Thursday, November 25, 2010
Two things before we begin. First off, Marble Hornets has started season 2. Here’s a link to the new video, though by now I expect most of you have already seen it. Secondly, check out the Slenderblog. With it, Golem Tulpa Anima, and Slenderia, that brings us up to three informative blogs. Three seems to be becoming a reoccurring number here.
(Sorry about the short post; not really able to make something as long as I usually do right now. Things getting a bit hectic on my end of things.)
Aka Hallowed, aka Agents, aka Husks, aka Indoctrinated, aka Maskies, aka deadheads, aka etc. Slenderproxy is the overarching term I use to describe all the various kinds of humans who follow Slender Man, willingly or unwillingly. Within the category of proxy are a variety of other subcategories, with the two most common being Hallowed (people whose minds are completely controlled by Slender Man) and Agents (people who make a conscious choice to willingly follow Slender Man). Originally, I had a pretty long post planned out here, explaining what the different types of proxies that have appeared are, their behavior, etc. But then Reach posted a comment on White Elephants which did that all for me, so I’ll be stealing his work and claiming it as my own (Just like Thomas Edison!)
“1 - The Hallowed, those who have been totally dominated by him and act only upon his will. Brainless, emotionless drones. Useful for attacking but otherwise useless. From my limited interactions, they just sit around in a catatonic state when he's not leading them like puppets. Standard mooks.
2 - The Berserkers, those who are under his control but can act on their own when he can't be arsed commanding them. These are far more dangerous than the Hallowed, because they can work their way into positions of trust to further his agenda. They often think they're Agents, but they're not really….
3 - The Sleepers, who are under his control but not aware…. Often Runners, they come under his control when they're mind is at its weakest, during blackouts or sleep. He then uses them to attack other Runners. They are, for this reason, considerably more dangerous than Berserkers; Berserkers act like they're not under his control, but Sleepers don't know.
4 - The Agents, who act for him despite not being under his control. Whatever their motivations, if they act on his behalf, then they are Agents…. One of their biggest assets is that they're totally sane and retain all of their mental faculties which means they can target Runner in ways far more creative than anything that the Tall One himself can think up. Albert Conaghan is the reference.
5 - The Revenants, who I am too wary to speak of right now. Suffice to say... we (Revenants) are far and away the most dangerous. And that's not a boast, it is a statement of fact. It's a good thing for you that we're few in number and an even better thing that none of us are currently in the field.” EDIT: On March 20, 2011, Reach removed Revenants from the Mythos, retconning them into a hallucination caused by Slender Man. Because Slendy likes to screw with us like that.
On his own blog, Reach made the claim that “Sometimes, in order to empower his minions, the Tall One turns them into a vessel of "Slenderpower", allowing them to channel the energy from the Other Side.”, though I haven’t seen any in-story examples of that.
So that I can feel like I have contributed at least somewhat, I’ll talk a bit about the codification of proxies. Followers of Slender Man did appear in the original stories, but it was, of course, Marble Hornets which made the proxy that most people remember (Masky/totheark). Masky was the inspiration for the Hallowed type of proxy, and it’s a mark of the Hallowed to often wear masks. The Agent type of proxy was codified by Seeking Truth, with Albert Conaghan (as Reach mentioned). Hallowed and Agents are the only two “confirmed” types of proxies; they have appeared in multiple stories, whereas the remaining three on Reach’s list have only been confirmed by Reach.
On Anomalous Data, Jay was able to rescue a Hallowed through use of drugs which induced amnesia. After interviewing her, he discovered that Hallowed are linked in a hive mind to Slender Man.
Again, sorry for the shortness of the post, but Reach had already gone over most of my main points (and in a much more concise way than is my usual style).
What You Are In the Dark: http://whatyouareinthedark.blogspot.com/
Saturday, November 20, 2010
(Picture by Compulsory Basket, who I would like to thank for taking my overactive imagination and giving it form)
LOOK AT THAT. We’ve got Alex and J FLYING A HELICOPTER IN TO SAVE THE DAY. Then we have Noah IN A KNIFE FIGHT WITH SLENDER MAN. Below that we’ve got a girl HOLDING OFF A HORDE OF SLENDERPROXIES WITH A SHOTGUN BEHIND THE BARRICADES, while in the rear, the HYBRIDS ARE CHARGING IN TO DO GLORIOUS BATTLE WITH THE HORDE.
If the Mythos has to end, this is how it should end.
The Operator Symbol, a circle with an X through it, (X), has become the calling sign of the Mythos. The symbol first appeared in Marble Hornets, where its appearance usually signaled that Slendy fun times were nearby. In the first season, no explanation for what the Operator Symbol was or did was ever given. Now that season 2 is being made, we might get an explanation for its purpose in the Marble Hornets continuity, or they may just keep it a mystery.
Because of its distinct appearance, and the mysteriousness behind it, the Operator Symbol quickly spread to other stories. It is now often used as a sign that a blog is a Slender Man blog; sure, events in the blog may be going normally, but then suddenly you see a little circle X, and you know what you’re going to be in for. The amount of attention that has been given to this single symbol has resulted in many stories using the symbol in their own ways, or making their own explanation for it. Since this is the Slender Man Mythos, we aren’t going to get anything near a real consensus, but that’s what makes studying this so much fun.
M’s Rules, Again
Once more, we go over a hypothesis proposed by M, the great crafter of the rules. His is the theory of (X) acting as Slender repellant. In accordance with his claim that Slender Man cannot Slenderwalk while being observed, the Operator Symbol acts as a giant eye, or a face, making Slender Man think he is being watched. This effect is only a temporary defense, not a permanent one; even if you cover every corner of your room with Operator Symbols, Slender Man will eventually be able to break through.
