Thursday, November 21, 2013

Don't play with Slenderman! - Chapter 1 - The Woods

Okay, everything seems to be working now. Could have gone a bit faster if copying one of my other blogs had actually allowed me to save time but ultimately I still had to redo nearly everything...

Anyway, here's the first chapter of my short story, which is the second story I've ever published anywhere. I've written a couple of stupid fanfics years ago, a short story set in my universe for a contest as well as some kind of after-story for my series but I couldn't really show that to anyone without actually finishing the games...

As the title implies this is a story about Slenderman, although it doesn't solely focus on this entity. I don't know if the story is actually scary as I hardly show any reaction to horror games or movies but should anyone stumble upon this story before I publish it I might be able to make it scarier if it isn't already.

Anyway, here I go! Not quite sure if this will be the final title and I'm not quite content with the narration at the beginning.

Don't play with Slenderman

Whoever reads this: Please don't think of it as just another scary story! Everything that's written in here is the truth! I've lived through a nightmare and unless you heed my warning you might share the same fate one day...but you might not be lucky enough to survive!

There are unseen forces in our world, malevolent forces! They can't harm us as long as we don't acknowledge their existence...but the thing is: You don't have to actually believe that they are real! Have you ever played a game based on a myth? That knowledge alone could lead you down a path where you might encounter one such entity. That's how my story began...

David Bartlett”

Chapter 1: The Woods

Maybe you've heard about an indie horror game called Slender – The Eight Pages, where you have to search a forest for said pages while trying to avoid an entity called the Slender Man although most people simply call him Slenderman or even Slendy.
From far away he looks like a pale man in a suit. It might be his attempt to blend into human society but you can't fail to notice that he is very tall and has unnaturally long limbs. Of course that could be hand waved by him having some kind of genetic disorder...that is until you look at his face...or rather his lack of one. He has no eyes, no nose or even a mouth but that doesn't stop him from hunting down his victims. You can't even look at him for too long before you get headaches and should you so much as blink for even a second he could already be gone.
Anyway, the game was really scary and I never managed to beat it because the more pages you collect the harder it gets to reach the next one without Slenderman catching you. It spawned dozens of unimaginative copy-cats and even the commercial sequel didn't really live up to it's hype due to repetitive gameplay and a very lacking story.
Still, having never heard of Slenderman I was hooked! I would have never imagined that an urban legend created on the internet would spawn hundreds of short stories and video blogs, so I wasted weeks going through all of them.
My friends on the other hand thought that the game was boring as hell and that people who wasted their time with a made-up myth were simply stupid. I didn't really care about their opinion though.
As the months went by I nearly forgot about Slenderman altogether as I had consumed everything I could get my hands on and good material was hard to come by. Finally Halloween was drawing near, which I normally spent at home playing video games. But one day some of my schoolmates approached me with a strange request...

“You want to play Slender – The Eight Pages? I thought you hated the game?!”
I couldn't believe my ears. Normally most of them were busy impressing the girls while playing soccer so the request didn't seem to make any sense.
“And we still do! It's just soooo boring! But we aren't talking about playing a stupid video game! Let's go into the woods and enact it for real!”
“You're planning something, aren't you? Like dressing up as Slenderman and scaring me shitless!”
They tried to look offended but failed to erase the grins from their stupid faces.
“Dave, who do you think we are? We don't need any Slenderman, the woods are scary enough! And of course we're gonna take some girls with us, if you know what I mean!”
As if that would make any difference. It's not like having fun with the girls and scaring me were mutually exclusive. Still, going out once in a while didn't sound too bad. They wouldn't scare me that easily!

