A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

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Plastered upon Aaron’s face was the unmistakable look of terror. His best friend since preschool sat by his side, about to utter the words that would ultimately kill their friendship.

“We need to do something Aaron” Pete said emotionlessly as he stared into the distance.

Aaron turned toward him, an angry glare consuming his face. Pete wasn’t surprised, and relentlessly held his empty gaze.

“This is serious Pete. Angie is gone and the only way to fix this mess is to try to forget about it. If we don’t, you know what will happen. You’ve read the stories. You know what he’s capable of.”

Pete finally faced his friend, tears silently streaming down his cheeks.

“I know if we do nothing we’ll end up just like Angie. We both saw him that day in the woods Aaron, we’re going to be next whether we ignore him or not. Our only hope is to beat this thing, and I have an idea.”

The two high schoolers headed into town and approached a crumbling concrete building, pausing at the bottom of a massive flight of stairs.

“You’ve got to be kidding me” Aaron spat, ready to leave before even entering the building.

“Just because you despise school, doesn’t mean books can’t help us.” Pete said after sighing at his close minded friend.

The boys scaled the steps and pushed open the large wooden doors, still breathing hard from the climb.

“I know exactly what we’re looking for” Pete insisted, hopeful that his love for literature could provide the solution to their problem.

Pete approached a massive book that hid the table beneath it. It was bound in cracking, brown leather and held yellow pages that smelled of mold and old people. Aaron held a look of disgust as Pete thumbed through the stained pages.

“This book contains every American folk tale there is” Pete informed Aaron, “He has to be in here.”

It seemed like an eternity before Pete’s eyes finally lit up. “Gotcha.”

Scribbled in thick, dark letters that seemed almost indented into the page, was the name they both hoped to see and equally dreaded enough to send chills down their spines, "SLENDERMAN"

“There’s over 50 pages on this creep, let’s get reading” Pete insisted, dragging a wooden chair over to the book.

“I said I’d listen to your idea, I even came all the way here with you, but this is just stupid. I don’t know about you but I’m not wasting my time sitting here killing my eyes trying to read a book bigger than me in this shitty lighting. Do you know how much information there already is about Slenderman online? We have internet for a reason, Pete. I’m going home. I’ll send you some links if I find anything useful. Have fun with your weird old book.”

Pete signed and prepared for a long, lonely night at the library.

The next afternoon, the boys met up at their usual hangout spot by the river, eager to share what they found.

“There were like, 8 million search results for Slenderman, so I just read through the first few pages of results. It only took me an hour and I got so much info on this creep.”

“That’s great!” Pete replied, taking out a notebook he had nearly filled at the library. “Let’s cross check the information we both found so we can establish more credibility.”

“Psh, I’m not reading through all your notes” Aaron insisted. “Let’s just look at mine.” Aaron pulls out his Iphone and begins scrolling through page after page, hardly even blinking. "Look." He shoved the illuminated screen into his friends face. "This article I found is from last month, that’s gotta be more relevant than any of the outdated garbage you pulled out of that dinosaur.”

Pete rolled his eyes. “But who knows who’s posting that stuff online, it could be complete lies made up by a 10 year old for all we know.”

“Billions of people can’t be wrong. I just skimmed most of it but everyone was saying the same exact things. That’s enough credibility for me.” Aaron concluded, crossing his arms.

Pete could not believe his friend was being so stubborn about a potentially life or death situation.

“Fine, if you don’t want my help then just deal with this situation yourself!” Pete yelled, face bright red.

“Fine I will!" Aaron responded, "and guess what, I found a recipe for a concoction that will stop him; I’ll make it myself and take all the credit. You’ll be sorry you ever doubted my sources.”

The two boys stormed off in different directions and never saw each other again.

Pete spent all weekend trying to find a solution hidden in the monster book. The vocabulary was hard to understand and some of the sentences trailed off, but he was sure somewhere within the messy transcript was the key to finally stopping Slenderman. Right before he was about to give up, everything clicked. Pete had finally figured out how to get rid of Slenderman. He would have done so immediately, if he had not been distracted by the overwhelming circumstances that occurred just minutes later.

Aaron spent the weekend gathering the supplies needed to save himself from the creature that had been plaguing his small town since before he was born. The directions stated to mix all ingredients listed then pour the mixture around the exterior of his home, promising to repel Slenderman and any other harmful spirits from crossing over the liquid barrier. The solution would only repel Slenderman, not eliminate him for good, "but at least," Aaron thought, "I'll be safe from his grasp."
The list of supplies is as follows:
Police entered the Sanders residence just after 6:00pm on the night of Sunday, February 13th, after receiving a 911 call from the victim’s parents. Aaron Sanders' lifeless body was discovered lying on the floor of his garage. Cause of death was determined to be chlorine gas poisoning caused by the inhalation of fumes created by the mysterious concoction found by the body. A friend of the victim and last to see him alive, Pete Richardson was contacted for a statement but was unable to be reached. Police are unsure if the accident and disappearance are related, but will exhaust all of their resources, electronic and print, in order to solve this case.

Moral of the story: Content is key, not the surrounding aspects that may enhance or reduce it.

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