the weapon with trembling fingers, palms sweaty, heart still racing.

“Well, I’d best be off. Keep your chin up, kid.” Vol de la Mort turned with a tip of his beret, walking from the house.

Without hesitation Harislav pulled the trigger four times in quick succession, firing the last of the bullets into Vol de la Mort’s back.

The police arrived at the scene moments later after receiving several complaints of a wild party in the area. Two cops took Harislav with them, assuring him he’d done nothing wrong whatsoever, that they would have both done the same thing. They told him they’d find a nice new home for him, where lots of children lived in a big, magical house on a hill overlooking a lake.

Three days later it was discovered that Vol de la Mort’s death had led to the collapse of all major drug trafficking in Europe, and, subsequently, to the collapse of the Eurozone itself.

With the continent and, indeed, the entire world in chaos, the only option left to the police had been to retain Harislav Potrowski, the boy who was responsible for all the madness, and take him into custody. A few weeks later he’d found himself on a train bound for a reform school in Siberia, where all the incurably troublesome children were sent.


***


“And that’s how I ended up here,” Harislav concluded, his voice hoarse after the long speech.

Rinaldi was staring at him with mixed horror and admiration. The other children wore similar looks.

“Wow,” said a girl through a sheet of matted blonde hair. “That’s, like, so awesome. I thought what I did was kind of bad, but no, you win.”

“What did you do?” asked Harislav.

“I ran over my cat with the lawn mower,” replied the girl. She shrugged. “I was just trying to trim his fur; I didn’t know it would hurt him. Anyway, I’m Hriminulf Grangerson.”

Harislav shook her hand, and the train car erupted with conversation as everyone clamored to tell Harislav how they’d gotten in this situation.

“I pushed my parents into an electric fence”

“I set my house on fire!”

“I broke into Charlie Sheen’s Swiss Bank account.”

“I threw my little sister down an elevator shaft.”

“I was caught fishing without a license.”

Everyone was up and talking now. Everyone, that was, except for a short, rather plump boy sitting huddled in a corner of the train car. Harislav crawled over to him.

“Hello,” said Harislav. “What’s your name?”

The boy coughed a few times before hoarsely answering. “Nevilaus Langenbacher.”

“And what did you do?” Harislav asked.

“It’s kind of embarrassing,” Nevilaus sniffled. “I tried to carbon freeze my grandmother, you know, like in Star Wars?”

“That sounds awful,” said Harislav, shuddering.

“It was. She tried to crawl out of the carbon freeze chamber I built in the basement, but I managed to push her back in in time.”

Harislav blinked.

“It’s kind of ironic that I’m the one freezing now,” continued Nevilaus. “I’m not too worried, though.”

“You think you’ll escape?” Harislav asked rather doubtfully.

“No, but I’m sure he’ll come to save us all soon.”

“Who?” asked Harislav.

“Harrison Ford, of course,” exclaimed Nevilaus. “He’s always fighting the bad guys. He single-handedly defeated the Nazis.”

“Um…”

“He’ll be here, you’ll see. Any day now he’ll ride up alongside us on a horse, crack his whip, pull out his blaster, and shout ‘Get off my train!’ And then the guards would have to let us off, and we’d ride into the sunset with Harrison Ford.”

“That sounds totally stupid,” said a new voice. It was the girl with the dirty hair, Hriminulf Grangerson.

“Oh yeah?” said Nevilaus. “And why’s that?”

“He’s probably filming a movie in America,” Hriminulf said. “Besides, where’d he get a horse from?”

Nevilaus hesitated for a moment. “Yeah, well…just wait and see! Harrison Ford will be here anyway, just like I said. He’ll save us and take us home to our families.”

“You’re so dumb,” said Hriminulf.

Nevilaus’ retort was drowned out by the screeching of the brakes. Harislav glanced out at the pale landscape and determined they must be stopping for the midday meal. Sure enough, a guard unlatched a small opening in the side of the car long enough to push in a tin tray filled with beans.

The hungry children gathered ravenously around the container, despite the fact that they were served the exact same beans every day, for every meal. Harislav pushed his way in next to Rinaldi, who was loudly proclaiming his ability to taste different flavors in the beans, though Harislav had never noticed anything but the one variety.

After eating his fill, Harislav made his way back to the window. He watched the dismal countryside slip by as he drifted slowly to sleep.


***


In other countries it was called Death Row, but in Poland they called it Dying Man Alley. In the days after single-handedly destroying the European economy, Harislav had been placed in this dreadful high security prison.

The bed was uncomfortable and the food was lousy, but the worst part was the loneliness. Harislav had never felt more secluded from society in his life. With his parents and now his aunt and uncle dead, he received no visitors except Susan Sarandon, who left after five minutes in disgust. He whiled away the time pacing his tiny cell, waiting. The days and nights blurred together. He hardly slept for fear they’d come for him in the middle of the night.

Harislav knew he was all over the news. The guards had told him so. People everywhere, all around the world, were calling for his death. People who’d never even seen him wanted his blood. The European Union, the United Nations, and even Oprah had made public statements advocating his immediate execution. He was number one on America’s Most Wanted, even though he was already safely in custody in Poland.

In short, Harislav had fully expected to be walking down Dying Man Alley any day. He’d already decided on having a Kid Cuisine TV dinner as his final meal when he received the news.

He was to be represented in court by Poland’s most esteemed lawyer, Mr. Sokolov. It took only a week for Mr. Sokolov to convince the jury that Harislav should not be put to death. He made sure to impress upon the jury that Harislav deeply regretted his actions, and that he would never undermine the European economic infrastructure again.

If the jury sought to give Harislav a just punishment, Mr. Sokolov argued, then he had just the solution. What better way to impose punishment on a small boy (and give him some healthy character building in the process) than to send him to reform school in the middle of Siberia?

The jury had been easily convinced, and before long Harislav had been put aboard the train.

Thus he made the fateful journey into the wilderness, where his life would change forever. Unbeknownst to him, people everywhere, of every race and color, nationality and religion, raised their middle fingers around the world, saying, “to Harislav Potrowski, the boy who lived, but should have been executed.”
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  #3  
Old 07-29-2014, 12:56 PM
rand rand is offline
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Chapter 2: The Journey to Hogschwartz

He woke to snow falling lightly on his cheek, tickling him with a small bite of ice. Harislav lifted his head slowly on a sore neck to see that the ground was completely white outside the window. The train rattled on undeterred.

Surveying the sleeping forms of his comrades, Harislav took it upon himself to feel pity for them. They didn’t belong here, not like he did. He’d plunged most of the world into an economic recession. What had they done? Knocked off a few liquor stores? Beat up a homeless man or two? Petty crimes, one and all. No, he was the true villain here, the only one who deserved his fate. Harislav decided in that moment that he would take charge; he would bear the burden of leadership to see them through the days ahead.

He peed on the floor away from everyone, then made his way over to a pair of conjoined twins, attached back-to-back. They were shivering in the cold, or at least one of them was, so Harislav brought his blanket over and covered the two up with it. The kind gesture woke them up, however.

Yawning, the first twin rolled over, pinning the other one face-down on the floor. “Oh, hi. Thanks,” he said, indicating the blanket. “I’m Frederico, Rinaldi’s brother.”

The pair rolled over so that the second twin was on top now. “And I’m Giorgio,” he said.

“Pleased to meet you,” said Harislav, holding out a hand to each twin. “So, what did you guys do? Help Rinaldi with the milk thing?”

“No,” Giorgio laughed. “We’re lactose intolerant. Or Frederico is, at least…”

“Well, what then?” Harislav pressed.

“Should we tell him, Frederico?”

“Sure. Why not, at this point?”

“Okay,” said Giorgio. “We kind of ran a scam.”

“Doing what?” Harislav asked.

“We went door-to-door,” said Frederico, “telling people we were plumbers. The best team in Florence.”

“And people believed us.”

“Sure did,” Frederico agreed. “We’d promise to fix a toilet or something, in exchange for a small fee in advance.”

“Five-hundred big ones or so.”

“Yeah,” said Frederico. “Only, after we got the money, we’d say we needed to go back to get a special part at our warehouse.”

“And then we’d just leave!”

“So how’d you get caught?” Harislav asked.

“Well,” replied Giorgio, “after a while people started to catch on to us.”

“So they called in the big guns,” continued Frederico.

“The police?” asked Harislav.

“No,” said Giorgio. “Worse. Someone called us to their house for an emergency. When we showed up, we found Mr. Clean waiting for us.”

“I thought he was just a cartoon,” Harislav said.

“Yeah, so did we,” answered Frederico. “We won’t make that mistake again.”

“Anyway, Mr. Clean told us that we weren’t registered with the International Plumbers Association, so he’d have to take us downtown,” said Giorgio.

“And you guys just went with him?”

“What choice did we have?” said Frederico. “He’s Mr. Clean.”

Silently agreeing, Harislav turned back to look at the rest of the train car. The other children were gradually waking up as the sun outside slowly lightened the falling snow, the drifts on the ground sparkling under its golden rays.

A few shouts alerted Harislav to trouble. It turned out to be a fight over the morning beans. Rinaldi was rolling across the floor with another boy, the latter with dark hair and a mustache despite the fact that he couldn’t have been more than ten or eleven. Harislav pulled the boy off Rinaldi and threw him to the side, where two girls (the boy’s siblings by their looks and matching mustaches) caught him. After making sure that Rinaldi was okay, Harislav rounded on the three of them.

“What the heck are you doing, starting a fight like that?”

“Sorry,” said the mustachioed boy, nodding in agreement. “It was the beans, Harislav. Those delicious beans were calling to us. I’m Dracos Malfez, by the way. These are my sisters, Crabé and Guavez.”

“All right,” said Harislav, nodding to each in turn. “No more trouble, okay? We need to work together from now on.”

“Agreed,” said Dracos Malfez, shaking Harislav’s hand.

“Just out of curiosity, what did you guys do to land up here?” Harislav asked.

“We were on vacation with our parents. In Russia, as luck would have it. We went to some naval base.” Dracos paused, looking at his mustachioed sisters Crabé and Guavez. “I got them to ‘distract’ some guards, if you know what I mean. Then I hijacked a Russian submarine.”

“You know how to operate one?” Harislav asked.

“No,” replied Dracos. “It was pretty slow going in the beginning because I had to keep looking at the instruction manual. Anyway, I came across one of those Carnival cruise ships, so I decided to test the sub’s torpedoes. Lo and behold, they worked!”

“That’s amazing,” said Harislav.

“Yeah, it was pretty cool,” said Dracos. “The Russian navy caught me when I surfaced, though. I tried to tell them it was an accident, but they didn’t buy it. So they sent us all here.”

After Dracos’ tale was over, Harislav got his own beans before returning to his place by the window. The snow built up as the day wore on.


***


After being freed from Dying Man Alley, Harislav had changed into civilian clothing, shaken hands with Mr. Sokolov, and been forced into the back of an unmarked black car with blacked-out windows. His last glimpse of society had been the view out the front window when the driver went to the drive-thru at a McDonalds. His last sense of civilization had died as the scent of the Big Mac disappeared down the driver’s esophagus a few moments later.

It took them a few more days to reach the desolate train station. When Harislav was dropped off, the small wooden stand next to the tracks was the only visible structure around. The blue-gray grassland stretched for miles in every direction, and a low mist still clung to the ground in the chill morning air. A man in a dark suit with a dark tie and dark sunglasses was already on the platform. Harislav walked up to him as the car pulled away.

“Nelson Preston III,” the man said briskly, in clipped tones.

“No, I’m Harislav.”

“You misunderstand me. I am Nelson Preston III.”

“Oh, hi. I’m Harislav.”

“Charmed,” said Nelson Preston III. “I am here to see to it that you board the train as planned. Any funny business, and…” He patted the gun on his hip. “You’re a criminal, Harislav.”

“I…I’m a what?”

“A criminal. A damn good one, too. That is why you have to go to the reform school in Siberia.”

“Oh, okay,” said Harislav. “Do you work at the school?”

“Yes.”

“What do you teach?”

Nelson Preston III’s cheek twitched. “I do not teach. I am the head of grounds upkeep and chief custodial…”

“You’re a janitor?”

“No. I am the head of grounds upkeep and…”

“But what do you do?” Harislav asked.

The man’s teeth were audibly grinding. “I am sure you will find out all about it when you arrive. In the meantime, I suggest you attempt to conserve oxygen in the cold air.”

“Well, how do I do that?”

