Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A New Goal

James is gone.

I suppose that this comes as a surprise to precisely no one, after his last message. I wish dearly that I had been there to help him when he awoke, to do something to change his mind. I do not know what he was talking about when he spoke of the price that Thaddeus paid, though I can guess.

If what James said about The Archangel swimming in his veins is true, then the Eleventh Plague that Thaddeus inflicted him with is nothing less than one of the entity's alternate forms. This is... troubling, to say the least. Is it a true disease, with varied modes of transmission, capable of spreading from person to person without their knowledge? If so, then there may be no way to combat it. Or is it more like a venom of some sort? I hope for the latter, and the fact that it had to be inflicted upon James by Thaddeus' knife-wound would seem to indicate that. But it is not concrete enough evidence to reach a conclusion.

And then there is the matter of Thaddeus' allegiance. From James' last message, it would seem that he serves The Rake. And yet he possesses, or at least possessed, the ability to inflict upon others the torment born of The Archangel. What does this mean? And what message did he have to pass on to us? He has not contacted us again since leaving that comment, either via the comments here or through the mirrors.

James, on the other hand, has been busy. Or, more accurately, I can only hope that it is James, and not The Rake itself, that is responsible for our latest troubles. We are still incapable of leaving the hospital, with Aqualung stalking the hills outside. But someone in here with us has begun murdering the patients.

Surgical implements actually make for quite useful tools of murder, it seems. Three of them have died during the past few days. And each of them has had the word "surrender" written on the walls of their room. I am sure that I do not have to say what was used in place of ink.

I have my gun at the ready, as does Phillip. If Thaddeus has changed his mind, then we have no real out at this point. We are going to have to run, and keep running as we did before. We will have to hope that we stumble across some way to save Miss Waterman, or some way to end this claimed "war" over myself without condemning the world to the mercy of one of these entities.

But, right now, we have something more pressing to deal with.

James, if you are still reading this, I am very sorry for what we have to do now.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

not the same

i can see it all

i dont want to see it but i cant stop my head is on fire and the world is melting around me

the piper tore down the walls around my mind and the music is flooding in and there are new walls now, walls of noise all around the things i shouldnt think and new hallways leading to places that i really dont think should be there

i can see how to get to the city but we cant go we have to leave her there the piper is waiting for us

theyre building the wall again theyre putting her in perfect isolation because they know what shell do to get out

i have to focus


Yes. My name is James. I'm in this hospital bed. I can see the keyboard. I can form coherent thoughts if I try.

It's slow. Every word is like swimming through molasses. The thermometer says my temperature is 106.5. I should probably be dead. There are ice packs all over me.

Painkillers. Ibuprofen. Don't know how long it's been since my last. Taking them anyway. Back in half an hour.

This is what it's like to be Thaddeus. To be me, now, I guess. Oh god please don't let this be permanent. I can't stand it. Seeing everything like this. Seeing everyone. Everything. All the Fears. All they do. Why they do it. Everywhere I look, they're looking back at me. The Angel, in that plague-doctor mask. It's everywhere in here. It's everywhere everywhere. It's a place and it's a law and it's almost human and it's a disease swimming in my veins and it's the knowledge eating through my brain and everything I see now I see through it.


LB and Phil are gone. Christie's gone. The Angel has her. But it's not the same way it's got me. Or Thaddeus. It's holding her. Keeping her there while The Cold Boy and The Wooden Girl have their fun. Because it knows what I'm willing to do to get her back.

Thaddeus did the same thing, after all. That's why LB is the only one. Because he did what he had to do to get the person he cared about back. I can't even hate him for it. How can you hate somebody who loved another person as much as he did? To be willing to do that? He's not... I can't hate him. I pity him. I'm disgusted by him. By what he did. Selling out... everybody. To the Angel. By bringing it the kid. All because he knew what it was doing to the person he cared about most. He knew the price. And he accepted it. And he paid it. He's still paying it.

Oh god I'm scared. I don't want that to be me. But I can't leave her there. I can't. Even if it means I have to do... that. I can't.


I think you knew I was going to say that, didn't you? That's why you're here. Perched on the end of my bed like you have been every night since Thaddeus stabbed me. Hiding in the spaces nobody else can see, because they don't have the Angel swimming in their veins. Waiting for me to tell you what Thaddeus told you. Whispering your little words of encouragement. Scratching messages on the mirrors. Telling Thaddeus where to find us. Keeping him breathing and healing his wounds when he should have stopped moving years ago. Because you know the price I'm willing to pay to free her.

Would you like to see Christie Waterman free again, my friends? All you have to do is follow The Worm.

Good evening, Rake, Your Honor. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The city's made of white bricks. There's no sky. The only people are memories, perfect and unchanging. I'm alone in here except for the memories and the two of them. There's no way out but there must have been a door there when I came in.

And nothing ever changes.

I'm fighting but there's nothing to fight for any more. There's nowhere to go.

Monday, March 12, 2012

No Way To Slow Down

Thaddeus did not contact us again immediately after leaving that comment on my last update. He left us to wallow in our helplessness, forcing us to watch as James' condition continued to deteriorate. And, of course, to look out of the windows of the hospital and see the fields stretching out beyond. The city that I spoke of in previous updates never existed. Even in reading my own words, I can remember nothing of it.

Most of the hospital staff never existed, either. Only a few nurses and a single surgeon remain, having lost all memories of their homes and thus losing all reason to leave the hospital. They, like us, have spent the past few days in something of a helpless stupor, powerless to provide all the care necessary to save the lives of their patients. The hospital is full of the corpses of those whose attendant physicians have vanished, whose records have been erased, who require special treatment that we do not have the capability to provide. There is no more room in the morgue.

And, outside, ceaseless, the silence howls.

Over the past few days, I have come to notice something more that has been happening in this hospital. The usual graffiti is there, as it always is in places like this if you know where to look, marking the building with the sign of The Archangel and claiming it as a place of death and the loss of control. After all, there are few situations wherein one has less control over their lives than when one is lying in an intensive-care ward and waiting for the final embrace. James is in this situation now. I think that this might be what Thaddeus was referring to when he spoke of truly embracing The Archangel: the complete and utter loss of control over your life, being forced to place yourself entirely in another's hands. The Archangel is, after all, control. Every prayer sent up in desperation, every declaration that the speaker has surrendered themselves utterly to a higher power, is a surrender to The Archangel, though they do not realize it.

But I am getting off-track. This is hardly a new thought, for me.  What I have noticed here that has drawn my attention in ways that other hospitals have not is the existence of other markings. The signs on the backs of the mirrors have returned, scratched into the glass as before. This time, however, the message has changed: HE SEES HIS CHILDREN JUMPING OFF AT STATIONS ONE BY ONE.

Before, I failed to grasp the real meaning of the message. This time, it is obvious. Miss Waterman, James... both are, in their own way, beyond my ability to help. Even Phillip, lost in his bewilderment, is beyond my reach. One of these beings realizes this, and is taunting me in my helplessness, mocking my desperation and my inability to find a solution.

But I have not given up yet. Thaddeus has stated that he can "show me", if I like. And, right now, I have no other options. James' fever has been hovering around lethal levels for the past few days. We are running out of medicine, food, and all the rest.

Thaddeus River, I accept your offer.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Siege

I did say that this has been a busy few days, but I neglected to provide any sort of explanation towards that. I suppose that I should rectify this gross lapse in my chronicling of our, for lack of a better word, adventure.

I arrived back in town without any further sign of any of the Epping AquaTarkus, or any of its brethren. At least, not until I neared the hospital. Then I became conscious of the presence of that ear-piercing shriek that Aqualung's presence produces.

