Yes, Bellatrix was certain, this little muggleborn girl was crazy. Not the psychotic, pain-loving madness she, herself, enjoyed.
No. This was a level of insanity which could cause screams so anguished that the paint in the next room over would crumble from the plaster.
At first, she wasn't so much unnerved by the younger witch; she was more jealous than anything else, until she actually came into the young witch's presence.
Bellatrix' favourite spell of all time was the Cruciatus. Nothing titillated her more than to hear the screams of anguish and unnerving howls of pain from her victims as their pain pulsed along every nerve ending.
But this little mudblood was crazy. The young muggleborn witch had written to her describing the spell research she had performed. All of the test subjects had, prior to their Obliviation, claimed the pain from the Cruciatus, as compared to the new spell the girl had created, as being nothing more than a tickle.
Somehow this fourth-year student had convinced all the children of death eaters to be subjects in the experiment. In her letter to Bella, she had written, "...who else would have first-hand experience with the pain spell? What better method of teaching a child to not repeat their mistakes than reinforce them with a bit of pain?"
Bella's own introduction to the spell had been from her Grandmother correcting her fingernail biting. Needless to say, Bella's nails were pristine.
She'd agreed to meet the girl in Hogsmeade. After all, she was an adult witch and this was just an 'ittle bitty fourth-year.
She should have seen the warning signs.
She promised herself she would never miss them again.
She'd arrived at the Shrieking Shack, as agreed, to find the girl, wearing Gryffindor colours of all things, accompanied by two larger, oafish, older Slytherin boys holding the shoulders of another Slytherin boy a little taller than the girl, whose father she knew all too well.
"You must be Lucius' 'ittle boy," Bella had said by way of greeting, her voice projecting all the excitement of an eight-year-old at an ice cream giveaway.
"When my father hears of this..." he'd said, but shivered when the little Gryffindor spoke.
"Now Draco," the young witch chided, "hiding behind your father's coat tails will cause cavities," the girl had sing-songed in nearly the same pitch Bella had just used.
Bella noted that even the two older boys cringed slightly at the younger witch's comment as she sat down.
Bella then realised she was petrified.
She hadn't even heard the incantation or seen the girl's wand. She was slightly nervous, but she knew she could lift the spell without difficulty.
Or so she thought.
"Now Draco, show your Auntie Bella how good you can be and sit in the chair without Mr. Nott and Mr. Franklin having to put you there and I will keep this to a simple examination," the girl said.
Draco was not even as bright as his father, or so it would seem to Bella, as he began struggling against the two older boys.
"I see. It's to be a deep cleaning," she tisked. Draco began screaming in fright. He soiled himself; the crotch of his robes soaking through.
Bella wasn't certain if one of the older boys had been unlucky during the struggle and had his robes soaked by Draco or if he, too, had been frightened nearly witless.
The two older boys picked Draco up and strapped him into an oddly-shaped, comfortable-looking chair.
The girl looked over at Bella, "You see, we want the patient," she paused and sensuously drew her hand over Draco's cheek and head, "to be as comfortable as possible during the procedure." She then wiped her hand on Draco's robes. "He uses far too many hair care products," she mumbled absently.
Bella wasn't certain what the girl meant by 'comfortable'. She had been strapped to a wooden table with wide leather straps on one occasion by her grandmother for not eating all of her vegetables.
Draco's arms, wrists, ankles and thighs were strapped to the body of the chair. His head was held rigidly by a wide leather band.
Bella tried to lift the petrification spell, but nothing happened.
"Oh yes. How silly of me," the girl said, and Bella could now move her head.
The girl obstructed her view of the boy for what seemed only a moment.
When Bella's view was once more unobstructed, the boy's eyes had been taped open, two metallic clamps drew his cheeks painfully back and a miniature screw jack was holding his jaw open wide enough to cause Bella sympathetic pain. The boy moaned in fear, anger, and pain.
"Now, Draco," the girl said, "remember how I told you struggling would only make it worse?" she asked rhetorically. She had then pointed her wand at her ear and whispered a spell.
"Much better," she said, then looked at Draco, still moaning. "Now Draco, is that any way to talk about me?"
He looked at her, his eyes opened wider. What expression he could manifest held more fear than pain.
"That's right. I can understand what you're saying. Using words like that are always going to have consequences," she chided, the way a mother would chide an infant for soiling its nappies.
The girl then excitedly described the effects of her new spell to Bella.
"The first thing you have to do is cast the Insomnias spell to keep the subject... um.. that is... patient from slipping into unconsciousness from the experience."
"This new spell combines the highest pitched frequency of the kettle whistling charm along with a warbling, localised vibration, whose frequency can be modified by the caster while casting."
"It also uses a bone pulverising charm focused on a very small area."
"Finally, it has a modified version of old Welsh salt summoning spell which summons an infinitesimal amount of salt to the point target of the casting."
"When cast, it acts upon the cutting, grinding, facing and backing surfaces of every tooth sequentially."