While this doesn’t work 100% of the time (as will be explained below), Operator Symbols acting as a defensive measure is very common, largely due to the popularity of M’s blog. So if you’re a runner, this is the most likely effect of the Operator Symbol. It’s still a good idea to find out early on, before Slender Man starts acting aggressive, whether this is the case or not; you don’t want to be accidentally drawing him towards you by drawing symbols all over the place, thinking they will protect you.
Slender Man’s Symbol
This was the previously dominant idea about the Operator Symbol, before M came forward with the idea of using it as a defense. No single blog ever came up with a detailed explanation for the symbol, but it was assumed that it was somehow connected to Mr. Thin. Often it was treated as his mark, or a way to draw him to someone. People whose minds were breaking under Slender Man’s all pervasive influence would start drawing it frantically, unable to stop this mad compulsion. Page after page of notebooks or sketchpads would be filled with the (X), putting it in the place of faces, O’s, eyes, anything circular in shape. Slender Man’s proxies would leave the symbol as their mark, signing off their cryptic messages with an ominously simple character, leaving behind only the dread and mystery which follows their dark master….
Sorry. I (Scribe) see to have been infected with a case of the purple prose there. XD
(I’ve always wanted to say I (Scribe). Just never had an excuse to do so until now.)
While this usage is no longer as common as it once was, the Operator Symbol is still occasionally put to the purpose of acting as a mark for Slender Man, or a symbol of power. Slenderproxies who post online have a habit of putting it in their messages; in that way, it acts like a sign that they are a proxy, and not just another victim who just happens to be unusually belligerent. It can also still be used as a sign of insanity; even if we were to accept that the (X) was a defense, we still would view someone who covered a page with the symbol, as well as the occasional “SEES ME” as not the most mentally well balanced individual amongst us.
An interesting way to look at this would be to still make the claim that the Operator Symbol is defensive, and the reason Slenderproxies use it is because part of their mind is rebelling against Slender Man’s influence. I’m sure most proxies would vehemently disagree with that claim, but I find the idea to be something worth thinking over for at least some time.
A’s Memetic Weapon
This is an extremely interesting and unique take on the Operator Symbol, so it gets its own section, despite being another variation of “Slender Man’s Symbol”. This hypothesis was created by A, of the blog Defining?
So here we have a creature whose existence is owed and powered by our belief in him. Thus, thoughts about him would increase his power. Now, scroll up to the top of this post, and look at the Operator Symbol I posted. Imagine that the picture was shown to you independent of the blog; that you have no idea it was part of a discussion about Slender Man. What’s the first thing that would come to anyone familiar with the Mythos’s mind upon seeing this circle and X?
Now go outside. Look around you. See all those circle X’s? The two lines painted over the manhole? The railroad crossing sign? What do you think when you see those?
We’ve been trained to think of Slender Man every time we see the symbol.
And once the symbol becomes engraved in your mind, you’ll see it everywhere. Every time you’re walking about, whenever you see an X that just happens to go over a circle, you’ll think of the Operator Symbol, and therefore think of Slender Man. Even when what you’re seeing has absolutely no connection with him.
According to A, the symbol is Slender Man’s way of strengthening belief. He created a symbol which was linked to him, and then let things run from there. He barely needs to interfere, beyond having proxies posting it, since we’re currently spreading the symbol on our own. Runners surround themselves with the symbol as a way to defend themselves, but in doing so, they also cause themselves to think of him all the time. I still have the symbol on the back of my hoodie, and now whenever I put it on because it’s cold outside, I think of him.
It’s interesting to consider this, because if it’s true, it means that a runner’s greatest defense is also serving to strengthen their hunter.
The Operator Symbol isn’t the only one used in the Slender Man Mythos, even if it is the most common. Some other stories have created their own symbols, which have various meanings. Here’s a few of some of them.
This was a reoccurring symbol in the blog “In My Head”. Not much information on it; I don’t believe it was given a name, or any significance beyond its appearance.
From Searching For Angels. Looks to be a Slender Man symbol, due to the tentacle like squiggly lines coming out from the blank circle. Currently not much beyond that.
H(a)unting and Scared have also mentioned another symbol, that of ///Slenderman///. It’s described as a regular Operator Symbol, but with the lines bent. No image for this one, as a picture of it hasn’t been uploaded on either site.
EDIT: This one's from TribeTwelve. Not much known right now, since it just was revealed, though the fandom has given it the nickname "The Observer Symbol".
The Tutorial (‘What the hell is (x)?’): http://getuphigh.blogspot.com/2010/06/what-hell-is-x.html
Defining? (Symbols/Faith II): http://nildesperandumnilfortuna.blogspot.com/2010/09/symbolsfaith-ii.html
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Oh, wait, sorry, wrong kind of running.
Before I begin, I’d going to mention some stuff on other blogs. Genevieve at Exilis Veritas is trying to map out the locations of Slender Man sightings. This may prove informative in the long run, so if you’re willing to, I’d recommend going to the map and posting any sightings you’ve had of him.
Second: I recently discovered the blog Golom Tulpa Anima. It’s only a few posts long right now, but it has a great deal of information, much of it going over things I wasn’t planning to go into much detail here. So if you’re looking for even more Slender Man information, check it out.
But now onto running. Until the Winter Equinox, I’m planning to post more practical information here. Hopefully some of it will be of use. In addition to this post on running, I hope to have posts on the Operator Symbol, Slenderproxies, and potential weapons of effect before December 21st.
