Leaving the town of Derry wasn't a particularly pleasing decision for it, as it'd become accustomed to the town and knew all of its nooks and crannies like the back of its hands. It enjoyed spreading its insidious influence across the town ever since the first of its prey decided to settle down in the area, devouring the first ignorant settlers before slumbering and waking up to the delight of a thriving little town that steadily expanded over the centuries, regardless of how often and messily it fed. It would appear, wreck mayhem and death and then feed until it was fat and sleepy, before waking again a few decades later to do much the same. It enjoyed sinking its mental influence among the humans, terrorizing the young and fattening them with fear, causing the adults to treat each other cruelly, to have mothers strangle their children, to have fathers brutalize their daughters.
Truly, it was fond of Derry.
However it was nothing if not flexible.
It recovered from the incident from those ungrateful human children quickly per its durability. It couldn't be killed, never be truly harmed, but the whole incident left it irritated and displeased. It lost its hoarded food source and lost those young it had been oh so slowly fattening up. Its hunting tactics had been honed through centuries and it had never stumbled so badly as it did then, when that little rag-tag group of food snuck down into its lair and attacked, injuring it sufficiently enough for it to lose enough mental focus its grip on Derry faltered.
Nothing it couldn't recover from, nothing it couldn't fix, but the whole incident left it bristling. It lurked up through the pipe ways and stalked the group of children, eyeing them in the form of a furred snake within the trees, watching as the young cut their hands and squawked and hummed to each other. It thought about attacking- and could've struck off the head of the nearest one, the already maimed one -but after a moment it reluctantly reconsidered.
It hunted for sport, for food, and it found the concept of revenge infuriating for it. True, it liked it, but now it just felt angry about the whole incident. Angry and bitter.
It had also inadvertently had thirty one of its eggs cracked and spoiled from the assault despite the fact it hadn't shifted to its true form. That, combined with the fact it was still injured, still twitching and form stretching, hissing and cracking and nearly splitting, made it reluctantly slither away back to its nest.
When it reached the nest it shifted into its true form and settled down for a brief slumber to heal its cracked limbs and porous injuries. They would heal- they would always heal -but it nonetheless didn't appreciate the incident. Already the whisper-thin lines within its various legs were mending themselves, the Deadlights of its core radiating a calming insidious light across its nest and sending entertaining shadows across the wet ground. It played with the shadows while it waited, half asleep but with eighteen eyes open in case those human young decided to breech its intimate territory again. Its tower of memorabilia, hoarded from its victims over the centuries, provided enough amusement while it waited through the adjacent days- weeks perhaps -until the cracks were gone and it was whole.
In its briefly weakened state it momentarily sought through its other parts lingering outside the current plane of existence the planet it currently dwelled upon before directing its attention back upon its otherself. Then, satisfied it was healed, it decided to leave Derry.
While it liked its nest with all the leavings of its prey over the centuries but in the end they were simply amusing keepsakes. It could always gain new ones, and would do so. Now however, it began to think over its destination but after some thought decided to just travel and see other human settlements, find more food and mayhaps other beings it could sense at the edge of its tastebuds.
It was fully aware there were other creatures such as itself out there- not identical, most certainly not, but similar enough it was able to taste the tendrils of malice and hunger, of the inhuman nature of others. Occasionally it would absently scent another such as that when it was within its slumber, occasionally awakening to eat from its hoarded prey storage, but the other would move after realizing it was intruding on another territory. Another thing it liked about this planet was how polite its fellow predators were. No use in fighting against another predator unless the prey in question was especially tasty, until then it was easier to simply avoid one another. It never really meet others, due to its fairly stagnant nature and its clearly defined territory, but now it felt the urge to leave and meet others- if not to take its mind off the fact its prey revolted and attacked but also it now felt the pressing need to find a location for its eggs.
