Deviant Art

The Boy of Riddles

By Crystal Lu (flyingwildfyre)

Twisted from Harry Potter

It was half-past 12 when the Riddles decided to venture out into the valley. Little wisps of cirrus clouds danced along the forget-me-not sky, as the sun stood proudly at its peak. Tom Riddle Sr. stood by the old yew tree at the edge of the glen. He had one of his arms wrapped protectively around his wife, Merope, and the other rested gently on the tree’s scaly bark. Little Tom Riddle flitted around energetically by the pond.

“I’ve found it!” he shouted, running back toward his mum and dad. His delicate hands were on top of one another to prevent his discovery from escaping.

“Found what?” asked Tom Sr.

“A toad, of course!”

In his cupped hands was a squat, speckled toad. It was a sparkly shade of emerald green that reminded Little Tom of his mother’s eyes. The toad let out a low croak that sounded like a strangled burp. Little Tom giggled, and almost dropped his pet.

“I’ve named him Croaky,” announced Little Tom. Tom Sr. ruffled his son’s hair.

“That’s mighty original,” he said. Tom Sr. couldn’t help but smile at his son’s youthful innocence.

There was a sudden burst of white light enveloping the spotted creature. Little Tom gasped. He swore he saw something moving inside it. He could no longer feel Croaky sitting on his fingers. As the light faded, Little Tom couldn’t believe his eyes. Delicate green wings tickled his palms, as he examined the new creature.

“Dad, look! I’ve turned the toad into a butterfly!” he shouted, hopping enthusiastically. Tom Sr. glanced at the insect. His eyes widened.

“You’ve got some strong magic, Junior!” acknowledged Tom Sr. Little Tom grinned, and released the butterfly. It stretched its emerald wings before flying through the air, and into the sky.

“Farewell!” Little Tom waved. Once he was sure that the butterfly had left safely, he turned back toward the small pond, and began searching for another frog.

“I always forget that you’re a witch,” said Tom Sr.

“Squib,” Merope corrected. Tom Sr. smiled.

“Even without magic, you managed to charm me.” Merope rolled her eyes, but she couldn’t hide her faint smile.

“You only liked me because of the potion.”

“Well, I’m mighty glad that wore off. Now, I can truly love you,” said Tom Sr., pecking his wife on the cheek. Merope reddened slightly, but quickly regained her composure.

“I’m so lucky,” she sighed.

“Don’t you mean, we’re so lucky?” corrected Tom Sr.

We’re so lucky,” Merope agreed.

“Five more minutes until you turn 11, Junior,” said Tom Riddle Sr., capturing Little Tom’s bishop. Little Tom’s face scrunched up in frustration. He tapped his fingers on the table, scraping his mind for a move that wouldn’t put him in a vulnerable position.

“It’s not fair,” whined Little Tom.

“Don’t be a sore loser,” Tom Sr. grinned.

“I haven’t lost, yet!” As the two argued playfully, Merope gently set down the platter of cupcakes that she baked for Little Tom’s birthday. They were his favourite: fairy cakes with purple buttercream frosting.

“One more minute,” she said. Tom Sr. feigned tiredness, and yawned. He stretched his arms, and rubbed his eyes.

“Looks like it’s time for bed, Junior,” he said dramatically. Little Tom shook his head angrily.

“No way! I’m almost 11.”

“Well, it’s almost 11 o’clock, and that’s way past your bedtime,” said Tom Sr. Little Tom groaned.

“Aw … Dad! Could I please stay up just a little longer? Just until I turn 11,” Little Tom pleaded. Tom Sr.’s eyes twinkled. He let out a breathy laugh.

“Sure, kiddo.” Little Tom cheered, giving his father an enormous hug. His eyes shot toward the antique clock mounted on the wall. His heartbeat raced, as the seconds ticked by.

“Five, four,” counted Little Tom.

“Three, two,” said Merope.

“One,” whispered Little Tom.

“Happy Birthday!” Merope and Tom Sr. shouted in unison, both squishing Little Tom into a hug. He hugged back tightly.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Tom Sr. stiffened, and broke the hug.

“Now, who could it be at this hour?” he asked. Merope shuddered. She knew it couldn’t be her father. Marvolo had disowned her after he found out about her marriage with a Muggle. Still …

Merope shivered, as the door opened, letting in a chilly December night breeze. Merope half expected her father to jump out at her from the shadows, but no such thing happened. Instead, a pale moon-coloured snowy owl flew in. It soared into the humble abode, and dropped a thin brown square into Little Tom’s lap.

