Sunday, July 31, 2011

Interview Part 2

"Intoxicated eyes--
No longer live that life.
You should've learned by now:
I'll burn this whole world down.
I need some peace of mind,
No fear of what's behind.
You think you've won this fight?
You've only lost your mind."

I asked Michelle if she wanted this on her own blog, since she's apparently well enough to start using it again now. She's a lot more coherent in text than she was vocally, I'll admit, but it's getting better all the time. One bit of good news, at least...

But she said no. She just... well, you'll see. This conversation took place late last night. It's the real story of what happened on the farm the night the barn burned.

Unlike the last one, this recording sort of started mid-sentence, but I remember the tail end of the conversation before it.


Me: "Why are you even responding to him? Just ignore him. Or block him, for that matter."

Michelle: "Can't."

Me: "And why not? What you're doing won't help, Michelle. That so-called 'Promise' you talked about in your post? Revenge won't get you want you want."

Michelle: "...And what do I want, Valerie? What should I be focusing on right now, you think?"

Me: (I shrug a bit.) "Healing. Moving on. Proving Luke wrong - proving everyone wrong."

Michelle: "And I am not doing that?"

Me: "Not by doing this, you're not."

She said nothing for a very long minute. I noticed something change in her eyes and she suddenly looked around, spotting the recorder before quickly grabbing it and turning it on. She then turned to me.

Michelle: "This is going to go on YOUR blog. Not mine." (She tosses the recorder at me.) "Having that goddamn blood moon on mine is reminder enough."

Me: (I catch it.) "Then just take it down! (Worriedly) Michelle, come on, all the comments on his blog? The ones on yours? Why even respond at all? What are you trying to prove? That he doesn't scare you? Just ignore him! Like everyone else does."

Michelle: "Ignoring an infection only makes it worse. Plus, what's that old thing...? 'Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer'? I'd rather know what the little rat is up to than find myself blindsided later... for a second time."

Me: "You're just giving him the attention he wants. He knows it bothers you. How could it not?"

Michelle: "Of course he riles me. He killed my family. He could potentially turn my brain inside out, but he can't. He's pathetic at mindscrewing, even with how I am now. He's been trying, but it's safe to say his abilities focus on brute force alone. I mean, on his blog he wants to kill me. On your blog he wants to convert me. On mine he's... actually managing to creep me out. Still though. One for all seasons. Makes it difficult to give any of it much thought."

Me: "You're playing Russian Roulette."

Michelle: "Valerie..." (She makes a helpless gesture with her arms.) "What the hell would you rather I do? Just forget it? Move on? Pretend they died in their sleep? Peaceful and painless? My family was BUTCHERED by a maniac and your advice is to take the High Road? They deserve to be avenged!"

Me: "Your family, Michelle, would not want to see you stooping to that level. Even if that meant walking away - they wouldn't--"

Michelle: "Daniel was fed arm-first into an auger, Valerie. Benjamin was mowed down in a sea of bullets. My dad had to watch BOTH of them die before getting stabbed and slashed until Morningstar had carved a hole straight through him. Don't try to tell me you know what they would want."

Me: (I try not to cringe.) "You're better than what you're planning."

Michelle: "There are no official plans yet. Lots of fond fantasies, I will admit, but the actual plan at this point remains in a fog." (Quietly) "Nothing I think of seems painful enough..."

A pain hit my chest, and I started to speak, but she just sighed, turning to the window in my room and the backyard instead of me.

Michelle: "...You won't change my mind, Valerie, but don't think I'm underestimating this. I know what it will make me... but I'm already a murderer. I've already gone that low. Proxy or not, he - whoever the hell he was - was still a human. Granted, I was half-out of my mind at the time, but still..."

She went to the window and there was a long minute of silence. When I looked at her, her eyes were closed. She had her shoulder and head against the wall, still facing the backyard.

Michelle: "I... used a hammer, you know. I was in the machinery shed getting things together. I had already been planning on running. There was nothing left to stay for, except... watching more death. After... that bastard spoke to me in my so-called 'Void', I decided to run. I think I hoped that maybe he'd come after me instead of the farm. But then I saw someone slinking around the shed in the shadows. A figure in black. I yelled at him and he... came at me. He had a knife. Sliced at me - I barely got out of the way. Cut me a bit. I managed to grab the arm that held the knife and I wrestled with him. Fought. He slammed me backwards against the workbench, but I got loose. Punched his face. He fell, so I bolted, but he grabbed me and I fell too and then he crawled up on top of me. On me. Strangling me. I shoved at him but I couldn't get him off. Then I... found the hammer lying on the floor. So I hit him with it. Again. And again. And again, until he fell off me and even then I just kept swinging at his skull I couldn't stop I just... I wanted to breathe. They never let me breathe...

I didn't know what to say. This was my second time hearing this story, though never in that much detail. And this time around it came from someone I trust to tell the truth... Still. I have a pretty vivid imagination. And I can't even fathom this.

