"All your secrets crawl inside.
You keep them safe. You let them hide.
You feel them drinking in your pain to kill the memories,
So close your eyes and let it hurt.
The voice inside begins to stir.
Are you reminded of all you used to be?"
Y'know, as it happens, I adore 30 Seconds To Mars. And Inception and The Prestige are two of my all-time favorite movies. Honestly.
So... Reach. Or Ray. I think I shall call him Reach when referring to him, but Ray when speaking to him. That's a good compromise. Ray, if you ever find the time to check out my little corner of the internet, kindly don't take the following personally. This is just me thinking out loud.
I've been doing a lot of thinking this weekend. My grades are probably going to suffer for it, because I've been procrastinating on an essay that's due on Tuesday, but hey - mine is the brain that never sleeps. And while I may not be quite as analytical as Scott, I think I've got a pretty good grip on the pros and cons of this situation, the "positive"s and "negative"s, the "neutral"s and the "WTF"s.
As it stands, I am inclined to believe Reach's new life story, I honestly am. It makes a hell of a lot more practical sense, not to mention I think this version of his life would probably be easier on his head and his heart. However, there's still a lot that needs explaining.
POSITIVES: Facts that argue for this new version of events.
Jeff's death suddenly makes a lot more sense. As tragic as that whole ordeal was, one thing that was always in the back of my mind was, Revenants don't work that way. If Reach's story was anything to go by (and, at the time, Reach's word on the subject was pretty much unquestioned), making a Revenant into a human again requires a lot more than a single tentacle-stab. Jeff didn't die because he couldn't heal any longer. He died because he couldn't heal to begin with, and it finally got to be too much for him.
All the things Reach mentioned on his blog post, about how the "Revenants" at Fairfax were gunned down so easily... and just his entire story. It makes sense, far more sense than I ever expected it too.
I can see the MO, I really can. I can just picture Slendy sitting back, watching us fight each other, and having a good laugh. It's always been about having us defeat ourselves, and this fits into that perfectly.
Just... little pointless things that make me want to believe it. His relationship with Ava is no longer "all kinds of Meyerpire cliche", as Ava once put it. It's not a Mayfly December Romance, nor even a May December Romance. That's good, that makes me happy for them.
I no longer have to think of a way to appologize for calling him Raymond in my very first comment on his blog - back before I had seen the little addendum asking people to kindly not do that. Yeah, I know it's dumb, but I'm weird like that. >_<
Morningstar can no longer taunt him by calling him Ray, because it's no longer a taunt. It's just his name.
He has an actual freaking family now. Maybe that's a weakness in the long run, but if this is true, I am so ridiculously happy for him. You don't even know.
And countless accounts from other bloggers that now make sense, if the comments on Reach's blog are anything to go by. I've not yet read up on some of these things, but I'll take it as is for now.
NEGATIVES: Facts that argue against this new version of events.
Although Jeff's death makes more sense, his life suddenly makes less. Despite the questionable method of his death, the circumstances surrounding it still leave a lot to be answered. The guy bent iron bars, for goodness sake! Not to mention the properties of the proxy cure, which has its own entry under "WTFs".
There is absolutely no denying that freaky things have happened around certain individuals. Known Conduits have proven to have certain abilities. Will can move energy around. Daniel can read and influence people's minds. Tenebria can do... whatever it is she claimed to be able to do (I've not yet read up on Exilis Veritas, forgive me). Tom can freaking teleport! More to the point, Tom has had his abilities researched and tested by the science guys at the PTC (debatable though their word's reliability currently is), and he's helped people get around. My point is, all of this clearly exists. It was not a hallucination.
By the same token, there are definitely a handful of bad guys who have shown superhuman capabilities, things that are outside the realm of possibility even under some kind of "mass hallucination" that Slenderp is supposedly capable of putting us under. Michael Greene, aka Moriarty, is a prime example. Scott shot the guy in the head. We're talkin' a good-sized hole, here. And as far as we currently know, Greene healed, got up, and walked away not long after that.
The PTC has also had to deal with Revenants, many of them. And, as Specter recently noted, the carnage they caused simply cannot be faked, any way you slice it.
Naturally, Reach's sanity is called into question. Any way you look at it, his first post revealing the subject was... more than a little off-kilter. And, as mentioned by both me and Scott, it's entirely possible that he cracked under the stress and created another story for himself, one that was easier to bear. All subsequent comment replies (save, possibly, the very first one) and his later post were just as well-written and coherent as ever, but still.
