Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Three (Plus Eleven More)’s a Crowd

The third person we were waiting for turned out being a face that might be familiar to some of you: Alicia Owly, a small girl around my age. In all honesty, as surprised as we were to see her, she was equally surprised to see us.  Turns out that she’s working for EAT, who sent here here (Last doesn’t know if it’s the doing of her EAT, our EAT, both, or even the same EAT). Working for EAT. Not serving EAT. She’s very insistent about that, which Last understands.

Apparently she also has a Dying Man shard (a piece of the Dying Man, I think?) inside her, called The Shining One, or Shine. I don’t really understand how the Dying Man works, so I was really surprised when she referred to the shard as a “she.”  Crimson laughed at that, telling me to be more open-minded about it. I was more surprised to find out that Shine is apparently “friendly.” Alicia says that Shine does have some healing properties, and she herself has combat experience so she’s able to pull her own weight.

That makes fourteen of us—sixteen if you count Shine and the Manufactured Newborn, though I don’t know how much we can rely on Fears.  It’s a pretty big number, but it doesn’t seem that big when you keep in mind that we’re trying to kill the Rake.

We’ve been really redoubling our efforts the last few days. I’ve been training with pretty much all the Masks, as well as Alicia, Angel, and the Inspector.  Last announced yesterday that he, Crimson, Angel, and the Inspector had managed to come up with a plan, but also insisted that we’re not allowed to share on our blogs so that we “don’t end up blowing it.” He has a bit of a strange insistence on that, with half being not accidentally tipping our hand to our enemies, and half being what he refers to as “narrative causality.” He’s convinced that for the Core Theory to work, narrative structure is incredibly important. Not only do we need archetypes, but we need to turn our lives into a story—and revealing the plan before it’s been enacted causes it to fall apart because “the story we’re acting out resists redundancy and other such shoddy writing.”

Half of what he says makes absolutely no sense to me. It’s like he’s speaking an entirely different language.

We’re just about ready, though. We’re leaving tomorrow to go where we need to be. Fourteen of us. Fourteen people taking on the monster in the dark.

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Approaching Storm

We’ve all been working on training pretty hard, so I’ve been busy. At this point, it’d probably best to keep you all updated on what we’ve been doing, though. 

The good news is that we have a few volunteers.  A few have already showed up. There’s Angel Cross, a detective who specializes in Fear-related cases, and a guy we only know as “The Inspector.”  We’ve also got a third person on his (her?) way, though the email we got was really vague, and all we know is that they’re a runner.

The Inspector was the first to arrive. We actually hadn’t been expecting him. He just knocked on the door, opened it, and greeted Boston Black, who was hanging out closes to the door.  Boston responded with something along the lines of “who the hell are you,” which is kind of what we all thought when he introduced himself to the rest of us. A man in a gray suit had just appeared at our door, let himself in (we’d had the door locked too), and made himself at home.

“Call me the Inspector,” he said.  “It’s my understanding that you intend to kill the Rake. I’m here to offer my services.”

“Might I ask how you found us?” Last asked.

“I have my secrets. It’s not important. What’s important is that I think I may be able to help. I have certain knowledge and power that may come in handy.”

He was infuriatingly vague about the specifics, but from what I’ve gathered, he can somehow teleport and may have some sort of persuasion when it comes to the Fears? Like I said, he was vague about the specifics.

Angel Cross showed up the next day. She’s a very serious-looking woman.  Blonde hair, wears some sort of blue trench coat/dress thing. She arrived a bit more traditionally and actually had the decency to let us open the door for her.  As I mentioned earlier, she’s a detective specializing in Fear-based cases. She’s a shrewd, calculating woman, and Last is really happy to have her. The only issue is that she’s actually recently deafened, so communicating with her is fairly difficult.  At least she and the Inspector are both really smart, and seem to get along well. Last is ecstatic, since with Crimson helping out, he’s got three really good heads working together.

He’s also thrilled to learn that the Rake is not too fond of Angel.  Refers to her as “the bait we needed.” I don’t know if he’s told her at all.

