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“So what’ve we got this time, Johnny?”

“Dissapearances.”

“repeat?”

“dissapearances. Over a dozen. All in this one specific area.”

“Well. For this hick-ridden part of America, a dozen dissapearances are the equivilant of a nuclear bomb in Washington DC. So… where exactly is ground zero again?”

“On a medium-sized property, out in the middle of nowhere. ‘Scientific Genetic Mutation Studies’, aka SGMS. Laboratory.”

“History? Inhabitants?”

“Well, we can’t dig up any data on the place; we’re a very small branch, only seven officers.”

“Eight. Can’t believe  you lost count of us other officers, we’re like family.”

“No, seven. Nick retired a few weeks ago, remember?”

“Oh yeah. I keep forgetting. Bad memory.”

“Indeed. Anyways, as for inhabitants, there are exactly zero. Place’s been abandoned for over three years, apparently.”

“3 years? Why is its data still protected by the government, then? Whatever it is, its surely not worth protecting for that long.”

“Beats the hell outta me, man. In any case, be sure to-“

“load my gun just in case, bring my flashlight because its night, be careful around blind corners, blah blah blah. I’ve heard your shpeil over a hundred times, John. I know what to do.”

“Right, sorry. Force of habit. In any case, you almost there?”

“only a mile away, maybe less. I’ll talk to you when I get back.”

“Right. See you when you get home, you big asshole.”

“Love you too, douchebag.”

You reach out and push the button on the dashboard, deactivating your hands-free patrol radio. You shake your head. That Johnny, so overprotective. You’d been on the force for years; you knew how the whole drill went. You the enter the building, shine your flashlight around for a few minutes, and leave. That’s it. This stupid town’s biggest crime was a holdup at Mr Restrepo’s grocery store a few months back. Stupid Wisconsin. Nothing ever happens here.

Even so, you still do your job with great enthusiasm. Even if you rarely see any actual action, you still relish being able to swing your gun around at the enemies, even if you’ve only fired it on a few separate occasions.

You blink. You were so wrapped up in your daydreams (or night-dreams, judging by the pitch blackness all around) that you nearly missed the turn. You swerved and barely made it, accidentally bending a wooden fence pole to the side, where it leaned sadly.

You pass the sign, which establishes that you are indeed at the genetics mutation lab, or whatever. The sign was simple, with big wooden letters nailed to it. Of the SGMS logo, parts of the G had fallen off, and the S was turned ninety degrees, so it looked more like an N. now the sign looked almost like it read SLMN.

You pull up to a stop, your tires crunching on the gritty gravel driveway. You open your door and step out, patting your belt one last time to make absolutely sure you have everything. Gun, check. Flashlight, check. Military-grade cell phone, check.

Everything else seems to be in place. You start forward, then stop, reaching back into the car. Almost forgot your briefing, which told you the bio about this place and your mission. It was a small block of text. It read, “MISSING PERSON(S): 16. Subjects Aged between 6 and 14.” A CHILD kidnapper? Sick fuck. Below that were some names you didn’t honestly care about, and you tossed the paper back into the car. It wasn’t like this was a daycare; you’d be able to tell the missing kids when you saw them.

You had stopped your car for a yellow gate, which was in the “down” position. At least, it appeared that it was, at one point, yellow. Now, years of rain and snow had rusted almost all the yellow paint off, turning it mostly a muddy brown, with flakes of faded yellow paint stuck here and there.

You look in the control booth; it’s rusted shut, and the windows don’t open. Looks like the car will have to wait here, unless you want to ram through the pole and get fined for minor damage to the car.

You try to walk around the booth, but bump into something. “The hell…” you mutter, taking out your flashlight and shining it in front of you. A large tree stands solidly  in your way.

Shining your flashlight this way and that, you realize you are surrounded by trees. It’s so damn dark, you couldn’t see a single one.

The forest is too thick for even a mouse to get through, the trees densely packed together, so you nimbly bend under the gate, and continue onward.

