Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Devil Book

I feel as though I've driven from one side of this country all the way across to the other... and didn't even get a chance to see the world's biggest ball of twine.

He's been appearing a lot more frequently lately. I haven't been actually seeing Him, but... I don't need to. For over a week now, we would be driving along, trying to get to Corey's... but I kept feeling the pressure - the warning - that He was nearing. That He was There. I'd focus for a few seconds to figure out which direction He was in... and so we'd split in the exact opposite direction. Just doing our best to avoid Him. I'm oddly grateful for this little... trick I have. It gives me a better chance to keep us one step ahead.

He also brought Proxies into the matter a few times. Letting me sense the connection there to get me to change direction instead of He interfering Himself. That feeling is... not like the one He has. At all. It's more just a Knowing in the back of your mind. Valerie explained it pretty decently out of the jumble of words I normally use... so I'll just leave it at that.

Even after we eventually got into town, I tried to stay as aware as I possibly could. I didn't want Him to see us with Corey, so I wanted to get out as quick as possible if I felt the change. I'll freely admit that I'm sort of... fooling myself into thinking that maybe He doesn't KNOW who Corey is yet... but even if He does know, I still don't have to take Him by the hand and bring Him to Corey's front door.

Unlike someone else who obviously has no problem doing just that.

To each their own, eh?

We've been exchanging emails for quite a while now. Organizing, cancelling, making up excuses, rescheduling... I thought for sure Corey was going to smack us both over our heads when he saw us for flip-flopping so much. But he didn't. He greeted us with more warmth than Val and I have for each other some days (we're together 24/7. It's not exactly rainbows and sunshine all the time). Invited us in. This time though he skipped right over offering food and drink, and just brought out what he had. Timbits. And coffee. From Tim Hortons. I swear, even reheated it's better than anything I've had this side of the border. No offense or anything, it just... even the STEAM says 'Home.' He said that he makes a run across the border from time to time. Since he knew we'd be EVENTUALLY showing up, he got extra.

Val seemed to like it. But I don't think QUITE as much as us "lost" Canadians. All we needed to do was start a conversation about the weather as someone in another room started yelling "shoot" and it would have felt like I was right back in Eastern Ontario. Normal.

Unfortunately, we were on something of a time limit since we weren't sure when He'd pass by. So we got talking. Catching up with details at first... then he called us liars for saying we were okay. Asking if the girl he had over the night prior had wrote 'Stupid' on his forehead while he was sleeping before she'd left with the $200 she'd stolen from his wallet. He said that we sure as Hell didn't look or sound anywhere near 'okay' and that he'd heard from his mum about the mess I'd gotten myself into back in Canada. Getting arrested and all that. He said that if we didn't want to tell him what was going on, then that was fine, but not to insult his intelligence by saying everything was "a-okay." He did ask me if I was guilty of what they said I was though. I looked him in the eye and said no. He said "fair enough" and we carried on from there. Started talking about the journal. Val mentioned a bit about it here. We showed it to him... with a few pages removed.

Especially page one.

It was the first hint that Steven had started it AFTER he had starting getting stalked:

Subtle, eh?

Call it weird but... it's kinda nice to know that Steven and I both had a thing for art.

Anyway, for obvious reasons, Corey didn't need to see it. So we ripped it out before we got there. There are other little doodles throughout the book... but this one was the most... attention-catching.

Corey told us a few stories of what he and Steven used to do together. Apparently my brother was the one that got Corey into adventuring. Showed the "nerd" the satisfaction of "conquering the world one tree at a time." The guy never stopped smiling as he spoke of their shenanigans. Of all the trouble they caused together that drove both our parents and his up the wall... but, apparently, his were already up the wall to begin with. Rough home. Being able to get out and go wherever he wanted became his sanctuary. He didn't have to listen to the yelling anymore. He could just leave... even if it was out a window. Steven gave him the confidence to do that.

It wasn't until Steven was thirteen that things started changing. He started getting extremely anti-social. Making excuses to stay alone. Steven started having erratic mood swings, constant paranoia, insomnia... just your average reaction to being under His gaze, really. He started bringing the journal with him everywhere and would "pitch a fit if anyone touched it." Obviously, Corey was worried, and although Steven went to him for support, Corey said my brother never spoke a word about what was going on that was bothering him so much.

