Wednesday, March 30, 2011


He's still not back. (I wait outside his apartment every day, sometimes roaming the paths we took, following our faded footprints.)

I found a book next to his bed (one of many stacked in uneven piles). It was Jorge Luis Borges' Poems of the Night. There was a bookmark in it, which lead to the poem "Insomnia." There was a part of the poem that was highlighted (did he do it awake or asleep? do receivers read of electric sheep?):

In vain do I await
the disintegration, the symbols that come before sleep.

Universal history goes on:
the tiny course of death through the cavities in our teeth,
the circulation of my blood and of the planets.

There's another passage later on that's also highlighted:

Tonight I believe in fearful immortality:
no man has died in time, no woman,
no dead person, for this inevitable reality of steel and mud
has to traverse the indifference of all who are dead or asleep
--though they hide in corruption and in the centuries--
and condemn them to a ghastly sleeplessness.

Rough clouds the color of wine lees will stain the sky,
and dawn will come to my tightly closed eyes.

I have the book in front of me now. I'm flipping through it, listening to the soothing turning of pages. I always liked Borges - labyrinths, mirrors, tigers.

It's a warm night tonight. I think I'll wait outside for him and read under the stars.

 - Agnes

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

---The Cold War---

This is not what happened:

There was a great battle, an epic fight between good and evil and good triumphed and the hero won and everyone cheered and the evil monster died and they all lived happily ever after.

This is not what happened:

We changed our minds, told dear old sis and the SMSC to go screw themselves, then ran away and lived on the lam, picking news names for each day of the week.

This is what happened:

He is not dead. He did not die. "Gone" is not a euphemism - he is literally gone. He was there one moment and then next he wasn't.

I am getting ahead of myself. Begin at the beginning, end at the end.

This is how it started:

Special Agent Aladdin Sane picked us up at six in the morning. It was raining and Tav carried a slightly worn blue umbrella over our heads. Sane drove his jeep in front of us and told us to get in.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"You'll see," Sane said. He didn't sound smug or mean. It wasn't a smirking "You'll see," it was a comment that said "This is what this is."

It took several hours to get to where we were going. Sane rarely talked. Instead, he played music - classic rock mainly. We sat in silence and let the sound of strumming guitars wash over us and let Opus stick his head out the window and get his fur wet.

Then we arrived at the labyrinth.

"It's not a labyrinth," Liza said. She was in front of the labyrinth in a black van, security equipment set up. Teams of men and women in body armor waited with automatic rifles and smoked cigarettes. "It's a corn maze. We were lucky to find one that hadn't been taken down yet."

"Yeah," I said. "Lucky." It looked like a labyrinth. The corn stalks were high and the corridor they created looked dark and cold.

"Reminds me of The Shining," Tav said. "Wish I hadn't said that." He smiled at me.

"We've set up cameras throughout the maze," my sister said. "We'll be able to watch your progress as each of you go through."

"Wait," I said. "Each of us? As in, separately?"

"Yes," Liza said. "That's the plan." She rubbed her knuckles together, a nervous tic I knew from years before. "From what we know about the Slender Man - and the Cold Boy, too - it most often shows up when its targets are alone. Isolated."

"Defenseless," I said.

"Yes," she said. Never let it be said that my sister sugarcoated anything. "You will each go a different way through the maze. Hopefully, when you are alone, the Slender Man and the Cold Boy will each show up for you. Then you will meet in the middle."

"And then what? They kill us?"

She looked at me and I suddenly remembered her face after mom died, that steely gaze that said "I am not fucking around anymore."

"Hopefully," she said, "they will kill each other."

"That's your plan?" I said. "Turn them against each other? That's idiotic. That's..."

"The only plan they've got," Tav said. "And it might work. You said the Cold Boy doesn't come near you when your around a receiver. Maybe...maybe that's because we're marked somehow. Marked by the Slender Man. And if the Cold Boy was to be near me when the Slender Man was there...maybe that'll spark a war. There's just one problem: you don't know that the Slender Man will appear. I've only seen him once and he hasn't exactly followed me around."

"There is something you had that he wants," Liza said. She went to the van and brought out a brown box taped up and with words written on it. "Remember this?"

Tav looked at it. "That's the box. The...the Return to Slender box. You said it was gone."

"I lied," she said. "If you take this box in the maze with you, will the Slender Man show up?"

"Maybe," he said. She handed him the box and he looked at it. "He follows the box, the Cold Boy follows Agnes. We all meet up in the middle and do-si-do."

"That's what we're hoping for," Liza said. "So far, there's been no weapons that work against the Slender Man. Maybe another creature similar to him can kill him."

"That's a big maybe," I said.

