Monday, January 31, 2011

It's important I don't lose hold of the details, but I have to be quick. They think I'm just putting my things in my room and chnging out of my work clothes.

Earlier, Violet texted me:

"Are you at home?"

I sent back: "No, I'm out on assignment. Why?"

"Be careful going home. Just be really really careful"

I asked her why, but she didn't answer. I asumed it was because of the snow.

I was wrong.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day by Day

I'm sitting in Panera Bread and there's a guy in here who is very obviously crazy. He's holding his hand to his ear and talking to himself and rocking back and forth. You'd almost think he was on a Bluetooth, but he's not. He makes me wonder where Zeke is right now, and a few minutes ago I had a complete gigglefit because of the implication that crazy people inherently make me think of Zeke.

My moods seem to come by the day. Some days, I'm flighty and talkative and almost normal. Those are my good days. On bad days, my entire body just feels heavy. I feel like I have to try five times as hard to move, and I just want to go back to my room and curl up under my big blanket. I can usually tell what kind of day it will be within the first hour after I've woken up.

Luckily, today is a good day. I just dropped off my grandmother for her dialysis (she doesn't want to drive with the snow on the way) and I've got my laptop and some French onion soup, my early lunch since later I have to go and do a story with Craig.

In other news, Detective Goldman and I finally got around to some basic self-defense lessons. My initial reaction: Oh god I am so sore why is this so goddamn hard. Feel free to quote me on that, internet. I don't know what he's a blackbelt in, but whatever it is, I'm not very good at it, at all. I told him that Desmond had once taught me some Marine techniques, but I wasn't very good at them, either. He said he fully believed me. We spent four hours on Sunday going over forms, and the only thing I've managed to actually learn so far is that I'm not nearly as flexible as I should be. Detective Goldman told me to make sure I stretch every night, and he taught me specific ones to do. And yes, even the stretches are goddamn difficult.

In other other news (see what I did thar?), I've been spending a little bit of time on Internet-2. I can't get to it on my laptop (yet!), but I went to the library, and they had access. When I told the librarian that I was looking up information about Miskatonic, she smiled and said, "Yeah, that's what most people who ask about it are looking for." So, I spent about an hour poking around their site, and the more I looked, the more excited I got. God, no wonder it's my dream school. I remember when I went to their Open House about a year ago. I got a T-shirt.

MiskU still uses snail mail for their applications, so yesterday I stopped by the library and put in a request for them to send me one. It should be here in a couple of days.

Until then, I suppose I should just be thankful that today is a good day. Of course, the main downside to good days is that they're usually followed by some awful thing happening, so I've gotten a little bit paranoid about them.

Like the guy that's sitting across the restaurant and keeps looking at me. He's a younger guy, early twenties, maybe. He's got black hair and big brown eyes and is vaguely Italian-looking (is that racist?). He's wearing a black jumper-sweater and jeans and keeps looking at me while he's stirring his soda. I don't like him. He makes me think of Practical Cat the way that the crazy guy makes me think of Zeke. Then again, maybe he's just trying to be flirtatious.

Well, sorry, but noski, broski. I've kind of got a full plate at the moment. So stop staring, or I swear I'll take out your eye with one of the awesome martial arts techniques I didn't learn.

Oh, look, a joke. Like I said, it's a good day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I'm not sure what to say about this, so I'll just give you the facts.

On Sunday, Craig said he was giving me a couple of days off and since our store hours keep getting cut, I don't have to go into Wawa until Thursday. So, since yesterday morning I've been down visiting with my mother in Southeast Baltimore. To be honest, it's like a break; it's in the middle of the city, far the hell away from the woods of my father's house, and the doors in this rowhome have more locks than the bastard child of a prison cell and a chastity belt. I don't feel entirely safe, but it's close.

I've spent most of my time here catching up with Ma, playing with her dog, Phoenix (who, by the way, happens to be the best dog ever), and playing World of Warcraft (escapists gonna escape and all that). I'd been avoiding checking my email, sticking to occasional Facebook checks -- since everything that's happened, it's become more or less my primary link to the social world, and anyone who needs to contact me, like Craig, can just call my phone. But not long ago, I finally checked my email.

I usually have only one or two important emails every couple of days, mostly from Craig, and a few of spam stuff like a sale at Barnes & Noble or a great deal on the BBC America Shop. I opened it up today, however, to find around a dozen and a half messages from at least eight different accounts. They were from all different web-based hosting sites -- Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, the works -- and all with the same username, or at least different plays on it: Cat920, cat_920, cat-920, cat.920, and so forth and so on.

