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The old man was a god, once. Now he rambles about nothing, except for the periods when lucidity comes. Then his back straightens and his eyes glow and the things that he says... They fill the boy’s head with wonder and an urge to know more. To travel beyond this dusty room, so far and forever and have everything that is currently denied him.

He has waited, biding his time. Learning, growing. He isn’t the boy any longer, that unassuming child with wide brown eyes and an insatiable hunger to know. Age has brought its own wisdom; lessons learnt from being patient, from watching and listening. He is ready now.

Pain is something he accepts. He was warned. It passes in a moment, anyhow, and then there is everything else. Years beyond his own age fill his mind; the memory of unknown faces, unvisited places, eternity stretching and calling for him to stand up and take his place amongst the stars.

Is it that he was so well prepared? Or was he the ideal choice anyway? Perhaps a little of both; it certainly doesn’t matter now – a second awareness curls around his spine, filling him with promises and the strength to carry them out.

“Who are you?”

His reflection stares back, blind to the dead man on the cot as his eyes shine. It takes control; flexing his hands and tugging one corner of his mouth into a smirk.

We,” his voice replies with an unearthly echo, “are Baal.”