The light from your car’s headlights illuminates about fifty feet ahead, before being swallowed by the blackness of the night. Something clicks in your brain; you’d better turn off your car’s headlights, lest you drain your battery. Then you shrug. You’re feeling rather lazy, and you decide your car will hold for now. This’ll only take a half hour tops, anyways, and the battery surely lasts longer then that. Even if it doesn’t, a spare in the trunk will make for an easy switch-out.

You continue forwards, coming to the edge of your car headlights’ range. From here, its like god poured ink everywhere, you can’t see your hand in front of your face. You shiver. You never did like the dark. It was your job, though, to investigate this. However small the likelihood, there was a chance that children were in danger. You took a deep breath, and continued onward.

You walked forward for what seemed like an hour, but was really only a few minutes. You looked behind you; your car’s headlights were already pinpricks of light.

You pulled up short as your flashlight hit something other then the ground you were shining it at. The edge of a brick wall. You shine your flashlight up and around. A large brick building was in front of you. It had no windows, making it look more like a prison then a laboratory.

You shone your flashlight to your right, and saw a beaten pair of metal double doors. You walked over and noticed a chain and a combination lock on the door. The chain is rusted, though; it snaps quietly when you give it a good tug. Tossing it over your shoulder, you pulled open the handle of the door.

Dust billows from the inside of the door, and you cough. You shine your flashlight inside, and shiver. It’s even darker in there then it was out here. Even so, you press on, patting the spare batteries in your pocket as a reassurance that your light wouldn’t run out anytime soon.

You look around, being sure to match your flashlight with your field of vision, so that wherever you looked was illuminated. You are in a long hallway, which has spots of mold here and there. You look for doors; you see none. You continue onwards down the dark hallway.

You shiver as you look into the darkness beyond your flashlight. If there was something even ten feet ahead of you, it could rush you, and you wouldn’t even have time to pull out your gun. No. Stop. Don’t even think about things like that, lest you lose your nerve. Those kids were counting on you.

You slowly walk forwards; your footsteps, however quiet, echoing like a parade of elephants. As you walk, you begin to feel the faintest stirrings of terror; images leap out in your mind of terrible, terrible monsters, lurking in the darkness, waiting to pull you in with disgusting tentacles, into their sharp-toothed, drooling maws, never to be seen again. You shake your head, trying to clear the thoughts from your head.

You suddenly stop. You were so focused on looking dead ahead, you didn’t notice you’d come to an intersection. You start towards the middle hall, but stop. You don’t want to get lost. You decide to use a classic trick; stick to the left wall. That way, no matter where you went, you would wind up back at the beginning eventually.

As you turn to go down the left hall, your foot taps something which makes a “clink”. You whip your flashlight down to see a terrifying… spray can. A white spray can.

You reach down and pick it up. You shake the small can; almost full. You sprayed it on a wall, moving your arm and making an crude arrow towards the exit door from whence you came. Brilliant; now you would have, essentially, a trail of string leading to the exit whenever you needed it.

No longer needing to worry about the left wall, you start down the right hall instead, just  for the hell of it. You soon come across another intersection, and mark the floor with an arrow, again pointing to where you just came from. Excellent.

You continue like this for a bit, marking the floors with the semi-luminescent  arrows. Then you come to a door. This one has no lock on  it, and you push through.

Inside, there is a rather large console of buttons and displays. You don’t know what any of it means, but you examine anyways, for good measure. You shine your flashlight onto the control board, hoping to see a keyboard or an on switch, but none of the buttons are marked, other then being roughly painted different colors.

You shine your flashlight to the wall above the console, to see if there was a diagram of some kind. Or at least, you shine it at what you thought was a wall. You now realize it’s a transparent pane of glass, a window. But there were no windows on the outside of the building… and even if it did look outside, why was there a control panel? If you had to guess, this window looked into some sort of test chamber. You try to look through, but it’s pitch black.

