Chapter 8: Tragedy Strikes
The boys trudged through the thick undergrowth, following Grimble as he picked a path known only to the inhabitants of Dumbledark forest. The hours turned into days, the days turned into months, and the months turned into decades. Harry sighed loudly. It felt as though they had been travelling forever, though he knew in his heart it had only been decades.
As the time passed Harry began to forget why they had set out upon this quest in the first place, though Ron was quick to remind him that it was because he was gay.
Harry knew this wasn’t the reason at all. They were on a quest to rescue his childhood sweetheart and cousin, Hermon, from the clutches of a cannibalistic centaur tribe and were being led into an obvious trap by an exceptionally shady centaur guide. It was remarkably similar to his last quest, which had involved taking a ring to the fiery heart of Mordor and dropping it into a seething lava pool while avoiding an army of orcs led by the evil god, Sauron.
This time however, Harry was forced to bear the burden alone as Sam Gangee was nowhere to be found. He hoped Ron, Hagrid and Malfoy could appreciate the fact that he was bearing the burden alone. He had just started talking to Ron about how alone he felt, when a loathsome stench began to emanate from the forest ahead of them, stopping Hagrid in his tracks and rousing Malfoy from his slumber.
Harry, who had worked at McDonalds during high school, instantly recognized the smell. "Good lord, that’s the unmistakable aroma of charred human flesh!" He exclaimed.
At that moment, Grimble’s voice came floating towards them from the darkness ahead. "We’ve arrived," purred the voice, "as promised, a giant feast of bacon awaits you. Can’t you just smell its tender aroma…come. Eat. Before it just gets up and walks right off the table…"
Harry peered into the darkness. He couldn’t see the road ahead through the trees, but his instincts told him that something wasn’t right. Ron pushed past him, impatiently.
"Hurry up ‘arry!" Ron called back, disappearing into the darkness ahead, "Didn’t you hear him? He said we have to hurry before it gets up and walks off the table."
"Wait, Ron!" Called out Harry, but it was too late. A bloodcurdling scream ripped through the forest from the road ahead, followed by the sound of flesh being torn asunder and the splatter of blood and intestine hitting the ground and surrounding trees.
"Ron!" Hagrid screamed, but was reluctant to follow him into the darkness.
Harry was stunned. As much as he couldn’t stand to admit it, Ron was his best and only friend. His mind raced back through all the adventures he had had with Ron: Discovering the Philosopher’s Stone, Entering the Chamber of Secrets, Killing the Prisoner of Askaban, Drinking from the Goblet of Fire, Killing the Order of the Phoenix. The list went on. And now his friend was likely dead, insides leaking out onto the forest floor for the birds and vultures to consume.
Harry’s knees gave out and he crashed to the ground, his body wracked by sobs. "Ron, god damn you Ron, you can’t skip out on me you bastard. You’re going to live, you hear me Ron? You’re not getting out of this that easily!" He cried to the heavens, a look of pure anguish twisting his face.
He slammed his fist into the ground and squeezed his eyes shut, remembering the time Ron had got his finger caught in a bowling ball and had been forced to carry it around for three months before finally having the finger amputated and replaced with a piece of chalk. A tear ran down his cheek and stopped at the corner of his mouth. The taste of salt awakened a dormant anger he hadn’t felt until now, an anger which seethed and bubbled below the surface, rising up to his brain like a cacophony of murderous rage.
He slowly rose to his feet and turned to face the darkness that had claimed his companion.
"This is for Ron!" He screamed and rushed head first into the forest.
Darkness. And then light.
An unexpected sight greeted him as he passed through the trees. An enormous feast of bacon was laid out on a large wooden table in the centre of a clearing. Sitting at the table was Ron, gleefully stuffing his face with pig carcass. In front of the table was the corpse of an enormous dragon, its blood and intestine splattered across the forest floor.
"Oh there you are ‘arry," called Ron, chewing bacon fat, "you’d better get a move on or you’ll miss out, you cob-nobbled geezer."
Harry was staring at the slaughtered dragon.
"Oh that." said Ron "There was a dragon in the way so I had to kill it." He continued eating.
Everyone stared at Ron.
Harry walked over to the table and sat down nervously next to him.
"Eat up Harry, or I’ll have to KILL you. Heh." Chuckled Ron.
Harry ate his bacon.