Yesterday about about 12-ish, I heard a knock on the door.
"Hey," said the stranger.
"Uh... Hi," I said back at him.
"What's the matter, don't recognize me?"
It takes me a second for me to realize. It's VII sans his Plague Doctor mask.
"Doing anything today?" he asks, "We were going to have a bit of a get together, and thought you'd like to come along."
Well, that's nice of him to at least ask. See, IX, you don't need to twist my arm or smash in my windows to get me to do things!
Well, I hop in his van... God, it seems like forever ago since I last saw it... and he hands me a blindfold. Well, I guess the only choice I have left in any of this is "just go with it." so I do. The five hours it takes us to get there, I get the best sleep I've had in weeks.
The gravel road jars me awake. VII tells me it's safe to remove the blindfold. We put on our masks and pull into the abandoned gas station. Casa Zzyzx at last.
While I was gone, they made several changes to the place, most predominately a large, four-spoked wheel.
"V's dad runs a salvage business, and V's been borrowing his truck to ship some junk out here."
XI stood at the foot of the wheel, the moonlight casting a large X shaped shadow over his figure. He was busy grinding a cigarette butt with his heal into the baked dirt.
"It's a water wheel," he says, "from an old lumber mill." He then heads on in. VII and I follow suit.
The beauty of writing a story on the internet is that I can better show what I cannot tell. For instance, I don't think I could reliably describe what I heard when I entered the musty, boarded up building, so, instead I'll show you:
The reason why it sounded like someone playing Tibetan Singing Bowls in an abandoned gas station in the middle of the Mojave desert, was because someone was actually playing Tibetan Singing Bowls in the middle of the Mojave desert. That someone was III, whose mask had lost a lot of its feathers since I last saw her. All around her, were the rest of the Hermetic Order of the Black Sun, all of them at siting around her at different points of a Star of David drawn on the floor in salt. All of them sat cross legged with a different colored LED light in hand. All of them were chanting to the best of their ability (Bunnyman and IV could barely keep up.)
III: Now we are going to open up the throat chakra. When I strike the bowl, you will see a radiant wave of turquoise wash over your mind like a lotus unfurling in a pond.
She struck the bowl. The tone hurt. I'm not saying that it was unpleasant, but something about it felt like I had just been punched in the head. In fact, the whole time I was in here the constant tone of the bowls was hammering at something inside my sinuses. Maybe it was some sort of resonant frequency, or maybe I just had a bad cold, but I could feel the sound inside my skull trying every which way to bust out. Instead of saying something, I decide to close my eyes too and try to imagine this turquoise lotus or whatever.
III: When I strike the bowl, we are going to open up our third eye chakra. When you hear the tone, your Anja will be open, and you will see the world as it is past the swirling purple haze of lies.
I see fireworks. Bright purple fireworks. I also, at this point, feel like there's something wedged behind my eyeballs trying to force them out of my head. I try thinking, but have no idea what I'm supposed to be thinking about. I just sit, imagining the fireworks and chanting "Om" like the rest of them. Then, everything seems to go white...
III: Last is the Crown Chakra. You will see beyond this world, past the Gates of Dawn into the heart of the Black sun. When The Piper calls, when He who waits beyond the gate sings, we will leave.
Everything is white, my hands are shaking, and the only thing I can taste is salt. I'm gasping for air, drowing, falling. I see it. I see them.
I can't describe them. Just, eyes! But they're not eyes, not really, but at the same time they are, I don't know!
That's the best I can say about that. Next thing I know, I'm on the floor, hands covering my face. When I look at them, they're covered in tears and blood. My nose is bleeding profusely. IX hands me a paper towel and I try my best to jam the flow, pretending that nothing happened.
It took me a moment to notice that the rest of Black Sun was starring at me. III had already put the bowls away, and yet, I can still hear it ringing.
III: What did you see.
I try to relate to her as best as I can my didactic experience.
Me: What was it?
III: He who waits beyond the gate.
III: Slenderman's just a messenger.
Me: There's more... (of course there's more! There's always more!)
III: What you saw was God. The true God who created the true world. Not the false God who made the false world.
V: Hang-on! We just talked to God!
Me: How do you know it's God?