Before Nelson Preston III could answer, however, the train came into view with the creaking of wooden slats and the groaning of metal. Before long it had screeched to a halt in front of the platform, the smokestack on the engine belching forth noxious clouds of blackened filth.

Nelson Preston III unlatched a small door on one of the wooden cars, using his gun to keep the children already inside at bay.

“Enter the train,” he said to Harislav.

“I don’t know, it looks kind of dark in there…”

“Enter the train or I will shoot out both your kneecaps and leave you here to either starve or freeze to death.”

“You know, it does look pretty nice in there all of a sudden,” said Harislav, scrambling inside. His heels had barely cleared the opening when Nelson Preston III slammed the door shut and relocked it.

With another tortuous groan, the train started up again, slow at first, then picking up speed.
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Old 07-29-2014, 01:21 PM
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Chapter 3: The Sorting Ceremony

The days after Harislav met the Malfez siblings melted into weeks. The view outside grew increasingly whiter, the snow increasingly higher, as the train weaved in and out of mountainous passes. The children huddled together inside for warmth. On clear, starry nights, Harislav looked on in awe at a wondrous display of light painted across the northern sky, shimmering to an otherworldly dance. Once a giant herd of reindeer thousands strong crossed paths with the train, though they only hit a few of them. The guards explained that they couldn’t eat them, though, because reindeer were the official Christmas quadruped of Russia, and thus protected by law.

The train car had grown so filthy inside that Nevilaus Langenbacher could faithfully reenact the trash compactor scene from Star Wars, complete with the strange monster that would occasionally attempt to drown one of the children in the mysterious liquid that now covered the floor, which no one wanted to examine too closely.

After two weeks or so in the arctic wilderness, the brakes screeched for a final time as the train came to a grinding halt at another wooden platform, this one buried three-quarters in the snow. The guards unlocked the doors to all four cars.

The reform school itself was a three-story concrete monstrosity surrounded by high walls and barbed-wire fences. The stark building sprawled in all directions across the ice, multiple additions and wings standing testament to the growing number of delinquent children in recent years. Long halls enclosed several courtyards. Guard towers with searchlights stood at intervals about the complex, positioned to survey all outdoor student activity. The machine-gun totting guards themselves seemed to pace about everywhere around the school.

Nelson Preston III stood waiting for the students on the small platform, still in his suit and sunglasses, flashlight in hand. When all the cars had been unlocked and all the children freed, he gestured for them all to follow him. One unfortunate student attempted to make a run for the nearby forest but was gunned down by no less than twenty-seven guards.

Nelson Preston III led them to the school gates. Harislav was so relieved to be free of the train that he hardly even noticed the frigid night air or the slippery ascent to the school’s entrance.

The gates themselves, surrounded by razor wire and electrocuted for extra protection, opened only by voice activation. Nelson Preston III walked up to the receiver and said, “Nelson Preston III,” and the gates swung open on protesting hinges.

They entered, and the gates closed shut behind them, sealing them inside. Nelson Preston III led them across a courtyard and up to the front doors of the building itself. The great iron portals swung open as if on their own, and the children were ushered inside.

In the entrance hall, Nelson Preston III turned to address them. “Welcome, students, to Hogschwartz Reform School. You are likely all very hungry now. Too bad. The headmaster would like to say a few words to you in the mess hall, but first you must be sorted into the four camps we have. They are Grifenov, Hyfelpinsk, Ravinoclav, and Shlytherinth. You will follow me.”

They went into the mess hall, where the older students were already sitting at four long tables, one for each camp. Including the professors’ table, the four tables made a pentagram when combined with the triangles and circles depicted in the floor tiles. Nelson Preston III led the newcomers to the front of the hall near the professors’ table. One of them, a man in a tartan kilt with some bagpipes slung across his back, stood up to address them.

“Why hello there,” he said with a wink and a toothy grin. “My name is Professor McDingledoodle. Ready or not, you are about to be sorted. Your reactions to our little surprise you are about to see will determine which camp you are put into. Good luck!”

Without warning, two doors banged open on opposite sides of the room. Out of one a dozen ninjas sprang forth, while from the other twelve pirates limped out on peg legs. The sword-wielding groups charged the new kids.

Harislav felt a rush of fear, but then remembered that this was a test, designed to assess his courage. No harm would come to him. The ninjas and pirates were likely just older students in costumes, anyway. Suddenly there was a flash of red, and Harislav turned to see a student’s head part ways with his neck as a pirate sword slashed through the air in a wash of blood.

“Stop!” cried out Professor McDingledoodle. “Stop, stop! You idiots! You buffoons! How many times do we have to tell you people? No deaths at the opening ceremony! It’s just a demonstration, and yet every year…”

The pirates and ninjas hung their heads in shame and slumped back out.

“Well,” sniffed McDingledoodle. “We have the results, at least.” He lifted a notepad and began to call out names.

Harislav, Rinaldi, Hriminulf, Nevilaus, Frederico, and Giorgio were placed in Grifenov. Dracos and his sisters Crabé and Guavez were in Shlytherinth.

As they sat at the Grifenov table, Harislav met Percivillio, Rinaldi’s older brother. It seemed the entire Weslighanni family had been to Hogschwartz at some point in their lives. Percivillio had been here five years now, for using counterfeit money in a prestigious Monopoly tournament.

Once they were all seated, a gruff-looking old man wearing a do-rag and sleeveless leather vest stood up at the professors’ table. Scars criss-crossed his face, he was missing an eye and one ear, and his nose appeared to have been broken in some kind of scuffle. He hacked a few times then cleared his throat.

“Welcome, you worthless whores and sons of bitches, to Hogschwartz. I’m Professor Bumbledorf, and don’t you dare let me catch you little fuckers making fun of my name. By now you’ve been sorted into the camps. All the good people went in Grifenov, and the snobby, stuck up bastards went into Ravinoclav. Shlytherinth is for all the douche bags. Oh, and all you pussies out there ended up in Hyfelpinsk. Any questions? No? Good. I hate questions. I hate you. And I hate the world.”

The students glanced around at each other in mild shock.

“There are a few pieces of information I think you little shits might like to know before going to the barracks,” Bumbledorf continued. “First, our janitor Mr. Nelson Preston III has asked me to say that if he catches any of your bitch-asses out of bed at night, he’ll skin you alive. Second, the forest on the school grounds is forbidden to everyone. I’m not really sure why we even put the fucking thing there, now I think on it. Fourthly—”

“Thirdly,” said Professor McDingledoodle.

“Shut up, you son of a bitch, and let me finish my speech! As I was saying, thirdly, corridor 352B is forbidden to anyone who doesn’t want to die in painful agony.”

“That’s where Bumbledorf sleeps,” Percivillio explained to Harislav in a whisper. “In the nude.”

“Finally, I come to the most important bit of information,” Bumbledorf said. “You have heard that Hogschwartz is a reform school. While that is certainly fucking true, it is also a bit…more. There’s a side of this shit-hole we like to keep secret from the world.” Bumbledorf gestured to Nelson Preston III, who pulled a lever on the wall.

Instantly, several bright red banners unfurled themselves from the ceiling. Emblazoned on each was a golden hammer and sickle, with a gold star on top.

“Yes, my little bastards, it’s true,” said Bumbledorf. “Hogschwartz is a Soviet Union and communist revival school. We’re gathering shit like you miserable fucks to make an army, through which we will conquer the world from our little base here in Siberia.”

Bumbledorf paused for effect, surveying the room.

“Well, time for bed. Go on, fuck off.”

As camp leader of Grifenov, Percivillio led Harislav, Rinaldi, Hriminulf, and the others to their own private barracks.

“Mind the staircases,” Percivillio warned. “They like to move.” They traversed two such escalators on the way. “And remember, no one’s allowed to wander around the halls late at night. Unless you want to get shot, that is.”

The entrance to the Grifenov barracks was cleverly concealed behind a portrait of Rosie O’Donnell. The concrete room was cold and damp, the walls of the narrow space lined with bunks. Harislav got the bed above Nevilaus Langenbacher, while Hriminulf was on top of Rinaldi.

“Do you think it’s true?” Nevilaus whispered. “What Bumbledorf said about the communist revival?”

“I suppose so,” replied Harislav, taking off his socks.

“It’s just, I don’t think Harrison Ford would put up with it, you know? If this was real, I mean.”

“Maybe he doesn’t know,” sighed Harislav, getting into his bunk.

“Oh, he knows,” said Nevilaus. “Harrison Ford knows everything. I’ll bet he’s on his way right now, ready to kill these commies like he killed all those ones looking for the aliens. Remember, Harislav?”

“Sure, Nevilaus. Good night.”

Shifting in his bunk until he found a semi-comfortable position, Harislav thought about his situation. Communist revival movements aside, it wasn’t all that bad here. It was better than the train, at least. Tomorrow they’d all start their classes. Who knew? Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all.
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:57 PM
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Chapter 4: The Baking Master

“You may be wondering about now what exactly Defense Against the Dark Arts class is. Well, I won’t tell you. But I will show you.”

Harislav looked on as his first class of the day proceeded. The older students at Hogschwartz had nicknamed the teacher “Mad Cow” Moodski, accrediting his eccentric behavior to a bad cheeseburger he was rumored to have eaten twenty years ago.

“Take a look at this,” Mad Cow Moodski continued. He ripped a cloth off the front wall, revealing a large painting. “Caravaggio. The Conversion of Saint Paul. 1600. Look at it, go on. Look closely, very closely. Come on up, touch it. Smell it. Inhale its secrets. Lick it, yes, lick the painting, that a boy, Nevilaus.”

The students continued to observe the painting with a variety of sensory organs until Professor Moodski sent them back to their seats.

“Now,” said Mad Cow, “who can tell me something about this painting?” He looked around. “All right, yes, you. Name?”

“Shamous Finnagopolous, sir,” said the boy, one of Harislav’s fellow Grifenovs.

“And what have you noticed is special about this painting?”

“Well, sir, there are several diagonal lines throughout the piece, an interesting artistic device which…”

“Wrong!” Mad Cow Moodski cried. “Wrong, wrong, wrong! Notice the coloring, boy. See how dark the painting is? You can barely make anything out in it, right?”

The class nodded their agreement.

“Wouldn’t it be so much better if Caravaggio had used bright colors? See, this is what we must watch out for. I will teach you how to defend against these dark arts. How? By doctoring them, of course. Here.”

Mad Cow pulled out several bright paint cans from below his desk, along with a pile of brushes. He called the children over to the painting again, handing them each a brush.

“Okay, kids. Have at it.”

They spent the rest of the lesson meticulously painting over Caravaggio’s work, brightening it up considerably.


***


“Rituals?” said Rinaldi an hour later. “What do you suppose we do in this class?” He indicated the schedule he was holding.

“We do rituals, duh,” said Hriminulf.

“I don’t know,” said Harislav. “Let’s go in and see, though. Class starts in five minutes.”

The Rituals instructor, Professor Nitwikoff, was tall. He appeared to have dark hair and a beard, but a black cloak with the hood pulled up obscured his visage. His forearms were left bare, however, revealing tattoos of such oddities as pentagrams, skulls, and upside down crosses.

“I would like to start class today with a little demonstration,” Professor Nitwikoff began. “Does anyone here, by chance, have a pet with them? Anything at all, just some small animal?”

“I have my parakeet,” said a small Hyfelpinsk in a trembling voice. She pulled the tiny, bright green bird from her jacket pocket.

“Excellent,” said Nitwikoff. “Does he have a name?”

“Cedric,” the girl all but whimpered.

“Good, good. Now, may I see Cedric, please?”

The girl’s arm wavered as she reluctantly handed her parakeet over. Professor Nitwikoff promptly snapped the bird’s neck and threw the carcass onto a small fire he’d built up in a stone bowl.

“Cedric!” the girl squealed.

“Now,” Nitwikoff continued, ignoring the girl’s cries, “in a few moments we will examine the charred bones of this bird so that we can have our futures revealed. But first, a blood offering must be sprinkled across the remains. Any volunteers?”


***


After taking Professor McDingledoodle’s Satanic Theory class, Harislav, Rinaldi, and Hriminulf went to the mess hall for lunch. It turned out that they served the same beans here as they had on the train.

“I’m starving,” announced Hriminulf, plunging her face straight into a bean pot.

“How’s our afternoon look?” Harislav asked Rinaldi.

Okay,” the boy answered, after examining his schedule. “We have Caring for Your Magical Features at 12:30 with Professor Grubeus, and Herbology with Professor Potts at 4:20.”


