I could begin in a lot of places. I could tell you about the first time my third eye/spiritual awareness was shocked into working. I could tell you about how I met the first set of Guardians I stood with against all manner of hell. But I think it starts with a whimper, not a bang.
I was a boy, maybe six years old. Imagine being afraid to go to sleep every night, knowing that nothing but nightmares awaited you. And maybe things weren't so good even when you were awake. A constant pulse of dull, aching fear describes my childhood quite well, along with a strange awkwardness and inability to fit in wherever I went. The story starts here.
Imagine if you will a rocking chair. It's an old thing, god only knows where it came from. It is late at night, and a father is rocking his son in it, trying to get him to stop crying and go back to sleep. It rocks back and forth and the child starts to laugh. He rocks back and forth harder, glad that his son is making a noise other than a loud high pitched cry. He makes a few "whee" noises, trying to show his son how to properly enjoy a good ride. He is good with children, it is one of those things that makes him who he is.
And then something happens. The chair slips too far back. It shouldn't rock that far, and the level of force he put into it shouldn't allow it. He does not see what happened, but his son does. His son will not understand it for another sixteen years. And when he does understand it, it undermines everything he thinks he knows about the world.
But that is the future. Here and now, the father is panicked, he and the mother immediately rush their son to the hospital. It is one of the worst moments of the father's life. After all, he has no idea what happened. He was rocking his son, and it was wonderful, and suddenly the back of his head struck something, and his son's head is bleeding. He sees it now, the radiator behind the rocking chair, and he desperately wishes he had thought to move the chair forward. The emergency room victims stare at him as though he is some kind of child-beater and he desperately wants to tell them that this is not the case, but he knows it won't help. He wants to see his son healthy, and get out of this hospital. They both get their stitches, the Son on the left side of his head, just above his forehead, the Father on the back of his head.
Later, when the Son is older than the time before memories, the Rocking Chair becomes a terrible demon. He cannot explain it, but he feels such horror around it that cannot possibly apply to a mere chair. There is one night in particular, that is the earliest he can remember. He remembers this night where he is sleeping in an old bed in his tiny room. He remembers being lifted from his bed by his father, but he remembers it from a third perspective. His small room has a small bed, with the Rocking Chair across from it, and he watches the Rocking Chair from this bed even though he is in his father's arms. He watches his father rock him in the chair for a while. There is an odd, purple mist around his father as he does. He remembers his father tucking him into the bed. He watches his father put the covers on top of him, and his perspective is once again his own. And then he hears a subtle dragging noise. The chair is getting closer to his bed. He hides under the covers. Under the covers, he is safe. He is unsure how he knows this but he does. Perhaps this truth was revealed to him in the earliest part of childhood, the time before memories. Maybe he saw it on TV? In any case, he believes in the depths of his heart this truth, and it will protect him.
He hears the dragging again, and he watches the chair drag itself closer to his bed. He hides again, and eventually, he peeks out from under the covers. The chair is against his bed. He is no hero, he hides under his covers. He does not think to pray. He is a member of a Catholic family, he goes to church every Sunday, but somehow he knows that God will not help him here. God is a metaphorical concept like fairies and Santa Claus, but The Rocking Chair is real and just beyond the covers. It wants to take him, and he will not go.
The world changes under the covers. He sees a field of purple mist, like static on a television, but the gray tinged with purple. After a moment of staring, the static fades, but he sees the purple outline and watches the people on this strange version of TV. He watches what appears to be a number of children playing basketball. Some are black, some are white, but all are older than him. He watches them play their game for a while, and he is entranced. They're having so much fun! All he wants to do is join their game and not be in this terrible place.
Under the covers he tries to go through the screen. The only thing on the other side is the dark expanse of bedcovers, and a fading purple glow. He crawls back to the side of his bed that he started on, but the strange purple dream is gone.
At some point he goes to sleep. He has no dreams. That will soon become the rarest night for him, the night without dreams. After this, he will know nothing but nightmares. More than anywhere else, this is where the story starts.