A Story by The Dark Passenger

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“Do you understand me, Thomas?” William asked, fumbling with the matchbox. “It’s a big house... an old house. A lot of wide spaces for imaginations to run wild,” He huffed, and finally the match between his calloused fingers hissed alight. “An unhinged imagination can be a dangerous thing,” He lit the lamp and replaced the glass with shaking hands. 
“But mummy always said...”
William spun around and innocent little Thomas froze; silent.
Thomas was especially little, even for his age. At seven years old, he looked closer to five; a frail little structure with pale skin and wispy blonde hair. He sat atop his bed, his feet dangling over the edge as his big blue eyes- the only thing big about Thomas- stared up at William as he approached. There were still tear tracks on little Thomas’ flushed red cheeks. 
“I’m sorry,” Thomas said softly, gazing down at the weathered floorboards below. William placed the lamp on a table by the bed and crouched down to face him. 
“You understand me, don’t you, Thomas?” William asked. 
“Yes,” Thomas replied. “I understand, daddy.”
William stood up again, and tentatively raised a hand to run it over William’s soft blonde hair. Warmth and comfort hadn’t been his occupation in this family until a short half-year ago, and William was still very slowly easing into his new obligations. 
“Good boy,” He said, half-heartedly. He turned to leave and the floorboards whined and creaked under his heavy footsteps. “Get some sleep Thomas,” He said, and closed the door behind him.
William stared at himself in the full length mirror of his bedroom that night. It had been a long time since he met the woeful stranger in the glass; usually, he was too filled with scorn for the man to look. 
Silently, he stared on, wearing a sort of willful, warning expression- like he was sizing himself up. It was an especially average reflection of an average man, he thought. The man in the mirror was average height and had average looks; the kind that made him invisible in a crowd or at a dance hall. With dark brown hair and alabaster skin that thirsted the sunlight, William was even perfectly built for his average desk job at the local Law firm. 
No, there was nothing special about this man, William thought. No special talents, no special looks, and no special dreams- at least not since his last dream faded away. 
Jemima was special; radiant, beautiful, intelligent, and with a mind stocked full of vivid dreams. She was the golden sun, and he was the brooding moon. They should not have met, but in a moment of sheer impossibility, she found him in the middle of a crowded hall, and asked him to dance. 
She gave him everything; a whirlwind romance, three beautiful children, and she made his soulless house a home. It was just too bad...
William turned away from the mirror, feeling his scorn for the man in the glass returning. It seeped into him; a paralyzing wave of contempt... yes, sweet Jemima was gone, and he couldn’t have done anything about it. William gritted his teeth and sat down on his bed, the wooden slats creaking loudly in the pin-drop silence of the room. He ran his hands through his auburn hair, shaking as the gasp he was holding back finally broke free. 
Tears welled up in his eyes and he struggled for breath as he drowned into an overwhelming feeling of sadness. Without the sun, there seemed to be nothing left here except for darkness, the quiet, and a lifetime’s worth of sadness. It was as if his world had been unmade, and now William stood alone in the abyss that was this large, rotting house.
There were the children of course; Thomas, Jessica, and Florence. But what good was a moon to them without the beautiful, radiant sun. What good was an average man who was scared of his own reflection- a father who couldn’t even bear to hold his child after a night terror. 
William looked at them and felt empty, but he hoped one day it would be different. Perhaps someday, he could learn to be more like Jemima. He sobbed quietly, feeling the weight of the world descend upon his already burdened shoulders. At times like these- and there were many- William felt the emptiness and quietness of the house move in on him. Its darkness, its vacant spaces, and even the ceaseless stretch of land that surrounded it. 
A shadow flitted across the room and William shot a glance towards the opened window by the table and lamp. He moved towards it and pulled it shut. 
So much emptiness... plenty of space for imaginations to run wild. 

