Finale

Hey everyone.  It’s me.  Henry.  Been a while.

I bet you thought I wouldn’t make it, huh?  Thought that “killing the Slender Man” meant going out fighting.  Thought I was dead.

Well, here’s a little secret.

I am.

Have been the whole time.

I guess the Catholics got purgatory right, at least for some people, because I think that’s where I might be.  In some personal variation of it, at least.  I’ve known for a while now what I was going on, and have been working towards breaking out of it.  Towards moving past all the regrets I had in life and moving on.  That’s why you couldn’t help me: because it was my own personal fight.  The very definition of “something I have to do alone.”

So now that I feel I can actually share what’s going on, let me address a few questions I’m sure you have.  First, how am I blogging if I’m dead?  If this is all within my mind?  And how did I leave comments here and there?  That one I can’t exactly explain.  I’m not exactly inside time anymore.  The best I can figure out, what you seen has been written up by some sort of go-between (“proxy” is a better word but one I can’t use without explanation due to its connotations for you Slender Man people).  Someone else recording my story in my words for me.  Who that person is, I’m not entirely sure.  I don’t think that either you or I can ever know.

Second, what happened to Erin?  Where do she fit into this?  Well, she’s gone.  She and everything else sort of…dissipated when I made my decision.  This was never really about her.  This was about facing my mistakes.  Facing myself.  Moving past my regrets.  She’s gone because I moved past her.  Everything else from my life is gone now that I’ve moved past it.

Although….

Even after I reduced my world to what was essentially an infinite, featureless plane, there were still two things I needed to move past.

I sat down, closed my eyes, and waited, knowing he’d show up eventually.  There was a flash of light.  A sound.  An explosion.  When I opened my eyes, he was lying on the ground, slight confusion on his face.  It was him, all right.  Only he would arrive by explosion.

“Hello, Arkady.”

The man I had promised a duel to the death looked up at me.  “Alright…where the fuck am I this time and why do people know my name here?”

“I’m…an old friend, I guess you could say.  Or maybe an old enemy.”

“You might need to be just a tad bit more specific than that. For the second category, that is. I wasn’t even aware anyone belonged to the first category.”  He stood up and looked around.  “Though that still leaves the question of where I am unanswered.”

I pulled a greek tragedy mask out and placed it over my face.  “Do you remember me now?”

He thought a second before his face lit up.  “Heeeey, yeah!  You’re the guy who stood me up and got himself killed by zerosage!”

“Jekyll.  Or Hyde.  Though my real name is Henry.”  I decided to take a chance.  “I don’t suppose you’d share your real name.”

“Arkady is my real name.  The name on my birth certificate belonged to some pretentious loser who no one cares about.”  Of course not.  I didn’t press my luck further.

“You were wondering where you were?” I asked him.  “You’re in…I guess you could call it my afterlife.  A form of purgatory.  And you’re here because I have a few requests of you.”

“Huh.”  He started wandering around, looking at all the surrounding nothingness.  “Your afterlife is boring as hell.  So what do you want from me?”

“Two things.  First, I had some…unfinished business with you when I died.  I let you down.  And I want to follow through.”

He instantly perked up, sprung forward, and punched me in the face before I could continue.

“Dammit!  Just wait!  Wait a second!  You don’t just jump into the fight like that!”  He was Arkady, though.  Of course he did.  “You’re supposed to ask me what the second thing is first!”

He held his hands up in surrender.  “Fiiiiiine, fine.  What else do you need me for?”

“I’m sorry, it’s just that the dramatic reveal doesn’t work if you punch me in the face before I get to the second part and…right.  Sorry.  The second thing.  Arkady.  I want you…”  I paused as dramatically as possible, “…to help me kill the Slender Man.”

A huge grin spread across his face.  “I like the sound of that request!”

I figured I had given him enough exposition.  We both have a flair for the dramatic, so I figured I’d start the show for him.  “Now, we’re obviously both dead, so it’s not like we can actually kill each other.  But that only means I won’t hold back when we duel.”  I snapped my fingers and my sword appeared in my hand.  He, however, decided to remain unarmed.

“Ah, needless dramatics.   Good show, mate.”

I grinned beneath my mask, slipping into my Hyde persona.  “I find that the dramatic, no matter how needless, tends to make things much more…exciting.”

I lunged.  He lunged.  And I’m not a fighter, so I don’t know how to even describe our fight, but it was long, and it was fierce.  We were both dead, so we took and gave far more punishment than we normally would.  I’m pretty sure I would have died at least three more times.  But I did manage to stab him a few times and I’m sure that I would have killed him at least once.  I don’t know how long we fought.  Maybe minutes.  Maybe hours.  Maybe days.  But a victor finally emerged.

