A resounding CRACK filled the kitchen. Aunt Petunia screamed, Uncle Vernon yelled and ducked, but for the third time that night Harry was searching for the source of a disturbance he had not made. He spotted it at once: a dazed and ruffled-looking barn owl was sitting outside on the kitchen sill, having just collided with the closed window.
He could not believe what had just happened. Dementors here, in Little Whinging.
'At the Polkisses',' said Aunt Petunia fondly. 'He's got so many little friends, he's so popular . . .'
'Ouch - gerroff - gerroff, you mad old bat! Someone's gotta tell Dumbledore!'
It was impossible . . . they couldn't be here . . . not in Little Whinging . . . he strained his ears . . . he would hear them before he saw them . . .
also available in Latin and Welsh:
'Dementors?' repeated Mundungus, aghast. 'Dementors, 'ere?'
'I don't know,' said Aunt Petunia, unconcerned. 'Not in the house.'
Harry grinned again.
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.
He let out a long, slow breath and stared up at the brilliant blue sky. Every day this summer had been the same: the tension, the expectation, the temporary relief, and then mounting tension again . . . and always, growing more insistent all the time, the question of why nothing had happened yet.
'I'll give you undercover!' cried Mrs Figg. 'Dementors, you useless, skiving sneak thief!'
'I heard you last night,' said Dudley breathlessly. Talking in your sleep. Moaning.'
'I'm a Squib, as Mundungus knows full well, so how on earth was I supposed to help you fight off Dementors? He left you completely without cover when I'd warned him - '
A fist made contact with the side of Harry's head, lifting him off his feet. Small white lights popped in front of his eyes. For the second time in an hour Harry felt as though his head had been cleaved in two; next moment, he had landed hard on the ground and his wand had flown out of his hand.
'GET IT!' Harry bellowed, and with a rushing, roaring sound, the silver stag he had conjured came galloping past him. The Dementor's eyeless face was barely an inch from Dudley's when the silver antlers caught it; the thing was thrown up into the air and, like its fellow, it soared away and was absorbed into the darkness; the stag cantered to the end of the alleyway and dissolved into silver mist.
An enormous silver stag erupted from the tip of Harry's wand; it's antlers caught the Dementor in the place where the heart should have been; it was thrown backwards, weightless as darkness, and as the stag charged, the Dementor swooped away, bat-like and defeated.
'W-what are you d-doing? St-stop it!'
'Yes - they - have!' yelled Mrs Figg, swinging the bag of cat food at every bit of Mundungus she could reach. 'And - it - had - better - be - you - and - you - can - tell - him - why - you - weren't - there - to - help!'