Each had the same subject line: "For Little Mouse"

The message read:

"here is a gift for you. do be a dear and share it with her.

Practical Cat"

Attached to all of the messages was an audio file. It was a song -- specifically, a Del Shannon song from 1961 called Runaway. I couldn't find a way to attach the file, but I found the proper song on the YouTube:

If you were to ask me, I'd say that this was from the same person who tacked the note on my door with the photographs. The message is almost the same: "Ha ha, look at how much you suck." He even gave himself a little nickname. How quaint.

Well, I'm not afraid of this guy. He's reaching out through my email because he's too afraid to actually confront me. 4chan scares me more than this douchebag.

All in all, I have things more or less under control for now. You know...relatively speaking.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Score Stands at State of Mind: 0, Wangst: Over 9000.

For the last couple of days, I've been pretty consumed with getting in touch with Violet. I think she was ignoring me for a good long while, maybe trying to teach me a lesson. I must have called her thirty times before she finally picked up late last night.

"You can't keep calling me like this," she said. I was so relieved just to hear her voice that I could barely contain myself.

"Yes, I can."

I'd spent the past two days trying desperately to get her on the phone. I'd planned to give her a piece of my mind, to yell and tell her to get her ass back here for her own good. I'd planned to be angry. Now I couldn't find anything to say, and I certainly couldn't find it in me to be angry. Our conversation was punctuated by brief periods of silence, the type of silence that happens when both parties have something to say, but neither will initiate.

"What are you gonna do?" I asked her.

"I figure I'll just stay in whatever town I feel suits me, until I feel like he's after me and I have to get moving again. I'll try to be back for fall."

"What if you get back and he's here?"

"Would you like a lie or the truth?"

"The truth."

"I'll leave again. And I won't hesitate like this time."


"What about Riley?"

"He trusts me. And he's saving up so that if I need him, he can hop right on a plane."


"The readers wish you luck."

"I know. I saw the comments earlier today."

"Why did you tell them to take care of me? I don't need anybody."

"Yes, you do. I'm not asking you to depend on them, Cee. Just listen to them. Trust them."

"I'm not going near that book, if that's what you -- "

"That's not what I mean. I know exactly how you feel about the journal."

"I hate it."

"I know."

"I hate it and I hate myself for it. That thing was a piece of her."

"Not anymore."


"I'm the Witness."

"Did you ever doubt it?"

"Yes...or no. I don't know."

"That's okay. Things are changing and it's going to be confusing for a while. Some things are fixed, and some things are in flux."

"How do we know which is which?"

"We don't."


"I saved that little boy because I'm the Witness?"

"You saved the boy because you know. You lived to tell about it because you're the Witness."

"Rose too?"

"Rose too. At least, a little."

Silence. A long silence.

"I can save you too, Vi."

"No, you can't."

"Yes, I can."

Silence. My eyes start to burn.

"Please come back."

"I can't."

My throat starts to swell.

"I need you here."

"You don't."

My voice breaks.

"I can't do this without you."

"I'm still with you in this. Just a little farther away."


"Listen...I have to go. But if it helps, I'll keep track of my movements by posting them to Twitter. It's time we actually got some use out of that thing anyway. You'll get the updates on your phone."


"I'll talk to you soon. I love you, Celie."

"I love you, too, Vi."

I still clutched the phone to my ear long after she'd hung up.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Dear Celie,

Before your mind goes to a scary place and you delete this, it’s me. It’s Violet.

I don’t have much time before I need to get going—I want to be out before midnight—so I’m going to try to get all of this out as quickly and coherently as possible.

You already know half of what I’m going to tell you. Your readers certainly know. We all know that you’re the Witness, Celie. Once you admit it, you can embrace it. And once you embrace it, more things like Christmas Eve can happen.

I know that your instinct as a journalist is to ask why, but you can’t. There is no why, Celie. There’s not even a how with him. He doesn’t play by our rules. My dreams gave me perspective I didn’t know I had. I’ve had an epiphany that makes the Book of Revelations look like somebody finally finding their car keys.

You said in the days after Zero Hour (after your birthday, that is) that those fighters were braver than you could ever hope to be. You even posted it on your blog. That’s not true. That’s not even close to true. You’re brave, too.

I know, because your own bravery is keeping me alive.