If you haven't guessed by now, I'm an athiest. A rather staunch one at that. Ok, sure the world is strange enough to allow maddening terrors from beyond the furthest realm of horror, or beings that prey on unsuspecting adolescents who don't wear stolen masks, but still, there are not enough grains of salt in my tears, in my blood, or scattered across the floor for me to take that would equal the amount of grains of salt that I chose to take this revelation with.
V: I don't like this
III: Whatever floats your boat. If you want to stay behind-
V: Hell no, man!
I: Well, God or not, I think we can say that what we saw should remain between the ten of us here tonight. Now, I think we are done with rituals this evening, so how has everybody been?
The next half hour or so, V talked about his experiences at Occupy LA, and while I identify heavily with the Occupy movement, V has this way of talking that makes you despise everything he's about, no matter how good of an idea it is. I can't site a specific example, as most of it just goes through my ears without pausing at the space between, but a few gems of the night included.
"Noctis, The Catholic Church, and The Federal Reserve are all part of the same organization."
"MK Ultra was a government program to psychically contact Slenderman to use him as a weapon against the Soviets."
and finally; "Jet fuel doesn't burn at the temperature required to melt steel, but we all know who can make fires that hot! So, What was in the twin towers that Bush and Slendy wanted to keep-"
He couldn't finish that thought as he was suddenly interrupted.
II: He's there beyond the wall!
I look over at II's direction wondering why I only just now bothered to notice her. Hell, up until that moment, I didn't even know if she was still alive! I could use the excuse that she had a new mask (a lamb this time), but the thing is, maybe I just didn't want to notice her. VI's arm was draped over her, like a camo-print python. The way he glared at everyone made it clear, only he was allowed to comfort her. Only he was allowed to hold her as she began to sob.
II: There is nothing! There is only the eyes!
III: Calm down sweety.
II: He will sing the song that ends the world! Everything is gone, everything will burn!
I: Do we have any water? Someone get her some water.
IV starts to wail. No words just a single, solitary tone, like the singing bowls. Everybody's shouting at once, and I can't understand what anybody's saying, also, I notice that the ringing in my ears is getting louder. All of a sudden, IV is on top of V punching at the Latex presidential face. Everybody's scrambling to pull the two apart. Everybody except IX. I go outside, and there he is, leaning up against the van, cigarette between the plastic lips of his mask.
Me: A little help would be nice!
IX: I'd just stand there laughing. C'mon, it's funny isn't it?
Me: No! What the hell is wrong with you?
IX: I'm a member of a cult that worships an internet meme and talks to god though fruit bowls.
Me: Who are you?
IX: I'm just some guy. Noctis is going to contact you sometime soon for something. Just letting you know.
Me: I don't care. I just want to go home.
IX: Well, your chariot, awaits.
With that he put out his cigarette, went back into the building and got VII.
Me: Is everything alright?
VII: Yeah, fine!
I didn't believe him.
We drove home that night. Silent except for the hum of the engine and the ring in my ears. I wasn't even blindfolded this time, so I sat and watched the dark shapes of the mountains pass by the highway.
Eventually, VII and I exchanged a few words:
VII: Every so often you see shadows moving about.
Me: The guys in the hoodies?
VII: No, other things, they don't have names either, partly because they're so varied, partly because nobody wants to, and also partly because I don't think there are proper words that can describe them anyway. They do all sorts of things, eating people who get lost in the dark, bringing nightmares to you while you sleep, eating the fabric of the world. The later of which, I heard are getting more and more common.
Me: The world's ending
Me: Is Slenderman one of those things.
VII: No! God no. Slenderman is on an entirely different level.
Me: Like a god.
VII: Maybe. III believes in a lot of silly, superstitious things. I don't think that what we saw was a god of some sort. I think that was Slendy himself we saw, not some sort of separate entity. Or maybe it was both, like slendy and what we saw are gust two faces of something much larger.
Me: So, I really want to know, what's II's story is.
VII: You'll find out soon enough. Noctis has plans for you, her, and VI.
Me: IX told me something along those lines.
VII: He wasn't supposed to.
Me: I don't think he cared. Or that he cares about much of anything.
VII: Be careful around him.
Silence the rest of the way home.
Silence, except for the ringing.