Though neither of them were on the level of a human, the Other one was more likely to act out rashly in response to anger or confusion than Slender was. He was the calmer of the two.
But he didn’t mind, as the Other one was just another part of him like his hand or his foot. They were part of each other. And that part had died, the Other one. Slender remembered now.
How did he ever forget? He wondered. Maybe he had done it on purpose. Because it was so painful. Pain was a sensation that Slender rarely experienced, built as sturdy as he was.
And even though his emotions only ever haunted him from afar, this pain was so great that even he was overtaken.
The death of the Other one was like having to walk around carrying a corpse at all times. And he had done that for a period, waiting for the Other to wake up, to come back to him.
But it never did.
The Other one had been curious. And this had lead to its demise. It was a very long time ago, before cars and telephones, when they were staying in the forest not far from a village.
There was a huge lake nearby. Slender, as always, had very little interest in humans. Why would he study them when he could admire the sky? It was so much vaster and more important.
But the Other one was fascinated by the humans. Sometimes, they would go into the village when everyone was asleep and watch them. The Other one could do this for hours.
Slender tolerated it but was always pleased when they returned to the woods. Here he would burrow into the cool earth and listen to the Other’s rapid thoughts and theories about the people.
Every few days, they would sleep. As time passed, the Other grew bolder. Now watching the humans was not enough. Now the Other wanted to touch them. To find out more about their bodies.
They were warm and squishy and not built for survival at all. What silly creatures, yet the Other was enamored with them. Eventually, the Other was not content to watch through windows.
They began entering the houses stealthily at night. This was an annoyance to Slender who stood far too tall to enter these human homes in the village comfortably.
He had to stoop down in a ridiculous fashion just to fit inside. The Other was smaller and less inconvenienced.
After a couple of months of poking and prodding sleeping humans, Slender had had enough. He began to stay back from those trips to the village. He was at peace among the trees and darkness.
The Other could go study on its own.
One night, nearing dawn, Slender heard heavy footfalls. It was the Other, he already knew in his mind, rushing back frantically to find him.
He could hear the Other’s thoughts, of course, but they were so rushed and strange, he found them incoherent. When the Other arrived, it dropped to its knees.
Slender approached and inquired what had happened. Then he saw the images in his mind, from the Other. A house, a child’s bedroom. The child was asleep.
As the Other was stroking its face with cold skeletal fingers, the human child awoke. The Other froze, unsure what to do, and the child had screamed.
In alarm, the Other picked the youth up in the steel grip of its cold hand and slammed in into the bed. The screaming stopped abruptly.
Voices started in another part of the house, obviously the parents of the child had woken up, but the Other did not stay to see what they would do.
It folded its body up like a spider to fit through the window. As the window was only on the second story and the Other was nearly as tall as Slender, it was only a short hop down to the ground.
Then the Other took off for the woods.
Do you think they will come after us? the Other wondered.
What can they do to us? Slender reasoned.
I don’t know, admitted the Other.
Slender thought about it.
We will have to wait and see, he concluded.
The Other agreed and they stayed in the woods that night. Slender stared at the stars and the Other went to sleep.
They lay in the same hole in the Earth, surrounded by soil with worms and beetles crawling over and around them. It comforted the Other for their bodies to be as close as their minds.
They agreed it would be wise to stay away from the village for awhile. And they did, for a couple of months.
But the Other wanted to return to its studies of the human creatures and Slender saw no danger in it. Years passed.
Over time, more and more children would wake up as the Other studied them in their bedrooms.
The Other learned to wrap a tentacle around their neck tightly enough for them to go back to sleep and then he would leave.
They weren’t dead, they just lost consciousness, and when they awoke they didn’t believe what they had seen.
Some of them were quite upset when they woke up with bruises on their necks, as the tentacles sometimes left behind.
But without a logical explanation for the marks, there was nothing they could do.
For many years, this was the way. But it was not to last. As closely as Slender and the Other listened to each other, they paid no attention to the communications of the humans.
They didn’t listen to their speech during the day, nor did they bother reading their thoughts (which, if they decided to focus enough, they actually had the power to do,
they just didn’t realize it). So they were unaware of the rumors that lit up the town. The Other had become a local legend, an infamous ghost story.
Children who went to school with bruised necks were teased mercilessly.
“You were visited by the Slender Man! You’re lucky you only got bruises, he’ll be back and next time, he’ll kill you!” It was a morbid torment only the very young or the insane can delight in.
But it had happened once. Many years ago. This was the night that the Other had come running back to the woods in a panic. The child whose screams he had cut short had died.
No one could understand how the young man had broken his back while the whole house slumbered.
They awoke to his cries, and when the whole family frantically scrambled into his room to investigate, he lay dead on his bed, his spine shattered.
The youngest in the family swore that he saw a shadow of a creature, like a man but huge and spidery, running into the woods. No one believed this, of course.
Naturally, a young child would be traumatized by the sight of his dead older brother, and such a brutal death it was.
One could expect for him to try to make sense of it through childish fantasies.
But when, months later, children woke up with bruised necks, often accompanied by nightmares of a large pale man with thin limbs and arms like an octopus,
then they remembered the sighting of the same man running into the woods. And the sighting that no one had believed built itself into the tale of the Slender Man.
Eventually, it happened again. Again, it was not intentional on the part of the Other to kill the child. But this particular child possessed a stronger nature than most.
She had not awoken when the Other felt the skin of her face or listened to her steady breathing or even when he stroked her hair with fascination.
It was when he was leaving, turning away from her bedside, that was when she opened her eyes.
She was a fearless child, so though she screamed out of a natural instinct, she kept her wits about her.
Quickly, she reached for a glass jar that held a candle in it next to her bedside and hurled it at the Other, now towering over her.
The glass smashed against the Other’s leg but did not hurt it. However, the girl’s cries grew louder and she jumped out of bed, frantically searching for another weapon.
Voices began to fill the house as the family awoke to the sounds. In one swift movement, the Other had picked the girl up in his tentacle and thrown her out the window with great force.
The crunch of shattering glass filled the air as her little body smashed into the ground. In an instant, the Other was also out the window and racing back to the woods.
When they found her, the little girl was still breathing. She had many broken bones and was not conscious for the moment, covered in blood and glass, but she was alive.
It would have been better for Slender and the Other if she had died.