Cora and Nathaniel had somehow managed to squeeze themselves underneath the red truck. They could see his shoes approaching; hear the crunching of the twigs as he made his way toward them. Cora had to cover her mouth to keep from crying out in fear and pain as her bloody ankle throbbed beneath the torn flesh. "Shhh, be quiet," Nathaniel barely whispered. "Maybe he won't hear us."
As he approached, they began to hear the screams of the others killed before them. It was a low sound that began to rise in volume as he approached. The wails of their friends as he tortured, killed, and ate them alive, as well as strangers, enveloped the two very quickly for the man was a fast walker. Cora forced her eyes shut as Nathaniel attempted to cover her as a means of protection.
The man stopped just in front of them, the screaming suddenly silenced. His shoes were gleaming, his black pants spotless. After several minutes had passed, Cora opened her eyes in confusion. Why hadn't he killed them?
Suddenly, the man bent down and looked at them, his face white and featureless. No eyes, mouth, or nose. Cora screamed as he reached out a tentacle-like arm and wrapped it around Nathaniel's bare neck. His eyes widened for an instant before the appendage squeezed him so tightly his eyes ruptured and exploded from the pressure. It covered Cora and the faceless man. The wailing started again.
This time, Nathaniel's voice was added to the sound.
Cora tried to wriggle out the other side of the truck, but her shirt got stuck on a screw. She tugged at it and tried to free herself but it was to no avail. She screamed as a tentacle wrapped around her ankle and drug her out. The sounds of bones being crunched quickly replaced her screaming.
-9:30 P.M. Two hours and thirty minutes before Cora and Nathaniel's demise-
Cora's phone buzzed. She glanced at the name as she curled her dirty blonde hair; it was Anabelle.
Felix and I will be a little late. Sorry.
Cora sighed. Anabelle and Felix were always a little late to everything. Prom, school, movies. If the world were ending, they would probably be the last two to die because they were late. Putting down the curler, she grabbed her phone and replied with a quick Okay before grabbing her purse and going downstairs to the living room. Her mom was sitting on the couch reading some book about glittery vampires. She glanced up at Cora. "Heading out?" She asked. Cora nodded. "Yeah, me and some friends are going to a party. I'll be back by… eleven?" Her mother raised an eyebrow before going back to her book. "Alright. Just don't hit the mailbox when you back out this time. Dad's about had it."Cora grinned and took the keys to her mother's car from the bowl by the door.
"Oh, and Cora?" Her mom called.
"Please don't go into the woods this time. Mabley's son went missing last week and he's the seventh one to disappear in there. Promise."
Cora felt the tinges of guilt as she responded, "I promise, Mom. Love you."
She hurried out the door before a response could be made. The party was actually going to be held in one of the clearings of Tall Man's Woods. Cora started the car and carefully backed out, missing the mailbox by a couple of inches.
As she drove through the quiet neighborhood, her thoughts were filled with Nathaniel. His short black hair, his bright blue eyes, all of it was very handsome to Cora. She had tried to talk to him during class and lunch, but he merely sat there, silent. Anabelle thought maybe he was just shy, but Cora wasn't as sure. 'Maybe I'm just annoying him.' Anabelle and Felix had tried talking to him as well, and surprisingly Nathaniel began to talk to them. In fact, Nathaniel and Felix had become very close friends. But he still wouldn't even look at Cora, let alone talk to her.
Going to the party was Anabelle's idea. She thought it might lighten up Cora's recently gloomy mood and even be some fun. Of course, there had been a lot of teenagers that had gone missing in those woods, but they weren't worried about it. Who would want to kidnap them?
-10:02 P.M. One hour and fifty-eight minutes before Cora and Nathaniel's demise-
Cora pulled in next to Nathaniel's rusty green truck and turned off the engine. It was well and fully dark outside and the woods held a menacing darkness within. Cora shrugged it off and climbed out of the car. In the light of the nearly-full moon, she could barely make out a path in between two large oaks that had fresh shoeprints. She began her assent.
