Monday, 19 December 2011

I'm sorry.

I could have been back sooner, I just ... Well, I suppose my head didn't feel quite right. I was tired out after all that work, and I was so relieved to have that weight off me, that for Thursday and Friday I didn't want to have to face all of this stuff. Selfish, I know. On Saturday, me and Dad went into the city centre to pick up some Christmas food and go ice-skating in the gardens. The streets were hung with twinkling lights and as I glided across the ice I felt a burning energy fill my being.

I think I was bordering on mania by yesterday morning.

But I've got a confession to make. I've not been doing okay. I've been trying to put on a brave face, but the truth is I'm more scared than I have ever been right now. The gaps in my memory are becoming more frequent, and I'm finding it harder to concentrate on my work.

At the weekend, I threw off all the weight that had been holding me down, and the high was intoxicating. However, that feeling only lasted until last night.

Last night, I was treated to another concert. This time it was Christmas themed. Lucky me, eh? He's clearly spoiling me. And he can't have had long to prepare, since it was to the tunes of all the carols we'd sung at the morning service.

I've been on edge all day. Susan says there's no reason to panic. On the other hand, what does reason have to do with any of this? You know you're crazy when your own alter-ego's the one telling you not to fall apart.

But yeah, I suppose I should try and stay together, if only for the sake of my family. My Dad's going to pick up my granny tomorrow. I suppose it'll brighten me up. My granny is brilliant. She might not know how to use the internet or what the difference between Freeview and Sky is, but she's got the long-term memory of an elephant and wit as sharp as Albitr (just to throw in another obscure/slightly nerdy reference - this one's from Inheritance).

The Nightmare Before Christmas was on yesterday. I couldn't watch it. As soon as I saw Jack, ... I just couldn't. It's been one of my favourite films for the past three years, but now, I don't think I'll ever be able to watch it again. There's too much fear inside me.

College is finished for the holidays now (apparently they decided to close a week early in case of snow), which means I have work to do before I go back. I'm going to try and get it done as soon as possible, just in case anything happens and I can't get it done later on.

I'm going into the city tomorrow to meet C. It's a long and complicated story, but I think I might be in love with him. And he seems to like me in the same way. We've been getting closer and closer - I feel like I could tell him almost anything. At the beginning, he could be a bit annoying; he would make jokes about things he didn't understand (in fact, that's how I ended up telling him about my hallucinations), but he's always willing to listen and learn, and we've become increasingly close over the past month or two.

But what do I do? I don't even know the normal rules, never mind for someone like me, never mind for someone like me who's being tormented by a malicious paranormal entity. Should I pretend I'm aromantic as well as asexual? Nah, that wouldn't work. If he told A or B that I'd said that, they would know I was lying. Should I just push him away? I don't want to hurt him, and I don't want to lose him.

I don't know. Should I just tell him about all this and let him make his own mind up? I've never told anyone about this, apart from you guys, and you already knew about Malinky. I've heard that he eventually targets those who know about him, and, well, my experiences show nothing that contradicts that.

Does anyone know what I should do?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Just checking in,

letting you all know I'm still alive and all that. I'm unbelievably busy at the moment, I've really not had a moment to spare. I'll respond to emails and such when I get the time, but be warned, that might not be until Thursday night.

I swear I could kill my laptop right now. It's probably not completely responsible, but it's the one thing that definitely contributed that I can physically lay my hands on without incurring an ASBO or a restraining order.

So yeah, I'll hopefully be back before Thrusday, but if not, don't worry about me.

Friday, 9 December 2011


So, I seem to have blacked out sometime last night. I don't remember writing my last post, and I'm a little concerned about what might have happened. I'm okay, though. I'm managing to hold it together.

I left early for college this morning, just in case there were hold-ups. I passed a couple of piles of debris - for the most part broken branches, but roof slates and rubbish and the occasional more eye-catching object managed to find their way onto the piles.

I arrived a little bit early at college, so I took the time to draw. I don't usually get the chance to be creative nowadays. I drew a sort of comic strip - an evil scientist had someone tied to a chair, and threatened them with "THE CATHODE RAY!". The poor little stick-fellow was very very frightened. The scientist then turned on the device, but it didn't seem to do anything. He was like "Argh, why won't you work!?". The frightened stick-man was then like "Strange, I feel almost... happy!".

It wasn't intended to be particularly funny, just a sort of a private chuckle. But I showed it to A and she laughed (B wasn't in today), so tell me if you get it.

We put the Christmas tree up tonight, me and Dad. Pete was hanging around, making suggestions about where things should go etc., and I got a surprise when I lifted the box to take it upstairs and found Liam had decided to hide inside it. XD

It was strange decorating the tree without Mum there. It was always me and her who put the tinsel on. [Our tree is a plastic imitation, by the way; a relic from the days where quality was the most important aspect of manufacture.] But there were the decorations she'd made as well. Even some of the ones that I made, I could remember her helping me with, when I was little.

The smart of grief that I felt, that I'm still feeling a little bit if I'm honest, was juxtaposed by the warmth from the tree and from doing something together. I think Dad felt it too, though we both smiled and laughed. But now, with the tree up, it almost feels like she's with us. I don't know how to explain it, but the loving memories, and the love she put into each of the decorations, they're still there, and it's like the tree is a symbol of that.

It's two weeks until the holidays. I don't get off until the 22nd. I don't know how the college expects people to get their Christmas shopping done, but I suppose they're only really interested in getting a high pass-rate at the end of the year. It's the same reason they're so strict with attendance and bursaries etc.. No point funding a student if they're not going to pass.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

There's going to be a hurricane!

^A reference to a programme I haven't watched since I was a child. ... The animals of Farthing Wood was better than David The Gnome.

I haven't seen the wind this strong before. The trees in my back garden have survived 90 mph before. I don't know what the windspeed here is, but in the Highlands it's over a hundred - nearly two hundred at the top of the mountains.

He's out there. I saw him. Standing completely still - tentacles waving in the wind.

Can't go out. The wind's too strong. It stripped the felt off the shed. And there's things in the dark.

I don't want to know - go away! I don't want to talk to you! You're bad. You're wrong! I'm not like you.

I'm staying here. It's not safe.

Monday, 5 December 2011

It's cold outside...

But I know there must be some kind of atmosphere what with the wind and the clouds etc..

Sorry, my bad. I'm just trying to keep my spirits up. Most probably none of you get the reference anyway.

Well, I suppose I should start with what happened between Wednesday and Saturday. Here's a list of significant events:

... Hence the lack of posting.

Yesterday decided to be different. The weather turned cold, and there was snow on the hills. No snow here, though. When I was coming back from the shops, for a split second I thought I saw Malinky following me, but then when I turned he wasn't there. I simply shivered and carried on.

After dinner, I got to my room and found Susan looking at Robin's mask. I asked her what she was doing, and she jumped. She looked sad, and then she said "I wish I could've met him."

"Robin?" I asked, slightly perplexed.

"Yeah." She paused and I sat down next to her. I held out my hand and she gave me the mask. All the memories came to the front of my mind, and I felt tears seeping into my eyes. "If you hadn't dug your heels in, it could have been us."

I looked at her. She had tears in her eyes as well.

"Yeah." I felt bad about the things I'd said to him. He didn't seem like a bad person, and yet I acted as if I hated him. "Why did he have to be so ... nice?" Susan gave me a weird look. "It would have been so much easier if he was a bad person."

"He wasn't so nice to you in the beginning."

I thought back. To when he'd tackled me, to when he'd pinned me down after I tried to run, to when he grabbed me in the street and gleefully told me his boss had given me two weeks. I remembered how big he seemed at the time, how frightened I was at the time. But it turned out he was the same age as me. I held back a bitter laugh as I realised what a hypocrite I'd been.

"Yeah, he was a little warped, but who are we to talk? I treated him like some weirdo, when he was just trying to be friendly." I shook my head and thought of the times I'd tried to push him away. It was only at the very end, when I thought I was about to die, that I'd let myself relax around him. "I should have gotten to know him better."

I started crying. Susan faded away. I could feel her sympathy, though, even though she said nothing.

This morning was another early start. There was snow on the ground, and the air was at that temperature where it completely sucks the heat out of anything that touches it for more than a few seconds. I wrapped up warm, but the wind decided to join in, so after just a few minutes I was already feeling pretty chilled.

When I was nearing the bus stop, I could see the commuters lined up against the wall, bored as usual. But someone else was there as well, standing right next to them. I was already cold, so the sight didn't perturb me. (It's hard to feel fear when you're already willing yourself forward against the freezing cold.) Heh, if it weren't for the time of year, he would have fitted right in, what with his business suit and all.

[The road was a mix of water and grit, but there was more than half an inch of snow on the pavement. Not much by our standards (and a piffling amount compared to last year) but I'm sure it would be enough to send London grinding to a halt, am I right?]

So, I carried on, crossing the road, and approached the bus stop as usual, though slightly wary of the tall dude. I stopped when I was next to him. I didn't want to look up and expose my neck to the wind, but I had no choice if I wanted an inkling of what he was thinking. He reached out his hand, and after a moment of thought I took it. He led me a little away from the commuters; farther down the street to a wider section of pavement. Snowflakes started to float down.

We stopped around the middle of that wider space. When he spoke, it took me completely by surprise. At first I didn't understand what he said. It was quiet, but piercing - sort of electronic and bleepy, like a corrupted audio file.


He spoke again, this time more clearly.

"who. are. you."

It still sounded slightly electronic, but it was no longer crackly and there were much fewer random bleeps. The intonation was weird, though. The word "are" was much higher than the other words, and his pitch seemed to wobble slightly on "you". I didn't know how to answer his question, so I stood there staring back at him, shivering with the wind. After a while, he put his hands behind my head and gripped my skull. Warmness started to seep through my body, and suddenly I felt very very scared.

