Thursday, September 30, 2010

In Other News, Part II

Well, that was a fun and exciting eight hours spent at a hospital, and an especially interesting hour-long drive home in the rain. I know I already said it was raining today, but seriously...I've never seen it this bad. They closed down schools in the area because of the flooding.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. Fuck Angel.

So we got home Sunday to find out from Angel's sons that she'd moved back in. We were suitably confused, but whatever.We were a bit peeved at not being told, but decided to roll with it for the time being.

On Wednesday that week (what is now known in the rest of the family as "Fuck You Wednesday"), I had plans to go to a new Indian restaurant in town with Rose and a couple of our other friends, including the sweetest girl I've ever known, Bree. As I was heading in to get my purse to leave (with my friends standing in the driveway, no less), my father looked at me and said, "Oh, you know how we were planning on getting married? Well, I shouldn't ask you that. We got married."

It was around this point that my friends tried to seem occupied to offset the awkwardness. It didn't help. I stepped inside, and he and Angel followed. I told them no, I hadn't known that, and how could I? And get this, six discernable readers -- he was offended. Like I should've known about it. I diffused the situation by saying we'd talk about it later and got the hell out of there.

Apparently, this is what happened: on Tuesday, Angel left; Wednesday, my father said that they'd be taking a long break because he respected his children enough to give their wishes a chance. I don't know what the fuck happened Wednesday night, but Thursday after we left, they started planning the wedding which took place on Saturday. Her best friend was the ordained minister, and they had my grandmother and another person as their witnesses.

Now, they're planning a second ceremony. Originally, it was just for family, but now it's been extended to include friends. I have yet to tell them I won't be in attendance.

It's not because I want to see my father hurt. It's because firstly, I will not be sorted into the category of "friends" for my father's wedding and more importantly, my attendance will signify approval. I do not approve of this marriage. Forget my own qualms with Angel; I know a couple who's toxic to each other when I see one. When everyone around you seems to have a problem with you, maybe the problem is you.

Changing subject for the safety of my keyboard.

For those two of you who are actually following my Twitter, I'll try to harass Violet into making her account tonight so you can follow her should you choose. I know that my own tweets have been kind of nonexistent, but it's only because I really don't know what to say.

Huh, I made it the whole day. I'm kind of proud.

In Other News

Today, I vow to not talk about anything Slender-related. I need to start the process of moving on, and I can't do that if I'm still dwelling on unsolvable mysteries. If I don't keep a stiff upper lip, how can Violet be expected to?

So today, I will be happier than a pigeon with a French fry, or so help me, I might explode.

You might be asking yourself, "Why is Celie awake and blogging at ass o'clock in the morning on this, one of her days off this week?" The answer to that, my six discernable readers (I've counted), is that even on my days off, I have shit to do. First, I had to take my brother to school, since his current football injury prevents him from riding the bus. I don't really mind that, being that the school is only about five minutes away, but it can be a bit of a nuisance on days like this when it is seriously pissing rain. In fact, it's been raining pretty frequently for the last week or so.

Anyway, I've gotten back from that. In about half an hour, I'll be taking my grandmother down into town for surgery. It's nothing too serious; they're replacing a dialysis contraption that keeps getting blocked. She's had to get dialysis for a few months now, but she doesn't seem in a rush to get new kidneys. She says it's because she knows that by the time she finds one, she'll be in her eighties. I don't see what's so bad about that, being that she's seventy-nine now.

In other other news, fuck Angel. That's right, my friends. Time for some Angelventing. Those of you who'd rather not listen to me bitch about my real-life evil stepmother can skip this part; I promise I won't be offended.

Did I ever tell you how she managed to become our real-life evil stepmother? No? Well, now I'll educate you.

You see, on August the 17th of this year, Angel went off the deep end. I mean, she really dropped her fucking basket and just started bitching out each of us in turn as she saw us around the house. She caught me as she was coming downstairs in the morning; she immediately started freaking out, taking glasses from the dishwasher and chucking them into the sink for no damn reason at all. Then she yelled at me because (wait for it) the night before, I left a cracker wrapper on the coffee table in the living room. Obviously, this warranted a major freakout.

She accosted my sister while I was out getting our grandmother's mail, and when I came back, Nikki told me she'd never been spoken to so rudely or so unkindly in her life. The thing about Angel is that when she's angry, she'll say fucking anything to get you angry too. If Nikki didn't work with preschoolers and wasn't used to tantrums, she would've fought back, but to her credit, she stayed reasonably calm and just told Angel to please go away, because Nikki had nothing nice to say.

The thing is, Angel was saying things that she had every right to say. She just said them like a fucking child who's been told no, and my father was scratching his head as to why we all didn't like her.

When Nikki and I got back from running some errands that day, our father came up and talked to us. He took her side, said that we needed to learn to do things properly, and that Angel was the one in the right. Naturally, that's when all hell really broke loose. I managed to escape with my friend, Moses, and when I came back in the morning, all was quiet. Angel had moved out.

That day was the first time in a long time we actually had a discussion as a family, and the only time since. My father said that he and Angel were taking a break from living together; they'd still be seeing each other, but not under the same roof. He said that the only way she would be getting back into the house was if they got married. Nikki, Milo, and I took a collective breath of free air.

He told us that Wednesday. We left Thursday to go to our mother's to get ready for our cousin's wedding (my sister and I were bridesmaids). When we got back Sunday, we found out from her two sons (not from them, mind you) that Angel had moved back in.

I'll continue this when I next have a free minute. You'll love the rest. For now, I need to leave to take Nana down to the hospital.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Notebook as It Is.

Before you get excited or worried, let me just go ahead and say that I'm not opening the notebook. I might yet, but as of right now...yeah, that's not happening.

However, I decided to give you guys a very plain view of the notebook (more of a journal, actually), along with the note that Rose (presumably) left me.

One thing I didn't mention last week is that the note also had a message on the back of it. I hadn't lifted it from under the magnetic clasp, so I hadn't known then either.

