Monday, May 30, 2011

Home In Time For Dinner

"There's a presence deep within.
Search your soul, take control, you will win.
Two forces intertwine.
You just need the guidance of an open mind."

I think I know what kind of Power Trio we are now. We're the Comic Trio.

No, seriously. Nick is the one who comes up with the stupid impossible brilliant plan. I'm the idiot who goes along with it. And Kay's the one who pulls both our asses out of the fire when it inevitably goes wrong.

Somehow, I am perfectly okay with this.

Hey guys. As you may have noticed, we're all alive and back in our proper dimension. Would have written something Friday evening, but we were all flat-out exhausted. As it is, it took us until late in the day on Saturday for us to sit down and say, "Okay, time to inform our fellow victims of stalking and mindfuckery of our continued existence." Nick finished with his pretty quickly; I think he just wanted writing it out of the way so he could investigate a bit more. Kay started writing her's earlier, but then decided to turn in early. I don't blame her one bit, because I wound up doing the exact same thing.

Really, really tired. So now it's Sunday. Well, Monday morning, if you wanna get technical, but I'mma call it Sunday anyway.

As useless as I've been feeling lately, you can imagine my surprise when Nick told me my role would be the most important. I was the... well, the "fulcrum" was how he put it, but it actually felt more like being a foundation. He was right too though, it's just... I really can't describe it all that well. Everything that happened was more or less only happening in our mind's eye, with a few notable exceptions. But I'll try to get everything down as linearly as I can. You never know what I'll need to remember down the line.


I was ecstatic when I saw Kay's post revealing she was alive. Nick was less so. Not because he was any less happy or any less worried for her safety, but because he was under considerably more pressure. As mentioned above, this was all his plan. When it's down to the wire, he's the one who has to pull a miracle out of his ass. I worry about him sometimes. He knows it too, the bastard, which is why he's always cracking jokes and telling me he's okay when he's not. But then again, when are any of us actually okay?

Once he broke through to whatever fog world Kay was stuck in, he was over there almost constantly, getting used to the way it felt there and tracking down Kay's signal. Meanwhile, I was back in the real world, setting up for the finale. Nick hadn't given me any specific instructions on how the circle should go, actually. He said it was down to my intuition on this one, to use whatever pattern made my job easier in my own mind.

I wound up using a sort of spoked-wheel pattern, only instead of the spokes dividing the wheel into sections, I left them as small spikes pointing inward, to sort of point everyone's focus into that one spot. Candles marked out positions and, though I've never been one for incense, I had grown fond of the lavender, so I lit a few sticks of that.

The entire setup would have felt utterly ridiculous if I didn't have this growing sense of impending doom. You know that weird silence you get right before an earthquake? It was kind of like that, only it had been going on for a couple of hours now.

Remember how I said Plan B was going to be unpleasant?

Well, the air felt tense because there was tension. Nick and I had spent all Friday morning and afternoon screwing around with the energies of the place, to the point where even I was getting a headache. I'm not nearly as sensitive to this stuff as he is, but even allowing things to be pulled that far out of whack, much less helping it along, is so contrary to my very nature that I had to fight off the urge to vomit a few times. Mostly, I achieved this by concentrating on my part in this whole plan: thinking.

What I was thinking about was Kay. That was my role, apparently. Nick explains who had what job better than I can. Basically, once Nick put Kay in the right position, I was the magnet back here that she was drawn towards, all the way through the softened Veil.

Essentially, I reconstructed her in my mind. Everything I've learned about her, everything she had yet to learn about me. All the successes, failures, and broken promises. All the compassion and all the fear. I built the Kay I had come to know, the Kay who belongs here, and more or less told the universe to make it happen. This is where this woman should be, and it is where she will be.

Thought, belief, action. With enough people and/or power behind it, it does work (trust me, there have been studies on the subject), but only if you believe it does.

I'm not entirely sure how long I just stood there, pulling. Eventually Nick (real world Nick, the one who was currently spaced-out while his mind and spirit were elsewhere) made a gesture and a sort of choked noise, so I took that as my cue that we were almost there. I was still fighting nausea, but it was quickly forgotten in light of the tremendous mass of energy that suddenly surrounded me, hedging me in, but not in a bad way. Sturdy, not confining. And then... um...

Okay, picture a kid at karate class, trying to chop a block of wood in half. He can't do it if he's the one holding it, and neither can he do it if the block is just hanging in the air on a string or something. No matter how quick or strong he is, if he applies force to the block, it will simply move and compensate rather than break.

Nick was applying the breaking force. I was holding everything else steady. It's not the most accurate metaphor in the world, but it's the only one I can come up with to describe what the whole scenario felt like.

But. Long story short.

Good News: We did it. Realities were warped enough that we could punch through with our combined effort. I'm pretty sure there'll be consequences for this somewhere not too far down the line, but I'll take it.

Bad News: We were... kinda-sorta followed.

Even now, we still haven't figured out exactly what it was. The whole thing is just really confusing and weird, as you'll soon see.

I felt it coming before I saw it; sort of familiar, yet not. When I did see it, it was... enormous. Some kind of enormous shadow that might have been cast by all the candles around, except there was nothing else there. But then it got up and it had... some sort of vague, lupine shape? Like I said, it was sort of familiar. I don't want to think about it now, because it gave me something akin to the same heart-stopping, world-crashing panic attack that I usually only get from It, only... not quite as intense? I don't know. I don't even freaking know.