I stared up at the sky from my back, ass thoroughly kicked.  Arkady sat down beside me.  He probably didn’t want to show it, but he was breathing heavily.  He looked over and smirked.

“Was that good for you, too?”

I grinned back.  “As long as I managed to satisfy you.”

“So now that we’ve gotten that business out of the way, how do you intend to go about killing Ol’ Slendy?”

“Well…with a sword, and possibly with my bare hands.   I mean, it wouldn’t normally work, but things are, you know…different here.  It’s my afterlife.  My dimension.  We can’t die, and can probably control how powerful we are and how powerful he is, to an extent.  Because he’s, well…you know.  Less real here.”

His face fell.  “So we wouldn’t exactly be punching out a god, would we?”

I propped myself up.  “Well…if you wanted to…you could probably try making him more powerful….”

His face brightened as he stroked his chin.  “Hmm…I confess I am intrigued.  It may be a poor substitute for managing to kill him as we both were back home, but it is a substitute nonetheless.”

I pushed myself to my feet.  “Shall we get ready, then?”

“Let’s.  What do we need to do?”

Well, if you have everything you want to use to fight him…wait.”  I picked up my sword.  He simply stared off into the distance, a look of utter boredom on his face.  He followed my sword with his gaze as I pointed.  I very faintly heard music in the distance.

“That him?”

“That’s him.”

He cracked his neck.  His music grew louder.  Beethoven’s 9th.  Ode to Joy.  “I’ve been looking forward to this for a long fucking time.”

My “tragedy” mask had broken in the fight with Arkady, but I pulled my “comedy” one out now, placing it over my face.  “Well then, my friend, whenever you’re ready…let’s dance!”

The two of us charged the Slender Man, Ode to Joy echoing through the featureless plane.  His arms blurred and split as we attacked, smashing us around.  I looked over at Arkady, and he was struggling to avoid an assault of his tentacles.  His feature, apparently.  My Slender Man never had tentacles.  It wasn’t right.  I wasn’t supposed to face a Slender Man with tentacles.  that wasn’t part of my battle.  The man blurred some.  It was like he was made of smoke and liquid, caught between two forms.  He wavered, then split into two.  Similar, though slightly different.  Arkady leaped at the new one, I faced the old one.  It was familiar again.  The Slender Man I knew.

I looked into his (lack of a) face.  Slashed at his arms as they tore at me.  The world faded and shrunk until it felt like the two of us were the only things that existed in any possible universe at any possible time.  There was nothing else.  I shoved my sword through his chest.  Ripped pieces of his suit away.  Scratched at his face.  And as I fought, he changed again.  Grew shorter.  More humanly thin and less unhumanly thin.  His face grew a mouth.  Eyes.  A nose.  Ears.  Hair.  It became a reflection of mine.

I screamed.  Tore the mask off and shoved it onto his own face, watching as his skin closed around it and absorbed it into himself.  Threw him to the ground.  Jumped on top of him and began pummeling him with all my might.  I ripped pieces off of him, throwing them aside, feeling them vanish into nothingness as I cast them behind me.  I just kept ripping and tearing and beating and sobbing until there was nothing left.  Until I could face myself.  Face my failures.  Accept them, and move on.

And now it’s time for me to go.  You won’t be hearing from me again.  Maybe we’ll meet in another life.  Maybe not.  Who can really say?  Until then, though, good luck.  Keep running.  Never give up, and even more importantly, never give up on yourself.  Don’t let your regrets consume you.  Because we fall, yes.  Sometimes we fall hard.  But we need to find the strength to stand back up.  To keep walking, no matter how hard it is to stay on our feet.  To not look back.  Because if we can’t face our inner demons, we’ll never be able to face our outer ones.

-Jekyll

-Hyde

and of course,

-Henry

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It’s Almost Time

 

I don’t have much time left for what I’m planning, but I need to pay final respects to the people I talked to.  I might come back from this.  I might not.  Either way, now’s the time to get all this out of the way.  The time for goodbyes is now.

You might know who I’m talking about, and you might not.  These are all people I’ve had some form of interaction with, and people who deserve a goodbye from me.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry about it.  It’s not to you.

To Fiona: I hope you’re still out there and alive, and most importantly, sane.  I know you probably won’t believe me when I tell you that your “Prince” isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.  If you don’t believe me, please.  Believe Roman.

To Adam: I wish you luck and pray that you can find the strength to stay yourself.  I know that’s not easy.  I’ve dealt with it myself, and I only had one extra persona to deal with.  I can’t imagine how hard it is for you.  I hope you can still get your happy ending.

