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Depth

The hot summer sun slanted down from the wide blue sky. It hit the village of Little Hangleton harshly, sending sharp glares off of the windows. Waves of oppressive heat shimmered down the streets. The village was quiet for a summer day.  Nothing moved in the lackadaisical weather.  A young man, dressed in black, walked down a dirt road, the dust rising up from his heavy, determined steps.  His stride was purposeful, driven.  He was taking the road that led up to the grand manor which sat on top of the hill overlooking Little Hangleton.  The house looked dismal and cruel, its walls austere and unapproachable.

As the young man made his way down the road, he saw tiny white and yellow flowers dotting the fields around him, which were nestled in between the dull, overbearing weeds.  Butterflies flew around the flowers, but their movements were slow, and weary.  The wind blew, and a sickly sweet smell rustled out of the nearby brush.  As the young man continued, the stench grew stronger, stinging his nose, and causing tears to form in the corners of his dry eyes.

 What could that stench be? thought the young man.  His hand hovered over his nose, partially blocking out the horrible scent.  As he walked down the road, presumably towards the foul odor, he scanned the fields around him, his black eyes scrutinizing every detail.

A little further up the road, he noticed a swarm of flies circling around a particular patch of grass.  When the young man approached the patch of grass to see what was causing the flies to swarm, he looked down into the glassy, dead eyes of a half-eaten rabbit, whose carcass was being ravaged by the insects.  The young man quickly turned his head away.  He hated the sight of death.  A cold tremor passed through him. Was that what would happen to him when he died?  He pushed the horror of the thought out of his head, instead continuing on down the road.

He had a purpose, a goal, and he was not going to be sidetracked by a little thing like death.  Death would soon no longer be a problem.  Still, the chill of seeing a rotting corpse swept through him again.  Icy tentacles reached down deep into his stomach, and riled up its contents.

Again he pushed aside his fear, as he passed his long fingers through his thick, black hair, and ran it over his smooth face.  One day, all of this would change, sag, recede, dry up and die. The young man shook his head.  This was not going to happen to him.  He was special, and special people didn’t succumb to a little thing like death.  He had found a way to defeat the Grim Reaper.

For Tom Riddle had measured the depth of his soul, and had found it was enough to live forever.

He continued down the road, contemplating on all the things he had done that had gotten him here and all the things he would soon do.  As he strode along, he slid his hand smoothly into his pocket.   Tom’s fingers grazed the cool, hard surface of the ring, his ring, as he ran his thumb over it in rhythmic, concentric circles.  He thought it a fitting new home for a portion of his soul.

Tom smiled as he thought about the ring. One of his goals for the day had been accomplished with incredible ease.  He had successfully retrieved his prize and that great fool Morfin’s wand. Though it hadn’t been particularly hard to do, Tom still felt as if it was a victory. The ring was proof that he was someone extraordinary; he and he alone was the last remaining heir to Slytherin, well soon to be the last.  Morfin Gaunt, who at that moment lay stunned on the floor of his deplorable hovel, was also an heir to Slytherin, but that wouldn’t last long.

Tom had reached the outer gate to the great Riddle estate. He stopped, and peered up at the towering manor with disgust, and excitement.  He was here to collect on a debt his father had never repaid.  The thrill of what it was he was about to do raced through his body, setting all of his senses to hyper-alertness.  He pulled the ring out of his pocket, and slid it snugly onto his index finger.  It seemed fitting that an heirloom associated with his mother’s side of his family was going to be present for what he planned to do next.

Tom Riddle remembered how he used to search for his father’s name, looking for any evidence that the one who had given him his magic had once been at Hogwarts.  He remembered all the feverish, late night investigations he had done.  He remembered the many ancestry books he had flipped through, each page promising hope, and each page turning into a horrible letdown.  The name of Tom Riddle had plagued his dreams.  He began looking for anything that may be tied to what he had supposed to be his magical ancestor.  Every book he looked through, every person he asked, every award he glanced at had all led to nothing.

When he had learned that it was not his father who had given him his ability, but was, in fact, his mother, Tom had never been more disappointed.  All his life, hope had never stayed with him, fleeing through his fingers like some finicky naiad.

A black hatred for all things Muggle began there.  His father was alive, but had abandoned his mother and himself because she was a witch; he had left Tom to live in the bleak existence of the orphanage.  It didn’t matter to Tom’s father that Tom’s mother had loved him.  It didn’t matter to his father that he had a son who bore his name. When this realization had finally sunk in to Tom, Riddle abandoned his name as his father had abandoned him.

That was also the time when love became a flimsy, unreliable substance to Tom. Love didn’t keep those you wanted from leaving, didn’t erase the past.  Love never wielded the scepter of power, or halted death.

And nothing, not love or compassion, would stop Tom from carrying out the revenge he had waited his entire life to exact. The depth of his hatred for his father was immeasurable, a bottomless pit of darkness.

Tom pulled Morfin’s wand out of his pocket.  His own wand lay snugly in his other pocket where the ring had been.

Alohomora!” Tom commanded.

The gate to the Riddle estate swung open, and Tom Riddle strode through it for the first time in his life.  There was no sense of homecoming, no feeling of completion. All he felt was his rage, and his exhilaration.  For him, this was a task he must complete, a long awaited revenge.  Once he was done, and he had laid the blame on Morfin, his next task was conquering death.

Tom Riddle smiled as he strode up to the front door of the manor.

"Depth", posted on March 5, 2009 at 8:03 pm
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