Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dumas has joined your party

We’ve gained a fifth member.

I’ll explain in a bit.  Let me just recap what’s been going on some more.  Ryan doesn’t want to rely on Silent Bob for defense anymore, so he’s been trying to learn some basic self-defense from me.  I’m most familiar with a staff, so that’s what I’m teaching him.  Besides, like I said in my very first post, a staff is a handy tool.  As a result, I think that I may end up staying with Jenny, Ryan, and Silent Bob longer than I had originally planned.

As you’ve no doubt seen, I’ve let Jenny make a few posts.  Part of me really doesn’t like it.  Last post, she slipped up and said we were in Phoenix.  I left it up since it’s not that big of a deal (Phoenix is a big city, and between Maggie and that proxy Bob beat up, they know we’re here anyway), but explained to her why she has to be careful.  At the same time, I probably won’t stop her from posting if she wants to again.  I know that for some of the people who blog, it’s an addiction or a compulsion.  But for others, it’s cathartic to get your thoughts out there.  It’s the only sort of therapy we get, knowing that, if we die, we’ll at least have left a few last words.

That said, I’m not sure I want her reading through my blog.  I haven’t let her yet just because there hasn’t been time, and she didn’t really bother to.  She was more concerned with showing me My Little Pony.  After recent events, I certainly don’t want her reading it now.

We were on the move again, heading closer to the outskirts of Phoenix. A few blocks away, we heard shouting.  I held up a hand to stop everyone and listened.  The noise was getting closer, and really quickly.  A man came running around a corner, pursued by two men, both wearing masks.  Bob turned as he heard them, and his eyes widened.  I reflexively threw my arm up to stop him.  The two masked men stopped in their tracks as they saw him, swore, and turned and fled.  Bob apparently has quite a reputation.

The man slowed as he saw Bob’s stare.  He threw a glance over his shoulders and saw that he wasn’t being pursued anymore.  “Hey, um…wow.  Uh, thanks for that.  For scaring off the, uh…muggers.”

“We know what they are,” I told him.

“You…you do?  Oh!  Well, thank god, then.  That makes things a bit easier.  Wow, what are the chances?”

“There are no coincidences,” I said.  He looked at me a bit funny.

“Anyway, thanks,” he said.  “Call me Dumas.”  He was a charming-looking guy, mid to late twenties, probably, with short black hair and a trimmed mustache and goatee.  “I really hate to ask, but…do you mind if I come with you for a bit?  Safety in numbers and all?”

I looked at Jenny and Ryan, and the three of us talked it over quickly before deciding that it would be okay, at least for now.

So we spent the day together, doing what we could to throw them off our scent.  Then we settled down for the night and took Dumas aside, away from Ryan, Jenny, and Bob.

“Your name sounds familiar somehow,” I told him.

“That’s…entirely possible.”  He picked up on the tone in my voice and didn’t even try to cover.

“You do realize that I read Picking at Ruins, right?  I kind of show up on the follower list.  And Diana thought it would be a good idea to post this before you tried infiltrating us?”

He sighed.  “Okay, yes, I’m a proxy.  You caught me.  No sense hiding it.  But don’t worry.  I’m not here for you guys.  In fact, I’ve got very specific orders not to harm you.  I’m just here to gather intel on that guy you call Silent Bob.  That’s all.  Look, I don’t want to fight at all.”

“I still think you should leave.  You’re trying to hurt my friends.”

“I’m not trying to hurt anyone.  I’m just following orders.  Look, Kenny, you have to understand as well as anyone how dangerous that Bob guy is.  Do you really want him around you?  Around those kids?”

“…No.  But trying to kill him or whatever it is you’re planning isn’t a good idea either.”

“We’re just trying to protect the kids.”

“Because you’re planning to convert them to your side.  How can you do that to two fourteen-year-olds?”

He looked away.  “Just…following orders,” he mumbled weakly.

“Why shouldn’t I just tell them what’s going on?”

“That…that would be very, very bad.  I’m not supposed to compromise the mission.  If you do, all five of us are dead.  They won’t bother with the covert ops at all.  I’m expendable, Kenny.  I’m half a hostage.”

I thought for a while.  “Fine.  I don’t like it, but we don’t have much choice, do we?”

“Thanks for understanding, Kenny.  Trust me, I hate this.  I really wish that we weren’t on opposite sides of this whole thing.”

“You do realize that I’m going to be doing everything in my power to protect those kids, right?”

He didn’t answer.

So that’s the situation now.  We’re traveling around with a proxy who’s gathering information on one of us, and I can’t blow his cover to the other three or else we all wind up dead.

