Monday, November 29, 2010


You know what, internet? I'm starting to get really tired of this.

It's been seventy days since the Slender Man took my best friend and dropped an A-bomb on my pathetic teenage life. Since then, my other best friend has been stalked. And people have been hurt. People have died, and I've been helpless to stop it.

Everything reminds me of him. Of it. I look out of my window at the woods that surrounds our house and think about the old stories of him in Germany. I see a businessman and have to blink a few times to see his face properly. And music -- God, to think that I used to enjoy music! I do try. I try to listen to my iPod in the car on my way to work. I put it on "Shuffle" and I hit Play.

There's a place in the dark where the animals go
You can take off your skin in the cannibal glow --

I hit the "next" button.

There is someone
Walking behind you
Turn around, look at me --


Falling apart and all that I question,
Is this a dream, or is this my lesson?
Oh, he's under my skin
Just give me something to get rid of him --

There's a man goin' round takin' names
And he decides who to free and who to blame
Everybody won't be treated all the same --


I saw the sign
And it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign --


Just tell me how I got this far.
Just tell me why you're here and who you are
'Cause every time I look, you're never there
And every time I see, you're always there,
'Cause you're everywhere to me
And when I close my eyes, it's you I see
You're everything I know that makes me believe
I'm not alone, whoa,
I'm not alone --

Next, next, fucking next.

I've learned to drive in silence now.

And then there are the dreams. Here's the thing: I've had nightmares since I was a kid. I suffer from false awakenings -- that is, vivid dreams wherein I experience waking up, getting dressed, going about my day, etc...Only everything feels inherently, inexplicably wrong. People morph into strange things, like they just crawled out of the uncanny valley. These dreams have been with me since I even knew how to dream. Of course, recently they've been replaced with others. I've dreamt of the night he stood outside Rose's window more times than I can count. Even more recently, I've dreamt of the bodies in the woods. But I still felt that feeling of wrongness that was always with my false awakenings.

It wasn't until a few days ago that I realized that -- at least on the night I saw him -- I really did feel those feelings, awake and in real time. I didn't connect them to my dreams until that much longer afterward. I felt so stupid, but the dreams are such a part of me that it didn't even phase me. The more I think about it, the more certain I am that it was the exact feeling as in my dreams. But why?

It raises more questions than it could've possibly answered. I get exactly why the Slender Man feels wrong. It's because that's what he is to me -- he is wrong, the very concept of wrongness, personified; something so foreign to nature and morals and the laws of physics that no other word can describe him. My subconscious mind must have realized that before I did.

And speaking of dreams...last night, I had a dream that Rose and I were together again. I drove over to her house and had a nice dinner with her family. We talked about college, her in practice and me in theory. We discussed boys and she playfully scolded me for not flirting shamelessly with Detective Goldman; I told her I wasn't at the top of my game because I had stuff on my mind, and he probably thinks he's too old for me anyway so why bother. I told her about Angel's latest tirade. We went and saw the latest Harry Potter movie and made geeky references for the rest of the night. We did normal things, like we used to do, and -- God! -- weren't we just so fucking happy back then?

Then, suddenly, it was time for me to leave. She reached forward and hugged me. No sooner had she touched me than that feeling hit me full force. Wrong. Something -- or perhaps everything -- was horribly wrong. I awoke crying again.

Violet knows about the search party, and the bodies in the woods. She called me up yesterday and tore me a new one.

"MY LIFE!" she screamed. "My decision! Did you think I wouldn't find out?! Did you think I wouldn't get around to reading your fucking blog? Or that Riley wouldn't crack the minute I hinted that I knew?! Did you?!"

I didn't know what to say to that. I told her I was only thinking of her. She said I was only thinking of how I could best make it serve my own needs -- that is, getting her to stay. I suppose she's right.

We managed to work out getting Riley on the three-way and she bitched him out just as well, although she already had before she called me. After a long while, we were able to talk her down. We calmly put forth our reasoning. She eventually agreed to stick around, for now, although she made it perfectly clear that she was still royally pissed off at both of us.

