This story was co-authored with Griff, aka Spriinkola on tumblr. She writes Conall and I write Slend. I hope you enjoy!
A gust of wind passed through the trees, tugging off a few of the remaining leaves and sending them sailing to the ground. Black shoes brushed through them as the Slenderman walked, but the sound of it was absent. The trail behind him slowly disappeared as well, the dirt rising up to fill in each footprint.
The holiday season was on its way in this district, and the Slenderman knew he would find children out of school if he headed a little closer to the border of the woods. Empty months alone with the sound of creaking tree branches and skittering wildlife left him hungry. But there was a resolution, standing on the edge of a playground or watching them from across the street. Hearing their hearts beat faster, seeing the fright in their eyes would leave him satiated for a few months longer.
He continued to traipse through the woods until he picked up a scent, and then a sound. He craned his neck to the side to see a dingy house in the distance. He could hear voices, one in particular that left him with a strange sense of déjà vu. He changed directions, long steps pulling toward the voice.
Grin watched with an amused expression while his two friends played a game of 'tic, tac, toe' on the wall of what was probably the living room. The long wall was littered with drawings that had gathered on it through the years of them visiting the home, and some drawings from other kids that had discovered the building. "You guys can't find anything better to draw?" The young man hummed in amusement. The two grinning males glanced over to their vitiligo skinned friend, "Like what, Conall? You hardly ever do ANYTHING when we come here. No drugs, no drinking, not even tic, tac, toe. You might as well just be a stick in the mud."
The blond huffed right back to 'Grin' who promptly looked away from both of them. "I've got my reasons, okay?" He stood and strolled from the room before either of them could say anything else, and entered the kitchen. The walls had rotted more quickly than most in the house, he didn't bother to guess why they looked so bad, but if he had to he'd say it was water damage. Grin casually walked along the wood floor before he stopped at the dirty window, eyeing the busted sink on the wall below it. After years of coming to this place, he still did his best not to break, or touch anything that he didn't have to.
Yards away from the weathered house, the Slenderman listened to the exchange. That voice… it sounded different than it had before, deeper, but it was undoubtedly from the same human. He remembered him clearly, the child with dark eyelashes and beautiful skin.
Wanting to see the child again, the Slenderman approached one of the windows and bent down to look inside. A pair of boys drew symbols on the wall, Xs and Os, frustratingly close but never overlapping as they should. Not seeing the boy he was looking for, he made his way to the next window and then the next.
He tilted his head, focusing on the unexpected sight. The voice didn't belong to a child anymore; rather the unmistakable complexion belonged to a young man now. The Slenderman moved to the side, away from the window, and mulled over how he'd lost track of time. He looked inside again, studying the human's hair from behind, tousled and dark. The boy continued to turn, looking at the inside of the kitchen and giving the Slenderman a different angle to study. Oh, he would like to make that heart pound.
The Slenderman reached up and scaled the wall, slipping through the broken window on the second floor. He rested a silent foot on the floor and then set down the other, deliberately allowing the bowed panels to creak beneath him. If he'd calculated right, it would be just above his head.
He blinked when some material from the ceiling above him sprinkled down after the wood above him creaked. Maybe it was an animal? He knew there were plenty of kids that probably knew about this place, so maybe it was one of them? No, it was probably just the house itself settling, or something along those lines.
Conall shook his head and reached up with both hands to dust the ceiling off of his head while letting out a few low grumbles. He glanced back in the direction of the living room where his two friends were, then cautiously made his way towards the stairs, intending to go to the second floor. He'd just take a look up there and if he didn't see anything from the hallway, then he'd go right back down the stairs.
He stopped at the top step and took a look down the dim hall way, the only light came from the room that he guessed was over the kitchen. "Anyone in there?" he called out, figuring that if it was an animal it would take off at the sound of his voice.
The Slenderman stood behind the half-opened door, listening to the tentative heartbeat. It was a little faster than it had been downstairs, but only minimally. Mere curiosity could strike up a pulse this speed. Still, it was enough that he began to taste it in his mouth. It was the hesitation, the space from the top of the stairs to the door, everything keeping the human from stepping in right away.
He lifted his thin fingers and took hold of the door knob, pulling the door open a fraction in invitation. With a broken window, it could have been moved by the breeze.
Conall's hazel eyes widened slightly at the movement of the door and he was ready to hightail it right back down the stairs, but he didn't. 'It's just the wind. Stop being a baby.' He thought to himself and stepped up into the hall, his hand clutching the old railing beside the stairs like it was a life line. "Calm down…" He sucked in a slow breath and willed his beating heart to slow back down, all the while approaching the door. The lack of a response from the room told him that there was no animal and he was starting to think that this was all just the house, and maybe the wind.
He stopped just outside the door and took a look into the room, "…." He took one careful step into the room, putting some weight on it to make sure the floor wouldn't give out under him.
The Slenderman blacked out his vision as he listened to the heart, feeling the faint echo of it inside his own chest. 'Keep walking,' he thought to himself. He took in the scent of the human before he entered the room, pressing himself back against the wall as the door opened.
He watched the boy enter, vision flicking over his neck and down his back, straying to his fingertips and up again. His own fingers twitched impatiently, dark tentacles bleeding out of the back of his suit and crawling out against the peeling wallpaper. He repressed the urge to grab him, knowing moderation was the only way to prevent a heart attack. He took a quiet step forward and pushed the door closed.
He felt a wave of relief wash over him when he saw that there was no one in the room, but that relief was quickly replaced with surprise, and then dread. He jumped slightly when the door closed behind him and quickly turned to see who had closed it, but a slender faceless man was not what he expected to see. Conall had heard of people being paralyzed with fear, but this was the first time he-No,…this wasn't the first time. He remembered this feeling of fear as well as the faceless creature in front of him, but this realization didn't make the situation any easier. He stood there stuck in place while his heart hammered away at his chest.
A pleased snarl erupted in the Slenderman's throat, mouth watering from the sound of the boy's speeding pulse. He let out sharp jagged breaths; body slow to follow along with the terror racing through his expression. The Slenderman could see it slowly creeping in, the trembling in his hands and his mouth parting open. Soon he'd be able to run. The Slenderman took a long step forward, towering over him, soaking in every movement, sight and sound. He vented his own cold breath, displacing the human's hair.
All that was missing was a scream. Or anything really, just to hear that voice again. His hand twitched at his side as he considered touching him, a strange notion for a Slender who was usually averse to being tactile.
Aware of the ticking seconds he recoiled inwardly, not wanting the human to be frightened to death. A dark strand poured from his back and slithered along the floor, opening the door again. He stepped to the side to show him the exit.
"I..." Conall's voice came out higher than he would have liked, but it was appropriate for this situation. "I remember you."
Before he could really get anything else out, he found himself taking the chance to slip right out of the room. Sticking around for a chat didn't sound all that great with Mr. Faceless, so instead he sped down the steps, through the kitchen, and right out the front door. His friend scrambled towards the door and caught a glimpse of Conall disappearing off into the thick bush, "Wonder what's got into him…" One murmured, and then went to gather up the stuff they'd brought to the house. "Better go after him. It's getting late, anyway."
He watched the human run, reflecting momentarily on what he'd said. It did seem likely to remember such a thing, but that the human had spoken it aloud? He tried to remember back, but couldn't find the last time he'd been directly addressed… except… Except the one time, when the boy was a child. He remembered his little voice calling to him, but couldn't recall just what had happened.
To be continued.