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We'll begin with a box, and the  plural is boxes, But the plural of ox
becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl  is a goose, but two are called geese, Yet the plural of moose
should  never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice, Yet  the plural of
house is houses, not hice.

If the plural  of man is always called men, Why shouldn't the plural of
pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet, And I give you a boot, would
a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are  teeth, Why shouldn't the plural
of booth be called beeth? 

Then one may be that, and three would be those, Yet hat in  the plural
would never be hose, And the plural of cat is cats, not  cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren, But though we say mother, we
never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and  him, But imagine the
feminine: she, shis and shim! 

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; Neither apple nor pine
in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England. 
We take English for granted, but if we explore its  paradoxes, We find
that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, And a guinea
pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, Grocers don't
groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and Get rid of all but one of them,
what do you call it? 

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English Should be
committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. 

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at  a
recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, While a wise man
and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language In which your
house can burn up as it burns down, In which you fill in a form by
filling it out, and In which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how  come Mother's not Mop?


Ted here with a new entry for The Bulge Blog.

Things been a bit slow for me since they've kept me out of the loop and in the dark about the progress of the case of Bloody Wisteria, the creepy apartment I'm living in that has become the source of sensation on Bartholomew Riggs a.k.a. Bart and his nightwatch team's bizarre death, as well as the mysterious disappearance deaths of many a young child here.

Since they found evidence to suggest that it was Detective Mason Harrigon who had slayed and committed all these crimes, they decided to throw the book on him almost immediately and wrote it off as case closed, barring any more further investigations that might tarnish one of their own.

I, for one, am not convinced.

Things couldn't have been that simple.

I'll admit that Detective Harrigon was very into this case and put most of his own man power and hours into it to almost the point of obsession, but it seems to me that he was doing this to catch the bad guy, not being the bad guy.

I have a feeling he was being framed, and was murdered for it to cover their tracks.

But by whom? Who could be sinister enough to do such a thing?

Come to think of it, the only other person more or less in speaking terms with Detective Harrigon was our fix-it guy George.

Maybe that kid might know something we don't.

I suppose I could drop by that kid's place for a while and find out some clues. Maybe even provide me with some new material for the case I'm writing on. I heard George wasn't much of a people person and kept to himself (or herself, can't really tell, actually), but a journalist's gotta do what a journalist's gotta do.

Ted, signing off.


You're talking to me…

You're finally talking to me…

I can see you smile at me…

So scary…

So menacing…

Yet…so inviting…

What's that, you say…?

You want me to come with you?

Why should I? Why should I believe you?

Why should I follow you…after all you've done to me?

You've taken my Pops away.

You've taken my Momma away.

You've taken my Jan away.

You've taken everything and everyone that meant something to me, so why should I…

……

Yes…I want answers…

Yes…I want to know…

Why me?

Who am I?

What am I?

……

OK…

I'll go…

For the sake of the truth…

I'll go…

Show me what you got.


I think I get it.

I think I get you now.

I think I know why I'm here, why I exist.

I exist because you exist, but at the same time, you need me to continue existing.
I was your proxy, your Tulpa Paradox.

Ain't that a cool word I just made up? Tulpa Paradox.

I exist because you used a medium, a direct proxy, to create me, and yet by creating me, you ensured your continued existence.

I'm born to make sure that you would never be forgotten, that your power will continue to reign through me and flourish wherever I go, and wherever I take you to.

In other words, you're indirectly my Pops by surrogate, kinda.

I remember now…

I remember things I shouldn't, wouldn't want to, remember…

I remember seeing you peeking through the windows with that slight tilt of your head.

I remember seeing you watching me from afar, from beyond the trees.

I remember you coming to me, going down on bended knee to pat me in the head before disappearing right before me in the blink of an eye.

I remember…I remember that incident where Jan didn't accompany me to school for the first time and that fight I had…

Oh god, why are you making me remember it…?

I don't even want to talk about it, let alone think about it!

So much anger, so much fury, so much darkness inside me…

I remember…

That guy I beat up…

He said something about Pops.

He said I was a bastard child and Momma was a whore or something.

He said I may not even be Pops' real kid and that's why he left Momma.

And I just snapped.

Jan wasn't there, and there was no one to hold me back when I snapped.

So much rage…

So much blood…

Last thing I remember was everyone looking at me in horror.

They were looking at my face, and I turned to the reflective surface of the locker to see…

Nothing…

No face…

I couldn't remember seeing my face…

I saw blood splatters and blotches all over my cheeks…

But I didn't have a face…!

No…No…NO!!

No, stop!! Don't make me remember this!!

I don't want to remember this!! No one was supposed to know! I don't want my readers to know! I told them they're better off not knowing about the incident! Why are you making me remember this?! Why are you even making me write this?!

NO!! STOP!!

……

……

……

Momma was right.

She was right all along.

I shouldn't even exist. I'm an abomination that shouldn't even be on this earth. I shouldn't.

She was right, I am a monster.

Your monster.


You didn't have to do that…

Slender, you really shouldn't have done that…

They've only just pissed me off a little bit…You didn't have to…

And Harrigon…

What have you done with Harrigon…?

Wasn't it enough that you made him your scapegoat?

Wasn't it enough that you made him think that he was going crazy, that he thought he was the one who skewered Bart and his posse and the kids and the baby…?

Wasn't it enough that you're driven him insane and made him so marked you'd find him in a milk carton?

Why did you have to…?

Why did you have to kill him?

Why did you have to kill him and those old cronies who pissed me off? They've done nothing wrong!

Well, maybe they did, but not Harrigon! He was just doing his goddamn job!

You think his investigation would lead him to me? He's got nothing on me! I didn't do anything! You did! You killed all those guys and all evidence points towards you, not me! He doesn't even believe you exist!

Why did you have to kill him, like you killed Jan?

Why?

WHY?!


Harrigon has gone missing.

Ted told me that he wanted to do a follow-up on the skewered bodies case and went to the police station, but he wasn't there.

In fact, no one has seen him for about a week now.

No phone calls, no messages, no note, nothing.

He wasn't even in his house, the last time his partner checked.

Slender…?

What did you do?

Been reading up more about you, not that you don't know what you can already read inside my mind anyways while I type this.

This Slender guru is pretty informative. She seems to have done a lot of research on you to be able to write this.

Have you two met?

I bet you have, or she wouldn't know so much about you.

She wouldn't read up on you and research extensively on you to promote you and inform about you in her blog just for shits and giggles.

Right?

She said you were originally an idea. A fictional just-for-fun monster made by a guy who had too much time in his hand and wanted to scare people in a measly contest, then somehow brought to life due to what she calls the Tulpa Effect, the—as I quote from her—"the concept of a being as object which is created through sheer willpower alone. It is materialized thought that has taken physical form and is usually regarded as synonymous to a thoughtform".

In plain English, you exist because we made you exist.

So if we don't believe you exist, will you vanish into thin air?

Will you disappear into oblivion?

Will I disappear into oblivion?

Which makes me kinda wonder…

Did Victor Surge really create you?

Or have you always existed all along, like what some of this Slender guru dug up about references of monsters that resemble you in the Dark Ages?

Have you always been around Victor all along and he's just spreading you around, like what you're making me do right now?

Am I your monster…or are you mine?


What would you do?....you make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its

Dedicated staff, he offered a question:

'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.

Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.

Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning..'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt.. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the Plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman

Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first! Run to first!'

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.

He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball . The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!'

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Well, I doubt anyone is really reading my blog, and I doubt they even believe me or care, so I might as well pretend that I'm writing to you.

It's not like you'll reply me. You'll just stay there at your usual spot staring right at me, but at least I know you're listening.

Oh, I know you're listening, alright.

After all, didn't that Slendy guru said something about you able to communicate with people with your mind? Then I'm sure you can read my mind to see what I'm typing down here.

