My calender tells me it's Christmas. That's funny. What with the whole snow theme I've got going on. Christmas day. What a day to die. Almost a whole year since I started this blog. Wow. Doesn't time fly when you're stuck in an eldritch pocket universe. I may as well get this over with.
I arrived at the summit, the top of the mountain, I knew what to expect. I knew that there'd be another challenge waiting for me. I was right of course. Sean was standing there, his cricket bat in hand. I held my own bat by my side. Silence is the only word I can use to describe what was happening. The wind stopped, my breathing stopped. We both stood still, eyeing each other in utter quiet.
The voice startled me. It was cold, but still human. I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised, the bastard had gotten Jane to seem real enough.
"I know what you're thinking, Chris, you're thinking I'm just another Word, don't you? That I'm just another artificial man with the face of someone you once knew. But unfortunately for you. No. I'm right here. I'm the real deal. Miraculously brought back to life," he did a little twirl, "Do you like the new me, Chris? The me who killed Jane? The me who's about to defeat you?"
I didn't know if I could believe him. But if it was true. Could I really kill him? Kill an actual human being? Even a Proxy? Were they even human anymore? Human enough to bleed and feel pain. Human enough to fear. Could I do that to someone? I don't know why I'm asking these questions, this is all in the past. I already know the answer.
"You're not you, Sean. You're a little puppet for Slender Man, or the Glitch, or the Tale Weaver. Who ever -whatever!- it is, you're still a puppet! And I'm sorry for what I have to do." I finally worked up the courage to step forward. He only smirked in reply, a smirk that wasn't his own, it was something else pulling at his brain.
Without another word I smashed the bat into his face and he spiraled backwards, swinging around to return the favour. I collapsed onto my back, getting back to my feet and shoving the bat into his ribs. He smashing his upwards into my jaw.
"You see you can't stop me. I'm better now, stronger than you by sooo much. In every way. I can see it in your eyes, you've been crying. You're in so much pain and I can take it all away. I will take it all away."
He spun around and bashed the side of my head and I was down again, head throbbing, skull fracturing. He placed a knee on my back and the bat around my throat, squeezing until I couldn't breathe. I dropped my bat and stuck my arms behind me, grabbing his head and tossing him over onto his back. I got to my feet as quickly as my head allowed, feeling as though I was about to be sick. I brought my foot down on his face and he started to bleed.
"Now Chris, you know you're going to have to do better than that," he taunted as he rolled over and knocked my legs with his bat, bringing me crashing down to the ground. He rose and peered after me as I tried to crawl away. "Coooome oooon, now! Where are you goin'?!" he called after me. I grabbed a rock and tossed it at his head and it struck true. "Don't make me mad, Chris. I may not go so easy on you."
I crawled around the corner of a large rock and got back to my feet. I couldn't even think. My head pounded like a jackhammer, my heartbeat ramming into my brain over and over like a brick wall. Sean came around the corner and I punched him in the face with as much strength as my sluggish body could muster. I grabbed his bat and twisted it so its end pointed at his face and pushed it into his jaw.
He fell on his ass but I couldn't even find the strength to take the opportunity to strike. I just fell back against the rock, breathing heavily, so tired in every way I can think of. I had vowed I would succeed. Vowed I would win. But with every passing second I just felt more and more like giving up. With every fiber of my being I wanted to curl up into a ball and just let it end. I dropped down into a seating position against the rock, not even lifting my gaze as Sean approached.
"You really are giving up aren't you?" he said as he bent down trying to look me in the eye, "Maybe when this is over I'll find the others, the real John and Elisa and bash their faces in too." I looked up. And all the pain just glazed over into rage. I couldn't let him hurt them. Couldn't let them die because I was weak, because I just gave up. Without even thinking I rammed my fingers into his eyes, clear liquid bursting out and down my hands. He screamed but I could barely hear over the sound of my own pulse. I pushed him onto the ground and continued to push, blood rushing out of his sockets. I removed my fingers and grabbed his bat, belting him over and over again with it, the screaming continued long after he had gone limp and the cold light from his eyes had faded. I realised I was the one screaming.
I fell down and lay in the red snow next to him, tears flowing freely. I really could. I really killed him. My hands were stained with the blood of a real human. I know there's people out there who've killed dozens of proxies. But how many of them used to be their friends? How many had they killed with their bare hands? How many had done it completely alone in the world? I rolled over, reaching out an arm, grabbing the snow and pulling myself along. Until I was really there at the peak, looking over the frozen wasteland, each flake of snow like a fragment of white bone. A thousand miles of desolation.
Clap. The sound cracked my mind. Clap. Seizures of pain rocked my body. Clap. I curled up into the fetal position, shying away from the universe.
The Glitch descended from the sky like some demented angel, applauding slowly. "Well here we are. You did it, Christopher. Congratulations. Victory is yours! How does it feel, Christopher? How does your victory feel?" A white door appeared at the precipice of the mountain. "Come on then," he said, picking me up effortlessly and dusting me off, "You've won. You've earned yourself a rest. Before the next stage. If that even happens," he adds, rolling an uncountable number of eyes at the same time, "My good friend the Tale Weaver isn't quite as good at organizing tournaments as the Game Master was. It's in the name after all. But when you're all rested up, the door will open and it'll either lead to the next challenge or back to earth! Either way, will you be happy?" He smiled a grin that seemed to stretch out of the universe and shoved me through the door onto a red carpeted floor of some sort waiting room. Several chairs are placed against the walls, and at the far side is another white door that one day will either open to another challenge or let me go home.
Either way I won't be happy.