Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Venting


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

DOCUMENT EAT-010

[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. 

Yes?

Still typing? 

Yes.

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 DO.

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

DOCUMENT UNC-002


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.

DOCUMENT ARK-002: UNKNOWN SOURCE

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

Saturday, January 14, 2012

DOCUMENT ARK-003


There is still no direct indicator of The Cold Boy’s presence, aside from the continued inexplicable frostiness of my surroundings. I have no thermometer with which to measure the exact temperature, but I do know that it is very near freezing. Fortunately, I foresaw this eventuality. When I was preparing these archives for their secondary duty as an emergency shelter, I installed both a generator and an electric heater. I have no need of the generator as of yet – the electricity in the house is still functioning – but the heater is proving quite useful.

All in all, save for the blank patch in my memory of last night, things have been much quieter since I published Michael Sullivan’s journal.

It is here that I must pause in my work once again, however, to note that the computer that I am utilizing lacks any kind of printer or scanner attachment. This means that photographs, forms, and the like can only be reproduced inasmuch as they can be translated into textual descriptions. Undoubtedly some detail will be lost in the act, but I have no choice in the matter; I can either supply you with a bastardized, incomplete version of the accounts, or I can give up and leave them in the cabinets for Aqualung.

There is a microphone attachment on the computer, fortunately. There are several audio tapes which I may be able to upload, assuming that the quality of the recording is not so low as to be unintelligible when transplanting it from the tapes to the computer. It may well be.

But, for now, I have another document for your perusal.

DOCUMENT ARK-003: WATERMAN, CHRISTIE

[This document is one of those hand-written by one of my two most reliable contacts. I believe that, in the common parlance, she would be referred to as a “Runner”, though I believe that “Hunter” may be more accurate.

This particular document is a cheap notebook used as a journal, covered in Christie’s handwriting. As before, the entries are undated. There are many before and after this portion of the book, but I have omitted these. Translating them would take time that I simply do not have, and they are not relevant to the subject of this particular post.]

James got himself hospitalized. Hit by a bus running from the Trumpeter. Fucking grand. It’s always cold in hospitals, everybody’s drinking from the same water source and eating the same food, they keep you alone in your room for hours, and they don’t let you take stuff like guns inside. And they start looking for insurance information and trying to bill you, so they put you on the map for the Proxies as well.

Phil managed to get all of James’ stuff before the ambulance got there, so we’ve still got his guns and clothes and everything. Everybody else just thought he was a mugger. Whatever. Not like we haven’t had the cops on us before. We’re Bonnie and Clyde Plus One, or something.

We’ll wait a day before we try and get him out. Trumpeter’s around here somewhere. Got to make sure he hasn’t found out where me and Phil ducked off to after we looted James. Plus he actually does need casts and X-rays and all that shit. But we can’t leave him in there too long. Popsicle Man has always had a soft spot for James. Leaving him alone in there isn’t a good idea.

[New entry]

Trumpeter found the hideout. Shot the fucker in the leg, then ran.

Another night of sleeping in the alleys to get away from the Angelproxies, then. Joy.

[New entry]

Double triangles all over the alleys here. Thicker around the hospital. Fuck this town.

[New entry]

Managed to get in to see James an hour ago. Not murdered or frozen, but he’s out of his mind on painkillers. Both legs broken.

Double triangles in the hospital, too. Scratched into benches, bathroom graffiti. Getting James out later today. Trumpeter’s got too many friends here to wait. Plus it’s fucking cold in that hospital. Longer he’s alone, more likely Popsicle Man turns up. Or the Cult of Archie. If he’s recognized, he’s dead. Or we’re being set up.

Can’t abandon him though. Even if it’s a trap. Don’t need the Choir on our asses on top of everything else.

[New entry]

Spotted probable angels in the alleys. Tramps. This is so a trap it’s not even funny.