To Gargoyle: You’ve got a good head on your shoulders.  Use it.  Don’t be a dumbass.  Don’t be a hero, either, since those two tend to overlap a bit too often.

To the Messenger: I’m sorry I never got to know you as anyone other than Hyde.  I’m sorry for any trouble I’ve caused you with this blog.  I hope I can explain everything soon.

To Aimee: I hope you’re still out there somewhere.

To Jean: I never did get around to your blog.  I’m sorry.  But thank you for the support you provided me with.

To M: I doubt you’re reading this.  But if you are, thanks for being the inspiration to me you’ve been.  Even if your advice is terrible now.

To everyone else reading this: thanks for sticking by me.  I hope I’ve been able to help you some.  I’m sorry if I haven’t.

Goodbye, Slice.  Goodbye, Ava.  Goodbye, Ali.  Goodbye, Andrew and Ben.  I’ve missed you all.

Well, everyone, it’s time.  I’m ready.  I’ll be back if I can be.  If this works.  I know you’re going to call me crazy or tell me it won’t work.  But I have to do this.  I have to try.

I’m going to kill the Slender Man.

Untitled 3

 

I’ve been keeping tabs on my friends.  Watching to make sure they’re all okay.  They all are.

Except for Erin.

She’s starting to break down.  Her boyfriend is trying to do what he can.  I’m trying to do what I can.  But it’s not helping.  She’s getting worse.  We can’t help her.

There’s only one thing left that I can do.

-H

Checking on Erin

 

I went and visited Erin alone today, while her boyfriend was busy, just to talk about things that she can’t exactly share with him and to gauge how she was doing.  She made sure her roommate was gone, her friends weren’t looking for her, etc.  I went over to her room, I knocked, she let me in, we sat down, and we just…talked.

“So how are you doing?”

She just gave a dry chuckle.  “Terrible.  I’m terrified, I’ve got a splitting headache, I feel half-sick all the time, I keep feeling like there’s…something inside of me that’s forcing me to doodle or film myself, like it’ll somehow relieve some form of stress.”

“But at least you seem fairly stable,” I told her.  “You’re coherent, and you’re not retreating inside yourself.  Have you lost any time yet?”

She pulled out her notebook.  “Yes and no.  I took notes like you’ve said, and even though I sometimes sort of ‘wake up’ and don’t understand how I got there, and then I check my notebook and see what I’ve been doing, and I started remembering things.  It’s like I’m only…half losing time, I guess?  Like I lose time but only temporarily, if that makes any sense.”

I nodded.  “Yeah, I understand what you’re saying.  It’s not good, obviously, but it could be worse.  I can’t get back the time I lose.”

“Jeez, H, how can…how can you mention that so casually? Look, I’m sorry for complaining.  I forget that you’ve been dealing with this longer than I have.  How long has it been again?”

I chuckled because, unlike you guys, she doesn’t know.  “A while, I guess.  It’s really not important.  I’m used to it by now.  I don’t need you worrying about me at the moment.  What I want to know is how you’re doing.  How often do you see him?”

“About…” she pauses, thinking “twice a week so far, I think.  That’s how often I see him.  I think I see him or think I feel him usually at least one a day, but I don’t know how much is real and how much is paranoia.”

“Probably about half and half at this point.  It’ll only get worse as you get used to it, but at least you’ll eventually figure out the difference between reality and paranoia.  I can see or feel him pretty consistently now.  For example, I can’t see him right now, but I know he’s in the building.”  She swore.  “Don’t worry, it’s why I left the door open.  He’s not going to attack if there are people nearby that can see and hear.  Probably.  It’s just doesn’t strike me as his style.”

“Doesn’t strike you as his style.  Thanks, Henry, that really reassures me.”

I grinned.  “Hey, I’m still alive, aren’t I?  So how are your classes going?”

“About the same as always,” she said.  “Better, almost.  Focusing on them gives me something to do.”

“You keep pretty busy, don’t you?  That’s good.”

She laughed.  “Busier than usual.  I’m always working on a project or homework or reading or watching a movie or show or hanging out with friends.  Jon’s started asking me if I ever relax.”

I smiled.  “And do you?”

I apparently hit a nerve, because she instantly got serious and hesitated with her answer.  “I…haven’t been sleeping well.  I lay down and my mind starts racing and I start to panic some, and when I do get to sleep, I keep waking up from the nightmares.”

I nodded.  “Yeah, I know how that goes.  You seem okay, though.”

“Yeah.  I get enough, but just barely.”