Sitting in front of him as he spoke about it, it was easy to see how much Corey regretted never pushing the issue.

And then, about a year after Steven started changing, suddenly this guy named Robert fell (or placed himself?) into the situation.

Transcript from recording:

"Like I told you the first time you were here, I met the guy a few times. He was just one of those people that... gave you an eerie feeling right from the first glance. I don't know what the Hell that guy told Steven to get him to trust him so damn blindly, but it was like... Steven had found a rope. And he wasn't about to let go. Even if the other end was held by a fucking snake in the grass. When I told that to Steven though... he'd get mad. Close the issue. Said it had nothing to do with me and so I should back the fuck off. One time, Robert walked in on Steven and I arguing. The guy calmly accused me of being part of the problem. He said that part of why Steven was having it so hard was because of me and that I should show more compassion to my friend. Smug prick. Steven stopped talking to me completely after that. Just said he didn't want me involved anymore...

"I tried to keep in contact for a while, but... eventually I gave up. With that, plus home shit... I landed up dropping out of school, and just spent my time... moving around. I didn't even go home anymore. I just went anywhere and everywhere with my backpack. Learned how to make cash on the side. Steven would somehow get a hold of me every once in a while though. Asking about where I'd been. Where there was a lot of trees. Any abandoned buildings. I always told him what he wanted to know, then I wouldn't hear from him again for ages (We're assuming this is when Steven and Robert were compiling pictures of Him to use as evidence to expose Him to the public). That went on for... about a year and a half, I guess. Maybe a bit less? Then I didn't hear from him at all for several months and I couldn't shake this feeling I had... so I went home. Steven was still there, but he was acting and looking a hell of a lot worse than before... and Robert was gone. Steven only told me they had a falling-out. Wouldn't say over what. Actually, he wouldn't say much at that point... but he was absolutely terrified about you, Michelle."

I frowned. "What makes you say that?"

He shook his head. "Look, I know people change all the time. Kids change faster than anyone. I just... I don't know what happened while I was gone, but when I came back... it wasn't only Steven who had changed for the worst. It was you too. You couldn't have been... what? Ten at that time? And your moods were... nearly bipolar. You got nose bleeds that would take forever to stop. Night terrors. You were constantly cold even when everyone else was sweating. Had chronic migraines where all that helped was putting you in a dark room underneath a blanket to help muffle sound. Steven would stay with you every time it happened... and I can still remember him telling me how you always woke up crying about eyes watching you. Steven took it all hard. Like, REALLY hard.

"Your parents took you to the hospital more than once. You spent quite a few weeks there at one time... and it was during that time that the local Canoe Race was taking place. I actually managed to convince Steven to go in it with me for old time sake. Telling him that the doctors were taking care of you and that he didn't have to worry. I told him they would figure out what was wrong and you'd be okay... I said it would be good for him..." He sighed. "By the time the race finished, the hospital had called. You'd disappeared."

"Disappeared?" Valerie echoed. "How? What happened?"

Corey shrugged a bit helplessly before looking back to me. "You really don't remember any of this?"

I just shook my head. I really didn't trust myself to speak. I felt... like I'd been sucker-punched. To... have a chunk of your life explained to you is... beyond surreal... to be point of being frightening. I didn't remember any of this. I mean, I've always HATED hospitals and then I find out I disappeared while staying in one and then land up... fuck. I'm not getting into it right now. Later.

He cleared his throat, obviously uncomfortable. "...Michelle, sometimes the mind blocks things off for a reason. Maybe we shouldn't mess with it? I mean... ignorance is bliss, right? What happened fourteen years ago doesn't really matter today, right?"

I think Val was about to say something, but I guess I beat her to it. Though it was in practically a whisper. "I need to know."

He hesitated for a moment, then nodded. "You went to where the treehouse is, right?"


