A/N: I'm gonna say it because it seriously needs to be said: The Slenderman is too passive, and I'm not okay with that.
Okay, so you have some vlogs like AKoolStik that have him more active, and I know there's plenty of blogs where he does stuff like rip people physically apart, impale people, pick people up, etc. I understand it's hard to show how oddly he'd move on film, and I realize that tentacle effects are difficult unless you're TribeTwelve, and even then, they take hours to do. I really do get it. But honestly, half the time I'll be watching some vlog, and Slendy-endy will be standing there, and I'll be all like, "C'mon, rip him to shreds. Catch him and fuck his day up. You know you wanna do it, Tall and Freaky, so do it! I WANT YOU TO DO IT! HIT ME!"
Okay, maybe I'm not that dramatic about it, but I can't be the only person that has wanted to see a really, really gory and squicky Slenderman tale. And I know I've always wanted to get my hands dirty by writing something both horrific and visceral, so…
Funny story about this tale – it was originally meant to be part of Project Him, my Slenderman vignette thing I posted about a month back. However, this tale ended up being a LOT longer than I intended because I purposefully put much more detail into it so I could make it as stomach-turning and visceral as possible. My sole intent with this is to go back to some of the original ideas behind the Slenderman – the organ-snatching, the branch impalement, the more blood-soaked attributes that the media has pretty much dulled us to otherwise. Personally, I wanna see that stuff become scary again, because even though mental torment and stalking are terrifying enough, sometimes you just need a good old-fashioned bloodbath to really show the power and threat behind something scary.
My dear colleague and friend,
I apologize for not writing sooner. I meant to get in contact with you earlier, but other circumstances have prevented me from doing so. I have much to explain to you, and little time to explain it in; I pray you read this quickly.
To begin, I never intended to scare you as badly as I did three months back, but you must understand that I did it for good reason. You see, I was being chased, and if we didn't leave our research site at once…
I'm honestly not sure how I managed to get back to the campsite alive that night. By all rights, I should be dead, even maimed beyond comprehension, yet I survived the night intact, and even more relieving, alive. I can't imagine how worried you must have been these past three months, Walter, or how frightened you were that night to find me absent, lost somewhere to the thick evening fog and vastness of the evergreen forest. I'm sure you were even more worried when you saw that Darryl, our young intern (a nice undergraduate ecology major, if unskilled in fieldwork and somewhat skittish around forests), was also missing in action. Then to see me running out of the underbrush, screaming at you to get in the jeep immediately…
My friend, I'm truly sorry. I never should have left the campsite like some neophyte biology undergraduate, but I had to find Darryl. I did find him, and I'm alright of course. But unfortunately, Darryl…
I… I don't quite know how to put this gently, Walter, but… Darryl is deceased. By the time I found him, he was… well, there was little chance that his funeral would ever have been open-casket. His body was never recovered, but anyone who did find the mangled corpse would have been disturbed and horrified by the mere sight of what was left. But Walter, there are far more disturbing things than even than in this world, far worse things than merely discovering a grisly scene of murder. Things such as actively viewing one…
Yes, Walter, I… I watched Darryl die! And what's worse, I was far too late to prevent it from happening. I even saw his killer's face, but…
Walter, my old friend, you must promise me one thing. You must swear on your life that as soon as you finish reading this letter, you will burn it. Burn it in your fireplace, in a campfire, by matchbook, it doesn't matter so long as it is destroyed. The world isn't ready to learn about the… about what I saw when I searched for Darryl, about any of what I will tell you here. It will sound like the ramblings of an absolute lunatic, but you deserve to know the truth of Darryl's demise. Besides, I am a man of science, and I do not alter or change details to what I report, nor do I believe in anything without substantial experimentation or evidence, such as the so-called "cryptids" some people claim to exist. But Walter, this time, you must believe me despite having nothing more than my word, and you must, no matter what happens to me after you receive it, burn this letter. Don't contact the authorities, don't seek me out for more information, and for the love of God, Walter, don't go searching for Darryl's body!
