Prologue

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*Dan's POV*

Much to my dismay, I am one of those people cursed with the irritable ability to remember everything. Some people may look at it as a blessing, but I certainly don't. Maybe if I had better memories to remember it'd be different, but I don't, and it isn't. 

Actually, that's not entirely fair, it's not like I had a horrible life or anything. I had caring parents, a roof over my head, and decent money. But even with all those privileges, I was never necessarily happy. I've been told it's selfish, and that I should have been thankful and happy with what I had, and maybe it is, but that doesn't stop me from feeling this way. I don't think there's anything that could.

I've always known I was different, for as long as I was old enough to really understand what was happening around me. People talk, and they weren't exactly subtle about it. They probably didn't think I'd understand or care at that age, but I've always been eons ahead of my peers. So, when family members would not-so-quietly ask my parents what was wrong with me, it didn't fly over my head like they thought it would. At first, before I'd started school, I ignored it. I let them go on blissfully ignorant to how I really felt and let my parents explain what was 'wrong with me' all on their own.

Their excuses and explanations always varied, depending who they were telling. I'd been dubbed with multiple disorders despite none being proven, all essentially leading back to the classic line of 'he just has an overactive imagination, it's nothing to worry about'. They said it so often I had to wonder if they were trying to convince others, or themselves. 

In fact, I could remember the conversation in particular that made me realize that different wasn't a good thing for the first time. I never thought it was a good thing per se, but I didn't realize it was bad either. It was the night before I started my first year of school. I was excited, even staying up after I was sent to bed to talk to one of my many 'imaginary friends' and tell him all about how much fun school was going to be tomorrow. I was mid-explanation when the fighting outside my room started, watching as he immediately disappeared at the sound of their voices. While I couldn't blame him for being nervous around such angry sounding people, I remember vibrantly how much worse it felt listening to them on my own.

"We are fine! I don't know why you keep bringing this up!" I pulled the blanket up further, covering every part of me except for my eyes. I never really understood how this was comforting, but it was. I felt secure surrounded by the warmth of the fabric.

It wasn't something that happened often, my parents fighting. It was really rare, or maybe I just wasn't awake usually to hear it, I wasn't sure. All I knew was that at the time, it really shook me up to hear them using those tones of voices with each other. They were young when they had me and seemingly in a constant honeymoon phase, which was why this caught me so off guard. All I could think was how serious it must be to make them this upset, how worried I was about what had sparked all of this. Little did I know at the time, it was me.

"It's weird!" At this point I still had no idea what they were talking about, clutching the blankets even closer and staring toward my closed door nervously. I held my breath, letting my eyes fall shut as I tried to block out what was happening in the room over completely. It didn't work though, no matter how much I tried, I still heard her next reply. The one that shattered my carefree world.

"No it's not, he's just a kid! He's supposed to have imaginary friends!" She shouted, an unfamiliar anger rising in her voice and making me quiver in the spot. That wasn't how my mother sounded, she never acted like this. And it's all- It's all my fault. I'm the one with the imaginary friends, aren't I? But they aren't imaginary! Why do they keep saying that?

"I still don't like it." I winced, feeling the first of many hot tears I'd shed that night start to dampen my eyes. I can't just ignore these people, they're really there. Why don't they believe me? What am I supposed to do?

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