Let's start with the journal as I found it, with Rose's note on top of it, under the magnetic clasp.



Now, like I said before, the thing that bothers me most about the note is that it isn't in Rose's handwriting -- it's in mine. This brings up about a metric ton of questions, as I sure as hell didn't write it.

The back is also in my handwriting:


It says:

"And I will show you something different from either your shadow at morning striding bhind you or your shadow at evening rising to meet you. I will show you fear in a handful of dust."

I recognize this one -- it's another Eliot, although this one is from The Wasteland rather than Practical Cats.

Finally, a photo of the notebook itself:

It's pretty standard Barnes & Noble stuff. The clasp is some sort of fake jewel arrangement and it's held to the cover by a magnet (actually a pretty strong one at that).

So there you have it. Also, now there is a record of it as I first got it, which is always a good thing. I guess time will tell when or if I open it and see what's inside.

On a completely different note, I've been following the story of those guys over in Jersey, the EverymanHYBRID boys. They're a damned inspiration these days. Just like Zeke Strahm said, if anybody's got a chance in hell of taking the Slender Bastard down, it's them, even if it's just because they've got the common sense and the sheer balls to do it. Hell, if there were an army against him, they'd be a few of the generals. Along with a select few others...now I've got entertainment for a little while imagining ranks and cute Jersey boys in uniform of some Anti-Slender Army (would that make it the Fat Army? I'd imagine we'd prefer the term Voluptuous Army...). :P

And while I'm on Zeke Strahm (not like that, you perverts)...Zeke, I'm sorry for freaking out at you earlier today. You're still a crazy bastard, but you know a lot more about this than I do and I know you're just trying to help.

You know, I'm feeling okay tonight. Almost normal. It's nice.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Violet's Feelings

Right, then. Seven-hour shift today, and an hour's drive home in rain so wretched I swore I was going to crash three different times. So, you know, great day.

To more relevent matters, I was at my mother's place in Baltimore this weekend and while I was in town I decided to swing by the MICA dorms and see how Violet was doing. Unsurprisingly, Vi is being a total trooper. Especially considering the fact that she thinks she's next.

You heard me right. Violet Marshall, the ridiculously talented (think savant-level, people. The girl's a prodigy) art student who is actually smarter than most people I know, thinks she's next because her artistic mind linked together random letters in Rose's crazy-person messages (I've decided that Rose wrote them, as the alternative is much, much less pleasant).

Vi thinks that because the word "FLOWER" is capitalized in the freak post, and because she and Rose are both (obviously) named after flowers (or colors, if you look at it that way, which I did--I always thought of my two besties as the Crayola twins), obviously it must mean that she's next.

Now that she's convince herself of that, she's been seeing things. Shadows in weird places, glimpses in mirrors. She says she's suddenly gotten the urge to start using ash as an artistic medium. But Violet has an active imagination anyway, and she's never done looking for new and exciting things to replace paint and charcoal in her art.

She says I'm being naiive -- actually, she got really angry yesterday and told me that I'd already seen him, and it wasn't like I could pretend he just wasn't real. And she's right -- it's not like I can pretend he doesn't exist.

But, honestly...I'm just not ready to believe her. It's been all of a week since the incident. I've had nightmares every night, hearing Rose's godawful screaming in my head, the familiar horrid sound from the familiar beautiful voice. She used to sing, you know...but that's not the point. The point is that I'm just starting to get my footing back after having my legs knocked out from under me. The point is that I'm actually starting to formulate a plan, visualize my next few moves.

And the point is that I can't lose Violet, too. Because I'm selfish, and I need her.

I won't survive it if he takes her, too.

....

I just now realized that the above statement is the first time I've actually admitted that he took her. And I know, deep down to my soul, that he did. He took my Rose. Took her just after I watched her drive off. Like a secret lover meeting up to steal her away.

I need a goddamn drink.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I'm Alive, Guys.

First of all, I’m really sorry that I haven’t been around lately. I’ve just been trying to figure this stuff out. I’ve been kind of throwing myself into both my jobs in order to keep my mind off it, but…I can’t help being confused.

Yesterday, when I was heading to work, there was a huge, thick fog from my place at least all the way down into town. It sounds inconsequential—I mean, it’s just early-morning mist—but I’ve never seen anything as bad as this fog. Was it just odd Maryland weather, or was it him?

And that mysterious post on this very blog. Did Rose manage to sneak away when I managed to get a wink of sleep that night? I recognize the actual phrasing itself; it’s a T.S. Eliot quote. Specifically, it’s from “Grizabella,” a poem that he deemed too sad to go into Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, but that made it into Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical based on the book, Cats. I’m a theatre geek, and Rose loves music; Cats was one of our favorite movies to watch together. Is this significant? Is Rose trying to tell me something? Or was it Rose at all?

Is it possible that the bastard was able to get to my blog and post that? Can he even use a computer? And if he did, how did he manage to know something so personal to Rose and me?

Questions like these have been plaguing me since that night. Oh, and here’s another: I haven’t seen him since Rose’s bedroom. Why? They say he only shows up to people he wants. Why hasn’t he started following me yet?

Does it have something to do with Rose’s journal? I don’t know. I haven’t so much as opened the thing yet. Every time I get close to it, some voice in my head screams at me not to do it, not to be another Logan Renault. I’ve read Logan Renault’s blog—that happened only last year.

Maybe there are answers in the notebook. Does that mean I want to dive right in? Hell no.

I’m calling Vi today to talk to her; we’ve only really texted since Monday. I hope she’s doing better with this than I am.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bad.

Okay, first things first.

I did not post the entry previous to this one.

In fact, I have no idea how it got there. I got maybe an hour of sleep last night—maybe. When that failed, Rose and I basically spent the rest of the night curled up in her bed, staring at each other.