As you turn around to leave (there are no other noticeable features of the room) you notice a torn piece of paper on the floor. Curious, you pick it up and shine  your flashlight on it. The shred of paper is very small. The words are faint for some reason; you can barely make them out, but you manage to read parts and snippets.

“EXP-RIMENT #4: ELEC---- SIGNALS AND DEVICES

“Subject acts very oddly around electric devic-s, particularly around video recording and audio recording devices. It hides be---- ----- ---- ---ed with such devices, as though it doesn’t mind being se-- ---- --- ----- ---, but does not want there to be ph------ -------- -- -t to be re---ded.

“It is also suspected that subject emits some sort of biological elec--------tic pulse. Video cameras and microphones e--------- distortions, which include ------ an- ----- feedback.

Dis--------, es---ially static, tend to act up when c-m-ras point at the subject’s ---e. Or rather, its la—“

This is all you can read; after this, the paper is torn off. You look around briefly; no other scraps are nearby.

As you check the back of the paper, you notice-

THAM.

You whip around, your heartbeat accelerating like a racecar. That window… if you didn’t know better, you could have sworn something solid just slammed against that window.

BANG.

There it is again. This time, actually looking, you actually see the window rattle, even though it’s so dark on the other side, you don’t see what’s MAKING the rattle. Scared, you run out of the room, jamming the paper into your breast pocket.

You don’t stop until you reach your nearest arrow. You breathe heavily for a moment, terrified, as you whip your flashlight around the three-way intersection. Your arrow points to the left, and the way behind you leads to the console room you just came from, so you head right, plunging into the darkness, not stopping until you reach another intersection. you mark an arrow in the direction you just came from, then pant like a dog. What the hell was that banging sound…

After taking a moment to regain your composition, you shine your flashlight around once more, trying to decide where to go next. As you look around, you notice something above you. You shine your flashlight up, and see two arrows: one labeled “cafeteria”, and one labeled “generator room”. The third corridor is unmarked, and somehow seems darker then the other two. You decide to save that one for last, if you need to search that one at all.

You decide to go to the generator room; if the generator’s somehow still working, you might be able to get the power back on. Light would be very good at this point. You slowly walk forwards, shining your flashlight around. You allow yourself a faint shimmer of hope; when you are able to see properly, this will be much less scary.

Then you see the body.

It’s about five feet away from you; again, this darkness removes nearly all visibility, even with the flashlight. It’s splayed in an akward position, one arm stretched towards you, head facing away. It’s wearing a green tee-shirt, with some comic book hero on it.

It’s too small to be an adult.

You rush forwards, dropping to your knees next to the child.

“Kid! Kid, you ok?” I whisper, careful in case the kidnapper is nearby. You give the child’s shoulder a good shake. He doesn’t move.

You roll the kid over so that he’s facing you; maybe you will recognize him. When you do, though, you choke back a scream.

The child’s face has been cut off.

Red muscles are dull in the glow of your flashlight. That’s all you see at first glance. No nose, no eyes, no mouth, no skin. Just a perfect oval of red muscles. Looking closer, you notice the eyes are missing. In their place are black, gaping sockets. His nose is missing, reduced to two small holes a bit below the eyes. The mouth is missing all its teeth, and even its tongue. In addition, while the skin on the scalp is still there, the boy’s head has been shaved completely bald. Hell, even his ears were cut off, leaving two more oval-shaped patches of exposed muscle, with little holes near the center.

You choke back puke. In all your years on the force, you’ve never seen anything as disgusting as this. After checking his pulse (he’s dead, all right) you pull out your cell phone and speed-dial Johnny. You immediately rattle off, “Johnny, I have a class-1 homicide here. Victim’s facial features are all missing, ALL of them. No sign of the killer. ….johnny, you getting this?”

Your phone is silent. No dial tone, no error message, and certainly no johnny. You hit the “end call” button and look at the LED display. It reads, “NO SIGNAL.”

Impossible. This was a military cell phone; permanently, directly connected to a special satellite in space. It was IMPOSSIBLE for it to lose its signal.

