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The Cage Of Nightmares by Snitchsista

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 4,901
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Drama, Horror/Dark, Action/Adventure
Characters: Harry, OtherCanon
Pairings:

First Published: 10/31/2007
Last Chapter: 11/05/2007
Last Updated: 11/05/2007

Summary:
How did he get there? Where is he? Who took him? Get ready, snatch your brooms, dim your candles, close your curtains- for the face of Halloween is nigh.  New banner:me Updated: 7/4/08


Chapter 1: The Cage Of Nightmares
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-The Cage Of Nightmares-

Blurred spikes stood, proud and tall; a mesh of metal.  Feeling trapped, he glanced up, searching for an escape. There was none. How the hell had this happened? The last thing he could remember was enjoying a light conversation with Ron and Hermione, laughing and smiling. What could possibly have led to this? He stared absentmindedly at the spikes, attempting to work out exactly where he could be. The room was dark, candle-lit, a tight, warm space in a sea of blackness. Peering through the choking gloom, Harry crawled across to the other side, spotting only a void below him. He couldn't decipher where it led, or (more relevantly) if it did indeed lead anywhere. Only morbid uncertainties lay waiting underneath. The cage was relatively sized, with a vast flooring made out of, what looked like, tiles. Tiles? It was obvious that he had been taken, but by whom? It was then that he noticed something.

Tiny green flames were flickering on the surface, almost beckoning for him to join them. The light cast by their emerald glow puddled into the corner. Harry gasped. What? Where had they come from? A second ago, there had only been darkness, and now- the ground was flooded with green light, illuminating every part of the area. He shivered, feeling only ice clasp at his spine. However, it was not the air around him that caused his reaction, but the situation that he was in. How exactly had this occurred? There was no reasonable explanation. The flames were extinguished, to be replaced by a bed of orange fire, spreading, the yellow-gold claws reaching and yearning for anything in their path. Harry hugged his knees, weighed down by an innate sense of doom. His wand had been wrestled from him, as he could not find it in his pockets, and any plans that might have been put into play were lost to the city of his subconscious mind. Only devastating thoughts lay ahead as he settled down onto the cage floor, breathing gently. What else was there to do? He couldn't do anything. If he screamed, nobody would come he was sure of it. This place looked really desolate, and all around, the heat was becoming an intensifying sauna. Harry couldn't stay here forever. He'd die of dehydration before anything else got him. Was there any point in crying out? Would anyone hear him? Probably not. Though it was worth the effort.

“Hello!!!!! HELLO!”

His voice echoed back, bouncing off the surrounding walls. Nothing happened. Nobody came, nobody heard. Harry closed his eyes, envisioning that he was somewhere else, lying back on the grass at Hogwarts, in front of the lake, waiting and wishing for the Giant Squid to eat Snape. Ah, good times. Laughing at the daydream, he was reassured a little. Even though things were bad, there was always the thrill of fantasy. Nonetheless, reality kicked in again.

The flames were licking their way hungrily through the opposite wall, cindering everything in sight, blackening it to the core. Huge chunks were slipping like sections of charred, crumbled biscuit, collapsing and smoking onto the floor. When was it going to stop? Would it, ever? Horrible thoughts ate up his conscience, ones of peril- him being burned, falling into the pit, writhing and screaming, moaning voicelessly, because nonone would hear. 'That would be such a painful way to die', thought Harry as he watched the golden beast rise and fall, chewing and spitting out more wall. 'You'd have to be pretty sadistic, to want someone to suffer like that.' The fire roared, tearing up more sections of the building, like a ravaged dog, grinding a bone in its jaws. A mist of smoke furled upwards, and Harry coughed, curling up in the cage. It probably wasn't the most sensible thing to do, given the scheme of things, but he could not face breathing in the fumes. More bursts sailed through the air, and his vision went silver. Harry panicked, then remembered it was only his glasses steaming up from the growing condensation. Nothing to worry about. Stop it. Though as he thought this, the heat snatched hold of him; gripping painfully. He was in a world of searing temperature, and there was no escape.