It all began shortly after midnight, well after we had found our field research site and set up camp, and long after the makeshift fire pit in the center of our trio of tents had been extinguished. We were all well asleep by then, save for Darryl, who never seemed to sleep well on our research trips and who tended to go to sleep later in the evening anyway. I, however, had been sleeping pleasantly in my small tent when I was jolted awake by a sudden scream in the distance. I'm not sure how it didn't wake you, Walter; then again, you can sleep anywhere and through anything. Concerned, I threw on my thick jacket and began looking for the source of the noise.
The first thing amiss that I noticed upon exiting my tent was the wide-open flap of the tent beside mine – Darryl's tent. The sleeping bag had been dragged out head-first, and lay close to the forest's edge, coiled on the ground like a fat anaconda.
The second thing I noticed, and the most chilling by far, was that the ground nearby appeared scratched, as if something or someone had clawed at it to prevent being dragged away from safety. The scratches, which I assumed were from Darryl fighting his attacker's grip as he was dragged, led into the spruce forest. Darryl himself was nowhere to be found.
I grew concerned and began searching the area more defensively. My immediate thought was that a bear had found the campsite and pulled Darryl from his tent, but the entire scene was too organized and clean to have been a bear attack, and I saw no blood on the ground to indicate a mauling. So then, what could have attacked Darryl and taken him from his tent? There weren't any known cougar sightings in the area, and wolves mostly stay well away from human campsites. As for a human attacker, Darryl had no enemies to my knowledge, and we were miles outside of any sort of civilization…
Another scream caught my ears then, a distinct masculine cry of fear that I realized belonged to Darryl. Lacking any other options and afraid that the young undergraduate might be hurt, I quickly gathered my pack and flashlight together and began to follow the scratch marks into the woods. About halfway in, they curved off-trail into the undergrowth, and so I followed them into the forest proper. It must have been about twenty meters before they cut off entirely, leaving me with nothing but Darryl's screams as a guide.
I searched for what must have been hours, slowly wandering deeper and deeper into the fog-shrouded forest as I shouted Darryl's name into the trees. No response ever came. My cries echoed off the tall pines and their long, black branches, branches that seemed to reach arm-like overhead and blacked out the shimmering stars. Had there been moonlight, it too would have been blocked off, but it was the night of a new moon, making it all the darker outside. Still, it's truly incredible how beautiful and foreboding a forest can be at night, particularly in the north woods…
At that moment, I heard a barely audible rustling from behind. Anticipating an animal, I turned around slowly and stretched my arms out to become as large as possible – if it was a bear, I didn't want it thinking I was prey. But what I found was no bear.
In the distance, half-obscured by eerie, ground-hugging fog, I saw a faintly human figure. It was tall and black-clad, blending easily into the forest surrounding it, and it seemed to glide as it moved between the trees, but its footsteps made no noise. It was holding something in its arms that I couldn't quite make out. And something about that distant figure, I couldn't place what, sparked a faint nervousness in my heart…
Thinking it was Darryl, I followed from a distance, shrugging my unease off as I did so. Oh God, Walter, that was the worst possible mistake I could have made! I should never have followed, I should have backed away and gotten help. Curse my curiosity; my zoological knowledge could never have prepared me for what I found out later! But how could I have known the danger? I was so focused on helping Darryl that thoughts as to my own personal safety were tossed to the side, and I could not rest knowing that the poor lad was in trouble.
I followed the figure for a while, carefully inching closer as I did so. I got within thirty meters of it before I realized that the figure was not Darryl. It was another man, built like a stick figure and standing quite tall, with a terribly dark presence… He was business-suit clad and pale as the moon, with strangely long, skeletal arms. Arms that clung to a limp human body. Darryl's body.
I didn't dare approach any closer. The man (I assumed the person was male, since I couldn't see their face) made me very anxious, though I still couldn't place quite why. But my curiosity drove me to continue following him nonetheless, and follow him I did until at some point, I lost track of him and stumbled into a small clearing surrounded by boulder outcroppings, a clearing where I saw… I saw…
… I will try my damndest to explain what I saw in that clearing. I will try, but I fear it won't even begin to scratch the surface of how heinous and disturbing the scene I saw truly was.
