Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sorry. I'm okay. I just wanted to make sure I... I'm not sure, actually. To make sure I was there, that someone else knew I was there.

Work started up again today. The kids' summer camp program, or as much of a summer camp as you can get in the inner city. That's what I was doing in Camden today: I was at work.

During my lunch break, I decided to head up to the Rutgers library to see if I couldn't look up some information about this "Devil Book" Christian seemed so interested in. I had asked Jean about it before I left home, and she gave me a few pointers, so I figured I'd start with those.

It... It was there. At the underpass. Just... standing there, sort of turning Its head this way and that, like Its around. I see It, and I freeze... albeit in a more literal sense. It was like this wave of cold swept over me, and I couldn't move a muscle.

I just... I'm trying to remember. Because the "wave" wasn't a wave in the sense that it came from any specific direction, more like it welled up inside of me. "Fear" is the first thing that comes to mind but... I can't really tell. There's something else, and I can't think straight...

A woman and her kid passed by while it happened. They turned the corner, and the monster was in plain view. The woman kept walking, obviously she couldn't see a thing. The kid stopped though. Stopped and stared. His mom hurried him along, but the kid kept watching It even as she led him all the way past, down the street.

What bothers me is... It didn't look back. The kid clearly saw It, was clearly entranced. But It ignored him. Just kept turning Its head and "looking" all around. And then after a while it just turned back down into the tunnel underpass and... vanished, I suppose.

Good news is, I wasn't frozen so long this time, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. It was being uncomfortable under the hot summer sun that woke me up, if you can believe it. I forced myself to move and ran indoors, to the campus library. I wrote that last post as a self-reminder of sorts, and then spent the remainder of my lunch hour sitting in a corner with my back to the wall, pretending to read so no one would ask me questions.

I didn't have an appetite.
It wasn't in Canada anymore.

Why didn't I notice that? I deliberately went to places It had been, gone among people who had clearly been haunted, had clearly lost their minds to It. But the monster itself was nowhere to be found. It didn't even cross my mind the entire time I was there, but it should have. It should have!

Because It wasn't in Canada anymore. By the time I got there, It was already here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


"Terrified of the open road.
Yeah, where it leads, you never know.
But rest assured, He'll be on you're back--
Yeah, the Holy Ghost, drew his tongues in black.

"So you saved your shillings and your last sixpence,
'Cause in God's name, they built a barbed-wire fence.
Be glad you sailed for a better day,
But don't forget - they'll be hell to pay."

Been home for a day and a half already. It has done astonishingly little to lessen my growing urge to fucking punch something.

Someone, in particular, actually.

Christian, you son of a bitch.


I wound up arriving in Canada Thursday evening, but as much as I wanted answers immediately, I had a feeling that going to a wooded area that's already been haunted (not to mention been the scene of a rather gruesome crime) after sundown was probably a bad idea. So I grabbed a hotel, then drove up to Michelle's house Friday morning. I had been to her house before, of course. We first met online during the winter, so that summer we decided to visit each other, and have kept it up every summer since. Christian was waiting for me at the end of the driveway - one of those extra-long ones, 'cause the house is set, like, a quarter-mile back from the road.

The walk down to the actual house wasn't pleasant. He tried to make (incredibly awkward) small talk to distract me, but... there were still body parts lying around, okay? Just... freaking everywhere. I have no idea why they hadn't been cleaned up yet after a week but, bizarrely, none of them looked a week old. They all just sat there, oozing like they were fresh from the night before. Nothing had disturbed them either, not even bugs. It was... really surreal.

Actually, "surreal" is probably the kindest thing you could say about the whole thing. >_<

Each piece had flags and number cards next to them, and we also passed a sectioned-off area with a large pool of blood on one end of it, and the gravel of the driveway messed up. When we got to the house, the entire property was surrounded by police tape and more evidence flags. There were also a couple of police officers still hanging around, taking pictures and putting stuff into plastic bags. They gave us a look when Christian simply ducked under the caution tape and ushered me inside, but didn't really do anything about it; just went back to their work.

Looking back, that was probably clue #1.

Inside the house was slightly less gruesome, but only because it was more cleaned up than outside. You could still see the stains though, and... I just hate the way my mind works sometimes. Always analyzing everything. I kept trying to guess the position and wounds inflicted based on the size and shape of the bloodstains... I had a piece of obsidian on a long string around my neck, and that helped with the continuous punch-to-the-gut feeling that I usually get from residual fear and pain, but it did nothing for my imagination, or the urge to hurl.

