Slender Man, Small Man
Beth checked the contents of her bag one last time, nodding in satisfaction. She had been waiting for this day for weeks, spending every spare minute researching. She had slogged through creepypastas as endless as they were unoriginal. She had endured hours of so-called genuine reaction videos, watching as the brave gamers shrieked at every predictable jump-scare. She had even played the game herself. Through it all, she had watched him feast on their fear, their adoration- just like any other dealive parasite. With every terrified gamer, every whimpering twelve year-old, his powers grew. He was invincible- or so he thought. He had yet to encounter a Chain Smasher. Someone who neither feared nor admired him. Someone dedicated to his utter annihilation. Every tool in her inventory had been specially selected to strip him of his power, to show him for the sham that he was. She had learned his tricks, his mannerisms, his weaknesses. She would show no mercy.
And she was only the scout.
Beth glanced at her laptop, giving the code a quick look-over before pressing the enter key.
She chuckled as the transmitter activated. "I hope you're ready, Slendy." She said with a wicked grin. "This time, I'll be doing the hunting."
When her vision cleared, she found herself deep in a forest. A thick fog snaked between the tall, spindly trees, obscuring the faint light to the point that one could scarcely see the path ahead. The forest was unusually silent, save for the occasional hooting of an owl or rustle of dead leaves.
"I'll give you a little credit for ambiance." Beth commented, pulling a flashlight from her pack. "But you'll have to do better than that."
With a click that sliced through the calculated silence, the flashlight activated, burning a pathway through the fog. She continued along the path, making note of any landmarks she passed. She didn't plan on staying long enough to need any of them, but anything here could be used against him. She smiled as the light fell on the first note.
"Hello there." She snatched the crumpled paper from the gnarled tree, shaking her head as she read it. "Don't look or it takes you..." She muttered. "How absolutely terrifying." She stuffed the note into her pack, smiling in satisfaction as the tell-tale pulse sounded quietly through the trees.
"Oh deary me! Whatever will I do!" She pulled a small notebook and jotted down a short note: I'm in.
Somewhere far from the forest, the message shone through, signaling the others to ready themselves. Soon, they would have their turn.
She continued through the forest, stashing notes as she discovered them. With each note collected, the pulsing deepened, joined by a low, grating sound and the occasional sharp outburst of piano keys. He was getting impatient. Not once had she lost her cool. Not once had she spun to face him, only to find the empty forest. None of his tricks were working. He couldn't even distort her vision- his most basic yet somehow effective trick, rendered useless by her not bringing a camera. It was time to make an entrance.
She smiled, noting the distinct change in atmosphere. "What, getting testy, Slendy? Patience. I still have one more note to find."
As if on cue, her light fell on the final note, bearing the bland, scrawled message: You can't run.
"Who says I want to?" She snickered, tucking the final note away. "Now time to have some fun with you."
She jotted down another note: On his way.
"Oh, Slendy! I've got all your papers! Aren't you going to do something about that?" Her voice echoed through the forest, disrupting his carefully constructed ambient sound. "Any second now." She muttered, casually walking down the path. "I sure hope nothing bad happens! That would sure scare me!" She called out, scanning the fog for any movement. "Golly gee, I might not be able to get out of here! I sure hope I'm not lost!"
"I hope Slender Man isn't following me! I might just have a heart attack!"
"Why, he's so terrifying I might just die!"
She smiled. "Gotcha." Rather than turn to face her pursuer, she reached into her pack, tightening her grip on her weapon of choice.
"I sure hope he isn't behind me," She began slowly, readying herself for the attack. "That would be a surprise!"
On the final word, she spun around, drawing her weapon from her pack.
He stood there, gangly arms outstretched, dozens of black tentacles lashing out from his shoulders and back.
Beth merely smiled, holding up her weapon: a mirror.
He recoiled violently, arms and tentacles retracting.
"What's the matter, Slendy? Don't like what you see?" She waited a moment before continuing. "Oh, right! You're not one for talking. I can fix that. But first, why don't we turn the lights on?"