Michelle: "I panicked. Ran to the house to tell what was left of my family. Told them we had to fight. Morningstar showed up before too long. I was in my room at the time, and something heavy hit my window. It left a smear of blood. I heard a shout outside, then a gunshot and my window shattered. Then... Pepper's head got tossed inside. I grabbed the .22 and tried to run back to my brothers and dad, but I was... intercepted." (She looks at me.) "Christian stopped me. Grabbed me, then grabbed the gun. That's when I knew, but I still hesitated. He didn't. He used my own gun to pistol-whip me across the skull. It happened fast. Sent me flat on my back. I could hear the shooting outside. The yelling still echoes in my head. Christian was talking, but all I really remember is the hate. The rage. The heat... Raw. Driving... Next thing, I had tackled him. Punched him in the face as hard as I could, as many times as I could. My knuckles were bleeding, I think, but I couldn't really feel it... Then he blocked one and punched me back - throwing me off and down the stairs. When I was at the bottom... I didn't even think about Christian. I ran outside to join my family..."

She paused for another long while. I didn't blame her.

Michelle: "...I didn't get to help much. The barn was taken over by the flames of Hell soon enough. The heat just... warped everything. Jumped a few guys who were after Benjamin - he's ex-military, a snipper, but only had one of the farm rifles. He put a bullet into one of Morningstar's men though. Only earned a sea of bullets fired at him. He died gagging on his own blood. Another proxy Daniel landed up getting into a fist-fight with before cracking him across the skull with a metal bar and whoever it was fell into the manure lagoon. Even I'll admit, that's one way I wouldn't want to go. Can't swim in that... but then Daniel got jumped by one of the others. They beat on him, then shoved his arm into the auger. Another one turned it on. The screaming just..."

She shook her head, covering her face and trying to refocus. Her hands were actually shaking a bit.

Michelle: "...I watched my brother's body thrash around like a ragdoll. But from afar. With Ben's corpse. My dad saw up close. They had him. Made him watch. Made him stand so close he turned red with the blood splatter. We both lost it. He started attacking those that had him. I helped. My dad actually buried a hayhook into the spine of one. Then he went in the barn, going after Morningstar inside. The fire department chose then to show up - someone must have called it in - and that sort of... distracted the other proxies to let me go in after my dad. That's when I finally saw the little fuck himself. I saw Morningstar for the first time... as he was driving his goddamn knife through my dad's stomach. My dad died with his intestines hanging out - most of them no longer in one piece. Morningstar... licked his knife when he was done. Then he looked right at me. Right. Fucking. At me. Then He was there. Coming from the smoke. He was goddamn THERE and He..." (She gritted her teeth and punched the wall lightly.) "I lifted Benjamin's hangun and fired at them. But I missed. Completely. The Black King saved His Morning Star. Right before the barn began to collapse. I barely made it out. The ceiling fell in over me - the hay bails knocking me down. Pinned me for a bit. The hay was burning... and so I did too."

She carefully shrugged out of her jacket. All up her left arm and across her shoulder was a huge scar from a burn, still bright red. Parts of it looked like it was just getting over an infection. After revealing it, she covered it again a second later.

Michelle: (Bitterly) "Yet another reminder."

I had seen the scar before, though briefly. But it was back on the first day, when she wasn't talking much. It didn't take a genius to figure out how she got it, so I didn't ask.

Now I kind of wish I had, though I probably couldn't have done anything anyway. A month is too long, far too long. Once a scar has healed, it's forever.

She paused then, and fished out her sketchbook from her bag. She showed me one picture. Just one. I didn't want to scan it in, but she insisted I show it to you all. I think I know why, too, but... I'll just leave it. For now.

Michelle: "It's in my head, Valerie. I thought that by drawing it, I could control it, get it out... but it didn't work. So I have to avenge them. He can't get away. I have to kill him. Then I can move on."


I don't know what to do about all of this. I'm not even entirely sure what to say about it. Just... so often in our lives... we think we want something, and when we get it, we find it brings no satisfaction. Even when we stake our lives on the idea that there's nothing more in the world that we want more, it can still turn out to be nothing like we expected. I've gone through that feeling. Everyone has.

And I admit that I don't always know what I'm doing. I admit that I can be too optimistic sometimes. I've never once denied that I'm actually rather naive. But, in all honesty, naivete isn't a trait I want to let go of, even if it gets me hurt sometimes. It's not something I mind.

When it gets others hurt, on the other hand...

...I knew what kind of person Michelle was when I first met her. But I also knew what kind of person she could be. And... I know what kind of person Luke could be too, if he just...

Goddammit, it's fear. All of it. Nothing but needless fear.

I... need to think for a while. I know I'll have time, at least. And she did promise me that she knows better than to have me involved in any way. It'll really just be pretending though... sort of like pretending that baby calves aren't kept starved and anemic in lightless torture cells because I like the taste of veal.

(Actually, I don't eat veal, but I don't complain when my mom buys it for dinner for the rest of the family either.)

Good god, am I really on the fence about standing by and allowing my best friend to commit murder?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interview (of sorts)

"Your stitches are all out, but your scars are healing wrong,
And the helium balloon inside your room has come undone
And it's pushing up at the ceiling and the flickering lights.
It cannot get beyond."

It was about halfway through our first conversation, after I painstakingly explained how everything Twinkletwat had said to her was a goddamn lie and that I had been there all along, that I realized I should probably be recording this. So the transcript kind of jumps in at the middle.