I don't know what to do, guys. Sometimes I feel so goddamn wretched, it's like it hurts to breathe. The other day at Wawa, my manager told me to keep an eye on the fuel court (where we keep all the gas pumps) for any kind of suspicious activity. Instead of looking at the actual people, every hour or so I'd scan the horizon. Was I looking for him? It certainly feels like it. Whenever I walk into a room now, I check the windows. When I walk outside, I do a quick check to make sure I'm not being watched. And now Violet won't speak to me.

I know you told me not to lose hope, guys, and Detective Goldman and Father Kelly have said the same thing, and I'm trying -- you don't know how much your support means to me -- but it's so hard to see any turn at this crossroads that doesn't lead us right to him.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Search, Day 3 & Aftermath

I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday, although I said I would. Things have been utterly insane. I've been on the phone, working, giving statements, talking to all sorts of people all day. Everyone seems to think that nothing could possibly happen the way it really happen. But it did. I was there.

We found the bodies.

We found. The. Bodies.

I've come to hate the phrase.

Yesterday morning, I found out that shortly after Allie and I had left the police station, Mary-Ann Compton had been rushed to the hospital, suffering from hypothermia. What made this especially odd was that when we'd gotten her out of the woods, the paramedics had declared her (for lack of a better phrase) very cold, but able to be taken straight to the station. She'd kept getting colder, even in the warm station. Then, at the hospital, she kept getting colder. They were able to get her temperature up, and she's fine now, but for a while they weren't sure whether she'd survive.

This time, we set off at dawn -- others had to go to church or do other things with their families, so there were only about twenty of us -- and all made a beeline for the eastern edge of the forest just off Grier Nursery Road. We didn't have to look long. Once we got to the place where we'd found Mary-Ann Compton, we spread out, all keeping sight of each other, in a line, like a comb.

Before long, I realized that the leaves beneath my feet were crunching way too loudly. I looked down, and found that they looked blackened and brittle.

"Look at the trees," I heard Allie say beside me. "They look like something's singed them."

I looked up; they most certainly did. Black marks streaked them in some places, although none of them looked outwardly burned. Yet.

By the time they did, no one cared about how the trees looked anymore.

They were blackened and burned, the few remaining leaves stripped away. There was a thin layer of ash on the ground. It looked like a perfect circle where they'd been set on fire. Like someone needed to make their own clearing. The sunlight touched the ground through the bare, thinned branches for the first time in who knows how long.

The bodies, however, weren't burned. They didn't look like fire had touched them. Fire would've been too merciful a death. I heard Allie scream. Someone shouted, "Oh, my god!"

They were above us, far above us, in the trees. One of them, I saw, had branches impaling her arms and one of her legs -- they looked like they'd grown straight through her. The others, the four men, looked like they were somehow resting in the tree in such a way that they wouldn't fall.

All of them were cut open at the chest. Not torn, but cut in such a precise way, and then closed back up, although not tied with anything. Someone around us threw up. Someone else fainted. I couldn't do anything.

Most people left on their own with their respective chaperones. Detective Goldman came over and told us it was okay, the police have it under control now, and we can go, and he was sorry that we had to see this. Allie didn't have to be told twice; she started walking back with another Officer, automatically assuming that I'd follow. And I would have, if I'd been able to move. Detective Goldman touched my shoulder. Slowly, I was able to turn my head away from the bodies. Later, he told me that the look on my face scared him more than the crime scene. He helped me back to the car. Allie drove us down to the sheriff's office, where we and the others in the search party filled out witness statements.

It was textbook, readers -- fucking textbook, right down to the bags the examiners found their organs in when they took them down later in the day.

Today, Detective Goldman called me to see how I was doing. I told him I was fine -- as fine as I can be -- and he filled me in on some of the things they found, particularly about the fire. They have no idea what started it (a bolt of lightning is, so far, the logical prime suspect), but it looks like things happened like this:

Around the Tuesday before they were reported missing, the group of vengeful parents were somehow caught on the recieving end of a brush fire. Trapped, they climbed up into the trees (for some damn reason) and died of smoke inhalation (there is no evidence to support that as the cause of death, by the way). Mary-Ann somehow survived the fire, even after it caught on the trees and the surrounding brush. This is where things get a little more concrete, since from what tiny amount of information they've been able to get from (still catatonic) Mary-Ann, they know that she remained in that spot, probably in severe shock, for several days. With the bodies.

