And it's whispered that soon, if we all call a tune, then the piper will lead us to reason.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In which I text people

This morning I woke up to find a vulture circling my house.

That's not some fancy metaphor. There was literally a vulture literally circling my house. I watched it for a few hours until it flew off.

I don't know why, but I shot a text to IX.
"Everything alright?"
Rather than doing the usual cryptic flier on my car thing, he actually replied.
"Fuckin peachy." (his spelling, not mine.)

Me: So, is everyone fine?
IX: Me and VII are. Noctis got VIII. Haven't heard from IV or II.
Me: Noctis "got" him?
IX: He's fine, just going to some juvenile work program. We'll break him out soon.
Me: You know what happened to the other two, don't you.
IX: No.
Me: So, what exactly happened.
IX: Nothing and everything.
Me: way to be cryptic.
IX: E.T. Phoned home, but someone else was on the line.
Me: The guys in the jogging outfits?
IX: Those where just remora.
Me: Remora?
IX: Like sharks.
Now, while most kids my age were into dinosaurs, I was really into sharks. Maybe it had something to do with living near the ocean my whole life, but every book I could find on them, I would take home and read as soon as possible. Anybody who's ever seen a nature documentary which discusses Selachimorpha in any way shape or form will notice that sharks always seem to have a cloud of fish groupies that follow them anywhere.
Me: Like fish people?
IX: No, like parasites. Moochers. They gather in places where Slenderfag shows up and try and see if they can feed of the scraps he leave behind.
Me: So you were trying to contact Slenderman
IX: No, we were trying to catch one of those little parasite shits and have him find Slenderfag for us.
Me: But something went wrong.
IX: There were a lot of them. Like when you leave a sandwich out, and when you come back it's covered in cockroaches.
Me: Nice.
IX: And Noc-tits had to show up and fuck everything up.
Me: I talked to one of them
IX: Yeah. It's spelled Gwyn-ap-nudd, by the way. He's a douche.
Me: Right.
IX: Bring a mask with you. Everywhere.
Me: Why?
IX: They can't see you if you wear the mask.
Me: Noctis?
IX: No, you dumb fuck! The parasites.
Me: Oh.
After a few hours of silence, I decided to try again.
Me: So, about Noctis.
IX: Yeah.
Me: If I wanted to talk to them, where do I start?
IX: They come to you, not the other way around.
Me: You used to be part of Noctis
IX: So
Me: You could tell me where their hide out is.
30 minuets later...
IX: Right now, they're probably based somewhere near you.
Me: Ok, where do I start looking?
IX: Churches, Gvt bldings, hospitals. Look close, they'll want to keep surveillance on you 24/7.
Me: There's a church across the street from my house.
IX: I know. One's been bumming around there. You'll run into him again.
Me: Gwyn?
IX: No, different guy. Already mentioned him in your blog.
Me: Who?
I didn't get a reply.

So, Noctis, consider this me calling for an appointment. Monday sound good? 4:00?

Jesus christ, this is asinine.

Monday, November 7, 2011

In which the night chases me.

