I once lived a normal life. I was a groundskeeper at a local cemetery. It wasn't the best job, but hey, it paid the bills. I lived alone in an apartment complex that stood about a mile from the cemetery in which I worked. I would spend my time writing short stories about my boring life and the days I spent at the cemetery. When I worked, it was usually during the afternoon into twilight hours. I never would've worked at night. That place is creepy as it is, thank you very much.
I stayed far away from it during the night. It was always the same routine: show up at the cemetery, gather my tools and go out to pick up trash and tidy up gravestones until it started to get dark, then go home and do whatever. Nothing special. This routine continued for a year and a half, ever since the day I got the job. Not once did I ever run into anything spooky, like you'd see in a cheesy horror movie. There were never any black cats or curses, and certainly no zombies crawling out of the ground to eat my brains. However, there was one day that would change my life forever. The day I saw him, or rather, it. The day I saw the Slender Man.
It started off like any other day. I walked to the cemetery, got my tools and headed out to pick up the trash. But something felt different that day. It was hard to explain, but I felt as though I was being watched. I would constantly look around nervously, only to find that there was nothing around. The only sounds I heard were birds chirping in the trees and the occasional car that passed by. So, I spent the entire day on edge, something in the back of my mind telling me that there was something else with me in that cemetery. At the end of my shift, as I headed back to put my tools away for the night, I noticed that the birds were gone, and there were no cars passing by anymore. Everything was eerily quiet. Just then, I saw what appeared to be a man standing about a hundred feet from me. From what I could see, he was abnormally tall, and wore a black suit jacket, with a white shirt and black tie. Because it was beginning to get dark, I couldn't see his face very well, so I couldn't tell if he was anyone familiar. I called out to him, but he didn't move. He just stood there like a statue. I began to walk towards him, accidentally dropping my tools along the way. I bent down to pick them up, and when I looked to where the man was, he was gone. There was no sign of him anywhere. I scratched my head and shook it off, thinking that I was just seeing things because I was overworked. I put my tools away and headed home, but I walked a little quicker than usual. I was still a little nervous, and questions filled my head. Who was that man? Why did he just stand there? How did he disappear so quickly? Was he real, or just a figment of my imagination? That night, I barely slept at all. It was my thoughts that caused my insomnia.
The next day at the cemetery, I was even more tense. I felt like if a leaf were to fall on my head, I'd scream in terror. Unfortunately for me, the more tense I got, the more distracted I got from my work. Soon enough, my boss Jeff came out to talk to me. Jeff was a good guy. He and my father went way back, and he was the one who gave me the job as groundskeeper in the first place. He and I were also good friends, and he knew that I wasn't acting myself that day.
"Steven, what's the matter?" he asked me. "You seem a little off today. Is something wrong?" I didn't want to sound like a crazy person, but I knew I could never lie to Jeff. So I told him the truth.
"I saw something yesterday, Jeff. There was a man in a suit that was just standing in the cemetery. He didn't do anything, and then he just disappeared out of nowhere. It kind of freaked me out." Jeff looked at me like I was crazy.
"Wait, what did you say this man looked like?" I was surprised that he actually somewhat believed my story.
"He was really tall with a nice suit on. It was too dark, so I couldn't see his face."
Jeff rubbed his head and sighed, "I don't believe it." I rolled my eyes, thinking that he was talking about my story. But then he continued, "I didn't think the legends were true. But what you've explained to me, Steven, verifies that maybe the Slender Man does exist."
Now I was the one that was confused. "Slender Man? What's a Slender Man?"
"I'm not the one you should be asking these questions, Steve. I only know a little bit about him. But, I have a friend, James. He knows everything there is to know about the Slender Man." He took out a piece of paper and a pencil and scribbled somthing down. Handing it to me, he said,
"This is where he lives. I'll give him a call and tell him what you saw and that you're coming to learn more about Slender Man. Any questions you may have, he'll answer them." I still thought the idea was a little crazy, but I wanted to know exactly what this Slender Man was.
