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Chapter 24: So Much For…(1/2 of a song title…1/2 of the climax! Get it?) Jessica looked around wildly. As much as she had said she was willing to fight, she was not ready for it. But something about this cave looked mighty like something she had seen before… Suddenly there were voices from behind her. Muffled, and many clumsy footsteps, but Jessica was scared senseless. Voldemort couldn’t find her here, now; she had to find her friends. She started running through different outlets, searching for something that would make her journey easier—her friends, or perhaps the positive particle, gleaming innocently on the floor, waiting to be destroyed. “Is that her?” A voice came from behind her. She sped up, and heard the mysterious people do the same. “I could use a little help right about now!” She shouted in frustration to the air around her. No reply, but suddenly she felt as if she was alone, completely and utterly. Shit, Jessica thought. Why does this seem so familiar? As if on cue, her left arm became covered in goosebumps, which promptly spread to the rest of her body. Looking down she saw her bracelet glowing and vibrating, but not before she heard the ragged breathing of someone. Jessica could tell they were evil, and she knew immediately the people following her before had been her friends. How could she be so stupid? This was one of her visions; she had seen it sleeping on the bench the night Remus came to rescue her. And that meant any time now… “Crucio!” the shadow hissed, and Jessica was thrown against the wall, hitting her head hard as she did so. But that pain was nothing at the moment. A thousand red-hot needles were digging into her, as well as a million blunt axes chopping away. She was screaming, twisting, begging for it to stop… Finally it did. Jessica lay on the ground, panting as if she had just run a marathon. Before she could even consider an escape plan, a hand roughly grabbed her and started dragging her deeper into the darkness. She struggled, but it was no use. This is not what I meant by help, Emorra! she said crossly in her mind. But her mind remained blank. Where were they? They promised to always be with her. And now she was being help captive by Lord Voldemort, and had no idea what to do next. Suddenly she was thrown on the ground with tremendous force. Not expecting this, her shoulder and hip painfully collided with the cold ground. Excruciating pain was tearing through her already bruised body, but she refused to show this on her face. She wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of knowing they were indeed hurting her. Again, she heard the tantalizing laugh of Lord Voldemort, the one she had heard so many times in her dreams and her visions. She immediately knew her day was only going to get worse. Almost as if responding to her thoughts, another curse hit her and the world went black. * * * * * “Now what?” Harry said aggressively to Professor Dumbledore. He knew he should be grateful that the Professor was able to get them here so quickly, but he was worried about what would happen to Jessica. Would Voldemort stop at nothing? “Harry, listen mate. There’s something ahead of us.” Ron was peering into the dark tunnel ahead. Harry noticed it too. What looked like a girl was slowly getting to her feet after seeming to have fallen over. He took a step forward and immediately the figure tensed, then started running. “Is that her?” Michelle asked nervously. “It has to be!” Hermione instantly took off, Harry right behind her. With a worried glance at Dumbledore, who waved them on saying he had ‘other matters to attend’, Michelle, Ginny, and Ron started running as well. After a few minutes, everyone was out of breath except Harry. He seemed to have become less human and wasn’t showing the slightest signs of wearing down. He figured she probably thought them Death Eaters but couldn’t get close enough to show her his face. Suddenly he turned the corner after her and ran straight into solid rock. “Ouch! What the--” Harry stared, confused, as the rest of the group came up behind him all out of breath. “Wha-what’s the matter, Ha…” Ginny couldn’t finish her sentence. “I know she turned this corner, I saw her!” He banged his hand on the wall in frustration. On the other side of the rocks, the group then heard a voice whisper something, and screams began to follow, begging for the person to stop. High-pitched screams. “JESSICA!” Harry bellowed, whipping out his wand, ready to break through and save his friend. However, Hermione put her hand over his wand. “What are you doing, Hermione?” he asked angrily. “Voldemort is over there! What are you going to do to him? If you wait, perhaps we will be able to sneak up on him. If you go bursting through the rocks, he will kill you before you can even think of a spell to throw at him.” Harry opened his mouth furiously for a few seconds, although nothing came out. Finally, grudgingly, he lowered his wand