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.


6. Chapter six

I stare at the man as he stares at me with his blank expression, nothing at all to show what he was thinking. It wasn't normal, it wasn't correct. My mind spins to try and make sense to this, only a few things coming to mind.
  "Is this a joke?" I ask, wondering if it was really just a person in costume.
  "You need to run!"
  "He's going to kill you!"
  Without taking my eyes off him, I grab my emergency ear phones from my back pocket and attach them to my phone, sticking one bud in my ear so the man doesn't hear their desperate cries.
  I actually wasn't scared.
  "Shut up, guys." I warn.
  "How are you not dead yet?!" I hear Will loudly ask.


I didn't believe he was real, none of this was real. It must be a prank by the guys, or some other random dude who tries to scare people. Either a man in a mask is scaring them, or kidnapping them.


Now a sliver of fear stabs my heart, fear of being kidnapped. Except the fact that I had people who knew what happened, witnesses using the phone in my bra to catch the kidnapper on camera.


I grow bold suddenly and take a step towards the man, the voices playing in my ear getting frantic.




"What are you doing?!"


"Other way!"


"You guys! She's in the hypnotic trance!"


"Are you trying to prank me?" I ask as I walk closer, the tall man looming a good two feet above me. He doesn't respond, just tilts his head downwards as I get closer, as if looking me in the eyes. When I'm three feet away, my phone starts to get a static noise and I stop.


"Who are you?" I ask, pulling the ear bud out of my ear so I can hear clearly.


"Slenderman." The man responds, voice dark and chilling. A shiver runs down my spine and I can hear the guys screaming from my static filled ear bud, sitting between my phone and my skin.


I narrow my eyes at his response, like he didn't know that the joke was up, that I figured him out. I raise my hand to his face slowly, having to get on my tip toes, and he almost flinches before it touches him, the voices in my ear bud turning into panicked demands again, heard slightly through the forest by the fence.


When my finger connects with his face, a cold sensation fills my hand, like he sucked the heat right out of it. As soon as the cold came, it turned into warmth that reheated my skin, the voices in the ear bud falling silent under the static produced from something odd.


I would have to fix my phone later.


I trace my finger over his cheek to where the dent in the mask would be for his mouth, feeling nothing but smooth skin. Taking my hand back, I step away a few steps and the static lessens.


"How do you do that?" I softly ask, wondering how he got such a good quality costume.


'Slenderman' suddenly disappears and I jump when he reappears a few more feet away, black tendrils escaping his back to make him look intimidating.




How does he...


This doesn't make sense, none of this makes sense.


The screams continue from the ear bud.


"She's so dead!" Will cries.


"You took his place. You must play." The Slender man demands, raising a long arm and pointing behind me. I gulp and turn to look, pointing my flashlight at the scary tree again, seeing the note.


The paper.


Number...something, if you see a paper, the game has begun.


I took Derek away when he saw the paper.


I came back.


I took his place in the game.


The game has begun.


I turn to look at the Slender man, but he is gone, making adrenaline pump through me. The sounds in my ear bud have gone completely silent and I pick it up off my chest, setting it back in my ear.


"What's going on?" I ask them.


"You have to play the game." Jacob breathes.


"What game?" I hiss.


"You have to find all of the pages." Bryan whispers.


"How many are there?" I ask.


"No one knows, no one has survived!" Will answers.


"This is real, isn't it." I whimper, my knowledge failing me.


"Yes." Derek states.


"Jacob, you can say 'I told you so' now." I say.


"I don't want to be right. I don't want to be right. I don't want to be right." He repeats, practically hysterical.


I take a deep breath and look for Slenderman again, even though I knew he wasn't there. Surprisingly, I felt calm, even with the undeniable sensation that he was still watching me from somewhere.


As I let the breath out I walk over to the tree, the words on the paper mocking me for my previous concern. There wasn't anyone who needed help, it was the people who read the paper who needed help.


