It was hard to sleep that night as well as the following one.
Especially since Syn's been gone for two days. I've barely eaten, so the cave in my stomach groans to be filled. I couldn't care less…. I almost welcome the empty feeling. The thought of possibly having to hurt dad… maybe kill him…. It festers in my brain. That thing inside of me is wriggling in delight at my teetering mental balance…. I attempt to shake it back, blocking her presence from ever resurfacing.
The clear knock on my bedroom door is enough to drag me into reality. “Hey! Come downstairs, I got something for you!” Syn's voice cheers on the other side. A sort of relief washes over me. A distraction provided by my rowdy doppelgänger could take my mind off most things. I get dressed and use the bathroom before making my way to the first floor. “In here!” She calls from my right in the kitchen. I head over and pause at the display…. A chocolatey looking ice cream cake sits on the table…. A triangular brick has been cut from it and placed on a plate. I approach, ready to inspect the writing written in gel icing which reads, "Happy Birthday—" although the original name has been smudged out and replaced by my name with what looks like butter knife engravings. I can't help but grin as I stifle a bit of laughter. “I know we didn't really plan on celebrating it, but I figured cake for breakfast is a nice treat anyways,” my double mentions. I give her a hug, and she shifts into my body. I rest the scythe against a different chair before taking a seat and grabbing the first bite! Chilled, sugary goodness dances in my mouth. Chocolate cake is my favorite, but having it combined with chocolate ice cream beats all odds!
What, no candles? I laugh in my head.
Didn't feel like grabbing them, Syn lazily responds.
Oh, but stealing an entire ice cream cake wasn't too taxing??
You've been gone how long??? And ya didn't feel like getting a couple of candles… tsk tsk, Syn.
Next time that'll be all I'll get!! she snaps back comedically. I nearly choke on a bite of cake as the idea blooms into frame! Just imagining me opening my door, and seeing Syn holding this tiny, lit, birthday candle has me giggling uncontrollably! She morphs her energy back into the scythe and laughs with me. “What if I just had a bundle of hundreds in my arms, all lit?” she adds to the joke. “I'll wrap up a present and it's just a packet of them!”
“N-No! Get the cake, b-but instead of an actual birthday candle, put like one of those jarred ones on it!” I struggle to get my sentence out in between my snickering. “W-Why—” I take in some breaths and try to calm down. I still puff a laugh within my words, “Why are we still laughing?!” Now we just cackle for the sake of it! We slow it down a bit, I sit up in my chair better and try to eat the last few bites of my cake. I snort as I keep thinking of it, but force down my ice cream. Syn and I very briefly make eye contact, and the uncontrollable giggle fits return! “Stop it!”
“You stop it!”
“You both fuckin' stop!” Jeff cries from behind us! As he steps forward, he's pointing. “And give me a piece of whatever the fuck that is!” His bulgy eyes look exhausted and he's all disheveled and dusty!
“You okay man??” Syn asks him, still giggling slightly.
The killer takes a seat and slams his fist on the counter! “Do I fuckin' look okay?! Give me some damn cake!”
Yikes! Someone had a garbage night…. I push the entire dessert in his direction. “Here man, I'm only having the one piece anyway,” I tell him.
His dark eyes actually light up. “Wait, are you fuckin' serious?!”
Syn shrugs and nods. “Whatever! I didn't want the whole thing anyway…,” she huffs.
I roll my eyes at her. “I mean, we wouldn't want to brag that we could eat it all.”
With a mouth full of the dessert that he scooped with his hand, Jeff calls over from the fridge, “FFuck yu got a cak for anywys?” Bits of ice cream leak out the sides of his Chelsea Grin. He snatches up a bottle of alcohol and washes the food down his throat in just two large gulps.
Syn looks over the cake and airily laughs. “Well, you took a bite out of the 'happy birthday' part, but oh well!”
As the killer sits he looks it over. “No shit…. Happy birthday then?”
“Thanks,” I quietly respond with a small hand wave.