She looked up at the watery sky and said, "Yes it is. But that's the plan. Take it or leave it."

We took it.

"Operation: Asterion is a go," Liza said into her walkie-talkie and went into the van of security cameras.

Sane stood in front of us before the labyrinth. "If the plan doesn't work, we'll have a team go in and pick you up. And if it does work - well, they'll pick you up anyway, clap you on the back and buy you the first round."

I handed Opus's leash to Sane. "If we die, you take care of him," I said.

At the entrance to the labyrinth, we held hands and then let go, going each separate way. He let me hold onto the umbrella. He went the dextrous way (right) and I went the sinister way (left). He waved at me as he passed the first corner of corn and disappeared.

I didn't think it would work at first. It felt stupid, walking in the rain, holding that blue umbrella over my head, hoping the Cold Boy would appear. I thought we would both meet in the middle, alone, and have a good laugh. I would tell my sister it didn't work and she'd laugh too and we'd all go have that drink anyway. And as the minutes passed and nothing happened, I grew convinced that nothing would.

Then I heard the singing.

   "Come to the window,
   My baby, with me,
   And look at the stars
   That shine on the sea!"

There he was, waiting for me. A little boy, eight years old, wearing yellow galoshes and a blue rain slicker. He was jumping in puddles.

   "There are two little stars
   That play bo-peep
   With two little fish
   Far down in the deep."

He laughed and I felt colder than I had felt in years. I ran, the umbrella discarded in the rain.

   "And two little frogs
   Cry 'Neep, neep, neep,'
   I see a dear baby
   That should be asleep."

As I ran, I heard him. He was repeating the "neep, neep, neep" sound and it made me shudder. Twisting, turning, I navigated the labyrinth on random chance alone and luckily (far luckier than I should have been), I made it to the very middle.

Tav was waiting for me. He was cross-legged on the ground, looking at the box. "I don't understand," he said. "This was for him. He wanted this. Why didn't he come?"

I called his name and he looked up at me. He could probably see the Cold Boy behind me, because his eyes grew wide and he drew a sudden breath. He got to his feet. "Come on, you bastard!" he yelled at the rain. "Why aren't you here?!"

"It doesn't matter," I said. "Let's just run." I held his arm.

But he just looked at the box. "Screw it," he said and started opening it, ripping off the tape. I looked behind me and saw the Cold Boy standing there, jumping to an invisible rope, counting off numbers. It looked at me with ice-blue eyes.

"Agnes," Tav said. "Look at this." He had the box open and inside there was only one small photograph, yellowed with age and slightly burnt on one side. It was of the Slender Man, his face a blur.

"So, it's a family photo, so what," I said, "let's just go."

"Look what's behind him," he said and I looked at the photo again. Behind the Slender Man there was corn. A row of corn. I looked at it and then I looked up. It was the same row of corn right in front of us, the same broken and bent stalks, the same rain coming down. Tav held up the photograph so it covered the spot where it was taken.

Then he took the photograph away and it had become real. The exact instant, that snapshot of time was now. And the Slender Man was here.

We stood in between seconds, in between moments, in between rain drops. The Slender Man was here. He could kill us all. He could kill the Cold Boy. He could do a funny walk, for all I knew.

He didn't. He stood there. That was all.

And yet...that was the worst he could have done. I could have handled if he attacked us. My mind would have flipped the "flight" option and I would have grabbed Tav and run. But he didn't.

He stood there waiting.

"Hello, Mister Slender," the Cold Boy said. His voice was like the wind cutting my skin, setting my teeth on edge. "She left the window open. She's a cold one. We're going to play hopscotch and jacks and we're going to be cold together."

The Slender Man stood there and I thought for a moment he was going to talk, but he didn't. Instead, I heard Tav say, "There are rules. There are rules even for us."

"She is cold, you know this," the Cold Boy said. "She is all frozen and stuff."

"Not anymore," Tav said. I looked at him. His eyes were closed and his mouth was open.

"Tav," I said. "Tav, wake up."

"He is my mouth," Tav said. "There are rules that even we cannot break. She is not cold anymore. She did not run."

The Cold Boy hissed. The air grew colder and I could see frost growing on the corn stalks. "Not fair, not fair," the Cold Boy said. "I wanna toy."

"Find another," Tav said.

"Hmph," the Cold Boy said. "Fine." He walked back through the corn stalks and suddenly, the rain started again and time was flowing again and Tav's eyes were open.

"Agnes," he said. I thought he was going to ask what happened and I was about to tell him, but then he said, "His face. So bright. Can you see his face? I think. I think I have to touch it."

I tried to grab him, but there was a bright flash of blinding light and I let go. I let go and when the light was gone, so was he. Both him and the Slender Man were gone.

