Chapter three- Visitation

Again Tom stood, waiting in Ms. Cole’s office. He restrained himself from smelling that darn Brandy bottle again as to not experience a total déjà vu. As Ms.Cole walked into the door, her expression reminded Tom of steaming tea kettle, anger blowing like steam from the top of her head. Just like extremely hot tea, Tom did not care much for consuming the wrath he knew was coming.

Ms. Cole sat down behind her desk for a split second before standing up again, her agitation making her extremely agile, Tom had to admire the spring like jump. She walked in front of him, making her self likely to start, but as she had drawn her breath in, moving her hands in her normal emphasis mode fashion, she stopped. She stared at Tom for a little while. It probably lasted for around ten seconds but Tom felt it was much, much longer. At least it was long enough to start wondering if she might not give her furious speech, speech he had heard all too often, by now he almost knew it by heart.

His hopes were crushed only seconds after the thought had surfaced in his mind. It was as if the lid had been taken from the kettle and excessive steam poured out in colossal proportions. Not only were the old parts lectured with an unusual force but the speech contained couple of new parts, never heard before by anyone in the orphanage, and although Tom did not know that at the time, never to be heard by anyone else in Ms. Cole’s time at the orphanage. Tom wondered how she would react if he would compliment her powerful speech style, matching historical figures such as Otto Von Bismarck. He decided against it, as it would, apart from infuriating her even further; require an explanation of how he knew about Otto Von Bismarck. He had not, strictly speaking, well, not in any manner of speaking, been allowed to take the books from Ms. McCollum’s room.

Since he had learned how to read, at the age of five, he had absorbed all knowledge he could possibly get his hand on. He especially liked a series of history books that Ms. McCollum had in her room. This series of books, bound in thick, dark brown leather covers described the lives of the greatest leaders in human history.
“One day they will write about me.” He had thought as he read about the lives of people such as Caesar, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and his favorite, Otto Von Bismarck.

He pulled him self from those thoughts as he could hear that Ms. Cole was starting to slow down. He knew he had to listen to the end because there was the summary of the whole speech, and in order to keep her calm and to seem remorseful he always repeated some of the key things while Ms. Cole nodded feverishly in agreement.

”…And although the poor little children seem to terrified to speak about what happened in that cave it was way out of bounds and Billy saw you pull them down there, so it is your responsibility and you will not get away without a punishment this time!”
Tom was struck by anger. He did not care at all about punishment. Normal punishment would involve some cleaning duties and a ban from outdoor activities for couple of days, the length depending on the seriousness of the offense.

The time he had alone in the house he used to get new books from the rooms of the staff and returning old books, besides he could always sneak out of the canteen window that faced the woods that lay behind to the orphanage. No, the punishment was not what had struck Tom in her words. It was the fact that some one had ratted him out, that some one being Billy Stubs. He would get his punishment. Ohh yes he would. The anger that built up inside of him prevented him from doing his normal remorseful routine and he retorted.
”Billy, Billy Stubbs, you take his words over mine?” He quite literally spat as he spoke the name.
”Well given his record and yours,” she paused for a second, “then yes, does that surprise you?”
”Billy Stubbs,” Tom spoke his name very slow, “an eight year old brat, that can not speak properly, failing on letters like s or r, a brat that can not read even the simplest of texts, a brat that can not add or subtract anything that hasn’t to do with food. You take the words of that drooling moron over my words?” Tom’s face expressed fury and disbelieve.
Ms. Cole fumbled for a second, seemingly looking for words.
“First of all, don’t call your friends brats, that is not the way for a boy to speak.” She was pointing at Tom apparently still searching for the correct words to phrase her opinion.
“Although Billy might not be the sharpest kid around, he is honest and for that matter, he is probably not clever enough to try to lie to me.” Ms.Cole shrugged as she said that, it was hard for her to say bad things about the kids she cared for so much, but truth had to be told here. Even Tom had to admit that she had something there, but before he could think up an insulting answer Ms. Cole continued;
”You, on the other hand, you have always been a very different kid, I think you were three years old when you first tried to deceive me, only just beginning to speak and already in trouble. Sometimes I feel like I am dealing with a teenager not an eleven year old boy.”
”I am not a teenager!” Tom snorted.
“I know, I know my ch…” Ms. Cole had begun answering before Tom cut her out.
”I am a young adult!” He stated that with such confidence and force that Ms. Cole saw no point in debating that point.
”Indeed you act as one, but growing up to fast can be dangerous for you, already you are detached from all the other kids, getting in trouble regularly and on the whole, you look like a very unhappy kid, young adult.” She corrected her self instantly.