***


Six hours later Harislav, Rinaldi, and Hriminulf stumbled out of the Herbology classroom in the basement in a slight daze. It took them quite a while to find their barracks afterward.

The corridors were so numerous and widespread that it could take an hour to get anywhere inside Hogschwartz. The halls were unsettling, as well. They were dark, for one thing, often with only a solitary, flickering light source. Harislav often saw vague shapes moving at the far ends of side passages, obscured in shadow. Once or twice he thought he heard distant screams, though Rinaldi and Hriminulf both denied hearing anything.

Old black and white photographs lined the walls, depicting alumni of Hogschwartz who had been freed back to their ordinary lives. Harislav swore the people in these pictures moved, though, or at least they disappeared. One day a painting would show a proud graduate shaking hands with Professor Bumbledorf, and then the next day the former student would be gone from the frame, never to return.

It was well past midnight before they finally found their beds.


***


Harislav was sitting in his first class early the next morning when the door flew open to reveal a sinister figure. The man’s head was covered in long locks of bright orange curls, and he had a red, bloodshot nose.

What Harislav noticed most about the teacher were his eyes, however. They were dark and penetrating. The man fixed them on Harislav with one of those looks he knew to mean, “I did your mom, and I’d do her again, and you can sue me for all I care.” Harislav instantly hated the man, and he knew this feeling was mutual.

“I don’th expect many of you thoo fully appreciath the arth of cooking,” the teacher began. “However, I’ll beth that I can impreth the rudimenths of baking a thimple cake on ath leath theveral of you. I am Profethor Schnape.”

“Why are you talking so funny?” asked Frederico. Rinaldi’s conjoined brothers were sitting back-to-back in the same chair, sideways.

“I don’th know whath you mean,” Schnape replied.

“Oh, come on,” said Giorgio. “You have a horrible lisp.”

“Lithp? Lithp! I have no lithp!” cried Schnape. “Dethenthon for you!”

“For just me?” asked Giorgio. “Or my brother, too?”

“No, juth you,” said Schnape. “Your brother doesn’th have thoo go with you. Now, on thoo cooking.”

Over the next hour and a half, the students struggled to remember the complex list of ingredients required for the recipe Schnape had them doing, Devil’s food cake. Harislav had known from his first look that Schnape didn’t like him, but the cooking professor appeared to be acting quite unfairly toward him even so.

“Well, well, well,” mused Schnape through his orange curls when he noticed Harislav accidently drop a piece of eggshell into his mixture. “Exthra homework for you, Pothrowski. And how abouth a dethenthon ath well?”

Harislav was practically in tears by the time class was over. He didn’t even stay for the little social Schnape had after class where the students could all enjoy their cake with a few sodas.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:04 PM
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Chapter 5: Columbus Day

The days slowly bled into weeks, and soon September rolled into October. With the exception of cooking, in which Schnape was now teaching them how to make deviled eggs, Harislav found all his classes to be quite interesting.

In Defense Against the Dark Arts, they had now fixed several of Caravaggio’s works under Mad Cow’s watchful tutelage. Professor Nitwikoff in Rituals class was teaching them to do their own burnt offerings, and he hinted that they might move on to human sacrifices before Christmas. In Satanic Theory, Professor McDingledoodle taught the most interesting idea that not God but Satan ought to be worshipped. Professor Grubeus’ Caring for Your Magical Features classes were okay, Harislav thought, but they were mostly private lessons held in Grubeus’ office. In their plant-filled Herbology classroom in the basement, Professor Potts taught them how to carefully care for a variety of rare specimens.

But the main event of October, what everyone eagerly awaited, was the beginning of the Quadbroom season. Quadbroom, played with broomsticks, was the official sport of Hogschwartz, where, to Harislav’s knowledge, it was the only place in the world the sport was played.

“Quadbroom is relatively simple,” explained Olivier Woud, the Grifenov team captain, to a surprised Harislav, who had shockingly made the team during tryouts. “There are four players on a team, each with a broomstick. The first player is called a beater. The beater runs around trying to beat everyone else senseless with his broomstick.”

“Okay,” said Harislav. “What do the other three players do?”

“They’re beaters, too,” Olivier replied.

“So how do you win the game?”

“Easy. The team where everyone’s unconscious first is the loser,” said Olivier.

“This sounds a little dangerous…”

“Oh, don’t worry!” said Olivier with an encouraging slap to Harislav’s back. “We usually only get a couple fatalities a game. The worst you’ll likely get is a broken rib or two, nothing serious.”

Thus, Harislav found himself practicing with his team twice a week in the Quadbroom arena, a small, raised platform around which a metal cage could be lowered for official matches. Their first game was not scheduled until November, however.


***


The month of October passed without incident until Columbus Day. That evening, Harislav and Rinaldi were doing Caring for Your Magical Features homework in the Grifenov barracks when they heard Professor McDingledoodle’s voice over the intercom.

“All students are urged to take caution,” McDingledoodle began. “It appears that someone has let a reindeer into the building as a Columbus Day prank. Stay in your barracks. We will let you know when we have disposed of this threat. Thank you.”

“Wow!” cried Rinaldi. “A reindeer here, in our school!”

“Um, Rinaldi?” asked Harislav. “Where’d Hriminulf go?”

“The bathroom, I think. Anyway, how big do you think it is?”

“Rinaldi, we need to go get her,” Harislav cried. “The reindeer might find her in the bathroom.”

“Oh, come on,” said Rinaldi. “What could it do to her?”

“Trample her to death,” Harislav answered. “Ram her in the head, crushing her skull. Gore her with its antlers. Slice her stomach open and feast on her innards.”

“She’ll be fine.”

“Let’s just go check,” urged Harislav.

Rinaldi rolled his eyes. “Oh, all right.”

Exiting through the painting of Rosie O’Donnell, they raced down the corridors and rode several escalators. Ten minutes later they stood outside of the girl’s bathroom. Listening closely, they heard harsh grunting noises and the sound of something heavy moving from within.

“See, she’s fine,” Rinaldi said.

But Harislav wasn’t convinced. Wrenching open the door, he charged into the bathroom with a wordless yell.

And there it was.

The reindeer turned to face Harislav, big, hairy, and frothing at the mouth. It made a grunting noise and charged at Harislav, who just barely dove out of the way.

“Throw me something, Rinaldi!” Harislav called out as he dodged another attack from the savage beast.

“What?”

“Anything I can use as a weapon!” He vaguely saw Rinaldi rummaging through a supply closet. Harislav ducked underneath a sink to avoid another of the reindeer’s charges. “Hurry!”

“Here!” cried Rinaldi, tossing Harislav a fireman’s axe.

He caught the axe by its two foot shaft and wheeled to face the beast. The reindeer was already rearing for another charge. As it came at him this time, Harislav stepped to the side at the last instant and swung the axe with all his might. With a jolt that sent a shiver all the way up his arms, Harislav buried the axe blade right between the reindeer’s eyes, dropping it instantly.

“Oh,” said Hriminulf, stepping out of a stall with a newspaper. “Did I miss something?”

Just then the door flew open and Professor McDingledoodle rushed inside with a tranquilizer gun. He quickly took in the scene before him.

“You…you,” he stammered. “You killed it! But, the reindeer is the official Christmas quadruped of Russia. I…this is out of my hands, Potrowski. You have to go see Professor Bumbledorf.”


***


The walls of Bumbledorf’s office were lined with photographs and pictures of famous people, many of whom Harislav recognized. According to Bumbledorf himself, they were the people he most admired in the world. When Harislav first arrived, Bumbledorf had been muttering to himself while looking at one. When he realized Harislav was with him, the gruff headmaster indicated the painting, saying, “Ah, Martin van Buren. Now there’s a motherfucker you can respect.”

Bumbledorf sat at his desk and popped open a can of beer. “Harislav,” he said gently. “Come in, my fucking son. Have a seat.”

Harislav followed Bumbledorf’s request in dejected silence. He knew it. He could feel it inside of him. He’d gone too far, overstepped himself. This was the final straw. Hogschwartz was going to kick him out, and when that happened the only option left to him would be death at the hands of some mob back in Poland.

“How’re your damn classes?” Bumbledorf asked kindly. “Like the bastards of teachers we have here?”

“Oh, y-yes, sir,” said Harislav, confused. “I don’t think Professor Schnape likes me much, though.”

“Hmm, I see. Well, I’ll get to that shit in a moment. Now, I’d like to talk to you about your past.”

“What about the reindeer?” Harislav asked.

“Reindeer? What…oh, yes, that. Not to worry, my little son of a bitch. I’ll take care of the fucking paper work. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. No, Harislav, there is something very important I must tell you.”

“What is it?” asked Harislav, relieved that he apparently wasn’t about to be given another death sentence.

“It’s about Vol de la Mort, that bastard drug trafficker you shot.”

Harislav’s head hung low in shame. “Oh. What about him?”

“Well, you see, I…Oh, fuck. I got a chance to examine his shit-ridden body before they incinerated it. And, well, I had wanted to try out this badass ritual that Professor Nitwikoff had told me about. It was supposed to let me rip out Vol de la Mort’s heart and tell my future. But, I, well…”

“Yes?”

“I accidentally brought the fucker back to life!” Bumbledorf cried with a burp.

“Oh,” said Harislav. “Well, that’s good, isn’t it? The economy will be fixed now, and I’ll be forgiven, and I can leave.”

“Oh, I’m afraid it’s not quite that fucking simple,” said Bumbledorf. “It’s much more serious than all that shit you just spewed. I hate to tell you, or I would if I wasn’t a dick, but Vol de la Mort’s coming after you, Harislav. He wants revenge, and nothing will stop him from fucking getting it.”

Harislav stared at Professor Bumbledorf in horror. “I see. And what about Schnape. You said you’d talk about him, too. Is he connected to all this?”

“He is,” replied Bumbledorf, “but it’s fairly complicated. You see, Sheverus Schnape was once a fucking drug addict. He was addicted to everything under the god damn sun. He was one of Vol de la Mort’s biggest supporters, as loyal a piece of shit as Vol de la Mort could want. Schnape did anything he was asked to, and Vol de la Mort asked a lot of him to keep the world in chaos so he could sell his drugs more easily.”

“What did he do?” Harislav asked.

“Gandhi. Martin Luther King, Jr. JFK. John Lennon.”

“All him?” asked Harislav, horrified.

Bumbledorf nodded gravely. “However, some shit happened to change his ways. After that, he was a devout follower of Hogschwartz and the Siberian Communist Movement. Every weekend he flies over to America to spy on the Pentagon for us.”

“What happened to change him?”

“Well, you inquisitive little bastard, what happened then is of no concern to you. Just know that I trust Professor Schnape with all my fucking heart.”

“But, sir,” asked Harislav, “what if Schnape decides to avenge his old master himself? He could slit my throat next Tuesday!”

“That’s a risk I’m willing to take, Harislav. Well, it’s fucking late. Piss off to bed, lad.”


***


“So that’s what he said?” Rinaldi was asking a half hour later in the Grifenov barracks. “Every word?”

“Yes,” said Harislav.

“Wow,” Rinaldi continued, “that’s incredible! I had no idea Bumbledorf held Martin van Buren in such high esteem! And you said he mentioned something about Vol de la Mort, too?”

“Yeah, Bumbledorf resurrected him, and now he’s coming to kill me. What’d you get for number seven?”

Rinaldi looked down at his Caring for Your Magical Features homework. “Oh, yeah. That was a tricky one. I said ‘vas deferens,’ but I wasn’t sure.”

Harislav scribbled in his answer.

“So Vol de la Mort’s after you now, huh?” Rinaldi said

“Looks like it.”

“I wonder if…but no, it must just be a coincidence.” Rinaldi trailed off, reading his next homework question. “Harislav, do you have a measuring tape on you?”

“Hang on,” said Harislav. “What’s a coincidence?”

“Huh? Oh, I’m sure it’s nothing. I just overheard McDingledoodle and Nitwikoff talking in the staffroom. McDingledoodle was saying how they were hiding something in the school now, and that no one would be able to get to it.”

“What is it?” Harislav asked.

Rinaldi shrugged. “They didn’t say. They both seemed a little nervous about it, though, you know? Anyway, I just thought, maybe Vol de la Mort’s after whatever it is. But like Bumbledorf said, he’s probably just after you. How do you spell ‘fallopian?’”
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:23 PM
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Chapter 6: Quadbroom

Harislav looked out one of the frosty windows of the mess hall one morning the next week. The sunrise painted a rose smear across the sky, though it gave it little warmth. His stomach was unsettled, and the breakfast beans had not helped. Today was Harislav’s first Quadbroom game, a match between Grifenov and Shlytherinth.

