While any who know me personally, know of my near solitary background and untoward habits may attempt to pass off what I have to tell as a mere dream fantasy, or a nightmare perhaps brought about by my intense grief and an overly active imagination, I assure you that what I have to tell did, in fact, take place.
It was my beloved grandmother, now gone from me forever, whose departure from this unkind world started me on my unexpected nightmare journey. As I was orphaned at an early age, it was this wonderful and gentle woman who took me into her home and to her heart, showering me with more love and kindness than I would have ever thought humanly possible.
While I am sure that my parents did, in fact, love me in their own way, at the time of their death in an auto accident, they had been too busy leaving their mark on the world to spare much of an outward show of affection on a pale, sickly four year old. My grandmother, on the other hand, seemed to have all the time in the world and for many happy years she unselfishly shared her love and her life with me.
She was fortunately blessed with the patience of a saint, a virtue she sorely required in order to deal with me during those early years we spent together. For shortly after my third birthday, I developed a case of asthma that soon reached the chronic stage. As a result of this recurring malady, I was required to stay indoors much of the time during my formative years and had only my grandmother to act as both companion and playmate.
As I was frequently bedridden due to my bouts of asthma--not to mention my other sundry illnesses--my grandmother would often spend a good part of her own day playing different card and board games with me. Then, in the evening, before tucking me into bed, she would unfailingly read to me from classic tales of fantasy and imagination, no doubt in an attempt to turn my thoughts away from my own personal problems and at the same time to perhaps spark within me an interest in the world of literature.
In the latter respect, at least, she was highly successful. I soon longed to read for myself of the places, times and people she had introduced me to and with her assistance, at an early age I was able to find increasing solace from my illness plagued and lonely world in my late grandfather's well stocked library. As I grew older, I would while away countless hours reading and daydreaming of mysterious and ofttimes horrific far off places and of journeys through other times and dimensions as described within the pages of books by such authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft.
Basically left for the most part to my own devices to amuse myself over the years, it is no small wonder that my thoughts were turned inward and I tended more and more to rely on literary fantasy and my own imagination to fill the void left in my life by the lack of normal outside stimulus. By the age of twelve I was hopelessly addicted to tales of fantasy and horror, the macabre and the supernatural. I would often spend entire days with King Kull in Valusia, with Bran Mak Morn or perhaps the great Conan as they battled their bloody way across ancient lands populated by demons, sorcerers and beautiful princesses.
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