Search Home Read Write Forum Login Register
Chapter One: Isolation

Her world was isolated to a cell no larger than six metres in width and four metres in length. It was roughly halved and separated by a stone wall which crumbled when touched, but aside from the small toilet and bed which lay in opposite corners, Hermione Granger knew nothing more of her surroundings than a rough estimate of physical location of her cell in the long overcrowded Azkaban Prison. Her guess really was as good as anyone’s, very few people were privy to the geographic location of the Prison, as it had long ago been made unplottable and hidden in an isolated corner of the world to house only the worst of criminals.

The Prison itself was surrounded by a relentless, forceful and unsettled sea, the waves of which battered against the old building, even in the earliest hours of the morning – never ceasing. Azkaban was the last remaining sanctuary for the hopeless and desperate, for most who entered would die here without choice. The only difference between her and those who lived in the cells around her was she, unlike many of them, was innocent.

“It is with a heavy heart, and irrefutable evidence behind me that I place this ruling,” The Chief Warlock began slowly running his hands over his balding scalp accentuating the fact that there was very little hair there to begin with, “Hermione Jean Granger, you have been found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of your partner - Ronald Billius Weasley, on June 28th, 2003. Due to the circumstances surrounding this event, and the overcrowding of Azkaban Prison, you are to be sentenced to no less than four years confinement to your cell, with another prisoner. There will be no chance of parole before this period, you are to have no visitors and shall not, for the monstrosity of this crime, see light of day until this period is complete.”

Hermione let out a shrill cry, breaking free of the spell which bound her to the seat before the Wizengamot, the Interrogators eyes fluttered to where she had previously sat as she leapt to her feet. Their plum robes looked malevolent in the dim lighting of Court Room 10, but perhaps most malevolent of all was the nods of satisfaction from the public, many of whom had come to witness this event on the pure chance of seeing her imprisoned for the murder of an Auror. There were cheers of contentment, and many hands being shaken in the Ministerial seating. Within which sat practically all the available Auror’s under the newly shuffled department’s employment being present for this ruling.

“Please! You are making a mistake!” Hermione screamed immediately silenced by several of the Auror’s guarding her,

“I’m innocent! Please…” She added her lips moving but not a sound escaping them.

Her dreams were plagued with the memory of her sentencing to a crime she did not commit, however they were her only thoughts in the darkness of day also. The only light she could see was the small lamp in the corner of her filthy cell and the flickering light of the lamp in the opposite corner on the side of the cell separated by a partially standing wall. Barely able to see she crawled towards the door where the bland and meagre meal which awaited her lay upon the ground. She grabbed the small goblet of water and gulped it down thirstily pressing her hand to the tender bruised region on her chest where they had branded her a criminal forever.

She screamed as the wand tip was pressed to her skin, her limbs flailed about as the pain sunk into her body through her skin and the mark - her own personal reminder of her imprisonment was placed upon her skin. She did not pay attention to the numbers they had given her, nor the small symbol above them which signified her supposed crime, all she could feel was the burning sensation the mark they placed upon her chest had left pulsing through her body.

She screeched aloud as they forced the fraying striped robes onto her body and threw her old (and best) robes aside as though they were worth nothing. They removed her earrings from her ears, and the rings from her fingers, tossing them into a small bag with her name upon it, waiting for collection following the completion of her sentence.

She scraped the final grains of rice from the bowl before her, the last remnants of the only meal she would receive for the next twenty four hours. Already the robes they had forced upon her were beginning to loosen. Soon, there would be nothing left of her but the ghost of the woman who once existed. She had not walked for days, she doubted she would be able to if she tried – her strength had already begun to wane.She had already been reduced to nothing, her spirit broken beyond repair leaving her mind to slowly turn against her, encasing her thoughts and forcing them inwards to where no-one could hear them but herself.

The punishment for her crimes was isolation of the mind and the body, and soon with this confinement to nothing but this single room with no-one for company, her mind would become her own personal prison. It was the intention of the Wizengamot to push her to the brink of insanity, yet only six days in and already on the brink, four years seemed as though they would last forever.

The sound of dragging feet echoed through the corridor, there was no resistance from the prisoner the guards dragged into the other half of her cell. She crawled to her feet unsteadily, the curiosity of seeing the prisoner she would share her time here with too great to pass up. There was a moment of quiet hesitation as she reached over and peered over the cracked and decaying wall.

She could not see each figure entirely; the guards threw the body of her cellmate onto their rough bed, obscured entirely by darkness and left the cell without a word. She had not come to the cell as willingly, nor with her head bowed in silent acceptance. She had fought her fate until the very last moment that her limbs would allow her to do so; this person however, in comparison was quite the opposite, having come silently and without complaint.

“Let me go! Let go!” Hermione screamed, kicking her legs wildly as the two Aurors dragged her down the long, lifeless, winding corridors toward her cell.

“LET ME GO!” She screeched again. “I’M NOT A CRIMINAL!”

One of the Auror’s laughed darkly, “If ‘ya not a criminal, what are ‘ya doin’ here?”

“I was wrongly accused and sentenced!” She cried, managing to return her tone to something that resembled some form of sense and stability,

“That’s what they all say…” The other replied tonelessly pushing her head towards the ground so all she could see was the filthy stone floor beneath her.

From that moment onwards, the darkness had enveloped her, blurring her vision and encasing her within her own mind. She could not see where she was going as they placed her within her cell, there would be no escape from this place, this punishment had been designed to ensure that there would never be a chance of her escaping before the proper moment, the moment deemed to have done justice to the life of Ronald Weasley.