He was about to excuse himself to the bathroom when Nelson Preston III came over to deliver a package to Harislav.

“It’s from Professor McDingledoodle,” Harislav told Rinaldi and Hriminulf, once Nelson Preston III was gone. “Whatever could it be?”

“Maybe it’s a cake,” suggested Hriminulf.

“Hey, there’s a note,” said Harislav. “‘Dear Mr. Potrowski. Congratulations on making the team. Enclosed you will find a last will and testament form for you to fill out, along with a catalogue of caskets. It is customary for our Quadbroom players to attend to such matters before they start playing. PS—If you prefer cremation, just make a note and disregard the catalogue. PPS—I would highly recommend model number 616263 for you, it would bring out your eyes.’”

After selecting his casket, Harislav made his way to the Quadbroom arena in the basement. The other players on the team, Olivier Woud, and Frederico and Giorgio Weslighanni, were already there. Playing for Shlytherinth were Dracos Malfez and his sisters Crabé and Guavez. The Shlytherinth team captain was Marcus Flintius.

After they had all selected their broomsticks (Harislav got a Swiffer 2000), the referee, Madam Smooch, called the two teams forward.

“Now I want a nice, clean game—all of you,” she said, pocketing a twenty handed to her by Marcus Flintius. “One. Two. Three!”

Smooch blew her whistle, and the game was on.

It was like nothing Harislav had ever witnessed before, a devastating mélange of mixed martial arts and curling. A whirlwind of broomsticks and the appendages that wielded them swirled around the caged-in arena.

Harislav raised his Swiffer 2000 to parry a savage blow from Crabé Malfez, then he returned fire, cracking his broomstick across her knee. She grabbed it in pain, dropping her own broom, leaving herself vulnerable to his next attack, which connected with her temple. The blow rendered her unconscious and earned Harislav many cheers.

Elsewhere, the Weslighanni twins had teamed up on Guavez Malfez, beating her senseless in turns until she finally dropped to the floor. Grifenov was ahead, but victory was still far from certain. Marcus Flintius ran at Olivier with his broom held high, smashing it into Olivier’s nose. There was a loud crack, and blood sprayed all over the small arena. Olivier raised his own broom to defend himself, but his blood blinded him, and he soon joined the pile of unconscious players.

Marcus raised his arms in a triumphant cheer then, which turned out to be a mistake. Frederico and Giorgio each took a swing at him, breaking both of his arms at the elbow. Frederico finished him off with a blow to the head.

Suddenly, Harislav felt something whoosh by his head, accompanied by a sound like gunfire. He looked behind him and saw a still-smoking bullet hole in the arena floor. He felt at his head, and his hand came away with singed hair.

Panicking, Harislav looked into the crowd, temporarily forced to ignore the violent game in the arena. There. On the highest bleacher, halfway in the shadows, sat Schnape, sniper rifle in hand. The orange-haired man was already looking through the scope, preparing to take another shot.

There was nowhere for Harislav to hide, but it didn’t matter. Just at that moment Bumbledorf walked up to Schnape, apparently to have a conversation with him. Schnape was forced to hastily conceal his weapon.

Harislav turned back to the Quadbroom game. There now remained but one opponent, Dracos Malfez, who immediately engaged Harislav in a fierce melee. Harislav was hit on his side, and a cracking noise alerted him to possible broken ribs. But he could not give up now. Adrenaline pumped in his chest. Blood coursed through his veins. He was the best Quadbroom player ever. He was a beast of unfathomable rage. He was Harislav fucking Potrowski.

With a deft move, he knocked Dracos off his feet. The drop clearly stunned the Shlytherinth momentarily, giving Harislav the perfect opportunity. With a primal yell he snapped the end off his broom, turned it upside-down, and plunged the jagged end straight through Dracos’ chest and into the floor beneath him. Dracos lay twitching for a few minutes in a pool of his own blood before he finally died.

Madam Smooch ran back into the ring and held Harislav’s arm aloft, declaring, “Grifenov wins!”


***


Shortly afterwards Harislav found himself back in Bumbledorf’s office, seated dejectedly before the desk. There was no hope this time. He would be sent back to the mob in Poland to be torn to pieces. Killing a reindeer was one thing, a fellow student quite another. How could he have let himself get so carried away? Dracos had been a friend before. And now he had killed him. Well, he thought, the people I kill tend to come back to murder me anyway.

Bumbledorf himself was pacing up and down the room. Finally he sat down behind his desk.

“Harislav, my fucking boy, what are we to do?”

“It’s over, isn’t it, sir?” asked Harislav.

“Over? What the hell are you talking about?”

“You’re sending me back home for killing the Malfez kid, aren’t you?”

“Who? Oh, yes, him. Trifles, Harislav, fucking trifles. I’ve done the damn paperwork, and we already got rid of the body. No, I called you here for more important matters. Now listen to this. I’ve put out a rumor—a true rumor—that hidden in the shitty bowels of this school is the legendary Sorcerer Stoned, a sculpture of David Blaine that any collector of illegal substance paraphernalia, like Vol de la Mort, would greatly desire. Once we lure the bastard here, he will be caught up in all the traps that surround the statue. Thus, your bitch ass should be quite safe, Harislav.”

“And what about Professor Schanpe, sir?”

“What about the fucker?”

“He tried to kill me during the Quadbroom game.”

“Harislav, Harislav. These things happen from time to time at this dump. When in doubt, always remember: It does not do to dwell on psychopathic baker assassins and forget to live.”
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Old 07-31-2014, 02:14 PM
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Chapter 7: The Mirror of s’Drow Draw Kab

November soon turned to December. Autumn was gone, and winter was upon the school, descending like a pack of starving cannibals on a morgue. The cold season was gone, replaced by the even colder season.

The cold was indeed incredible. One time while in a barbed-wire courtyard, Rinaldi sneezed. His snot froze immediately, turning into tiny projectiles that shot right at Hriminulf, lacerating her face so badly she had to go to the school’s makeshift hospital wing. Falling ice caused the deaths of several students, including Shamous Finnagopolous, who was impaled by an icicle while outside during a break. There were even rumors that Bumbledorf had crashed his Harley after sliding on a patch of ice, breaking his nose yet again.

The mess hall was decorated with satanic Christmas symbols, such as upside-down Christmas trees with pentagrams for stars and snowmen with goats’ heads.


***


On the morning of the twenty-fifth of December, Harislav was woken early by Rinaldi. Rolling out of bed he saw that there was snow glistening outside the barrack’s windows. Several children already sat around an upside-down Christmas tree in the middle of the room, unwrapping their meager gifts. Upon clearer examination, Harislav saw that many of the labels on the presents had typos: they said “From Satan” instead of “From Santa.”

“Come on, Harislav, see what you got,” called Rinaldi, opening what looked to be a red pitch fork.

Wondering what “Satan” could possibly have sent the most hated boy on earth, Harislav sat down to a small pile of presents. The only one labeled “Satan” turned out to be a book: an autographed copy of the Gospel according to Judas.

From Rinaldi, Harislav received a small, transparent orange bottle with a white cap. A label on it said “Dirty Bert’s Every Flavor Pills.”

“They mean every flavor,” said Rinaldi, when Harislav asked him about it. “A pill for any occasion, whether you have a headache, diarrhea, depression, or you need a little help in bed, if you know what I mean.”

“A sleeping pill?”

“Exactly.”

“But how do you know which is which?” asked Harislav.

“You don’t really,” Rinaldi replied. “It’s just trial and error, is all.”

Hriminulf gave Harislav an enormous, raw chicken leg, not wrapped but with a small bow in it.

Finally, Harislav came to the last present, oddly wrapped in aluminum foil. A note on the outside said only, “Adolf Hitler left this in my possession before he died. Use it well.” Harislav unwrapped the package, but it was empty.

“I know what that is,” said Rinaldi, gasping. “That’s an invisibility cloak, like the Nazis were inventing.”

“Where?” asked Harislav. “There’s nothing here.”

“Well, it’s invisible, isn’t it? Come on, we should be able to find it eventually if we feel around for it.”

After twenty minutes or so Harislav finally put his hands around a soft, flowing, but invisible cloak.

“What good’s this?” asked Harislav.

“What good is it?” cried Rinaldi incredulously. “Why, it makes you invisible, of course! Go on, try it out. You could do anything with this! Sneak around, get into restricted areas, murder Schnape. You could even escape before Vol de la Mort comes! Well, what will you do first?”

“I think I’ll go to the restricted section of the library.”


***


The library at Hogschwartz featured books on every subject from algebra to torture methods, yet it still contained a closely-guarded restricted section. No one was allowed in. It had long been Harislav’s desire to discover why it was there in the first place. Soon, now, his curiosity would be quenched.

Underneath the invisibility cloak, Harislav moved quietly through the air ducts above the library. Coming to a grate he wrenched it open, revealing the restricted section ten feet below him. He would have to hang on a rope from the air vent, as the floor here was rigged to electrocute any intruders. Tying a rope to his waist and the other end to a convenient hook in the duct, Harislav jumped down and slowly lowered himself until he was before a shelf of forbidden books.

There was an entire row devoted to different editions of a book by some guy called King James. There was also The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, and biographies of U.S. presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. He even saw something titled The Gulag Archipelago, whatever that meant.

Huh, what’s this? thought Harislav, carefully picking up a black tome from the shelf. Twilight, it said on the cover. He opened it to a random page and read a few lines. A moment later he let out a blood-curdling scream, dropping the repulsive book and tripping the floor alarms.

Just at that moment Harislav’s rope broke. He crashed to the floor, receiving a painful electric shock. He hurriedly crawled to the door, receiving shocks all the way, and exited back into the main library.

Harislav closed the door behind him and pulled his invisibility cloak back on just in time, as several teachers came racing into the room at once. Harislav recognized McDingledoodle, Grubeus, and Nelson Preston III. McDingledoodle deactivated the electrocuted floors and entered the restricted section. He returned a few moments later.

“Aye, someone’s been in there, all right. I found this on the floor.” He held up the Twilight book.

“This can mean only one thing,” said Nelson Preston III. “There’s a student out of bed. Come. We will find him at once.”

“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” crooned Grubeus in his wheezing voice.

While they all searched the library, Harislav took the opportunity to slip out. He was still restless, though, and the night was young. Under the invisibility cloak, he could do anything, like Rinaldi had said. But first, he had to go to the bathroom.

He quickly found one and went in, though as it was dark, Harislav did not notice the out-of-order sign on it.

Harislav entered a stall, ready to get down to some serious business. He had just locked the door behind him when a voice called out, frightening him. Turning around, he saw a small, winged creature, humanoid, flying out of the toilet.

“Hello there,” said the little man boisterously. “I’m Nearly Dickless Ned. And you are…?”

“I’m…uh…Harislav,” said Harislav hesitantly, unsure whether he should shake the thing’s hand or not. “Who are you, again?”

“I’m Nearly Dickless Ned, the Toilet Fairy.”

“Nearly Dickless? How can you be nearly dickless?” asked Harislav.

“Well, I kind of slept with a female Toilet Fairy a while ago. Her dad wanted to castrate me, but as he was sawing away the police showed up and shot me dead, with half of my member still clinging on.”

Harislav winched. “So you’re dead?”

“Well, not quite. I’m a fairy, you see, so I can’t really die. I just became undead. I’m an undead Toilet Fairy.”

“And what exactly is a Toilet Fairy?” Harislav asked.

“Ah, we are an ancient race,” replied Nearly Dickless Ned. “We are made to guard our toilets all our lives, to protect them unwaveringly. Our toilets are magical, you see, and they need our protection. We Toilet Fairies can only be freed if our masters give us the magic toilet paper.”

“You mean to say that this is a magic toilet?” said Harislav, trying to get a better look while Nearly Dickless Ned danced about the rim, his partially dismembered member flying around.

‘Why, yes,” replied the Toilet Fairy, hopping up to the tank. “”Look inside, and you’ll see the Mirror of s’Drow Draw Kab.”

“What will I see in it?”

“Oh, the Mirror shows many things. Things that were. Things that are. And some things that have already been passed—by other users of this toilet. But come, look in for yourself.”

Shrugging uncertainly, Harislav slowly knelt on the floor before the toilet. With a last glance at Nearly Dickless Ned, he bent over the bowl and peered into the watery depths.

For a moment all he saw was his own reflection, but then the waters began to swirl around mysteriously.

“Sorry, accidentally flushed it,” said Nearly Dickless Ned.