Harry fought hard against it, ever-desperate, and determined. Though in the end, it was too much, and he surrended, falling into a collapse.

****************

It must have been a while later, when he finally awoke, because the flames were now climbing higher and higer, grappling for something, or someone new to burn. Yawning, and swaying, the shocked boy rubbed his head, and rose to his feet. He had never noticed how high up the ceiling was until then. Like the surrounding edges, giant spikes littered it, placing the notion that if anyone tried to get out, they would be impaled on their way. Harry grimaced. That would hurt. Whoever had taken him must have a pretty sick mind.

Could it be Voldemort? But then, why would he have gone to all this trouble? Harry had not forgotten the Dark Lord's irritation whenever he survived, though at the same time, he found there was no real personal hatred. The way he looked at it, Voldemort viewed him as nothing more then an interfering idiot who had become famous for his misfortune. More smoke clouded, stinging Harry's eyes. Oh, who the hell had done this to him? Why didn't they show? Terrible realisation gripped him. What if it was Voldemort? It would make sense. He never did like to work in the open. He would get his minions to do it all. But then- why hadn't they even showed? Surely some would have wanted to brag? Confusion settled into his mind like mud, and Harry examined the cage some more. It was bright red, with pictures of dragons entangled around the surface. Every so often, the eyes would follow him, calculating and evil. He shrugged, frowning.

Could this be Malfoy manor? Though as Harry looked around it, the answer came, in a firm, definitive sweep. No. It wasn't posh enough. Everywhere was dark and domineering, big beams bending over the cage, yet eroding fast due to the flames. Oh. How was he going to get out of here? Harry glanced up. Could- was the sun out? Was it possible he was underground? There were no gusts of wind, no open windows. Only a suffocation of ink-black. Ah, those flames felt as though they were boiling his insides. The room was as hot as a steaming microwave. Why? That was the other question that was parading his mind. Why, had someone done it? Abducted him? It didn't add up in the east. Hiss, spit, crash. Hiss, spit, crash. The fire was like a creeping panther, sneaking its way towards anything it could destroy, hissing, spitting, making the wall fall. Where was Ron and Hermione? They hadn't been taken, or maybe there were somewhere else in this death hole? He frowned, his eyes on a mission to find an escape route. Was there one? He had not a clue. The fire was becoming unbearable now. He felt he'd probably faint again. The giant, orange-gold mass devouring everything in its path. He couldn't stay here. He'd be burned alive. Rattling the bars furiously, he stood, whamming himself up against them, intent on knocking them down. Fifteen times he tried. Nothing. Oh,why wasn't this working? Why? He'd had too much unfairness in his life to- He was just teetering on the point of giving it one last go, when-

“Do not waste your energy,” Draco Malfoy uttered, his voice only a distant noise in the background of Harry's mind. “Not even Lord Voldemort would have been able to pass those,” he commented, twirling his wand in his fingers.

The absurdity of the conclusion made the victim believe this was a dream. He couldn't be trapped in a cage, due to Malfoy! No. Cowardly, down-trodden, selfish Malfoy?! No way. Plus, (and this was what made him even more shocked), he had just said Voldemort's name! Harry laughed aloud, relishing how angry it made the Slytherin.

“I do not see why you find this situation humorous, oh Chosen One ,” he sneered, stepping over a bit of burnt building, “I did this. I did it all. Wouldn't you like to know why?”

Harry rolled his eyes. “Oh, don't tell me. It's not because I sent your father to Azkaban, is it?”

Draco scowled, the hate in his eyes a smouldering fire. “It is not as obvious as you might think, Potter. For example, there is the possibility that it might be- there is no reason at all, but . . . why rush?” He clicked his fingers. The flames went out.