"...I figured you knew. If I'd known you didn't... fuck. I'm sorry. I guess I should have made sure that--" He stopped himself. "That's where you were found, Michelle. Not far from where the treehouse is. Deep in the bush. You were still in your hospital clothes and you were... covered in blood. DNA matched it as your own, but... there literally wasn't a scratch on you. All around where you were found were all kinds of... gutted animals. No one could figure it out. Case was never solved. You were... beyond traumatized. You wouldn't talk to anyone or let anyone touch you, not even your parents... except Steven. Only him. He'd hold you for literally hours as you'd stare off in to space. He blamed himself. I could never understand why, but I could see it when I looked at him...

"Then, not even a week later... he was gone. Disappeared into thin air. Your entire family was just... in pieces." He frowned. "You took Steven's disappearance hard, but... I don't know. You'd started recovering, I guess. Talking again. Not the same as you were, of course, but--- Michelle, you're bleeding!"

It was just my arm. It had started bleeding. Probably from stress. Nerves. I excused myself to the bathroom to clean-up and, when I came back, I could only think of one more question I had for him. 

"[Corey]... do you know anything about 'The Devil Book'?"

He gave me the weirdest look. I guess it was a harsh change of subject, but I honestly didn't want to dwell on the previous one. Still don't. I'm... still sorting it out, I guess. "'Devil Book'...? What the hell...? That spooks story your family used to tell everyone to freak them out? It was just some stupid devil worship book you found in the attic when you moved houses, wasn't it?"

"That's what I always knew it as. It was a stupid prank. I just remember using it to freak people out with all the shit that supposedly went on trying to get rid of the thing. A joke, right? That's what you remember?"

"Yeah, just a joke. Your brother used to get the biggest kick out of it, but even he told me it was just a dumb book. He actually caught your oldest brother moving it out of the attic and to another spot of the house just to freak your parents out. Once they learned about what had been going, well... it had become a good story. Why?"

I breathed a sigh of relief. "Good. It's nothing. I've been having a few freaks yelling at me about it being real and that they wanted it. I'm just glad I'm not the insane one for once..."

He actually laughed. "'Real'? That's nuts! What kinda wack-jobs are you hanging out wi--" His smile suddenly became a  frown. And, staring at me, I knew I wasn't going to like what came out next. He suddenly looked to the journal and photos on the table of him and Steven. "...Fuck. I just remembered... that there was another kind of 'Devil Book' from back then." He glanced between the two of us. "Robert's journal. He had one, just like Steven did. One time, by pure luck, I got a chance to sort of... flip through it while Robert was in another room speaking to Steven." The look that crossed his face was one of disgust, anger... and fear. Even after all these years had passed, I could see FEAR in Corey's eyes. "If there is anything that deserves the name 'Devil Book', it was that fucking thing. It looked old. Like, leather-bound kinda old. The things that were written in there... fuck, he was sick. All kinds of twisted comments and notes and..." He looked directly at me. "Experiments... on people. He referred to them by numbers. Not even names. 

"I did the dumb thing. I freaked out. Started yelling. Robert came back... and slammed me back against a wall. Choking me. The only thing that looked enraged was those eyes of his. Two pits of rage burning from the shadows of that fucking hood. Steven managed to break us up... and promptly yelled at me for snooping through Robert's journal. I screamed that it wasn't any fucking journal..." His eyes went back to Steven's journal. "I screamed that it was The Devil's Book."

 We spoke for a little while longer, but I felt sick and wanted to go. So we did. Thanked Corey for everything and left. We've been driving since then. Just putting distance between us and him.

I wanted the truth.

And now I have some of it... I don't know what I'm supposed to do.

I don't fucking know.


  1. Fuck you, Mitch. I did not bring him to anyone.

    1. No, you know what? Fuck YOU. You think you can run around just like everything is fucking peachy, but you're a deluded, self-centered hypocrite! You're the first to jump down the throats of anyone else, yet when it comes to taking the hits YOURSELF? Oh. Wow. How DARE we doubt you. How DARE we criticize you. How DARE we judge you. We must be IDIOTS. Fuck you.

      Stay in your dreamworld, Elaine. It's obviously a nicer place to be than reality.

    2. Right, because I spent so much time fucking criticizing people. Dammit you bitch the only time I ever said a damn thing against you was when you were fucking kidnapping and murdering my best friend, so why the fuck are you going out of your way to attack me now?

