Saturday, June 4

Smackdown (part 5)

So… my turn, huh?

This is more or less what I told Shady, and explains my absence. Sorry about that. 1) I dropped my phone in the canal and 2) letting everyone know where I was would have let Them know where I was too. So I just kept my focus on getting to Shady’s place and tried not to think about anything I might be missing online. That was hard, because I’m an internet addict AND the thought that something worse might be happening than I‘d already read… Well, that was also pretty good incentive to keep me from looking for access.

You already know from previous posts that my family… disappoints me. Wednesday last week was bad. Thursday was worse. Before I went walking in the park, some things were said by my sister, and when I went to my mother for a shoulder to cry on…

Well, I got more of the same.

I’ve always known my family didn’t appreciate me, but to be treated like I was some kind of weight around their necks was just too much. I opened my doors to them, didn’t complain about the mess they made of my house and bit my tongue when they complained about my food choices and the fact that I only have one bathroom, etc. I hung up on my mom, and I’m sure I’d be getting an earful about that if my phone was working. I still haven’t replaced it. I’m sure when I do, there’ll be hundreds of messages from her… and my job. I’m probably unemployed at this point.

So I went for a walk in the park, which is more wooded than not. As an empath, I use plants to buffer me from the abrasive emotions of my fellow humans. And frankly, my house plants just weren’t doing anything for me what with my home invaders, aka my family. I was dead tired… Some may be aware I work(ed) nights. Well, that just meant my sister and/or her husband kept me up all day, and then I had to work all night before coming home to do it all over again.

I was really tired and frustrated and angry, and Wildman… was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When I’m in the trees, no one sees me. I’m not afraid of Slendy or his little friends. As I told Shady, the trees would tell me if something was nearby that wanted to hurt me. Slenderman (not going to abbreviate it any more… seems pretty pointless) uses the tress as camouflage. It doesn’t mean he belongs there. The trees don’t hate him, but they do love me a lot more. It helps that they know I love them too.

All that means is that when I sync up with the trees, I might as well be one of them. No one sees me unless I want to be seen or I do something stupid. Which means I totally got the drop on Wildman, or would have if I hadn’t been trying to hit send on my phone with shaky fingers and launched it into the canal three feet away.

Yeah…. So I had to run him down. And once I had him on the ground… I kind of lost steam. I don’t know what I was even thinking. Maybe if he’d been knocked unconscious like that Vindicate stooge, but I was not so lucky this time.

And yes, he smelled really bad. (Why do the baddies have such poor hygiene? Self esteem issues?)

I backed off and that’s when everything went to crap (which is an understatement). Wildman started to get up, casting about for his mask where it had fallen. He had one of those young-old faces where you can’t really pinpoint a person’s age closer than maybe ten years. He looked confused and… I don’t know… resigned? as he replaced the mask, making sure it was on good and tight this time.

Before he could run or attack or whatever he intended, Shadowchild did her death from above act. This time, she landed right on top of him, hissing and tearing at him like a wildcat. Even in full sunlight, she was hard to make out. Flashing teeth and bloody hands were about all I could see before Wildman got a good grip on her and whipped her into a tree with a sickening CRACK!

And that’s when I heard the roar behind us and turned to see that selfish idiot, Executor, had brought Victor to the party, and was trying to use the ensuing chaos to make good on his escape. And me in my “I'm the product of a secret government experiment” tshirt. Nice.

I’d heard rumors he and Victor were cat-and-mousing it, but it’s not like I expected them to show up in what was practically my backyard. Executor was far from the immaculate gentleman he made a pretense of being, but that was in large part due to Victor’s tender ministrations. His jacket and tie were gone, and his shirt wasn’t that far behind them.

He poofed without even noticing me (I think… since he didn’t mention it in the blog post I just read. On a side note, he must have been really exhausted if it took him six days to post that account.) He certainly didn’t stick around for the main event, so his statement that Victor “ate” Wildman the same way that he “ate” Badman was pure conjecture on his part, even if it ended up being true.

Victor was just as Shady had described him, at least as big as my father had been and his clothes hanging from him more like armor meant to obscure his humanity than to protect him from the elements. Steam curled up from his clothes as if somewhere deep inside him was a fiery core. Wildman was still reeling from his fight with Shadowchild, but he managed to stagger out of the way just as Victor closed the space between them. Like an automaton, Victor kept going, plowing through a young beech tree.

Have you ever heard living wood rip itself in two? Let alone felt a tree scream as it was torn in half? The scream echoed among the neighboring trees, and they drew away mentally, unable to escape bodily.