Despite his incredulous dismay at the fact that he had just found out Malfoy was his kidnapper . . . that last thing had made Harry just that little bit uneasy. How could that have been possible? Malfoy wasn't strong. He wasn't special. Only Dumbledore had been able to put out flames. Dumbledore- the most knowing, powerful wizard of all time. Uh oh. Knowing, and powerful? Well, it was true that Harry hadn't seen Draco Malfoy for a year now. The last time he had been in his presence properly was on the last day of school. For some reason, he had a distinct idea that maybe that sad, stupid little ferret had shed its fur. Only really powerful wizards could disapparate naked flames with a simple click. The thought that Malfoy had wasted a year doing nothing, quickly vanished from Harry's mind. It seemed as though, if anything, the scheming Slytherin had spent a year trying to improve his talents. However, impressive as that was, Harry was not about to let Malfoy know that. Let him wallow in his own self-important pride. He didn't need any encouragement.

“Oh, but I do, Potter,” Draco said softly. “I do need encouragement.”

Harry stared. Malfoy had just read his mind. But- the occulumency- it-

“-is working very well. Thank you for showing such an interest,” the pallid boy snarled, “Aunt Bellatrix has been giving me lessons. I am improving by the day.” He continued to glower at Harry, as if undecided on what to do with him. “So- what do you think, and do please give me your honest opinion,” he added sarcastically, “like the surroundings? How's the cage? Secure?” He raised his eyebrows. “- And,” he smiled, as pleasantly as he could, “how does it feel to know that you'll be dead soon?”

Harry jerked. “What?”

Draco sighed. “You underestimated me, Potter; but then again, you always did.” He walked under the hanging cage, suspended by magic. With another click of his fingers, a cigarette appeared, slim, trim in his hands. It was long and dark green, with intricate skeletons ingrained. Another click, and it was alight. “You see . . . I am now not the coward you once knew. Although,” he breathed, his eyes slit in silver, “I assume you have guessed that?”

Harry shook his head.

“No? You disappoint me.”

Baring his teeth, Harry rattled the bars of the cage.

Lazily, Draco allowed a smile to himself. “Oh, there is no point, Potter. It has been hexed to perfection. Not even the hairy oaf would be able to bend that.” He started smoking, the fumes dancing in the darkness. All was black. Ever since the flames had gone, only pitch-ochre was present. Harry sighed. How was he going to get out of this one? Was there a way, actually? Or would he really die in the hands of a one-time coward, now- psychotic madman?

“I would be careful if I were you,” levelled Draco, almost too kindly as he searched with his eyes in the direction of the cage, “I do not like being called names. If you refer to me as anything that I would consider to be unjust, I will have to react- and believe me- you do not want me to.” He warned, though knowing full well Potter was not ready to listen to anything. Who cared? As long as he got to kill him in the end . . . nothing else mattered. Harry swore. “What was that?” Silence. “Do you want me to put back the flames, Potter? Potter? Oh no. Have you died already? I hope not. That would be a shame. I haven't put up the banner yet.”

Harry paused. “What?” He frowned. “What banner?”

“Oh,” Draco said, “so he is alive. As for the existence of the banner, do not worry. All will be revealed.” He laughed, a cold, callous laugh that even due to Harry's courage, sent shivers rocketing up his spine, “I suppose you're wondering how I became so,” the Slytherin paused, seeming to swallow the effect, “powerful . . . I shall not tell you so yet, but I will say this: Too long had I stood in my father's shadow. Too long had he taken what was rightfully mine.”

“Which was????. . . . hurry up, Malfoy. You're sounding like an old man.”

Draco smiled. One wave of his wand, and Harry was writhing; writhing like he had never writhed before. It was ten times more painful then the Cruciatus, no, no, shit, twenty- a hundred times. He squirmed, rolling, yelling, screaming, bleeding? It was true. Blood was gaping from a fresh wound, though unlike the Sectumsempra curse, it was not like an invisible sword, it was like a thousand invisible needles. Holes had sprouted everywhere on Harry, the red rivers flooding the floor of the cage, ribboning all in blood. The pain was too much. It had to stop. It had to. Harry gave another agonising scream, and shot to the bars, there long enough just to see Malfoy sitting down and reading! Reading! What was it? He didn't really want to know. He just- he needed a distraction! The calmness of his movement, the way that he did not care if his enemy was in great suffering made him a little unnerved. It was the title that did it. He saw the- 'BLOOD OF MY HEART' and-

“Malfoy, Malfoy! Come on. Make it stop!”