A series of images flashed through my mind. These were my own memories, and it was as if I was reliving them. He showed me all the bad things I'd done, the things I'm ashamed of, the times I'd been tortured, and when I'd been selfish despite instinct.

My awareness returned and the hands lifted slightly. I looked up at him, but his not-a-face didn't betray any intention or emotion.

"N-no, that's not who I am." I stammered. He tilted his head to the right, then the hands returned and more images flashed through my brain. This time, he showed me all my acts of selflessness, of mercy, of helping other despite inconvenience or sacrifice.

Again, my vision returned and the hands lifted. His head was still tilted, and he stayed motionless.

"But that's not me either."

His head returned to normal position, and his hands touched my head for the last time. Memories flooded through me, both good and bad, some neutral, and within it were summed up the most important aspects of my growth.

"Yes, that's it."

He took his hands away from me, returning them to his sides.


I was confused, but at that moment the bus rounded the corner, and I glanced at the sudden noise and light. When I looked back, the Slender Man had gone, and I walked back to the bus stop feeling cold once more, and very bewildered.

I've felt weird all day. And, yeah, I fell asleep on the bus again. I saw Pete in Maths - that hasn't happened for a while now. I told him what happened and he looked a mix of concerned and awestruck.

It's very, ... I suppose, mind-opening(?) to see your life so far, and to see how it's changed who you are. I think I'll have to reflect more on this, but also, what was he doing and why? I don't see why he'd want to "know me" like that, or why he'd want me to know who I am. Is this the thing that Robin was talking about, or was it something completely different?

Edit: And oh, yeah, 50th post. My blog now feels half a century old. And honestly, I come back from a few days of no internet to find I now have over ten followers? Well, welcome to the both of you. I don't know why on earth you'd want to read this thing, but I suppose that's none of my business.

Saturday, 3 December 2011


This morning I took my pulse (as you do) because I was bored/curious. It was around 65 bpm, so not too bad, but then I started thinking. My heart has been beating my whole life. It never stops. It never sleeps. It just keeps on working to pump blood round my body. And it has the capacity to keep going for another seventy  years at least, barring accidents or dietary disasters.

I find that amazing.

I wondered how many times my heart had beaten during my life, so I grabbed my calculator. I took my average bpm to be about 80, and I did the calculation 80*60*24*365*17. (I left out leap days because they account for less than 0.1% of my total days on Earth.)

I found that by my last birthday, I had lived through over 700 million heartbeats. Isn't that just staggering? To think that that little ball of muscle inside my chest, that has been with me even before I was born, that without which I would surely die, has worked so hard, but not even broken a sweat!

Using the same method, I calculated the number of heartbeats per year to be a little over 42 million.

We need to look after our hearts. I think it's too often we take them for granted. It wasn't until today that I realised the miracle that is the human body. And not just the human body, but that would be going off-subject.

By the time I'm nineteen, it will be around 800 million beats, and by the time I am eighty, it will be around 3 billion.

It just keeps on working. And it won't stop for as long as you live.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Battle of Athelstaneford

Years before Kenneth MacAlpin succeeded in uniting the Kingdoms of Dalriada and Pictland, King Angus of the Scots was invading Lothian, at that time under Northumbrian control. However, the Scots encountered a larger force led by the Northumbrian King Athel.

The Scots army was forced to retreat, and were cornered near the Peffer Burn. Angus's men were severely outnumbered, so the King and his companions (which included Kenneth) prayed to God and the Saints that they would be delivered from the hands of their enemies. Soon after the fighting began, the cross of Saint Andrew appeared in the clouds above the field. Emboldened by this sign from above, the Scots went on to victory, even against such overwhelming odds.

Seeing that the battle was turning in favour of the Scots, King Athel attempted to build a ford and escape across the burn. However, he was slain while trying to cross, and that place was forever known as Athelstaneford.

When Kenneth united the Scots and Picts, creating the Kingdom of Alba, he remembered the Scots' triumph over the Northumbrians at the hands of Sint Andrew, and so Andrew became patron Saint of Scots. The battle is remembered in the Scottish flag, which depicts a white Saltire cross against the blue sky. It is also commemorated in the celebration of St Andrew's day, which is held each year on the 30th of November.


After a few hours of sunshine, followed by a thick grey clouds, the storm is now back. I can't say I'm surprised. These days, it seems like the moment you think things might be brightening up, something goes horribly wrong. Perhaps it's the nature of the world. The current storm is always going to end, but then another storm will grow and take its place. Life is just as unpredictable as the weather.

I remember two years ago. "The experts are saying we'll have a nice balmy winter." Then the whole of britain became smothered in white, for the first time in decades, just a few days before Christmas. I wonder what it will be like this year.

I'll be having haggis again for dinner tonight. Maybe you will be able to guess why. I highly doubt it, though, since at the moment all of my views come from outside the UK. But you never know.

Red Dwarf is officially my favourite comedy programme. My Dad had a cat when he was young, and he says the Cat acts just like her. I've never had a cat, but I've met a few, and I can believe it. For some reason, I can't help but like Rimmer. He's a pompous, self-important, arrogant, snipy little besom, but ... I don't know ... he tries. I don't know. Maybe I just automatically like people who make me laugh. Or maybe I feel sorry for him in a way. Ach, I'd have to think about it, but it's not really that important anyway.

I've decided I'm going to get Christmas presents for my new friends. I'm not sure what I'll get them. I might get C another t-shirt. He obviously likes them, but maybe he already has too many. I already know what I'm going to get B. I saw a little model of her favourite type of dog. (I'm not going to say what it is. I've heard you can learn a lot about a person from their favourite dog breed.) I don't know what I'm going to get for A, but she looks like she could use a new scarf.

In the past, my family hasn't done the whole "buying presents" thing. What we've generally done is make a small decoration for the tree, and maybe one of my parents would buy something for the whole family if they had some left over money. If any of the grandparents managed to visit, they would bring two presents; a big one for my parents (usually something that we would all enjoy), and a very small one for me. If they couldn't visit, they'd send some money in a card.

Most of my grandparents died when I was pretty young, though. Now it's just my granny (the commish's Ma) left. We're going to try and pick her up, depending on the weather, and she can stay with us for Christmas and New Year.

I probably shouldn't be sharing all this at the moment, but screw it, I'm bored. Anyway, I'll stop myself just now before I end up revealing some big secret that will tear down the whole of existence, or some such.

See you later.

Ah, finally the wind's died down.

Hopefully the internet will stay up long enough for me to make a whole post, instead of just short replies.

I refused to go to college today. Well, I was actually all for going, but my Dad convinced me not too. As you can probably already tell, the weather's not been that great. And bussing it into the city in an 80 mph gale is something I'm sure most people would want to avoid. I'm glad I won't have to go in tomorrow.

No internet's a drag, but what can be done? A couple of times there was the threat of a powercut. Thankfully, the power's stayed on. It's bloody freezing out there.

Me and Dad spent most of the day playing board games and watching the telly. After lunch, he decided to make scones. I tried to help, but I'm not so good at baking. He says all I need is a bit of practice, but I'm sure I'll never be able to cook anything more complicated than basic shortbread.

But now for the more troubling side of things. I have reason to believe Susan knows something I don't. It's not anything definite, so even if I confronted her she could deny it and I still wouldn't be any surer either way. It's the little comments; sometimes she says something with a little more certainty than she should, and almost seems surprised when I'm unsure in my reply.

Robin was mentioned in the news again today, just briefly. There was more information about the body, allegedly found with a broken neck, two black eyes, and multiple stab wounds to the chest. The police are asking for witnesses who might have seen any suspicious activity near the river up to three days before the body was found.

I only had one dream last night. That's unusual in itself. These days it's almost always two or three - or none at all. And the blue roses obscured almost everything now. They'd even started appearing on people's clothing. But last night's dream was set in my room. I don't remember waking up before the dream started, and I don't remember falling asleep afterwards. That's the only real evidence I have that it actually was a dream. No blue roses, no fantasy characters, just an overpowering sense of awareness and ... wrongness.

I felt very awake. I didn't know if I'd been half-asleep for a while or if I'd woken up and forgotten about it. It was very dark, but the street light made it's way through my curtain, giving me just enough brownish glow to make out the shapes of the objects surrounding me. I could hear the storm outside, tearing the last of the leaves from the trees, trying to pull the aerial out of the roof. I couldn't catch hold of my thoughts. Either they were moving too fast or my brain was too sluggish to snatch them.

I became aware of a low humming that seemed to come from the window. I looked up and I saw the shadows of the trees convulsing against the force of the wind. There was nothing unusual so I sank back down. The air was pretty cold.

The humming was quiet, and easily drowned out by the rush of the wind and the drumming of the rain, but I could sometimes make out parts of a tune, though not enough to recognise what it was. The humming stopped and I heard a giggle. Fear enveloped me. The voice outside started to sing.

It sang of blood and organs, exploding heads and ripped-out limbs. All to the tune of a children's nursery rhyme. I turned towards the wall, curled under my blankets. The song never lost any volume, despite my desperate attempts to block it out. In the end I lay there cowering, waiting for it to stop.

The song ended. There was a pause. I felt something slide across the material on top of my shoulders. Something long and dark entered my peripherals. The tentacle brushed my face as it curled round the duvet and peeled it back. I lay motionless, hardly breathing, staring at the place where my cover had been just a second ago. The tentacle came back. It gripped my middle and rolled me over. I had no choice, I didn't fight it.

I was on my back now, staring up at him, trying to keep my mind under control. He giggled again and started to sing another song, this one just a few lines. On the last line, he started to lean toward me, closer and closer, until his head was only a foot above mine. He stared right at me, finishing the song with a whisper, and I stared at him.

Then my alarm went off. I woke up with my covers arranged much the same as when I went to bed. My heart was beating fast and loud, as I rushed to quiet the sudden noise.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to sleep tonight. But I'm feeling tired, so I might as well try. At least I don't have college tomorrow.

Goodnight, all.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Trying to stay sane

isn't easy, especially when the things you're seeing could well be real.