Hear me out. Do you remember that first night you saw him, in Rose’s bedroom? Do you remember what you did? You were faced with him closer than nearly anyone can bear who hasn’t been exposed to him gradually. Anyone would’ve run away or gone crazy, and what did you do? You put yourself between him and Rose. You shielded her for that night. It was the same thing you did for the little boy on Christmas Eve, and you didn’t even know you did it.

He hates you, Celie. You can sense him. You see him before he sees you. If he has the capacity to hate, he hates you. He can’t just kill you—I don’t know why, but he can’t bring himself to. It may be because he sees the value in you. As much as he hates you, he wants you on his side. Or it may be because you have a part to play that’s beyond him. We can’t let ourselves dwell on why.

I’m leaving. You’ve no doubt figured it out by now. I decided just before I came back, but I couldn’t leave for your birthday and Christmas. I only told Riley a couple of days ago—otherwise, he would’ve told you. I’m not headed anywhere in particular. I have friends along the way, and where I don’t, I have a good amount of money stored away. As it turns out, my parents had kind of been planning for me to go on a big road trip since freshman year of high school when I told them I wanted to study art. They don’t know what’s really going on. They think I’m just being predictable.

I’ll head south, first, I guess, and then west. Eventually I’ll circle back around. Your mom said I’m always welcome at her place when I come back down to Baltimore, if I don’t want to stay at home.

This isn’t defeat. It’s just another phase of fighting, I think. I’m not giving up, and I know you aren’t, either. Willpower, Celie. Why do you think Zeke and Ulryc and those HYBRID boys are still alive? It’ll keep us alive, too. Don’t give up. Even when I’m not here, don’t give up. We’ll keep each other safe even if it’s from a distance.

But don’t make the mistake, even for a minute, of thinking you’re invincible. He can’t hurt you now—tomorrow that may change. And unlike him, these Hallowed do play by our rules. They can probably handle themselves in a fight. Or with a knife. Hell, they’re the biggest part of why I’m leaving. So don’t be a hero.

And this is the most important part: Don’t let this take over. Keep writing. Keep blogging. Forget community college—apply to Miskatonic like you’ve wanted to since junior year. You don’t have time to waste, Celie. There is life after disaster; make yours count.

Since I’m posting this on the blog for your readers to see (I know you’d post it verbatim to them anyway), I’d like to directly address two people: Zeke and Ulryc.

Zeke, you first. Obviously, I’m not going to be around anymore. Allie tries, bless her, but I don’t think she can fully understand what’s happening. Celie’s gone from having me and Rose and Bri and everyone else, to having almost no one who she can confide in, except her readers. Don’t get me wrong here—she loves all of her readers, especially the commenters—but she’s always had a special place for you two. You represent survival to her, and for a while, Zeke, you were the only one outside of us who seemed to give a damn that we were in trouble. She knows you. She’ll listen to you. Take care of her, Zeke. For me. Or if not for me, then for her.

Now, Ulryc, if for any reason Zeke fails, the responsibility of helping Celie falls directly upon you and the other readers. She’s stubborn, doesn’t think things through all the time, and her chronic skepticism makes her a little slow on the uptake with some of the things in Slender territory (Sorry, C, but it’s true).

Watch over her, guys. She’ll contest you and say she doesn’t need anybody’s help, but she does. We all do. We need to stick together in this. A war can’t be won without allies.

I love you, Celie. You and Rose were the sisters I never had. I’m proud to say that I know you, that I knew her.

Survival is our victory. Don’t waste that victory preparing for the next battle. But don't grow complacent either. Those Hallowed are still out there.

Everything is going to change now. We’ll be happy again someday, I promise. But we’ve got to keep fighting.

All my love,

P.S. - Change your password. Her name was way too easy to guess. And you used the same number as always.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More On the Puppet Problem

I caught a glimpse of a Hallowed today. Not for very long; I was downtown researching a story, saw someting strange, and by the time I realized it, he (I think it was a male) jumped out of sight down an alley and to be honest, I didn't care to follow.

Hallowed are a different kind of enemy entirely from what we've been dealing with so far. Unlike our primary concern, they present a key problem: they are human. This presents two main difficulties.

Firstly, human implies human nature. They were not always in service of their Slender boss, after all. Each and every Puppet has a complete history; each of them was five years old and laughing once. How do I come to terms with the fact that what I'm fighting isn't guaranteed pure evil anymore? Do I convince myself that they're all complete monsters like Albert Conaghan? I know that can't be true.