and stared at the wall with murder in his eyes. “If he touches her…” he said dangerously. “Um, Harry?” Michelle’s voice was full of fright. “What?” He was curious as to why she could be so scared right now. “We have company.” Pointing, they watched in horror as dark shapes began coming closer and closer. The people had masks on and wands out, ready to do some serious damage. Harry felt behind him, making sure the wall was still there, as solid as before. It was. They were trapped. * * * * * Jessica awoke, groaning, only to find herself in another of her horrid visions. She was chained, and although she knew she wouldn’t be able to get out of the bonds, she struggled anyway, stopping when they became so tight her circulation was becoming weak. “You will help me, my dear. I know what you can do, and it will help me greatly. This task will be worthless without a different power other than mine, and his, that we share. You don’t want him to die now, do you?” “You can’t touch him, you filthy piece of shit!” She screamed at him, trying with all her might to be released. But the more she struggled, the tighter the cords became. She desperately cast her mind around, searching for him; she needed to find him, anywhere, to know he was safe. But it was in vain. Her head was empty. She shut her eyes in frustration. Voldemort laughed again. “My sweet Jessica,” he spoke the words in almost a purr. “If you had any idea how close I was to touching him, I’m sure you would be screaming in agony. Just like you were the first time we met, although this time the pain would come from your own heart, not mine…” Jessica wasn’t really listening anymore. She was muttering under her breath, trying again to find Harry, and only when The Dark Lord spoke again did her eyes fly open. “You are wondering why you’re powers aren’t working, aren’t you? Yes, I hear you…’Harry! Harry please help me. I’m scared, I don’t know--’ what, you don’t want me to repeat your thoughts?” Jessica stared in horror. How did this happen? How was he getting into her head? She hadn’t used her powers against him…then a thought, a memory came forced into her head. She watched as Hermione and she passed by Draco Malfoy’s compartment Christmas train ride. Heard herself scream scum at him inside his head, the felt what she had not felt that day. There was a chain hanging around Draco’s neck, and as he closed his eyes, the chain glowed and became hot. After a few moments it disappeared, and Draco smirked at her before she was pushed down the hall. “Yes, Jessica, I had you under constant watch, waiting for one moment where you would accidentally slip with your powers, as you were bound to do sooner or later. Draco was carrying the particle around his neck, which would take any power from the negative if it was used against itself. After you transferred your that particular power into the necklace, Draco sent it to me, and that is why now Harry is unable to hear you.” Voldemort sat in triumph, watching as Jessica sat there, looking dejected. Jessica was in serious trouble now. What good would her powers do to get her out of this mess if in the end they would only get her into a bigger mess? Just then another man appeared out of nowhere, hastily going into a bow before speaking directly to Voldemort. “My Lord, they are here.” “Can you see them?” came the sharp reply. Jessica figured only one person would make him that alert: Harry. She struggled a bit more, and gasped as her arms started bleeding from the cuts the chains made. Voldemort took no notice. “We can hurt them, but only on your command.” “Very well; but let me come along. I will have the joy of completing the long-overdue killing.” With a swish of his cloak, Voldemort disappeared, and with a crack, the man followed. Jessica screamed in frustration. Her arms were numb, and the chain was digging into her even more with dried blood already caked on it. She wanted to use her powers now that Voldemort wasn’t here, but could she be so sure that he hadn’t left someone in here, invisible to her, to watch over her still? The only way she could now for certain was if she used her powers, which brought her back to the beginning of the miserable circle her life had become, all in a matter of minutes. There was a light coming closer to her, and she watched it wearily. How many more tricks of Voldemort’s could she take before she cracked? A soft voice echoed inside her own head just as the misery was on the point of breaking her down completely. Don’t give up. We’re here, just like we told you. Relax. Breathe. Everything will be okay. Jessica felt hope and courage soaring through her body as the chains miraculously began loosening. A minute later, she was free, and as her arms began receiving blood again, the cuts also began healing. “Thank you,” she whispered out loud as she quietly headed out of the room in search for her friends, the little ball of light glowing gently in front of her.

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