Mittens flicks her tail as she stares out the window as that tall fellow disappears with those three boys. She remembers that one night nearly a week ago. Those punks had snatched her and almost hurt her when Trevor came out. Then that thin, faceless man appeared.
One thing you should know about cats: they can sense danger. And that night, Mittens knew the faceless man was no danger. It was why she did not try to claw at him.
Now, she sits on the windowsill in Jenna's bedroom and stares out into the backyard. Maybe she should go for a stroll tonight. Maybe she could find a mouse. Her ear twitches when she hears something coming through the window, but it is muffled. She flicks her tail again and starts grooming her front paws.
She hears it again. Her head whips to the window - someone is walking out from the forest. A man in a mask. He is carrying a bottle and rag, and he is walking up to the back door.
"Margareta!" James says, wrapping his arms around his old friend in a tight embrace.
"James, you're alive!" she says, returning his hug. "I thought you were dead when you didn't show up in the Black Forest!"
"I'm very sorry about that. I couldn't-"
"Next time," Kevin huffs, "wait for us." He presses one hand against a tree and bends over, panting heavily. Charlie takes deep breaths, but more to calm himself down. He is not as tired from running over here, but he was not the one who had to drag Trevor behind him.
The said blind boy tucks his free hand into his jeans pocket and smirks, "So, is this the pretty lady you told me about?"
James steps back from Margareta and ducks his head. "It is," he says.
She looks past him and asks, "Who are your friends?"
"This is Trevor, Kevin, and Charlie." He motions to each one in turn.
"They're humans," she says matter-of-factly. She cocks her head quizzically at James.
James nods. "They are."
"They're not with those other humans, are they?"
"What other humans?" Kevin asks, straightening.
"The ones with the masks."
"Masks?" Charlie repeats, his shoulders tensing a bit.
Margareta nods. "I saw them put some cameras up around the facility, and they brought more inside."
James stiffens. "Uh oh."
"What's wrong?" Trevor asks.
"You can't go near cameras without making 'em go whack, right?" Kevin says.
The Slenders turn to the boys. "We try to stay away from anything with electricity," James says. "Cameras, phones, anything except for light fixtures."
"It's because you make them go static and break, right?" Charlie says.
"Well, that may be so, but we get headaches if there are too many electric signals in the air around us."
Margareta adds, "It starts as a slight headache, maybe a static sound ringing in our minds, but it can get as bad as a migraine, pounding at our heads and forcing us to our knees in pain."
Trevor frowns. "Then you guys should stay away from the mining facility."
"I know we should," Margareta says, "but I can't just yet. I've been trying to find a way inside without causing me pain or giving away my existence."
Charlie speaks this time. "Why are you trying to get inside?"
"I see those masked humans take people inside," she tells them. "I don't know why they're taking them, but I have heard some of them talk lately about deaths. I've got to get those innocent people out of there before something horrible happens!"
"Hold on," Charlie says, raising a hand. "You tipped off the police about the mine?"
"How did you call them? I thought Slenders can't be around phones."
She ducks her head. "I...saw someone with a phone and...got them to call the police."
"You made them a proxy?" Kevin says, his eyes going wide.
"What's a proxy?"
"She'd never do anything like that," James defends, stepping close to Margareta and setting a hand on her shoulder.
Charlie glares at his "friend" and points at Margareta. "Then how did she get the person to call the police?"
Touching his hand on her shoulder, she says, "James isn't the only Slender with human friends."
"You have a human friend, too?" Trevor asks. "Cool. Who is he?"
"She, actually. Her car broke down one night near where I was staying, and I offered her shelter. She was terrified at first, but then she came to trust me. When I saw the masked men bring those people to the mine, I told her to call the police in my name - but then I noticed the masked men started following her.
"I warned her to be careful, to be vigilant at all times, but I haven't seen her in a few days. I'm afraid that they might've got her." She hands her head and shivers a little. James hugs her to him and rubs her back.
The boys are silent. Charlie clears his throat before saying, "I-I have a friend, that I text every day. I haven't heard from her in a few days either." He licks his lips. "Is your friend a girl named Lily?"
"Yes, she is."
"Wait," Trevor says, "Lily from the park? The one you were playing with when James saw you?"
Charlie nods. "We all stayed in touch after that day: her, me, and those two kids, Tommy and Peter. We called ourselves the 'Slender Four.'" He frowns, crosses his arms. "I don't talk to Tommy or Peter much anymore. Though-" he shuffles his feet around, "-we should probably warn them."
"You think those people will come for them, too?" James asks.
"Well, they...they already came for me," he admits, "but they let me go."
"Why would they let you go?" Kevin wonders. "I mean, it's good they did and that you're still here. But why?"
Charlie remembers what the leader of the Black Circle had said: "We have a common enemy: The Slender Man...If you find anything to do with the Slender Man, call us."
Instead, he lies, "I don't know why they would."
"Well," Margareta says, "it doesn't sound like you're safe, Charlie. You need to stay in the shadows until we can find out how to stop them."
"What are we gonna do now?" Kevin asks.
Trevor says, "We're gonna do what we came here to do: we're going into the mine."