Running From Slender Man
“Runner” is the term that has become associated with people who are hunted by Slender Man, but who stay on the move to avoid him, instead of remaining in a single location. M is the one who popularized the concept, when he created his blog giving advice on how to be a not-dead Runner. Since then, whether or not a blog is being made by a Runner has become a good indication of what the tone will be: If they remain in one place, expect a focus on horror and puzzles, with little hope for them making it out alive. Whereas a Runner blog will usually be on the more optimistic side, and the participants will usually be much more aggressive and genre savvy towards Slender Man.
These are M’s basic three rules, which are essential for running.
1. Get Up High
According to M, Slender Man has a bit of difficulty finding humans who are high up. The hypothesis M had for the reason was that Slendy couldn’t visualize humans taller than he was, because humans are supposed to be shorter than him. A human taller than he is makes no sense at all. The example for height M gives is two stories plus a roof; I’d stay go with three stories just to be safe.
Ironically, the first of M’s rules, and the one which makes his URL, is the one most likely to be broken. Not to say the rule doesn’t work; there are still many instances of someone hiding in a high place to avoid Slendy. But it’s only a chance that it would work; in Scared, when Drew tried hiding in a high place, Slendy “took a few steps forwards, shot those fucked up things out of his back, and shot up to the roof to see me [Drew]”. There’s also the chance that he’ll just Slenderwalk into a tall building, or send Slenderproxies after you (who have no problem with the concept of people being high up). Even so, there’s no harm in being high up, so it should be done as an added precaution.
2. Keep Moving
The one which everyone seems to remember. Don’t stay in one place for too long. Even if Slendy can just Slenderwalk to your new position, movement appears to decrease the number of sightings you’ll have of him, plus it throws off Slenderproxies, as they need to rely on conventional methods of movement.
Running is almost universally accepted to work. The only place I can remember which didn’t agree was H(a)unting, and there they didn’t say that running wouldn’t work, only that it “isn't for everyone”. Slendy seems to enjoys a bit of a hunt, which might be why he lets so many people run from him.
3. Keep Your Eyes Open
This is part of M’s hypothesis on how Slenderwalking works. That was already covered, so I’ll be brief. Slendy can’t appear or disappear while he’s being observed, or thinks he’s being observed. Therefore, you need to keep your eyes open, pay attention, and if you need close your eyes, have something like a mask or an Operator Symbol to trick him into thinking he’s being watched.
Instances of this not working were covered in the Slenderwalking post.
H(a)unting’s main point of advice seems to be to not freak out and start panicking when you encounter Slender Man. Don’t throw Operator Symbols up everywhere, don’t run screaming when you see him, don’t throw your life away and start running if you don’t need to, do act in a calm, rational manner. If you act frightened of Slender Man, you’re more likely to be killed by him. Keeping your spirits up is the best way to hold him off. Sandra (Oracle) recommends keeping in a small group so that you can all help each other’s spirits, act confident when Slender Man appears, and don’t panic when you encounter a Slenderproxy. Thus far, Slenderproxies tend not to actually try to kill someone, unless they appear to be a threat (such as the Sages). They will attack people, but if Slender Man is hunting someone, he wants to be the one to kill them.
-Avoid Large Groups
This is another of M’s. Having a few people with you is fine, but more people draws Slender Man towards you. The ideal situation would be to have a group of two or three people; enough to protect each other and keep everyone sane, but not so much that you turn into a large target.
-IPods are Your Friend
Steve Jobs is the one who will save us all, it seems. There are two uses for IPods. In Ichthyological, Liz used one as a way to alert her of Slender Man’s presence. She would have music playing, and whenever the audio began to screw up, she would know that Slender Man was nearby.
Another use was from Jay (Heroic Sage) in Anomalous Data. While being followed by Slender Man, he had Yakety Sax play on his phone (well, not exactly an IPod, but same idea) to lessen the fear associated with the situation.
-Don’t Accept Invitations
Okay, so you’re on the run from Slendy, you’re staying smart, keeping him at bay, dodging the Slenderproxies, and then you start seeing one location in your dreams, or some unnatural force seems to be drawing you to a place….
Seriously, don’t go, unless you are either crazy prepared, or have a very good reason to risk your life. Going to the house didn’t help J in Marble Hornets, Anthony going to the tree in Lost Time ended with him dead, going to the cave may/may not have ended with Sam of White Rabbit Asylum being killed (depends on whether you think the lack of activity is because she’s just not blogging anymore, or because of what she found in the cave), traveling to the Land of the Ashen Waste resulted in the HYBRIDs encountering Slendy…. Are you seeing a common trend here?
If you are going to accept an invitation from Slender Man, you better have a good reason to do so, or be Zeke Strahm. Most encounters end either in some kind of attack, or if you’re unlucky, outright death. It’s rare to escape completely unscathed, unless Slendy’s still just playing.
-Stay Out of the Woods
If at all possible, avoid large groups of trees. Either forests are his home, or he’s just stronger/more active within them. Going into the woods is always a bad idea; I can’t think of a single blog which has recommended it as a way to stay alive.
-Don’t Be Stupid/Passive
It sounds obvious, but there are so many times I want to slap some of these runners and tell them to start thinking logically. You have so much information available to you, don’t just ignore it. I hate reading people make posts about how they’re planning to go exploring in a forest, when they should know better. Or absolutely refusing to do anything about their situation. If you just sit around your home, letting your life and mind fall apart, you will be killed, go insane, or become a Slenderproxy. Victims who act proactively, who work to extend their lives, who stay smart and on the move, have a much longer life span than their counterparts. And when they do die, they usually go out in a much more dignified manner than someone scrambling to type some desperate calls for help on their home computer as their mind completely snaps.