We also got an e-mail from Canis, mostly demanding to know our exact location, implying he’d be willing to help. Last insists we shouldn’t be working with him, though.  He says that he doesn’t trust him.  That he was just a little too interested in me.

“What exactly do you know about him?” I asked.

“That his name is Edwin Canis and that he’s a former cop.  I really don’t know any more than you do.”

“But weren’t you the one who called him when Gabe was fighting me, though? He said he got a pretty specific anonymous tip, and I have no clue who else that could be.”

“Okay, yes, and that was a stupid move. To be fair, it was before I knew that Gabe recognized him, and…” he trailed off, immediately noticing his gaffe.

“No more lies,” I said. “Who is he?”

“Someone who’s probably legitimately willing to work with us. But not someone we want to be working with. That’s the truth.”

I haven’t had any more dreams. Not the Grotesque ones, at least. Of course, it’s also gotten me paranoid (though justifiably so), so I’ve been having trouble sleeping. The nerves of what we’re about to do hasn’t helped.  Neither does the fact that Last claims this is a good thing.

“The Rake’s got links to insomnia,” he said. “So freaking out about what happens when you fall asleep could get him after you. Which is, you know, usually bad, but since it’s the Rake we’re going after actually works in our favor.”

I’m curious as to when he’s going to realize that it’s a bit insensitive to refer to us as bait to our faces.

Maggie finally approached me. I respect her for it. It could have been weeks before I had confronted her, coward that I am.  She knocked on my door, pushed it open.

“Kenny? Hey.”

“Oh. Uh…hey.”

She gestured to the bed. “Can I sit?” I nodded, and she sat down beside me.  A few long, silent seconds passed.  “I’m sorry about…you know. The other day. I overreacted.”

“Yeah. I’m sorry too. I deserved worse.”

“No, Kenny, you didn’t. I mean, you’re dense—incredibly dense, sometimes—but you’re not the only one being selfish.  I know she meant a lot to you.”

“She did. Does. But…you’re right. She’s gone. It’s just…I’m scared to move on. She was the best friend and last friend I had. Those early days of the whole…you know, stalking? We were together for those, and she was the only thing that got me through.  I know that she’d hate me moping around like this, but it’s really, really hard to move on.”

Maggie looked at me.  “Look…I’m going to be straightforward here. I really like you, Kenny. I mean, I know you maybe don’t like me. I can see why you wouldn’t. I’m some dumb girl who won’t shut up and tried to beat the crap out of you once. But I need you to know.”

There was another long silence. “I don’t hate you.”

“I never asked if you hated me.”

“It’s…I mean, I do like you. As a friend. I mean, as a friend at very least. Maybe…maybe something more. Eventually. As of right now, I don’t know. I’m confused about everything, I’m worried about what’s going to happen with the Rake, Last is telling me that I have to become some sort of ‘hero,’ I have four Fears and who knows how many human groups after me….”

“You’re not alone,” she said.  I looked at her, and she gave me a sort of “what-can-you-do” smile.  “I’ll be a friend if nothing else. I can get over a dumb crush if I have to. Just know this much: you’re not alone. If you’ll believe in us, we’ll believe in you.”

She left after that. Left me to think. I’m still confused. I’m still worried. I still don’t know what I think of Maggie, or whether I can be this hero, or how I’m going to deal with all of this. But she’s right. I’m not alone. If you’re reading this, it’s proof that none of us are. If nothing else, we at least have each other.

I’ll keep you all updated. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


"If I'm allowed to declare my one selfish wish...then I...I want to live! Take me back to sea with you!" ~Nico Robin, One Piece

"Fall seven times, stand up eight." ~Japanese Proverb

"I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep me down." ~Tubthumping, Chumbawumba

"Now here we stand with their blood on our hands/We fought so hard, now can we understand/I'll break the seal of this curse if I possibly can/for freedom for every man." ~Through the Fire and Flames, DragonForce
"Even now, there is hope for man." ~The Protomen

"If someone says it's wrong to have hope, I'll tell them they're wrong every single time." ~Madoka Kaname, Puella Magi Madoka Magica