Truthfully it had eggs for centuries but never really sought to procreate. It had originally decided to do so once the town of Derry grew large enough to sustain itself and its young for at the moment while the town was sufficient to feed, having a clutch would made it rather crowded so it chose to wait. Now its decision had been hasted through the unforeseen attack and injury to its carried eggs and it felt the instinctual urge to lay eggs. Both as a means to protect them, along with keeping a back-up in case any damage to itself grew too intense- then it could simply shift its mind to a body of its young, overtake it and have a clean fresh body to start over without worrying over a healing period.
So it would be able to kill two birds with one stone in leaving Derry- it would protect itself from further attacks while fulfilling its sudden biological need, and it could also augment its eggs with the facilitation of a mate. Of course to do that it would have to search. Technically it could stay in Derry and simply call for a mate and any who were interested would approach, but those human children turning against it and attacking made it leery of staying in the town. It always preferred the taste of human young due to their terror making their meat richer but it also had the drawback of human children being the more imaginative of their kind- adults would usually try and ignore it or reason it, along with them being easier for it to mentally blind, but with the children they could panic and were mentally more fluid. Which is why that little pack had managed to fight it back before.
It would return to Derry, perhaps in a few decades, and find those interlopers and eat their children if they had any and then them. But for now it would leave the town behind.
The inhabitants of Derry would be confused when suddenly everything seemed lighter; the overcast sense of dread abruptly passed, fists poised to strike at children would falter, knives ready to stab in fits of rage would drop. While Derry would never truly recover from its influence which had poisoned the town for centuries- even while it was not present -it abruptly seemed as if the air was easier to breath.
For a short while, at least.
The town of Crystal Lake was a fascinating spot. It could tell another lurked within the area and it followed its senses around the town, studying the humans wandering around doing senseless things as humans did before it found the root of the darkness; the Camp Crystal Lake. It spent quite some time flitting around the abandoned log cabins in the shape of a moth with a doll's head, stretching out its senses and relishing in the memories of brutal butchering. The air was thick with blood and revenge, along with a deep simmering fury that made it lick excitedly at the breeze. This place had potential.
The town was a bit on the small side but there was a reigned nervousness it enjoyed; the humans here were very much aware of the strange happenings, of the darkness embedded within a portion of the town. Whatever lived here was much like itself- having a set territory it was loathe to leave. Fluttering around the camp site revealed some interesting blood memories, creative deaths especially. It found the one involving the toilet especially amusing. Within time it was granted a present view of the others carnage, when it had been entertaining itself up on a ruined telephone pole when it spotted a group of assorted humans teenagers. Then the shadow which haunted the camp awoke, furious and vengeful.
The human that made up this ones staple prey wasn't exactly its fondness meal. Teenaged humans usually had a bitterness to their flesh and while they could be adequately seasoned through terror it still didn't enjoy their flesh as much as the children. Whomever lived at the camp had a clearly defined fury towards them and it could tell there was a deep personal rage towards those of that particular age. It followed the other as it tracked down the humans, noting the other's molding frame and rotted flesh but also the sheer unyielding body- a quick glimpse into the other plane revealed the other's immortality and it watched, intrigued, at how the other hunted via butchering the hapless teenage humans.
Perhaps that would be adequate, where it could devour the children which the other seemed uninterested in while the other hunted the elders. This one also seemed very well trained in physical battle, something it preferred to use as a last resort and fared horribly last time to its continual irritation.
Then it twitched, the eyes within its doll head rolling out like marbles as it picked up voice hissing through the mundane layers to the psychic plane; subtle and warm, spoken with all the gentleness of a mother caressing its child.
That's my boy. Hunt them down and make them pay.
Ah. So this one was spoken for. It was fairly disappointed- as this one had lovely potential -but it could tell already the bond between the offspring and mother was not something it could break. Nor did it really want to. There was a delicious carnage within the link within the two, the mother urging the mutilation of the trespassers and praising her child as he obeyed her with fevered loyalty. It fluttered after the predator for some time, taking note of each time the mother addressed her child; clearly both were unaware it was eavesdropping on them and briefly it entertained the idea of revealing itself to the other but after a moment decided not to.