Draco carried on reading.

“Malfoy, you bastard- get me- out- Malfoy, you-”

“Is that the wind I hear?”

“Where is your decency? Your conscience- ow! SHIT. AHHHHH!!!!”

Malfoy threw his book down. “That storm is being so loud tonight, perhaps I should silence it? Then again, I do like to be witness to the screams of the thunder.” He smiled to himself, aware that his joke had struck. Harry couldn't believe it. No conscience. Where had that gone? Usually Malfoy would have reacted, but he was now emotionless, free of anything that could be deemed as redeemable. Although, he hadn't mentioned his mother yet. Harry sighed. It was worth a shot. In fact, he was pretty sure this would get him back on track. “What would Narcissa think, Malfoy? If she knew her only son was dedicating time to making-”

Draco did not so much as blink. “You mean this?” He sniffed, and a skull was in his hands.

It was then that Harry realised how much of a freak Malfoy was. He had killed his own mother, or got someone else to do it for him. Suddenly, he didn't feel so confident. There had to be a way to escape, but how? The spikes were at least a metre high, and the bars were made out of- well, he didn't know, and really did not want to know, but Malfoy's joke about Hagrid not being able to bend them . . . told him everything. Pain like nothing he had ever felt before winded. “SHIT. Malfoy, will you please, please take this off? You can't hate me that much! I haven't-”

Draco waved his hand in a careless, bored manner. “We have confirmed that statement many a time. Do not repeat yourself, prat. Let us move onto a more personal matter.” He took one glance at his cigarette, then sighed dreamily. “Your death.”

**************

“So- where could he be?” Hermione asked as she wriggled her way out of the portrait hole. “We've tried everywhere.” Her footsteps sounded on the corridor floor, loud and ringing in Ron's ears. “What were we doing yesterday? Can you remember at all?” She made a tutting noise under her breath, sinking onto the ground beside a sleeping suit of armour. “The only thing that comes to my mind is- we were playing a game of Wizard's chess.” Ron opened his mouth to speak, but she carried on. “Well, we have to inform Dumbledore. It's just too dangerous for him to be walking around on his own; and then of course we should tell the Ministry too. I know they're awful, but at least they will be able to find him much easily then we shall be able to.”

“'mione,” Ron mumbled, “Maybe Harry's gone off to play Quidditch or something.”

“What?” Hermione stared. “Why would he? No. If that was the case, he would have told us. Besides, have you ever heard of a Quidditch match lasting more then a day?”

“Yeah,” Ron said straight away, “The Ballycastle Bats had to play for two weeks.”

Hermione snorted. “Yes, well, this is different. We were stunned. Now, why would anyone have done that without a motive?”

“Wait a minute!” Ron invented, “Maybe one of the Quidditch cup teams took him away, because they needed his talent to play in a match!” He screamed, looking really pleased with his prediction. His bubble was squashed.

“Ron, that has not happened. Besides, if that was the truth, don't you think Harry would have contacted us somehow?” She shook her head in pure dismay. “Come on. Let's go and tell Dumbledore.”

*************

Harry watched him through the bars of the cage, picking out his every step. The cigarette was still clutched in Malfoy's fingers, and every so often, a little spark emitted from its end. Even though nothing had happened so far, Harry knew he was biding his time, indicating how mighty his power had grown, and wallowing in the pleasure that this gave him. All around, the crumbled, eroded walls smoked. Gripping the bars, the hopeless victim squinted, leaning forth. Where was he? There had to be a sign . . . somewhere.

Without warning, Malfoy drew a long, cold stare into his eyes. Harry looked away, unable to make contact for a longer time. He wasn't sure where he was . . . but he could now hazard a guess. Tunnels? A cave? Some sort of underground lair, made specifically for his capture? Harry hadn't meant to sound important, yet it was always the same when he was involved. Long, tree-sized shadows slunk across the floor, the gloom intensifying. He carried on looking out. “I think I'm right,” he whispered to himself, “I think we're underground.”