Or you can just move your butt and find another spot so you can have a good view of this laptop right here and just see what I'm writing.

Fine, stay where you are then.

There's something Momma said about me that still bothers me though.

She said I was a monster. That you had Pops create me to be your monster.

What does she mean by that?

…Fine. Gimme the silent treatment, why don't you?

I'm gonna find out sooner or later anyways.

Momma made it in the papers.

Naw, she didn't die or anything, but she was in trouble for getting someone killed.

Yup, you heard it. Momma sorta killed someone.

According to the papers, Momma somehow made our home into a death trap. People said she was starting to become more and more reclusive, alienating her friends and family since the day I ran away from home (though it's not mentioned in the papers about me running away), then slowly getting more and more neurotic as time went by.

A month after she dropped by my place here, she became a shut-in, not taking calls, not going out, ordering her groceries through phone, that sorta thing. If she didn't take out the trash once in a while, no one knew she was even alive at that point.

The police found our entire house rigged with home-made death traps: from trip-wires to trigger buttons to blasting caps, etc. Everything under the sun was all over the place. They had to call in the bomb squad to try and disable everything just in case she's got some nuke bomb stored somewhere.

And guess who bit the bullet from her trap?

That ol' bitch Mrs. Crumps.

That's right. The owner of that nasty lil' White Witch.

Apparently she played the concerned neighbor and went to check on Momma to see if she was alright when she somehow triggered the trip wire that was rigged to a bloody shotgun aimed at the back door. Hell if I know why she'd wanna come in through the back door, but after her long-standing grudge against us for so-called killing her cat, I doubt she came to see Momma outta the goodness of her heart.

Can't say she deserved it or not, but boy, that was one helluva way to go.

Momma is now in custody awaiting trial and under psych evaluation, says the papers, but I wouldn't put it past the looney bin as her new home.

The Thin and Pale is peeking in through the window again.

I hold up the newspaper to him and asked if he made all this happen.

He didn't reply me, as usual.

He just tilted his head like he usually does.

Figures.

I'm starting to see more of him now.

Momma hasn't come back since our confrontation, and true to her word, she never tried to drag me back to that backwater hellhole of a small town she calls home. No boys in blue, no social services, no government official, not even a damn nanny.

It was as if she had completely and utterly wanted nothing of me.

Good riddance.

But since that day, I've been seeing the Thin and Pale quite often.

He hadn't approached me much, just watching me from afar.

When I'm doing the laundry, he would be at the small window that looked down to the basement, peeking in with his slouched form, staring at me quietly.

When I'm at the corridor fixing the lights and fixtures, he would be at the corner of my eye, peeking from the dark, secluded corner of the wall and somehow managed to garner total obliviousness of people walking past him.

When I'm cleaning the pool or the fountain, he'd be there, standing in plain sight but at the same time, obscured from the public eye.

When I'm doing my usual rounds at the parking lot, he'd always maintain within my eyeshot or enough for me to catch him at the corner of my eye, following behind me almost like a little lost puppy but playing some sorta hide-and-seek game with me.

When I'm with the old cronies, he would be at the window, standing just right there behind the blinds, not bothering to be secretive about his presence, not that the old, senile bag of bones noticed anyways.

When I'm in my room, typing away in my blog like what I'm doing right now, or researching more on Slendy through that so-called Slendy guru, he'd be at the window, staring straight at me through the window with that slight tilt of his head, like I'm a curious lil' pet he was still trying to figure out.

The only time he ever approached me or come remotely close to me was when I'm in bed, he leaning against the corner wall of the door or at the foot of my bed, just standing there, looming and watching but not coming any closer. We would occasionally have a staring match with each other, a sort of game we recently started playing, but I would always be the first to balk, since I do have a job that actually taxes me.

Surprisingly, he doesn't scare me anymore. His presence no longer terrifies me. I don't know why or how, but I'm not the least bit afraid of him, or at least not as much as I should be.

In fact, I'm more weirded out if he didn't show up.

Odd, huh?

Momma found me.

I dunno how and I dunno why, but somehow she found me.

But surprisingly, she wasn't here to take me away or bring me home.

She's just here to see me, and boy, did she look like she's seen better days.

Well, it all started last night when I finished my rounds at the parking lot, making sure things were working as usual, when the manager called me on my walkie-talkie telling me that I got a visitor. I thought it was Harrigon coming in again to ask me more unanswerable questions like he usually does, but when I got down to the lobby, there she was, my good ol' Momma, dressed in her so-called Sunday's best. I had a good mind to just high-tail away from there and leave her stranded there, but since she made it all the way here and hadn't said anything about coming home, I given her the benefit of the doubt.

I invited her into my home, no doubt seeing that disapproving look on her face at the scenery (though I don't give a fuck), and offered her something to drink. She took one look at the research papers and folders and the website page I had on my laptop and made a small cringe before sitting down on the sofa.

Momma: You're still meddling into things you don't understand, like I told you not to.

Me: I'm not under your roof now, so what I do is none of your fucking business.

Momma: Language, George.

Me: Not. Under. Your. Roof. Understand English?


I slammed the soda can onto the coffee table just to emphasize my point, and I think I made her jump a little bit, so I guess she got the message, coz she didn't say a word for almost quite a while until I had to break the ice.

Me: So, if you're not bringing me home—and I'm not coming home with you either way—what the hell are you doing here? How'd you find me anyways?

Momma: I had a…feeling you'd be here, after I read the papers.

Me: The papers? What, you think I've got something to do with whatever happened in the papers?

Momma: In a way, yes.


There she goes again, talking in riddles whenever that mood of hers decided to strike. I wonder if she got herself drunken up before she got here.

Me: Fine, if you're not gonna be frank with me, then just grab your soda and go. You've found me, you've got your wish, mission accomplished, so adios, senorita…

Momma: You've seen him, haven't you?

Me: Seen who?

Momma: You know what I mean. Him.


Him? Does she mean 'him' him…?

Me: I have no fucking idea what you're talking about, woman…

Momma: Don't play dumb with me. I can practically smell it on you


She stressed those words 'smell it' with gritted teeth, which is frickin' odd, coz she only does that when she's super disgusted about something. That, and when she's obviously drunk.

Momma: You never should've been born. I should've tossed you out the moment I knew I had you

Me: Woman, if you're gonna start again about me being a girl and not a boy and that it's my fault Pops left, save it and get the fuck out…

Momma: Your Pops would've left either way. It's not about you being a girl or a boy. It never is. It's about you being…you


She stressed that last word again. Definitely drunk.

Me: Oh yeah? What about being me?

Momma: You're an abomination. You shouldn't even exist. I never should've met your father in the first place. You weren't born for the sake of love. You were born for the sake of him!

Me: Huh?

Momma: How could I be so stupid? Your father never loved me. Your father never really cared about me either way. He wanted you to be born so that you would serve his purpose!

Me: His purpose? What the fuck are you talking about? What does Pops have to…

Momma: You think you're so special? You think the world revolves around you and that you can get away with everything you do? You're a monster, George, his monster! His own personal bloodthirsty monster!

Me: Woman, you're not making any sense!

Momma:
(she stood up abruptly and backed away when I tried to approach her to make her get a grip of herself) You saw him! Don't you deny it, you little monster! You fucking demon! You saw him! He whom your father serves! You…You…

Me: Get a hold of yourself, Momma! You're talking crazy here!

Momma: I should've killed you when I had the chance! I should've just smothered or drowned you the moment your father left! I had so many chances, so many opportunities, but now I can't…He won't let me…Oh no, he wouldn't, he wouldn't let me hurt his precious little monster…Oh no…You…You…


I was getting a little freaked out by her screaming and rambling, and even more so when she started choking in her words and staring at the window behind me. I turned to see what she was looking at but saw nothing, but clearly she could and it spooked her. She let out a tiny yelp and soon made a mad dash out of my apartment, stumbling at the stairs but never stopping until she was completely out of the building and into the streets.