She held the button on her flashlight, every second increasing its brilliance until it reached a blinding intensity. Slender Man recoiled further, lifting his hands as if to fend off an attacker. Beth smiled in satisfaction, hurling the flashlight to the ground. In a flash of excruciating light, the fog and darkness were burned away, revealing the forest in all its banality.
"That's much better, isn't it? Now we can see your beautiful face." She pulled an ornate pen from her pack. "Now hold still. This will only hurt a little."
Before he could react, Beth threw the pen at his face, where it stuck with a sickening thunk, as though it had hit clay.
"Let's put some features on that bread dough."
The pen vibrated, wiggling itself free of Slender Man's pulpy face. With a few deft strokes, it colored a mouth, eyes, and a nose onto the blank face. Slender Man would hardly have been pleased with his new visage: a pair of googly, off-center eyes set above a piggish, upturned nose and a permanent, lop-sided grin. Beth stroked her chin thoughtfully, looking over her work.
"I think that'll do quite nicely."
With a flick of her finger, the pen vibrated violently and exploded, spraying a searing, clear liquid over his face to seal his new features. He let out a roar of pain, truncating it abruptly as he realized the sound was his own.
Beth chuckled. "Much better. Now we can converse like civilized people."
"What have you done?" He snarled, lunging forward.
Beth tutted, holding the mirror out. "That's not how the game works now."
Seeing his new reflection filled him with a revulsion deeper than the mirror itself had. He crumpled to the ground, covering his face. "What is that thing!?" He risked a glance at it, instantly regretting it.
"This little thing?" Beth asked, gesturing at the mirror. "A mirror. A very special mirror. See, with this mirror, I can make you see yourself how I see you. Not very nice, is it?"
He merely hurled a cheap insult at her, attempting to crawl back into the forest.
"I don't think so, Slendy." She drawled, pulling a small black sphere from her bag. "One more step, and I'll be forced to use this."
Another cheap insult.
She shook her head, flicking the sphere at him. Upon making contact, the sphere exploded, unleashing a massive net that wrapped him completely, tangling between various trees and anchoring him in place. He let out a yelp of surprise before resorting to cussing.
"You just never learn, do you?" She began, holding out the mirror as she approached him. "You can't run. You can't win--not this game." She smiled darkly. "Not any game."
"What do you want?" He snarled. "I don't know you."
"Oh, but I know you. I know all your tricks, all your precious little scares and gimmicks. And I'm not impressed." She stood directly in front of him, holding the mirror mere inches from his face. "Take a nice long look. I want you to remember."
He unleashed another string of curse words, struggling violently against the net.
"Your little teleportation trick won't work here, Slendy." She laughed, shaking her head. "You know what? I'm gonna tell you something funny. No really--you'll get a kick out of this one." She knelt in front of him, looking directly at his patchwork face. "I used to think you were creepy--scary, even." She shrugged, smirking. "Although, that's not saying much, given how insanely overactive my imagination is." Her smirk sharpened, taking on a distinctly hostile edge. "And then I found out what you were--what you really were. Nothing more than an altered image--someone's little Photoshop project. You're a sham, Slendy. A fake. It's time you realized that."
She lifted the mirror above her head, bringing it down on Slenderman's with shattering force. A wave of brilliant silver burst from the shattered mirror, washing over them. It sunk into him, bringing with it an inescapable revulsion. A thousand voices within his mind screamed and howled at him, calling him out for the fraud he was. And worse still, their disgust, their venom, seemed to match his own. For the first time in his un-life, he fully realized what he was.
"What--what have you done?!" He hissed, his own self-loathing nearly incapacitating him.
"How do you forget so easily, Slendy? The mirror made you see yourself as I see you. Now you always will."
As he fought the waves of combined self-pity and loathing, he came upon a final, grim conclusion.
"If I can't exist, I'm taking you with me!" He roared. "This is my world! We play by MY rules!"
With a ferocious bellow, he burst free of the net, snarling and snorting like an animal. The tentacles burst from his shoulders, lashing toward Beth with unparalleled ferocity.