Despite the other's physical prowess, it could tell the other was afraid of water. It always could pluck out the fear of any it met, even if water was a bit more annoying for it to conjure- but this other lived at a camp situated a lake so it could find a way.
It could but it wouldn't. This other provided too much entertainment, especially with the fear thickening the air deliciously. It even snuck down and ate a twitching corpse, the lingering terror still distorting the human's face. After it fed it could feel the confusion of the others who no doubt noticed something strange within their territory so quickly it departed.
Being stagnant for so long meant it had become fairly used to small town humanity- the large cities were a festering hive of prosecution, hate crimes and apathetic bigotry on such a large scale it could've feasted for years without interruption. However it was also immensely busy in such locations and it preferred to take a more intimate approach to hunting its prey. Also, while it enjoyed spreading its influence across the town in a city of millions the whole process would be annoyingly taxing even for one such as itself. So it mostly took breaks in the city to feed before moving on.
The next shadow it passed across was deep within the wilderness. It had been amusing itself tormenting some campers, stalking them in the form of a rabid, rotting bear when it detected another presence approaching. Shifting into a spider-legged squirrel and darting up the nearby tree was sufficient enough to hide itself, even as the campers continued to flee inadvertently right into the path of the other. Shifting again into the form of a raven it followed high above, flying through the trees and cocking its head to the side; it could hear humming. It was a pretty tune, it felt.
Made even moreso when the singer revealed herself, appearing behind one camper in a flash of dark blue and sinking the blade of an axe deep into the spine and nearly hacking the human in half with a single blow.
Strong, it noted with satisfaction. Judging from the sheer amount of blood covering the newcomer- both old and new -she was also an experienced hunter. And, if its nose and psychic sense was correct, immortal as well. She killed the campers with consummate ease, hurling a hatchet from her belt at the last and getting him hard in the shoulder and felling him. Then she stalked over and sliced open his throat, like a hunter blooding a deer.
It watched her as she hefted up two of the bodies over either shoulder before picking up the third by the scuff of the neck and turning towards the way she had come. It followed her at a leisurely pace, taking note of the humming the other sang constantly under her breath, along with the bloodied white rabbit mask that obscured the upper portion of her face, complete with a lacy black veil that spilled over her thick shoulders. Her clothing were well worn, bloodied and showing signs of prolonged combat. Clearly an efficient hunter.
This was further proven when she reached her nest- an old cabin nestled between thick trees. When there she began to clean and prepare the carcasses. It preferred to eat its prey whole- and usually squirming -but it could admire the proficiently at which she handled her skinning knives. Slowly the tables before her cabin grew thick with fresh blood, the innards neatly sorted with the kidneys and livers deposited into bowls. While it worked it also reached out with its mind, feeling the ebb and flow of the other's thoughts.
The woman paused in the middle of separating the limbs, titling her head upwards to where it was observing her in the skeletal branches of the tree. It wasn't quite sure if she could sense a fellow creature or if she noticed its additional eyes and that ravens weren't supposed to have human hands for legs. That, and it had shape shifted a pair of lips along its beak to whistle along with her tune. It did like nursery rhymes, after all. Such wondrous tools for terror.
After a long moment of silent staring she reached out and picked up a hatchet, and pulled her bloody arm back in anticipation to throw. It gazed back at her placidly, not exactly concerned. This proved true as after a another moment of staring she put the hatchet back down and carried on flensing the bodies.
It watched her for another moment, growing more and more satisfied as it studied her; this one had a great deal of potential, and it was just about to call to her when another being touched upon its mind. It paused, cocking its head to the side as another mind brushed against its own. It was a being akin to it, dwelling within a different plane but with a fingerhold onto the world it was mostly in. To its disappointment, the other Entity had already clear ownership of the woman and was disinclined to share.
Below, the woman had become encased in crimson webbing that shimmered with lines of black and malevolent energy- clearly the other was being used as a conduit to speak to it. It probed at the other curiously, as it had been quite some time since it had come in contact with another being who was both in and out of the current universe. The flitter of mental information was intense yet only lasted seconds for ancient beings such as themselves and it knew which others on the world were claimed by the Entity and was amused by the games of eternal torment it would ensnare its human victims within. Likewise the other enjoyed witnessing its countless memories of poisoning the town and devouring countless children while the witless adults wouldn't care less or it would push them to brutalize their children and butcher one another.
