After yesterday’s events, I have decided to stay on the move as much as possible. It most likely will not affect anything, but for some reason it makes me feel secure. I am currently stopped at what appears to be the remains of an observatory, sitting high above the dead grey ocean. Dead. That is the only adjective that properly describes the water below me. For that matter, “dead” would be an appropriate way to define everything I have seen so far, save only the young woman who attacked me back at the shipyard. Things here feel old, decayed, as if suffering from centuries of neglect. It is a world without humanity. I wonder what that says about me, that I can exist so comfortably here…
I’m sitting on the hood of the Jeep’s engine compartment right now. The air is cool and somewhat moist, though it carries a small bitter smell, as of rotting marine life and salt. The smell seems familiar, almost reassuring. Digging through my backpack, I’ve come across the book that was among my initial possessions. Its cover is black, well-worn, with the title and author inlaid upon it in what appears to be a pale tan leather. Its yellowed pages are slightly musty, but in a way that reminds me of quiet places and soft light. Another reassuring smell in this foreign place. Strange that I’d find so many. I open the book. On its title page is an inscription. It is written in a small, strangely flowing script. The writer was probably left-handed, as all the letters slope that way.
Those who fight monsters are often in danger of becoming monsters themselves. Please try to remember that. I worry about you sometimes.
I have no idea who Martin or Dresden are, but the note itself speaks volumes. A quick examination of the book reveals it to be a collection of short stories, each dealing with death and destruction, usually by some sort of cosmic horror but sometimes by simple human greed and hate. Whoever Martin was, he was obviously trying to warn Dresden against becoming like the people in this story. She…why do I think Dresden was female? There’s no reason to. It just…fits. She must have been important to him. I read one of the stories, a slightly surreal tale about a man being haunted by his own past and eventually murdered by the ghosts of all those he’s killed in his life, then put the book back in my bag. I’m starting to miss sunlight. I can’t remember ever seeing it, but something in me cries out for blue skies and bright light instead of this incessant dim gloom.
I’m climbing back into the Jeep’s front seat. As I fire up the engine and pull out, I realize that there’s something I’m missing more than sunlight. I miss human contact. I just want to talk to someone. Again, it’s something I have no memory of and yet desire. I just…I seem to need it. I’ve taken to listening to my own audio recordings, just to have something to listen to so that I can imagine there’s a companion sharing my journey. I have also discovered several audio files on my computer. I’ve only listened to one, labeled “hatespeech.oga”. It appeared to be several minutes of static and labored breathing, followed by heavily distorted radio chatter in some sort of Middle Eastern language and a woman screaming. I had dreams about it last night, the first dreams I’ve had since arriving here. I shouldn’t say dreams. I should say nightmares. Horrible, surreal images full of blackness and eruptions of hideously cheerful scarlet blood. Everything was monochrome but the blood, and there was so much…
I need to stop thinking about this. I need to be alert, and fear dulls the senses. It distracts. It
(sound of squealing tires as I slam on the Jeep’s brakes, fishtailing wildly on the dirt road I’m following.)
I’m climbing out of the Jeep now, gun at the ready. The projectiles changed again this morning, now being warm to the touch and smelling strongly of iron and roses. I have no idea what they might do. The reason I stopped is that I thought I saw something moving back in the trees surrounding me. If it’s a human being, I have to try and contact them. I’m moving through the trees. They appear to be mostly birches, though there are quite a few oaks and what appear to be Japanese maples scattered throughout. It seems somewhat darker under the canopy, most likely due to the leaves blocking out what little sunlight there is. I pull out a flashlight that I found in the bag this morning, holding it with my right hand and resting my gun hand on top of my right wrist. No sense in walking blindly into whatever might be waiting for me.
(small skittering noise, as of some sort of rodent moving very fast through the leaf cover. I freeze)
Me: Is anyone there? (said cautiously, awaiting a reply. None comes, and I continue)
I continue. The noises continue at odd intervals, always staying approximately 55 yards ahead of me and slightly to my right. I’m obviously being led. The question is one of intent. Am I being led to safety, or to a trap? Either way, I want to be prepared. For the noises I’m hearing, it must be a group of people leading me. Because of this I’m using tree trunks as cover, moving from one to another with the practiced ease of training that I must have received at some point. I’ve been in this forest for at least half an hour so far, but I have yet to see any change in my surroundings.
The trees are changing. As I move deeper into the woods the trees appear to become older, with oaks and hawthorn trees predominant. It also seems slightly darker, probably due to the increased cover from the oak trees. I think
(sounds of spluttering and flailing, as well as some spitting)
I’ve just walked into a…a rope of sorts. It’s black and slightly oily, strung between two trees at approximately head height. A quick sweep with my flashlight reveals that more of these ropes are all over the area. They’re entwined in tree branches at all levels, crisscrossing and wrapping together in a fantastically complicated pattern. I stop, trying to take it all in. Then I realized I couldn’t hear the sounds that had led me here. In fact, this entire area seems…desolate. Even more silent than the rest of the world.