A massacre. That is truthfully the only way I could possibly put it, the only word I have to describe the carnage before my eyes that night. Everywhere in that small clearing lay the bodies of what presumably once were human beings, of all walks of life – adults, teens, the elderly, children… Oh God, Walter, there were children victims there, all strewn carelessly across the ground like rag dolls, impaled through tree branches where blood both fresh and stale congealed in the ridges of the bark. The bodies were decapitated, eviscerated, torn apart like tissue paper. They were in every stage of decay, some freshly slaughtered, some bloated and putrid; some little more than dried out husks. Some of them hung from the limbs of trees by their slick, slowly liquefying intestines. Others had seemingly dragged what remained of their savaged bodies towards the forest to die, smearing blood and dragging their pulped organs behind them in the dirt, but none of them made it quite far enough. One corpse had its head (I presume that is what it once was) smashed into a thick pulp of blood and brain matter, bits of crushed skull still glistening like tiny bits of porcelain as they stuck out jaggedly from the awful fleshy mass. The iron stench of blood and putrid reek of decay clouded the cool, misty night air, and the constant buzzing of flies was all I could hear.
I very nearly became sick all over the forest floor, but I was even more so horrified and confused. There had to be at least twenty to thirty different bodies here altogether. Was I absolutely sure that an animal hadn't done this to these poor souls, as horrifying as it was to see such human wreckage?
I hid behind a large boulder outcropping to get my bearings. I had no desire to see that human killing field any longer. I looked to the sky, mind racing, begging for any sort of explanation for what I had seen, and that's where I found them.
Plastic grocery bags, opaque white and nondescript, hung by their handles in the trees like bizarre Christmas ornaments, each one neatly bundled and holding something inside. From what I could tell, at least thirty or so hung twisting in the breeze on just the one tree in front of me. Again, blast my curiosity, for I noticed one of them was nothing more than a scrap of plastic dangling from a thick oak branch, and my eyes traced the bag's trajectory downwards to see the fallen remains of the bag at the base of the tree. Cautiously, I edged towards the bag and pulled the plastic back, and a sickly cloud of iron stench escaped as I did so.
The bags were filled with organs, Walter. And I could tell, from the size of the heart to the soft, spongy, pink lungs and the small, blue-irised eyeballs inside the bag that they had once belonged to a human being.
I actually did throw up then, shaking as I stumbled away from the gore before me. No animal did this, nor did a man. The rest of the bags were too far up for any man to feasibly reach, and there was no possible way such clean extraction of those organs could have been done by an animal's claws. Besides that, this part of the forest was far too much of a hassle to get to – if even I had trouble clambering over the rocks and through the underbrush, it would be far too difficult for a killer carrying a body to bother with taking it here for disposal.
A soft rustle from the direction of the clearing caught my attention, and I turned towards the boulders again, trying to ignore the smell of blood surrounding me. There was a sizeable crack between two of the larger boulders with enough space to peer through, so I pressed my eye against the crevice, curling up against the age-worn rock so as not to be seen. Or, worse yet, mistaken for the killer of these poor people by some fellow discoverer of this… graveyard, for lack of a better word.
I watched as a figure, tall and black-clad, strode with rangy strides into the clearing, his arms still carrying the limp human form. I couldn't get a clear look at the figure's face, but there was no mistaking the sharp suit, the slender build, the awkward height. This had to be the same man I saw earlier that night, and now that he was close enough, I could tell easily that the limp figure he carried was an unconscious Darryl.
Cold sparks shot down my spine. Had… had this man knocked Darryl out to keep him from screaming, or had Darryl merely fainted from fear or injury?
I soon got my answer. The man carefully, without even needing to bend at the waist, set Darryl face up on the grass, patiently standing over him like a parent over a sleeping child. One spidery, pale hand reached nimbly down to Darryl's ankle, gripping it firmly.
In an instant, his hand twisted at the wrist, and a sickening crack resonated through the air as Darryl's ankle snapped like a dry twig.
The horrific truth dawned on me then. This man… he was the killer, and he was purposefully debilitating his latest victim so they couldn't escape. I couldn't bear to watch as he broke Darryl's other ankle, and I shook as I cowered behind the boulders, far too afraid to move lest I be seen and captured as well. I felt like a little boy all over again, like a scared child shaking in the night as he curls beneath the covers to hide from the monster in the closet.
