Then, all of a sudden, a black thing came out of the bush. My breath hitched. In the midst of it claws,the monster held my brother, dead, lifeless, a broken rag doll. Not sneering at me (how I’ll miss it), or playing hero to the girls in the village. I stared at the thing once again, fearing for my own life. Fearingit would turn on me and finish me off as it did to my brother. Fearing that the evils of this monster would devour me and leave no trace of malice. I had tried to calm myself as quietly as one could, but asluck would have it, I stepped on a twig, causing an unnecessary noise in the, excuse the pun, dead quietof the forest.Its head snapped toward me in so much as one millisecond, it looked like it hadn’t moved at all. Thething didn’t attack, simply staring in my direction. Now that it was facing me, I saw that it looked like acrouching humanoid figure, hollow indentations of where the eyes should’ve been. The mere black partof this thing sent shivers up my back. Everlasting darkness, the power of pure black, relentlesslydrawing my eyes into its depth, where it would go on and on… I was frozen stiff with dread of myupcoming death, when the monstrous thing spoke.“Nicholas Ventrolbi Monolay Heir… what a wonderful… pleasant time to make you acquaintance,” Itsaid in a voice that was no more than a whisper, yet the whisper was echoed all around me. “I see greatfortune ahead of you. But you must give up your greatest treasure…”Gathering up my courage, and dismissing the wonder and speculation I felt as it spoke, I askedunkindly, “What is it exactly that I have to give up as this so-called ‘greatest treasure’?’The monster, which killed and slaughtered my brother, chuckled darkly. “Oh, Mr. Heir, I’m pretty sureyou’ve put two and two together, eh? You give up you greatest treasure to me, and the foretold greatfuture shall be finalized. Pretty simple. Lose, only to gain. Gain, only to lose. Come now. We haven’tgot all day…”… The rest I do not remember. I remember the hollow eyes becoming red, and then, nothing. When Icame to, I was wrapped up in a warm bed, in my cottage within the village. I never saw my brother, nor have I heard of him, or feel his presence ever again. Others feared me when I talked avidly for days onend about my dumb, but still my brother, and a mysterious monster that wanted to take away my“greatest treasure.” What exactly happened, you ask?That is a question I struggle with answering, even today. I’ve made a pretty good hypothesis as thoseeyes became a deep red. My greatest treasure, it seems, was death. I’ve had a few notions aboutrunning away from home, but by all means, never suicide! But besides that, do you know what thatmeans? It means that I am eternal, forever living. A most impossible feat, yes, but what am I withoutdeath? In the modern times, I have become a novelist, age twenty-five. Blue eyes calculating, and whitehair billowing in the breeze. I’ve written about a boy who misses happier, simpler times, about a boywho’s different from the rest, and even about a boy facing a dark, cruel devil. All these books have become great hits, but does that mean my life is a book kids think are just made to scare them?I have realized my greatest treasure was death was I didn’t get wrinkles as I grew up. Sounds childish, but it is the truth, may you face it or not is up to you. But I’m only 25, right? No one gets wrinkles atsuch a young age! Flatter me, I look the age, but my real age is unknown, even to me. The last birthdayI remember counting was one hundred fifty. Over these long, lonely years, I’ve studied fear. Whatcauses it? It must surely all be in the brain. Fear, fear, fear. I do no longer fear for my life, as it is quitethe opposite really.