The Tutorial: http://getuphigh.blogspot.com/
H(a)unting (Advice): http://wwwrunningwonthelp-lya.blogspot.com/2010/09/advice.html
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Robert (Guardian) has named the three new sages. They are zerombr (A hint of serendipity), Maduin (A Really Bad Joke) and Amelia (Road to the Heavens). As always, links to the blogs will be provided at the end of the post.
At this time, I’d like to strut around with my chest puffed up, because when I said I was following possible candidates for the role of (Sage), zerombr and Maduin were two of my predictions. I wasn’t sure about the third; I thought it might be Jackson from Searching For Angels, as he is a paranormal investigator, but I now realize that the lack of any communication between him and Robert (Guardian) would disqualify him from that role.
For those who haven’t been reading White Elephants, I should explain what Robert (Guardian)’s theory was (or at least, what I interpreted it to be). This is my favorite theory about Slendy, mostly because it goes with my love of stories. According to Robert (Guardian), every culture has a monster. This monster is given strength and form through belief in it, and the myths surrounding it. One example would be Der Ritter, who was the monster from Germany. These monsters go about doing their monster things, in accordance with the legends which both constrict and strengthen them, until a (Hero) arises and defeats the monster.
Slender Man is our monster, although whether he is born from American culture, or the culture of the internet, I can’t say for certain. He gains strength and rules from the stories which we tell about him, though he is much more flexible than the monsters of other cultures; he is still young enough that the stories haven’t yet pinned down an exact set of rules which he must follow. The beauty of this theory is how it connects to Slender Man’s belief based existence, as well as humans’ tendency to create stories. If Slender Man is created from our stories, how do we stop him? By playing out the story. The story of an unstoppable monster appearing and terrorizing a people, only to be stopped by a single person who stands up against it wielding a powerful weapon, is almost totally prevalent across global cultures. In hindsight, I’m amazed no one noticed this before Robert (Guardian); Slender Man is just another retelling of a classical boogeyman tale, where we attribute all the things we fear to a monstrous entity. And like every legend about a boogeyman, dragon, Der Ritter, or other monster, it will eventually end with the monster conquered.
In this story setting, Robert (Guardian) assigned each of the players a role within the greater legend. Thus far, the roles he named and gave importance to are (Sage), (Mystic), (Hermit), (Warrior), (Guardian), and (Hero).
Sage: (Going with Robert’s artful explanation for this) ”There's a dark jungle next to the village. People who go into it never return. The villagers fear the jungle. Then one day a man with a torch goes in, the villagers scream at him to not, but he does anyway. He returns the next night, crawling back, bleeding to death, claw marks on his back. With his last breath he says 'Within the Jungle lives a Tiger, who is twelve feet long, obsidian claws, and has fire in its eyes...but it is just a Tiger and it bleeds.' After that he dies. The villagers no longer fear the jungle after that day. Oh, it's still scary and they take precautions from the huge Tiger...but it's just a Tiger. No longer is it Unknown or Shadows, perhaps one day someone will go and kill the Tiger...but there is no need for pointless fear.”
Mystic: Zeke Strahm (Seeking Truth). ”The Mystic can equal to -Veteran.- Mystic has fought, stores the knowledge of the past, and continues to give support when possible.”
Hermit: M (The Tutorial) ”The Hermit lives by himself, has developed methods to survive, and is willing to pass on instructions, but has his own priorities, and odds are will not fight as opposed to run.”
Warrior: None yet ”Brave, Bold, Stupid in that headstrong way, Fights for the sake of the fight, Fights without fear, Only fights on This Side, Can push /Construct/ back to Other Side for a while, cannot beat it. A stop gap, and if they become an /Agent/ then there's going to be a lot of trouble.”
Guardian: Robert ”Calm, controlled with knowledge, FIghts for others BUT will have nothing left on This Side, FIghts on Other Side, Stays on Other Side and keep Him there for a much longer time, will return when the Vigil is over, or if a Hero emerges.”
Hero: None yet ”Afraid but pushes on, Foolish but gains wisdom from Sages and Mystics, Fights for those who are important to him, Fights on both This Side and Other Side Only a Hero can kill a monster...but the Hero always dies at the end of the story.”
Robert (Guardian) also referred to Sandra from H(a)unting as (Oracle), though I can’t find any quotes on his blog where he fully explained that role. The HYBRIDs were also called (Champions), again with no quotable explanation. I think both of those are fairly self-explanatory, especially after the HYBRIDs attempts to fight back against Slendy.
For the story to be completed, we need to fill the (Warrior) and (Hero) roles. Who the (Hero) will be, I haven’t the slightest clue. There was some discussion about it being M if he were to ever stop running, but he’s been out of contact even longer than Shaun. As for (Warrior), I’ve got some ideas. Evan (EverymanHYBRID) has the fighting spirit, and the desire to kill Slendy, but his sanity may be somewhat in question, since he’s been the most obviously affected by Slendy so far. Nightcrawler (Observe and Terminate) has the resources and skills to fight back, but right now his priorities seem to be more on killing Runners than protecting them. There’s also Joker (The Master Laughs), who’s an interesting case. If he were to ever decide to change sides, he’d make a perfect (Warrior). As it stands, he’s currently working for, not against Slendy. What’s interesting about it is that he doesn’t seem to be a Slenderproxy. He acts more like a guy who just happens to be working for Slender Man because it amuses him, without any binding loyalties to Tall Dark and Faceless.
