Close Encounters of the Thin Kind

 

So naturally, you’re probably curious as to how exactly I went from “Paranoid Psycho” to “Paranoid Victim.”  And I suppose I can at least share that much, considering that it’s one of the bigger mistakes I’ve made, and if I’m going to be making mistakes, the least I can do is let you know about them so that you can learn from them.

Like I said, I kept a notebook where I wrote down hourly journals, noting anything odd.  Well, about a week in, there were a few entries I hadn’t remembered writing.  Then a few more.  Just enough that I was convinced that my mind wasn’t just blanking on them.  Between that and the hacking cough I had picked up (which I could have attributed to flu season otherwise), I was sure that I’d see the Slender Man soon.

As a result, I wasn’t really surprised when I did.  I go on a morning jog every Saturday.  It’s a HABIT (oh, look, a pun!) I got into years ago, and it’s just part of my life now.  Anyways, that particular morning was foggy.  It put me on edge, but that was probably a good thing.  So I was tense, half-expecting to see the Slender Man.  And I did.

So I was running on a trail through some trees.  Dumb move, I know, but that’s where I’m used to running.  Force of HABIT, I guess (get used to it.  If a joke is worth telling once, it’s worth telling again).  But anyway, I was running through the trees in the fog.  Out of the corner of my eye, I kept thinking I saw something in the trees.  Whenever I turned to look, there was nothing.  You know how fog usually dissipates when the sun comes out?  Well, maybe it’s because the sun wasn’t coming out, but either way, the fog kept getting thicker.  Like, incredibly thick.  I could barely make out things 100 feet away.  I was only seeing my turns after I had already passed them and run off the trail.  The fog was absolutely suffocating.  I was completely lost, and that’s hard to do on a route you’ve taken about once a week for the past few years.

When I say the fog was suffocating, I’m not embellishing.  It was so dense that it was hard to inhale.  My clothes were drenched.  So much cold damp moisture closing in around me.  I froze up, trying to find my way and catch my breath.  That’s when I first saw him.  At first, I thought he was a tree.  He blended in with the rest in the fog.  But as I saw the strange unearthly motion of those unnaturally long limbs, I knew right away that it was the Slender Man.

Remember how I said I wasn’t surprised when I saw him?  Yeah, that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t completely terrified.  I can only describe the encounter as the worst feeling ever.  My body just completely locked up.  There was this tingling feeling, like a faint electric current running through my body, paralyzing it.  There was another strange feeling, but I don’t know whether to describe it as “so hot that it feels cold” or “so cold it burns.”  And then, the whispers.  I felt like someone was speaking directly into my brain, but I couldn’t make anything out.  Just a mass of feelings and emotions I’d never experienced before put into indecipherable whispers and spoken directly into my mind.

He walks up to within ten feet of me.  He might have been close enough to reach out and touch me, but I’m not sure.  He just stared—yes, stared, even without a face—at me for a while.  I couldn’t completely tell what he was saying (I’m assuming that the whispers were his “voice”), but I could feel his message clearly.  He was toying with me.  He wanted to break my mentally before he broke me physically.  And you know what?  He almost did, right then and there.  But before I had a complete breakdown, he gave me this weird head-tilt before leaving.  I’m not sure how he left.  My vision was sort of swimming at that point (don’t think I actually blacked out, though I came close), and the fog didn’t help.  One second he was there, overbearing and overwhelming, and the next, he was just gone.  I could move again.  The fog was even starting to clear a bit.

Naturally, I celebrated my newfound mobility by staggering off the path and throwing up for a minute or two.  It’s impossible to experience something like that and not feel sick.

I found my way back pretty quickly, armed with some new knowledge.  That knowledge was that it never hurts to be too prepared.  Make sure you’re ready before you encounter him.  I was expecting him, but I still wasn’t mentally prepared for my first encounter.  I had expected to glimpse him from a distance.  Some people get that lucky, I suppose.  Others (like me), don’t, and get a face full of faceless right off the back.  So don’t take stupid risks that bring you closer to danger (like running through a foggy forest), and be prepared for anything.

Well, I suppose that I’ve told you all there is to tell about how I met the Slender Man.  So now you know.  And knowing is half the battle.

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