How in the hell did Reach survive on crackers and water all this time if he's nothing but a human with a human metabolism? One would think he'd have died of malnutrition by now, or at least gotten so weak he couldn't even hallucinate some of the feats of strength he's performed.
You can't use Occam's Razor as an argument, man. Some eldritch abomination hypnotizing you and countless others to convince you that superpowers exist is a hell of a lot more complicated than superpowers actually existing. Or so it seems to me.
Finally, as noted above, there's no getting around that superpowers, well... do exist. And I'm not just talking about Conduits and Revenants, I'm talking about regular, everyday magick. Stuff that gets pulled off every day by people like Kay and AmalgamationSage and... well, me, though I'm worse than an ameture on the subject. I just mean to say, I've seen it, I've done it, and it works.
NEUTRALS: Facts that are debatable, either in their stand-alone truthfulness or in their position in this debate.
People don't just... gain forty years of experience and regret overnight. Losing Ariana must have been horrible, I know, but... just from a purely psychological standpoint, I honestly couldn't be sure whether or not "Reach the Revenant" would have resulted, Slender's influence or not.
On that same note, Reach has repeatedly demonstrated knowledge of culture from decades back. I suppose Slendy could've placed that in your head too, but... how would It know what to put there? How many times has it been stated, explained, and demonstrated that Slenderman knows nothing, cares nothing, about human culture?
"I can see the scars now, I can see them everywhere..."
Any scars that Reach has can easily be due to all the trauma his body recieved from Redlight and from Slenderp after he became human again. However, he could also be referring to other scars he should've gotten from other beatings he's received as a Revenant, so I'll leave that open.
Redlight, speak-of-the-devil, is the other neutral point. If implanting this idea of Revenants and Conduits into the blogging community was such a resounding success, there is no reason why Slenderp shouldn't try it again. Robert did say that It wants him alive, and he did say that he was Its greatest weapon. Are there multiple Redlights? We don't know. If this was an implanted idea, it's taken a hell of a lot less hold on the population. A handful of blogging proxies have spoken of Red as a plural, so it could be implanted. But it could also just be Robert's insanity talking, and proxies playing along to confuse us. Or it could actually be true. We simply - don't - know.
WTFs: Further questions that all of this brings up.
Putting the question of why she didn't recognize that Reach was not the guy who dealed her (which, I suppose, could be explained as her hallucinating and relying on false memories as well)... who actually did deal her? I dunno about you guys, but this stikes me as very important! Thage is apparently getting back in the game somehow, but does this little revelation affect any of that? Does it affect how she's able to move and maneuver? Currently she's banking on the points she gained for outting Jeff, but how far can that be pushed? How much further - or less far - can it be pushed if her dealer isn't an ally?
Or if her dealer is dead?
If she is Reach's mother, and not his daughter as we originally believed, why have there never been reports of her looking for her son? Especially after the Redlight incident - we can't assume that she actually saw Reach there, but we could probably assume that she figured something out. Heck, just... Where is Catherine at all? We were told she was killed, then we were told she was alive, then we were told she had been informed of Reach's position and was currently being watched/haunted... and then we were told nothing. She just dropped off the map entirely, and everyone forgot about her. Where is she?
We've been assuming that what made the cure work was two things: the fact that Jeff was a Revenant, and the fact that, despite being a Revenant, he was able to somehow ignore Slenderp's compulsions. If that wasn't it, then what was it that did it? I mean, no one was ever told exactly how the cure was made, which, upon hindsight, I think was phenomenally stupid. Suppose Cheska hadn't survived, huh? Then instead of maybe getting a cure replacement, we would have nothing. As it is, we now have even less to go on, because if it wasn't Jeff's Revenant blood that did the trick, what was it?
It was Specter who first noted the possibility of this affecting Reach as well, although I, personally, am skeptical on this count. But I'll stick it up here anyway.
(Edit: The points about Thage and Catherine have been resolved. Or... answered, at any rate. We'll see what happens next for any sort of resolution.)
Finally, there is the comment AmalgamationSage left on Reach's blog, which more or less boils down to "We all go insane in this venture at one point or another, so it's really beyond pointless to try and figure out what's real and what's not while we still don't know. Such efforts are really put to better use against our common enemy, so who cares if something was a lie or not, as long as you're still fighting?"
At least, I think that's what he said. It's difficult to tell sometimes. ^^U
All in all, for now, I'll just keep my eyes open and go on like I always have. However, I know all of this affects others a hell of a lot more than it affects me, so I hope this helps in some way. At the very least, I helped do some of the legwork for Scott's inevitable tretise on the subject. XD
NOTE: Links will be added to the relevant locations when I have the time.