She smiled, holding out her hand. The tentacles collided with an invisible force-field, bouncing harmlessly off. "I figured you wouldn't come quietly. Know this--if you insist on fighting, I will show no mercy."
"You took EVERYTHING from me!" He roared. "I mattered! People loved me- people feared me! I was all-powerful! Now--I'm nothing!"
Beth chuckled, interrupting him mid-tirade. "Slendy, m'boy...you've always been nothing."
His roar increased to deafening proportions, distorting and warbling like some demented synthesizer experiment.
"I will rip your pathetic bones from your body--I will hang your dripping carcass for the maggots to devour! I WILL MAKE YOU PAY!"
Her smile took on a dark edge. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for a fight." She levitated a few feet from the ground, stopping when she could look him dead-on. "You've had this coming a long time."
He snarled, lashing his arms at her. In a flash, she teleported behind him, firing a blast of energy from her hands. He whirled to face her, only to find she had teleported across the clearing.
"Hey, Slendy!" She called, sending another blast of energy at his face.
He spun again, whirling desperately in at attempt to catch her. Every time, he was just a fraction too slow, turning just in time to take an energy blast to the face.
"Oh, silly Slendy. When will you ever learn?" She took hold of his tentacles, yanking him backward. "You were never in control."
"No!" He hissed, struggling desperately to free himself.
"Didn't you think it odd--even the slightest bit strange--that I didn't have to follow your rules? No camera, no stamina...didn't seem even the tiniest bit off?"
Realization dripped through his consciousness slowly, a sludge that had to seep through the corrugated cardboard of his intellect.
"No--you're lying--you're cheating!"
"Oh, coming from you, Slendy--that's rich. That's just delicious, i'nt it?" Her expression darkened as she tightened her grip on his tentacles, sending a wave of crackling electricity through them.
"Let go! You filthy, pathetic--"
With a final yank, she tugged Slender Man off his feet, whirling him around and around in an ever intensifying spiral.
"You've had your fun. But we're playing by my rules now, and I'm afraid you're out of lives."
"No! This is my world! I'm in control! I'm in control!"
Beth snickered. "Out of continues, too. And that only means one thing..."
She relinquished her grip, sending him flying into a massive tree. The tree shattered on impact, collapsing on the vanquished Slender Man. She flew over to the wreckage, landing carefully amongst the debris. He lay in a crumpled heap, motionless.
"Slendy- this was never your world. Game over. You lose."
One task remained. She pulled out her notebook and wrote the final message: He's all yours.
Back at the base, Hanima took out her iPad mini and checked her messages.
The first to display was Beth's.
Hanima grinned, "I'll let him have it all right." she said to herself, then fired off a message in response.
Good work. Would like you to end him since he had once creeped you out a little. Some of us will give him heck and then if you have the time, you can have the honour. But I'd like this done as quickly as possible.
A message from Ameh said:
"Laughing Jack won't be laughing when I get through with him here. Where should I bring him when you guys are ready? slendy's woods or the No Way House?"
Next came one from NT.
Right on! Okay, does anybody need any help? I'll be glad to pitch in.
It wasn't long before NT received her instructions.
Slender Man remained down for the count when newcomer NT arrived to hold down the fort.
Beth and Ameh had just set off to go make things interesting for Laughing Jack.
NT snickered at the fence surrounding the forest. "If it's supposed to keep people from escaping, why doesn't it prevent people from getting in?"
She began walking around, navigating through the overcrowded trees. But not even she could tread quietly in this environment. "This place sounds like walking on salad." she sneered. "Well Slend, you'll end up in one yourself, sooner or later." She continued on.
Suddenly she staggered forward and quickly regained her balance, having nearly tumbled over a bit of rock projection initially hidden from view by low branches. A glance at the tree showed a pillar of rock just in back of it. NT remembered it as being one of the landmarks where notes were likely to be found.
Sure enough, can't run" was there.
"Run? Who are you kidding? Not even a mouse could run anywhere in this over-treed place."