That's when I finally felt the familiar coldness again.

I turned to look again but still there was no one there, but the feeling lingered.

And I had the feeling I knew what she saw.

Alright, gotta calm down…

Gotta calm the fuck down…

Take a deep breath. That's it.

I can't believe this is happening. All this…All this is so weird…

Hold up, lemme just backtrack a little bit before I get ahead of myself.

A couple of months before I made my last spooky post, the apartment was more or less calmed down a little after Bart and his posse were all taken into custody for their sudden murder spree. Harrigon had his hands tied with them, so he hadn't been visiting for quite some time to work on his leads.

When he did come over, it was always what weird stuff he's been hearing Bart and his posse blabbering about while they're behind bars. They were all going on and on about how the victims that they attacked were frickin' stilt monsters and how super sure they were that they have got the right one, the one that had been behind the missing kids and the first dead teen from this apartment.

He even called in docs and shrinks to check them out and all tests that had anything to do with drugs that might mess up their brains came out negative. They weren't high, not even on oregano, whatever the hell that dope means, and the shrinks couldn't figure out how the hell they could come up with the same story and same description at separate events. Sure, they had a history of violence and stuff in their rap sheet, but none of them showed anything that had to do with mental health or brain issues.

Frankly, they were stumped. No one knew what to do with them and they sure as hell are still stoked on the monster theory and not safe to be out in the street.

Then a month ago before my post, shit just happened.

Bart and his posse went missing. Every single one of them, gone from their cells.

Yup, seriously, with bars and locks untouched and all.

No, I didn't find this out from Harrigon—I'd prolly be the last person he'd think to confide to—but from what I gather from the newspapers and the editor/reporter guy—Ted is his name, I think—in 6th floor.

Apparently outta nowhere, when the night shift was doing his rounds at the holding cells at the station, he saw that the cells that held Bart and his posse were empty. The door was still locked tight, and there were no sign of forced entry, but Bart and his posse were not where they were supposed to be. Security cameras didn't catch anyone who might have let them out, and neither did Bart and his posse walked out the front door or anything.

It was like they upped and vanished into thin air.

And the creepy part was that the walls of their cells were littered with drawings of the crossed-out circle. What they used to draw that shit, I don't even wanna know.

The cops were having a field day searching for them, and even dropped by here in the apartment to see if they came back here and hide, but no such luck. Harrigon, when I saw him from where I was, fixing the door frame of the old crony from 7th floor, did not look like a happy camper, that much I can say.

Two weeks ago, they found them.

Surprisingly, it wasn't very far from the station and they couldn't believe they never thought of checking it in the first place.

They found them in the forests of the park behind the station, and from what I see in the newspapers and from the pictures Ted took and showed me as a favour for cleaning out his drowning kitchen, it was not a pretty sight.

Bart and his posse were all present and accounted for, alright, but not entirely in one piece. They were all found gutted and pretty mutilated, and they were all skewered on the branches of the trees like some goddamn shish-kebabs or something. Like they were pieces of meat hung out to dry and ready to be barbecued on a stake.

And the freaky thing was that the trees they were skewered onto were super tall and high. Like 10, 20 feet, that kind of tall and high.

Unless you're at least as tall as Andre the Giant, there is no frickin' way a normal person would be able to climb those trees while carrying a full-grown man, let alone an entire posse.

The worst part was (if things could get any more worse) that they've found the kids. Every single one of them. And they were all just about a few more miles deeper down the same forests, and they were all skewered just like Bart and the posse.

Including the baby.

That just totally opened a shit load of floodgates for that one.

I mean, think about it: missing kids that included a baby in the mix, a bunch of crazy-ass adrenaline junkies up for a little vigilante justice, weird disappearance under the cops' watch, and their bodies found just right behind the cops' territory, right under their very noses, and the boys in blue didn't even notice? That's a whole lotta messed up going on over there.

Which sorta brings me to my last post.

I was finally given clearance by the forensic team to clean the pool and the other areas Bart and his posse had their hands on those poor bastards last week. After the finding of the bodies, the entire apartment was totally livid. They were this close to tearing the cops and the geek squad apart, including Harrigon, for what had happened to those kids, even more so when they were found so close to the station and no one bothered to give a shit's notice about it. People were starting to move out left and right, and the apartment has turned into one helluva ghost building. Only the old cronies who were too senile and rickety to lift a finger remained.

Personally I wouldn't blame the residents for moving. I mean, after what they've been through? I'd leave too if I were in their shoes. But I gotta stay. This place is the only place I've got, and I can't afford to leave, and frankly I wouldn't wanna get found by Momma, not after what she's done to me.

Anyways, I was emptying the pool late that evening and was just getting down to scrubbing it when I suddenly felt abnormally cold, like I just stepped out from a sauna and into a meat locker. I tried to chalk it up to the upcoming autumn, but it was just too cold to be autumn, but not too cold to be winter either. It filled me with a sense of dread, yet at the same time a disturbing sort of calm—a contrast that shouldn't exist together.

And that's where I saw it…Him.

He wasn't very clear at first. I was looking up from my position inside the deep empty pool and saw something dark and blurry incoming. A silent rustle and a soft patter here and there, but not distinct enough to pinpoint his exact position.

Then slowly he came in view into the light. His feet appeared first, one by one, as he sorta climbed down—more like stepped down without effort—into the pool with me. Then his hands and arms were in view, those long, slender-white fingers running slowly along the pool tiles, briefly brushing against the caked-up blood of Williams at the edge of the pool. The way he walked was dead silent, even more silent than a snake that slithered on the smoothest surface you can think of. It was like as if his feet didn't even registered the ground or gravity, but still they were solidly firm on earth.

Then he slouched a little and I could see his torso, and that's when I noticed he was wearing some kinda business outfit that was super black, blacker than the blackest thing I could imagine, and there was no telling where the suit ended and where the pants started, or whether the tie was part of the suit or a separate item of it. He started to slowly extend one of his hands as if to reach over me and I found myself completely paralyzed. Rooted to the spot, my legs did not obey my orders to high-tail outta there and run.

Before I knew, he was kneeling in front of me and his hand extended towards the top of my head, as if to pat me, and I saw his face.

Or there lack of.

There was nothing I could see on that face. It's not even something that meant your vision was blurred or whatever. It was just completely empty. Smooth, white and completely empty, yet at the same time, it bore completely into my eyes, transfixing me with his non-existent gaze, holding me in, keeping me there.

Somehow, it was the exact same feeling I felt when I had my mysterious recurring dreams. This was exactly how it happened, exactly how I felt, but I was not dreaming. This was real, right before my eyes.

The Slenderman is real.

I didn't know how long I stood there or how long he and I locked into each other, but somehow, the moment I caught sight of something wriggling and slithering out of his back at the corner of my eye, my limbs felt like they were suddenly working again. I quickly threw the cleaning broom I was holding at him and made a mad dash to the ladder and climbed the hell outta that pool, never turning back until I was safe and locked inside within my own apartment home.

And the first thing I did after that was put that post.

Fuck…

Fuck me…

He is real…

He is REAL…!!

Oh my God…

Oh my fucking God…

I saw it…

I saw…IT…

Him…

I saw HIM…!!

The same attacks happened again these couple of weeks, but thankfully none of them resulted in death like Williams did, though I couldn't say that the lesser but still permanent damage was a good thing either.

It was always the same: One of Bart's guys in the security nightwatch team would just suddenly go ballistic and hysterical and targeted random people, screaming bloody murder and beating the life outta the poor bastards like they're some kind of monster.

They would always claim that they saw something on those victims that we can't see, and was still seeing it even though they got dragged away by the boys in blue and have their senses knocked outta them (barely, though), insisting that it's real and we had to look closer.

