Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, unfortunately. If I did, I would be very rich and I would be publishing what I wrote, not posting it here.
Thank you so much to those people who reviewed the prologue.
I hope you all enjoy this chapter.
Tom Riddle had always been different. Not always in a bad way. Not to start with. In the beginning he just didn't fit in. He hated the orphanage and everything and everyone there but that was hardly abnormal. Who actually liked it? No one, as far as he knew. You would have to been insane to like a place like this, he thought to himself, looking round at the grim place with the bleak, grey walls. His room was simple and boring; from the wooden cupboard to the plain grey cover on his bed the colours were dull, a mixture of browns, greys, white and black. It looked only slightly nicer than a prison cell and had barely any more freedom. Tom had often considered what it would be like to live somewhere, anywhere else. Maybe if he had parents he would be less restricted, maybe more. He would never know. At only six years of age he already realised this: he was alone in the world and no parent would miraculously come for him. He was ahead of his age, almost unnaturally clever, and he shocked and sometimes even scared people with his advanced thoughts.
Now, however, was not one of those times.
"Tom!" Mrs Cole called. Tom sat stubbornly on his bed, ignoring her in the typical, stroppy way that young children do. He didn't like the name Tom (it was too common. He knew at least five Toms, not including himself). He didn't want to go and see her. He didn't want to go and eat now. He didn't want to! Why should he go and sit with the other children? None of them liked him and he liked none of them. He was not going down. No way.
"Tom!" Mrs Cole called again, closer now and louder. He heard her thump down the corridor loudly, her footsteps easy to hear on the worn carpet and creaky floor. She reached his door now and started to bang on it noisily, waiting outside for him to come out. Tom ignored this as well. Of course he did. Why would he go out now, just because she was making a lot of fuss? Why should he? He had absolutely no inclination to go anywhere at the moment and Mrs Cole was not about to change that.
Well, he didn't want her too, anyway.
At six years old, Tom didn't have much choice. Mrs Cole, growing impatient and annoyed, flung open the door with a loud bang and looked down at the boy, tall for his age, dark-haired and with shockingly pale skin. However, no matter how tall he was for his age, a six year old boy was always going to be small in comparison to a grown woman like Mrs Cole, and therefore easy to pick up. She scooped him up, carrying the struggling, screaming boy down the hall as he hit her back continuously, shrieking out, "Put me down! I don't want to go downstairs! I don't want to!" It was all said with surprising strength and Mrs Cole shocked herself as she almost gave in to what the young child told her to do. She caught herself in the act of lowering Tom to the ground and, surprising at her willingness to give in, she straightened up again, still clutching Tom and giving herself a firm shake, before walking purposefully down the corridor, trying to ignore the child's forceful pleas.
After dumping Tom in his seat (who looked like he had half a mind to run back upstairs but decided against it), Mrs Cole collapsed back onto her chair, slumping against its hard, wooden back.
"Right, everyone," she addressed the table of children (all of whom were wearing the custom grey tunic of the orphanage and most of whom seemed to be paying absolutely no attention to a word she was saying) with a few young women dotted about, workers at the orphanage. Although Mrs Cole sat in a weak, almost defeated manner, her voice was strong and steady, showing that she was a lot firmer than she looked. "After we have finished lunch-" she gestured around the table with one hand, motioning towards the food upon it, "-we are going to go out into the city. It will be good for you all to get out and get some fresh air." The way she spoke gave away the fact that the orphans didn't get the option to stay behind but they hardly ever got out, so most of them were eager to go and if not eager, at least happy to leave the grim orphanage behind for one afternoon. It was not the nicest home and, although they were well cared for, it was never interesting and the children who lived there did not lead very full childhoods.
The children trailed out of the building in a line, the orphanage workers doing their best to keep the children in line and the children all resisting their attempts. All expect for Tom. He did exactly as he wanted to and at the moment, he didn't mind about staying in line; all he minded about was getting as far away from the orphanage as quickly as he could at the moment.
"Ge' in line, ge' in line!" one girl squawked, wondering why she worked for the orphanage in the first place as she ushered two young girls and a boy back into line behind Mrs Cole who was walking at a fairly fast pace, heading towards the centre of London. It would be easy for a child to get lost round there, and none of the orphanage staff were willing to risk that happening. They shepherded the children quickly through the streets, passing through streets of neat houses and going passed a small park before reaching the main part of London.