October 31st, 22:00h
As if trying to recreate the game they actually found a part of the forest surrounded by a fence. It had some warning signs on it but the letters were too faded to make out what they said, not that anyone really cared. There was nothing dangerous in these woods to begin with.
Henry, one of my oldest friends, handed out flashlights to every group. I barely knew any of the participants and no one seemed to even care about me being here, but that was to be expected. Maybe they hoped it would be easier to scare me when I had to walk through the woods alone. I turned the flashlight on and off a couple of times, just to make sure that it actually worked.
“Okay, so how is this supposed to go down?” I asked and one of the guys I didn't recognize jumped on a tree-stump and yelled to get everyone's attention.
“Seeing as we're playing a Slenderman game we've hidden a couple of pages in the area beyond the fence. Of course we had to plant more than eight due to the number of people involved. Just gather as much as you can and return as soon as you have eight or when the clock strikes midnight. We don't want to waste the whole evening out here after all. Any questions?”
“I'm gonna kill you if you try to scare us!” responded one of the girls.
“That's not a question, so let's get cracking!”
And with that everyone began climbing the fence. Before following them I couldn't help but notice that Henry had long since vanished. Maybe he didn't want to participate but why would he have shown up in the first place if that were the case? There was only one explanation!
“So much for not needing a Slenderman!”
I didn't really care though, especially if it was him. I climbed over the fence and turned on my flashlight. 

October 31st, 22:15h
I might have taken the game seriously if whoever had written the pages had actually tried to be authentic, but the two I found so far didn't give off that impression. The pictures were somewhat accurate but the one with a tree on it just said “FUCK OFF, TWAT!” and the one with Slenderman said “BLOW BLOW BLOW BLOW” instead of “NO NO NO NO” and I think you can guess that Slendy looked a bit different in this one...
A twig snapped.
I raised my flashlight and looked around but there was nothing to be seen or heard. Strangely enough not even the chirping of crickets. Had it always been this calm? Maybe I just didn't realize with all the people around. And then I looked down and saw a broken twig under my shoe.
Strange...I could have sworn that the sound came from somewhere else...
My flashlight flickered for a split-second and it felt like someone was breathing down my neck but as I whirled around there was nothing but darkness.
“Very funny, guys! I don't know how you did that but you won't scare me so easily!”
I'm not sure if that sounded very convincing. Sure, I didn't believe in actual paranormal phenomena but that breathing had seemed too real to be just my imagination and no one could have disappeared that fast, especially not without making a sound. Maybe they used a branch with a few leaves on it...but I think I could have told the difference.
Trying to ignore my uneasiness I continued searching for more pages.

October 31st, 22:34h
I was surprised at how big this area seemed to be. 34 minutes had passed according to my phone and I hadn't seen anyone, not even “Slenderman”. Kinda stupid to choose such a big area if you want to scare people unless you've put a tracker on them...
I looked at my flashlight, even turning it in my hand and opening up the battery-compartment.
...nah, can't be...
So I closed it again and as the cone of light lit up a nearby tree I saw someone looking at me. Someone with pale skin wearing a heart skipped a beat but I instantly scolded myself for being so stupid. Exposed to the light the disguise didn't look believable at all. I focused it on him and took a few steps forward.
“KYAAAAAH!” a female scream resounded behind me through the woods me and as soon as I turned around I could hear someone running away. “Slenderman” had vanished as soon as I took my eyes off him.
“Dammit! Is that all you have to offer?!”
Of course no one answered but they might not try to scare me anymore. Surely the girls would be easier targets.
“The girls? … wait a moment! If that impostor was with me, then why the scream?”
There had to be a mundane explanation but I had to make sure and moved to where I thought the scream had come from.

October 31st, 22:51h
As if the breathing and the scream hadn't been enough I finally started to freak out as I stumbled upon a red tower which had the symbol of the operator drawn on it, a circle with an X. Did my friends actually get lucky enough to find such a structure in the woods?
“Don't tell me there's also a tunnel and a building somewhere...”
I circled around the tower and actually found a third note, depicting Slenderman standing beside a tree, with the word “FOLLOWS” written from top to bottom.
Huh, for once it actually looks like a note from the if I were actually playing...
I quickly turned around, which was a stupid move for anyone playing the game as Slendy often appeared directly behind the player in these instances.
I breathed a sigh of relief as there was nothing behind me and tried to find out where I had come from but the only distinguishable feature was the tower and even that looked the same no matter where I was standing. Maybe I shouldn't have removed the page...
And once again I saw someone looking at me from behind a tree but before I could get a closer look my flashlight started flickering once more.
“Stupid thing, don't you dare!”
I hit it a couple of times, which seemed to do the trick, and shone the light at the tree again but whoever had been standing there was already gone. Contrary to last time I hadn't heard anyone running away though, so I turned off my flashlight and slowly crept to where the person had to be hiding.
Ten steps...
Seven Steps...
Three Steps...
“GOTCHA!” I screamed as I reached the tree and turned my flashlight back on, only to be greeted by nothing but an empty forest.
“What? That can't be...did he sneak away? Dammit!”
Irritated I turned around, which is when I noticed another note hanging from a tree.
This one said “ALWAYS WATCHES xOx NO EYES” which was directly from the game again. I felt uneasy, even though I had no reason to. Sure, the first two notes had been stupid but just because the next two looked authentic didn't mean that the game had suddenly become real. Or at least I hoped so and moved on, seeing if I could still find whoever had been screaming earlier.

