Maybe I should've stayed, Victor thinks, hands in his coat and walking along the roof of a house. His gaze trails along the shingles he steps on. That Slender looked like he could've used some more help, but those humans...can we really trust them? Victor remembers the last time he encountered humans. It happened here, in this town.
Victor stops walking and turns to look at the mining facility in the distance. He recognizes that Slender from the infamous picture of him in the park. Everyone in the Slender community knows that picture. Is that man so stupid as to go up to humans again, when they nearly killed him that day? Especially in a mine, of all places? Maybe he should go back. If anything, he can teleport that Slender away from the humans and slap some common sense into him.
Another distress call? This time, it comes from the forest across from the mine. He stares out at the dark woods. "What the-"
Gunshots! Victor teleports to the middle of the forest.
Margareta would have teleported out of the forest already if Charlie had not taken off running through the forest. She cannot just leave him with the Black Circle - who has already entered the forest and is shooting at them. She hopes someone hears her distress call soon.
She senses something to her right, and she spots Charlie! She catches up to him and grabs his arm to stop him. "Charlie, what are you doing?"
Charlie's brown eyes are wide, and he is panting heavily. "I was trying...to get...away...from them."
"You know we can just teleport out of here, but you have to stop running and trust me."
"Half of you go that way," the leader of the Black Circle says in the distance, "half of you go that way. Find that boy!"
Margareta grabs Charlie's forearm and is about to teleport away when she senses two Slenders appear. Two Slenders? James and who else?
"Hey, hands off, pal!" Trevor's voice shouts at someone.
"Get them!" the leader says. "Don't let any of them escape!"
Margareta teleports herself and Charlie onto a branch above the scene. James is here, along with Trevor, Kevin, and two girls. And there is another Slender here in a red shirt and black coat. He looks familiar. But how?
The new Slender wastes no time in fighting the Black Circle, extending all of his tentacle arms to aid him in punching, throwing, and blocking. The Black Circle members try dodging the arms, but they all come in contact one way or another. One of them, sick of being thrown against a tree, takes out a gun and starts shooting randomly while trying to dodge the flailing limbs. James notices Margareta and teleports the humans up to her. "You're okay," he whispers, sitting right next to her on the branch.
"So are you," she says.
"Guys, we've got a problem," Kevin says, his face pale. His eyes are transfixed on Trevor's leg.
"It's only a flesh wound," the blind boy says.
"Dude, you were shot in the leg!"
"What?" James inspects his friend's leg. Sure enough, there is a small, but bloody, crater in Trevor's thigh. "We have to get you to a hospital right away."
"But you can't go in there!" Kevin says. "What are we gonna do?"
"We'll take him," Lily says. "Slender Man can drop us off by the hospital and we can take Trevor inside."
Everybody (but Trevor) looks down. Victor collapses onto the ground after receiving an electric shock from a taser. He groans as his arms and all his tentacles are bent behind him. The leader takes a gun and cocks it.
"You guys go," Margareta says. "I'll help this man."
Jenna hisses, "Are you crazy? You could get hurt!"
"As could you."
"Worry about your friend. He needs more help than I do."
James nods, but reaches over and cups her face. "Be careful," he tells her in a tender tone. He withdraws his hand, stretches his arms around all the humans, and says, "I'll be back as soon as I can." Then they vanish.
Margareta slowly rises on the branch and extends her leg to the branch right above the leader. She gracefully hops over and looks down. She has to time this right.
"Do you have any last words, Slender?" the leader says, aiming the gun at Victor's head.
"Do you?" Margareta sneers, appearing right behind the leader and knocking the gun out of his hand before he can pull the trigger. She kicks his back and pushes him forward. She continues fighting as she snakes a tentacle over to shove the humans off of Victor and help him up. "You need to get out of here!" she tells him.
"What about you?" he says. "It's dangerous for any Slender to be here! Trust me, I've lived in this town for a few years!"
"In a minute!" She whirls around, her long arms knocking men back into trees. Their bodies crumple to the ground as they all groan and try crawling away. "That's odd," Margareta mutters. "The Black Circle leader is gone."
"That coward probably ran off during the fight," Victor says.
"Maybe..." She turns to Victor. "You seem familiar."
"Really? I don't remember ever meeting you."
Growl. The two Slenders scan the area, but neither can find the source of that growl. Just to be on the safe side, they teleport several yards away from the recovering members. "Are you sure we don't know each other?" Margareta asks, putting a hand to her chin. "I thought I remembered seeing you from somewhere."
Victor shrugs. "I don't know where. I've never seen you in my entire life."
"Really? No one ever took a picture of you at all, or made a picture?"
An image of her comes to his mind, and his heart thumps. "There was one person. She was different than the others, in that she never thought of me as a monster." He tilts his head up as the memory comes back to him. "One day, she wanted to draw a picture of me. She was really artistic, and her drawing looked exactly like me."