“Actually,” Malfoy breathed, “It delights me to inform you that you could never be more wrong.” He smiled, blowing out more smoke, and patrolling around the cage's shadow. Harry said nothing. He didn't particuarly want to strike a conversation. “Take another guess. After all, the boy-who-lived must reassociate himself with one slice of knowledge before he is given the title of the-boy-who-died. Do you not think?”

Harry pursed his lips. He's just playing with me, that's all. He won't have the guts to do anything else. He won't.

“Do I detect a flicker of fear within you?” he leered, leaning back against a still-smoking pillar. “The famous Harry Potter, afraid of me?” He chuckled, flicking some ash onto the floor. “Well, well. This is a winning privelage.” He snarled, bringing out his wand again and lining it with the cage.

Harry gasped. 'Keep him talking', he willed himself. 'Keep him talking.' “What exactly do you have planned for me, Malfoy?”

Malfoy sneered. “Interesting declarative, Potter, but did you forget,” he spat, “that I can read your mind?” He stood in the centre of the room, bathed by the beamed shadows. “But it does not matter.” He nodded. “However many times you rage me, I will become progressively angrier- and when I do- life for you becomes, shall we say, just that little more, interesting.” Training his wand on a spot near the ceiling, Malfoy whispered, “Alohomara-Catenae.” The cage roof was open! Harry scrambled up the sides, then remembered the spikes. Ow. No way. He could not go any further then where he was. In fact, he couldn't go further at all. Large, monstrous chains were shooting their way downwards. Harry stuck to the side walls. He couldn't believe what was going to- Malfoy wouldn't- that would just be-

“Isn't it fascinating what the power of abhorrence can make you do?” he commented in an excited whisper. “Come on, Potter. You should feel privelaged. Please. Hang around a while.” The chains suddenly wrestled Harry's hands, clamping them in their icy metal teeth. The pain was excruciating. Splays of more chains took a finger each, and he was hoisted off the cage floor, dangling and kicking like a maronet. He swore- one time soon, his fingers were going to drop off. Soon, they would be taken from him. Gone forever, as Malfoy incinerated them to extinction.

“Oh, that is my plan, Potter,” he confirmed with a lazy yet infatuated drawl, “But, you haven't seen the best part yet.”

Harry's eyes filled with tears.

“Crying, are you?”

No answer.

“I am pleased.”

He clicked his fingers, and more fire appeared. This time, it was not only blurs of yellowy gold, but greens, reds, purples, every colour you could imagine. “I hope you do not mind. I wanted to kill you with style. Your life was so colourful, Potter. Might as well let you die with a bang, or should that be, burn?” Harry gasped, watching the flames as they licked their path up again. Shit. He would be killed so slowly. He would be- he'd burn to death, his skin would melt, his skin would inflame, red-hot and- oh. Malfoy was a psycho.

“WHAT did I say?” The chains gripped harder, stretching his fingers like a skinny elastic band. “NEVER” tighter, “EVER” stronger, “INSULT ME” Harry crinkled his face, trying to block out the pain. Ow. His feet felt as if they were dipped in a boiling oven. Any time soon, he was going to die. He was going to die. The fact was so sure and solid in his mind that he could do nothing but repeat it. He was going to die. He was going to die. He was going to- Suddenly, there was a loud explosion. The fire was extinguished, the chains fell free, and Harry was shot to the ground. Malfoy did not stumble. He stood, posied with his wand, and hardly flinched when the figure of Dumbledore appeared. The old man shook his head, despaired. Harry scrambled to his feet, running to the headmaster. “Sir, sir! I can explain, he-” Why was he apologising? He'd done nothing wrong.

The determined Slytherin was not going to give up that easily.

Stamping his cigarette on the ground, he rushed to Potter, reaching and snatching for his ankle. The two boys tumbled, and suddenly all went quiet.

Malfoy had found Harry's throat.

Dumbledore waved his wand. Draco was knocked backwards. “I am disappointed in you, Draco. I thought, or hoped you would not fall over to the dark side. Another one of an old man's mistakes.” He shook his head, adjusting his half-moon spectacles. “This is an ingenius set up you have here, but wouldn't you like to use your talent for other things?”