I wonder how long this will all last.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hello again! Jenny here!!!

We’re still in Phoenix, wandering around. One morning some stupid proxies tried surprising us when we were asleep, but Kenny was able to fight both of them off. Then Bob got up, and the proxies really ran for it! XD

Ryan asked Kenny to teach him how to fight, so soon we’ll have three people with super awesome kung fu skills!

But even with the kung fu awesome, Kenny keeps looking sad. He spends too much time sitting around thinking and looking emo when he doesn’t think we’re watching. But that’s okay, because I know the perfect solution to all sadness!


The next time we get a wifi signal good enough to stream youtube, I’m going to show him Friendship is Magic whether he wants to or not! >:3

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hiiiii!!! This is Jenny! I saw Kenny writing on his blog so I asked him really really really nicely if I could write something too, and he agreed! :D

Its cool that Kennys helping us, because we really didn’t know what we were doing. X( Ryan read M’s rules, but now Kenny says they don’t always work. Especially the operator symbol. Those hoodies had been my idea…. Oops. :(

But its all okay now! With Bob protecting us and Kenny telling us what to do, there’s nothing that can go wrong!! :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

What a Little Bird Told Me

Ryan, Jenny, Silent Bob, and I have been staying in this city for a bit now, moving around each day to some new location.  One night, we decided to stay on a parking ramp.  I figured it was at least worth trying the whole “get up high” rule M held to some more, and it was nice to have a good view of the city in the evening.  There’s just something peaceful about watching the people moving through their ordinary lives around you.

“Hey, Kenny?” Jenny said as I stared over the railing.  “We’re going to get something to eat.  You want to come with us?”

I shook my head.  “I think I’m just going to stay here for a bit.”  I gave them a bit of money and told them to grab something for me.  Ryan asked if he needed to convince Silent Bob to stay with me, but I told him that I could take care of myself if anything happened.

A few minutes after they left, I heard footsteps.  “Hey, Kenny,” came a girl’s voice.  I turned and saw her.  Dressed in ripped jeans, a black t-shirt with a skull on it, leather jacket, and a silver streak dyed into her matted hair.

“What are you doing here, Magpie?”

She held up her hands.  “Relax, Kenny,” she said.  “I’m not here to fight.  We’ve done that already.”  She joined me in staring out over the railing.  “Would you believe I just wanted to see you?”

“Not really, no.”

She gave that shrill cackle of hers.  “Fair enough.  And I guess it’s not entirely true.  But I read your blog.  You’re an interesting guy,” she said.  “But no, that’s not the only reason I’m here.  Our boss thinks that things are moving a bit too slowly.  You keep jumping around and dropping off the radar, and he thinks that…well, that you might get the point anyway, so forcing you to fight all ten of us might just be redundant or overkill.  It’s time you learn a bit more about just who we are.  Flew me out here even though he knows how much I hate flying,” she grumbled.

“So who are you?”

“Well…we’re a group of proxies, yeah,” she said.  “I guess you could technically call us that.  But it’s not like we just signed off our souls.  All of us—we just ran to someone stronger.  You’ve noticed that we’re all themed after Fears.  That’s not a coincidence.”

“There are no coincidences,” I said, echoing what she and Crimson had told me.

She grinned.  “That’s right.  There are no coincidences.  But we all took on a persona based around a Fear that was…personal to us.  All ten of us are victims.”

I mulled that over for a bit as we stared over the edge.  “So what’s your story, then?”

“Well,” she said, “I lost my dad.  Around a decade ago.  Eleven and a half years to the day, actually.”  She glanced at me as I tried to do the math in my head.  “My father worked at the World Trade Center,” she said.

“Oh.  I…um….”

“Yeah.  He was among the missing after the planes hit,” she said.  “And my mom…she knew he was alive.  I mean, she knew he was alive.  ‘I can feel it, Maggie,’ she told me.  ‘I can feel it in my bones.’  And we kept hope alive for weeks.  Even when he should have starved or suffocated, because people have pulled off miracles like that before.”

“So did they ever find him?”

“Yeah,” she said quietly after a pause.  “Yeah, they did.  They found his body.  And as you’ve probably guessed, he was dead.  It was…it was really hard on my mother.  She had so much hope  and just like that, it was all gone.  Then, about a month after the funeral, she…she went out late one afternoon.  Told me that she was going to visit Dad.  I was…I was stupid.  I thought she meant she was going to visit his grave, but…she never came back.”

She was quiet for a bit again as she tried to steady her breathing.  “I’m sorry,” I said.

