Saturday, July 27, 2013

The locked door that had prevented us from getting to the stairs ended up not being a challenge for Arkady. I was worried that we’d just take the stairs all the way to the top floor and he’d kill Sky, but three stories up we ran into an obstacle. A huge black branch had grown right through that part of the building, wrecking the stairs above us. When Arkady saw there was no way around it, he said we’d be crossing the floor to the other stairwell.

This floor was different from the others I’d seen. All the ones before had looked like part of the regular office building, only abandoned. This one looked as if the swamp outside had been leaking in. The ground was covered in a thin mist, and dead trees dotted the floor. The whole place smelled like something was rotting in it.

Arkady was completely unfazed by the floor’s appearance. What actually surprised him was Sky’s and my reaction to it.

A: “What do you mean, this is the first time you’ve seen this? Every floor’s been like this, except for the cafeteria and weird empty one I found you two on.”

D: “Everything we’ve seen has just looked like an empty office building.”

A: “Seriously? ….. You really are being serious.” *He looked upward and shook his fist* “Damn it Slendy, for me every moment in this place has the entire building is trying to kill me, but you let them take the easy route?” *He looked back at us* “Here I was, assuming that you were both amazing survivalists, and now I find out that all you’ve had to do was walk around an empty, harmless building.” *He pulled out a chair from one of the desks, snapping the roots that were holding it, and sat down.* “Alright then. Since it would seem that you don’t know the basics of surviving in this wonderful little hellhole, we need to establish some ground rules. First off, you will do exactly as I say. Unless I say something stupid. You should probably ignore that. If you see something suspicious, don’t touch it. If you hear a weird noise, don’t investigate it. In fact, just generally don’t be stupid horror movie characters. And you,” *He pointed at Sky* “with that weird magic Slender Man detecting stuff you’ve got going on. If you feel like something bad is coming, I don’t want any of this vague pulling on sleeves and acting mysterious and vaguely nervous. You clearly state, ‘Arkady something really horrible is coming,’ preferably with enough warning time for us to actually prepare.” *Sky raised her hand, but Arkady ignored her and continued talking* “Third, we’re going to be moving fast. Dawdling around in one place here is suicide.”

S: “Um….”

A: “Fourth, keep something that can start a fire handy. Fires are pretty damn useful. Especially with all the trees.”

S: “Um….”

A: “Fifth, don’t drink the water. We’re going to have to ration what bottled water we’ve got, but no matter how thirst you are, do not drink the swamp water.”

S: “Excuse me….”

D: “Arkady, Sky’s trying to say something.”

A: “What?!”

S: “Arkady something really horrible is coming.”

*Arkady stared at her in silence for a few moments.*

A: “Ah. Well. Thank you for that. When is it coming?”

S: “Now.”

The big window facing the outside shattered, and an uncountable number of black branches rushed in. I dove to the ground to avoid them, but I wasn’t the target. They wrapped around Sky, and started pulling her into them. I tried grabbing her hand, but I was too slow. She kept screaming at me to help, until her face disappeared amongst the tree limbs.

Arkady jumped into braches, and began hacking away at them with a knife. Soon he disappeared as well. For a while, there was no sign of either of them. Then Arkady burst out, covered in blood, cutting apart the branches attacking him with one hand, and pulling Sky with the other. They were almost out, when a branch managed to wrap around Sky’s hair, and pulled her by it out of Arkady’s hand. Before she disappeared again, Arkady grabbed her again, and cut her hair with the knife. Both of them tumbled out of the branches. Arkady quickly stood up, pulling Sky up with him.

A: “Too bad, Slendy! She’s mine now! You want her back? Well then, come and take her yourself!”

The branches lashed around the room, and I was sure they were going to hit Arkady and Sky, but they never came near the two. Arkady smirked at the chaos.

A: “Coward. Let’s get out of here.”

He grabbed my arm and pulled me up, then led us to the stairs. As we left the floor, dark storm clouds gathered outside. Red lightning shot between them as thunder boomed, and black rain began to pour down on the swamp.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We had set up a really makeshift camp amongst the cubicles to use as a home while we tried to figure out how to escape. Manton wanted to check out the rest of the floor while we worked at making the “camp.” Going alone kinda seemed like a dumb idea to me, but he was the one giving orders at the time. Plus he was the most familiar with the building.

Just me, Sky, Valar, Fox, and Nightgaunt was awkward. Valar tried to make small talk, but most of us were still reeling from everything that had been happening. And it’s not as if there were a lot of things we could have small talk about. I had expected Nightgaunt would be right at home, what with him being an insane creeper, but he seemed to be the jumpiest out of all of us.