 "All I need is the power to be able to protect my comrades.  So long as I can have the strength to do that, I don't care if I'm weaker than everyone in the world." ~Erza Scarlet, Fairy Tail

"If you're gonna dig, dig to pierce the heavens! Even if it's my own grave I'm digging, I'll keep going!  When I break through, it means I've won!" ~Simon the Digger, Gurren Lagann

Mark my words. This drill will open a hole in the universe! And that hole will be a path for those behind us! The dreams of those who have fallen... The hopes of those who will follow! ~Simon the Digger, Gurren Lagann

Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me? Beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see? Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free! ~Les Misérables

Monday, June 3, 2013

We're back in a suburb of Chicago, where the Masks are based.  According to Last, they're an offshoot of one of the Chicago bureaucracies.  They don't answer to the higher-ups in the bigger organization, but they still have access to vital information--and since Last leads the Masks, he can get access to pretty much any bureaucracy info he needs.  It's a great help to what we're trying to do.

I asked Last what he meant when he said that if someone were to help us kill the Rake, it might not actually die for them.  "It's complicated," he said.  "Like...okay, let's start with this. You've seen Marble Hornets, right?"

"Who involved with the Slender Man hasn't."

"And it's all true, right?"

I nodded.  "Yeah, of course."

"Who are the creators?"

"Troy Wagner and Joseph DeLage," I answered without a second thought. That's when the second thought came.  "Wait.  So...wait. It's not real?"

"Of course it is," he said.  "Some places.  It's a weird paradox.  Dimensional bleeding.  In some realities, it's true. In others, it's fictional. Some realities don't like that idea of the Slender Man, so they make it fiction.  But that story behind it--it's still true.  It still wants to come through somehow.  Details may come across differently, but the story still comes through in some form or another.  I think that almost everyone involved with the Fears deals with that.  After all, you've read blogs that are clearly fiction, right?"

"So you're saying that somewhere, all these other stories might be fiction somewhere?"

"What's with this 'other' business?  I'm sure that in some reality, your blog isn't run by you but by some dateless loser living in his parents' basement.  Or, you know, he could be some sort of prestigious professional author, but statistically speaking...."

"So everything about the Slender Man is some weird mix of truth and fiction?"

"No, it's all truth. Just...not always true for us or for other people.  All these realities are trying to remain separate, but the Slender Man is trying to bring them all together.  Sometimes they're separate when they should be together, sometimes they're together when they should be separate. That's why these Fears are so bad, Kenny.  They make reality wrong."

"So we kill them to make it right."

"That's the plan. To make ours right, at the very least."

The whole thing makes my head spin and I really don't understand it.  Sometimes I feel like Last is grasping at straws or has just gone crazy. The guy has almost no memories of himself, after all.  Sometimes I wonder what his real name is, and then I wonder if he even knows what it is anymore. He said he lost the memories of his parents. It's not a stretch to assume that his name is there as well.

I haven't had the chance to talk to Maggie at all recently after what happened about a week ago.  Part of it is that we're all really busy with preparations.  Last is locked up in his room planning and researching and pretty much everyone who's going to be involved in this upcoming battle battle is training, myself included. The other part of it is that I think we're probably avoiding each other some. What she said was harsh and hurt but gave me a lot to think about. But a lot of how I've acted has been hurtful too, and after admitting her resentment about that, I think it might be a bit before she even considers forgiveness.

So while everyone around me is making sure they're ready for this, I'm trying to do the same but failing horribly. Not only are my struggles in this...whatever's going on weighing on my mind (it's hard not to think of Lily every time I pick up my staff), but I'm really getting nervous as well. Last night I had a breakdown and ended up spending a few minutes with my head in a toilet bowl. I feel like Last, the Masks, and a lot of other people are kind of counting on me, and that's a big burden. The last time I had people counting on me, I made a bad choice and they ended up dead.  What if that happens again?  Last is telling me that I need to move past this.  That it's natural to be scared, but I need to find a purpose to help overcome it.  I need to dig deep and find some sort of drive.

I just hope I'm able to find it soon enough.