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