Gnarled faces began to follow my dreams. Only sometimes would they show themselves, but their carbon eyes were always watching me. The damage had been done. An active imagination is beaten from you at an age so slight it is barely even there. And yet, we remember. The nighttime spectres of our lesser years will remain, even if we do not realise. Mine revealed themselves many times as different. They were strange, apparently tormented or disturbed by what they found on closer encounters with my mind. I do not remember this, only from what I was told by my siblings of the screams that escaped as I slept. Soon the tendrils of subconscious reflection will swell into products of the woken being. Buttons tearing threads in their hope of freedom from such a common place. They will be released into reality, finding their place and their prey here. Suspicious creatures – products of my darkest beliefs.
They were my friends and my enemies. In the hushed and dead hours at the beginning of every day these gloomy creatures were friendly and showed me worlds so bright and coloured that I was inundated by light. At midday, when the town was once again silent and sleepy, they took me to a darker place. To the marshes that would become my home and my castle. To scenes of slaughter and treachery. Darkness in light and light in darkness. They taught me about the human mind, told me how to find the cracks and fill them, to create niches of my own design in the fabric of their hearts. I learnt that whatever beast or man you were, I could find the trap to lure you closer. A pretty maiden for a young man or a warm tavern for a lonely drunkard. Choose their deepest desire at that specific moment and manipulate it, devise a new and more intriguing object for them to follow. The whispers and fragments of idle conversations could be used to get inside a victim’s head and find their weaknesses. They showed me the rips and tears in the fabric of society, demonstrated things that no one of eleven should even know existed. I had been abruptly and inexplicably provided with a knowledge of how to lure even the bravest and most trustworthy of men to his grave. I made use of my lessons, just as any good student would aim to do.