We both needed to be at our respective works at eight, so when about seven in the morning rolled around, we agreed that we needed to get going. She seemed very sure about not needing me to call in sick and going to work on her own. She said she knew what was what now, and she wasn’t worried because he couldn’t come near her in a public place. She hugged me, told me she loved me as her own soul, and thanked me for sticking with her all this time.

Still unsure, I left for work. I watched her do the same. I watched her.

I got off at three. My boss doesn’t allow us to keep our phones on during work hours, so as soon as I got out, I turned mine on. The first thing that happened was that it buzzed to tell me I had a voicemail. I checked it.

It was Rose’s mother telling me she didn’t show up for work this morning, and asking if I knew where she was. I called right afterward and told her no, to my knowledge she’d left for work. She was on her house phone, so she used the three-way calling to get Violet on the line. Vi hadn’t heard a word from Rose since she left last night, before the incident. It was at that point that we collectively decided to call the police.

I drove straight there, and from about 3:30 to about five, I’ve been at Rose’s house with her mother and a few of the deputies. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them about Slender Man; what use was it telling them about something that, by all rational thought, shouldn’t exist? They already knew she was being followed from our report.

There was something else about this. Rose’s room. Nothing was touched, except for the bed. Long slashes in the bed went all the way down through the mattress like somebody went at it with a machete. Rose’s side was untouched; the place torn up was where I usually slept.

And her notebook. It hadn’t been there when we left, but Rose’s class notebook—the one I told you about once—was sitting on her dresser with a note. It was addressed to me. It read:

Celie-

I undeRstand PerFectlY wELl WhaT’s happEning to mE noW. TAke this. iT wiLl help yOu Find them and bring tHem togetheR.

the witness wiLL bring them together.

ROSE

It certainly sounds like some of her rambling. I’ve brought the notebook home. I’m still deliberating whether to even open it. The part that worries me the most is that the note that was on the notebook on the dresser wasn’t in her handwriting.

It was in mine.
daylight
see the dew on the sunFLOWER
and a Rose that is fading
Roses whither away
like the sunFLOWER
i yearn to turn my face to the dawn
i am waiting
for the day

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My heart is still beating out of my chest. I'm going to try to make this as detailed as possible, so that we have a record. It happened not ten minutes ago, and I need to get it down while it's still fresh. Just one second to get my hands to stop shaking.

Now, let's begin at the beginning.

Violet left just before six in the evening to go back to Baltimore. Rose and I got to talk for a while as the sun went down. It boggled my mind that she could talk to me like a normal person--hell, she was laughing almost like I'd known her to laugh. Eventually, I got round to asking her about "the witness" she'd spoken of to Violet. She told me it was nothing, just some conversation-filler, something to talk about. I pressed, but she got irritable, so I stopped. Her parents and brother were out having a family meeting with her grandmother (I made excuses for Rose, but they've become used to her being an introvert by now).

I left for a minute to get a drink. I heard her screaming from across the house. My glass fell to the floor and shattered, and I ran.

Her bedroom door was stuck when I got to it. Not locked--stuck. I threw my entire body weight against it a few times, and finally, it flew open. She was against the wall right by the door, as far as possible away from the window. Rose's bedroom is situated on the ground level. It was built as an addition to a foyer, and has a pair of glass French doors leading out to her yard. This was where he was standing, trying to get in.

Yes, he. Or it. Or whatever the fuck you can call something that only goes by a press-given moniker. He was pawing almost nonchalantly at the door frame with hands that weren't hands so much as just...appendages. Such a primal fear struck me that I nearly threw up right then and there. His face wasn't a face, but I could tell where it was looking.

Right at Rose.

I hit my knees right next to her, put myself between them, and Rose just screamed and screamed and clung to me...

And suddenly he stopped pawing at the door, and I felt him looking at me. Not with eyes--there were no eyes--but he was studying me through whatever sensory organs he had. I couldn't look away. Rose was choking out sobs through the godawful screaming, but I didn't even register it anymore. We could've stood like that for hours for all I know. It certainly felt like it.

Then he went away.

And I don't mean he walked away, or floated away, or fucking scooter'd away. I mean he was there, and then he wasn't.

Rose is still crying, but she seems to be calming down. She won't let me leave her alone, and honestly, I wouldn't leave her alone even if I wanted to.

I'm calling Violet. Then I imagine I'm going to pray.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

An Update.

Violet arrived early yesterday afternoon, while I was out running around for work. To be honest, I’m a little relieved. I think Rose is starting to get sick of me telling her to get up and dressed, go outside, or if not, then walking around the house would be okay. She’s always quick to mutter some odd hopeless remark, but I think the activity is helping her. She won’t eat, or if she will, it’s always only a little.

Violet has been talking with Rose. She’s mostly lucid, but then on occasion Vi says she’ll make some offhand comment about how “the witness” will “find the meaning of what happiness is” soon. Rose has never said anything to me about any witness. I’m going to ask her about it later today or tonight.

As for this case, there’s not much more to say other than that it’s gotten bigger. The police are fully capable of putting two and two together, but right now, other “twos” seem to be popping up all over the county.

Vi says she can only stick around for the weekend; she’s got class on Monday, and she can’t miss her exam. Rose has a morning shift at her job before her classes Monday, and then class till evening. My Wawa training starts Monday as well, so it’ll be the first time all three of us are totally separated from each other. Rose doesn’t seem too worried about it; she said he can’t come close to her in public, and she works in a busy cafĂ©.

In other news, I finally got a comment on this blog. It’s my first one ever, so I figured it’d be a good milestone to record. Something is a little sketchy about it, though:

Zeke Strahm said...
Coffee. Make friends with it. You're gonna be in for a bumpy ride...
This wouldn’t worry so much if I hadn’t read a blog during my research stint called “Seeking Truth.” The guy who (allegedly) left this comment is either crazy or on the run, probably both. The last post he put on his blog was the type of thing typical of Slender victims.

