Monday, April 11, 2011

though the stars in their silence

I need to write this. I need to write this down. I need to remember this.

Aladdin Sane (and it just now occurs to me that his name can be heard as "a lad insane") drove me to the base camp. It was an abandoned theater – called the Rialto, I believe. He unlocked the doors and pushed them open, letting us into the dusty, velvet interior.

"He's upstairs," Sane said as he started climbing the thick carpeted stairway.

"Who is?" I asked.

"I thought answers only lead to more questions?" he said looking back at me. "C'mon. Let's just go see him."

Upstairs, I saw Sane approach one of the projection room. The door to the room was guarded by two men – one of them, upon seeing Sane, said, "Going to see Tiresias? He's in a bad mood now."

"Isn't he always?" Sane said. "But don't worry. I picked up what he wanted." I approached the door and both guards suddenly stood up straight and stared at me. "Quit gawking," Sane told them. He took hold of the door handle and said to me, "You go in. Only you."

Like before, I followed his orders. He opened the door and I went through. The projection room had been stripped of its projector – it was purposeless now, just an empty room with chairs. And there was a man standing next to the projection window. From the back, he looked familiar.

Then he turned around and he was me. He was I. It was like looking into a mirror – a strange mirror that shows you some alternate version of yourself, what you would look like if different things happened.

"Hello, Tav," he said. He wore dark sunglasses and his hair was cut short. "I supposed you're wondering why you are here." It wasn't a question, but a statement. "He brought you here to see something. To witness an ending." As he was talking, he turned back to the projection window and I realized that he was blind – the men outside had called him Tiresias, the blind prophet.

"What happened to your eyes?" I asked.

He turned back to me with a blank expression on his face. "I wasn't as...lucky as you. I didn't have anyone to help me when I started being a receiver. The things I saw...overwhelmed me. He helped me though."

"The Slender Man...helped you?" I was incredulous.

"Yes," he said.

I took all this in and said, "You're a proxy."

"I'd prefer not to be called that," he said. "But, essentially, yes. It's not as simple as you think."

"How?" I asked. "He kills people. He drives people crazy. How is that not simple?"

The other me was silent for a few moments and then said, "You've been outside. There are other beings than the Slender Man and they're all at war with each other now. And war makes strange bedfellows. It's either work for one of them or die...and sometimes it's the other way around."

I put my arms together in a defensive posture. "So why bring me here? What did you want me to see?"

The other me started walking then – and watching him walk was a weird experience, as he seemed to know where things were without looking at them – and he opened the door. "Come on," he said to me. "We're going outside," he told the guards at the door. "Nobody follow us."

We walked down the stairs and through the large entrance way (and I was tempted to "walk this way" like in those old Mel Brooks movies). There was a side entrance and the other me unlocked it and walked outside. I followed.

We stopped in the parking lot. There were old, rusted cars around us. "They were never meant to war outright," he said looking up. "What they sort of bends reality. And the more reality bends, the greater chance it'll break. I'm afraid...I'm afraid something broke. And now it's worse. Worse than you can imagine."

"I can imagine a lot," I said.

"Imagine nothing," he said. "A vast nothingness. A vast and alive nothingness that's spreading. That's overtaking us all." He lifted his arms upward and I finally looked up. He said, "There is always a last time for everything."

And the stars softly vanished into the deepness of the night sky.

I can't. I can't remember what happened next. Can't remember.

Agnes here. Tav's sleeping right now. I don't know if he'll remember anything of what happened in those two weeks or if what he does remember is true. On the one hand, I want to implicitly believe everything he says, but on the other hand: the Slender Man messes with minds. Messes with memories. I don't know why he would go to all things trouble (does he want to recruit Tav?), so I won't speculate on whether this actually happened or not, I'll just write down what Tav told me happened.

After the stars went out, Tav said everything went dark. Then there was a light – all the lights had gone on around the base camp – and with the light Tav saw him. The Slender Man. Except this time he was slightly different.

For one thing, he was twenty feet tall. The Slender Man loomed over him, like Godzilla. Then he lowered one arm and his hand closed around Tav. Tav said he shut his eyes tightly and when he opened them again, he was in his bed, in his apartment. His actual apartment this time.

Like I said, I won't speculate on whether any of this was real or not. To me, it doesn't matter. What matters is that Tav is safe.

And the rest is silence.

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