Prologue

"Can you feel that?

Oh, shit."

Down With the Sickness

Disturbed

As the sky rumbled and people cried out in chaotic mayhem, someone created a makeshift flag and hoisted it into the air. It arched and flew around in the brutally stormy night winds, occasionally illuminated by a bolt of lightning or by someone's torch. Despite the rain, the torches and various bonfires burned on. It was as if the Heavens themselves were obeying the new leader's every order.

X stood proudly, somehow forgetting all about the searing pain in his forearms, and stepped forward, facing the army of monsters he had strived to create. He knew that the battle had been won, but that the war was not quite over.

They watched him step forward. X; their leader, wearing his blood-red cape. X; clad in the vibrant red sweatband that made his pale face strikingly apparent. He no longer bore any resemblance of the child he once was. There was none of that happy innocence in his face, and the pale cheeks had long ago been scarred and dirtied. His hair was choppy and long, never again to be slicked back as his parents had once demanded. He didn't play by their rules anymore. His once large, enticing eyes seemed to have sunken in, surrounded by purple circles of corruption and insanity. The smile that he had once possessed—the one that had charmed scores of people—had disappeared and been replaced by a somewhat manic grin that would both frighten and impress many people for years to come.

With the scythe gripped tightly in his hand, X stepped forward, balling his free left hand into a fist.

"My children," he shouted, "it is indeed good to finally…be home."

X raised his scythe into the air to the sound of his creations' terrifyingly violent screams. "Now let the destruction begin," he projected over the crowd, tossing his fist into the air as well.

Thunder rumbled throughout the angry skies, and X grinned.

This was where he belonged.