Childhood of the Dark Lord

My entry for the 'Battle of the Fandoms Competition'. The story of Tom Marvolo Riddle's childhood.

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1. Billy Stubbs

Screaming burst from the attic as Billy Stubbs stared up at the body swinging from the rafters. Its ears twitched and convulsed as its body shook. Its mouth stretched out in a silent scream that began to tear the sides of its mouth, the tiny rivulets of blood coating its mouth in a macabre parody of a smile. Its fur stood on end and quivered as little Billy Stubbs bounced up and down on the creaking floorboards in an attempt to reach it.

Tom Marvolo Riddle smiled from the shadows as he watched the floorboards strain and buckle under the boy’s weight. The dust that coated the wood floated upwards in calming, dizzying spirals around Billy’s legs and for just one moment, Tom felt a moment of pity for the boy. Poor Billy Stubbs was going to ruin his Sunday best clothes.

Tom eyed the screaming rabbit and his smile grew wider. He was the only orphan that smiled at the orphanage. The other’s had stopped smiling long ago, and they all wished he would do the same. For his smile was no friendlier than a viper poised ready to sink its fangs into your skin. Whilst normal children would give a toothy grin to show their happiness, Tom would hide his teeth. One of the many doctors that had visited Tom had suggested to Mrs Cole that the reason for this was that the boy was hiding secrets. Tom would listen at the door and smile. If only they knew.

The sound of thundering footsteps approaching the door stole the smile from Tom’s face. He was furious. He had wanted to play a little longer. Just long enough for the floorboards to break and for little Billy Stubbs to fall through the floor. Tom had wanted to smile as Billy clung onto the edges of the splintered boards and begged for his life. He had wanted to see the whitening of his knuckles as blood trickled from where the wood was cutting his skin. Tom had wanted to watch him fall and had wanted to listen to the symphony of Billy’s scream dance with the snapping of the boards. Tom had wanted to watch him hurt. Billy was supposed to die.

As the door slammed open and Mrs Cole emerged panting and red-faced, Tom eyes alit on the spot where Billy Stubbs was still bouncing furiously, his screams now bordering on the hysterical. Mrs Cole didn’t see the rabbit swinging from the rafters; she didn’t see Billy Stubbs’ outstretched hand clawing just inches from reaching the rabbit. She only saw the floor give way beneath him and his shocked and tearstained face as it turned to her and then dropped from sight.

She didn’t see Tom creep from the room with the unharmed rabbit curled up in has arms.

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