    3. Because of how you're acting. I mean, least you're out of the depression shit and for that I'm happy for you. Moving on is great. I thought we were actually reaching some sort of understanding, and then when I disagree with ONE thing that YOU do. Well, apparently I don't have the goddamn "right to judge" you, hm? That I didn't understand what it was like hauling around a kid? Well, I'm sorry for her. I really am. But like HELL does she give you the right to tell me what I can and can't have an opinion on. You judged me when I took out the murderer who butchered my family. Did I tell YOU you didn't have the right to attack me? No. I took it.

      But you have to be right about everything don't you?

      Must be nice.

      Oh I LOVE a Good Cat-Fight.

    5. Oh for fuck's sake. All I meant was that fuck I didn't know what to do and I'd challenge any of you fuckers to do better. When a six year old girl starts talking about maybe it'd be better to just die, a woman tends to get desperate. Can we stop jumping down each other's throats please?

    6. @Vanitas: So do I. If I still had my cat Psycho, I'd throw her at your face. Now THAT would be entertaining. And yeah, yeah, give the usual "Oh, yes, SO entertaining GUTTING her" reply. She could've taken you. No problem.

      @Elaine: When the ends start justifying the means, you're only going to land up getting more people killed. You ignore risks. Ignore the Game itself. We're not ordinary people living ordinary lives. You seem to forget that He thinks. That He KNOWS you. He creates HORRORS, Elaine. Shit that would make Hollywood envious. He doesn't just work off of instinct. Desperate or not, if you keep taking unnecessary risks, that kid is going to be further off dead by the time He's done. And that's not being heartless - that's being realistic. It sucks she's in this so young, yeah, I get that. It's horrible. But you can't pretend to be normal. You can't.

    7. Alright, that's enough.

      Michelle, I've let you say your piece, and I agree with a lot of it. But letting go of the hope for normalcy is the first step to despair, and that's just as dangerous as anything He could pull. No point in rolling over and doing half of the work for Him.

      Elaine, I like you and respect you, but your behavior gets me miffed sometimes too, not gonna lie. You're going down the same road Ava did, and look where she ended up. The world's chronic inability to call you out on your decisions is also worrying (especially considering how quick they all were to condemn Michelle, who hurt fewer people for a much better reason, but hey, that's my own bias showing, I can admit that). It's not something I mind though, as long as YOU are aware of the road you're walking, and as long as you don't get pissy and defensive when someone DOES point something out.

      Everybody deals with trauma in different ways. We can agree on that, and agree to disagree on the rest. Now drop the bickering, both of you.

    8. Oh for fuck's sake. Ryuu, I thought you were fucking smarter than that. Incapable of calling me out on my decisions my fucking ass, have you never looked at my fucking comment section? You've certainly never seen the emails I've fucking gotten and you're definitely ignoring the people I've fucking lost over the shit I've done.

      Honestly? I still fucking stand by my decision to take Em to Disney. I kind of figure if people that hated me came forward to support my decision and my logic, it's not as fucking clear cut as you make it sound. Hell, if it hadn't come apart and cost so many their lives I'd probably stand by the idea of an inpenetrable safe zone open to anyone at such a small cost too.
      Maybe that makes me a fucking monster, but you know what? The real world is cruel, and the only way to help people is to accept that it will have a cost.
      Better reason my fucking ass, I was making a fucking safe place for anyone and everyone who needed it. People like you, Ryuu, when you were fucking comatose and helpless. Think about what it could have been if instead of running herself half to death she could've taken you somewhere safe and gotten you help BEFORE you tried to off yourself, huh?
      Think about all the runners who don't last a month, just kids who have no idea what they're doing, who've never had to fend for themselves before and who end up hollowed or dead before they have a chance to hit their stride.
      Then tell me what the fuck reason Mitch has ever had to hurt anyone, other than dumb fucking revenge.

      I've kept my silence under the assumption that I'm stupid or a fucking monster for way too fucking long, and I'm sick of it. You can fucking hate me if you want, but don't get on your damn self righteous thing and act like you lot are fucking better than me or are any better able to figure out the way things are gonna fucking go.