Or maybe the (Warrior) and (Hero) are people who haven’t entered the game yet. Perhaps Slendy will pick a victim who ends up being a bit more than he can handle, having the right combination of traits to be either a (Warrior) or (Hero). As knowledge of Slendy spreads, his victims are becoming more aggressive against him; it likely won’t be long before someone else stands up to fight back. Then at last the story ends; the monster is slain, and put back into our minds, where he belongs.
A hint of serendipity: http://despairpalesbeforeme.blogspot.com/
A Really Bad Joke: http://worstjestever.blogspot.com/
Road to the Heavens: http://weavethecauseway.blogspot.com/
Never introduce your friends to Slender Man. Not because they’ll become hunted by him. But because whenever you post something like, “Trees are trying to kill me. Freakin' huge branch snapped off one and nearly fell on my head while I was running.” as a Facebook status, you’ll find your comment consist of operator symbols and people claiming Slendy’s out to get you. Which isn’t something I need to be thinking about while I’m running, since my morning runs tend to go through forests, usually before the sun has risen.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Robert (Guardian) seems to have made his last post on White Elephants. For once, we seem to have a blog end on a positive note. Go ahead, read it. Listen to this while you do so. It’s inspiring. Almost makes me wish I had Slendy following me so I could take a few swings at him.
This end means we now have a (Guardian). If Robert (Guardian)’s theory holds true, all we now need is a (Warrior) and a (Hero), for the story to be completed and for Slender Man to be killed once and for all. There are a few people who might fall into either of those roles, but I’ll need to keep observing them before I make a conclusion.
It also means that the three (Sages) are now most likely gone as well. I only say likely, since Shaun’s status is currently unknown; he may still be alive and well, just unable to contact anyone. Robert (Guardian) said that three more (Sages) would rise to replace them. I’m following some possible candidate, but I really hope this doesn’t devolve into people arguing with each other about who is the real successor to the title of (Sage).
I’ve gotten a request to post the story I wrote about Slender Man, so here it is. Let’s see how Blogger handles the glitches I’ve encountered on other computers (After having looked at it in the preview, it seems to work fine. So I've replaced it with Zalgo font, as it's the closest thing I could find to representing what the glitches looked like). And yes, all the characters are named after people from finished/incomplete Slender Man ARGs.
I’m the only one left.
I need to collect my thoughts. It started two months ago. At least, I think it was two months. It’s been so long since I last slept, I can scarcely remember time anymore. Instead of clocks, my brain is filled with madness.
There had been six of us at first; all friends from childhood. It was the first time I’d seen most of them since I’d left for medical school. The picnic was supposed to have been a bit of a reunion, a chance for us all to reconnect after so many years apart. I’ll admit I felt a bit odd, a respected man of my position going to a park with five other grown adults for a picnic. Of course it had all been June’s idea; she was the sort of person who would laugh at anyone telling her to act her age.
Awkward as I felt in the situation, it was still good to see everyone again. Billy and Christina looked happy together; it was nice to see they’d gotten out of their “Can’t spit it out” stage while I was gone. Christina was two months pregnant then, so of course June and Liz were fawning over her. Liz was in a similar situation to mine, in that this was her first time seeing everyone again. She’d gotten a degree in marine biology, and had spent most of the past years on a boat. With the girls all around Christina, I was stuck with the other two guys. It was shocking to see how much I’d missed; Billy had put his partying and wildness behind him, in favor of settling down with Christina. Alex was still obsessed with his cameras, except now he was spending more time selling them than taking pictures with them. And then there was me, still the serious and quiet one. I have tried to perfectly capture every moment of that picnic in my memory. It is the last time I can recall feeling a sense of happiness.
There was a forest bordering our picnicking site, and soon June came up with the plan of exploring the trails in it. Alex leaped at the opportunity; no doubt he wanted to photograph the scenery. I wasn’t certain about that plan, as fog had risen from the river to shroud the paths. I didn’t want to fall flat onto my face because I tripped over some stone I couldn’t see. But those two were good at pleading, and soon we had all agreed to go with them.
I wish I could point out the exact moment when the change occurred, but it was subtle; it’s only looking back on that time that I realize it happened at all. As we continued along the trails of the forest, Billy started acting strangely nervous, constantly glancing over his shoulder into the trees. Whenever someone asked him what was wrong, he would seem confused, asking us what we were talking about. Perhaps we should have tried harder to figure out what was causing him to act that way, but to be honest, none of us were feeling that comfortable on the paths. Only Alex, so obsessed with his photos, seemed immune. How he managed to photograph anything in that thick fog, I cannot understand.
In spite of all promises to remain in touch, I didn’t hear from any of the five for a week after the reunion. When I did, it wasn’t how I’d have liked. Billy and Christina had made front page news, in an article concerning a vicious murder. Neighbors reporting sounds of struggle from their house led to the police investigating, whereupon they found Christina…. She had been… God, I’d hoped that I was desensitized to this now…. She had been killed, in a very violent method. The police had to use dental records to identify her. That’s…. That’s all I’m going to say about it. They found Billy in his room, nearly catatonic. He kept repeating the phrase “Sees me,” over and over. The police took him in as their primary suspect, but I couldn’t believe Billy would kill Christina. Even if we had been out of touch for years, I knew Billy well enough to understand he wasn’t the type of person to do something like that. This was a man who practically cried when he ran over a squirrel his first day driving; I couldn’t imagine him harming anyone, let alone Christina.
Liz had been staying in a hotel not far from where Billy and Christina lived, so I called her first. The news seemed to have left her in shock; she had been just as surprised as I had by it. We decided to try and get everyone together, so we could find out what had happened. June agreed to meet us, but Alex said he had other things he needed to take care of.