“He is real, you know,” Jessica said, sitting in the lush green grass of the back garden with a porcelain doll in her lap. 
“Is not,” Thomas retorted, his cheeks flushing pink.  
“Is too!” Jessica said. Thomas made a face and returned his attention to skipping stones across the small lake. He skipped one, then another, and then sighed and looked to Jessica again. 
“How do you know?” He asked, thumbing the last small grey pebble in his hand. 
“Because I’ve seen him, of course...” Jessica said knowingly, “I know you’ve seen him too...” She mused. Thomas turned away, disgruntled and uncomfortable. He skipped his last stone. Jessica was eight and seemed to enjoy her rank as oldest and wisest... a trait that Thomas found detestable.
“Florence has seen him as well,” Jessica nodded towards four year old Florence who sat in the grass a few feet away. She was quiet, and had her gaze fixed to the stuffed rabbit in front of her.
“Nonsense,” Thomas huffed. 
“No it’s not... he was watching her at the markets, wasn’t he?” Jessica looked at Florence again, but still heard nothing in response. Florence continued her dead-pan stare at the stuffed brown rabbit that sat lifelessly in the grass in front of her. Florence was just as lifeless. 
The frail little five year old looked to be in a daze. Her skin was pale and dark circles framed her eyes, her lips were almost a sickly blue, but the other children didn’t notice. 
“You shouldn’t talk about those things,” Thomas warned Jessica. 
“Why? Because William said so?” Jessica snapped. 
“You shouldn’t call father by his name,” Thomas said, making fists with his hands. “It’s rude. You don’t know anything...”
“He’s not a father, so I shan’t call him one,” Jessica replied angrily. She looked out over the lake and suddenly, solemnity struck her expression. “He doesn’t even talk to us...”
Thomas had nothing more to say, he simply slumped into a seat on the grass and fidgeted with the hems of his too-long sleeves. He missed all the things a little boy should have, but would never admit to wanting. He missed a hand to hold, and an embrace to fall into, and he missed the time when the house he lived in was a home. 
Now, there was nothing to look forward to; just mundane, soul draining days in the back garden while William worked... and long nights when the thing in the shadows kept vigilant watch. 
“He’s all dressed In black,” Thomas said, gaining Jessica’s attention. “Because he lives in the shadows, though sometimes he walks under the sun.”
Jessica stared Thomas, feeling a chill creep across her skin as he spoke. She clutched her doll closer, stroking its brown hair. 
Thomas stared out at the lake. “He watches you for days, sometimes even weeks... he just watches,” He said, speaking in a slow, measured tone. “Makes you ill, makes you slow... makes you forget things. And then he takes you...”
“Do you know what he’s called?” Jessica asked. 
Thomas lowered his eyes to the ground, almost too afraid to utter the words. “The Slenderman,” he said.
Florence collapsed.
“Flo!” Jessica gasped, jumping to her feet. She took a half-step towards the frail thing that lay face down in the grass, then stopped- too shell-shocked to move. 
Thomas raced towards her and flipped her over, “Flo?” He nearly reeled back from the sight of her. She was almost the same color as her ivory dress. 
Jessica spun towards the house, tears in her eyes as she shrieked; “Daddy!”

William’s shattered heart could not bear another blow, and so his tired, weathering shell finally eroded away. He did not hide it. He did not simply wait til he was alone in his room, or out for walk in the fields- he could not have put it off.  The tide of sadness engulfed him without warning. He clutched fragile little Florence in his arms and wept the way he had at Jemima’s fresh grave.
On his knees, in the middle of her pink and ivory themed room, William held onto her and cried like a man sinking into madness. He screamed and rocked back and forth, muttering the names of saints in helpless pleas as Thomas and Jessica held hands and cried quietly by the door. William ran his hands through Florence’s hair, cradling her skull as he whispered; “Little bird... little bird... why did you fly away.” 
A stray thought crossed his mind as he looked upon her face. He hadn’t held her or called her little bird... not since Jemima flew away herself. He was too late now. He was always too late. 
“It was him,” Jessica whispered to Thomas, her eyes cast towards the window over Florence’s bed. “He’s always watching...” A breeze floated through the air outside and shook the trees. “Makes you sick, makes you slow, and sometimes... he takes you.”
“I don’t want him to take me,” Thomas whimpered quietly, and Jessica squeezed his hand.
“We’re older and stronger,” Jessica said. “We’ll be alright.”