That night, I did as Jeff suggested and paid a visit to his friend, James. As I entered his house, I saw he was already seated at a table, with pictures scattered all around. When I walked through the door, James greeted me with a smile.
"Ah, Steven! Jeff told me you were coming. Please, take a seat." I pulled up a chair to the table and began to observe some of the pictures he had laid out. "Jeff told me that you think you saw the Slender Man and that you want more info on him. Well, you've come to the right place." I nodded and he began to tell me everything he knew.
"One thing you should know about the Slender Man: he is not human," James began. "We don't know what he is exactly, but we know for sure he isn't human. People who have seen him describe him just as you saw him, but he is sometimes seen with black tentacles emerged from his back. He is a fearsome creature, and kills most likely for the fun of it. Now, let me give you a little backstory on the Slender Man. One of the first recorded instances of him was back in the mid-1500s in Germany. A woodcut artist by the name of Hans Frekenberg created a piece that displayed a creature that looks not unlike the Slender Man. It was discovered in Halstbugh Castle in 1883. Here's what it looks like." He slid one of the pictures over to me, one that depicted a knight dueling with a strange, humanoid creature with multiple arms and legs.
James continued, "Now Hans Frekenberg was known for his realistic depiction of human anatomy, but as you can see in that work, the character on the right has multiple arms and an oddly-shaped face. This work differs greatly from all his other works." I was intrigued at the amount of knowledge that James had. But he wasn't quite finished. He slid another picture over to me. This one showed several children frolicking on a playground, nothing out of the ordinary. Except for the fact that a man that looked exactly like the one I saw in the cemetery was standing ominously in the background. Looking at that picture caused chills to race down my spine.
"Now this here is the first recorded photograph of the Slender Man. You can just see him in the background. According to records, every single child in that photograph disappeared shortly after it was taken. They haven't been seen since." I was astonished. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. James then passed me a few, more modern looking pictures. Each one seemed like a normal, everyday nature or family photo, but in the background of every one, the same tall man could be seen, looming in the shadows.
"That's pretty much all you need to know," James concluded. "Any questions?" I shook my head, still trying to wrap my head around why this thing was looking at me the day I saw him.
"The Slender Man is a mysterious force, Steven," James told me. "Nobody knows exactly why he does the things he does. Whether he does it for sport or he is a pawn for some higher being, we will never know."
Coming to this realization, I knew that I had to do something. I decided that the next day, I would find the Slender Man, and see for myself what kind of monster he was. I figured he was probably still in the vicinity of the cemetery, so I would hopefully find and capture him.
"I wouldn't try that if I were you," James warned. "The Slender Man has powers that you wouldn't believe. Its best to let nature take its course, and whatever you do, don't try to approach him if you sight him!" I assured James that I would do no such thing and thanked him for all the information as I left. However, I was still content on attempting to end the Slender Man's reign of terror once and for all.
I worked through the next day like it was any other day, but I kept my guard up the whole time, looking for any signs of the Slender Man. There was no sign of him the entire day, but once my shift was over, I put away my tools, except for a flashlight, and headed over to where I saw him standing just a couple of days prior. Like that fateful day, everything was eerily quiet; no birds or cars made any sound. I could sense he was nearby. I approached the area where I first saw him, and sat on one of the gravestones, waiting. I knew he would come, eventually. After about twenty minutes I began to give up hope, until I heard rustling coming from the woods that surrounded the cemetery. It was beginning to get darker, and I got a little nervous. I had never been in that area when it was that dark before. It was almost pitch black, now, and I only had the full moon and my flashlight for light. I gathered up some confidence and walked into the woods, my flashlight shining through the darkness. I followed the rustling sound through the woods, and it began to get louder and louder. It grew closer and closer and my heart began to race. Sweat formed on my brow and my hands shook as I tried to hold the flashlight steady.
