The Showdown Begins
Trevor screams as he grips his arm, dropping his walking stick. Stupid! he thinks. Why did you come here without someone else? He had been so sure the coast was clear. The human-Slender teams had made sure that all the Black Circle members were incapacitated: the teams still in the woods snuck out to the confused members fighting the dummies in the fog and knocked them all out - or sent them to that "jail" James had mentioned before, depending how bad each member was - and the teams that made it inside the mine split up to take care of the rest of the Black Circle members, either by knocking them out (done by the humans) or making them disappear (done by the Slenders). The humans inside the mine had found the camera/electronic room and, while the Slenders stood guard outside, had turned off all the cameras, so the Slenders would not have to worry about the signals anymore.
Trevor had wanted to join the teams so badly, but everyone thought it would be better - and safer - if he just stayed in the forest and told them what to do. He grudgingly agreed, feeling useless, staying behind all because of his stupid blindness. I'm just as strong and clever as the rest of them, he thought. I can help find Margareta....Or I could try to find her on my own, show them that I can handle it. When the fake Slenders were sent out of the woods to draw out the Black Circle members, Trevor had slunk away into the fog silent and unnoticed. He knew that the teams would be too busy with their tasks to bother with him even if they did come across each other, and that those remaining in the forest were focusing on taking care of the cult members to realize he was gone. This gave him a chance.
He had felt nervous when he crossed the threshold to the mine; the drop in temperature gave him goosebumps and a slight shiver. Nevertheless, he tapped his stick down one hallway, gently calling out, "Margareta!" He was afraid if he spoke too loudly, the teams would hear him and take him back - or he would run into any of the remaining Black Circle freaks. Tightening his grip on his walking stick, he wondered, If I were a Slender, where would I hide? Well, besides the trees. He thought of closets, one-door rooms, and alcoves, but he doubted any Slender would hide there first.
Footsteps. Coming closer. Trevor felt around with his hand for a place to hide, and after feeling the top part of a desk, decided to hide underneath. He remembered when he and Kevin had to hide under one before, and he made sure to tuck his legs and stick in as much as he could. The footsteps sounded hurried, and there was more than one set.
"Aw, man," Peter's voice whined. "We're lost."
"Don't worry, human," said a Slender (though Trevor could not tell from which clan). "If necessary, I can teleport us out and we can just meet the others back in the forest."
"I'm not leaving until I know what happened to my brother!"
"Then let's find the others. I'm sure they didn't go far." The pair dashed away.
Ricky! How could I forget about him? Is he with Margareta? Trevor listened carefully for any other people before crawling out and standing up. He made his way through the mine, but did not sense anything helpful. After a while, he started to smell pine, meaning he was heading back to the entrance.
Before he made it, someone behind him said, "You!" Next thing he knew, he was shot in the arm, losing his walking stick in the process.
Now, he is alone, in pain, and without any idea what to do. He hears someone snicker, and his heart drops into his stomach. Though he cannot see who it is, he is very terrifyingly sure that that laugh can only belong to -
"'Bout time we met, Blind Boy," smirks the serial killer.
Yep. He was right. Trevor does not say anything in response, just hisses through his teeth at the pain in his arm - and also at the sudden panic of not having his walking stick and being all alone with a deranged, beyond-creepy killer. When he was shot in the leg, at least he had friends around him. When he confronted the thugs who took Mittens, at least he had his stick to whack them all with. But now -
He cries out in pain as something hits his back, crumpling him to the ground. He feels the floor under him and tries to push himself up - but something hard and cold touches his back, and though it is not sharp, it causes Trevor to freeze. "Not so brave without your walking stick, hmm?" the killer sneers. "So, you're the one who's been helping the Slenders."
Trevor's jaw drops. "How do you-"
"I know everything, boy. I also know that your friends know about the ditch in the woods." Evil chuckle. "How would they like to find you in that very ditch?"
Trevor pales. "You wouldn't-"
"Don't even try to beg for your life, Blind Boy. You're going to die, one way or the other." He laughs again. "And all because you got involved with the Slenders. That was a very foolish thing to do. Now-" a gun clicks, "-I'm going to have to kill you."
