By J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Chapter Fifteen. The Goblin’s Revenge
Early next morning, before the other two were awake, Harry left the tent to search the woods around them for the oldest, most gnarled, and resilient-looking tree he could find. There in its shadows he buried Mad-Eye Moody’s eye and marked the spot by gouging a small cross in the bark with his wand. It was not much, but Harry felt that Mad-Eye would have much preferred this to being stuck on Dolores Umbridge’s door. Then he returned to the tent to wait for the others to wake, and discuss what they were going to do next.
Harry and Hermione felt that it was best not to stay anywhere too long, and Ron agreed, wit the sole proviso that their next move took them within reach of a bacon sandwich. Hermione therefore removed the enchantments she had placed around the clearing, while Harry and Ron obliterated all the marks and impressions on the ground that might show they had camped there. Then they Disapparated to the outskirts of a small market town.
Once they had pitched the tent in the shelter of a small copse of trees and surrounded it with freshly cast defensive enchantments. Harry ventured out under the Invisibility Cloak to find sustenance. This, however, did not go as planned. He had barely entered the town when an unnatural chill, a descending mist, and a sudden darkening of the skies made him freeze where he stood. “But you can make a brilliant Patronus!” protested Ron, when Harry arrived back at the tent empty handed, out of breath, and mouthing the single word, dementors.
“I couldn’t… make one.” he panted, clutching the stitch in his side. “Wouldn’t… come.” Their expressions of consternation and disappointment made Harry feel ashamed. It had been a nightmarish experience, seeing the dementors gliding out of the must in the distance and realizing, as the
paralyzing cold choked his lungs and a distant screaming filled his ears, that he was not going to be able to protect himself. It had taken all Harry’s willpower to uproot himself from the spot and run, leaving the eyeless dementors to glide amongst the Muggles who might not be able to see them, but would assuredly feel the despair they cast wherever they went.
“So we still haven’t got any food.”
“Shut up, Ron,” snapped Hermione. “Harry, what happened? Why do you think you couldn’t make your Patronus? You managed perfectly yesterday!”
“I don’t know.”
He sat low in one of Perkins’s old armchairs, feeling more humiliated by the moment. He was afraid that something had gone wrong inside him. Yesterday seemed a long time ago: Today me might have been thirteen years old again, the only one who collapsed on the Hogwarts Express.
Ron kicked a chair leg.
“What?” he snarled at Hermione. “I’m starving! All I’ve had since I bled half to death is a couple of toadstools!”
“You go and fight your way through the dementors, then,” said Harry, stung.
“I would, but my arm’s in a sling, in case you hadn’t noticed!”
“And what’s that supposed to -?”
“Of course!” cried Hermione, clapping a hand to her forehead and startling both of them into silence. “Harry, give me the locket! Come on,” she said impatiently, clicking her fingers at him when he did not react,” to Horcrux, Harry, you’re still wearing it!”
She held out her hands, and Harry lifted the golden chain over his head. The moment it parted contact with Harry’s skin he free and oddly light.