They almost even targeted one of those poor old cronies I always help with the odds and ends.

And they all said the same thing as Bart said.

The limbs…The snakey stuff on the back…The face…

Harrigon managed to let me in a little on Bart, saying that while he wasn't high, he was clearly mentally unstable and possibly got some brain issue going on there. He said he wouldn't be surprised if Bart and his gang was the culprit behind all this.

I wish it were that simple, officer, but it's not, as much as I hate to admit it.

He has no idea who's he up against.

And sadly, neither am I.

Things have gotten a little outta hand today.

Bart lost control, no, lost his mind was the better word.

Harrigon was investigating something about the missing baby's case when it happened. It was one of those night rounds he did when he thinks he's got a lead on something in his case, though I couldn't be bothered since I was busy checking to see if there are any new updates on Marble Hornets and doing more Slendy research from this blogger who thinks she's a Slenderman guru or something.

Anyways, there was this super huge commotion going on, and I, as the manager's Fix-it guy and sorta right-hand man, had to go check it out. That's when I saw Bart being subdued by Harrigon. Bart looked like he was in some kinda Texas Chainsaw Massacre nightmare or something with his hands, face and shirt covered in blood, and beside them was his famous titanium-forged baseball bat he often took pride of during his patrols, looking like it had been used as a meat cleaver.

The victim of his battery, so to speak, was lying by the pool, bloody and whacked beyond recognition. If it weren't for that special band that says he's Type-2 diabetic, I wouldn't have known that the victim was Williams from 8th floor. He's a bit tall for his age (he's roughly in junior high, I think) and from what I heard, he's the school rep for the swim team. From the looks of it, Bart had made an absolute mash potato number outta Williams and the pool is gonna be one helluva cleanup for me.

But that wasn't entirely the disturbing part.

The disturbing part was what Bart said when he was taken away.

Harrigon: You are under arrest, Mr. Slake…

Bart: Don't you see? Don't you see him? He's right there! He's the guy!

Harrigon: You have the right to remain silent…

Bart: I swear to God! That's him! He did it! he did all the killings and kidnappings! He's the guy!

Harrigon: Anything you say will be used against you in the court of law…

Bart: Fuck, would you just shut up and listen to me?! It's him! Can't you see? I'm doing you a goddamn favour…

Harrigon: What you did is bash up a 15-year-old kid who's just out for a swim, you sick fuck! Now shut up and…

Bart: He's right there! HE'S RIGHT THERE!! CAN'T YOU SEE HIS FUCKING LIMBS?! THOSE WEIRD STUFF ON HIS BACK?! ARE YOU FUCKING GODDAMN BLIND?!
(he tried struggling towards the body to try and show Harrigon whatever it was that he saw, but Harrigon gave it to him in the nuts)

Harrigon: You know what? You don't deserve the Miranda Rights. You're gonna burn for this, asshole.

Bart:
(he was dragged by the feet as soon as backup came) Can't you see…? Can't you see it…? Can't you guys see anything…? Look at his face, man…His FACE…!

All I see was of what was left of Williams' spongy face after Bart done him in. But limbs…? Weird stuff on his back…?

Harrigon: You good there, kid?

Me: Yeah, I'm cool, officer.

Harrigon: Hold off the cleanup until after the geek squad is done, OK?
(that's his code name for the crime scene forensic team)

Me: Sure, no prob. Standard procedure, I get it.

He still hadn't decided whether I'm a boy or a girl. I'm just gonna keep him guessing, heh.

I'm starting to notice things. Things that I've never noticed before.

I noticed how abnormally dark and damp the apartment basement was every time I went down there for laundry or maintenance.

I noticed how sometimes the light would flicker for no particular reason, even when I've already changed the bulbs.

I noticed things being out of place, things that should be where it is but wasn't and things that shouldn't be there but just won't go away.

I noticed the park behind our apartment seemed to be extra thick and dense, and there were trees that weren't there before.

And I noticed a full-on presence at odd hours of day and night, like someone was both watching and not watching at the same time.

And while all that was going on, I had noticed that Harrigon had started to take interest in the Slendy pics those kids left behind, and subsequently Slendy itself. He took pictures of every crime scene since the first missing case, studied them, mooned over them, trying to make sense of it.

He wondered out loud sometimes, when I caught him skulking about during my clean-up rounds. He wondered if it could be some sort of underground cult, something that maybe one of the residents were secretly practicing.

I doubt he's gonna find anything. I mean, he's chasing a fictional character, there's nothing to catch.

Though after what I've been studying on my own time, from Jan's diary and from what I've experienced back home that led me to here, I can't really rationally explain all this anymore.

I can't help feeling that Harrigon reminded me of the serious side of Jan though.

And I'd hate to see him meet the same fate as Jan.

Things had turned for the worse.

This time, a baby from 3rd floor and a teen from 9th floor was involved.

And the worse part was that death was involved in it too.

The boys in blue came again and it was all-out riot for these people. Death of a teen was one thing, but a baby missing was a whole new issue altogether.

Not something the lazy-ass boys in blue want to have their conscience on.

They assigned this guy called Harrigon to head this case, interrogating the neighbourhood, questioning the locals, that sorta thing. I went under his scrutiny as well, but I knew to keep a low profile and answer civilly and briefly as I should.

If he hadn't seen me clean the pool, he'd prolly wouldn't have noticed or thought of questioning me anyway. That's how low key I am. I can go around unnoticed if I want to, though sometimes if I want it too much, the low key would be gone faster than I expect it to be.

Besides, the last thing I'd want him to know is that I think it may have something to do with some internet viral boogeyman.

He'd think I'm the one doing all the killing and kidnapping, not the Thin and Pale.

I mean…Naw, that's silly…

I couldn't have brought a fake monster to life now, could I?

It has always been fake from Day 1, and we know it.

But all this started coz I moved in here…

That's impossible…

Right?

I had an odd dream last night.

Well, technically it's been going on for quite some time, and some of them felt so real, I dunno whether it's supposed to be a dream or a brief childhood memory.

It was always the same dream:

I was 5 years old again, just a few months shy of first meeting Jan. I was at the backyard playing with the water hose and making my own mud castles, generally making a mess of myself as people my age were wont to do. Then I would have the urge to look up, and I would see a tall, bald man kneeling down towards me and his long, lithe hand reaching over to pat my head. Weirdly enough, I wasn't scared of this guy. Well, maybe a little, but somehow at the same time, his presence comforted me.

But I could never make out his face.

That dream has been going on and on for quite a while now. I dunno, maybe about a week? Two weeks? It was almost always the same thing. I was 5, I was doing something and he would come and pat me on the head, and I couldn't see his face. That's all it seemed to be every time.

Could it be Pops? I wouldn't know. Pops left when I was one month old, remember? Even if I want to remember, I dunno how the hell he looks like.

Meanwhile everyone in this apartment was like in curfew mode, since the boys in blue weren't really doing shit. Once it was dark, the rents would lock their kids in the house and Bart the security would bring his gang along (don't even ask me how he got a hold of those motherfucker-looking gangsters) and beef up the security, patrolling the area like it was some sorta Nazi-watch.

Hadn't had a missing kid in a while, but occasionally someone's pet might disappear.

Crap, now it reminds me of Bushy.

There's been a bit of a missing children phenomenon lately.

A few months ago a toddler from one of the families in the 10th floor went missing.

Last month it was a little girl, about 7 years old, from the 5th floor, and now, just last week it was another kid from 14th floor (well, technically the 13th floor if you're not a superstitious lot).

The boys in blue came over a few times to investigate. I try to keep a low profile, just in case they might've heard about me from Momma, but I'm more or less in the clear.

The only thing they have in common was that they're kids and they seem to doodle the same picture before they disappeared: a tall man with long arms and legs and black tentacles from its back.