I had gone through Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and part of Animals when we finally stopped. The door opened, and I was instantly hit with the smell of Eucalyptus Trees. We were parked near a small grove of them. Farmers often plant Eucalyptus along the road to stop soot and wind from wrecking their crops, and sure enough, we were right on the edge of farm country. The fog had thinned enough for me to see acre upon acre of orange groves and strawberry patches and garlic fields and more stretching off on one side of the road. On the other side, was dark, damp wilderness.
Three guesses as to which direction we went.
And so we walked into the darkness along a small muddy path into the hills, each of us carrying something. I got stuck with a large, heavy bucket of white paint. The rest had paintbrushes, spray cans, and even several large boxes of Kosher Salt.
It was dark. Unbelievably dark, in fact. And yet, in the small patches of light available, I could see shapes moving. Small and quick. I could hear them rustle in the tall, dry grass. Rabbits and mice, of course, but tell that to the me of four days ago. Not to mention, where there’s rabbits and mice, there are bound to be rattlesnakes.
Despite the cold, I was soaked with sweat. At least my labor was keeping me from freezing to death in the fog. I hadn’t packed a very light coat, after all, it’s California, but something about this place just kept me on the verge of shivering.
It was well after midnight when I saw the barn emerge from the mist. Like a great whale skeleton, all that was left where the steel beams hold up the tin roof. I finally knew where we were. Just about everyone in Orange County has heard of the Scary Dairy, the burnt down old dairy farm run by inmates at a former mental hospital. Most everyone spends at least one Halloween here, hoping to find the ghosts of former patients or conduct séances. It’s just, when VII told me IV and Bunnyman’s story, I just didn’t think they were talking about THIS specific burnt down dairy farm. The story I heard was that one of the patients went postal and burned the place to the ground, and that his spirit still haunts the grounds. Naturally, I don’t believe in ghosts. I was more afraid of the gang members and tweekers who also frequented this place, as evidenced by the copious graffiti covering the crumbling buildings. We walked to the adobe like structure just beyond the barn.
IX gave the order for us to form a circle. He took out his Swiss Army knife, poked his finger with it, and said for all of us to hear, “To Reason, to The Black Sun, and to The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” He held out his finger, and let a solitary drop of blood fall to the ground. He passed the knife on to VII.
“To Reason, to The Black Sun, and to The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” He pricked his finger, gave his blood, and passed on the knife to VIII.
VIII, instead of pricking his finger, ran the blade slowly against his palm. He silently passed the Knife to VI. He cut his hand, and passed the knife to II, who also cut her hand. Then, they both joined their hands together, blood mixing with blood. The knife never came to me, thank god. I don’t much like the sight of my own blood.
“Fire with water” IX announced. He handed me a box of salt and told me to make a circle around VI and II. “Earth and air.” VIII and VII stepped into the circle of salt. IX dug into the pocket of his Metallica hoodie, and pulled out an egg, and a mercury thermometer.
I should probably mention that it was about this point when I noticed that II and VI were taking off their clothes. Yeah, freaky Pagan cultist stuff, I know. VII and VIII had their backs turned, but there I was, front row view to the whole show. They left their masks on, but still, poor VI looked like he was going to die of hypothermia. He had no muscle mass to speak of, and his arms where covered in blotches that I assumed where probably from Heroin use. II, on the other hand was just pale and the kind of slender you’d expect a Tolkien elf to be. I also realized that this was the first time I had ever seen a naked woman (in person, I mean.) and my mind went back to IX’s joke about me being the “Virgin Sacrifice” needless to say, it really stung. Anyway, I felt uncomfortable, a fifth wheel gone flat.
“Anything else?” I asked.
“You can whitewash the buildings,” he said as he handed me a paintbrush and a spray can. “Spray the Glyph on when you’re done.”
I went to my duty. Every so often peaking back over my shoulder to see what was going on. The four in the circle started to chant. I don’t know what language it was, it didn’t sound Latin, or Greek, or anything I’d ever heard. It was sharp, guttural, and gave me kind of an uneasy feeling in my gut. IX sprinkled salt in several other patterns. I could see triangles, squares, Greek and Hebrew letters, and more still that I never got a clear look at. Probably for the best though. What the hell am I saying? I don’t believe in this crap! I went back to my errand like one of Tom Sawyer’s unwitting victims until I felt had painted over enough gang signs. I waited for the paint to dry, still kind of ashamed to actually watch the ritual, and I took the can of black spray paint, and I made a circle. “That’s me,” I thought, “A zero.” Next came the X through the middle. When I saw it completed, I had this sense of foreboding. That’s me, crossed out, exed through. That’s when I felt the bright, hot white pointed at my direction.
I turned around, all five of them silhouetted in a bright spotlight, bright enough that it hurt to look at. IX, VII, and VIII dropped to the ground and began to scatter the salt. II and VI picked up bits and pieces of their clothes, lying in a pile on the ground and ran. After a moment’s hesitation, I booked it too, the sound of dogs barking at my back. I ran and I ran into the dark, my lungs filling with cold air, so cold that it hurt, so cold that it felt like I was drowning. The barking got louder, and louder, and louder.
I stumbled, I ran with all the grace of a marionette tangled in its own strings, and I dived into a sage bush, thorns cutting at my skin. I heard footsteps. My pursuer ran past. I inched out of the twigs. It was human. Long blond hair that I had seen once before. On Halloween, in fact, being loaded into an ambulance. I don’t know what made me do it, and if I could go back in time, I would have punched myself in the face for doing it, but when I saw him, I took of my mask and shouted, “Over here!”
He turned around, puzzled. A line of stitches ran along his forehead. He looked at me, and shouted, “What are you, stupid? Put your mask back on!”
Ok, I though, it’s a start.
“Are you Noctis?”
“Yeah, put your mask back on, before I put it on you myself.”
I complied. “Do you have a name.”
“Gwin Opneeth” he said (at least, I think so. I’ll have to look up the spelling later)
“I need to talk to you.”
“Not now. Look, just get out of here.”
“No.” I said. Once again, I don’t know why. Maybe I was just sick of being left in the dark. Maybe I was just sick of being Zero, waiting for the day I’d get an X through me too, and I would have said this to Mr. Gwin, if my thoughts hadn’t been railroaded by a loud, screeching sound.
All bravery and bravado left me. My legs where jelly, my entrails were cold water, and everything seemed darker. Gwin gave a whistle, and a pair of dogs bounded up to him. “I’ll distract them.” He said.
Them? Jesus Christ!
I ran. I didn’t know I could run so fast or so far on such short breath. I would fall, and I would get back up again only to run more. Nose running, eyes watering, and sweat flowing like a cascade, I am blind and alone in the dark. My hands brush up against something sticky.
“Oh god, Blood!” I think, but when I clear the sweat from my eyes, I find it’s just paint. And there’s a trail of the stuff, half trampled in the mud, but still fresh. I follow, sprinting, and gasping the whole way until, at last, I run into the cold, white, metal body of the van. I feel secure, safe, and absolutely frigid.
I open the door, and huddled like a small, broken toy, is II, wearing nothing but a t-shirt, shivering and sobbing. What else could I do but give her my jacket.
And it’s just the two of us, silent and alone. And it takes me a good whole minute to realize that she’s not even wearing her mask anymore. Her face is covered in mud, except for the small canyons carved by her tears. “She’s pretty.” I think. Then I remember that I’m probably going to die here. I take my mask off, put my arm around her, and spend the next hour letting her cry on my shoulder.
When I heard the footsteps, I was afraid, sure, but at the same time, I felt, I don’t know, ready. I didn’t mind that there was so much I wanted to still do, so much I wanted to see and experience, but at the same time well, I thought about the Serenity Prayer. And I’m not religious by any stretch of the imagination, but this little diddy always, I don’t know, gave me some sort of comfort:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Luckily, those footsteps where more of a saving grace than an omen of doom. IX and VII hopped in the van, started the engine, and without a word we were on the road. And we drove, silent but for II’s sobbing. Down the 101 down through LA to the parking garage.
The sun had not yet risen, the fog had become frost, and I was more than eager to get back in my car, crank the heater, go home to my bed, pull the covers over my head and tell myself that this whole thing was just some awful dream.
“Move fast,” said IX as they killed the motor.
“What?” I said, half groggy. VII opened the back door, and II and I crawled out. I ran to my car, jumped inside, turned on the lights and the heater, and put it in drive. I was done, no more, time to go home. And yet, Caught in my headlights, there he was, the dude in the grey hoodie. Except, this time, it was dudes in grey hoodies. Plural! And that’s all I could see, the baggy grey clothes.
And there was a scream. I knew that voice. It was II.
The Van flew past and out of the parking garage, I followed, and so did the grey men. I could see them in my rearview mirror, and they looked normal enough. I went down the deserted road at a brisk 30 miles per hour. Where they gaining on me? No, couldn’t be. I floored the accelerator, and looked again. Arms aren’t supposed to move like that, are they? I turned my rearview around so I wouldn’t be tempted to look back. I was going at least 70 now, residential streets, mind you! Then, THUNK! As if something just struck the back of my car. I didn’t want to think about it, didn’t want to stop, I turned, I changed lanes, I got myself completely lost. It wasn’t until the sun was starting to rise that I dared to look. I pulled into a parking lot. On the back of my car was a ring of small scratches.
I’ve been typing this almost 6 hours. The librarian’s starting to look at me a little funny. I guess this is where I sign off, but I will be back, because I’m still alive. I don’t know how, but I’m still alive.

In which I get some real exposition.