As she walked down the path, careful to avoid tripping over roots and other annoying plant life, she noticed that not a single cricket was chirping like they had been a few feet back. The silence was eerie and a shiver worked its way through Cora. 'Relax,' she told herself. 'They're probably just quiet because of you.' She began to hum to herself, hoping maybe it would distract her.
A few minutes later, she arrived to the clearing. There was a medium-sized campfire with three people sitting around it. They all turned to face her, wide-eyed and pale as a sheet in the orange light. Nathaniel was the one to speak. "It took you long enough. Where's Anabelle and Felix?" Cora approached the group slowly. "Well, Anabelle texted me earlier saying they were going to be a little late. I'm sure they'll turn up."
"I really doubt it," the only other girl said. She was very thin, nearly anorexic looking with brown hair down to her knees and almost black eyes. She pulled a black hoodie tighter around her small frame and shivered. "They're probably in the back of her car having-" "That's enough, Emmaline." Nathaniel glared at the girl sitting next to him. She stuck her tongue out and pouted. "Whatever."
Cora sat next to a redheaded boy whose name was Geoffrey. She only remembered him because she copied off his math tests in elementary school and it was because of him that she even passed. He was pasty while with a few freckles across his nose. He leaned in toward Cora. "Did you see him?" He was quiet, his eyes frantic. She was very confused. "See who?"
"The man in the suit. Right before you got here, he was just standing there, staring at us. He…he didn't have a face." Emmaline snorted. "I don't know what drugs you've been doing, Geoff, but you're nuts." Geoff stood up suddenly and stomped over to the tiny girl. "You saw him too! You were just as scared as the rest of us. Don't act so high and mighty."
Emmaline stood then, zipping up her hoodie. "I am so done with all of this bull. I don't even know why I decided to come out here." She stormed away into the woods, swearing as she pushed branches and other things aside. "Emmaline, come back!" Geoff shouted. A very vulgar reply echoed though the clearing and eventually the sound of her retreat quieted to nothing. Cora turned to Nathaniel, confused and a little freaked out. "What's going on?"
-10:30 P.M. One hour and thirty minutes before Cora and Nathaniel's demise-
Cora, along with Nathaniel and Geoffrey decided after much discussing and arguing to go after Emmaline since the suited man might be dangerous. They put out the fire and made their way into the woods, following the path Emmaline had taken. Cora dug a flashlight out of her purse and turned it on, leading the way. "I can't believe we're doing this," Geoff grumbled behind her. "We should just get out of here. Who knows when that thing will show up again?" Nathaniel pushed him into Cora a little. "Shut up, Geoff. You're being stupid. Besides, we can't just leave Emmaline in here; if she gets lost or something, it's our fault." "Stop fighting you two. We need to listen and see if we can hear her."Cora was very irritated with the whole situation and honestly just wanted to go home and sleep.
They emerged in a smaller clearing with a large twisted tree in the middle of it. "Creepy," Cora muttered under her breath. As she looked around, there were two paths on either side of the tree. Nathaniel walked over to the tree and looked for some sign of Emmaline. "She likes to carve trees," Nathaniel explained as he looked. "Maybe she marked it in case she gets lost or something."There was silence for a moment and Cora shined her light on the tree.
"There's something you guys need to see…" Nathaniel called. Geoff and Cora moved around the tree and saw a page stuck on it. "Always watches, no eyes…" Cora read. "That's not freaky or anything." Nathaniel reached out and pulled the note off. "Maybe we should take this with us." Geoff looked at him incredulously. "Are you stupid? Why would we need this? It's some creepy note in the middle of nowhere about some freak with no eyes-" Geoff paled as he look behind Nathaniel. "Oh, God. It's him. It's him!" Cora and Nathaniel spun around and shone the flashlight on a lone figure standing several yards away. There was also some kind of faint sound coming from it. "What is that?"Cora whispered, terrified.
