It’s been awhile

Months, to be exact. A lot has happened since that fateful day last July. I spent quite a bit of time in a coma in the hospital, and then doing physical therapy. After that, I just tried to get back to normal life. I’m not entirely sure what reminded me about this place, but I read through what I wrote last summer and felt like I needed to finish the story.

I went to church, like I said, but I was late. I got there, and I found people cowering outside. They ran up to me as I walked up to them. They told me about the crazy girl inside with the gun. I asked them who, but deep in the pit of my stomach, I already knew. I heard sirens screaming, saw the flashing lights of the police cars heading down the road, still a mile away. They couldn’t get to her first. I knew they would kill her if I didn’t stop her instead.

The others tried to stop me from going in, but I threw them off of me and rushed into the building. Everyone was on the floor. Children were crying. Parents were speaking in hushed tones, trying to calm them. She stood at the center of them all, the gun in her hands swinging about wildly. I couldn’t understand where she got a weapon like that. I know now that her father was a gun collector and had several assault rifles like the one she was carrying. I’m surprised our parents weren’t better friends.

She heard the door shut behind me. She spun to face me, and she froze. I saw the tears in her eyes. She wasn’t the only one of us who was crying. “You came back! I knew you’d come back! Help me. Help me make them understand.”

I shook my head and took a step towards her. She raised the gun at me, told me not to move. I tried to talk to her. I tried to convince her that she didn’t need to do this. With my arms open wide, I took another step.

“No. I do need to do this. I have to do this. I have to make them see what they’ve done to me.”

I asked her why.

“Because it’s the only real decision I’ll ever get to make.”

The scream of a police officer shouting into a megaphone buried the rest of her words. I took another step forward, and her hands trembled more. Step after step after step, I slowly made my way to her until I was only feet away. Still, the police made their threats and only rattled her more.

We spoke to each other there, with that gun between us. I told her that she had a choice, that she could end this and keep on living. I did everything I could to convince her. That’s when her finger slipped and pulled the trigger.

A world of red and black. As I fell, I saw him standing there, dressed in white, tall among the cowering bodies. I saw him behind Cassia as she dropped to her knees, pressing her hand to my wounds as she whimpered apologies. I saw him nod once and disappear before I fell into darkness.

I awoke from a coma two months later. The first thing I asked after they explained was what happened to her. They told me she was in a psychiatric facility, safely locked away and she wouldn’t hurt me again. They didn’t understand. I wanted to see her.

I visit her every two weeks now. She told me that, if I hadn’t come back, she honestly thinks she would have killed everyone. She’s getting better, though. It’s a long road, but I think she’ll be okay someday.

I can’t say for sure what the Tall Man was doing. I’m not going to pretend that I know how the universe works. What I do think, though, is that he had this planned from the start. Maybe he’s not just a force to remove people who are hopeless and could bring harm to others. Maybe he also helps us see what we’re truly capable of.

I’m not sure, either way. I haven’t seen him since that Sunday. I do know this though: Everything is going to be okay, as long as you hold on hope.

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It’s over

I hardly even know what happened, but I had his black blood covering me when I stepped off that boat and back onto the dock. Whatever that thing was, it wasn’t a god or the universe or anything. It can’t have been, because I killed it.

I killed the Tall Man.

On Saturday night, I sent a final text to Cassia, apologizing for being so far away and warning her that she’d have to keep standing for herself because I was leaving and was never going to come back. I ate dinner, and spoke to my family for what I was certain would be the final time. I kissed my mother, and I gave my dad the first hug I had in months. Then, it was the slow walk to the shed.

The axe rested inside, waiting for me. It’s weight, the cool iron on my skin, just felt right in my hands. I took a deep breath and stepped out, coming face to face with Cassia.

She tried to pull the axe away from me. She was convinced I was going to go crazy and kill others before ending myself. She tried to tell me to just wait one more day and everything would be okay. I pushed her aside and made my way to my boat. I told her I had to do this. I gave her the URL to this site, told her to read it and she’d understand.

That seemed to satisfy her as I started my boat and went out on the lake.

After that, everything’s a blur. I remember the Tall Man already being there, waiting for me. I remember it stepping out of the water and onto the boat. I remember its tendrils around my wrists, and that we spoke. I don’t know what we said, though.

The way the axe fell through a tendril, separating it from his body will always be with me. Just like the pain of those same tentacles lashing out at me, covering my body in welts that still sting. I don’t know how long it lasted. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I know how it ended.

I’m home now. I washed the darkness off of me. The sun is up outside. I think I’ll actually go meet my family at church. I’m sure Cassia will be happy to see me.

I can’t believe it’s finally over.

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A fight

He’s wrong. I’m not a crack. I don’t only exist to hurt people and ruin lives. I’m a human, and just because I make mistakes, doesn’t mean I’m broken.

I was walking home yesterday afternoon when something smashed into my back. I fell to the ground, knees slamming into the asphalt and sending a shock through my body. When I turned back and saw a faceless man in a suit behind me, I couldn’t understand it. Then I realized this man wasn’t tall, and he wasn’t faceless. He was just wearing dark fabric over his head.

Floyd laughed as he pulled off his mask and kicked me, sprawling me across the pavement. “What’s the matter, freak? Afraid of the big, bad Tall man? You’re fucking crazy.”

I tried to get back to my feet, but another kick to the ribs left me on the ground. I groaned as I looked up at his mocking face, “How do you even kno–”

“Come on, are you stupid? You used your real name on your blog, idiot. I just had to Google you, dumbass,” He laughed again as he grabbed me by my hair and pulled me up to look at him. “This is what you get for being such an asshole and beating on me and friends of mine.” His fist collided with my cheek and I nearly fell to the ground again.

