Disclaimer: I obviously don't own the DaVinci Code.

This is the prologue to the story.

They had been living this way since before he could remember. Small house, no windows, candlelight to bright the rooms in their dim, flickering fashion. The doors were tall and narrow - intimidating, some might say. Everything was covered in a fine film of dust; the dishes were always grimy.

The boy could not recall a time when his mother had not looked exhausted. He supposed she had been pretty at one time, but that time was far-gone now. The only memories he had of his father were of the loud, boastful man who drank too much and liked to sing French Revolution tunes after he'd drained a few bottles of wine and Irish whiskey. He could see the kitchen as it was, the scrubbed wooden table - dirty, as always - crumbs of bread on the spindly chairs, an upturned glass resting in the middle, a puddle of what he reckoned was milk once seeping slowly out and onto the scarred wood.

Maman sat always to the left of Papa, who was at the head. the boy sat across from his mother, never daring to glance up from his plate, lest he see her dead eyes, icy blue in the gathering dark. Their house was always dark, for as long as he had lived there.

'Ghosts do not need light, eh?' Papa said, ruffling his hair with a clumsy hand.

Ghosts never needed the light. Ghosts thrived in darkness. When he was younger, Papa would stand him before the mirror on the western wall and make him stare.

'Look at yourself, boy. Look at the monster God has made you.' He would glance at the cieling, brown eyes raised to the heavens. 'This is my punishment, eh? I think I am repented and get myself a new life, a nice house, and this is what you give me? A ghost? Est-ce que c'est à être ma vie? Pour souffrir ici avec ce morceau et son ordinateur de secours foutu? Pourquoi me punissez-vous?'

The boy would listen, and stare into the glass, and hate what he saw. He hated the pale flesh and the red eyes. Why did this God have to make him so? Why could he not have been blue-eyed like his mother? His father would clap a great meaty hand onto the boy's shoulder, and he would stiffen, flinch away. After a few years, the boy knew to come to the glass, even without his father. Every Monday after dinner he would stumble over, stare into his reflection, and loathe every inch of the waif-like creature that glared back. Skinny, bony, crooked teeth. Red eyes, white hair, and milky skin.

'I am a ghost,' he would hiss. 'I am a ghost.'

Afterward, he would sit by the stove, testing the hot coals with slender fingers until the skin burned blood red.