London, for the orphans, was like a dream come true. It was bright, colourful, fun, interesting, amusing and everything that the orphanage wasn't. The children were all fascinated by the huge city, bustling with life as people wondered through, some tourists, some business people, some residents, everyone, it seemed had come to London. The children were amazed by the huge tower blocks, the live statues (people who could stand unnaturally still and had made themselves all one colour, only moving occasionally), the tall clock tower called Big Ben, the London Eye (which to the children seemed to be a huge, slow moving Ferris wheel) and so many other things. Even though a lot of them had lived in London their whole lives, hardly any of them had been sightseeing and even less of them could remember it. Everyone one of them found it impossible to explain afterwards how wonderful the sight, sound and even smell of central London had been.
The day, all in all, was a huge success. Marianna had given all the staff a scare when she vanished over to an artist who was painting by the river. At eleven years of age, she found art a remarkable thing and got great enjoyment out of watching the man at work. Peter had also given the staff a shock when, while everyone was on a boat on the Themes, leaned right over and seemed like he was about to fall in. Luckily Mrs Cole managed to sweep in and grab him, pulling him back at the last second. However, the child who scared them the most had been Tom, naturally. Mrs Cole glanced round and, seeing that he was no longer among them, started to panic. They all looked round, calling frantically for him for a good ten minutes before he turned up, quite calmly, and rejoined the group. He told them that he only came back because he knew that they would contact the police otherwise, who would definitely find him. He refused to comment other than that, flat out disagreeing to tell anyone where he had been when asked. The staff all exchanged mystified but Mrs Cole, used to Tom's strange behaviour after caring for him for six years, just sighed, shook her head, and led the group on, willing herself just to forget the whole ordeal. Other than that, everything ran smoothly and Mrs Cole, when in bed that night, felt fully satisfied with how the day turned out.
Mrs Cole struggled to organise everyone to get them back to the orphanage in time for dinner. No one wanted to leave this amazing place and go back to their normal, everyday lives at their grim home. Tom was being particularly awkward. He hated the orphanage with a passion and was doing everything in his power to stay away from it. Unfortunately for him there was not a lot he could do, considering he was only a six year old. Mrs Cole was already pushing Tom along, hoping that she didn't have to resort to carrying him, kicking and screaming down the street with everyone watching them judgmentally. That was when it happened. It was unexpected and sudden for all of them. Even for Tom.
Mrs Cole, with her hand on Tom's back, felt electricity running through him, giving her a massive shock which made her jump. She yanked her hand back and then, to her complete astonishment, found herself flying backwards. To everyone who was watching, it was impossible to explain what was going on. All anyone could see was the woman rushing through the air for no reason. Mrs Cole herself couldn't even say what had gone on, she just found herself crumbled on the ground, a fair few feet away from where she had started.
Of course, everyone explained it all away, with a slight ground tremor from a couple of lorries which happened to be passing to Mrs Cole have some sort of seizure. No one guessed the truth. No one knew that Tom had anything to do with it. Except him.
He had felt the power rushing through him, building up and then abruptly releasing, pushing the woman away from him. He knew then that he was different. He knew then that he was powerful. He knew then that he was special.
Tom was unusually willing to walk back to the orphanage after the incident, as everyone named it in their heads. Everyone assumed that he felt sorry for Mrs Cole and was being good for her. They were wrong. No, instead the six year old was trying to figure out exactly what happened and how it happened and how he could make it happen again. He enjoyed the feeling of power and control over someone else. He was pleased by his discovery that he was stronger and better than everyone around him. He revelled in the feeling. It made him feel…good. A wide, almost maniacal smile spread across his face for a few seconds, betraying his feelings of wild happiness. If anyone had happened to glance at him then, they would have been shocked by his expression which gave away a lot more than he would have liked.
The little party neared the orphanage now and, only a few houses down, a removal lorry was parked in front of a house.
"They are going to be our new neighbours," Mrs Cole explained to everyone. "They are called Mr and Mrs Carlton and they have a daughter called Alice. She is five years old, so some of you can make friends with her." Tom rolled his eyes at the way Mrs Cole talked to them; simply, like they couldn't understand what she said if she spoke normally. He hated that. It made him feel like he was being treated as below adults and not worthy of their respect. He didn't need their respect but the feeling of power it was sure to give him made him desire it. His thoughts of power led him back to the strange event which had happened earlier on and, as he remembered the rush of emotions he had felt, Tom decided that he was born to be a leader. Prime Minister maybe, or something of the sort…
He didn't realise then that something was about to happen that would change all that and instead of being a good leader, he would be the most evil leader on the planet…
Tom was pulled out of his thoughts by the sounds of two people shouting greetings and he looked up to see Mrs Cole waving.
"Speak of the devil," she muttered, before calling loudly back, "Good evening Jim, Lucy!" Her words were directed towards a young man and woman. The man was clutching a couple of cardboard boxes, about to carry them towards their new house and the woman had her arms wrapped round a small girl, stopping her from running away down the road. Normally Tom would assess everything and everyone, filing it away for later thought. Normally Tom would find nothing interesting about anyone. Normally Tom would dismiss everyone as dull and average.