I managed to keep my breakfast down long enough for Christian to explain what happened that night. He, Michelle, and Kent (Tanya's fiance) were still at that nearby hotel. Hailey and Tanya were... already gone. No attack, no warning, no signs of a struggle. Just a trail of blood that abruptly ended. Michelle took it badly, but Kent took it worse. He completely broke down, which I'll get into later. Michelle, rather than breaking down, sort of withdrew... But Chris said he was more concerned with Kent than with her, which, while I can't really fault him for it, still managed to make me pissed off.

It was because he wasn't watching her that she left. just... up and left. It wasn't until Chris heard sirens heading in the direction of her house a couple nights later, after no word from Michelle whatsoever, that he knew something was up. After that he had to piece the story together in reverse order from police reports and things (at the time, I didn't think to question how he just automatically knew this stuff - clue #2), but I'll try to tell it linearly here.

Apparently one of the flunkies Morningstar was assigned for his trip up north got it into his head to hop on over and spy on Michelle's family. She caught him in the act though. There was a fight and... she killed him. But that brought Morningstar and the rest down on her head within a day. What resulted was... not pretty. Not pretty at all. They set the barn on fire with most of the animals and the youngest of her two older brothers inside. Her father and oldest brother went out to try and stop the blaze, but the former was gutted after being forced to watch the latter get shoved down the mouth of the auger that was next the barn. He did, however, kill two more of them before Morningstar finished him off personally.

I was thankfully broken out of the horrifying mental image of Michelle's father being splattered with his son's blood and guts and lashing out in a blind rage at his captors just before he died, with the realization that Chris had taken me up to Michelle's bedroom. Oddly enough, it was probably the least-messy room I had seen so far, save for a broken window and a severed dog's head on the floor. It belonged to a dog named Pepper - an Australian Shepard, one of those really pretty pepper-speckled ones. Ever since I first came to Michelle's house years ago, I knew that if I ever got a big dog instead of a little dog like I have, I'd one one like him. But he was dead now, just like everyone else. And just like everyone else, the kill looked like it happened mere hours ago instead of days. All while Christian was talking, I kept glancing back at that dog, because I kept thinking I saw movement. 

...gimme a sec...... okay i'm good.

So while that was going on, some passerby (what with the size of farms up there, neighbors are practically nonexistent) saw the barn fire and called the fire department. Those were the sirens Chris heard, which he also followed. They arrived pretty quickly, but... it didn't do any good. Some bright spark among the proxies decided the fire truck would be their escape vehicle, so they killed everyone inside and hijacked it. Most of them were shot, but one of them, the driver, was killed via stab to the femoral artery - hence the giant puddle of blood in the driveway. The truck was found wrapped around a tree a few days ago, no bodies.

Before they got away, though, Michelle caught up to them. That much Christian was there for. Morningstar had just knifed the driver when she shot out fucking nowhere and ploughed him to the ground. Chris couldn't see exactly what went on, but from the look of things, she just completely beat the shit out of him out of rage alone, screaming about her father. He threw her off somehow, but she ran for it before he could grab her, so he took the firetruck and drove off.

It was watching the entire time. Chris said that was the first time he saw It outside of videos. I didn't blame him for freezing up, and told him so. He said he was hoping I could help him shed some light on the whole situation. Even when Michelle first sought out his help, he said, she wasn't exactly coherent. Constantly shifting the conversation over to either Hailey or her family. So he started asking me what I knew about Michelle and her family.

I wasn't allowed to bring my recorder or camera into a crime scene, but the conversation between Christian and I went approximately thusly:

Me: It would seem to me like I should be asking you all this. After all, you've known her much longer than me.

Chris: Yes, but you know her better. You're the one she opens up to.

Me: Michelle rarely, if ever, talked about her family. I've met them a few times, when I visit in the summer, but they were polite as manners dictated, nothing more.

He picked up a photo from Michelle's dresser and handed it to me. It showed Michelle and a slightly older boy as children, playing in their yard.)

Chris: What about Steven? She was really close to him before he died. I think she was about 10 when it happened...?

Me: Chris, I don't think you're understanding me here. Before Michelle started her blog, I wasn't aware that she originally had 3 older brothers instead of 2. And before you said it just now, I wasn't aware that the middle brother's name was Steven. No one in this family seemed to want to talk about anything.

Chris made a noncommittal noise and didn't take back the photo, so I began to look around the room (avoiding the dog's head like a plague, of course. Seriously, why wasn't all of that cleaned up yet?!). It was... decidedly bizarre. I had been there many times before, of course, but I hardly need to explain how this was different. And it didn't help that I kept feeling like Christian was watching me, even though he was always staring out the window (at a gloriously panoramic view of the burned barn and more cooked meat than I'd care to think about) whenever I looked at him.