“Well, what is it?” asked Tom Sr. nervously, latching the door shut. Little Tom stared curiously at the envelope. It was made of a thick, creamy paper, and stamped with a seal that he didn’t recognize. He turned it over, revealing a green address:

Mr T. Riddle Jr.
The Second Bedroom
The Other Side of the Valley
Little Hangleton, England

Little Tom meticulously pried off the bright red seal, and pulled out the yellowish letter. He carefully unfolded it, and read:

Headmaster: Armando Dippet

Dear Mr. Riddle Jr.,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.

Yours sincerely,
Albus Dumbledore
Deputy Headmaster

“A wizarding school, Mum! They’ve accepted me to go!” shouted Little Tom, handing Merope the letter. Her eyes swiftly scanned the writing; her shoulders relaxed as she read further down the page.

“It’s just Hogwarts,” explained Merope. “Most wizards are accepted into a school when they turn 11.”

“Look, Dad! They’ve attached a second letter with all of the equipment I need to bring, and it says I can bring a pet! It says ‘students may also bring an owl or a cat or a toad.’ May I bring Croaky II? You won’t miss him too much, right?” Tom Sr. chuckled.

“Do you think we can afford this?” Merope whispered.

“Of course we’ll be able to,” reassured Tom Sr. He gave her hand a squeeze, and she gave him a hopeful smile in return.

“I don’t think the cost is what we should be worrying about. Where in the world will we find all of this? I don’t think we’ll be able to find a cauldron in town,” said Little Tom sadly.

“Diagon Alley, of course,” said Merope as a matter-of-fact. “It’s even got a wand shop.” Little Tom brightened.

“A wand of my very own? Oh, Dad, may we go now? I’m far too excited to go to bed!” Tom Sr. smiled, but shook his head.

“Maybe in a couple days after the new year, Junior. It’s late, and you need to be getting to bed.”

“Aw … But you promise to bring me in a couple of days? Please!” pleaded Little Tom.

“I promise,” Tom Sr. said solemnly. Little Tom seemed satisfied with the answer, so he proceeded up the stairs in a hurry. Merope carefully climbed up the steps after him.

“I hope a couple of days goes by quickly,” Little Tom mumbled, disappearing into his room. Tom Sr. cleaned up some of the toys, and placed the platter of fairy cakes in the fridge. When he was about to head up and retire for the night, he noticed that the chess set was still lying about. Tom Sr. glanced at the pieces, and moved his queen.


The Riddles arrived on Diagon Alley early in the morning. There were few customers lingering around, which gave Little Tom the perfect opportunity to explore the vast streets. After the Riddles had traded some Muggle pounds for some galleons, they decided to split up. Tom Sr. headed to Flourish and Blotts to purchase Little Tom’s schoolbooks, whereas Merope and Little Tom sauntered off to Madame Malkin’s to get him fitted.

The robe shop was bright and clean. Robes of every kind were hung on the racks. Little Tom eyed the bright yellow one. He wondered if they’d make an exception at Hogwarts, and let him wear that one instead of the plain standard black one. Little Tom hid behind his mum, as a witch dressed in mauve approached him.

“Hogwarts, dear?” she asked politely. Little Tom nodded nervously.

“Well, you’re just in luck! The shop is quite empty right now. We can fit you right away,” she said, dragging Little Tom to the back of the shop.

He was asked to stand on a footstool, as Madame Malkin draped a large black robe on Little Tom’s vertically challenged frame. He shifted anxiously, as she pinned the robe to the correct length. Next to Little Tom was a boy with bright red hair and an abundance of freckles. He was also being fit for a black robe.

“Hullo!” exclaimed the other boy. “Are you going to Hogwarts, too?”

“Yes,” replied Little Tom.

“My mum and dad are in Flourish and Blotts buying my books,” said the boy enthusiastically.

“So’s my dad! My mum’s at the front of the shop.”

“Blimey, what a coincidence! My name’s Septimus. Septimus Weasley,” introduced the boy.

“I’m Tom Riddle Jr., but everyone just calls me Little Tom,” said Little Tom. Septimus grinned excitedly.

