A/N: So guys, let's talk about the Slenderman.

Chances are if you've been around the internet you know what this entity is, what it looks like, etc. You might follow one (or several) Youtube series or blogs about this mysterious and terrifying being, or you may only have heard about it from the indie horror game Slender that was released this past summer. You might not even have any idea who – or what – this creature is, and if so… well, let's just say I'm honored to have my humble Slenderfic be your first foray into the madness of this mythos.

We only know a handful of things about this being. We know its appearance in general – incredibly tall and impossibly thin, wearing a pitch-black suit, possibly with tendrils coming from its back, and nothing where its face should be. We know it's particularly fond of kidnapping children; what it does with these children is unknown. But most of what we know is still just speculation by fans of this being, and for all the stories, blogs, web shows, ARGs, and legends surrounding this internet-born entity, the Slenderman is never given a set motive. The Slenderman Mythos, then, is a collection of legends about and encounters with an antagonist that is, literally, a blank slate. Is it any wonder, then, that it changes its actions, motives, methods, and even abilities from story to story, legend to legend, and fic to fic? Is it any wonder that horror lovers and ARG lovers alike are so fascinated by this being? Is it any wonder there is so much speculation about it? What does it really want? Is there really something worse out there than it? Does it have a weakness? If it does, what?

It is through a growing interest in this mythos, as well as some speculation on its central antagonist, that I came to decide that it was high time I added something to the mythos. That something just so happens to be a short standalone story about what might happen if someone did find out its weakness. I quickly decided that writing in a journal-like format might help preserve some of the aspects of the mythos, while making it a full story rather than an actual blog would allow me some freedom to play around with what Slendy's actual abilities and traits are. There's a little something for everyone in this tale's Slenderman – some traits are familiar, some are very recent adaptations, and some come from my own interpretation of what the Slenderman is. Thus, this tale is mostly what so many Slenderman stories are – the classic tale of Man vs. Beast, the story of a human being caught in a terrible trap, chased by something they do not and cannot understand, and how they must deal with it… but there's a little bit of a twist at the end. Just as you cannot touch fire without being burned, you cannot encounter the Slenderman and truly hope to escape it. Not even if you think you've defeated it once and for all, because you see, Slendy is an idea. And you can't kill an idea. ;)

To those of you who are more deeply involved in the mythos than I am, no. This story is not related to Marble Hornets or any other Slenderman-related blog, web series, or other fictional work. It's a deliciously creepy, paranoia-inducing web show and you really should watch it, but this is not that. I wouldn't want it to be that, and if I did want it to be that, this story would be on FFN, not FP. I want this fic to basically be a story anyone, whether or not they have even heard of Slendy, can pick up, read, enjoy, and get the chills from. For that reason, I have chosen to keep this tale as a standalone story, merely another twig on the branches on the tree that is this mythos. For those fans of the mythos, I hope you enjoy my own little take on the legend of the Slenderman. For those new to it or those who came looking for a good horror tale, I hope this inspires you to seek out more Slenderfic – after all, everyone loves a good monster tale, right? And everyone has that little internal child that still wants to believe in and fear the monster that hides under the bed – or in the woods, in this case. Enjoy the story, and remember – don't look behind you…

The Hunted

Entry One:

What have you done?

Why on earth did you pick this damn thing up? This damn journal… You could have ignored it. You had every right to; it's not like this stupid notebook is worth anything. You could've just left it here to rot under a pile of leaves and gone on your way without ever thinking anything of it. You still can. There's still time to stop what's coming, if only you stop reading right now.

But no. You won't. Because now you want to know. Or maybe you already know. You had to flip open these water-stained, torn and worn pages. You had to look and damn it all, you can't stop now.

You don't know what you're bringing on yourself.

Or maybe it was already brought on you.

You're looking for It, aren't you? Otherwise you wouldn't have found my notebook in the first place. You were looking for It, on some stupid dare or another, or some dumb request, you went looking for It. That… thing in the woods. The thing that takes people. You don't believe It's real, do you? You want to see It for yourself, or you just won't believe It exists. Or maybe you really, truly do believe, and you want to know more. You want answers. Answers that only It can give.

Do yourself a favor. Forget about It. Forget I said anything at all. Put this journal down, cover it in leaves and dirt, and run away. Forget about the journal, forget about me, just get out of here. Don't look behind you, don't stop running, just go. You might not see It, but It's there. Watching. Always watching, and waiting for you to notice. Waiting for you to get so entrenched in the stories about It that you don't even know what just hit you.

I'm telling you this as a warning. I'm trying to save you from It. You don't need to know who I am or why It's after me, and you don't want to. You don't.