As Victor disappeared into the shadows under the trees, his army issue rags stiff with gore, I began edging around to Shadowchild. I crawled as slowly and carefully as I could, too frazzled to use any of my “Jedi mind tricks” to keep Wildman from noticing me.

I needn’t have worried. A second later, Victor emerged from the tree shadows. Somehow despite his size, he had slipped around us unnoticed. He came out of the treeline as if a door had opened in the shadows, swinging his sledgehammer one handed. Wildman spun around as the hammer clipped him in the shoulder and staggered into the bank of the canal, tripping and landing face first in the water.

I breathed a sigh of relief as Victor continued to ignore me and the girl. At least she was breathing as I crawled to where she lay in a heap. Victor dropped his sledgehammer and stepped into the water as if it were no different than land, wading to where Wildman was desperately trying to swim to the other side of the canal.

I felt bad for Wildman as Victor caught him by the leg and towed him back to shore, his face in the water the whole way. Victor lifted him out of the canal and flung him back to the path where he choked and sputtered like a landed fish. Sure he was probably indirectly responsible for torching my sister’s house, but he was more or less a victim of Slenderman, just like everyone else the monster had taken over the years. I didn’t know for certain if he’d ever actually hurt someone, even if that was something any reasonable person would assume. As angry as I’d been, I couldn’t hate someone based on an assumption.

Victor heaved himself from the water. It poured from his clothes like a sieve. He caught Wildman by the back of his waterlogged trench coat and lifted him into the air, but Wildman still had some tricks up his sleeve. Slipping out of his coat, he swung around with a machete, not that it did him much good. Victor dropped Wildman’s coat almost as soon as he slipped out of it, fouling up his swing so that he hit nothing. With an almost casual backhand, Victor sent Wildman reeling down the path, his machete flying into the canal. Snatching up his sledgehammer, Victor followed his opponent with the steady tread of a juggernaut.

Wildman was wearing old style clothes similar to what you might see in pictures of Ellis Island, but his bright red suspenders stood out over the dull gray of his shirt and the darker gray-brown of his pants. If his costume had been revealed any other way, I might have laughed, but as Victor stalked after the retreating proxy, there was nothing to laugh about in his desperation. Wildman staggered and lurch down the path, and Victor swung his sledgehammer again. This time he caught Wildman more than a glancing blow.

In one instant, the fight was more or less decided, Wildman’s legs made utterly useless. Not that he gave up; I have to give him credit for that. As Victor grabbed him by the shoulder and lifted him again, that vortex of his opening like his own personal black hole, Wildman latched onto Victor’s mask, pulling and clawing at it for all he was worth. As if getting the mask off would somehow save him.

Through the entire fight, there had been little noise from either fighter, but as Victor’s personal vortex sucked the broken proxy through to… wherever, Wildman sobbed quietly. I could hear him behind his mask, which had miraculously stayed in place through everything. Victor’s mask slipped and Wildman gave a tiny cry of triumph even as he was sucked into the darkness with his prize.

I’d been too dumbfounded by the fight to think much of running, especially with Shadowchild like a broken doll in my lap. Now Victor turned his attention to us, and I… felt compelled to look away from his dark gaze. Tarry blood trickled from eyes that were little more than black holes in his head, the skin of his face so pale as to be almost necrotic. His breathing was loud in my ears as he walked towards us, though I couldn’t rule out that it wasn’t my own breath I heard. I leaned over the girl to shield her from him, but he stopped and just stood there… for a long time. I felt the Shadowchild stirring finally, Too late, much to late.

Whispering I heard, and not all of it sounded as if he were doing the talking.

Leaves and stones crunched under his boots as he walked away. I stayed as still as stone for as long as I could, worried it was some kind of test.

And then the little monster bit me!

She went scurrying off through the underbrush, gone with barely the rustle of a leaf. When I looked around, Victor was gone as well. There wasn’t even any sign that a fight had taken place beyond the imprint of the girl’s teeth in my arm and the murdered tree. I suppose if Shadowchild had really been trying to hurt me, she could have drawn blood, so there was that…

It was at this point that I guess I kind of freaked out. Yeah, after all the big stuff was over. I’m funny that way. I fished my phone out of the canal and the machete too as an afterthought. It did occur to me to scour the ground for traces of Victor and Executor before I ran back across the bridge to my house. No one was home, which was a relief. I threw all my important stuff and some clothes in my sister’s car and left a note telling her I was taking it and that she could use the house as long as she wanted provided she paid utilities.

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