Michelle's room is... surprisingly light. And kind of mismatched because of it. All the furniture is made of a really pale brown wood, the bedsheets are white and off-white, and the walls are light blue. And yet there's a black and green throw rug on the floor, the ceiling fan has been painted orange and red (I was there for that one, XD), and the walls are covered with fanart, original drawings, and sketches for commissions.

For a while I was just thankful that there were no slender-drawings and cryptic ramblings... but, as it turns out, she did scribble down a few things, but they were shoved under her bed, some crumpled, others not. I won't deny that has me worried - especially considering that they were clearly ripped out of a sketchbook, so there might be more of them somewhere. I might post what I found later, if you guys want me too, but there doesn't seem to be much that needs solving, just some generic (if impressively drawn) sketch-ramblings.

One of them depicted a dark pair of eyes, a large Operator Symbol with words written along its edge (too small to make out), and the word DEVIL in large block-letters. That was when Chris put in,

Chris: Did Michelle ever mention anything about a "Devil Book"?

Me: (I shook my head) Once again, the first I heard of it was on her blog. Honestly, I never knew she had so many secrets...

Chris: Surely something...

Me: Trust me, I have very strong opinions about this construct of the amalgamation of evil that people call Satan. If she had mentioned any sort of "devil", I'd remember it.

So then he spent the rest of the afternoon simultaneously showing me around the area as I tried to get a feel for the place and what happened there, and pressing me for details about everything Michelle had ever told me about her personal life. There honestly wasn't much to tell, but his persistence in the matter was clearly clue #3.

Later on I asked if I could talk to Kent, maybe see if he knew anything about what happened to Tanya and Hailey. If Michelle had gone anywhere, it would be after them.

However, Kent was currently in the hospital, which Chris neglected to mention when he was telling his story. And by that time, visiting hours were over.

I was more than a little annoyed, though I was trying not to be. I needed his help, dammit.


Saturday rolled around. It was less squicky, but just as unpleasant.

Kent was in the local hospital. Not saying where, because he's still there, albeit on heavy drugs. Hopefully that's where he'll stay, but there's really not a lot I can do for him now...

Christian and I found Kent sitting upright in his hospital bed, completely still. The TV was on, but he wasn't watching it; he was just staring at the bit of wall that was at his eye level. Chris wasn't kidding when he said Kent had taken Tanya and Hailey's disappearance hard - he had degraded into a complete catatonic stupor. If I wanted to get anything out of him, I would have to get creative.

My camera wasn't permitted, but my recorder was, so... here ya go.

Chris and I walked in - slowly and carefully, as people are wont to do around the mentally disabled/disturbed. Kent is a big guy, honestly. Built like a plowhorse, and could probably knock down anyone he pleased without even trying hard. At the time, though... It's just unbelievably hard to describe how small a guy like him can look. You read stories, and sometimes someone is characterized as "broken", like it's an adjective you can just toss around or blandly apply to someone clinically depressed. Kent, though... Kent was broken. He really was.

We spent a good forty minutes trying to get his attention, to break him out of his stupor, but even physically moving him did nothing - the guy was rigid. I'm hesitant to compare it to rigor mortis, but geeze.

Eventually I leaned over and tried to get him to look straight in my eyes, since that's one of the things catatonia patients have a tough time with. Much to my surprise after nearly an hour of blank, Kent's eyes did move, but they didn't focus on mine. Instead, they followed the bronze medallion I was wearing - the one I haven't taken off almost since I started this blog.

Kent: ...she was always fiddling with it.

Me: (Confused, I pulled my medallion into better view) This?

Kent: Never took it off. Crazy chick. (He watched it sway from its string for a moment, then looked away) Just got worse. Burnt that fuckin' bear and just got worse...

Me: How did burning the bear make it worse?

Kent: (He turned to stare at the wall again) ...She was gonna get Hailey a pony this year. Heh... Tanya never liked horses... Trusted her though. With Hayhay. Even up til...

Me: ...up until all the bad things happened.

Kent was silent for a while, and his eyes started to glaze over again.

Me: Kent, listen to me. You see this? (I dangled my medallion in front of him again) I have these hand-made just for the people I give them to, and I only give them to the people I've known long enough to trust with my life. To trust with my secrets. I gave one to Michelle because she's one of the very few people who know me inside and out, and the connection goes both ways. If she decided to help you and your family, then I'm going to help you too. But I can't do that unless you tell me everything you know.