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm starting to buy into this whole thing. Barring a psychotic break, how could Rose be so freaked out by one stalker? And how can that stalker be in six different places in the county in the course of a few hours? She's always been much more receptive to the paranormal than I have; I've always been a chronic skeptic. But if she keeps getting worse...well, let's just say she'll make a believer out of me yet.

As much as I hate taking advice from crazy cowboy cops, the guy’s got a point. I have the feeling that the worst is yet to come.

I'm still open to any advice you could give, guys. Honestly, after this weekend, I have no idea what I'll do. I have no plan, and I hate that.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Staying at Rose's Place

Yesterday was incredibly busy. We went from polling place to polling place, gathering up opinions and tallies. When all was said and done, I didn’t get home until about one in the morning.

But I wish I could’ve done that today instead of what I had to do.

I had my Wawa orientation (I got the job, by the way. Hooray.) in the morning, and then went straight over to Rose’s place afterward. I called her a few times on the way over, but she only answered once, and when she did, she just told me in a tiny little voice that she was home alone and then she set the phone down and just left it there. So I drove faster.

When I got there, I saw that she was right; hers was the only car in the driveway. The front door was locked, as was the side door, so I had to use my key (yes, I have a key to her house). The house was completely silent. I checked Rose’s room, the living room. She was nowhere to be found.

Finally, I saw that a light was on in the bathroom. I waited for a few minutes, but when she didn’t come out, I went over and knocked on the door, calling her name a few times.

“I’m here,” she said. She sounded a bit hoarse.

I heard the lock click open and hesitantly opened the door. Rose had taken her fluffy comforter, several pillows, her iPod, cell phone, and laptop, and basically set up shop in her bathroom. She was curled up, wrapped in fluffiness, in the little corner made by her bathtub and the wall. She looked like she hadn’t slept in a while. Honestly, I nearly cried just looking at her like that—why was she camped out in the bathroom? Did her parents know she was here?

It took me a little while to convince her to get up. She seemed calm in an eye-of-a-hurricane sort of way, and kept repeating nonsense phrases like mantras. Listen, they might ring a bell, because the one repeated most was “Sees me.” Other than that, she kept telling me that it didn’t matter whether the police knew, and that I had to stay with her or else “he” would get her. This Slender stuff has really gotten into her head; it wasn’t until we were in my car that I realized why she’d stayed in the bathroom:

It’s the only room in her house without windows.

While I was driving us down there, she sat in the passenger seat with her knees hugged up to her chest, her feet perched on the edge of the seat. Then she suddenly said something that really startled me: “Do you know what I was doing at around eleven this morning?”

“No,” I said, assuming that she just wanted to tell me what she’d been doing.

“Neither do I.” That was when she started to cry.

She buried her head in her arms and just broke the hell down. I’ve never seen her like this. She cried all the way to the sheriff’s office downtown, and then we had to sit in the parking lot for about twenty minutes while she just cried it out. I don’t think she’d cried about this situation before today. That’s the thing about Rose: she just keeps this shit bottled up, trying to find a solution, until she explodes.

After she’d calmed down enough, we went in and spoke to the sheriff about filing a report, and that’s when the proverbial “shit got real.” As it turns out, Sheriff Thomson was about to call me when we got in. Apparently, several reports have come in over the past two days and the detectives here think it might have a connection. And here’s the kicker, nonexistent readers—they’re all reports of the same guy, or if not the same, then guys with the same description: tall, bald, dressed in a suit. We’re a small town; how damn many tall suit-wearing guys come around here?

The reports have also come in from two teenagers and one middle-aged woman, but mainly from the parents of the five kids who disappeared—including the woman who yelled at me that day, whose name I’ve learned was Mary-Ann Compton, mother of one Adriana Compton. She’s a member of my grandmother’s church group down at St. Ignatius. On top of that, a teenage boy from the next town over went missing a couple of weeks ago that they think is connected to this case.

To my surprise—especially after her freakout in the car—Rose seemed to take the news pretty well. She calmly filled out the paperwork, and was quite gracious when Sheriff Thomson told her they’d get back to both of us if anything changed. When we got back to her place, she sat with me a while and talked almost as if this afternoon never happened. After a while, though, she and I went back into her room and she pulled the covers over her head. She hasn’t come out yet.

Come to think of it, maybe she didn’t take it so well.

I’m still at her place, and have agreed to stay here every night until the police catch this guy. Violet has no classes tomorrow, so she’s driving up from Baltimore. For now, I’m not going anywhere until tomorrow, when I have to get an official comment and write up a new update on the story.

In the meantime, she’s practically catatonic and I’m lost. I don’t know if anybody reads this—I throw around “nonexistent readers” like a joke—but does anybody have any advice on my next step? I’ve done okay so far, but…seeing Rose like that today has got me second-guessing myself.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Politics or, the Difference Between Slendy & Stalky

I never thought I’d say this, but thank god for stupid, arbitrary local politics.

The primary state and county elections are being held tomorrow, so Craig and the rest of us have been scrambling to get to all the candidates for comments and interviewing citizens on their opinions. Tomorrow should be just as busy. With the missing kids preliminary story already up and the election to concentrate on, I don’t need to follow it until the police come up with something new (or at least until the election is over). I’m on lunch break now, sitting in Panera Bread.

In other news, after we got home from Virginia last night, I finally got around (at Vi’s behest) to looking up some stuff about that Slender Man myth. Okay, “information binge” is a more appropriate term, because I was definitely up later than I should’ve been looking at it, but I must say, it’s an interesting concept. I watched the Marble Hornets videos, which were, admittedly, really creepy, and I read a few of the blogs, including Just Another Fool and Seeking Truth. Both of them were fantastic stories.

I mean, that’s all they are—stories—but I can see what Vi is thinking, and I agree that the mythos does have something to do with what's happening here. Using this information, I can assemble a sort of timeline for Rose:

First: Rose stumbled upon, was shown, or was otherwise exposed to the Slender Man myth on the internet. Being the kind, impressionable (and easily fooled into the paranormal) person that she is, she was suitably freaked out.