It was interested in how different their feeding habits were- it would stay within the humans domain, corrupting it from the inside out to feed, while the other would lure in humans to its own plane and tormenting for all eternity. It would typically stalk its prey directly while the other enjoyed being an observer, an Orchestrator. Something it would have to look into for the future if recent events implied anything. It had gotten too complacent, really, and the other's idea of using its own hand-picked and groomed killers was interesting.
But perhaps not for it.
Either way, while it was disappointed that the huntress was claimed, it reluctantly pulled away. After a brief moment it offered to the Entity who weighed upon the decision for a long while- though within the human realm it was all but several seconds -before slowly declining. Fair enough. Besides the other was a slight shade too much like it and it took note to perhaps find the other at one point. Perhaps when it had unleashed its fully grown children upon humanity it could.
It liked its Pennywise form- it had grown fond of it over the decades, with the clown becoming something of its default form compared with its true. Humans usually panicked or died instantly if it showed them its true form, it had learned, so after a great of search it discovered the joys of clowns. Such a strange practice but nonetheless one it found amusing to exploit. It was easier to fool the youngest of humans yet those yet not mature but not so young were so much more susceptible to be filled with memorable terror while it was in its Pennywise form. It still didn't really understand why but it enjoyed the results nonetheless.
It was rather easy to adapt to two legs, as well.
So occasionally it would stop at a town, prowling around and sniffing down snacks while it searched for a mate. It missed the opportunity to truly hunt as it desired but now that it was on the path to laying its clutch its other instinct to feed was pushed to the side so it couldn't spend as much time as it liked seasoning its prey with fear and their terrors. Still, most panicked when it stalked them to parks or tree houses and bit off their legs with elongated fangs and barbed tongues before dragging them down into its waiting maw.
A few got caught in its teeth, mainly elaborately painted fingernails and the occasionally filling. At one point a child it devoured had a steel bolt in their ankle and it had to irritably spit it out. It could digest metal but it didn't particularly enjoy it. Bones were so much easier.
The next other it found was hidden in a dark, desolate cabin. It wasn't sure what it was about cabins others found appealing especially since it seemed difficult to hunt in such an isolated area but it, after a moment, shrugged it off. It wasn't looking for others just to criticize their hunting- besides the occasionally overly exaggerated gagging noise -as its main focus was finding a prospective mate and it didn't really require the other to linger with it while it guarded the clutch. True, it liked company mainly out of habit of terrorizing humans but it had spent eons on its own so it wasn't overly concerned.
It checked over the cabin, noting the bitterness and comfort lingering within the smell of it. Shifting into a rat with human legs let it scuttle inside and crumbling husk. It could sense another lingering down in one of the bedrooms so it shifted up into its Pennywise form, clicking its front teeth. A hiss and then the other appeared, formed from the shadows and with a stick-thin body and long scraggly hair that swirled around its lanky frame like smoke. There was confusion and then fury from the other, but the rage was less over its intrusion and more over it breaching a home with its inquisitive questions.
Ah. The other was already a mother.
Annoying. It glanced curiously over at where the other gestured, noting the tattered pictures pinned to a wall. No doubt drawn by a human child. Two, if the others mental shifting meant anything and roiling mind meant anything.
It didn't really know why the other wanted to claim two human children as it own- a waste in its opinion. They were far easier to have as food and raising them meant wasting their delicious meat. But the other wasn't interested and it reluctantly departed.
It soon began to get irritated, feeding becoming bloodbaths forged from anger. The urge to have its clutch and guard it was pressing upon its mind more and more but it still couldn't find a suitable mate. It was only after it massacred a slumber party of six year olds did it realize it was most likely searching wrong- until then it had been flitting across the world, seeking out spots of familiar darkness. Besides questioning when it did locate an other, it hadn't used its mental sense.
