Awaking to streaks of orange and blue in the sky, Dudley wondered if he was dreaming. Ever since the night the lights had gone out in Little Whinging, he struggled to maintain sane thoughts. Night-time approached and he would snap his eyes shut, only to be thrown back to that moment in the alley-way, where a mystical glowing shape saved him from the darkness and the memories, the terrible memories.
He slowly sat up, trying to remember what happened. He had gone for a run, his chest had felt too tight, his breathing rough and he had decided to turn back. Something had rustled in the bushes…
Dudley glanced over at the row of bushes, nervously wondering if anything was going to jump out at him. If it was one of those Dementoid things, then he wouldn't know. He hadn't even seen them when they attacked him and Potter. All he had felt was coldness, and right now, he was freezing. He clutched his music player and stood up, looking from left to right. He needed to get home before he was attacked again. Whatever had made him black out – he rejected the notion that he had fallen asleep – could still be out there and Dudley found himself moving quickly towards his house, not daring to look back for fear of glimpsing something abnormal.
As he staggered along the pavement, he encountered the sight of batty old Mrs Figg, a legion of cats surrounding her. Dudley rolled his eyes at the glare that was directed at him, puffing his chest out in an attempt to intimidate.
"What you looking at? Shouldn't you and your little furballs be at home? Not stalking me, like you always fucking do!"
His swearing didn't even make his neighbour bat an eyelid, but a look of fury came over her face as she hissed back at him.
"You are vile, Dudley Dursley. Swanning about as if you own the place. And," She moved towards him, her cats brushing against her legs. "Do not even deny it!"
"Deny what?" Dudley growled, struggling to maintain his balance.
"Deny that you are drunk! I've seen you and your little friends drinking in the park, in broad daylight!" She shook her head in disgust. "You are an absolute disgrace to your family!"
"Oh, that's rich." He chuckled, folding his arms across his chest. "So what if I drink a bit? That's none of your business. And you're calling me, a 'disgrace'? How about my fucked up cousin?! Do you know how freaky he is?! At least I have friends!"
"Yes, well, your friends are filthy little boys and Harry has a better future than you."
"Does he?" Dudley snarled. "Yeah, going to St Brutus's is really gonna work out for him. And by the way, I'm not drunk, but I wish I was so I could forget this bloody conversation."
"Mmh, St Brutus's. More suited to the likes of you than Harry Potter."
'Why did her voice go all weird when I mentioned the cover school for Potter? If she really knew what school he went to, the old bird would have a heart attack… Why am I still talking to her anyway?!'
Plastering on a sneering smile, Dudley remarked: "Well, it's been nice and all, but I need to get home. Cause, you know, I actually have people who care about me."
"Oh, what? Unlike me?" Mrs Figg gestured to her cats. "I have all the companionship I need, and unlike you Dursley, I am content."
He snorted and stepped round her. "Whatever."
She watched him walk a few steps before stopping him in his tracks with her words. "One day, you'll be in prison and Mummy and Daddy won't be able to help you out."
Dudley whipped round at break-neck speed, his face contorted with loathing.
"Shut the hell up. One day, you'll be dead in the ground, your bloody cats will be long gone and no one else will give a damn about whether you were in pain or not when you died." He curled his lip. "No one will miss an old bag like you."
He had rendered her speechless, and the feeling of power he gained was so satisfying that he decided to relish the moment. Dudley stuck his middle finger up at his neighbour, grinning triumphantly, then turned back round and continued stumbling on down the street.
As soon as he got home, he was fussed over by his mother and Dudley fended off her affections with a weary arm, choosing to dig into his cooling dinner. Once he had finished his meal, Dudley rubbed his eyes fiercely with the back of his hand. Whatever made him black out had caused him a serious headache, and he needed to stop thinking and let his mind be filled with trash.
Cue the television. Dudley lumbered over to the sofa, sitting down next to his father. The programme on the television made him zone out straight away, and sleep threatened to overtake him. If it were not for the sudden appearance of his mother, he would have been snoring away on the sofa as if he were eighty five.
"Duddy? Would you and Daddy like some sweeties to eat?"
Dudley fought back the shudder at his mother's baby voice, and eyed up the bowl of treats she had brought over. Chocolate filled his vision and he subconsciously licked his lips. It was so tempting to stuff his face after the trauma of the Dementoid incident, but he had promised his boxing coach to not move up any higher on the weight scale before returning to school, so with a heavy heart, he shook his head.
"Can't, Mum. I promised Coach I wouldn't. Can I have an apple instead?"
"Of course, honey." Petunia pinched his cheek, beaming broadly at him and Dudley mustered up a smile in return. He loved his mother, but she was too much some times.
When he had the apple in hand, Dudley took a huge chunk out of it and sat back, planning his day tomorrow. He would need to have a day out of the house, away from his mother's indulgence, plus he wanted to hang out with his mates.
As his father tucked into the bowl of chocolate next to him, Dudley crunched apple skin between his teeth, the juice spilling down his chin.