Where was I? Oh, right: I had just learned that my life for the past three months was a lie. A lie perpetrated by myself. Did I believe that?
Hell no. Yet, the evidence was before. I recognized that computer. I remember typing into that keyboard. How could I do that if I had never been here before? How could things be both familiar and foreign to me?
"Remember that code in the beginning of your blog?" Dr. Gallagher asked. "You know why it hasn't shown up again? Because you got bored of it. Do you know why it always seems to be raining or foggy or cold? Because you're depressed, Tav. And you put all that into your story."
I walked slowly back towards my room (and yes, I didn't have any trouble remembering where it was) and Dr. Gallagher followed me. At the door to my room, he said, "I'm sorry to have been the one to pull you out of your delusion so quickly. Usually, if a patient is as immersed in a fantasy world as you were, we like to gradually pull them out."
I sat on my bed and the doctor leaned against the doorway. "I would still like to you take the medication. Is that alright with you?" he asked.
I looked up at him. "What if I say no?"
He shrugged. "Nothing will happen. You're here voluntarily. You don't have to accept any treatment we offer. You could even leave here if you want, though I wouldn't recommend it. You're mind is...very confused right now."
"I'm tired," I said and it was true. I felt so tired – perhaps I had slept in between the labyrinth (had it been real?) and here, but I didn't feel like it.
"Get some sleep," he said. "I'll see you tomorrow."
I leaned back on my bed and remembered there was a book on the floor, the pages opened, the spine creased. I couldn't leave it like that, so I turned over and picked the book up with one hand. It was The Lost Books of the Odyssey. I looked at the page it was turned to, the last page I had apparently read before dropping it to the floor and falling into my delusion. It read:
Then, mercifully, revelation comes. He realizes that this is not Penelope. This is not his hall. This is not Ithaca—what he sees before him in a vengeful illusion, the deception of some malevolent god. The real Ithaca is elsewhere, somewhere on the sea-roads, hidden. Giddy, Odysseus turns and flees the tormenting shadows.
I fell asleep thinking about those words.
When I woke up, it was nighttime. I stood up slowly and looked out the barred window. There was a garden with benches and beyond that there was number of trees. Beneath the shadow of one of the trees, I saw a figure, tall and thin. As I looked out, he stepped into the light and I saw his white and featureless face.
I went to the door to my room. It was unlocked. My bare feet made no sounds as they tread the tiles and I reminded myself to get some shoes.
But first I needed to get someone. As I navigated the hallways, I remembered where his office was, remembered that he often worked late. As I stepped to his door, I wondered if this was a good idea.
But I had to make sure. I had to be certain I wasn't crazy.
I knocked and after a few moments Dr. Gallagher opened the door. "Tav?" he said. "What time is it?"
I looked at my watchless wrist and said "Two freckles past a hair, doc. Come on, I want to show you something."
To his credit, Dr. Gallagher followed without complaint. He asked where we were going and I replied "Outside." I remembered to ask for my shoes and he helpfully led us to where the orderlies had stashed them. As I slipped them on, they felt comfortable, and I realized I was right. I hadn't seen these shoes before, but they fit completely.
I smiled as I led Dr. Gallagher outside and walked passed the garden and the wooden benches and to the trees where I had seen him. "Why are we here, Tav?" he finally asked.
"Philosophically or physically?" I asked. He frowned at me. "Fine. Do you know about the Many Worlds theory?"
"Isn't that some quantum physics thing?" he said.
"Something like that," I said. "Basically, whenever someone makes a decision, there is also a world where they made the opposite decision. There is, in fact, a world where they made every single decision they could make. Theoretically."
"And I don't think this is my world," I said. "I think the Tav in this world is depressed and did write all those things while here. But I'm not him. I think...I think I'm recognizing things from dreams. Because I think we had the same dreams, being a receiver and all."
"You're not a receiver, Tav," he said. "That was just a story."
"I am," I said. "I can't quite explain everything though. I mean, I don't really know why the Slender Man brought me here."
"There is no Slender Man," Dr. Gallagher stated emphatically. "He's just a story!"
"Dr. Gallagher," I said. "Turn around." The doctor slowly turned around and saw the Slender Man. His face tilted upwards until he saw the Slender Man's lack of face and then he jumped backwards so quickly that he fell on the ground.
"I think...I think I have to go with him now," I said. The Slender Man stood there, arms at his side. "This isn't my world. I don't think he'll hurt me...not yet. I think he just wants to show me something."
"But but but..." The doctor was clearly not coping well with this turn of events.
The Slender Man turned and started walking through the woods. I began to follow him, but stopped and turned back to Dr. Gallagher. "Just remember," I said. "He's only a story."
Then I turned back and followed the Slender Man through the woods.
The next part is sort of complicated. I'm having trouble remembering parts of it. I told it all to Agnes and I'll try to get her to help me remember what I forgot. I think I had to forgot some parts. Maybe it was the only way I could get back here.