Kent: ...She was going to be my daughter... my little girl... I was going to have a family...

Me: I need your help, Kent. We need to work together if we're ever going to find them. Michelle... and Tanya and Hailey too.

There was a long pause.

Kent: ...It took them... (Another pause) ...She said she felt It...

Me: She felt It coming... You mean like with the laughing?

Kent: Dreamt it... 'bout Hayhay... Said maybe she's the one who took her....

Me: (Confused) Huh?

Chris: (From the doorway) Val, maybe we should--

Kent: She took her and she didn't take her and she didn't know which it was and she kept drawing and drawing and drawing and drawing and burned most of them but drew them again and again and he was supposed to protect us but he couldn't he wouldn't he didn't and I couldn't protect my girls and they were going to be mine and THEY TOOK THEM AWAY FROM ME ALL OF YOU HER AND HIM AND IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT--

The audio becomes kind of hard to decipher at this point, because this is where a few nurses came in and sedated Kent, despite my protests, and everyone was kind of talking at once. They asked me what I had done to make Kent blow up like that (because he really had slowly exploded - thrashing around and screaming louder and louder as he went, it was scary). I just told them I was talking to him about his family. They politely kicked Chris and I out of their hospital.

Christian was the one who called the nurses in.

Clue #4. And that one wasn't hindsight.


Saturday night. Oh god, Saturday night.

What with Michelle living in Smalltown, Canada, there was only one hotel within a reasonable distance, and it happened to be the one Michelle and them had been using when Hailey and Tanya vanished. I wasn't happy about it, but I figured I'd make the best out of it and get a feel for that place too, maybe try to figure out exactly what happened... using frigging psychometry if I had to. (Not that I can do that, but dammit, I can try.) Unfortunately, the rooms they had been using were all occupied, so I was stuck in the same creepy building with none of the benefits of investigation. FML.

Heh. Listen to me making light of this. Fuck, maybe I am learning. Or maybe I'm just too damn angry at this part to be frightened.

Because guess who had an uninvited guest on Saturday night?

It wasn't Michelle, it wasn't Tanya and it sure as hell wasn't Kent.

It was approaching 4am or so. I was "enjoying" a very fitful night's sleep. Now, you guys all know what an insomniac I am, even when I'm not stressed out of my mind. So I was still half-aware when I heard the hotel room door - which was locked, by the way - somehow creak open.

I didn't move a muscle. But I did let my free arm hang to the floor, so I knew where to reach.

My guest tiptoed closer. I could see through my eyelashes that he was male, and (surprise, surprise) wearing a mask.

I could also see him pull out a gun of some kind. I fought down panic and remained still.

He walked around to the side of the bed, got fairly close, and leveled the gun at my head. There was no doubt, not anymore.

In one movement, I tossed my blanket up at him and tackled him to the floor. The gun went off, hitting the lampshade. I kicked the weapon away, kneed him in the groin, and then grabbed the taser that was hiding between my bed and the nightstand (thank you, dad's obsessive pack-rat behavior) and nailed the guy right in the chest. He passed out.

Three guesses as to who was under the mask.

Yep. Christian.

Fucking Christian.

Even though I was half-expecting it at that point, I was still kicking myself. Because I should have known. I should have fucking known! What happened with Nick and Donato, huh? He would've been able to tell instantly that the bastard was corrupted. Why didn't I think to check?!

But y'know what? No. I won't waste time banging myself over the head with how big an idiot I was during those three days. I was worried and upset and on a very narrow field of focus. Lesson learned, even though I don't know precisely how I plan to avoid that in the future... something to think about, I suppose.

I packed up my stuff and got out of that hotel as fast as I could. The gun had a muffler on it (I did not touch it, that would have been beyond stupid, but I did get a look it), which is probably why the shot wasn't commented on, but I was still nervous and wanting out of there in a hurry.

And... this was probably dumb of me, but I went back to Michelle's house. Yeah, I know - haunted house full of dismembered bodies, in the forest, at night... not my brightest move. But I wasn't ready to leave yet. Aside from the picture and those drawings, I hadn't found anything that could help me. But... after what I discovered there that night, I decided that would have to be enough.

You see... there were still police cars and caution tape and everything. But this time there was a horrendous stench covering the entire property - the smell of death. And in addition to police cars, there were a couple of biological waste disposal trucks parked in the driveway. By this point it was a little bit past 5am Sunday morning, and some of the workers were already there, wearing rubber gloves and other protective gear, cleaning out the house and picking up body parts.

Rotted, disgusting body parts. Not fresh.