William did not eat on the first night, nor did he eat on the second night. When the third night came, he only ate out of necessity. He looked across the table at the children; the two remaining heirs to his legacy of sorrow. This house, this isolation, this history. William wiled away in tormented thoughts as the children swirled the curdling soup in their bowls. 
“You should have listened to us,” Jessica murmured, breaking the silence. William turned to look at her slowly, wearing an almost vacant expression. “If you did, Florence wouldn’t be dead.”
“That’s enough, Jessica,” William said sternly. Thomas averted his eyes, gulping down a spoonful of cold soup nervously. “She was sick-”
“Because of him!” Jessica said. “I’ve seen him, so has Thomas, and Florence saw him too,” a tear rolled down her cheek. “She cried and cried for nights sometimes, and she told you... why didn’t you believe her?”
“If you’ve had enough to eat, you can go to your room now, Jessica,” William said, warning, as he stood up. 
“No!” Jessica screamed, slamming her hand on the table. “It’s him! You can’t see him because you never pay attention!”
“Jessica! Stop it!” William shouted, and silence swept over the room. Thomas began to sob, shaking a little. “I’ve had enough of this nonsense, go to your room!”
“No, no, no...” Jessica shrieked. “It’s your fault, it’s your fault, it’s your fault!”
William raised a hand and Jessica flinched, quickly raising a hand to guard her face, but the strike never came. William retracted his hand and placed a closed fist on the table heavily. He sighed, overcome with shame and guilt. 
“Go to your room, Jessica.” William said, and Jessica quickly hopped off her seat and ran out of the room. Thomas quickly followed, his little face flushed. He looked close to tears. 
William looked on, guilt ridden. He wondered for a brief moment about what Jemima would do, but the thought was too painful to venture into. The flash of her smiling face, her warmth, her happiness... it was too much to live without, and therefore too much to remember once having. 

Moonlight streamed in through the window, casting a soft glow in Florence’s room where William sat in Jemima’s old rocking chair. By the light of the lamp on the desk before him, William stared down at an old memento; a yellowing picture of his golden, radiant sun. Jemima.
“I can’t do this without you,” He whispered, hoping she could hear. “Why you did not beg for the Lord to take me instead of Florence, I will never know...” he sighed. “I pray for it every night,” And it was the truth, “But I suppose the Lord doesn’t listen to sinners.”
William never used to believe in such things; a higher power, much less a God, and certainly not angels or saints. To William, the world was simple; an ordered coincidence of biology, and chemistry, and physics. When he died, that would have been the end of it; no afterlife, no continuous path through pseudo-existence... just a hole in the ground for his body, or an urn on the mantlepiece for his ashes. 
That was all before his beloved passed away, and before William started grasping at straws in the hopes that somewhere, outside his own dark reality, the radiant sun was still glowing. Jemima always said she would get him believing.
Suddenly, something caught William’s eye. He paused and lowered the photo in his hands, his eyes fixed on a small sketch pad on the table. The small leather bound book was almost completely hidden under a stack of storybooks, blocks and pencils- but William spotted it. He saw the half-torn pages sticking out of the book and reached for it. 
He opened up the book and flipped through the first few blank pages, until he got to a page marked with a single word written in sharp black pencil; “Slender”. It sent a chill down his spine- for what reason, he couldn’t comprehend, but something about the small, strange word in the middle of a blank page made him feel uncomfortable. Hesitantly, William turned the page. That’s when he met the Slenderman. 
Or at least, Florence’s depiction of the thing. It was a crude pencil drawing, with jagged lines that formed the shape of a long, slender being with especially lanky, stretched out limbs. The figure was dressed all in black, and had no face. His head was completely blank; no lines depicting a nose, no circles depicting eyes. Small penciled words marked the page beside the drawing; “No eyes. But sees.” 
William snapped the book shut. There were enough monsters in his world. There was simply no space for the Slenderman too.
He wondered how it was possible that such a thing could have found its way into a sweet little four year old’s mind. Where would the others have heard it? Perhaps the superstitious help, or from some misunderstood book... Had they conjured it up; spaces- imaginations- William’s mind raced and the eerie phrase echoed in his head... “No eyes. But sees.” What on earth did that mean. 
A shadow flitted through the room, and William spun to the window. There was nothing for a breath, and then there was a scream. 
William ran to the door.