Michelle: "You know... when... when I was a kid... I used to be terrified of the dark. Completely terrified. Everything from the monster under my bed to the thing in my closet to the creature outside my window to the thing that walked the halls of my house at night to the thing in the attic... Everything. I'd hide under the covers with Zeddy and tell myself to be invisible. To blend in. To just... ignore it. Some nights I couldn't sleep at all. They were just so loud. Hard when you're young and living in a house inhabited by the other side... they like to play games with you. I never found them funny, but they did. Especially the bad one. It... liked making me dream of waking up inside my dreams... and then killing me. But they were nothing. Nothing. They were all just humans. Dead humans. Dead humans playing jokes. I could handle that as long as I had Zeddy. But... but none of them would make a peep when..."

She trailed off for a long minute, staring straight ahead. She does this sometimes, so I didn't say anything for fear of throwing off her train of thought.

Michelle: "He was always there. Always. I can remember that feeling. I suppressed it a long time ago, but all this shit just... messed up my walls. I remember now." (Panic starts creeping into her voice here.) "Remember how I'd pile my stuffed animals all around me - sometimes I'd even put Zeddy overtop of me so he'd be hiding my head. I'd think if I was too close to the edge of my bed, that the arms would grab me and pull me off and take me away. Remember how it felt... to have Him standing beside my bed. To have Him that close. He's always BEEN there. He just---"

Me: "Michelle, just breathe. It's alright. I... I know It was around when you were a kid. I found a picture--"

Michelle: "No. No, no, no, it wasn't just then. He was ALWAYS there. Just..." (She shakes her head and laughs a bit.) "Just George. That's what we called it: George. Just a dark spirit. A guardian. A shadow out of the corner of your eye. Always there. Always watching the farm. Watching us grow up. Sometimes he was around a lot. Sometimes it would be months before we'd see him again. But it was just George. Even my dad saw it. But none of them ever thought anything of supernatural stuff. It just became a joke. As I got older... I started to like George. Made me feel like he was watching over us. Protecting us. When things got really bad on the farm... when everyone got at each other's throats and the yelling would get so loud... George would show up. Just a glimpse of black. A passing figure. Never too close. Always far. But made you think someone was there when there was no one around. He made me feel... that none of us were ever alone... that we were going to be okay..." (In a whisper) "It was all... supposed to be okay..."

Okay. A tad worrying, but nothing too unusual for a childhood haunting. I started to say so, but then she started talking again, and I didn't dare interrupt her.

This is where it gets bad.

Michelle: "He was always there. He That Is... the Black King... He was there this whole time. I don't know what it was that made me suddenly see Him as Him... but somehow it just... changed. And then He was there. Close. Far too close. He was done Watching. He wanted me to go with Him. Told me it was time. Wanted me to be like Them... like I'm supposed to be. I'm... I'm one of Them - that's what was wrong. That's what was wrong with me this whole damn time..."

Me: "Stop it. Michelle, listen--"

Michelle: "...She's a Sage and I'm one of Them... goddammit, I shouldn't even BE here - I don't know what I'm DOING anymore. I know it's true. It has to be. Daniel told me he saw Him over me one night. Saw George standing over me as I tried to sleep - as He put me through that goddamn maze again - Daniel saw Him. Saw Him as George... I... I liked George..."

Daniel, I know, was the youngest of her older brothers. They shared a birthday - August 28th - and used to joke that they were twins. I put a hand on her shoulder... and she flinched. It wasn't like her. I've never seen her like this before. Even after talking to her all day, after she had been floating in and out of sanity for over a month, she never once seemed vulnerable like that.

Me: "Michelle, what happened after you started seeing It? What happened after Bogie?"

Michelle: (A long pause, in which she alternates looking between me and the floor.) "T-The... concussion. But it wasn't that. Not really. It was Him. He would force me into the maze and... and when I'd wake up, my head would be screaming. Pounding. Make me nausious. Dizzy. My nose would be bleeding sometimes..." (She folds her arms in front of herself.) "Only when I dreamt of Him. Of... running to Him. Only then... didn't want to sleep anymore. Daniel... Daniel saw George..."

Her voice gets considerably stronger right here, like she was suddenly more alert. That happens sometimes too.

Michelle: "That's when the animals started getting picked off. Psycho... my cat... was torn in two... but she was still alive when I found her. Crying at me. Trying to claw her front half forward in the dirt. The other cat - Trouble - was turned inside out. Left hanging from the doorframe. Cows started getting sick. Torn apart in the fields. Police blamed coyotes. Then Bogie..." (She paused and seemed to skip ahead.) "Had to protect Hailey from Him after that. But He was using Zeddy... so I burnt him... th-that... that's when the hallucinations started. He'd burn me alive. Let my skin fall off. All kinds of things. It hurt. It goddamn HURT... and my mum found me in the middle of one. Screaming. Thrashing. She grounded me. He didn't like that. He took her away. Just... gone. All of you were gone. I was alone.  Then He came for Hailey and Tasha next. I was waiting, but He didn't want me to... so He punished me."

Me: "...Punished how?"

She shrinks again here, which is understandable. Her voice grew soft again too, but instead of sluggish, it got faster, on the edge of panic in some places.