Just me in the rain, in the labyrinth.

 - Agnes

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I'm waiting. I don't know why - I don't even think he'll be back, but I'm still waiting for him.

My sister keeps asking me what happened. Apparently, all of their communications went wonky at the exact same time, all video surveillance blinked off, every horror movie cliche you can think of.

I haven't told her yet. I'm not sure I can.

But I want to write it down, write the story. That's what he does to us - what the Slender Man does to us. He makes us turn things into stories. People into stories. Because he's a storybook monster.

He spreads by stories. They all spread by stories. Read enough of them, suddenly you become part of the story, become the story itself.

I want to tell the story. It's itching my mind, wanting to come out. What happened in that labyrinth. When we were bait.

I don't want to give him the satisfaction of turning it into a story yet, though. I know I will soon, but...not now. Not now.

Now I'm just waiting.

 - Agnes

Sunday, March 20, 2011

He's gone.

It won't stop fucking raining and I can't stop crying and he's just gone.


"Tomorrow," she told me over the phone.

We're being bait tomorrow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Yet another reason to dislike the dentist

Sorry I haven't posted in over a week. It's just...nothing's really happened. We're waiting to hear back from Agnes's sister, but in the meantime, I'm just going about my normal, everyday, boring routine. I haven't even heard anything weird lately due to my receiverness (receiverosity?).

Well, except yesterday. Yesterday I have a dentist appointment. And after the dentist had finished cleaning my teeth, she said, "Be careful now. He'll swallow you whole."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Preparations and dreams

We called Agnes's sister and agreed to be bait yesterday. Liza was quick to point out that we would be perfectly safe (which meant we probably weren't) and that she was really glad we had changed our minds (which meant she was glad Agnes changed her mind).

She said that had to take some time setting up a trap. "For the Slender Man or the Cold Boy?" I asked.

"Whichever one shows," she said. "It'll be about a week or two. We'll contact you." And then she hung up.

Agnes and I talked it over, too. We know weapons don't hurt them, but Agnes will bring her gun anyway. It makes her feel safer, which is a good thing. I saw a Louisville Slugger in a thrift store nearby - perhaps I'll pick it up on my way home from work. A security bat.

Had a strange dream last night though. Agnes and I and her sister and Aladdin Sane were standing in the falling snow.

"Watch us now as we unfold," Agnes said, "skin never touching, for we are cold."

"Flying with arms transfigured to wings," her sister said, "dancing like puppets without any strings."

"As we resemble something that has not yet occured," Sane said, "waiting to release that one fatal word."

"Nothing below us, nothing above," Agnes said, "I have never loved you dear as now I love."

And then they all melted away to a nothingness that's only possible in dreams.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Home means run no more

I found Agnes next to the dumpster behind my apartment building. She had a cigarette in her hand and was sitting on the ground, knees pulled towards her chest.

"You smoke?" I asked.

She looked at me. "Not for a while."

I sat on the ground next to her. "You know why the nun went to the department store?" She looked at me with crinkled eyebrows. "She had bad habits." A smile lit up her face.

"So," she said, "guess you're wondering why I'm out here."

"I know why. I checked the blog. 'Under the spreading chestnut tree' - 1984, right?"

"'I sold you, you sold me,'" she said, sucking in another lungful of smoke and then exhaling it.

"You haven't sold me yet. You said no to them."

"But they won't stop," she said. "And the Cold Boy won't stop. And the Slender Man. That's why there are runners. Because running is the only option sometimes."

"And sometimes it isn't." I stood up and looked at the night sky and the moon. "They want me to be bait, right?"


I looked at her. "Then let's be bait."

---Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree---

I lied to you, Tav. They didn't want me to join them. They wanted my help, yes, but my sister would know not to ask me to join. She was the rebel, I was the runner.

Instead, she asked for my help to get you to join. They want to use you, Tav.

They want to use you as bait.

But is that any worse than what I'm doing? Because this wasn't my first lie. That receiver I knew before - I figured out then that the Cold Boy wouldn't attack when I was near her. I knew if I was near you, I was safe. I used you, too.

But how long will that last? How long until the Cold Boy catches me alone or the Slender Man or whatever other foul things are out there? How long until a proxie kills me or you?

I don't want to run. But maybe I have to.

 - Agnes

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sane's story

Breakfast at IHOP this morning, we had a little surprise: just after we were served our food, Special Agents Liza Jane and Aladdin Sane walked up to our table.

Agnes looked up at her and said, "Well, if it isn't Special Agent Liza Jane. Or is it Lady Stardust? I could never keep track."

"Agnes," Jane said. "We need to talk."