We talked a bit more, but it was mostly just chatting.  I let her know that she seems to be doing okay, although neither of us really have much context for that other than each other.

I really hope she is doing okay.

-H

Making Amends

 

Well.  I’ve…forgotten to account for a few things, obviously.  For example, the fact that Erin reads my blog hasn’t changed at all.  On the other hand, it could be far worse.  I don’t have to try to explain my Groundhog Day Loop to her because the version of the blog she’s reading isn’t the same one you’re all reading.  It’s slightly different in a few ways.  She doesn’t see anything I wouldn’t be able to explain, for example.  It’s a relief, but it doesn’t change the fact that she’s (understandably) mad about the whole thing.  She’s a bit hesitant over the fact that I used to have a crush on her, she’s pissed that the blog’s real…stuff like that.

It’s also worth noting something I’ll need to say sooner or later: Erin’s seen the Slender Man already.  And that initial sighting was probably harder on her, just due to the fact that…well, I figured that trying not to hang around her as much meant that I’d have less of a chance of “infecting her.”  What that means, of course, is that instead of having someone who knew what she was going through hanging around, she had to face it on her own.  Whoops.

On the other hand, I’ve been spending more time with her now, and I think that my relationship with her this time being different is helping out.  Plus, I’ve been thinking, and I’ve noticed a few things I might have done wrong.  I’ve made friends with her boyfriend, and instead of spending time with Erin, I’m spending time with both of them.  Getting over my feelings and supporting her relationship with him does several things.  First of all, it keeps him in her life, and a related second is that it keeps her sociable.  She’s not cutting off everyone but me this time, so she’s out and about—which is something she really needed last time that she really didn’t get.  The third thing it does is it keeps him from being suspicious of me.  Last time, my relationship with Erin wasn’t…okay, it wasn’t exactly platonic, but he jumped to conclusions he shouldn’t have needed to, and it’s far better to have him as a friend than an enemy.  I know that this almost sounds kind of sneaky and duplicitous, but it’s not.  I fucked up my relationship with both him and Erin last time, and making amends this time around is something I need to do anyway for the sake of making amends.  And hey, it’s better for all of us.  Do some good, and good things happen.  Nothing wrong with that.

I just got done trying to explain to her boyfriend as well as I could what’s going on—without, of course, risking getting him involved.  I told him that she was going through something that she needed me to help her through, but that she couldn’t tell him about.  He’s not happy, and he’s naturally going to be suspicious (which I flat-out admitted to him), but at least he also knows that he can still be there for her.  Take her out, get her mind off of things.  If she needs it, he’s the one giving her support instead of me, and he’s probably much better at it.  And if necessary, hey, I’m there to help, and he’s cool with that.

So we eat together.  Joke and laugh.  Go out to see a movie now and then.  Erin and I pretend everything is okay, and this is one of those cases where pretending helps a bit.  I can feel him watching my back, but he doesn’t do anything.  After all, three’s a crowd.  It’s a tiny crowd, and one that isn’t even in our favor, but it’s a start.  Surrounding yourself with friends, being able to keep your mind off the bad…even just small things like that help some.

-H

Coming Clean

 

I’ve been putting this off, but I can’t do so forever.  It’s time to talk.  No advice, no musings…just me and whoever’s reading this.

Let me introduce myself.  Hi.  I’m Henry.

I’m sure you’ve got a few questions, and I can guess at them some.  First question you probably have: Who are you, and why are you posting on this blog?

Well, there’s a pretty simple answer to that.  It’s my blog.

And now that raises another question: Why are you spitting on the memory of this dead guy by rewriting his blog?

I’m not.  See, that was me, too.  Henry’s my name.  Not my handle.  Not my persona.  Not my mask.  If you look for it, you can see that I’m the same guy, down to the quirks no one notices.  My manually naming untitled posts “Untitled” because leaving the title space blank annoys me.  The extra space I put between the title and the body text, just because I think the spacing looks better.  If you look for it, you’ll see that I’m telling the truth.  Either that, or I’m just an obsessive fan, and—let’s be honest here—no one would obsess over me.

There are questions I’m sure you have that I won’t answer yet.  Things I’m not ready to say.  How am I talking to you?  Wasn’t I supposed to be dead?  What’s going on?  Where am I?  When am I?  I think I can answer these.  I’m not sure, though, and even if I was, I wouldn’t be ready to.  See, this is…an unusual situation, and one that’s a bit hard to explain.

Some of you might still be in the dark.  Well, there was this blog.  A blog called Now I Shall Know You Again.  If you haven’t read it, you should, since it’ll help you understand this better.  But if you don’t have the time, let me provide a very quick summary: a young man trying to provide advice to keep other people alive ends up dealing with a split persona and turns to despair when a particularly close friend of his gets involved and ultimately killed—a death he feels responsible for.