And just as I was about to drop everything and run, I felt an even bigger rush of energy... and just like that, it was gone. And Kay was standing in front of me, breathing hard and holding her hands in front of her as though she was holding an invisible weapon. I later found out that Nick had given her something to work with - he had seen the shadow coming too, but wasn't able to multitask quite that hard under the conditions, so he left it up to Kay. And... holy christ, did I ever smile when our eyes met. I almost dropped everything again, but this time to go hug the life out of my friend. But I remembered we still had a job to do: closing the rip we had created.

...Heh. See, it's the closing-the-rip part that actually has me the most astounded. What took literally days to do the first time around with just me and Nick, the three of us did in under an hour. I tell you, Kay's absolutely right. There's something about this... something about us. There's an unconscious system of checks and balances, strengths and counter-strengths, that's been in place since the moment we all met. We simply work well together. I dunno know if Maduin knew about this or not, but... I think I'm beginning to understand now.

And then... we were just there. All together, all where we belong. There was hugging, and probably some crying, and... it just felt like the best sort of triumph.


Saturday night, once we had all recovered sufficiently, Kay made good on her promise of a home-cooked meal. I'm not big on pot roast, but by that point, I didn't even care. This wasn't about the food, this was about time with my friends. It was relaxing, simple, and very fun. And I had left my EVP recorder going for most of that day, so they both agreed to having a few highlights posted. Particularly the bit where Kay somehow found an opening to ask Nick exactly why he never mentioned that his astral form was, in fact, female.

As it turned out, he had no idea of this fact, and his reaction was... amusing, to say the least.

Nick: I... wait... really?!

Kay: (Stares at him) You didn't know? Aren't there freaking mirrors on the astral plane?

Me: Or look down and see... y'know, boobs?

Nick: ...The astral plane is weird. You can't see anything that you don't allow yourself to see. The hardest thing to learn is how to see what is, not what you're expecting or what you want to be there.

Kay: Well, apparently you want to be a woman.

Nick: And yet I see myself as a man?

Me: While I find this a bit funny, is it really that big a deal?

Kay: Well, it would have helped to know a chick was coming to get me when I was expecting a guy... I almost pitched my backpack at him... her... whatever.

Nick: Val, it actually is a big deal for me. I've got a lot of bad history, all of it connecting to a past life that I don't... really remember at all. What little I do remember makes this completely insane, if only because... I mean, does this make me a lesbian? Very strange.

It was clear he was very uncomfortable at that point, because he kept shrugging noncomittally and looking anywhere but at us during the silence that followed. So... Kay and I both helped, each in our own way.

Kay: Sweetie, much like the sorceress, you can't be a lesbian. You just don't have the tits for it.

Nick chuckled in spite of himself. So I moved in with my own thoughts on the subject.

Me: Nick, listen. You of all people should know that there's already nothing you're not. That's the way it works. We've talked about past lives and reincarnation before. Just because you currently identify with a male body doesn't mean you've never had a female body. Besides, you never even noticed it before. Why should it bother you now?

Nick: Maybe because of the billion-odd people who've tried to kill me before because of something I did before I was born? For better or worse, that form has a history."

Me: So that form has a history. So what? You've been trying to figure out your own history anyway. Now you have another lead. This is a good thing.

Nick: (Thoughtfully) This does explain some very odd dreams... memories... odd moments in the past...

Kay: Well if you think it's important, after dinner we can grab a notebook and I can tell you what you looked like. (She frowns a bit) The fact that that sentence came out of my mouth is almost enough to induce a migrane.

Me: (I snerk) Believe me, it's not all that weird.

Kay: Well, I suppose comparitively to the past few months, no, not that weird. Comparitively to my last 31 years on this planet...

Nick: Love the way you cut the giant shadow-spider in half, by the way.

Me: (I blink at him) Spider?

Kay: What spider?

Nick: The thing you cut in half when we were pulling you in?

Me: Looked like some kind of animal to me. Definitely four legs, at any rate.

Kay: (Worriedly) That wasn't a spider, it was the faceless shithead's shadow. (She looks at me in confusion)

Me: (Very confused) Well I suppose that could be mistaken for a spider, but why did I see a wolf?

We eventually figured out that each of us saw the... whatever-it-was differently. No idea why that might be... okay, that's a lie, I have several ideas as to why that might be. The matter bears investigation. Shadows on the wall are open to interpretation, after all.

After that debacle, the three of us made small-talk for a while. Again, it was glorious. We discussed the many uses (magical, practical, and both) of supersoakers, which was immediately followed by a heated argument between Nick and I about whether or not a water-powered taser would work. The guy actually had one in his trunk, built by some so-called "experts", but the fact remains that you cannot create a continuous stream of water with a supersoaker or any other type of conventional water gun for more than 5 feet or so. Seriously Nick, have you never watched Mythbusters? -sigh- Boys...

Then we discussed our various money issues, what we'd do about Kay's scribbled-on wall, and (believe it or not) shipping. But nothing was more hilarious than Kay and I poking fun at Nick's bug phobia... which he took surprisingly gracefully. But hey, he's always maintained that good laughter is hard to come by, so you should take it where you can. A good policy, I think.

