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                                Prologue: A dose of happiness

 "You build your walls for me to climb, a billion walls for me to climb..." 10 years 'Seasons to Cycles' 

"They cannot see me little one.", his voice was calm and had a distorted quality. She blinked and looked up at his impossibly tall form, her young six year old mind trying to wrap around something she did not and could not quite understand. She was confused, this boy was huge, bigger, she was convinced, than a building. How could her mother and her daddy not see him? It made no sense to her even at that age. As if sensing her confusion he motioned for her with a long, thin spidery hand and turned as he made his way up the stairs to the second floor. 

 She hesitated for only a moment before following him up the winding stairs she had recently mastered climbing alone. She made her way slowly and he shortened his long strides to stay by her side almost as if he could not be far from her. He waited and helped her, encouraging her but never touching her. She gave this no thought but simply reveled in the kind words and praise she received from no one else. Not even her kind daddy gave her words that seemed to glow and make her body fuzzy. She did not know it but the feeling itself was pride in a job well done. Pride in mastering something she had to practice for months, the bruises and scrapes of all her falls in the past meant little now as praiseful words wrapped around her and she smiled in their warmth. Half way up and she had to rest her small legs. 

 She settled on a large, carpet covered step and panted lightly. Her sweet smelling light blue dress ruffled around her feet as she turned to look at the boy above her. She tilted her head, he didn't look like any of her playmates. Not even her parents playmates looked like him. He was tall and thin, skin a light gray. She wrinkled her nose as she tried to decide if he was sick or not and found herself surprised as her mind supplied an answer, 'No, not sick, different.' she nodded, her surprise lasting only a moment and accepted her strange thought without pause as her large dirt brown eyes continued examining her strange companion that no one else could see.

Thin hands with long fingers and sharp looking dark nails; this did not strike her as odd seeing how her mother's nails were often different colors from other peoples. She had the sudden urge to ask him to lift her with those hands and play 'airplane' like Tina's big brother always did, but somehow knew that even if he was willing to lift her over his head and swing her around, he could not. Though she did not know why, she had a distinct feeling it had something to do with her. Thinking on it for a moment she found no answer. Shrugging her small shoulders she continued; his ears were seemingly normal were you to ignore the bars and hoops of glinting steel and glass decorating them. One, she saw, had a small chain looping through several of the hoops. She felt her fingers twitch and she longed to tug the hoops as she did to her nanny, who had similar, though not as many, hoops in her ears. His eyes were large and bright gray, much like the clouds that shot light at the ground when the sky cried, it seemed as if somehow they were lit from within by a candle or something. 'Like a pumpkin', she thought recalling the orange menace that glowed at her when she had gone out with her mother to gather candy from houses around her own home.

 His eyes scared her, but only slightly, not enough for her to move away from him as he sat next to her. She blinked and looked at his mouth, his odd mouth. His lips were thin and lightly gray like his skin, but they were stretched in a large grin. She tilted her head as he looked at her. "Can you stop smiling?", she asked softly, the grin unnerved her, it seemed as if a grin so big was unnatural and should pain him. He shook his head and kneeled down further his face inches from her own.

"I am afraid I cannot, you see," he paused tilting his head, strands of short black and gray hair falling over his eyes," You made me this way, Echo." She started, made him? She frowned and huffed confused beyond belief until the answer finally popped into her young head. She had a friend! Just like Tina, Tommy, Jared, and Molly, who had always said she was strange in not having a friend just for her. Someone who would give her attention when no one else would, someone to always play with, who would never leave her alone. He made a pleased sound as if he knew what she was thinking, and he very well may have. She grinned up at him, almost matching the smiled stretched across his face and subconsciously the parts of her that had not believed, had not understood, had not accepted opened themselves to him and she squealed as he picked her up, his hands wonderfully solid to her, and swung her over his head making small noises like a plane.

She delighted as he swept her away to her room to play. She felt safe, loved and warm as she looked down at her friend. Her very own imaginary friend. She had one other question, however, before she lost herself in happiness," Why are you here?".        

  He looked up at her from where she hung over his head," You have begun to build walls little Echo, walls no child should. Walls of loneliness. That is why I chose to be with you now. I will climb them no matter how high so you are never alone.". 

 She smiled, not fully understanding his answer but accepting it none the less as their game commenced. Oh, how lovely it would have been if her happiness had lasted. If her family hadn't broken and her mind distorted and hurt her dear new friend, her only friend. How lovely it would have been....had she not been forced to forget him, forced to lock him away.

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