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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17. Chapter seventeen

By the time I get back home, Slenderman and I reached a new height in our relationship. We walked the course of his game trails, climbed the scary tree, and he taught me the route of the linoleum bathrooms, which didn't freak me out as much when Slenderman was there holding my hand. I got to feel like a kid again, let all my household worries float away with the wind to participate in the activities I loved as a child.

 

I step into the house with a smile, mom appearing from the living room and standing at the top of the stairs. Slenderman brought me back five minutes before midnight, so she shouldn't be worried.

 

"He's very punctual. Tell me everything." She orders.

 

"Uh, he took me to Perkins." I lie, heading up the stairs.

 

"You know for a fact that more than just food happened. Explain how you are back so late at night, I want to talk boys!" She exclaims, shushing herself with a glance around the house.

 

"Is Devon here?" I ask.

 

"He's asleep, but pretend It's just you and me tonight. Which makes this perfect time to have some girl talk." She informs, sitting on the couch and patting the spot next to her. I sigh and walk over, sitting in that spot.

 

"Okay, so tell me everything, food, money, personality, natural hair color..."

 

"What do you mean natural hair color?" I ask, still not sure what he looked like to them.

 

"Hon, you can't expect that blonde to be natural." She explains.

 

"Oh, it is. You better believe it." I play.

 

"Really? What about the rest?"

 

"Well, he took me to Perkins and we ordered breakfast..."

 

"What kind?"

 

"Strawberry. The kind they only make in the summer. I ordered french toast, and he paid since I didn't bring money."

 

"Such a gentleman." She comments.

 

"Mom, I didn't bring money." I remind her.

 

"Fine. What about his personality?" She asks.

 

"He's...he's been alone for most of his life, so I guess you could say he's quiet, slightly reserved at some points, but kind and gentle. He also has a temper when people try to hurt me." I explain.

 

"Aw! Those are the best kinds!" Mom cries.

 

"Whatever. I'm tired." I excuse myself and stand up.

 

"Aw, I didn't get to hear about his family yet! You can't go." She whines and I ignore her, waving behind me as I go to my bedroom.

 

The paints were cleaned up like I asked, and the brushes back where they belong. I put my time into taking the easels apart to slide under my bed, getting a good look at my painting.

 

I shake my head and slide it under the bed with the easels, changing my clothes. It was really hot in my room, so I put on a red sports bra and black pajama shorts, hopefully cool enough, but I still open my window.

 

Slenderman appears and I jump for a second, but I'm starting to get used to that now. He stands next to the window as I crawl into bed, draping the covers over my feet only.

 

"Are you going to watch me while I sleep?" I ask him and he tilts his head.

 

"I do every night." He replies.

 

Oh, that's not creepy.

 

I smile in remembrance of a few hours ago, bit my smile fades when I hear something.

 

It was coming from in the house, like something hitting the wall in a repetitive fashion. Maybe coming from my mom's room?

 

Wait, mom and Devon...

 

I roll out of bed and grab the small trashcan next to me, losing the small amount of food in my stomach in disgust.

 

"Claire?" Slenderman asks, and I feel his presence in my mind, like the one time before.

 

"'Devon's sleeping' my ass!" I scream, getting to my feet and pressing my back on the wall furthest from the noise, but I still hear it. Pressing my hands over my ears, I sink to the floor with my eyes squeezed shut in rage and disgust.

 

That stuff was not made for people once married!

 

"Make it stop!" I cry and I feel Slenderman's cold-warm touch around me, trying to soothe me. Before I know it, I feel a tear escape my eye, and Slenderman disappears, returning again and the thumping has stopped. I don't want to know what he did, but my mind can't stop thinking about what they were doing.

 

Slenderman gently picks me up with his tendril, but my mind still echos the sound of their disgusting act, mocking me.

 

Before I know it, I'm in his arms bridal style, tendrils from all over giving me feather light touches across my body. It sends shivers down my spine as I fight to calm myself down, the echo in my mind turning into my heart beat.

 

Devon was inside of my mother.

 

How many times has that happened before?

 

I almost throw up again thinking about it. I know I should be open to my mom finding new love, but I really didn't like Devon that much. He seemed like the man that got everything handed to him, or he could talk his way into everything.

 

Either way, I didn't find him trust worthy, and I didn't want him with my mother.

 

I push my face into Slenderman's shoulder as I slowly go back to normal, my breathing slowing, my heart returning to the usual beating.

 

Then my body starts to take notice of the tendrils, randomly caressing parts of me. It made tingles shoot across my skin.

 

What was this?

 

I feel my body go limp as he extracts himself from my mind again, the feeling giving me slight headache and I cringe from the feeling, by body becoming more aware.

 

"So...my mom says your blonde." I whisper, my voice a few octaves higher.

 

"Can I make you mine?" He asks, voice low and husky.

 

"I thought I was already yours?" I ask.

 

"Not completely."

 

What was he going to do? What has he already done? The blood? Is that why? His blood is making my physique more compatible to his own? What else would this complete claim do to me?

 

"Okay." I hesitantly breathe, suddenly finding myself on the floor, his tendrils viciously flickering around him as he kneels in between my legs, his hands holding mine down. I start to panic, but something coming off of Slenderman calmed me down slightly, a feeling of triumph and...

 

What was that? Love?

 

Or victory?

 

I gulp and my heart rate speeds up, a tendril gently sliding across my cheeks for comfort. The act doesn't help, and my eyes go wide as something happens to Slenderman's face.

 

It was...ripping?!

 

I start to struggle in fear, but he holds me tighter as a gnarled mouth forms, tendrils passing over the jagged teeth and dripping black blood on my body. I twitch every time a cold-warm drop lands on the bare skin of my stomach, looking down when Slenderman's mouth closes and he bends to look at my stomach, a tendril playing in the black liquid.

 

I feel a circle shape being traced around my belly button, then it gets crossed out. Slenderman releases one of my hands when it's finished and touches the shape, a burning sensation along with the feeling of being cut happening along the trail.

 

He was hurting me - deliberately!

 

I wanted to struggle, but I couldn't bring myself to move, tears streaming down my cheeks as the pain heightens.

 

Then suddenly, it stops.

 

I gasp and look at my stomach, the black pool that formed sinking into my skin until just the circle and X were visible, a large contrast to the pale value of my skin, the color vanishing before my eyes, following the path of my veins.

 

"What did you do?" I ask when my voice returns.

 

"I've claimed you." He mumbles, tendrils tugging at my shorts playfully, like they had minds of their own.

 

The muscles in my stomach tighten with an odd feeling, one I've never felt before.

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