When the water had cleared again, two faces slowly materialized in the water. Though he hadn’t seen either in a very long time, Harislav recognized them both instantly. His mind was taken back in time by those faces, to a time and a place when things were better, happier, more secure.

“You’re those two guys from Sesame Street!” Harislav called out. “Ernie and Bert!”

The two smiling puppets drifted away in the murky water, to be replaced by two people Harislav also knew immediately.

“Mom? Dad?”

The two faces of his parents beamed up at him from within the toilet and nodded as if they could hear him. And maybe they could. Maybe the years separating them from this world were vanished, done, gone when viewed through this toilet. Maybe his long dead parents were truly there before him. With a sudden childlike yearning Harislav cried out and plunged his hand into the water, but he grasped nothing, and his parents’ faces vanished until he withdrew his arm, appearing then once again as if to taunt him.

So fascinated was Harislav, though, that he forgot where he was, forgot the time, forgot that Nearly Dickless Ned was waving his phallus in front of his face. His last memories of his parents also came, unbidden, back to Harislav in a dazed rush.


***


It had been a cool, crisp day in the beginning of autumn, a bit windy but comfortable nonetheless after the unseasonably warm summer. Harislav and his parents were bundled up in their most comfortable clothing that day, at ease with everything in the world. They were taking Harislav to the Polish Zoo for his fifth birthday.

They saw all the usual suspects: elephants and giraffes, rhinos and monkeys. But what Harislav had wanted more than anything that day was to visit the petting zoo. To pet, and feed, and touch the small sheep and goats. That, to him, had seemed the most exciting thing in the world.

His parents gladly paid for his admission and, hand-in-hand, they went to sit on a nearby bench to wait for him. Harislav was led inside the fenced-in enclosure by an attendant, who also gave him a small cup of animal food.

He had a magical time in the petting zoo, patting the soft sheep, feeding the hungry goats, and collecting the soft brown marbles be found throughout the pen. It was about fifteen minutes in to his time there, when he was just about done, that Harislav noticed a fierce-looking goat, bigger than the rest, with sharp, curved horns. Harislav had somehow missed seeing him before.

“Hello, little fella,” said Harislav, walking up to it.

Feed me, human, said a cold, cruel, high-pitched voice in his head.

“Well, that’s unusual,” said Harislav. “Are you talking to me?” he asked the goat.

Feed me.

“Well, okay, sure.” He dumped the rest of the feed into his palm and held it out. The mean-looking goat lunged forward and chomped down on the little pellets, narrowly avoiding biting off Harislav’s entire hand. “Hey, watch out, little goat.”

When it was done the goat looked back up to Harislav.

Free me.

“Now hang on a second, I can’t just—

Free me or die in agony.

“Okay, okay, I’m going.” Harislav walked over to the nearby gate. He checked to make sure the attendant was busy (he was smoking behind a porta-potty) and slowly unlatched it.

Instantly the ferocious goat charged through, knocking Harislav over. The goat was free. But in its path was the bench on which Harislav’s parents sat.

The world seemed to blur and slow down. He could do nothing, nothing at all, but watch in horror.

The goat took his father first, as he stood up to protect his wife. His father’s arms were spread wide to intercept the charging creature, but the goat leapt up and bit into his face. The animal fell back to the ground with a mass of flesh in its mouth. Harislav’s father fell to his knees while clutching desperately at his face. The goat took this opportunity to rip out the man’s throat.

Harislav’s mother let out a shriek as her husband crumpled in a pool of his own blood. The goat then turned on her. It ran its sharp horns across her stomach, and she let out a final, terrible gurgle as several organs and much bodily fluid spewed out her abdomen.

The last moment Harislav could clearly recall was that horrid, evil goat nibbling on his mother’s liver, her bloody intestines wrapped about its feet and horns.


***


“Rinaldi, Hriminulf, you’ve got to come see this!” cried Harislav a half-hour later, bursting in to his barracks through the portrait of Rosie O’Donnell, ripping off the invisibility cloak. “I saw my parents in a toilet, and there was a partially-castrated fairy there too!”

Rinaldi and Hriminulf exchanged exhausted looks, rolled their eyes, and went back to sleep.

“Fine, I’ll go back and see them myself,” said Harislav, stomping off.

As the winter months wore on, though, Harislav yearned to see his parents’ images more and more, until he started skipping classes and stopped sleeping.

It all came to an end, however, one day near the end of February.


***


Harislav was kneeling in front of the toilet like usual, staring into the Mirror of s’Drow Draw Kab, Nearly Dickless Ned prancing about the stall.

He was so intent on the faces of his parents in the still water that he barely registered the sound of the bathroom door opening, and, a moment later, someone entering his stall. It wasn’t until he turned around to see Bumbledorf lowering his pants and underwear to reveal his rear end that Harislav realized he was not alone.

The headmaster obliviously made to sit down on the toilet seat, and as the old man’s butt cheeks neared his face, Harislav called on in alarm. “Gah!”

Bumbledorf jumped and, with a yelp, turned around.

“Harislav, my boy, I was just about to take a dump on you head. Guess I didn’t notice you there. My mind tends to wander when I’ve got shit on my mind and, well…”

“Could you pull you pants back up, sir?”

“What…oh, yes, yes, of course.” Bumbledorf all too slowly obliged. “Ah, yes, hello there, Ned. How’s my fucking toilet?”

“Very good, master. The Potrowski boy here seems to have taken a particular liking to it.”

“Wait,” said Harislav, confused. “You’re Nearly Dickless Ned’s master? The one with the power to free him from his Toilet Fairy duties?”

“That’s right,” replied Bumbledorf, “but the little son of a bitch won’t see hide nor hair of my magic toilet paper any time soon. The guy can be quite helpful in the bathroom.”

“Aye, that I can,” said the fairy.

They all stared at each other in silence for a moment.

“Nevertheless, Harislav, I’m afraid I must tell you never to return to this fucking bathroom again,” Bumbledorf said. “It’s my favorite one, you see, and so it’s off-limits to all you little bastards.”

“But my parents are in that toilet,” Harislav protested.

“I’ll let you say your final fucking goodbyes, then, but you should warn them that I’m about to have explosive diarrhea on their faces.”
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  #9  
Old 07-31-2014, 02:31 PM
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Chapter 8: The Forbidden Forest

March came along as cold as any of the other winter months, and with it came a terrible period of withdrawal for Harislav. His life slowly resumed liked normal, but he knew he would never be able to erase the image of his parents’ faces in Nearly Dickless Ned’s toilet for as long as he lived. As he began to eat, sleep, and go to classes again, Harislav could think only of what else he could be doing while under the invisibility cloak, what secrets yet awaited to be uncovered in the school’s forbidding depths. After his discovery of the Mirror of s’Drow Draw Kab, he knew that any number of mysteries awaited him.

He explored the school through much of the spring, often accompanied by Rinaldi and Hriminulf. However, it soon appeared that they had covered the entire building, their most interesting find being only an underground room full of missiles.

One evening while sitting in the Grifenov barracks, though, Harislav thought up a new plan. If they had finished with the school, it was time to search elsewhere—the grounds. And the most obvious structure to search there was Nelson Preston III’s manor house.

It was the middle of May when the plan was finally ready to be put into action. The sun was high on the eastern sky, the birds were chirping in their scraggly bushes, the polar bears were out of their dens, and the elephant seals were performing their elaborate mating rituals. Wondrous flowers of all shades burst forth from the land and, after taking a look around, decided to crawl back into the soil.

It was through this landscape that Harislav, Rinaldi, and Hriminulf were able to escape from the school and, under cover of the invisibility cloak, trudge up to Nelson Preston III’s mansion. They entered quickly through a back door, conveniently unlocked, and found themselves in an elaborate hallway. At the far end a light shone from an offset room.

Though they wanted to avoid Nelson Preston III’s attention while they explored his house, the children were suddenly overcome with curiosity. Harislav in particular was interested in seeing what Nelson Preston III did in the privacy on his home.

They crept closer to the light at the end of the hall, and as they did so a voice, speaking softly, grew steadily louder. It was, Harislav realized, Nelson Preston III, but the janitor was talking strangely, as Harislav had never heard him before.

“Next month?” the voice said. “Are you sure? I mean, yes, you must be sure, but still… Must it be so soon? Yes, yes, of course.”

They reached the room. Peering inside, Harislav and the others saw Nelson Preston III. He was standing in the middle of the room, facing the doorway, and he was not wearing any pants.

In unison, the three children cried out in horror, dropping the invisibility cloak.


***


“Well, this is simply outrageous,” Professor McDingledoodle exclaimed, pacing in front of the three children in his office. “First you kill a reindeer, then a fellow student. Now you’re breaking and entering. Where does it end, Harislav, I really must ask. Where does it end?”

“I…I…don’t know, sir.” It was truly all he could manage, under the circumstances.

“What will it be next time?” McDingledoodle continued relentlessly, his normally cheerful demeanor gone. “Eh, Harislav? What next? A car bombing? Garroting a teacher? Jaywalking?”

“I…I didn’t mean to—”

“Didn’t mean to?” McDingledoodle shrieked. “Didn’t mean to what, break into a faculty member’s household? Well, whatever your reasons, Potrowski, I’ll see to it that you and your friends have detention every night from now until you apply for AARP.”

Terrified as they were at the prospect of this fate, Harislav, Rinaldi, and Hriminulf felt waves of relief that they were getting off with their lives.

“You mean you’re not going to execute us?” Harislav asked.

“Not today, Mr. Potrowski,” McDingledoodle replied. “But I must impress upon you the seriousness of the situation. Therefore you will be serving an additional, albeit quite special, detention. With Professor Grubeus. In the Forbidden Forest. You see, we think a notorious serial killer is on the loose and hiding in there. The cops aren’t really an option, so we decided we ought to send three ten year olds to investigate.”

“Make that four ten year olds,” said Grubeus himself, entering the office holding Nevilaus by the collar. “I caught this little fella tryin’ to steal prosthetic limbs from the hospital wing.”

“Very well,” said McDingledoodle. “This weekend the four of you will head out to the Forbidden Forest to find the serial killer.”


***


A few days later the four children were released from the compound in the evening and brought to the edge of the Forest by Professor Grubeus, who was shouldering a large bazooka.

Harislav’s relief at yet again avoiding the headsman’s axe had quickly faded away. Now he was left with only a cold dread, a terror building up inside him from fear of facing the dark unknown of the woods.

Here he was marching along the mist-and-dew clad hills of the school on his way to the forest so evil it was forbidden for Hogschwartz students to enter it. Except for today, and unfortunately he was the exception.

“Well, here we are,” announced Grubeus somewhat unnecessarily. “Let’s move into the trees a bit. There’s somethin’ ya ought to see.”

Harislav, Rinaldi, Hriminulf, and Nevilaus followed him a short distance in. They soon reached a small clearing. Grubeus bent down to examine something on the ground. It look liked a puddle of thick, silvery-white liquid.

“Know what this is?” Grubeus asked, licking a bit off his fingers. “Elephant seal semen. Yessir, must be matin’ season for the little buggers. I ought to caution ya—elephant seals don’t like to be disturbed, especially when they’re goin’ at it, if you know what I mean.”

Grubeus walked a few feet over to another puddle of elephant seal semen. “Woo-ee! They must be really havin’ at it this year. Damn valuable stuff, elephant seal semen is. I reckon our serial killer might be collectin’ it. There’s a big black market for it, there is. Well, whataya say we split up? Me and Hriminulf will go off together by ourselves. Harislav, Rinaldi, and Nevilaus, you go over there someplace.” He waved his arm around vaguely. “All right then, best be off.”

With a final look at Hriminulf, Harislav turned around and set off with Rinaldi and Nevilaus. At first Nevilaus seemed fearful, but soon he appeared to gain confidence, and he even seemed to gain a spring in his step.

“Do you like the woods much?” asked Harislav.

“Not really,” Nevilaus replied. “But when I’m in these types of situations I just ask myself what Harrison Ford would do.”

“Was he good in the woods?” asked Rinaldi.

“Yes,” said Nevilaus. “He was good. He was very good.”

They traveled further on, deeper into the forbidden woods. Time seemed to slow down amid the moss and lichen and trees. Perhaps it stopped altogether, and they were now traversing some strange, wonderful universe that was not quite their own. A mist settled in, grew thicker, until Harislav was not entirely certain they still walked the same earth they had left behind at the school. Noise played funny tricks on him, and strange lights danced off the twilit branches overhead.