It stood in the middle of an empty lot near the hospital, walking quickly towards another empty lot. Or, more precisely, it stood in the midst of one building that it had already consumed and strode towards another that would soon be taken. I can no longer remember what either of the buildings originally were.

Aqualung is devouring the city.

The hospital is now - has always been - woefully understaffed. The city outside has always been run-down and peppered with empty lots, half-finished buildings, families with nurseries that have never been home to a child, houses where the children die of starvation because they have never known parents.

And yet the hospital stands.

It is a bastion of The Archangel's power. The Howling Dark lays siege to its walls, but it cannot break them. The Archangel, for all that it might be wounded, is still proof against such overt attacks.

Sun Tzu's Art of War states that the siege is the least-efficient form of warfare. An army laying siege to a walled city will exhaust its strength, for the walls can hold indefinitely. It is the limits of the defenders, not of the fortifications, which determine the outcome. When laying siege to a city, one gambles that one's own forces can starve out the defenders before one's own reserves are depleted.

Aqualung has no limits. Even with things as the Epping AquaTarkus claims that they are, I doubt that The Archangel does either. Aqualung is gambling, then - if it is conscious enough to gamble - upon our abandoning the hospital when supplies begin to run low, in order to avoid death by starvation. This would place us once again in the open, and give it another chance to claim me, even if the others of its kind would be making the same attempt.

Eventually, we will be forced to try it. But in the meantime, we are putting what remains of my files to use. We are searching for some means of ending this without granting victory to any of these beings, Aqualung included. So far, there is nothing, but we are not going to surrender just yet.

There must be some way out of this. There must.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I must apologize for not updating this record over the past few days, particularly in light of the presence of a new reader wishing me luck in my endeavors, but things have been quite busy recently.

I suppose that I should resume narrating this tale where I left off. I last posted just before departing the city limits in order to search for the Epping AquaTarkus - or, at the least, The Camper - in the surrounding forest, as we were accosted by them not far from here. It was not much of a lead, but it was better than sitting in the hospital and feeling useless while waiting for James to recover.

I found The Camper not far from the town. The AquaTarkus, it seems, was waiting for me. Its "arms" were assembled by a small pond, seated around the edges. A few of them were standing in the center of the water in a circle. Only one of them reacted as I approached. I am sure that the AquaTarkus' choice of forms with which to communicate with me was deliberate. The child bore a striking resemblance to my son as I last saw him, tall and thin with short-cropped black hair.

"You talked to him, then," it said.

I shrugged. "Something like that, yes. I believe that it would be more accurate to say that he talked to us. He did seem to control the flow of the conversation, despite Miss Waterman's best efforts to the contrary."

The Camper-child only smiled. "Of course he did. As far as you humans go, Thaddeus River is something special."

"He is a serial killer."

"I believe he likes to be referred to as either 'a collector' or 'a liberator', depending on what form his psychosis has chosen to take on any given day. But yes, 'serial killer' is accurate."

"I do not believe that he will be doing any more killing any time soon," I answered. "Miss Waterman may have been a little overzealous in her efforts to make him cooperate, but that, at least, was a positive result."

The Camper shrugged. "He's lasted this long. I wouldn't be so quick to assume that a crazed Runner with a bat could put him out of things for more than a day or two. He's not exactly normal. But that's not the point."

"Then what was the point?" I asked. "What did Thaddeus River, a crazed lunatic and mortal, know that you, a self-described 'being of knowledge', did not? Why send me to speak to him rather than telling me these things yourself?"

The Camper grinned. "I knew you weren't a stupid one. I sent you after Thaddeus because, yes, Thaddeus knows some things I don't. Didn't." A slight laugh. "Until he talked to you. He won't talk to me."

"Then how do you know what he said?"

"I have arms everywhere." The Camper turned away and began making its way back towards the lake, motioning for me to follow. "Not all of them are human."

I refused to follow the AquaTarkus' servant any closer to the waters. I know enough not to fall for something like that. Instead I called, "That reminds me. What is 'Indisen'?"

The Camper stopped in its tracks and looked back over its shoulder at me. "Individualistic sentience. One of my arms that has escaped me."

I admit, this stunned me for a few seconds. I am not normally a man given over to wordless pauses, as I possess a vocabulary large enough to deal with almost every eventuality. This, however, left me speechless. Eventually, I mustered the focus necessary to ask for clarification.

"Exactly what I said," replied The Camper. "You're part of me. Or you were, anyway. You're one of my arms. Part of The Camper, as you'd put it."

"No, I am not."

The Camper laughed. "Not anymore, no. But that's the key, isn't it? You're Indisen. You're not part of me. You were never part of me, because you heard the silence howling."

Something seemed to click in my brain at this point, and I regained command of my faculties. "Aqualung," I said. "It erased the event which led to my assimilation. That is what Thaddeus was referring to. You cannot ever really be destroyed."

The Camper turned to face me again, grinning, and nodded. "Right."

I spent a few long seconds thinking. "But this still does not explain what you want with me. Thaddeus claimed that I am essentially proof against you, and the others like you. That Aqualung cannot erase me. That The Archangel cannot embrace me. That you cannot drown me. The Cold Boy cannot freeze me. If I am all of that, then what do I matter to any of you?"

The Camper snorted derisively. "Come on, Sullivan. You've got to be able to come up with that on your own, at least. Think about it. Also-" another grin "-you're not invincible. Just... resilient. And positioned so that none of us can move against you without the rest stepping in."

Again, I fell silent, though this time it was due to my thinking hard rather than my being too stunned to speak again. "This piece of you that I carry," I said, after a few moments, "makes me valuable."


"It makes me a prize to be won."


"Because it has the power to tip the scales of your game."


I stared. "So why should I not willingly go to one of your counterparts and offer myself up? If I reason correctly, as long as I am alive, you still have access to... whatever it is that you have inside of me, even if it lies dormant. But if one of the others claims me, then they seize this piece of you, and... well. I cannot imagine that you are too fond of that idea."

"Again correct." The Camper inclined its head. "I knew that you must have learned something locked up in there with all those files. But you should be able to figure out the answer to that question yourself as well." Another laugh. "You are a creature of knowledge yourself, Sullivan. In more ways than one. So put that mind of yours to work."

Again, I paused to think. "Because tipping the balance of the game would result in something that I consider undesirable. Having one of you gain the upper hand over the others would be still worse than letting your assorted campaigns of torment continue unchecked."

"Right again." The Camper looked pleased. "And besides, you've really only got one option anyway. That piece of me that you carry is important for more reasons than that."

I made my way over to a nearby patch of clear ground and sat down. "Then explain."

The Camper shook its head. "Stop asking for the answers, Sullivan. You already have all the information you need. Just think for a minute. I know you can."

But the answer had already occurred to me. "Aqualung. It threatens you. All of you."

The Camper nodded.

"It is not one of you. Not really. It is something other, even to you. Not alive, as Thaddeus says that you are, but the end of all life. The end of everything. And it has finally managed to create a weakness. It has separated you from a piece of your very essence."

Another nod.

"The Grand Game was always between all of you. The 'normal' ones. It was always outside, only able to affect things in the smallest of ways, when your attention was elsewhere and it bled in around the edges. But now it has hurt you. And it finally has an opening. You are already wounded. The Archangel is being torn apart as Aqualung eats through its very being. And when the Archangel falls, it all falls. You all need me. You need me to fall to one of you, rather than to Aqualung. You need the strength to shore up the defenses that Aqualung is eating through. But none of you is willing to stand aside and allow another to claim the power that I represent."