"Over my dead body!" James' voice says. Trevor then hears what he thinks is James punching the killer in the face. The thought makes him grin.
He feels someone help him sit up. "Are you alright?" Margareta asks.
"Other than my arm, I'm fine," he says as Margareta's hands straighten him, hold him up, and tend to the wound.
"You," he hears the killer seethe. "It's been many years since I've last bumped into you. And now we finally meet again."
"For the last time," James says. Trevor pictures the Slender as some knight in spooky armor, with his tentacles blowing in the wind, a sword in one of his hands, getting ready to challenge the dark-armored serial killer.
"Get ready to - gyah!" The killer cries out as he falls. At least, Trevor assumes he fell, by the sound of the thud. Something else hits the ground too, and it bounces once and hits Trevor's hand. He grabs it and curls his fingers around it.
"Nice one, Margareta," James says.
"Thanks," she says. "I've been wanting to trip him up since I was caught." They all share a small laugh.
The serial killer growls and spits curses as he struggles to his feet - then there are more sounds that Trevor can only guess is James beating the guy around. He feels himself being cradled and lifted up, and an image of him in a poofy medieval dress and cone hat pops up in his mind. He laughs aloud. "What's so funny?" Margareta asks. He tells her of his medieval-themed visions, and they both giggle. "What's that in your hand?"
"Oh, this," Trevor fiddles with the thing in his good hand, twirling it around. "I dunno. I just heard it fall from the killer dude and I grabbed it."
"I'm sensing an electromagnetic signal coming from that thing," she says. "We'd better get that to the humans right away. James!"
"In a minute!" One more punch, and then he says, "Ready to go?"
The Slenders cry out, and Trevor feels himself falling. He hits the ground with an "Oomph!" The device in his hands is vibrating and beeps a couple more times. "Wait," he says, "I thought all the electromagnetic signals were turned off."
"Give me that!" the killer spits. Trevor feels him trying to snatch the thing out of his hands, but he holds on tight. "Let go!" the killer says, yanking and pulling on the device.
Trevor, being the stubborn person he is, just tightens his grip as he is dragged around on the ground. Part of him finds this fun, but the rational part of his mind tells him he has got to keep this away from the murderous bozo.
"We've got to get out of here now!" Margareta seethes in pain.
"Not without Trevor!" James says.
Again the Slenders scream in pain, and Trevor is too distracted with concern for his friends to maintain his grip on the device. The serial killer takes advantage of this opportunity and rips the device from the boy's hands. Trevor feels around the floor with his good hand for his walking stick - but a dark, insane chuckle makes him freeze. "Well, well," the killer smirks, "it seems your friend's cousin has met that traitor, CR, and all your friends are going to meet them in the forest." After a short, stunned silence, he boasts, "Yes, I've been intercepting everyone's texts and calls this whole time. How else was I to find the elusive Slender Man?"
James says, with disbelief, "You seriously went to all this trouble, massacred people and ruined many more lives, caused a worldwide panic...just to find me?"
"And now that I have," the killer growls, "I will kill you."
"If you wanted to kill me that badly, why not just come find me yourself?"
"I'm a serial killer. I admit it. Murdering people is something of a sport to me, watching someone squirm under my hand, seeing the panic in their eyes when they realize the brevity of life. I drowned my first pet, I experimented with garden lizards to see which poisons were most effective. The first human I ever killed was my ex-girlfriend. She found out I was performing macabre experiments on animals, and she didn't like them. She told me to stop." He scoffs. "If she really cared for me, she would've let me gone on with my secret work. But no, she had to inform the college police and break up with me.
"I couldn't just let her get away with it, her thinking she was so safe. But she was still mortal. We all are mortal. So, I made sure she learned her lesson." Trevor pictures the murderer's face contorting into a scary smile much like Heath Ledger's Joker has. "She finally realized that she wasn't safe - no one is ever safe from death. It felt...satisfying, knowing I wouldn't have to put up with her anymore."