But then, she got an idea. She was instructed to do as she pleased with the setting while she was here, and now was a great opportunity.
She took the note and replaced the word "run" with "garden". In addition, she teleported the rock pillar and the blue truck, making them switch places. This action upset a few trees, causing them to crackle and break off when the truck landed among them.
NT leaned against the side of the truck to get her phone out for a little net surfing for her idea. After some time, she came up with the information she wanted, and set to work after making notes.
She had been instructed to watch out for magic, and to go ahead and sap Slender's power when she found him. This was because he was not just a teleporter and shapeshifter. Capri just found out Slender Man was actually an evil fairy, which probably helped explain why he had managed to elude capture and opposition for so long.
NT wrote back, saying she would deal with him when she found him, and to make no mistake, she would find him.
She moved away from the truck and started walking.
As she continued searching for Slender Man, the next additional task was a little harder, because there were so many locations to cover. So NT decided to start from the beginning, and bring notes or signs back from those places, along with what bits of environment she could manage.
The first place she teleported to was the Desolate Town
, then the Lost Ward, the Cursed Ruins and the Haunted Forest of Slender Rising. None of these places fazed her, not even the demonic whispering that indicated she was near a page, or sign, as they were called. She had been expecting all of that.
Then it was on to Slender Rising 2, where she went through the ghost town and dark mansion with ease, picking up more signs., But then she came to the frozen castle and grimaced. NT not only hated the cold, but she was not dressed for it. But what else could she do? This environment wasn't getting to her by being scary, it presented an altogether different challenge. NT now had to make split second decisions about conserving energy to avoid heat-loss, and navigating through the castle as quickly as possible before hypothermia set in. And On top of that, she still had to check the place out thoroughly for signs. It wasn't easy picking up signs with numb fingers either. She had to watch her step, making sure not to slip or fall through any bad patches of ice, and be wary of falling icicles, a couple of which landed very close. By the time she exited the castle, she was trembling violently and her teeth chattered.
The "Grim District" was a welcome change. She got through that place just fine, and returned to the 8 Pages wood, having collected all of the signs.
Unlike the pages in the woods, these signs were not written on lined paper, but on brown paper and wood, and they looked like they had been written in blood.
"So, Slend, how many people did you kill to make these?" she hissed with a scowl.
She stuck a sign that said: "You are the sacrifice" up among some tree branches, and put the "He is not real" sign on the back of the page that had a drawing of Slender Man, and stuck them on the front of The Information Center. The two pages melded in such a way that the "He is not real" message was clearly readable on the front of Slender Man's suit.
She teleported the "no no no no no no," page with another drawing of Slender Man back to the frozen castle, where it was promptly hammered by a falling ice shelf.
When she found the "Follows" note at the tunnel, she rolled her eyes at the image of an arrow pointing to yet another drawing of Slender Man on it. "Gah, the only thing worse than a sadistic creep is a vain sadistic creep." She moved that one to the portable potty.
She removed "always watches, no eyes, Sees all" from the landmark tree and stuck it on the side of the Water tower along with "HE RIPS YOUR EYES" to which she added "In his dreams".
She put the "leave me alone" page on the watch tower, the "help me" page on the abandoned car, the "Don't touch" sign on the front of the bathroom complex, and at the Tree with canoe landmark that was teleported from one of the other Slender game landscapes, she left the "don't look...or it takes you!" page and the "No one leaves alive" sign, to which she added "Look out for that canoe, Slender, it wants you, bad."
One more series of teleportations, and NT had managed to scatter the generators from Arrival around the 8 pages forest, and attached the lift to the motor home.
On the cross walls, NT wrote "I know what you did to Kate, Lauren, CR, Charlie Matheson and Lyra Rogers and her brother Toby Aaron, and 'I have plans for you' Slender Man, (Or Mark or whatever you call yourself.)
She wrote on the side of the red truck "Kate was here, but I'm not Kate."
Finally, she put the Oakside Park entrance by the oil tankers.
Slender Man was going to be one befuddled and confounded beast when he came to.