"No, we really don't." Agnes turned back to the menu, studying it intently.

Jane put her hands on the table and said, "We can talk outside or we can arrest you. I know you have a gun on your person."

Agnes looked madder than I'd ever seen her. Finally, she put the menu down and stood up. "Fine. Five minutes only though."

"Won't take longer than five minutes," Jane said and they both walked outside, Agnes in front.

Special Agent Sane sat down on the other side of the table from me. I didn't know what to say or if I should say anything. Finally, I said, "I didn't know they knew each other."

Sane started tapping his fingers on the table. Tap tap tap. "There's a lot you don't know."

"Well, I know that," I said and tried to smile. He continued tapping. "So, how'd you, you know, end up doing this stuff?"

Sane tapped his fingers and was silent for a few seconds, then said, "I worked narcotics in Miami. One day, we raided a warehouse to try and bust some drug dealers." He stopped tapping. "All the dealers were dead though. Other cops said rival dealers must have held them at gunpoint and made them drink bleach. But that was stupid. Why poison them if you could just shoot them? And why wouldn't the dealers fight back?" He started tapping again. "I looked over some security footage and couldn't find anything - until a few days before the raid. walked in and then walked out of the warehouse. He wore some sort of overcoat and a mask, with a long beak. Looked it up later on - it was a Venetian costume, Medico Della Peste. The Doctor of Plague." Tap tap tap. "Just looking at him on the security footage made me want to wash my hands until they bled. And I knew. This man had done something. Just five minutes of being near him and the dealers chugged bleach like they were fourties. They must have felt so..."

He stopped tapping and I turned to see that Agnes and Agent Jane were back. "We're done here," Jane said and Agent Sane got up.

Agnes was silent for a while and we ate our breakfast without words. I was afraid to ask her what they talked about, but I finally got the courage to ask "How'd you two know each other?"

Agnes leaned down to pet Opus before saying, "She's my sister. Wanted me to work for them. Turned her down."

"Oh. Okay." I pushed the food around on my plate. "Do you want this? I'm not really hungry."

"Sure." She took my food and I watched her eat.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Those words below? I saw Tav write them. But he was still sleeping, his eyes closed to the world.

Guess he's still a receiver, awake or asleep.

Now comes the question: what's he's receiving and who is it for?

 - Agnes

ice is

the bark of rivers
the roof of the wave
the destruction of the doomed

One foggy morning

So today was foggy. Very foggy. Like "can't see ten feet in front of you" foggy.

Agnes has been quiet a lot this past week - I think telling that story took a lot out of her. She holds back a lot of things - but we still walk to my work together. Today, I tried engaging her in some conversation, but all she did was nod.

Halfway to work, Opus started barking at something. There was still construction going on, so I figured he was barking at some construction workers, but Agnes immediately pulled him to the side and stopped. I stopped with her. "Is everything okay?" I asked. (I know: dumb question.)

She shushed me and then leaned down to pet Opus, rubbing his head while she reached in her jacket pocket. She took out a small gun and suddenly I was way more nervous.

The fog seemed to thicken as we waited. Opus barked twice more and then started on a low growl.

"Doggy?" A voice called out. It was a strange voice - like the wind blowing through the opening of a plastic bottle. "Doggy doggy, where are you?" It make my skin crawl just listening to it.

A figure appeared in the fog. The shape of a small boy. The fog obscured his face. "There you are doggy," it said. "Nice doggy." Opus's growling grew louder. "Nice doggy with nice lady. Wanna treat, doggy?" The boy held out one hand and inside the hand was a bone. The hand itself looked blue and cold; the bone looked fresh, pieces of meat still clinging to the ends.

Agnes raised her gun and pointed it at the boy. "Go the fuck away," she said, her voice almost a whisper.

"Not nice lady," the boy said. "Just wanna pet the doggy."

I didn't know what to do. I didn't have a gun to point at it. Even if I did, the gun didn't seem to scare it or cause it any harm. Could I do what I did last time? I didn't even know how I did that or if it would do any good. But I could try.

"His eyes are closed and his mouth is open," I said. The boy's face turned to look at me. "And his arms are outstretched."

"He is near and he is far," the boy chanted. "Closest house and furthest star. No more sadness, no more fear. He is far and he is near." He giggled and my skin felt cold. "Bye bye now."

He turned and walked away. The fog seemed to lift and Agnes lowered her gun and put it back in her pocket.

We continued walking and when we finally came to my work, she said, "I know you have questions. I learned a while back that asking questions just leads to having more questions. I don't know why it left us alone - maybe because you were there. Maybe it just wasn't the right time." She shrugged. "But whatever happened...thanks."