I was pretty tired in Chemistry today. Heh. I'm always tired these days. And I've always been tired during Chemistry. It's at the end of the day on a Friday, and I find it hard not to fall asleep on the best of days.

It was coming up for the time we usually have our ten-minute break (which generally coincides with when they test the fire alarm) and the lecturer had given us some examples to do. I was pretty much hunched over my book, when I felt a pricking all over my back. I glanced round and saw him standing over me.

I yelped and everyone looked up.

"Barb, are you okay?" Asked the lecturer from the front of the class. I took a quick glance to see what his expression was like and looked back. There was nothing there. Startled, I turned round again.

"Um, yeah, I'm fine. Just gave myself a fright. It was just something silly."

He made a sound of dismissal, and people went back to their work. B looked at me, puzzled. I gave a quick nod to let her know she could ask me about it during the break.

On our walk to the water dispenser, she asked me if I'd seen something. I said yes and that I didn't really want to go into it. She respected that and didn't push it any further.

Gosh, I'm getting good at concealing things from people, amn't I? Who is this person I'm becoming? Oh, I know the changes so far have been perfectly reasonable responses to my current situation, but who will I be in a year's time? Five years' time? If I even live that long. Ha.

Susan decided to break her silence today, so that's something back to normal. She even apologised for her behaviour and asked if could still be friends. Typical suck-up behaviour. But I thought, how can I forgive others if I can't even forgive my(other)self? So I forgave her and now she's back in her old spot, looking over my mind from her seat at the back.

Well, at least some things never change. Gives me hope that one day the rest of me will be back to normal. See ya's!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

They found Robin's body today. It was in the news. They had to drag it out of the river, around ten miles down stream of here.

The news didn't show any clear pictures of the body, but there was a glimpse of his blue hoodie, mud-stained and water-soaked. Dad noticed I looked upset, so he sat next to me and hugged me.

The reporter said the body had been found with numerous injuries, and that the police were treating the case as suspected murder.

At least his family know for sure now that he's not coming back.

Oh man.

I've been getting ready to leave, and as I was passing the porch I noticed the post had come. So I went to have a look, and sitting on top of the pile was Robin's mask. My mind flashed back and I cringed involuntarily. I picked it up, and attached to it was a note that said "A Souvenir" in long, thin, loopy handwriting.

I've no idea what it means. Is it even a message, or is it just to psych me out? I'm going to keep it in my room for just now, at least until I can figure out what to do with it, if anything.

I'll try and be online tonight. In the meantime, I have to run.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


So, today is my birthday. It is officially less than a year until I'm considered fully responsible for my own safety. (Go me.)

I slept on the bus this morning. That's not particularly significant in itself - I've been sleeping in the morning almost since I started - but I just happened to wake up when we were passing a certain field, in the middle of which was standing a tall slim figure. Either that's one ginormous scarecrow, or a certain someone decided to remind me he's still around. Fabby.

But yeah, the rest of the day was pretty good. My friends gave me a present they'd bought together; a large snowglobe that plays music when you wind it up. All in all, I think it's pretty cool. (I'll have to resist taking it apart to see how it works. Music boxes tend to be put together pretty precisely, and I wouldn't want to disrupt the mechanism.) I'll definitely be winding it up before I go to sleep tonight. I just love music boxes. They're so relaxing, don't you think?

Anyway, I slept on the bus back as well, but nothing unusual happened this time. In fact, nothing unusual happened the whole day. It's been ages since I've spent almost a full day feeling happy. :)

When I got back, my Dad flashed a pink envelope in front of my face and I opened it. It was a card from my Granny with a tenner inside. (Not much of a surprise there, it's what she sends me every year.) After dinner (MacSween's vegetarian haggis = the best food ever!) he told me to shut my eyes. I heard him mucking about in the fridge, and then he brought something out, put it on the table, and "Tada!". The cake was beautiful. It was slathered with yellowy butter icing, and on the top was a black bat made out of rolled fondant. The words "HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARB!" were drawn on the top with that red-coloured writing icing you get in tubes. (How he got it to stick, I've no idea.)

After we'd each had a slice he gave me my present. I wasn't really expecting much. But then I opened it and it was a boxset of Red Dwarf! Red Dwarf! I sat there gawking at it for a minute. I'd seen a couple of episodes and liked them, but it had generally been late at night (Dave's so-called prime time? Nup.) and he'd been doing other things. I eventually managed to say "Wow." and Dad explained that he'd heard the theme music coming from the lounge when I was up late sometimes. He said it was one of his favourite programmes when it was on, and he was pretty sure I'd like it too.

And, well, that present is the reason I'm up late again. Pete decided to join us after the first episode. He asked me what we were watching and I shushed him. He found it funny as well. Liam was in the room, but he didn't really pay any attention to the screen. He'd look up at it any time we laughed, though. I think Holly is my favourite character at the moment, but I can't wait until Kryten shows up.

So, it would seem everything's alright for once. That's nice.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

So tired.

Thanks for all your words of encouragement. They're one of the main things that make me feel I can keep going.

The last couple of days have been exhausting. I've only been a little busier than usual, but the effort seems to be taking a much greater toll on me than it used to. My college friends have started noticing. And they thought I was tired at the start of the course. Heh. What beatiful and stress-free days those were. Before my life became interfered with.

Even the depths of my mind feel strange to me. Susan has been quiet, I'm not sure how long. It's unusual for her to stay silent for even a week, and even then I can still feel her presence. Not now. Either she's learned some secret ninja art of concealment or she's completely disappeared. Pete hasn't been around as often as he used to, and when he is I can tell he does nothing but worry about me. Liam is the same as ever. Constantly there, acting oblivious to anything that doesn't involve him.

And to add icing to my cherry, or some other baking-related analogy, I've started hearing whispers when I'm alone or just not talking to people. The whispers themselves are quiet and indistinct, but the number of voices speaking at once means it's hard to keep my thoughts linear.

I haven't seen Skinny Malinky since Saturday, thank goodness, but I've got a feeling he's not far away. Whatever happened on Saturday (though I've been trying not to think about what that might be), I don't think he'd let me go so easily. Heh. I don't even know what he wants, for crying out loud. He might just be playing with me, and fully intends to kill me when he eventually gets bored.

My dreams have changed. They're much shorter than they used to be, and sometimes there are a few in one night. The subject matter hasn't changed. The blue roses are still there, they've grown over almost everything now, and most of the time I'm not sure what world I'm looking at.

My bones ache and my muscles are stiff. I sometimes get shivers for no reason. (I wonder if I'm coming down with something.) And then, there's the constant feeling of eyes staring into my back. I'm not sure if it's paranoia or something else. To be honest, though, I don't think it would change much either way. It could be that it's just a delusion, but I'm being watched regardless. Who could tell?

It's my birthday tomorrow. I spotted what looked like a cake in the fridge. Dad must have baked it while I was out today. I remember him baking when I was young - it was delicious - but he hasn't made anything in years. He looks tired too, but he seems happy enough. I'm glad he doesn't see what I feel on the inside. It would be complicated to lie or explain and I don't want him to feel bad about something that neither of us can do a thing to change.

I've decided what universities I'm applying for. For security reasons I'm not going to say which ones, but I'm applying for Physics-based subjects in all of them. Now all I have to do is fill out the rest of the form (I don't know what I should say about my "mental illness", since it usually doesn't impact much on my ability to work) and write that blasted personal statement. ("Yes, the reasons I would be absolutely brilliant at studying Physics at an academic level are ...") It'll be tough since I don't have much of a history of getting involved with groups of people, and most of the suggestions for showing off your strengths are based around the extra-curricular activities you took part in. I suppose I could focus mostly on what coming to college has given/taught me.

Heh. If only I could use what I talk about on here as examples of perseverence, people skills, and experience of working under pressure.

And sorry I haven't been as active as usual on here. Between extra amounts of sleep and homework I haven't had much free time on my hands. I'll try to reply to everyone as soon as I can.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Back again so soon?

-I'm really sorry I couldn't post sooner. I've been waiting all day for even a hint of a connection. But hey, why should the internet work when all I need to do is reassure my friends I'm still alive!?-

My memory of yesterday is very vivid, but it feels strange recalling it, like it happened in a dream or a film or something. It's possibly my mind's attempt to soften the blow of what happened.

My Dad was at work by the time I left, so I wrote him a note. Brainy Smurf wouldn't shut up. He kept telling me not to go, that I would only get into trouble if I left the house. Bless him, he actually seemed concerned about me. I ignored him mostly, and he followed me right up until I walked out the front door. I wasn't sure where I would go. I just couldn't sit around any longer twiddling my thumbs, waiting to see if any monsters would ring the doorbell.

Half of me was scared, half felt depressed. As far as I knew, I was going to face my death. At the end of the lane, I met Robin. He wasn't wearing his mask.

"Hey Batgirl." He said.

"Hey." I said.

"He's this way." He motioned over his shoulder with his thumb. We stood for a second. He looked a cross between excited and tense. I noticed his figure seemed coiled, like a spring.

"I won't run." He nodded and relaxed, but only slightly.

"You coming?"

We walked for a while. We talked too. He told me it wasn't too late to change my mind. I told him I'd made my decision and I wasn't going to back down. He looked sad. We talked about other things, the weather, college, what his life had been like before he met Malinky, and Doctor Who, among other things. At one point I asked where we were going. He asked me where I'd first seen his boss. It was a rhetorical question, so I didn't reply.

When we got the river, I stopped. I tried to push myself forwards, but every single part of me was telling me to run. Robin noticed I'd stopped and he turned round. Then he took my hand.

"It's okay to be scared. But don't worry, I'll be with you. I won't let him hurt you."

I was convinced those words were complete rubbish, but he seemed genuine, and it felt comforting to know someone would be with me who didn't wish me harm.

We walked.

