I know it's been a while. Only a couple things have really changed. We're still in Vermont, but just Mary and me. Wren skipped out a couple of weeks after the interview, and I haven't heard from him since. I'll get into that more in the next post.
And...well, the reason I haven't posted this part in a while is because...I was scared to, really. Listening to the tape, I wondered if I was ready to let everyone else know about it. And even here, I don't talk about everything; I left some parts out, not ready to let people know about that.
But I'm posting it. I can't hold onto it forever.
So...take it, think what you want with it.
(This last part doesn't focus on Mary as much. She decided she wanted to ask me a few questions. This was about thirty minutes after my throat acted up.)
M: It's okay.
M: I didn't realize I would cause this kind of country-wide panic...
S: We don't know that for sure. It could have just been a coincidence.
M: Yeah. I just happened to cause the deaths of the people who could contain him the same time he started being noticed by everyone. What a coincidence.
M: When did he start for you?
S: Heh...if you want to get technical, the start was when I was a child until I was around twelve. He haunted me my entire childhood.
S: No idea. Still don't. He stopped when I moved to the city. We used to live out in the woods, we moved when I was thirteen.
M: Just like that? He just stopped because you moved?
S: Told you, I have no idea why he stopped. I don't even know why he started. And then last year when he came back...well, I don't know if it was for me or not.
M: Why's that?
S: Because he didn't come straight for me. He took three kids and had his lackey butcher four more and went after Lizzie before he even showed himself to me. For all I know, it wasn't about me at all.
M: He really was after her again.
S: I don't know how long he was affecting her...I should have paid more attention...she had been getting better before the night we went into that warehouse...if she had just listened to me, stayed out of there...
S: I spent weeks afterwards just trying to keep it together...one night I threw a fit...he was looking at me through my window, and I just started screaming at him...my neighbor must have heard me, probably figured I was being robbed or something, came to check on me...door opened, shotgun went off, he must have been dead before he even hit the ground...
M: What did you do about it?
S: I hid the body in my garage. When people asked what happened, I just said that Slender Man tried to get in...I knew that if they knew what had really happened, they would've turned me in, thought less of me...he had a family...
S: Wasn't long after that that I realized I had to do something, had to...fight back, I guess. So I spent most of July gathering whatever information I could find, look through the stories left by others...try to find some kind of a pattern. And then...
M: And then...what?
S: I went back.
M: Back...where, to the warehouse?
S: Yeah...Conaghan was still in there, he still had Eric. I knew it was a trap, but if there was someway I could have...
M: What happened that night, Zeke?
(Long pause. I wasn't sure if I wanted to tell her, and I'm even less sure now if I want to post this. But I did, and I'm going to. I've put this off for too long...)
S: Chief promised reinforcements, but they would have arrived too late, so I went in on my own...that place, it was a maze, it's so easy to get lost in there...felt like I was walking for hours, even though it probably wasn't even one...time's just nonexistent in there.
I got to the door...I had found it on my first time through, but I didn't have a chance to open it before...well, all hell broke loose. Ended up having to shoot the handle off...I find Eric, chained to the wall, his foot was all fucked up, he hadn't had a shave in weeks...I don't think he even recognized me at first. I shot the chain, he asked me where Lizzie was, and I just told him she was gone as I helped him up and got him out of that room.
We wandered around some more before we ended up in some sort of packaging room...and there's Conaghan, he had this big forty-four magnum pointed at us. I push Eric against the wall, draw my gun on Conaghan, it turns into a shouting match, I'm yelling at him to put the gun down and he's screaming just this incoherent nonsense...he lifted his gun, took a shot, it missed me, I fired three rounds into his chest. He falls to his knees, and he...he thanks me, he says “Thank you”, right before he hits the floor.
Then I turned and Eric's sliding to the floor...that bullet Conaghan fired, it missed me, hit Eric right in the gut. I knew there was no way I'd be able to move him, so I told him to just sit tight...he begged me not to leave him, but I didn't have a choice, if I didn't get help, he would've bled out...I never went back for him.
M: Then what happened?
S: I was on my way outside...I felt him. Felt him near me, staring at me. I turn, and there he is, staring at me like I'm some circus freak show...I started antagonizing him, taunting him...showing him I wasn't afraid...
I don't know how it happened. All I know is next thing I know, the whole damn building is catching fire...and his...other arms, they were growing out...I took a shot at him, he vanished...I'm looking everywhere, the whole place is blazing...then I turn and suddenly one of his arms slams into my throat and then twists around it, choking me...he lifted me off the ground, let me stare him right in the face...
M: And then?
S: And then I'm outside, on my back staring up at the sky...my flashlight was gone, my camera was gone, my car was missing, my throat felt like it had been crushed with a weight...the whole warehouse was up in flames, I could hear sirens coming fast...and I just...I ran. I ran faster and harder than I had ever run in my life. And I've been running ever since.
(And that's the end of this tale. We sat in silence for a few moments as I try to compose myself. Then I go into the final questions)
S: How do we kill him?
M: You don't.
S: There has to be something-
M: Zeke, we are tiny specs, on a baby planet, in a galaxy barely out of its crib-
S: Your point?
M: My point is that he's old. Very old. As old as humanity and probably older. And something that old has had plenty of time to make any weaknesses he has completely irrelevant. At most, you can contain him, lock him away-
S: Then we do that.
M: -but it's not permanent. He can get out, and then it all starts again.
S: God damn it, there's gotta be something-
M: Listen! I have spent my whole life involved with this thing. I have seen firsthand the things he can do. Against something like that, we have no chance. I'm sorry. That's the situation.
(I had heard that time and again, but now it just felt final. We had no way to combat this thing and leave a lasting scar, much less be rid of him entirely.)
S: So...what? What do we do then?
M: We run. As long and as hard as we can. Run until we're too tired to run anymore. Like what you're doing right now.
S: I'm not running for me.
M: I know. I understand that. But Zeke...you can't save them. We're all beyond saving at this point...
(Conversation ends here.)