I was ten years old when the Slender Man first appeared.

It was in the woods - the very area we now call Slender's Pit - where people were setting up props for a film shoot. I don't know why the set had to be in the middle of our forest, just a quarter-mile from our town; bad luck on our part, I guess. At any rate, the producers never got to shoot a second of film - as soon as they tried to start, all the technology in the area started to go haywire, which is apparently what happens when the Slender Man is near. No one remembers now what the movie was going to be, but it was not going to be about the Slender Man, that much is certain; as soon as the Slender Man appeared, everyone on the set panicked. Most of the people escaped, though a few members of the stage crew were never heard from again.

Within a matter of days, the Slender Man transformed the area into his own personal dwelling. First, he removed everything from the forest that he "didn't need", which turned out to be everything except the actual sets; the movie-making equipment, the personal belongings, and the smaller of the stage props appeared in a pile just outside Slender's Pit three days after the incident, leaving a few tankers, several small buildings, and a couple of other large props in the Slender Man's possession. After that, an electric fence was built around the area, presumably by the Slender Man, though no one's quite sure where he got the materials, or where the electricity is coming from. None of us went near the place anyway, so we were confused about the fence at first. Then, one night, the electricity turned off, and the Slender Man sent a note asking for a single human sacrifice to join him inside the boundary.

We tried ignoring him.

We only made that mistake once.

Now, every so often, the electric fence turns off, and someone is sent into Slender's Pit - the Slender Man doesn't need to send us notes anymore, not after what happened the first time. It's never predictable when the fence will turn off in invitation - sometimes it's days, sometimes it's a few weeks, once or twice it's been several months. No one really knows what the Slender Man does to his victims, either - Slender's Pit seems to just swallow them.

This has been going on for fifteen years.

We in the town have a "fair" system for keeping the Slender Man satisfied: Each of us has a number, and all our numbers are written on separate slips of paper in a bin; whenever the electric fence turns off, a paper is randomly chosen, and whoever's number gets picked is forced to go to Slender's Pit alone. No one is allowed to volunteer; the rest of us have less to be guilty about that way. None of the victims want to go, of course, but we all know what would happen if no one answered the Slender Man's call.

Tonight, my number was chosen.

I'm nothing special, really - just your average small-town girl. I never really had any huge ambitions, I wasn't particularly outstanding in school, and I'm not leaving a husband or children behind, so I guess I won't be a huge loss to the world. I'm just sorry I never got to live my own life, no matter how small or insignificant it might have turned out to be.

It's the middle of the night right now. The Slender Man always allows us to bring a flashlight when he extends his invitation at night, but nothing else except the clothes on our backs; I don't know why he wants us to bring flashlights. There's no fence gate, no opening; we sacrifices are expected to just climb over the fence and…let the Slender Man do whatever he does to us.

Okay then.

The fence isn't really anything unusual - I mean, apart from the fact that the Slender Man built it. It's not very different the average fence when it comes to climbing difficulty, though. That's not particularly helpful for me, since I'm not the most athletic girl in the town, either, but by turning off my flashlight and tucking it into my belt so I have both hands free, I manage to clamber over the top.

So. I'm inside Slender's Pit. Now what?

I wait a few seconds for something to happen. When nothing does, I pull my flashlight out of my belt and turn it on.

Suddenly, I hear a voice whisper in the air, soft but clear:

"Collect all 8 pages."

Eight pages? What?

I stand still for a few more seconds. I don't know what I'm waiting for; further instructions, maybe? When none seem to be forthcoming, I decide to start walking.

It's very quiet in the woods. I hear some crickets chirping, and in the distance, an owl is hooting, but somehow, the sounds seem muffled, muted by a strange quiet that tries to drown out everything but the crunching of the dirt and grass under my shoes. There are clearings and clusters of trees all around me - in places, they give the appearance of a path.

I don't know what I'm doing. What is it the Slender Man wants from me? Doesn't he…?

Huh. What is it he does to people?

As I continue walking, I find myself lost in thought. I've never really thought about what the Slender Man does to his victims - in fact, I doubt anyone has given it much thought. It's one of those things you try not to think about, I guess. What is he supposed to do, though? Eat people? I don't know…

Suddenly, my flashlight hits something other than a tree. It's not the Slender Man - it's big, and rust-red. A few steps closer, I realize it's a big tower; I guess it kind of looks like a silo.

This, I realize, must be one of the old movie set props that the Slender Man kept. I can see why he didn't get rid of it - it's pretty big. Then again, how strong is the Slender Man? I don't know…

Something on the side of the silo thing flashes white in the beam of my flashlight. I walk over to investigate, and I see a piece of notebook paper with a faceless stick figure and the words "DON'T LOOK…OR IT TAKES YOU" scratched on it in black ink.

Don't look, or it takes me? Is "it" the Slender Man? What does this mean?

I remember my instructions to collect eight pages. I guess this must be one of them.

This certainly wasn't what I was expecting of being sacrificed to the Slender Man…

With a shrug, I take the piece of paper off the wall of the silo. It doesn't appear to be stuck on by anything in particular, and it comes down easily. Suddenly, I hear a thud in the distance. Even though it sounds far away, I still jump.

A second later, I hear it again.

I hold very still. The thuds continue; it almost sounds like a heartbeat. It doesn't seem to be getting any closer…

Well, now I know what I'm supposed to do; I guess the rest of the pages must be on the other old props. I start walking again.