'Oh - yes - sorry, dear.'
'W-what are you d-doing? St-stop it!'
He continued to grin in a horrible, manic way until all the curious neighbours had disappeared from their various windows, then the grin became a grimace of rage as he beckoned Harry back towards him.
'I don't believe it,' said Aunt Petunia at once.
'I'll take you to the door,' said Mrs Figg, as they turned into Privet Drive. 'Just in case there are more of them around . . . oh my word, what a catastrophe . . . and you had to fight them off yourself . . . and Dumbledore said we were to keep you from doing magic at all costs . . . well, it's no good crying over spilt potion, I suppose . . . but the cat's among the pixies now.'
'What have you done to my son?' he said in a menacing growl.
Aunt Petunia's thin, horsy face now appeared beside Uncle Vernon's wide, purple one. She looked livid.
He looked up at the Dursleys. Uncle Vernon was purple-faced, shouting, his fists still raised; Aunt Petunia had her arms around Dudley who was retching again.
'Well, that's news to me,' said Harry, his temper rising, and before the Dursleys could call him back, he had wheeled about, crossed the front lawn, stepped over the low garden wall and was striding off up the street.
Harry pulled one of Dudley's massive arms around his own shoulders and dragged him towards the road, sagging slightly under the weight. Mrs Figg tottered along in front of them, peering anxiously around the corner.
'The owls . . . aren't bringing me news,' he said tonelessly.
'Dementors?' repeated Mundungus, aghast. 'Dementors, 'ere?'
'Blimey,' said Mundungus weakly, looking from Mrs Figg to Harry, and back again. 'Blimey, I - '
'Oh, my dear, I wish it were so, but I'm afraid - MUNDUNGUS FLETCHER, I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!'
Well, thought Harry, as he crossed Magnolia Crescent, turned into Magnolia Road and headed towards the darkening play park, he had (by and large) done as Sirius advised. He had at least resisted the temptation to tie his trunk to his broomstick and set off for The Burrow by himself. In fact, Harry thought his behaviour had been very good considering how frustrated and angry he felt at being stuck in Privet Drive so long, reduced to hiding in flowerbeds in the hope of hearing something that might point to what Lord Voldemort was doing. Nevertheless, it was quite galling to be told not to be rash by a man who had served twelve years in the wizard prison, Azkaban, escaped, attempted to commit the murder he had been convicted for in the first place, then gone on the run with a stolen Hippogriff.
'Whereas you just need four mates behind you before you can beat up a ten year old. You know that boxing title you keep banging on about? How old was your opponent? Seven? Eight?'
'What d'you mean?' Harry said again, but there was a cold, plunging sensation in his stomach. He had revisited the graveyard last night in his dreams.
'Point it somewhere else!'
'I didn't!' Harry said sharply, as Aunt Petunia let out a wail and Uncle Vernon raised his fists. 'I didn't do anything to him, it wasn't me, it was - '