This post is being typed up on a computer in my local public library, simply because I've been too scared to go home for almost half a week. The story I gave to my parents is that I felt like visiting a friend up north for the weekend. The actual reason why I've spent the last four days sleeping with my car with all the lights on is a bit longer and… well, here goes nothing.
November 2nd was a hot day, and in Southern California, hot days often mean foggy nights, and that night was no exception. 7:00 came, I grabbed a Japanese style fox mask that my friend had given me in high school (the one I’m wearing in my Avatar), and I set out for the meeting place: where the 5 freeway meets the 91. It’s a very surreal place, like a giant forest of thick concrete pillars supporting a complex tangle of cement and asphalt veins. So complex, so organic, and yet inorganic all at once. At night, of course, there are hundreds of floodlights illuminating traffic signs and killing all shadows and hiding spots for vagrants and criminals alike. In the fog, however, the light just reflects off itself, and everything becomes a blur of yellow, as if the world is being projected through an amber lens.
I found a parking lot near a Circle K, and waited. 8:00, nobody. I wondered if I had done what I was supposed to. Part of me wanted to go home; part of me was mad about wasted gas and wanted me to at least wait until I got some sort of answer. At this point, the fog was just beginning to thin out, and I was near enough to Disneyland to possibly at least catch the firework show. I’m kind of ashamed to admit that was my main motivation for staying, but hey, I really like fireworks!
Sadly, the fog was still thick enough so that all I could see were the occasional glimpses of a bright flash of red, green, or purple. I could hear the Bang-Bang of the grand finale; see the silhouette of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle illuminated by white hot sparks, when I realized that I was no longer alone in the parking lot. Needless to say, there were strange things afoot at this Circle K.
A figure in the mist, and no, it wasn’t tall and lanky. Well, at least not exceptionally so. I could only see a shape and a bit of color, but it certainly looked like a person, one wearing a baggy, grey sweatshirt. It stared at me, I stared at it, and I don’t know how long this lasted until my Chariot finally arrived.
It was a white panel van, the kind you expect to contain men with comb-overs and mustaches who have a perchance for promising “free candy” to unsuspecting tykes. One of the headlights was smashed and the bumper bent out of place and the whole front end looked kind of like a winking smiley face. IX was in the passenger’s seat, and behind the wheel was the dude in the Plague Doctor mask that I saw on Halloween. The doctor rolled down his window and said in a very calm voice, “It’s not safe here anymore, follow us.”
I got in my car, and I followed. I kept an eye out for the dude in grey, but he seemed more interested in the complex knot that the freeway formed.
We went up the 5 a ways, then exited, got back on, exited again, left turn, right turn, back to left, etc. etc. I had no idea where the hell I was, and I had no idea what the hell Mr. Plague Doctor was doing until I remembered that my dad used to do this same sort of thing when he still was suffering from his paranoid delusions. We were trying to shake off a tail.
When we did stop, I was too afraid to get out of my car. We had pulled into a parking garage, but something about this place didn’t sit right with me. For miles around was construction yard after construction yard. Half built structures and equipment cast odd shadows. The parking garage itself wasn’t even illuminated; I don’t even think it was finished. From the outside it looked like half a building, it’s slopping, disorienting floors more H.P. Lovecraft than Frank Lloyd Wright. IX jumped out of the van and busied himself with swapping out the license plates. The driver introduced himself.
VII: I’m VII (VIE-ee). So you’re David.”
Me: Yeah, so…
VII: So, glad you could make it.
Me: Is it just you two?
VII: II, VI (Vie), and VIII are in the back. We’re going to get going as soon as IX finishes changing the plates.
Me: Where we going?
IX: Walls have ears.
What walls? I thought to myself. Well, if I knew everything about what was going on it wouldn’t be an adventure. I opened the door, and jumped on in the back. I recognized II, but not the dude she was cuddling with. He wore camo print clothing and a fox mask. VIII was lying down on the metal floor of the van nestled between two five gallon buckets of white paint.
Me: Hey, long time no see.  
II: Hello.
Me: (to VI) so, you’re VI?
VI, instead of responding whispered into II’s ear.
II: That’s right.
Me: VIII’s looking tired.
II: He had a long day.
VII and IX jump back in the cab.
VII: Meds, everyone
II pulls out a small, Ziploc bag filled with small marzipan skulls. IX hands her a small, Swiss army knife. She gives everyone, me included, a skull.
VII: Carve your name on it, then eat it.
II: Don’t let anyone see your face.
Me: So, what would I be called, “EX” or just “Ten”
IX: You are “Oh,” as in Zero, because that’s what you are.
I stay silent. I carve a as big a 0 into my marzipan skull as I can, then slip it under my mask. Even VIII gets up long enough to ingest his. Then the van starts to lurch its way out of the garage and onto the street.
Me: How far?
VII: two hours, maybe three, depending on the traffic.
Me: That’s a long drive. So, what’s on the agenda tonight?
VII: Standard Ritual, IX wanted to bring you along.
Me: Awww, that’s so sweet of you.
IX: We needed a virgin sacrifice.
I’d probably laugh, but I’m not exactly sure if he’s joking.
VII: Actually, it’s nothing too crazy, but we do need an extra set of hands. I(bunny) and IV can’t take traveling too well, III has a job, and V’s doing some stupid protest thing.
Me: So, what’s up with Bunny and IV, they sound like they’ve got emphysema or something?
VII: Something like that. IV was a fireman like forty years ago or something.
Me: And Bunny?
VII: IV rescued him out of a fire.
Me: How many guesses do I get as to what caused that fire?
VII: Just one. Yeah, He was there. It was at a mental hospital. [Bunny] was there because he kept telling people that a tall man in black was following him. They did all sorts of things to him, electroshock, medicines, stuff like that. And he was rescued by The Piper.
Me: He burned the whole thing down?
VII: just the barn. There was a dairy farm on the property that the inmates were allowed to work at. [Bunny] was in the barn when it caught fire. IV responded to the call, and they both got trapped in there.
Me: But they made it out.
IX: Noctis pulled them out. They were unconscious and had inhaled a lot of smoke.
VII: [Bunny] went on to become a teacher, one of his students, that would be II, told him about Black Sun.
Me: Really, what’s your story?
II: not now.
VII: Anyways IV was homeless for a while, but whenever he was near a computer, he’d post about The Piper. IX found those posts and tracked him down.
Me: And what are your stories?
VII: Broken home, called by the piper, and had my chance stolen by the Noctis.
Me: So you actually believe that he’s some sort of pied piper?
VII: not always, when I first found out about Noctis, I actually joined them.
Me: You were part of Noctis?
VII: Yeah, me and IX-
IX: Shut the fuck up!
Awkward silence ensues.
Me: Who are Noctis?
VII: What do you know already?
Me: They like coats, they have code names, and they’re in cahoots with the government.
VII: Custodes Noctis is an old group. Really old. Like probably had a hand in most major historical events old.
Me: So Slenderman’s old too.
VII: Kind of. The Piper, we think, has always existed in some form or another.
Me: But now, he’s a skinny dude in a suit.
VII: yeah.
Me: So, what came first, Victor Surge’s post, or the Slenderman we all know today?
VII: We don’t actually know. The older members, III, I, and IV all say that when they were kids he looked different, but when they try to draw it or describe it, it just comes out looking like a faceless dude in a suit, like always.
Me: But he does have a face.
VII: yes he does, but it’s the same thing, I know he has a face, I can still remember what it was like to look into his eyes, but when I try to remember what it looks like, nothing!
Me: And that doesn’t strike you as the least bit unsettling?
VII: to be honest, no. Look, do you remember being born?
Me: no.
VII: of course not, or anything of early childhood. You know those memories are there, but you can’t just draw on them.
Me: so?
VII: so, what is it that The Piper promises? Eternal childhood of course.
Me: That doesn’t sound so great.
VII: Does it? I think it sounds wonderful.
Me: I didn’t exactly have the best childhood.
VII: Neither did I, or any of us for that matter. But think about how much worse adulthood is. Forgive me if I sound like V here, but when it all comes down to it, all you get for staying behind is the prospect that you get to work nine to five for the rest of your life for shit you can barely afford because someone says you want it bad enough.
When he put it like that, I couldn’t help but think that yeah, maybe he did have a point. Maybe sometimes the stranger with candy really just wants to give you a tootsie pop after all. We spend our lives being scared little animals that we don’t see that the lion chasing us just has a thorn in his paw.
I turned on my iPod, popped in my earphones and listened to some Pink Floyd…

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In which I get a summons.

Happy Dia de lost Muertos, everyone.

So, I spent my Halloween volunteering at some spiffy neighborhood-wide maze thing. It was fairytale themed this year, and I was supposed to play Beast from Beauty and the beast. In other words, I was wrapped in a shag carpet, and had to prance around and snarl at people for about eight hours.

And guess who decided to stop by! Good ol' IX! I was given instructions not to interact with the guests, and I'm sure they couldn't recognize me in my get up, so I took a moment to follow him. He met up with V, a large dude in a horse mask who I think is VIII (but don't hold me to it), and another dude wearing some sort of Plague Doctor masks (the white ones with the long beak-like noses).

Anyway, they lingered around long after they had gotten a glimpse at all the exhibits, and they stood around one of the darkened ones (a fuse had blown in the house that was supposed to give it power) trying their hardest not to look suspicious (which they were failing miserably at.) As the crowd thinned, VIII pulled something out from under his shirt. From where I was at, it looked like a piece of tar paper. The other two laid it on the ground right in the middle of the street just as another wave of pedestrians washed over them.

I couldn't find them again after that, but an hour later I heard an ambulance siren. After winding my way thought the crowd as best as I could, I finally came to where the flashing red lights were. The paramedics where busy trying to wheel some poor schmuck into the the ambulance, but he was struggling and screaming as best as he could. "No, I don't need help! I don't need medical attention!" etc. He was tall and lanky, he had long hair, long limbs, and a long, red gash running down his forehead.

I found one of my fellow volunteers, and asked if she saw what happened, and she said, "Three guys were trying to tag the wall Humpty Dumpty falls off of, and someone passing by tried to stop them, but the kids just threw the spray can at his head and ran off. Then when someone tried to call the paramedics for him, he freaked out and the police got involved."

