The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope.
Today I talk of hope. Hope: the best and worst thing that we may have. We may hope for a better tomorrow and it may never come. We may hope for so many things and know none of them shall come to pass. And yet we still hope.
It has been speculated that the word "hope" is derived from "hop" - "leaping in expectation." When we hope, we are making a leap, jumping down into the hole. And sometimes it rewards us and sometimes it suffocates us. Sometimes we drown in hope. Sometimes hope kills us.
I was seventeen. I had gotten use to the headaches and not seeing faces. And then I saw him walking down the street. I've already said that I noticed his unusual gait, his long arms, his pale skin. I noticed him, I noticed that he looked off, but I did nothing. Because I hoped I was wrong.
The disappearances started soon after. Children snatched from the playground. Their friends could only say that they "went into the woods" even though there were no woods nearby. Some children claimed to have seen "the woodsman" leading the missing children into the woods, but they could not describe him. Only that he "came from the woods."
I fancied myself an amateur detective. After my accident, I noticed people's body language more. I became better at seeing if someone was lying, if someone was nervous, if someone was guilty of something. It was my goal to someday work for the FBI. So I set my sights on finding out who had taken the children. I hoped I would find him.
Oh what a sorry fool I was, staking out playgrounds and elementary schools. If the police had not already known me (and discarded me as a suspect), then I am sure I would have been arrested. Still, I did not have much luck. My disability gave me an advantage at times, but it was still a disability: I recognized no one, saw no faces in the crowd.
Until one night. I had packed up my equipment and was preparing to leave. The local playground was empty - parents had rightly refused to allow their children to play here at night, even with supervision - and the only movement was an empty swing set that I had pushed in boredom.
And then, there he was. He was standing on the edge of the playground. He was tall and lean and he wore a suit. He looked, to me, like a funeral director. I called out to say hello and ask him why he was here, but my voice caught in my throat as I recognized him. The gait, the pale skin, the general sense of wrongness. This was the man I had seen before. And in my heart, I knew he was the man who had taken the children.
He turned and started to walk away and I, foolishly, began to follow. He passed trees that had not been there before and I did not notice. Soon, we were inside a forest that had not just appeared, but seemed to have always been there - just out of sight. It was like there was a space that I had just never seen, an area that I had never looked at. And it all felt wrong.
And yet still I followed him. He led me through the forest, past trees with leaves the color of the night sky. He led me to an area of the forest where I saw the children. All the children he had taken. What was left of them.
Sickened, I turned and ran. I did not look where I was going; I did not care. What he had done to the children was unspeakable. Even now, I cannot think about it without becoming sick. Their faces, their eyes...please excuse me for not delving into details. I do not think I can adequately describe the scene or the revulsion I felt.
And so I became lost in the forest. I ran and ran until I could not tell which way was north. The moss did not seem to grow on any side of these trees. When I placed my hand on one of them, they pulsed with warmness and sap oozed from them. I quickly pulled my hand away and never touched another tree.
Finally, I became so disoriented that I fell to the ground. The ground itself seemed strange, as if it wanted to suck me in, wanted to reach out and smother me. I was tired, so tired, and I had almost given up hope of ever reaching the end of this nightmare place. And then the Slender Man stepped forward. He loomed over me like a black and white monolith and he reached down with one long, spindly hand and I closed my eyes tightly and I felt him touch my chest.
And I opened my eyes to blinding sunlight. When I got up, I realized I was back in the playground, back where I had started.
I had solved the mystery. I knew who had taken the children. My hopes had been fulfilled.
What stupid hopes they were.
It is a fool's prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak.
The Panopticon have again left a message for us to read. They claim that they will show us the truth, but I fear their "truth" is merely some sort of brainwashing that they wish to impose on Mr. Krug. If I had some way of finding him, of knowing where they were, then I would act on it, but unfortunately, I do not.
Right now, I find myself with very little I can do about anything. So I shall do what I can.
Be wary, be cautious, and be careful. Try to travel in a group or with a companion. Try not to travel alone, if possible.
And hope for a better future. For the time may come when the despair of tomorrow is changed and our hopes are finally vindicated.
Or so I hope.