The Camper grinned. "We're cutthroat that way."

I stood again. "And you expect me to voluntarily surrender myself to you. To become a piece of The Camper and return your power to you."

A third nod. "Otherwise, you just give another one of them the power to hurt even more people, and you won't do that. You're a bitter old bastard, Sullivan, but you care. Restoring the status quo will hurt fewer people than tipping the scales."

But I had already made my decision. "No," I snapped. "Never. Or, at least, not yet. I have other matters to deal with. There may be another option."

The Camper snorted again. "There isn't. But if you want to fight me, go ahead and try. You're resilient, Sullivan. You're not invincible. And you can't fight me this close to the water."

As if in answer, the rest of the Camper turned to face me in unison, save for the group standing in the center of the lake. Those sank down, beneath the surface, out of sight. And the surface of the water began to roil.

"But you cannot fight me at all," I answered. For once, I was not afraid. "The rest of them stand against you. I cannot imagine that The Slender Man is unaware of our conversation. We are in his domain, after all, even more than we are in yours. The Cold Boy has defended me once already." I took a step forward. "Perhaps one of the others has the strength to claim me. But not you. You need my surrender. And you will not get it here. Not yet. Likely never. I can think, as you yourself are so quick to point out. I can find another option. And while I search, all of you will only continue to trip over one another in your efforts to claim me."

The Camper laughed. This time, it was not an amused sound. It was a gloating, derisive cackle. "It isn't that simple, Sullivan. You're drunk on power you don't actually have. I can take you easily now."

Here, I faltered. In truth, I was not - and still am not - entirely sure that what I was saying had any truth to it whatsoever. But I had come out into the forest to find The Camper solely because I believed that, if it could take me as easily as that, then it would have done so already. Perhaps I was - and am - wrong about how weakened it actually is. It may be as much of a threat to me as any of the others. But taking this gamble was my only chance, at this point, and so I said, "Then try."

And I closed my eyes, waiting for something to happen.

Nothing did. After a few moments, I opened my eyes just enough to make out the assembled pieces of The Camper. None of them had moved. The only thing that had changed was that, on the opposite side of the lake, barely visible in the dimness of the forest, was a tall, thin figure with no face.

And so I turned to leave. As soon as I was out of the clearing around the lake, I broke into as much of a jog as my lame leg could manage. Running with a cane is quite difficult. The best that I could do was to limp quickly. I still do not know what form the struggle between The Slender Man and the Epping AquaTarkus - if, indeed, there was one - took. I know only that I saw no sign of either as I made my way back into the city.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I apologize for taking so long to post a response to your last missive, Miss Waterman. I have had something of a busy day, and it does not appear that I will be getting the opportunity to sleep any time soon.

I trust that more details surrounding your disappearance, as well as those of Thaddeus and our only means of transport, will be forthcoming soon enough. In the meantime, I am forced to proceed on foot towards my "destination", such as it is.

Phillip has been left behind to monitor James. As much as we despised making the decision to split up our merry little band still further, we have deemed it necessary. We last came across the Epping AquaTarkus' minions in the forest just outside of this city, and the Epping AquaTarkus seems to be the only entity willing to actually speak to us (short of Thaddeus, who has, as I previously mentioned, vanished). Beyond that, it is a self-described "creature of knowledge", and it does seem to have some investment in me succeeding at... something. I am not really sure. But Phillip thinks that it would be wise for him to stay as far away from the forest as possible, due to the nature of The Slender Man, and he has been James' friend for longer than I. Hopefully his proximity, even if he cannot be there around the clock, will help to ward James from The Cold Boy's influence.

We all have various means of posting to this online journal, it seems. We can keep in touch if necessary. And, in case of an emergency, we can send out a mass call for help; we do have other Runners in the audience, after all.

I will likely be unavailable for most of tomorrow. I am pausing at the edge of town to make this post, and I do not expect that the forest will have much in the way of wireless Internet reception. Hopefully, though, this will not be my last message to you. When I resurface, I will hopefully have rather more in the way of information regarding what exactly it is that I have apparently stumbled into. I am very tired of blundering around pointlessly.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Still alive

Still fighting.

Stay safe, LB. Phil. Take care of James. More to come.

 - Christie


James has officially been admitted to medical care.

There is not much else to say, really. I brought him to the emergency room, gave my name and cell phone number (a "burner" phone, of course), and left. For tonight, there is nothing left to do but hope. Tomorrow, I will try something new.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Action and Reaction

Our continued investigation of the old house have turned up no clues as to the whereabouts of Miss Waterman or Thaddeus. We have turned the place upside-down in our efforts to find some indication of their whereabouts and status, but neither Phillip nor myself is an accomplished forensic analyst. We have given up on that bit for now.

This leaves us with two options: sit and wait for something to happen, or try to find something that we can actually do. This means either leaving the town on foot, dragging James with us all the way, or making some effort to secure medical aid for him here.

I am done reacting. Waiting only ensures that the Epping AquaTarkus will find us, or one of its fellow entities, and I am not particularly enamored of that possibility. I am not entirely certain what was meant by the use of the term "Indisen", but I am certain that it cannot be a good thing, and I do not intend to allow myself to be manipulated.

It is time to investigate the hospital. Perhaps there is someone there who is willing to help us. It is a long shot, but a slim chance is better than none. Failing that, I may be able to at least lift some antibiotics. Somehow. Anything is better than sitting around and waiting.

And, failing absolutely every other possibility, we will have James admitted into emergency care. Again, a slim chance is better than none, and I will not sacrifice him, even if refusing to do so draws the attention of the authorities.

Phillip is in agreement with me. We are off. Wish us luck.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Current Status

I suppose that, after so long, I should provide you with a status update to confirm that Phillip, James, and myself are still alive and breathing.

Phillip, James, and myself are still alive and breathing.

You will have to pardon the levity there; I have to take comedy wherever it can be found. There is precious little in the way of stress relief available to me in my current situation.

James is drifting sporadically in and out of consciousness. When he is awake, he usually inquires after the location of Miss Waterman incessantly until he lacks the strength to speak. He is running quite an impressive fever: one hundred and four point seven degrees Fahrenheit, to be precise. I would dearly love to be able to take him to a physician, for I believe him to be in sore need of professional treatment as well as some powerful antibiotics, but he has no insurance, no identification, and so on. Besides, both The Cold Boy and The Archangel are fond of hospitals. You will find many of their servants hiding among the personnel there. We cannot risk it. We can only attempt to lower his fever through liberal use of the hotel's ice machine and hope that he recovers.

I say "we" because Phillip has awakened and is recovering. There were several worrying lacerations on his abdomen when I peeled back the bandages to look, but according to him, the wounds are superficial, and I have seen no sign of infection. Granted, my medical expertise is sorely limited, but as he is upright, shows no signs of fever or weakness, and is capable of fully-lucid conversation (and acting as normal as he ever has), I see no reason to worry about him when there is so much other work to be done.

Miss Waterman is still missing. Following her somewhat overzealous treatment of Thaddeus during our interrogation, she vanished, and she has taken the car with her. Thaddeus is gone as well. I can only hope that he has not somehow managed to overpower her and steal away with our only means of transport. Some part of me believes that we dealt with him too easily. There has to be more to the story than what we have seen.