The fact is... I'm probably the only one of us who still has some semblance of a normal life. Before I met Nick, it had been years since I had done a working that was anything even approaching that huge. Nick himself does crazy shit for a living, practically, but he said nothing had ever been so up-close-and-personal. And Kay... she had never used a sword in her life. Today she apparently used a psychic sword, not to mention fought off monster leeches with sea salt and attacked a giant tree of icky evil with some home-made Pepper Spray Of Doom. We all agree: she was the real badass of the day.

You can't make this shit up.

Eventually (and somewhat inevitably), we had a toast.

Nick: Welcome to the impossible, guys. Try to enjoy your stay.

Kay: (Holds up her glass) To us?

Me: (Lifts glass) To friends. No matter how cheesy it sounds.

Nick: (Laughs and lifts his glass) To friends! And friendship, which has proven to have the equivalent power of a nuclear weapon!

We all chinked our glasses together.

Kay: I hereby invoke the Power Of Friendship trope!

Me: (Chuckling) As if we weren't taken un-seriously enough as it is.

Nick: Lady, you think I was ever worried about being taken seriously?

Me: Not even once. (I smirk at him)

Kay: Heh. If I ever cared, I stopped around the time I tried to make magical water balloons.

And that launched us into another round of small-talk and debate. Glorious small-talk and debate.

God, I love my friends.


And now, here we are. Kay still wound up finishing before me, which means she got the dramatic reveal of Nick's... problem. His curious little problem. It still makes me giggle a bit to think of it, but I do stand by what I said: if you subscribe to reincarnation, then it's only logical that some (many, in fact) of your past lives would be of the opposite sex. And he already knew that his astral form did not correspond to his real body, so it could, by definition, be anything. I could elaborate further, but, again - metaphysics. Let's not get into them. I am knowledgable about many things, but psychology is what I'm here to write about. End of story. So I explained my opinions to Nick privately. I think he's taking the news better than he was, but he does have his male pride to consider.

I repeat: boys...

I told Kay to consider hunting for a new job today, since her severence plan is almost up. I said not to consider it as a chore, but a method of taking back control of her life. After all, you only look for long-term occupation when you're planning on living a good while longer, and that's really what all of us should be doing: planning on living, and then living. When you have that kind of mindset, Its job suddenly becomes that much harder. Kay replied that poor coping skills and lack of sleep are going to be an issue no matter what, but as long as she can do things like make an enjoyable dinner for herself and her friends, then she probably has the spirit of the advice down pat.

To be honest, I agree.

We all move on in different ways. Kay spent Friday night sleeping in the same room as me, just to keep herself from waking up in the middle of the night and checking the window in a panic to see if she really was still home. Last night, she slept by herself, and slept soundly. Nick, though I know he's inclined to lie in order to protect us, hasn't mentioned a migrane once, and has been super-cheerful for most of the weekend in spite of his big news. Me? I am relaxed, very very relaxed. Not in a stupor or anything, but I honestly couldn't tense up if I tried. Everything just feels so peaceful right now.

I'll be sticking around Kay's house for a few more days. I dunno about them, but I want to hang on to this good feeling for a while longer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Plan B

"I stood out here once before
With my head held in my hands.
For all that I had known of this place,
I could never understand...

"On the hills, the fires burned at midnight.
Superstition plagued the air.
Sparks fly as the fires burn at midnight.
Stars are out, and magick is here..."

Just a few updates. What Nick failed to mention here was that he screamed like a little girl, which was how I knew to come save his ass. The big, badass Amalgamation Sage has a bug phobia. Who knew?

Also, he may be an ass, but he's not a dumbass. The way he stupidly informed the public about something he illegedly kept secret from me? Yeah, the whole point of that was actually to get me over to his location without him making any obvious gestures. As soon as I commented, I went down to the lower guest room (Kay's place is very nice, btw, really big for just one person) to whack him upside the head, where he promptly informed me (through clenched teeth to make things difficult for a lip-reader) that someone or something was watching our every move.

He didn't know who, how, what, when, where, or why. He... didn't know much of anything, really, only that we were being spied on.

Me: Well... what does it want? Since you're apparently the only one of us who can feel this thing...

Nick: No clue. But I'm sorry I didn't tell you about the Suit sooner. I was a bit obsessive about that other dimension and... well. Just look out the window to my right. What do you see?

I looked, and if I had blinked as I did, I would have sworn there was nothing there. I still don't know what it was, but it was something. A person-shaped silhouette, thin, but small. It was gone before my eyes had even refocused at the change in light.

Me: ...Needless to say, another stalker is the last thing either of us needs.

Nick: It passed. It'll be what it'll be, I guess.

Me: Yeah... You are aware that you're still getting hidden messages in your posts, right?

Nick: (He cringes a bit) ...How many of the recent ones have had them?

Me: Just the latest one, if I recall. She also spent a bit of time commenting on other people's blogs... in haiku. Kind of bad haiku, actually, but I'm hardly a fit judge for that.

Nick: (He shrugs) She's trying to be artistic. You don't wear an outfit like her's unless you plan on dancing in it.

Me: You think that rainbow chick was definitely the Maiden, then?

Nick: It stands to reason.

Me: Hmm.

I started pacing a bit. You have to understand, I have a lot on my mind. In all honesty, those leeches are creepy as all hell. I've been more than a little on edge after two days of utter failure and only this from Kay, and watching them crawl out of the woodwork was like something out of Silent Hill. And Kay is supposed to be where these things come from? I won't lie, I'm fucking terrified for her.

