Stallions

December 14, 1937

My birthday is coming soon. I shall be ten years old, finally ten years old. Rid forever of the measly one digit ages. Perhaps answering the ancient question How old are you, little boy? with a dour I am ten will demand some well-deserved respect. Because, age does present some problems at open house nights here at the orphanage. People do not want I am ten, they want I am a fat little infant who will spit upon your jacket. They want a sweet little toddler to bounce on their knee. So, let us hope that becoming ten will give me even less of a chance to be adopted by some middle aged, tentative couple with big smiles and clammy fingers.

I am certainly no sweet little toddler. My smile, when I feel the need to smile, is like something plastered on a puppet. If I were you, I would not take my smiling seriously. Those cold handed couples who like to hug seem to be repelled by my smile. They ask me questions, always the same questions. Like What do you like to play with? And I think to myself, do they really want to hear the answer to that question? Usually, I tell these people that I adore the sea side and stallions, because how many people in this stark little town are wealthy enough to live by the sea and own a horse? Besides, every child wishes for a pony. Saying stallion throws them off.

Some fat man in a white coat with pig eyes stared at me today. This happens quite frequently, although the mistress pretends that it never does. I believe I was in trouble. I can only begin to guess why. It may have had something to do with me making the photographs in the hallway move slowly side to side, but I do not believe anyone witnessed that. So it must have been about what I did last night.

I was bored, and this bloke Ian Michael who comes to help out at the orphanage was in the room. Ian, or Mister Michael, as I am meant to address him, was tucking in the little children. For a strange second, I imagined Mister Michael pausing in front of Johnny Yorks, a stupidly adorable five year old with a teddy. Pausing in front of him and perhaps running his long fingers through the boy's hair. This thought rocked me so much that I nearly fell out of the bunk.

Ian Michael is good- looking, even if it's only because he is under forty and is not severely overweight. I thought I just might like to be Johnny Yorks if that situation were to happen, and I decided that it would.

This made me wish I was stupidly adorable, for no one hugs Tom Riddle goodnight. Everyone seems to think Tom Riddle is made of hard, cold metal, and that to touch him would invoke a terrible shudder. Well, perhaps it is so, but I did not care.

"Mister Michael," I called out sweetly, which was a very bad thing to do, as little orphans are supposed to be quiet come nightfall. It's like a medieval trading agency—if you weren't sold today, consider yourself a horrible, smelly person. And wallow in your misery.

But—in the voice of Mistress now-- do it quietly, please.

Ian Michael paused and then his lip curled a little like a Greek statue. "Yes, Thomas?"

He's scared, I thought.

"You forgot me," I said selfishly, but just sadly enough to make the silly teenaged boy feel a little bit sorry for me.

"Oh, Thomas," he spoke quietly, and strode to my bedside. "You know, you will be adopted. Someone will want you. I'm certain of it!"

This coming from a well-adjusted, healthy boy with a mummy and daddy, thought I, in amusement.

I bit my lip. For some reason, it makes one look young and foolish. "You want me?" I questioned.

"Er—eh?"

"Would you want me?" I questioned, attempting to hide my sneer at the boy's obvious flustered reaction.

"Tom! You mustn't speak that way, you were told—"

"What way? I think that I would love to have an older brother just like you!" I declared.

"Oh! Heh," he smiled, relieved. "Well, then. That would be fine! Just fine."

"Especially if sometimes, you would touch me," I added nonchalantly, and nearly buckled over with delight at the paleness of his face.

"Thomas Riddle, you were told not to speak like that!" he cried out. Such a strong specimen outwitted and perplexed by an orphan of nine, almost ten. He left the room in a flourish, no doubt unable to stop his mind from imagining just what I had said. Had I ruined his life? I certainly hoped so.

From now on, I shall tell prospective adopted parents that I fancy a house by the seaside, stallions, and pedophilic elder brothers.

fin