Wednesday, 8 August 2012

White Flag

Yesterday, I encountered Evelyn. On my own terms, this time. Or rather, instead of her approaching me, I approached her.

I was at the local supermarket, getting myself some groceries, when I saw her at the other end of the aisle. She looked different. Tired.

I tapped her on the shoulder and she turned to look at me, raising her eyebrows. "Looks like the man with no name got away in time." she said, crossing her arms. "I was wondering if you'd made it."

I asked her why she did it, and she shook her head. "You're a dangerous man." she said, smiling. "People like me like having those around."

I gave her a skeptical look, and she shrugged. "Runners armed with guns and blades are dangerous. They kill Indoctrinated. Runners armed with kindness are dangerous, because they make Indoctrinated doubt themselves. Ours is a world with little room for compassion. And you're motivated by it."

"And you like having dangerous people around." I replied flatly. "On the other side."

She snorted. "You know as well as I do that your people versus my people is a fucking lie. It's us versus It. All of us."

I shrugged, and turned to leave. "I still don't trust you." I called over my shoulder.

"I never said that wasn't a good idea." she replied, and then I left, feeling thoroughly disquieted

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Fair Warning

It's been a while. I have been without internet access for quite some time. I had to go underground, which meant being homeless for nearly a month while I went through Tamora's safehouses trying to find one that had never been located.

I made the mistake of attempting to track down another blogger in my area, Ariadne Bell, in mid-June. Unfortunately, doing so not only gave me terrible nightmares, but garnered a considerable amount of attention from He That Is and from his Indoctrinated. I really don't want to let go of somebody I could have saved, but hopefully now that I am in possession of an H kit, I will be able to do more in terms of helping lesson His impact. If I can continue looking for her without being reduced to vomiting black sludge into a gutter.

Evelyn gave me warning before they arrived. I don't know why. I still don't trust her, but she gave me an hours extra time to pack up my belongings and get as far away from my old house as possible. I haven't seen her since then. There is a possibility that somebody found out she helped me and killed her.

Tamora left things in the safehouses. Money, mostly. Clothes. And a new kit. I can make people forget again. I can be more than a bystander in this gladitorial arena.

I feel better.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Good Intent

Apologies for the absence. I haven't really had anything to say.

I haven't been up to much. I ran into Evelyn again on monday- I was loitering around Albert Park and I found her with her kids. She lives nearby, apparently. I didn't stop to talk to her. Frankly, although she's pleasant enough, I don't trust her. He That Is has a bit of a history with sending female proxies after me, which is honestly a little insulting and also pointless. Proximity to He That Is does a real number on your libido, I think. Most of the proxies I knew back then, the ones that had been proxies over puberty or for a long time, weren't really interested. Also, I've seen back the trick before, trying it again is rather stupid.

I am probably going to die a virgin. I can't really bring myself to care. There are a lot of things I will never get to do, or be. There's no point dwelling on them now.

I am twenty-nine next month. It's just another number, really. I've never really done birthdays. I usually go and buy myself a piece of fudge from the shop up the road and eat it while watching Monty Python, just to commemorate living to see another year.

I wish I could help people, like I wanted to. Still want to. But in New Zealand, there's nobody I can really do anything for. I don't have the funds to go anywhere else.

A word of advice, though. The only people I know who really "won" against the monster were Vivi and Chester, and they don't remember. The ultimate fuck-you to the monster is to be happy. To keep living despite what's happening.

I try to take my own advice, with the best of intentions, but the fact that my life as it stands is pretty much defined by It is not really helping.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Shooting Star

Today, I encountered Evelyn again while going about some business in the city- more precisely, I had gone to the movies to see The Hunger Games, for lack of anything else to do. I was sitting at the bus stop, listening to Stella's iPod, when Evelyn spotted me from across the road and came over to say hello.

"Waiting for the bus?" she asked, sitting down next to me. I shrugged. "It's another fifteen minutes away, and I don't have anything else to do."

"What are you listening to?" she asked, glancing down at the iPod in my hand. "I don't actually know, some pop artist I've never heard of. See for yourself." I replied, passing it to her.

She took it and took a close look at the unlock screen, her eyes widening. "Two Face!" she exclaimed, looking at the background. The picture was one I had taken, of Stella and Kristen embroiled in a rather intense game of Connect Four. "And- what's her name, it was Latin..."

