Sunday, 25 September 2011


This morning, we saw a guy who was carrying a gun in a shopping mall get arrested - because he didn't have a permit to have a gun in a shopping mall - and he spent the whole time basically yelling that the constitution protects his right to not be arrested for anything ever.

While I wouldn't claim to be able to deem this the area we're in right now in microcosm, it's certainly my experience with it.

We landed here a few days ago, off the back of a ten-hour flight. We had to buy them based on what was free - and five tickets bought on the desk was a big ask. Unfortunately, all they had to spare were five business class seats. Roland seemed to have enough to cover it, but I guessed that we don't really spend too much, so maybe he just has enough in the way of savings.

Except when we got here, he replaced all our phones with ones that'll work here. And the weapons we had to leave behind. And a laptop, because we could stand to keep up with any other runners while we're out here.

And then he bought a car.

I know that Rachel's just as confused as I am, but the others are kinda taking it in stride. I guess I'm going to have to have a word with Roland one of these days.

In the meantime, aside from the fact that we've finally found somewhere with Wi-Fi - a restaurant we're sitting outside - the main reason I've not updated is that, to be honest, we're still mired in a sick, delirious sorrow over the deaths of Steve and Lianne. There's not a night where I don't lie awake, replaying that awful moment where her laboured breathing ceased, or that empty hallway where Steve should have been. Or the corpse of the doctor, barely recognisable. Or the staring eye of the proxy, his skull broken open like glass, his mask moving just enough for his face to slip into view, just an inch or so too much.

Or the others who never saw the end of this nightmare.

It's been almost two weeks since the last post, over two weeks since Lianne. It's still too much.

I don't know when it's going to stop hurting. Or if at all.

More news of the new scenery to come.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Moving on.

We can't be here anymore.

Too many raw wounds, too few places to run to. It's a small island when you're travelling all over it. Lianne's in a pretty deep grave, but it'll get discovered, and we could do without the hassle.

We're headed to America. We have the money, tucked away for such an occasion. Roland just gruffly tells us not to worry about it, but that's a story for another time. Either way, we figure there's people who can help in America. Now, we just have to get back to the car and drive to Gatwick, then get tickets and board. No idea where we're landing or what we'll do. Just...we need more places to run to. And what we're running from is pretty wearing.

We're falling apart. We need a new beginning.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Lianne II

Lianne's dead.

We tried to get to a hospital, we really did. But as the infection got worse and worse, the slightest movement caused her agony. The more desperately we needed a hospital, the slower we moved. Her fever went to delirium and beyond. She died in the middle of a field running adjacent, murmuring about Steve's death.

And then she was a body, an empty shell where a warm, vivacious woman once was. A caring, motherly figure who was kind and sweet and who you could always trust or talk to. Someone we all looked up to. She died in a field, sick and in pain, fleeing from a fate even worse than this.

I want to cry. I want there to be some huge, cathartic breaking of the floodgates after which everything can be gotten out. I haven't cried at all. I didn't for Steve.

I haven't in a long time. Not since

That's a story for another time.

Even Roland's packed in. He's sitting against the metal fence at the edge of the field, his eyes red and puffy. Natalie and Rachel have been bitterly sobbing for hours. I feel guilty and sick for not crying.

We couldn't leave her body. We haven't moved since Roland felt her chest stop moving and her words stopped. We can't leave her. We can't leave her because we left Steve. And he died, alone, probably terrified, probably in more pain than he's ever felt in his life. And even though Lianne isn't Lianne anymore, Lianne is now just a corpse, just a hunk of meat, stinking from the rotting, festering wound, we can't abandon her. Leave No Man Behind, slogans like that.

In under a week, Steve died saving Lianne, and Lianne died anyway.

And all I can think about is how I feel like a prick for not crying.


Okay, it's been about two hours since I wrote that last part. I got my wish. I sobbed into Natalie's arms, and she sobbed into mine. Rachel went off into the woods with Shannon. Roland fell asleep where he lay.

For a lot of us, Lianne was like a second mother. Not surprising really. It was her kid, you see. Just ten. She showed us a picture once, looked every bit his mother's son. Dirty blonde hair, a gleeful smile, twinkling blue eyes. Natalie said he looked like her brother. She was quiet after that. But this kid, this kid never new his father. That's all Lianne told us. She never said anything bad about his character, just stated the fact that he never met his son. And this kid was all Lianne had, and Lianne only had this kid. And then, one day, he went of into the playground with some friends, and when he came home, he talked about the Pied Piper, who'd led off two of his friends into the woods as if by a beautiful song from the stories.

Their bodies showed up a few days later.

And so Lianne held her child, the one person she had in the world, and the person who she loved truly and utterly, and she drove away, as far as she could, and as they were driving through a long, dark forest, late at night, before she knew better, this kid, he giggled and said "Look, mummy, the Pied Piper!"

