Prologue: Him

It was dark, but that was nothing new; he couldn't remember the light, he couldn't even remember his own name. It was dark as he made his way through the walls and floors and darker still as he floated into the minds of all who slumbered in his domain.

The Others lay tendrils of fear, hate, and anger in their dreams at his behest, preparing the minds of the unsuspecting to be consumed by him. As he feasts, he ponders all that he knows: he knows the chill of the darkness as he moves through it, he knows the fearful cries of children as they wake from their mutated dreams, and he also knows the screams of the adults as they lose loved ones to his machinations. More than anything else, he knows the emptiness that grows within him as he feeds night after night. He doesn't know its name, but he knows its presence and the way it feels writhing under his skin, craving death and darkness and more.

He doesn't remember much, but the emptiness inside him has always been there, pulling beneath his skin to drag him further into nothingness. Sometimes he thinks he catches the tail end of a memory, sees the flash of brown hair on a young girl running past or hears the sounds of contented humming from far away, but he always loses them as the emptiness takes more of him. More and more is surrendered to the endless darkness, all that he was is gone, only a shadowed husk remains to float through the corridors and haunt the lives of those unfortunate enough to call the Huxley apartments home.

His sighs move objects, his moans crack walls, his presence absorbs the life of all those around him. His agony infects adults and his fear chokes the liveliness out of children, all amplified by the compounded negative emotions of the Others. Day or night he does not relent, needing to fill the unending void that keeps him here, trapped with the Others, though the Others would say they are trapped with him. Just as he was, the Others were stuck, tethered to the Huxley complex and suffocating under an oppressive weight they call Despair.

Unlike Despair, they can remember and they remember a time before him, a time where they were lonely and lost but still free to roam their cage. If they could, they would miss those days, before they became instruments of pain, hysteria, and death, but they can't and they don't. Each night is filled with reluctant spirits following a command to torment and collect that they cannot defy. They torment the residents, nurturing and encouraging negative feelings in order to fill their victim's souls with the essence necessary to sustain Despair. He wails into the night and the Others obey, prepping souls to be collected and eventually bringing them to his hiding place, watching as Despair consumes the swirling miasma of negative energy and leaves empty husks behind.