"The pseudonym she took on as an Indoctrinated or her real name?" I asked. "Both of them have Latin roots."

Evelyn snapped her fingers a few times, frowning. "Tenebria, that was her name. What happened to her? She just stopped reporting last February."

I took back the iPod, taking a while to collect my thoughts before I spoke. "She took a cure for His compulsion, and joined two bloggers in their fight against Him. When I wiped their minds, I couldn't wipe her as  integrating her back into society would be almost impossible, as to all intents and purposes she has never existed. She was killed by Him last May."

"I'm sorry." she said. "Were you two close?" The implications behind the question hung in the air for a few long, awkward second before I shrugged.

"Not romantically." I replied. "She was as close to family as I ever had."

There was a long silence before she said. "Well, nice speaking to you, anyway," and then she got up and left.

Across the road was a very familiar face. Not-Stella, my recurring hallucination. She leaned on the wall opposite, staring at me steadily, then a gaggle of people went past her and then she was gone.

As with every time I see her, I wanted to yell "What do you want from me? Why are you here?"

She never answers, and I feel like a madman, chasing shadows and shooting stars.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Visiting Hours

Yesterday I visited Stella's grave. Vivi and Chester were there. I admit, it's relieving to see that the wipe has stuck and they both look like two perfectly healthy, normal young people in every respect.

It's hard, interacting with them both. Chester is my brother- flesh and blood kin that I was denied to chance to have a relationship with. I remember being really excited when my mother got pregnant- I was six, and the prospect of having a younger brother or sister was a exciting one. I wondered if it would be a boy or a girl, (I decided it didn't matter so long as they thought lego was cool) and what kind of a person they would be.

He That Is took me two months before Chester was born. I never even got to meet him until a year ago. I always have this sense of loss whenever I look at him. We're genetically related, we share parents and we look rather alike, but we're not really brothers. We could have been, but we are not.

They bought flowers, for Stella, and I chatted with them for a while. I can see why they were quite well-liked among the other bloggers- they're kind people. Warmhearted. Sometimes I feel I did the blogosphere a disservice, wiping them. I could have let them go on, let them die their heroic deaths the same way many others have done. But then they would be dead. 

Utilitarianism is a branch of philosophy based off the concept of the best choice being the one that is kindest. I tried to do the kindest thing, Sometimes in retrospect I wonder if my choice at the time really was the kindest possible thing, but the deed is done. You can't change the past.

The world needs a little more kindness. The blogosphere needs more kindness, I think. Vivi and Chester were well liked because they were kind, they treated others well. Some of the bloggers I have seen are in circumstances where they have nobody to turn to, where they can trust nobody, starved for compassion.

For those of you who need a shoulder to lean on, someplace to stay, to show you that small bit of kindness, I am here. 

Friday, 20 April 2012

Broken Record

I went through all the stuff in my house today, had a big spring clean. Wrong time of the year, at least in this area of the world, but I managed to find a whole lot of things that I can probably sell, which might make things a little more secure for me, financially, for a while. I should probably think about getting a job.

While I was cleaning, I came across somebody's iPod, plus a charging cord. I don't know who's it is- it's not mine, I've never owned one, but I plugged it into my laptop in order to charge it and it's doing that now.

It's Stella's. Nobody else I know would let Lady Gaga anywhere near their MP3 players. Adam used to ridicule her for it, and she used to hit him.

I miss the other H. I miss them a lot. Not a day goes by when I don't think of them, even though it's been getting near a year since their collective deaths. I miss holing up in Stella's hotel room watching british comedy shows and ridiculing politicians in the news and, just, everything. They were my friends.

Sometimes I think they'd be ashamed of me, Stella especially. I've lost my way. I've lost my kit and I haven't made any effort to replace it. I was somebody once. I was H. Healer, Helper. I tried to do good things and hoped for the best.

I'm nobody in particular now. Just another haunted guy. I remember when I thought I could be a hero, that I could help everyone. You can't help everyone, it's just not feasible. You'll fail.

I want to help, nonetheless.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Old Wounds

Yesterday, against my better judgement, I went out to coffee with the Femme Fatale. For a given definition of coffee, since I had tea.

She left another note with a time and place in my letterbox two days ago. This time, I went. I brought my crowbar, concealed inside my shoulder bag, in case things got ugly.