Michelle: "I think... I took them. I think He made me take them. I was taking a nap... and all I can remember between that and Christian and Kent waking me up is Hailey smiling up at me. I can hear here giggling. I... I c-can... I can still feel her fingers curl around mine. A picture frozen in my head of Tanya looking at me. Terrified. Backed into a corner. It's... it's in my HEAD. I remember it, but I... I was sleeping. It had to be Him, right? He had to take them, I couldn't... I... I don't... I don't know. I don't understand it - I wouldn't hurt them. I cared about them, I... I just want it out of my head..."


After that point, she just sort of shook her head no matter what I asked her, so I figured that was enough for tonight. She's a lot clearer to understand than I could have ever hoped, so I don't blame her for getting lost in some places. And, honestly, the longer we spoke, the more tired she was seeming. I didn't want to put her through anymore that what was neeeded to get an idea of what happened. Anything more exact can wait for another day.

Right now, sleep. After that... we'll see.


"I have faltered, I have stumbled, 
I have found my feet again.
I've been angry, and I've been shaken.
Found a new place to begin.
And my persistence to make a difference
Has led me safe into your hands..."

Well, explaining Michelle's presence to my parents went better than I thought it would. Unbelievably enough, it had completely slipped my mind that she was actually scheduled to come down to my house for a couple weeks in August, after haying season for her and before the new semester for me. Maybe she remembered that subconsciously or something, I don't know, but it wasn't hard to think of a reason why she had come a few days early. Thank god for small favors.

Communication goes a bit slowly, but I expected that. She doesn't seem to want to make eye contact, and she can sometimes trail off for a while and not start talking again until later, but she definitely hears and understands me when I talk to her, even when she doesn't visibly reply.

Several points have been established as of now:

1) Christian was, predictably, lying through his teeth, though not about much. Just little details that move people around, little motivational changes. I have no idea why he'd lie about those things, but more on that later.

2) Michelle and I apparently just missed each other at the farm, because she went back later and noticed the crumpled sketches under the bed were missing.

3) As if the photo wasn't enough evidence, Michelle was definitely, definitely stalked as a child. She remembers portions of it now. Or... It's not that she remembers what she's forgotten, because she never forgot anything. Rather, she's now able to view certain events in a different light. Again, more on that later.

I've also been working with her on that block she had going on. That filter. So far it seems to be working. Sometimes I have to remind her to look at certain things (a vision training technique my mom used on me as a kid), but the mental block seems to be fading pretty fast. I don't know if it's anything I'm doing, or if it's the fact that, now that she's with someone who can show her these things, there's no longer a point. I really couldn't care less right now.

I have some bits of conversation (and I use the term "conversation" lightly) recorded. Transcript only, since my video camera is still mailed out for repairs. I should have it up later tonight. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


"There can be miracles
When you believe.
Though hope is frail,

It's hard to kill."

A miracle happened today.

Michelle came back to me.

Just... right there. Rang the friggin' doorbell. I opened the door, and there she was. Safe. Sane. Alive. Oh my god she's okay she's really really okay.

I don't even know what else to say. I'll update later. Right now, I'm about to burst with happiness.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Problem With Paranoia

Is an old root that creeps
Through the meadows of sleep
When the long shadows cast.
As a vagrant young vine,
It encircles, entwines,
And it holds the heart fast.

"Catches dreamers in the wild wood
With the stars in their eyes
And the moon in their tussled hair.
But love
Is a light in the sky,
And an unspoken lie,
And a half-whispered prayer."

My favorite verse from my favorite love song. I didn't know it was possible to be both pessimistic and hopeful at the same time.

I'm actually not much of a party-person. Any type of gathering usually sees me sitting in an out-of-the-way place, either reading a book or watching the crowds interact (an actually rather fascinating experience). But I honestly do wish I could've made it to Cam and Jake's wedding, particularly since it was only a few hours away. But I couldn't get off work in time to make the drive.

So rather than just ignore the whole affair, I decided to send my well-wishes over the phone. Well... well-wishes, plus a very particular message to Elaine, since she and Nick had been getting more and more "official" by the day. I got pretty creative with it too, if I do say so myself. I may have mentioned that I am absolute crap at half-serious death threats, but I took a page out of my friend Terrie's book (who has given plenty of hurt-him-and-die speeches in her day), and I think I managed to sound convincing.


Today's lesson/opinion (because it's really more of an opinion, honestly) is brought to you by Kay and Naomi. It's something I've been thinking about a lot, recently.

When I was in 4th grade, there was a multiple-choice pop quiz that I wasn't prepared for. The teacher, rather than grade it herself, opted to let us swap papers with a partner and be graded by our peers. My neighbor was a girl I was friendly with (though only in that we shared a mutual friend; I had very few friends as a child), so in hushed voices, we struck a deal - as the correct answers were read off, we would each change the answers of the test we were grading to the correct ones. That way we'd both get A's.

The plan went through without a hitch, or so I thought. I changed her answers as I went along, but I also remembered which ones I had gotten wrong, and kept peeking over to make sure she changed them for me. I don't exactly remember why - maybe I was afraid she would accidentally miss one, or maybe I simply didn't trust her to follow through on our bargain. Either way, the grading was finished, and all tests were then handed in to the teacher, presumably to be re-graded for accuracy and posterity.

The next day, our tests were handed back to us. To my relief, I got an A+. However... the same was not true of the other girl. As it turned out, I had spent so much time making sure she corrected my test properly that I neglected to change many of her answers. She got a D.