Trevor tries to crawl away as the monster goes on. "From there, I went after people I didn't like, people who annoyed me in some way, but after they were all gone, I decided to go after random people: adults, children, sometimes animals...Then one day, I decided to go after Charlie, my ex-girlfriend's nephew. I wasn't content with just her death - I wanted her family to know more, to feel more. But you, the freak that's haunted me these past eleven years, you were the only thing I ever feared. Not even death scared me. You stopped me that day, you protected that worthless child, you nearly got me arrested! I vowed one day I would find you, make you pay for what you did to me. I would make sure you knew what death felt like, knew what fear was like. That's why I killed the others, to scare everyone into killing you and doing the dirty work for me. If they thought you were dangerous, they would go after you instead of me."
"So you mutilated innocent people," James growls, "caused widespread terrorism, to make people scared of me? Didn't you even see everyone's reactions when they saw me at the park?"
"You and I both know that humans are quick to judge appearances," the serial killer says, "but they would've changed if they got to know the real you, you faceless-"
The killer screams as Mittens leaps onto his face and starts clawing him. "Get it off! Get it off!" he cries as he stumbles around, once trodding on Trevor's hand, making him yelp.
Trevor feels himself being lifted up and carried as James and Margareta make a run for it. "If only my head wasn't fizzling with static," James says, "I could teleport us all away from here."
"Wait!" Trevor shouts. "We can't leave yet! What about Ricky?"
"Who's Ricky?" Margareta asks, the two Slenders coming to a stop just within the entrance to the mine.
"Peter's little brother!"
"Right!" James says. "Peter said that moron had him. Where would he be?"
"Where would who be?" Victor's voice says.
Trevor feels James' body flinch. "Don't sneak up on us like that!" James snaps.
"Sorry, geez. We were just wondering what happened to you guys when we couldn't find any of you. We were all worried, but some went to meet up with Peter's cousin, and the others had to rest and find sustenance. Trevor, what happened to you? How did you get in here?"
Bashfully, he says, "I snuck away from you guys while you were talking and ended up running into the cult leader."
"The Black Circle cult leader?"
"You know any other cult leader?"
"But how?" Victor asks. "None of us saw him enter the mine."
"Never saw him," Margareta repeats, low and slow, "enter the mine?"
"No, we would've sensed him."
Trevor cannot tell, but all three Slenders grow tense as loud and powerful BOOMS! echo through their heads. They all turn around as one as the murderer stumbles into the entrance.
His blood-red eyes narrow into slits. "Three!" he hisses.
"Where's Ricky?" James asks, cutting to the chase.
"The little boy?" The killer's mouth curls up in an evil sneer. "Wouldn't you like to know?"
"Tell us or not," Victor spits, stomping forward to strangle the monster, but Margareta's and James' tentacles restrain him, "we will find him!"
"What makes you think there's anything left to find?"
That scares all of them. A ringing silence hangs in the air.
"Killer," James says, passing Trevor off to Victor and stepping forward, "if you want me, then so be it."
"What?!" the three good guys cry.
"Finally," says the psychopath, fingering his gun. "I will once and for all-"
"But not here," James interrupts. "I have no guarantee that you won't hurt my friends or family. I will only give myself up if you tell us where Ricky, or whatever's left of him is, you promise to stop hunting Slenders and humans alike - or so help me, I will make sure that you never find peace, that Slender clans from all over the world will haunt you for the rest of your miserable life." He says this last part with a longer torso and leaning forward, bringing his face a few inches from the murderous human's.
Fear flickers for a moment in the killer's eyes, but then the evil facade resumes. "Very well, Slender Man. I promise to stop hunting Slenders and humans alike."
"What about Ricky?"
Right after James says that, the three Slenders sense a strong thought coming from another Slender: one of sunshine and joy. James recognizes that feeling from the clan that had offered many years ago to take him in until he found his own clan. Is that clan nearby?
"The last time I saw the boy," the human says, not noticing the thought at all, "he was still alive...barely."
Okay, James is getting major heebie jeebies from the creepy killer, but he is also feeling calm from the Slender thought. Man, I feel bipolar.
"Where is he?" Trevor demands.
"If you want the boy," the killer says, taking a step back, "come to the forest at the edge of town. Just you, Slender Man," he adds, pointing to James. "Otherwise, the deal's off." He turns and runs down a hallway and out of sight.
James chooses not to follow him, just focuses on one thought alone. Please, if anyone has seen a little boy with innocent blue eyes, please tell me.