We sat across from each other, silent, for a while before I said "I assume you didn't invite me here for the pleasure of my company."

She looked at me, unreadable, for a few seconds. "In August of last year, an old colleague of mine showed up on my doorstep, said she was going away for a while, and if she didn't come back before Christmas, to find you. I knew her as Two-Face.I've been trying to track you down ever since. I was hoping you would be able to tell me what happened to her"

"You mean Kristen MacIntyre?" I asked. "She's dead. She killed several of my friends, then went after another. He killed her."

She looked startled for a few seconds. "So that was her real name...I take it you're not Indoctrinated, then. If you don't mind my asking, who exactly are you? All I know about you is your address, the design on your mask, and that you don't drink coffee."

"I'm not anyone in particular," I told her, "I was Indoctrinated for a while, and I wiped people's minds to give them a fresh start for a while more. Now I'm just a guy with a lot of dead friends."

"I'm Evelyn Schoeman." she said after a while, frowning at the bottom of her coffee cup. "I'm an Indoctrinated, for lack of a better word, although He has little use for old ladies like me. I haven't had to do anything major in a few years. A bit of vandalism, intimidation, that sort of thing."

I spent a minute trying to process this, before I blurted out "You're not an old lady. You're what, thirty?"

Evelyn gave me an incredulous look. "Thirty-four." she said finally. "And you can't be much younger, by the look of you."

"Twenty-eight." I retorted. "Having Where's-his-face hanging around doesn't help you stay young."

She laughed. "Well, Sir-who-has-cunningly-avoided-telling-me-his-name, I have to be off now. I have to pick up my kids from school soon."

"Kids?" I asked. The thought of a proxy raising children, I admit, was a rather alarming one.

"Three boys." she said. "They're a gift, albeit a noisy and stressful one. See you, stranger."

"Not if I see you first."

Then she left, and I went home.

I don't trust her. She's a proxy, for one, although I'm somewhat thrown by the fact that she was forthright about it.

Well, she got what she approached me for. Hopefully she will leave me alone for a while.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Femme Fatale

I went for a walk yesterday, and when I came home there was a woman leaning against the fence. She looked incongruous against the dilapidated fence and overgrown yard, reapplying her lipstick with scarcely a glance at me. I thought she was just a passer-by, so I didn't spare her a second glance.

"Where's your mask?" she asked when I walked past her. I shrugged and didn't respond, taking my keys out from around my neck and unlocking the door. I don't make a habit of talking to attractive women or proxies, as both are rather dangerous, and this woman was definitely attractive and probably a proxy, which made her at least twice as dangerous.

"You're going to invite me in for coffee." she said. She didn't say it like a request, or an order. She said it like it was a certain thing, an inevitability. She was assured, certain that I was going to do as she had said.

I turned around and told her "I don't drink coffee." before I went inside, locking the door and barring it behind me.

She stood outside my house for an hour, looking for all the world like a lost puppy, before she left. I found a note in my letterbox later that day with a time (11 this morning) and a place (one of the Starbucks' in the CBD) and also a smiley face.

Honestly, how stupid does she think I am?

I didn't go.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Origin Story

I suppose I should introduce myself.

This blog is probably not going to update very often, if at all beyond this post. This post itself is, I guess, for anyone wondering "Who's this guy?" to find out. I've been around longer than you think. Maybe some of you from the period after Core Theory, post Robert Sagel, will remember me.

The name on my drivers license, birth certificate etc is Harrison Sinclair. So I suppose if you want to address me you can refer to me as Harrison, or Harry if you want to be familiar. Most people call me H.

I was born, however, Harrison Matenga-White, twenty-nine years ago, in Auckland, New Zealand. When I was seven, a strange man with no face took me away. I went to live with other people who served him, until one day a woman broke into the house I was living in and took me away, told me that the man I was serving was evil and that I could break away. I was seventeen.

I did. After three years of near-solitary confinement. Tamora, who was a teacher, gave me a piecemeal kind of education, when I was lucid- I was never enrolled in school beyond Year 10. She taught me bits of maths and science, about history and geography, read me all the books she could find. I learned to resist the Compulsion, then I just stopped feeling it.

