And the sun sank down into
The muck of a deep dead sky
Saturday, July 1 * Earliest morning
Extricating the name "Greengrass" from Croaker had come relatively easily. Teaching him to refer to all of the members of that family with a civil tongue had taken longer, until the spell used to reattach the organ did not work quite as it should.
He could still moan, and manage a sort of scream, but finer sounds were gone forever.
Bellatrix had some questions about some of the items she'd since found in his hotel room, the key being one of the first things she'd confiscated, but small mysteries and petty curiosities could live on. One item, at least, had been of clear value and for that her debt to the Greengrass woman deepened.
Now the preliminaries were over, and the real work could begin. Bellatrix approached the table in the middle of her favourite workroom. Croaker lay restrained upon it.
She tilted her head and inspected the material.
On the whole, still in good shape. The fabric of one trouser leg was matted down to the flesh, the wound underneath left deliberately half-healed. The right hand was in a jar of preservative on the counter, waiting. Cuts and scrapes crisscrossed the torso in a light pattern.
His face, however ...
One eye was gone, the hole around the empty socket marred with self-inflicted scratches. The left ear, as well, had been neatly removed. The right cheekbone had developed a decided slump.
Bellatrix slipped a hand under his chin and directed his face toward hers. Something inside the remaining eye flickered; something in there showed comprehension.
"Yesterday, that was for Greengrass and the others," she whispered. "What happens tonight is for me, and for my husband."
When Rodolphus had rescued her from the Ministry, he'd made certain promises. Though he was gone, she would fulfill them for him. She would repay on both their behalves.
The tip of her wand traced a line down Croaker's bare chest, testing the response of the flesh.
The nerves were intact; Bellatrix smiled. "Crucio!"
There were many hours until morning. She would use them wisely.