It was quiet and still in the dimly lit hallway. William caught his breath for a second and looked around. “Thomas?” William called. “Jessica!” Nothing, there was no whisper or cry for a reply, just gut wrenching silence.
William wondered if he had really heard a scream after all- but what else could it have been? He moved forward, taking one careful step after the other, his eyes scanning the darkened stairwell that spiraled to the ground floor below. He stepped slowly past it, making his way down the long hallway. A strange foreboding feeling crept along the length of his spine, making the hairs stand on the back of his neck. He did not know how, but he knew for certain; someone was watching him. 
The candle flames of the hallway began to dance wildly, and the shadows cast upon the aged wallpaper began to shift and flicker. They bent, stretched, grew, and moved along the walls and doors, filling the space with unfriendly shapes. The brooding moon had no lust for other worldly ideas, no interest in fairy stories or tall tales; no belief in the superstitious and supernatural. No, William reminded himself- William only saw what was, and believed in the order of all natural things. It was an old house, it has been a terrible time, and withering minds left alone in the dark can come up with all kinds of things...
Suddenly, a low, melodic hum broke the sinister silence. William froze, a breath caught in his chest. The hum winded through the still air, echoing from wall to wall. The voice was deep, but tender, and the song it hummed sounded like a gentle lullaby... but it was far from comforting.
William turned his head slowly, casting a glance back at the stairwell. There was nothing behind him; no specter, no demon... no Slenderman. But the humming continued. William snapped his eyes shut and struggled to breathe in and out. A week or two ago, he would not have even known the word... a year ago, he would not have given the thing a second thought- but here he was, hearing its voice in a darkened hallway. 
“He’s here,” A voice whispered from behind him, and William spun around quickly. Jessica stood at her opened room door, her dark eyes staring vacantly ahead. 
William breathed; “Jessica-“
Suddenly, a lamp from the banister fell to the carpet, smashing on impact. In the blink of an eye, the carpet was ablaze. William gasped and hurriedly stamped on the flames, but they grew underfoot. Through the fire, William looked up and saw Jessica staring ahead, watching the fire with a bored, hazy look. She was not afraid, she was not shocked- Jessica appeared to feel nothing. 
Finally, the fire died out, and William caught his breath as he surveyed the damage. His mind reeled, and he thought he might faint- at least that infernal humming was gone. 
Jessica’s eyes raised slowly to look at him. “It’s all your fault,” She said softly, “He’s going to take us,” She breathed, then added in a tentative whisper; “He’s going to kill you...”
William stared at her, aghast; this innocent little thing, this angel, speaking of murder and death. He wondered what he had done; what sin he had committed to have stripped the innocence that veiled these children’s eyes. What grievance did he cause so that God would see his world unmade? First, the sun was torn from his skies, and now beasts were crossing the desert where he dwelled in agony. How could it have been one man’s fault; this average man with no grand ambition. How did he unleash this thing the children called the Slenderman.
A loud crash boomed from the ground floor, and suddenly the front doors of the house swung open with a bang. William spun around, wide-eyed, “Stay in your room!” He said to Jessica, attempting a stern tone though is voice shook. Without hesitation, he bolted down the stairs to the quiet darkness that waited for him below. 
Perhaps this average man’s first grand mission could be to catch this thing, whatever it was, and destroy it once and for all. William grabbed a lamp and headed outside, his mind racing and his head aching. He didn’t know what awaited him in the forest that night, but he guessed that he would have to face the monster eventually. He thought of Florence and Jemima as he ventured ahead, off the fading trail and into the trees and prickle bushes. 
He didn’t look back, even when that drowning, debilitating sense returned to him; that indescribable feeling of being watched. No eyes, William thought. But sees. 

“Do you know why, Thomas?” Jessica asked as she brushed the golden locks of her porcelain doll. The figurine’s painted eyes stared up at her, almost adoringly. Jessica looked to Thomas, who was sitting up in his bed. “Do you know why he hasn’t got any eyes?”
Thomas nodded, “He hasn’t got a nose either, or a mouth... all he has is a head with empty skin stretched over it,” He said. “He hasn’t got a face,” Thomas surmised, “It helps him,” 
“Helps him how?”
“It’s easier to hide,” Thomas replied.
“That’s true,” Jessica said, and turned to gaze out the window where the full moon hung in a starless sky. She looked out towards the forest that lay just beyond the garden, where William was hunting the demon he scarcely believed in. “I hadn’t thought of that,” She murmured, and watched as one stray black shadow with long, slender limbs glided slowly along the grass and over the decaying flowerbeds. 

