Flashes Of The Future
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." Harvey Fierstein
lovely chapter image by Althea
Tom was alone, as was his custom. The other children had gone to play, as they always did. He didn’t want to play with them, get involved in their stupid games. They weren’t worth his time. Their games were childish, infantile. He was above that. He preferred to sit in his small, candlelit room and read. He read about different worlds, different planets. He read about people with ambition; people who were going to be somebody. People like him.
Enjoyment was an odd concept to Tom, but books brought him that. It provided him with an escape from the mundane, the useless. An escape and a solace. He savoured the minutes he had when reading. He loved when the boys were out. He didn’t have to keep up with the pretence of caring, of actually listening to what they said. He didn’t have to put up with the charade of being like them; a child. He could be himself, get lost in another world and think.
“Tom! Look at this, Tom. I found it when I was out, I did.”
It had to happen, it always happened. One of the useless, the worthless, had to interrupt him. They had to disrupt his silence. It was Billy Stubbs, as Tom had expected. Billy was always the one to interrupt, to annoy him. He didn’t understand boundaries or the concept of being alone.
“What is it?” Tom replied tiredly, placing his book on the bed and approaching the smaller boy. His dark eyes probed the Billy’s face, prodding him for an answer.
“It - it’s rabbit, Tom. Look!” Billy held the fluffy creature out, stroking it lovingly. “Mrs Cole, she said I can keep him. As long as I takes care of it, I can has it.”
Billy’s face lit in a grin; he was happy. Tom scowled, glaring at the creature: the white, defenceless thing
. He thought it looked ugly, repulsive. He hated rabbits; they were harmless, couldn’t protect themselves. He preferred reptiles, animals that could kill, could weaken. Animals that ruled and demanded respect. Rabbits were easily demolished, snakes were practically indestructible.
“It’s not staying in here,” he snapped, turning his back on the boy. Tom was a loner, but his voice and expressions had always demanded respect. His often strange behaviour was seen as creepy by many in the orphanage, and he relished in that. It kept the mildly intelligent away and the naïve, like Billy Stubbs, scared.
“B-but Tom, Mrs Cole said he is. He’s allowed, she told me. She said I just gotta feed him and then he’s okay.”
“Well, tell Mrs Cole to speak to me if she wants that little rat here,” Tom replied, picking his book back up.
He heard the sniffles from Billy as the boy left the room. He knew the boy was crying. Billy was weak. He cried at everything. He was pathetic. Tom didn’t like to associate with him, but Mrs Cole always forced him to. He hated Mrs Cole more than he hated rabbits. She was pathetic, always making rules, trying to make him conform. She had tried to make him play.
Tom recalled the trip to the seaside the previous summer with a smirk; it was the last time Mrs Cole had coerced him into playing. After an eventful trip to the caves, she had never attempted to again. He remembered the horrified look on her face when he had returned. The snakes had guided him to the caves, telling him what to do. They had relished in the pain Tom had caused the two children, just as he had. He still remembered the deafening pitch of their screams, the tears, the begging. They had begged for death and he hadn’t complied. He had prolonged their suffering. He had laughed along with the reptiles; it was the most happiness he had ever felt. He wanted it again. Craved that happiness, that sense of belonging, of importance. That feeling of power, control.
“Mrs Cole said I can keep him, Tom. She said to tell you I must keep him. She says you’ve gotta help with him, she did. Said it was good for you.”
It was Billy Stubbs, again. The boy had a knack for interrupting Tom at important moments.
A red mist descended over Tom’s vision, clouding everything, obscuring the view. He could not see clearly, could not think. Anger was the only emotion Tom felt. Anger. Rage. It was building, tearing at his insides, clawing, begging to be released. Tom succumbed, allowing the mist to overcome him, to guide his actions, form his words.
He was no longer Tom Riddle; he was rage.
“I will not
look after that thing. You take that thing
back where you found it, Billy Stubbs. You take it now.
” Tom hissed, his fists clenched. He jumped off his bed and propelled himself to where Billy and the creature, the rabbit, stood.
Billy was already crying, even before the rabbit had leaped from his grip. The tears were already flowing before Tom had pulled a discarded skipping rope from the floor. His face was already soaked when the rabbit magically, mysteriously climbed to the rafters. His nose was a crimson before he realised what was happening, before he saw the rabbit throw itself from the rafters, noose tied firmly around its neck.
He was sobbing by the time the rabbit had choked its final, painful breath.
Tom just stared at the lifeless creature, shock etching his features. He had thought about the rabbit dying, hanging, but he had never imagined his thoughts would become reality. He didn’t remember tying the cord around its neck. He remembered nothing, except his thoughts before the incident and the circling mist. He was sure that he had been the cause. He was certain that the rabbit had died because of him, even if he didn’t push it off the rafters himself. This thought excited him more than it should’ve.
He was special, different.
His mother, she was dead, nothing. His father had abandoned him. The children in the orphanage were nobodies, worthless in the grand scheme of life. Nobody would care if they died, nobody would cry for them. They were worthless. He would be different to them, to everybody in existence. He would be remembered, yearned for, worshiped. He was destined to be something, somebody special.
Everybody would know the name Tom Marvolo Riddle.
I hope that you enjoyed this story. It's probably the darkest thing I have written, so I am really unsure. I was extremely intimidated writing Tom, so any critique and comments are appreciated. This was written for ShelbyBlack's 'Human Condition' challenge on the forums, which provided the brilliant quote at the top. The quote is by Harvey Fierstein.