      Also, Amy, I would note that Em was talking about handing herself over, not offing herself. So yes, as a former child proxy, I'm quite concerned about the possibility.

    9. One, no, actually, you DON'T get called out as much as you should. Just for ONE of the examples, just look at what happened after the SHIT you pulled with Hope. How many people STILL grabbed at your ankle? Reassured you? Stepped up to back you up? Even after you tried to take the easy way out, they were still there. Blind faith. Blind fucking faith. It's like you have a whole harem surrounding you and, quite frankly, it doesn't impress me. Send them at me again if you want to. I don't care.

      Two, from where you stand you have a LOT OF FUCKING NERVE attacking Valerie. She was only trying to get US to stop arguing, and so now you're going to take the mood I so HAPPILY put you into and attack HER instead? Yeah, cause that's mature. Attack the referee. That makes PERFECT sense. You're a genius, Elaine. You really are.

      Three, I wouldn't bring Valerie within the same CITY LIMITS as you. That's fact. "Safe" house or not.

      Four, I'm not going to defend the fact I have blood on my hands or try to reason my actions away. It is what it is. I'll never regret killing him, Elaine. Ever. He got what he deserved. One day, so will I. And so will you.

      Three... NO ONE IS SAYING THEY ARE BETTER THAN YOU. GodDAMMIT that is HALF the problem right there. Stop thinking yourself BETTER than everyone else every time someone disagrees with you. No matter what the hell the argument is about, you always do you best to plant your boot on the other person's face! It's a defensive thing, I know, but not everything has to dissolve into a screaming match. But hey, I'm guilty of having a temper too. I get that. No worries. That doesn't make it an excuse though to keep using it every time you're doubted. We're all standing on the same ground, Elaine. And the ground beneath your feet isn't any richer than the ground WE stand on. Val isn't looking down at you. But I guess it can feel that way when someone tells you a truth you don't want to hear, eh?

      Five, since when the FUCK have you EVER "kept silent"? I don't think you're capable of it, to be honest... since honesty is my newest streak and all that. In fact, even after our truce, you always seemed to have to bring up old details JUST to remind me where I stood in your book. And I DID play nice. I went along with it. Tried to make friendly. But no. Either you judge me and I judge you, or neither of us have any right to judge anything. I'm not putting up with this one-sided shit anymore. And I won't stand by as you lash at Valerie either. So back off.

      This is ridiculous, Elaine. You're so consumed with being RIGHT that you don't even care if any of the points to the contrary are valid. As unfortunate as it is, you're NOT always going to be right... and you can't change what you won't acknowledge. You're going to get hit HARD, Elaine. And that's not me wishing anything on you or your group. That's just logic.

      You can't dodge a punch if your eyes are closed.

    10. ...I was actually talking about Becky, not Morningstar, Elaine, although to be fair, the Becky incident happened before you were around.

      Luke Cifer was long dead, and by that point, Morningstar was willing to die as well if that's what it took to end it. He went out with a smile on his face. These are facts that you need to accept and move on.

      Both Disney and Hope - specifically the method by which Hope was defended - were notoriously reckless ideas. You had the best of intentions. You have justified yourself repeatedly. You hold no regrets for the decisions you have made, and you would do little, if not nothing, differently, given a second chance. My best friend has been in this exact same position for the better part of a year. I understand where you're coming from, I really do.

      But please. Please stop verbally attacking my friend. You have no idea of the strain she's under, the pain she's in. She doesn't need the additional burden of defending herself from you. If she disagrees with your methods, that's her prerogative, and if you disagree with her methods, then that's yours. But there's no reason for you to be at each other's throats like this so please, just... stop.

      I can't take it.

    11. Right, because I'm not under any fucking strain when she fucking attacks me? Not like I'm not hurting too.
      I'm done. As I said. If she stops being the fucking aggressor here, I won't say another word to her ever again. She's the one who called me out with this stupid fucking post, not the other way around.

    12. I didn't call you out on this post. I made a muttering of a comment about your recent activities. I called you out when you decided to respond on MY blog with that same bitch of an attitude you always do and basically told me to shut up cause I don't know what I'm talking about. Uhh... no. My opinion on the matter is NOT bullshit and I'm not going to hold back for good manners on MY DAMN BLOG.