I have him.
The response is so quick it surprises James. What also surprises him is that the response came with that same sense of sunshine and other fluffy stuff.
"What happened?" Trevor asks, cradling his hurt arm with the other. "Did he run away?"
The Slenders set Trevor down and give him his stick, and Victor says, "He did. But why? After making a big deal of wanting to find you and kill you?"
James shrugs. "It just gives me some time to figure things out. I have to get you all away from here."
"Don't even think about taking on that cowardly filth on your own," Margareta says.
"I want to make sure you won't get hurt," he says, stepping closer to her. "I just got you back, Margareta. I don't want to risk losing you again."
She steps closer to him and grabs his shoulders. "Listen to me: you are not going on your own. I don't want to be separated from you again either."
"Besides," Victor says, "you'll be needing help fighting that guy."
"I'll whack him with my stick," Trevor says, swinging his walking stick like a sword.
James would smile if he could. He stretches his tentacles around the three and hugs them close. "You guys are amazing friends."
The human is escaping.
Well, that ruins the moment. James lets go of the others and thinks hard, What do you mean, "the human's escaping?"
I mean exactly that. There seems to be a back entrance to the mine.
James exchanges a "look" with Margareta and Victor. He replies, That explains a lot. It must be in case he needed to sneak in or out without others knowing.
Yep. I followed the human here after watching him attack other humans and take a sweet little kid.
Ricky! You said you have him?
"Hey, what's going on?" Trevor asks. Margareta takes him aside and tells him about Slender thoughts, and Victor leans against one of the walls of the entrance, one foot up on the wall, arms crossed.
The voice replies, Yes, I have him. I followed the van here and waited until the evil human slipped inside the back entrance. Then, I freed the little one from the trunk. The poor child was utterly terrified.
I bet. Is he well now?
As well as he can be. We both hid in the shadows as the evil human stormed out and drove off. He didn't even check the trunk before going. I think he's heading to the forest at the other edge of town.
He said he was heading there.
Victor adds, That's where some of our human friends are heading. They're meeting up with someone's cousin.
Oh, that's not good, thinks the unknown voice. The human had tools in the van to start a fire.
For once, James is glad that he did not turn himself in early. It gives him a chance to act, something Victor did not have the first time. I'm going to need everybody's help.
As long as it doesn't involve fighting, I'm in, says the voice.
"Hello?" Trevor says. "Anybody home?"
"Sorry, Trevor," James says. "We're just planning."
"Planning what? Are you gonna kick that guy's butt?"
"Not just that." James tilts his head down for dramatic emphasis. "If the killer gets there first, he'll kill all the humans. Victor, Margareta, you get the humans out of there. If they haven't found Peter's cousin, I'll find her myself."
"What do I do?" Trevor asks.
He walks over to the boy and lays a hand on his shoulder. The boy does not even flinch. "Trevor, I wouldn't be here right now if it weren't for you. You believed in me and saw good when no one else did. You helped me find Margareta, and for that I'll always be grateful to you." He sighs, long and slow. "But that monster still has a gun, and he can hide really well. I don't want to risk losing you to him."
Trevor hangs his head and frowns. "It's because I'm blind, isn't it?"
"Even if you could see as well as any human or Slender, I wouldn't want you going."
"...Really? Usually people don't want me doing anything 'cause I'm blind."
"You might be blind," Margareta says, "but you still see better than most people. You don't judge on appearances, and you see people's true character."
"Plus, you are tougher and smarter than most people I know," James says, patting the boy's shoulder. "And you are always by my side whenever I'm in trouble."
"You're special to us, Trevor," Victor says. "That's why we don't wanna risk losing you."
Trevor's lip trembles, and he wipes a tear away from his eye. "No one's ever said that to me before."
James hugs his best friend tight. "I meant what I said."
"Aw, shut up. You're making me cry."
If the Slenders could smile, they would. James squeezes Trevor before breaking from the hug. Taking a moment to compose himself, he says, "I hope to see you all again soon."
The other three nod. Margareta and Victor disappear to get the humans out of the forest, and James brings Trevor to stay with Ricky and the other Slender before heading over to the forest.