It's cold. It is really really freaking cold. But I have a fuzzy blue blanket as a Christmas present from my best friend, so I think I can deal. ^_^
I think I'm just about up to speed with everything. Took a long time, but with Michelle's arm getting worse and worse, I'm usually the one driving. Between that and the journals, there's not a lot of opportunity to sit down and read much of anything else, let alone something that requires an unsecured wi-fi connection. It should be easier now though.
Speaking of Michelle's arm, I sort of feel obligated to give an update on that front, since she's obviously not going to. She won't even show it to me unless I flat-out order her too, but even when it's out of sight, the pain it gives her isn't at all hard to pick up on, especially for me. I honestly don't know what to do if it keeps degenerating like this. And I don't dare try to heal it or mess with it in any way, not after what happened the last time I tried something like that. I bought some antiparacitics, but again, I'm hesitant to use them for the exact same reasons.
She's also been falling into standard paranoia symptoms, not that I blame her after being alone and in enforced silence for so long. And after everything that happened during that timeframe. But that's a topic that was beaten under the rug even before I took my little "vacation"; no need to start it up again now. It's still worrying.
...I can tolerate having the TVs in hotel rooms on now, although normal shows are harder to listen to than, say, a newscast. It's better in small doses though, or else... bad things happen. It's so easy to be thrown back there if I don't make a continuous conscious effort to stay functional. Not that the pressure's still there, of course; that's broken and gone. Just normal, everyday PTSD for me... hehehe...
Fuck, I guess we all have issues. Be hard not to at this point.
I still usually try to walk or stand behind her though. One less thing for her to worry about.
So. Steven's journal. Michelle went through quite a lot to get her hands on it. We both did, really; it's the reason we wound up splitting up, it's the reason everything in the past four months happened, because it absolutely could not be lost. At first we thought it was only important to finding out what happened with Michelle's family and with her brother fourteen years ago, but after reading it a few times... I dunno, something about it is making me nervous.
At first glance it's really nothing unusual, at least in terms of... well, all this. Near as we can tell from the rather long rant at the beginning, Steven was never infected in any way; he was just a normal target child, albeit one on the older end of the spectrum - he was about 13 when his haunting began. He also had a surprisingly long haunting, the final entry ending over 3 years after the date he records as his first encounter.
No, rather than the events of the narrative, at least early on, what's far more interesting to me is the people involved. He mentions both Michelle and Corey several times - Corey as an uninformed ally, and Michelle as an innocent that Steven was worried about infecting. The pieces about Michelle only make up the very end, though. Far more often, Steven talks about a guy named Robert.
Now, Corey mentioned Robert when we spoke with him too. He was, according to the journal, another victim whom Steven cooperated with to set traps for the Slender Man and assemble photographic proof for presentation to the police. This was naturally a doomed endeavor from the start, and Steven says his copies of the photos vanished only a few days after the local police rejected his story as fantasy... And yet, Michelle and I have the photos - some of Steven, some clearly taken by Steven - in our possession. The photos Redlight offered me as payment for my healing attempt, which Michelle snagged out of his shredded hoodie pocket the next day. All of them feature Slenderman in some way.
Even more interestingly, Robert might not have been the best of people to hang out with. He egged Steven on for some of their more dangerous stunts (really, the most noteworthy thing about Steven's haunting is how long it lasted, if he regularly pulled shit like this), but also suggested more than once to use a child as bait to lure the monster out - once with a neighborhood kid, and once with Michelle herself. Steven stopped associating with Robert after that second one. But the strange thing here is, Michelle was only 8 years old at the time. She should be able to remember Robert, or at least the mention of someone Steven spent his last few years hanging out with. But she can't.
I can think of a couple of reasons why she wouldn't remember. She wasn't able to see the specter her family knew as "George" as it really was, after all; it wasn't until she became fully haunted that she remembered George was nothing less than Slendy Himself. But if she has those repressed memories back, you'd think she'd have the others back too. Unless Steven is the one with the faulty memory, which is definitely possible.
So... Since Michelle isn't a reliable witness, we're paying another visit to Corey to try and confirm some of what's written in there. He's probably moved again by now, but he was thoughtful enough to email us a forwarding address this time.
Whatever else we find, I'm almost certain about one thing: whatever that so-called "Devil Book" actually was, I don't think it was burned. I think the book actually belonged to Robert.