It was the middle of summer of 1936 in London. That was where it all started. The city was busy and still booming with the new technology and style. It all seemed to be the center of the world. However, not all was happy in this bright lighted city of wonder. Our story begins on the most depressing place in all of London, Wool's Orphanage. The orphanage was small, miserable, old brick building that was covered in vines. It was run-down and battered, but still operating with some substantial comfort. Although such a dull and dingy place, the children there were well cared for. Well, decently well cared for, at least they weren't starving. Thankfully, many couples came by and many kids came and went.
All except one.
"He's such a strange boy."
Two of the workers at Wool's Orphanage were sitting at the old wood table by the kitchen, folding dish rags and clean clothes that had just been taken off the line. They sat gossiping about the same old thing, like middle-aged woman do in their spare time.
"He always has been, ever since he was a born."
"Sometimes that kid really frightens me." the other woman admitted, folding another freshly cleaned dish rag. Both were trying not to peer over into the room across the way filled with playing children. However, it was pointless to try and fight the urge. They both sat at the table, blatantly staring at the subject of their conversation. It was a young boy, no more than eight years of age, sitting in the corner with his head buried into the same old book.
His name was Tom Riddle.
Even at this age he was incredibly good-looking, especially for an orphan too. His black hair was neat and his pale white skin was like porcelain. He was the pure image of childhood perfection. You'd think all he would be popular with the other kids, the one they'd all want on their team, the one who would be adopted straight away. However, in truth, everyone feared him above all else. He had a deathly glare that could be miles away and still give you shivers. Not to mention all the strange things that just seemed to happen around him.
The child was cursed.
Ever since the incident where Billy Stubbs's rabbit was hung from the rafters, by its ears, the rumor came around that said you would be cursed if you even so much as look at him. The orphans thought him pure evil, the devil in disguise. The adults and staff thought him possibly on track to becoming a sociopath. Even though no one could prove it was him, the rabbit didn't hang itself from the rafters, now did it?
It was all true. Well, mostly true…
You see he has these powers that make things happen, not exactly 'cursing', but abnormal powers. He has no idea why, but it's not like he's going to object to being out of the ordinary. From what Tom figures he was born with them, born an abnormal freak. Mrs. Cole, the head of the house, had told him his mother had been in the circus after all. He hadn't really gained much control over his powers and awareness, until a few years ago. Since then, however, he's used them to torment and to torture the other orphans of the orphanage and everyone has left him alone out of the fear that they're going next. Of course, it's not like he objects. He would rather been left alone anyway. Everyone around him was filth. There wasn't anyone there worth talking to or befriending. All of them were dull and normal. They didn't get what it was like to have all this power and be so viciously different.
Tom looked up from his reading to give the two women blatantly staring at him a glare of pure detest. They shot up from their seats immediately and started down the hall, clunking over their chairs in a desperate attempt to run away. He smirked to himself and went back to his reading, like he hadn't done anything. Tom only got in a few sentences when Mrs. Cole marched into the room with a little girl awkwardly shuffled behind her. She clapped her hands, getting the attention of all the kids in the room and they all gathered around her and the new arrival.
"Everyone I'd like to announce we have a new member joining us today. Please make her feel welcome." Mrs. Cole said. The kids tried looking behind her, to catch glimpses of this addition, but the girl was hiding silently behind Mrs. Cole, clutching on to her trunk. Tom was the only one to get a good view because he had refused to get out of the corner for something as trivial as a new girl. However, he did look at her. Tom had glanced at her out of curiosity and maybe the slightest hope for someone interesting. She was staring at him too, just staring at him. Her eyes were transfixed on the corner, like she was unsure if he was real or ghost. Tom pretended to go back to his book, in the hopes she would quit her incessant stare. Finally, she stopped and walked out in front of Mrs. Cole so everyone could see her. The girl appeared around Tom's age, her hair was down in wavy hazel locks that seemed to perfectly match her eyes, and she was wearing a peter pan collar floral dress that looked like it was made for a doll. She was rather plain looking, yet had some sort of radiance about her. There was something about her that seemed familiar to Tom; however there was no possible way he could've known her.
