Hello and welcome to InWhichThere'sASlenderMan. This is a fic that I've been meaning to write for a while now based upon an image I found, drawn by Ms. Stone, of Hanna and the Slender Man. This was originally supposed to be a one-shot, but after some positive feedback I have decided to make it into a multi-chaptered work.

For new readers, and old readers, I have decided to delete and re-post chapters I-VI since I found a large amount of formatting errors that some readers were helpful enough to point out. I have made a few changes but none of them have to do with the plot of the story. In this chapter, for one thing, I have changed the consistency of {...}'s name due to readers complaining that the constant name-change was too confusing. I have no intention to change the plot in any way, only grammatical and formatting errors. Transferring coded work from deviantART to has proved to be tedious, but now that I have found a way to get through the challenge I am only too happy to improve my work to better suit your reading.

Please bear with these changes, do not fret when you see old chapters being re-posted, and thank you for the support!

Hanna is Not a Boy's Name (c) Tessa Stone

The Slender Man (c) Victor Surge

Enjoy!


Chapter I

Galahad set the timer – 20 minutes – on the oven, and crouched down. His amber eyes illuminated the scratched viewing glass, where his nonchalant reflection stared at him. Galahad ignored this, as he usually did. He didn't want to see himself. He didn't care for his appearance – it hadn't changed for a decade, and probably never would. Watching as the baking potatoes began to sizzle and the skeletal stems of the herbs he was trying to grow shrivelled under the heat, Galahad settled himself on the ground in front of the oven, cross-legged. He reached up to the counter and brought down a thickly-bound book which Conrad had lent him, listening to the pages rustle as his fingers laced through them. It was a Stephen King novel. Galahad enjoyed King's work, never quite as disturbed as Conrad warned he may be, and reading was always a good way to spend time while waiting for Hanna to come home.

Which Hanna would not be doing any time soon.

...

Hanna was late, and lost.

"Shit -!" he yelped, for maybe the fourth time, when he tripped on a rock, which might have been the fourth one, and stumbled head-first into the undergrowth, that definitely ended with a fourth bruise.

Groaning, Hanna rolled over in the dirt, feeling his knees sting with cuts and ooze with blood. His glasses had fallen somewhere. He groped for them in the damp ferns and sloppily shoved them onto his face. He let his arm flump down next to him with a long sigh of frustration, stirring droplets of moisture. He stared up into the canopy of the forest, head pounding, regarding the stars as they began to peek through the branches in the darkening sky.

"Irvin," he eventually said aloud, "is going to kill me."

He'd gotten lost when he'd followed a suspicious-looking ball of light into the woods while taking a shortcut home from work. His curiosity, which got the better of his logic, drove him to follow this light right into the heart of the forest until he'd eventually snagged it with his hoodie. He'd expected to have caught some kind of pixie, or maybe an imp, but when he excitedly unravelled the clothing the light turned out to be nothing more than a handful of fat, and very dead, fireflies. After that, Hanna realised just how deep he'd travelled and had tried to make his way back.

He'd left work at 8:30, and, as he checked his wristwatch, it was now 10:00.

And then he heard it.

The silence.

The utter, perpetual and ultimately deadly silence.

Hanna stopped breathing. His fingers dug into the earth, heart thumping hard in his chest, mounting terror freezing his insides. He waited for the rustling, for the slight shift in the air, for the barest of sifting of soil molecules. For what felt like hours he lay there, not breathing, not moving. Beads of sweat were trailing down his temples, brought on by the thick heat of summer, and his mind was racing with thoughts. Hanna knew it wasn't an animal or a human. None of those species could produce the subtle popping of his ears as the supernatural planes were breached, nor could they produce the asphyxiating effect of magic rushing through his veins and towards his fingers, nor could they rouse the soft throbbing in his hollow chest which told him how far – or how close – something was.

There were too many possibilities as to what it was, but it had to be something big or something powerful to have caused such a sudden and overwhelming silence. It could be djinn, Hanna thought as his mind sprinted, or a vampire, or even a wendigo – he stopped himself, throat tightening abruptly. The throbbing in chest had altered. It was gradually growing stronger, harsher, grating against his ribs. Hanna's eyes widened.Scratch that. Irvin won't kill me – whatever the fuck is behind me will beat him to it.

...