I don't think I can keep this from Violet much longer. She's been swamped with projects lately, and unable to read the blog, but she's bound to find out. My brain is just numb -- I can barely think of anything right now. We're going to lose. I can't even comprehend how we can end this in our favor. I just can't.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Search, Day 2

Okay. Day Two. I wish I could say it was as uneventful as yesterday.

Long story short, we found one. Alive.

Short story long:

We set out a half an hour earlier than we did yesterday, since we didn't have to listen to the whole rules speech again. This time, our group took the central eastern area. In a simply wonderful coincidence, that happens to be the area that I was talking about before -- you know, where the sunlight can't get through. We had the intersection of Rocks Chrome Hill all the way over to Grier Nursery Rd, although the area near
Grier Nursery is by far the worst.

I may not have been a hundred percent clear before when I said that we were going into Rocks. You see, Rocks State Park is actually pretty small (Maryland isn't exactly the biggest state ever). We bum locals use the word "Rocks" to refer to the area in and around the actual park. If it's adjacent to the Park and it looks exactly the same as it did when you were in the Park, odds are that we include it in the term "Rocks." I mention this because the area we were searching isn't technically inside the Park. Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

Our groups all remained the same, and after about two in the afternoon, ours split up just like it did yesterday, although we still remained in sight of each other. Detective Goldman was a bit more open than he was yesterday -- I have the feeling he's sort of shy, and he has a rather wry sense of humor -- and Allie was more than willing to chat with him and the others, so things weren't all doom and gloom.

Until five o'clock or so rolled around. Or maybe it was later -- twilight was gaining on us, and Detective Goldman was just saying that we should be heading back. I've always had pretty good night vision -- that is, when I'm wearing my glasses or have my contacts in, like I did today.

I saw her a few seconds before they did, and that was a few seconds before she saw us. She stood, shoulders hunched, hands twisted at odd angles like she couldn't relax them, about thirty yards from us. We stared at each other for a moment. She looked like she was trying desperately to say something that terror or some other horrid thing was holding in her.

Then she screamed. It was the second most godawful sound I've ever heard a human being make. I couldn't believe it came from such a small woman.

It snapped us out of it, for sure, and I immediately ran over to her, calling for Sheriff Thomson as I did (as if I thought he hadn't heard). I was the first to her. She collapsed as I came up to her, and I was barely able to catch her, although she was too heavy for me and I ended up sinking to my knees. She was crying. Her face was buried in my shoulder. Her hands were freezing and clawed as she clung to me.

It wasn't until Sheriff Thomson helped her up and started asking her if she knew where the others were that I recognized Mary-Ann Compton.

She couldn't say anything to any use in finding the others, so we headed back to the ranger's station as fast as we were able. She looked weak, like she hadn't eaten or slept in days. As soon as we got her back, she was wrapped in a blanket and given some hot tea to sip at. Detective Goldman took her back to the sheriff's office in town, and Sheriff Thomson stayed behind to do the head count. Everyone accounted for, we all departed.

Allie and I asked if we could go with the sheriff back to the office. He said that it was fine, but that we shouldn't expect to find out anything new, since she was so shaken. He was right; by the time we'd gotten there, Detective Goldman said she'd stopped crying, but was now completely catatonic. The sheriff went in to talk to her, but Allie and I were told to wait.

Neither of us could bring ourselves to go in and try to talk to her any more. We thanked them for letting us come, and then left. Like last night, we ended up at Allie's place, talking it over. Eventually, I came home. I took a long shower.

I can't get over the way she looked -- her clothes were torn, and her was like they were hooked into claws and she couldn't relax them. I have marks on my arm where she scratched it, trying to hold onto me as Sheriff Thomson helped her up...I'm trying not to look at them, but I keep running my hand over them when I'm not thinking about it.