As we turned the corner in the path, I saw him. He was standing in the trees, just like the first time, only this time he was facing me, and he seemed taller than ever. I jumped when I saw him, and I think I even squeaked.

I took a step back, and suddenly my elbows were pulled behind me. I heard Robin whisper in my ear.

"Sorry, it's for your own good."

The Slender Man strode towards the path. The motion was more solid than when we were in the park behind the college. Robin pushed me forwards while still maintaining his lock. I tried resisting but he was far too strong for me. My eyes were glued to that ... face. That non-face. It seemed to swallow everything I was and left me with nothing but fear.

He stopped walking, and Robin stopped pushing. For a moment, everything was still. His head - he looked like he was regarding me. It slowly tilted to one side and I could almost hear - something. It was barely audible at all. I'm not even sure if it was high or low. It sounded like ... silence.  But a different kind of silence.

Behind me, Robin spoke.

"Really?" His boss didn't move. I was practically paralysed with fright. I could feel Robin's breath on my back. He laughed and released my arms. I saw him move towards his boss. The tall one's arms moved out as if to welcome him. Robin turned.

"Wait till you see." I could see the glee on his face. "This is what he did when I met him all those months ago. He says he'll give it to you as well."

He turned back towards his master and moved closer. The faceless turned his face to the boy beneath him, placed his arms on his shoulders. I cringed as two long tentacles emerged from the back of his suit and wrapped themselves around the boy. His hands moved up to the boys face, first one then the other, holding his head the way a loving but dignified parent would reassure a child. More tentacles appeared, caressing him, holding him, stroking him.

I could see the admiration on Robin's face as he looked up at his master. He looked so happy, at peace with himself. Then,


his body went limp. The tentacles unwrapped and he slumped over to the ground. And then, that giggle. Again. I felt my strength drain. I was drenched with fear. Then he looked at me. No eyes. No expression. No clue to see what he was thinking. I stumbled backwards until I hit a tree. He loomed over me, and I knew I was too weak to fight, even to run.

And I can't remember what happened next.

My memory is completely blank. The next thing I remember is standing at the end of my street, wondering how I got there. It was already dark. I looked at my watch. I'd left before one o'clock. It was quarter-past five. Some people's curtains were still open, so I knew it was evening rather than morning. I hoped Dad was home. I'd left my keys at home as a security precaution (not that I think he'd need keys to get into my house, but, you know, just in case).

I tried the door when I got to my house. I'd left the door on the latch, so I wasn't surprised when the door gave a little as I turned the handle. I was still locked out, but I could see a light on, so I rang the door bell. I felt so relieved when my Dad answered. I couldn't show it, though, so I pretended to be cold. It felt good to be back in my home, but in that moment, I wished I had my Mum. No matter how crazy the things in my life (or my head) were, she would always listen with a sympathetic nod and an empathetic hug. A while ago, I thought I didn't need it any more. College was fine, I had friends, and she needed her own space. Now, I need her more than ever, and I can't reach her.

As soon as I got to my room, I was faced with every single one of my recurring hallucinations, each with their own set of questions. In the end, I broke down and cried. Most of them got annoyed and went away, and only a few of my closest "friends" were with me. They managed to give me a bit of comfort, but I really don't know what to do.

I don't know what I did yesterday afternoon, in the period I can't remember. Part of me is questioning whether yesterday happened at all.

My dream last night was more or less a nightmare. Robin's body was there, the roses growing through him, holding him, hung like a marionette. His voice,

"Save your strength. Drink deep and long. Feel the love. The love is strong." over and over.

I could see the roses growing. They wrapped themselves around his limbs, they pierced his flesh. His body disintegrated as the flowers grew higher and wider.

"Don't try to save yourself. The only way is down."

I should really go to bed now. I'll stay up a little longer though. To be honest, I'm not even sure if I'll be able to sleep tonight. If I can't, well, at least I'll be able to get some college work done. I've got an essay to hand in for tuesday and it's not quite finished yet.

Goodbye for now. I might see you later.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

So long, friends.

Well, I suppose today's the day that defines the rest of my life. I've been sitting around here too long. I don't want to think, but I can't help it. Even watching the telly doesn't keep my mind away.

I've decided I'm going for a walk. If you never hear from me again ... well, just know that I left here with the best intentions. I'm going to try my best not to give in. I don't know if I can fight them, I probably can't. But I'm not going to join them if I can help it. I think I would rather die than join that monster...

I suppose it depends what I'm threatened with, though.

I hope nobody suffers on account of my actions, whatever might happen today. You know, it's strange, the weather's actually started acting normal now. Hardly any leaves are left now after the gale, but there's an oak tree out the back that's still mostly green. I'm not sure why that would be. I think I heard somewhere that oaks have a high water content, but I might be wrong.

Dad, if you ever read this and I'm not around any more, run. Get as far away from here as you can. Sell the house. Anything. Just get out of here. Everyone else, goodbye. I hope I'll see you again. Mum, I hope I can make you proud.

I've decided to leave a song here. It's more for you guys than for me, but I'll be keeping it in my mind as I'm walking. I don't know what else I can do, so I'm going to face it. Even if there's no way out, at least I tried.

I could certainly do with a parachute right now.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Hello again.

My time of freedom is coming to a close. Booey. I wish I could just sit here forever, pretending like the gale is just on the outside, not also on the inside of my cranium. But no. So many things trying to attract my attention. Screaming at me, even. I'd like to say that my dreams are an escape, but they're really not.

Anyway. I met Rabbie again today. He sat next to me this time. I felt like punching him again, so instead I decided to grill him for all I was worth. I won't go into detail about our conversation, but he did indeed know my mother. See, apparantly, she was his psychiatrist before he was referred to Psychology. And he assures me he isn't crazy and never has been. I suppose. What were his friends and family supposed to think?

A while ago, past-Barb asked me some questions. I'll try to answer them as best I can with the knowledge I have just now:

  • How did my mother discover Mr. Tall?
In quite a dignified affair, Rabbie, after he started seeing skinny Malinky long-legs following him, went to see his G.P. about it and was referred to my Mum's department. My Mum prescribed him some medication, but after his stalking intensified she referred him to Psychology. She still had contact with him, but it was limited to a four-weekly "would this patient benefit from any medication" review.

  • Was she being followed?
She wasn't being followed as such. At least not early on. Rabbie said he gathered she was being watched around a week before his extraction. And then by the next morning she was dead.

  • Was her death natural causes, or was she murdered?
I don't know. I'll probably never know. Rabbie said he was informed of her death as soon as he woke up that morning, so before I made my post. I can't help but think there must have been some foul play.

  • Why would she draw an operator symbol at the back of her diary?
It was Rab who drew the picture. He didn't draw the operator symbol, so that must have been my Mum. He said he drew it other places though, before he knew exactly what it was (he wouldn't tell me). My only guess is that my Mum found out a little more about what was stalking him and was trying to protect herself. This fits with her suddenly becoming scared of the woods, but it's strange I haven't found anything else. I could be completely wrong though.

  • Am I being watched?
My blog was being followed almost from the beginning. Allegedly, one of the biggest tasks Malinky's minions face is trying to keep up with all the blogs/vlogs etc. and trying to link them to physical people after they work out what's real and what's just fantasy. Rabbie said my blog was one of the first things he was shown on his first night-trip (he was an in-patient at that point - apparently hospital security isn't the best). He told me they'd been narrowing it down, trying to pin-point who I was. Apparently hiding my location/identity was one of my better decisions. The post about Rabbie's disappearance was the piece that made them sure it was me who was posting.

  • Has he been watching me ever since I was a child?
From what I gathered, he's been keeping tabs on me, checking up on me every-so-often when there wasn't anything more immediate to care about. Apparently he watches everyone who's ever seen him, just in case. I guess it paid off with me. Either I become useful to him, or I turn against him. If I were him, I could see how it would be useful to know where (and what) I am.

  • Is it all my fault?
I honestly don't have an answer for this. I don't know if all of it was my fault, if none of it was my fault, if some of it was, and if so, what was. That's one of the main things I've been thinking about, actually. In this situation, I suppose in every situation really, I can't hope to know what my decisions will bring. I guess all I can do is try and do what's right and hope it all works out.

In the past, I've found the phrase "What would Jesus do?" useful for problems of conscience. Thing is, I've no idea what Jesus would do here. The only thing I can compare it with is the temptation in the desert, but He already knew what His purpose was, and He was being tempted to turn away from God's plan. I don't know what God's plan is. I don't know what my purpose in life is. Human morals give me no direction because they seem to contort and explode at places like this. Everybody's saying "do what's best for you". I don't want to do what's best for me. I want to do what's right. I wish I were more spiritual. Then I could pray for guidance. But I don't really know how to pray. I've tried it once or twice, but usually the voices start jeering at me. The only way I can block it out is to focus on other people and pray for them instead. I feel awful having to ask this. Could somebody pray for me? I've seen it do so many wonderful things for the people at church.

I almost forgot. I should probably let you all know, even though I don't know if I'll still be here, I'll be turning seventeen on wednesday. I'm not sure if Dad's planned anything, so I might not be able to post regardless of whether I'm alive or not. Wow. I never thought I'd ever be saying a sentence like that (again).

I realise I've not said much about other areas of my life recently. I suppose I've been preoccupied. I now love Coldplay (C's doing, I wasn't too keen at first but I warmed to them), my coursework is progressing well, and I still need to work out what courses I want to apply for next year. I've got until January, but a lot of them are first-come first-served. Maybe I could just pick some out of a hat.

Pete's been acting a little odd. He was very worried, but then all of a sudden he brightened up, and he's been in a cheery mood ever since. And he's not usually cheery either. Susan just keeps getting in a bigger huff with me, and has now resorted to the silent treatment. Liam is just as oblivious as ever, which is probably the most helpful out of the lot of them.

Anyway, I have to go now, bed time and all that. Goodnight.

Monday, 14 November 2011

I'm Back.

