Carrie stumbled into a hole full of stagnant water, but she was already soaked through. Before her was a building; or what was left of it anyway. It was ruins. Brick walls were barely standing, ivy slowly crumbling them to dust. Tree roots were visible tearing up the concrete floor and there was a thick carpet of moss and weeds covering the ground. There were upper storeys half collapsed and steel and wooden girders just waiting to drop on an unsuspecting victim. There were openings in the ground down to a basement and a dark abyss. She knew that if she fell now, there would be no getting up. She was at the end of her strength.
She walked forwards, watching carefully for rocks or dangerous debris. From what she could see with her limited illumination, was that this place went on forever. Room after room, decaying structure after decaying structure. She could search this place for days and not find what she was looking for. She could fall and be trapped here forever. That probably scared her more; the fear of falling.
She moved more slowly now thought time was running thin. She couldn't afford to miss anything. There were so many hidden corners, fallen beams, broken doors, and chains as thick as Carrie's body. So many places to hide a single note. She had been through countless rooms by the time she came to it.
It was a long corridor, partly open to the sky and those dreary stars. It was wide and running down it were rows of steel pillars, dozens of them, all connected with a metal grid that connected them to what was left of the ceiling above. There was an archway at the end that led to the next room, but it was covered in chain link fencing. The note had to be in here.
Carrie began walking down the middle row, shining her torch on each pillar, her eyes focusing on any flashes of white. She was still trying to be careful with the ground too, the moss making it slippery and unstable. She was almost to the centre of the room when she saw it. Suspended from metal grid was a long grey rope with a loop at the end. It was a noose. Carrie swallowed convulsively. She somehow knew what this was. This was a way out. He was testing her. She could end it now on her terms or she could try and beat him. She raised a trembling hand and touched the rope. It was enticingly smooth, like silk. He was tempting her.
A burst of static made her cry out and she say him, at the other end of the room. He was just visible behind one of the pillars, stopped over, one spider like white hand curled around it. He was waiting to see what she would do. Waiting to see if she was weak.
Carrie was frozen. She couldn't tear her eyes from his featureless face. Something touched the side of her head. She jumped and broke eye contact. When she returned her gaze, he was gone, she had lost him. But she had found something else. On every row, after every pillar, they were hanging.
The noose that she had touched was now in use. But the body wasn't motionless. It was as if it had just been dropped, feet kicking and arms jerking and twitching. There were gurgling noises all around her. Teenagers, pre-teens; Carrie even laid eyes on a toddler, the loop was so tiny. Carrie sat down and grabbed her knees. She screamed. She screamed for herself. She screamed for every victim he had. She screamed for the pain and the torture and the trauma and the fear. She screamed in anger and agony. She screamed until they all stopped moving, and swung gently to and fro on their merciful methods of escape. The silence was deafening, only the booming and the creak of taut rope to break it. Carrie got to her feet. The girl above her, she looked about the same age as Carrie, no more than sixteen; there was something in her hand. Carrie hesitated before pulling open her fingers. It was another note. This one was written in blood. "LEAVE ME ALONE!" It was her last words. Her plea to Slenderman. Carrie wondered if it had worked.
She kept her head down and concentrated on her feet as she made her way to the fence. But she knew that they were all looking at her. Did they want her to win?
At the bottom of the fence, one of the corners was pulled outward and she just managed to squeeze herself through. But it was what she expected. She was in the open air. There were no trees. There were no derelict buildings or abandoned cars. Hard packed earth was all there was for her to see. She was taken aback. She didn't know what to do. this had never happened to her before. But then again, she had never come this close to beating him before. She stepped forward eagerly. She was nearly there. Nearly at the end. She could do this.
She was stumbling and tripping up with weariness and excitement. It was almost over. She would wake up in her bed at home, she would wake up her sister, just to hug her and tell her how much she loved her. She would never waste another single second of her life again. She would live. She was going to live!
The booming noise that had become white noise to her now stopped, and so did she. Utter and complete silence surrounded her, entwined in the darkness. After a few moments she took placed one foot forward and a deafening explosion sounded. The ground shook beneath her and nearly knocked her off her feet. An earthquake. Carrie stumbled forward and fell over the edge of a slope. She began to slide down at an uncontrollable speed, her back and legs being scraped the shreds by jagged rocks. She just managed to stop herself by clutching at the dirt and pushing the strength of her fingers to the limit. The shaking stopped after about a minute and Carrie began to climb. She was nearly out, she was nearly alive again; she wasn't beaten yet.
She hadn't fallen that far and when she reached the top, she dragged herself out, grabbing a hold of the torch that she had dropped when the earthquake started. The booming noise was gone now. She got to her feet and shone her light down the slope. Carrie fell to her knees, her breathe coming in ragged hitches, tears streaming freely down her face.
It wasn't a slope, it was a valley. Maybe her eyes had become accustomed to the darkness or maybe he just wanted her to see, but she could see well enough now. It stretched on for as far as the eye could reach in all direction, and it was filled to the brim.
Filled with notes.
Millions upon millions of notes in every shade of colour, every kind of paper, every language and handwriting that was conceivable. They had all been here.
She wasn't surprised to hear the static when it came. It was the loudest yet and penetrated to her marrow. It became her heart beat, her pulse, her blood. She was static. An invisible force straightened her back and pulled her up until she was standing. Her hand reached into her pocket and too out the damp and crumpled notes. She held them out, let them go and watched them fall. She wasn't crying anymore. She turned to face him, arms outstretched. As she turned, she saw it at her feet. The last note. The smallest one yet, about the size of a matchbox, but she could still read it.
He held his arms out to her and she looked up into his face. Carrie didn't scream as she felt his cold embrace. He didn't like it when they screamed. He liked his girls to be quiet.
Samantha had stopped crying, having no more tears to shed. Her mother was talking to the doctor in the kitchen.
"It would seem that her heart just stopped. It's actually more common than you think in someone as young and healthy as your daughter. It's referred to as Sudden Death Syndrome." The doctor explained. A fist was slammed down on the counter.
"Your lying! You mean you have no idea what happened to my daughter and you haven't got the balls to say it!" Samantha winced as her mother screamed, and she squeezed her eyes shut as her screams digressed into sobs. Samantha got up and left.
They had taken the body away. Taken Carrie away. Her room was empty now, not a thing out of place. This couldn't be real. She stood in the doorway and stared in. Hours ago her sister had been here. Sleeping soundly. She had checked on her before she went to bed. A lot of good that did.
She was about to turn away in disgust when something caught her eye. It was a piece of paper, the corner just visible under Carrie's pillow. They were sisters and shared everything, so Carrie wouldn't mind if she looked. Carrie couldn't do anything now anyway. She slipped the piece of paper out from under the pillow, but was disappointed. It was blank on both sides. Samantha sat down on the bed, feeling suddenly lethargic. "Maybe sleeping will make me feel a little better. Just for a little while." She whispered to herself.
Samantha closed her eyes.