Day Three tomorrow, and we're concentrating all our efforts on that dark corner near Grier Nursery. God help us...although, if Mary-Ann Compton's state is any indicator, they may need His help a lot more than we do.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Search, Day 1

Today was Day One with the search parties in Rocks State Park. In our group was Sheriff Thomson, Detective Michael Goldman, Craig, Lindsay and Kenny (two other freelancers), Allie, and myself. We all met at the ranger station at around 7:30 this morning, as the sun was coming up, and we spent the first half hour or so listening to Sheriff Thomson go over the rules. They were basic stuff: no wandering off alone, no heroics, and no staying out after dark. The plan was to all meet back at the ranger station at nightfall.

Honestly, I don't really have anything to report for today. We trudged around Rocks for the entire day in our groups. Eventually our group split into two again (although we were always within sight of each other), with Detective Goldman, Allie, and myself in one group and Sheriff Thomson, Craig, Kenny and Lindsay in the other.

I'd never really spoken to Detective Goldman before today, although I'd seen him around the station a lot. As it turns out, he was very nice, and infinitely patient with Allie and me whenever we tripped or had to slow down because of uneven footing. He had no problem with the terrain; he was a volunteer park ranger in his youth (although "youth" is a relative term, since he can't be more than twenty-six or twenty-seven), and he rock-climbs as a hobby. Most of this was learned through small talk either while we were out walking or later on.

Like I said, nothing was found today -- at least, nothing of consequence. At twilight, everyone met back at the ranger station for a head count, and after everyone was accounted for, we all left. Our group decided to stop at Lucia's, the restaurant down the road from me, for some coffee and something hot to eat -- today may have been clear, but it was bitter cold. After we finished up there, Allie and I went back to her place and talked for a while.

As I think I said once, Allie is one of those amazing friends that I don't really mention because I'm a bad person. In fact, she's one of the few outside friends who actually reads this blog (hi sweetie, by the way). She knows all about what's going on, what happened. We didn't mention it when we were out today; how could we? We'd be committed, or called liars.

We'll be going out again tomorrow. I'll be sure to keep alert, and try to keep myself and everybody else safe. It was good to read the comments on the last post; I don't think you guys even know how much your support means.

I'll be giving another full report tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Missing Persons

First, rant on.

I get that Craig feels slightly guilty for giving me the missing kids story which factored into Rose's disappearance. I get that he may think I'm still a little...delicate, despite the time that's passed. And I get that it happened while Vi was still in the hospital. But where in the fuck does he get the stones not to even tell me about this? Not to even hint that anything was wrong? When I could help, no less?!

Okay, rant off. Now for the facts.

Last Friday -- the day after Vi went into the hospital -- a missing persons report was filed with the police. Four men and two women (the wives of two of the men) went missing in Rocks State Park. Word has it that they geared up, headed out, and just never came back. Here's the kicker, internet: they were all parents of missing kids. All of them.

And nobody bothered to give me a heads-up.

As far as we can deduce, these parents (one of them is the same woman whom I encountered in the police station that day two months ago) came across some kind of lead that whoever kidnapped their children preferred to set up shop in deeply wooded areas or forests. They decided that Rocks was the most likely place for the sick bastard to hide out, and went on their own private search party. The report was filed by the wives of the two other men and the other couple, all of whom opted out of going.

I live next to Rocks State Park, internet. I have to drive either through or around it every day to get to work or go into town. How in God's name could I have missed this?

It's been nearly a week since the report was filed. A search party full of police and Rocks locals has been gathered and is heading out tomorrow. So far they have about ten groups, each with about five volunteers and a couple of chaperones from the sheriff's department or Bel Air PD. I've convinced (although "guilted" is a better word) Craig and a couple of the other freelancers to join a group with me; Sheriff Thomson and two detectives will be our chaperones. Depending on what we find, the search could take all weekend.

I'm a little scared, though. The thing about Rocks is that it's a total dead zone -- cell phones just don't work there. We'll be coordinating via walkie-talkies for the most part. But if somebody gets lost and doesn't have a walkie...I guess that's why they're asking for people who know the park. There are places in there where the canopy is so thick that sunlight can't get through; it'd be easy for somebody from outside the area to panic if they got cut off from the group. Especially if they think some child molester is creeping around.