Irvin looked up at the clock on the wall, feeling a flicker of worry. It was already 10pm, and Hanna wasn't home. Then he remembered the red head telling him that he may be late some days, due to Target having a sale, so he dismissed this concern and reached up to turn off the oven light – but paused, for the worry hadn't gone away, and was in fact growing. This seemed to be an instinctive feeling developed by the many months of living with Hanna and his danger-prone ways. Irvin had felt it often, but it wasn't always accurate in its suggestions. He looked at the clock again, the slightest of a frown curling his lips, watching as the bent second hand made its sluggish way across the minutes.

TK.

TK.

TK.

Irvin flicked the oven light off, and returned to chapter eight.

...

Hanna didn't know if he was being chased, but he was running away regardless.

The wind and foliage whipped at him as he pumped his arms furiously, skimming through the forest in the direction he thought was back to the city. His knees were hurting and his lungs were burning, but nothing could compare to the pounding, jarring, scraping in his chest which caused the staples in his flesh to contract painfully. The last time he had felt such a rush of experience was when Lee Falun's ghost had shuddered through him. Even then it wasn't as strong as it was now. Whatever was causing such an outthrust of magic had to be ancient, powerful and very deadly. Hanna wasn't looking forwards to the outcome.

It was deep into the night now, turning the forest to nothing more than a mess of sharp yet blurred shades of darkness. The summer warmth turned the air solid with humidity and raised a sluggish fog from the ground. It trickled and seemed to grow thicker as Hanna ran further, and no matter how many times the red head changed his path the fog followed him, soaking him through with damp, weighing his steps down with its invisible hands. His sneakers slopped sickly on the ground, which was quickly turning to a soup-like mash of spongy pine needles and mud, sucking at his feet, taunting his slowness, his gradual weakening. He was running out of breath. The adrenaline was struggling through his arteries. Even the thrumming in his chest couldn't shove him on any more. He had to stop.

He slowed down, allowing himself to stumble and clumsily collapse against a tree. He slid down and his body went limp on the ground, hands falling into his lap as he leaned his head against the hard bark. Chest rising and falling rapidly as he sucked in bitter oxygen, his head lolled to the side –

A man with no face was watching him.

...

Irvin turned the page, three paragraphs into chapter thirteen. His eyes flicked up to the clock. It was 10:45pm. That nagging worry still tugged at him, and he tried to persuade himself that Hanna was fine and had probably just been asked to work an extra hour or two to help out at Target. But how many people are still shopping at ten at night? he questioned vaguely. He drew his eyes away from the clock and back to King's written world of horror.

...

Hanna stared at the man, paralysed. The man stared at Hanna, motionless. He had no eyes, but he was staring.

It felt like Hanna's chest was threatening to split open. But the red head could not raise a hand to push at the pain. He felt sick, weak and powerless, like his skin was made of cement and his blood of tar. His face felt like it was melting, sweat dripping down his nose. His glasses were fogged up and cracked, but he could see the man clearly.

Hanna was terrified. And yet – there was an odd lilt in his mind. Something like curiosity, almost fascination, which Hanna sensed when he stared at the man's blank face. It made Hanna feel... safe, content, childlike. It was like something was quietly pushing the terror away, quelling his urge to get up and run, and pulling away a thought which was actually trying to tell him something really important -!

Hanna smiled.

The man with no face shifted ever so slightly at this, and without a sound began walking towards him on two impossibly long and black-clad legs. His arms stretched out in elegant loops, fingers thinning and curling like gelatinous calcium, slim and fluid strings of inky darkness pooling from his sides in long tentacles – beckoning, encouraging, hungry. Hanna just smiled as he walked closer, though he was confused when his thoughts, as they lulled and melted, clung to his mind with a kind of urgency that made the red head's smile falter for a second.

The man vanished, reappeared, like static. He stopped a few feet away from Hanna, and Hanna recognized a kind of puzzlement surrounding the ethereal figure. He hesitated, but started to walk towards Hanna again, tentacles slithering out more cautiously, sticking closer to the man, as if vipers who tasted the air for threats.

Hanna started to smile again, and the man's pace grew quicker, the arms stretcher out further, the tentacles reaching out, anticipating, eager -

A stab of blackthorn pain in Hanna's chest erupted with such velocity Hanna lurched forwards, gasping in agony and clutching his chest. Abruptly all the fear and horror and pain and panic returned. It slashed through his mind and drew back his thoughts, which were screaming. Don't look up, don't look behind you, don't look up - He looked up, and the man was gone.

