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Chapter 1: How To Stop An Exploding Man
“There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” -- Lord Voldemort to Quirrell (PS17).
He was just a boy. That was the part that they’d never seemed to understand. He was just a child. Tom Marvolo Riddle. Strange, little “Tommy Riddle” – not that he cared much for the name. And yet everyone treated him differently. There was a slight apprehension in the way the others looked at him, the way they spoke when he was within earshot. Peter Hocroft, William Moore – what made him so different from them? He looked just as he should, for a child of eight, nine and yes, even a child of eleven years of age - small, pale, with wide grey eyes. He kept his room tidy and his objects in order. He spoke politely and kept to himself, but surely that did not warrant such treatment? Surely that was no reason for fear?
He began to collect things. Not vindictively at first, but merely as a means of rebuilding his self worth – he was building his little empire of possessions around him. He was an orphan, he nothing of course. No mother, no father, no relatives to speak of. The other children got along well. They shared with one another, played with their toys. The other children did not share with Tom Riddle. He wasn’t sure what it was that made it so, what it was that made him so very unlikable to them all, but it was enough to get him started. Their neglect, their intolerance, planted a seed inside his soul that festered and grew and collected anger and hate. And so it was, that the darkness inside Tom Riddle was born and the monster inside him began to grow.
It grew inside him all his life, not once stopping, not even as he grew old. He believed it made him stronger, this hatred he harbored. He thought of it as armor, a shield around his heart. A blessing, he thought. He was free to do as he wished for hardened as he was, he could feel nothing at all – no love, no fear, nothing but cool, calm, determination. It was determination, after all, that fuelled his every action. He was determined to make his world a better place. Muggles. What happiness had they brought him? Muggles were callous. Muggles were cruel. Muggles were what had made him this way. He had gone through the most important part of ones life with no compassion and no love ever spared for or bestowed upon him. And as much as he did not want to admit it, Tom Riddle was hurt by this.
There was something wrong with him, of course there was - something somewhere deep inside his brain, something hidden away where no one could find it. Trauma, neglect, loneliness - his soft, impressionable, childhood mind had been scarred by these, so naturally, everything was not okay. He did not believe that people were born evil – as many people believed he had been. He believed that society and other people was what made people evil. Years on, after the hundreds of atrocities he had committed, after all the grief and fear and pain he had inflicted upon thousands, millions even, still he did not blame himself. In his heart, he whole-heartedly believed that all that he was doing, his every action was wholly justified by the fact that people had always been unfair to him. He was innocent, he had tried, Lord, he had tried. But what did that silly boy do when Tom tried to feed his rabbit? He cried and cried. Tom took the rabbit. What did that whiney girl do when Tom stored her ribbons away for safety? She told the teacher. Tom cut off her hair so she’d never have to use them again. What else was he meant to do? He wondered. He had tried to be nice.
He was a bomb. He could feel it in his bones, building up. There was a pressure in his skull, under his skins, in limbs, in his very fingers. Tick, tick, tick. At any moment it could happen. It could have happened at the orphanage when he was eight years old, it could have happened at Hogwarts. It could have happened as he walked down the main street of Hogsmeage Village on his way to The Hogs Head, but it did not. Instead the fuse buried its head and lay low inside his body, waiting for the opportune moment to strike, waiting for the perfect debut.
It happened when he was sixteen years old. Tom Riddle had made up his mind. He was a cursed man, he was half a man – thanks to his father’s neglect, abandonment and filthly muggle blood. He had come to the crux of it. It was all his fault. And so he went to Little Hangleton and murdered his father and grandparents and didn’t feel a thing. He didn’t feel a thing as he stood outside in the cold, looking up at their windows, seeing their silhouettes move and talk, laugh and sway. He didn’t feel a thing as noiselessly he forced open the door and moved across the threshold. He didn’t feel a thing when he walked into the room and saw a man and two other, who looked much like himself sitting at the table, silver in their hands.
“It’s a very nice evening,” He said as they yelled and panicked and rose to their feet, seeing the hard, cold gleam in his eyes. “I’m so sorry about this, really.” He raised his wand and laughed. “It’s so good to be with family!” Then with a flash of green, they died. And Tom Marvolo Riddle did not feel one thing. He wandered around the room for a moment and ate some food from their plates – it was still warm. After a time he arranged their bodies together, facing upwards, the fear still in their eyes. He almost wanted to laugh.
As he gazed down at their bodies his lips curled into a wry, bitter smile. It was true, he supposed. He really was the most evil man in the world.