I'm in limbo as to whether to tell Violet about this. On one hand, it could throw her into panic and steel her resolve to leave...but on the other, it could be just the wake-up call she needs to realize that this is serious and she can't just go playing around with it on her own, miles and miles away from support. Riley and I have been talking to her about it. We think we're nearing a breakthrough. We still have a couple of weeks till her finals. We may yet be able to convince her to stay.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


It was still raining and foggy as hell when the hospital released Violet at around ten this morning. She sat in silence the entire way back to MICA (I drove). I could tell she was trying to keep a stoic, brave face, and she would have succeeded, had not the occasional little cough given her away.

She said she's done some thinking, and then warned me in advance that I wouldn't like what she was going to say.

She was right.

Violet explained to me that while she was in the hospital, at first she felt rather helpless, being confined to a bed as she was. Eventually, she realized that she'd been feeling that way ever since her ordeal started. She said that her parents, aging hippies they are, wouldn't have a problem with her borrowing the car and some money from her savings for a few weeks, maybe months. Lots of art students take time off, and she'd be leaving after finals.

She was halfway through saying it would only be for a semester when I realized that she was talking about going on the run. I started to argue, and naturally she argued back, saying that I objected only because I didn't want her so far away. And that's true, but there are so many more reasons that she needs to stick around.

Like the fact that her boyfriend can barely stand being an hour's drive away. Or the fact that if she gets stuck in a bad area, it won't be the Slender Man she'll have to worry about; it'll be rapists, drug dealers, and gangs. Or the question of how she'll explain this to her parents and all of our friends who are already worried sick about her. Vi's never been off the east coast -- what will she say? That her artistic tendencies forbid her from staying in her home state? That her near-death experience gave her a sudden craving to see the Pacific? She says that the plains are a better place because he likes forests (and in Maryland, it's nothing but forests). Okay, but what about the three hundred miles or so of pure Appalachian woodland before you even get to the Mississippi?

She accused me of being selfish and just wanting her here so that I can keep her on a tight leash. I'm selfish, I'll give her that. One look at this blog and anyone can see that I've been busy bitching and whining when it's my friends who are suffering.

But I don't care about me right now. I care about Violet. No amount of rhetoric or accusation can change the fact that this is a bad fucking idea.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Maybe I should start from the beginning.

The day before yesterday, I got a phone call from my little niece, Kayleigh. She wanted to check in, and said her daddy even had her call the operator to reach me so that she'd know how (Poor Des still thinks that's useful information). I told her that was great, and now that she had my number, she could call me anytime. Then Desmond got on the phone and we talked for a while and everything was rather nice. I told him how everybody was up here, and then he said that Kayleigh just remembered something she'd wanted to say.

"Aunt Celie, it's stormy where we live," she said.

"It's raining up here, too. We're not so far apart, see?" I said.

"Yeah, " she said. "I feel sad sometimes when it rains. But you shouldn't feel sad, Aunt Celie. The rain just means he's close by."

A jolt shot through my heart. She couldn't...he didn't...

"Who's close by, sweetie?"

"The Operator. He told me to tell you that when he helped me call you," she said. "He said he just wanted to be your friend, and didn't want to you feel sad. I said he should tell you himself, but he's shy."

"Oh." That was all I could say. My vocal chords were paralyzed.

"Are you there?"

"Yeah, honey, I'm here. I'm gonna let you go. Give the phone back to your dad for a few, okay? I love you."

"I love you, too, Aunt Celie. Bye."

The Desmond got back on the phone. I told him to talk to Kayleigh about talking to strangers.

Now, to the real matter at hand.

Yesterday, I'd been at work for about two hours when Riley rushed in. He came straight around, told me I had to come with him. I contested, and said I was working, and asked him whose blood he had on his shirt as I started to realize, with dread, that something horrible had happened. He said Violet was in the hospital. My manager was standing right there listening. He told me to go.

I came home just long enough to pick up a few things and write that last blog post, although I forgot my computer (sorry, guys). We made it down to the hospital in record time and went to see her, but the doctors said she couldn't take any visitors who weren't family just yet. Riley got upset, but I managed to calm him down. We waited for a long time.