Suddenly a dull roaring sound came to his ears, and Harislav could feel the earth reverberating under his feet. The sound steadily increased ahead of them, and the ground was veritably shaking when they finally crested a hill and emerged into a large, moonlit hollow. In the clearing bellow them were scores upon scores of elephant seals. Mating, it was quite clear. Huge, bulbous bodies writhed and undulated around one another in an orgy of terrible proportions. It was a sight unlike anything Harislav had ever seen before, even on the internet.

Harislav, Rinaldi, and Nevilaus edged their way slowly around the grunting, roaring, shrieking pit of convulsing flesh, all three of them still partially in awe at the spectacle. So focused were they on the scene that at one point Nevilaus fell face down in a puddle of elephant seal semen.

The splash (and Nevilaus’ cry of alarm) alerted the herd of elephant seals to the three intruders. For a moment there stretched a thunderous silence. Then the seals surged forward as one, charging the three hapless students.

“Run!” cried Harislav, already taking his own advice.

“We’re gonna have company!” Nevilaus shouted as he dashed ahead.

Sprinting for all he was worth, Harislav raced through the trees, stumbling on roots and slashing his arms and legs on brambles, and all the time he heard the dull roar of the seals bearing down on him.

Harislav was unsure how long he ran, but finally his legs cramped up, and he had to slow down. He could no longer hear or see the elephant seals behind him. Unfortunately, he saw no sign of his two friends, either.

He moved forward cautiously, alone and more terrified than ever. A faint rustling noise up ahead caught his attention. Harislav moved into another, smaller clearing. Puddles of elephant seal semen filled the open space. And at one such puddle crouched a shadowy figure in a beret, collecting the milky liquid in a small Tupperware container. The figure slowly looked up at him. Though Harislav saw only a shadowed face, he knew there was a mutual recognition.

The figure, presumably Vol de la Mort himself reincarnate, stood up. He began to walk toward Harislav. Reaching into a pocket the figure pulled out a gun. Harislav knew there would be no mistakes this time.

Suddenly there was a great stomping of hooves behind Harislav, and he saw what looked to be a horse—an enormous horse—jump clear over his head. Vol de la Mort seemed to consider shooting the beast, thought better of it, and fled into the night.

The creature turned around, and Harislav saw that it was not a horse but a moose. Or, rather, from the waist down it was a moose. Its head, arms, and torso were those of a human male, though he had a large rack of antlers behind his ears.

“I…thank you,” stammered Harislav. “I…what…who are you?”

“I am called Ronin,” the creature replied. “I am known to your kind as a moosetaur.”

A moosetaur. Harislav had heard of the legendary beings only briefly, usually located in an obscure Polish folktale. He had never thought to encounter one in the flesh, living in the frozen wastes of Siberia.

“Well, thanks again,” said Harislav. “But that thing—that person you saved me from—was that…was he…”

“Yes, my boy.”

“Vol de la Mort,” Harislav finally got out. “But, what is he doing here, in the Forbidden Forest? Surely he didn’t know I was here?”

“Did you notice what he was doing?” Ronin asked.

“Collecting the elephant seal semen in a Tupperware container.”

“But do you know why?” the moosetaur prodded.

Harislav shrugged.

“Because he’s a pervert, that’s why!”

“Oh, okay. But why’s he here?” Harislav asked.

“Mr. Potrowski,” said Ronin, “do you know what is hidden in the school at this very moment?”

Harislav gasped. “The Sorcerer Stoned!”

“Indeed.”

“So,” said Harislav, “you mean to say that Vol de la Mort’s waiting out here in the forest, doing God knows what with elephant seal semen, just biding his time before he breaks into the school to steal the statue?”

“I’m afraid so,” the moosetaur sighed. “With that statue of David Blaine his collection of illegal substance memorabilia will be complete. Once more, Vol de la Mort will be the most powerful drug dealer in the world. He will return to power, greater and more terrible than ever before.”

“Good God it’s a monster!” a voice cried out. Harislav turned to see Professor Grubeus, trailing the other three children. Harislav looked on in horror as Grubeus raised his bazooka and fired. The concussion sent Harislav sprawling backward, and when he looked back up a cloud of red dust was settling over the crater that was all that remained of the moosetaur. Harislav found himself covered in blood and small bits of flesh.

“All right, we got the sonuvabitch serial killer,” said Grubeus gleefully, shouldering his bazooka again. “Whataya say we head back?”

They offered no complaint.
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  #10  
Old 08-01-2014, 02:29 PM
rand rand is offline
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Chapter 9: Corridor 352B

“So Vol de la Mort’s already here?” Rinaldi exclaimed the next day. He, Harislav, and Hriminulf stood together outside in a courtyard during a break between classes. “But he doesn’t want to kill you, right? He just wants this stupid statue thing?”

“He wants the statue,” Harislav said, “but I’ll bet I’m a close second. Though he seems to have a thing for elephant seals. Anyway, I don’t think he’d hesitate to shoot me.”

“Harislav, this is serious,” said Rinaldi.

“I’ll say,” said Hriminulf. “Let’s go get some lunch.”

“Let’s find a teacher first,” suggested Rinaldi. “We can tell them about the Sorcerer Stoned, and Vol de la Mort, and let them deal with it.”

“Okay, sounds good,” answered Harislav. “But who should we—”

“Ah, Mr. Potrowski,” came Nelson Preston III’s familiar drawl. “What are you doing in this dank, dark courtyard when you could be enjoying the fresher air outside?”

“We’re locked in, sir.”

“Oh, yes,” Nelson Preston III said. “Yes, that’s true, isn’t it? Yes, very true indeed. How is it then, that if you are locked up in here, you three found yourselves inside my house, way off over there beyond the fence?”

“We were just—”

“One more transgression like this,” Nelson Preston III hissed, his head bent right into Harislav’s face, “and I’ll make sure that your body is never found. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, sir. But we have a question.” Harislav shifted nervously.

“Oh?”

“We think Vol de la Mort is back. He’s hiding in the woods, but soon he’ll break into the school so he can steal the statue of David Blaine, the Sorcerer Stoned.”

Nelson Preston’s mouth quirked up in a sneer, and at first Harislav thought he wouldn’t answer. “That is ridiculous. He would never even get past the first trap set up for him, which is mine. Unless he has some musical skills, which I seriously doubt, he will not pass my test.”

With hurriedly exchanged glances, the three children took off for the school, leaving a mildly bewildered Nelson Preston III standing by himself in the courtyard.

They ran immediately to Bumbledorf’s office, but there was a note on the door: Gone Fucking Fishing.

“He’s gone?” Hriminulf blurted out.

“Okay, we’ll change our plans,” said Harislav. “The secret chamber the statue is kept in must be in that forbidden corridor, 352B.”

“Where Bumbledorf sleeps in the nude?” Rinaldi asked, wincing.

“I’ll bet that’s just a story to deter people. Come on. We’ll go back to the barracks for some rest. At midnight, we’ll use the invisibility cloak to get to that corridor and look for a secret door or something. Our only hope is to get to the statue first and stop Vol de la Mort from reaching it.”

“Shouldn’t we get some of the adults to help us?” asked Rinaldi.

“No, the three of us should be more than enough for Vol de la Mort. And tonight, we’re going to stop him.”


***


Harislav woke to the buzzing of his alarm clock at midnight. He hastily shut it off before he woke the entire barracks. He heard a small stirring from below him, but Nevilaus seemed to roll over back to sleep. Harislav climbed down and quietly woke up Rinaldi and Hriminulf.

They had just finished getting dressed, and Harislav had almost pulled out the invisibility cloak, when they heard the creak of a mattress behind them. It was Nevilaus.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“Nowhere,” said Harislav. “Just go back to bed, Nevilaus, okay?”

“No. You guys are sneaking out again, aren’t you? To Nelson Preston III’s house again? I won’t let you. Harrison Ford wouldn’t like it. You’re already a criminal, what do you think they’ll do if you get caught again?”

“Stand aside,” said Harislav. “This is important, Nevilaus. Just let us go.”

“No,” said Nevilaus. “No, I can’t. I…I’ll fight you.” He held up his balled fists.

Harislav sighed. He handed the invisibility cloak to Rinaldi. He pushed back his sleeves and dusted off his collar. He and Nevilaus began circling one another.

They dove at each other all at once, as if they’d both heard a silent signal to begin. After a brief scuffle in which Harislav received two bites and lost a tooth, they broke apart again. Nevilaus charged back, kicking out hard at Harislav’s chest. Harislav pivoted to the side at the last moment, grabbed Nevilaus’s extended ankle, and karate chopped the boy on his kneecap. Nevilaus cried out in pain as a terrible crack resounded throughout the barracks. He hobbled away a few steps, regaining his balance. Then, with a wordless snarl, Nevilaus ran at Harislav again. This time he swung his fist at Harislav’s face, but again Harislav side-stepped him, grabbed Nevilaus’ wrist, and pushed hard against the elbow of his outstretched arm until he heard another loud snap.

Nevilaus doubled over as Harislav planted a foot in his stomach. Harislav punched up on Nevilaus’ down-turned face, breaking the boy’s nose and sending him sprawling across the floor. Harislav clasped both his hands together and, with all his might, swung them hard into the side of Nevilaus’ skull, rendering the boy unconscious.

“It was for you own good, you know,” Harislav said down to the motionless form of Nevilaus.

Then they left, crawling through the secret entrance of Rosie O’Donnell.


***


Ten minutes and two escalator rides later, still traveling under the invisibility cloak, they arrived at the entrance to corridor 352B. Harislav took off the cloak and stuffed it into a pocket. He didn’t think they would need it anymore.

At the far end of the torch-lit, tile-floored hall was a splintered wood door set into the rough stone wall. With a quick, shared glance between them, the three children set out past the flickering lights, their footsteps echoing across the tiles.

Harislav knew from Bumbledorf that some of the school’s teachers had set up some kind of a defense to protect the Sorcerer Stoned. And thanks to Nelson Preston III, he knew the first trial involved playing some kind of music.

“Well, this is it,” said Harislav. He put his hand on the doorknob. Unlocked, it opened at his touch.


***


They found themselves in a large, mostly empty room. On the far side stood an enormous flat screen TV, 120 inches at least. It was equipped with a state-of-the-art, surround sound stereo. Next to it stood a Play Station 3 with a guitar controller.

“This is Nelson Preston III’s test,” exclaimed Harislav. “He mentioned it had something to do with music. Let’s turn everything on.”

With everything powered up, Harislav slung the guitar controller over his shoulder. He gave the colored buttons a tentative strum. A video appeared on the screen showing a blacked-out figure that was unmistakably Nelson Preston III.

“Hello,” it said, “this is Nelson Preston III. Before you is my test. You must play Guitar Hero on this television. Specifically, you must get a perfect score on Through the Fire and the Flames on expert mode. Good luck.”

The video faded, and Guitar Hero loaded onto the screen. At the start menu, Harislav noticed that a save file had already been created, just fifteen minutes earlier.

“You know what this means,” he said.

“Yes,” said Hriminulf. “Well, no.”

“It means someone’s already come this way. Someone’s already after the Sorcerer Stoned, and they have a good head start on us.”

“Well, hurry up and beat the game then,” urged Rinaldi helpfully.

Harislav started the level, and the notes flew at him fast and furiously. It took a while, but with luck and a little bit of practice, he was able to hit most of the notes. After a half hour or so, Harislav finally beat the song on expert.

The video came up on the screen again, once more showing Nelson Preston III’s blacked-out silhouette. “Congratulation on passing my test. You may now proceed to the next obstacle.”

The three kids noticed a door to the left of the TV slide open.

‘Come on,” said Harislav. “We’d better keep moving. Someone’s already after the Sorcerer Stoned, maybe Vol de la Mort himself. But personally, I think it’s Schnape. Bumbledorf said Schnape used to be in league with Vol de la Mort. And he’s already tried to kill me once. Okay, let’s go.”


***


They could hear a loud noise in the next room already, as of many strange voices. But they weren’t speaking. They were clucking.

Harislav, Rinaldi, and Hriminulf found themselves in a room stuffed full of chickens. Screeching calls and flapping wings echoed all around them as they waded into the room, feathers flying all about.

Harislav saw another door across from him and went to check it, tripping over several chickens in the process. The door was locked.

“Harislav, look!” cried Rinaldi. “The chickens each have little keys tied around their necks. We need to catch the right one.”

“How?” asked Harislav. “And there’re hundreds of them anyway. We’ll never get the one we need.”

