A/N...Hello! Playing with an idea that my nephew told me about...the Slenderman. See what you think!
A long time ago…
Across the horizon the evening had begun descend in soft fingers of light dispersed with darkness. The odd cloud or two glowed with a burnished halo of golden red that splashed a kaleidoscope of visual delight in all directions.
In the foreground large bird flew low to get a better look at something in the tall ryegrass, but then flew away in a soundless rush of wings. To the north of the horizon was a stall stand of trees with dark hills as their backdrop. The trees were straight and grew very close together in fairly even lines, almost like they had been deliberately planted that way.
From these trees a soft mist had started to spread, rolling slowly out over the grassed plains in a soft wave. Ebbing and surging, the mist mimicked the white foam on a distant shore as it silently crept from the tree line.
High above the trees on the black hills and silhouetted against the darkening sky, a well built young man with copper skin and feathers braided into his hair sat upon his horse as he watched the mist. The sight of that mist sent a cold shiver of fear down to his very soul. He knew what it meant, what it was bringing, for it was not the first time that the mist had rolled from this forest.
And in his heavy heart, he knew it would not be the last….
CAMPBELLTOWN, 1961, Summer.
Simon kneeled on the sidewalk, purple chalk in hand, and leaned back on his heels, his Keds slipping a little as he admired his work.
Further down the street, his friends, also in similar positions, drew on the faded gray path; a competition designed by his mother to keep the children occupied. She and the other mothers sat on the front porch, watching their charges, making sure they didn't stray or fight.
A radio played a cheery rock and roll song as the mothers chatted. One of the ladies tapped on the top of the radio as it crackled and spluttered before falling quiet.
"What's wrong with that thing?" One of the moms asked.
Simon's mom stood and walked over to it and turned the knobs, jiggled the power cord, her brow furrowed. "I don't know. It's fairly new."
She picked the radio up and shook it, then put it down again.
Small bursts of static rewarded her efforts as she turned away from it. "Looks like we're out of music, girls."
Simon turned a little and looked behind him and counted six boys, stretched out in a row, drawing sidewalk pictures in the hopes of winning the secret prize that awaited the best chalk art competition for this side of Macy Street.
Macy Street bordered the woods, and as Simon looked further down at Peter he noticed something behind the other boy.
A movement, just slight, like a deer, or bird, something half concealed in the shadows of the late afternoon, the sun's gentle fingers caressing the tree tops and falling through the leaves like confetti.
There is was again.
Something, there was something there.
Simon dropped back onto his butt, sitting on the warm path, trying to make out what could be moving behind his best friend, hoping it was a deer.
It could be a deer.
He had seen one last summer, when he was only six, and it was a sight he had hoped to see again someday. Last year the deer had been foraging in Mrs. Jeffries' rose garden, her yard bordered the woods, and would often host breakfast for squirrels and rabbits.
The deer was something different, something unexpected, something wonderful.
Simon had told no one. He had kept that delicious secret to himself.
Today, though, today, if he saw one, he would tell everyone,
He would make sure everyone saw.
Simon counted out his friends behind him. There was James, who lived in the street behind, and Ralph. Then there was Louis, Andy, Wayne, then Peter.
Andy moved from his drawing to Peter's and waved Wayne over.
Simon watched them from the corner of his vision as he tried to focus on the movement behind his friends.
Strangely, there seemed to be fog rolling its soft, tendrilled fingers around the base of the trees and across the carpet of leaf litter.
This time of year there should be no mist, no fog.
Even in the cold crisp of late fall there was barley any mist.
There, again, something moved.
Simon frowned as the shape came into view.
It was a man.
A tall man.
Dressed all in black, and wearing a hat.
It was hard to see from where he was, but Simon could not make out the tall man's face.
He seemed to have no features.
He held his breath as the man stepped forward from the shadows of the trees and approached his friends.
Mist seemed to follow the tall man, swirling around his feet and coiling up to his very, very thin knees.
The dark man moved slowly, kind of weirdly, like he was trudging through mud.
He lifted his knees a little too much, a little too high, as he moved closer to the boys.
He was very tall, very, very tall, and so thin he seemed to be made from sticks and twigs.
The thin man had no face.
No eyes, no nose, no mouth.
Just white, a blank, white, featureless face.
Simon looked up towards his mother, sitting with the other moms on the front porch drinking Long Island Iced Teas and smoking menthol cigarettes.
None of them saw the tall, thin man approaching the boys at the end of the street.
Simon looked around and realized he was the only one that saw the man.
The three boys closest to the stranger, Andy, Wayne and Peter we crouched low, looking down with their backs turned to the thin man. All of the other boys were looking down at their sidewalk pictures, their attention on their own intricate artwork.
The man drew closer to the three boys and finally something made Andy turn, catching sight of the weird man.