(The Laptop of Doom strikes again. It took Dad all night to fix it, while I sat on his bed doing homework.) All in all, it was a nice weekend, and it was good to get away for a bit. Shame I couldn't fully enjoy it; the fog decided to come back. We went for a walk on Saturday night. It was creepy. I kept feeling like something was watching me, following me. And then my Dad started making ghost noises and I nearly hit him. On Saturday morning I sat in the lounge, eating my cereal, and stared at the scenery. It was beautiful. The sun was just coming up. It shone onto the mist, giving it a golden-pinky hue. I could just make out the side of the loch. There is something comforting about being surrounded by trees, even with the associated danger. I had a lot to think about, and nothing particularly eventful happened while we were there. Probably the most exciting thing that happened was my Dad blowing on some grass and a moorhen replying.

But anyway, I should get on to what happened to me on Wenesday night.

I'd had an alright day at college, not the best, but nothing too drastic happened. Enough, though, that it felt good to be on the bus home. A few stops after I'd got on, and I was settling down, listening to my mp3 player, when I notice a blue hood at the back of the procession coming up the stairs. So I sat up, fully alert though not knowing what I could do if it was him. The bus lurched forwards before everyone was up, and as he was thrown forward, his head turned slightly, and I saw the glint of sequins. I didn't know what to do so I just sat there and hoped he wouldn't notice me. It was a stupid hope. Although there was no one sitting next to me, he sat down in front of me and turned round.

"So, Barbara."

I switched off my mp3 player and took my headphones out. Part of me was screaming "Run! Just hit him and run!", but the rest of me was mostly just annoyed by the intrusion.

"Have you given any thought to our little ... proposition?"
"It's been less than a week."
"I know, I know. I was just wondering what you were thinking. If you'd maybe even already come to a decision."

He looked like that one child in primary school who would always end up drinking too much fizzy juice at lunch time. It wasn't so much a fidget, more of a sort of - pent-up energy? He kept shifting his position, kind of swaying slightly, although not in time with the rest of the bus. In contrast with his posture, his smile stayed suspiciously fixed. I wondered if he knew more than he was letting on. I avoided his question.

"Can't people see you?"
"Oh, they know I'm here, they just think I'm unimportant. It's kind of like a -"
"Don't say it." On no account did I want to hear the words "perception filter". He smirked.
"You don't even know what I was going to say."
"Trust me, I've heard it enough and I'm sick of the comparisons."
"Fine." He chuckled. "So back to my original question. What do you think? Are you thinking of joining?" He stared at me. I glared back. I really wasn't in a good mood. His expression changed. "Oh, don't look so glum. I'm just trying to be friendly." It was here that I snapped.
"Friendly?! You follow that faceless monster around, pin me down so I can't get away from him, sneak up on me when I'm coming home from work and scare me half to death, then you show up on my bus when I finally have some time to relax and say you're being friendly?! How am I supposed to react?!"
"I suppose. And I'm a complete stranger to you." He paused for a moment, looking thoughtful. "Ah, f*** it."

He pulled down his hood and took off his mask. My jaw and my eyebrows went in opposite directions.

"Yup. Though I prefer the name "Robin", actually."

I was utterly gobsmacked. This was the guy that went missing last month. His hair was much shorter than it had been in the photo, probably the reason why my over-suspicious mind didn't think of it before. And then my mind stumbled on a prospect most horrifying.

"Wait a minute, was that a Burns joke?"
 He laughed. "No, I'd never even thought of that! You're sharp, you are."

My frown lessened a little. As much as you want to hate someone, it's hard when they're showing good-humour. Then my mind started to wonder what this all meant. Is it possible to fight against someone for whom you don't have complete hatred and fear? He spoke again.

"Are you sure you don't want to join us?"
"Yes." I looked away for a second. "I don't want to hurt anyone. I- I couldn't hurt anyone again."
"Well, you gave me a pretty good punch. But anyway, you don't have to hurt people. There's other things, like intelligence gathering. I know how much you like spending time on your laptop."
"But that's mostly because of my friends. And most of them are currently being harassed or attacked by your boss. I'm not going to betray them."
"You could lie."
"You could pretend you're still on their side, and just keep acting like you usually would. There's no way for them to see if you're telling the truth."
"You make me feel sick. Honestly." I felt like getting up and leaving, even though my stop was still ages away. I almost did.
"You know, he's only trying to start a family." He spoke softly this time. I sat back down, confused. "I was scared of him at first too, but then ... then he told me things. He showed me ... love. Love like I'd never felt before. It burned. He took away my fear, and now I'm not scared of anything. I'm so much stronger than I used to be, especially on the inside."

I felt my own fear rising. I couldn't let his seductive tone drag me in. Sure, I have weaknesses, don't we all? I don't need to be stronger. At least, I'm not prepared to lose what's most important to me so I can become invulnerable.

"Look, I'm not going to join you, for the same reasons I avoid Coca-Cola and Nestlé." He sighed
"Fair enough, if that's your answer. Just - think about what I said, okay?" He got up and moved to the top of the staircase. "See ya round, Batgirl."

So now I'm dead certain my blog's been traced to me. I'd had my suspicions. Well, at least I know who that anonymous follower from Britain is.

Oh, and Rabbie, if I'm correct and you are reading this, you don't scare me. There's no way I'm joining your master. See, unlike you, I still have my morals. And I'm going to keep them, even if I have to fight.

Goodnight everyone.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Sorry guys. It's too late for me to finish typing up what happened. I guess I got distracted with packing and trying to help other people. Anyway, I'll try and get it up tomorrow afternoon. If I can't then I'll try and finish it on Monday.

And if I don't see (or read?) you until then, goodnight.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

I spoke to my boss...

Dad now has a job. The catch is, it's my old job. It was a long and complicated conversation, and we both raised our voices at times, but the end result was I quit and he agreed to give Dad an interview in the afternoon. Ah, the miracle of the guilt-trip. The human sense of honour is a funny thing, don't you think? Anyway, I'd better go, my laptop's lagging and I don't want this to take forever.

Edit: Since I'm not earning anymore, I'm going to be enabling that adsense thingy Google has. I figure I may as well try and make some money any way I can. I hope none of you mind. If it causes any major problems then I'll disable it again.

Monday, 7 November 2011


So, things are pretty quiet here. But then again, "quiet" doesn't necessarily mean safety. I'm ashamed to say the stress has been getting to me, despite the support I've been getting from you guys, from Pete and Liam (and others who I don't have permission to mention), and from my friends at college.

I've been slipping behind in my college work. Not by much, but I'm not as on top of things as I used to be. I used to be able to get my homework done in about fifteen minutes each night, and then I could blog or play flash games or draw or do whatever I wanted. Now I'm even having to finish it on the bus, which isn't easy when all your body wants to do is sleep. I'm having to get up earlier now that the cold's setting in for real. Which of course makes me even slower in the mornings so I have to keep waking up ten minutes earlier every few days.

Acht. Enough complaining. It won't help. So, what else is happening? Dad's getting concerned about me. He hasn't said much, but I can see it on his face. I came in this evening and the first thing he said was "How about a holiday?". Rapid discussion ensued, and now he's dragging me up north for the weekend. He's booked it already. He's sure the trees will help me relax. I don't know about that (*rolls eyes*), but I suppose, the scenery up there is very beautiful, so I may as well take any chance I can get to unwind. It means I'll have to get most of my work done before we leave, and I won't be able to post again until we're back, but I think I can manage. I've got something to look forward to now. Something to work towards. Something that doesn't involve writing a probably futile personal statement.

Oh, sorry, I started complaining again, didn't I? Ah well, at least the only person I'm hurting with it is myself. I've got to decide which universities I'm going to apply for, what courses I want to study, and write a personal statement showing (not telling) that I would make a good student. I don't know about the rest of you, but I generally don't go around boasting about how great a person I am, and neither does anyone I know. I'll figure it out eventually, but the college puts deadlines on things and I really don't want to muck up their system.

On the domestic front, Dad's looking for a job, but he's not worked a day in the past fifteen years so employers are reluctant to hire him. (at least, that's what they say their reason is, I wouldn't put it past them to discriminate on age grounds) I'll go visit my boss tomorrow and see if he's got any spots open. I heard one of the girls left last week (under dubious circumstances, which is probably why people were talking about it), but there hasn't been any notices up, so it might have been filled already. I'm not sure I'll be completely comfortable having my Dad working at the same place as me, but if it needs to be done it needs to be done.

Back to the stress, since Sunday I've had this strange feeling of being watched. It's probably just paranoia on my part, but it's impossible to know. There was fog today, though. (still is, actually) It came in around lunch time, but it didn't come from the sea like usual. It came down from the direction of the hills, thick, choking, swirling. The bus nearly had an accident on the way home. It's mostly cleared now, but it's definitely still out there, and it's eerie.

My dreams are back to normal, but the presence of the blue roses is growing. Every night, there seems to be more of them; growing along walls, sitting daintily on tables, embroidered into the carpet - everywhere. I looked them up to see if I could get any hints as to what it might mean, but most of the answers I got were either too vague, too specific, or contradicted each other. The only consensus I got from all of them is that they represent something fantastic or impossible. Apparently they used to represent the feelings of love at first sight or attaining the impossible to the Victorians.

I don't know. I suppose it will be revealed in time, especially if they keep growing at this rate. (you know, it reminds me of the red weed) It would be nice to know, though, if they're a good or bad omen.

Anyway, I think that's enough for tonight. I'm going to try and not stay up late anymore. Goodness knows I need my sleep.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

As if I wasn't worried enough already...

You'll know that, ever since Tuesday's incident (you know, it's funny, I've realised that was All Saint's Day) it's been stressful for me to walk for any period of time outside. Well, I had work today, so I had to walk all the way across town. At least there were people around, but that didn't stop the blue guy last time, and I wasn't sure if they might be hiding down a dark side-street or something.

