Disclaimer: JKR owns Tom Riddle, and his alter ego
Voldemort. And most of the other things I used in this story.
Tom sat on his bed - alone, as usual.
“Come, Tommy,” said Miss
Emmy, “It’s time to go outside and play with the other boys.”
Tom clutched at his book and gazed resentfully up at
the bright-eyed girl.
She’d lose that soon. They all did. Soon, Miss Emmy
would stop calling him ‘Tommy’ (he hated that name), stop trying to draw him
out to play with the other children, stop calling herself ‘Emmy.’ Tom had seen
it before. He had been at the orphanage longer than anyone, except for Matron
Alice. The matron’s aides could – and did – leave when orphanage life became
too much for them to deal with.
Tom had no choice. No one wanted to adopt him, and he
knew why. He could hear the whispers that followed him.
“He doesn’t even try to be like the other children…just
sits there by himself all the time.”
“I wonder what’s wrong with him?”
“His mother thought she was a witch…”
“I’d watch out for that one…insanity might run in the
They just didn’t understand. The other boys didn’t like
Tom. They called him mean names and hit him. And the girls, well, the girls
just whispered behind his back. But who wanted to play with girls anyhow? Girls
were gross. Actually, who wanted to play with anyone? Tom was happier with his
books. Books let him pretend to be the hero of whatever story he was reading.
They could take him away to places where magic was real and where dragons
But more than books, Tom loved anagrams. Ordinary words
and phrases could spell the oddest things, if you just moved the letters
around. Matron Alice, for example, could be rearranged to spell Lice On a Tram,
which fit, because Matron Alice was about as big as a tram; and she was
constantly spotting lice and making people shave their heads.
If Tom kept his mind occupied making anagrams and
reading books, he didn’t have time to daydream or to pay attention to the other
children. His favorite daydream – on the rare occasion that he allowed himself
one – was that his mother turned up one day at the orphanage, and explained
that she never would have left him there, but she couldn’t come get him for a
long time, because she had been kidnapped, and then she told him that she was
actually a witch and turned Matron Alice and all the other children into mice
and fed them to the snakes that lived in the garden. And then, his mother would
hug him and pat him on the head and tell him she loved him, like Tom had seen
some of the adoptive parents do.
But that was just a daydream. And daydreams like that
were useless, because they were never going to happen. What Tom needed to focus
on was a plan of escape. At some point in his life, there would be a way out of
the orphanage. When he got old enough.
“Tommy! Outside with you, now, and leave that book
behind, if you please. Go play tag with the other boys.”
Tom shuffled out the door and down the gray stairs,
watching a tiny ant trying to cover the same distance. After glancing back to
make sure Miss Emmy had gone back inside, Tom took up his usual post hiding
beside the stairs. The ant was still marching down the stairs. Maybe if they
couldn’t see him they wouldn’t pick on him.
“Well if it isn’t little Tommy,” one of the other boys
said. He didn’t know what the boy’s name was; he never tried to remember. He
had black hair though.
“Where’s your book, Tommy?” asked a little girl
with glasses, as if reading was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard of.
This was worse than usual, if the girls were in on this today. Tom looked at
the ant again. It was off the stairs, now, and walking on its six little legs
towards the children.
“What’s the matter, Tommy, cat got your tongue?” Tom
kept staring at the ant.
“Maybe his witch mother fed his tongue to her cat…you
know, her familiar.”
“Are you a witch too, Tommy? Why don’t you fly away on
a broomstick?” If Tom knew the boy’s name he would have made an anagram out of
it and made it something stupid. Maybe he would make his own name into
something else. Anything but listen to their taunting.
“Maybe he’s just to stupid to understand that we’re
talking to him.”
“That’s what it looks like to me too.”
“Maybe if you hit him he’d understand.” That was the
“Maybe. What is he looking at?” At least black-haired
boy hadn’t hit him yet. That was a bonus.
“I think it’s a bug.” He couldn’t keep track of who was
talking any more. He was still watching the ant, as it crawled closer and closer
to black-haired boy’s foot, and…
“Ew, gross. Why’d you squish the bug?” Okay, so no more
ants to watch.
Anagrams. What could he make out of Tom Marvolo Riddle?
“I…am…Lord,” he mumbled.
“What was that, Tommy? Did you say something?”
think he just called himself a Lord.”
“Aren’t you getting a little stuck up there, Tommy?” Why wouldn’t they just go
away? Tom closed his eyes. Go away go away go away.
“I think someone needs to beat him up so he doesn’t start
thinking he’s better than us.” Glasses girl pushed him to the ground.
Tom huddled in the corner, whispering anagrams to
himself. “Tom rvo Rdle…mort for death…de is of…then...olv? Vol? Like flying…
Vol… de… mort… flight of death. I… am… Lord… Voldemort…”
“What is he muttering about now?” Black-haired boy
asked, as he picked up a rock.
A rock. Why were they so much worse today? Go away go
away go away. Please. If magic really does exist, make them go away. Please,
please, please. Oh, it hurt, why wouldn’t they stop? Please make them stop -
someone, anyone. He couldn’t scream, couldn’t cry, because it wouldn’t do any
good and they would just hurt him more. Oh please, make them stop.
Tom cringed, waiting for the next blow to fall…but it
didn’t. Instead, he heard a thump, and opened his eyes to see both the
black-haired boy and the glasses girl sprawled out on the ground, 10 feet away.
He looked into their eyes as they backed away. He saw
something new that he had never seen when they looked him before.
If that was what it took…