His two companions also turned and looked towards the man.
They sat, the three, stone still as the tall man approached them, his hands lifting, his arms outstretched.
Simon felt his heart start to beat faster but his body was frozen to the spot.
He didn't move, he couldn't move, as the all man's arms spread wider, impossibly wide, until they were too wide, too long, they had grown in length until they were longer than the thin man was tall.
Yet still they stretched, still they grew.
Simon blinked in disbelief, unable to warn his friends, unable to yell to his mother, to lift himself up. His body refused to move as he felt the icy fingers of fear start to pull from his stomach and spread through his spine.
The three boys stood in unison, their movements stiff and strange, as if pulled from above by string, like marionettes.
The tall man's arms grew even longer as he reached toward the boys. He leaned forward, wrapped his hands around the children and lifted them into the air.
Simon felt his bladder loosen as the man stood straight, all three boys now held tight to the man's narrow chest as he clutched them close.
Finally able to make some noise, Simon started to scream, he let his young larynx open as he screamed all of his fear and terror into the day.
The tall man seemed to look at Simon, seemed to see him with his blank, eyeless face before he turned and loped off into the woods at an impossibly fast pace.
Simon lifted his chalk covered hand, pointed towards the forest, still screaming, his pants wet, his face white, and his heart threatening to leap from his chest as his mother and her friends ran from the porch to his side.
They looked towards the woods, where he pointed, but saw only the trees, the last few feet of concrete holding only chalk and shadows.
"The boys!" one mother cried. "Where are the other three boys?"
Back on the veranda the radio crackled back to life and a quartet crooned its lovesick melody to the street.
The police stayed until very late that night talking to Simon, getting him to show them again and again where he had seen the tall man, asking him to point out where he sat, where the other boys had sat, and what the tall man had done.
They didn't believe what he said about the tall man's arms, or just how tall, and thin the man really was.
Simon didn't tell them about the man's face. He knew, even though he was still frightened and very shaken, that they would never believe him.
He stood, now, wrapped in his thickest coat, the night having descended with a bitter chill uncharacteristic for this time of year.
He was silent, listening to the mothers of the missing three boys describing how all three had been ill until just yesterday, vomiting, acting strange, pale and distant. Today, finally, the boys had shown signs of overcoming whatever it was had ailed them, and the mothers agreed to allow them to go outside to enjoy the summer break.
Simon listened to the moms talk of nightmares and fears of the boys who had disappeared. They recounted terrifying stories of their boys seeing a tall man watching them from afar for days now. Each of the mothers disregarded the stories as the ramblings of the fever and sickness.
He continued to listen, without talking, without looking up, as he clutched at his father's strong, warm hand. Simon snuggled as close as he could to his father's side.
Simon said nothing, he just watched the police photographers as they took pictures of the artwork the three missing boys had drawn in chalk on the concrete path.
The three pictures were eerily similar.
All three depicted a tall, featureless man whose hands waved out in long, thin tendrils as he reached towards the unseen artist.
CAMPBELLTOWN, Present Day.
Sherriff Wallis lifted his cup to his mouth, the steam of hot, black coffee pure nirvana to his senses. He was an older man, late fifties, broad shouldered and steely eyed, a lightly trimmed beard hugged his lower face and a baseball style cap covered his thinning hair.
"Come on, Alex, you're gonna be late!"
A thump of size thirteen boots on the stairs signaled the arrival of his youngest son. At six foot four and two hundred pounds, the high school senior towered over his father, his mop of sandy blonde hair falling into his eyes as he grabbed the pile of toast in one hand and his bag in the other.
"C'mon, dad, hurry up!" The boy grinned as he bit into the four layered pile of toasted bread.
Wallis shook his head and smiled back at the boy.
So like his mom, his brown eyes and cheeky smile a constant reminder of the woman gone near ten years.
Following his boy to the cruiser, Wallis picked up his bag and checked his gun was clipped safely in its holster. He sighed as he noted the two other boys now waiting beside the police car.
Oh, he didn't mind giving the boys a lift to school, he just wasn't keen on having his son hang around with the likes of these two.
Nothing but trouble, that's what they were, Wallis thought.
"Morning boys," he gruffed, as he unlocked the police car allowing the three to tumble into the back seat.
He could only hope his son was sensible enough, that he had raised him well enough, not to be drawn into any nonsense these boys may create.
"Dad can you stop and pick up Liam? He's on the way."
Wallis mentally groaned. Out of all the boys, Liam was the worst. He himself had picked the kid up nearly a dozen times for graffiti attacks on the small shopping mall, and he was suspected in a few eggings of local properties.
"Thought he was sick," one of the boys in the back commented.
"Was," Alex informed them. "He got better."