But you do, don't you? You do, and I can't stop you from reading on. You're a damned fool.

Fine. You want answers? Keep reading. Walk and read, and keep an eye on the trees…

My name is Jeremy Anderson. I'm 25 and I live in Ypsilanti. I work at a factory that makes automotive and truck parts. Well, I used to at least, until that thing following me made me quit. I used to bow hunt every fall too, mostly whitetail deer, but sometimes wild turkey and the occasional elk when they're in season. I own property in the Upper Peninsula, up by my family's summer home in Rock, and I used to hunt up there in the pine forests every year. It's so beautiful and quiet up there, and so peaceful.

Or it was, until It showed up.

I remember it clearly. Had to have been about 5:00 in the morning, and I had just finished setting things up in my blind for the day. I'd just readjusted my compound bow and I had a whole quiver of brand new broad-heads for it. It was well into whitetail season, and I'd been having good luck so far. No big trophy bucks, but I did drop a doe with some good meat on her the other day. I always was good at cooking venison. My venison steak is a family tradition.

Anyway, I was camping in the blind, and there had been a rustling out in the bushes. I remember peering from the blind into the shadowy forest below. It was barely dawn, and the pines up north are awful thick.

That's when I saw him. A big, beautiful 16-point buck, absolutely beautiful. But for some reason, he looked awful skittish. Not common behavior for bucks this time of year, or any for that matter. Not to the degree that he was spooked.

He stopped walking just long enough to stare off towards the tree line a moment. Just staring into the brush, like he was on his guard. Must've seen something he didn't like in his territory. But it gave me a perfect opportunity to nail him – his folly, my opportunity.

I had a clear shot as I nocked the arrow and quietly pulled the string back. Taking careful aim, I watched as the buck continued to stare into the distance, praying he would stay still just long enough…

And then he bolted.

I sighed heavily and set the bow down gently. No luck that time. Better scout some more, maybe lay down some more deer musk.

As I peered out of my blind to scout, binoculars in hand, I suddenly felt… watched. You know that creepy feeling you get when someone's in the room, but you can't see 'em? I got that feeling all over, and little chills down my spine. I'd be lying if I said it didn't freak me out.

And that's when things went downhill, fast. After I'd been looking around a bit, I suddenly noticed something… off about the distant pines. Something wrong. Looked like a blackish blur in the trees or something. So I brought my binoculars to my face and adjusted them to get a better look.

I wish to God Above I hadn't. Because what I saw…

Christ, what did I see?

It was a figure. Looked almost like a man. Stood like one. Was dressed in some kind of pitch-black suit and tie like It was one.

But that was no man.

For one, It was far too tall to be a human being. My blind was a good eight feet off the ground in a beech tree. This… thing, whatever It was, stood at least thirty feet away and still could have looked me straight in the eye. For another, It was so thin that "emaciated" doesn't even begin to cover it, and Its arms… Its arms were incredibly long, too long, nearly reaching the ground It stood upon. But all that I could have thought a trick of the light, just the strange shadow of a distant tree, if only I hadn't looked at Its face.

Its face… Oh God, It didn't have a face.

It didn't have a face.

And It was staring right at me.

I don't know what happened after that. I just remember panicking and running out of that blind like that buck had run into the bushes.

Deer aren't stupid animals.

But that's not the last I saw of that thing, that sick mockery of a human being. Soon It started appearing more and more every time I went hunting, even in other blinds. Each time, closer to me than the last. Always closer, and always watching. Just… standing there, standing stiff and motionless.

Then It followed me to work. At least twice I saw It, standing out by the thickets that edge the parking lot. Once, It came within mere feet of the factory window closest to me. I didn't even notice It was there until I suddenly started feeling nauseous and had to step away from my drill press to spew. And when I looked up from the trash bin, I saw It through the window. Watching. Waiting.

I remember screaming and panicking, and then I must have blacked out. When I woke up the boss told me to take sick leave for the rest of the year due to "stress".

Stress my ass. It was that thing that did that to me. Always that thing watching me.

I nearly ran myself off the road and into a ditch when I saw It again on the drive home.

And then, then when I got home… It was waiting for me. It was waiting behind the shed, watching me. I was so startled I ran inside and bolted all the doors and windows shut. But that just made It more persistent. I spent three days locked inside my house, and every time I looked outside It was in the same spot, standing there. Waiting for me to come outside. Waiting for me to falter. I couldn't stand it anymore. So one night, when I was sure It wasn't looking, I packed a bag full of clothes, my bow and arrows, my laptop, and my journal, and I ran. I ran into the forest to hide, and I've been running ever since.