And then it dawned on Hanna.

"The Slender Man."

...

It was 11:29pm. Irvin realised this when he finally looked up from the third-last page of his book and could barely make out the clock on the wall. This was due to the apartment being swathed in pitch-black night. He was aware of a faint whining sound, and a thumping like heavy footfalls on the stairs. It started to get closer, and louder, until he could hear it coming down the corridor.

He got to his knees with a start, the book falling from his fingers, and he swivelled around to switch the oven light on. It lit up the baked potatoes, which had sunk to starchy lumps in the pan, and allowed Irvin to see the reflection of Hanna just as the whining turned to a full-fledged scream and the thumping of feet hit the apartment door and the red head crashed inside.

"Hanna!" Irvin cried, instinctively pushing himself up.

Hanna slammed the door closed, driving the key into the lock hurriedly with shaking hands and cursing loudly. Once the key gave a loud and sharp click, a marker was withdrawn and a clumsy ruin was inscribed on the handle. It glowed a harsh red almost instantly. Hanna withdrew and backed away, hands held out before him sparking with magic and sweat dripping from his face.

"Hanna –" Irvin started to say again, reaching for the red head. Hanna whirled around with a yelp, magic spitting violently, eyes wide with fear. Irvin stepped back, surprised.

Realising it was just his partner, the red head's tensed shoulders relaxed and the magic snuffed out of his hands. "Holy shit, it's just you, Raphael" he breathed, and stumbled forwards to fall into the zombie's arms. He hugged Raphael tightly, so tight that Raphael got the impression that Hanna thought he was about to disappear.

"Who else would it be?" he asked, alarmed by the implication. He pried the smaller man from him and held him by the shoulders, studying Hanna's dishevelled and trembling form.

The red head's clothes were torn by what looked like foliage, damp with sweat and covered in mud. Raphael's eyes lit up his cracked glasses, his mess of hair, his pallid face, his electric blue eyes staring up at him with fading terror and confusion. "What happened, Hanna?" the taller man demanded, mentally cursing himself for not trusting his worry's judgement. His mind was jumping through the probabilities of what had caused Hanna to make such a scene like lightning.

"N-nothing!" Hanna squeaked, lifting up his hands in a gesture of earnest.

Raphael felt a lurch of panic in his chest and his hands moved quickly to Hanna's arms, where an abnormal amount of bruises laced around the smaller man's wrists and hands in a curling bracelet of burst blood vessels and contorted muscles. Raphael's brow creased. It was like something had wrapped itself around Hanna's arms and had not intended to let him go.

He looked down at Hanna's scared face. "This," he said quietly, tracing his thumbs lightly across the bruises and causing Hanna to wince, "is not nothing."

Hanna started to say something, thought better of it, and let out a shaky Okay fine sigh. Looking around, Hanna leaned in and spoke in a hushed voice despite that there was no other body in the room. "It's the man," Hanna hissed, and he met Raphael's steady gaze with his own petrified one. "The Slender Man."

Raphael blinked, taken aback. Almost immediately as the words were admitted something cracked against the window, loud and abrupt enough to momentarily stop Hanna's heart.

Hanna, paralysed in that moment, stared at the window and the white spot where something had hit it. To his increasing terror, despite the heat of the summer air outside frost was beginning to stretch itself across the damaged area, like an alien awakened from its slumber.

Cautiously, anxiously, Hanna started towards the window. Raphael, wary, followed close behind him. They both approached the glass and, tentatively, Hanna got up onto a stool to reach the tiny portal. His legs were shaking as he got up, so much so that Raphael had to hold the stool to prevent the red head from toppling.

Hanna felt the pain in his chest wrench hard enough for him to inhale sharply, making him twitch his hands out to grasp the ledge of the window for support. A flash of adrenaline whipped through him. It took a while for Hanna to coax it away, and it took even longer before Hanna could dare to drag his eyes down to the street below. He felt every inch of courage dwindle as he shifted his gaze, felt every individual beat of his heart hurl against his ribs, felt his retinas burn with fear as he got closer and closer to once again seeing that impossibly tall silhouette standing and watching him – and finally Hanna looked at the street, where the forest turned to street, where he had ran blindly onto the asphalt.

The Slender Man wasn't there.

But one thought in Hanna's mind was.

Don't look behind you.


Please read and review, critique where necessary as you will help me develop my writing further.

No flames, thank you.