Second: The stalker she described to me started following her. Now, we’ve both dealt with respective stalkers before (both of them were ex-boyfriends, and mine was considerably more determined than hers was) and made it through, but I can see how a stalker who is tall, creepy, dressed in a business suit, and good at making himself scarce after she’s seen him would conjure up the wrong kind of imagery for her. In fact, he wouldn’t even have to be that tall; because Rose is only about 5’4”, anything above six feet would be enough to qualify as tall enough to scare her into Slender-paranoia.

Next: After having convinced herself she’s being followed by the Slender Man, she no doubt started exhibiting his “symptoms” in what now seems to be more like a psychosomatic problem. She looked online and found out about the Operator symbol (which, as far as my research has gone, is an interesting thing to use in itself) and the creepy stick figure drawings, and that’s when they started to fill her notebook.

Finally: She’s fully convinced that she is, indeed, being haunted by a paranormal being, when really it’s some clever jerkoff in a suit.

In conclusion: Rose, if you’re reading this (and you know you are), take a look at the evidence. This guy isn’t Slender Man; he’s just like Derek, an idiot with boundary issues and a crush. See—Stalker Man ≠ Slender Man. Now, I'm coming over to your house on Wednesday to get you and we're going down to see Sheriff Thomson and file a report. The END.

And as for Stalky himself: Listen, you sick bastard, Rose doesn’t know you. She doesn’t like you, and she sure as hell is not secretly in love with you. And no, she wouldn’t be anyway “if she only knew the real you.” Because the real you is just as much of a creepy twat-waffle as the you that’s scaring her. You understand? Your presence is only hurting her. Now back off.

What happened to asking people for a coffee date? Seriously, Stalker Man, all this could’ve been avoided.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Family Time

These kids need to stop growing. Right now.

I feel so old looking at them! They can talk and spell and shit! Brianna, the second oldest (and Desmond’s only stepdaughter), is even old enough to sass me now! I was putting away my cigarettes into my purse (what can I say? I’m a vice-fuelled individual) and she came right up to me in that sarcastic way that nine-year-old girls can do.

“What’s that?”

“Nothing,” I said. Then I used what usually worked on the kids: “Just some grown-up stuff.”

“You’re not a grown-up!” she giggled.

I shrugged. “I’m eighteen.”

“Then you’re not a grown-up. You’re a teenager,” she said. “When you’re twenty, then you’re a grown-up.”

I suddenly found myself resisting the urge to pick her up and shake her. (What?! It works on my laptop when I’m trying to get it to behave itself!)

Though, with most other things, I’m much more tolerant. It’s really weird, because even though I’ve never really been comfortable around kids—in fact, I wouldn’t say I even like them overmuch—things that normally annoy me about them are really endearing coming from my nieces and nephews.

Hayden, Desmond’s firstborn from his previous marriage (to a psycho-bitch named Pam; more on that later, maybe), is the oldest, if only by a few months. He and Brianna are both nine. Kayleigh, his second kid by Pam, is next, and she’s eight. Finally, there’s six-year-old Ashton, who is the child of Des and his current wife, the non-psychotic (hallelujah) Melanie.

I know it’s awful of me to say this, but Kayleigh, the eight-year-old, is definitely my favorite (see? Told you it was awful). She’s a quiet little thing, a bit tomboyish, but I see a lot of myself in her. She’s often drowned out by Bri’s constant obnoxious behavior, but I think that once she learns that she can have thoughts of her own, she’ll be a total rebel. I brought up to Mel that I can’t wait till that happens. As it turns out, she totally can wait, but I guess I’m biased because I don’t have to live with her. Or maybe I’m just really excited because I know I’m the one who’ll be the cool aunt.

Unfortunately, they’re not old enough yet to tell me apart from my sister. I’m constantly saying, “No, I’m Celie. She’s Nikki.” Today, I finally walked up to her and said, “They think I’m you. I don’t know who they think you are, but I’m you.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen her laugh so hard. Smug bitch, taking credit for all my bonding. :P

I may not post tomorrow, but I almost certainly will Monday with a missing-kids update, if any updates are to be had.

Good Morning, Internet!

Good morning, nonexistent readers! I'm so glad I'm not the sort of person who gets hangovers, although from what I hear, I'll start getting them when I'm older.

Last night was really good for me, and so was this morning. Waking up snuggled all warm next to Rose (we’re both chronic sleep-cuddlers), it’s so much easier to remember that the world isn’t absolutely full of monsters. There are good people too, kind people. Not all humans are bastards.

Which leads me to the point that a lot of humans still are. Since I’m working with the police on this story, I can talk to them about maybe tailing Rose and finding out who exactly is following her, what his problem is, and how we can get him to stop. I didn’t ask again while I was there; it made her so upset last night that I don’t think I could’ve gotten much more out of her anyway.

I just got home from her place, and soon Nikki, Milo and I will be heading down to our mom’s, and then to my older brother Desmond's place to see him and his family. Desmond is a good sixteen years my senior, a former Marine (oh, if he could only see me type that—I can practically hear his voice: “There’s no such thing as a former Marine! Grumblegrumble…”), and a father of three and stepfather of one. His wife, Melanie, is a refreshingly normal individual, and both of them are good Protestants; I’m not a hundred percent on which denomination, but I know he found it after she introduced him to it and converted. Ma remains a reluctant Catholic (we’ll get to that later, if I get round to it).

It’s always a bunch of fun when we all get together, especially Desmond and me. As Mel so eloquently put it last time, when Nikki brought her boyfriend down to visit with us, “Celie’s always right, and Des is never wrong. Just don’t bring up politics or religion, or we’ll have to put them both in time-out.”

True story. She actually did it once, last Thanksgiving. And I’ve learned to never try to “call her bluff” to boot me out of the car when I’m being cheeky. Bad idea.

Anyway, we’re heading out now. I’ll log on and put up a quick post once we get down to their place in Virginia and all settled in. Wish me luck, and I’ll see you in the South.

