Marigold Madness: The Slender Man
The Adventures of Millie and Sandra
The twins were on their way to stay with their aunt for a few days. She was going to teach them how to protect themselves… also, the marigolds were ready for harvesting.
“Aunty?” she heard along with three knocks.
“Coming,” she called.
She barely had the door open when the twins barreled through. They wrapped their arms around her and kissed her cheek before letting her go. Aunt Millie almost fell over, but straightened her hair and apron as the girls bounded upstairs to their room.
“I’ll be in the kitchen,” she called.
The girls put their stuff away and took their shoes off. They’d walked from home and Sandra had complained about her sore feet the whole way.
“Ready?” Millie asked, watching her twin flex her toes.
“Yes. Let’s see what Auntie’s up to,” she said. “Do you think it’ll be something delicious?”
“It’s marigold season,” Millie said, “you can eat them if you want, but think I’ll give them a miss.”
Sandra sat at the table when they entered the kitchen, away from the flowers. Millie sat at the breakfast bar and picked through the golden petals.
“What’re we doing today?” she asked.
“We are going to dry the marigolds, especially the florets right at their center,” she said. “Then we’re going to make some Posey’s and dry them. That way you girls will have a supply to put under your pillows—”
“What?” Sandra asked looking up from an open newspaper.
“You’re going to have to get over your aversion, Sandra,” their aunt said. “Flowers are an essential part of a witch’s kitchen.”
“Witch’s? who’s a witch?”
“We are,” she said.
“Yes. Even you. You have latent powers but one day they’ll burst through and it’d better to learn how to manage them before they do.”
Millie sat listening to the conversation fiddling with the marigolds.
“What do marigolds do again?” she asked.
“You, my girl, will start to burn the dried petals when you practice your psychic powers and spells… you have been practicing haven’t you?”
“Actually, Aunty,” she said. “I’ve wanted to, but it’s like something is… blocking me—”
“That damnable house,” her aunt said. “All right, when you get that feeling, I want you to push through it by uttering these words:
In truth I seek, in light I pray
Break down the barriers in my way.
Chant them while lighting your marigold. The incense will heighten your psychic powers and you should be able to push back against any attack.”
“Me too?” Sandra asked.
“Yes. You too.”
Aunt Millie went back to shuffling the marigolds and she and Millie laid a dozen stems and heads in the hydrator. They gathered the remaining litter into paper bags.
“No more packages?” their aunt asked.
“No packages,” Millie said, “but that mist? It's spreading. It’s almost covers the road now. We can barely use the sidewalk anymore.”
“Aunty?” Sandra said. “There’s a letter to the editor here… sorry, several letters, about some naughtiness going on at the primary school next to Potters Field.”
“The cemetary? Let me see,” her aunt said.
“Rampton Primary school has had a rash of unexplainable events this week…” it read. ‘Students have reported seeing a tall man on school grounds. They say he was wearing a black suit… but no teaches or parents could see the him…”
“We need go look,” their aunt said. “No-one will be there, and it’ll take a few hours for the marigolds to dry?”
“Let’s go,” Millie said, jumping off her stool.
“Looks like we’re goin’ to hunt a Slender Man,” Sandra said, and begrudgingly got to her feet.
“A what?” Aunt Millie asked.
“A Slender Man,” Millie said. “Everyone’s heard of the Slender Man.”
“Where have I been living,” their aunt mumbled. “Go. Get ready then you can tell me all about a Slender Man.”
Aunt Millie dressed in her going out clothes while the twins put their shoes back on.
“I could stay here,” Sandra said walking down the stairs, her toes aching. “Wait for the flowers to dry.”
“Huh!” her aunt said then realised from Millie’s smile, she’d used her outside voice.
“Come along girls,” she said opening the door.
“Do you think he’s from the cemertary?” Millie asked. “Most urban legends about him only see him in places like schools, playgrounds and forests.”
Need to catch up on my urban legends, their aunt thought.
“You know it’s pretty bad when Sandra wants to watch flowers dry,” Millie said and laughed.
“I know,” her aunt said and stifled her laugh when she saw Sandra catching up. “Come along, Sandra and stand up straight. You never know who’ll we’ll meet.”
Sandra laughed then caught herself. She thought Mil’s would back her up, but she gave her the thousand-yard stare.
She’s just like Aunty, Sandra thought.
Aunt Millie wore a nice floral dress and a white cane hat and the twins passed a knowing look between them.
“Think we’ll be seeing the policeman?” Millie asked with a knowing smile directed at Sandra.
“What’s his name… it’s Frank, isn’t it?” Sandra asked, and they watched their aunts face flush.
“I think we might,” said Millie keeping the teasing going to see how long their aunt would take to catch on.
“Wouldn’t it be delicious, Aunty,” Sandra said. “I wonder what tragic romance has befallen such a nice man…”
“A what?” she asked.
“A tragic, but perfectly divine romance. What a delicious—"
Aunt Millie stopped and looked back at the cheeky smiles on her nieces faces.
“Your ratbags!” she said and started walking again, listening to the fits of laughter behind her. “Oh. We’re here.”
The twins stopped laughing and stood stock still on the pavement outside the school. Potters Field was on the other side of it.