      Also, considering the topic that the other 99.9% of the post actually IS about... it MIGHT not have been a good time to try to prove you're right yet again. KINDA been handed a BIT of a mental fuckery. Okie dokie?

      Sure. I'm an "aggressor". Fine. Whatever. I meet fire with fire, Elaine. You give me attitude, I have PLENTY of my own I can spit right back. I'm not intimidated by you. So crank it up if you want to. I really don't care.


  2. I wonder what a six year old Proxie would be like. Probably vicious, and desperate to die. They're good about turning our worst nightmares against us. There most definitely ARE worse things than death, Elaine. Don't start complaining now.

    1. Ugh. Kids are creepy enough without thinking down THAT route. I hope to hell I never run across one.

      And I agree. There are a lot of things worse than death.

  3. ... Seems you could use a friendly face around, eh?

    1. Heh. That would certainly make a nice change. Talking to Corey is nice for that exact reason... but we can't REALLY talk, you know? I'm just keeping my fingers crossed I'm not dragging him into this mess... he really doesn't deserve that.

  4. By all means, keep tearing each other apart.

    Why not offer yourselves up to him on a silver platter while you're at it? It's pretty much the same thing.

    1. Look, it may not be exactly pretty, Konaa, and I DO get what you're saying... but biting our tongues for the sake of good manners isn't going to help anyone either. Sometimes people NEED a good argument to get the head on straight... and that goes for both parties in the equation.

      I'm sorry if you don't agree.

  5. You're the one who broke the truce, not me. And I despise passive aggressive bullshit like your precious Valerie managed to slip into her attempt at peacemaking.

    How about you just leave me the fuck alone and I'll let you do your own little hateful thing. Just stay the fuck away from me.
    Anyone who honestly thinks that I should've just been completely abandoned and left to die is certainly not someone I want anything to do with.

    1. Val has always meant the best. She's certainly not perfect, but she's understanding. Snapping at her just proves how desperate you are to ignore truth, because there isn't any other reason to do it. Simple.

      I don't hate you, Elaine. Hate would imply that I care on one level or another... and, at this point, I really don't. I'm indifferent. Live or die, I don't care. Though, I suppose... by taking the time to confront you like this to begin with, it means I DID care enough to try to get through that thick skull of yours... but I just don't care to try anymore. It's pointless. Your group, however, isn't you. I do hope you don't get them killed. Especially the kid.

      So sure. Go ahead. Ignore everything we've said. Look down on us. Keep up the facade. Run away. That suits me just fine, because, honestly, anyone who is in as deep in denial as you are isn't someone I want anything to do with.

      Goodbye, Elaine.

    2. Anyone who thinks that you should've... what??

      When did I say that? When did either of us say that? Why on earth would I ever wish that one anyone?!

      Elaine, I don't even understand what you're trying to say at this point. You're not making any sense, you're just yelling.

    3. Noooo, continue!~ It's entertaining.

  6. What... the fucking hell.

    Am I supposed to know you? What the fuck do you want?

  7. Replies
    1. ...Come back WHERE?

      I've kinda been all over hell's half acre. Mind narrowing it down a bit?

  8. youneedtocomebackyouneedtocomebackFebruary 19, 2012 at 12:07 AM


    1. Trapped where?

      Please, if you need help, you have to give us information. Maybe we can't help you directly, but we can find someone who can.

  9. Replies
    1. Look, we can't "come back" if you don't tell us where the hell you ARE. Is there anything around you that may narrow it down for us? Signs? Landmarks? Anything?

    2. Did something happen there? Is it the location of a special event?

  10. -... .-.. --- --- -..

    1. CLARIFY, DAMMIT. We need MORE information. Can you at LEAST give us a name? We might be able to find you if we know who you ARE.

  11. -... .-.. --- --- -.. -.-- --- ..- .-. -... .-.. --- --- -.. .. .- -- - .-. .- .--. .--. . -.. .-- .. - .... ---. ..- -

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    1. What the hell is this supposed to be? Are you a proxy or something?

    2. Hey, you still there? Come on, talk to me. Where are you?

    3. Kiddo, gotta say: Morse code isn't that hard to translate.