"Why don't you introduce yourself, dear?" Mrs. Cole smiled, gesturing with her hands to step closer to the kids. The girl remained her distance, but still spoke.
"I—m—Frankie and it's a pleasure to meet you all." she muttered, at the floor. A wave of whispers went through the crowd of kids, most likely judging her after only introducing herself.
"I'll take this." Mrs. Cole insisted, grabbing the trunk from her. Frankie look she wanted to protest, but didn't say anything. The second Mrs. Cole stepped out of the room the other girls immediately swarmed around her. Tom stopped staring as the annoying group began introducing themselves to this new girl. She was most likely going to become one of them within the hour. However, the more he stared at her the more out-of-place she seemed. It was odd, but she looked like she did not belong with them. Unexpectedly, she slipped out of the irritating group of girls and started shuffling towards him.
"Hello, my name is Frankie. What's yours?" she smiled, holding out her hand. Tom didn't answer her. Perhaps the other girls hadn't told her about him yet, which was strange because it seemed like their favorite thing was to tell stories of their run-ins with him in the past. Surely, they must've told her how strange he was, how he would curse her if she didn't stay away. It didn't matter if she didn't know right now, she would soon enough. No matter how different she seemed once she found out about him she would be the same as everyone else. He was just about to tell her to go away, when Amy Benson swooped in, grabbed Frankie's other hand, and pulled her back toward the group of girls.
"You shouldn't go near him." Amy gulped, once she believed they were at a safe enough distance.
"Why? He seemed really nice." Frankie stated, gazing back at him in the corner of room. Even though she never really got the chance to talk to him, he didn't seem all that bad. He actually looked kind of lonely, sitting there all alone.
"He's incredibly dangerous! You'll get cursed if you so much as look at him." Amy trembled. The other girls joined in on the paranoia, immediately knowing she was talking about Tom, and started telling their own stories about him. However, Frankie wasn't listening whatsoever, her gaze was still fixed on the boy himself. They were so afraid they wouldn't even use his name, as if saying it would curse you instantly. Why was everyone so afraid of him?
"Supper is ready!" Mrs. Cole called. Everyone hurried towards the door with tremendous speed, except Frankie and Tom. He sat unaffected by this sudden announcement, while she was wondering whether he had heard her or not. Amy came back and grabbed her once more, leaving Tom alone.
Once supper was over the kids were forced to return upstairs to their rooms, until the lights were supposed to go out. Frankie had not been showed her room, so she wandered the darkening upstairs corridor, lost. She didn't know what else to try, so Frankie decided to open one of the many doors, without knocking. Tom sat on the bed reading, in the dim light, looking no different than he had downstairs. He looked up and saw her awkwardly standing in his door way.
"What do you want?" Tom demanded, clearly angry by this sudden intrusion.
"I'm sorry. Mrs. Cole never showed me my room so I—"
"So, you just decided burst into people's rooms and disturb them. Brilliant idea." Tom remarked, having already mastered perfect sarcasm at eight years of age. Surprisingly, Frankie didn't take his anger and sarcasm to any offense.
She just smiled.
"Not a very well thought out plan I suppose." Frankie laughed. The laugh seemed to fill him. It kind of made him want to laugh as well. However, for someone like him laughing was pretty much impossible.
"If it's your room you're looking for it should be one right next to this one, number 26." he answered, pointing at the wall to his left.
"Thanks!" she remarked, giving him a small wave goodbye before shuffling out. The word filled him with something else. He had heard it somewhere before. Not just anybody's "thanks", her thanks. How was that possible? Why couldn't he remember? He dropped the notion in seconds, figuring it was pointless to try and solve it. Tom had just gone back to reading and read about a paragraph, when the door suddenly burst open again.
"I never got your name." Frankie added. She had rushed back just for that, to learn his name. She had acted as if it was the most important thing in the world. His common name.
"It's Tom. Tom Riddle" Tom answered.
"Ok then. Bye Tom! See you tomorrow!" she exclaimed, waving goodbye again as she closed the door once more. Tom stared blankly at the door for a while, confused about what just happened. She knew. The stories, all the whispers and rumors, he knew she knew them after Amy had pulled her away. This girl was utterly strange, yet another part of him kind of wished that once again she'd come flying through the door.