"I'm sorry that I can't personally provide you with anything," he told me. I let him know that his help alone has already done far more for me than money would. "Just make sure to ration it."
I already know how to ration money. I've had to for almost a year now. But with the money from my parents that Canis has managed to secure for me, I'll at least have something to fall back on in case of emergencies. He's made it easier for me to have money on hand. I don't have to have cash on me now, so I don't have to risk carrying larger sums. He's also made it so that I don't have to be afraid of using an account. I can be traced through it, yes, but most likely only by authorities. Maybe the best thing that Canis has done for me is to make sure that the authorities aren't my enemies anymore.
I asked him how exactly he knew what was going on and what all he knew. "Well," he said, "as you may have guessed, I've had some contact with the Fears myself. I've known about them for a while now. I know how they work. So when your family and the Andersons were killed, I recognized the methods. Knew it was the Slender Man. And since you were still missing, I asked to be put on the case. I knew you'd need someone who understood."
Canis placed a pair of rectangular glasses on his sharp nose as he began looking through his paperwork. "You covered your tracks pretty well, Kenny. Laid low for a while, and by the looks of it, ended up not mentioning your full name or the Anderson girl's on this blog. It took me a while to find it, and when you finally let slip a less vague location, you left Texas before I managed to track you down."
"Really?" I asked him. "But wouldn't you be able to find Raggedyman fairly easily?"
"You would think, but it's not actually that simple. You see, Mr. Schultz doesn't actually exist."
I froze as soon as the words left his mouth, shocked. "What? But...but that's impossible! I met him myself! He...he exists! He wouldn't lie about who he was, would he? How could you not have any records of him?" I reached into my backpack, fumbling for the Yu-Gi-Oh! cards he had sent with me as a parting gift. "I have some cards he gave me right here!"
"I don't doubt you, Kenny. And I'm sure that he used his real name. But he doesn't exist. Those links on your blog are all dead." At the shock on my face, he added, "Things like that happen at times when the Fears are involved. I can't explain why it happens, or even what happens, but sometimes realities don't line up."
At this point I asked Canis if I could use his computer. He let me, and I checked Raggedy's blog. It was still there, and I could still read it. Canis told me that all he saw was a notification that no such page exists. I exhaled a bit. As long as he hadn't suddenly ceased existing on me, I didn't have to worry about Chris.
"I think something similar happened to him," I said. He talked about this one girl. Aura, or Anna. I think one was her name and the other was her screen name. And I think he loved her, but her blogs...didn't exist. And he kept forgetting things about her. Even forgetting her name by the end of his visit. Like she had never existed in the first place."
Canis nodded. "It's strange. It's one of the things I'd try to investigate if I had more time. But right now, I've been more concerned with these 'Ten Masks.' I've never heard of them before."
"From what I've gathered, they're an elite squad of ten proxies trying to kill me."
"Almost certainly. Although I'd hardly call them 'elite.' I mean no offense, Kenny, but you're still an amateur in terms of combat." He pushed his glasses up his nose. "No, the fact that they're not elite is what bothers me. If they wanted you dead, why not just find one person to put a bullet through your head? Why ten of them? And this 'Gabe.' I know him. Jeremiah Landis. What's he doing in all this?"
"How do you know him?" I asked. He returned with a glare. His eyes narrowed to slits and his lips curled back into something close to a snarl.
"That information is both confidential and inconsequential," is all he said. I didn't try broaching the subject again.
"So how did you find me?" I hazarded.
"Like I said, an anonymous tip. I'm as surprised as you are. Sure, smashing up a church technically is vandalism, but I get the impression that he called more so that I could find you--which means that whoever it was knows that I was looking for you and knew where you were." He started speaking less to me and more to the paperwork in his hands as he looked through it. "Who that might be, I don't know. My best guess at this point is that they're a member of the Ten Masks who wanted to get their turn. That might also be why they're not too concerned with killing you at the moment...."
A thought comes to my mind. "After I left, someone left Chris a note with a thousand dollars."
That stops him. "Really? Tell me all you can about that." I read him the post that he had mentioned it in, focusing on this part:
"Well," Canis said, standing up and removing his glasses, "it seems that you have a benefactor of sorts. It still stands to be seen whether or not they're the same person, but he seems like he's the most likely person at the moment."The strangest thing was that yesterday, I found an envelope at my doorstep. Given my track record with things being left on my doorstep I was kind of hesitant to open it. Once I got up the nerve to do so, I saw that inside was $1000 along with a note:For your trouble. Thanks for keeping an eye on him.A friend.As surprising and confusing as this was, I am certainly not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. So to whoever left me that, thank you.
"You're sure it's a he?"
"Phone call, male voice. My informant was certainly male. Either way, I'd be careful. Because whether or not they're helping you, you have someone who's been following you without your noticing."
I'm going to start wandering again in a few days, and Canis might come with me for at least a bit while he looks for more leads on the Ten Masks. As much as I'd love to have the protection of a trained officer with a gun, it won't last for much longer. All I can do is hope that I can find new allies or stand up to the Ten Masks on my own.