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.