"Show yourself!" I ordered as loudly as I could. Suddenly, from out of the brush of the woods came a squirrel. I let out a deep sigh of relief as the squirrel just stared at me for a few seconds. Then, it took off running away from me. I thought nothing of it, it was a squirrel after all. They're usually afraid of their own shadow. I turned around and it felt like I walked into a brick wall. I fell hard to the ground and dropped my flashlight. I couldn't see much, but I could see the outline of a figure, illuminated by the full moon. I stumbled around like a madman, grabbing for the flashlight. I found it, and shined it at the figure. I started at its legs, and moved the light up its body. When I hit its torso, I saw that it was wearing a suit and tie. I swear I felt my heart stop for a moment. I shined the light up at its face, and gasped in horror at what I saw. This creature had no face. It looked like an empty canvas. No hair, no face, no nothing. Just a pale white head, looking down at me, as if it knew I was there. He must've been at least nine or ten feet tall.
I stumbled to my feet and I felt two hands grasp my neck. I began to panic as my heart raced faster and faster, my breathing getting heavy. The creature pulled me closer and raised me up so my head was level with his. I stared into where his face should've been, and he tilted his head, as if he were observing me. I could barely breath as his grasp grew tighter around my neck. I struggled furiously and suddenly several black tentacles emerged from the creature's back. I knew this was the end. I was about to become another victim of the Slender Man. He raised one of his tentacles and I braced myself for the end. However, I heard a faint bark of dogs, and a few men calling my name. The creature turned his head towards the noise and then back to me. He took the raised tentacle and wrapped it around my forearm. A burning pain shot through my entire arm and I winced in pain. If that thing's hands hadn't been cutting off my air supply, I would've screamed bloody murder. The pain was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. The creature dropped me to the ground and stood above me for a few seconds. I looked up to it and I swear he nodded to me before fading into the surrounding darkness. I gasped for breath as the men found me. Jeff was with them.
"Steven, what the hell happened here? We heard you yelling, so we came to find out what was wrong!"
With what little energy I had left, I let out a whisper, barely audible.
"It was... the Slender Man." Then, everything went black.
When I awoke, I found myself in a hospital bed, my neck and forearm still in pain. Once I had regained complete consciousness, I looked down at my forearm and saw that there was a black mark where the Slender Man had wrapped his tentacle around me. I stared at it for a few minutes, trying to contemplate why it had spared my life, and left me with just a black mark. Before I had a chance to think anymore, Jeff and James came into my room, Jeff carrying my laptop.
"How are you feeling, Steve?" Jeff asked me.
"Still in a little bit of pain," I replied. "The doctors say I should be out in a couple days, maybe even tomorrow."
"I warned you not to approach him," James shook his head. I figured he would be a little upset with me.
"I know. I really wish I had listened to you," I apologized. He put his hand on my shoulder in comfort.
"It's alright. I know how you feel. You wanted to get an up-close and personal view of the Slender Man. Who wouldn't? I'm just surprised he let you live." I was just as surprised. Had it not been for the men calling my name, I probably wouldn't have gotten so lucky. Soon later, Jeff handed me my laptop.
"Why'd you bring this?" I asked him.
"Because you need to tell your story," he replied. "The story about how you met and survived the Slender Man. I'm sure a lot of people are going to want to hear about it."
"But, who's to say anyone will believe it?" I asked skepically.
James smiled and put his hand on my shoulder. "Steven, for every skeptic there is a believer. I'm sure someone out there will believe it. Hell, maybe there's someone who's had an experience just like yours. Now get some rest before you start writing, you need it." The two started to walk away until I called to them.
"Hey, guys? Why do you think he left me with this?" I showed them the black mark on my arm and James rubbed his chin.
"No idea. I've never heard of any reported cases of that happening. Maybe since you were lucky enough to survive him he gave it to you as something to remember him by." He smiled and the two walked out of my room. I chuckled to myself at the thought but then I realized that maybe that wasn't so crazy of an idea after all. I opened my laptop and began writing this story; my story. The story of my experience with the Slender Man. If I learned anything from that ordeal, it's that we may never know who, or what the Slender Man is exactly, and where he's going to show up next. But I give this warning to you, dear reader. Beware the Slender Man, for the Slender Man watches us all.