I was... horrified, to say the least. My naive little 10-year-old mind hadn't even considered the possibility that I would be the one to fail to keep my end of the deal. The betrayed and disappointed look on her face didn't help the growing pit of guilt in my stomach.

But that's the thing about trust. When you don't trust others, you automatically become untrustworthy yourself. It's not something you intend to do, it doesn't make you a bad person; it's just a reflex. But it nonetheless does happen. It's up to you whether you want to put a probably-innocent person through that... But maybe that's just me. I've always been the type who would prefer being wrong and disappointed (or dead in this case, I guess) about someone than wrong and unnecessarily cruel.

There's also the matter of personal health. Being constantly on guard is bad for your your nervous system, and screws up the fight-or-flight mechanism after long periods. Said mechanism can also do damage to your immune system if you're constantly tense and the tension has nowhere to go - because let's face it, if you don't trust someone, it's not always a smart idea to take action against them.

Finally (and this is probably the biggest issue for me)... paranoia is It's game. It wants us afraid before it kills us, or hollows us, or whatever the hell It does. It wants us isolated from those who might be able to help us, and too afraid to trust anyone. I don't know about you, but when my enemy wants something from me, I make it a point not to give It what It wants, because there has to be a reason for it. What that reason might be is anyone's guess, but denying It that fear certainly isn't going to hurt your chances of survival, and it might actually help.

Who was the one who compared the monster to a troll? And, as they say, the only way to win is not to play... Granted, it's too late to "not play" in any case, but you can not add fuel to the fire.

In the end, of course, it's up to you, but that's my two cents.


Hmm. I feel better now. Writing this sort of thing makes me feel more like myself. I should start doing it more often.

And if it seems like the tone of these posts kind of goes up and down... well, that's entirely intentional. It's part of the slipshod "survival plan" I've thought up: If I get depressed, I deliberately seek out something fun to do, and then write about it to make it more permanent. Makes sense, right? It's also why I haven't been reading or commenting around much in the past week. I should probably go catch up, unless anybody wants to fill me in.

Oh! And another bit of good news: Michael's alive! His reason for being MIA for the past couple months is... slightly worrying... but screw it. He's back, he's alright, and he's on the move. I am immensely relieved.

Plus, no sightings all week. That's something, right?

See ya, everyone. Try to stay happy, alright?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Seven Pounds

Anniversary. Of sorts.

God, I don't want to be here. I should sleep. I probably won't dream. I hope I won't dream. But my mind won't stop. I have to write down at least some of it. Trying to bury the memories was my mistake last time. I can't forget. It wouldn't be right. So I won't let myself forget.

Two years ago today, I saw the monster for the very first time.

I... I can't...

People have been telling me to just... stop. To back off, duck under the radar for a while. I've been attracting too much attention and I know it, and now the consequences are rolling in.

But you don't understand. I can't leave those kids. It's coming, I know it. Who else can recognize the signs? Who else can even try to pull the students out of harm's way? I see It around Camden nearly every day now. The teachers all love their students, but they don't understand. They wouldn't stand a chance.

Then again, if they were in my place, they might have actually done the right thing, but... not now. Not. Now.

What happened in the past doesn't matter anymore. I was a different person then, I know... Okay, maybe not that different, but I like to think that I would have done something different than I did back then. But after the other day, I'm still not sure. Christ, after the past six months I'm still not sure. I can't seem to get past it. And a lot of people would say that's through no fault of my own, but I think it is. I really think it is.

...I don't want to talk anymore. This is enough of a record, right? As long as I know that something happened on this day, it should be enough of a trigger for recall, should anything go wrong. At least, I hope so, because I honestly don't want to talk about it. As much as I know I can't forget, I really don't want to think about it either.

Primarily because I'm ashamed.

And I can't get drunk. I hate alcohol. Not to mention that, knowing my luck, I'd probably spill all my secrets to an equally drunk stranger at the bar. I do, however, have a few heavy-duty tranquilizers. Well, they're not actually tranquilizers, but they have that effect. My mom uses them for when her back is bad, but she lets me have one if I have a really bad headache.

...I have a really bad heartache. Does that count?

"So take this night,
Wrap it around me like a sheath.
I know I'm not forgiven,
But I need a place to sleep.
So take this night,
Lay me down on the street.
I know I'm not forgiven,
But I hope that I'll be given
                                      Some peace."
I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Luck & Lies

"Close my eyes, these voices say. 
Haunting me. I can't escape.
For you - just you - time will always wait
While I throw away what I can't replace." 

I'm just... getting luckier and luckier all the damn time, aren't I?

I almost hate that fact, but... let's not go into that.

It was at the tunnel again. Early this morning, so I've had more time to calm down than I usually do. I had been on my way to work.

As soon as I... I dunno, felt It, the first thing I did was yank my earphones out and stare at my shoes. You live, you learn, you plan ahead for your reactions, y'know? And...  maybe I'm finally building up a resistance, because I remembered to whip out my camera this time. I watched through the camera screen (which seemed to work as a filter for some reason, I'll have to look into that) as the monster stood there for a while, then vanished back inside the tunnel. After what felt like forever... I screwed up the courage to look inside the tunnel.

Naturally, it was empty, but by that point, what just happened started catching up to me, and I turned the camera off and slid down to the ground.

