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When the Truth was like Swallowing Sand

She could tell that something was wrong. Something so terribly wrong in a sense that she
couldnt quite put her finger on the answer and that annoyed her. She panged to know the
truth. She needed to find someone. Ask them. Harry. Ron. Professor McGonagall.
The first thing that she realised was that she was lying down. If she was going to find out the
answer to her problem she would need to stand. She tried to push herself up into a sitting
position but every single nerve in her body had seized up. The second thing that she noticed
was the rough texture of parchment clenched in her hand. She tried to stretch out her fingers.
They had seized up too. This new state of being frightened her. As her anxiety levels soared,
she heard three sets of distant footsteps in the hallway outside. She called out.
Harry! Ron!
No answer.
Harry! Ron!
This will be a bit of a shock, came the soft, distant voice of Professor McGonagall, as the
door to the Hospital Wing swung open. There has been another attack ... another double
attack.
Another attack? Another double attack? She racked her brain for some recognition. She had
heard those words somewhere before.
Hermione! Ron groaned.
They were found near the library, said Professor McGonagall. I dont suppose either of
you can explain this? It was on the floor next to them ...
She knew that Professor McGonagall was holding up the mirror to the two boys. She had
been in the library? Yes, it was coming back to her now. They were on the way down to the
Quidditch pitch when Harry had stopped. He had heard the voice again. She had just figured

out why Harry was the only one who could hear the voice inside the castle and had run off to
the library to check. She had ripped out a page from one of the many volumes in the library
with the answer that she required and winched horribly at the sound of tearing parchment.
She then wrote a single word on the piece of paper, with the intention of heading back to
Gryffindor Tower and telling Harry and Ron. On her way out, she bumped into a Ravenclaw
Prefect and warned her to check around corners with a mirror. The last thing she remembered
was seeing a pair of giant yellow eyes in the reflection of the Prefects mirror.
I will escort you back to Gryffindor Tower, said Professor McGonagall heavily. I need to
address the students in any case.
*
How much time had passed? Days? Weeks? Months? Years even? She longed for death as she
lay motionless on the Hospital bed. Death would be much less painful than this. She had
streams of visitors which made the experience much more tolerable. Teachers, like Lockheart,
who came to read passages from his text books, the Weasley twins who told her that
everything was going to be alright, and Ernie and Hannah from Hufflepuff. The two that she
longed to hear the voices of hadnt been to visit her. Maybe they just couldnt face seeing her
like this?
Please ... Madam Pomfrey ... just five minutes, came Harrys voice.
We bumped into Professor McGonagall and she agreed, said Ron.
They had come at last. She would thank them for keeping her company when she was
returned to her original state. When that would be, she didnt know!
Alright, said Madam Pomfrey, softly. Theres just no point talking to a Petrified person.
Wonder if she did see the attacker, though? said Ron. Because if he sneaked up on them
all, no onell ever know.
I did Ronald, she thought. Theres a piece of paper with all the information you need
clenched in my hand. Try and get it out.

Try and get it out, Ron whispered, as though he had heard her thoughts. His feet shuffled
against the hard stone floor to block her from view.
Ron, Harry breathed, this is it. This is the answer. The monster in the Chambers a
Basilisk a giant serpent! Thats why Ive been hearing that voice all over the place, and
nobody else has heard it. Its because I understand Parseltongue ...
The Basilisk kills people by looking at them. But no ones died because no one looked it
straight in the eye. Colin saw it through his camera. The Basilisk burned up all the film inside
it, but Colin just got Petrified. Justin ... Justin mustve seen the Basilisk through Nearly
Headless Nick! Nick got the full blast of it, but he couldnt die again ... and Hermione and
that Ravenclaw Prefect were found with a mirror next to them. Hermione had just realised the
monster was a Basilisk. I bet you anything she warned the first person she met to look round
corners with a mirror first! And that girl pulled out her mirror and
And Mrs Norris? Ron whispered eagerly.
The water ... Harry said slowly, the flood from Moaning Myrtles bathroom. I bet you Mrs
Norris only saw the reflection ...
The crowing of the rooster is fatal to it! Harry read aloud. Hagrids roosters were killed!
The heir of Slytherin didnt want one anywhere near the castle once the Chamber was
opened! Spiders flee before it! It all fits!
But hows the Basilisk been getting around the place? said Ron. A dirty great snake ...
someone wouldve seen ...
Pipes, Harry said. Pipes ... Ron, its been using the plumbing. Ive been hearing that voice
inside the walls ...
The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets! Ron said hoarsely. What if its a bathroom? What
if its in
Moaning Myrtles bathroom, said Harry.

This means, continued Harry, after a pause. I cant be the only Parselmouth in the school.
The heir of Slytherins one, too. Thats how theyve been controlling the Basilisk.
Whatre we going to do? said Ron. Shall we go straight to McGonagall?
Lets go to the staff room, said Harry, matter-of-factly. Chair legs scraped against the stone
floor as he got up.