There was a cop on duty, since it was such a noxious crime scene. I recognized her from Friday afternoon - she and another woman were taking forensics pictures. I asked her how the investigation was going and some other probing questions.

She had never seen me before in her life.


After that, I started for home. I had to. I stopped at a motel in upstate New York to try and get some sleep before the long drive home, then checked in on the blogs and commented around, as per usual. Because sometimes focusing on others' situations can give me an epiphany of my own.

At this point, though, I don't know what to think. Was the version of Michelle's house that I went to - the one with blood that looked freshly spilled even though it was a week old - some kind of illusion? It couldn't be, because I still have the photo Chris handed me, plus those drawings from under Michelle's bed.

Was the story that Christian told me a complete fabrication? Possibly. If the guy was a proxy all along, then he's got a lot to answer for. What was that Kent said? "He was supposed to protect us, but he couldn't. He wouldn't. He didn't." Michelle brought Christian into the situation to ask for his help, because he's familiar with the supernatural and could possibly formulate a defense. Whether he was hollowed out during that time, or if he was against them all along, makes no difference. I almost wish I had stayed to find out, but... let's face it, I'm not any kind of badass. Being angry overwhelmed my fear when he attacked me - as I've mentioned before, manipulating people into thinking you're their friend is a very sore spot with me - but I don't know how long that'll last. Rage isn't something you can run off of entirely. All you do is burn out.

Was the goddamn hotel even real? I encountered surprisingly little resistance when exiting, and the whole thing just felt too neat. Though maybe I'm just being paranoid about that one.

At a guess, I think I can safely say Kent and the hospital were real. God, though, I hope he's okay. He needs the kind of help even I can't give, and I hope he gets it. Moreover, I hope he's protected. I wish I could have done more, but... argh.

Somehow, I never expected things to get this complicated.


And now I'm home again. Apologies for the late post, and sorry if I worried anyone with my silence. It's just... It was difficult writing all of this down. There was a lot to remember, a lot to think about. And a lot to try my damndest not to think about. Those images, that smell... they still haven't gone away.

Right now I've got my face buried in the smell of my dog's fur and praying that I won't associate that smell with the memory of the dog's head in Michelle's room.

Just... shit, man.

And one last thing. One stupendously, amazingly, horrifyingly important thing.

You see, I am smart and stupid in equal parts. I really am. That photo Christian handed me back in Michelle's room? The one I've been carrying around ever since, along with those damn drawings? Welp, I've had some time to examine it a little more closely since I got back to the US, and...


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Decision Time

"Do you think I'm special?
Do you think I'm nice?
Am I bright enough to shine in your spaces
Between the noise you hear
And the sound you like?
Are we just sinking in an ocean of faces?"

News of a few new deaths has come in over the past week. Not sure why I should bother to keep reporting on them though. If you knew them, then you already know what happened. If you didn't know them, then you probably won't care who they were or why they're gone. In the grand scheme of things, does my opinion on the subject really matter that much?

Scott said I could be the new Cataloger if I wanted. I... don't really see what the point of that would be. Cataloger wasn't a title, per se. It was a description of Scott himself. It was something only he was, something only he could be. But... if he really wanted it passed down, for whatever reason, then I'm giving it to Alora. She knew Scott better, she knew him longer, and she deserves it more. She can keep it warm for him when he gets back from whatever hell he's sunk himself into this time.

Zero, of course, had to run off on a suicide mission the moment my back was turned. The one day I decided to turn in early for the night. If that was what he wanted to do, then I won't fault him for it, but I wish I had been around before he left. To say goodbye.

God, how many people is that going to happen to, huh?

How many times am I going to fail to be there for someone who needs my help?

I... I can't deal with this anymore.

I must have started writing this a dozen times. I never could quite get out what I wanted to say, so I just let it go, and let it go, and let it go. But I can't let it go anymore, because it's time for me to make a decision. So I'll just be frank.

My passport arrived in the mail today.

Fat lot of good it does me now.

Michelle's gone, and I don't know what happened to her. She'd been slipping further and further ever since... ever since Becky... but there was nothing I could do, not when I was stopped at every turn.

Even now, something's blocking me. I can call her house phone again, but it just redirects to the "The number you have dialed has been disconnected" message... which at least seems more legitimate than just a sudden silence of the dial tone with no connection at all, but it's also worrying on a different level.

And then, two nights ago, her cell phone suddenly became a different story.

The call connected, and somebody answered. It was Christian, Michelle's friend. He told me what happened. And what happened was... bad.

I... I can't even begin to...

She vanished. No one's seen a trace of her since the night the barn burned. The police think she's dead, and Chris is letting them go on thinking so. But he saw her get away. He saw her start Running.

