I was drafting this up earlier, in the car, and accidentally posted the first half. I've deleted it now, but....well....this is it. All of it.
We parked a little way’s outside of the Quarry and just sat there…..
I’m crying again, I’ll finish this later.
Okay. Been about fifteen minutes Ohgod this hotel room is so empty. I go to say something and there’s no-one there.
Another ten minutes and a tea. Right. I WILL finish this now. No more dithering. And it’s going to be a long post. My longest yet.
We sat there and just stared at the road for a while, fuck all happening there, it’s one of the most deserted roads I’ve ever had the misfortune to be on.
Balth wasn’t coming with us. I’d said that and Reach’d agreed. I scrambled into the back seat and handed him the Aya before snatching my Black Gold from under the seats. I shared out the stuff I’d brought from London. Bombs, battery and nail. I had my side pack, he had his cartridge belt and pack. I think we barely said a word.
Oh, apart from the bit where I commented that if we died, would he be able to drink brandy in the afterlife or not?
And then we went into the Quarry. Wire cutters for the fence, 2 minutes. Scoping out. No-one. Good. Move on, deeper into the Quarry. Move carefully near the skip, there’s a crumbly bit which leads onto a sheer drop. Reach drummed every single inch of that place into my head so well I could navigate the thing from memory. Exactly the point. We were wary that at any moment the Quarry could be replaced with the hallucinations that were the security system here.
So we carried on that way, corners had guns put round them first, then heads. Protect the other’s back. Look out for the other’s neck.
But we were prepared for an attack when and if it came.
So when we were sneaking by one of the massive cranes and we were jumped in the shadows, we reacted well.
The guy’s arm is around my throat in seconds. I slam an elbow into his solar plexus, twist out of his grip. Reach shoots him in the chest, the pellets send him stumbling back a few feet. I leap forward and shove one of the nails from the nail bomb I’m holding into his eye. Reach and I dive for cover on the other side of the crane. Explosion. Dead Revenant.. Nail bomb to the brain will do that to even the most super powered of us.
But along with that loud bang went our stealth.
So we run like hell in the direction that the boat to the island with the thing on it would be, but hell. Now they KNOW we’re here and suddenly I’m in a box.
That’s just it.
One second I’m running, mere inches behind Reach, the next, I’m in a box.
So I yell for Reach because this is physically impossible and even though I KNOW what’s happening because we went over it, I’m still freaked because a tiny part of me is shit scared now that I can’t see him or know that he was, IS still mere inches in front of me, but I can't see, hear, feel anyhting outside of the box.
And then there was a door. And I opened it because this was what Reach said. This is what we had to expect.
From our minds to the lay of the land.
Fantastic. Brilliant. Abso-bloody-lutely fine.
So I carried on, going in the rough direction that we needed to, through each mysterious door to the next, nerves fraying with every single door opened with a lack of Slenderman behind it. My compass was as useful as a sock full of sand, spinning like a helicopter blade with no discernible North.
And then there were no doors. Just a room. And I turned back to go out the way I came and suddenly there are many doors.
With whispering things in the writhing, smoky shadows beyond them.
Whispering horrible, terrible things. Things that only I know. Only I feel. Slandering me. Prying things out of my mind and teasing me with them. I saw things too. Disgusting things. Father, alive. Father dead. Father lumbering towards me, eyes hanging out of his face, entrails spewing out of his mouth. I went to shoot it, but stopped. Because shooting was real and this was ALL IN MY HEAD. I knew that, but it was all so real. His fingers scraping my skin, that repulsive odour before he vanishes into a wall or another doorway or just into thin air.
Hands pawing at me through the shadows, when they came into contact with me...I either had to be prepared for searing pain or cloying numbness.
Oh god I threw up more than once in that place.
Cried more than once.
Screamed more than once.
Then, after running through so many of the doors to get away from the Father façade…..I broke down.
The whisperings got to me. The Doors couldn’t be ignored. The images in my mind…..
There was nothing more for me to throw up.
I just shuddered in a corner of a dark room, crying, rocking back and forth like a mad person and clutched the gun I couldn’t use in case I shot Reach in real life.
And then my phone buzzed.
My phone buzzed.
My god. I just broke down all over you guys, huh?
I’m sorry. I needed to say something. It seems that writing made everything easier to categorise in my mind. But then there were knives.
How can it be in the mind when I could feel every nick, every cut, every horrible slash that was made on me by that live room?
I have SCARS.
I have actual, physical cuts that are healing. The blackness in that room….it turned sharp. And it nicked and pulled and scratched at me.
And then I read your comments…..
Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.
I swear the blackness receded a little with every line I read.
I couldn't comment back. I couldn't read other blogs.
So I committed ever single word to memory and faced my Father head on this time.
And I bit him.