She shook her head.  “Don’t apologize.  It’s not your fault.  That’s just how life goes.  Anyway.  I was just a kid then, so I ended up in the system.  Had a couple of foster homes.  Some were good, some weren’t so good, but it never felt like I really belonged.  I was never their kid.  Just a guest in their house who would eventually leave.  It got really, really tough.  Then, one day a few years ago when I was feeling really, really down, walking down the sidewalk, I saw…saw this bird.  This bluebird.  Just the most adorable little bird ever.  Like a literal bluebird of happiness.”  She gave a wry chuckle.  “And it kept hopping along and looking at me, like it wanted me to follow it.  So I did.  It flew into a building.  No one seemed to notice the bird fluttering around by the ceiling.  Nobody seemed to notice me following it.  It took me up, up, up the stairs, aaaaall the way to the top floor.  Out onto the roof.  And that was when I noticed how high I had climbed.  The bird hopped over to the edge and looked at me, then down.  And I knew…I knew it wanted me to jump.

“So I stepped up, looked down, and thought about how easy it would be to end my terrible life.  To step off the edge, fly for just a moment, and then just…stop existing.  But I just…I couldn’t do it.  I was still scared of dying.  Of leaving this world.  It was so high.  How did I know I wouldn’t change my mind halfway through?  So…I didn’t.  I didn’t jump.  The birds didn’t stop, though.  There were more of them.  More aggressive birds.  Always trying to convince me to jump.  Went on until I met our boss.  He offered me the chance to join up with him.  Said that the Fears kind of got territorial and that the birds—the Convocation, he called them—wouldn’t bother me anymore, or at least not nearly as much.”

“So you joined the Slender Man to avoid the Convocation.”

“Pretty much, yeah,” she said.  “I hope you don’t look down on me for that.”

“So that’s what you meant about you all being victims?  What about the others?”

“Well, I’m not sure about all of them since some are quiet and one guy barely speaks English.  And I’d tell you about some of them.  Really, I would.  I mean, you may have picked up on the fact that I love to talk.  I’m one of those people who does talk to hear the sound of her own voice.  But unfortunately, it’s not my place to share their stories.  Let’s just say that we all had reasons to be running from the Convocation.  The Red Cap.  The Intrusion.  Et cetera.”  She shrugged.  “The boss?  He’s the one chance we have to fight back.  He’s a great guy, and he’s really all that gives us the hope we need to carry on.”

We stared over the edge, looking down at the city.  “So your real name’s Maggie?” I said.

She cackled.  “I tell you my life story, and that’s what you take from it?”  She dangled her arms over the edge and laughed.  “But yeah, just one letter off from Magpie.  I’m real creative, aren’t I?  Margaret Sanchez, or Maggie.  Nice to meet ya.”

I smiled.  “It’s nice to meet you, too.”

She gave a sigh.  “Well, the big guy and the kids will probably be back soon, and I don’t want to be anywhere near that guy on the off chance that he might smell me.  He’d probably pick up on my scent right away, too.  I smell terrible.”


“Really, Kenny.  You’re supposed to say ‘No, of course not, you smell very nice.’ Come on.  Never had a girl fish for compliments before?  But anyway, I’d better skedaddle.”  She flashed me a grin.  “You’re a good guy, Kenny.  You do a lot of stupid things, but always for the right reasons.  I like you.  I really hope that we can be friends.”

She gave me a wave and a wink as she sauntered down the levels of the parking ramp, giving me a lot to think about.

Jenny, Ryan, and Bob came back a little later, then I started writing up this post.  I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be traveling with them.  Maybe a while.  These are the first people I’ve come across who are actual on the run.  I’ll check in in a few days if anything happens.  Or who knows?  Maybe a few weeks if it doesn’t.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jenny, Ryan, and Silent Bob

Picking up where I left off: after Reaper attacked me, a group of three people passed by.  And sure enough, just like Last mentioned in his note, I knew them when I saw them.  There was a man and two kids.  The man was in his 20's or 30's and was a pretty big guy.  Tall with a lot of muscle.  He was unshaven with long wild hair and wore tattered clothes, making him look a lot like a homeless guy.  But it was the two kids who caught my attention.  They were both fourteen--barely more than kids.  The girl was actually the one who caught my eye, since she was making a lot of noise.  The part that stood out most, though, was that she and the boy both wore light hoodies with the operator symbol drawn on the back.
I approached them from behind.  These kids obviously had no clue what they were doing.  I put a hand on the boy's shoulder as I got close and he screamed and nearly jumped out of his skin.  I realized that this was probably my only chance to actually use this line.

"Come with me if you want to live."