I asked if she saw what the kids looked like, and she said, "One of them had a horse head mask on, but I didn't see what the other two looked like."

The rest of the night went by uneventfully. I changed out of my costume (now more like a lump of sweat-soaked tufts of fluff than a shag carpet) and headed back to my car. There was one of those little fliers that I had grown to detest stuck on the windshield.

"Dia de lost muertos
Where the 91 hits the 5
I'm sure you're sick of all this mystery bullshit too.
Bring a mask. Must be stolen, made, or given. Not bought.
'Two riders where approaching, and the wind began to howl.'

I am sick of it. I'm going to get as many answers as I can out of that douchebag tonight, so-help-me-god, and I'm going to write about it in this blog sometime between tomorrow or next year.
Seriously, I suck at this whole "Update schedule" thing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In which I just can't let sleeping dogs lie.

It's 2:30, and I'm too busy coughing up lava to sleep.
It's not like I sleep anyway. Aderall and Caffeine tend to do that.

Anyway, some sort of siren song brought me back to this thing, so I might as well try to say something.

Hey! Hi!

This isn't working.

I'm sick. That's news (not really, considering I spend a good chunk of my time either being lethargic or sick). It's a special kind of sickness that happens to me every year at the exact same time.

Is this interesting? Let's go into the really gross details!
Well, my tonsils swell up to be as big as Chicken McNuggets, I start to sound like Tom Waits when I talk, I cough up this thick, yellowey mucus, and my nostrils leave the taps on maximum.

I have no idea why I'm talking about this! I just want something to talk about. There's something I want to talk about but can't! Spit it out!

Ok, so this sickness, by some cosmic coincidence (read: God hates me) always happens to fall on the same weekend that the church across the street from my house has its big carnival thing. Fair rides, cotton candy, clowns, carnies, the whole shebang. I've lived across the street from this my whole life, but I rarely ever went due to the fact that on the one weekend in the year they have it, I always end up in bed trying not to choke on my own sputum. Well, I'm old enough now that the Fair is more of an annoyance than a magical festival of lights and music. You try sleeping when you have a bunch of drunk pre-teens screaming bloody murder at all hours of the night.
What am I complaining about? Like I ever sleep!
Fucking kids these days! Jesus Christ, I'm 22 and I'm saying that! Frankly I had half a mind to go up to random kids and start handing out pamphlets explaining the basics of the Slender Mythos. Hehehehehehehhee.
That's not funny. Jesus Christ! What's wrong with me!

I'm not afraid of Slenderman. This isn't some bravado, macho thing. A better way to describe it is, "I have no reason to fear Slenderman." I have plenty of reasons to hate him, but seeing as I am not a pre-pubecent child, or fit any cliches for horror movie victims (I'm neither Black, Blond, nor Promiscuous)  I don't think I'll ever see him. I have real things to be afraid of. Lions, tigers, and hobos, Oh My!
See, I was well enough to go to the fair this afternoon. Well enough to get a funnel cake and go home, at least. I got in line at the funnel cake stand. Then I heard this heavy breathing, like someone dying of tuberculosis. In the line next to me, was this dude, looked like every "Scary Black Man" archetype I'd ever seen in movies, scragly gray beard; natty, unkept hair; and a black trench coat in the 80 degree heat that made me think he was either hiding some sort of mini arsenal or just hiding the fact that that coat was literally the only thing he was wearing. He stood there, sunglasses on, face pointed directly at me. That gaze freaked me out so badly, it took me a whole minute to realize he had a seeing-eye dog with him. The point is, I think, is that there's plenty to be scared of in the world already, and even the minority of those things are actually worth getting scared over.
Not that I don't freak out a little when I'm running on zero sleep, and out of the corner of my eye I see something move. Or I see a silhouette of a tree in the dark that looks a little too much...

Ok, fuck it, Slenderman terrifies the bejesus out of me! Are you happy now!
But that's normal. That's rational! That's like being afraid of the possibility of getting eaten by a shark. "Ok," says I, "I'll just stay out of the water." Or, in this case, don't go making friends with children, and make sure they stay the fuck away from my computer. I don't know any kids. I don't dislike them, but I don't particularly go out of my way to make friends with them.
My sister is pregnant. That's what this entire entry has been about. Somehow it took the above bit of logorreah to allow me to wrap my head around the fact that someone I've know my entire life is suddenly reproducing (something I often forget is a thing people can do) or the fact that I'm old enough to be "Uncle David."
This is my middle sister specifically. Not my snooty, insane oldest sister who I barely know, not my perfect and evil youngest sister, but the middle one: the one that didn't get Mom and Dad's insane expectations thrust on her, the one who left the house before Dad got to the point where he was sitting outside ever night with a shotgun because he was convinced the CIA was trying to steal our trash, the one member of my family I actually like let alone spend time with. If it were one of the other sisters, I'd probably only see the kid every other Christmas if I could avoid it.
Naturally, it'll be several years until the little dude's old enough to use a computer, and many more until it can find ol' Slendypuss, but still.
The point is, I want to put all this behind me. All I want to remind me of the fact that something like Slenderman even exists is the daily Chemo updates from A.J. But it's not going away is it? I can't escape.
I sent a text to IX last week.
"Dude, Need your advice.
This is David, by the way."
Two days later, came his response in the form of another flier stuck under my car's windshield wiper.
"The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
Funny, he never struck me as the Simon and Garfunkel type. Either way, that helps me about as much as the Bush administration helped to soften overseas hatred for America.

I've heard Black Sun's side of the story. Slendy takes the kids to Candyland, and all is right with the world. Noctis is bad for making the kids stay.
The thing is, I want to hear Noctis's side of the story. First hand.

I know you're there. I know you're reading this! I know you can find me! It's not hard. Hell, you could have your Government buddies "Backtrace my IP" or whatever. Just don't leave me in the dark like this!

It's almost 4:00. I have school tomorrow. Fuck!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In which I retire early

Fist, I must set the scene: The Mojave. There is no silence that can match that of night in the desert. It's oppressive, it suffocates. Perhaps because you're too afraid to breathe, least you attract whatever lurks out in the shadows of the Yucca and Joshua Trees. It's dark too, but in an unusual way. Your eyes can adjust to unnatural levels, so even the tiniest spark a world a way is like Times Square. The stars are something utterly indescribable. It would be an insult to try and put them into words, so just see them for yourself one day.

Everywhere in the desert are towns that have boomed and busted. Old foundations, stone chimneys growing out of the dust like petrified logs, vestiges of civilization slowly brought down to all fours by the twin ravages of time and weather. The well runs dry, the gold mine dies, and everyone leaves. We truly are Nature's bitch.

Between the myrid ghost towns are the gas stations. Oasises. There's thousands of them between the sea and Vegas. Most are empty, devoid of life save for the sagebrush, the coyotes, and the occasional Meth Alchemist. 

That was where I was standing, on the cracked pavement beside an old, abandoned Texico station with a paper bag over my head.

My, shall we say, chaperone guided me to the boarded up convenience store. Through the cracks in the stucco, I could see the blue-white light of a Coleman gas lamp. Those lamps are terrible to take camping if you're scared of the wilderness. Everything seems desaturated in it's glow. Everyone looks like a corpse. My stomach sank. "In space, no one can hear you scream," I thought. There's plenty of space in the Mojave. My escort, was about a head and a half shorter than I was, and wearing a mask that probably would screw with his peripheral vision. Running was always an option.

