Let me tell you how it began.
It began with the smell. The slow, thick, nauseatingly sweet stench of death. It followed me long before the turn of events that would forever change the course of my life. It followed me when I was young, too young perhaps to understand what it did meant and what it would mean. That is the important thing to remember: that the corpses claimed me. I did not claim the corpses. I was simply an unfortunate. And now, perhaps, I truly am condemned to madness. If so, I do not fear it. In fact, I relish it. Reason was behind the things that went wrong, and wrongs are, therefore, behind reason. I disdain the lot of them. To hell with them, and good riddance!
But perhaps this is the wrong way to go about it.
You say you want to know everything. That is impossible. I cannot, of course, remember every single second of my life – no more than you can yours. There are countless seconds, minutes, days, weeks that have simply dropped out of my memory like flour through a sieve. Faces, names, dates – events. The pretty girl who smiled at you one day in the park. The time you saw your brother getting beaten - something he undoubtedly deserved. A card you made as a child. The events of last Thursday. They are all gone.
But the bare bones remain.
It is upon those that I shall base my story. Like Frankenstein, I shall create a monster. And, like Frankenstein, it shall consume me.
But enough of that.
My story begins and ends in many places. When I first walked the sooty streets of another London, my footprints smeared in blood. When I first saw that woman in the houses of the rich, radiant, beautiful. When I first heard her voice. Her song was like-
It ends, too. In many places. When I got shot the first time. I was so stupid and naive I thought I would surely die. So much pain should have reassured me – you never bleed like that when you're a corpse. The time I huddled underground, trying desperately to keep myself warm with the two bunches of rags that were all I owned in the world. When I tasted morphine for the first time. That liquid fire, burning through my veins, restoring dignity and vigour. That fire...it was like a taste of what I had lost.
My name here is Adrian. I took it for a friend. I took it to honour the dead. But when I was born I was known as Tobias. Tobias Weeks. Despite what it sounds like, I am not weak.
I can see the contempt in your eyes. The drug that pushes its way into my body right now is a gas, a burning torch, a brand. The fire I need to stay alive. It is a fuel, nothing more, and I will not be patronized for it.
That I have come to this! Bandying words with the likes of you! I, Tobias, walker of worlds, heir to the throne of darkness, prince of the night, have come to tell my story to you all. You close-minded non-believers. You stupid, silent pawns. You do not even have the substance to look up from your pathetic lives and question – "What is this?". You simply accept what you are given, while beating the unaccepting into shreds – good little cattle! You made my heart bleed, too, when I was young. But never mind. It may be that this shall change your minds – your brains, I should say, or a notable lack thereof.
If not, then you shall dismiss this as a fiction. If that is the case, then I commend your souls to God for you shall have no mercy from me.
I am Tobias Christopher Weeks. I have lived through many ages and done more things than I have seen. I have murdered for love, killed for money, and slaughtered for revenge. I have been both despised and revered by people two centuries apart. I have burned down cities, raped women, and cried out to the gods that they made one such as me. Come with me now.
Come forward, into the night.