Okay. I guess I should start. Just get all of this out.
Big Brother gave me an address to meet him. A church. A big cathedral. "I hope you don't mind; they just have a certain feel to them, you know?" Of course.
Anyway, I got out to the church. It was empty, but unlocked. Big city like this, you'd think that churches would stay open and at least partially manned 24/7, but...I don't know. Maybe he rented it or something? I don't know, and it's not important.
Anyway, I entered the sanctuary, and there he was. Sitting at the far end, at some sort of big ornate chair. Sitting it in sideways, legs over the armrest. Clapping slowly.
"Welcome, my friend!" he called out. "Welcome!"
He was probably around my age, give or take a few years. Fairly short, too. Dressed in these big fancy deep purple robes. Black hair in need of a trim, and combined with the soul patch, he looked like a massive tool. Lounging on the chair casually like he didn't have a care in the world. The way he held himself, I was surprised there wasn't a loincloth-clad servant or two there feeding him grapes or fanning him with a giant palm frond. He stood as I approached, and as the robes shifted, I caught a glance of what he was wearing underneath. Jeans and a t-shirt. Wonderful.
He held his hand out, giving me a smug grin. I didn't shake it. "Well, well, well, it certainly is an honor to finally meet, isn't it, Alan?"
Alan. He called me Alan. Why the hell would he call me Alan?
"The Messenger," I told him.
He shook his head and chuckled. "Alan, Alan, Alan...why are you so opposed to your real name? After all, we both know it already, so why not use it? Oh, but I'm sorry! You don't know who I am yet, do you? You call me 'Big Brother,' and I think that it's time you use the name I go by now. You may call me...." And here he paused for a big sweeping bow. "...Eternity."
He looked up and grinned, expecting some sort of response. "Um...cool, I guess? Look, can we skip the pleasantries? I've got questions."
"Skip the pleasantries? But Alan, the root of the word is 'pleasant.' Are you against pleasant things?"
"Don't call me that."
"I'm sorry, does it bother you when I use your name? It's just shorter than 'Messenger.' I hope you don't mind if I continue to use it. Let's call it my fee for answering your questions."
"Look. What the hell do you want? Why'd you bring me here?"
"Because you deserve to know."
He stared off in the distance, putting on a thoughtful look. "Hmmm...ask me something else. Not quite ready to answer that one quite yet."
"Fine. Why did you install video surveillance? And where are you hiding the cameras?"
He burst out laughing. "Oh, Alan. Your paranoia is simply delicious. There aren't any cameras. Not now. They sort of come and go. That's why you couldn't find them. There haven't been cameras in your room since before you checked. And I don't know why you're asking me at all. After all, I'm not the one who installed them."
"Of course not. I just had some agents do it for me. I can get a lot of people to do a lot of things for me, actually. In fact, I'm...how do I put this? I'm well-known. Well respected. A 'big deal.' I'm pretty sure you're only hearing my name for the first time, but all your friends or co-workers or whatever exactly you want to call them have probably heard of me."
I'll admit that that threw me. Wasn't expecting someone well-known. I sort of choked on my response a bit.
"Cat got your tongue, Alan? You're...meaning to ask what I do, correct?" I nodded. "Well, I'm what I guess you'd call an 'Oracle.' I'm not exactly the highest-ranked person, but even the highest-ranked sort of rely on me. After all, when was the last time your Boss told you anything? Someone has to understand and decipher the will of the Slender Man, don't they? Someone a bit more...specially attuned to him."
"The...the Slender Man?"
He laughed. "Oh, I'm sorry, Alan! Would you feel more comfortable if I called him 'Father' or 'the Tall One' or 'He That Is' or something along those lines? But why should I? After all, that implies fear, respect, or awe. And me? What reason do I have to fear him? What reason do any of us have to fear him. Most of us--well, excluding your Annabel, of course--have never had any reason to. He doesn't care about us. Why do you think he agreed to that 'deal' you made with him so easily. He probably just doesn't care enough about your brother Kyle to bother him. He could turn on us for any second if we anger him for some reason. But if he was going to rip me to pieces, he'd have done it already. What reason do I have to fear him? What reason do I have to respect him? What reason do I have to be in awe?"
"So then...if he doesn't care about us, what fuck is all this for? Why am I working for him?"
He gave me a smile and sighed. "Looks like I put too much faith in your intelligence. You don't get your orders from the Slender Man directly, do you? They get passed down through other people whose job it is to pass down those orders. And didn't I tell you that I'm the one who interprets his orders? This little cult--and it is a cult--needs me to do anything. Are you catching on now?"
"Hard as it is for your ego to accept it, let's assume that you just suck at explaining things."
"Ah, Alan, playing at the tough guy is unbecoming of you, especially considering just who it is you're talking to. But I'll humor you. Now, I'm sure you've heard the term 'proxy.' All these people using it to describe anyone on Ol' Slendy's side. It's almost easy to forget that it's an actual word with an actual meaning. Checked out Merriam-Webster's website before I came and memorized a definition for your sake. "A person authorized to act for another." One that works better is the concept of a proxy server, something I'm sure you're familiar with. Going through another server--or in this sake, person--to do something."
"Yeah, it's kind of a dumb term in my opinion. I wouldn't really say he controls me."
Eternity laughed. "You don't get it, do you, Alan? You're a proxy. As much as you might dislike the term, you're a proxy. Only thing is...you don't work for the Slender Man at all. You're not his proxy. You're mine."
I, naturally, had my snappiest response ready.
"Alan, do you really think that a being who just might be omniscient and invincible has any pressing need for a person who hacks blogs? I told you, I run this place. I'm the one he talks to. I'm the one who tells everyone what his will is. These people--they think that I'm interpreting the orders of their god, willing to carry out his every move. But who's to say I'm interpreting anything? These people have it on faith alone." He spread his arms wide. "As far as I'm concerned...I'm their god. By the way, Alan, you're staggering. You might want to take advantage of that pew and sit."
I sat. "So that's what this is all about, huh? This is all a farce? All of our lives...they're just some game to you?"
He started fidgeting with his fingernails, looking at them disinterestedly "If you choose to see it that way--yes. Yes, it's all a game. I like to think of it more like seizing an opportunity, though. You can't tell me that, if you were in my position, you wouldn't take advantage of it. I'm sure you've been tempted to hack a blog now and then to twist their events to your satisfaction now and then. Don't answer that, by the way. We both know the answer already, even if you won't admit it."
"So...what now? You know that I record pretty much everything now, right? I started recording this from the moment I walked in. And even if I didn't, I'd still remember enough to expose this."
"Oh, naturally. And I'm sure everyone will believe you, too. But really...what good would it do? After all, how much of what I say is the Slender Man's word, and how much is my own? There's a reason they chose me as an Oracle in the first place. And no one would dare say that I'm making entirely selfish choices. After all, whatever I do gets the job done, doesn't it? And the fact that I'm not dead says a lot. If the Slender Man were really all that opposed to what I was doing, do you think I'd still be here? Maybe he trusts my word and I've been ordained as some sort of prophet. Maybe the prophet, like I'm his right hand man." He shrugged, giving me another one of his smug grins. "And besides, ignoring all of that, if they decided to somehow dispose of me, where would they find another Oracle? The whole cult--and yes, it is a cult--in this area sort of sprung up around me. I'm indispensable. So what now? Well, now we part. Go our separate ways. I'll see you later, Alan. Until then...have fun."
And that's...what we did. I just left. Walked out as he chuckled.
The last seven months of my life have been a lie.
What the hell am I supposed to do now?
-Don't Shoot The Messenger-