After some reconnaissance work (done, much to my chagrin, by foot due to our lack of a vehicle), we have discovered that we are in the same city that holds the abandoned house wherein we conducted our little session with Thaddeus. Phillip and myself have been back there several times, searching for clues regarding the whereabouts of Miss Waterman and Thaddeus. We found several interesting items, but none of them gave us any clue as to where the two of them might have gone. Every mirror in the house is broken, and the glass is scattered over the floor. The restraints which we placed upon Thaddeus have been removed, though the chair is still bolted to the floor, and there is no sign of them anywhere in the house. Every book in the house is entirely blank. Upstairs, there are two bedrooms: a master suite, entirely normal, and a child's bedroom, full of marionettes. I believe that I may have realized what this house was to Miss Waterman, and why she failed to mention it to us before.

Phillip and I are attempting to develop some means of procuring medical treatment - or, failing that, antibiotics - for James. As of yet, our ideas are very few and all have an exceedingly low chance of success, but I will not give up.

Miss Waterman is not here. Phillip has never been a leader. James is unconscious and appears to be dying. It is up to me to find a way out of this mess, find Miss Waterman and Thaddeus, and get us out of this mess. Or, at the very least, as far out of this mess as Runners can ever be. I am not going to let these "Fears" claim Phillip and James as well.

And, if you are reading this, Thaddeus, I will not let you have them either.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Interrogation

Thaddeus is gone, James is unconscious and likely dying, Miss Waterman has vanished, Phillip is injured, Aqualung has reappeared and taken more of my memory, and I have no idea where we are. According to my computer, it has been several days since I last visited this site.

Overall, I believe that our little interrogation session might have gone better.

Once again, I am left without any idea as to how much memory I have lost. I can only tell you what I still remember, and hope that it is enough. Fortunately, it seems that Aqualung failed to erase my transcript of the interrogation itself (though it is, of course, possible that it claimed pieces of it and has left me only with those pieces that survived), so I can still give you that, at least.

I still remember the drive to Miss Waterman's promised safe house. Or, at the very least, pieces of it. Miss Waterman acted even more tense than usual following her announcement of her intention to escort us there. Phillip and James did not seem to have so much as an inkling as to why this might be the case. They did, however, join me in questioning Miss Waterman as to why she had failed to reveal the existence of such safe houses on any prior occasion.

The only answer that she was willing to give was "There wasn't any reason to tell you, and if you knew about them someone else could have gotten it out of you." Which is fair enough, I suppose, though none of us could come up with any reason for her to be so apprehensive at the prospect of putting her safe house to use.

The house itself was run-down and, by all appearances, had lain abandoned for some time. You will have to forgive me for omitting details as to its precise location, as I am not entirely sure whether or not those same details would give away our position; I have no idea where we are presently located, or whether or not we are anywhere near the house.

In any case, the house was empty when we approached, and well off the beaten path. Despite the decrepit countenance which the old building sported, its locks were still fully-functional. Fortunately, Miss Waterman knew where the key could be found, and we were able to enter without any trouble, save that Thaddeus struggled in Phillip's grip somewhat as he was being escorted from the rear of our vehicle to the house. Phillip is several inches taller than our former prisoner, however, and a great deal heavier. And, to add to that, Phillip did not have both arms secured behind his back and had not spent the past day or so bound and gagged in the back of a van.

The inside of the house was as decayed and crumbling as its outer facade. Miss Waterman explained that she had been preparing for just such a contingency, in which we were required to extract some information from a less-than-willing subject. Unsavory, I suppose, but I can hardly blame her for thinking of it after all the time that she has spent living like this.

Still, actually seeing the lengths to which she had gone to prepare was unsettling, to say the least. The basement of the house was protected by a heavy wooden door which had been outfitted with several large, heavy padlocks and chains, and was at least partially soundproofed by merit of having a mattress essentially nailed over its opposite side. The basement itself was largely empty, save for a chair which was bolted to the floor, which we secured Thaddeus to.

The following is the transcript of our interrogation session. James typed it out, having woken up after being wounded in our efforts to apprehend the very man that we now were holding prisoner. He did not feel up to much else.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Notes on Thaddeus

Yes, hands up, all those of you who actually believed that I had given out the date for the execution of our plan. If the initial phase of this journal failed to demonstrate to you that I am perfectly willing to lie or conceal the truth in order to smooth the way for us, nothing will.

I had hoped that Thaddeus might be tricked into letting down his guard upon reading the previous entry. No such luck, I am afraid; he was ready for us. Insane he might be, but he is far from stupid.

And he is farther still from helpless. We have captured him, but James has been seriously wounded in the attempt. Phillip is attempting medical treatment, but James is the closest thing that we have to a doctor in our group, and I am sure that I do not need to remind you that it is notoriously difficult for a physician to heal themselves.

In any case, James is injured and unconscious, but, to the best of Phillip's knowledge, stable. We have restrained Thaddeus and placed him in the rear of the vehicle, behind the final row of seats. His current position could hardly be considered comfortable, but I consider it more important to keep him from getting loose and attracting attention by waving through the rear window, or simply attempting to strangle one of us, than to ensure that his restraints are not cutting off blood flow or that his position is not going to give him leg cramps.

I suppose that I should give a little background as to who Thaddeus River actually is, for those of you who care. Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, I know very little about him. I cannot imagine that he led a particularly pleasant life, for it to have produced a man so unhinged (though that may be a product of his claimed exposure to eldritch knowledge rather than his upbringing).

I do, however, know a few things about him, mostly regarding his physical attributes. Thaddeus River is of average height, hovering somewhere near the six-foot mark, and I suspect that, if he were rather more well-fed than he actually is, he would be of average build to match. Currently, however, he is little more than skin and long, lank hair stretched over a skeleton. With his tattered, stained clothing, sallow skin tone, and untrimmed facial hair, he actually bears an uncanny resemblance to Aqualung, save that he actually has a mouth and eyes.

As has already been mentioned in the comments section of an earlier post, he bears the mark of the Archangel. Specifically, the icon of the double triangles has been tattooed on each of his palms. From this, we deduce that he is a member - or, at the very least, a former member - of the Archangel's cult.

His weapon of choice is the balisong, otherwise known as the butterfly knife, and, according to Miss Waterman, he has demonstrated almost supernal skill with the weapon. He was following her for years before he arrived on my doorstep, and she bears several rather intimidating scars from near-miss battles against him. We removed no less that four knives from his person upon his capture.

There will be more to come soon. Miss Waterman is taking us to one of her safe-houses. We shall interrogate him there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Making Plans

You will have to pardon the lack of updates regarding our plans to deal with Thaddeus. He reads this online journal as well, after all, and we are not so foolish as to ignore the words of Machiavelli: “No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.”

I am still somewhat hesitant to follow the instructions of a being like the Epping Aqua-Tarkus. To be perfectly honest, I would much rather be following the orders of any other “Fear”, if I must follow orders at all. Scylla is one of those entities that I find especially distasteful, for reasons that I am sure you can deduce on your own. And yet I see no other recourse. It is rare that any such entity takes the time to speak at all, and offering actual advice is so rare as to be practically unheard of. Besides, it was made perfectly clear that there is something more happening here, and, as Miss Waterman was quick to point out, confronting Thaddeus is likely the only way that we might discover a little more about the straits through which we are, metaphorically, attempting to sail through.

We have checked, as a group, the mirrors and reflective surfaces in the motel room. The same message is carved into them in the same manner. “AND IN THE GARDEN THE ARCHANGEL SWORD ABOVE HIS HEAD”. Even the television screen has had this etched into it. And yet my dream regarding the (lack of a) mirror has failed to repeat itself. In keeping watch over the rest, I have not noticed any particularly uneasy sleep among my compatriots (save Phillip, who, according to the others, has always suffered from these), so, for the moment, I am forced to assume that the dream that I had is to be the only one on the matter. I do not consider any of my fellow Runners to be foolish enough to withhold the news that they are having the same nightmare I myself suffered through so recently, particularly in light of our current circumstances.