Three times. Three times in a row that thing's been to Camden, obviously looking for something. Maybe someone. It hasn't gone by the school yet - not too close anyway - but I've got a plan ready if any of the kids start drawing suspicious pictures during center time. A bad plan, but a plan.

Or maybe I'm reading too much into it and I'm just being stalked.

...Christ, did I really just say that? "Just being stalked"? There's nothing "just" about it!

Whatever. I was... pretty upset for a while. And... wonder of wonders, but wasn't it Bashawn who found me. I don't know what it is, but that guy's got a knack for finding people in need. Either that or I was late to work again and he came looking for me.

I told him I was fine. He wasn't buying it, and I don't really blame him. But I couldn't tell him the truth. He's too nice to have his life eaten up by this sort of thing. So I bullshitted at him, and in the process, I felt a jolt up my hand (it was a very dry day, so static electricity was everywhere) and dropped my friggin camera. The thing was nearly in two pieces, with the digital screen broken almost completely off and the plastic casing cracked up the inside. That almost sent me over the edge again, but Bay reminded me that the camera was new, and probably still under warranty.

(EDIT: I looked it up when I got home. As it turns out, my camera is still under warranty, so I'm going to send it back to the manufacturer to get it fixed. It should be back in a few weeks, hopefully with all the data intact. Hopefully with no one at the manufacturing company viewing the data.)

I put the remains in my backpack, and we left. 

At work, Bay told all the kids that "Miss Valerie" wasn't feeling well, so they should be extra nice to me. And they were. One of them even made me a card. It showed me and her (the child) smiling together underneath a tree. I praised her for her creative endeavors, and her happy, missing-tooth grin was somehow worth everything.

Sometimes I don't even know how to process the kind of life I lead.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We All Needed This

"Remember when
We stayed up all night talking 'bout the boys we knew?
You were the only ones who'd know the things that I've been through.
We'd get together - just the few of us.
You helped me through the hardest times.
When I was lost,
You found my way.
Together now
For one more day."

Whenever I come here, I never want to leave. I've said it before, there's something about the three of us - yes, three Nick would up coming too - that just works. Kay thrives on the company, of course - a woman like her shouldn't be alone as much as she is - and Nick and I thrive on her cooking, not to mention the chance to just lie back and chill with good friends. Good, in the know friends. The knowing helps more than anybody could realize.

I wound up arriving at Kay's house sometime around 5:30pm. I had mostly cried myself out on the way there, but I still couldn't help hugging her pretty tightly. I explained about the image the song gave me that wouldn't leave my head, and she made me some tea and gave me a piece of amethyst to hold. And then we looked at lolcats until I was laughing too hard to be upset.

My personal favorite. XD

Nick arrived a short time later. Green Man dropped him off. I had spoken with Green Man before, during a relatively nasty situation, so it was nice to meet him in person. Nick, however, looked like death warmed over. Which is apparently what happens when you can describe your day to the tune of "Like A Boss".

So he came in, and Green Man left, and Kay immediately wrapped Nick up in a blanket and scolded him for behaving... well, like himself. He shrugged it off, of course, with a few well-placed jokes. I never get tired of his one-liners, but he worries me sometimes all the damn time.

We talked for a while, as per usual, and eventually we got to the purpose of our visit, which was examining the jade elephant. Kay sighed and went upstairs, and came back down with a small square package in her hands, unopened. Didn't take a genius to guess who it was from, despite the lack of a return address (which is a shame, it would've been interesting to have that) I was curious as to why she hadn't opened it yet, but after a bit of thought, it didn't surprise me much. Apparently she needed love and support just as much as I did.

So we all sat down on the couch, and Kay opened the package. The jade elephant looked different than I expected. Smaller, and more simply carved. And very very black; you could only see the green show through when you held it up to a really bright light. It also didn't sparkle or shine the way you'd think a gemstone is supposed to. Even onyx and obsidian have a certain glow to them. This thing just looked murky, like swamp water filtering out the sun.

She... she had been crying quietly throughout opening it, but when she held the elephant in her hands, she just started bawling. And all I could do was hold her as she hugged the figurine tightly to her chest and tell her over and over that she didn't do the wrong thing. I'm still not sure whether she did the right thing, and told her so a month ago when she called me that night. But I know she didn't do the wrong thing.

What happened to Zero was not Kay's fault.  His mind was broken a long time ago, and the decisions he made, he would have made eventually, with or without Kay revealing Remnant's identity. If it wasn't bones, it would have been something else. And the truth is, Kay helped him in a way that no one - not Maduin, not Reach, and certainly not me - was even capable of doing, even if Zero himself never realized it. And maybe she hurt herself in the process, but...

But nothing. She hurt herself in the process. That's the way it goes sometimes, and no one can hate themselves for it. They just can't.

The elephant wasn't the only thing in the package though. Along with a brief and painfully polite note from Guess apologizing for the confusion, there was also a small stack of yellow post-it notes. And... well, to anyone who's read Records of an Impossibility, those should be a painfully familiar wrinkle. I'll let Nick explain exactly what went down with those, but suffice it to say that his buddy Time Lord is very stressed, and Nick and I will be back at Kay's house in a few weeks for... whatever he's got planned.

