Tom threw a rock through Mrs Wilson’s window and waited with bated breath. Suddenly, it happened. The dreadful music stopped. His next instruction was to run as fast as he could but a strange curiosity rooted him to the spot. He ignored the pleas of Jackson and Renée, who were hiding behind a hedge of dying hydrangea, to get out of sight, but it was already too late. She was at the window.
Tom’s expression betrayed a hint of disappointment as he looked at the frail old woman. She looked nothing like the older boys in the orphanage had described. Just a kindly looking old woman who seemed to find all this rather amusing.
“Come now, little boy! Don’t you know ‘tis bad manners to be throwing rocks at people’s windows?” Mrs Wilson said, smiling condescendingly.
Tom stood there, mulling things over in his head. This wasn’t what he expected.
“Would you like some tea and scones, dear boy? I just baked some for myself but I think they should suffice for everyone. Even your two friends there in the bushes.”
As if on cue, Jackson and Renée emerged from the hydrangea, wary, but not wanting to pass up on a treat. The three of them walked to the front porch, where Mrs Wilson once again greeted them with her maternal smile.
“Hurry now, dears! Tea is getting cold now! But you mustn’t forget to wash up first!”
All cleaned up and smelling of lavender soap, Tom, Jackson, and Renée sat down at a rickety wooden table. Mrs Wilson bustled around, first placing a steaming pot of tea and then a rather largish plate of scones on the table. She never stopped talking.
“You boys are from the orphanage, aren’t you? No manners they teach you there, I must say. And starving you, from the looks of it. No meat on those bones either! Here, eat up now.
She watched proudly as the large pile of scones began to dwindle. She kept shooting questions about the orphanage and food. Jackson and Renée grew friendlier on a full stomach and answered most of her questions readily. Tom remained silent, watching the old woman intently.
Mrs Wilson brushed the final crumbs off each of their shirts once they were done.
“Off you go now, my dears. Back to that blasted home of yours before it gets dark. And don’t you go throwing rocks at good folks’ windows anymore!”
She looked pointedly at Tom, whose face bore a peculiar expression that she couldn’t fathom.
At last, Tom spoke. “The older boys said you were a witch. That you did magic and made bad things happen to others.”
The disappointment in the little boy’s voice unsettled her, but Mrs Wilson responded with a hearty laugh. “Now now, little one! Is that why you boys keep throwing rocks at my window? You shouldn’t believe these things that are meant to scare you. There is no such thing as magic. And see! I am just an old lady, aren’t I? I can’t hurt anyone!”
Tom fixed her with an ice-cold stare.
The next day, the local newspaper reported a rather shocking incident. The town recluse, an old lady named Mrs Wilson, and two kids from the nearby orphanage were found mysteriously dead in Wilson House. No one knew what the two kids, Jackson Preswick and Renée Maurier, were doing in the house. The authorities found out that the last person to see them was another kid from the orphanage who was playing nearby… a 10-year-old boy called Tom Marvolo Riddle.