On Tuesday, Setoth got his first look at Porfiry. And like a kid a few weeks before Christmas seeing a cool toy in the window, his response was, “I want it.” Setoth got it into his head that he wanted to study a proxy, so of course we had to go and capture Porfiry so we could do that.
Porfiry had been making sporadic appearances outside the apartment since Tuesday. I hadn’t been bothering with him; he never stayed long enough for me to go out there and bash his face in, and honestly, it’s Porfiry. I wasn’t considering him to be much of a threat. But while I wanted to ignore him, Setoth chose to come up with a PLAN.
There are a few places in the city where the homeless population has commandeered material to build small shacks, and Setoth knew the location of one which wasn’t occupied at the moment. It was located on the outskirts, in an old ranch which had been repurposed into a nature preserve. I was to knock Porfiry unconscious with excessive force, then we drag him inside the shack and Setoth would to whatever it was he was planning to do.
Last night, we decided to put the plan into action. We drove to the location around midnight, and parked by the barbed wire fence. I was carrying my replica sword as a weapon, due to the loss of my knives. Setoth said that his magick would protect him, and made brought along dozens of pieces of paper with various weird symbols on them, but that didn’t stop him from also taking the paddle along as a club. Not because he needed it, Setoth insisted. It just might come in handy. In case we found ourselves trapped in a boat floating in a large body of water or something.
After hopping over a rusted and old section of the barbed wire fence, we set off down an old ranch path which led to our destination. At first, I was worried that Porfiry wouldn’t show. The landscape stretched off in every direction without any sign of a follower. Just scattered shrubs, tall grass, and impenetrable walls of cacti. Maybe Porfiry hadn’t noticed that we’d left the apartment, and was still back there, trying to creep us out. Or maybe he realized we were expecting him and was showing uncharacteristic forethought.
But just as I was about to suggest we call it quits, I saw movement in the shadows behind us. Porfiry shaped movement. It had only been a brief glance before I lost sight of him in the darkness, but now I knew he was following us. Time for the fun to start.
I gestured for Setoth to stay where he was while I retrieved the target; no reason for me to have a potential liability around during the fight. Besides, this was Porfiry. Last time I’d faced him, I’d crushed him with just my fists. There was no need for both of us to fight him. With such confidence in mind, I walked into the night after Porfiry. In this open ground, there were few places for him to hide. The best he could have done would have been to crouch behind a bush, and I doubt there are many bushes large enough to hide Porfiry.
Things never work out as easy as that, unfortunately. I went to where I’d seen Porfiry, but found nothing. Not one sign of him. After more and more searching without result, I began to doubt that I’d really seen anything.
The doubt vanished when I heard a scream behind me, back where I’d left Setoth. I quickly ran back, and saw Porfiry on top of Setoth, strangling him with one arm. Setoth was trying to break the grip with one hand, but the other was pressing one of the papers which he’d drawn those symbols on against Porfiry’s face. There was a bright light coming from the paper, illuminating the area, and I could smell the flesh underneath it being burned away.
Okay, Setoth, read this carefully, because this is the only time I’m going to say it.
I’m sorry for any comments I made comparing your stuff to Harry Potter.
Because experience has taught me that drawing stuff on pieces of paper does not naturally give that paper the ability to burn off people’s faces.
It really is a shame that Porfiry just shrugged it off and kept strangling you, because that was damn impressive.
I charged at the two, and tackled Porfiry off of Setoth. In the darkness, it was much harder to get an upper hand on Porfiry than I’d expected. Even with one of his wrists broken, he fought harder this time than before. He attacked wildly, clawing and biting at me. More like trying to wrestle an angry cat than a person. I tried hitting the large burn across his face with the hilt of my sword, but he ignored the pain; instead, he seemed more focused on trying to bite out my neck. I am quite fond of my neck, and as a result, I soon found myself having to fight defensively. And fighting defensively soon turned into me being on the ground, trying to keep his teeth away from my face.
Things were looking bleak for our hero Arkady, when suddenly there was a loud THWACK sound, and Porfiry was knocked aside. And there behind him Setoth stood with the paddle. He’d hit Porfiry in the head hard; not only was poor Porfiry out cold, but the paddle now had a long crack running down it from the impact. I hadn’t thought Setoth had it in him.
We dragged Porfiry’s body the rest of the way to the shack. It was a small thing, made of pieces of wood and corrugated iron sheets. Porfiry was tossed inside, and then Setoth drew a bunch of symbols around the place. He said they would make sure nothing happened to our subject. I wasn’t going to argue; even if I hadn’t seen him do whatever he had done with that piece of paper, I was too tired to. Both of us collapsed on the grass outside the shack for some well needed rest. I cracked a joke about getting some chips, but apparently he hasn’t seen TribeTwelve, so he didn’t get it.
Then the temperature dropped twenty fucking degrees. A cloud covered the moon for a second, and when it had passed, Slender Man was standing in front of the shack. One of the symbols Setoth had drawn was right under its feet; it flashed for a second, and then vanished, as though it had never been drawn.
I looked to Setoth, but his face was a mixture of shock and fear. It was then I remembered that this was his first time he’d directly seen Slender Man. As there wasn’t much I could expect from him, I charged at the thing on my own.
Flames erupted from the ground around Slendy. The inferno towered above us, nearly blinding me with the sudden light. The heat was intense; even standing several feet away, I could still feel it burning my skin. And in the center of it all stood Slender Man, the flames lapping at his legs, but never burning them.
Against such a fire, the shack didn’t stand a chance. In under a minute, the wooden frame had been burnt away, and the iron walls were melting. I attempted another charge, but the heat was too much. Like running into a wall. Except walls don’t usually singe off your hair.
While Setoth’s first reaction to the fire had been to mutter something like, “My sigils…. It’s not possible….” He recovered with admirable speed, and was the first to have the bright idea that hanging around the blazing conflagration was a bad idea. He pulled me away from my attempts to stare down a wall of fire, and the two of us ran for the car.
All of which leaves us without a proxy to study, and conflicting evidence over whether Setoth’s mojo works or not.
On the bright side, Setoth’s tougher than I’d given him credit for, and best of all, Porfiry was in that burning building.
Which just leaves Javert and Slendy on my list of people/things which I have a very strong desire to kill.
I’m coming for you two.