Of course, we knew that the three of us weren’t going to unravel any mysteries. That was the job of the police; we just wanted to understand how something like this could happen. Liz had been the most in contact with Billy and Christina since the picnic, so she understood the situation better than June or I. According to her, Billy had been acting stressed since the picnic, and when Liz had come over to the house for a visit, Billy had spent most of the time glancing out windows. The behavior had been strange, but not violent. When he took his eyes off the windows, Billy had been his usual, friendly self.
We decided that we needed to see if we could talk to Billy. None of us had been in such a situation before, so we weren’t sure if the police would allow us an opportunity to speak with him, but we felt that it was necessary to try. June decided that we should all meet again tomorrow, and attempt to question Billy about the situation.
The next day’s morning paper ended those plans. During the night, Billy had disappeared from his cell. The guards had reported that the door hadn’t been unlocked, or even open. He had just vanished. Three hours later, Billy’s body was found tangled in a tree’s branches. According to his autopsy, his organs had been systematically removed and then placed at random back into his body.
Hearing that news seemed to destroy any curiosity I’d had for the reason behind Christina’s, and now Billy’s, deaths. I was horrified, and frightened; it seemed impossible that something like that could happen to people I knew. Liz wanted to investigate more, and find out what had been the cause of all of it, but I was content to just leave such mysteries in the hands of the police. June agreed with me; I think she blamed herself for all of this, as she had been the one who organized the picnic. The three of us agreed to stay in touch, but June and I made it clear to Liz that we didn’t want any part in her investigation.
The rest of the month passed without further incident. I tried, and failed, to push my friends’ deaths out of my mind. I remained in touch with the others; I even called Alex a few times, but he always said he couldn’t talk for long, due to his busy schedule. My life appeared to be resuming normalcy, as I kept my mind on my work and my patients.
Thankfully, Liz had agreed to not say anything about her investigation to me. Thus far, all communication between us had carefully danced around the issue, never mentioning Billy or Christina. Then one day, I received an email from her:
i Hope this mEssage finds you weLl. i will be leaving this Place for soMe time. pleasE do not worry about me.
It wasn’t the most well hidden message I’d seen, and I didn’t understand the symbol at the end, but the intent was obvious. I tried calling Liz’s phone, but no response came. My next move was to call June; she told me that she had also received a similar email from Liz, and had also failed at reaching her. June was almost panicking at this point, and it took several minutes to get her to calm down. I told her to meet me at Liz’s apartment.
The door to the apartment was unlocked when we arrived. All the lights were dark when we went inside, and the switches failed to illuminate them. Our sources of light came from the open door behind us, and the windows on the walls, leaving parts of the apartment hidden by a shroud. There was some horrible feeling there, similar to that sense of foreboding from the forest, only far worse. As I walked inside, I felt as though something was watching me, but when I glanced behind, all I saw was June, also looking around with similar fear. Silence filled the air, with not even a squeak from the floor under our feet. Some part of my mind, an old, instinctual part, screamed at me to leave. This place was a tomb, and I was not meant to walk in it. But against this fear’s advice, I continued searching. But even if I ignored the advice of my fears, I still found myself not stepping out of the windows’ lights.
Everything in the apartment was perfectly organized and untouched. There were no signs of any struggle or violence. The bed had been meticulously made, the trash taken out, and the refrigerator emptied. It resembled a section of a model home more than a place someone should have been living in. There was even a small layer of dust over the furniture, like it hadn’t been touched in days.
We looked through that place so many times, trying to find some kind of clue, anything that could tell us what happened to Liz. All we found was an empty silence, which seemed to mock our belief that someone could have once lived here. As the fruitlessness of our efforts became more apparent, I considered waiting to see if Liz might return home later. But as the sun fell lower in the sky, the dominating sense of unease grew stronger. I still could not bring myself to leave the safety of the lights, and I did not desire to remain there when all the lights were gone.
It was decided that June and I would meet again tomorrow, in the vain hope that one of us would magically gain knowledge of Liz’s whereabouts during the night. As I left the apartment, the dark feeling from inside followed me home. I felt watched, as though unseen eyes were observing my every action. Even when I entered my home, with the doors locked and the blinds closed, something watched me. I did not get much sleep that night, for every small noise or creak seemed amplified a hundredfold. Whenever it seemed sleep finally would come to me, I would jump awake at the sound of a tree tapping against my window. It was only when the sun rose, and the terrors of night lessened, did I realize that I have no trees by my bedroom window. I have not had a tree by my bedroom since I was a child.
The next day brought no news concerning Liz. A missing persons notice was filed to the police, but I felt they would be no help. It was as though she had simply been plucked from the Earth, leaving not a single trace of her existence behind.
Another week passed, filled with sleepless nights and quick glances over my shoulder. I could never discern what the source of my dread was; every time I felt something watching my back, I would turn and see nothing.
When the stress was reaching a point beyond containment, I received a call from June. She had planned a meeting with Alex, to see if he had any knowledge pertaining to Liz, but he had never arrived at the Starbucks she had specified for their meeting. She had attempted to call him, but that endeavor resulted in only silence. Now with fear gripping her, she wanted me to accompany her to Alex’s shop of cameras. I suppose both of us were hoping for the relief of safety in numbers.
When we met, June’s appearance came as a shock. Whatever sinister presence hovered over me, it followed her even more. Dark bags of exhaustion hung under her constantly shifting eyes. We must have appeared an odd pair as we walked down the street, neither able to go a full minute without a quick glance back in search of our invisible watcher.
June had occasionally spoken with Alex since Liz’s disappearance. Their conversations had always been short, before Alex cut off with the excuse that he had more important matters needing his attention. According to June, every time they’d spoken, he had been even more hostile and short tempered, until they’re last conversation. Alex had practically begged June to meet with him then, which only made his absence more disturbing.