If it weren’t for the cold, William would have been drenched in sweat. His strained breaths formed clouds of vapor in the air in front of him as he continued a dizzying trek through the forest. Owls hooted, dogs howled and stray whispers filled the air, and each new sound threw his attention from left to right and back again. Caught in the throws of fear and the unknown, William felt his mind begin to unfurl into a blur. 
A shadow passed through the pines beside him and William spun around, peering through the darkness to catch a glimpse of the monster that continued to elude him. “I know you’re out there!” William shouted, a waning facade of bravado on his face. “Leave us! Go back to where you came from!” He implored to the endless black around him. “You’ve taken Florence...” He said, “You won’t take Jessica and Thomas too...”
The noises of the forest at night suddenly faded into silence. A cold, chilling breeze blew across William’s face, making him shudder. Somewhere amidst the trees, out of sight, a man began humming. It was that same sweet melody that William had heard in the hallway; a musical signature for this invisible night-time pied piper. 
Though horror-struck, William stood his ground, staring dead-straight into the darkness where the infernal humming came from. “Where are you!” He shouted, furious, “Show yourself!”
The humming grew louder, closer, and William stepped backwards. He drew a breath and waited, bracing himself for whatever evil lay ahead. What could a mortal man do to this- the Slenderman, William wondered. How could one, average man face one of Satan’s play things; a wind-up-toy sent to plague and massacre children; a demon sent to trail an already haunted man. 
William’s grip on his lamp tightened to a vicious choke hold as he waited to face it, listening as the humming grew closer and closer. His heartbeat blared in his head, and William felt his breath hitch in his throat. He could take no more. “Show yourself!” He screamed, “Show yourself!”. 
A gust of wind rushed through the trees and hurtled towards William, knocking him backwards. With a painful thud, William fell to the bottom of a large hole in the ground and his lamp snuffed out. He gasped, feeling his way in the pitch-black and grabbing handfuls of dirt as he tripped and stumbled through panicked thoughts. He barely felt the dull ache in his ankle until he threw his foot against the sides of the hole in an attempt to lift himself out. He groaned in pain and fell backwards again, in agony. 
The humming drifted away suddenly, and William quickly caught his breath. Panting, William stood up and looked around with wide-eyes. Before him stood the headstone of his beloved Jemima, crooked in the soft, uneven dirt. He saw the stone epitaphs of his ancestors; long forgotten family lost to the worms that sated their appetites in the saturated earth. He saw the shovel that lay out of reach and slumped into a corner of the hole he stood in, trembling. 
Six-feet-deep, alone, in a pre-dug grave that all but claimed what was left of his rotting soul, William battled against the will of fear that plagued him. Was this hole meant to be a warning for him? A set piece; a tableau by the Slenderman- a message... You’re next. William ran his hands through his hair and gritted his teeth, whimpering to himself in the dirt. 

William’s tired eyes gazed up at the moon as he traveled back to the house, limping. As his eyes fell on the house, a chill ran down his spine. 
Up in a window of the old mansion were the pale, gaunt faces of Jessica and Thomas. They stared, expressionless, their eyes fixed on him and never moving. They were like stone cherubs standing at guard. 
Just before exhaustion drifted him away into a dreamless sleep, a stray thought crossed William’s mind. The children, he thought, something’s wrong with the children. 