Needless to say, I didn't.
"Stay." he said. His voice was flat and deep. When a hostile stranger tells you to do something, you do it. You do it without thinking. Sounds counter-intuitive, but that's what most survival handbooks say, and that's the strategy I adopted. He pushed away a length of plywood covering what used to be a door, and entered. There were cheers. There was clapping. There were was talking.

The "door" slid open again, and a hand beckoned me inside. It was different than the V wannabe. It was older and feminine. I squeezed through the opening, and as my eyes adjusted to the Coleman Corpselight, I was greeted with applause.

There were 7, including the V wannabe. All wrapped in bedsheets, all wearing masks that covered their full faces. On every wall, the X inside the circle. His glyph.

One of them, a woman who looked like she had a crow super-glued to her her face stood up and said, "A friend of A.J. is a friend of ours!"
"Hi," I managed to say, too weirded out to form proper questions such as, "who are you?" and "How do you know A.J.?"

They answered those for me. The next to rise looked like he got his mask out of a five year old's Easter-basket. It was a pastel yellow rabbit face, carrot-sucking grin and all.

"We, are the Hermetic Order of the Black Sun. We read the blogs," he said between breaths.
I remember wanting to make a joke about how a cult dedicating to blogging would be better off getting a Tumblr, rather than meeting in the desert, but the Bunny man continued.
"We look for information about Him."
"Slenderman?" I asked.
"That is one name," he wheezed.
"And you guys wanted to see me?"
"We weren't aware you were coming until ICKS said you were here. It's good to meet you, David."
"So. Black Dawn," I said, "You guys interested in Slenderman, I take it."
"He is The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," whispered another one. She had a white china mask with a red and blue lightning bolt over one eye. "When the black sun rises, he will take us."
Damsel in distress? Oh, A.J. Stopped Slendy, maybe they want to know too.
"It's simple, you just got to stand up to Him."
"And we will stand with Him and walk to where the black sun rises." said the bunny-man
... What?
"Did she ever tell you what He was like?" said a naisly dude wearing a Dubya mask. "In person. I remember when I was little, it was amazing."
"Are we talking about the same Slenderman here? Monster of the dark, sets fires to schools and kidnaps children?"
"No, we're talking about Yao fucking Ming," said the kidnapper.

Silence. Oppressing, suffocating silence.

"Wait," I said after a while, still trying to put the pieces back together, "Who are you guys again?"
"The fuckin' Order of the Black fuckin' Sun," said the kidnapper. "It rises, he comes, we go."
"We were chosen by him," said Dubya, "When, we where kids. We all were. Then they came."
"Noctis?" I asked
"Fuckin' Noctis, man!" said Dubya, "They just ruin everything!"
Oh goddamnit, I thought to myself. What have I gotten into?
"So, Slenderman stalked you when you were kids, then the Noctis helped you out, but now you want Slenderman to stalk you again?"
"He is the Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The Black Sun will rise, and he will lead us to the great Elsewhere." said the chinadoll.
You have got to be FUCKING KIDDING ME!
"And a new day will Dawn for those who stand long. And the forest will echo with laughter," Said lady crowface.

Helter Skelter: She's comin' down fast.

The next couple hours devolved into music discussion, some stupid political bullshit, and talking about the various hobbies of the people in the group. I tuned myself to a different station. If anything important was said, I don't remember it. I did eventually catch on to the "names" of these Black Sun dudes.

I (pronounced EE): Bunny-man, and will henceforth be Bunny-man to me, because typing "I" would be just too confusing..
II (EE-yai): had a soft voice that kind of sounded like she was far away, that the wind only barely carried her words to your ears. Her mask was porcelain, possibly hand made. It made her look like a chinadoll Ziggy Stardust.
III (Aye-ee-YAI) was crowface lady. Middle-aged, possibly. Eloquent, and her voice carried. As a theater nerd myself, I could tell she had been in a few plays. Her mask was some sort of black, feathery thing with a large nose.
IV (IVY) Male, sounded much older than anyone else in the group. Never said anything important and moved very little. His mask was gold colored plastic.
V (VEE) Dubya. Ironically enough didn't have a V mask. Would not shut up!
IX (ICKS) My kidnaper.

VIII (Vee-aye-EE-yai) I met in Expo park wearing the horse mask, and VI and VII were away on some non disclosed "business trip".

As I grew more at ease, I began to ask more questions. (paraphrased, of course. It's been a while, and I may be leaving something out.)

Me: So, you think Slenderman is good?
I: It's more complex than that.
Me: But, I don't think I've seen him do anything good?
III: You've seen him?
Me: Read about him, I mean. In all the blogs.

I: How many of those blogs are telling the truth?
Me: A.J. was.
III: You get unreliable narrators in stories all the time. Maybe she just misread something in His intentions.
Me: so she misread Slenderman killing a bunch of people in front of her, whipping her senseless, and giving her cancer?
I: We are tiny things in this universe, so small that we cannot comprehend what our own cards are.
Me: Slenderman works in mysterious ways?
I: essentially.
Me: What is He?
I: Many things. Many names.
V: He is a reflection of us. Think about it, He takes the form of a tall white man in a black suit, because we've been told by the government, and by school that we should trust the tall white men in suits!
II: I think, He's a Fairy.
V: No, listen. He wants us to trust him, because he sees us, and he sees that we do put our trust in the men in suits.
III: I don't think it's that at all. If he wanted our trust, he'd probably look different to each person. Instead, he kind of looks scary.
V: He's scary because that's what the men in suits truly are. That's what they look like with out the haze of propaganda and brainwashing. He is truth reflected and distilled.
Me:  Why children
 V: *long winded speech that boils down to "children are innocent. The big bad Government hasn't gotten them yet, blah, blah, blah"*

I: A.J. was preventing Anya from going with The Piper. She interfered with higher powers. She's lucky to escape with that much.
Me: Anya didn't want to go.
III: She was scared. We all were when it was our time, and still are to some extent.
II: David, what do you think He is?
Me: I don't know. I didn't even believe He existed until recently, until he hurt my best friend. I don't care if he is good or bad, that alone is reason enough for me to hate Him.
III: Take a guess. It's what we do.
Me: He's a fairy.
II: He is. Not like Tinkerbell, but, like a Fey.
Me: Well, Miss Aye-yai-yai, what's your opinion.
III: That's a longer story. When I was 10, He came for me. I was scared. I cried almost every night knowing he was out there, looking through my window at me. Or maybe in my closet, or just down the hall. It kept getting worse and worse, until I broke down and told my aunt. She took me to see these strange men. They all talked in whispered and had funny names. They called my aunt Nahual.
Me: Noctis?
III: Noctis. One dark night, we gathered in the desert. Myself, my aunt, six men, and one I thought was a werewolf. Don't laugh, I was ten. He was old, smelled like piss and had more hair on his face and chest than his scalp. Then He came. He took the the man in his, tentacles, I guess you could call them that. He tore the man up, like he was tissue paper. And He vanished. Never saw him again. And I went home, to a house that smelled like whiskey, and I tried to sleep despite my parents yelling, and I envied the strange, pee smelling wolf man. I began to pray for Him to return. To take me.
Me: I'm sorry
II: He doesn't do that to the children though. They just vanish with Him. Just the ones Noctis give to Him.
III: I wanted to vanish too. Everyday I wonder what could have been. Where He would have taken me.
IV: Only Him, Only Him. No more, no more. (first and last words on the subject of Slenderman he said all night).
III: to get back to your question, to me, Slenderman, The Piper, whatever you want to call him, He is a protector lost children. And he wants to help them, but he's not human, He doesn't know why the children are frightened of Him or understand. And Noctis, being what they are, don't bother to understand either.
Me: I think the fact that he kills people is a pretty big tip off.
V: He kills people that deserve it.
Me: Like the hobo-wolfman.
V: Slenderman works in mysterious ways, brother.
Me: and he only goes after kids who know he exists, who believe in him.
II: like a fairy.
Me: Like a fairy.
There is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophies, Horatio.