But It's still after me. I don't know how It keeps finding me, but it always, always does. It knows where I am at all times, and It's after me for God only knows what reason. For the first time in my life, I actually hate the forest now. But where else can I go? It'll follow me regardless! I'm at my wit's fucking end and I can't take being chased like an animal anymore. I've been running for a week now and getting nowhere. Nowhere.

Of course I tried to get help. That's why I started keeping this journal, to prove It's real. To prove I'm not insane. I swear to God I'm not insane! But the police didn't believe me, so I turned to the internet for help. And what I found out…

This thing… I'm not the only one being stalked by It. I'm not alone. That's the only good news.

The bad news is that nobody knows any way to stop It.

The even worse news is that the more you know about It, the harder It tries to catch you. I know more about It now than ever before, and just as I've feared, It's gotten more… aggressive. More persistent.

And now you know about It, too.

Oh God, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. But I had to tell someone. I had to prove I'm not crazy. Why did you read this damn journal? Why?

Maybe It's already after you anyway. Maybe that's why. Maybe you're like me.

Please… if… if that's true, we have to stick together. You have to keep this journal, and you have to come find me. Please, you have to help me.

Dear God, please…

Entry Two:

I've been moving around a lot. Been trying to only stay in one spot for a little while. I've camped some, I've slept in makeshift lean-tos some nights, sometimes I've found some structures to stay in. I never stay in one spot too long; I keep a careful watch. So how does It keep finding me?

I saw It again today, just as persistent as ever. Just as patient. But I think It's starting to get frustrated that I keep running, because this time I saw It moving. It's still out there as I write this. It keeps patrolling around the perimeter of the old cabin where I'm hiding. Sometimes It seems to hovers off the ground. Sometimes It walks on two legs, sometimes on many stilt-like, spidery tendrils.

I'm sure It's trying to get in at me. I'm sure It knows I'm in here, and It's trying to find a way inside. I steal quick looks at It from my second-floor window as It makes Its rounds around the building to see where It is. That thing doesn't move anything like any animal I've ever seen.

You know how earthworms move, how they curl up and squirm around? You know that long-legged, graceful gait deer have? Ever seen the way a bird's leg bends back at the knee joint, backwards from ours?

It moves like all three. At once. Dear Lord, knees shouldn't bend both forward and back like that. And arms shouldn't move like they're rubber bands.

Those people I met online, those kids, some of them called It "Slender Man". Fuck that, this thing isn't a man.

I'm sitting here curled up on the floor as I write this. It's close. Very, very close. I know It's nearby because every time It gets close I get terribly nauseous.

Maybe if I keep curled up, maybe It won't see me. But the windows of this little cabin are pretty badly cracked. If… if It only hit them hard enough…

No, Jeremy. Don't. Don't go there; don't even think about that. Besides, even if you managed to get out in time there's no way you could run from something that insanely fast.

It's tapping on the windows now, trying to get a response no doubt. Very softly, so softly you could mistake it for a tree branch scraping against the glass. But I know better than that, don't I? I know better.

Oh God, that sound

Tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap. Tap.

Like that. Sounds almost like that, almost random. Almost playful.

Oh Jesus Christ, It's taunting me. That's gotta be why It's doing this. It's amused by my fear…

The sounds keep getting closer. Closer to where I am.

Oh God, does It already know?

My heart feels like it's in my stomach. I have never felt more like crying in my entire life. Never.

Oh my God, I suddenly feel so sick. I'm coughing like crazy and I feel like I'm about to throw up. It's close. So close. It's at my window; It has to be. It must be!

Wait, the sound… it just stopped. The scraping just stopped… And I don't feel so sick anymore…

Did… did It just leave? Is It really gone?

Oh Christ my pulse is pounding like crazy and I can't stop crying. It's getting hard to write I'm shaking so bad…

I… I should check. I have to. I have to know if It's gone. I can't stay here anymore… what if It comes back? What if next time, It's not content with tapping on my windows?

I just… I need to check… I need to see if –

Oh God It's right fucking there staring at me oh God oh God

Entry Three:

I'm sorry.

I didn't mean to end on such a worrisome note last time. But I had to get away from It. It was trying to break the glass to get at me.

It almost did.

I managed to find an old barn to hide in, with big double-doors that I have barred shut. I can't believe I'm even alive to tell you where I am.

I guess I should probably explain what happened back at the cabin.

I was sitting about a foot from the second-floor window. It was right up against that window, right against the glass, staring in right at me. I say "staring" because I'm positive I felt Its awful, unearthly gaze burning into me, despite It having no eyes to gaze with. Its hand was pushing against the cracked window glass, pressing against it like a child would press their hands up to a candy store window. God… the palm alone on that hand had to be at least as big as my head, and the fingers… Its awful, spidery, too-long fingers, ending in sharp, claw-like tips…

… I can't write about It anymore. I'm starting to panic just describing It.

