Prologue – The Start
My mind had been plagued by dark dreams of fatal battles and tragic demises since I was six years old. Last night had been no exception. When my eyes had closed I had seen, as I had many times before, that horrible place where people died for the non-existent cause of trying to save the world from the hideous criminals which had infested its surface.
When I was six years old I had dreamed for the very first time of that monstrous place. The dark, overgrown forest which had seemed to close in on me and the forbidding trees which had scratched me and tried to pull me back as I ran. I ran so far into the stretching woodland that I lost my way and to try and go back would have resulted in my getting lost. So I slowed and walked until I could no longer walk, until I came to a smooth stone, it stood tall and proud in the ground and as if it should not have been there. I walked with trepidation around the stone which had captured my attention and taken my mind away from the fruitless attempts of my escape. I gasped as I saw what was carved into the rounded surface of the stone. A picture, of a man, a man not unlike my father who was laying with his arms crossed over his chest. The man was dead.
As I reached to touch the rippling surface of the stone, which seemed to shine although no light could possibly penetrate into the dense undergrowth which surrounded me, something moved behind me. Yet when my fingers reached the surface of the rock, they simply slid straight through. There seemed to be no substance to the rock and my arm followed the fingers which had already entered into the handsome stone. It felt cold inside, not like the humidity which clung to my body outside. My arm was up to the elbow was inside the stone and I thought that my hand would just pass straight through.
My fingers touched something calloused, yet soft, something squishy and apparently boney. This mysterious substance puzzled my young mind and, being curious as most six-year-olds are, I decided that if my hand was able to pass through the stone, then my head would also and I would be able to see what it was I was touching.
I opened my eyes inside the icy monument and screamed. Flesh, I was touching dead flesh. The flesh of my own father, who could not have been dead for long. He had not decomposed. The special stone tomb seemed to be keeping my father's body alive. My screams must have echoed through the house for, not a moment later, my mother had burst into the room where I used to sleep and woke me.
I had sobbed for hours in to my mother's chest as she shushed me and stroked my hair. She did not ask why, she did not move. When morning came we did not move. It must have been hours before the weeping subsided and my head had started pounding but it was the rumble of my stomach that brought my mother out of her reverie. She had pulled me up and carried me, as she had not done for years, to the kitchen where we ate in silence and then sat as the room darkened. I do not remember much after that but I know I must have slept with dreaming for when I next awoke, I was in my own room. In 1933, I had had the first dream, that had been it, the first of many each in different places with different horrors but each ending in the dead face of a friend, neighbour or family member.
The dream had reoccurred almost every night for years but I learned to control the screaming and my mother thought they had gone away, we agreed never to tell my father.
In 1939 my father was drafted into the war effort and taken from us just as we were getting back to normal, I was 12 years of age then and my dreams had all but stopped. Until that night when my father left and the dream came back with a vengeance which I was not expecting. My mother had sought out the company of other adults with the absence of my father and so she employed a nanny to look after me and to be a friend to her. We grew close as only a child and her nanny could and she listened. She listened more carefully than my mother who did not wish to speak of my dream.
My father rarely came home and when he did it was a cause for celebration. My mother would cook a meal more splendid than we were used to and we would laugh and smile at the luck which my father had. Just before my sixteenth birthday my mother has told us that she was expecting another baby which had shocked us all and that my father would be drafted out of the army due to the excellent service he had paid over the four years and be home when the baby was born.
I had entered my parents' bedroom on the morning of my birthday to wake them and found that my father was cold and pale. He had died, just like that, peacefully, in his sleep. Mother had been distraught and moved around the house like a ghost. I had sorted everything and he was placed in the family tomb in the town cemetery, the dreams were worse from then, but not the same. They then varied who they were about and what happened but were no less disturbing.
My mother was brought out of her haze by the birth of a bouncing baby boy and seemed to gain some of her old spring back with the addition to the family. He was named Alaric Daniel Jones after my grandfather and father respectively. As a family we grew back together and seemed to regain some of the normality we had lost during our grieving period. We moved on and forgot.