Don’t see where I’m going?  Well, let me explain.  If I had to choose my favorite game, it’d probably be The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.  It’s such an interesting concept, and it can really only be told through a video game.  Our protagonist, Link, finds himself thrust into a strange, new world called Termina, completely unprepared, and finds that he has to stop the moon from crashing into the land and destroying it entirely.  On top of that, the moon’s descent will be complete in only three days.  Fortunately, Link is able to recover the Ocarina of Time, a flute-like instrument that allows him to turn back time and restart those three days—but every time he does, all he’s done in Termina is undone.

Majora’s Mask runs on what’s called a Groundhog Day Loop.  It’s named for the Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day, where he relives the titular day over and over, until he’s finally able to do things right.  He can’t die, he can’t change anything but himself, and by the end of the movie, he’s been around long enough to master certain skills (like playing the piano) and memorize the events of the day.  Of course, in Groundhog Day, all you see is glimpses.  In Majora’s Mask, you’re actually able to spend three days following someone around.  You can see what they do, where they go, what their schedules are like.  You live those three days over and over until you’re able to beat the game, slowly gathering the equipment to do so.

Why am I going into this?  Because Majora’s Mask was all about the sidequests, and the sidequests were all about helping people.  One thing I loved doing was making sure I did all the sidequests on the last day before beating the final boss, even if I had gotten the reward for the sidequest already, just so I could say that, this time, it was permanent.  This time, the changes wouldn’t be undone by resetting time.  In the game, you had the feeling you could make a difference.  You wanted to help these people with everything from saving a marriage to saving a farm to saving the mayor from an unpleasant argument.

Well, I want to help people.  And I fucked it up.  And then, I was given my own Groundhog Day.  My own Song of Time.  And this time, I was going to make the most of it.  Get my thoughts together.  Get Hyde under control so I could be more reliable.  Drive people further away in case I wasn’t.

But most importantly, I was going to save Girl this time.  No, not Girl.  It’s kind of rude to call her that.  Erin.  I was going to make sure Erin got out of this okay.

Well…it isn’t working.  She knows.  She knows about him.  The Slender Man.  Even though I thought I did things right, she still knows about him and still asked me about him.  She’s already started writing in a notebook like she had before.  I almost think it might be worse this time.  And I don’t know if I can save her.

I’m scared guys.  I’ll flat-out admit it.  I am fucking scared.  I think I did this wrong.  I don’t know if I’ll have to do it again.  I don’t know if I can handle it another time.  All the people I knew back then?  The few people I could almost consider friends, or at least acquaintances?  Slice, Andrew, Ava, Aimee, Ali…even Frap?  They’re all gone.  Dead.  All the people I know now?  They’re all dying, too.  Zeke and M are the only constants.  I can’t stand meeting new people again.  I can’t seeing new faces and getting invested in them and then watching them die.  It doesn’t matter if they take my advice or not.  If they don’t and they die, I couldn’t help them.  If they do and they die, that’s almost worse, because I tried to help them, but I failed.

I can’t go through that again, guys.  I can’t be some constant, watching new faces come and go just as quickly, powerless to do anything.  And above all, I can’t let Erin die again.  I can’t stand to watch her die over and over.  I don’t even have that stupid crush on her anymore holding me back.  I hope that she and her boyfriend are happy.  I just want to to be her friend, and I just want to be able to help her.

But I don’t know if I can.

I’m open to advice, but I can’t accept help.  Where I am, you can’t go.  I have to do this on my own.  But please, I know…I know that there’s almost no one out there, but that doesn’t mean that I want to do it alone.

Please?

-H

Untitled 2

 

No.

No.  This can’t be happening.  This can’t be fucking happening.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this time.  I had it under control.  I gave Hyde a new purpose.  I avoided the fucking labyrinth.  I avoided her the entire time I was in Chicago.  Things weren’t supposed to go this way.

What the fuck do you want from me?  What was I supposed to do?  What did I do wrong this time?  There is no fucking reason that things should be happening the same way.

What do I have to do?  What do I have to fucking do to stop this?  She’s not supposed to talk to me about Marble Hornets.  She’s not supposed to get wrapped up in all this.  Why is she involved in all this again?

It’s crashing down around me.  Everything I’ve done this time is coming crashing down and there’s not a damn thing I can do to stop it.

If I couldn’t save her last time, what am I supposed to do this time?

…This isn’t how things are supposed to be.

-Jekyll

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