I wasn't even thinking about It at the time, though. I just ran. Turned and bolted out an exit It hadn't noticed. I'm sure It gave chase for a while before It finally gave up, unable to find me. Thank God It didn't. I haven't slept since I got here two days ago because of what happened at that house. I'm so tired I'm starting to see things. I'm jumping at every little shadow that even so much as vaguely looks like It now, and I'm exhausted… but I can't sleep. I'm too afraid to. I don't dare even try.

Dear God, I don't know what to do anymore. It keeps finding me every time I try to run away. It watches me when I go to find food and It follows me back to my hideout when I do. It can find me whenever It wants so long as it waits long enough – and It knows that. I don't even know what It wants from me. I swear to God I'm losing it. I can't live like this anymore. I have to find some way to make It go away, to stop It. I have to.

But there just isn't one.

I'd shoot myself with my bow if I had any arrows left. But I used them up trying to shoot It one day when It started getting too close while I was out foraging. The arrows didn't even stick. All I succeeded in doing was making It very, very angry.

… You know that thing has tentacles? I saw them come out of Its back after I shot at It. I didn't stick around to see more, but there had to have been at least ten or fifteen of the damn things.

… I need to see if I can find a wireless signal and get online tonight. I have to ask the others for advice. The other runners will understand. Maybe they'll know how I can keep hidden from It.

Maybe they'll even have some idea of how to make this madness stop. Because if they don't, if they don't, I'm seriously this shy from just ending it all right now. I have a jackknife. I could easily do it now. I could die now and It would never get me. Never.

Oh God, listen to me. I sound like I'm insane.

But I can't do it. I can't bring myself to die. And I can't keep running forever, I just… I…

I just can't do this anymore…

Entry Four:

Set up a makeshift blind today. I have to start hunting for bigger game or I'll starve. I can't survive on berries alone. I found some flint for arrowheads and some old bird feathers, and the barn has some spools of baling twine in it. As for the rest of the arrow, well, there's no shortage of sticks in a forest.

No sign of It today, at least not in the flesh. Good. It doesn't know where I am. Yet. But I did see something related to It today. That is, I think it is, if what some of my friends online have said is true.

Seems in the middle of last night, some joker decided to carve Its symbol into a tree not far from the barn. Probably some kid. Stupid kids. Do they think messing around with that thing is a game? They think it's funny to risk their lives and mine carving crossed-out circles on trees?

Because they won't be laughing if they're unfortunate enough to meet what that symbol represents.

Entry Five:

Fuck. Oh fuck no.

There's more of the symbols today. And they're closer to the barn now.

I've started stripping those trees of their bark. Don't those dumb kids know that symbol attracts It?

Unless they're not just kids.

Unless they're really on Its side, and they have been all along.

Unless they – and It – already know where I live, and have been toying with me all this time. And I would never even have known, not until it was too late.

Call me paranoid if you want. But I'm not taking any chances anymore. Not where It is concerned.

As for the bark I stripped, I threw it in my fire pit and used it for kindling. I watched it catch fire and burn.

Except, it didn't burn. All it did was char.

That symbol… whatever power that symbol has because of It…

It's not of anything good or holy. It's not of God.

What in the Hell is that thing?

Entry Six:

More of those damned symbols! More and more of them, everywhere, all over every damn tree! I'll strip the bark off every godforsaken tree in this hellish forest if I have to!

Animals haven't been coming through here anymore because of that damn symbol. Makes it real hard to hunt.

At least I have enough arrows for when I have to leave. And that's going to have to be very, very soon. I'm not making the same mistake of waiting until It finds me like I did at the cabin.

I'm taking the twine from the barn with me when I go. Could be useful. Even as I write this, I'm finishing up with supply gathering.

I'll be gone long before noon hits. The woods are getting more and more unfriendly these days, and I need as much of a head start as I can get.

Entry Seven:

Oh my God my hands are shaking so bad.

It's close, still so damn close... Maybe even right behind me, lurking just outside my field of vision... but still so very, very nearby…

The closest It's gotten to me so far.

It was right there. When I went to leave the barn, It was waiting for me right outside the double doors. Oh my God, It wasn't even three feet away from me.

I swear the nausea was so bad I almost fainted from it. But the fear was so, so much worse…

It almost got me.

It almost got me, and I had no idea that It was even there.

I shouldn't even be writing right now. I should be running until I find somewhere safer, somewhere to lie low that It doesn't know about yet. Until I get out of Its territory. But I had to hide just long enough to stop and tell you how I got away, because I found something out about It while trying to escape. Something incredibly, deeply important.