You shake your head, switching to camera mode. you can at least get a pic of the victim as evidence. When you aim the video camera at the victim, though, the screen turns into a bizarre, pixilated mess. You aim the phone at the wall, shaking it. It goes back to normal, showing the dirty white wall. Then you point it back at the victim. Pixelated mess, again. You can’t even get a picture of the pixilated mess; you try pressing the button to capture the picture, but it refuses to photograph the damn corpse.

Groaning, you lock the phone and shove it into your back pocket. Damn newfangled smartphone technology.

There’s more then one way to skin a cat, though. You pull our your spray can again, and quickly trace a outline of the body in its current position on the floor. That way, if it was moved even a little, you’d know it.

There’s nothing more you can do for the cadaver. Getting up, you are about to step over the body.

Suddenly, it happened. What happened? You don’t quite know. All you know is that one second you’re about to step over the body, and the next, it seems like the body vanished. Now, if not for the outline, the body may have never even been here.

Your eyes grow wide, as you hear a hissing coming from the direction of the generator room. You don’t give a shit if its steam pipes, snakes, or sonic the hedgehog, you’re getting outta there. You scamper away and towards the cafeteria. As you reach run into the hallway of the cafeteria, though, you hear the same hissing, louder this time. Terrified, you run back to the intersection again and head back towards the door, in the direction of the arrow. Now the hissing comes from THAT direction, and you see a inky white… something… in the darkness beyond your flashlight. You cry out, and make a 180 turn and run down the darkest, unlabeled corridor. As you do, pounding footsteps resound behind you, and the hissing, instead of growing fainter, grows ever louder. It’s coming after you!

Barely slowing down to mark arrows in the direction you came at each intersection, you tear through the long hallways, looking desperately for a restroom, a broom closet, a damn disguise kit, anything to hide you from that hissing, stomping nightmare. Your heart pounds, and sweat streams into your eyes.

Suddenly, you bash your face on something, and stumble back. A door! A glorious, glorious door! With the hissing ringing in your ears, you duck into the door and carefully, gently, close it behind you. By some miracle, there is a lock on the door, and you quietly, ever so quietly, click the lock into place.

You dare not peek through the crack in the door, and hide to the side, in case the creature barges in. you breathe as lightly as you can, and curse your heart for beating so loudly. You turn off your flashlight, lest it give you away.

The hissing reaches its peak intensity, and the thundering footsteps suddenly come to a stop. You can tell in your gut that the thing that was chasing you is now right outside the door. You are more silent then a mouse. As you stop to listen to nothing but the hissing, you realize now that it almost sounds like the static of an old television, crackling and hissing.

SMASH!

You start as the door thumps inwards. The lock holds, though, and the door does not open. You could tell by that one thump, though, that the thing was strong enough to break down the door.

CRASH!

Another loud noise resounds as  the creature pounds the door again. You shiver, praying to your god to save you from this nightmare.

CRACK-ASH!

Another loud smash against the door, and now you see a long crack running around the knob. One more more good hit, and the door will burst open, and the monster will storm in and murder you, cutting off your face like it did that poor boy. You close your eyes and wait for the end.

You wait there for what feels like an eternity, hearing the hissing of the television set.

THOOM!

Your eyes jerk open. That was not the sound of the door breaking open. It was the sound of the monster’s footsteps. You listen as the footsteps pound away, growing fainter and fainter, along with the hissing. Eventually, it falls silent once more, except for the pounding of your heart and your ragged breaths.

You try to think. Why didn’t it break in? why didn’t it kill me?

Then it snapped into your head, like a rubber band snapping.

It’s toying with you.

That thing can kill you whenever it wants. Its just giving you the illusion that you have a choice in the matter. That’s the only explanation.

The thing was enjoying this, it was enjoying your fear. It was having far too much fun to stop so soon. It would let you sneak around, let you think you were so smart. Then, when you least expected it, it would leap out of the darkness, and finish you, killing you in some act of unimaginable pain and terror.

Then you shivered. Those words you had just thought… they weren’t quite yours. Were they the monster’s? was it telling you its intentions, mocking you?

