He couldn’t think of step four.
Outside it was raining and it was gloomy, but inside it was worse. The other Orphans were doing stupid things. Wasting what time they had to themselves. Pawns in a chessboard controlled by something greater than themselves. Only one person did not join in their trivial games.
But he was planning.
Planning a strategy that would give him whatever he wanted; whatever that was. And maybe at this moment he did not know exactly what his deepest desire was, but that didn’t matter anyway. All that mattered was that he was in charge.
And that he, Tom Marvolo Riddle, had control.
Because unlike the rest of the Orphans living in this nightmare, he had a plan to get out. To escape.
It really was brilliant, he decided, sitting at his favorite chipped wooden desk. But, then again, he was brilliant and the other children certainly paid mind to that. He could do things that they could not, and that was common knowledge. Like Susan Rogg’s diary; he had nicked it when she was asleep. He had read it, too. Not that it was interesting. The ninny had wasted two hundred pages on how much she wanted a family and how much she missed her old one. She never mentioned him once. It was trash long before he threw it in the fire.
And Milo Singer’s picture. He had obsessed over the stupid thing. Always had. The moment lessons were over, there he was, holding the old Polaroid and lost (again) in his own world.
It had annoyed Tom.
So, one day when Milo’s back was turned, Tom had concentrated real hard on the picture, and found it at his feet.
He had been eight years old.
Tom remembered staring at the man and woman and the little boys standing in front of some garden somewhere. He had studied the happiness on the kids’ faces, how they smiled at the camera and held their parents’ hands.
It had made him angry. Very angry.
He had destroyed it that night.
And, most recently, shrimpy little Billy Strubbs. The other orphan had approached him after lunch, looking to pick a fight.
“Hey!” He had shouted, his gaze threatening.
Tom had felt rather amused, what on earth did the dwarf (as Tom had taken to calling him in his mind.) want? So, he had turned, his interest sincere.
“What'd you do to Amy?” Billy demanded, suddenly right in front of Tom. It was humorous, Tom realized, how much Billy had to crane his neck to see into his face. Pathetic.
“I didn't do nothing to her.”
Billy had rolled his eyes right then and there, and something about that triggered something in Tom. He was being made fun of.
“Yeah? Then how come she won't talk to none of us, eh? How come!”
“I didn't do nothing to her!”
Billy clenched his fists and turned to speak to the gathering crowd. “He’s lying! Liar, liar, pants on fire!”
Liar, liar pants on fire. Liar, liar pants on fire. Liar, liar, pants on fire...
They were all chanting it now. Their voices joining together to make one taunting voice that echoed in his ears and pushed away all thoughts of sanity.
Liar, liar, pants on fire...
No, he wouldn’t think about that now. Not now. He slammed a fist down onto the old desk and cried out in frustration. In the corner of his eye, he saw three younger children hurry away, casting fearful glances in his direction.
He smiled, crossing off something on his paper.
Starting at the sound of his name, he looked up quickly. It was Avery.
If he, Tom, had ever come close to having a friend (no, an ally. There were no friends. Just those who are with you, and those who are not), it was Avery. They were not close. But he was the one person Tom could talk to, the one person who did not back away when he stood up. The one person who would not taunt him, would not call him insane.
But no. They were not friends. They simply agreed.
He looked uncomfortable. Guilty. Why did he look guilty?
“What?” Tom couldn’t believe this. The one person who knew his plan, and, what’s more, agreed with it, wasn’t staying. He began to get mad.
Avery spoke in a hurry. “It’s my uncle Wilhelm. He says it’s finally time for me to come with him and go to some special school. I told him to take you, too, cuz you’re smarter than me, but he says he’s not sure you’re what they’re looking for.”
No sooner had Avery finished than Tom knew what was going on.
“They’re taking you away. Away to the asylum! They’ll lock you up and eat the key and never let you out again-,”
“Tom! It’s a school! besides, I’m not insane like-,” He broke off, suddenly looking scared.
“Like me? That what you were going to say? Insane like me.” He was angry now. “So you’re saying that your uncle should just lock me up because I can do stuff nobody else can!”
Avery was looking desperate now. “No! I’m saying I can do things, too, Tom. You’re not the only one. You’re not as special as you think you are!”
Now, this Tom found interesting. He had thought he was the only one. But, he reasoned quickly, it was possible that Avery could have whatever he had.
This made his aly a threat. Tom snapped to rapt attention.
“What can you do?” He demanded savagely, narrowing his eyes at Avery, trying to conceal the surprise from his voice. To his pleasure, he sounded cold and mildy curious.
“I can make stuff do what I want it to, sometimes. Like, if I don’t wanna take a test, I can get teacher to cancel it. Or if I-,”
And he had gone on and on, and Tom had listened. He was not sure if he believed Avery, or if he thought the asylum might be the right place for the other boy. Maybe this was why he scared all the others (even Billy. Especially Billy.), but not Avery. He was the one thing standing in the way of The Plan. The stone in the way of the path.
Tom suddenly felt threatened, and he fought to control his breathing. Show no signs that he’s gotten to you. Show no signs. Show no signs...
“I’m leaving now.” Avery finished, looking at Tom intently.
He didn’t need an ally. He didn’t need anyone. He never had, and he never would!
“Get away from me.” He said lowly, menacingly.
Avery had left.
But Tom would make sure it was not the last time they ever spoke.
Looking at his hands, he fought the urge to scream out in victory, how he, Tom Marvolo Riddle, would show everyone just who he was.
It was all in his plan.
1. Make them afraid
2. Show them who’s boss
3. Control them
And then after he had done all that...What would he do? What was step four?
What was there left to do?
Take over the government? The world?
That was child’s play.
He wanted more.
The next day, a strange man in a plum suit said he was going to a school.
He only looked back once as they left the old building behind.
(because now he knew what step four was.)
And he laughed as a window shattered into a million tiny pieces.
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