I slowly reach a hand up to grab the edge of the paper.


"When you grab it, don't look back." Derek demands and my fingers stop right before gripping the page nailed into the tree.


If you take the page, he gets faster. If you look at him, he kills you.


An idea spreads in my mind and I retract my hand, the fog that was starting to grow around my ankles slowly blowing away.


"What are you doing?!" Will asks.


"Shut up." I demand, looking and seeing a slight path on the ground with my flash light. I completely leave the scary tree behind to follow the clearer trail through the trees, my plan clear in my mind now. I was going to need to assistance of my friends in order for this to work, though.


After several minutes of walking with my flashlight, my nerves oddly calm at this knowledge that he doesn't attack unless I start grabbing pages. That was proven when I touched him, saw him, and spoke to him before taking a page. He can't hurt me yet, the game hasn't completely begun. I come across an old truck with an actual wooden bed attached to the end, a white trailer like building behind it. I circle the truck with my flashlight, but see nothing. As I move on I see a page on the trailer, not touching it at all, 'always watches, no eyes.'


"What are you doing?!" Jacob asks.


"I'm just trying to remember where the pages are." I mumble, pointing my flashlight around until I see an okay path through the trees again, walking in that direction. The guys fall silent until I only hear their heavy breathing, and could practically feel the tension in their bodies. Personally, I was feeling okay. I wasn't terrified, and I wasn't frantic. I knew something that the others didn't even know they informed me about, and was ready to put it to the test.


I see something in the distance again and walk faster, coming across a single tanker.


What peculiar things are here.


I feel Slenderman's eyes watching me closely from somewhere unseen, carefully gauging me with every move I make.


I swallow, but I don't find a paper when I sweep my light over the tank. Passing by it, I keep walking through the woods, leaves and twigs crackling under my feet.


A dark hole swallows the light of my flashlight and I shine it around, a gray tunnel meeting me. I pass through it, seeing a page on the other side when I scan around the corner quickly, 'no no no no no' surrounding a sketchy picture of Slenderman.


How did so many people die from this? Did they not follow the trails?


They also made death faster by picking up the pages, which I didn't.


"Seriously, why are you leaving them behind?"


"Are you counting them for us, before you die?" Will asks.


"Shut up." I hiss, waving my flashlight back and forth, taking in many pillars that suddenly appeared. Weaving through them, I spot another paper hanging near the edge, 'Leave me alone' with one tree.


"Claire, tell us what you're thinking." Jacob moans. The concern was obvious in his voice, but I refused to speak when Slenderman was watching, not my plan, anyways. Was it considered cheating to do this? To have help from people?


I walk back towards the main trail and keep going, the darkness pressing in on me, my heart beating in my ears to make up for the deafening silence. The fog was almost gone, and suddenly I sneeze. When I wipe my nose, I freeze in my tracks, lifting my hand into view.




Blood was dripping from my nose.


More screams from my phone.




"What's happening?!"


"Is he killing you!?"


"Chill out, it's just a nose bleed." I say, using the sleeve of my sweat shirt to stop the blood, squeezing my nose closed.


"It's a symptom!" Bryan cries from the background. The trail forks and I look at both sides, stealing a look behind me.


"He's there!"




I cock my head in confusion, because I saw nothing, but shiver and take the left side. A stone wall is before me, but as I walk across it another juts out. it was a criss cross, a page attached to the back wall, furthest from the trail, 'Can't run.'


I let my hand drag along the rough stone as I shine my flash light around, looking for the trail again. Slenderman stood, blocking it with his large body.


More screams from the phone.


A spark of panic freezes me in the spot, but I know that he can't hurt me, not until I take a page.


I take a deep breath and walk up to him, staring him right where his eyes would be, and then walking around him. His head swivels as I pass him, heading to the left again to continue going down the path.


I glance behind me, but Slenderman is gone again. He's like a spider, you want to know where he's at, instead of where he isn't.