Work was good, though. A bit of manual labour gave me the chance to distract myself from everything. I was glad of the chance to forget my emotions and just stack to the bleeping of the checkouts.

It was dark when I finished. I stepped out to see the first of the fireworks burst out of the nearly black sky. It was soon answered by others across the town. I had my jacket with me, but I still felt chilly. When I was well underway, I stopped and turned to gaze at a particularly flamboyant and boisterous display. Suddenly, a gloved hand clamped itself over my mouth. I tried to yell but the noise was too muffled for anyone to hear. I tried to struggle but powerful arms held me tight. A voice, calm and smooth, whispered in my ear.

"Hello Barbara." I squealed and tried to struggle again, but he held me firm. "I realise we must have spooked you something awful on tuesday, so I asked the boss and he agreed to give you another chance."

He paused.

"I know it must be a big decision for you, what with you being well on the way to being accepted in this... society, so we'll give you some time to think it over, say, two weeks? No need to track us down, we'll find you."

He paused again. I tried to struggle again. He didn't let go.

"You're a good girl. I know you'll make the right decision." The hand lifted, the arms were gone. I turned, but I couldn't see anyone. I ran the rest of the way home.

I've got to go. Dad's taking me out to a display. I would have had this up earlier, but while I was typing our next door neighbour decided to have a display of his own, and my bedroom window was a prime spot for observation. I'll probably be back on later, if not, then arrivederci.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Still here, losing it a little

Getting up for college today was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. And that includes all the interviews I've ever been to (all four of them *sighs*).
Bear in mind that last night's incident happened around sunset and the sun wasn't even close to rising when I woke up this morning. Add a late and restless night on top of that and you probably have a small idea about how I felt this morning.

Pete was around - evidently he'd been with me all night. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to go, but I told him I had to. I can't let this stop me from living my life. I've had too many setbacks as it is. I was just beginning to feel like I'm succeeding, like some day I can find my place and become a contributive member of society. Even you lot reading this have seen how far I've come since August. I don't want to lose that. I don't want to go back to how I was before Susan split off.

The walk (or rather, run) to the bus stop was nerve-wracking. Where I live, I have to walk along a wooded lane to get to the main road. The sky was beginning to lighten, which gave me just a little reassurance. Once I was on the main road, I felt a little better. Not another soul was in sight, but the sound of birdsong pierced the air and I felt relieved.

Once me and Pete were nearer the town centre than my house, we stopped running. We could hear the sound of lonely cars groaning along the High Street, and I felt safer. There were the usual morning commuters at the bus stop, exhaustion carved into their faces, boredom distorting their postures.

Pete stayed with me the whole day. Even on the buses. He took the window seat (he gets travel sick easily) which meant I could concentrate what was on the inside of the bus rather than the outside. I think that helped, along with the isolating power of my mp3 player.

Unfortunately, my friends noticed I was being quieter than usual. They asked what was bugging me so I just said I was tired. (And I wasn't lying. >_<) I forced myself to brighten up. I can't let them know anything's wrong. I'll never forgive myself if anything happens to them because of me.

I almost considered letting them know Pete was with me, since they seem to like him, but he'd told me earlier he wanted to stay under the radar and focus on making sure I was alright. I honestly don't know what I'd do without him.

Susan officially hates me. She hates me for turning down that offer last night, for running from the people that could make her dreams come true, and for not caring about anything she wants. If it was so important to her, why didn't she come out last night while it was actually happening instead of just complaining about my decision after I got home? I honestly don't understand her motives one bit.

Talking of when I got home, Dad noticed something was wrong. Fair enough, I wasn't really capable of hiding it at that point. I must have looked a wreck when I got through the door. I couldn't finish my dinner, and there was around five minutes between each bite. All I could think about was how scared and helpless I felt, how I have no idea what would have happened to me if I didn't manage to get away, how he seemed to be waiting for me when I saw him from the bus.

He told me I didn't look very well. I told him I thought I was coming down with something. I had to write him a note before I left this morning, saying I felt well enough for college. He phoned me when I was on the bus as well. I had to pretend to sound happy.

Honestly, I've been using the "tired" excuse all day. Friends, lecturers, even Dad. The journey home was gruelling. I hadn't seen a hint of Slender all day, but I caught a glimpse of his blue-robed companion when I was on the bus back. I was stopped at a red light, when Pete gasped. I looked down, and there he was, just leaning against the wall, right under the window, looking up. He smiled at me and saluted, then the bus pulled away.

I didn't see him again, but that one glimpse was enough. It was another hour until I got home. When Dad saw me, he said I shouldn't have gone. I told him I felt better than I had last night. He nodded but said he didn't want me to get any worse. I told him I wasn't going to take a day off unless I had to. He sighed and just said "see you?" then gave me a hug.

Overall, I am feeling better than I was last night, but I'm only just managing to keep myself together. Arguing with Susan makes me angry and tires me out, time alone makes me dwell on bad prosepects, and I miss my Mum more than ever.

I used to be able to talk to her about whatever I was worried about, whatever was going through my head, and she'd be able to make me feel better about it. Pete's been so supportive. I don't think I'll ever be able to thank him enough. Liam is a comforting presence, but he doesn't understand what's wrong. How could he? He's a badger. A small, cuddly badger. I haven't been cuddling him enough. I think that's why he looks so confused. I should cuddle him more.

I had a very vivid dream last night. I was in a forest, sitting in a tree, high above the ground. There were some badgers below, some of them running about, tackling each other, others just plodded along, snuffling the ground. (None of them were Liam, but that's not important.) It was autumn. The trees were almost bare, and a carpet of orange coated the ground. The sun was approaching the west, and it cast a golden light on the scene. I looked to my left and my mother was sitting next to me. She was smiling at the badgers.

I asked her "Why are you here?"
She just looked at me and smiled.
I couldn't smile back. I looked down at the badgers. They started moving away, towards the setting sun.

"You know I'm proud of you?" she said.
I nodded. "I miss you."
"I know." She looked down again.

The branch seemed to slide down the tree, until we were only a few feet up. My Mum slipped off and I followed. We walked for a while together.

"Barb?" she said.
"I didn't want to go."
"I know."
"It's just ..." Her gaze suddenly shifted to something behind me and her eyes widened. "Run!"

She pushed me and I ran. I looked back. My Mum was standing with her back to me, looking into a black, cloudy portal the width and height of two men.

"Mum!" I yelled.

She didn't respond.

I watched as thin black tendrils wrapped themselves round the side of the portal. My Mum turned round.

"I said run, Barbara!" she shouted.

I ran. I don't know what happened to her, but soon enough the blackness started appearing in my peripherals, wrapping itself around my plane of vision. I looked over my shoulder and everything was black. I tried to outrun the blackness, its convulsing tendrils racing with me. Eventually it overtook me and I fell away from the ground, flailing helplessly. My fall was broken when I became caught within more thin, black tangles. I initially thought the were the same tendrils as before, but these were tangible, strong, they held me in place when i tried to struggle. I let my body relax and I looked around.

Blue roses. Above, beside, below me. Their stems thin and gently curved, leaves as black as the void.

I'm sorry for the length and the disjointedness of this post. There was so much I wanted to say, and I can't think straight at the moment. I can only apologise. Maybe I could go through it later and make it flow better, when I can think straight.

I'll have to make this quick, friends think I'm at the toilet. This is just to let you all know I reached college safely. I'll make another post when I get home. Bye for now!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Breathe, Barb

Okay. To borrow a phrase, "doodoo" just got real.

I saw him. And he saw me. And, well, I should probably start at the beginning.

Tuesday, 1st of November, 2011. The day after Halloween. My only class today was English. It just so happens to be right at the end of the day though, so although I don't have to get the bus until around 11am, I don't leave college until half four. It was almost sunset by the time I got outside.

Most of the day went without a hitch. I met my friends for lunch, and in class we made an "academic poster" for Cuckoo's Nest, which was slightly stressful but fun. At the start of the class, our lecturer informed us that the next test is going to be at [redacted]. I haven't been there before, but B was at college last year and C's already had a test there, so they both know where it is already.

This is taking too long.

Long story short, I found out roughly where it was and went to find it myself after college. I was walking along, through an area of posh-looking flats, noticed someone behind me, found the place, turned back but walked through the park this time.

Now I'll tell you what happened.

It was nearly dark. The orange hues of sunset were turning to the purple hues of twilight. When I'd seen the figure behind me, my paranoia had almost kicked in, but I stuffed it down before it had a chance to panic. After all, why shouldn't someone else be doing the same thing I am? 

I decided to walk back through the park (big, wide, open, gently undulating - land that had once been a barren waste of crushed bricks and metal but now had trees and grass and water) to calm myself. For some reason atmosphere and landscape seems to affect my mood.

As I walked, I couldn't see another soul. This was comforting until I realised I couldn't see the ducks or the swans. I thought it was strange, but I kept walking. "I shouldn't worry. There's usually a logical reason for anything, even if we can't explain it."

I was wrong.

It was when I was near the centre of the park - no trees nearby, and the water was at least five jumps away - that in the three or four of seconds my head was turned to the right, someone had appeared at my left.

Needless to say, when I turned my head I nearly jumped out my skin. I screamed at him. The guy laughed. He was around four inches taller than me. He had a blue hoodie, with the hood up, and a mask across his eyes. His trousers were black. I couldn't see his hair and the mask had some sort of fabric obscuring his eyes. Now that I think about it, the mask was made up of multicoloured sequins and was the shape of bat wings.

I asked "Who are you?" (with emphasis on "you"), well, I think I yelled it.

He laughed again. I bolted. After ten metres, I felt him against my shins and he brought me down from behind. I rolled to the side and tried to kick him off, yelling "No! Get off!". He laughed and I tried to kick him in the mouth, but missed.

He let go but I only had time to flip back onto my front before he pounced on me and pinned me down. I tried struggling but it didn't work.

"Are you going to join us, Barbara?" He said quietly in my ear. His voice was clear and soft, but I could hear mirth breaking through, disrupting its natural smoothness.