Something tall and dark stepped in the way of the car. It flipped.

When she came to, EMTs were dragging her out of the wreckage, but they never found her son.

That's what I feel guilty about. She was like a mother to us. She tried to be. And I think, though she'd never admit it, deep down she wanted us to be like children to her, like her son, her little Steven, who died when he was just twelve. And we never were, not really, except for the IT consultant from Tring who gave his fucking life to save her, and in the end, though she was surrounded by people, she died alone.

Lianne is dead.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Lianne's getting worse. Fever. Pain. We're trying to find another hospital.

She's going to lose her arm.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


No-one's chatting anymore.

Considering our situation, generally we were pretty cheerful before. We were on the run, forced out into the wide world by an implacable force, but we were together, and we had a genuine belief that it wouldn't be easy, but we could make it through this.

It seems naive now, but we all thought we'd survive. Funny, that. It got us through a lot. That belief kept our spirits high. The events of Thursday night were, if nothing else, a rude awakening.

Everyone's withdrawn from everyone else. Well, not everyone. Roland's carrying Lianne on his back. Her infection's getting worse again. Every time Roland takes a larger-than-normal step, she murmurs in pain, too weak to scream. Her suffering has really hurt Rachel and Natalie a lot - she's someone they really look up to, almost like a mother figure. Their eyes are puffy and red. I'm pretty sure they've been sharing a tent as well.

Roland and Shannon are doing their best. Trying to be decisive. Trying not to let their own hurt show. They're doing a good job, but not perfect.

Not one of us stopped to help Lianne. Not one of us except Steven. We didn't even notice she had fallen what with the fear and the shock and our heads racked with ache...

Anyway, the reason I'm posting.

So, this morning, I was helping Roland pack his tent away. He's not really the type to talk about his feelings, so I figured I'd try and help him along.

"So, our first death..." I muttered to him gravely.
He stopped folding up the tent pole and looked at me for a moment, then continued packing. His voice was low enough that the others couldn't hear. "I forget you guys don't know."
This caught my attention. I leaned in closer.
"Ever wonder why Shannon's in charge?"
" just kinda is that way, isn't it?
"The group started out as just two people. Shannon, and her boyfriend, Richard. They met up with me later, and we ended up travelling together. We picked up Lianne along the way, but Richard and Shannon called the shots."
"I've never heard of Richard before. She's never mentioned him."
Roland shifted uneasily. "Shannon...doesn't like to be reminded of him. We agreed not to talk about him when Steve joined us."
"What happened?"

"About six months ago, we were staying in Ireland. Richard's idea. We couldn't keep treading the same ground. We'd found an abandoned house in a little village about twenty miles from Cork. We hunkered down from the night.
That was when Richard decided to go and buy us all a few bottles of beer. It was early night, there'll still be people around. He'd be fine, he told us.
We waited a half-hour, and then we went to look for him.
It was nearly empty outside. Small villages at night aren't exactly bustling, but we saw maybe four people the whole time we were searching.
It didn't matter. The police found him before we did. They questioned us for a long time, asking who he was and whether we had any idea who killed him. We told them we didn't. And something in Shannon died, and never came back."

He sighed. "We found Steve a few weeks later and kept growing. We found Natalie, you, Rachel. But should have seen her before, by comparison. She was sweet, she was kind. She laughed..."

I've only known Shannon as cold and authoritative.

"She's feeling this loss. You can tell. She's pulling back again, like she did when Richard died. She always had pressure on her to - "

He paused. I turned around and saw Shannon standing behind me. I felt my face go white, but she had the same stony expression she's had on near-constantly these days. "I know you're talking about me. I don't are that you are, or what you're saying, but if talking is going to slow you down from packing your shit up, then don't."

And she walked away, leaving us speechless.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Steve II

Another few days' running behind us. But this time not from something we did, but something that was done to us.

I'll start at the beginning.

On Thursday night, at around ten, there was a power cut. We were all in Lianne's room, discussing what our next move was. We sincerely thought that, for a moment, we'd have these days in the hospital with nothing bad to show for it. Maybe we'd have a chance too properly regroup, Lianne would have a chance to properly get better. The infection's on its way out, but it's giving her one last vicious fever for good measure, and she was not in a good way.

The lights died suddenly. The summer had ended and it was already dark out. The sounds of chairs being knocked over and the fabric on fabric of rucksacks being wrestled with. The first snap of a Maglite being switched on, then more, as their powerful beams illuminate the room.

Shannon ran to the door and looked out, her torch forming a thin beam of light through the darkness. Nothing. At the same time, Steve and Natalie tried to help Lianne to her feet. She was weak, and her muscles ached with heat and pain. Standing hurt. Running would hurt more.