Not long after, one by one, they pulled out their sleeping bags. I sat there watching the metamorphosis. Pupa to Chrysalis.

Zhuangzi dreamed he was a butterfly. Happily he fluttered. He did not know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly, he woke up, very much Zhuangzi, and he asked himself, "Am I Zhuangzi, who dreamed I was a butterfly, or am I the butterfly who dreams he is Zhuangzi?"

The sun was rising, I decided to leave. I pulled  back the board, breathed in the desert morning. There was IX. A smoldering cigarette in his fingertips.
Me:So, about my window.
IX: next time you answer when called.
Me: Don't be so cryptic, then.
IX: Not my problem. Gimme your phone.
I obliged. See above for how I handle hostile people making demands. He typed something in.
IX: Contact info.
Me: So, Slenderman takes children to Neverland?
IX: *shrug* Not my problem what Slenderfag does with his jailbait.
Me: Why am I here?
IX: Because you want to know. This is lesson one: Slenderman is not one entity. Slenderman is everyone He's ever touched, or killed, or stalked. You don't recover from what He does to you. Do you still want to know?
Me: To be honest. No.
IX: Then go home.

And that was that. I've put the whole affair behind me now. Life continues as normal.

And what's left is just this half-assed blog. I'll still speculate from time to time and post my ruminations here. So it goes. Don't expect frequent updates. As you've already seen, I'm bad at those.

In which I return from the dead

In a manner of speaking.

I don't really have much of an excuse for taking a two month hiatus in the middle of telling a story. I've never kept a personal Journal. Hell, I always found the concept more than a bit odd. "Oh hey, I'm going to write down stuff I've already experienced and already know in a book for no one's benefit other than myself."

That's what differentiates blogs from journals. You get an Audience, you get a reason to write other than your own masturbatory celebration of the minutia of the day. Perhaps I'm being too unfair to journal writers. I've got a pretty damn good memory, and the idea of writing those memories down just seems a bit redundant to me.

In my absence I've looked over a number of these so called "Slender Blogs." I'm not looking after any 10 year old children, so I don't think I should worry. Slendy tends to change his Modis Operendi between authors, but the only author's account I can ascertain with certifiable truth is A.J.'s.

A common theme, however, tends to be that nothing ends well for those who partake in this sort of exercise. This may or may not have influenced my decision to all but abandon this blog.
Other excuses:
- School

- pre-existing projects

- My rather volatile family situation made worse by the fact that my father has recently taken ill and refuses to disclose anything more than a few symptoms (not that the man has ever been a poster child of health, physical or mental)

- And the fact that I was recently (relatively) kidnapped at Airsoft point by an asshole in a Guy Fawkes mask.

Yeah, about that: Like most pants-shittingly horrifying things that happen to you in life, they tend to be kinda hilarious after a certain amount of time has passed. When I first returned from the desert, I still had some adrenaline pumping. Enough to override the "Holy shit, I just got kidnapped by a bunch of fucking nuts" section of my brain and activate my "I gotta blog this shit," lobe. As the days passed, the realization of some of what was said began to sink in, and I struggled with whether or not it was a good idea to make what took place AVAILABLE IN A FORMAT EASILY ACCESSED BY EVERYONE IN THE WORLD AND THEIR COLLECTIVE MOTHERS! I only decided to type this out now because it has dawned on me just how silly this whole fucking thing really is!

As I've said before, I have no actual fear of the Slenderman.
However, as the adage goes, "I'm O.K. with God, but it's his fanclub that scares me."

And without further ado: my night with the SlenderManson Family

Saturday, July 16, 2011

In which shit gets real.

It's been almost three days since my last post, and almost two since I thought my next one was going to be. I apologize for not signing in sooner, but I was kind of stranded in the middle of the desert.

More on this in a bit.

I left the house early to avoid traffic (9 by my estimate). If I was going all the way up to LA, at least I was going to make a day of  it. Well, traffic was surprisingly sparse, and it only took me an hour or so to get into the downtown area. Got some hotdogs at a place that sells authentic Detroit Coneys, took some pictures of the Walk of Fame, gawked at some of the few impressive buildings in the city, you know, typical touristy stuff. LA is near enough that anything but driving is impractical, but far enough away that makes driving there kind of a big deal.

Five o'clock came, and I decided to hurry up and get "the exposition" over with.

It was a hot Thursday, and everyone, it seems, was out enjoying the park, probably reading their atrophied walking muscles for this weekend. My first thought was "Chances are, I won't get mugged by someone or hassled by any insanity inducing horrors from beyond space. There's so many people here that either would have no where to hide." My second thought, however was, "There's so many people here that any potential mugger or eldritch horrorbeast would actually have a pretty easy time hiding."

In the middle of the park, there's a fountain. It was also the most crowded spot, as it makes quite the good landmark and gathering point. From the Google Maps picture, it also looks a bit like a compass rose. The closer I got to the fountain, the denser the crowd became, most of them were busy chattering about the new dinosaur exhibit at the natural history museum.  Gradually the conversations tended to shit towards the subject of "The crazy dude in the horse mask handing out fliers."

And sure enough, sitting on the fountain edge was someone wearing a bedsheet, a sandwich board, and one of those latex horse masks that are so popular as of late.

It was the stack of fliers he was handing out that interested me most. Yes, it had the same picture as the ones I had previously received. The Hermit, lantern raised to illuminate a great big IX floating just inches in front of him. On the sandwich board was not any of the typical "The end is Nigh" or any sort of biblical doom verses, but simply.

"He comes!

If you're reading this, I'll trust that you've seen Marble Hornets, or that you know who M is. If you have even a modicum of knowledge about the "the Slender Man," I am going to assume that you've seen this symbol before. A circumscribed X. As ubiquitous in this community as the crescent is in Mecca. And yet, until that moment, it was nothing more than a vaguely mysterious symbol posted on blogs and forums, and not a concrete drawing looking through its cross shaped pupil right at me. I wanted to turn around and pretend I didn't see it, but I knew I couldn't. They'd find me anyway. I was going down, I wasn't going to go down with a bullet in my back.

I walked over and grabbed a leaflet from the possibly comatose prophet of doom. He didn't respond, and only his raspy breathing alerted me to the fact that there was a living being under the latex and cotton.

On the back of the flier, instead of the short, handwritten messages was a fully typed (from a typewriter by the looks of it) message. I don't have access to a scanner right now, but here it is, typos and all.

"He comes!
To Babylon he came.
For our children to Paradice
Clense this IMPURE with holy flame
(the next couple of lines were too blurred to read due to the fact that the paper was soaked and the ink was starting to run.)
And it's whispered that soon, if we all call a tune, then THE PIPER will lead us to reason.
And a new day will don for those who stand long, and the forsest will echo with laughter.


I read it probably about five times before I finally asked the equine masqued gentleman what the fuck this was all about.
His response: "He comes"
"Oh, I guessed as much, but what is 'He'"
"He comes."
"And who is this nine guy."
"He's here."

At this point, I felt something hard pressed against my back and a muffly echoed voice that smelled strongly of latex and halitosis whispered in my ear, "Your car. Now."