Tamora was an H. A Helper. She had a psychological thing she could do that...well, buried memories, let your brain fill in the gaps. Unless you specifically went searching for them, you would never remember. She would hunt down victims of the Slender man and reset them. I helped, and then became an H in my own right. I was given my own mask, as well, making it easy to pass for a proxy, pass through infested areas relatively unchallenged. It's been replaced a few times, but it's still the same model. Blank, smooth, plain white on one side and black with a white question mark stretching from eyebrow to jaw on the other.

In January, last year, I discovered a slenderblog, Exilis Veritas, upkept by a girl who lived in the same city as me. Genevieve Sullivan. I read it to see if she gave any clues as to where she lived, so I could wipe her.

Then she mentioned one of her co-workers, a close friend of hers named Chester, and as I caught up on the blog it was discovered that Chester, too, was haunted, and the two later got together as a couple.

I barely absorbed all this, because his name was Chester Matenga-White.

My brother, seven years my junior.

I kept an eye on them for months before I acted. My brother, a university student, worked at a cafe-slash-restaurant. He had a pretty redheaded girlfriend who was deadly with a cricket bat. He listened to musical artists I kind of liked, and read books I had heard of. I drank in every piece of information I could get about this little lost piece of my past.

I watched as a young Indoctrinated girl, calling herself "Tenebria", begin to harass them. I watched them win that war with kindness, stripping away the numb facade she had erected to protect herself. I watched Stella emerge from that shell. I was proud of him, of all of them. My little brother, unknowingly doing what I had set out to do-- helping others who were being affected by the Slender Man.

But they were breaking. They always do. No matter what good they were doing, what role models they must have been for the people around them, I had to wipe them. So I did. I posted on their blog informing their followers who I was (with a lot of lies, to make future wipes easier so proxies would not know the exact nature of what they were dealing with) and of the wipe, and then I wiped Vivi and Chester.

I had intended to wipe Stella as well, but when she came in to find me wiping Vivi and Chester I couldn't. This weary girl with the feverish dark eyes, so very small and thin, nineteen, looking at me with hackles raised and a kitchen knife in her hands, told me that if this was going to keep Vivi and Chester safe, make it so they could live their lives without His interference, she wouldn't stop me.

I couldn't wipe her. There was no way I could re-integrate her. She had no surviving relatives, her life had been consumed by Him the way that mine had. I looked at her, curled up like a sleepy, angry, defensive kitten in a gigantic armchair while I rewrote the memories of her closest friends, and I wanted to protect her. I wanted to protect all of them.

I walked away from that house with a heavy heart.

I kept an eye on Stella for a little while, watching as a few of the other indoctrinated that had been involved with Vivi and Chess gravitated to her. I did too, eventually. We became friends, her, Frank, Kristen, Adam and I. Kristen, who was as beautiful as she was sociopathic and damaged, snapped and went back to Him. The others remained, though.

They were like family to me, especially Stella. Tamora suggested I offer they become H, and they accepted. We all split up, going all over the globe, convinced we were going to make a difference.

Kristen- or Two Face, as she was known as a proxy, started picking us off. First Stella. She was my sister, my best friend, a bright, witty girl full of potential just snuffed out. Then Frank and Adam and Tamora.

I started seeing hallucinations of Stella shortly after her death. I still do. In my darkest moments, I see her standing or sitting a little way off, just looking at me and then she's gone.

Two Face came for me, and asked me to kill her. I should have, but I didn't. She followed me around like a stray dog, alternately begging me to kill her, asking for my forgiveness, and making incredibly awkward sexual advances until one day she left. I learned, later, that she attempted to kill one of the people responsible for Stella shaking off His hold, a fellow by the name of JediZero who was Stella's boyfriend, for lack of a better term.

That's pretty much my life story.

Apart from a trip to America to visit JediZero, I've been in New Zealand ever since. My kit was severely damaged in an incident recently, so I can't wipe minds. At the moment, I am nobody, and I have nothing but all of Tamora's savings, and mine, from her teaching gig and me getting employment however I can, from the last ten years. It's enough to live off, if I'm frugal, for a while, but not indefinitely. I need a job, which is unlikely in this economic climate. I have no qualifications and I'm not particularly good at anything. I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

I see Vivi and Chess sometimes. They don't know who I am, just that I'm a friend of their (dead) friend and they keep telling me I should come over and have coffee with them or something.

I want to. I want to get to know my brother and his tiny, fiesty redheaded fiancee. I'm not sure if I can without putting them in danger.

It's awfully lonely sometimes.