Haze became clarity as Timothy’s eyes opened once more. Now was the time, he realized. Now he could do it – that thing that he had been intended for. His eyes, once nut brown, now blazed red with the need for unspeakable violence. Looking down at himself, Timothy saw things, like wires and shells, moving beneath his skin, crawling into place across his body. Transforming him into a monster.
I was born for this.
And so it had been from the beginning. He knew at last why he had been born. Why two ageless ghouls had brought him into the world. Why his cursed blood gave him the power it did. Why Valerie feared him, had always feared him. Why Azif had found him in the dark. And why he now felt compelled to change the world… to twist in into a nightmare vision. His vision.
I can do anything.
Timothy had always been powerful, even by the standards of vampires, let alone ghouls. There were kindred out there who could outfight him, but their ilk were so rare as to make the risk of encountering one negligible. Now, like this… he doubted there was anything at all that could stand in his way. In his way… of…
The final evolution.
What he had always wanted, always sought. What he had guided Timothy’s path through the shadows for, all along. Pulling all the strings, without ever being present. Shaping Timothy into his gauntlet. His weapon. The hand that would seize the world in his grip.
I am unstoppable.
Timothy tried to understand just how powerful he had become. What this power meant, on a grander scale. Taking over the world was child’s play. His enemies would be as ants, crawling before a titan. The sort of power all the others had given hundreds of years of work to uncover, Timothy now held in his grasp.
No longer human. Not even a little. There was nothing human about this. He had never asked for this power. Never gone looking for it, like all the others had. Yet here it was, by the machinations of a being from before the Earth was covered in water. And then, he knew that this creature, standing above all others with such impossible power at his disposal… was not him. Never could be. Timothy Dane would never… would never…!
I live in this world!
I won’t ruin it! You won’t ruin it! I won’t let you!
These are the words by which the Ghoul’s Chronicles ended.
They began one year earlier, with a man in a boy’s skin walking up a windswept, moonlit street, with a letter in his hand and dark circles beneath his eyes.