I remained that way, cowering and deliberating on my situation and Darryl's, wondering how on earth I would get away, and I would have stayed that way if a ghastly scream from the clearing hadn't snapped me from my trance, a scream of pain and terror.
My eyes instantly became glued to the crevice. Darryl was awake now, and clearly in terrible pain, but more so, afraid. His eyes stared upwards at his rangy attacker as he desperately tried to drag himself backwards and away from the tall figure, screaming his final words, words that will haunt me to my dying days.
"No! No, God, no, not you, please God, no!"
The man gave no response. He grabbed Darryl's arm and harshly yanked the poor boy forward with enough force to dislocate the joint as he pulled his prey to him. I could no longer tell if Darryl screamed more from agony or panic as the man held his victim unshakably, letting the poor lad dangle by his dislocated arm, and then… Then the man pulled Darryl close to him, so close the boy could have touched the lapels of the man's suit, and a pale hand wrapped around the boy's neck. Another wrapped around a leg in an iron grasp. And in one swift motion, he bent Darryl's body back and in half, a gravelly crunch resounding as the spinal cord snapped and vertebrae ground roughly against each other.
The man laid his now paralyzed victim on the ground once again, this time with an almost mocking sort of gentleness as his unseen gaze pinned the whimpering Darryl to the forest floor. I can't have possibly imagined what it must have been like, staring into the face of your killer, knowing you have no chance of escaping from what you know to be certain death. I can't even conceive of such a living nightmare. But I didn't have to imagine it, because I saw the raw, animal panic in Darryl's eyes, flowing out with his tears to the soil that would be his deathbed, and I saw how his chest heaved in terrified sobs of anguish. I smelled the pungent stench of urine as he wet himself from the fear. I heard his pleas for mercy slowly reduce to whimpers of dread as he waited for that last, final blow that would end his life. And the worst part of it? The man, his face still obscured by the angle I viewed from, said absolutely nothing. Not a word, not a grunt or a chuckle, not even a murmur of approval at his horrific work. The man was entirely, completely, eerily silent.
He remained silent as his left hand reached down pensively, gently tracing its razor-edge fingertips down the sobbing man's face and casually brushing away tear drops.
He remained silent even as his needle fingers slid into Darryl's eye sockets, just between the organ and the bone, and slowly began to carve out the fragile sight organs.
I almost followed his lead. I wanted so very much to cover my eyes, to run, to forget everything about the snuff film playing before me, but I couldn't look away. Out of either fear or some awful fascination, I forced myself to stay and keep watching as the man continued his slow, intricate dissection, carefully opening up Darryl's torso, slowly slicing the organs and viscera to pull free intestines, kidneys, the liver, the stomach. Each organ his dexterous hands sliced free he pulled closer to him, examining with a professional, scientific curiosity despite the alarming amount of gore he stood in the middle of, even despite the horrific amount of blood that splashed the ground, coating his hands and arms, staining his suit even blacker still. Each quivering organ seemed to fascinate him endlessly, capturing his unshakable interest. He was… intelligent. Clearly, this man was one of scientific mind, of curious bent, a patient operator working diligently on a fascinating specimen of animal – mankind.
He seemed the most intrigued by Darryl's… by the specimen's eyes. He spent at least fifteen minutes turning them over in his agile fingers, and even as he continued his work amidst Dar- the subject's cries of anguish, he occasionally seemed to pause to glance back down at them, as if fascinated by the brilliant little hazel orbs. The heart… he saved the twitching, dying subject's rapidly pounding heart for last. This most precious of organs he removed as easily as a few quick slices to the arteries and veins, twisting it free of the ribcage with one skeletal hand. The organ shuddered in his grasp as it pumped nothing but cold air and fog, the blood dripping uselessly to the ground, and then finally stopped beating altogether.
The man stood in silence for a moment as the heavy cloak of death whirled in the misty air, pensive, reflecting. Then he silently pulled what remained of Darryl from the ground and strode towards a tall maple with his grim cargo, gliding on soundless feet. I could now tell his full height from my position behind the rocks; he was easily tall enough for his hairless head to touch the maple's higher branches, but his arms stretched higher as he lifted Darryl's remains above his head. And in one swift, alarming motion, he brought the corpse down through the air, slamming it through a sharp tree limb and leaving the husk to rot there in the soon to rise morning sun. The organs… these he carefully gathered in a small, neat pile, and then… then, he simply vanished. Out of thin air, gone, no sign he had ever existed save the pile of flesh on the ground that we had once called "Darryl". I no more than blinked and he had returned, a shiny, flexible, opaque white object in one hand that I quickly realized was…
It was a grocery bag. A plastic grocery bag, for storing the removed… no, harvested organs in.
