Last night, I...
Not... not last night. Apparently it has nearly been a week...
Thursday, The Beak came for me.
The night before that - the night I posted last - He had come to my door and no further. I heard His steps. I heard the creak of wood as if whimpering in agony in His presence alone. His shadow pausing at the entrance to my pathetic little sanctuary. My motel room. The scraping sound of something against the door clawed at my ears. He was playing, almost. Toying with His prey. Torturing my nerves. Letting me know. And then... He was gone. Leaving me to my solitude. My planning. My... growing Sickness...
But Thursday... Thursday... I knew the Game was being brought to a new level.
I graduated, I suppose you could say.
I... I can't... I couldn't take the pounding in my head. I couldn't ignore it. Every step just splitting and echoing like thunder... like a gunshot set off next to my ear...
and over again
I practically had to pry my aching skull from the grip of my own hands. Elbows propped on my legs from sitting on the edge of my bed. My eyes nearly feeling too sore, too tired, to keep open as I held my gaze upon the closed door across the room. My chest feeling far too heavy. Pressured. Working for each breath I took in. Working to stay awake. Stay aware.
I could hear His steps echoing up the stairwell not far on the other side of my door. I listened as He moved up. One step at a time. Letting me know.
Letting me know I was in His Game. Not mine. Not Father's. His.
The room around me had begun to creak and groan. As if it itself was being twisted by His coming presence. It seemed so... loud. So obvious. As if reality itself was screaming. Tearing at my hearing. At my... reasoning. The world vibrating in my eyes, crumbling the distance between myself and that sound. Those steps. Him.
The stench of sulfur and decay filled the air like a miasma settling around me. Stinging my eyes. Choking me. Gagging me. My already-tortured throat coughing brutally against the irritation. Lungs burning with each breath as I tore myself to my feet...
...and went out the window. Out into the cold night air. My throat and lungs stinging with the very first breath I took as I quickly made my way down the fire escape - skipping the last section entirely with a jump. Landing hard. Hands and knees. Cringing from the jolt through weakened muscles before pushing up. Looking back over my shoulder just briefly. Up to the open window.
A beaked mask stared down.
I did. Out of the alley and onto the street. Stride carrying stride. Forcing muscles to work as they have for me all my Service. Teeth gritted through the weakness that had sunk through my entire being. I pushed hollow legs to land quicker. To push off harder. Pushing. Pushing. Pushing.
It's always... been the same game, hasn't it...?
My steps staggered - arms snapping up to catch hold of a telephone pole. Finding balance again briefly before shoving my body into the mouth of an alleyway. Back pressed against the damp brick. Entirety trembling for a rest after such a short sprint. Muscles burning even hotter than my lungs were as I tried to regain a breathing pattern. A sliver of concentration. Anything that I could cling to... focus on...
The street now. He was coming faster...
I felt sick. Nausea sweeping over me. Stomach twisting. The back of my throat feeling tight. A lump rising, threatening a gag reflex as I pushed on. The street obviously scratched off as an option - I hoped to cut through the alley. To come out the other side and keep going. One arm curled around myself from the pain spreading out from my insides, I could only keep moving forward with one hand braced on the wall of the building. Cramping making running impossible.
But I could still keep moving.
Through any symptoms, I could just keep moving...
A dead-end told me otherwise.
My vision swam as I glanced around me. Headache pounding. Still hearing His steps follow. So close. Too close.
I saw a door.
Everything told me not to. Every instinct I had screamed 'NO'... but I didn't listen. I couldn't listen. I couldn't stay, so there was only one other option. I slammed the door behind me just as I began to see a shadow drawing in closer out of the night. Locking the useless barrier in place if only for the sake of my own mortal mind scrambling for a way. Any way to delay His advance. Wanting it to work. Wanting it to be so simple...
It is never simple.
I didn't wait. I turned into the building and forced myself to keep moving.
It... didn't take long for me to realize... that I had rushed onto His center stage.
White cinder-block scarred black by the flames of an inferno long-since extinguished, the building was left to vermin, dust, and decay over the years. My steps echoed down the long-neglected corridors ahead of me as I pushed myself onward. Leaning heavily on the wall for balance and direction as my pounding headache tipped into overdrive. Spinning my vision and blurring it into black as I walked...
and then... I felt it...
a... scalding hot wetness sinking into the fabric of my glove.
I jerked my hand away in an instant, steps fumbling to a stop as I prayed to Father for it to be in my head. For the love of God, even as I... was staring at the fresh blood on my hand... I still prayed it to all just be in my head. Watching pus slide amongst the crimson - stringing itself between my fingers sickeningly. Clinging.
please, God, let it only be...
I grew conscious of a heartbeat. A steady rhythm drumming from within the very walls themselves as I hesitantly glanced to my side. Where my hand had been a few seconds prior.
The white and black surface of the wall was cracked apart and split of an about an inch width in places. The pattern running like veins over the surface... and, within those gaps... I could see pulsing flesh. Angry red mixed with purple and black. Infection. Rot. The temperature seemed to increase drastically even as I watched blood drain from the cracks. Pooling on the floor. Spreading.
I glanced back the way I had come - the door? Gone.
I couldn't run.