I've lived in the suburbs my whole life. There's not a safer place on the planet outside a bubblewrap factory. I've never had, what I had assumed was a gun, pointed at me. I've never even seen a real gun before. Now, seeing as I am typing this right now, you know I get out of this fine. And I certainly know now that thing's were going to be fine, but if I went back in time and said to myself, "hey, don't worry." I definitely would not have believed me. And generally, the most advice anyone can even think about giving you for these kinds of situations is "cooperate. At least you get a 50% chance." And so, I walked him to my car, trying as hard as I could not to look like I was being held at gunpoint, trying as hard as I could not to shake or to start hyperventilating, not daring to turn around and look at who this guy was.
When we got there, he handed me a brown paper bag."You got this until we get you a real one. Now, put it on your head, hand me the keys, get in the passenger's seat, and shut up."
Well, so much for not getting a bullet in the back.

The next few hours, we drove. No words, just driving. I did not ask him if he was going to pay for my window, let alone my gas. I just hoped that when we stopped, I wasn't going to have to get out, and dig a ditch, and wait until he made pico de gallo with the back of my head. Utter silence, until. "You've got it on backwards, dumbass." It took me a second for me to realize he was talking about the bag. I turned it around, and found that it had a pair of holes cut for eyes. My hostage taker was a tall, almost emaciate thin guy in a black, Metallica hoodie and a V mask.

Now, I know Anonymous has been pulling some extreme stunts as of late, but this was getting ridiculous. Also, when I noticed that his gun was actually a clear, plastic airsoft gun, I figured if it was safe to ask him if I could check in with my parents.

"Yeah, sure. Just don't say you've been kidnapped." I told them I was probably going to spend the night at a friend's house.

It had been dark for sometime by the time we stopped. I had no idea where we were, but at least I didn't think I was going to get executed in cold blood anymore.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In which I have some reservations.

You might even say that I have reservations in both senses of the term. An appointment and an apprehension.
As of this writing, it's a quarter past two in the morning. I haven't been able to sleep for the past couple of days. Ever since I've started this blog, in fact. Maybe it's coincidence. I've been going through some rough bits that, believe it or not, have very little to do the occult. That is, unless there's a cult of pretentious douches that have hypnotic powers over girls that I just happen to have crushes on at the time.
Take the vowels out of FEMALE, and what's that spell?

My dad also received a bit of bad news today. I won't go into it, as it's kind of personal and familial, but either way, money is now, somehow, even tighter, and my hatred for capitalism has, somehow, grown even more vehement.

The day before yesterday, I plunked myself right in front of my computer and spent the day reading Zen koans. I shared a few with AJ, who warned me that that these sort of things are going to melt my brain. 

Let's take a look at a few:

Huìnéng asked Hui Ming, "Without thinking of good or evil, show me your original face before your mother and father were born."

A monk asked Dongshan Shouchu, "What is Buddha?" Dongshan said, "Three pounds of flax."

A monk asked Zhaozhou, "What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the west?" Zhaozhou said, "The cypress tree in front of the hall."

Brain oozing our your ears yet? Don't worry, that's just the enlightenment kicking in! The point of a Koan is that there really are no answers. You just ponder them and ponder them until something clicks, and you either reach Nirvana, or go insane. It's like Cthulu in word form.

So in a few hours, I'm going to be gallivanting off to Los Angeles, on the eve of what the news promises to be a logistical nightmare of apocalyptic proportions.

I've always had mixed feelings about Los Angeles (Mozilla's spell check doesn't even recognize it as a real word). On one hand, it's kind of the dominating exporter of culture where I live, which is kind of cool. I mean, what better place for a guy who wants to entertain people for a living to live then less than an hour's drive away from Hollywood? On the other hand, it's a dull and ugly city with little soul or life of its own, not to mention having probably the most uninspiring skyline of any major metropolis. One of the few really unique aspects of LA is how it was built around car culture. There is no "walking distance" to anything. You drive! That is an order! No subways, no EL trains, no cable cars, and hardly a buss fleet worth speaking of to help you, just drive, drive, drive!

I know this rant is kind of out of left field, but it's 2:30 in the morning. Also I'm going to be stuck out there the day before one of the two major arteries in and out of a city where everyone drives is going to be shut down. Carmageddon, indeed!

Or maybe I'm just saying this to avoid thinking about the fact that I'm going to a place I've never been to meet a person (or persons) I've never seen, nor do I know anything about other than the fact that they smashed my car up the last time I ignored them and seem to to be tied to some sort of mystic bullcrap. And considering that the last time mystic bullcrap was involved with someone I know, she almost got sacrificed to a Lovecraftian horror in Prada.

But it's not like I've got a choice. Like any good protagonist, I must initially resist the call to action, but the call knows where I live. And it is damned determined. So I'm going. Not sure what time as the flier didn't specify. I'd like to take my sweet time. Make him wait. That'll teach him for breaking my window! Not too late, though. I'm going to be in one of those areas that you really don't want to find yourself alone in after dark. Squishy little suburban craker like me wouldn't survive an hour!

Either way, I'm not looking forward to this.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

In which classic rock radio brings me no end of trouble



There's quite a lot of cultural significance around the number 7. East and West. Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive list. Seriously, check it out, it's interesting! Off the top of my head, however, it just made me think of Voldemort's seven horcruxes and VII being the number of the best Final Fantasy game.

Well, I forgot the note for a few days, until the local classic rock radio station decided, as it often does, that that day was a nice day to play Stairway to Heaven. I remembered the flier itself had a very Zeppelin-y theme, though the only thing I could really remember about it was a bit about VII/VII.

Seventh album, seventh song? I figured that if I was going to humor a crazy cultist, there are worse ways to do it than by listening to some Z.
The song in particular was "Tea for One" off of the Presence album. 9 minutes, 26 seconds. Very bluesy, one of their slower songs in fact. Very nice guitar rifts, but I chose to focus on the lyrics.

"How come twenty four hours, Baby sometimes seem to slip into days?
Oh twenty-four hours, Baby sometimes seem to slip into days
A minute seems like a lifetime, Oh baby when I feel this way
Sittin, lookin at the clock, time moves so slow
I've been watchin for the hands to move
Until I just can't look no more"

And etc. for the rest of the nine and a half minuets of the song. I tried picking letters out in a certain order. I tried to listen to the song backwards, I tried putting the lyrics in anagram engines. I picked out all the roman numerals in the lyrics and added them up. (64357 for the first three lines if you count Us as Vs). Anyway, after about three hours or so I did find a hidden meaning in the lyrics. Something that I always suspected, and was looking right at me! "Why does twenty four hours seem to slip into days?" And like Buddha when he became enlightened, it dawned on me.
This was
Then I remembered that there were other numbers. I went down to the car, uncrumpled the paper and read again.


A date.
Well, fuck!

Anyway, at that point, I was sick of the whole thing, so tossed the note back into my car and forgot about it.

7/7/2011 came and almost went without incident. Two of my three sisters were spending a week in the area because of the Fourth and were set to go back to where they came from the next morning. They spent their last night in So-Cal attempting to out-gossip each other while my dad was vehemently arguing with his friend about the need to set up machine guns along the Mexican boarder, and my mom had already retired to bed after a bottle and a half of wine. The usual family bullshit. As the sun was setting, at about 9-ish, we heard the crash.

Everyone with enough presence of mind stumbled out into the yard where the cars were parked. Mine had just had the driver's side window smashed in. I scooped out the glass, and started searching for things that might have been stolen.

Under the driver's seat, I found another flier. It had a picture of the Hermit, just as the last one had.
This one read:
In the shadow of where the gladiators battle
Be where the compass rose points to the the story's introduction.
When the characters are introduced, the rising action can begin.
'Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on.