“We can use this,” said Rinaldi, indicating a broomstick leaning against the wall. It was a Swiffer 2000. “I’ll bet you need to club the chickens to catch them.”

“I don’t know…”

“Oh, go on, Harislav,” said Rinaldi. “If Schnape could do it so can you. You’re the best Quadbroom player I’ve ever seen.”

“Oh, all right,” said Harislav. “Start looking for a disgruntled chicken.

“A what?” Hriminulf asked.

“You know, a chicken with rumpled feathers because it’s already been caught.”

“Oh, okay.”

“There!” cried Rinaldi, pointing to a far corner. A small white chicken fitting Harislav’s description was hobbling around amongst its brethren.

Harislav grabbed the broomstick and dove forward, wading back into the sea of poultry. He swung the broom back and forth, knocking aside chickens and sending them flying into the air to clear himself a path.

Finally he reached the small white rumpled chicken. With a mighty two-handed swing, Harislav sent the bird flying into the nearby stone wall. There were several small cracking noises, and the chicken did not fall but stayed plastered to the rock. Trickles of blood leaked down to the floor. Harislav gingerly peeled it off the wall and retrieved the key.

He waded back to Rinaldi and Hriminulf and tried the key in the lock. It fit, and they opened the door to the next room.


***


This one was much larger than the first two. It also seemed empty, except for a strange pattern on the floor. It was barren in the middle, but rectangles made up the four sides of the square pattern.

“I know what this is,” said Rinaldi. “My brother Percivillio used to play this all the time. It’s a Monopoly board. We’ll have to play the game and win to get across.”

“But who do we play against?” asked Harislav.

As if in answer, three gigantic metal Monopoly pieces floated on their own accord to the GO space.

“This must be McDingledoodle’s challenge,” said Harislav. “He’s gotten Satan to bewitch this game so the pieces move like magic.”

“Okay, let’s get our money,” said Rinaldi. They took the correct amount of colorful money from the large bank, then headed over to the GO square.

“Harislav, you ride the horse piece,” Rinaldi directed. “Hriminulf, how ‘bout you ride the car? As for me, I’ll ride in the battleship.”

They took their places next to their evil opponents, the thimble, iron, and cannon. A giant pair of dice in the center of the board rolled of its own accord for each player. Thus began their satanically controlled game of Monopoly.

Hriminulf hit the Income Tax space on her first roll, losing $200.

“Damn taxes,” she said.

Rinaldi gained some money when his life insurance matured, from sale of stock, and even an unexpected bank error in his favor.

Harislav won ten dollars for coming in second place in a beauty contest.

Soon Harislav and Rinaldi owned, between them, all the orange, red, and green properties, with houses or hotels on each. The opponent pieces owned the pink and yellow properties, as well as the coveted Park Place and Boardwalk spaces. Hriminulf owned the light bulb, B&O Railroad, and Mediterranean.

The game went back and forth. Just when one of the students landed on an opponent’s property, an opponent would hit one of theirs. Finally, Harislav, Rinaldi, and Hriminulf got to relatively safe positions, while all their opponents were about to hit one of the kids’ properties. But first Rinaldi had to roll.

He rolled a seven, which brought him to land on a Chance space. His card floated up by the power of Lucifer, and the three children read it in horror. Go to Jail. Go Directly to Jail. Do Not Pass Go. Do not collect $200.

“No, I…I can’t,” said Rinaldi, looking around frantically. “The game’s almost over. We’ve almost won. I—”

Before he could finish, several demons summoned from Hell materialized around him. They dragged Rinaldi, struggling all the way, to the Jail space. He continued to kick and yell over there, so one of the demons knocked him out with a sharp blow to the head with a massive club.

“No!” screamed Harislav, as he realized his friend would have to be left behind.

“No!” cried Hriminulf. “Wait, what happened? Oh, is Rinaldi dead or something?”

Now the three opponents each had their turns. One by one they landed on Harislav’s properties. They didn’t have enough money to pay, so the game ended with more demons being summoned to drag the unfortunate losing pieces back to Hell with them. The three students had won. Or Harislav and Hriminulf had, at least.

They ran over to Rinaldi’s unconscious form. He didn’t wake up when Harislav shook him.

“He’ll be fine,” said Hriminulf.

Harislav felt less certain, but he had no choice at this point. If he wanted to catch Vol de la Mort and Schnape, he would have to move on.


***


The next room was a small, circular arena. In the pit in the center lay two animals that appeared to be dead already: a reindeer and an elephant seal.

“Schnape must have already killed them for us,” said Harislav. “Guess we got lucky with this room. Come on.”


***


Harislav and Hriminulf came upon the smallest room yet. In it was a table upon which stood seven shot glasses. A note lay nearby: One of these seven shot glasses contains the power that will allow the drinker to open the next door. The other six contain whiskey. Have fun.

“So we drink them all?” asked Hriminulf.

“No, wait,” said Harislav. “Let’s smell them first.” He picked up each glass in turn to examine it with his nose. Satisfied after a few moments, he set the last glass down and pointed to another. “It’s this one. But there’s only enough in it for me, which means you’ll have to—”

“Finish off the other six,” said Hriminulf, already downing the first in one gulp.

“Okay, well, take care of Rinaldi when you get back. And try to tell Bumbledorf what’s going on if you can find him, okay?”

“Okay,” replied Hriminulf, “but first I have to free to pterodactyls.”

Sighing, Harislav drank the correct potion. He went to the door and opened it into the next, and last, room.

The room sank into a rectangular basin. Tiered steps, the topmost lined with columns, led down to the bottom. There was already somebody down there, and he was sitting on a toilet. But it wasn’t Vol de la Mort. It wasn’t even Schnape.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:18 AM
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Is it Bumbledorf? Is it?? Is It??
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:00 PM
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Chapter 10: The Man with Two Butt Cheeks

It was Nelson Preston III. He was just sitting there, fully clothed, mumbling to himself on the toilet seat. He didn’t seem to have noticed Harislav yet.

“Curses, how does this thing work?” Nelson Preston III cried in clear frustration. Then Harislav recognized it—the Mirror of s’Drow Draw Kab.

“Let me try,” said a cold, harsh voice. Harislav couldn’t see who, or where, the speaker was.

“Master, you are not yet strong enough,” Nelson Preston III protested.

“Shut up, you moron, and do as I say!” the strange voice said. “I have strength enough for this, at least.”

Visibly nervous now, Nelson Preston III stood up from the toilet. Then, to Harislav’s shocked amazement, he undid his belt, unzipped his fly, and pulled down his pants and underwear. Mercifully quickly, he sat back on the toilet again. He was still and silent for at least a full minute.

“Master?” he asked, hesitantly.

“Shut up and let me concentrate,” the voice shrieked.

“But is it working?”

“Of course it isn’t working, you fool! One more word and you’ll be in for it.”

It was then that Nelson Preston III, in idle silence, looked up finally and saw Harislav standing in the entrance.

“Master!” he cried.

“That’s it, you simpleton, I’m gonna—”

“It’s the Potrowski boy, he’s here!”

“Ah, crap,” said the mysterious voice. “Okay, go talk to him. But put me away first.”

Nelson Preston III stood up and put his pants and underwear back on. Then he beckoned for Harislav to come down to him.

“So it’s you,” said Harislav accusingly, moving slightly closer but still staying on the arena’s steps. A sense of bravery surged into him. “You’re the one who’s after the Sorcerer Stoned. You’re the one trying to get Vol de la Mort in here. I thought it was Schnape at first, but—”

“Sheverus?” said Nelson Preston III. “The idiot baker with the lisp? I suppose he does seem the type. Especially after his attempt to assassinate you at the Quadbroom game. He was a bit too obvious with that one…”

“Bumbledorf said Schnape used to work for Vol de la Mort,” Harislav continued. “I thought for sure it was him.”

“Sheverus’ relationship with Vol de la Mort will be determined later,” said Nelson Preston III. “It may indeed be that he is still and ally. But for now, the Master has only me.”

“And what are you doing?” asked Harislav, borrowing for time as he tried to decide what to do.

“Why, you’ve already said it. I’m here to retrieve the Sorcerer Stoned statue for Vol de la Mort.”

“Well, where is it?” Harislav looked around, but the only object in the vast arena was the toilet, the Mirror of s’Drow Draw Kab.

“It’s in here somewhere,” said Nelson Preston III impatiently, indicating the toilet itself. “But I can’t get it to work. It’s Bumbledorf’s prized contraption; he’s bound to have tinkered in it as much as tinkled in it.”

“How does it work?” asked Harislav, knowing Nelson Preston III didn’t know he’d already used it before.

“The directions are on the back,” said Nelson Preston III, moving around the toilet. “Right here: I show not your feces, but your heart’s desire. When I look into the toilet, I can see the Sorcerer Stoned. But I can’t get to it!”

“Use the boy,” said the mysterious voice, breaking its long silence.

“Master, you are not yet strong enough—”

“Spare me the theatrics, Nelson,” said the voice, “and get the boy to try.”

“Fine,” snapped Nelson Preston III. “Potrowski, get over here. Look into the toilet and tell me what you see.”

Well, he’d made it this far. He’d killed a reindeer, won a Quadbroom game, and survived a stampede of elephant seals. He could damn sure look into a toilet bowl. Steeling himself, Harislav walked down the remaining steps and over to Nelson Preston III and the Mirror of s’Drow Draw Kab.

Harislav knelt before the toilet seat and looked in. The mysterious waters swirled, as they had what felt a lifetime ago, when Nearly Dickless Ned had first shown him his parents in the toilet. A shape materialized before him. It was a statue, a golden statue. It looked small, only eight inches tall or so. Slowly the features cleared, and Harislav was able to recognize David Blaine, dazed look on his face, frozen in the act of levitating an inch above the ground. The Sorcerer Stoned. Harislav stared at it hesitantly, unsure what to do. The statue was clearly just an image in the water, only as real as his dead parents had been in here.

But then suddenly, unbelievably, the image changed. It remained the same statue, but somehow it looked more real now to Harislav. To his amazement the statue moved a bit, sunk down, and made a dull thud against the bottom of the toilet.

Harislav quickly turned to see if Nelson Preston III had heard, but he seemed to be in an argument with the mysterious voice.

The statue was real now, Harislav knew. The Sorcerer Stoned was there, actually resting before his eyes in the toilet. All he had to do was reach in and take it. But he could never do that without drawing unwanted attention. Hastily, he slammed the lid shut.

Nelson Preston III turned around. “Well? What did you see?”

“Nothing,” replied Harislav. “I…I just saw some poop in the bowl. I looked gross so I shut the lid.”

“He lies,” said the cold, evil voice. “Let me talk to the boy, face to face.”

“Master, you are not strong enou—”

“If you say that one more time…just do it, okay? I need to talk to the kid.”

Nelson Preston III took off his shoes. If Harislav thought this was odd, it was nothing compared to what happened next. He watched, stricken with terror but unable to look away, as Nelson Preston III pulled off his pants, and then his underwear, casting his clothing aside. And there, protruding from his left butt cheek, was a face. And Harislav recognized it. Recognized it from almost a year ago, when that face had killed Harislav’s aunt and uncle, when Harislav had in turn killed the bearer of that face, and started it all—this story, this adventure, this new life.

Vol de la Mort. His eyes, nose, and mouth stuck out of Nelson Preston III’s butt cheek with only the vague outline of an actual face.

“Ah, Harislav,” he said. “See me? See what I have become? I’m nothing more than a sore, a hemorrhoid on this pathetic man’s ass. It’s a wretched form of life. Think of the pain I feel when he sits down on me! And, oh, the diarrhea he had last Tuesday! I thought it would never end…”

Eh hem,” Nelson Preston III coughed.

“But I digress,” Vol de la Mort continued. “You must know now, Harislav, how I returned to life?”

“Bumbledorf mentioned it, yeah,” said Harislav, “but I thought you still had your own body.”

“Oh, no, no,” said Vol de la Mort. “The meddlesome fool returned only my spirit to this world, leaving my body to die. You should have seen the plastic surgery required to stick me on this stooge.”

Nelson Preston III shivered.

“Interestingly, I required only one thing to sustain my weakened life form. Elephant seal semen. I believe you saw my bumbling friend here collecting some for me in the forest?”

“I thought that was you,” Harislav said. “With the beret and all.”

“Nelson wears that when he’s in a festive mood,” Vol de la Mort replied. “Soon, though, I will be able to escape this body. All I require is that statue. The Sorcerer Stoned.”

“Why?” asked Harislav.