October 31st, 23:17h
Surprisingly enough I actually found someone, even though it wasn't one of the girls. Henry was sitting in front of a tree, pressing a white piece of cloth onto his bleeding nose. It might sound heartless but seeing him in such a miserable state actually helped relieve some of the tension.
“Hello there, Slendy! What seems to be the problem?”
“Hm? Oh, hi Dave. of the guys punched me in the face as I tried to scare the girl he was with. Stupid idiot! He knew full well that it was me! All that just to impress her...”
“Was that when I heard the scream earlier?”
“Scream? You mean the one that could be heard all the way through the forest? No idea where that came from. I tried to scare you at that point, remember? Didn't really seem to be working though.”
“You should get a better disguise if you want to scare people. And it's your fault for agreeing to help these idiots to begin with.”
He mumbled something while spitting out blood.
“So, what are you gonna do now?”
“I'll just rest for a while before going home. This game was dumb to begin with and not worth the bucks they paid me to play Slenderman.”
“Seems to be a good idea,” I said while looking around, “Just tell me where to go and I'll be off.”
Turning back to Henry...I saw nothing, as if he had vanished into thin air. I shone the light all around me and even checked behind the tree but he was nowhere to be found.
I had no idea what was going on. No one could simply disappear in a matter of seconds, especially not without making a sound. It's as if he had been spirited away...
“No way...Slenderman isn't real!”
Something rustled in the bushes and I ran away as fast as I could.

October 31st, 23:26h
For once I wished that I hadn't been spending most of my time in front of a computer. My lungs were burning, my legs felt like jello and a painful sensation was spreading across my side. I should have stopped as even my vision became blurry but the situation was just too much for me.
But hey, it's not like something bad happened! I just stumbled across something, crashed into a tree and fell unconscious before I even hit the ground...

“Where the hell are we?!”
A girls voice. I might have heard it before.
“I don't know! My stupid phone isn't working!”
One of the guys...I think the one who made the announcement earlier.
“Well mine isn't either! So how are we going to find the exit?!”
“Just keep on going till we hit the fence. There should be a path on the other side.”
“And what if there isn't?!”
“Stop whining!”
Slowly but surely my vision returned and I caught a glimpse of their flashlights in the distance. They seemed to be moving away from me so I screamed...or tried to but my vocal chords produced nothing but a croak. Even standing up didn't really work so I had to content myself with sitting on my legs.
“Hey, this isn't funny!”
The girl screamed in the distance but all I could see was her flashlight.
Could it be? Had the other guy disappeared the same way as Henry? I certainly couldn't see his flashlight anymore.
“WHO AR...,” something cut her off in mid-sentence and darkness enveloped the forest. Picking up my flashlight with trembling arms I shone it's light on where the girl had disappeared...only to see an empty forest once more.
The flashlights flickered again but this time it was accompanied by a strange humming sound. Pressing my hands on my ears only intensified it, as if it was emanating from inside my brain.
The temperature seemed to drop by several degrees and I began hearing footsteps from every direction.
“Who's there?!” I tried to say but my voice still failed me.
I couldn't even shine my flashlight anywhere as it had stopped working entirely.
Cold breath on my neck...this time I didn't dare to turn around and just closed my eyes.
Please go away, please go away, please go away, please go away, please go away, please go away!
The humming stopped...only to be replaced by an otherworldly screeching sound, accompanied by a horrendous headache.
I fell forward but never hit the ground...


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