A couple hours later, and Kay was busy distracting herself by cooking for her guests. Her way of dealing with things, I suppose. While we were waiting, Nick and I took a few pokes at the taint inside the elephant - we had persuaded Kay to let us have a look at it before she dumped it into a bucket of rock salt. And let me tell you, the taint itself was nasty stuff. It clings, too. Kind of like cobwebs, only more nauseating. I had to run my hands under cold water for, like, 10 minutes for the feeling to go away. I... I accidentally started thinking about the ice image again, with the bleeding, crying girl, but I clamped it down by singing Caramelldansen to myself (guaranteed to shove everything else out of your head XD).

Funny thing though. Unless I was actively probing it, I couldn't actually feel anything there. If the statue was sitting on the table instead of in my hands, it seemed like an ordinary black elephant figurine. Nick said he could still feel it, but then again, he's Nick. But the fact that the taint wasn't flailing or pulsating wildly is interesting. It may be disgusting, but it's also incredibly stable, so you can't deconstruct or change it... which kind of puts Core Theory even further down the drain, now that I think about it.

It also makes me wonder about that whole "opposite" idea I had a while back. You can't control what you can't perceive. So you fear what you can't control, and then you deny your fear, and then your fear subsequently controls you. We're all under the thumb of an illusion made real, all because we can't break that cycle... except it's stable, so it can't be altered quite like that... which means it's more than what I'm thinking of as an "illusion"... Aaand once again, I feel like there's a piece to the puzzle I'm still missing. Getting tired of that feeling.

...Kinda makes me wonder whether or not Zero's shadow was "real" in that sense, though.

I also wonder what would happen if we could get a proxy to willingly carry a large enough piece of jade around for a few months, but I don't think that's really feasible.

Later that night, a plan that Kay brought up to me privately went into action.

You see, she's come to the conclusion that Nick's Stepford Smiling is a dangerous thing, and I happen to agree with her. So we started up a few movies, broke out the popcorn and cookies... and got the boy stone drunk.

As mentioned before, Nick + drunk = rather hilarious, but he was almost about to nod off by his fifth round, so we decided to just go for it.

The whole plan was slightly anti-climactic though. Nothing changed, we just found out a bit more about what he's always so worried about. And considering how secretive he was about it even while utterly plastered (and considering how pissed off he was when he found out our little plan the next day), I shall refrain from mentioning what was talked about. I just wish he didn't have to hold all of this in.

Heh. Actually, Kay cornered him on Saturday morning (I was still asleep, naturally). The combination of questions and a blinding hangover made him not exactly cooperative, and by the time I was up, a fight had broken out. Like I said, he was pretty angry when he realized we got him drunk on purpose. It didn't last too long, I guess, but a lot of unfortunate things were said before everyone calmed down. Still, he understood our intentions in the end... and then apologies all around, so it was all good. ^^

The rest of Saturday was pretty quiet, and then Sunday was a gloriously lazy day. Nothing but chillin' and talking and pretending to be a completely normal group of friends. I love those kinds of days. Especially when I feel like we've all earned them.

But now it's getting late, and it's time to go home. Back home, back to work, back to Camden and all of its bad memories.

I feel a bit better knowing I'll definitely be back here. No matter what Nick thinks Time Lord is cooking up, it's always good just to be with the two of them, even when we argue. They're more than just my friends, they're my constants. Something to focus on that'll hopefully always be there. And I don't need anyone telling me that that's a foolish hope. I'm gonna hope for it anyway.

Well, I can't put this off for much longer. Until next time, guys. Stay safe.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Shit shit shit I can't panic this time I can't I can't I can't.

But It was closer this time. Closer to the school. I think It remembers. Oh god I hope It doesn't remember.

I was just getting out of work and going to the train station. I had my iPod earphones in my ears. I put it on shuffle. I wasn't looking for any particular song, that's just the one that happened. It just happened.

I had barely crossed over to the next block when my earphones exploded with static. I ripped them out of my ears and instinctively looked around. Bad idea. I know paranoia and bolting at any little thing is a bad idea but I really need to start running at the first sign because as soon as I saw it I froze just like before and It-
-It was just standing there. Not looking around this time, just standing perfectly still. It was... I can't describe it. I don't want to say It looked like a mirage, because that's not it, but something about It... sort of glimmered, if "glimmer" had an opposite. And my earphones kept buzzing, I could hear it even down from my hand But the music didn't stop, not in my head.

Y'know that thing where a song you're familiar with suddenly cuts off, but you still automatically play the rest of it in your mind? That happened, but... the music changed somehow. It was still the same song, but the lyrics suddenly took on an entirely different meaning.

"The snowflakes fall
Gently to the ground.
The temperature drops, 
And your shivers freeze all the rivers around.
But I keep you warm.

"Peer over the edge.
Can you see me?
Rivulets flow from your eyes,
Paint runs from your mouth like a waterfall,
And your lungs crystallize."

I... You have no idea what it took for me to actually type out those lyrics. It's a perfectly innocent song, meant to be whimsical and lighthearted, but suddenly it seemed... not. All I could picture was someone peering into the abyss that stares back, crying and vomiting up blood as she slowly froze alive... and the abyss was offering to make the pain stop, to warm up the ice, but she couldn't reply because she was choking on her own blood...

