The dreams I had, the ones about the monsters that come from the woods, they kept up. I was starting to worry that it was a sign. Knowing my luck, of course another monster was going to come after me. It's par-for-the-course at this point. I figured it was more than dreams when I looked out my window at night and saw it. Eyes. Hundreds of them. Red, glowing eyes. They were fixed on my bedroom window. Waiting for me to do something that would give them a chance to strike. In the world of creepypasta, knowing that something lives in the forest and has red eyes doesn't really narrow it down for me. It could be a lot of things, hell it didn't even really have to be a creepypasta monster. My initial thought was Moth Men, the very popular urban legend.
That idea changed on the last day of school.
I was always very hush-hush about when monsters would come after me. The last thing I wanted was to bring police or SCP into something. The police might wind up dead and SCP would try to take away my protector. However, in my town people liked to talk about the world of horror. I don't know how, but ever since 173 attacked, no one seemed to believe that Slenderman was real, nor the Rake for that matter. Everything faded back into ghost stories. I was content to keep it that way. So it's no surprise that a friend of mine started to talk about monsters on the last day of school. We were all waiting around for the last bell to ring and it was me, Jess, and Josh. Our group of friends was always called "the three Js". Anyway, Josh began to talk about some local legends. There was the normal stuff like a ghost of a woman whose house burned down or a dragon-like creature that lived in the sewers. Standard small-town stories.
Then, he mentioned a story that sparked my memory. He talked about these sort of tree-monsters that would judge people for their crimes. The tale was one I knew I had heard. They would drag someone out into the woods at night and do horrible things to them. They were also tall, red eyes, and worked in large numbers. It was eerily familiar and I knew these were the things after me, not some Moth Men. Just as I asked what the monsters were called, the bell rang. Jess sprang up and shouted, "Summer! Woohoo!"
I tried to ask my question, but Josh had left the room already, clearly eager to get home. Jess said she didn't know what story Josh had retold. As I walked her home, I told Jess all about the nightmares and what was going on. I hadn't before because I didn't want to make her worry about me, but now I felt I had to. After all, I was dating her and she should know what kind of trouble her boyfriend is in.
"So you think the things Josh talked about are after you now?" Jess asked.
"Yeah, it makes sense."
"Not exactly. He said they come after people who have done something wrong, and you never hurt anyone now did you?"
I stopped to gather my thoughts. Should I tell her about how I bashed in Jeff's skull? About how I took another human's life without hesitation?
"What's wrong, Jonah?" I heard Jess say. I made no response. I could feel her arms slip around my body and felt her warm lips press to my cheek. I still didn't react. I couldn't react. How do you tell your girlfriend that you're a murderer? It's not something you can casually slip into a conversation like "how was your day?" "oh, fine, I played some video games and used a rock to brain another human, what about you?"
"Jonah, you're really scaring me now." I sighed and started walking again.
"Sorry, I'm just tired. Nightmares and all. Not sleeping well in general," I said blankly. She smiled, buying the lie.
After we got to her house, she kissed me goodbye and I began to walk home. The sun was still high as it was only one o'clock. As I walked back home, I felt a little uneasy. As if something was following me. When I looked back, there was nothing there, but I still had that impending feeling. And I swore I caught a glimpse of something there. Something way in the distance, too vague to make out anything aside from red eyes.
I sped up my pace, jogging now. I wanted to get home as quickly as possible and it was about half an hour away. Then I heard it, a sound like strained breathing behind me. I turned and again saw nothing, but this time I looked longer. I analyzed the world around me. Not a single thing. Was I imagining it? Was the sleep deprivation finally getting to me? I didn't want to risk it. I took off, fully sprinting now. It cut the time to get home in half, but I could feel the scars on my chest burning from the strain. I slowed down as I turned onto my road. I was panting and walking slowly now, my legs and chest sore. I looked over my shoulder. Nothing still. Not a damn thing. I shook my head, frustrated that I had been so paranoid.