I can see something. It’s moving slowly, on the other side of the ropes. It’s…I don’t know how to describe it. I’ll try to go one piece at a time. If I didn’t feel so detached right now, I would have collapsed in terror. This…thing stands approximately nine feet tall. Its torso is that of a human, though abnormally long and skinny. Its arms are equally spindly, the elbow joints unnaturally sharp. Its hands end in visible talons. Its torso and arms are black, superficially resembling clothing, perhaps a suit. I can see where it joins the thing’s “skin”, however, showing that in this case appearances are deceiving. Its skin appears to be slick, pitch-black except for its face. Its face is ivory, hairless. It retains the shape of a human skull, but lacking in any facial features aside from a gaping mouth. This mouth has no lips. It’s a horizontal gash across the thing’s face, the edges retracted slightly. I can see the glimmer of teeth inside. It appears to be drooling a reddish-brown substance. Its final defining feature is its legs. Its body splits at the waist, segmenting into eight spindly but very rigid arachnoid appendages. These must have been creating the noises I’d been hearing. This THING knows I’m here. Why isn’t it attacking me? Why is it just-
(sound of an earsplitting, bestial howl/roar/snarl)
Me: (terrified scream) IT SPOTTED ME!
(twenty minutes of noise follows, mostly me panting and crashing through the forest. The monster’s skittering legs can be heard behind at several points, as can three more roars, each as terrifying as the first. I managed to reach the road a few steps ahead of the monster, diving into the Jeep (which I’d left running) and gunning the engine. There’s a thump as the monster lands on the hood, crouched, facing in at me, its mouth open. The reddish liquid is flowing freely now, splattering on the windshield and making it difficult for me to see)
(I begin shooting at it through the windshield. The glass splinters and cracks, shards flying into my face as the Jeep accelerates. As each bullet hits the monster it visibly jerks. After a moment it starts having what appear to be seizures, flailing wildly while remaining latched onto the hood. Thanks to all the visual obstructions, including blood flowing into my eyes from several facial lacerations, I can no longer see the road. We hit a large rock and the Jeep flips, rolling wildly. I lose consciousness at this point.)
(Some time after, I half-wake long enough to see the monster dragging itself off into the woods, bleeding a tarry black liquid, two of its legs limp and dragging. I can dimly hear its labored, pained wheezing before I black out again. When I finally return to consciousness, I’m in another bedroom. This one has faded blue walls, paint peeling from neglect. The bed I’m on is large, but completely sprung. My facial injuries appear to have been crudely bandaged using strips of cloth. I sit up, seeing that the contents of my backpack have been carefully removed and examined, then laid out on a table near the bed. A man was sitting in a worn-out armchair in the corner, watching me.)
Man: (voice oddly calm as he stared at me with deep-set eyes. His emaciated frame seemed more fitting for a stick figure than a human being, his pallid skin and intense gaze making him seem somehow vampiric) You’re finally awake. Good.
Me: (still slightly groggy) Who are you?
Man: You can call me the Sage. (his tone never varied from its calm, a slight smile playing across his thin lips)
Me: (cautious, head beginning to clear) Alright. Where am I?
Sage: In my house. My family and I live here.
Me: (shocked) You have a FAMILY?
(I was still reeling from the monster’s attack and the shock of meeting a sane human, so my social abilities were probably not at their best. The Sage smirked. It was…unpleasant to see)
Sage: Well, not a family per se. Just a group of people who live together.
Me: (standing, finding myself naked. It was embarrassing to say the least. I wrap myself in a blanket) Look, where are my clothes? I need to get on the move again before that THING tracks me down.
Sage: (eyes lighting up in a disturbingly feverish manner) Thing? You mean the Slender Man? You saw him?
(he stood, advancing toward me, eyes gleaming as his smile seemed to widen)
Sage: How about you stay a little while? You’re safe here, I promise.
Me: (clearly not believing him) Just tell me where my clothes are. (I started packing things back into my bed, trying not to mind that I couldn’t hold the blanket up at the same time. I turned around when I was done, unsurprised to see this Sage man staring avidly at my body. Tone cold) Which way’s the exit?
Sage: (sighing, though his smile didn’t drop) Just follow me.
(He led me through several halls. This appeared to be a moderately large mansion. As we travelled, we picked up almost a dozen followers, half women and half men. Sage led me outdoors. It was raining, to my surprise. I could hear thunder in the distance, and see the occasional bluish-white lightning flash. Sage and his…family stood around, as if waiting for something. I tried to ignore the several men and women staring at me, focusing instead on keeping track of my surroundings.)
Sage: (whispering, probably not meant for me to hear) It’s now…the time is now…
(As one, the “family” began chanting, a single line)
Family: The core has fractured. We belong to you. Make us like you.
(they repeated this over and over. I realized at that point that I must have been out for several days for my wounds to have healed as much as they had. I shivered in fear as I realized what they must be chanting for. Sure enough, the monster emerged from the woods across the road. It roared, the sound considerably lower and more threatening this time. It advanced slowly. To my shock, Sage went out to meet it, smiling beatifically)
Sage: Finally…take me with you, please…please…
(He opened his arms wide. The monster tilted its head to the left, seeming almost puzzled before screeching and driving its two front legs through his chest. The legs then forced their way out to the sides, neatly separating his upper torso from his lower. I fumbled in my backpack for the gun as the other cultists ran forward, all grinning and crying to be “taken with him”. The thing rapidly finished with them and turned toward me, drooling, blood dripping from every one of its appendages. I scrambled backwards, finally finding the pistol’s grip and pulling it out. I pulled the trigger. The thing shrieked as it was knocked backwards by some sort of concussive wave, slamming into a tree. Even from hundreds of feet away I could hear something inside its torso crunch. It shrieked again, skittering back into the woods.")
Since those events I’ve been holed up in this now-empty house, raiding it for supplies. I finally found my clothes, and I’ve now locked myself in a small bedroom on the fourth floor. I’m going to head into the city tomorrow. I need to know more about this world, and especially that THING.