"According to Him" and Other Drunken Ramblings

You know what pisses me off, nonexistent readers? Songs that pretend to be about strong women, but aren't. Like a song I recently discovered which I believe is entitled "According to Him."

The hook is simple enough: "According to you, I'm (negative adjectives), but according to him, I'm (slew of positive adjectives)." The idea is that the woman in question is a lot more confident when she's with this new guy rather than her ex, because the new guy is not a raging douchebag.

But what is she didn't have that shiny new boyfriend?

It's implied that were it not for this new, self-esteem-building beau, the speaker would still consider herself the same worthless, psycho slutbag that he ex made her feel like. So it's not a song about a strong woman at all. In fact, it's not very reassuring in any way. It's a song about how one woman has let her opinion of herself be defined for her by at least three men -- her ex, her new non-douche boyfriend, and the daddy with whom she inevitably has issues.

Even Pink has become sappy and desperate these days. What happened to strong women in the media?

I get it: it's hard to be a strong woman. Either you become bitchified or neutered, and who wants to be either? But with fewer and fewer boys choosing to step the hell up and become men, somebody's gotta take care of shit.

Take Rose's dad, for instance. He's there, but he can't seem to bring himself to even notice conflict, let alone deal with it. I don't think he even noticed how strangely she was acting. So it's up to me and Vi -- two members of the alleged "weaker sex!" -- to take care of her.

I finally found out what's wrong with her. She's being followed by some damn guy. When I asked her about it, her drunk ass started getting scared and she shook her head just like she was a little girl, muttering something about "him." I thought he was a psycho ex, but when I asked her his name, she said she didn't know if he even had one. I asked him what this mystery stalker looks like, and she could only give me general things -- he was tall, always in a business suit. I don't think she wants me to know any more than that; maybe she's afraid I'll do something rash.

But there's nothing rash about it. If this tall businessy bastard tries anything cute, and Vi and I will cut him up ten ways from Sunday. And before you ask: no, it's not the fuzzy navel talking...although it had its say a little while ago, up there...with the raging douchebag-talk.

Meh. I'm going to bed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Long Day.

First things first.

The Wawa gig is still a go. The interview went swimmingly, and I got called back to come in for a second interview Monday. Woot woot.

Second things second: the sheriff filled me in on these missing kids, but honestly, I don’t have much more information for you than I did yesterday. Basically, all of these kids were at Annie’s Playground down around town and suddenly, their parents couldn’t find them. I don’t mean that they wandered off, and as far as anyone knows, they weren’t taken, because they were being watched by their parents, who, reports say, were happily chirping away about how awesome their respective kids were when the incident took place. I’m saying that these kids (whose ages ranged from 5 to 9) went into the little play-hutch thing under the slide beside the monkey bars and straight-up vanished.

This is really getting to me, nonexistent readers. But one thing got to me more than anything else: when I was at the station talking to the sheriff, who is a family friend anyway, I saw one of the parents there. I considered going over for a comment, but thought better of it. I guess I looked a little too much like a reporter and a little too much like I just wanted a scoop, because the mother in question stormed up to me and completely bitched me out, times a thousand and squared. She said that I’m cashing in on her daughter’s kidnapping (there’s no evidence to suggest kidnapping, but what else could she think?) and that I was a soulless, blood-hungry shark and why don’t I just start killing them off myself, because that’ll sell more papers.

You know how, when you hear something that you know should upset you, there’s a moment where you’re like, “Oh, okay,” before you completely lose your shit? Well, I had one of those just long enough for Sheriff Thomson to get one of the detectives to take the woman away and walk me out to my car. I thanked him for the comment, wished him luck on the case, and told him I’d give my dad and Angel his best. Then I got in the car and got the hell out of there.

Two blocks later, the shock had worn off. I could barely stay in my lane, my hands were shaking so badly. I had to pull over into a Royal Farms parking lot and give myself a few minutes to have a serious cry. The things she said, nonexistent readers, would be things I’d say to the type of journalist I never want to be, ever. I understood why she did it—no mother should ever have to go through what this woman is going through—but I didn’t ask for this story! Craig (my editor, remember him?) may be trying to give me some kind of crash-course in investigative journalism, but this is definitely not the way to go about it.

I called Rose on the way home and she was able to calm me down; I’m at her place now, sipping on a peach-schnapps-and-orange-juice (I believe it’s called a “fuzzy navel”—oh, don’t look so scandalized, reader). We went to get sushi instead of picking up pizza before coming here. I’ve calmed down a lot, and (I’ll write this quickly while she’s out of the room) so has she. I guess she must’ve gotten over whatever had her freaked out before, and I’m really thankful for that. I hate seeing her upset. I still haven’t gotten round to watching those “Slender Man” videos, but I’m also not sure that’s what had her worried. Ah, well; I’ll just get her involved in one of our Disney drinking games (here’s a great one: watch The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Every time Frollo makes a rape-face, take a drink. Be careful not to get alcohol poisoning during ‘Hellfire.’) and weasel it out of her. She’s so easy sometimes.

Tomorrow, I’m headed to my brother’s to spend the weekend with him, my mom, and the general Flynn side of my family. Should be...well, maybe not fun (kind of a crapshoot with my mom’s side), but at least a break from thinking about disappeared children.

But for now, to the Disney movies.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Worst. Story Assignment. Ever.

I know I said I’d post tomorrow, but I feel like I really need to let some stuff out.

As it turns out, the article I’d written was just fine, and I got a new assignment. It’s a little darker than most of the other assignments I’ve gotten (then again, I suppose most things are darker than a new eco-friendly roof on an elementary school). A police report says that five kids have gone missing in our area, and I’m supposed to be writing a preliminary story and then following it as it develops.

My editor knows I get especially touchy when things happen to kids. He’s doing this because he hates me, I know he is. Anyway, I told Rose about it, and she didn’t disappoint in her recent flow of behaving strangely—she said she had an early class, and she really needed to get to bed or else she’d have trouble waking up in the morning. Okay, that itself isn’t weird.