Then there's Nick. He keeps getting these messages, many of which are clearly directed at him, that he simply cannot see. And now he's got this mysterious spy coming out of nowhere that he can't get any sort of hit on. Maybe the two are connected, maybe they're not. Maybe we were letting ourselves get distracted from our goal. Hell, maybe paranoia was finally getting to us. Who the fuck knows?

I decided to save time (by this time it was nearly 1am and we were both tired) and skip back to the point. He'd read about my thoughts later anyway, and I'm much more articulate in text than I am in speech.

Me: Kay is still... somewhere... and with more than a day after those messages she left, I'm already terrified for the worst.

Nick: We'll get her back. I'm gonna kick things up a notch - tear the universe a new one, risk setting off a new dark age, and generally remind everyone that I'm one terrifying motherfucker. Also, I'll be ordering pizza. When we get back in contact with Kay, we'll have to find out what she'd like on her's.

Me: That's what I like to hear. You're still an ass, by the way, but I forgive you for lying to me, as long as you don't do it again without a really, really good reason. So are we going ahead with Plan B?

Earlier today, we both realized at the exact same time why nothing we had tried so far was working - we both started spouting technobabble and Buffy Speak at the same time; it was actually quite comical, I wish I had recorded it. Anyway, Kay got moved because all the planes were somehow screwed up to hell, so fixing the screwyness was hardly going to get her moved again. However, the new solution would involve some pretty dangerous shit, and it's very likely that we'll get swarmed with leeches and other unpleasantness while it goes on.

...Yeah, when he says "tear the universe a new one", he means literally.

Nick: Not just yet. The priority is still to get in contact with Kay and find out what she wants on her pizza. Until we do that, locating her will be difficult.

Me: (I stare at him for a moment) Obviously finding her will be difficult until we've found her. You do this on purpose, don't you.

Nick: (He shrugs) I like to think there's a method to my madness.

Me: You like to think?

Nick: Incidentally, what do you want on your pizza?

Me: (I roll my eyes) Incidentally, I don't like pizza. Order me a basket of chicken tenders.

Nick: (Looks dumbfounded and rather hilarious) N-Not even veggie pizza? Are you certain? Have you done a study on the matter?

Me: Nick, there are some things in life that you just don't question.

Nick: On the contrary, I make it my policy to question absolutely everything, including but not limited to: my sanity, your existence, the olfactory merit of spiced cheese fries... Pretty much everything except my own badassery, since my ego can usually use the support... That goes off the record, by the way.

Me: Not a chance. (I wave my handheld recorder at him) This thing's good for more than just tracking down EVPs. What do you want this conversation posted for, anyway? I thought the point was for us to talk secretly.

Nick: Remember what I said about good chess players and really good chess players?

Me: Yeah.

Nick: I'm not really good. But I am good.

We spent the next couple hours going over tomorrow's plan, and my part in it. I gotta say, I'm more than a little nervous. I don't doubt my ability; I know that I'll be able to do it. That's not the issue here.

I'm just afraid of what we'll find out there. Who we'll find. And what state we'll find them in.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Here We Go Again

"We all spend half our time
Running around, fucked out of our minds,
And we spend the other half
Sleeping at desks and praying just to get back."

Oh, what lovely times were had today.


No, actually, it went well enough at first. Nick - that's Sage's name, btw, I finally bugged him enough to get him to let me use it (Me: "It's, like, the world's most common name, no one will figure out who you are!" Him: "Fine! Geeze..." XD) - Nick came straight over and picked me up after god-knows-how-many straight hours of driving from Texas, so I drove the rest of the way to Kay's. He slept, I'm thankful to say. Looked like he needed it too.

When we got there... yeah, I could feel it. It was... not quite as brain-warping as the middle-of-nowhere house, but it was freaky. Needless to say, Nick took one look at the place, sort of cringed a bit, and said flatly, "I need a bigger bokken."

He had just woken up from a very nice 2-hour nap, so I don't really blame him.

It didn't take long to figure out that all the charms Kay had ever set on her house - for protection, health, prosperity, etc. - were still in place. That was the good news. The better news was that they also seemed to be working in whatever counterpart of her house that Kay was currently at. That part was the tip-off, actually; after that, we knew what to look for.

For example, even though the electricity was clearly connected and working, none of the lights or appliances would turn on. One of the lightbulbs even exploded when we got stubborn with it. There was water in the pipes, but the faucets wouldn't turn either, like there was some kind of invisible blockage. On a hunch, I took a sharpie and marked the water level in all the toilets. When I went to look again a couple hours later, the water had gone down about 3 inches.

What does all this mediocrity mean? Well, darling readers, I'm sure you remember Nick mentioning how this plane of existence and others are connected, right? Well, here's a copy for those who don't feel like clicking on the link:
For better or for worse, the astral plane corresponds with our physical world. The reverse is also true. Any time there's a difference in one, it has an affect on the other. That house that just keeps falling apart no matter how hard you work on it might have that problem through shoddy construction. Or there's a vast crater on the astral plane, and the physical world is tearing trying to match up with the astral plane. God only knows how many mighty castles on the Astral Plane want to break apart because there's no corresponding structure in the physical world to support it. You know all those images of elves in their tree houses and giant tree villages? It's not just because they like trees, it's really easy to create that kind of astral structure out of a vast swath of existing tree spirits.
Scientifically speaking, it's a form of quantum entanglement. Mystically speaking, Kay is haunting her own house.