"Maybe that's what I saw."
"How? She told me she only shared that picture with her family - though somehow, it was leaked to the public. That's how the angry mob started."
"Mob?" Margareta counts her lucky stars that she managed to avoid mobs and riots altogether. Ever since James was discovered, humans have been relentless in destroying the Slender race. She remembers Lily admitting she ran away from home because she could not handle the riots in her hometown. "I'm so sorry you had to live through that," she says.
He nods at her.
Boom. Uh oh, Margareta thinks. Judging by how Victor's shoulders tense up, she can tell he senses the danger, too. Something is right behind him. "Get away!" she shouts, pushing him out of the way as the Black Circle leader jumps out of the bushes and presses a taser into her side. An electric current shoots through her, worse than a dozen cameras could ever make, and she cries out in pain as she slumps to the ground. Victor dashes behind a tree, hidden enough from the leader, but close enough to see what is going on.
The leader holds the taser out as he scans the darkened forest around him. Victor makes himself still, not wanting to receive another one of those horrible shocks. He still does not feel well enough to teleport anywhere.
"There you are, boss," one of the members of the Black Circle says as he and a few other members tramp into the area. They all stumble back a bit when they see Margareta on the ground.
"Don't worry, men," their leader tells them, putting away his taser and standing tall and proud. "I've captured one of them, but the other got away." He grumbles.
"Th-there's s-still one o-out there?" one of the men asks, glancing around nervously.
The leader throws back his head, adjusting his mask, and hollers, "Hear me, o Slender Man! I have your friend here, and I promise no harm shall come to her - for now." Victor can hear the wicked grin in his voice. "If you do not come forth within twenty-four hours, she will die. You have until then to turn yourself in and pay for what you did." That last part sounds like it was cut off abruptly, as if there was something else he was going to say.
"Take her away," he tells several of his men. They all look at each other until four are pushed forward to lift Margareta and drag her away. One of them commented on how surprisingly light she is for having so many limbs.
This is bad, Victor thinks. He waits until the last of the Black Circle gang has left the forest to try teleporting. He clenches his fists, and if he had a face, he would scrunch it up in concentration.
But nothing happens. Not the pressure in the air changing, not even moving himself a few feet to the left.
He tries again, but his body still feels so sore and pained from that electromagnetic current that went through him. He plops down in a huff. He hates being so...useless.
Fortunately, James reappears right in front of him. "Sorry I took so long," he says, dusting something off his black jacket. "I had to make sure they got in okay, then a nurse thought she saw me through a window and threw her half-eaten donut at me, then...are you okay?" James can tell that something is bugging Victor.
The other Slender looks up at James and says, "They got Margareta."
"What?!" James hisses, all his tentacle arms flaring out.
"I couldn't do anything. That sick leader has a taser." Victor shudders. "No Slender stands a chance against a taser."
James' tentacles stop waving wildly (even he knows what a taser is), but he does not retract them. "Where are they holding her?" he demands.
"Last I saw, they were dragging her out of the forest, but I couldn't even teleport, so there's no way I could've followed them without risk of being spotted. Oh, there's one more thing," he says, slowly getting to his feet. "They want you to turn yourself in within twenty-four hours or she dies."
Turn myself in? James thinks, unbelieving. To that maniac? Or Margareta dies? How could they do that? I can't let her die...but I can't leave Trevor and his friends alone and unprotected either. He fights an inner battle for a few minutes before sighing and withdrawing his tentacles. "I'll go," he says.
"Are you insane?" Victor says. "They'll kill you!"
"But I can't let them kill her," he says tenderly. He stands completely still and looks Victor straight in the eye-space. "What would you do for someone you loved?"
Victor sighs and reaches out a hand. "Look, I understand where you're coming from. I also loved someone - a human actually. She was the only one who saw me for me. Anyways, she drew a picture of me, and somehow it was shown to the public. They all thought I was a monster and set out to destroy me. She tried to defend me, but she was caught, used as bait to lure me out. I thought if I turned myself in, like they wanted, they'd let her go."
He shakes his head and makes a noise of disgust. "You know what they did? They killed her. Right in front of me. I was so furious and full of hate that I went on a rampage and killed several humans in the process. After I came out of it, I was ashamed of what I'd done. So I ran and hid."
James is quiet for a moment, taking this in. "I am so sorry," he says quietly.
Victor remains stiff, clenching his fist. "Ever since, I've never trusted humans. I keep waiting for those rare humans that accept anything for what it is, who makes me feel like I'm not a monster that just kills people."
"I know how that is. I've heard stories about me in which I hunt people, especially children, down and steal them or kill them. I love children! Why would I kill them?"
"I know, right?" Victor takes a step forward. "But you can't turn yourself into those Black Circle people. They'll kill Margareta anyways, whether you go or not."
"But I can't just let her die!"
"So, what do we do?"