Minutes passed like hours as William wasted away behind his desk at the firm. He listened to the dizzying hum of voices and shuffling papers that echoed from wall to wall, but the thumping of his heart seemed too eager to drown it all out. There was an unearthly amount of writing and sorting to be done, but the pages and words all blurred before him as he blinked his tired eyes. He attempted, tirelessly, to push away that haunting thought that lingered in his mind. The children... he wondered, what has become of the children. 
“William,” A voice spoke to him from the door, breaking his stream of downward spiraling thoughts. William looked up to see Faulkes staring back at him with yet another file. He threw it on William’s cluttered desk and smirked, “Hurry up now, William...” he said, with a self-impressed tone that made William’s gut twist into a knot, “The devil makes work for idle hands,” 
With a sigh, William dropped his gaze to his desk once more and mechanically reached for the file. It was a phrase he knew well- one he had heard often during his time spent as a stubborn and uncooperative child. The devil makes work for idle hands... was that all it took, William wondered; the existence of evil perpetuated because good men did nothing.
How long had he done nothing? The thought echoed in his head as he sunk into pensive thought again. How long had he stayed silent, jaded, and forever weary of his crippling reality... too afraid to act, to speak, and too injured to care. It all dawned on William now. All this while, without him realizing, the children trailed behind him and drowned in the large grief struck shadow that he cast upon the walls of that empty house. Perhaps he was to blame. It was only a matter of time before the children found someone or something else to cling to. 
William looked to his briefcase and saw Florence’s sketch book sticking out, calling to him. With a wayward glance towards the door, William reached for it. Fraught with hesitation, he pulled open the pages and was once again faced with her vile, monsterous creations. A tall, rake-thin figure with impossibly long limbs filled the length of an entire page. Around it were smaller beings- perhaps children- with bloodied faces and clothes. Jagged letters spelled a phrase that turned his stomach; “Steals, night time.” 
“Impossible” he muttered to himself and snapped the book shut. Pen, paper, imagination- the Slenderman. The work of a sad and lonely child; the devil making work for idle hands. There was order in this world; science, truth, non-fiction. Ghouls, William reminded himself, did not exist. Monsters and specters were nothing more than creations meant to romanticize this dull and demoralizing experience of living in a world where mere men do terrible things. He knew these terrible things all too well, after all, he worked in one of the city’s many institutions that worked to protect those who commit them. 
However, William knew he could not discredit the notion entirely, not after the night he endured. The humming, the chase through the forest, and that fresh grave waiting for him. The smell of wet earth and the feel of it under his fingernails came flooding back. Then, there was that phrase that Jessica uttered in a cold, unfeeling tone, as if it impact of her words meant nothing to her; “He’s going to kill you.”
Out of the mouths of babes came the voice of evil itself. William cast his eyes to the window and saw dusk creeping in from over the horizon. It would arrive within the hour. Hastily, he grabbed his things and rushed out the doors. Perhaps this would be his defining moment; a chance to act- to do something. 
He barely heard Faulkes’ angry voice calling out to him through the crowds in the street outside. 
“Where are you going Thomas?” Jessica’s voice echoed in the quiet hallway. 
“It doesn’t matter where we hide does it?” Thomas said, looking up the rickety stairs to the pitch-black attic. He turned his head to look at Jessica. She looked especially pale, her youthful exuberance almost completely faded... leaving behind a husk of a once rambunctious child. “He’ll find us anyway, won’t he?” Thomas asked, sounding defeated. 
“Yes,” Jessica said, lowering her eyes to meet Thomas’. “Once he sees you... once he knows you’re here, or that you even exist... he’ll never stop.” She uttered in a soft, calm voice, “He’ll always follow.”
Thomas’ cheeks flushed red and he rushed to Jessica, embracing her as he sobbed miserably. “I don’t want to die,” He murmured, “I don’t want to die...”
“Come now,” Jessica cooed, still composed and calm as she stroked Thomas’ head. “He won’t take us if we give him what he really wants,” She said, and a small smile curled in the corner of her chapped lips. Thomas looked up at her questioningly, tears in his eyes. She looked at him and smiled a little wider. “ Can’t you see, Thomas?” She asked. Thomas clearly did not. Jessica ran her fingers through his hair. “He’s only taking us to hurt William,”
“Daddy?” Thomas murmured, furrowing his brow. 
Jessica nodded, “But you won’t have to call him that anymore,” She said. “Not after the Slenderman comes for him,” 
Confused and encumbered by the thought of a fast approaching mortality, Thomas clutched Jessica tighter. Through shaky breaths, he tried to understand the compromise- the trade-off, and what that meant for his little life.  
“Shh,” Jessica hushed, “Be strong now, we’ll be alright, I promise,” She said. With a sigh, she closed her eyes and continued to stroke William’s hair. Softly, Jessica began to hum. The same signature hum that William heard in the hallway, and in the darkened forest. The same melody hummed by the sinister predator that lurked in the shadows; the Slenderman. 