One final test early in the evening clinched it. I took that sharpie (a bright red one, as it happens, but I had a good feeling about strong colors) and wrote in big letters on a nice, blank section of wall, "Hangin' in there, Kay?" And added a smiley for good measure. Oh, and we both signed it. No need for poor Kay to think she had a poltergeist or something.

Turned out she could see the message once she fiddled with her perception a little via spells and things. Awesome. And soon after that, another message appeared - in purple ink, no less - "No Jersey Devil this time, dammit."

Okay then! We had a confirmed constant to work with, and it was still relatively early in the evening. So we got to work.

In a nutshell, it's all about synchronicity, about harmony. See, all these different planes had somehow gotten tangled up right around the area of her house, along with some "ooey gooey astral bits" (which is apparently a technical term). In order to bring everything back down to normal levels, and hopefully put Kay back where she belongs, we had to make the different planes line up again.

Around here, by the way, is where I start quoting "Of Mice And Men". Particularly the bit about their best-laid plans. (Glory be, a literary joke from a music enthusiast. Shaddap, we could all use a laugh.)

Nick did his shaman-y thing where he set up a circle of candles, burned some of the incense we found (sorry Kay)... and did this weird-ass dance to "Sweep the Leg", by No More Kings. I shit you not. No kidding, there was cosmic awesome going on with whatever it is he does, but goddamn, he can look downright silly while doing it. Which is most of the reason why I opted not to join him. -_-U

Instead, I went around the house doing my own thing, which was mostly detail work. If I found a ripple of dimensional weirdness, I stopped and smoothed it out. I'm getting pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. I also kept Kay company via the message wall... which I've promised to help re-paint when this is all over. The things I do for friendship and world-saving... god, I'm even starting to sound like them. This is what exposure to these two highly sarcastic people does to me, dammit!

At the end of the day, though, nothing we did worked. Nick did his shaman thing, I did my empath thing, and Kay did her witch thing (which included helping to mirror objects on both sides - such as smashing her counterpart to our exploded lightbulb - though it didn't seem to affect things much), but nothing got accomplished. Oh sure, the dimensions got smoothed out, and Nick is now headache-free. But Kay is still stuck over there. We're running out of ideas, and she's running out of water.

So here we are. It's summer, school's out, work doesn't start up again for another couple weeks, and I'm clear to go wherever I want as long as I pay my own way and keep up communications with home. I've been sitting here writing this out for the past few hours. Kay said she was going to sleep pretty early on, and Nick conked out a couple hours ago. Normally he's just as big an insomniac as I am, but he's had a rough few weeks.

M seems to be doing alright. It's really great to know he's safe.

Tony is missing, and Cathy is in trouble. It's infuriating that there's nothing I can do to help.

Guess is still around. So is Alex.

And Michelle... I couldn't say anything. What is there to say? She's my best friend, and I'll stand by that. I'll even give that she made an impossible choice, and made it successfully by not hesitating. But there's nothing else positive about what she did, nothing even neutral. So I'm just going to leave it at that.

Not much else in the way of news. Luckily, I think I'm finally tired.

Monday, May 23, 2011

That Which Is Not

"I'm holding onto white balloons
Up against a sky of doom.
Tell me you see them.
'Cause what's inside of me
Is invisible to most,
Even in clear view.

"The changes in me
Are likely to be like the weather:
Stormy and clear;
Strength into fear, bound together."

I'm in a bit of a hurry, but I want to tell you about a very important concept in my life.

Kindly bear with me on the analytical-ness, by the way; this blog makes a very useful sounding board for some of my more "out there" ideas, and for keeping track of my train of thought.

In order for anything to exist, its opposite must also exist, for the act of existing is, by definition, a comparitive exercise. For example, if "cold" were to exist in the world without "hot", we wouldn't understand what "cold" was at all, and "cold" would simply cease to exist. By the same token, in order for you to have any sense of identity, you must first compare yourself to someone else: I'm taller than him, she's prettier than me, he thinks one way about a situation but I think another, etc.

We live in a world of comparison, of relation. Think about it long enough, and you'll realize that it is, quite literally, the only way we are capable of existing.

This law goes deeper than you could possibly imagine, from the microscopic to the meta.

It is, in fact, what my current tagline is all about. As long as there is light, there will be darkness, but it works the other way too.

What that basically means is, just as light is needed to create shadows, darkness makes the light seem brighter. I know this rule can be used if I can just figure it out...

But getting to my point... I wouldn't quite say that Slenderman is the opposite of humanity. It's both more complicated and much, much simpler than that.

On the one hand, you have everything that exists. On the other hand, you have everything that doesn't exist. The Seen and the Unseen. The Known and the Unknowable. That Which Is, and That Which Is Not.

It's a tricky realm of ideas to get into, because That Which Is Not still, nonetheless, Is, at least in a sense. As mentioned before, even though your conscious mind will always recoil at what it perceives to be its natural opposite, your subsconscious mind does and always did work on the exact same wavelength as It and others like It. And therein lies something of a problem. A purely theoretical problem, I grant you, but still.

Remember what I said before about the difference between inception and denial? Well, because of the way our minds work... no, let me start again. But be warned - a rather high degree of metacognition is required here. Again, bear with me.