According to Miss Waterman, we should be ready to move in to capture Thaddeus this Saturday evening. Hopefully we will be able to subdue him without attracting undue attention, or allowing him the opportunity to make use of his knives. Until then, I will resume my efforts to transplant the records from their paper forms to electronic ones.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


So… I guess we’re trying to capture Thaddeus now. 

Phil here. Christie and James are out getting food and running to the laundry place and stuff. That leaves me and the old man back here at the motel. We finally broke down and decided to stay some place that has actual beds, cause we were all starting to look like we hadn’t slept in years.

We did tape a few towels over the mirror, though, as well as the TV screen and doorknobs. The TV screen reflects stuff, kinda, and the doorknobs were part of LB’s nightmare, so we’re not taking any chances. I’ve never heard of any of them using mirrors before, but the camper said we need to be careful around them, so whatever. If one of THEM thinks it’s important enough to actually warn us about it, we’re not going to be stupid enough to ignore it.

I am so confused right now. I’ve got no idea how we’re going to even start looking for Thaddeus, but this place is pretty small. I think that’s why Christie picked it. Less places for him to hide. Assuming he’s trying to hide, anyway. I think he might actually want us to find him, but he’s probably got different plans for what he wants to happen when we do.

I dunno. I’m still just kind of weirded out by this whole situation. I’m even weirded out that I’m so weirded out, cause before the old man joined us, I was actually the oldest guy in the group by a couple years and I’ve always been the guy who has absolutely no idea what to do next. I just run and do my best to keep the others safe. Christie’s been running longer than anybody else, so most of the time she’s calling the shots. She’s always managed to get us out alive, too, so I don’t see any reason I should mess that up by trying to act like I know more than I do. I’m just one of those guys who found out one of his friends had run into Slendy and got targeted next. Took off. That’s about it.

I just realized how far off-track I just got. Anyway. I’m weirded out by this whole situation. I don’t know much about the Fears, but I know what EAT is, and I know none of them are NICE. So the fact that it’s got plans for the old man isn’t exactly making me happy about this. And apparently the rest of them all have plans for him as well, or something, and as;lkjqewrlkj. I have no clue what we’re doing, except that everybody else says we’ve got to talk to Thaddeus even if it’s what EAT wants us to do because it’s the only way we’ll find out what’s going on.

I just had to vent for a while. I’m gonna post this and then I’m gonna give the computer back to LB in case he wants to say anything. Or type up one of his documents. Whatever.

Monday, January 30, 2012


[NOTE: James has consented to allowing me to remove the bandages, as my fingers have begun to heal. The following was typed up only a few hours previously. The only changes that I have made to its originally formatting have been to format it so that it is easier to read.]

There is a line of people across the road in front of us. Considering that they have linked arms and are simply standing there, stretching off into the forest on either side, I think that it is plainly obvious that they mean to stop us here.

And they have, for the past twenty minutes or so. Miss Waterman has instructed all of us to retrieve our weapons, in case it comes down to a fight. I have done so, but I do not expect it to. In terms of comparative durability, the human body loses outright to a van. James and Miss Waterman seem to have reached the same conclusion. Phillip seems skeptical - he seems to think that they would not have formed a line across the road if they did not think that they could withstand such an impact - but

Yes, even this sentence. The one that I am saying now, yes.

Good. I have a message for you. 

We don't

Shut up, girl. I'm talking to the old man. I know him. More than one member of his family has been part of me, and he himself has been attempting to track me down for years. The rest of you are marked by the rest, and I'm not in the mood for dealing with you right now. Sullivan. 


Still typing? 


Good. Your archive idea is a good one. It makes the information harder to destroy. That's a good thing, here. Keep doing it. I am a creature of knowledge, after all. [laughter] 

What do you want from me?

I want you to do what the song tells you to, Sullivan. You have heard the silence howling. Now it's time to catch the angels. 

What the hell are you talking about?

Did I say you could talk? There are more of my arms here than you see. Be quiet. 

It is something of an appropriate question, though. What do you mean?

I mean that you stand at the center of something bigger than you can possibly know, Sullivan. Your chosen pen name is more appropriate than you had initially intended. I approve, by the way. [laughter] 

That is a dodge, not an explanation.

No, but it's all that I'm going to say on the matter. All that I can say, really, in such a limited form of communication. The crowned pawn knows the truth. It's just a matter of whether or not you can get it out of him without becoming the next specimen in his butterfly collection. One way or another, you're going to have to get him to talk. Just don't be stupid enough to think he actually wants to tell you. And keep a close eye on the mirrors. We are ALL watching you, Sullivan, and none of us wants to help you. 

Then why are you talking to me at all?

Because I have my own plans for you. Why else would I? Just because I take the time to speak doesn't mean that I'm benevolent. The Butcher speaks as well, you know. I just have a vested interest in one particular outcome over the rest, and having one of the others get you first would make things a lot more difficult. You've drawn our attention, Sullivan, and, for one of you, that is never a good thing. Just talk to the crowned one. Don't force me to speak to you again. I won't be so peaceful next time.

Friday, January 27, 2012

McDonald's Update

Fuck motels.

Just sayin’.

Christie here again. I feel like I haven’t gotten any real sleep in a week. Sleeping in a car seat will do that to you, I guess. I’m stiff and exhausted and have a raging headache, which sucks because we’re in a McDonald’s now and it’s loud as hell. I swear if this woman behind me does not stop laughing I will punch her in the throat. It’s like a goddamn saw across my forebrain.

Since James has given a formal introduction to himself, Phil and I have been working on ours whenever we can convince LB to stop trying to type on bandaged fingers. James says his fingers look like they’ll heal eventually, but in the meantime he’s pretty much had to give up trying to translate any of his files. Or he would have, if he wasn’t so stubborn. He’s getting maybe three lines done a day now.

Anyway. Formal intro time, I guess. I’m Christie Waterman. I’m twenty-four years old, from Chicago, started Running when I was fourteen. Met James two years later. Met Phil just a few months after that. Met LB about a year after Phil. Running from the Wooden Girl, in case any of you care. Or that’s what I started running from. Once you’re running from one, you’re kind of running from all of them. They seem to notice Runners more often than they do normal people. Something to do with how the Game works, maybe. I dunno.

I’m not going to go into details on how I met the Wooden Girl. I’m not going to give you my life story. It’s not important and it’s private anyway. Fuck your voyeuristic tendencies. But I will say this: I know there are Runners out there who are actually her pets. I have personally killed two. To all those of you who call her “Mistress”: if you see me, don’t bother running. It won’t help. I spat in her face and I lived to tell about it. You don’t even want to know what I did to your buddies.

That’s all you’re getting from me. I’m not interested in giving every detail of my life to everybody on the internet.

What I WILL tell you is this: Thaddeus is definitely following us. As if the email he sent us last time wasn’t enough, he’s started being a lot less subtle about his shadowing. And beyond that, we haven’t slept in a hotel since we got that email. Every time we check in, there’s a message scratched into the mirror in our room. It’s always the same thing: AND IN THE GARDEN THE ARCHANGEL SWORD ABOVE HIS HEAD. Just that line from the song. In all capitals, too. So we’re not sleeping in hotels at the moment.

I’d say we should sleep there anyway, that it’s probably Thaddeus following us and being stupid and crazy so we can just post guards like normal and be fine, but the message is always scratched onto the back of the mirror, and it’s never been taken down from the wall. That smells like one of the Fears to me, and like hell I’m going to sleep in a room that a Fear has basically scrawled its name on.

