Prologue

The beginning of the end

I stared around the remains of my old house. A thick coat of dust drifted down from the ceiling, covering me in a fine grey blanket. Huge cobwebs snapped against my brow, and hung from the rafters along with old pieces of discarded rope. My old clock was shattered on the floor, making me cringe with its sickening clicking. The rain from outside pounded at the walls and windows, dripping onto the wooden boards. Drip, click, drip, click. The wind whistled mournfully. The trees creaked and groaned outside. I shuddered.

A slightly hazy glow emerged from underneath the door to the next room. 'Strange,' I thought as I scrunched over the shards of glass that littered the dark floor. I placed one hand on the brass handle. It was uncannily cold. As I twisted the handle I wondered to myself 'What will be in this room?' The door swung open without a sound. 'Strange' I thought again.

The next room was largely surprising. It was nothing like I remembered it. The first thing that struck me was the bright, elaborately designed carpet that covered the floorboards. Shades of red, blue, yellow and green illuminated the space. It made my eyes ache. And if that wasn't enough, a large selection of scented candles flooded the walls with an eerie light. Lavender and jasmine. My eyelids fluttered. 'I must stay awake' I told myself. Large bookshelves were covered in thick brown volumes. Some looked very old. One book that particularly grabbed my attention was lead in the middle of the floor, surrounded by smooth rocks with strange blue symbols painted on them. I picked one up and placed it in my pocket. It felt strangely light for its size. I shrugged.

I wanted to investigate further but the clock in the other room attempted to chime five times. 'I better head back' I told myself. But there was something about the book in the middle of the room; I just had to get closer. Yet every step I took towards it was a massive effort. My head was spinning and my right hand was tingling like mad. I knew I should of left but it kept drawing me in. I reached out to touch it and coiled back in pain. A sharp stinging sensation travelled up my right arm and into my brain. I knew then I had to leave but it was too late. With tears streaming down my face, I clutched my head and staggered to the door…

And ran straight into the man in black.