After five more minutes they were through with their meeting, Tom’s punishment had been decided, cleaning the kitchen and the attic. No outdoors activities for three days. After a quick dinner which he ate alone in the canteen since the other kids were all finished, he went up to his room. There he began his ritual, moving the bed, carving the line. One-thousand one-hundred forty-four he whispered before he moved the bed back in place. He opened the wardrobe, lifted the loose floorboard and took out the box. After admiring his trophies for an unusually long time, he placed the box back and lay down on his bed.
”Maybe he’ll come tomorrow,” he thought as he fell asleep dreaming about the events in the cave.

The next day he had only one thing on his mind, revenge. That nosy little brat, Billy Stubbs, had dared to speak against him. Such behavior could not go unpunished. As he made way to the canteen for breakfast he mulled over in his head how he could take his revenge without Ms. Cole being able to get him for it. He was on a very thin ice with her right now and he was not about to test her limits any further in the next couple of weeks.

He was brought from his thoughts as Ms. McCollum spoke to him.
”Turn the plate around boy, you sure are absent minded this morning.” She shook her head as she put the scrambled eggs on his plate. The whole canteen smelled like a frying pan and as Tom swallowed the first mouthful of his foul eggs he understood why they over salted it every morning. It was probably the only way to hide the taste of these old, foul eggs. Tom shrugged and looked around, the other kids did not seem to mind these sub standard meals at all. They ate it with enthusiasm as they talked, laughed and made an incredible mess all at once.

There he sat, Billy Stubbs, surrounded by the other boys, trying to talk with his mouth full, spattering eggs all over him self, the table and the floor, totally ignorant of the hammer of revenge about to fall upon him. That thought brought a shrill down Tom’s spine and he forced the rest of the dismal breakfast down with a smirk on his face.

After breakfast as the kids started putting on their shoes, ready to take their foolish games outside, Ms. Rondela, one of the helpers at the orphanage walked over to Tom and told him that he was to start his detention right away and was not allowed to join the other kids outside. Tom could not care less; this gave him the perfect opportunity to get into Billy’s room and find a way to get his revenge.

Ms. Rondela escorted him to the attic and told him to start with the boxes in the far corner and work his way towards the entrance. Tom had to make sure the boxes were closed properly so that rats and cockroaches could not get in them. Dust them and put them in neat stacks. Ms. Rondela left him there after telling him she would be back in two hours.

Tom quickly closed and dusted couple of boxes so that Ms. Rondela would not be able to claim that he hadn’t done his punishment. But as soon as hey felt confident he had done enough he went out onto the roof through a window. He knew that he could not walk down the stairs as Ms. Cole’s office was across the hall where the stair came down.

Out on the roof he looked around, he had gone out on the side facing the garden. It was the more risky side as the kids playing in the garden could see him. It was however the side in which Billy Stubbs room was so he was willing to take the risk of being seen. A risk he calculated to be marginal as those imbeciles never seemed to be aware of anything in their surrounding, which probably was a good thing or they would all find out how insignificant they and their stupid games were.

Tom moved slowly but steadily on the, once brown, clay tiles until he was above the window of Billy Stubbs room. He carefully lowered himself to the windowsill and just as he had hope the window did not have its latch on so he could open it up from the outside. Inside there were two bunks and two closets. Tom shuddered at the thought of sharing a room with three other. He had often been in rooms with others while he was younger but soon enough Ms. Cole gave up and gave Tom one of the private rooms.

Now that he was inside the room Tom realized he had no idea what he was doing there. He wanted revenge but he had so many different ways of hurting or humiliating Billy that a simple theft or vandalism seemed insignificant and crude, completely below his respect. He was angry at himself for being so prematurely impulsive, for not thinking his plan through that he walked out of the room to the hallway without giving it a second thought. As he walked towards his room Ms. Rondela spotted him and started calling after him. Tom was so deep in his thoughts that he barely noticed her calling him. But as she got closer the noise became louder and more persistent and started penetrating his thoughts. Annoyed at this interruption he carelessly swatted his hand at the sound, as if brushing a fly away. The noise stopped and he walked gloomily to his room, without looking back at Ms. Rondela that stood rooted as if she had turned into stone.