“Where do we go first?” Millie asked. “The cemetery or the school?”
Aunt Millie focused her energies on the school looking for any spectral heat or shadows, or a tall well-dressed man, but couldn’t see a thing.
“Millie? You go with Sandra to the oval and see what you can see… or sense. I’ll check out the cemetery,” their aunt said. “If you need me… well you know how to get in contact. We’ll meet at the cemetery fence.”
“I know you don’t think you have any powers, but the ghosts, the supernatural, always seem to be attracted to you. Tell Millie everything… and be careful, my girls.”
“Okay,” they said and walked into the school.
As the girls made their way through, they couldn’t help being curious about their old classrooms, so took their time. They stopped to look in through the glass doors to see what was on the blackboards or the pin board, what animal was the preschooler’s mascot and where did that man come from?
“Mil’s?” Sandra whispered taking her by the arm. “Look up.”
Millie looked up and at the end of the walkway stood a tall pale faceless man wearing a black suit.
“It is a Slender Man… isn’t it?” Sandra whispered.
“It is,” Millie said.
The tall pale man didn’t move.
“What do we do?” Sandra asked, looking at Millie for only a second. When she looked back, the man was gone.
“Sandra,” Millie said, unable to hide her panic. “Your nose…”
Sandra put her hand to her nose and found it was bleeding. Millie gripped her other hand and her sister looked at her.
“Don’t look behind you,” Millie said.
“What do we do?”
Millie had to think about the lore surrounding the myth, but his closeness was affecting her thoughts. She was seeing all sorts of nightmarish things in her head.
We need to run… run… run…
“Run,” she screamed, and the twins ran as fast as they could to the back of the school, until they saw their aunt in the cemetery.
As they ran towards her the blood from Sandra’s nose sprayed all over her blouse until it stopped bleeding, and Millie’s thoughts cleared by the time they reached Potters Field fence.
“Aunty,” they screamed.
Aunt Millie looked and saw the blood all over Sandra, and she couldn’t make sense of Millie’s thoughts.
“What’s happened?” she yelled.
They met at the fence dividing the school from the graveyard and thinking they were safe, Millie let down her guard.
“Oh, my,” Aunt Millie said, her eyes opening wide at something behind them.
The twins turned to see the Slender Man. He took hold of them, one in each hand, turned and began to walk away. Their aunt, in a moment of blind panic, raised her right hand, and said:
In shade and grave do you dwell,
In fire and ice will you burn
The twins fell to the ground and the Slender Man disappeared.
“Quickly, girls,” Aunt Millie said. “I don’t know if that'll hold him, but it’s safer here on hallowed ground.”
The twins climbed the fence and waited, watched the spot where he’d stood but saw nothing.
“Is he gone?” Sandra asked, wiping her nose on the trim of her blouse.
“For now,” their aunt said. “You all right… Mil’s?”
“I couldn’t think,” Millie said. “He took over my mind. He showed me every horrible creature there ever was.”
“Calm down. You’re safe now.”
“What about the kids?” Sandra asked. “What if he comes back… what about the kids?”
“I’ll have a talk to pastor Tom,” Aunt Milly said. “See if he’ll bless the school—”
“But, nothing. He’ll do it," Aunt Milly said. "He knows about things. Frank will fill him in.”
Their aunt’s face flushed a soft pink when she said his name, but the twins were too distressed to say anything. They made their way back to Aunt Millie’s by way of the cemetery. Their aunt’s mind was working through every protection spell and amulet she knew of.
The girls need something…. The crystals, the scrying crystals. They’ve been washed in the flow of fresh water. They’ll do, she thought as they neared the house.
Once inside, Aunt Millie pulled the crystals out of a drawer. She lay them on the table and blessed them.
“Here,” she said, “wear these all the time. Never take them off.”
“They’re exquisite,” Sandra said. “I’ve got a lovely purple nail polish—”
“They’re not accessories, Sandra,” her aunt snapped, and instantly regretted it. “I’m sorry, but I can’t be with you all the time and things are getting… out of hand. Please, Sandra, treasure it.”
“I will, aunty.”
“Now, I know you don’t like flowers,” she said pulling a book from her bookcase, “but you will put these under your pillows. You will make sure they’re there every night.”
She handed the twins a small Posey of pressed and dried marigolds.
“Go,” she said, “put them under your pillows."
They’ll need them fresher than those for home, she thought.
The twins ran upstairs with the Posey’s and put them under their pillows. Sandra got a clean blouse from the drawer and went into the bathroom to wash up. She slipped the crystal over her head and lay it on the basin next to her. Leaning forward, she cupped cool, clean water with her hands and splashed it onto her face. When she looked up, she saw, in the mirror, the reflection of the faceless, Slender Man.
He was right behind her.
She turned, screamed then remembered the crystal.
She was reaching behind looking for it when her sister came to the door. When she saw what was happening, she said:
In shade and grave do you dwell,
In fire and ice will you burn
But it didn’t work, and she watched as Sandra and the Slender Man disappeared.
About the author
I write primarily, Urban Fantasy, but because my style sits on the cuff of several genres moving into paranormal fantasy was an easy step. I became a Vocal+ member to provide interactive access for my readers.
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Original narrative & well developed characters