It saw her too. The monster. Chris said It watched her leave, and then vanished.


It may surprise you all to know that I'm actually a rather indecisive person.

It may surprise you even more to know that I'm also inherently selfish. Do you think I'm special? Do you think I'm nice? Plenty of people think I'm nice, and someone clearly thinks I'm special in some way. But here's a hint: I'm not. I'm not either one of those things.

I know I'm withdrawing again. I know I shouldn't be. But withdrawal is better than panic or despair. Both will only paralyze me, and I can't do that. I have a passport. I have a car. I have things to do.

See you all when I get back. I shouldn't be long.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No Help

"Hold it together.
Birds of a feather.
Nothing but lies and crooked wings.
I have the answer,
Spreading like cancer:
You are the faith inside me." 

I drove to West Virginia today.

No kidding. West-fucking-Virginia.

Just to place a call in a public pay phone.

Operator: 9-1-1, what is your emergency?
Me: (in a whispered, gravelly voice) This is anonymous tip. I have reason to believe that the people at address [REDACTED] will be targeted by a deranged serial killer.
Operator: (I hear the sound of typing in the background) Ma'am, this address is located in Canada.
Me: So?
Operator: Canada is outside of our jurisdiction. How did you obtain-
Me: (I forgot about my fake voice for a second) Then inform the Canadian police! Just do something!
Operator: (calmly) Ma'am, how did you obtain this information?
Me: I... (fake voice again) Threats have been made, and... I happen to know that the killer in question is serious. He won't just kill them, he'll torture them first. Please, you have to-
Operator: Ma'am, what is the name of the criminal in question?
Me: Luke Cifer.
Operator: And where are you located?

I hung up.

I got out of the phone booth, kept the hood of my jacket up, and hailed a taxi, which took me back to where I had parked my car. I'm on my way home now; I'm currently at a truck stop in Maryland as I write this.

Oh god, what am I supposed to do?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In Which I Attempt To Distract Myself

"Into the nothing,
Faded and weary.
I won't leave and let them fall behind.
Live for the dying.
Heaven hear me--
I know we can make it out alive."

Nothing like a family function to remind you of all you have...

Spent today and yesterday down at Ocean City. It was my cousin Connor's birthday today (he just turned 9), and Friday's always the day that family has Game Night, so we went down on Friday and stayed over. We don't go to Game Night too often, but when we do, it's always really fun. They break out every party game they own, and Rock Band is left on in the basement on their giant home-theater/projector setup (which by itself is pretty amazing), but by far the most popular game is also fairly simple. I forget what it's called (the box has long since been thrown out from overuse), but it's basically a combination of Pictionary and Whisper-Down-The-Lane. Laughs are guaranteed.

To be honest, though... I didn't participate much this time. I mean, normally I at least play Rock Band for a while, particularly if Butch is there (he's an even better singer than I am, which is actually saying something), but I mostly hung out in the library and browsed the internet on my laptop. Did mostly the same thing today too, although we'll be heading off to the Boardwalk soon - hopefully it won't rain on us.

I wasn't bothered throughout; my family is used to me being anti-social at parties. I make appearances, say hi to everyone I know and a few people I don't know. I smile and nod and be polite, and then sneak quietly back upstairs. I'm the master of being invisible, even when people are looking right at me. Haven't decided whether that's a good thing or not.

...My family is huge. Did you know that? Even I hadn't quite realized how huge. I have grandparents, three uncles, two aunts via marriage (and we're expecting a third), two brothers, and four cousins, just on my mother's/grandmother's side of the family. On my biological father's side, I have grandparents, great-grandparents, an aunt and uncle, their estranged daughter, and her whole pile of siblings from my uncle's other marriage. My maternal grandfather was the youngest of eight children, and of those still living, I've got four great-aunts and one great-uncle, and their families just go on and on. My stepfather's family we try to avoid except for obligatory visits on Christmas, but there's a pile of them too - three uncles, two aunts, and two cousins that I'm aware of, but every year I see faces I don't recognize.

This isn't just extended family either, these are the people I interact with on a regular or semi-regular basis. These are people I know, people who know me. These are people who would help me if I asked them to, every single one of them...

They weren't all at Connor's birthday party, of course. But seeing the surprisingly large turnout got me thinking about them.

Michelle never talked about her family much, but when she did, it was always with... I dunno, some kind of indifference. It's one of the very few things I couldn't quite understand about her. Or maybe it was just another facade... she tends to do that if it involves emotional issues...