Going to see if we can find some blankets and pillows to put in the car today. I think we’re going to be sleeping there for a while.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Email From Thaddeus

Christie here. Thaddeus just emailed us. Considering how obvious the email address for this Blogger account is, I guess it wouldn't be that hard to guess. The guy is clearly crazy, but it's a lucid kind of crazy, so at least we don't have to sift through a bunch of gibberish, even if there isn't much meaning here beyond cryptic pseudo-informative bullshit.

Thought I'd copy-paste the message here. Enjoy.

You’ve heard of the Great Game, haven’t you? I know you have. You’ve read all the accounts out there. “We are the pieces”. “embracethearchangel”. “never alone again”. Everything.

But you don’t really know very much. You can’t know very much, because you’re one of the pieces. You look at the things you think are the players, and you think you understand. You think you grasp some small piece of it, because you put a label on it and you pretend that the analogy of a game is accurate.

It’s not. Nothing we could ever describe in English could ever even begin to approximate what the Fears are, or what they’re doing, or what the Game is. Nothing we could ever comprehend in anything even approaching sane, rational human thoughts could come close. But it’s handy to think about. It lets us feel like we understand it, even if it is completely wrong. It lets us keep from going entirely bonkers.

You call me an altar boy, Waterman, but you’re wrong. I was, once. No longer. But while I was, I saw a little bit of what things are really like. I looked up off the board and saw what was stretching away above us. And I got a little bit of a glimpse of what’s really going on.

You don’t understand the Archangel when you say it’s “the afterlife”. You don’t understand the Slender Man when you say he kills people and sticks their bodies in the woods. You don’t understand the Rake when you look at it and see this little white-skinned goblin with foot-long claws and teeth that would scare a great white. You don’t understand the Blind Man when you call him the Grandfather, or even when you look a little closer and see the howling abyss of nothingness underneath. You don’t know anything about what they are. You don’t know anything about what they want. You don’t even know which of them are the same thing wearing different masks and which of them are really different things. You don’t even understand why it might not matter which is which, or even if there’s a real difference between them, or how woefully inept the idea of a “game” with “rules” and “players” and “pieces” is.

Because you can’t know. No one like you can ever know. Not without making you like me. I can see. I can only see a little piece of it all. I don’t know everything. But I can still SEE. I can see a lot more than you ever could.

You have no idea what’s really going on. I do.

You don’t know who or what the players are. I do.

You don’t know what happens when a new player joins. I do.

You don’t know what happens when one of them gets upset and flips the table.


I can show you, if you like.

So that's Thaddeus, for those of you that were curious. Balls-out crazy and even he admits it. Plus he apparently gets his jollies from cryptic emails that really don't tell us jack shit.

Bedtime. Out of here in the morning. Even if the guy can keep sending us pretentious bullshit messages no matter where we go, we can at least keep moving so we don't have to deal with his insanity in person.

Meet The Medic

Hey, James here. LB’s fingers are still messed up. I’m not letting him near the keyboard, which means updates to the archive side of this are going to be going slow for a while. He prefers to do that part himself. It’s kind of his pet project. He was pretty reluctant to let Phil finish up the document he started, even.

Anyway. Christie says that, since we’ve got this thing set up already, we may as well use it. There’s other Runners out there that update things like this, anyway, so we may as well join them. What we go through might be useful to somebody.

Plus it’s another layer of community between me and the Cold Boy, even if it’s just a small one, and that’s never a bad thing. I don’t know if “there are people following my blog online” count as “not being alone”. Probably not. But hey, worth a shot. It’s not like it takes much time to update this thing.

Still running. Yeah, what else is new, right? We think we’ve caught sight of Thaddeus a couple times. I think he’s driving a maroon Kia Forte or Optima or whatever they’re called. Can’t be sure, though. He never takes the same exit we do, assuming it is him, and I can’t really get a good look at his face.

LB – it just feels weird to call him Archibald, it’s too much like Archie, and “Mister Sullivan” is just weird when you’re running with a guy, too formal – is kind of funny to watch, honestly. I’m typing this on an iPad while we’re all in the car, and he’s sitting in the back seat with his folders and his fingers all bandaged up and he’s still trying to read through them, turn the pages and everything. I don’t think he really gets how much damage he might have done to his fingers. Or the Cold Boy did to them, anyway. He used to be a chain smoker, he’s old, and he’s in terrible shape. His circulation is probably crap, and it was like an icebox in there. And there was him in thermal underwear and fingerless gloves holding a shotgun, with a bunch of blankets piled up around the electric heater in a room that must have been in the single digits. Or the negatives.

That’s why I fucking hate the Cold Boy. He hits you when you’re alone, so there’s no one you can go to for help. And he hits you with this cold that isn’t just like there’s no heat, it’s like he’s turned cold into something that actually exists and sucks the heat out of you and everything around you. It’s not just like there’s no warmth there, it’s like there’s anti-heat or something.

That’s what happened to me when I first ran into him. I’m a med student. Or I was. Anyway. Lots of work. Lots of work. No real time to make friends, and I’m living alone in this apartment, and Mom and Dad are living halfway across the country, and I’m spending lots of nights up and studying in the middle of winter. And I’ve never been the most sociable of people anyway.

You’ve really gotta wonder how they pick their targets. I know I wasn’t the only med student up late and alone in my class. Or even in that apartment. But he chose to go after me. You really don’t want to know what it’s like to be in the shower when he shows up. It sounds funny at first, like an AFV video or something, some guy just screaming when the water gets too cold too fast. It wasn’t. You really don’t want to know what it’s like to be covered in water when the temperature goes so low that it starts freezing on your skin. And you’re naked and it happens so fast that you’re frozen in place before you can move, and the shower’s still on, so you’re just getting more and more ice piled on you while you’re stuck there, and then you hear that kid start singing. I can still remember what it was. “Sing a song of sixpence, a pocketful of rye. Four-and-twenty blackbirds, baked into a pie.” He got that far while I was stuck there, and he was just standing outside the stall. The curtain was closed, but I could see his silhouette there. And then I ripped myself out and jumped out of the stall, and he was gone.

I’ve still got the scars from where the skin ripped off. I almost died of hypothermia anyway, but I made it. And then I found out what he was, and I went on the run. I was just lucky that Christie was running already. I was still stupid enough to be wearing the Operator symbol openly, so I could find someone else to run with and get the Cold Boy to back off a little. I still don’t go into the bathroom alone.

Anyway. That’s me, and I’m going to end this post here, because we’re stopping for food. We’ve decided we want to cross at least one more state line before we stop for the night. Thaddeus is probably still on our trail, and he’s probably going to stay there no matter what we do, but we’re not going to make it easy for him.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bad Dream

As Phillip mentioned during his preface to my preface of the previous document, my frostbite is rather worse than I initially cared to reveal. I have agreed, at James’ urging, to refrain from actual typing, settling instead on letting Miss Waterman type out what I dictate to her. She is the fastest typist in the group, after myself, so this avoids both Phillip’s interminable demands for me to speak more slowly while still allowing me to update the archives.

Or, at least, to eventually update the archives. This particular post is, as you can likely surmise from the title, not a document. It is, rather, part of the “journal” side of this online journal. At Miss Waterman’s urging, I am taking the opportunity to add a description of last night’s dream to this record.

We are still in a motel, and still all in the same room. You will have to excuse me for not going into more detail than that, for reasons previously stated. Following the upload of the previous document, I went to sleep.

At 3:07 a.m., I “awoke”. In hindsight, it was, quite obviously, a dream, but it was quite vivid, sharper than many waking memories that I possess. In the dream, I possessed a pressing need to relieve myself, and so left the bed (or, rather, what small portion of it was not occupied by Phillip) to move towards the bathroom.