"We need to go, now." Shannon spat at us. Rachel scrambled through her bag for her knife to my left, and Roland did the same, drawing out the machete he'd taken back off of Natalie. He threw his axe away a few days ago. Disposal of a murder weapon and all. We stacked up besides the doorway, and moved out with as much precision as we could. Natalie and Roland led, their torches lighting up the way ahead. Lianne went in the middle, supported on either side by Rachel and I. Shannon and Steve brought up the rear, illuminating behind us. We moved quickly towards the stairs. We were on the fifth floor.

On the third floor, we were momentarily thrown off. The staircase ended. It appeared that to go any lower, we'd have to find another staircase.

We ventured into the hallway. Aside from the darkness, everything was in its place and as it was meant to be. Everything was silent. Empty. It seemed to us all that we were the only people in here. Without a map or any real sense of direction - we'd always used the lifts before, and had no idea where the stairs were, plus the darkness and the fear was disorientating - we moved slowly, cautiously. The hospital revealed itself to be much larger than we thought.

We turned a corner when we heard a scraping sound. Something dragged along stone. It oscillated slightly, louder and quieter, louder and quieter.

It was moving closer and closer.

We moved quickly, weaving through the corridors, our heavy packs slowing us more than we would have liked. Eventually, Roland's torch illuminated a small "stairs" sign.

The scraping stopped.


No-one moved, no-one spoke. It seemed for a moment as though no-one took in breath.

Heartbeat loud in the ears. Our torchlight couldn't cover enough.

Something fell to the ground with a wet thud behind us. We whirled, our Maglite beams falling upon the same spot, about sixty feet away.

A white coat wrapped around a misshapen mass of flesh. Clothes beneath soaked in deep red blood. Legs below the knees and arms below the elbow missing entirely. The head, where the face would be, had only a black-red cavity, the contents spilt out on the floor already. White-yellow shards of bone danced in the torchlight. The torches lit up just enough to show that the lower arms and legs were stuck to the ceiling with what looked like duct tape. The pool of blood spread out like a sea beneath him.

A snarl came from the corridor to our left. We whirled around quickly to see a figure with what looked like a hessian sack over his head, eye holes torn in it. He held in his hand a bloody sledgehammer, and his clothes were covered in gore. With a guttural, low laugh, he brought the hammer up behind his head. Roland shoved Rachel aside and kicked him hard in the stomach. The proxy doubled over, dropping the hammer behind him.

Shannon screamed "Run!"

A desperate scramble through the door to the stairwell. Down two floors, to the ground. We burst out the other side, just as the high-pitched laughter entered the top of the stairs.

We turned a corner.

Our torches fell ahead of us.

A glimpse of shirt beneath a black suit. Thin. Tall.

We froze.

But not for long.

Frantic, frenzied running for the entrance. Something not right. A heavy thud behind us.

Turn a corner, then another. Into the main foyer, through reception. Towards the doors. And we're out in the cool night air, the mist still thick in the road ahead of us.

Lianne and Steve are missing. Horrified, we exchanged glances.

Then, a loud thud on the other side of the door, and Lianne fell through. Her clothes were covered in blood, and her breathing came in heavy gulps. She screamed, "HELP HIM!"

Roland didn't need to be told twice. He crashed through the door.


There were tears in Lianne's eyes. "They got him," she murmured, "I collapsed. He got me to my feet, carried me to the door. Damn near pushed me through it."
"There's no-one there," Rachel muttered. Lianne's eyes widened, then sobs racked her body.


We've been walking solidly since then, through that night and then from seven to nine every day since. Back to the car. It's going to take another few days still.

Lianne's fever is still high. The guilt, however, is more destructive. We would never have been there if it weren't for her. He would never have had to help her. He could have just run, like the rest of us. But the rest of us know where to place the blame. We knew that she couldn't keep up. But we saw him and we forgot all that. We ran, terrified out of our minds, trying to save ourselves. And in the end, we cared more about most of us surviving than all of us. We fucked up her rule 8, and now, Steve's dead, if he's lucky.

He tried to save a woman who he thought he hurt before, and now he's dead or worse and no amount of calling him a hero is going to make that better.

I don't know if I can continue this blog, guys. I'm glad people are leaving support, but writing all this out has wiped me out emotionally. I feel sick, reliving it in my head.

Steve's dead.

Thursday, 1 September 2011


Nothing for days. The fog still hasn't cleared up, but aside from that, there's been no masked men, so Slender Man. Maybe they're apprehensive over what happened to the last two.

But there's still a tension in the air. It's almost like a physical pressure. Every glance out of the window begs for the reassurance of seeing something. But no. There's no way he's not here. We just can't see him.

The hospital has been feeling very empty these last few days. Fewer and fewer staff every day. And I don't think we've seen other patients since Monday. They've even let us stay here, instead of at the hotel, which saves time. It also means that there are people here to protect Lianne. Not that we could, not really. Every one of us got lucky that night, with the exception of Roland. They have the savage mania of madness, and we have only fear.

Either way, I doubt that whatever does happen will be something we can fight.