But this brings us to the next, arguably more important problem. Humans are physical. The Slender Man is dangerous, yes -- you don't have to tell me that, after what happened in the woods of Rocks -- but I was able to get him away from that little boy by, as far as I could tell, using my mind. Humans are capable of wielding knives, guns, and brass knuckles, all of which have shown a certain difficulty in fending off with one's mind. I've never been very physical, not even able to tolerate much pain (that's actually somewhat of an understatement; I'm such a wuss that my poor hypochondriac mother is convinced I have some rare nerve disorder).

If some Puppet gets the clever idea to drag me into a dark alley and off me himself, there's a very real possibility that I won't be able to stop him.

On the bright side, the increased presence of Hallowed presents a couple of other optimistic possibilities:

1.) The boss is sending out his peons because he doesn't want to come near me himself. This is very comforting to me.

2.) Detective Goldman recently told me that he is a third degree blackbelt. He also has access to, and considerable knowledge of, firearms (you gotta love cops). He's agreed to show me a thing or two about fighting off an attacker, and he and my father are going to take me to the shooting range soon. I've been there before -- we do live out in the country, after all, and everybody and their mother is packing around here -- and I'm a natural good shot.

This second point came up after I told Detective Goldman that I think I'm being followed by someone. He chalked it up to post-trauma and told my dad. My dad, in turn, suggested the shooting range, and he's also thinking about getting me a little .22 for my purse. Honestly, I'm not so thrilled about carrying around a gun, though. Not after what happened when Vi thought it was a good idea.

I don't know. This certainly changes the game. Speaking of Violet, she's getting restless. Maybe it's just from being away from the city and so near the country woodlands. But she still looks better than before, restless or no. She'll be fine once she gets back to school.

I never wished you guys a Happy New Year, by the way, and that was rather rude. Happy Belated New Year, guys. Let's try to make it a good one.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


You read that right. Slenderpuppets. Proxies. Masky's bros.

I knew it was only a matter of time until they found me. I just didn't expect them to be so damn blatant about it. Then again, maybe they've had their eye on me for a lot longer...I shudder to think.

Last night, I worked the evening shift at Wawa (yes, lame that I had to work New Year's Eve, but I made time and a half, so there). On my way into the house, in that short wooded walk between driveway and door, I started to feel that wretched feeling again, but not nearly as strong as before -- more subtle, like he had been here and left. Somehow, that made it even creepier.

I ran up to my door, and sure enough, I found this:

I tore it down so my family wouldn't see it (they don't know) and went inside to count all thirty kinds of freaked out I was.

Let's start from the top. From what I could gather, the rhyme goes like this:

Trees and leaves and Rosie
On Zero's grave a posey
You'll all fall down

Not the most creative rhyme, but I suppose writing majors don't often attend the annual Slender Recruiting Convention. Now, some would call this a typical cryptic message, but I care to differ -- there isn't a single cryptic thing about this. There's no real message here. They're just laughing at us.

"Trees and leaves and Rosie." We have Rose, and you're never getting her back.

"On Zero's grave a posey." Zero's dead, we have his body, and you lost a major advocate of your cause.

"Ashes, ashes, you'll all fall down." We've already won, you stupid people, and there's nothing you can do about it.

But that didn't make me nearly as angry as this, taped to the paper:

These pictures were taken in...March? April? It had to be spring 2010, because my hair is brown -- although if you look closely you can see my natural red peeking through. That's me on the left, and Rose on the right. We look stupid, but that was the point; we wanted a stereotypical film strip of the two of us, that we'd carry around to show anyone who doubted we were best friends, like some kind of license. We kept them in our wallets. As soon as I saw it, I had mine out. My copy was still there. That means that this has to be Rose's copy. The one she kept in her wallet.

The wallet that disappeared with her.

It still almost smelled like her perfume. I nearly threw up. What does this mean? Where is Rose? Is she somewhere...else? Like a different dimension? If she is, how did they get this picture? Is she alive?

The morale blow didn't come from the teasing words. It came from this photograph. True cruelty is torturing someone with a scrap of their loved one while telling them they'll never get to see them again.

I told Violet, and although she was supportive, it was obvious that she doesn't think Rose is alive, or if she is, we're never getting her back. Am I being daft here? Am I grasping at straws?

Even if I am, I can't help it. I miss her. I just miss her so goddamn much I can't stand it.

So there, Hallowed. You dented my morale. Mission accomplished. Now leave me the hell alone.