I relieved myself, I am happy to say, without incident, and to spare the minds’ eyes of Miss Waterman, Phillip, and James, I shall avoid going into further detail on that matter. The true “meat” of the dream took place after this, when I began to turn to leave the bathroom.

There is, you see, a metal knob on the door into the bathroom, which is ordinarily a flat bronzed or argent tone, always dull and uninteresting. But, when I turned to leave in this dream, the knob seemed inordinately polished, to the point of being very nearly a full mirror. I was able to make out my own features in it, distorted as they were.

Then I caught sight of a slight movement in the warped reflection of the bathroom behind me. As the room is less than ten feet on a side, hardly wide enough to contain the commode and shower stall that are its only features, this meant that there had to be someone very close behind me. Yet, when I turned to look, the stall was empty, and upon returning my gaze to the knob, it had returned to its original, dull appearance.

Thinking to warn the others of something that might constitute evidence of danger, I opened the door, only to find myself… well, almost precisely where I had hoped. But only almost. Anyone who has visited a cheap motel for the night should know the arrangement of the bathroom in relationship to the sink and mirror, as well as the rest of the room: the sink and mirror are set into a recess in the back of the room, with a door leading into the bathroom in the side of this recess.

When I opened the door, however, things had shifted. The main hotel room was no longer visible. Instead, the sink and mirror were set directly in front of me, with blank walls on each side. The only source of light was the bathroom behind me, by which I could make out my own reflection in the mirror.

And so I left the bathroom door open behind me as I stepped into this new area. I was prepared to, at the very least, throw a few punches before whatever the thing that was undoubtedly behind this felled me. But nothing presented itself. Despite my lingering in this area for what felt like hours, nothing of interest occurred. The only indicator that any time had passed at all, in fact, was my own racing heart.

Yet I could not shake the feeling that, somehow, I was being watched. I paced the room restlessly, waiting for my execution, for what felt like hours. Finally, I did the only thing that I could think to do. I moved towards the counter, clenched my fist as best I could with swollen and bandaged fingers, and prepared to make an attempt at smashing the mirror.

But, when I did, my hand never made contact with the glass. Rather, I felt my bandaged knuckles make contact with another hand. Before I could fully grasp the implications of this, I felt a shrieking, unbearable pain, and looked to see that my hand had begun to shatter like spun glass, cracks spider-webbing their collective way across its surface, and I found myself incapable of moving as those same agonizing cracks appeared elsewhere on my body.

What happened next is not something that I care to recount in detail. Suffice it to say that my doppelgรคnger was not a victim of the same paralysis that I was suffering, and that the sensation of being shattered and broken like so much spun glass is not a pleasant one. Finally, though, it tired of its sport, and when it moved in to shatter my skull like the rest, I awoke.

We have decided that we shall sleep in shifts from now on. Miss Waterman and her group have always rotated night watch duties between the three of them. Now, we shall have two people awake at any one time. One will watch the surroundings for any sign of attackers. The other shall watch for any indication of bad dreams in the sleepers.

James has just returned from checking us out of the motel. It is time for us to leave, so I will have to end this dictation here. I wish those of you who are reading this, and in similar situations, luck.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Hey, this is Phil. The old man can’t type right now. James’ orders. He was downplaying how bad the frostbite in his fingers was so he’d be allowed to type. They’ve started to blister now, and James has him bandaged up and undergoing treatment. But he’s determined to get this stuff typed up. He keeps talking about how it’s important that he gets it done and how it could save lives and all that stuff, but James just keeps saying he needs to let his fingers heal. If they’re going to.

Anyway. So to make him feel better, I promised I’d finish typing up this file he was working on before. He’s still not happy that he’s not doing it himself, but whatever. If you can’t use your fingers, you can’t type, so for now he’s just going to have to live with letting us do it for him. I might let him dictate to me later if he promises to talk slower than he usually does. And use smaller words. I’m a fast typer but damn that old guy likes his fancy vocab.

Anyway. He had some stuff typed up on it before, so I’m just going to scroll down to the bottom and finish it off.

We have stopped off in a motel for the night. It is a single room for the four of us, which means that two of us are in each bed. I am not enormously fond of these arrangements, as I am sure that you can guess. Phillip is rather larger than myself, and takes up most of the bed. [PHIL: I’m not fat, I’m just a big guy. Muscular.]

I have never slept well in motels in any case. So, for now, I have allowed Phillip to have the bed to himself while I retreat into the bathroom with one of the laptops. It is a chance to get some typing done without James complaining that I should be allowing my fingers time to heal. There is work to be done. My fingers will heal or they will not. Either way, I will continue my work.

But before I begin copying this particular document, I must stop for another preface and explanation of the circumstances surrounding its arrival in my archives. Most of the files in my care come from various Runners. Failing that, they are most likely from various newspaper articles, but some of them simply showed up on my doorstep, addressed to Archibald Donald Sullivan, Junior, and lacking any return address. Where they come from, I do not claim to know. But I have salvaged most of them, because someone considered them important enough to give to me. If they are from a more hostile source than my fellow Runners (and that is an odd phrase to utter; I have never before considered myself a Runner), then that makes them all the more important.


Once there was a young man.

He was a normal young man. He lived in a nice house in a nice neighborhood and had a nice family with a nice dog and a nice car and he went to a nice school and had nice friends and on Fridays he would go out on nice dates with his nice girlfriend.

And then one day this nice young man disappeared. He woke up in a cold basement tied to a cold metal table and there was a man there with cold skin and cold metal tools. And the man with the cold skin took his cold metal tools in his cold hands and set about his cold work.

The nice young man had nice eyes.

He had nice teeth.

He had nice hands.

He had nice hair.

Everything about him was nice.

And, when the man with skin that was no longer cold finally put down his cold metal tools on the cold metal tray next to the cold metal table, he was nice, too.

And none of the nice people on the nice street of nice houses in the nice neighborhood noticed that anything had changed. None of the nice people went into the cold house or opened the cold metal door and went down into the cold basement to find the young man who had once been so nice but who was now so very, very cold.

Because things were just as nice as they had always been. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Too Old to Rock and Roll, But I Am Too Young To Die

I am, as Miss Waterman revealed in her last update to this blog, alive. Granted, I am alive with a case of second-degree frostbite in my toes and first-degree frostbite in several of my fingers, and I am apparently missing much more of my memory than I had first thought, but I am alive nonetheless.

Typing with numbed fingers is, unsurprisingly, an extremely frustrating exercise, made all the more difficult and annoying due to my current location in the back seat of Miss Waterman’s van while she careens along the highway at unnecessarily high speeds. She says that it might serve to keep Thaddeus off of our collective tail; I am not so sure. The man is annoyingly persistent once he has selected a target.

Still, the sentiment is a good one, and she has been doing this longer than I. As have James and Phillip. You will have to pardon me for refraining from bestowing upon you their last names. While Miss Waterman and I are the last of our respective bloodlines, James and Phillip still have family to lose, and making their identities public would undoubtedly place their relatives at the mercy of certain Proxies, even if their masters hold no interest in the other members of the family.

As an additional precaution, you will have to excuse me also for not handing out any information on our appearances. The less information there is out there which might be used to identify us, the less likely that some Proxy or another will catch sight of us on a street corner and decide to kill us all before we get the opportunity to react. To bastardize a phrase from Orwell, the Operator, or one of his ilk, is watching you. Or, at the very least, one of their myriad servants is.