When I saw the tree line, however, there was an unmistakable row of crimson ovals glaring at me. It was bright enough out that I could even make out some of the figures. They were tall, maybe seven or eight feet. They were hulking beasts, too. Large limbs with gnarled looking spikes jutting out in every direction. Kind of like... tree limbs. I didn't see Slenderman, but I knew he was near by. As of late, I developed this sort of connection to him. If he is near by I just know it. I can feel him. It's strange, but I attribute it to his telepathic abilities.
I never took my eyes off the row of monsters. I walked straight, the sidewalk never curving. When I lost sight of them by walking in front of a house, I sped up my pace so I could get them back in sight as quickly as possible. I was cautious, perhaps overly so, after what happened with Jeff. I relied too heavily on Slenderman and, even if I knew he was there, both Jeff and the Thing that Stalks the Fields showed me Slenderman isn't all powerful. I rushed into my house, closing and locking the door. I sat in my bedroom, next to my window, and played on my computer while watching the monsters held at bay by my awareness.
I began to compile everything I knew about them. Tree like, vengeful, numerous, and for some reason they wont attack someone who is actively watching. This all sounded so familiar. I closed my eyes and put my hands over my face. There was something that I was missing that would make this click. A missing piece. It was on the tip of my tongue, begging for me to remember it.
"Small town!" I shouted aloud, "that's it, they are in a small town in the south."
I went over the list I already had in my mind of general titles to the stories. I found the one I was looking for. Something along the lines of "tree men". I went to the creepypasta wikia and looked up "tree men". The third or fourth link down made me smile.
Willow Men. The supernatural judges of the night. I knew my enemy now, and I knew what they would do. They'd break my legs, drag me off into the woods, skin me alive, and hand me. I was smiling with excitement that I knew what I was up against.
Then I stopped smiling. They were going to BREAK my legs, DRAG me away, SKIN me and HANG me. Why the fuck was I smiling at that?
It was nightfall now and I knew they'd come for me soon enough. Once I closed my eyes to rest, the Willow Men would be right there to take me away. In an effort to find a weakness, I read and reread the story. I looked over it, trying to find anything that would give me hope. It took a few times, but it eventually became obvious to me the weakness mentioned here. They could die. They didn't want to attack because they didn't want to die. The man in the story had a shotgun and he missed every time, but they didn't attack him when he was aware enough to fire. They could die! Or, at least I hoped they could. Analyzing text was only accurate to a point. I looked back out my window to the rows of glowing red. And one white orb, floating far above the rest of them. I smirked, seeing Slenderman get the drop on these guys and start attacking. It was dark now, eight at night. Too dark for me to see in the trees at least. But I could see the eyes. I could see them float up and go dim then disappear. The eyes would look around franticly at first and then, they'd just end. Then, it screamed. It was the most shrill, ear-pericing, horrific cry I had heard in all my life. Not even the savage cry of the Rake could compare.
The monsters noticed, they actually noticed before the other had even cried out in pain, and soon they were swarming him. Climbing up onto Slenderman's thin frame, clawing and bitting at his body. Had I not been worried about my protector, I would have taken this time to reflect on the irony of two monsters based off trees attacking one another. I squinted, trying to get a better look. I saw Slenderman slam the beasts into the ground and one another. I saw him stab them through, rip off their heads, everything and anything to kill them Amongst all the shrill cries in the night, I could see bedroom lights flick on. I was really hoping someone didn't call the police or anything. To my surprise, the people seemed to try to ignore it. I suppose even in a small town like this, people would rather not bother getting involved in other peoples affairs.
The fight calmed down once Slenderman broke past the tree line. He stood there, the boarder between me and the Willow Men. Neither of them made a move. The monster standing alone knew he couldn't take on the impossible odds, but the many monsters knew just how many would die if they made a move. Both forces were being calculative and cautious. It was actually scary to watch. I didn't know what would happen. Then, all at once, the Willow Men went back into the woods. This action gave me more than just relief; I now knew another part of of how they acted. The Willow Men were a hive-mind collective. They acted as one. They were all connected, I don't know how, but they were. It's why they noticed before the scream that something was wrong.