[New entry]

Trap sprung. Trapped in James’ room, got him in a wheelchair but the door and window are blocked now because Trumpeter’s called down the cops on us saying we’re kidnapping a patient. Technically true, except I think James would want to go with us if he weren’t passed out.

[New entry]

Temperature just dropped like a fucking rock. I think Frosty the Snowboy is going to make an appearance. Fuck. This. Town.

FUCK HOSPITALS.

[New entry]

I don’t even know.

One second we’re in that hospital room, the next I’m freezing my ass off and everything goes white, and then we’re out in the streets and running.

We’re out of the city now, at least. I think Cold Boy just bailed us out. What the hell? If he wanted us, he had us. Instead he lets us go.

Or he could have just left us there to get a bear-hug from Archie. Why did he save us? They don’t help people. So why?

The only thing I can think of is that he figures it’d be worse for us to live a while longer than to go ahead and embrace the Archangel. I know he wasn’t helping us. I don’t think they really know what “helping” IS.

I think we just got to see the Fears' equivalent of CTF. With James as the flag. So they mark territory or something? I guess that means Cold Boy wants James. Or all of us. And that he's willing to go up against Archie to keep us. I don't know. I don't understand how these things think. I don't even know if they DO think.

But we're not going to be splitting up again any time soon, I know that.

END OF DOCUMENT

Questions


Unfortunately for all those curious about the circumstances surrounding my last post, I am afraid that I am as lost as the rest of you.

I suspect Aqualung’s involvement, naturally. I can hear the shrieking which indicates his presence even now. Well, to be perfectly honest, I cannot hear anything. The “noise” which his presence creates is nothing of the kind. It is quite impossible to describe, in truth; English does have its limits as a language, after all.

This also raises the issue of what memories, precisely, were taken from me. Was it just the memory of the previous night? Or was it something more? If so, how much more? Have I forgotten something vital? How can I make certain that anything is missing at all? And who is the “someone else” mentioned in my last post? There is no one here now save for myself and Aqualung.

Questions which, for now, shall have to go unanswered, as much as I hate to leave such a mystery unsolved.

I do, however, have a little bit of a lead. Even for one such as myself, an old man who has hardly made use of computers prior to starting this online repository, it does not take much effort to work out what, precisely, the rhyme in my last post is.

It is a series of lines from a song: “The Guild of Mute Assassins”, by a modern rock band by the name of “Clutch”. The full lyrics are:

Organ, organ, organ grinder’s henchmen shaking their coins in time
Guild of Mute Assassins will convene at a quarter to nine
Behind the courthouse, atop a scaffold, stands a man with a bag for a face
“You will not have learned until I return to give my executioner the chase”

[chorus]
The swinging of its censers, the silence of its members
Oh, the Guild of Mute Assassins
From the places in between that are so seldom seen
Oh, the Guild of Mute Assassins

Widow in the furrow with thimbles hasn’t seen her face in years
Kneels into a puddle’s reflection to find it is just as she’s feared
And in the garden, the Archangel, sword above his head
“You will not return until you have learned what you have forfeited”

[chorus]

Baby on a threshold with silver, breath rises from its lips
Beam of yellow light from a doorway and the figure of a silhouette
And in the cradle a wood stiletto rattles like a barrel of bones
Another journeyman, with passion, silently recites the oath

It obviously means something to someone. Perhaps it meant something to me, last night. But I have never heard this song before in my life, and was unaware of its existence until I searched for it online this morning, when I awoke in my and found my computer displaying that post.

Given my current situation, it is likely that the “Archangel” referred to in the song’s second verse is the same Archangel which so many of us are running from. If this is the case, then the executioner in the first verse is likely another entity in the same vein, though which it might be is anyone’s guess, as is what their two messages mean.

I believe that I shall end this ramble here, however. I am sure that the rest of the questions which I should like to know the answers to are the same ones which you are asking yourselves, and I can shed no more light on them here. Listing them would just be banal and pointless.

I am three-quarters of the way through translating the next document. I shall have it for you soon.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Empty now

Behind the courthouse
Atop a scaffold 
Stands a man with a bag for a face
"You will not have learned until I return 

To give my executioner the chase"


And in the Garden the Archangel
Sword above his head
"You will not return until you have learned 

What you have forfeited"


There is someone else in the archives.




Thursday, January 12, 2012

Another Guest for the Party


It is starting to get very cold indeed.

I had thought that this would happen eventually. I am no fool. I know of the being referred to as The Cold Boy. I know that its favored prey is the man who has cut himself off from the world. I know that, in shutting myself away, I have drawn its attention even more so than I have done for the rest. And yet I have no choice in the matter. I can either open the door and betray my location to Thaddeus River or stay hidden for the remainder of the time left to me. Aqualung, after all, has not yet deigned to claim me. Perhaps The Cold Boy shall leave me in peace as well, at least for a while.

If he does not, then, well, I never quite expected to succeed at this archival attempt in any case.

DOCUMENT EAT-001


And so here we are, down to the meat of this project: the first of the entries that I shall be trying to make before Aqualung decides that the knowledge stored in my files is not quite enough to satisfy him one night, or until that accursed Thaddeus comes knocking. Or one of the handful of others on my list of those most likely to directly effect my death.

Whichever of them it might be, I do not expect to be capable of mounting any kind of significant resistance. I do plan on making the attempt, but I do not expect much to come of it. If it is Aqualung or one of its ilk, the shotgun which I have prepared will not be of much use. If it is Thaddeus or one of the other traitors that the community appears to have designated “Proxies”, I still do not expect the shotgun to be of much use. Even if it is technically capable of harming them, my vision is poor, I am old, and I have never fired a weapon of any kind in my life.

Still, I will make the attempt. If nothing else, I will find great satisfaction in at least getting to pull the trigger once as a final act of spite against them.

The account contained in the following document explains why. The original is a hand-written journal, taken from the home of one Donald Sullivan in Louisville, Kentucky. Let me preface the document with another reminder that these accounts are incomplete. While I can, in most cases, identify which records are missing pieces, there are some that cannot be proven to be complete or incomplete. Still, this is one of those records that I consider most important, and so I shall upload it as it is now and hope that everything that I originally considered so important is still there.

DOCUMENT EAT-001: SULLIVAN, DONALD

[This document was originally a handwritten journal. The pertinent entries have been included here; the rest of them are idle musings from a teenage boy. However, between this entry and the previous one there is a several-page gap wherein nothing has been written.]

Sarah woke up today. Mom and Dad were happier than I think I’ve ever seen them.

The doctors were talking about how it’s a miracle and how it’s a million-to-one chance that she would ever come out of the coma. Everybody was pretty much delirious with how happy they were and all I can think of is that Sarah hasn’t said a word since she opened her eyes.

[New entry]

Yeah, I was right. Brain damage. Mom and Dad are still trying to act like they’re happy she woke up, but I can see it. They wanted Sarah back, not some vegetable. I heard Mom crying last night.

The doctors said she might be able to re-learn stuff. She still moves now, and everything. She blinks. When I wave at her, she waves back. But she doesn’t talk, and the doctors say there’s pretty much no brain activity there. She’s just watching, or something.

[New entry]

Mom and Dad are crying again. It’s worse this time because it’s kind of my fault, even though I didn’t mean to. They made me read to her. They said I should spend time with my sister. But that’s not Sarah in that room. Sarah’s dead. I don’t know who that is.

Sarah liked peanut butter and ham sandwiches. The girl in that hospital room doesn’t know what peanut butter is. She doesn’t even know what The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is. That was her favorite book, and she didn’t even react when I started to read it to her. She just sat there and stared at me.

I left after the first two chapters. Then Mom and Dad came in and freaked out, because she was reciting it to herself. They thought she had started to remember. They didn’t know I was reading it to her. And when I told them the looks on their faces were like I had just killed Sarah all over again.

[New entry]

Sarah has learned to walk again. She still isn’t talking. Not really. She’s just repeating things to herself. Song lyrics. TV show quotes. Conversations she overhears. The doctors say it’s a good sign. She’s trying to re-learn everything she lost, or something like that.

Maybe. I don’t know. She was down there for a long time. I don’t think it’s so much that she’s learning as it’s like shouting into an empty cave.

And I don’t care what they say it is anyway. It’s creepy. And she doesn’t look right when she stares at me. It’s like her eyes are dead but the rest of her isn’t, or something.

She’s empty now. Sarah never came back up.

I want my little sister back.

[New entry]

Sarah moved back home today. She still isn’t talking. She listens. Sometimes she still does that thing where she’ll mimic me. But she walks now, and she can go to the bathroom and clean herself and stuff like that. Mom and Dad are excited. They’re throwing a party.

I don’t know why. It’s still not Sarah.

[New entry]

I went out in the backyard while Mom and Dad were gone today. I buried Cuddly out on the other side of the creek, behind the bushes. The new girl just stared at me while I took him from her bed. Sarah would have stopped me. Cuddly was her favorite bear.

Bye, Sarah. I love you.

[New entry]

It would have been Sarah’s birthday yesterday. Mom and Dad wanted me to get the new girl a present. I don’t know why. It wasn’t her birthday. I don’t know why they keep trying to act like Sarah ever came up. Sarah drowned. She fell in the river and went under and the oxygen to her brain got cut off until parts of it died an- [illegible, scratched-out writing and tear stains] -ouldn’t help her she screamed for me to pull her out

I’m sorry Sarah

[New entry]

Dad’s gone on a business trip for the weekend. Mom wants me to go out with my friends to the movies. I don’t want to. There’s nothing I want to see.

[New entry]

Mom is making me watch a movie together with her and the new girl. I don’t want to watch a movie with them, either. The new girl always looks at me funny. She creeps me out. I told Mom that, but she just says I shouldn’t judge my sister.

I almost said she’s not my sister, but I didn’t want her to cry again.

[New entry]

The new girl’s outside the door she put something in Mom’s drink I don’t know what it was but Mom fell down and then she got up again and she’s like the new girl was when she woke up in the hospital and she tried to put the same thing in my drink

Mom tried to make me like her so I hit her but then the new girl said something, actually said something like a real person she said it was only water Michael why are you so afraid and she’s still talking I’ve got the door locked but there’s no phone in here and I can’t call for help

[New entry]

Mom tried to come in through the window I hit her again with a lamp this time I’m sorry Mom I love you

I think Mom’s dead now only she’s dead like Sarah she’s not really dead just empty now

[New entry]

Dad, if you find this journal, I love you.

The new girl is still talking. I haven’t seen the thing wearing Mom’s skin since I hit it with the lamp and it fell out of the window. I pushed your bookshelf in front of it to keep it out.

I haven’t said anything to the new girl. It keeps talking about how I have to choose to “eat the silence or embrace the archangel”. I don’t know what that means, but as long as it’s talking it’s not trying to break down the door so I don’t care.

There's water seeping under the door. I don't know where it's coming from. I don't trust the water any more, though. I'm not going to touch it if I can help it. Please don't drink anything from the house. Or the river Sarah drowned in. 

I’ve got your gun out of your bedside table. I’m going to try and run for it. I’m going to shoot them if I can. They’re not Mom and Sarah any more. I don’t think I’ll make it, but if I do, I’ll call you as soon as I can.

I love you.
-       Mike

END OF DOCUMENT

This journal was recovered from underneath the mattress in the master bedroom of Donald Sullivan’s residence. His wife was found dead in the sitting room, shot once through the head and lying next to a discarded pistol bearing Michael Sullivan’s fingerprints. The pistol had been fired three times. Neither his son’s nor his daughter’s body were ever found. Nor were the other two bullets.