Hey everyone. It's Rachel here. I've been having kind of a hard time as of late, what with being quite new to this whole being a Runner thing. So Peter's letting me use his blog as a way to vent. The problem is, it's a hard thing to put into words. But I'll try.
When I was a child, my favourite story was Little Red Riding Hood. I loved that story. It was scary, it had a great hero, and it ended happily ever after. As I grew older, I got into Angela Carter and having read The Company of Wolves, I went on to do English Literature coursework about the tale. I found out that the story has all these different variants, most of which are allegorical about rape or murder. It happens that very few have a happily ever after. And as bad as this sounds, my own fears over sexual assault actually make the story scary for me again. I gobbled up games like The Path.
And then a friend of mine disappeared.
She was walking through the woods on her way home from college, and the last anyone saw of her was that she was following "a tall bald man in a suit". Two days later, one of her school books arrived in an envelope through my door, covered in scribbles and bizarre symbols. There were long, meandering sections of bizarre, stream-of-consciousness writing and detailed drawings of her home, of school, of places she visited - drawings far beyond her meager artistic abilities. And in the middle of these drawings was always the same thing; a tall, bare tree.
That night, he appeared at my window. I did some research. I found his name. An urban myth, or so I thought. The Slender Man. The kind of name which would once have been whispered between superstitious gossips and voiced in hushed tones by a mother to keep her child on the path through the woods.
When they found my friend, Nona, she was a mass of wet meat and entrails, her body warped and distorted by some unnatural torturer.
And so I ran. I ran and I haven't stopped. And I understand why Little Red Riding Hood is scary. It's not the creepy sexual undertones, it's not the symbolism. It's about being all alone, in the woods, with something terrifying. Even at the grandmother's house, the creature is there. And in the end, there is no woodcutter, no strapping man to save the day. Red Riding Hood is devoured, and the moral of the story is that sometimes, the thing chasing you catches you.
That's why I cry when we're camping in the forest, five miles in every direction from anything but motorway. That's why I fight to stay in the city when we're there. Because we're alone in the woods right now. And the wolf is hungry.