I went to bed. They had left, Slenderman was out there to protect me, and I was tired. I think the moment my head hit that pillow I was out. It was like when I finally slept after pulling that all-nighter with Herp; it was the best damn sleep I had, but short because I was awoken by a monster in my room. My eyes opened, the feeling of claustrophobia sinking in around me. I saw them, the Willow Men, all around me. One of them reached out. I tried to jerk my legs up to my chest, but the long fingers curled around my ankle too quickly. I should have cried for help, or begged for mercy, but the only think I could think to say was. "how the fuck do these things keep getting in my house?!"
It's funny how breaking a bone doesn't really hurt. Okay, that's not true. It hurts like nothing I've ever felt before, but I didn't seem to register the pain in the right way. It's like all the signals were mixed up. I knew I was in pain, I knew it hurt, I was even crying, but part of me didn't feel the pain. Then, they started dragging me. The pulled me down my stairs and straight out the front door. It was more humiliating than painful. Now, a normal kid my age would probably call their parents, but, to be fair, I just had my legs broken and I was barely able to remember how to breathe. I hadn't even considered why Slenderman wasn't helping me when I saw exactly why. He was swarmed, over run by the Willow Men. There were so many of them. Every time he'd kill one, two more took it's spot. I had accepted my fate already. There was no way out of this. I had killed a man and now I was to pay the price.
It was only a half hour of being dragged later that I saw the trees. The leathery, strange willow trees that held the moaning corpses. I couldn't take it. All the moaning and the blood dripping that I could feel on my body. The horrible monsters all murmuring amongst themselves. I just couldn't take it. I started to sob. I felt my face get war as the salty tears fell down my cheeks. I sniffed to try and keep my nose clear enough to breath, I felt my eyes sting and my head throb. The Willow Men looked to me. I almost though I saw...pity? I spoke through the heavy tears, but it wasn't very coherent.
"Please, j-just let me go. I...I- please! I didn't hurt any-I mean he didn't deserve...he attacked me! I ha-had to do it! He was...he tried to KILL ME."
The Willow Men looked to each other and there was more whispering between them. They didn't change their mind. Instead, of of them was now holding a vine tied into a noose. I began squirming away, still crying to the point that I could barely see. I could see one thing, however. The tree, the strange, short willow tree, pulsated. It moved like a living thing. If it was part of what made the Willow Men connect or if it was a child of the Willow Men, I'm not sure. Whatever it was, it was important enough to feed it human blood.
I could also see enough to see something that made my sobs catch in my throat. It was a white, floating orb amidst the red eyes and deep grey figures. My crying stopped, and so did the Willow Men's whispers. For a single moment in time, all was deathly quiet, save the bodies groaning for the grave to take them.
Slenderman made the first move. He grabbed a Willow Man off the ground, holding it like a child holds a doll, and swung it's body into another's, breaking both of them to the point that they hung like bloody rag dolls. The Willow Men began to attack. There were so many of them. Hundreds, thousands even. Slenderman seemed to have more strength than I'd ever seen before. Perhaps my imminent danger gave him that strength, or maybe he was just pissed that they took his tree gimmick. The body count was rising quickly and I took this opportunity to crawl away. I kept my eye on the action as I slowly pulled myself further from those terrible trees. There was a deafening shriek, the culmination of monsters crying in horror. Slenderman had ripped one of the leathery willow trees out from the ground. He wasted no time to worry about why they cried, he batted a large group of them with the tree, throwing it in the process. It knocked over another willow tree and crushed the Willow Men it caught.
It took some time, but I did manage to crawl my way home. It was still late, and I passed out in my back yard. It was a bitter sweet rest as I felt unsafe. But, for the first time in weeks, I had no nightmares. Come morning I was rushed to the hospital, my leg was set, and my summer is going to be ruined for a while. At least my parents didn't totally freak out. I told them that I was out in the woods and I fell out of a tree. I suppose it was some what accurate; I was in the woods and there were trees involved in the injury.
As you may know, this story was suppose to come out a while ago. I was going to write my story as quickly as possible after the encounter, but my computer started to act up. The text became scrambled and weird looking. It was completely impossible to read any of it. The computer even started putting in random things when I opened up a word document. And not just my laptop, also my PC desktop and my IMac. I saved some of the text from a word document. It looks like this: