Survive him, Thrive with him.

Claire Mathews had a particulary normal life; good friends, nice education. The only things thatmade her different was her paranoid friends, and complicated family life.
She never really experienced more than her little secluded box of life and comfort.
In an eventful short period of time, that little box is stretched far and wide, opening up past what her mind can comprehend and bringing her 'normal' life to a screeching halt. She wasn't Claire Mathews anymore, and she wasn't the same girl who did all her homework and kissed her mother goodnight over the telephone.
What happened? A certain man of myth decided to knock on her door.
A certain man with surprising news and a shocking, if not believable, story to tell.
A certain man with no face.

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14. Chapter fourteen

Darkness.

 

The darkness was following me.

 

I take a deep breath and feel an icy chill slide down my throat, shocking my core. My mom was to my right, her face mirroring my own fear of this eternal night.

 

Something was very wrong.

 

I start to lead her away from our starting point, Devon slowly appearing next to us as we walked. He seemed to form in the black fog that filled the area, making it impossible to see.

 

As Devon appears, Mom starts to walk closer until she links her arm in his, both sharing terrified looks.

 

"Claire." A whispered voice sifts through the fog, small and boyish. I had a feeling it was him I was looking for.

 

I point down in a direction and we seem to run in slow motion, every movement, every clothing article shifting, every strand of hair taking it's time to swirl in the air before following as we trail down the area I gestured to. Trees start to take shape from the fog, leading me on as we approach a large one. There was something limp hanging from one of the branches, but, as we got closer, Devon and mom scream, alerting me that it wasn't just anything.

 

It was a boy.

 

His dead mouth hangs open, holes cut in his abdomen with fresh blood dripping out as he hangs from the tree, the tip of a branch poking out of his chest. He was still alive when this happened, he might even still be alive now.

 

"Claire." He breathes, as evenly as if he was perfectly alive and well. His pale head lifts up and his dead eyes pick me out as he speaks my name.

 

"Claire." He says again, but it morphs into another voice, more familiar and from another direction. My body whisks to face it and Slenderman stood to the side, waiting. A little blood dripped from his hands as he gestures me to him, opening his arms wide.

 

I walk straight into them and the bloodiest hand reaches out, tracing something on my chest.

 

Pain explodes from that area and I flinch from it, reeling backwards and jolting up in my bed, shaking and covered with sweat. My breaths come in short bursts and my heart was racing, the pule unsteady and erratic.

 

The pain was gone, only a dream.

 

"Claire." A voice soothingly says next to my bed. I jump and look over, Slenderman kneeling before me. I lean backwards a little bit, but regain my posture after my heart starts to slow down, a concerning feeling coming from Slenderman.

 

"I-I-I'm fine. Just a nightmare." I reply, wiping my face with the back of my hand. I reach out and search the floor next to my for my water bottle, Slenderman's tendril finding it for me and holding it out. I nod a thank you and take it, gulping down most of the contents and satisfying my thirst.

 

I set the bottle back down and lay back on my bed, still calming my heart bet. The dream was so real, the pain so vivid I thought I was really experiencing it. It was one of those dreams when you think it's really your life until you wake up three dream days later and your mind remembers what was really going on.

 

Like how Devon's son was coming over.

 

And how I moved.

 

Also how my father might be going to jail.

 

I clear my throat out and close my eyes, opening then again to look at Slenderman. He was calmly kneeling at my bed, and I shift to look at him more clearly.

 

"What are you doing?" I ask.

 

"Watching you." He replies.

 

"Why?" I question. Slenderman falls silent and continues to look at me. I keep our possible eye contact, hoping he would open up and answer, giving me something to work with. I wanted to know why he hung around me, other than the whole 'she's mine' thing that's going on.

 

"You...intrigue me. I feel I have to...protect you." He slowly replies. I wasn't sure if it was because he didn't want to tell me, or wasn't sure what to say.

 

"Because I'm yours?" I ask, remembering his statement yesterday.

 

"Yes."

 

I nod my head and look at the wall, an odd tension in the room. Remembering that I needed to get up soon, I sigh and swing the plain brown comforter off of me, releasing my heat into the room. I stretch my body before I get up and yawn, my back arching on the bed and my hands fisted by my face. When I'm done I carefully set my feet at the edge of the bed, Slenderman still watching me with his blank face.

 

I walk over to my dresser and take out something simple, a gray tank top and capris. I wasn't in the mood to impress, and I needed to talk to mom about decorating my room.

 

I turn around with my clothes and stop, my mind realizing something slowly.