We had been waiting for several minutes when fog started to roll in around us. It happened slowly, so we didn’t notice it until Manton came running back, shouting at us to pack up and get out of there. A wall of fog followed him, completely obscuring the office.

He didn’t have to shout at us twice. I grabbed Sky’s hand, and ran. And then I immediately tripped and fell on my face. Roots were growing out of the floor, and spreading along the cubicles. Sky helped pull me up before they could wrap around me, and we started running again. When I looked back again, Manton had vanished in the fog.

The other three had reached the stairwell before us, and were trying to open the door. It wasn’t any use; the door was locked. I started looking around for some other escape, but the fog was too thick to see more than a few feet. Then, at the very edge of the fog, I saw the door to a janitor’s closet. I pointed it out to the others, and we were about to make a break for it, when a tall, thin silhouette appeared in the fog.

Everyone started shouting or screaming, and Fox drew a pistol. I tried to tell at her to stop, but my voice was drowned out by all the other noise. She opened fire, and when the bullets hit the silhouette… it collapsed.

We all became completely silent. I knew what I’d just seen couldn’t have happened, but…. None of us moved for several minutes. Then Valar slowly walked toward the collapsed silhouette. When he reached it, he told us what he saw. And….

In the post where I first introduced Manton on this blog, I said that “If his skin wasn’t so dark you’d almost mistake him for the Boss.” I didn’t realize how prophetic that statement would end up being.

When she realized she’d just shot Manton, Fox dropped her gun and ran to him. The fog actually pulled back slightly, enough for me to clearly see him. One of the bullets had gone through his eye, probably instantly killing him. Pointless as it was, Fox and Valar still tried stopping the bleeding. Maybe they just didn’t want to be responsible for their leader’s death.

Nightgaunt started laughing, and I realized he’d picked up Fox’s gun.

N: “That’s it. We’re all fucked. We’re all going to fucking die here!”

*When Fox saw he had her gun, she raised her hands in a calming gesture.*

F: “Put the gun down, Night-”

N: “Shut the fuck up Fox!” *Laughter* “We’re doing such a good job offing ourselves, Slender Man doesn’t even need to come after us!”

F: “You’re panicking, Nightgaunt. You just need to calm down. We can make it out of this.”

N: “Calm down? Why the hell should I calm down? We’re going to fucking die here, and you want me to fucking calm down?” *He fired a shot that went by Fox’s head* “We’re not ‘making it out of this’! We’re dead! We’re all fucking dead!” *He grabbed Sky’s arm, and pulled her toward him.* “Now I’m leaving, and I’m taking her with me. At least maybe then I can find some entertainment before my guts end up decorating a tree.”

*Sky tried pulling away from him, but he kept his grip. I took a few steps forward, hoping I could reason with him.*

D: “Nightgaunt, just let her go. She’s not-”

N: “You shut up too!” *He pointed the gun at Sky’s head, and she stopped struggling.* “If any of you come after us, I swear I will blow her fucking brains out! Now we’re going to leave nice and quietly, and you all can just wait where you are for Slender Man to decide to rip your heads off.”

He slowly backed away from us, toward the fog, keeping the gun aimed at Sky. I wanted to stop him. Every part of me was screaming to stop him. But I didn’t know how to. Sky looked right at me, her face pleading for me to save her, but I couldn’t do anything for her.

Nightgaunt had reached the edge of the fog, when a hand came out of the mist and covered his mouth. Then another hand holding a knife came, and started stabbing him in the throat, over and over. Sky pulled out of his hand and fell onto the floor as Nightgaunt’s body was thrown down. And out of the fog stepped Arkady.

A: “Wasn’t he a loquacious fellow?” *Arkady waved his bloody hand at us.* “Hi.”

Sky seemed like she was frozen in place, staring at Arkady in terror. Fox and Valar made a break for the closet, but I couldn’t leave Sky. So I ran to her, and pulled her on her feet. I have no doubt that if he was really trying, Arkady could have easily killed both of us there. We were only a few feet from him. But he was taking his time. Even when I started sprinting to the closet, pulling Sky along, he didn’t run after us. All he did was walk, like he was strolling down the sidewalk.

Fox and Valar had already gotten inside the closet before we reached it, and they’d slammed the door shut. I tried turning the handle, but they’d locked it from their side. I banged on the door and shouted at them to let me in, but they didn’t respond. I was literally pleading for them not to leave us out there with Arkady, but they ignored us….

I felt a hand on my shoulder, and heard Arkady say, “Excuse me.” Then I was shoved away from the door. Arkady stepped up to examine the doorknob, and then knocked twice on the door.