We actually have an extraordinary degree of control over our thoughts and surroundings. The world is as you perceive it, after all. If you think someone is a jerk, then otherwise innocent comments from that person will be perceived as insults. And if you think that chair is blue, it doesn't matter what color it actually is; it's blue to you, and blue it will stay. But this control only applies to what can be considered an extension of yourself - aka, That Which Is. The things that you think about; the realm of things that exist, according to your mind. It's the things that don't exist - the monster in your closet, the shadow of the tree against your window, the imaginary predator standing right behind you on a dark night - that we have no power over.

And, as history has proven time and again, it's the things we can't control that we fear.

Denial (not a factual statement, mind, I mean the kind of denial that any layman would call unhealthy) places an interesting twist on all this. Your conscious mind insists that something is not real. Your unconscious mind, however, says differently - after all, in order to deny something, you have to think about it quite hard, and that brings it into reality. The very act of denying something places it in front of you, and yet you refuse to see it. So it exists in a sense, but you remain unable to control it because you refuse to acknowledge it. Therefore, what you deny controls you.

I compare this view to my thoughts on good and evil, actually. As long as you know and fully acknowledge what you - as an individual and as a collective - are capable of, you can recognize the signs of one behavior or another and avoid it if you choose. It's all about maintaining control.

I am certain now, more certain than ever, that Slenderman doesn't exist, not in a metaphysical sense. Whenever It appears, your mind instantly recoils, insisting that the thing before you isn't real, it can't be real, it's too wrong. It can walk through crowds of people completely unseen except by those It's focused on. Sage found It by looking for nothing. Redlight and his associates are wrong: Slenderman is not "He That Is". Slenderman is That Which Is Not, and always has been.

That's out there, that's a fact. It has to be. What I'm wondering now is... can it be changed?

It can clearly bring us into Its unreality, that's been demonstrated far too many times. The Labyrinths, the teleportation, even lost time could fall under this, depending on the circumstances. Perception filters too. But can the reverse also be possible?

I think it might. I'm not sure how yet, but I think it might.


Busy day today. I'll be around when I can, but it'll be sporadic. Got more than a few errands to run.

On a completely unrelated note... Sage, it is beyond weird to be calling you "Sage" now, and Amalgamation or its variants are too much of a mouthful. Can I just refer to you by your name?


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Doctor of the Mind

"Drink up, baby doll.
Are you in or are you out?
Leave your things behind,
'Cause it's all going on without you.

"Excuse me. You're too busy
Writing your tragedy.
These mishaps, you've bubble-wrapped
When you've no idea what you're like."

I dared not say anything last night, for fear of completely flying off the handle. Not that I was even capable of typing coherently yesterday anyhow, my hands were shaking so bad.  Today I've at least had some time to think it over.

And somehow, I still don't have a goddamn motherfucking clue what to say.

AmalgamationSage, Kay, and myself.

Bricks were duly shat.

Guys, Core Theory is in pieces. So is its creator, practically. The title "Sage" doesn't mean what it used to - neither Amelia nor Zerombr were the batshit insane experimenters and knowledge-gatherers that Robert originally described. If that's what it took to be a Sage, Ava would make a hell of a lot better one than me, even now. Sure, I've done a bit of research, but if that were a qualifier, Scott does that better than me too. And if the insanity to do absolutely impossible things and live to tell about them is what's required... well, let me point you in the direction of my good friend Michelle.

But Core Theory is in pieces. If we're going to attempt to pick them up again, we can put them together any which way we please.

I meant what I said before. I'm just an observer - some inconsequential nobody who occasionally has good advice to give. Every day I watch my follower count go up and up, and wonder what it is they all see in my ramblings. I go to a normal college, I work at a normal job, I have a normal family, and I live a normal life. I've encountered the Slender Man all of twice in my life, once with Michael (wherever the hell he is), and one time before that. Both times, I had the shit scared out of me, buried my head in the sand, and went back to my life when it looked like the coast was clear. Far from being deserving of some kind of honor or responsibility, most of the time I feel like a bit of a coward. And... rather undeserving lucky. How deep do I have to dive before I can't be ignored anymore?

I guess... this would be it, wouldn't it?

So what happens now? Are people going to look to us, the third set of Three Sages, to rid them of this nightmare once and for all? Are we supposed to find them their Hero, someone to die for the good of all? Are we supposed to gather the Runners into some kind of unified force?

God help us, are we supposed to kill Slenderman ourselves?

I don't know if I can do that.

About the only thing I do know is... I don't want anyone else to get hurt.

It took me a while, but I've come to a decision.

The fact of the matter is... Sages don't have any sort of special power; none of the titled did. They did amazing things because they were already amazing people, good people, even Jay. Even Zero. They were people that I looked up to, that everyone looked up to. The titles were an acknowledgment of that greatness, and a prompt to use their skills for the benefit of others.

It's not about who you're supposed to be, it's about who you always were.

It's an imposing legacy to live up to. Whether or not I fit the bill is up for debate, but... in a sense, it really doesn't matter.

I don't want to fight. I want to protect.

If this is the way to do it, then I guess I'm on board.

Monday, May 16, 2011


"It's four in the morning. I'm lying in bed,
A tape of my failures playing inside my head.
It's heartaches and hard-knocks and things I don't know.
I listen, and I wonder: Where will it go?"