Something that anyone who finds this journal, anyone being hunted by It, must know.

See, It almost got me because of where I was standing when I left the barn. It had managed to corner me when I tried to run out of shock, trapping me between Itself and the barn wall. The woodpile for my fire pit was blocking my path on one side and was far too tall to safely climb over. Even if I did manage it, I surely would have twisted or broken something on the way down. I was almost on my knees. I thought for sure I was dead. Oh God, Its arms… So long, and so thin as they reached for me… I kept wanting to walk towards It, into Its awful embrace, and only my nausea was holding me back. If I hadn't been that insanely ill from Its influence…

I would be dead and impaled on a tree somewhere by now had it not been for the scrap of tree bark in the ashes of my nearby fire pit, the bark with Its half-burnt symbol still etched into it. I had never been so grateful to see something related to It in my entire life.

I picked it up and threw it at the thing, that awful, slender thing in front of me, as hard as I could. I had hoped that doing so would distract It for a second, just long enough so I could make a break for the nearby tree line. What happened instead surprised and amazed me.

When that chunk of bark collided with Its mockery of a shoulder, glancing off of the black, fabric-like skin over it, It visibly shook. But not in shock. It was almost more like It winced.

It winced?

The thing stared at me a second, as if taken aback at what had just happened, and It brought Its broad-palmed, abnormal hand up to Its shoulder. Something slick, oily, and pitch black dripped from between its skeletal fingers, smelling faintly of leaf rot and iron ore. It seemed confused and startled at what had happened, because It stepped back, just a bit. And then roughly five or six tentacles sprouted from Its back, clearly an expression of anger at my attack.

Its distraction with Its injury lasted just long enough for me to bolt for it, and I had to have been too far away for It to grab by the time It finally recovered from Its shock and anger, because It began to chase me. I didn't hear It, mind you; that thing makes absolutely no noise when It moves. But I knew It was after me. I could feel It after me. When I finally got the courage to look behind me, It was nowhere to be found. But I still didn't dare stop running. Not for a second.

And it's only now, now that I've finally gotten a chance to rest and write, that I realize what that sick black liquid was, and why It shuddered when It got hit.

That piece of carved-up bark, marked with the strange symbol, was just sharp enough to cut It, and that black fluid was Its blood. It was cringing because I'd hurt It, and It was bleeding.

It can bleed.

If It bleeds, I can kill It. And that symbol must be key to defeating It somehow. So if a single piece of sharp bark with that symbol on it was enough to cut It…

Just imagine what an arrowhead with that symbol on it could do.

Entry Eight:

I'm exhausted today and my wrist hurts like Hell. Managed to find a small cave, obscured by pines, to call home for now. I spent all day building another makeshift blind, this time keeping a more careful eye out for any sign of It. I was up all last night carving flint arrowheads, carving them with the symbol, and mounting them onto sticks I found. I lost my laptop while running from It the last time, so I couldn't tell any of my fellow runners what was going on and what I found out. But I now have a good twenty-five or so arrows, each one marked with Its symbol in the center. Tomorrow I'm going to the blind I set up. Let's see how It likes being hunted for a change.

I've got to stop writing. Wrist hurts too much.

Entry Nine:

I'm in the blind now. I carved Its symbol on a bunch of trees nearby, scratched it in the dirt – everywhere. That's sure to draw It in. Gotta use the right bait for the right animal.

I have my bow and arrows close by, and I even drew the symbol onto my jackknife for good measure. It's not getting away from me and I'm not running from It anymore. Not this time.

Now come and get me, you son of a bitch.

Entry Ten:

It worked. Oh my God, it worked. I can't believe it, but it actually worked.

I actually shot It. And I shot It no less than four times before It finally caught on to where I was.

The first hit was in Its leg, where its knee should have been. This thing's legs are so absurdly thin that the arrow actually went through the leg. I saw It wince visibly, then watched as It looked down at the arrow, as if It understood what was happening. As if It knew.

I shot It in the shoulder next, while It was still preoccupied with the first arrow, and It quickly began to grow angry. As It began to search for me, Its tentacles slid out, flailing in displeasure like dying worms. It was sickening to watch, but I noticed, not without a little smugness, that it was limping as it walked. I continued to watch as Its frustration mounted, watched as It wiped at the tar-like blood weeping from Its fresh wounds, and calmly nocked another arrow.

Never once did It so much as try to remove the arrows. It was far too enraged at this point to care about them, far too busy trying to find and punish me for the injuries It had sustained. Its folly. My opportunity.