A twig breaks in the distance and my head jerks to look that way, swinging my flashlight around. Nothing was in range of my flashlight, but my heart beat speeds up.


"Calm down, he's trying to scare you." Derek explains. I swallow a lump in my throat and keep walking on the trail, taking deep breaths to calm my heart rate.


I don't like the dark.


I really don't like the dark.


I start to feel like a child again, screaming and pounding on the front door as the imaginary monsters hide in the shadows, only for my dad to turn the front lights off and scare me more. I would hide in the bushes until morning, terrified at every sound.


Actually, the more I think about it, the more I couldn't remember what happened for most of the night, just hiding, and running inside when I heard the lock click in the morning. The rest was a blur in my memory.


A section of large rocks catches my attention and I step over to them, ignoring the fork in the path for now. I don't see anything on the rough gray stone, circling around until I'm in front of the tallest one, another page hanging, 'Don't look or it takes you.'


They should get the sentence correct, it's obviously a man. Slenderman, it's in the name.


And he hasn't taken me yet.


But I'm also a cheater.


I leave the page and my audience is silent, as if they finally caught on to something I knew. Even so, they probably were just being quiet.


Or they were dead.


I shake my head as a shudder of fear rolls through my spine. They weren't dead, I would have heard their cries, I would have tried to save them.


They weren't dead.


I sneeze again and this time no blood comes out on my hands, but the blood that was already on my hands and sweatshirt was turning brown as it dried. It smells of metal and I take my sweatshirt off, tying it around my waist instead.


Turning away from the rocks, I shine my light down the forked side of the trail, deciding to go this way. The silence starts to create white noise around me and I hum a quiet tune, giving me something to listen to. The notes of Ariel's theme song come to mind and I keep humming them, getting higher each time until I see tanks lined up next to each other, rusting and old. I scan them with my flashlight.


"There!" Bryan exclaims and I stop, scanning again with my light. A page was sitting at the end of the third tank in the line. I fast walk over to it, 'follows' written sideways next to a scribble of Slenderman and a tree.


I leave it and keep walking forward, the trail not finished yet. The silhouette of a building comes into view and I carefully walk towards, scared of what may be seen inside. As I approach an entrance, linoleum covering every surface, I get the strong sensation to not enter.


I didn't want to see what was in there, and not even the words of my friends would make me.


But I had to.


I take a hesitant step inside and cringe at the echo, scared of what kinds of creatures could be hanging in here.


"Don't go in there." I hear Jacob whisper, like they were watching a horror movie. technically, they were, but I was the girl who makes the wrong decisions.


I take another step inside and adrenaline pumps through my veins, my flashlight the only weapon I had. It shines off the linoleum, surprisingly clean, and a turn if offered on both sides. I take a left and feel myself getting lost, taking another left to find a dead end. I quickly turn around and go another way, bare rooms at every turn.


By the time I escape my heart was beating loudly, my breathing fast from fright.


I hate those rooms. There wasn't even anything in them!


I shiver and warily shine my flashlight at the trees, spotting a trail heading away from the entrance and carefully going out in the open. My mind was spinning, my adrenaline high. I was starting to get scared, but Slenderman was the reason why. For some reason, he was my least biggest concern right now.


I get back into the slightly enclosed space of the trail and glance around at the surrounding trees, still feeling watched, and take a right when I leave the intersection. As I continue walking, I see the scary tree looming ahead of me and stop, turning around to go the way I didn't.


What time is it?


I turn to look behind me, Slenderman still missing, and suddenly bump into something cold and metal. I take a step back and look at it carefully.


It was a dome, no, it was a silo.


And right in front of me was another page, Slenderman standing among several pine trees.


It was time.




Slenderman wanted to speed things up.


He recognized this girl, she was older, more mature than before.


She took his victim from him and now must play in his place.


As she started, he could sense something forming in her mind, something he taught her before. She was smarter than he thought.


He was interested.
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