So much to say. Always so much for me to tell. Those of you who hate long posts, and I know there are some of you out there, won’t be happy with this. Though any of those people who are still here must be commended for their courage and endurance
Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, I’m still alive. And capable of typing out fully coherent sentences without random binary, or that italics thing I had going on for one post. Ain’t that just swell; I personally find both of those things much more preferable than their alternatives.
My last post does speak truth; I went back into my woods, this time at night. Because everyone knows that the best thing to do when hunted by something eldritch is to listen to the advice of terrifying hallucinations which afflict you as a result of said eldritch thing.
My memories of what exactly happened are fuzzy; I wasn’t exactly in peak mental condition at the time, and most of what I do remember is just a dark blur. It began like the visions I had experienced of the forest. Only the moon lighting the tangled darkness, illuminating the path into the woods. Following whatever compulsion was pulling me, I walked down that path.
I got lost in minutes. Ridiculous how that happened; I should have the place memorized. But soon I was walking amongst trees which I had no familiarity with, hounded by fog all around me. I don’t remember most of the visions I had while there, but from what I do recall, they were uniformly unpleasant. Lots of disembodied eyes, moving shadows, the works. The childish laughter which I had heard during Jason’s death was also there, and stupidly, I followed it. The sound led me to a clearing (I’ve gone back and tried to use a map to retrace the route I think I took, and found that, you guessed it, there should be no clearing in that area), covered in black grass. The fog descended on me, covering me completely. Within the shroud, all sound but the laughter was smothered. It was so close, as though I could just reach out and grab whatever was making the noise. Soon, I could: shadows appeared around me, small and childlike. They danced around me in the fog, laughing as they did. The sound was like claws running across my mind, every little giggle ripping through me with incomparable agony. The pain made me fall to my hands and knees, and throw up on the grass. My mind was being pressed down on, forced into blackness. I realized that, beyond any shred of doubt, I was going to die.
The complete inevitability of that fact woke up something inside me, giving volume to a voice which had been shouting at me from within for a long time. The idea coated itself in the pain, riding along with its screams, until it struck my thoughts with a yell that silenced all else.
Of course I was going to die. That had been true since the moment I had seen our finely dressed faceless man watching me. I had joked about how no one who was hunted by him seemed to survive, but I had never seriously accepted that for myself. I was different than all those before me; I would be the one to succeed where all others had failed, the one to live a long and fulfilling life after all this was over. No matter how many times I talked about my death, or encountered my future killer, the realization that I was a dead man never sunk in. But here, in the forest surrounded by shadows, it dawned on me that I had already died, over a month ago.
Cue the music.
I started laughing there. Not a childish giggle like the shadows, but a deep, full throated laugh, louder and freer than any I had allowed myself before. The sound was wild, but not desperate; it was the laughter of a man who had broken out of a cage and discovered the wonders of freedom beyond it.
Too long had I been acting like a living man, not the dead man who I am now. I clenched my right hand into a fist, feeling the muscles tighten and my nails dig into my palms. Fear is something for those that are alive; the dead need not have any fear, for they have already lost everything.
Slowly, I raised myself back up, until I was standing straight again. Pain is a sensation for the living; for a man already dead, every second of pain is a joyous relief, a reminder that oblivion has not yet taken them.
With my laughter filling the night, I punched at one of the dancing shadows. Caution is a burden the living carry; why should a dead man worry about the consequences of his actions?
The shadow disappeared as my fist moved through it, vanishing into the fog. I began striking at the other shadows, no longer caring what would happen to me, just finding any way I could to strike back at them. Of course you can’t win in a fight against shadows, but I tried, oh how I tried, swinging at them again and again, until they finally stopped their damned dance.
I loved that fight, loved the feeling of my blood boiling. It was a shame when it ended. The shadows all vanished, though their laughter remained. Before me, the fog parted, showing another path. I feel my response to this was appropriate; I raised a single finger up, and then ran in the opposite direction.
The fog blinded my path, but I pressed onwards. The claws of tree branches grabbed at me as I ran through. That isn’t a metaphor. Limbs and branches reached for me, slashing at my skin or grabbing at my legs. Dozens of cuts crossed my body; most scratches, but several deep wounds. A few times a root moved to trip me, but I always scrambled back to my feet and resumed my mad dash. The searing pain I was feeling didn’t discourage me; I embraced it, laughing with every twinge of my nerves, using it as fuel to drive me faster. I refused to stop for anything, pressing on through the obstacles which tried to block me.
At the end of the forest, the fog stopped, as though blocked by a wall. When I took those last few steps out of it, back into the clear air, a wave of nausea struck me, forcing me to regurgitate whatever contents of my stomach hadn’t already been thrown up. I looked like I was in horrible shape: my entire body was covered in blood, and I was starting to feel woozy as a result. My left shoe had been lost somewhere in the forest, and my shirt had been torn into so many pieces that it really could no longer be considered an article of clothing. More like a handful of rags which were draped over my shoulders. I unsteadily limped back to my car, and drove home. I used up the entirety of our first aid kit there (I must look like a mummy, with the amount of gauze and bandages all over my body), and prepared the supplies needed for a fantastic party. One empty bottle + gasoline + motor oil + one rag + one lighter = a helluva good time.
With my Molotov cocktail prepared, I drove back to the edge of my forest. It was still clouded in fog, but that wasn’t a problem for me.
Want to know a fun fact about Texas? It can get really dry here. In the past few months, we’ve only had a single day of rain. Since our forests aren’t as big as some other states, we don’t get massive wildfires during the dry times, but that doesn’t change the fact that a small, local forest can be completely destroyed by a single man with enough flammable substances.
When I threw the Molotov into the trees, for a moment it looked like it had been consumed by the fog. Then, there was a flash of light, and soon after, flames roared out, burning away the mist. It was a magical sight, and I couldn’t help but stand transfixed at the rising flames.
Amidst those flames, Slender Man appeared, standing just at the edge of the tree line. He was just watching me, as he so loves to do, completely unaffected by the fire. Much as I would have loved to stay and chat, my work there was finished, and it likely wouldn’t have been long before the authorities arrived to question why some trees had spontaneously combusted, so I gave a bow and left.
At this moment, I’m packing up to leave Austin. I’m guessing staying here won’t be the smartest of ideas, since unless the fire department can move quickly, that fire I started is going to be spreading to the houses nearby pretty soon, and the police tend not to act friendly towards someone who lights sleeping homes on fire. I’ll be driving back to my apartment tonight; hopefully blood loss won’t cause me to lose consciousness and crash into any businessmen who may happen to be wandering across the interstate in the middle of the night. Once I get there…. Who knows? But it’s time to end this foolishness I’ve had for so long. No more of this snobbish, “Ooh, lookit me, I can talk real big about fighting the Slender Man!” No, enough pretending I’m some grand conqueror who will kill the monster, while in reality I hide behind feeble excuses such as “wanting to see my roommate suffer”, or “I’m too scared of the faceless man to do anything about it!” Now we’re making this simple. I will fight him. I will do anything I can to fight against him. And I will probably die. I’m a little mouse, caught by a cat that is now playing with its food before it delivers the final blow. But maybe I can get a good bite on its paws before it decides to finish me off.
This is going to be the best party I’ve ever had, and I’m going to enjoy every second of it.