Normally, you would be indignant, but right now, you are just terrified of that thing, and want to get out of this nightmare. At very least, you want an explanation; you want to know what the hell that thing was.

You could tell the monster would not come into this room, otherwise it would have done it before. For the moment, you were safe. With quivering hands, you flicked on your flashlight.

Corpses.

Corpses everywhere.

Bodies in white lab coats were slumped over research tables. A few of them had broken glass in their faces; they must have faceplanted on one of the many research beakers which lined the tables.

one of the scientists had a hole in his head, and was leaning with his back against the counter. blood slowly trickled from the hole.

Another scientist had horrible burn wounds all over his chest; he held a broken beaker. The beaker must have contained acid, and he had accidentally spilled it all over himself. It had seeped into his chest and killed him.

A third scientist had a moldy, gross sandwich in his mouth, and was slumped over a table. Apparently, he’d been on lunch break, and had been killed mid-bite.

All the scientists were in various positions; there must have been twenty in the large room. Out of all of them, they only had two things in common.

One, they were all dressed identically, with black shoes, white lab coats, and grey slacks.

Two, their faces were all the same as the boy you had seen earlier.

Face muscles exposed. Eyes gouged out. Ears cut off. Completely bald. Nose and teeth and tongue, all cut out.

You puke, not able to stand the grotesque sight. All these men had been killed by that… thing.

You slowly walk forwards, wiping the excess vomit off of your mouth. Slowly walking in between the lab tables, you try to avoid the scientists. They had been here for a longer time then the boy; their exposed facial muscles were even more dull, and some were falling off.

One of them, slumped on the desk, had a smartphone in his pocket. You pulled it out, for evidence. It had been turned off, so its battery power had been conserved, and you turned it on.

The phone opened on a video. You tapped the small “play” arrow.

The video opened with a bald man sitting in a chair. He wore an expensive tuxedo. The odd thing about him was that he was quite skinny; one of the skinniest men you had ever seen.

“Video recording of experiment 87-Z.” a voice came from off camera. “test subject alias: Sid M-“

“Can we hurry this up?” the bald man (who was surely Sid) said, looking behind the camera. “I volunteered for this survey a month ago, and I didn’t have time to arrange for your sudden call. My boy and girl are probably getting hungry, with their mother not being there to feed them, and i-“

“Subject, please remain calm as we begin the experiment.” The same voice interrupted from off-camera, paying no heed to Sid’s questions. “This is the first experiment with a new mutation, which is to remove four of the five senses in an attempt to amplify the fifth.”

“Wait, WHAT?!” Sid cried. He tried to jump up, but restraints, which you had not noticed earlier, kept his wrists, neck and ankles firmly in place. “You said this was just a damn survey! I’m going to lose four of my damn SENSES?!”

“We shall now attempt to amplify the subject’s sense of touch. Colleague, place the burn-mask on subject’s face.” The off-screen scientist continued to drone on, unfazed by sid’s distress.

“NO!” Sid screamed, trying again to escape, but the restraints held. Another man came forth – his head was cut off by the top of the camera’s field of view - in the same garb as the scientists in the room with you. He held some kind of white case, which was connected to a thick cable to something off screen.

Sid tried to twist his head, but the restraint around his neck was right. The scientist calmly placed the mask onto sid’s head, encompassing everything above his adam’s apple in white. His entire head was now completely white, with the thick cable reaching out of the back of the mask. Sid continued to cry out, but his shouted words were now barely even muffles.

“colleague, engage furnace.” The scientist said. A quiet hiss in the background started up.

Sid’s shouts turned to screams. Even muffled, the screams were still unbelievably horrible. It sounded like a poor, dying animal, wailing its death cry.

As sid screamed, his screams… changed. Not changed in pitch, or changed in volume. They… changed. His screams, they began to crackle, and scream, and sound like the television static which you’d heard in the hallway chasing you.