Inside his room Tom just sat at the brick of his bed. Thinking over why he had gone into Billy’s room, what he should do to punish that brat and how he would deal with Ms. Cole that was increasingly getting on his nerves. Then he realized he was supposed to be up in the attic and was about to stand up and go there when there was a strong but gentle knock on the door. Tom thought that he would see Ms. Cole on the outside, furious with him leaving the attic. He slowly stood up and tried to think up a reason for not being in the attic serving his punishment. He reluctantly opened the door but instead of the plump figure of Ms. Cole he had expected, a man, in his mid fifties, wearing the most peculiar clothes stood tall, looking at Tom over a half moon spectacles that hung inexplicably low on his long crooked nose.

Tom stood there, not knowing what to do. Orphanage is not exactly a place crowded with visitors, and this visitor had an energy about him that made Tom feel awe, respect and resentment, all at once.
“Are you going to stand there watching me or invite me in, young man?” The man asked. Tom instantly liked the fact that he had been called a young man but was still confused so instead of replying he just opened the door wider and stepped aside to make space for this intriguing visitor.

“Since you are not in a very talkative mood let me introduce my self.” The visitor started as he walked into the room.
“Albus Brian Wulferidge Percival Dumbledore, professor at Hogwarts School of magic and wizardry.”
Tom stopped in his track but not out of surprise or lack of understanding. Quite on the contrary, it all made sense now. Mr. Dumbledore watched him curiously.
“You do not seem all that surprised Tom, most children raised outside of the magical community have a very hard time understanding that they have magical abilities and that there is a special school for witches and wizards. Tom, you are a wizard.”
Tom nodded his head.
“I knew it. I knew I was not like those idiots in this disgusting place.”
Mr. Dumbledore shook his head slightly and his stare into Tom’s eyes seemed to be piercing through his head.
“I know it can be difficult being different and not understanding why, but never ever can you think of your fellow humans with such contempt. These kinds of thought will lead you down a dark and lonely path, path that no one should ever have to walk.”
Tom felt a surge of impatient and anger flash through him.
“Don’t you dare talk down to me as well. I am fully aware that I can not openly say how stupid these brats are. Ms. Cole has made that clear to me on more than one occasion. I just thought that as you are different as well, you would understand.”
Mr. Dumbledore’s face softened a little.
“I understand being different is not easy, but hatred and contempt I do not understand. But you are still young and you have enough time to learn and see how much more rewarding the path of love is.”
“I don’t care much about this path of love; no one has ever loved me so why should I love anyone. But where and when can I start in this school? Also I don’t have any money but I can get the money needed. I have to get out of this place.”
“And you will. Here is a letter with all the information you will need. A representative from the school will come on Wednesday the 27th of August to take you to Diagonal Alley where you will get the supplies needed. We do not under any circumstances tolerate stealing so here is a small bag of money you can use to buy your supplies. I also strongly suggest you return the yo-yo, thimble and moth organ before you come to Hogwarts.”
Tom was stricken by the fact that this strange visitor knew about his prizes. Had he told anyone, would he tell anyone? He felt a knot forming in his stomach and anger rising to his head.
Mr. Dumbledore smiled and seemed completely aware of Tom’s internal struggle. He clapped Tom on the back and said:
”Well, I will give you time to think this over. All the information you need is in the envelope. I better get going and help Ms. Rondella before anyone sees her in that state.”
With that he walked to the door and left. Tom sat there wondering what the hell had happened! He didn’t even realize what Mr. Dumbledore had said about Ms. Rondella until he had left the room.

Tom stood up and opened a crack on his door and looked out to the hallway. Mr.Dumbledore stood there over Ms.Rondella who was lying on the floor completely rigid.
Mr.Dumbledore mumbled something and waved a stick.
Ms. Rondella sprang up and was about to shout something at Mr. Dumbledore but just as the words were about to explode from her thin neck, he flicked his stick again, touched Ms. Rondella’s temple with it and she fell quite again.
Mr. Dumbledore walked away but as he was just about to turn the corner he looked back at that small crack in Tom’s door and directly into his eyes. The look in Mr. Dumbledore’s eyes was a mixture of interest and sadness. It made Tom feel very insecure and uneasy so he shut the door and sat on the floor.
Voldemort is my past, present and future.