122 The Thing He Feared the Mos
Before Professor Lupin's wand touched the doorknob, the wardrobe burst open.
Hook-nosed and menacing, Professor Snape stepped out, his eyes flashing at Neville.
Neville backed away, his wand up, mouthing wordlessly. Snape was bearing down upon him, reaching inside his robes.
"R — r — riddikulus!" squeaked Neville.
There was a noise like a whip crack. Snape stumbled; he was wearing a long, lace-trimmed dress and a towering hat topped with a moth-eaten vulture, and he was swinging a huge crimson handbag.
Arth was then reminded of the ability of a boggart. The ability to turn into the one thing, the one sight, the one concept that brought the most dread and fear possible from a person.
There was a roar of laughter; the boggart paused, confused, and Professor Lupin shouted, "Parvati! Forward!"
Parvati walked forward, her face set. Snape rounded on her. There was another crack, and where he had stood was a blood-stained, bandaged mummy; its sightless face was turned to Parvati and it began to walk toward her very slowly, dragging its feet, its stiff arms rising —
What did Arth fear the most? Why did he feel a bad promotion?
"Riddikulus!" cried Parvati.
A bandage unraveled at the mummy's feet; it became entangled, fell face forward, and its head rolled off.
What did Arth dread? What was it that he so desperately wanted to avoid?
"Seamus!" roared Professor Lupin.
Seamus darted past Parvati.
Crack! Where the mummy had been was a woman with floor-length black hair and a skeletal, green-tinged face — a banshee. She opened her mouth wide and an unearthly sound filled the room, a long, wailing shriek.
What made Arth feel as though he was in the darkest chamber all alone with no one to rely on? What made him feel encased? Trapped?
"Riddikulus!" shouted Seamus.
The banshee made a rasping noise and clutched her throat; her voice was gone.
Crack! The banshee turned into a rat, which chased its tail in a circle, then — crack! — became a rattlesnake, which slithered and writhed before — crack! — becoming a single, bloody eyeball.
What made Arth feel as though death was better than life? What made him feel as though the slaughtered had it easy?
"It's confused!" shouted Lupin. "We're getting there! Dean!"
Dean hurried forward.
What was it that Arth never wanted to see again? What was it that chased Arth through the darkest of nights?
Crack! The eyeball became a severed hand, which flipped over and began to creep along the floor like a crab.
What was it Arth hated to his very bone? To his very muscle? To his very cell?
"Riddikulus!" yelled Dean.
What was it that Arth refused to accept? The thing that no matter how many times he saw the scene, he could never forgive?
There was a snap, and the hand was trapped in a mousetrap.
"Excellent! Ron, you next!"
Ron leapt forward.
Quite a few people screamed. A giant spider, six feet tall and covered in hair, was advancing on Ron, clicking its pincers menac- ingly.
What was it that Arth could never forget? The thing that Arth could never fix?
"Riddikulus!" bellowed Ron, and the spider's legs vanished; it rolled over and over; Lavender Brown squealed and ran out of its way and it came to a halt at Harry's feet.
"Show us what you got Harry!"
The spider morphed into a dementor and slowly glided towards Harry with a rasping breath.
What was it that Arth desired the most? What was it that Arth couldn't gain?
The black cloak fell off the dementor revealing a weak and frail old man with a big white diaper.
"Forward, Arth, and finish him off!"
What was it that Arth was about to see?
"No, sir, I-I really don't want to- I-I think that-"
But before Arth could stop anything, a pained voice from a female resounded from the spot where the old man used to be.
An inky black smog replaced the old man and hovered in front of the class, still like a tree yet illusionary like the mist.
Arth held his breath. He felt as though he was choking on bile that was threatening to revolt.
A pale white hand emerged from the black smoke.
Sweat started to form and slide down his face and his face became whiter than before, whiter than a sun bleached skull left out in a scorching hot desert.
"... I'm sorry."
He felt as though someone was burning him alive, yet stabbed him in the chest with an ice cold icicle. Arth started to have trouble breathing as he heavily gasped for air while clutching his heart.
He knew the voice. He grew up hearing it for half of his life. He heard it in his nightmares and dreams so many times that he could never forget it.
The hand fell to the floor with a soft thud. A beautiful crimson red started to paint the wooden floors slowly.
Arth wanted to run away yet he couldn't, he sat there watching the red covered hand with a wide eye. Arth felt a burning pain in his left eye yet he could not do anything but sit still and watch.
"...good bye. And I-"
The whole room then exploded into a inky darkness and no one could see nor speak.
Then the screaming began.