Instead, I did what I always do in a fight like this. I lashed out. I reached down and grabbed his leg, tugging it out from under him. This time Floyd was the one on the ground. I held one ankle in my hands as I stepped on the other, pinning his leg to the ground. Running on pure anger and adrenaline, I started twisting on his ankle and pressing my foot down harder.

Then I saw the fear in his eyes as he whimpered and cried for me to stop. This time, for the first time, I did. I dropped his leg, and I walked out of the alley, leaving my attacker behind and barely harmed.

I am not a bad person. I’m not destined for anything. I made my decision in that alley to leave Floyd unharmed. I make my choices, and I make my life.

Tomorrow, I’ll go die fighting to prove that. It’s been a good run. To those of you who come after me, looking for hope as the Tall Man tells them that they have none, don’t despair. Don’t give in to what it says you are. Yes, that is a part of you, but it isn’t all of you. You’re human. You control your life. And maybe, someday, one of us will be able to take it back from him.

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A plan

Looking back on my past few posts, it’s clear that some amount of that familiar inevitability from other blogs is creeping into my writing. To those who come after me, know that this is not me losing hope. This is me preparing for the worst.

I do not plan on dying this week. I do not plan on being taken. I am going to fight with every fiber of my being until I either end the Tall Man, or until I am ended by it.

I’ve already chosen my weapon. My father has an axe down in the shed for cutting firewood. I don’t know how well it will work against an unknowable being that mocks angels, but it will do.

That’s where I’m going to make my stand: at the place I know best, the place I love. The lake has been with me for as long as I can remember. I can think of no better place for my victory, or for my defeat.

Cassia just texted me. She just got out of church, and the others tormenting has only gotten worse since I stopped going. It’s taking all my willpower not to rush to her aid, but she has to be able to stand on her own, in case I’m gone forever after Saturday. I can’t help her.

Not until I finish this.

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A reconciliation

My parents took me out for dinner tonight. For some families this wouldn’t be odd at all. However, my father is often tight with his money, so we rarely go out to eat. It’s even stranger when he lets me pick the restaurant.

We spoke over our dinner, and he finally said the words I’ve always wanted to here. I’m preparing to quite possibly go to my death, and this is the time he chooses to tell me that he accepts that I’m my own man. If this had happened at any other stage in my life, I’d consider it my greatest victory. Instead, it’s a single happy moment before I face a battle for my own existence.

He’s disappointed in my violent outrages. He thinks my beliefs are wrong. He doesn’t understand my sexuality, yet still he finally said that my choices are my own. I have never smiled more in the past month.

We went out for ice cream on the boardwalk afterward. I stood in line next to him as we waited to order. I looked up at where his eyes would be in defiance. He looked back, head tilted, before walking away.

I spent the rest of the night watching the sunset in peace with my family. If I fail against the Tall Man, at least I had this.

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A nightmare

I wrote once before about the dream, which apparently comes to every victim. My dreams have only gotten worse as time has gone one, and I feel like they’ve finally escalated to their ending. Everything seems to be drawing itself to an end now. It’s almost eerie, how neatly all the strings are being tied up.

The dream starts out just as it did the first time I mentioned it. I’m in the city, and there’s no one else there. It’s just me, and the papers covered in “x” blowing down the streets. A shiver goes down my spine, and then the Tall Man’s tendrils appear. They work their way in and out of every building, every street, every piece of sidewalk, and every scrap of paper. I turn to run.

I’m suddenly in another part of the city, still being chased by the inky darkness. This time, however, there are people walking the streets. I’m shouting at them all to run, but they don’t even flinch as the tendrils approach. I shudder as I watch the tendrils puncture them as well. They’re everywhere, inside everything. I run faster.

I’m in the air, looking down at the city from above and quickly rising higher. The tendrils have fully consumed the city. I can see the county, and it’s completely entangled as well. Higher I go, and I see it consumes my state, my country. I am floating in space, and the earth is a mass of writhing tendrils. They are everywhere. They are inside everything, and they keep going, reaching out further into space. I awaken as they come for me.

There is no escape. It is everywhere.

At least, that’s what it wants its victims to believe with this assault on their mind. I refuse to fall into its traps. I refuse to believe that it envelops us all. I will not let it break me.

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A loss

Cassia came over today. I haven’t spoken to her in weeks. Ever since the Tall Man began stalking me, I’ve let myself grow distant from her. I can’t let her get involved. She doesn’t need or deserve to be brought into any of this. Still, she’s been texting me and e-mailing me, trying to get back in touch. I’ve been ignoring them.

Even as she begged me to speak with her, I pushed her away. Even as she wondered where I’ve been the past two youth group meetings, I kept my silence. Even as she raged or cried, I remained distant.

Then she’s here, at my doorstep, in tears asking what she did wrong. I nearly couldn’t take it. I nearly dropped my guard and let her back in. Looking into her eyes, seeing the pain of her loneliness that was so much like my own, I almost brought her right back into my life. Then I realized it’d only be so much worse for her if I did.

I told her that my parents thought she was a bad influence on me and I shouldn’t associate with her anymore. They thought she was goading my violent side back up into being. They accused us of sneaking around behind their back. All of them lies, and I saw the pain they brought her. She begged me to circumvent their demands, that she needed me to help get her through her problems. I told her I couldn’t.

I can still hear the sounds of her crying.

Maybe I deserve this.

Still, it’s better that she feel this pain now, and not when I disappear or they find my body.

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