A: “Two of you went in there, right? I’m sure you’re both aware that I’m fairly good at picking locks, and can get through this pretty fast. So here’s what we’re going to do. When I unlock this door, if I find both of you behind it, I’ll kill the two of you. However, if there’s only one of you alive by then, I’ll let the survivor go. You can settle how you’ll manage that.”

Arkady took a small bag out of a backpack he’d been wearing, and pulled several thin pieces of metal out of it. He used them to start working on the lock, while thumps and crashes came from the other side of the door. The smart thing would have been for me and Sky to run then, but I was held in place by horrified curiosity. That, and the knowledge that it wouldn’t be hard for him to catch back up with us anyways. All I felt that I could do was stand by Sky and hold onto her as we prayed that Arkady would suddenly have a change of heart and not murder us.

It didn’t take long before I heard a click, and Arkady opened the door. Valar was standing on the other side, covered in blood, and with Fox dead at his feet.

V: “There. I’m the only one. You said you’d let me go.”

A: “You’re right. That is what I said.” *Arkady stabbed his knife between Valar’s ribs.* “And for some stupid reason, you believed me.”

Arkady shoved Valar back into the closet, then slammed the door shut. Then he turned toward Sky and me, and smiled, the red light of the sun making him look even more horrifying.

A: “You have been surprisingly difficult to kill for a kid. But that’ll change now. Prepare to finally meet your death at the hands of Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov!”

There have been so many times recently where I’ve been certain that I was about to die, but this time, there really seemed to be no way out. He was walking right toward us. We couldn’t run away. And no one was coming to save us; there was no one left alive to save us. Sky was panicking, hyperventilating, and starting to babble.

S: “Y-y-you’re pronouncing it wrong….”

*Arkady stopped walking and looked at her with confusion*

A: “What?”

S: “Th-th-the Russian pronuncia… pronucia… pronunciation is Ar-kah-dee, n-n-not Ar-kay-dee…. It it’s a soft a, not a hard a….”

*Now I was also looking at her confused*

D: *Whispered* “What?”

S: *Also whispered* “I-I’m too scared, I just said the first thing I thought….”

Of all the things she could have blurted out, that one somehow was the thing which had stopped Arkady. He was staring at Sky, with his mouth hanging slightly open. He almost looked like a fish, his eyes grown huge as he silently opened and closed his mouth. If I hadn’t been so scared, it might have been funny.

Without warning, Arkady turned around, and walked back into the fog. I watched him, expecting him to suddenly turn around and stab us, but instead he just sat down at the edge of the fog and started to sulk. Occasionally I’d hear him mutter, “But…”, “That can’t…”, “Not my fault, I only read it in a book…” or other similar things.

D: “Is… is that really how it’s pronounced?”

S: “I think so. I only heard it once. But it was definitely a kah sound, not kay.”

D: “So he’s been pronouncing his own alias wrong this whole time?”

She just shrugged. Then, as suddenly as he’d walked away, Arkady walked back to the same spot where he’d left, and resumed the exact same pose he’d had before.

A: “You have been surprisingly difficult to kill for a kid. But that’ll change now. Prepare to eventually meet your death at the hands of Ar-KAY-dee” *He glared at Sky as he put the emphasis on the second syllable* “Ivanovich Svidrigailov!”

D: “Eventually meet her death?”

A: “Yeah. Stabbing’s too good for her. I’m heading to the top of this building anyways; I figure I’ll throw her off when I reach it.”

D: “And me?”

A: “I saw you at that last safehouse, right? You’re the Picking at Ruins writer? Perfect. I’ll keep you around so that you can record the tale of my glorious victory. Once Slendy’s dead I’ll push you in front of a truck.” *He flipped the knife through his fingers.* “And no, you’re not getting a choice in this. Unless you’d rather have me go ahead and just kill you now instead of later.”

D: “No! No, we can wait. Right Sky?”

She really didn’t seem able to answer. She was still keeping me between her and Arkady, and didn’t look at all comforted by the knowledge that our murderer had decided to delay killing us. I told her things would be okay, that I’d figure something out… but I can’t say that was really honest. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just know that we’ve changed from being murder victims to hostages, which isn’t much of an improvement, but it’s still an improvement.

And that brings us to now. I’d probably have waited until later to actually type this post up, but Arkady demanded that it was my duty as his scribe to record “all details of his life relevant to the ongoing narrative structure,” and said we couldn’t leave until I’d finished. Because he is completely insane in more ways than I imagined, apparently. At least it means more delays before he kills us. He’s even editing what I write so that it “looks right”, weird as that is.

Yes. I am. Less snark next time. More describing my glory.