Or: How To Screw with Your Own Head for Fun and Profit.

Hey guys. I'm back. My goodness, it's been a while. Terribly sorry for the delay - first there was finals, and then some family issues going on, and then Blogger decides to go kaput... not to mention it took quite a while to figure out how to explain today's "lesson"... But anyway.

Mother's Day was nice. The last day of finals was even nicer. We always go to a park of some sort on Mother's Day, and this year we went to Slim's Ranch again. Yes, I'm aware of the irony of the name, but seriously, it's impossible to feel paranoid there. Very relaxing day, which was just what I needed.

I'll still be in Camden regularly, btw, even though school's officially out. My job is still there, and the Rutgers campus is still the designated meeting place for anybody looking for me.

As for last Saturday... well, I came to a few realizations. The fact of the matter is, I should have done the "just one night" thing a hell of a lot sooner, it would have saved everyone a lot of time and trouble. I've been letting guilt fester for two weeks now... Actually, scratch that - I've been letting guilt fester for two years, but I'm not going into that. But I can't function when I'm like that, and damned if I'm going to let that thing stop me from doing what I set out to do.

So... I screwed with my mind a little. And I'm going to tell you how I did it, for a couple of reasons: 1) It's a useful skill to have in any situation, particularly if your emotions are getting a little crippling and there's no one there to talk you through them. 2) If you know how it's done and what a screwed-with head looks like, you can identify if external forces have been doing it to you or someone else.

Though difficult to do if you're unpracticed at maintaining your own thoughts, it's actually built on a very simple principle: any emotional status that doens't wear itself out after a few days is built on a circle - one thought leads to another, which leads to another, and however many it takes to get back to the first, and continues in a downward spiral. The trick is to break the cycle. Since thoughts/emotions/et cetera are connected the way that they are, the way to do that is to break the current connection and create a new one.

I assume you've all heard of Pavlov's dog, yes? The idea is the same - to train your mind to associate two completely unrelated ideas. Through repetition, Pavlov taught his dog to associate the sound of a bell with the arrival of food. Only in my case, it was teaching my brain to associate feelings of guilt with the thought of, "so get your ass in gear and make it better already!"

Even at a glance, you ought to know that it's not nearly as simple as it sounds... and you'd be absolutely right. In fact, it's actually damn-near impossible to perform on yourself and make it stick, for a number of reasons (some of which are mentioned below). But with enough skill, you can make it last long enough to you to maintain all your faculties long enough to get to a real therapist.

That said, when trying this on yourself, remember: there is an incredibly fine line between inception and denial. Keep that in mind at all times.

The first thing to do is to know your way around your own mind. Depending on how complex a person you are, this could be easy or hard. But you need to know exactly how you'd react to any given stimulus. Take, for example, my little tirade against Morningstar the other day. I know exactly why I reacted the way that I did - believe it or not, his blithe comment was actually a throwback to a large amount of teasing and bullying I got in middle school. Simply knowing this was not enough to stop me from blowing up at him. It was, however, enough to keep me stewing about it all night, like I would have back then.

There's a reason they say the first step to recovery is admitting it, and there's a reason why that actually works. It's the same as the difference between acting and reacting, or the difference between dreaming and lucid dreaming.

When you don't know what's going to happen, you are forced to react. This places you out of control of both the situation and your actions, which is not the place you want to be.

When you already know what's going to happen... When you've decided what's going to happen, you are acting, and in control of the situation and yourself.

Of course, there's always the possibility of something unexpected coming up, but as long as you were in control to begin with, you can usually regain control pretty quickly. Case in point: my tirade against Morningstar. It was unexpected that he would send me there, but I already knew what my reaction would be, and regained control of myself.

But back to the point. When you have this level of understanding, it's much easier to gain the level of control necessary to alter portions of your thought process. When you're being deliberate and obvious about it, repetition is the key, almost like a form of self-hypnosis: repeat it to yourself often enough, and you'll start to believe it.

Thought --> Belief --> Action

That's how it goes.

It sounds simple, but it really takes dedication, and a real belief that you are capable of taking control of your own reality. You're not convincing yourself that the problem doesn't exist, you're convincing yourself that you are capable of fixing the problem yourself.

Now, though... Enter part 2, when malevolent forces are trying to be sneaky about this.

On those surprisingly numerous occassions where it isn't out-and-out mindrape, it will always start out as something small, something that will change your perception of otherwise innocent events. Everyone here is at least partially familiar with this, I'm sure, because nearly every trick of the trade in Slender's repetoir falls under this category.

The type of paranoia that Slenderman delivers is... somehow different from your garden variety. It's not just thinking that something is after you, because you know something is after you. It's always mingled with a growing sense of despair - the thought that nothing you do can make a difference, either in your own escape or in aiding others.

This is what It does. To what end, I'm not sure, but the intent is definitely mindscrew.

Things happen. People change. As we grow and learn, emotional and spiritual evolution is perfectly normal, but the warning signs for something more insidious are clear. Keep an eye on your temperaments, dear readers, particularly where negative emotions such as anger or sadness are involved. The slippery slope is a mindscrewer's best friend. If you surprise even yourself with your behavior, don't panic. But do step back and take a look at how you got there. Oftentimes the steps from A to Z aren't quite as logical as you remember them being.

Once you realize that something is wrong, you are automatically back in control, and you can do something about it.