Riley told me there that he'd been with her the night before. She'd been angry about something -- he noted she'd been moody since they'd fought last week -- when suddenly she looked past him out the window. Out of nowhere (that was his exact expression) she pulled a .22-caliber pistol, told him to get down, and fired. The window shattered, and she stood for a second before she screamed, bent over, and started coughing. Then came the blood. She kept coughing up huge amount of blood, all the way to the hospital. Riley told them he didn't know what was wrong -- which was more or less the truth.

The doctors gave us the scoop a few excrutiating hours later.

"She's stable," said the kind-faced woman in her forties who came to talk to us. "Are you sure you don't know what happened?"

We both said we didn't. What else could we say?

She proceeded to tell us that it was as though Violet's lung had been hit by something hard. Not her chest -- her lung. Left lung, to be precise. There was no outer bruising, no cracked, broken, or bruised ribs. It baffled them. From the outside, you would never have guessed anything was wrong. But she was bleeding inside her lung, and if it had been anywhere less noticable, she probably would have died, because no one would have seen enough to do anything.

We eventually got back to see her. She looked terrible. Skinnier than usual, with her big, brown eyes, and her hair coming back into brown because she hasn't bothered with dying it. She looked like a little doll in the hospital gown. Once her parents decided to give us a minute, we talked about what happened. She didn't have the energy to say much.

"Is it still raining?" she asked, her voice ragged and harsh.

I told her it was.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Violet is in the hospital. Details to come.

I don't think things are going as well as I thought they were going.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Simple Report #2 & a Few More Observations

Today, I thought I was doing so well. As always, I couldn't go an hour without thinking about Rose, but I managed to get through the first half of work without dwelling on Slender shit or Violet's situation. Then, during my smoke break, I caught myself drawing an Operator symbol with the ashes of my cigarette.

Two steps forward, one step back. Seems to be a recurring theme these days.

Violet and Riley had a fight yesterday. He's been pestering her day and night to make sure she's safe, checking in on what she's doing and where she's going. She says that at first it made her feel better, but now it makes her feel like he's less her boyfriend than her parole officer. I spoke to her today on the phone. I can't say how it's affecting her pen theory, but I can say that she had a wicked cough. I encouraged her to see things from his perspective, that he was only acting this way because he cared so much. Hopefully they'll be all good by the weekend.

Father Kelly called me today. I haven't really mentioned it, but since that night at the church, he's been a huge help to me. I've started going to church again, though I must admit that it's more out of a sense of reciprocity than anything; he's been such a comfort that I'm kind of obliged to go, even on the days when I'm not feeling very believery. Then again, I was always reluctant to believe anyway.

Which leads me to a rather crucial point (okay, not really, but I'm going there anyway; forced segue, for the win!). Father Kelly doesn't know all the details about what's going on; he'd probably have me committed if I told him about it, so I've stuck to making veiled metaphors like "personal demons" and other sorts of things. He pointed out to me that I've been referring to this "personal demon" so much that it sounds almost like I've forgotten there's a good side (that is, God, and other...stuff. He can be maddeningly vague sometimes.) to counter it.

And he's right. Sometimes it does get extremely difficult to remember that there's any good left in the world at all.

Maybe that could be a key step in fighting him -- Violet's Constant Theory may be an unwitting branch of a larger concept. The part that really makes her pen effective (at least, as far as she is concerned; perception is still an issue here) is that she recognizes that for all the evil that the Slender Man represents, perhaps the ultimate evil, is countered by her own personal ultimate good, Riley. The fact that she's fighting with Riley right now -- and the implications of her cough getting worse -- could be seen as proof of that theory.

And while we're doing all this theorizing, I keep waiting to see him around every corner. I've even started thinking about what I'll do if it happens. Father Kelly gave me a rosary a couple of days after that night at the church. He told me that the next time I felt lost, to think of it like a compass. I've chosen that as my Constant, should the need for it arise.

I figure it's probably a good idea to put my faith in God rather than in a guy, no matter what my doubts have been. After all, a man can fail. I can become disenchanted or disappointed with a man. Or he can die. God can be an ideal, and ideals tend not to lose their luster over time. At least, let's hope not.