But then some passerby jostled me and broke me out of my trance, and I blinked, and when I looked back, the monster was gone. So I immediately put my earphones back in and switched to my J-rock playlist. You can't misinterpret words you don't understand to begin with.

I don't think anyone saw me crying. If they did, they didn't ask.

I'm not going home. I'm going to take a very roundabout way back to my car, and then I'm going straight to Kay's. I just got off the phone with my mom to tell her so - once I could keep my voice from shaking, that is. She asked about clothes and whatnot, but I've been keeping spare clothes and other assorted supplies in my car for a while now, and told her so. "I've been being so spontaneous lately, I figured, why not?"

I need to be ready to run at a moment's notice, so I figure, why not?

...Oh god, this is it. It's really gunning for me now, isn't It?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Buggre all this for a Larke

"We all try to be somebody,
But the world around us makes it so cloudy
When we don't trust when we're supposed to.
But the blood on our hands says we're not close to
The answer yet."

Been a few days. So much sadness around this week. Hylo really cheered me up with the story of her bizarre dream, but, as per usual for times like these, a good mood simply does not last... until this happened, and I got some of my mojo back. It was unexpected and slightly alarming, but I got a very nice vent out of it. Being halfway across the country from him/her didn't hurt either.

Like I said before - sometimes we need to go up against something in order to define ourselves.

But anyway. With a few suggestions from Jean, I've been doing a bit of research in my spare time, trying to figure out what's so different about Michelle. Because she had known about Slenderman for, like, a scant month before she started getting stalked. And not just the background viewings, I mean full-forced haunted. If research from people like Maduin and Jay are anything to go by, that's pretty unusual, especially considering she only showed a moderate level of interest to begin with. She was never paranoid, she never had delusions. She just thought it was an interesting story and then BAM. Everything happening at once.

So, for starters, here is the "devil" picture I found:

Cheery, eh?

It was crumpled up in a ball and shoved under Michelle's bed, way far to the back. From that, it doesn't take a shrink to gather that she didn't like this image, even moreso than the other drawings I found, but I also get the feeling that she didn't want to throw it out either. Why keep it so close, otherwise? Why not just throw it out entirely?

Normally I'd take the take the text at the top of the picture out of hand. After all, "devil"? What? I'm an open-minded person when it comes to most other things, but unless I meet the guy myself, I view Satan as nothing more than a construct perpetuated by those who wanted to spread fear as a means of gaining power.

However, since it was this picture that got a reaction from Christian (I suddenly see why he hates his name), I figure it must have something to do with something. I don't know why some book I've never heard of would mean anything to a proxy, or to Slender for that matter, but it's the only lead I've got right now.

But alas, no matter where you search, the words "devil" and "book" put together in the same sentence will (somehow) always land you with a bible of some kind. So... bibles are what I looked at.

First up, we have the standard "Wicked Bible", or Bible Errata. However, this is nothing but a misprinted copy of the regular Bible from from the 15th century. It lacked a negative adverb in the 7th Commandment.

Hardy har.
 Amusing, but I doubt this is what I'm looking for.

Somewhat more likely an option is the infamous Codex Gigas, the largest book in the world. According to legend, a monk was faced with some horrible punishment, so to avoid that punishment, he promised to write the world's largest book in one night. Around midnight he realized that this was impossible, so he bargained with the devil to get the job done.

It's got a picture of the horned dude right up front as a tribute, or so they say.
This is actually pretty interesting. It's more or less the unabridged encyclopedia of its time. It has a complete copy of both Old and New Testaments, numerous medical recipes (some genuine, others cracked), and advice on common problems like catching a thief. And it's divided into 11 sections, so from a purely genre-aware standpoint, I wouldn't be surprised if this was it.


First off, as far as I'm able to tell, there aren't any print copies of this book in production, and the original is at a museum somewhere. So I doubt Michelle ever had it in her possession, let alone had it disposed of when she was young. Secondly, although the book is interesting, I still fail to see what it has to do with anything Slender-related. There was a download of the translated text available, and I've been skimming through the non-bible parts, but I haven't found anything worth mentioning.

So, failing those two avenues, I started researching Satanism. I felt ridiculous while doing so too, though it's worth mentioning that the belief system is, surprisingly, just as sound as that of any other religion (aka, moderate). But that was just far too broad for me to even make a dent in finding any sort of "devil book". Too many denominations, too many opinions, and next to zero actual printed text books. I'm still looking, but... damn, I hope I come up with another lead soon. O_o

This picture is kind of hilarious, and the illogic does not detract from the bizarre truthfulness. XD

Fact is, I may be heading down the wrong road altogether. Michelle had this book in her house when she was, like, five. It gave her horrific nightmares for years until her parents finally got rid of the thing. Whatever was in it has to be long gone by now, so if it was at all important, I don't see how it could be put to further use at all, not even by knowing the topic. Besides, I may enjoy reading, but I'm hardly what you'd call a bibliophile. I'm not equipped to do this kind of searching. I'll keep trying, mind. Don't get me wrong. And any input you guys might have is exceedingly welcome. But at this point I'm not expecting to find much, at least much that would be actually useful.

Bah. I just don't know what to do other than... keep looking around, I guess. She's out there somewhere. She has to be.

I can't let myself think otherwise.

Oh, and Kay, I'll probably stop over sometime later this week. Just fyi.