"The caster can then choose, based on the finishing syllable of the spell, to leave the resultant holes open or fill them with a transfigured amalgam of salt and metal, resulting in the slow, but steady, decay and weakening of the affected teeth."
She giggled for a moment, then put her finger to her chin as if trying to remember something. "Oh yes! It also causes the patient to periodically smell smoke and taste blood," she said, looking at Bella with those piercing, madness-filled, honey-coloured eyes.
"I will demonstrate the full sequence with the open hole finishing syllable so we can then use a tooth-healing potion to heal him properly, followed by Obliviating the patient, as this is merely a demonstration for you, Mrs. Lestrange," she'd explained, then looked back at Draco, "Oh yes, and of course, with this patient we'll need to use a Scourgify. Draco still hasn't managed to make it through one of these without soiling himself."
The girl leaned down and whispered to Bella, "The obliviation spell isn't standard either. It has a release phrase which allows the spell to be easily lifted, allowing the patient to fully and intimately remember any memory obliviated by the caster. The phrase I use for Draco concerns having a 'deep cleaning'. He soils himself every time he hears that phrase."
The girl's cackling practically had Bella soiling her own robes.
She then stood up and looked directly at Bella, as if they were the best of friends and she was confiding in her about the size of her wizard's wand, "You'd think with a death eater for a father that he could handle a little pain and torture. He is such a pathetic little bitch," she explained, then giggled.
The giggle sent chills up and down Bella's spine, and not in a good way.
She then demonstrated the spell sequence on Draco.
The sounds of pain Bella had heard when she had used the Cruciatus curse filled her with an almost euphoric or orgasmic sensation of pleasure.
The only limitation of the Cruciatus, in Bella's mind, was the spell would drive someone into catatonic madness after a mere ten minutes of its application.
She'd had to learn to keep a victim's exposure to less than five minutes at a time and no more than an hour a day, of they would rapidly lose the ability to sense anything other than light.
Draco's muffled screams made her cringe. The girl somehow understood Draco's incoherent, muffled screams.
"You don't say? Are you certain you want to call me a 'Little Mudblood Whore', Draco? Oh my! Plaque below the gum line," she said in her motherly voice.
Draco squealed, and voided his bowels. The amount of perspiration pouring from his forehead was discolouring the leather strap holding his head still. He was straining against the straps around his chest, waist, arms and legs.
"You see what happens, Draco, when you have those unkind thoughts about me?" she asked, pausing to look into the boy's eyes.
Draco made some less-strained, though incoherent noises.
"Much better, Draco. MUCH better! I am certain Pansy and I would make wonderful friends," she said. "Perhaps I will invite her to tea. I could test out a very different set of spells on her," the girl said thoughtfully.
She then seemed to shudder in pleasure. "Yes. I definitely think Pansy needs to be my next test subject for the Pleasure Swing. I think Luna or one of the twins should break her in...I mean demonstrate it to her," she said, then looked at Bella, "just a slip of the tongue," she explained, licking her lips surprisingly seductively for a young girl.
Bella had been watching as the girl had been applying the tooth-growing potion to Draco's teeth. She paused and looked over her shoulder, "Oh, and Lady Lestrange?" she had asked, pausing to ensure she had the older witch's full attention, a chill to her voice that seemed to creep into Bella's spine.
Bella had looked up from Draco's frightened form in the chair in response, not trusting her voice at the moment.
"Should you do anything that would inconvenience or displease Harry Potter, I will do exquisite things to you, such that merely describing them will have you begging me to end your life."
"You see," she said, her eyes seemingly as black as flint, "I am not on the side of the Light, or the side of the Dark. I am on Harry's side," she'd said, before a soft chime had sounded. "Oh! I have to go or I'll be late for breakfast with Harry."
She obliviated Draco then turned back to Bella. "Do be a dear and take Draco back to Malfoy Manor. Send him off to his room to sleep and then explain what I told you to his parents." The little witch closed the distance and patted her on the head, "That's a good girl."
Bella was a competent Legilimens.
She looked into those honey orbs and tried to pull her eyes away from what she was seeing – She was sitting in a chair identical to the one Draco was reclining in, the the girl was breaking her teeth, one by one, into smaller pieces then wrenching them out with a bloody metal instrument and packing the resulting hole in her jaw with salt.
Bella knew that whatever petrification spell had been used on her had been released, for when she tried to bend over and retch from the pain, she was able to do so. She emptied things from her stomach she had forgotten she'd eaten.
When she stood, the little girl and the two older Slytherins were gone. Only a dishevelled Malfoy scion was left, sitting in a plain wooden chair, drool running down his chin.
She couldn't help but think at what the younger witch had done to him.
Bella shuddered at the thought.
One thing she knew though.
This little mudblood witch, Hermione Granger, was completely and unrecoverably insane and utterly devoted to her Lord's nemesis, Harry Potter.
And Bella never, EVER wanted Granger upset with her.