I didn't tell my parents, and I sure as hell didn't tell the police. I had an inkling about what this was about, but I'm not one hundred percent sure.
7/14 is this Thursday. The gladiators battle at a Colosseum. I don't think they expect me to show up in Italy in three days, so I guessed they meant the one in LA.

And sure enough, right in the shadow, right on the same block:
Exposition, rising action, climax, denouement. And they say you never use what you learn in High School in real life! The problem is, the stuff you tend to find at the climax is never pleasant. But, either way, I'm going. Just to check it out. Just out of curiosity. And AJ won't stop me. She's had enough of this eldritch bullshit to last a dozen lifetimes.

It wasn't until I met AJ that I learned that "Curiosity killed the cat" is only half a cliche. "Satisfaction brought it back." she'd say in response. And I'll be satisfied enough if I can find someone to pay for my window!

In which I justify my enduring scepticism with horror stories from my childhood.

I've never been the paranoid type. In fact, I actively despise conspiracy theorists. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to talk logic to someone who's constructed their own reality based on the assumption that they're so important that the most powerful institutions on the planet are spending a sizable chunk of their resources trying to shut them up. People like my dad, for instance, who spent a good chunk of his life convinced that the CIA was chasing him. How's that for a Freudian excuse!

Around the time I turned 14, my dad became convinced that he was being followed. It also coincided with the time he stopped taking care of his Diabetes. I'm not sure if that could cause the kind of delusions he was suffering, but my mom and older sister, who are both nurses, seemed to think so. Sometimes he would drive deliberately down the wrong side of the road just to shake the imaginary MIBs chasing him. When we tried to have an intervention, he accused us of working for "them," packed up his belongings, and stormed out of the house. We heard nothing from for a few days, until the police called to say that they found him, half-dead from dehydration in the back of his van in the middle of the Mojave desert. He returned to normal after that, and traded in his Governmentopobia for the typical White Male Suburban paranoias of people of color committing crimes and stealing jobs. Of course, he never did sell his electronic bug detecting kits...

I have always been a believer in the infallibility of logical reasoning, scientific thinking, and objective investigation. My dad's hardly sane behavior only cemented those beliefs, and I kind of made it my mission in life to find out about conspiracies or claims of the supernatural and debunk them and discredit the frauds who perpetuate these sort of things. Possibly because I feel like I'm getting justice for my stolen adolescence, and partly because some part of me suspects that what happened to my dad may be in some way genetic and I don't want to be spending all my time checking the kitchen cupboards to see if some government agent had planted a listening device in my Cheerios.

As a result, I've gained a fairly comprehensive understanding of conspiracies and claims of the supernatural. The latter supplied by my friend AJ, who's actually a pretty firm believer in the supernatural. I don't hold it against her, people are entitled to believe what they want, so long as it doesn't result in you abandoning your family to die in a van in the middle of the desert. Besides we had much more in common that we bonded over. She quickly became my best friend, and even started dating a guy who I consider to be the brother I never had. And she helped me realize that there's actually a lot of fun in much of the mythology and study of the paranormal. So much fun, that she decided to make a show about it.

We spent a good chunk of a year swapping ideas for episodes and developing the characters (the show itself was kind of X-files meets Buffy, meets Scooby Doo, meets a Noir pastiche) and even after she moved to Utah, then later to DC, we were still serious about getting it made. Then one day, while she was still living in Utah, I had to open my big trap about an urban legend I had heard about on 4chan's /x/ board. The Slender Man. I should have realized from her reaction that it was a bad idea, but somehow, she got sucked into this world of bloggers and roleplayers to the point where she soon knew much more about the history and lore of this creature than I did.

I don't need to say what happened next. You can read about that for yourself. All I can say is that it took a while for things to really sink in. Heck, at first I didn't believe it. AJ's a pretty great story teller, and I just thought that she was getting so into one of her stories that she was forgetting to leave character. I mean, I was on the other side of the country, for all I knew, she was just getting really involved in an elaborate role play. Except, she wasn't playing a character, and the more I talked to her, the more I began to see that she and her little friend were really in danger. And I tried to find out anything I could about Noctis, to see if I could help. I came up with nothing, and after things seemed to resolve themselves, I figured it was for the best.

Since then, I've been trying to re-examine the sort of person I am. Was my dad right? How much of what we causally dismiss as superstition or urban legend is actually a dire warning from those who know better? If Slender Man, then what? Reptilians in charge of the government? 9/11 as an inside job? JFK, Roswell, Time cube?! Where do the lies end and where, if there is any, does the truth begin? I'd rather like to think that my friend was just unlucky and these sort of occurrences only happen to every trillionth person. The strange has come and gone, and won't bother us again. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, recycle bin to recycle bin. 

For the previous weeks before the final incident, I'd been threatening AJ with the prospect of me flying out there so that I could help her. When it seems things had really come to a head and I heard that she was in the hospital, I reluctantly begged my parents for the money for a plane ticket and immediately high-tailed it to DC. Luckily, she was in as high spirits as anyone about to enter chemo could be. Anya was there too, but I don't think she seemed too thrilled to talk to me.

Two days later, I was back in California. I got my luggage, and schlepped to where I left my car what seemed like a lifetime ago. It was covered with a fine layer of soot, but other than that it looked just the way I left it, until I noticed a scrap of paper wedged under the driver's side windshield wiper.

"The compass rose points the way in the park where the story begins. VII/VII/MMXI
'And it's whispered that soon, if we all call a tune, then THE PIPER will lead us to reason.'

On the other side flier was the picture you see to your right, I recognized it from the album cover for Led Zeppelin IV. The Stairway to Heaven lyric was a nice touch too.

Well, like any sane person who almost lost a friend to this sort of cryptic bullshit, I crumpled it up and threw it in my back seat. Nothing odd happened, no family members were involved in major accidents, and I concluded that it was left by one of the many Hare Krishna cults you see hanging around airports handing out fliers. At home, I looked up Charles Manson's "Helter Skelter" theory, about how the The White Album was a secret code for the Manson Family to incite a war between the Races. I spent the next couple of weeks sleeping with a baseball bat half convinced that I was going to be murdered in my sleep by people who thought The Battle of Evermore was more than just a love letter to J.R.R. Tolkien.

Like I said, i just don't go for this sort of conspiracy bullshit. I am sane, I am rational, and I just have very unlucky friends, and as for AJ's encounter with you know what, I really didn't it was a good idea to prod the subject further.

Until "VII/VII" came about...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In which I struggle to make sense of all this.

It's been about six weeks since I almost lost my best friend. It's not an easy thing to come to terms with, especially knowing that what I'm going through is only a fraction of what she's had to endure. And will endure, for that matter. The worst part is that it literally and earnestly is my fault entirely!
See that? Right there, in the URL! Plain as day, black and white, and clear as crystal.

And you know what? Despite the Noctis, despite the FBI, despite that fucking thing itself, she survived, not unmarred, but she did it, middle finger triumphantly raised and all!

It's taken me three hours just to write all this out. If it weren't for recent events, I would be more than content to just leave this sleeping dog to doze on forever. I've had more than six weeks to think about if I really want to do this, and I'm not sure if six weeks is really enough. I've never kept a personal journal, and I have no idea if something this, for lack of a better word, insane should be broadcasted across the internet, but this is eating me alive!

It's getting late, so I'll wait until tomorrow to share what happened to me at the airport after I came home from visiting AJ in the hospital. But I will say this: When AJ first told me about the Noctis, I was curious. I wanted to find them, and wrangle every bit of information they had on it from them. Anything that could keep her and Anya safe. However, I think something else is trying to find me.