No way…

That was a splitting image of Slenderman!

The fake, viral meme of a character created by a bored individual!

Is that even possible?

That Slendy guy…can't be the real deal, can he…?!

Been reading through Jan's diary for a while. It seems that he only picked up diary-writing quite recently, coz the date seem to start about a month before he started going MIA on me.

And the words were really jumbled and freaky at best.

Here's some that I think were the freaky ones:

"Been feeling extra tired lately, must've been that crazy ride George and I had. Better keep my dick in check next time"

Funny, I don't see you complaining about our sex romp back then. What's with the complaints now?

"Had this sudden cough all of a sudden, and none of those cough syrups from the drug store seem to work. Getting me high is more like it. Crap, I better not get the flu. I'd hate to be blamed for getting George sick. Gotta schedule for a doc's appointment soon"

…He's right. I would blame him.

"Been having this odd dream. I can never recall how it started or how it ended, but this symbol always seemed to be the center core of it, sticking in my mind"

He drew the crossed-out circle at the bottom of the page, the same one he splattered all over the room when I found his body.

"I found out the more I hang out with George these days, the more tired and agitated I become. Maybe I should take a break from her for a while. I'm sure she'll survive without me for a day or two"

This is the time he started MIA on me. But me? Making him tired and agitated? Am I that troublesome?

"I'm starting to see things. Outside the window, from the corner of my eyes, behind the trees, within the shadows and corners, even sometimes at the foot of my bed. And the symbol is getting stronger and stronger in my mind. What's wrong with me?"

Seeing things? What?

"The symbols…won't stop…Keeps coming…need to draw them…Need to get it outta my head…"

"He's here…He's here…Watching me…Haunting me…Telling me things…Oh God, make him go away…"

"PleasegoPleasegoPleasegoPleasegoPLEASEgoPLEASEgoPLEASEGOPLEASEGOLEAVEMETHEFUCKALONE!!!"

"George, you shouldn't be here…"

"Oh God, it can't be…it can't be true…It can't be…Not him…Not her…I can't believe it…I WON'T believe it…"

"One little, two little, three little Indians. Four little, five little, six little Indians. Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians. Ten little Indians DIED" Then a couple few more nursery rhymes that he sorta edited himself with the words 'died', 'killed', 'stabbed' and other crazy shit, then a long blank before he wrote at the bottom of that page saying "Don't kill me".

The freakiest part was that he left the next few pages blank save a few random doodles of the symbol here and there, and at the last page he wrote these in huge letters:

"GEORGE DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?"

That was super freaky. It's as if he knew I was gonna read his diary or something.

He couldn't have…right?

Right, from now on, I'm just gonna stop counting days now. It's not like I'm really counting anyways.

Anywho, I've finally gotten myself a new place to stay and hide out. It's not much, and it's a little close to the L-train tracks, but it's better than nothing. And besides, I get to work right where I live.

That's right, I got a job at a rent-controlled apartment. A girl's gotta eat, ya know.

I get to live in this apartment for free, in exchange for helping the manager to be the Fix-it guy around here, since I'm pretty good with tools somehow, and the tips I earn will be enough to help me get by with food and anything I wish to buy to furnish my place. It's a bit of a sorry excuse for a home, but it's still home nonetheless. Beggars can't be choosers.

The best part is that there are lonely old cronies who live here and would pay me extra to help them get around their home and gladly feed my pie hole just to keep them company and listen to their boring good-ol'-days stories.

Anyways, I managed to snag as much relevant items as possible from Jan's place before I went lickety-split outta there. A bit of trinkets here and there, whatever I could salvage that the police didn't grab from Jan's computer, and surprise, surprise! Jan's diary too. I never knew he was a diary writer. No wonder he wanted me to have a blog diary all of a sudden.

Of all my entries, I bet you never knew how Jan became my one and only friend, huh?

Well, technically it all started a few months after the "visitations" stopped. I was outside playing with my toys and he just somehow approached me with his lunchbox on tow. He asked me if I wanted a lemon drop, and we've been friends ever since.

I'm not an approachable person, to tell the truth. There is something about people that I don't seem to like, something that makes me want to just choke the life out of them so that they'll leave me alone. Call me anti-social or whatever, but as you can tell from my interactions with the principal the last time in my previous entry, you can more or less tell that it was my best civil behavior I could muster. Any given time, it would've been the principal instead of that random sap I grabbed that would've had his head bashed in.

Which reminds me of…

Nah, never mind. Like I said, you don't wanna know.

Seriously, don't ask.

Anyways, surprisingly I don't feel that way towards Jan. He was everything I wasn't—friendly, outgoing, full of life, happy-go-lucky and a bit of a jokester and a flirt at heart. Everything that I despised on everyone was on him, and yet I could not feel a single aversion from him. It was almost like he was my polar opposite, like he completed me somehow, and that's how we tolerated each other.

That's right, I said "tolerate", coz even though we were never really at each other's throats, deep down inside, we somehow knew that we could never be friends, no matter how hard we try. And it was something we both silently acknowledged. An unwritten agreement.

But that doesn't mean we can't lust for each other.

Friends with benefits. That's what we are.

Well, were.

Phew, I hadn't written this much in a while. I guess I miss him.

And Bushy.

Well, time to clean the fountain. Cya later.

I can't stay here anymore.

People are starting to get suspicious about the mysterious goings-on in here, and I have a feeling sooner or later the boys in blue are going to come over to investigate again.

I dunno, maybe someone caught sight of me sneaking in and out of this house.

Maybe someone saw me through the boarded-up windows when I walked around the house trying to find clues about Jan and his reasons for all this Slender shit.

Maybe I forgot to blow out the candles and people caught sight of my shadow or something.

Or maybe someone saw Bushy's body sticking out of the attic window and that caught their attention.

Whatever the reason, I gotta get outta here.

Will be a while before I can update this damn blog thing.

I dunno why am I still going on with this, but I guess if I don't do this, I might just go insane like Jan too without no one or nothing to vent.

Right, laters.

Fuck…

Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck…

Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck…

What the fuck…

Bushy is dead…

Bushy is fucking dead…

One minute I saw him climbing up through the attic window as I was about to go to sleep…

Then the next moment I see him, or what's left of him, sticking out of the window, bleeding all over the place, without even making a single squeak.

I could've sworn I only closed my eyes for a few minutes, and I'm a bit of a light sleeper; I'd wake up if anything louder than a knock on the door is heard.

No one could do this without making at least a cry.

I would've heard it.

I should've heard it.

But I didn't.

Who the hell could've done this?

No…

No, it can't be.

Could it?

I've plowed through this entire channel called Marble Hornets that many Slender fans claim to be an indisputable account of Slenderman encounters by this guy who calls himself Jay or J or some shit.

I researched on this Marble Hornet guys, and they admit it's fake, a sort of personal ARG project they were doing in lue with the Slenderman fandom.

They even admitted it to be so, and yet people continue to flock all over their channel to watch it, some even got to the point where they think it was actually real and they're just telling everyone that it's fake to downplay the hype.

I mean, come on, look at that Slenderman guy they're having in their so-called 'footage'. It's so obvious that it's just some silly huge man-made mannequin that they just put up together and Frankenstien-ed it into an arts and crafts reject. How could anyone fall for that?

I can make better stilt-looking guys than this.

Though, to be honest, while they're pretty fake and all, I gotta admit, it was actually quite creepy.

They got the timing, the special effects, the mystery and the dialogues pretty right, I'll give 'em that.

Got myself a Long John sandwich, maybe I should share it with Bushy…

No, wait, he's not around today. I guess he thought I won't be feeding him again today, so decided to go out hunting as usual.

Ah, well, more for me then.

Huh, new video update from Marble Hornets.

I guess it couldn't hurt watching.

For research.

Momma was looking for me.