This was different though.
Tom's eyes slid straight over Jim and Lucy Carlton, not bothering to take them in at all as his eyes were drawn to their young daughter, struggling in Lucy's arms. Alice Carlton. She was beautiful. He could tell that from a distance. Her hair floated around her face and shoulders, long, dark brown and curly. Her cheeks shone with colour and life. Her face seemed so open and happy. Something about her, Tom had no idea what, drew him in. Maybe it was the way she even smiled when she wasn't completely happy. Maybe it was the way her hair danced in the light breeze. Maybe it was the way she pouted sweetly up at her mother when she didn't get her way. Whatever it was, it had Tom fascinated.
Tom hardly registered Mrs Cole shepherding them on. He turned his head as he walked, watching her, always watching her. When he finally entered the orphanage he was in a daze. He felt disappointment at the fact that he could no longer see Alice and at the same time he felt something else. Fear. It was an unknown emotion to him until now but his fascination with Alice scared him. He had never spoken to her, never properly met her and the only things he knew about her were her name and her physical appearance. Yet still, she interested and intrigued him in a way that frightened him out of his mind. Never before in his life had anyone held his interest the way she did. Never before had anyone held his interest, full stop.
Tom came to his senses with an almighty shock. What was he thinking? Or who was he thinking of? Or why in the world was he thinking so much about this someone? He didn't know. He pushed Alice to the back of his thoughts, not wanted to even admit to himself that he had been thinking of her. What was special about her, really? Not much, as far as he could see. She was a typical, average five year old – not particularly tall or short and he knew nothing of her personality that would interest him. No, he managed to persuade himself, he didn't think any differently of Alice than he did of anyone else. She was just the first girl he'd seen in a while who he hadn't lived in the same building with for ages and he was giving her an analysis. That was it. He was just comparing her to the other girls he knew… Tom's constant reassurances to himself actually made him believe what he was thinking and made the lie more believable to himself. By the end of the meal, he was positive that Alice would never be on his thoughts so much again. He was completely convinced of this.
Going to bed that night he went through his normal routine of getting himself ready for bed while brushing off anyone's attempts to help him. It all seemed normal yet Tom could feel the difference in the air. Alice was locked at the back of his head so he let his thoughts stray to the weird and wonderful power he had, remembering the effects he had felt of it. That was the difference, he was sure. The fact he now knew for certain that he was different and special and he had proof of that. Real, solid evidence and witnesses too, although they were not sure what they had seen and had dismissed it. Yes, there was no denying it now. He was powerful. He couldn't stop the slow and slightly scary smile that stretched across his face. The things he could do with this power…
Like get a proper family…
Lying in bed that night, Tom found it impossible to push away the thoughts he had managed to repress for the whole evening. They came flooding over him, an irresistible tide, invading his head and making it impossible for him to think of anything else. And that angered him. Really, really angered him. He hated having no control over his thoughts and he hated the girl who he couldn't stop thinking of. Really? A girl? he asked himself in his head. Not even an interesting one at that. Just a normal, average human girl. Nothing different. Nothing special. Unlike him. He wasn't average at all. He was special. So why should he find anything remarkable about someone who wasn't? He had no idea. He hated the fact that she wouldn't leave his thoughts and for that reason and that reason alone, he detested her.
Groaning, Tom tossed and turned, trying his hardest to sleep. Maybe in the morning all this weirdness about her would be gone. Maybe. He sighed, turned onto his back and (for about the billionth time that night) checked the time. Ten past ten. Two minutes later than when he had last looked at the clock and he was definitely no closer to getting to sleep. He rolled over back onto his front again, stretching out then curling up into a ball, hoping that one of the positions he attempted to sleep in would work and he would finally be taken off into the wonderful world of sleep. He didn't expect it to happen but hey, a boy can hope, right? Just like he could hope that he would never meet, see, hear the name of or even think of Alice again… Sighing once more, Tom buried his face into the pillow. Yes, he could hope but he knew for sure that it wasn't going to happen. He no longer had any control over what he was thinking. And that was bad. Very bad. Completely awful. He knew for sure that he would be tossing and turning all night and would look like hell in the morning. Not that he minded about the last thing. That would scare other people away, just like the black mood he was sure to have would as well. And other people would probably include Alice. Realising that involuntarily he had let his thoughts drift back to Alice, he let his feelings out by screaming loudly into his pillow.
Tom was up for a long night…
I know that Tom seems out of character in this but remember this is before he went completely evil and he is just a clever six year old who hates his home and his name.
I hope you all liked this chapter.
Please review – good or bad, I don't mind!