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.