But Rose doesn’t have a class tomorrow.

Anyway, this story. It’s got me on edge and I haven’t even started it yet. My interview with Wawa is tomorrow (because a third job is totally what I need right now -.-‘) in the morning, and then I’m headed over to the sheriff’s office to get the details and a comment, and at the end of the day, it’s over to Rose’s for PBT (I have a feeling I’m going to need it), where I can ask her about the class-but-no-class shit. Wish me luck, O nonexistent readers.

Violet, "Slender Man," and My Stupid Editor

Today, after getting my articles done (my idiot editor wanted 500 damn words—what kind of online news article is 500 words?), I went and hung out with my friend Violet. She’s going to school down in Baltimore, but we met halfway in White Marsh to catch up on a few things.

Violet is one of the few people I know who is so completely comfortable with herself, it’s disgusting. She knows exactly who she is, what she wants—and she likes it. Her hair is purple, people, with a pink underlayer, in case anyone questioned whether her name was Violet Varda (which, alliteration aside, means “purple pink”). She’s an art student at MICA, one of the most talented artists I know. She loves pigeons (for the love of god, don’t ask) and her boyfriend, Riley Collins, is commonly referred to as “R.C. Cola.”

Luckily, she’s also one of the most unique, refreshing, honest, kind individuals I know. I used to have a huge girl-crush on her. Vi is perfect. If I didn’t love her so much, I’d probably hate her.

Not to mention that she’d already known before even I did that there’s been something up with one Rosephanye Ginger Powell.

(By the way—don’t know if I mentioned this—is it obvious yet that Rose and my mothers went to art school together, where they decided to name their respective daughters like they were starring in a soap opera? No? Well, now you know).

Anyway, Vi already knew there was something wrong when I asked her about it, but she didn’t know what it was from any more than I did. We munched on sushi while I explained to her what I found in Rose’s notebook yesterday. Then the weirdest thing happened. Vi was worried, but when I mentioned the weird circle-X and stick figure drawings, she suddenly laughed.

“Oh!” she said. “Sounds like she must’ve seen Marble Hornets. Either that, or she’s being haunted by the Slender Man!

She said the last part in a jokey tone, wiggling her purple-nailed fingers at me over the soy sauce in the middle of us. I’ve known Vi long enough to know when she’s making a reference to something, but usually, I know what that something is—I’d never heard of either of these things before.

I asked her about it, and apparently this “Slender Man” is some meme I’ve missed out on. Marble Hornets is a YouTube series about it. Evidently, Slender Man (or “Slendy,” as Vi kept referring to him, which I must say, made it hard to think Rose could find it scary. She went on to say that Slendy is better than his other nicknames: “our slender friend,” “Mr. Thin,” “Mr. Happy,” and “That Tall Skinny Motherfucker Over in the Bushes.”) is a creeper who follows his victims around, makes them super-paranoid (and gives them a wicked cough, which I just don't see the point of) and finally either kills and guts them or just...disappears them. The only thing that she said that really freaked me out was that he goes after kids. That is just not cool, not even a little bit.

She told me he was created on some forum and took the internet by storm, and maybe that’s what’s got Rose so freaked out, but I’m kind of doubting that it is. I’ll be the first to admit that Rose is a movie-pansy, even when I’m there explaining how they achieved each shot. But a YouTube channel freaking her out this bad? I don’t know about that.

I haven’t been to the YouTube series yet—I literally just walked in the door and I got my edited article back from my jerkass editor, so I’ve gotta get that done. Meanwhile, is there any advice that you, O Almighty Interwebz, can give pertaining to this nonsense?

Oh, and while we’re at it, does anyone know how to change the time-zone setting on this blog? It’s saying that I do everything about three or four hours before I do it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pizza, Booze, Telly

Just got back from Rose’s place. She didn’t say anything, but I know something was wrong. I was sitting on her sofa waiting for her to get her drink and I checked out the notebook she keeps in her room, and it had the normal stuff – notes for her class, maybe a harmless little poem here or there. But what was weird was that this one symbol kept recurring. A circle with a big “X” drawn through it, like somebody was going to write an anarchy symbol and suddenly forgot how. They were drawn all over the margins, along with some creepy stick-figure drawings.

I figured they were probably just some doodles – statistics class is, after all, a bitch and a half when you’re bored – and asked her about them, more teasing than anything. Then she snapped at me! She told me that those were her personal notes in her personal notebook, and she’d appreciate a little privacy with her things.

It’s not the first time she’d snapped at me (we all have bad days, after all), but it is the first time she’s done so about something so small.

She quickly got over it once I apologized. I’ve never seen her act this jumpy before. While we were watching a movie, she kept looking to the window like she expected something to be there. Of course, at one point, there was indeed something there—her dog, an ugly-cute little bulldog named Ricki who’s just tall enough to reach the little windowsill and look really creepy—but other than that, it was just us all night.

When I asked her about it, she said she’d just been stressed out from her classes. I guess that’s possible…

Here There Be a Dragon Lady

Uh, God….just came home to find that my stepmom is having another tantrum.

For clarification: my stepmother, the ironically-named Angelica McLachlan (nee Coleman) is a perfectly pleasant individual. She’s kind, and sweet, and hardworking. She hauls papers at night and interacts with her kids (my stepbrothers) during the day. She’s created a beautiful garden in our yard. She loves my father like her life depended on it. Yes, Angelica is all of these things…

When she’s sane.

But every now and again, shit hits the fan, and Angel goes nuclear. It’s usually something small (once it was over the fact that I left a cracker wrapper on the coffee table in the living room—yeah, really) but escalates into something huge. She’s got a razor-sharp tongue and knows just what to say to make us feel absolutely wretched. She’s never hit us—yet—but let me tell you: sticks and stones may break bones, but words can bend a spirit and break ambition.