The third shot buried itself deeply into Its torso, near where a human being would keep their liver, and the thing's blood began to well around the wound, staining Its black suit even blacker yet. And suddenly, as Its absurd, branch-like arms began to curl around Itself, It did something I've never seen or even heard of It ever doing before.

It screamed.

I can only describe that hellish noise as a scream because that's the closest thing that I can even approximate It as doing. Its blank face seemed to split open suddenly and hinge-like, revealing row after row of sharp, needle-like teeth and a long, worm-like black tongue. And the sound It made, the sound… It was less of a scream, and almost more like anguished static. Almost a cry of pain.

It could feel pain.

It doubled over in agony and shuddered slightly, almost imperceptibly, the way the leaves of a tree might in the breeze. Its back was to me now as It stood entirely still for a moment. The awful maw It had before was now nowhere to be seen, melded back into Its non-existent features as if it had never been there in the first place. Its once wildly writhing tentacles were now curled furtively and protectively around Its impossibly thin body, trying to prevent any more pain and blood loss. Trying to shield Itself from my harsh blows.

For a second, I almost pitied It, standing there in pain and shaking so miserably. But only for a second, and then my common sense kicked back in. That thing… that awful, hideous thing doesn't deserve my pity. Not one bit of it.

I nocked a fourth and final arrow, and when I let it go, it hit the creature somewhere slightly above where the kidney would be on any other animal. Massive amounts of oily black liquid spilled from the wound, and the creature cried out a final time before It finally fell, collapsing awkwardly to the ground below in an absurd-looking tangle of limbs.

I watched the thing a while, watched It shudder in the leaf rot and fern beds beneath It. Even in Its death throes, It continued to try to shield Itself from still more arrows. For a moment, It seemed almost genuinely surprised that It had been so grievously injured, but then… Then It looked to the symbols on the trees around It, and then to the arrows in Its body, and It began to tremble – and this time, Its shaking was far more violent and far more familiar. It understood. It knew.

And It was afraid.

Somehow that made me feel a lot better, knowing It could fear things. Particularly me. How does it feel being the prey? Not so much fun being the hunted party, is it?

It still hadn't died after about twenty minutes, so I picked up my jackknife and, steeling myself, began to walk towards It. The nausea kicked in within about five feet of It, stronger than before – probably a defense mechanism on Its part to deter me. But I ignored the urge to vomit that rose in my stomach and continued onward.

It must have sensed me coming, because Its pale, featureless head swiveled weakly towards me, and It extended a tentacle in an effort to push me away. But It didn't have enough strength to manage it, and I easily brushed the rough, bark-like extension away from me. Its invisible gaze penetrated me as I approached still closer, almost as if asking why I had hurt It so. Almost pleading.

I even thought I heard It speak to me in a deep, soft, hissing whisper, shrouded in a cloud of static.


Mercy? It wanted me to show It mercy after the Hell It put me through? After ruining my career, my life, and everything I had?

No. Never. Not for this sick demonic tormentor. I will never show this thing mercy. Never.

I brought out the jackknife and flicked it open, now standing within mere inches of the thing. It watched me eyelessly, still shaking in dread, still too weak to move. It seemed to regard me with a mix of fear and curiosity, still seeming to beg me to stop.

Then, suddenly, It seemed to realize something, something It hadn't previously considered, and I felt Its unseen gaze shift from fear to an awful sense of knowing. As if It possessed some dark knowledge I didn't have, as if It was aware of something I wasn't. Something awful.

And in that instant, It immediately stopped Its shaking and remained fully motionless. Terribly, entirely motionless. It was like It actually wanted me to kill It, and yet… Yet that gaze never left me. Still It seemed to question just why I thought I had to do this. But It knew. It surely knew. It had to. Why else would It have chased me this long if It didn't?

I didn't want to contemplate it further, and I sure as Hell didn't want to know what It was thinking. I just plunged the knife deep into Its neck, and It once more shrieked that unearthly, terrible, static-filled shriek as currents of Its inky, thick blood drenched my hands. And finally, after a few moments more of Its silent staring, I felt its gaze slowly fade and disappear entirely. The demon was dead.

Finally dead.

Sable, oily liquid stains the ground around It, reeking of iron ore and leaf rot. All the plants touched by the fluid are starting to die too, as if sprayed with defoliant, as if the very soil was deadly poison. Its blood burns skin, by the way – I'm currently nursing some nasty acid burns where it got on my hands as I'm writing this. The skin's actually boiled up in places and stained black where it hit, like I got ink all over my fingers. Hurts like crazy. Good thing I know where to find plants that can ease the pain somewhat.

I'm leaving tomorrow for the forest's edge. Maybe now that I've fiNally killed that thing, I can mOve on and live my life again.