My heart dropped and I looked up. There he was, less than two metres away - tall, slim, sharp-dressed man with no face, staring down at me. His arms were open as if inviting an embrace. He seemed to emanate calmness. He tilted his head slightly to one side, as if he was waiting for me to come to him.

His very presence seemed to fill the atmosphere with calm, but all I felt inside was fear, washing over me, filling my body with panic. I bucked and managed to throw the guy off my back. I scrambled up and ran.

It couldn't be real. It had to be a hallucination or a nightmare, I thought as I sprinted. Well, actually, that was what my subconscious brain thought. The only thing my conscious brain told me was "GET OUT!".

I could hear the thud of steps behind me. It had only been a few seconds, though, when suddenly I tripped, and once again I was pinned down, this time on my front.

"Did you think you'd got away?"

Movement caught my eye, and I saw a long black tentacle retreating across the grass to its owner. Then I heard the most unnerving sound I've ever heard in my whole life. It giggled. It actually giggled. Though the noise seemed to come from inside my own head, like I was hearing it through earphones. It was like a child's giggle, so high-pitched, and with an almost gurgling quality.

Slowly, he moved towards me. It was so smooth. His legs were moving as though he were walking, but his torso seemed to glide gently forwards. I can't remember his feet. Does he have feet?

I could only stare as the distance closed. The boy glanced over his shoulder, then pulled me up, keeping hold of my elbow. I saw my opportunity and punched him in the arm.

"Ah, ya f***er!" he yelled as I sprinted away. I couldn't hear him running after me, but I wanted to get as far away as possible. I spotted a way out the park and I ran until I reached the main road, paused to check which way to go next, and ran to the nearest bus stop. There were people there, thank goodness. I don't think I've ever been so glad to be in the company of strangers, even if they looked at me weirdly.

It was only five minutes until my bus came, but it felt like half an hour. I kept looking back the way I came, just to reassure myself I hadn't been followed. It was a relief to get on the bus. Climbing the stairs was difficult, but I got up there in the end and collapsed into a seat as the bus pulled away.

My heart was still racing, and my limbs were shaking slightly, but the coarse rumbling of the engine felt almost soothing. Darkness was closing in around the bus, isolating it from the bustling world outside.

But I happened to look out of the window just as we passed my college, and I saw a too-tall figure with dark clothing and no discernible features standing near the entrance. Standing. Watching. Waiting.

Monday, 31 October 2011


It has literally taken me all night to write this. I keep getting interrupted by guisers. Currently, I'm dressed as the grim reaper, but I'll maybe say more about that further down the page.

So, October's just about finished. No snow yet. I suppose it should be comforting, but I have a feeling it means we're in for a hard time in November. It's gotten colder. It's too cold for me to go out running in the mornings anymore, and it's usually dark by the time I get home.

I've seen people in masks all day. Not so much during the light hours, and there were only a few this morning. When I was coming home, it looked like someone in a scream mask was following me, but I managed to lose them by going into Tesco (if they were even following me at all, and not just heading there to pick up some eggs).

College was much the same as usual. The kitchen was back in operation (you know, funny thing, they use the cookery students as kitchen staff), so there can't have been too much damage. There was some sort of charity/business thing down in the cantine/social area, but I usually don't pay them any attention.

I'm missing my Mum. I keep happy when I'm with my friends, and being with them does help my mood, but the pain's slowly getting worse again. My random hallucinations aren't as jovial as they usually are, either (although that tends to happen around late autumn anyway - I think it's to do with the lack of sunlight).

Susan keeps making me angry. She keeps suggesting that I should try and join the Slender Man's side. "Afterall, our Mum obviously wasn't trustworthy. Perhaps her death was for the best." She also seems to have this perverted crush on him. And when I try to argue with her, she keeps trying to conivnce me that it's the only way I'll find out what really happened.

Usually I can turn to Pete in times like this. He's usually such a source of calm and reason. Even he seems worried.

At least I still have Liam. The paranoia's getting worse, though. I know nothing has actually happened to me, and if Slender Man was responsible for the fire then I'd most probably be dead. Maybe it's all just coincidence. I've had a lot of encounters with strange coincidences. Sometimes I know things I shouldn't. And sometimes I'll say something completely random and it happens. I remember I once happily predicted a die roll ten times in a row. It was back when I felt like life was a game, just a big construct for me to play in. Now I remember that, and other things like it, and it shocks me. I can only put it down to coincidence. For instance, since then I'm lucky if I can guess a die roll twice out of six throws.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Dad spent most of the day making up treat bags for the guisers. We get a lot of them round our bit. Our street seems to have a reputation for going over-the-top with decorations (pumpkin garlands on trees, for example). I like dressing up. I don't think I've ever been guising, but I've been dressing up and handing out sweets for the past three years. I like my grim reaper costume because it obscures my face.

I even do an act for them. I talk in a soft, deep voice, and tell them if they entertain me enough then I'll consider letting them live for another year. The jokes are usually rubbish, although you sometimes get a gem (which is then used the next year by almost everyone), and one year a larger group of kids performed a whole song and dance routine!

Anyway, it's nearly time for bed, yet again. We're not likely to have any more visitors, and I'm pretty much tired out. Time to feast on left-over sweeties and monkey nuts.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


The internet decided to fail me again. Ah well, worse things happen in space. (or was it at sea?) I managed to save what I'd written last night as a word document, but before I post it, I'd like to share something that happened today.

This morning, after breakfast, I had some free time so I decided to see if there was anything good on CBBC. (And I'd like to take this opportunity to say that Young Dracula is awesome!)

Anyway, I was watching the telly (sitting next to the window) when I noticed a daddy long-legs (crane fly) trying to get out. So I did what any true gentleman would do and opened the window. It flew straight out the window (on it's on initiative, I didn't need to coax it or anything) and into a spider's web. All but one of its six legs was trapped, and it struggled gallantly, even managing to free one of its legs, but eventually it fell still, and its captor (a 2cm, round, fat, garden spider) approached. Upon seeing the spider, the daddy long-legs again started to struggle, but it was too late. The spider climbed on top of its prey, and the struggling ceased. I watched as it carefully wrapped up the bundle. (It was a surprisingly tight package, especially considering the length of those legs.) It then painstakingly removed the package from its surroundings and carried it to a place near the web's anchors, and began repairing the web where it was broken.

I've been thinking about it a lot today, and I feel it illustrates the nature of life. Death could come any second. We struggle so hard to make our lives work, to find meaning and purpose and comfort. Sometimes I think it's the struggle that defines us. We are who we are, and we live to fight against the constraints and dangers of the world we live in. But again, we don't know the future. A meteorite (or a plane, or anything really) could fall out of the sky and kill me this instant. It's unlikely (and I don't think meteorites have ever killed a human being) but there's no universal law that says it couldn't happen.

But as I was saying, life is a series of little hurdles. Some of them we cross, some of them we don't. And some of them are more vital than others. Take that crane fly. It was struggling against a barrier it couldn't see. Then, in a random act of kindness on my part, I took away the barrier and in its last moments of freedom it tasted fresh air again. But a second later it was trapped again, and this time, death came quickly.

And on that note, here's what happened yesterday:

Something freaky happened today. I said I wasn't going to let paranoia ruin my life, and I'm sure this is just coincidence (and a pretty loose connection at that), but still, the what-ifs are driving me ... crazier?

Heh, you might already know I had a Physics test today. If not then, I had a Physics test today. It was first thing, and I finished early so I decided to log on and see if anyone had updated (after I finished my sandwich of course ^_^). I only had time to post one comment before A joined me (and I can't let my friends know I have a blog). B was soon to follow, and we still had half an hour before Maths so we decided to surf YouTube (with all the hillarity/conflict you would expect). In fact, I think I'll share this classic with you before I carry on:

So we stayed on the computer until around five minutes before class was due to start. Just as we got upstairs (all my classes are on the second floor, despite there being classrooms on the first and third floors) the fire alarm went off.

Now, my college has a strange alarm. It's basically a calm, authoritative (= male English), voice saying that an alarm's gone off, people have been sent to check it, and we might have to evacuate. At least, that's the first-stage alarm. (Until today I hadn't heard the second stage, and I'd only heard the first stage because they test the system every Friday in the middle of Chemistry.)

We waited at the top of the stairs for a few minutes, looking out the window (we were right above the front door), waiting to see if it would switch off or change. Eventually we saw people leaving the building en masse, but the alarm was still repeating the same message. We didn't know what to do, so we decided to go downstairs to see what was happening. When we got to the first floor, we found that the alarm had changed to the same calm, authoritative (= male English), voice now saying that it was an emergency and we should "please evacuate the building".

When we got to the ground floor, the smell was rancid - reminiscent of burnt orange peel. We were ushered out by safety officers and had to make our way to the park behind the college. We weren't able to see if any fire engines turned up, but twenty minutes later we were once again climbing two flights of stairs to get to Maths. And as it turned out, the second floor hadn't had an order to evacuate, and everybody else was sitting in class.

Nobody there was sure if it was intentional, and I'm not likely to find out without sounding paranoid and/or obsessive. Apparently the kitchen went on fire. [I don't know how extensive the damage is, but the cantine was closed for the rest of yesterday (wed) and today (thurs).] The freaky thing is, my Maths classroom is right above the kitchen (well, two floors above).

None of us on the second floor were in any danger, and it was only by chance that A, B and I were evacuated, but it's freaked me out nonetheless. I don't know what to make of it.

Monday, 24 October 2011


So going for a run about an hour and a half before sunrise might not have been the best idea given recent circumstances, but I refuse to rearrange my life on account of paranoia. And anyway, I wasn't tackled by any random proxies, so I suppose that's a plus.

Taking that into account, as well as the lack of fruit from my hyper-awareness, I don't think I'm being watched. It's a relief, I suppose.