It's all about maintaining control of yourself.

And that concludes today's lesson. I am psychologist; hear me roar. It's good to be back, so let's get back to work. ~_^

Oh, before I forget, I want to congratulate Zach and Tron on all the progress they're making with the Reintegration Tablet. Scott, it might be a good idea to keep the PTC updated on all of this, if they're not watching it themselves. Unless Mr. Crowley is telling them? Well, either way, I'm very impressed, guys. Keep it up!

By the way... it took multiple double-takes on my part, but is Sage's Maiden-of-invisible-text-who-evidently-speaks-in-haiku claiming credit for Blogger being down on Wednesday? Dayum... O_o

Now, since something terrible always happens mere hours after I write something vaguely cheerful, let's see what the universe has for me today...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Just One Night

"You see somebody standing next to you;
You come and go like fashion comes across.
And when the solitude gets to you,
Get yourself to Penascola and wash yourself off.

"There is nothing worse than waiting around.
You can tell from looking at me that these habits are so far down." 

Just handed in my last essay. It was due yesterday at 5pm, via email, and after staying up all night and working on it all day, I handed it in with 10 minutes to spare. It was literally my worst experience with procrastination ever, and I'm a terrible procrastinator. >< So now I just have one last final on tuesday, and then I'm out of Camden for good... Well, until the summer program at work kicks in. I snagged one of the few open positions because I'm awesome like that. Or I got lucky. Whichever.

Maybe I'm just procrastinating again, but in studying for my last final, I find myself with a bit of free time, so I figured I'd post a small update.

1) Spent last weekend at Kay's hotel room. It was wonderful and cathartic and utterly free of supernatural horrors. We spent most of it playing video games and prank-calling the hotel staff. It was nice, but the good mood didn't last me the car ride home.

2) Ali's gone. I never knew her, but I'm sorry anyway. From the video Scott put up. she seemed like someone I would have enjoyed knowing. All things considered, though, I think I'm glad I didn't know her. Does that make me callous? I hope not. I just... I can only handle so much tragedy at once, you know?

3) Inky's gone. Has been for a while, actually. He committed suicide, and nothing I said to him would convince him to keep living. Doesn't help when the person you're trying to help won't even respond to what I say, but that's the internet for you.
Ava used to refer to him as her little brother. I wonder if she even knows he's dead... or cares...

4) Stella's gone too. I only ever interacted with her via comments, but I think I liked her. She was a good person, in the end. The main issue now is keeping JediZero from doing anything... rash. But I think Osort said it best: Deals with the devil always end badly, and decisions made in desperation and grief are never good ones. Give JZ some support, will you guys?

5) Vivi and Chester are leaving the blogsphere again. Maybe. Hopefully? I dunno, it's harder for me to be as optimistic as I should be lately. I keep thinking that whether their blogging about their lives or not doesn't really change anything; what happens will happen. The only difference is we won't know about it.

6) Michelle is... Her situation is going downhill fast. I don't understand how It's taken such a sudden and strong interest in her; she's barely even known about It for a month! Unless it's simply the "belongs to me" thing... to which I once again reply, "Fuck that and fuck you". I don't know how yet, but I will keep her safe. I refuse to allow my dumbass mistake to be the death of a friend.

...I'm going to start up on some more blogs now that I have some free time. To be honest, it's starting to feel almost masochistic to continue pursuing this. The losses just keep piling up, and I feel every last one of them. If I had just left well enough alone, I could have gone on with my life, knowing about death but never getting close enough to make it real... like hearing about war in another country. That's what it was like.

The irony of it is, I can't stand living like that. I can't stand being separate. Odd thing for a loner like me to say, I know, but... It's hard to explain.

If I had kept my head down like I always intended, life would have gone on like normal, save for spending it constantly in constant fear of a return appearance... a return appearance I'm beginning to suspect would never have come anyway... And that fact just pisses me the hell off, but it terrifies me even more. Because I've gained nothing in my sad little attempt to fight back in the only way I know how. In fact, in a lot of ways, I've made things worse.

Irony. Defense mechanisms. One step forward, two steps back.

Story of my goddamn life.

What would I say to someone in this situation? The same thing Sage and Kay and Michelle are probably going to say as soon as I post this: What's done is done, now make the best of it. Being happy is the greatest fuck-you you can give to this thing. I have talents, so I should use them for the greater good like I've always wanted to. All those trite cliches that I've told everyone here in my actually-short-but-already-seems-so-damn-long tenure as a Runner-but-not-really.

(Christ, what do you even call someone like me? I know, but I'm evidently not being actively chased, I don't fight... All I do is talk. Throw in my two cents where appropriate and pray that I'm given heed.)

Regardless, I already know all of this. Who was the girl who stumbled into a magical, game-filled, deadly world? She gave herself very good advice, but very seldom followed it.

I know what you all are going to say, and I will follow your adivce. It's very good advice. But... I'll follow it tomorrow. Just give me until tomorrow.

Because sometimes, once in a while, it's okay to just give in and cry, as long as you know that it's just a temporary moment of weakness, one that will end before it can throw you off your game or cause harm to your loved ones. Jack Shepard allowed himself a full-on panic in the middle of a crisis, but only for five seconds, exactly five seconds. I'll give myself one night of mourning - for what I've lost, for what we've all lost, and for everything we're likely to lose in the very near future - and that'll be that.

See you in the morning.