Inside the store, the employee manning the desk informed us that Alex had been locking himself in his back office for the past few days, only rarely coming out into the store proper. After convincing him that we were Alex’s friends, he gave us the key to the office.
I’m not sure what we were expecting to find in there, but what we saw wasn’t it. There was no Alex in the lightless office, only walls covered in papers and pictures. All the pictures were photographs he had taken during our walk through the forest so long ago. Not one photo had come out right; each one was grainy, distorted, or blemished by some technical malfunction which ruined the image. More disturbing were the papers which covered the walls. They were covered in Alex’s writing, repeating the phrases “Sees Me” and “Don’t Look Back”. There were also several papers with only a single symbol on them, a large circle with an X through it. It reminded me of the (X) symbol which Liz had put at the end of her email to me, in a strangely frightening way.
Amidst the chaos of photos and papers, June found one which had the address and time of their planned meeting written on it. Underneath this, in shaky handwriting, was written,
“it’s here i need to escape i will run and i will run and i will run and run and run and run and run and run and it will find me and find me and find me”
The writing stopped there. We searched through the office more, but found nothing else. According to the employee, Alex had walked into the office earlier that morning, and since then hadn’t walked out. He was just gone, like Liz.
There was nothing left for us to find there, so we left. Once we stepped outside, the feeling of being watched increased tremendously. This feeling of being under the microscope, of something just staring down on you, looking through you…. I wanted to scream, but at the same time, could not bring my voice to work. June had frozen in place, looking down the silent road. There was nothing on the road, no cars, or people, or even animals, but the face she held as she looked down its path was one of complete horror. She said something about having to leave, and then ran to her car. Perhaps I should have acted in some way, maybe gone with her. But my legs were as stone, stuck to the cement beneath them. Only after June had driven out of sight did the horrible feeling go away.
That night, June called me. She was sobbing, barely able to get her words out coherently. “It’s watching me. It’s right outside my window.” Was all I could understand in between her panicked gasps. I tried to talk to her, but couldn’t understand the wild ravings coming from her. When I asked what it was that was watching her, the only response I heard was her breaking down in tears. After the tears passed, she suddenly became very calm.
“I…. I can hear laughter….
It’s here now. Goodbye, Jay.”
I drove as fast as my car would allow to June’s home. When I got there, the fire department was around it, trying to control the vicious fire which consumed the home. In spite of their efforts, the entire structure was destroyed. There was no sign of June, and the firemen never found any human remains inside the ruins.
Now there’s only me. The last left.
I can feel it watching. Watching me all the time now. I can’t get away from it. It followed me all the way back from June’s house. Every time I looked in my rearview mirror, it was behind me, no matter how fast I drove. It brought the fog with it, surrounding my home in a thick cloudy moat. It’s outside my house right now, watching me. I can hear it tapping on the windows. Tap, tap, tap tap taptaptaptaptaptapTAPTAPTAPTAPTAPTAPTAP