The two followed me into a side alley.  I saw that the girl wore headphones.  "Take those out, I told her."  She stared at me, not wanting to take my advice but not knowing how to explain why.  "It's okay.  I'm on your side.  I know you're runners.  Not that you could make it any more obvious."

She looked at me again.  "If I don't take them out I can't hear him coming...."

"Unless you're running from the Choir or it's successfully alerted you to his presence, take them out."  She gave me a blank stare when I mentioned the Choir, so I'm guessing she's not familiar with any other Fears.  "Sometimes it's only audio and video recordings that react, not technology itself.  That, and it won't react to proxies.  All you're doing is dulling one of your senses."

She took the headphones out at that.  I turned to the boy.

"You too.  Take those hoodies off.  People still don't know whether or not the Operator Symbol attracts or repels the Slender Man, and you should never put something that might draw the Slender Man on your body."

"But...M, and Omega...."

"And Redlight?  Three people who take that seriously.  One was taking guesses at rules, one didn't believe in the Slender Man, and one's a proxy.  All you're doing is attracting attention to yourselves."  I paused and thought some more.  "Also, that can't be comfortable in this weather."  The two started tentatively removing the hoodies.

"So who are you, mister?" the girl asked.

"Kenny.  Kenny Mortel.  Who are you guys?"

"I'm Ryan," the boy said.  He was a fairly tall, lanky kid with a mop of brown curly hair on top of his head that made him look even taller.  His face still looked young, though.

"I'm Jenny," said the girl.  Thin girl, long blonde hair, blue eyes...face absolutely radiating energy.  She gestured to the big man.  "And that's Silent Bob."

"What happened to Jay?" I asked.  Jenny gave me a blank look.  Silent Bob didn't react at all.

"He doesn't really say anything," Ryan said.  "He just follows us around.  He's...kind of strange."  I glanced at Silent Bob.  He didn't react.  It was like he hadn't even heard what Ryan had said.  "But he's dependable."

I looked them over.  "Where are you guys staying tonight, then?"

Ryan and Jenny exchanged a glance.  "We really didn't have anywhere in particular."

I pulled the paper Benjamin had given me out of my pocket and glanced at the address.  "Do you trust me enough to follow me?  I'm not sure, but I think I may have somewhere to stay lined up."

They agreed to come with me, and we shared stories as we walked.  Jenny and Ryan had fairly standard stories: they got into Marble Hornets, started looking at more of the mythos, grew paranoid, things happened.  They lost friends.  They went on the run.  It's a story we've all heard before.  It's a story most of us have told before. 

They seem to have an interesting dynamic.  Jenny's talkative and usually the first to share, but it's pretty obvious that Ryan's the leader of the three.  And Bob--he doesn't say anything.  He reacts to basic commands or requests, but he just sort of stares off into space otherwise.  It's almost like he's a proxy, though I highly doubt that.  According to Ryan, they met him when the two were spray-painting operator symbols somewhere (another terrible idea; I chided them for that too) and he came up behind them and just started watching them.  He followed them fairly closely for a bit after that and they were understandably freaked out, but after they were jumped by some proxies, he suddenly went from a zombie to a beast, driving them off single-handedly.  "He's never tried attacking us," Ryan said.  "I think it's pretty safe to say that he's on our side."

The address ended up being to a cheap motel.  Last has an absolutely uncanny way of setting things up absolutely perfectly.  I have no clue how he does it.  I decided I'd get two adjoining rooms in my name, because what else what good is my parents' money if I don't use it to help people out where I can?

"Ah, Mr. Kenny Mortel?" the man behind the desk said when I gave him my name.  "You actually have two rooms reserved already.  A man told me you'd be by.  Name of...Sanosuke Sagara?  Weird name, right?  The guy didn't look Chinese."

Of course.  Last would pick a dumb alias like that.

We had a bit of trouble figuring out whose room Jenny would stay in, which we hadn't really thought about beforehand.  Ultimately, we decided that Jenny and Ryan would share a room, while I would share with Silent Bob.  I can't admit to liking the sleeping arrangements considering that Bob's more than a little creepy, but Jenny was even more terrified of him than I was and we didn't think it'd really be appropriate for me to be sharing a room with a fourteen-year-old girl.

The night was fairly uneventful, though Bob doesn't snore.  That's normally a good thing, but it means I found myself wondering if he even sleeps.  He lay down on the bed when we entered the room, clasped his hands and rested them on his stomach, and then just lay like that for the rest of the night. Didn't slip under the covers, didn't shift around at all--just lay like a statue all night.