William pushed open the door of the house and was faced with foreboding stillness. The silence screamed, and the emptiness almost crushed him as he walked in, one hesitant step at a time. He could sense it clearly this time; the dread, the anguish waiting to be unleashed... the Slenderman was already here. 
Quietly, William surveyed the main hall and cast his eyes to the stairwell. “Thomas?” He called out, “Jessica?” He heard no response and felt a chill run down his spine. 
He gritted his teeth and squeezed his hands into tightly bound fists, “Where are you!” He shouted, fierce with a rage that built within him- one he didn’t know existed until now- until the fabric of his reality; his life, his family, his heritage- all began to unravel into chaos. “Face me, you coward!” He screamed, the blood in his veins rushing. 
He heard nothing but the faint echo of his voice calling to him timidly in some far off corner of the room. Still, William stood his ground, like a warrior waiting to face the beast. David preparing to face Goliath. 
Suddenly, a faint humming fell into earshot, and William spun towards the stairwell again. The hum was quieter this time, and the voice sounded small and delicate. 
Tentatively, William followed the chilling hum up the stairs and along the lamp-lit hallway. He was drawn to it, pulled forward almost mechanically. He steadied his breaths and kept his fists clenched, unsure of what he was about to find as he turned the knob on the door to the bathroom. 
The humming stopped just as William stepped inside. He looked around the darkened room and felt his heart begin to race as the hairs on the back of his neck raised.  Flickering orange candle light danced upon the still water that filled the porcelain bath. He almost feared to step towards it- the thought of doing so made a breath hitch in his throat. His quickly derailing mind built cursed block after block of strange, wicked imaginations as he wondered what lay beneath the murky white water. Still, his feet moved him forwards, towards the bathtub.
Fear and horror; the vicious begotten sons of the unknown spun a treacherous web of despair in his mind. Part of him expected to see Thomas’ pale grey face just underneath the surface of the water. He reached out a hand and felt tears well up in his eyes, half expecting to pull the child’s rotting remains from the cloudy liquid. 
As he knelt down to peer into the bath, he drew a shaky breath, his fingers almost breaking the surface of the water. Suddenly, unbeknownst to William, a small figure stood up behind him. “It’s all going to be over now,” its quiet voice whispered.
William spun around and saw Jessica standing behind him, looking ghostly and deranged in the dim light. In one, tiny, shaking hand, she held a kitchen blade. She raised it slowly, her eyes piercing his as he backed away, eyes wide. “Jessica?”
“You have to die,” She said simply, and slashed wildly at him.
William flinched and propelled himself away from her quickly. With a gasp, he saw that his hand was cut, and blood sprayed over the surface of the bath water. He swore and clutched his hand in pain. 
“It’s all your fault!” Jessica screamed. 
“Jessica!” William shouted, taking a step back as she slashed the knife through the air again. “Stop it!” He screamed, trying to take the blade from her. His feeble attempt was broken when she hacked and squealed- as though possessed- and plunged the tip of the blade into his forearm. 
William cried out as he crumpled to the ground, a hand pressed firmly against the fresh wound that bled, and bled, and bled. “No..” he murmured, out of breath. 
“It’s all your fault,” Jessica said, taking slow steps towards him, her eyes fixed on him. She raised the knife and approached- closer still, “It’s all your fault.”
Somewhere, deep in the recesses of William’s pounding, aching mind, another voice awakened to scream the same sinister phrase... “It’s all your fault.” It was Jemima’s. No... William thought as the wall fortified by heartbreak and madness slowly crumbled into ash. “It’s all your fault!” He heard Jemima scream. The same way she did before she slit her throat with a broken piece of glass from her mirror. 
He remembered the way she looked then, her golden hair drenched from the bath where she had drowned them. Every last one... their only little legacies.
“No!” William screamed and grabbed Jessica just as she moved to strike. Jessica shrieked, kicking wildly as he lifted her up and threw her into the bath. Before she could scream that same infernal phrase again, William pushed her under the water and held her beneath the surface.
Jessica kicked, her little body squirming against the force of his hands. What are you doing? He heard his own voice echo inside his head. What have you done to them, my golden sun... Jemima, the perfect, beautiful light of the world. That light- snuffed out by the painful loneliness she felt every day as she waited for a tired, vacant man to come home. That wonderful mind wilted away in the empty house as she lost the man she loved to the terrible things he saw happening in the outside world. 
Was it all his fault? This one average man doing nothing... allowing the darkness to seep in. Madness is like a disease, he remembered the coroner saying to him. The infected could go years without knowing... William remembered those words hanging over him long after the coroner had left the room, bowing his head in sadness. William remembered staring listlessly for what seemed like an eon... at the faces of his three dead children; Thomas, Jessica, and little Florence. 
Jessica stopped kicking, her grasp on the knife loosened, and it fell to the bottom of the bath with a muffled metallic clank. William drew shaky breaths, his eyes wide with horror as he withdrew his hand and stepped back. Jessica was never her name, but he had called her that. This house was never her home... but he had brought her here. It was the same with Thomas and Florence... he searched his mind to retrieve their real names but could not. He had done all of this; stolen these babes from their mothers and locked them up in this house to go mad. He makes you sick... makes you slow... makes you forget. 
William’s gaze lifted to the wall above the bath where his body cast a large distorted shadow upon the wall. It was a dark, malicious looking thing with impossibly long limbs and no discernable features. No eyes, William thought to himself. But sees... Steals, night time. 

