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A knock at the back door interrupts his reverie.
For years, even before I started working at the Prophet, I have imagined this moment.
Hit Wizards today are investigating the disappearance of Malcolm Armstrong, 42...
‘I’m pretty sure that he could probably take you to an employment tribunal for that sort of thing.’
‘How much do you know about… what happened?’
‘Do you… do you think we could talk?’
The waves are lapping gently against the sea shore; for a second it’s so peaceful that I forget why I’m here again, my feet sinking slowly into the wet sand at Coombe Beach.
‘Yes, haven’t you heard? About the new disappearance?’
I don’t doubt that there’s a connection somewhere. It’s just a matter of finding it.
When I arrive on Thursday morning, I’m greeted by a number of people who’ve barely spoken two words to me in my time here; I feel almost like covering this article has given me a strange sort of celebrity status in the offices.
Two figures sit in a shady room, contemplating each other in silence.
The old Jane is coming back, slowly, bit by bit.
‘What’s the news? Has any progress been made?’
‘So you’re just going to hide away in your room for the rest of your life? That sounds like a fantastic idea.’
My eyes blink open and I see Jane standing over me for the second morning in a week. Really, it would just be easier if she bought me an alarm clock.
Like her daughter, Aunt Audrey is not someone that you want to get on the wrong side of.
Two voices, the first apologetic, the second spitting with anger, ring through the gloom.
‘It’s not a good idea, Rox. I can’t understand why you’re doing this in the first place… it’s like you want to be put in danger.’
I'm hanging in a twisted limbo, guilty and mortified that I abandoned someone in danger. How can I ever call myself a Gryffindor?
‘And now, please welcome the star you’ve all been waiting for: the one, the only – Vera Clarke!’
‘So,’ she begins casually. The flickering flames beneath the pans cause the contents to start bubbling softly, a delicate background music. ‘Will I be seeing Daniel around here any time soon?’
Nothing could have prepared me for this.
I can’t put my finger on what it is. Not straight away, and that scares me even more.
Breaking into the Daily Prophet offices at night turns out to be nowhere near as difficult as I’d imagined.
For an immeasurable time, the world stops.
'He appears to have... um, gone missing.'
‘Not friends, I think I can do that,’ I agree. ‘But if we’re not friends, then what am I doing here?’
The warmth of so many bodies packed together spirals up in the chamber and hovers near the ceiling, almost as if it, too, is waiting to find out what’s going to happen next.
Piece #30: The Final Picture
‘And this is it! The game that we’ve all been waiting for, quite possibly the title decider this season, it’s the Appleby Arrows versus the Tutshill Tornados!’
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