I can’t run. It will just find me.
No matter how far, I cannot escape it.
There’s never any escape.
It will find anyone it hunts.
It’s here. I can feel it. It’s standing right behind me. I can’t turn around. I can feel it staring directly at the back of my neck, only inches away. I just have to keep looking at the screen here. I can’t take my eyes of this page, off the safe glow of the monitor, the comforting shapes of the letters making up these sentences. This is safe. What’s behind me isn’t.
01001111 01101000 00100000 01100111 01101111 01100100 00101110
I can hear the laughter. It’s such a beautiful sound.
The mgiilsn esrte hety hgual
The fog is inside my home now. It fills every corner of my existence.
Ť̗̳̬̺͌͐̽h̖̦͔̪̟̠͔̳͊͢͡ḙ̩̽ͤ͂ͩ͊͊̽̑̀ ̶̖̭̝̯̻̝͊̆͆̀ę̫̦̥̣̪̃̊ͫ̾͊͗̑n̛̂̏͛͒͛́҉͇̬̤̟̝̱̹͕ͅd͍̬ͭͥ̂̇̇ ͍͙̎ͦ̃ͣ̀͘h̼̙̼̰̪̦̞ͥ͐ȧ̧̳̯̻̦̦ͯ̑̉̽ͬͧ̔̌s͕̜̘͖̑̌ͣ͋ͮ̔̆ ̗ͥ̿͂ͤ͊ͩ͢͢c̊̀ͨ͛̕͏̖̼̩̱o̢̝̥̦̫̦̗͑ͪ͌̓͌̎͆m̱̤̱̰͇͖̥͌ͯ̀ͪͣ̄̎̉ë̫̯̰̖̜̠͚͙̝́̓ͤͨ͛ͩ̀͒ ͪͨ͒̂̂̌͏͍͔̲f͎͕̹̥͓̅̉͂͌́̉o̡̯̫̠̣̲̹̖͋͒͑ͮ̾̋͌̏ͬͅr̿͆ͮͯ͂ͤ̑ͤ҉̙͇̠̪̫̙̖͠ ̼͙͒̀͠u̎ͯ̐͏̰͔͈̜̬̰̣̯͙͜͠s͉̩̹̯̯̥̹̊͆̊̑̇͊ͅͅ ͖͗̈́ͣ̉ͥ̔̐͘͝a̶̧̻̭̳̘̠͈̘͐ͥͨ̿ͫ̓͐͜l̫̩̩͈̯̥̅ͨ͆̓̔̏̃͝ͅl̷̡̗̙̜̹̺͙̹̳̎ͥ.̶̟̱̪̝̻̩̺̠͉̔͐̌͜ ̜̞̘̠ͯ͊W̴̧̰̥̰̫̦͈̤͐̇͑̎ͯ͒̚͠e͊ͯ͟҉̴̜͖̞ ̧͇̜̯̑c̷̢̧̻̣͚̺͍̤͈̏̋a̧̱̝̬͔͕̫͙͐̎̌͗͗ͤ͐n̷͚͒̊͒ͥ̇̅̐͟’̴͕̟͙̊̎̎͌̂̚t̋̊͏̖̺͖̠̩̺̟̱̤ ̥̳̻̘̱͗ͪ̈ͪͥr̷̟͉̰̠̂ͫ̿́̉̌͜u̯̮̠̮͇ͤ̉̇n̮̦̣̙̪͂ͨͬ͋͒̊̽,̸̢̠̮͙̓̿̅ͮ ̛̻̫ͣ̽͌͠w̏̏͋̓̆͠҉̜͔͈̖̪͢e͇̼͊ͤ̃̆͑̚͢ ̨̧̻͓̫͍̪͖̖̬̯͂̿ͥ̇͌͊͞c̩͗̔͆͒ͩͫ̐̀̚̚͟ą͖͍̑͌̌͊̊̈͆͛͡n̘̲̪̜̳͇ͯ̈́ͦ’̡̝̲͓̹͔̜̠͕̓̇́ͥt̤̺̊̓̿́͟ ̴̛͍̻̖̙͇͈̑ͦ͒̿̈͑h̥͕̰̘͖̩ͩ̽̋ͪ͢i̡̼̱̬̬̤̥̝̓͂̅͜ͅd̴͖̞̞͇͎̎̑̿̾͊͑̚e̴̪͙͙̼̳̠͇̜̯ͫͬ̔͌̀.̧͈̝ͨ͋̍̋͌̈̏ͩͫͅ ̴̶̭̭̪ͤ̽̎͗͌̄Ȋ̬̥͇͇͚̘͖̯͌͆̃̃̈̀̋̀͞ͅt̴̴̫̗͎̣͕̾͆ͣͨͧ̅ͥ ̢̞̤̱̳̝̜̩͆̂͗ͣ̔̑̓̓w̶̭̣̼͓̰͇͐̽͑̍͠͝i̻͖ͬ͠͡l̴̵̮̪̳̖̻̟̝ͬ̃͌̒̏ͣͧ̒l͎̼̬̝̦̟͆̆ͅ ̸̤̜̱͚̝͚͕̑ͣ͆̍̚c̥̫͉̭̖͈̫̭ͪͯ͐̀̾ͯo̧͙͕̟̝̳̤̬̹͐͋̄̈́̊ͦ̈́̂ͩm̴̝͚͎̯͕̥̤̮̺ͫ͑͗̓̐̎͋ͣͯ͝͞e̬̹͚͕̯̜̓̆̊͒ͪ͞ ̇̆͏̜̻̟͝f̸̵̡̞̙͈͓ͤ̓͆͒͑ͤ̚ȍ̪͇̣͙̼̠̪̣̀ȑ̞̽̑ͩ̆̒̿ ̡̘̊͂̚͡ų̴̬̺̣ͤ̔͐ͯ͡s͓̲͉̮͕̙̣͎̅̀ͅ ͐ͮ͋҉̺͚͓̭̘͍̦͈͢a̢̭̦̳͚͒͌͋ͧ̋͞l̫͔͓̫͔͈͎̯͆́l̢̗̖̱̄̕ ̲͉̜̘͖ͫ̔ͤ̑ͤ̓î̚͏͍͈͡ṉ̦͛̅̀͝ ̧̬̜̤̹͔͉̗̟̦ͩ̐͐ͯ͠t͇̲̯̭͍̳̘ͩ̃ͮ̄̓̇̕͝ḩ̷͈̀͒̌̆̓̄̅̔̓͝ę̩͕̃͐ͤ̄͗ͨ̇ ̨̙̘̙͍̥̦̈ͯ̇́e̛̩̬̭͉͓̖͚̽̊͑̌̈́̅͐̍͜ͅn̿͏͔d̷̹̟͚͊̿͛̒ͤ̑͌͝.͔̤̮ͤ̅ͩ̆ͤ͢͞
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I would have posted these pictures sooner, but my camera isn’t compatible with Vista, so I had to go through the infinitely enjoyable process of trying to get our school computers to work.
These were my basic tools: Hoodie with an operator symbol, flashlight, notebook with creepy messages, and a sword. My original plan was for a baseball bat instead of a sword, as a homage to Evan’s recent attempts to kill Slendy with one, but baseball bats cost money (is it sad that I don’t own a single baseball bat, but have easy access to multiple swords?).
Me in uniform. This is probably the most sadistic/evil looking picture I’ve had taken of me. I think I like it.
We had a bit of fun here. After deciding to investigate an empty playground (Slendy seems to love playgrounds), we noticed someone had written some garbled words on the swing set. In the fine tradition of ARGs, we declared that it must be a vague clue which required our investigation.
Some creepiness occurred when we tried to photograph the actual words; both cameras we were using simultaneously died before any shots could be taken. They started working again later, but we never bothered to go back and photograph the words.
In case any overzealous ARG players out there are in need of nonsensical phrase they can claim to be a puzzle that needs solving, the words were (in pink chalk):
Another fun moment. This picture was taken a few seconds after one of us coughed to clear his throat. It was instantly declared to be a sign that Slender Man was near, and we all went charging into the darkness to find and do battle with him.
I’m surprised I didn’t get questioned by the police for waving a sword around in public while running and shouting.