Entry Eleven:

Been kinda tired and nauseous since I started home about a day ago. Haven't felt well since I killed that thing, really. Been looking awful pale, too. Just my luck. I probably got poisoned from Its blood or something. That would just be the perfect end to my running, wouldn't it?

Hands are feeling better today. The boils and black staiNs are mostly gOne, but now I'm iTching like crazy. Mostly on my hands, but it's all over the rest of my bOdy, too. It's driVing me nuts!

I neEd to Rest some. Maybe getting some sleep will help. And since that thing's gone, I should sleep plenty soundly.

Entry Twelve:

Oh shit. Damn.

These nightmares… they keep coming back. They keep happeNing.

Why dO they keep happening?

That thing alWays gave me plenty of nightmares, of course. But these ones… these are dIfferenT. And far more horrifying.

In these ones, I'm chasing myself. I'm in the forest and I'm chasing myself through the trees. My dream self can't run from me, not for long; I always catch up to hIm eventually. He screamS when I find him, horrible, fearful screams.

Then I pick him up easilY, bringing him up tO my face, looking over the terror in his eyes. I smile.

And then I open my moUth inhumanely wide, and I swallow him whole. The sounds are so Real I can taste the blood in my mouTh, and I can feel and hear the bones crUnching in my teeth.

What happens next, though, is faR more horrific and much worse.

I walk to a Nearby glassy pond, and bend down to scoop water up with my hands to wash the blood from my face. But when I look into the water at my reflection, I don't see myself.

I see the thing, staring back at me. And when I scream, I realize that I am the thing.

I always wake up panicking and screaming. Every single time I have that nightmare, I wake up in a cold sweat. And I keep having it every single night.

Oh God… Oh…

It's so, so real. So damn awfully real…

It's Just illness. It has to bE. Just a fever dReam I bet! All part of what's causing the nausEa and tiredness. I bet I'M just getting delirious in mY sickness. I'm not going nuts, I'm not still being stalked by that thing. It's only a fever dream!

But if that's all it really is, then why does the nightmare last so long, and why does it feel so damn much like I'm wide awake during it?

Entry Thirteen:

Given up on walking today. Went back to the little cave I was staying in. Just too sick. Too exHausted. I keep sweAting and seeing things. Seeing shadows of that thing in my peripheral Vision. And I achE all over. Every joint, tendon, and muscle in my body hates me right now. Feels like I'm being stretched on a rack.

Besides, I've vomited Five times in the past hoUr alone. I can't even keep water dowN.

There's something really wrong with the vomit though. It's not clear, like when you haven't had anything to eat. It's white. Milky white. It looks almost like I ate chalk, and it tastes like I swallowed road kill.

Skin still itches badly, and it's starting to peel a bit now. It's insanely pale underneath where it's peeling. Unnaturally pale. What the Hell did that thing do to me?

It's getting hard to write. My fingers ache. Have to stop. Feel dizzy.

Entry Fourteen:

Don'T kNow how LonG I've been cUrled up in this cavE for.

SoRry if the lettErs are sHaky. It's LiKe my fingers are Too lOng to holD the pencIL.

I sWear everything looks shorTer nOw. I swear, I'm not CraZY, I'M nOt!

JoiNts still acHe. It's likE I'm beinG pUlled apart.

StiLL so, sO itchy. My sKin's bleAChing itself. Please, plEase believe me. You have To. You NEED TO.

Can't tell What'S a Shadow and what's NOT anyMorE. LosINg so mUCh wEIghT so FaSt. ToO faSt.

Back acHes. Feels like someTHing's curled up In there. It KeEps moving ARounD. WriTHing.

Oh GoD. I hope I don't Have a wOund that's infeCted with maggOts or someTHing. That's All I nEed right noW…

Entry Fifteen:

There's soMEthing VerY WRonG witH ME I have tO be SEeinG thinGs dEar God pleaSe tell me I'm Seeing thinGs!

I cUt my haNd on a sHArp ROck in the caVe toDay. And wHEn I LOokEd at tHe bLEediNg wouNd, whEn I looKEd, I alMOst faiNTed. My bLood wAsn't red.

It was bLAck. Pitch, oILy, midNIght blaCk, and reEKinG of iron oRe and LEaf roT.

Oh mY God, wHAt's HAPpenInG to Me?

Entry Sixteen:

HAven't leFt the caVe for dAYs. WaLking toO HArD. Can't See anYThinG it's sO dARk. GOtta leAVe soOn; I'm lOSing it. KeeP seeINg tHinGs. So thIrSty. CraVIng raW meaT.

JoiNTs stiLL acHe Bad. MaNAged tO sTAnd. FunNY, dOn't remEMbeR cave ceILing beiNg thiS low.