Had a dream that night.  Lily survived, and I was the one who died.  And she ran.  There was a proxy after her and she ran from him, but then she stopped and turned around and joined him instead.  I have dreams like that sometimes.  And they always hurt.  I always wake up crying.  Partially because it hurts to lose her and it takes a bit to separate the dream from reality.  Partially because I've already lost her, and once the dream fades, no matter how painful it was, she's gone.

Silent Bob was still lying in that exact same position when I awoke.  His eyes were open so he was awake, I think.  "Come on, Bob, let's go," I told him.  He stood and followed me out of the room.

Jenny and Ryan came down a few minutes later.  "Sorry," Ryan told me.  "I couldn't get her to wake up."

Jenny pouted.  "Beds are comfy and it's been so long since I've slept in a good one."

"She was going on last night about how she must taste delicious because the bed was eating her."

"My mind was nightblogging!"

Ryan shook his head and turned to me.  "Thanks for that.  Which way are you headed?"

I shrugged.  "Which way are you headed?  I don't have any particular destination in mind, and if you want, I can probably travel with you guys for a while.  Safety in numbers, right?"

Relief passed over his face.  "Thank you so much," he said.  "It'd be great to have some new company."

We spent the entire day on foot.  The downside to traveling in groups is that while there are enough people willing to pick up one scrawny hitchhiker, there aren't many people who have the room and desire to pick up a scrawny hitchhiker, two teens, and a hobo who looks like he could lift the car with one hand.  Still, we weren't far from a decent-sized city and we managed to make good enough time that we got there in the evening and get a warm meal.  Thank god for the dollar menu.

We were outside that evening, walking around and trying to find a decent place to set up camp when Bob suddenly perked up and his entire demeanor changed.  His face darkened and his eyes went from their normal unfocused and glazed-over state to narrowed slits.  He stood and started moving with purpose instead of just following us as he normally did.

"What's happening?" I asked.  "What's he doing?  What's going on?"

Ryan looked at him, instantly growing worried.  "Kenny, we have to go, now."

"Where's he going?  Can we cut him off somehow?"

He shook his head.  "Not after him, away from him.  As far away as we can.  There...there must be a proxy nearby.  You don't want to be close enough to see or hear it."

"But we can't leave him!"

"He can take care of himself," Jenny pleaded.  "He'll find his way back!  He always does!"

I took a look at Bob's retreating figure.  He had started to move faster.  "I...I have to know what's going on.  I'm sorry.  If we're being followed, I want to see who's responsible."

Ryan looked at me, then at Jenny.  "Jenny, go.  Meet back here in half an hour."

Her eyes widened and mouth dropped some.  "No!  Ryan!  You can't!"

"I have to keep an eye on Kenny."  He shot me a look.  "I thought that you weren't supposed to be stupid.  You really want to risk getting in Silent Bob's path?"

I shrugged sheepishly.  "I try not to be, but when I am, I make it count."

Jenny gave Ryan a quick hug.  "Come back safely."  Then she bolted off in the opposite direction.

"Come on," I said.  "Let's try to catch up to him."

We took off after Silent Bob.  He wasn't a particularly fast guy, but he had a good head start on us.  By the time we finally caught up to him, he had tracked down a pair of proxies.

There was a bigger guy and a smaller guy.  Looked very much like a brain and brawn pair, like they had been lifted from a TV show or something.  The smaller guy was scrambling away, but Silent Bob had the bigger guy pinned against the wall, one meaty hand around his throat.  He was pummeling the man's face over and over.  The man's arms were twitching, but he didn't have the strength to defend himself anymore.  Eventually, the man went limp, at which point Bob let him slip to the ground and started kicking him.

"Stop!" I yelled reflexively.  Ryan glared at me, which I guess he should have since it felt like I was applying for a Darwin Award.  Still, Silent Bob looked up in surprise.  "You're going to kill him!"  Surprise turned to confusion.  " don't need to do that.  You've sent a message.  Let him be."

I knew that the proxy was an enemy.  That it probably wasn't a good idea to leave him alive.  But...I'm dumb like that.  I don't want to let anyone die.  Not even them...especially after seeing that not all of them are bad.  I was hoping that Silent Bob would leave him, and that the man's partner would be able to get him medical attention.  And, to my surprise, Silent Bob backed off.  I could hear Ryan exhale heavily beside me.  I felt a hand on my shoulder a second later and turned to see him bracing himself to steady his legs.

"C'mon," I said.  "Let's go find Jenny."

Things have been uneventful since then.  We're still in the same city, though we've been moving around in it.  No trouble with proxies so far.  Then again, considering what Silent Bob is's not them that I'm most worried about at the moment.