“So, you two gonna carve up a sexy bastard to celebrate?” he eagerly exclaims! Now he shoves more cake in his mouth, with a fork this time.
My face scrunches up in worry and confusion. “What?? Why would we do that?!”
“Tha's whut I do on mah birthhday!” He swallows quickly and goes into details…. “I find this damn fine lookin' babe, one that's curvy with huge fuckin' tits, then I lure her over and WHAM!”
“You slice her??” Syn excitedly continues.
“Wha?? Fuck no! Not in the middle of the gaddamn street! Slender would kill me! No, no, no, I bag her and kidnap her,” he goes on. I fold my arms and turn away from him. His attention is mainly on Syn anyway.
“And then you kill her?”
“Hang on! I'm getting there! Damn…. Anyways, so yeah, I play around with her, tease her a bit with my knives, then shit gets hot and heavy…. After I have my fun, I cram all the fuckin' knives I can into her until she shuts the fuck up, and I write 'Happy Birthday Jeff!' in her blood!”
I glance up and notice Slender's figure standing at the base of the stairs…. I gulp as the thought of our last conversation comes to mind…. Syn cackles evilly at Jeff's typical birthday outing. “That's fricken messed up, I love it!”
She's about to mention something else, but the Tall Man catches their eyes. “If you're craving some blood lust after that gory tale, I have a task for you to complete. A messy task.”
Jeff glares into his cake and stabs it several times with his fork. It would seem that Slender's presence has him on edge today…. Syn gasps with enthusiasm as she leaps next to me. “Sweet! Can we finally rip some poor sap into pieces?!”
A dry smile forms on the man's almost invisible mouth. “You're eager to start?”
I huff and twist my head away. Syn looks concerned and moves around to be in my view. She knows something's wrong that isn't just the bloody story Jeff told, nor is it that we're going on a mission that involves murder. Her stare hardens into absolute rage while she turns towards Slender. “Who are we going to kill?” she questions firmly.
His smirk disappears. “We shouldn't keep him waiting,” is all he says before warping us to a different location. We stand in the center of a gloomy, foggy forest. Ahead of us is a shack, broken down with its rusted, dented metal roof and some of its damp, rotted boards peeled away from the sides. Slender steps in front of us, making an effort to keep us behind him. He goes through the doorway, where a creaky, severely scratched door hangs open, inviting us into what looks like a black void…. My chest feels heavy, a flicker of regret sparks in my mind. I clutch Syn's hand and a whisper repeats in our heads…. We both look to each other, knowing neither of us is mentally speaking…. Yet we hear this whisper. It seems… somehow, familiar. “Sylviane! Syn!” the boom of SlenderMan demands our attention back into this dreamlike forest. My double and I step into the black entryway and there he is… chained to the floor like an abused animal…. Beaten to hell like an abused animal!
Timothy Adams, our… my foster father. He sits upright like he's awake, but he's not. His eyes are closed under red blood that seems caked to his swollen features. Purple and blue bruises also paint the rest of his face. His brown hair appears to be graying, most likely from the stress I imagine he's been under the last few weeks. His clothes are tattered and disgustingly dirty with grime and more blood. Syn's the first to rush up to him. Gently tapping his face, trying to stir him from consciousness. “Old man…. H-Hey…. Timman…,” she mutters to him, hoping some nostalgic pet name would return him to us. I watch… disturbed and stricken with guilt as well as realization…. Guilt that I roped him back into this…. That the one detail he always kept to himself when talking about his past… was the very monster I summoned in desperate impatience…. The messages on his laptop. Warnings that he was not to be sought after by any means…. If I had waited would Tim had found a way to get me out of that dungeon they called a lab? If I had just endured…. Gave them my blood and cooperated, would he have found a way before I could go mad? If I never showed interest in his whereabouts….
“Pitiful,” Slender notes beside me as I watch Syn frantically attempt to awaken Tim. “A creature that has eluded my grasp for so long is now far too broken to see this moment with his own eyes.”
I flinch away from the tall man and stare him up and down. “You wanted him to be awake when we killed him?” I mutter under my breath.