Skin's BEen peELing ofF in bIG CHunks. FeELs leSs iTchy nOw.

Back HUrts so bAd sTill. FeLt it; thERe's all thESe Big, wEIrd-shAPed wElts. WheN I tOUch them, soMEThinG inSIde theM moVes.

Why Do I FEel so sKINny? Why aM I so HUngRy?

NEed to Eat soON or I'll DIE.

Entry Seventeen:

ArMs aREn't mOVing RIght. LEgs EIthEr. MoVIng liKe RUBber. MOUth hURts toO. BaDly. FeELs liKe a buNcH of NEedLEs in mY gUMs.

FeELs liKe I haVE a seCOnD sKin oN my cHEst, leGs, aNd ARms. ToO tHIck. HaD to tAKe ofF cloTHes, THey weRe toO tiGHt.

SEEm to Be LOsinG my hAIr. CaN't feEL mUCh of iT leFt aNYmORe. WHy do hANds feel so BIG?

So huNGry.

So HUngrY.

Entry Eighteen:

WhAteVEr wAS in mY BAck is gONe nOW. FeLt mY sKIn TEar. ReALly huRT baDly. But oNly fOR a SEConD.

BacK feELs bETteR noW.

FinGErs toO loNG for PeNCil keEP sLIPp-

Entry Nineteen:

LeAVinG the cAVe TOdaY. FiRSt tiMe iN daYS. HaVe to. GoInG crAZy In HEre.

Is niGHt ouT. WalKINg to FInd wATer. FiNd FOOD.

So huNGry. So thiRStY. CrAvING mEAt. CrAVInG BloOD…

Entry Twenty:

Nonononononononono. No. NO! NoT pOSsiBle!


FoUNd a pOnd. ANd wHEn I beNT doWN to DRInk, I sAw mY haNDs.

TheY weREn't MINE.

ThEY weRE Its hANds.

AnD WHen I lOokED inTO tHe wATeR to sEe my fACe, I sAW… I SAw… NoTHinG.

NotHInG. No fACe.

I haVE nO fAce.

I opENeD My moUTh to sCReaM, aND sAw THe roWS of NeEdLE-like TEetH aNd pitCH bLAck toNGuE.

AnD all I COulD heAR wAs the sOuND of aNGuiSHeD, SCreEChinG stATic.

Entry Twenty-One:

It's beEN a WHilE siNCe I WRotE laST, hAsn't iT?

BeEN sloWLy leaRNinG hoW to wRIte AGaiN. HoW to MOve in tHIs neW, slENdeR boDY. GotTEn USed tO it by NOw.

KiNDa liKE the NEw lOOk.

Call mE craZy, beCAusE I am. I AM! BUt I thINk I KNow whY It wAS cHASinG me NOw. I kNOw whY It wAs so REadY to dIe.

It wAs tEStinG mE. TrYINg to SEe hOw goOD a huNTeR I rEAllY wAs. AnD I PAsSEd Its teSt. So It gaVe mE a gIFt.

Its BoDY.

I feEL so MucH sTroNGer nOW. So MUch mORe PoWErfUl. I seNSe so mUCh moRE acUTelY nOW thAn EVer BeFOre. And huNTinG is eASier WHen you hAVe hUNDreDs oF LimBS at yOUr diSPosAL.

But I HAve a wEAknESs. A tERriBLe WeaKNesS. A weAKNesS I cAn't heLP bUt be dRAwn toWArdS WHen I SEE it.

A WEAknESs yOu nOw knOW.

AnD I CAn't rISk you teLLIng aNYonE eLSe ABouT iT. ThEy'd kILL mE. And I DOn't waNT to dIe. So I'm AfrAId yOu HAve To.

DoN'T look sO uPSeT. I KNew yOu wOUldn'T DisAPpoINt mE wHEn YOu piCKeD uP My joURnaL. I kNEw yoU'd KEep reADinG to tHe ENd. HuMaNs aRe CUriOus to A FAult. YoUr folLY. My oPPorTUniTy.

LoOK beHInD yoU.

Here ends the journal of Jeremy Anderson, aged 25. It was found approximately fifteen feet from the mutilated body of another unidentified young person, aged 23. The body was found impaled through the chest, approximately ten feet off the ground in the branches of a nearby maple tree. Anderson himself has still not been found. It is speculated here that, due to his time spent lost in the forest and based on evidence presented in this journal, that Anderson may have been suffering from the so-called "Wendigo Psychosis", and that he may in fact have killed the other young person while under these powerful delusions. However, without definitive proof as to Anderson's whereabouts, we may never know the truth of what happened that night.