“mmmph! Mmph! Mpha-aa-ma-ma-aa-AA-MAAA-PAA-A-A—A-A-AXA-A—AXXA-XX-A-X-AX-XXXX”

The screams were no longer muffled, and sounded almost like if a living, old-fashioned TV had been stabbed, and it was screaming with static as it died. As the static-scream grew louder, it snapped in-and-out, stop-start-stop-start, in an irregular pattern. The video image itself got staticy and fuzzy as it stared at sid’s white face, and then the video ended abruptly.

You shudder. Something about that static… it scared you. It scared the shit out of you.

You looked around the room some more, but found no more phones with battery life. You did, however, find a single sheet of paper, hastily scribbled by a scientist who had hidden in a corner.

“SUBJECT LIKES DARKNESS, FEAR, CH- “

The last word was cut off. Below that was scribbled,

“SUBJECT DISLIKES LIGHT AND/OR EXTREME HEAT”

The final line was the most terrifying of all, even if it was cut off midway through.

“DON’T LOOK AT HEAD, OR-“

You shudder. What the hell was that thing.

You turn around, there being nothing else in the room, and slowly open the door. You quickly shine your light to the left… to the right…

Nothing. No sign of the monster.

You slowly sneak out, glancing down and checking your arrow. Right now, you just wanted to get outta here. You’d come back with a bigger force later. Preferably, you’d nuke the place from orbit.

You follow the arrows. Left… left… right… left… right… straight… left…

Then you see a sign, with an arrow pointing left. You hadn’t seen it before because you’d been walking the opposite direction.

“SUBJECT 87-Z CONTAINMENT”

You remember the scientist from the video. 87-Z. the name of the experiment on that sid guy. Judging by the static in the video and the static from that creature, Sid WAS whatever that thing was. That was one mystery solved, at least.

But it wasn’t enough.

You slowly draw your gun. If you let that thing live, it’d be free to steal more kids whenever it wanted. A never-ending stream of victims. If you went to the military or whoever, even if they believed you, and sent an entire platoon of troops, that thing could just hide, or run, or maybe even waste the lot of them, if strong enough.

You had to end it here and now.

You went off to the 87-Z chamber. That thing was surely, SURELY waiting in there.

After a short trek, you came to the huge door labeled 87-Z. you kicked it open and stormed in.

Then you stopped.

Trees.

Nothing but trees.

Trees were everywhere. They were easy to maneuver through, unlike the trees outside, but they seemed… scarier.

You slowly walk into the trees, shining your flashlight around.

Thus begins the most horrendous cat and mouse game of all time.

You run, and you run, but you can’t get away.

You hide, and you sneak, but it always feels you.

You can never get a good look at it, but you feel its nonexistent eyes always boring into your back.

This forest is surprisingly realistic, genuinely feeling like some place out in the middle of nowhere. The trees are real. The grass is real. There are even certain features, such as a boat, a pickup truck, a strange yellow building, a mazelike brick building (smaller then the one you were originally in), and a long, strange, concrete pipe, big enough for you to walk through.

You shine your flashlight up, but see only stars. You can tell upon close examination, though, that they are fake, painted onto the ceiling far above.

At one point, you glimpse a reflective portion of the wall. That was undoubtedly a one-way window, the other side of it being the window behind the console you had seen earlier. Another mystery solved.

No moon illuminates your way. Its just you, your flashlight, and the monster and its resounding footsteps and staticy hiss. You never look directly at the monster, for when you do, its hiss becomes deafening, and you can almost hear sid’s screams.

After an eternity of running and hiding, of sneaking and sprinting, of using up every last one of your bullets and yet not making a scratch on the thing, you are finally cornered, and at long last, you shine your flashlight into the thing’s face. you gasp. It can’t be. And yet it must be. It’s the only way all of this makes sense. Sid’s outfit. The white mask. The cut-off faces. The static. And the final line, on that last paper.

DON’T LOOK AT ITS HEAD

And you sigh, and drop your gun, and look to the sky, and finally, finally, give in to the cold embrace of the Slenderman.

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