“No,” Malfoy spat, and he meant it, “I want to become the greatest Dark Lord that the Wizarding world has ever seen. This was my entrance, my gift to myself.”

“What was?”

“Killing him.”

“Ah.”

“Sir, sir, he-the chains, they-”

“I know, Harry.” Dumbledore interjected.

“How do you know?” snapped Malfoy. “How did you possibly know where to find me?”

“It appears,” Dumbledore bowed his head. “That I have my secrets as well. Now, come with me, Draco.” He winked, and ropes bound the youngest Malfoy to a chair. “I might be getting older, but I still have some youth left within me.” He gestured for Harry to come closer. He did so, though a little reluctantly as Malfoy was making slitting movements against his throat. “Miss Granger, and Mr. Weasley have missed you.” Dumbledore beamed, calling out their names. Sure enough, Ron and Hermione ran forward, enveloping him in back-breaking hugs that would have envied Hagrid's. Hermione opened her mouth, saw the deep ridges in Harry's fingers, and thought better of it. Malfoy was taken away by the headmaster, seething. Harry waved goodbye. Unable to do anything else, the Slytherin glared. That was a point. Why couldn't he do anything else? He thought-

“Not even I have the strength to compete with Dumbledore, Potter,” Malfoy said, “But I will, and when the time comes, watch your back.”

Harry nodded.

“What are you doing?” Hermione snapped. “What-”

“Might as well accept it,” he answered, “I know he'll be back.” Harry sighed. “After all, you know the rule. A Malfoy always gets what he wants.” Ron and Hermione nodded, walking back with him down the dimly-lit passage.

“I can't believe he was here,” Hermione said, “In the dungeons. He was so close, yet so far. We didn't have a clue.”

Ron made a face. “Come off it, you worked it out in the end!”

“Well,” she said, “I can't deny that.”

And, laughing, the three Gryffindors made their way out of the dark dungeons and into the Great Hall for a much deserved breakfast.

Author's voice:  So what did you think? Did I scare you enough?  I do put Harry through a lot of pain, don't I? Lol. I love him to bits.  I think it's because he's so amazing to me, and therefore making him suffer is really exciting because I know, I just know he'll be able to work his way through anything.  

I am really sorry if some people found it a little, shall we say, gory, but it was Halloween, and my head was filled with ideas!  I know now that it's not Halloween any more (well, it is writing this, lol) but I wanted to produce something eerie and a little, not different from what I do, (because, let's face it I think everyone on this site knows by now that I love Harry and Draco's loathing for one another) but more, challenging.  For example, I love to write dialogue, but was never a big fan of description.  So, I decided to sit down, at the grinning time of two in the morning, think hard, and see what I came out with!  I completely understand if some people thought that there was too much description, but I couldn't help it.  Oh, it's rubbish isn't it? :( I'm getting all excited because I am proud of this, but at the same time, I am aware that it could be the worst thing I've ever written. Lol.   Please, please.  Do not be afraid to tell me exactly what you think.  Thank you everyone!!

What did you think of Harry? In character? I know he was a little scared, which he might not be . . . . but I imagined that if I was trapped in a cage suspended by magic, with flames eating the ground below, chains to my fingers, and a psychotic madman . ; I would be so petrified . . . .. and what of the famous Draco? I know he wasn't a coward in this, but do you expect from reading it, that the character might have turned this . . . . insane? Lol. Did you like the fact that I gave no reasons for his motive, or did you think that was silly? 

As always, feedback is treasured. 

Happy late Halloween everyone! OOOOOO!!! (heh heh, ghost sound.)

Snitchsista

xx

PS- I am not meaning to offend anyone when Harry says 'you're sounding like an old man.'  I am not prejudiced in any way, in any form. :) Ok, had to say that.  I do worry. Lol. I don't ever want to offend anyone in my writing, so, right . . . . . cleared that up.  I just so hope you enjoyed this . . . . . and any questions, do not hesitate to owl post me.


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