Christ, I just realized... I'm the oldest out of all my cousins, out of all the grandchildren, no matter what side. Any "cousins" that are older than me aren't actually my cousins, they're my mother's cousins. Everyone else is younger, even Mike, who just had a baby recently. Everyone else is younger. I mean... okay, my brothers are probably alright, they're both in high school. They'll be fine as long as I keep them strictly out of it. But the next youngest is Clint, who is 11, followed by Connor. After that comes Kate, and then Adam, and then Rider, Mike's baby. And that set of twins I saw at my stepdad's family's house once, they couldn't be more than 6. Kim'll be fine, but all her siblings are in the under-10 set...

God, they're all children. So many of them... How are there so many?

Dumb question, dumbass question. Of course there are so many; it's what people do. It's what a family is.

Never considered the whole lot of them at once though. And that's not even counting honorary family members... Butch, Jen, Sarah, Emma, Chris... Melissa's too old, I think, but only just.


...Emotionally speaking, I have a lot of support. Pragmatically speaking, I have a lot of targets.

Y'know... not even counting all of this, there's so much I've never told them. So many secrets I've kept. There were segments - months at a time, even - where I just gave up on talking to them. Stupid teenage "no one understands me!" angst, y'know? Truth is, they actually didn't understand a lot of it, but I should have given them more credit than I did. What's done is done though. Sometimes I feel like there's a wall between us now... the same wall that's between me and the whole damn world. There's a reason most of my friends are online friends, after all.... though I'm beginning to see the benefits of that too. 1) There's a lot of them. 2) They're easy to cut yourself off from if necessary.

...Wow, it's kind of intimidating just how many people I'd have to cut myself off from, should shit hit the fan. I wonder if they'd look for me? Probably not for a while; like I said, I have a tendency of just dropping off radar for weeks at a time. Been trying to avoid that with blogger, at least. Timestamps and record-keeping are very, very important in this venture.

Y'know... god forbid any of them should die, but I just have so many family members and a not inconsiderable number of friends - close friends, all of them, purely digital though they may be - it'd be really, really hard to kill all of them. I'll always be able to find a home somewhere.

That's good to know.

Blah. Disjointed, rambling post is disjointed and rambling. Mostly I just wanted to distract myself from worrying about Michelle. Week 1 is almost down, at least. We'll see.

Still... Nothing like a family function to remind you of all you have to lose.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


"You get me to rise like a fish to the bait,
Then tell me to wait.
Well... I'm waiting!"

Maybe it's a remnant from my childhood - waiting for my birthday, waiting for Christmas, waiting for Halloween and Easter and the first day of summer and all those glorious iconic moments of a youth you think will never end. One of my earliest memories is waking up on my 4th birthday. I rushed into my mother's room to tell her the good news: that the wait was finally over! (I also complained about the chafing on my heels - chafing she had warned me I would get if I went to bed in my slippers. I didn't honestly believe her, though, and loved my new slippers too much to take them off, so I slept in them anyway. They were made of a velvety, dark red fabric, just like my nightgown.) Of course, even then, there was waiting involved. I had to wait for Mom to fully wake up. Then I had to wait for the party to start. Then I had to wait until the end of the day for cake and presents. Always, always waiting.

Maybe it's built upon my frustration at all the passive bullying that was often wrought on me in this form. For example, lining up at the ladder of the slide to play Squash The Melon (being the heaviest, I was the best at it, although no one would admit it) and feeling my frown, and my outrage, grow deeper and deeper as all the other kids fronties-backsies'd me to the back of the line. Telling an adult meant the other kids would get a scolding (though only sometimes; 6 times out of 10 I was told to "stop being so sensitive"), but they couldn't - or wouldn't - restore my proper place in line. All my attempt at justice earned me was an even longer wait. Well, that and dirty looks from the other kids.

Time has never been my friend. It always seemed to have a will of its own, and that will was usually malevolent. Waiting 30 minutes for cookies to bake always took hours upon hours, but begging for - and gaining - the same amount of extra time at the playground or public pool could fly by in less than 5. Even now, I can either have the night fly by in moments whilst my nose is buried in a book, or wait eons for my poor, insomniac brain to finally shut down for sleep. It's not fair, I tell you. It's not freaking fair!

I see Slenderman once.

I don't see It again until damn-near 2 years later.

I see Slenderman again. I believe it to be a death sentence.

The monster fucking ignores me.

I receive a cryptic and vaguely threatening comment from an Anonymous user, which is signed "Regards".

I'm still waiting for that one to pan out, and I'm beginning to suspect it really was just a troll after all.

I need a passport to cross the border into Canada and smack some sense into Michelle.