I don't know. On the one hand, I'm glad I don't have to constantly worry about my safety, but on the other, how will I ever find out what happened to my mother?

I said, at the time, that I didn't want her to be gone for such a trivial reason as a blood clot, but I'm not sure I agree with that anymore. I just want to know what happened. Is that too much to ask?

On the more domestic side of things, I'm back at work now, my Dad's joined one of the church's house groups, and college has me as busy as ever. We've started studying Cuckoo's Nest in earnst (it was broken up a little by essay deadlines and tests) and if I get the time I might tell you what I (and maybe some of my assosciates) thought of it. Apparently after Christmas we'll be studying Romeo and Juliet. I don't know much about the plot, but I do know that they die at the end (despite what the garden gnomes may tell you).

Friday, 21 October 2011

The Results of a Lot of Thinking

I've been running today. I needed to get things sorted out in my head.

I didn't sleep very well last night. I suppose that's to be expected with having a late-afternoon nap, though.

Oh look, I'm already making light of the situation. How droll. (not)

All this time, I was reading these blogs, keeping up with events hundreds of miles away, and now I find out he's been here all along. How could I have been so blind? Looking back, there were signs. Stress, well, the stress could have been anything. But she was afraid to go into the woods. She knew. Why didn't I notice?

And what happens now?  What has been happening? I was sure of myself. I was finally managing to figure out what the world was like. Now I realise how very far out of the loop I was - still am.

-Calm yourself, Barb. Melodramatic imagery won't get you anywhere closer to understanding what on earth is happening.-

I know what I'll do, I'll ask future-Barb. (Something I do when I'm stressed about something that I can't possibly know the answer to is to write it down for my future self to answer when she finds out.)

Right then. Questions for future-Barb:
  • How did my mother discover Mr. Tall?
  • Was she being followed?
  • Was her death natural causes, or was she murdered?
  • Why would she draw an operator symbol at the back of her diary?
  • Am I being watched?
  • Has he been watching me ever since I was a child?
  • Is it all my fault?
Okay, that should be enough for now. I'll try and concentrate on other things and leave the questions on my left hand, so-to-speak.

I just hope I can keep this all from Dad. He's already a little suspiscious, so I can't let on that anything's the matter.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

I threw up.

I think I'm going to stay in bed for the rest of the afternoon. Pete's keeping me company. I've got a small fever and I feel all weak and shaky.

I'll be checking my laptop every-so-often, just in case any of you are reading. Please, if you're awake and you're reading this just now, what do I do? Has he been watching me all along? Is just coincidence, that he was stalking my Mum, that I saw him when I was younger?

I looked out my window earlier. I couldn't see anyone apart from Liam. He's inside now. I couldn't let him stay out there. I'm probably just being paranoid.

I might try to sleep. This is too much. Whatever the truth is, it changes everything.


Alright, this is... I'm scared.

Me and Dad decided it was time to start going through Mum's old things and deciding what to do with all of it. At first it was almost painful to look at, but once we started going, the items began triggering happy memories, and the mood became lighter. I think it was really doing us good.

But then Dad unearthed Mum's work diary. He was on the other side of the room, flicking through it, looking at the number of appointments that would have been cancelled. ("There's even one in December!") But then suddenly he said "Hey Barb, come look at this."

He looked puzzed.

He'd flipped to the back of the diary. There was a list of holidays that she'd marked in pen, but it had been scribbled over with two pencil drawings.

One of them was an operator symbol. The other was Mr Tall himself.

My Dad asked me what the symbol was. I was almost too shocked to talk. I'm still shocked. I had to think fast. I told him it was the tensor product symbol and it's used in Maths, so she must have been talking to someone about a Maths problem.

He accepted my answer but still looked puzzled. Mum wasn't into doodling. I think he was suspicious. We carried on, but I felt so sick and dizzy and scared. I managed to keep my cool for several minutes, but eventually I couldn't take it any more. I had to get to my laptop without him getting suspicious. I let myself go slowly, so it looked like I was turning funny. I told him I didn't feel too good and ran into the bathroom. I sat on the toilet for a while and making groaning noises, and when I came out I said I thought I needed a rest and ran to my room.

I went straight for my laptop and I've been typing this since. I don't know what to do. Everything's been flipped. My life ... I thought I knew what my life was like. But my Mum obviously knew about the Slender Man. Was she being stalked? Is that why she's gone?

What's happening?!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Funeral

It's strange, taking into account the amount of rain we get, that whenever there's a funeral, it often stays dry. I suppose it would make sense that pathetic fallacy doesn't work in the real world, but the weather always seems to go actively out of its way to be unatmospheric. (and no, the irony of that comment wasn't lost on me)

I'm sorry I couldn't get this up earlier, the Laptop of Doom decided to live up to its name again. On top of that I've got a lot of work to do for college. It's supposed to be the holidays, for goodness sake! Anyway, mimi-rant over, time to move onto a slightly bigger rant.

The funeral was probably what you would expect. We met at the church (mostly so that everyone could find it, and so it was a central point, partly so we didn't have to have people round at the house), the minister said a quick prayer of strength for us, and then we drove to the crematorium. There were quite a few people there, mostly people who knew us from church. There was a short service and my Dad gave a eulogy, then we headed back to the church for a bite to eat.

It was when me and Dad were welcoming people into the crematorium, that I noticed my old psychiatrist in the line. My initial internal reaction was one of fear, then anger. I suppose I should go into more detail on the backstory here. I haven't seen him since I was a child. In fact, since just after that time I tried to go back to school (I think it's in my second introduction post, hang on, I'll go look for it - here it is ). He's the one who tried putting me on various medications that just made my symptoms worse. I had to spend time as an in-patient, it got so bad. My hallucinations weren't as vivid during that time, I'll give him that, but they were much more disturbing and I lost the ability to think clearly. From near the beginning my Mum tried to convince him to use CBT instead, but it was only after it seemed like he'd tried all the medicines in the book (seriously, in total there was around ten of them, and they left me with side-effects that aren't all gone) that he finally stopped drugging me. I was sent back to school once I was able to repel my delusions and understand that my hallucinations were just hallucinations. But then I met Liam and my peers decided they didn't like me after all. Shortly after that my Mum managed to get me discharged into her care (I don't know how she managed it, but I don't care, words can't express how relieved I was when she told me I wasn't going back). I was pretty messed up after everything that had happened, but she worked with me (and so did Dad, to a certain extent, since he was the one who stayed home with me) and I am who you see (or don't) today.

But back to what made me annoyed. For the sake of my naming scheme, I'm going to call him Dr. D, just in case I need to mention him in the future (hopefully not). He's old. Even older than my Dad (who I hope never reads that comment - sorry Dad!). He retired a few years ago, but evidently he still keeps in contact with the other staff, or he wouldn't have turned up.

So now you understand why I felt like that when I saw him. The only times I saw him and my Mum together were when they were talking (or more accurately disagreeing) about me, and from the occasional comment she made at the dinner table, I gather she didn't agree with his approach.

I had to fight to keep my face straight as he shook my hand. I just wanted to slap him, or punch him, or just yell "WHAT THE F*** DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING HERE!?". Unfortunately my Dad was aready trapped talking to an obstinate church elder, so he couldn't come to my rescue. Our conversation went a little like this:

Dr D: I was so shocked when I heard what happened. She was always so full of life.
Me: Yeah, it was a real shock. She was fine one day, then she was just ... gone.
Dr D: She was a great doctor, the service is going to miss her.
Me (thinking): So finally you admit you're not the ultimate genius of the universe. You were nothing compared to her.
Me (aloud): I'm sure they will.
Dr D: How are you coping?
Me: We're doing alright. It's difficult sometimes, but we've been supporting each other as much as we can.
Dr D: That's good. I remember when my wife died. The whole family almost fell apart. It was a nightmare.
Me: Oh. What brought you back together?
Dr D: *shrugs* We got a dog, and looking after it was such a task that we forgot to argue with each other. *he chuckles*
Me: *looks over at Dad, who is still talking to that elder* Heh. Well, Dad already has me to look after, and I'll be looking after him as well now.
Dr D: *smiles* Good good. Oh, and how are your symptoms nowadays?
I could have punched him. Our church friends know about my "mental illness", but what if they didn't?
Me: *smiles sweetly* Oh, they're still vivid, but not nearly as disturbing as they used to be. I don't let them trouble me.
Dr D: That's good to hear.
He looked almost relieved to hear that. Could it be he actually feels remorse for what he did to me? Perhaps he was just telling himself "see, you didn't mess that little girl's life up after all".
Dr D: And you're managing to fit into society?
Me: Yes, actually, I'm at college this year. And I've got a job.

I couldn't help myself - I'm sure a little bit of pride sneaked its way into my voice. My mind was gloating. Despite everything he'd taken away from me, I've still managed to find a way to live. I'm paving my way into society one slab at a time and nothing can stop me.

Dr D: That's amazing. *his face softens* You really are a testament to her memory.

At this point, the chapel was ready so we started filing in. I was glad to get away from him, but he was right. I wouldn't be where I was without my Mum, and I hope I can do her justice while I'm here.

After the service there was an obligatory shaking of hands again as people came out. When it came to Dr. D's turn again he offered his condolences one last time, said he was sorry that he wouldn't be able to make it to the lunch. And then he gave me his phone number. He said to give him a phone I ever felt like I needed some advice or support, or even just for a little chat.

I knew then exactly what I was going to do with that phone number, and it hasn't left my sock drawer since.

There were two more of my Mum's colleagues at the funeral. I was talking to one of them at the church afterwards. He'd met my Mum and sat in on some of her consultations when he was a student, so he knew what she was like with the patients. He told me that she was sympathetic and understanding, unlike the slightly apathetic style that was more common among psychiatrists at the time (apparently), and she made an effort to connect with them. From what he said it seemed like they got on well. I'm glad she made friends, but I'm also sad that there's more people she's had to leave behind.

Anyway, it's way past my bed time, even for the holidays. Night night!