Word on the street tells me that she's on a lookout for me.

Well, technically it's more like from what I heard from those gossip mongers from across the house that I can catch from time to time.

They said she was totally frantic, that she was going from house to house, knocking on doors, asking about me, wondering where I was.

I even heard that she filed a police report of my disappearance, and she suspected that I might be in Jan's place, but so far there were no search attempts on me and no one, not even the boys in blue, has yet to set foot in this house.

Some of them ratted me out, saying that they see me sometimes at the convenient stores and grocery shops where I snagged my food, so now I have to totally avoid those places for the time being so that I wouldn't run into her.

But most of them dunno where the hell I am.

Which is pretty much good riddance.

Why should she care? She's been blaming me for Pops' disappearance for ages. She made it very clear that she hated me, that I was a mistake. So why should she worry about me? Why should she even give a damn about me?

Shouldn't she be happy that I'm gone or something?

Ah, well, fuck her. I got more research to do.

Or is it Day 18? 19? 20? 200?

Ah, who cares?

I'm totally knee-deep in this shit now.

I've been hunting about in the internet to do more research on this Slender character. From what I can hear and see from my spot in the secret attic, they've already sent people to cut off the water and electricity.

I had to rely on candles for light (that I stole from my own house or from other people's kitchens whenever I have the chance to sneak in) and smuggling empty water bottles and stealing water from people's gardens, as well as shoplifting from nearby convenient stores and grocery shops for food. And I jack other people's power outlets just to have my laptop charged.

I even have to hijack neighbouring internets just to get a signal to go online.

And I can tell you, bad reception and crappy internet lines can be a bitch sometimes.

Haven't really gotten around to the bathing part yet though, but it's not important anyways.

Bushy comes and goes these days. He knows that I won't be able to feed him on a regular basis, since I'm busy trying to feed myself as well, and he's self-sufficient enough to hunt for his own food and return to me on his own time, and when I'm available, I'll be able to give him some of my scraps.

I managed to find a couple dozens of blogs dedicated to Slenderman and stuff, most of them obviously fake, since they just assume some sort of weird identity and just make up some sort of stupid encounters between them and the Tall and Pale. I even read through some stories in certain forums and story-telling websites which also detail the so-called writers' encounters with him.

They're all fake.

Obviously all fake.

I knew it.

We all knew it.

Even Victor Surge admitted it so.

Then why is it so infectious? Why is it so contagious? Why is it so malicious?

Why is it so convincing that it drove Jan to the point of insanity?

I gotta know.

I really gotta know.

Long, long ago, in a small village, lived a carpenter and his wife. They have been married for many years but they did not have any children, and prayed that they would have one someday.

One day, when the carpenter's wife was sweeping the backyard, she caught sight of the vegetable garden next door and was amazed to see a lush greenery of rapunzel cabbages. She was soon overwhelmed with a craving so strong that she could not think of any other food but that.

The carpenter was at odds. He knew that the vegetable garden belonged to the famous village sorceress who was known to be cunning and powerful, and no one dared cross her. But his wife was beyond reasoning and his reluctance made her crave it even more. Even when the carpenter offered to buy some from the market, she did not want it and insisted on having the ones that belonged to the garden.

"If I do not have those cabbages, I shan't ever eat anything else again, and I will surely die," she lamented.

When his wife started becoming thinner and paler day by day, the carpenter feared for her life and, having no choice, did the unthinkable: he climbed over the wall every night to the sorceress' garden and stole the cabbages for her, hoping that the sorceress wouldn't notice a few missing. His wife was thrilled to have the cabbages and ate them all greedily, leaving no leaf untouched. She regained her health and appetite and was back to her old self again, much to the carpenter's relief.

One night, when the carpenter went to steal some more cabbages for his demanding wife, he was caught red-handed by the sorceress who was in a mood to have some cabbage soup. Furious, she threatened to kill the carpenter.

"Please spare my life," the carpenter begged. " I only did this for my wife, who craves your cabbages so much that she will not eat anything else and rather starve and die."

"Very well," the sorceress said after a knowing pause. "But no good deed shall go unpunished. Your wife is currently with child, which is why she has such strong cravings. You will give your child to me on its 1st birthday, and I shall spare your life. If not, all of you will die a wretched death."

The carpenter, fearing for his life, agreed to the terms. He was allowed access to the sorceress' cabbages freely, but the couple was filled with dread everyday at the thought of the sorceress taking the child they wanted so much.

Soon, the carpenter's wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, but their happiness were short-lived as the sorceress came as promised to take her away on her 1st birthday. The sorceress named the baby girl 'Rapunzel' after the cabbages she was bred from, and raised her in a tower that reached the skies and had no doors save a few windows to let her see the outside world.

Rapunzel grew to be a beautiful maiden with long, golden hair that had never been touched by scissors or shears in her life. She often longed to leave the tower to see the outside world, but the sorceress would not allow it, telling her that the world was dark and cruel and would harm her at any moment's notice. Whenever the sorceress came to visit her, she would shout these words from the outside the tower:

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so I may climb the golden stairs!"

When Rapunzel heard those words, she would quickly let down her long tresses, and the sorceress would grab onto them and climb up to the tower to where Rapunzel stood in wait, and when she left at sundown, she would climb down the tower from the same long tresses again.

This routine went on for years, until one day, the Prince of the kingdom was out on a deer hunt when he saw the sorceress walking towards the mysterious tower his subjects often spoke of. Following her secretly, he soon saw the sorceress calling out to the tower and the long 'golden stairs' that flowed out of the tower window. Amazed and curious at the sight, he decided to wait until the sorceress left to try it out himself.

Once the sorceress left at sundown, the Prince waited a moment before he made his way to the tower, and following the sorceress, he shouted out the words:

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so I may climb the golden stairs!"

Like clockwork, Rapunzel let down her hair and the Prince climbed up the tower into Rapunzel's domain. He was instantly love struck at upon seeing the fair maiden's beauty, but Rapunzel, having never seen any other soul other than the sorceress, was a little afraid of him. The Prince tried to speak gently towards her so as not to frighten her, and soon curiosity prompted her to get to know him more.

Since that fateful day, the Prince would come to visit Rapunzel every other day, making sure that the sorceress was unavailable on that day to do so. He told Rapunzel tales of the outside world, wowing her with stories of his adventures as well as other stories he heard from his boyhood. As they met more and more, they grew closer and closer, until finally Rapunzel returned the Prince's feelings and agreed to be his Princess. They soon planned to run away together and leave the tower forever to his castle up yonder.

They decided to leave on the eve of her birthday at nightfall, and Rapunzel waited anxiously for that day to come. Unfortunately on that morning of the eve of her birthday, the sorceress came over for an unexpected visit, and as the old hag climbed up her hair, she pulled so hard that Rapunzel couldn't help crying out, "Oh Mother, how you pain me so! If only your touches were as light as the Prince's."

Enraged by Rapunzel's treachery, the sorceress grabbed a pair of scissors and cut off all of the fair maiden's hair and locked her up in her room. She then sat in wait for nightfall, waiting for the Prince to come as promised.

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so I may climb the golden stairs!"

Once those magic words were heard, the sorceress threw down the hair she had cut from Rapunzel's head and watched him climb up to the top. The Prince had apparently fashioned a make-shift ladder carried on his back, no doubt to help Rapunzel escape from the tower along with him. When he was at the top, he was taken aback to be met with the sorceress's ugly face.

"You're too late, young Prince. Your beloved is no longer here, and neither will you!"

So saying, she pushed the Prince off the tower, sending him plummeting down below to his death. Making sure that he was no longer moving, she collected the hair and let Rapunzel out, laughing as she told her what she did and letting her see his body for herself. An unspeakable anger and despair boiled within the fair maiden's veins, and her vision blurred as she picked up a handful of her long golden tresses. The last thing she remembered before blacking out was the sorceress' loud and long cackle...