"Run? Run where? He's everywhere! What the Hell do you want us to do, Sam? Take flight and never look back?! WE HAVE A LIFE HERE! What about Leo? Have you thought of him? At all? Or are you too focused on your own fucking plans to remember this isn't just about--"
"Alex... please, don't. I know you're scared. We're ALL scared, but we can't just sit on our hands here. This thing knows our routines, our lives... maybe... maybe if we get on the road, we can stay one step ahead. Leo will come with us too, he--"
"He's only a kid, Sam! He can't grow up on the road! Living like some bum drifting from one place to another!"
"Leo. Would come too. I already spoke to Owen, and he thinks it might give us some time to sort this out. His daughter will come too, of course. All of us. Together. We'll keep each other safe..."
"No. No, this is insane! I am NOT getting driven out of my home! "
"...You can still call this a home? Face it, Alex, it's just a house now. It stopped being a 'home' when you became too scared to sleep in it."
"We have to run the gauntlet, Alex. I'm sorry, but this is our option. Our one option. I know it's hard but--"
"GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
No turning back.
I gritted my teeth as the blood pooled nearly to my boots. Glaring at the walls. The building.
I had to run the gauntlet.
"Give me your worst, you son of a bitch."
I sprinted. Hard and fast down the hallway. Running as fast as I could in my condition - trying to ignore every symptom, every distraction, every pain. The walls around me peeling away from cinder-block into stones. Shadows curling in. Flesh pulsing from between the rocks. Bleeding rivers onto the floor. Blood and pus dripping from the ceiling itself. The stench of decay infused into the air. Intermixed with traces of sulfur. Bile. Sweat.
I don't remember if I ran for minutes or hours.
I don't remember if I was... running away from Him, or if I just... wanted to get His Game over with. I don't remember if I was trying to... amuse Him or show Him I wasn't afraid. I only... remember running...
...and I remember... a numbing agony clawing through every inch of me... a drowning weakness swallowing me whole... pulsing red amongst wisps of shadow...
I remember hitting my knees to the floor. Throwing up. Hands braced in far-too-hot blood.
My mind yelled at me to get up. To run. To fight. To do anything but remain on the floor trying to breathe past all the filth clogging up the air. I could taste it, I...
I couldn't move.
...I am a Servant of the Slender Man...
I could feel Him behind me. Looming over my pathetic sight with a gaze that I had only been able to imagine thus far pinning me in place. Pits of endless black burned in my mind. Soulless. It tore a shiver through me... and yet... I didn't want to See. I clutched Requiem's medallion tight in one hand as I heard another Tap, and it was all that I could do... but keep myself from shrinking under that sound. Followed by another Tap.
His walking cane. Snapping against the stone floor.
Each time being just another gunshot within my mind. I could feel each tap split through me, down to my very core. So deep I thought that only Father could reach...
...I am... a Soldier of the Slender Man...
A mere nudge at my side was all it took for agony to explode through my ribcage. I bit back the scream that surged into my throat. Choking on blood at that simple guide from the end of His cane - barely a touch - and I was down on the floor. Flipped onto my back amongst blood and bile.
I stared up to Him.
Like a worm pinned down for dissection.
...I am a Child of the Slender Man...
Like a mirage from the fumes and sickness of the Castle around us, The Plague Doctor's dark robes seemed endless - a flood of shadow cloaking His entire being and spreading out along the ground. Shifting. Stirring with every movement. A tattered, wide-brimmed hat shadowing over His head and shoulders. A mask of bone as a face. Beak a sickly mix of yellow, black and green. If it was a mask at all. The eyes...
There... was only one thing to be seen in that gaze: Inevitability.
He would be my Death.
With His cane hovering over me, He wanted me to understand... that I was claimed. By Him. He wanted me aware as He took me apart. Aware that I was alone. Aware that there was no escape. Aware that Father would never come. Aware that... I was weak. Useless. Worthless.
Unlike our Father, who destroys the mind... the Plague Doctor would turn my body on itself. Part by part. Piece by piece. Breaking it.
And my mind... would stay intact through it all. Trapped awake inside a shell that would never respond to my demands... my... pleas...
What is that... if not true helplessness?
I DO NOT BELONG TO YOU.
And it started.
I could only... lay there.
Writhing at His Feet in the blood and filth of His own Realm. Convulsing.
Listening as my own... agonized screams echo back to me through the empty halls...
Father, forgive me...
Yesterday, I woke up vomiting blood. My side blazing in an agony I knew all too well from past history: Broken ribs. Quite a few of them. My side is... nothing but blacks and blues and purples... just... one little tap and they... cracked apart like cheap glass...
It took what felt like hours before I found the strength to sit up - once again surrounded by white cinder-block scarred black. I think... I passed out again briefly before I managed to get back to my feet to go back to my motel room. Just that movement alone exhausted me. I still haven't moved on. I'm still in this same room. Stupid, I know, but I just...
I can... finally stand the glare of the screen, at least... though my hands are shaking, but not quite as badly as they were yesterday...
thank God for spell check
it's... hilarious, isn't it?
it's alright, my friends.
I deserve it, don't I?
I am... just another Proxy. Getting their due.
"Will you marry me?"
Just... another Human... getting their due.