Even with paying extra, I have to wait a minimum of 2 weeks, though I should expect it to be 3.

Of course, if waiting for something good is hard, waiting for something bad is just torture. It's the not knowing when - or even if - it'll get here; not knowing what it'll be; not knowing who it'll affect... just not knowing. God, I could spend hours on what a double-edged sword knowledge is, especially here. And I'm not talking about "spreading the disease" this time.

What makes anticipation worse: knowing what's going to happen, or not knowing?

What makes memories easier to bear: knowing what was and what could have been, or not knowing?

I don't even know what to do at this point, because the only thing I can do is nothing. I seem to be in no danger at all - and I really don't know what to feel about that one - but I'm left sitting here waiting for some motherfucking legal process while my best friend has her entire world crash down around her!

Helplessness generally translates to anger right now. Wonder if I should do something about that... This kind of reaction probably isn't healthy... then again, I'm not fighting for my life. Anger helps the fight-or-flight mechanism, no doubt about it... but will I ever even need it? Am I just wasting my time here? I don't know, and I just have to wait to find out!

I just... How is everyone else doing? All of you guys - how are you? I haven't been keeping up with current events lately, and I kind of need a distraction. More than kind of, actually.

Friday, June 3, 2011

And Now Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Hyperactive Worrying

"Life. Hope. Truth. Trust.
Faith. Pride. Love. Lust.
On without the things we've lost.
The things we've gained, we'll take with us."

Updates, updates, updates...

First off, Zero. Same rules still apply, guys: stay calm and keep your heads about you, and maybe things will turn out well for once... or relatively well, anyways. But, y'know... I feel confident. I feel very, very good about this. As long as nothing super-major happens... know what, I'm not even gonna finish that sentence, nope. It's not worth the chance of jinxing it.

Secondly, we totally had a party at Kay's house today. After an early dinner, I went out and got popcorn, drinks, ice cream, and other assorted goodies (particularly good for Kay after she got her blood tests), and we marathoned the original Star Wars trilogy. Nick was all for starting up a drinking game to go with it. He pouted quite a lot when Kay and I shot it down (she doesn't like to get drunk, and I don't drink at all), but managed to get reasonably smashed anyway.

TRUFAX: Big, badass, bug-fearing AmalgamationSage is a huggy, silly, affectionate drunk. It was so adorable and so hilarious, I barely even watched the third movie. His rendition of the Luke I Am Your Father scene was sooo much better than the original. Also, there was a popcorn fight. =D

The cake was amazing, naturally. Kay had requested number-candles rather than 31 individual candles, since her lungs still felt a bit scratchy, but we had fun with it all the same. We all sang Happy Birthday as loud as we could, and even though Kay was the one to blow out the candles, I think all three of us made a wish.

Finally... Michelle. The one raincloud on what has actually been an amazingly goregous day.

...I know a lot of people don't like her right now. She can have that effect sometimes. You know she's right about the two of us being opposites? Completely polar personalities; the only things we have in common are a few TV shows and a love of animals. I wouldn't call myself light, the way she does, but she's always been dark. But... the good kind of dark, y'know? The kind that shades, protects. She may act like she doesn't need anyone, but it's always the tough ones who need people the most. She knows the abyss stares back. It's just hard to find people who are willing to look in with her without either falling in or running away.

Small wonder she doesn't always know how to act around others. But she tries. She tries so damn hard.

And why do you think she would try so hard if there wasn't something she desperately needed?

...I still don't know what to say about what happened to Becky... Maybe I'm just being a coward and refusing to think about it, refusing to even hear a word against my friend. But the fact of the matter is, it's my fault she's even in this mess. She's my responsibility.

I can't lose her... but she thinks she's lost me.

That goddamn perception filter again! I've tried everything to get through to her, I really have. Her inbox is probably flooded with emails by now, but no replies so far. Every time I call her house or her cell, it rings, but when the dial tone ends, there's just silence. I even sent a few actual letters to her house 2 days ago when I got the news, but this afternoon, my mom called to tell me that one of them was sent back, unopened, return to sender.


I have to trust her to get through this. There's no other choice. She's strong, stronger than I'll ever be. It's... unbearable, thinking of what must be going through her mind. I couldn't be in her position if I tried; I would simply snap in two. As it is, the only thing preventing me from running up to Canada and physically shaking some sense into her is a lack of a goddamn passport. Registering for one is at the top of my to-do list as soon as I get home, but for now, she's on her own. The only way for me to help her is if she finds me.

I believe she can. I know she can. She will.

If I say it often enough, I'll start to believe it, right?