When she came back to her senses, Rapunzel found herself standing over the sorceress's body, her handful of golden tresses wrapped tightly around the old hag's neck. She was not naive not to know she had done, but she knew it wasn't enough to bring her Prince back.

And she did not want to a prisoner in her own home any longer.

Carrying a bundle of her hair, she made her way to the window and tied it back to where the sorceress did when she was waiting for the Prince. She then wound the rest around her neck, climbed up the window, and took one last look at the night sky before she jumped...

Once upon a time, there lived a rich merchant and his daughter Ella. His wife died when Ella was just 2 years old, but Ella grew to be as beautiful as her mother, and he loved her dearly.

One day, the merchant came home from one of his business trips along with a noble woman and her 2 daughters. Apparently they've met during his business trip and somehow gotten married soon after that. Ella, being the kind-hearted girl like her late mother, welcomed her new stepmother with open arms and tried to be friends with her 2 new stepsisters, but they were cold and distant to her, for they knew the merchant favored Ella more than them and did not like the attention she was getting.

Sadly, shortly after the stepmother and her daughters came into their lives, the merchant was suddenly struck by a serious illness and died a month later. Poor Ella's life was turned upside down as the stepmother seized control of the family fortune and stripped Ella of everything she owned. She was made into a servant girl and forced to join the hired help in doing all the chores in the big mansion they stayed. Sometimes Ella would be so tired from her day's work that she would be found sleeping against the fireplace, covered in cinders, so her stepsisters cruelly nicknamed her 'Cinder-Ella'.

One day, a joyous air flew about the household as they received an invitation from the royal castle. It turns out that the Prince was of age and the Royal Couple had decided to hold a grand ball for a week in order to find suitors for their young Prince. The stepmother wasted no time in telling Cinderella to help her stepsisters prepare for the ball. Cinderella tried her luck in asking permission to go to the ball, but the stepmother scoffed at her.

"You? Why would the Prince be interested in a plain girl like you when your sisters are far more beautiful?"

"Please, stepmother. I will not be a bother. I just want to go to the ball to have a little fun. I deserve the break, and after all, I am family."

"Well, if you are able to find yourself a dress fit to be worn for the ball and finish all your chores, I suppose you could. But until then, run along with you. You have a busy day ahead."

Taking her stepmother's word for it, Cinderella quickly and eagerly went about her day helping her stepsisters to get ready for the ball. In truth, she already had a dress in mind to wear for the ball, which was the beautiful midnight diamond ballroom dress that her late mother wore when her parents first met. She finished her chores in record time and soon got herself washed and cleaned thoroughly, and once she put on her mother's dress and showed up in time to join her family to leave for the ball, she was more beautiful than her 2 stepsisters combined.

Her stepmother and stepsisters were, of course, not thrilled when they saw her in that dress and the thought of her out-shining them drove them into a jealous rage. The stepmother accused her of theft and the stepsisters were only to eager to destroy the dress with their bare hands. By the time they were done, Cinderella's dress was in rags and she was no longer fit to join them for the ball.

Cinderella's heart broke as she watched tearfully at the carriage taking the stepmother and stepsisters towards the royal castle. All she wanted was to have a good time, just this once, and yet she was not even allowed that. As she ran to her usual resting spot at the fireplace and cried her eyes out, a sudden shimmer of light illuminated the room and a lady in white stood before her.

"Who are you?" Cinderella asked, still sobbing.

"Do not fear, little lamb," the lady in white replied. "I am your fairy godmother. I have watched over you since you were a baby, and now I am here to help you. What is it you wish for?"

Cinderella opened her mouth to speak, but somehow her heart told her that was not what she truly wish. The lady in white smiled at her knowingly.

"Ah, I see. A day to yourself is probably not good enough for you, is it not?"

Cinderella nodded, knowing that a night at the ball would not be enough to satisfy her. She needed her stepmother and stepsisters to pay for what they did to her mother's dress, and for what they have done to her all these years.

"Then, my little lamb, fetch me the best pumpkin you have in your kitchen, and get me the biggest rat and lizard you caught in your trap. Oh, and fetch me the rags you used today to clean your stepsisters' best ballroom shoes with."

Cinderella obeyed, going off to get the things her fairy godmother needed. The lady in white instructed her to put all the things in a row, in which she did, and chanted a few spells over them.

"It is done," the lady in white said as she returned the things to Cinderella. "Starting tomorrow, you must feed your stepsisters the rat and the lizard in portions, and let your stepmother drink the pumpkin juice, but do not let them know what they are having, and you must cook it with your own hands."

Cinderella nodded. That was an easy task; she made their meals everyday.

"And every evening before they leave for the ball, you must shine their shoes with those rags until they glimmer like glass. Things may happen that might not seem like it is to your favor, but it will all be right in the end."

"I do not understand, Fairy Godmother. What things?"

"You will. All you have to do is hold your tongue and bear with it till the end. Trust me, you will get what you deserve."

With that the lady in white disappeared before Cinderella could ask more, leaving her wondering whether or not she could really trust her.

Nevertheless Cinderella did as she was told. Everyday, for lunch, she would mix a bit of the meat of the rat and the lizard the lady in white charmed into the stepsisters' food, and would make pumpkin juice for her stepmother to drink. She also made sure that she would use the charmed rags she kept in her pocket to shine her stepsister' shoes till they shone like glass. They did not suspect a thing as they were too pre-occupied with the charming Prince to care about her and continued attending the week-long ball.

All the while Cinderella took in anything that was thrown at her and watching longingly at the royal castle for the day she would set foot within it, and would wonder about what her Fairy Godmother had told her.

Finally, after the ball ended, it was time for the Prince to choose his bride. Somehow, during the last day of the ball, one of the stepsisters have left behind one of her shoes at the throne room, and the Prince, who was somehow smitten with at least one of them but could not remember the name or face, have decided to marry whoever would fit that shoe.

Many women had been sought after to try on the shoe, but apparently the stepsisters have exceptionally big feet, and no one was able to fit it. When the Prince finally came to their residence, the eldest sister was the one who fit the shoe and was ceremoniously proposed to and carted off to the royal castle with the Prince.

Cinderella, who watched everything unfold, realized this was what the lady in white was talking about, but remembered her words and held her tongue, allowing everything to happen at its pace. She was promptly forgotten like the rest of the hired help and was left to her devices to sort out her family mansion, as her stepmother and stepsisters went forth to sought the riches of the castle. She took comfort in the fact that finally she was able to actually live in her own home again.

Later that night, at 12 midnight, Cinderella was suddenly awakened by a strong urge to go out for a ride. Donning her best riding outfit once owned by her mother, she got on her horse and rode on into the night, somehow following the trail of the royal carriage her stepmother and stepsisters rode with the Prince. The trail led her towards a steep hill and a shocking sight beheld her.

Apparently the carriage never made it to the castle. The horsemen were either dead or mortally injured. The escorts, foots men and the Prince's personal butler were torn to shreds. When she inspected the carriage, she saw her stepmother inside, her body stretched and twisted like the vines of a pumpkin and melded into the walls of the carriage, leaves sprouting out of every crevice of her pumpkin-colored skin and her face twisted into a frozen scream of horror. Next to the mangled up carriage was the Prince, severely injured and barely alive, and a few yards away from him were her stepsisters, or what used to be them, as she recognized the torn remains of the dresses they wore.

Her stepsisters looked wretched--the elder had turned into a giant rat, drooling and slobbering everywhere and was on all fours, barely even able to make a human sound save a long list of grunts and growls; the younger had turned into a huge lizard, crawling on her belly and making a mess of herself, making loud, grotesque hissing and spitting sounds. They were covered with injuries that seemed to have been inflicted on each other and their eyes were gouged out. It seemed that what happened to them had driven them insane and destroyed everything in their paths before turning on each other, losing their humanity in the process.