The world erupted around her as she sunk to the ground, her knees scraping upon the ground as she slumped to the floor, tearing the already ragged robes she wore at the knee. She gasped, the pain flooding through her now frail and long-tired body as her skin collided roughly against the floor, tearing open as a woman’s frantic scream pierced the air. Hermione’s body shuddered as the woman continued to scream, curling into a small ball she blocked her ears. The madness of the woman screaming would not end until an Auror placed a silencing charm upon her, and that would not happen until the very last moment, where there was nothing left of her voice but a broken and ragged screeching sound which reminded her so shockingly of the sound of nails being run over a coarse blackboard.

There was hardly a moment of silence in this place, the muffled and maddened cries of the prisoners wailed through the night. Women cried desperately for their children, men screamed, throwing themselves against the reinforced metal bars of their cell door screaming to be released. After several days, one became accustomed to their pleas for help, their screams fading into the background of hundreds of voices, like theirs screaming for their release. Others nervously paced the confines of the cell they had been given, scratching away at the walls and marking each day that passed. Others talked to themselves almost constantly, often only silenced by sleep with which a new wave of terror washed over the building, the hauntings of their crimes driving many to avoid sleep altogether. The first night for each prisoner was always the worst, the screams of anguish and the horror of what lay ahead was enough to drive anyone to the brink of insanity.

The sheets were thin and covered in a fine layer of lint which sat atop the thin fabric in a thick covering of small balled up fabric deposits. It scratched uncomfortably against what little exposed skin she had as she tossed and turned attempting to drown out the horrific screams of the woman in the cell opposite her. In the darkness of her cell she sobbed quietly, her chest heaving with the force of the muffled cries escaping her lips. She cried not for another, or for freedom, but for the man she had supposedly had a hand in murdering. She had cried for him that night as she had cried upon returning to their home to find him lying sprawled across the ground in a pool of his own blood. Death had taken him from her, just as his job had before it, and his increasingly unpredictable moods which followed his return from the continuing stresses of being an Auror.

It was hard enough losing him the first time, yet she remained by his side, convinced that he would return to her, but death had taken him for its own. There was no return from this. This was permanent in the rawest sense of the word. There had been talk of reinstating the Dementors to Azkaban, yet for now it was idle gossip. She shuddered violently remembering her few encounters with the creatures, she could barely imagine an Azkaban with Dementors if was this bad without. She heard the near silent footsteps of an Auror passing by her door, stopping for several moments, their ear most likely pressed to the door looking for any sign of remorse. They would never hear an indication of remorse from her, there was nothing for her to feel guilt over, they had not believed her when she pleaded her innocence, and now they had so cruelly taken four years of her life from her with very little evidence, no matter how damning it was. She had been dragged down to the lowest of low, reduced to nothing but the scum on the beneath the feet of the Ministry, for what purpose? To serve as a warning. No death would go unpunished, no crime un-sentenced, and it was clear that the Ministry wished to make this painstakingly obvious to the public through the sentencing of anyone who so much as appeared to cross them.

Hermione spat angrily upon the filthy ground as she crawled onto the small bed with which she had been provided. It seemed in these dark moments, there was no-one to provide comfort for her uneasy mind which wandered beyond the confines of Azkaban and back into the world she so desperately longed for. Never again would she be able to set foot into society without fear of judgment again, the Ministry having dragged her down as low as she could go and from here there would be no escape. Every way she turned she would be watched, judged for her crimes. They would point and whisper her name to one another, hissing the crime which had been so wrongly associated with her once clean name to their children, poisoning their minds against her. Never again would she know peace in the world she had sheltered in all these years, and never again could she find comfort in the Muggle world, deemed a criminal in their eyes also. For the records of criminal behaviour amongst the wizarding population were now shared amongst the two governments. Never again would she know home as she had once known it, there was nothing for her to return to.

Pressing her ear to the cool wall she heard the shuffling of feet in the cell beside hers, their endless pacing before the flickering lamp she could barely see through the wall only just beginning. Soon their strength would dwindle, just as hers had. Azkaban had a habit of ripping the humanity from your body, and it seemed as though the first step in this gradual process, one which rendered many beyond help, begun with the cutting of all strength.

There was no will to fight in any prisoner contained within these cells; all had long lost the strength to fight their fate before she had arrived. Many too, in the process had lost their sanity. It was a bitter and sickening taste in her mouth, the realisation that she would too someday share the same lack of will to go another day locked away, beyond the sight of the outside world. In time, she would be reduced to nothing but a frail body disappearing rapidly beneath ever loosening robes, the shell of a woman tied implicitly to a sentence that was not hers, but that would, nevertheless follow her until the end of her days like a sickening and foul odour that lingered within the air.

Screams pierced what she could only assume to be the night. She rolled over in her bed attempting to cover her ears from the torturous sounds of remorse and regret which seemed to flicker across her skin like lightning as each voice joined in the unending chorus of anguish. However, this time they were joined by another male voice, one which had not once before joined the symphony of regret and sorrow. The man who had been brought into his cell earlier had joined them, already beginning to crack under the pressure he faced attempting to find peace in this un-resting place and the all too familiar realisation that this was to be his punishment for the crime he had committed. It was too late for him, for them both; the isolation designated to them had already begun.

Track This Story: Feed

Write a Review

out of 10


Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.

Register Today!