I can, however, say a little about myself. As I have noted above, my family is dead. There really is no reason to keep my own identity secret any longer. My name is Archibald Sullivan. The journal that I uploaded when I first began this online archive belonged to my son. That was how I discovered the existence of those creatures collectively referred to as “Fears”. More specifically, it is how I discovered the existence of the being designated the “Epping AquaTarkus” – EAT – and the gestalt entity known as The Camper.

Miss Waterman has already explained how we came to meet in as much detail as I consider necessary. The details of the intervening time are likewise unimportant. My investigation into the details surrounding the death of my wife and the disappearance of my two children bore no fruit until I overheard a conversation between Miss Waterman, Phillip, and James when they passed through my city. In her own words, it was “a careless fucking slip-up that could have killed all three of us”, but I am no Proxy, and instead of spelling death for the three Runners, it gave them a contact. Granted, I was a contact that could do little to assist them, but I provided them with occasional safe haven in exchange for being sent all information that they could gather on these so-called “Fears”, in the hope that I could put it to use in my hunt for my children.

Of course, before long I had discerned that rescuing them from the clutches of The Camper would be all but impossible. My archives turned from a potential weapon against the beings that stole my family from me into a repository of useful information for Runners – or, at least, those Runners who happened to stumble across it. There were more than a few, over the years. Many of them made donations. Miss Waterman’s group regularly mailed me their journals. Others took the time to send in sporadic accounts as well. And some letters came from seemingly nowhere, with no return address and no names in the accounts.

And so my archives grew unchecked, until quite recently. As I exposited in my first post, my long years of research have finally drawn their attention, and so I am now on the run with Miss Waterman’s group. They are no doubt not far behind, and Thaddeus is likely still hunting us despite Miss Waterman’s best efforts to the contrary. But, for now, I have those records that I judged most valuable, and I am safe. The archives will continue to update.

This is Archibald Donald Sullivan, alias “Locomotive Breath”, here to say that I am not dead yet, you bastards.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

He's Still Alive

He's unconscious and he's probably lost a couple fingers and toes to frostbite, but he's alive.

I see he's published one of my journals. Can't really see why. It's not like the fact that they fight against one another sometimes is all that big of a news flash to anybody who's involved in any of this. Maybe it was to him, though. As far as I know, this is the first time he's ever really dealt with any of this in person.

I guess I should explain a little about what's really been going on, though.

This is Christie. Christie Waterman, you know, from the last journal, even if that was written a few years back. Phil and James and me have all been Runners for about ten years now, about as long as we've been writing up those journals and sending them to LB. We grouped up when we crossed paths in Pennsylvania and James told us about how the Cold Boy loves to pick off people who are isolated and alone. About a year later we met LB, living in this little shithole of a house in southern Indiana.

He got a bigger house eventually and built his archives in the basement, behind a couple false walls and stuff like that. They were basically a military-grade bunker full of filing cabinets, not that many of them ever got filled. He's probably got more information compiled in there than anybody else ever has, even those Topography Center guys (but the stuff he's got isn't exactly rigorously tested scientific data, so if you guys are looking for stuff that's guaranteed accurate - or at least as accurate as you can get with these things - I'd still go with them). Or he did, anyway. The Blind Man was kind of in a frenzy when we dragged him out. I guess most of it's probably gone now, but we've got a couple backpacks full of the "important stuff", all the files he had piled up around his little makeshift bed, and we're taking them with us. Along with the old man, of course.

He's going to slow us down by a hell of a lot, though. Walks with a cane, wears Coke-bottle glasses, wasn't in the best shape even when he was younger 'cause he smokes too much, all that stuff. But we're not leaving him. He's one of us now, a Runner, and we don't leave other Runners to get eaten or whatever the hell it is the Blind Man does when he takes you. Erases you from existence, maybe. That's a good way to get the Choir down on you, or the "Whispering Judges", whatever the old man is calling them.

That Thaddeus guy he kept referring to, the Proxy, saw us coming in to rescue him and tried to attack us, but we shot at him once or twice and scared him off. Three heavily-armed Runners, even dragging along a barely-conscious old man, is a little much for any Proxy with a brain. Yes, even the ones with weird powers. If you know what you're doing, as long as you're using the buddy system, you should be all right. You can at least get away.

Anyway. He's out now, and he's going with us. Even if he's as old and feeble as he looks, he's a smart guy. Played Thaddeus like a fiddle, at least. He knew he was being hunted by the Fears, as well as Thaddeus, and he knew that the only way to get out of it was to become a Runner, but he knew Thaddeus was in the area and couldn't just leave the house because the guy was looking for him. So he started up this blog, letting Thaddeus know he was in the house so he'd set up camp outside. So we knew where Thaddeus would be when we came in to rescue him, which is a really good thing, because that fucker is fond of ambushing you with a knife, and if he gets in close you're pretty much doomed.

And if nothing else, the old man's got balls. It must have been ten below in the archives, and the Blind Man was walking up and down the aisles the whole time. And he was still ready to use the shotgun if we had turned out to be Proxies, or even one of the Fears. I know I would probably have cracked, staying isolated for that long with not one but two of them breathing down my neck. But he's fine, even if I think the Blind Man got the bit of memory that told him we were coming. That would be why he started to crack last time. He forgot the cavalry was on its way.

Anyway. He's out, we're out, I think we wounded Thaddeus, it's not cold where we are now, and there's none of that goddamn howling that the Blind Man gives off. We even got the files he thought were most important, 'cause he kept them piled up next to his mattress for easy access. We're on the run again, and we're going to be all right, I think.

The only thing I'm kind of worried about is the sparkly stuff on the floor he mentioned in his last post. It wasn't ice. There was no water in there to freeze. It was broken glass, and I have no idea where the hell it came from or why it was there. But, for now, I think we're okay.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Silence Howling

There is another blank patch in my memory.

Unfortunately, this time there are no cryptic messages which might shed any light on it, even if said light would likely be murky and dim.  The entirety of the previous day is simply gone from my mind, save for one image: Aqualung’s eyes, those horrifically unnatural windows to nothingness, poised inches from my own.

It is getting rather more aggressive as of late. I think that, before long, it will come to claim the rest of me. For now, though, it is content with taking bits and pieces, leaving this old man to stew in the knowledge of his own helplessness.

Half of the archives have vanished into nothingness. There is nothing left where years of collected information once rested beyond cabinets full of blank papers. At least three-quarters of all my work has been destroyed. I think that I have managed to salvage the most valuable files, but nothing is certain when Aqualung is around.

And, as if this were not enough, Thaddeus has found me. The bastard is camping out in the main area of my house. For now, he has yet to discover the door to my archives, hidden as it is, but it is only a matter of time. It is likely not a matter of much time, either. Thaddeus is a hunter, like his master, and soon he will find my hiding place, and I shall become his next subject.

It has gotten so cold now that I can see my breath frosting the air, and I have not stopped shivering for several hours despite the fact that I am camped just next to my electric heater and bundled up in every blanket which I brought in with me. I think that ice is beginning to form on the floors; little sparkles of light, like fragments of diamond, are visible throughout the archives.

I do not think that I will have time to translate any more documents. If Aqualung does not take me, then I shall soon succumb to The Cold Boy’s chill, or find myself with one of Thaddeus’ knives lodged between my ribs. But I shall try nonetheless. It seems rather pointless now that I am truly confronted with the end of my life, but I promised to try, and so I will.

He hears the silence howling
Catches angels as they fall
And the all-time winner
Has got him by the balls
Oh, he picks up Gideon’s Bible
Open at page one
But God, he stole the handle
And the train, it won’t stop going
No way to slow down