Wallis listened to the boys laughing and chatting as he drove, pulling up in front of Liam's house where the boy waited at the curb.
Normally a boisterous, loud mouthed teen, today he was quiet, rather withdrawn, his skin pale and his eyes distant, almost unfocussed.
"You okay, bro?" One of the boys in the back asked him as Liam pulled his seatbelt over his shoulder for the first time, ever, unprompted.
Liam turned to them, his hair ruffled, greasy, and unkempt, his eyes shadowed and blood shot. "Yeah. M'fine. Just didn't sleep much, is all."
Hoping that's all it was and they weren't all about to come down with the flu, Wallis drove the four boys to high school.
Once there, he pulled over for Liam to let the other boys out, being a squad car there was no way for anyone in the back to open doors from the inside.
Liam just sat there, unmoving.
"Dude!" Alex thumped the wire cage separating the back seat passengers from the front. "Pull your finger out, we're gonna be late!"
Liam sighed and turned to Wallis. "Thank you, sir," he spoke quietly, his voice soft and dream like. He unclipped his belt and opened the car door.
He stood in front of the passenger door and looked at the boys inside. Slowly, as if moving was a great effort, he raised his hand and opened the door allowing the three teenage boys to pile out of the back seat and bounce off to class.
Liam quietly closed the rear door and turned to walk inside. Wallis frowned. This was wrong. Out of character.
He opened his door and stood, one foot on the asphalt, the other still in the car.
The boys stopped and his shoulders seemed to sag even further than before. Slowly he turned to face the Sherriff.
"Liam? You sure you're all right?"
The kid shrugged, then nodded, his shaggy hair bouncing dully under the morning sun.
"'Cause, you know, you can tell me. If something's wrong, I mean. You can tell me anything. I can help. I can."
Liam shrugged again, his face expressionless, his eyes showing no spark, no life. Wallis found his whole visage very disturbing.
"I'm fine, sir. Really," the boy answered, then turned and slowly made his way into the high school building.
The Sherriff was not happy with the boy's reply, but there was not a lot he could do about it. He remembered years ago, when Alex couldn't have been more than seven or eight he had picked the boy up after a kid's party, a scrawny young Liam in tow, his clothes dirty, hair unwashed, and a few very conspicuous bruises over the kid's limbs and face.
Didn't take a detective to figure out the child had been beaten by one of his single mother's many boyfriends, again, the poor thing seemed to always be used as a punching back by one drunk or another.
But that had been a long time ago. And Wallis had taken care of that, making sure Liam's mother was well aware of what he would do should she allow her child to suffer like that again.
The Sherriff hadn't noticed any marks on the kid. Didn't mean he wasn't being abused, and there were more ways to hurt a kid than would show on their skin.
Still, he mused, the kid could just be hung over. Or stoned.
Poor kid didn't have much of a chance, what with his father the local loony, and his mother the town slut. Liam grew up too fast and too wild.
Aahhh... poor Liam.
Wallis had grown up with Liam's dad.
That kid seemed a bit weird after that strange disappearance of the boys in sixty one. But he managed, hell, he even graduated high school and got a good job.
Married and respectable, if a bit strange, and withdrawn.
It wasn't until Liam was born the guy really went off the rails.
Sad, really. He was a really good guy before.
Before, they were all really good kids. That day changed their lives, and this town, forever.
Sighing, he drove the patrol car back to the Sherriff's office. He'd talk to Alex later. Away from the other boys his son was easy to talk to, affable and understanding, and Wallis was sure nowhere near as much trouble when he was with the boys.
He was lucky. Considering all that had happened in this town, all that had happened to him, things could have been very, very different.
Wallis pulled into the parking lot of the Sherriff's office and turned off his car. He frowned, noting that the lot had several cars and a new van already waiting there.
Small town like this, days could go by with no one attending the Sherriff's offices, so to see cars and a news van, well, that could only spell trouble.
He picked up the radio and called in.
"Shirl, Wallis here, what's going on?"
The radio crackled.
"Shirl? You there?"
Crackle again, and this time the dispatch officer answered him. "Boss? Is that you?"
Shirl was a tall, slightly overweight ex line backer, with a mop of red, tightly curly hair and the most piercing blue eyes you'd ever seen.
His real name was Graham, but no one called him that, not even his wife.
"Yeah, Shirl, it's me. I'm in the parking lot. Anything you wanna tell me before I come in?"
A heart beat of silence greeted this, then the radio crackled into life again.
"No, I don't wanna tell you, but I guess I better. It's back."
Wallis held the hand held mic to his chest and breathed deeply.
He could hear Shirl sigh through the handset. "Yeah, boss, I am."
A/N...just so you know, reivews are mandatory. Really, they are! Also makes me write quicker. This is a proven fact.
also I am on twitter, ucat42, come find me.