I haven’t written a blog post, or anything really, in quite a while and so have decided a new instalment of my career taster days is well overdue. Previously I have written about working as a Curse Breaker, an Auror and a Healer at St. Mungos. This time I have decided to explore what it would be like to work as a Prison Guard in Azkaban.
Guarding the Wizarding Prison
Most people you know can just apparate into work; they don’t have to go through rigorous security checks or be probed with Secrecy Sensors before getting shunted onto a small self-propelled row boat in the middle of the North Sea. Your trip to the island is always bitterly cold but nothing compared to the chill that awaits you on the Island. Nothing compared to the ice of the Dementors. The monstrous stronghold that is Azkaban Prison looms on the horizon, razor rocks jutting cruelly from the base of the fortress. Just looking at it brings that creeping feeling of dread; it crawls up from your toes, spreads like ice water through your body. Knowing that you will have to endure this chill and dread for a week is the worst thing. You work one week on, two weeks off and the pay is more than adequate; yet you feel stuck, trapped in your job.
These thoughts engross you until the boat bobs to a stop next to the rickety little pier. Experience has taught you to climb out quickly; on your first day you were too slow and the little boat took off before you were clear of it, dumping you in the freezing waters of the North Sea. Pulling your thick cloak tighter about your shoulders, you hurry out of the biting wind and into the relative shelter the staff quarters. The staff facilities include a small canteen, where hot food is always available; a common room with a roaring fire that does nothing to combat the chill; and a corridor filled with small rooms, only slightly bigger than the inmate’s cells, with a large communal bathroom at one end. Hot water is a luxury, not a guarantee. You head to bunk number 17 to dump your stuff in the small locker at the foot of the slightly sagging single bed. A warming charm is always necessary, you apply it to the bed, floor and over the small window. The first night is always the coldest.
Your shift doesn’t start until morning, hot soup and the comfort of the common room is all that’s on your mind now. You let yourself relax into the soft couch and listen to the news of some of the other guards. The prisoners have been rowdy recently, particularly the convicted Death Eaters. Even prolonged exposure to the Dementors isn’t subduing them as it normally would. A few of the guards are worried but most seem unconcerned so you don’t let it bother you. You stay until you start to feel drowsy, then slowly trudge back up to your bunk.
Your bed is warm but the almost tangible chill of the Dementors creeps its way inside you, filling your chest with dread and doubts. The effect is enough to keep anyone awake. You take a swig of the Dreamless Sleep you keep next to the bed and, within seconds, you drift off to sleep.
The next day’s shift is the usual mix of patrols, avoiding the Dementors, and cups of tea while trying to huddle out of the chilling wind. You’re used to the background noise made up of the howls of inmates mixed with the hooting of the wind; today, however, it seems different. The prisoners seem to be goading each other today. It puts you on edge. You begin to understand why some of the other guards were feeling unsettled. You try to ignore your unease and carry on as usual but you’re constantly jumping, every unexpected noise making you start.
You are patrolling Merlin Wing when the rumbling starts, the floor beneath our feet beings to vibrate and cracks begin to spiderweb along the walls. Despite your years of experience you just freeze. Completely panicked. The wall at your back collapses, jarring you into action. You wand is raised in an instant, flinging a shower of red sparks into the air to alert others to the problem.
CRASH! The world seems to collapse around you, rubble pins you to the cold floor. You can’t move,you can barely breathe. You can’t reach your wand. All you can do is watch as a skeletal figure of a woman appears, cackling, through the settling dust. Bellatrix Lestange. Possibly the most dangerous witch in the entirety of Azkaban. Your discarded wand catches her eye and all you can do is lay trapped and helpless as she snatches it off the rubble-strewn ground. There’s a blinding flash of blood red light and the everything is black.