Slowly, with measured, slow footsteps like a man leading a procession, William made his way down the hallway with Jessica lying limply in his arms. Small drops of water and blood trailed behind him as he hummed. 
Deep in the forest, William continued to hum as he covered up a freshly dug grave, putting sweet, innocent Jessica to rest. Around her unmarked heap of dirt, were a dozen other heaps; older, and covered with vines and moss. 
A shaken little boy walked up behind William and watched silently. William stopped humming and glanced over his shoulder before resuming his work in the dirt. “You’re a good boy, Thomas,” William said. 
Trembling, Thomas hung his head and furrowed his brow in fear.
“We’ll find Jessica and Florence again,” William said and patted down the dirt with his shovel. “I promise.” 
Thomas felt William’s cold fingers run over his hair and raised his tear filled eyes to stare up at him. 
“Now we’d better hurry home, it’s getting dark...” William sighed and dropped the shovel to the ground. “Plenty of shadows,” he said as they walked back to the house. “Plenty of wide open spaces for imaginations to run wild.”

Through the dense crowd of the bustling market place, little Claire chased an even littler black kitten. She cut a line through the mass of people gathered there, passing faceless stranger, after faceless stranger. Most of them barely noticed the little girl in the eggshell-blue dress, and some only caught a wayward glimpse at her as she trailed past in haste. But one stray gaze in the sea of people latched onto her and followed. 
Claire bounded into an empty farm yard, her giggles fading away as she looked up to notice she had lost the little black kitten. “Kitty!” She called out, “Here, kitty kitty...” She said a little louder, and suddenly noticed the silence all around her. The chorus of voices at the market place was now far, far away. 
A low, quiet hum met her ears, and Claire turned. She was all alone. 



© 2012 The Dark Passenger

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I think I can give you something to play with in terms of creepypasta, go to and pull out then sift around the archive in 2002. You'll find a story that's Kealan Patrick Burke's past shame as I had ushered a few writers on my first namesake who are the same age as both of us. In the era he wrote The Clause, I introduced a punishing creative nonfiction yarn that plays up like a much harder take on The Tell-Tale Heart as that's on my facebook page and on my profile. I have pinterested a creepypasta I found about the size of my cult horror output as I was on this site originally as my given name until the admins shut me down. You have an interesting delivery though the origins of the character is a journalistic hoax where the plagiarist of my first novel and creative nonfiction that's twice published also originated.

Posted 5 Years Ago

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Added on September 21, 2012
Last Updated on September 21, 2012
Tags: slender man slenderman horror ma