Cinderella, with her hired help, brought the Prince home and nursed him to health, sending word for the castle to inform them of his safety. As the Prince got better, so did his love for Cinderella grew, and when he asked for her hand in marriage, Cinderella was only too happy to accept.

Cinderella had finally received her dues, and her evil stepsisters, becoming the monstrous incarnation of themselves, were never heard from again.


Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a rich nobleman who had 3 daughters. They were all beautiful in their own way, but the youngest daughter was the most beautiful of all, and also kind and gentle, and she was known to many as 'Beauty'.

One day, the nobleman found out that he had lost his fortune over a bad business investment and had to sell everything he owned to settle his debts. Thrown from their life of luxury into the level of a commoner, the elder daughters were absolutely miserable, but Beauty, being the kind and gentle soul she was, adapted into it without complaint.

The nobleman's luck soon changed when he received word that one of his many business investments had miraculously bore fruit and the earnings were ripe for the picking. He would have to make the journey to collect those earnings and asked what gifts would their daughters want him get for them to celebrate their good fortune.

"Bring me a chestful of jewels of all kinds," the eldest daughter demanded.

"Bring me the best dresses from every place you traveled," the middle daughter begged.

"Just bring me a bouquet of fresh roses to add to my garden," Beauty requested.

Bidding his daughters farewell, the nobleman made the journey to where he would collect his dues. It was not much, but it was a start and enough to get their family back into the luxury wagon again. He managed to get presents for his elder daughters, but unfortunately the place he was in did not have roses, and he felt bad that he might disappoint Beauty coming home empty-handed.

On his way home, he took a wrong turn and ended up in the treacherous woods where man-eating wolves dwell. His ride was sabotaged and he lost his daughters' gifts in the process as he fled for his life. He stumbled across a dark, desolated castle and, having no other options, entered the grounds.

Once he was inside the castle, however, a lavish sight was upon him. A fire was burning warmly for him. A set of dry clothes was laid out for him. And best of all, a lavish dinner was prepared for him in the dining room. There were no signs of the host or the hired help, but everything was ready for him to his liking, even a bedroom for him to sleep in. And by the next morning, another set of new clothes and a hearty breakfast were ready for him, along with a grander version of his daughters' gifts and a strong, steady horse for his journey home.

As he rode out of the castle grounds, he caught sight of the castle gardens and was reminded of Beauty's gift he promised. Lo and behold, there stood a great rose bush, to the nobleman's relief, and he immediately went forth to unearth a bouquet of them for his beloved youngest daughter.

Suddenly he was seized by the throat and thrown to the ground, and when he looked up to see his assailant, he was shocked to be met with a lion-like beast with great fangs and horns, and choked by a pair of talons.

"How dare you steal from me!" the Beast bellowed. "After all the kindness I have shown you in my home, is this how you repay me?!"

"Have mercy, my lord!" the nobleman begged. "I only wanted to give what I promised to my youngest daughter, for I have 3 girls and I have yet to get her anything."

"I should kill you for your thievery, but I shall make a trade instead. Take as many roses as you like, but I will have one of your daughters in exchange. And do not try to renege on this deal, or your whole family will suffer my wrath!"

Fearing for his life, he agreed to the deal and left with the gifts and the roses. He managed to reach home safely and his daughters welcomed him home eagerly. His elder daughters barely noticed his distraught look, but Beauty did, and they soon learnt about his encounter with the Beast and the deal he made with him. Needless to say, the elder daughters blamed Beauty for their misfortune.

"This is all your fault for requesting such a selfish gift from Father!" they cried. "You must take responsibility!"

Beauty readily volunteered to be the trade, despite her father's protests. Taking the horse the Beast given to the nobleman, she rode on, allowing the horse to lead her back to its master.

Once she was within the castle, she was given the same red carpet treatment as her father did, only this time, the Beast would show up in the evenings to keep her company, dining with her and entertaining her the best he could. He had a bit of a temper, but Beauty had a way of soothing him somehow.

As weeks turned to months and months turned to years, Beauty and the Beast slowly grew fond of each other, and Beauty had somehow began to fall in love with the Beast. She was allowed to return home once a month, and as her sisters grew more and more jealous of Beauty's life of luxury far better than theirs as well as her looks, her father grew more and more worried of Beauty's reluctance to stay longer in her visits in favor of the Beast.

His worst fear was realized when Beauty came home for her monthly visit one day to tell her family that the Beast had proposed to her and she said yes. They were to be wed by fall and she was there to invite them for the wedding.

Her sisters went into a jealous rage at her good fortune and her father went mad with grief. They locked her up in the coal cellar and rallied the villagers to go forth and kill the Beast to release Beauty from his treacherous 'spell'. She was only released at sunrise by one of the Beast's mysterious invisible servants and the horse ready for her to ride back to the castle.

There, within the rose bushes of the castle garden the Beast gifted her, lay the poor Beast covered in mortal wounds and laying in a pool of blood. Beauty begged him to stay alive, but the Beast's life was slowly fading away.

"It is time you learn the truth, my dear Beauty..." the Beast whispered. "I am actually a Prince cursed by an enchantress...I was once an evil man, brought up by evil and never knowing love, and the enchantress cursed me to be a Beast as punishment...Only mutual true love will break the spell and it would've been so on our wedding night...But now...I am just happy to see you one last time...before I die..."

With that, the Beast breathed his last, and before her very eyes, Beauty saw as the Beast's features melted away--gone were the lion-like face, the fangs and the talons--to reveal a handsome, young prince. The Beast had told the truth but she was too late to realize it.

In a fit of rage and despair, Beauty killed her family and all the villagers to avenge the Beast that she had come to love with all her heart. But somehow, the more she killed, the angrier she was, and soon she was killing more and more people to try and bring down that rage to no avail. She would return to the castle every night after each kill, but by the next day, she was out again, searching for blood.

Just when she was about to make her next killing, a stranger appeared before Beauty in the form of a tall, beautiful woman with long-flowing forest-green robes and a golden crown adorned with green jewels, her hair as golden as the sun and lips as red a rose, but eyes as black as night.

"Who are you?" Beauty asked.

"I am the one responsible for the Beast's curse," the enchantress replied.

"What has he done to deserve this? What cruelty has he done to you to suffer the fate of never again being able to face the outside world?"

"I only meant for him to learn to love. His forefathers before him ruled the kingdom with an iron fist, and he was bound to follow their footsteps in their tyranny. If I were not to intervene, he would turn into a ruler worse than his forefathers and many will suffer from his sins."

"You were wrong!" Beauty cried. "He is everything to me! He had treated me with more love and understanding than any man can ever be! It's all your fault he's dead!"

"Years of being a Beast and you returning his love have humbled him, but his death was not my doing, but of your family."

"Then give me back my Beast! Return my beloved to me!"

"I cannot revive the dead, nor can I change the past, but your thirst for revenge has turned you into the same creature I have turned your beloved into. You have turned your love and loss into a form so distorted that you can no longer love or trust anyone. Your bloodlust is too great that I cannot allow you to be out there and massacre the world to soothe your own pain. You are a Beast, dear Beauty. A different kind of Beast, but a Beast nonetheless.

"Therefore, I shall transfer his curse to you. You are now doomed to remain a Beast until someone is willing to look past your monstrous form and love you for who you are, and you will never set foot beyond the gates of this castle ever again."

A long pause ensued before Beauty hung her head in resignation and replied, "I can never forgive myself for what I've done to my beloved. Do as you will to me. This is the least I deserve."

Beauty was trapped forever in the Beast's castle, never to leave and never to harm mankind again, and till this day, Beauty--now the Beastess--remained there, killing anyone who dares set foot into the home that she and her beloved shared, as she mourned for her lost love and yearn for the day that she would meet him again in another life...

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