There’s a word for women like Angel in Japanese: tsundere. It’s a combination of “tsuntsun,” which means sweet and nice, and “deredere,” which means completely fucking psychotic.

Her episodes—I call them tantrums, because it seriously is reminiscent of a two-year-old when she doesn’t get her way—have created chronic angers in this house. Because we never know when they’ll happen, I’ve come to the point where I will unconsciously tense whenever she walks in the room. I can’t watch television while she’s at home (or if I do, there has to be someone else with me). Rose’s house feels more like home to me.

My sister and I have both noticed that her biggest problem is with us, as opposed to her problem with Milo, which is rather small (he plays too many sports, whatever that means). I’ve also noticed that whenever she complains about people, it’s usually women she’s complaining about. She’s a female misogynist, which is one of the most confusing qualities in anyone I’ve ever known.

But her most grievous offense is what she’s done to my father. For five years (that is, between the time my parents split and the point where he met Angel), my dad was his own man. And I knew that even though he’s not exactly a warm-fuzzy kind of man (he’s worked over twenty years in masonry), he supported me. When my sister wanted to study nursing, he said he’d get her contacts for local hospitals with internship programs. When I talked to him about colleges, he was always excited; in my junior year I was looking around a lot, and wherever I told him I wanted to go, no matter how far away—Towson, Notre Dame, Lycoming, even Miskatonic up in Massachusetts, which is still my dream school—he said he’d support my decision and help me with tuition and travel expenses to come and visit, at least on holidays. Even when I said I wanted to go into one of my passions (acting, history, English, or one of those other majors that doesn’t exactly lead to a high-paying job), he said he was happy that I was pursuing what I love. Granted, he didn’t exactly give me a hug and a lollipop—he’s just not that kind of guy—but I knew he cared, even if it was just in his way.

Not since Angel moved in. To put it softly, she’s a more practically-minded individual. If it can’t lead to an actual job, it’s not worth pursuing, and how dare I try to leave my father and siblings for some hoity-toity college? I was barely able to convince her that my major in the Performing Arts wouldn’t be a waste of time. And I did need to convince her, because she could get my father to do whatever she says.

Not to mention her warped ideas on what constitutes a job. You got a writing gig for two different newssites? That’s great, honey! Wait, they require you to work from home and you don’t have to actually go anywhere, except on assignment? Well, that’s just not gonna cut it! Get a real job, young lady!

She’s the reason I want to move out of here so badly. A friend of mine and I are trying to get together a bunch of roommates and find a cheap apartment.

Oh, and one more update: I have an interview to work at a Wawa about a half hour from my house. Let’s hope this job’s good enough.

And in any case, I’m still seeing Rose tonight. Pizza, booze, telly, FTW! :P

Of Journalism & PBT

Today, I went to a press conference for an article I’m writing. Nothing huge, just a ribbon-cutting for an elementary school roof, but I swear, every important person in the county was there. I got to meet the county executive and his chief of staff, the superintendent of schools, a rep from the US Department of Energy, and the manager of communications on the school board – who, by the way, is the nicest lady ever. Should be a fantastic article once I finish it. Now I'm sitting in Panera Bread, chilling with a bowl of French onion soup (yum!) and my laptop. This is about as metropolitan as I can get way up here in the boonies.

In other news, I called up Rose on my way from the school to Panera (using my shiny little Bluetooth; how did I ever live without that thing?), and she listened to me ramble on about how cool it was to meet important people, but she seemed a little distracted. She sounded like she did when her dad was in the room watching her, but she said that she was home alone (yeah, we both still live at home. Poor college students and all that. :P). She hates being watched when she does personal stuff like talk on the phone. Maybe she’d just watched a scary movie or something; she tried to hide it, but I think she was really freaked.

I didn’t say anything earlier, but I think I’ll talk to her later tonight. Hopefully she just stumbled across some creepypasta online and got (you guessed it) creeped out. I’m going over to her place for a little PBT (Pizza, Booze, Telly), so I’ll ask her then.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Me: An Introduction

So, me.

It all feels rather narcissistic, writing a journal all about myself for the world to see. Or, well, at least the idiots who stumble across it to see. These idiots may or may not include my older sister, Nikki, my younger brother, Milo, and my best friend in the world, Rose.

So, a brief introduction: My name is Celeste McLachlan -- Celie (that's "SEE-lee," not "selly") if you're friendly -- and I live in the general rural area north of Baltimore, Maryland (can't get much more specific than that; internet stalkers and all). I just graduated high school this spring and, after a hiatus, I plan on going to the local community college (that is, unless something else amazing pops up :P) with a major in the Performing Arts. I love theatre (duh), film, reading, music, and dance. My other interests include history, psychology, urban legends, and folklore.

I'm not sure what I'll be writing on this blog. Experiences of daily life, I guess. Right now, I'm working as a freelance journalist for a local newssite. It doesn't pay much, but it's a job and I can save a bit of each paycheck to go toward tuition for when I start college; I've got a bit saved up already. I found my love of journalism in high school, when I took classes in it with one of the best teachers I've ever had, bar none.

I know I probably won't be putting any emo hate-my-life stuff in here. I'm past that phase, thanks. :P In fact, I don't really like writing about me at all...

So, Rose.

I've known Rose since I moved here from New Jersey six years ago, and she's pretty much my hetero-soulmate. As a matter of fact, I'll probably be writing about her more than I write about me here, just because (as I mentioned) I'm not so hot on writing about me and after all, she is my best friend. Rose stands at about 5'5" (giving her about a head on me) and she's always changing her hair. Nothing crazy, since she wants to go into PR and administrative work; instead, she constantly changes from mousy brown to light blond to ginger (the latter she usually does to match me).

She has more energy than anyone else I know, and we have matching attitudes toward just about everything: boys, jobs, work ethic. All of it. She's going to college right now nearby, and encouraging me to just get it over with as well. I'm weighing my options, myself.

Well, that's all for now, I guess. I'll keep this updated as days go by.