I could have escaped easily if I had just stayed quiet. I could still be safe right now if I had just waited for the man to leave first. But then he did something that drew all the breath from my lungs, that dug into my very core to extract a scream. He paused in his motion as if suddenly realizing that something was amiss in his hidden slaughterhouse.
And then he turned to face my hiding spot.
Oh God, Walter… he (?) was faceless. He (?) had a blank and awful mask of nothing, a canvas marred by splashes of red. It was staring at the rocks I hid behind, staring without eyes… And when I screamed in horrified shock from the same sight that had so terrified Darryl, that eyeless gaze locked firmly onto me. Not the rocks. Me. It held me with invisible hooks, tracking me with laser-like precision, and in an instant every semblance of security I'd ever had disintegrated to ash. And what happened next, what I saw, he… It…
I'm… sorry, Walter, you truly must forgive my nerves. This is very difficult for me to write without shaking at the thought, and it will sound perfectly absurd if my story doesn't already, but you must know every detail. You must. And I swear upon my own life, I saw this with my own eyes, I saw it and it is the truth!
The man… no, no, it wasn't a man… the being grew extra limbs. Branches are the very best that I can describe them as, black, flexible, sharp branches. They curled out and around from Its back like an organic cage, the twig-like tips writhing and bending like angry earthworms, flailing, twitching, vibrating in irritation at my intrusion. Oh yes, Walter, It saw me… and It was very, very angry…
I don't remember how I made it back to the campsite that chill, foggy night, and I continue to be nothing but thankful that you listened to my urgent cries to leave at once. That creature, that thing that murdered Darryl… It was following us the whole way out. I saw It follow our jeep out of the woods, even though you seemingly couldn't see It.
It… It followed me home, Walter.
I haven't left the house for days now. I can see It waiting outside even now, watching me through the windows, rapping irritably on the windows and banging angrily on my front door at night. It's trying to get inside, Walter, trying to drag me back to that hellish clearing where Darryl died. If It succeed, Walter… If It succeeds, I have an awful feeling that my fate will be even worse than his.
Walter, this beast makes no biological sense! How can any being see with such precision if It has no eyes? Echolocation? Vibration-sensing? It has no ears to sense sound with, and Its branches are too multitask for vibrations. Heat-sensing? There is nothing on Its body to indicate such a hunting method. Why would any creature have need for so many extraneous limbs? Why does It have markings that emulate a suit? What kind of predator is this stubbornly persistent in Its quest just to obtain one difficult meal?
Do you see now why you must burn this letter, Walter? I can't even begin to explain this being by science or by any sort of logic whatsoever. How could anyone believe I saw something so horrific and strange if I can't even give an explanation, much less any evidence?
It's tapping at the door again. Knocking. Angrily pounding. It is furious, Walter, and It wants in. It's just a matter of time now before It figures out how to pick the lock, or pull the door off its hinges, or crack one of the windows. It's extremely intelligent, Walter. It can think. It can learn.
I pray you listen to me. I hope to God you destroy this letter and never look back on that ill-fated expedition of ours. You don't want the fate I am now living. You don't want to grab Its attention. You don't want to end up like Darryl did. Like I will.
I just heard the lock click open.
The letter truncates here, unfinished. It was found in the home office of conservation biologist Dr. David Kampmueller on June 18th, 2012, discovered by his close friend and colleague, Dr. Walter J. Heartwell. The letter was heavily tear-stained in several places and the writing was shaky, but otherwise the letter was unscathed. At Dr. Heartwell's request, a police investigation of the area in which both he and Dr. Kampmueller were doing research was conducted, however, no such clearing as the one described in the letter, let alone the bodies of 23-year-old Darryl Stringer or Dr. Kampmueller, was uncovered. The case remains open.