"Run!" Geoff screamed. The three turned and ran down the path on the right, frantic to get away from the creature. Cora was ahead with Nathaniel just behind her. "Hey, there's some kind of building over here! Come on!"Geoff yelled from way behind. Cora felt Nathaniel grab her arm and yank her toward the structure, causing her to drop the flashlight. They dashed inside and turned into one of the rooms.
They froze, sensing they were not alone in the small space. It was filled with a strange metallic odor that seriously unsettled the teens. "Cora, where's the flashlight?" Nathaniel asked, his voice full of fear. Cora was shaking from the terrible encounter and tried to gather her bearings. "I-I don't have it anymore. I must've dropped it when you grabbed me." Geoff groaned from somewhere. "Great. Just fan-freaking-tastic."
Despite her fear, Cora reached out her hands and began moving forward in the room, looking for a light switch or something else that could help them. A phone, a knife, anything. Out of nowhere her hand sank into something warm and wet, making her squeal. "What-"Her question was cut off as lights suddenly flickered on.
It was Emmaline. Or what was left. She had been slaughtered in the room, pieces of brain and bone and flesh everywhere. Her head was intact in the center of the room with her face forever frozen into the ultimate expression of fear. Painted on the walls in crimson were hundreds, even thousands of names, many in different languages that none of them could read. Cora threw up, Nathaniel gasped and Geoff ran out of the area, towards the wood, screaming his head off.
-11:15 P.M. Forty-five minutes before Cora and Nathaniel's demise-
Geoff was gone. They didn't know if the faceless man had gotten him or if he had even escaped. They'd wandered for what felt like hours, collecting more notes and trying to find an exit. Occasionally they would catch a glimpse of a white face, or hear something like static, and they would run.
At one point Cora had stepped into a patch of thorns hidden by the shadows, effectively shredding the skin on her left ankle. It swelled to unnatural sizes and she couldn't walk on it without screaming in pain. Nathaniel put her arm around his shoulders and together they hobbled along.
Eventually they came across a concrete tunnel. It wasn't very long, but looking down it they couldn't see the end. They hesitantly made their way down, hoping to rest in what little safety it provided. Halfway down, Nathaniel carefully removed Cora's arm and helped her sit down. Once she was settled, he checked her ankle. Considering the darkness that covered everything, he couldn't see too well but could tell by touch that it had swelled even larger. It was nearly five times the size it should have been. Cora whimpered quietly at his touch. Her mouth was dry and still held the faint taste of bile.
"Listen to me, Cora," Nathaniel started quietly. "We're going to get out of here, okay? We'll find the clearing and I'll drive you to the hospital. You'll be just fine." Nathaniel wiped his now bloody hands on his pants and sat next to Cora. She leaned her head on his shoulder. "You're not a very good liar, you know." She murmured. "We're going to die here, just like Emmaline and Geoff. And don't even tell me he might not be dead; we know he is. He was alone."Nathaniel was silent for a moment.
"Since we're going to die here, I just thought I should tell you I've never hated you even though I've been nothing but a complete jerk. Honestly, I'm just not interested in girls and I didn't know what to do when you came around and flirted a bit. Being a jerk wasn't the way to do it, but… I'm sorry, Cora."
Before Cora could respond to his very unexpected explanation, the sound of static enveloped the tunnel. Nathaniel jumped up, grabbed Cora's arm and forced her to run. They ran through the trees and past a large area of rusted gas tanks, but they could still hear him. Cora realized, as they found a red truck and crammed themselves underneath it that the sound wasn't static, it was screaming.
A/N: This is a short story I wrote for English class. We had only a couple of days to do it so I'm sure it seems rushed and hectic, but I love the Slenderman phenomena and I just had to contribute. Feel free to express your opinion; I only ask that it is not a flame but more along the lines of constructive criticism.