in the style of Angela CarterBy Ruth Ludbrook
Thursday 14 July 2005 17.39 BST
The whole of Hogwarts was abandoned, the great thrusting towers that penetrated deep into the night sky now devoid of the pulsing lifeblood of its pupils.
Dumbledore stood in the warm cavernous room, the thin slit of the window framing the mighty silhouette of the castle. He let out a long sigh before taking another piece of dried fruit between his lips, allowing some semblance of life to return to it in the damp interior before swallowing.
Tonight was to be the night. The approaching wizard's aura pricked his flesh, while an evil pulse thrummed through the blood in his veins like an elixir. He was close...
Dumbledore turned back to the wand that lay on his desk. Slender and pale, it seemed too fragile to face the task ahead. Taking the cool shaft in his hand, he felt it stir as the energy between them flowed back and forth in a comforting rhythm.
As he stood, cocooned in mutual warmth, a rush of icy air entered the chamber without warning. He turned to face the narrow maw of the window, his eyes seeking what the night sought to hide. Then, suddenly, He entered.
Writhing shadows flooded the room, coalescing into a thin column of darkness, crowned by a bulbous white head. The room resonated with the throbbing power that emanated from this spectral pillar. The pallid, fleshy head that mushroomed from his robes was animated by narrow red slits, forming eyes, a nose, a mouth; a face.
Dumbledore raised the wand urgently, but His wand was already there, standing proud from the depths of his robes, clutched in regal talons.
Dumbledore heard the words, the ones he had feared so long. A kiss of death from a lifeless, lipless mouth, and the dark embraced him like a vengeful lover.