 

On my dresser and bookcase held the little trinkets I brought over here, and the pictures I had were on the wall. My curtains from the old house were strung up as well, which confused me because I never put anything up last night.

 

"Slenderman, did you do this?" I ask. He's suddenly standing and his tendrils held something purple and lime green. In a flash, his tendrils have the brown comforter pulled off and folded on the ground, my comforter from dad's house spread out and the bed made with my blue pillows as well.

 

"Thank you." I whisper and watch as Slenderman personally carries the lavender rose over and sets it in a vase on the bookcase, still as fresh as it was when first given to me, if not a little darker in color.

 

Slenderman nods to me, then disappears as usual, but I still felt him watching me. There was just something about seeing him once that made his presence continuous, it made him omnipresent. It would be a bit unnerving of I didn't know that he protected me.

 

Because I'm his? I still wasn't sure what that meant. He was possessive, I get that, but he's possessive because not very many people dared to try and tolerate his presence. He must be trying to claim me so I don't leave him, ever.

 

Okay, I get it now.

 

So, Slenderman is going to try to be the possessive boyfriend? Who will do just about anything to keep me to himself. I didn't like the sound of that, yet I did. I've always wanted a boyfriend who kept me close, hell, I just wanted a boyfriend for once. To be in an eternal embrace of love and affection, always being with the one you love...

 

Wait, I didn't love Slenderman, right? I didn't even know what love felt like, never mind it being on someone I just met a few days ago.

 

Yet, I didn't just meet him a few days ago, he's been with me for most of my life. Since I was young he comforted me in the darkness, even though I couldn't remember him at all. I oddly understood his intentions, and I survived him! Slenderman and I were connected in odd ways, ways I probably couldn't even comprehend.

 

And he said he was a demon, but was he really? Underneath the rejected killer who's suffered through loneliness that most people never feel was a man, an odd man, but a man. He could have been normal, besides the odd shape of his body and the lack of a face, but he wasn't able to. It's practically a story of a bullied boy, maybe that's how Slenderman began. He was just a normal boy who was bullied all the time. Maybe he did something satanic, maybe the bullies finally broke him and turned him into a monster, but it created who Slenderman is today.

 

The shell of a man who never truly experienced love.

 

I sit on the newly furbished bed and stare at the floor, thinking things over. He brought so many emotions and mysteries to the surface, but I don't dare to ask him about anything. He could tell me in time, when he wants to, if he wants to. If not, fine. I can deal with that too.

 

I shake my head and pull of my pajamas, sliding on the tank top and capris instead. After I brush my hair and smell shower fresh with deodorant, I finally step out into the world, voices from the kitchen.

 

"Hello?" Mom asks when she hears my door open and close.

 

"Yep." I mumble as a reply, appearing before them. Devon was at the table while mom was in the kitchen, elbows on the counter.

 

"Good morning to you too." She jokes, walking over and encasing me in a hug.

 

"I'm so glad your here." She mutters and releases me.

 

"Me too." I reply, scratching the back of my neck.

 

"When did Dislen go last night?" She asks.

 

"Who? Oh yeah, right. Um, he left a little after twelve." I lie. Mom nods casually and walks back behind the counter, something good scenting the air.

 

"Who is he?" She asks, inquiring something that I recognized from TV shows.

 

"Just a friend. Don't be giving me that look." I reply, smiling as well.

 

"What look? I have no idea what you're talking about." She plays, obviously lying.

 

"Should I get into this?" Devon playfully asks.

 

"No. When is Trevor coming?" Mom asks him. I'm guessing that's his son's name. Devon checks his watch.

 

"He should be here is about...twenty minutes." He replies.

 

"Oh, thanks mom for warning me." I respond as she walks over to the oven and pulls something out, monkey bread.

 

My favorite.

 

"I would have gotten you up at some point. I'm not used to having my daughter here, I don't know your sleeping habits." She defends.

 

The doorbell rings.

 

"Oh, make that three seconds." I mutter, turning to look at the door. Mom wildly sprints down to the door and swings it open.

 

"Hi!" She happily cries, letting the person inside. I look back at the monkey bread as this Trevor walks up the stairs, embracing his father in a hug.

 

"Trevor, this is Claire." Devon introduces, gesturing to me. When the boy, just around ten or eleven years old, looks to me, I freeze completely.

 

That face.

 

"Hello." He shyly whispers.

 

That voice.

 

This was the boy from my dream.

 

His brown hair and blue eyes screamed his father, and they were so full of life, so different to the cold dead ones my dream portrayed.

 

I shiver at the thought and stick my hand out, forcing a smile.
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