I bit the thing that had been stalking me for hours, days, weeks, whatever.
I bit his arm, felt my teeth break through skin and tasted something horrible and acrid and the doors exploded.
They exploded into splinters. Which embedded themselves everywhere, in my hair, in my arms, in my face, in my body, in my mind.
In my mind.
It was all in my mind.
My Father exploded.
The walls exploded.
Freedom. Freedom from The Labyrinth.
So I breathe REAL air. Whirl round to look for Reach in the REAL Quarry. Call his name, both names, real and moniker. See him about three metres behind me.
He’s not out of his Labyrinth.
I can tell the second I see him. He’s not following his own advice, stupid bastard man. He’s looking at something in front of him, glassy-eyed and apologising so profusely.
And the closer I get to him the more words I hear.
Others I do not know.
He’s apologising so vehemently and they are obviously spurning the apologies. So he’s trying more, taking steps forward, hands gesticulating, even with a shotgun, he’s imploring them now and I’m so horribly torn because the whispers were right that he could never love me back because he’s quite obviously still in love and pining after Ariana and it would never work out anyway because he’s immortal and I am not and Ohgod he’s so human in that moment because he’s really begging you to forgive him now and I’m sure, even though I’ve never met any of you, you’d have already said you forgave him by now but in his mind you don’t and I grab him.
I grab him and pull him sideways.
And he’s still imploring you to forgive him because he doesn’t know I’m there because I’m not in his mind and the Labyrinth doesn’t let anyone intrude on it’s fun because it’s part of Him and His creations…His world.
And I curse Him to the bowels of Heaven for that. Because he lives in Hell and his Hell would be Heaven.
So I drag him some more, closer to the area we need to get to, murmuring things to him, at him, knowing he can’t hear me or feel me or see me but just hoping that I can be strong enough for him to hold onto SOMETHING of his mind. That he can shatter The Labyrinth with both of our strength behind him.
And then Slate is there.
His fingertips are blackened, so he tried to get into my room. He’s laughing terribly. He’s got a knife as big as my arm, serrated…….
And Reach can’t help me now.
Slate holds out a hand to Reach, who’s apologising to Ariana again and Slate laughs and lunges for him.
And I put myself between them.
Between the brick house Revenant and the person I could never have but who GODDAMNIT I NEED RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I’M STABBED IN THE ARM AND OH SWEET FUCKING LORD THAT HURTS.
And I shoot him.
And I catch him in the face because he wasn’t expecting my idiocy in that moment.
I spat in his face, he threw the knife at me. It catches me in the thigh, I stumble he punches me in the gut, I’m winded god it’s like a van just smashed into me, internal bleeding? I don’t know, I don’t care because he’s going for Reach again and that can’t happen because I won’t let him and I shoot him again and again and again face, leg, face.
Nail bomb to the brain.
Drop shotgun, reach around to my side-pack for my Tazer.
Tazer for one minute, above the heart.
Pick up shotgun.
We screamed at each other of course, there was banter. Like a bad movie or something. I found out that the first Revenant that jumped us was called “Gethsemane.” Like I care. He was trying to trip me up with empathy, but NO because you’re attacking us and that’s not going to curry any favour.
And then I look over at Reach, still apologising, this time to his daughter.
It hits me that I’m going to have to do all the work from here on in.
I’M going to have to protect HIM.
Oh the bitter irony....
So I take the shotgun off Reach and switch the safety on, running it through my back strap. I rip off the opposite sleeve to my stab wound and bandage it. I grab Reach’s free hand and drag him with me. It takes us five to eight minutes to reach the lake.
And the boat is there.
I could cry with relief. It’s a speedboat. I don’t have to row.
I drag Reach with me, into the boat and scream at him, yell at him, slap him. Nothing. It’s not breaking. Even as a hypersensitive Revenant, he feels none of my attacks.
And I clear my mind to stop my rising hysteria and start the speedboat.
It takes us three minutes from there to get to the island and the second we’re there I know something’s wrong.
Someone had set the shack that guarded The Heel on fire.
The whole reason we did this.
And I get off the boat, wary for Reach enough to keep him at my back, in the boat. And I see a man. I ready the shotgun……
And now I reach the most detailed memory I have of today. Detailed because the second it happened I knew I had to commit it to memory, because this is the kind of thing that happens and comes back to bite you if you don't remember everything.
A bandaged hand clapping against an uninjured one.
Wildly manic eyes.
“Hiiiii~!” A singsong taunting voice from the man in front of me.
“No.” I'm whispering now, shocked, hateful, terrified face turning to a snarl in mere seconds. I ready the shotgun and make to shoot him.
“And to think that your threats were so more entertaining than you."
“Die.” I shoot at him. Miss, wait, no, I didn’t miss, he moved too fast for me to see.