“Brilliant! Do you play Quidditch?” he asked. Little Tom shook his head.

“What’s Quidditch?”

“It’s this totally rad game on broomsticks. I know first years aren’t allowed broomsticks, but I might be able to show you once we get to Hogwarts,” said Septimus. Little Tom nodded excitedly. Before he could answer, Madame Malkin slipped the robe off Little Tom’s small frame, and hung it on a rack.

“You’re done, m’boy,” she said. Little Tom thanked Madame Malkin, and waved good-bye to Septimus. He scurried to the front of the shop, where his mum waited.

“That wasn’t too bad, was it?” asked Merope. Little Tom shook his head. After paying Madame Malkin, Merope and Little Tom headed toward the wand shop, where Tom Sr. was to wait for them. As they entered the shop, they saw Tom Sr. conversing with the man behind the counter.

“Ah, welcome, Little Tom. I’ve been expecting you,” said the man.

“You have?” Little Tom blinked. The man’s eyes twinkled.

“Welcome to Ollivanders. Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 BC. I’m expecting that you need a wand then, young Riddle?”

“Yes, please,” Little Tom replied. In a fluid motion, Mr. Ollivander pulled out a long tape measure.

“Which is your wand arm?” Little Tom shrugged.

“Well, I’m left-handed,” he said, holding out his left arm. The tape measure began measuring Little Tom’s arm, his legs, and his head all on its own, before returning to its spot on the counter.

“How peculiar,” Little Tom mumbled. Mr. Ollivander swiftly pried the lid off one of the many rectangular boxes, and placed a thin wooden wand in Little Tom’s hand.

“Every Ollivander wand has a core of a powerful magical substance. You will never get such good results with another wizard’s wand, as no two wands are the same. Now give this one a little wave,” said Mr. Ollivander. Little Tom felt a little foolish, but waved the wand anyway. Almost immediately, Mr. Ollivander snatched it out of his hand. Little Tom tried another one, but this one too, was snatched back almost at once by Mr. Ollivander.

“Tricky customer, eh? Not to worry, we’ll find the perfect wand for you. Third time’s the charm,” he said, chuckling at his use of the Muggle phrase. His silvery eyes glowed mysteriously, as he handed Little Tom his third wand. When Little Tom waved it, a stream of energy flowed from the wand, appearing as a shower of gold sparks. He felt a warmness rise in his fingers, as if he was out in the valley on a warm summer day.

“Ah, bravo! Very good! And quite an unusual combination as well. Yew and phoenix feather, 13 and a half inches, nice and supple. You do good things with that wand, young Riddle,” counseled Mr. Ollivander. Little Tom nodded at Mr. Ollivander’s cryptic words, and paid him seven galleons.

“Well, have a nice day! I sure hope you have a wonderful time at Hogwarts.”

Steam billowed from the scarlet Hogwarts Express. It was 10 minutes to 11, and nearly time for departure. Little Tom embraced his mum and dad one more time.

“I’m going to miss you,” said Little Tom sadly. Merope and Tom Sr. suppressed their tears, and smiled.

“All young wizards have to start their journeys some day. Today is your day,” said Merope.

“You’ll write every day, won’t you?” asked Little Tom.

“Of course we will,” answered Tom Sr. He ruffled Little Tom’s curls one last time. Merope wiped a tear from her eye.

“Now, have you got your ticket? Your schoolbooks? Croaky II?”

“Yes, Mum,” said Little Tom. He knew that his schoolbooks were in his trunk, but he checked his shirt pocket one more time. His ticket was still there. Croaky II let out a happy burp from his spot in Little Tom’s pants pocket. When the train whistled, Little Tom waved good-bye to his parents. He wheeled his luggage onto the train, and entered a compartment. Little Tom continued to wave by the window, only this time, he was accompanied by a boy with red hair.

“Stay safe!” shouted Merope.

“Don’t get into too much trouble!” yelled Tom Sr.

“I won’t!” Little Tom replied. “I love you!”

As the train left the station, Merope and Tom Sr.’s hearts shattered a little when the boy with the dark curls disappeared. They held one another, trying to comfort each other.

“He’ll be okay, won’t he?” asked Merope. Tom Sr. nodded.

“Little Tom’s smart. He may not become the best wizard of all time, but he has good judgment. He’ll be a fine wizard. Good, responsible, and always there in times of need.”