“It will make me the most powerful and respected drug dealer in the world again. Then I can rejoin the Drug Dealers Association with my new status symbol. They can give me the help I need. A new body. A much better body than this poor excuse! Of course, I’ve had other bodies before, as I think you know, Harislav.”

Harislav looked at Nelson Preston III’s butt blankly, but somewhere in the depths of his mind a memory seemed to stir.

“Yes,” Vol de la Mort continued. “I think you see it now. Allow me to explain. I once knew the real David Blaine. A very talented magician. He was particularly good at animal transformations, though PETA always forced him to keep those off the television. Anyway, I had him turn me into a goat once, just for kicks.”

“It was you!” cried Harislav, outraged. “You were the goat that day in the petting zoo!”

“Indeed,” said Vol de la Mort, his sneer wrinkling Nelson Preston III’s butt cheek. “I had the pleasure of meeting your parents that day, I believe?”

Harislav’s hands balled into fists as he began to quiver. He had to do something. There was nothing he could possibly do to harm Vol de la Mort, but he had to do something.

“Of course, I met your aunt and uncle, too, later. And now, I’m back with you. And I really must ask you again, Harislav, before I finish you the way I should have a year ago, what did you see in that toilet?”

“Nothing, I—”

“Liar!” Vol de la Mort’s face on Nelson Preston III’s butt cheek roared. “Nelson, kill him!”

“Master, shouldn’t you do it yourself?”

“I would, but I’m not strong enou…just do it, you insufferable imbecile!”

Nelson Preston III turned around and began to advance on Harislav. It was a terrifying sight, if more for his lack of pants or underwear than his murderous stare. Harislav backed up until he hit and fell backward over the toilet seat. He reached inside and pulled out the statue.

“There it is, Nelson!” cried Vol de la Mort. “I can smell it! Get it! Get it!”

Nelson Preston III suddenly charged at Harislav, but out of nowhere a whip snaked out and coiled around Nelson Preston III’s neck, stopping him short. He fell to the ground with a gurgle, his hands struggling at his neck.

Harislav looked up and followed the line of the whip back to the shadows of a column. A man stepped out from behind it, a man wearing weather-beaten clothing, a leather jacket, a gun holster, and a satchel. On his head was perched a fedora.

It was Harrison Ford.

“Sorry I’m a bit late,” said Harrison Ford, descending into the arena. “Some kid called Nevilaus sent me a fan letter saying you were trapped down here, and that I needed to come rescue you. So, here I am.”

Harislav could only watch wordlessly, still clutching the statue of David Blaine, as Harrison Ford turned to Nelson Preston III.

“So, we got a pervert who takes his pants off around little boys, huh?” he said. “Put this on, you pedo scum!”

Harrison Ford forced Nelson Preston III back into his clothes, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the man had a face protruding from his left butt cheek.

“Now I’m gonna kick your ass,” said Harrison Ford. And he did. Literally.

“Gah!” shrieked Vol de la Mort in a muffled cry. “Ee! Ah! Stop him! Nelson, you fool! Stop this man!”

But Nelson Preston III was powerless before the onslaught. Harrison Ford rammed his foot into his rear end again and again and again. Finally the beating appeared to be over.

“I’m gonna leave you to the authorities,” Harrison Ford said. “The authorities of my gun.” With that, he shot Nelson Preston III between the eyes, a small stream of blood splattering the toilet beside Harislav.

“Well, my work’s done here,” said Harrison Ford. “Hey, kid. Take it easy.” With that, he walked back out of the arena.

Still frozen in bewilderment, Harislav didn’t notice the ghostly form floating out of Nelson Preston III’s pants. When he finally did turn around, it was to see this spirit coalescing into a spectral goat. It charged at Harislav, bowling him over. The ghostly goat fled with a wordless cry of frustration as Harislav drifted into unconsciousness.
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:02 PM
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Is it Bumbledorf? Is it?? Is It??
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Thanks for reading. Hope you like it.
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:14 PM
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Chapter 11: Return Home

He floated on misty clouds over a sea of gray. The moon rode across a black sky, almost but not yet complete. Below him the sea surged with barely contained chaos, threatening to destroy everything.

Out of the mist a face materialized, familiar, but he could not quite put a name to it.

“Thanks a lot, you jerk,” the face accused. “Leaving me locked up in jail like that…I thought you were a friend.”

The face disappeared, to be replaced with another. Again he knew the face, but was unable to place it.

“Gee, looks like you’re the big hero now. I don’t really know what you did or whatever, but I guess it must have been important, or you wouldn’t have left me behind.”

Mores faces swam up in the mist, each making its own accusations before drifting away once more.

“Hey, thanks, man. I have a broken nose, a broken arm, and a broken leg because of you, but really, congrats. I mean, I only sent Harrison Ford to save your life, it’s not like I really did anything.”

“Well, I guess I should be happy for you. I am, really. I just wish you hadn’t killed me in that game a while ago. Ah, well, can’t cry over spilled milk.”

“Your aunt and I are very proud of you, even if you did destroy the entire world’s economy. Best wishes, and try to do well in school.”

“Yay, congratulations! I knew you’d do it, you sly fox. Hey, come back to my toilet to visit me some time, okay?”

“Thith ith outrageoth! Breaking school rulth thoo thave the world? Ath thoon ath you geth back thoo clath, I’ll give you a dethenthon!”

“Hey, great job. Sorry we couldn’t make it, but my brother was in detention, and, well, I couldn’t just leave him. No, really, I couldn’t…”

“Sorry I couldn’t tell you anything about Vol de la Mort before that guy shot me with his bazooka. Oh, well. I’m with my brethren in the sky, now.”

“Oh, dear, we’re so proud of you. Your father is so grateful you defeated the goat that killed us. I knew it wasn’t natural. We’re sorry you have to live at the reform school now, but with hard work and a little luck—mostly luck—you’ll grow up to be a fine young man.”

“Well, you fool, it looks like you’ve outsmarted me yet again! I shall return, though, never doubt that. Let’s see, yes. I think I’ll stage some kind of attack on the school every June for the next six years. Ha! No one will ever expect such consistency!”


***


Harislav woke up in a comfortable bed, a feather mattress beneath him and several down pillows cushioning his head. He was bundled up in the coverings, and quite warm. There was a pleasant breeze wafting in through the nearby window. Birds chirped in a tree outside, and Harislav could see hills rolling away into the distance beneath the bright afternoon sky.

“Ah, Harislav, my boy.” It was Bumbledorf. The kindly old man sat next to the bed and gently patted Harislav’s shoulder, his hand a reassuring weight. “What a blessing it is that you’re awake. We were all so worried.”

“Where am I?” asked Harislav, in awe.

“Why, you’re in another dream, of course. Did you really think there’d be a happy ending?” Bumbledorf chuckled.


***


Harislav woke up to find himself on a wooden pallet covered with a coarse, gray blanket. Mud smeared the straw-littered floor, and chickens roamed about in their own filth. He stared up at the dark rafters overhead as a cold, frigid wind seeped through the walls’ many cracks. Harislav recognized this as the barn that functioned as the school’s hospital wing.

“Ah, Harislav,” cried Bumbledorf, stumbling over some horse excrement. “Harislav, Harislav. Well, what the fuck should I say? You caught me with my pants down, though I remember you did once see…but never mind that shit now. Without you my school would have been destroyed by Vol de la Mort. And to think I myself tried to lure the bastard here! And Nelson Preston III! That son of a bitch! If I’d ever suspected him of such treachery, it would have been straight back to West Virginia for the fucker. Ah, well, what’s past is past.”

“Sir?” asked Harislav, a bit hesitantly. “What happened? In that secret room, I mean, with Vol de la Mort?”

“What the hell do you mean, what happened? You were there, I wasn’t. How should I fucking know? But I think I can make a few guesses. After Harrison Ford left, Vol de la Mort had to quickly leave Nelson Preston III’s body. In the form of a goat, I believe. He was in a much-weakened state.”

“So he’s dead?” asked Harislav. “Or he will be, soon?”

“Oh, no, Harislav,” Bumbledorf replied gravely. “I’m afraid there are many fucking ways the bastard can still return, each one more shitty than the last.”

“Do you think he’ll come back? To attack me again?”

“I don’t see why not. Security’s expensive, Harislav, try to understand. Damned expensive.”

“So it’s just back to classes for now?” asked Harislav.

“Well, as a matter of fact, no,” said Bumbledorf. “I talked with the bastards on the school board, and we all agreed that you need a reward. How’s a summer vacation sound to you?”

“A vacation? You…you mean, going back home? To Poland?”

“Yep. Damn right you are.”

“B…But,” stammered Harislav, “I’ll be killed on sight! Murdered! Torn apart by the mob.”

“Nonsense,” said Bumbledorf with a dismissive wave of his arm. “I’ve done the fucking paper work. You’ll be fine. Trust me.”


***


A grand bean feast was called that night, both in honor of Harislav and to award the Camp Trophy, given to the best camp of the semester.

“Another shitty year, gone,” said Bumbledorf at the head of the mess hall. “The next year starts on Monday, but in your two days off, I urge you to think. Yes, my little bastards, think of the heroics of Harislav Potrowski, the boy who saved our good, good school from being destroyed.”

Menacing faces turned toward Harislav. He hastily buried his head in a bowl of beans.

“And now, our Camp Trophy needs awarding. As you sons of bitches know, we’ve been spying on you day and night to see all your good and bad deeds. Each good deed earned your camp a point, while the naughty deeds lost your shithole of a camp a point. Now, assuming my math is correct—”

“Actually, I think you’re off by—”

“Shut up, McDingledoodle, you piece of offal! As I was saying, Grifenov is in last with -422, then Hyfelpinsk with -401, Ravinoclav with -357, and finally, in first place, Shlytherinth with -262.”

The Shlytherinth table erupted in cheers, as they were sure to win an extra ration of beans.

“Eh hem,” coughed Bumbledorf. “I’m not done yet, you fuckers. I must take last minute events into consideration."

Everyone looked around in stunned silence.

“First,” said Bumbledorf, “to Mr. Rinaldi Weslighanni, for paying me $50 to get him out of jail, I award Grifenov camp 50 points. Second, to Miss Hriminulf Grangerson, I award Grifenov 50 points for giving me a shot of whiskey. And thirdly, to Mr. Harislav Potrowski, whose actions the other night saved my school, killed off an undesirable faculty member, and finally got my toilet unclogged, I award Grifenov 60 points.”

The Grifenov table cheered now.

“We’re tied with Shlytherinth!” Rinaldi cried.

“Finally,” continued Bumbledorf, with a twinkle in his one remaining eye, “I award one point to Mr. Nevilaus Langenbacher for the most exquisitely written piece of fan mail this school has seen in many years. Well then, I believe Grifenov wins the Camp Trophy!”

The Grifenovs all jumped up and threw beans at each other, much to the dismay of Grubeus, who had taken over Nelson Preston III’s job as janitor. Nevilaus, sitting in a wheelchair with casts around his arm and leg, was nearly crushed by a mob of screaming students.

Later that night the Shlytherinths all cried themselves into an anguished sleep, and the morning came to reveal twelve suicides overnight.


***


“Well, guess it’s my job to see yeh off,” grumbled Grubeus, standing next to Harislav on the train platform. “Though why you need anyone to watch yeh…good God, an elephant seal!”

Grubeus pulled out his bazooka and blew the approaching creature to pieces, bloody chunks of flesh falling back on him and Harislav in a red rain.

“Now, where was I?” Grubeus continued, shouldering his weapon again. “Ah, yeah. I got somethin’ for yeh, Harislav.”

This came as a bit of a shock, as Grubeus had never shown a particular interest in him before.

“Here,” said Grubeus, thrusting a small newspaper clipping at Harislav. “It’s yer parents’ obituaries. I cut it out meself the day after they died.”

“Thanks,” said Harislav earnestly. At least now he finally had a permanent memorial of his parents that he could keep. “Why did you cut it out, though? I wasn’t famous back then or anything.”

“Yeah, well. I been stalkin’ yeh since yeh were three. I’ve kept my distance, but I’m still hopin’ to get in yer pants one day. Anyway, the paper was the least I could do.”

For a minute, Harislav could only stare up at Grubeus’ harsh features as the train rolled slowly up to the station. Then with a cry he threw himself into a hug with the man. “Oh, Grubeus! You’re the best friend I ever had.”

Moments later Harislav was on the train, heading home, heading into the unknown, heading into the blazing sunset as Harrison Ford surely would.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:24 AM
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I think it's pretty genius to be honest, nice work
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:42 AM
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Awesome. Thank you.
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