“Wow. You’re a really bad shot.”
“Die.” Another shot. Another too-fast-to-see move.
“The Heel’s broken you know.” He throws a mangled metal mess at me and it grazes my lower calf. I feel sick to my stomach. The shotgun in my hands waivers and Redlight laughs at me.
“You’re a very brave little girl, you know….all this fighting and threatening and running around, testing things….”
I lose my voice for a second, take a step backwards to Reach in the boat, still apologising to his daughter.
“I--” My voice is embarrassingly squeaky so I clear it, much to Redlight’s amusement. My grip on my shotgun is shaky so I narrow my eyes, remembering what he did to Robert, my anger then and using it to steel me now. I take a deep breath. “I blew your Master’s arms apart. I can do the same to your head.”
“No you can’t. You’re too slow, I’m too fast. You’re too plain, I’m too handsome. You’re too stupid, I’m too intelligent, I could go on all day.”
“Please do. And stand still while you do so, I beg of you.”
“Was that a ‘Please’ I heard?”
We both stop talking, stop breathing, the only sound is that of Reach and the fire, 30 feet away. After a full two minutes of not-blinking, non-wavering eye-contact, he speaks.
“I can erase all this you know.” His voice changes, almost tender. “I can make it so you and your Mother can live normally, back to how you were before.” He holds out his hand to me, a gesture. His eyes crease a little around the edges, so much like he's actually caring, but I hear Reach still apologising behind me and my already known answer gains more strength.
“Go fuck yourself, Red. I‘m dead either way.“
And I shoot at the ground in front of him, blowing up chunks of grass and mud to mask my next shot, through the mud. To his foot. I assume it hit, the swearing was colourful. And I fled back to the boat. Gunning it in seconds.
And on the bank……
He’s there. Tentacles everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. Anger rolling off him. Thrashing out towards us like hundreds of whips.
And I know in that second, I’m going to die. I was never going to survive this Quarry. He hates us too much. We've done too much to him.
Reach wakes. We’re on the bank, I’ve dragged him behind me the second we hit land and kept my eyes on the faceless fucker. I scream at Him, yell at Him, two tentacles thrash my chest and shoulder and I scream, stumbling in my running. The pain in those tentacles…..it BURNS so badly to be touched….
And Reach wakes from his Labyrinth.
And he yells at me to run.
And I scream at him I’m not going to just desert you, are you stupid?!
And he grabs the shotgun out of my back strap to shoot Him. Distract Him away from me.
A tentacle around my throat BURNING LIKE SOME KIND OF MANIC JELLYFISH STING.
I shoot and hear the impact on Him, but all it serves to do is make Him try to crush my windpipe more. Black spots are swimming in my vision now.
Reach slamming his shoulder into His side.
More screams, yells, gunfire and I’m running and leaving him to fight Him and crying and fleeing and sobbing and too much has happened and I don’t notice it’s dawn when it was noon when we started.
A blur in my mind…..I’m back in the car, driving madly, in pain, bleeding, I scream with frustration in the middle of a country lane and cry, slam my fists against the steering wheel and sob. Balth moves from the back of the car and I notice his food bowls are empty so I fill them and his water……
I went to A&E, said it was a fireworks show that went wrong, they didn’t believe me, but I’m all bandaged up now.
And now I’m in our hotel room.
And I’m alone and tired.
And I just hate Him.
For us, it felt like hours, in reality….my god….it was three days.
The Heel was….it was what Thage needed. What we could have used.
It channelled Other World energy through a person, enough to destroy Him. That’s why it was so heavily guarded…
But Redlight or someone else got to it first….destroyed it in a manner no-one had tried before and succeeded.
I just want him to walk through that door and flop into that chair and complain about the weather before making some snarky comment….
I will not give up.
I know I want to.
But I can’t.
Anyone else who is going to actively face off against Him for the reasons of research or fighting.
I am at your service.
I have enough money to get to America. I am leaving this continent. I am to be active. More active than before. More active than I ever wanted to be. Mother has been left alone, but she shall be fine. She knows worse people than I do after all. She's fully aware of the risks. She's working on something amazing too...
I am Avalesca Farrell-Conquest and I am going to be brutally murdered by Slenderman, probably this year.
But I swear on my pride that I shall give him holes to see out of before he does so.
I'm going to sleep now. I shall check back in the morning and book tickets to America,where, I'll decide later. Who knows, maybe I'll roll up on your doorstep, Robert. I doubt it though.
Oh god. I just need to be alone with my thoughts for a while. The nightmares will start. I know it. The Labyrinth won't ever leave me I don't think, it did to much to my mind.
I love you all. You're more than family. You're so much to me. Really. I have little doubt that I wouldn't have survived in there had it not been for you.