“You….” Syn snaps towards us and reaches for Slender, only to have him warp away. “You sick FREAK!”
“Like you're one to speak,” Slender sighs with disinterest. He seems very relaxed…. Was Tim that big of a threat to him that having him helpless is calming to this powerful monster?? “I'll admit, I was hoping for a bit of humor in this event.”
Syn constantly chases after him, only to miss by a margin. She reaches out for me. “We can take him together!” I hesitate…. She's in fumes…. “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING?!?” she screeches! Her voice rings metallically as she does so! “WE can get out of here with DAD! What part of this ISN'T. Clicking?!”
“W-Would he really be safe?” I meekly ask.
“I mean… even if we did manage to get away, Slender would find us….”
She snaps her gaze towards the faceless monster dead on as she responds with cold fury, “Not if he's dead.” I suddenly feel a tightening around my body, yet nothing clutches me…. I fall to my knees, hugging my shoulders in pain while it's like my entire being is squishing into a ball! Syn must feel something similar…. She trembles and slams her hand onto her chest with a loud, metal clank. I look to Slender and see his hand resting within his inside pocket, where my soul piece is…. “I-It… hurts…,” Syn growls. “M-My soul… h-hurts….”
I grit my teeth and fight through it. Even if just to stand, I won't let him continue whatever he's doing to my soul piece…. I can't very well fight him off, however…. I shakily get to my feet. I chew the inside of my cheek for a painful motivation. “Remarkable how unyielding it can be…,” I hear him mutter.
As I look to Dad, all beaten, bloody, and half dead, I hear that whisper again…. I grab hold of Syn and the wisp of a voice grows, yet I still can't make out what it's saying. Against her wishes, I turn Syn into the scythe and approach Dad. She tries to fight with me, but she can't fully pull herself out of that "soul squeeze" that's affecting us. I move closer until my knees hit the ground in front of Tim…. I rest my forehead to his, letting the whispers overcome my mind. Have… I done something like this before? Maybe it's something else…. I let my mind focus, shoving Syn's consciousness into the depths of my head, and now I understand. The Scythe calls for me to use it, to actually use it…. It's a database, not of users…. Of victims. They've witnessed other wielders through this one object. As I plunge the glowing spear-tip into Tim's chest, he lets out a roar of agony! I keep my head to his as his soul, along with his screams, are dragged into the metal rod and glow in the curved blade. The scythe's solid form begins to morph, similarly to how it does when Syn goes into it…. I keep Tim's soul safe while following it to the location of the whispers within. In that moment of reaching the inner door, I open my eyes. A dead father lays before me. A now silent Syn nestles deep with my mind and the soul pain has ended…. The biggest change, however, is the black, metal gauntlets coating my fists and forearms. The palms and knuckles glow blue as I examine them. They are intricate in design, most likely to allow full mobility. I stand and a chain rattles. I peer behind me. A translucent, ghostly blue, chain connects the two gauntlets by wrapping behind me. It practically drags on the floor, yet when I raise my arms, it begins to float around me. I try to touch it, but my hand goes right through, leaving a sort of magnetic repel when I make contact. I look back to Dad. Did he… become this? Is his soul safe with me or… just a means of energy now…? I turn away from it all, ignore the speaking Tall One standing in the corner, and rush outside to unsuccessfully hold back tears. Memories, images, time together… it all weighs like an iron ball in my brain. I clutch my head, not caring that metal claws dig into my scalp. My shaking is precaution at this point, desperate for this to be a nightmare…. Syn's quirks come to my thoughts as well. Her nicknames, jokes… love of breakfast… all from him…. What makes up some of me comes from Timothy Adams…. I crouch down, the chains of these new weapons circle around me. The souls of those trapped… bound within it…. Tim's soul, forever mine in the form of weaponized armor…. Why did I listen to it…? Those whispers…. What was right about keeping him bound to me for eternity?! My hands ball up into fists. “It's… okay…,” is all I can breathe. “We're together again….” The whispers fall silent.