It really had been on its own for such a length it'd forgotten such a basic thing. The limitness of humans had made it ignore other aspects of itself. They were good food but annoying at times. It grunted irritably but nonetheless the incident was easy to rectify. Searching through its psychical sense of others, touching upon the squirming mass of humanity as it expanded its awareness was easy enough. It could sense its other self still lingering off within the other universe, per usual, but when it focused its attention back on the particular planet it was inhabiting it could sweep through the various dark spots until it located those which had mental shadows such as itself. Or, more specially, with mental shadows focused upon fear. It wouldn't mind a mate that was compatible, after all.
There was another it easily sensed, feeding off fear such as itself but seemed housed within the mentalscape of dreams. A mental probe resulted in a fight upon the mindscape they briefly shared, with it being stabbed in the eye while it gutted the other before the dream vanished as they severed the connection.
Perhaps not that one, then.
But it found another, lingering within a sizable town. It seemed dormant however and it wondered if the other was hibernating much like itself did after glutting for a year. The other responded slightly; not interested but not dismissive either. With that in mind, it shifted into a twelve-legged wolf and took off at a gallop towards the town.
Perhaps this one.
The town was a good size, not flooded with humans but growing at a steady rate it could easily sustain itself and its clutch from. The humans were also untraumatized which made them ripe for hunting. Those without experience were always far more vulnerable to it, more vulnerable to seeing their fears clawing up within their mind and its presence deafening the pleas over injustice. A good town. Turning into a bird and flying over the township lead it to a small house that looked wounded- wounded but recovering. That was where the other was, somehow bound to a house where it easily sniffed out a woman and her son- perhaps it could get an meal as well.
Finding the other inside the basement was easy, as it simply shifted into the form of a cockroach and scuttled underneath the door and going down the stairs. It was a bit bemused to find the other just lingering near the back of the dark basement chewing on a large portion of earthworms from a bowl.
With an exaggerated flourish it shifted upwards into its Pennywise form and other paused in its feeding, movements twitchy and jerky as it twisted its neck around to stare at it. The others skin was death white and it appeared humanoid in shape, dressed in a dark long coat, scraggly hair and top hat. However its teeth were sharp and its fingers resembled long furred claws.
Why it was eating worms was a bit strange to it, humans were a far better food source. However it wasn't there to lecture the other on its feeding habits even if they were strange. Curious, it reached out both mentally and physically, feeling the other focus its attention intensely upon it.
It stared at the other, one eye sliding off to focus on the wall while the other remained straight. The Babadook, as it named itself, stared back apathetically. Its true name was something that couldn't be uttered in the current universe, so instead it simply offered up its current title- Pennywise.
The Babadook didn't care overly, more curious as to its motives. It could see from the others mind and vice versa what had occurred- the Babadook had enthralled the woman who had currently imprisoned it, had used her to murder her dog and nearly kill her own son after terrorizing her sufficiently enough it clambered its way into her mind. In a way the Babadook was akin to it; something that had been struck back against its desired prey and jostled from its position as hunter.
It bristled, feeling long spines burst out along its back even as its front arms elongated into long spidery talons as the Babadook leaned forward, black oil slowly staining its pale face. It was if the appearance of another finally spurred the Babadook into action, shaking off some of the chains the woman's mental control had on it and sliding across the ground towards it. Its own form split further in anticipation, the Pennywise skull splitting into quarters as its jaw overtook its face and the Deadlights hummed at the back of its throat.
The Babadook curiously inspected its peeling form, movements twitchy like a puppets as it shifted. A hand with a slowly elongated claws brushed against pink gums and a plethora of teeth. A brief, wordless question emanated from it as its front split, showing slick organs of various species and ribs gleaming with eyes housing a clutch of eggs strung up carefully among glistening red tendons and pulsating nerve endings. The Babadook didn't vanish into the ample shadows provided by the weak flickering light above instead eyeing its shifting form with a gleam in its cold blue eyes, blackened mouth twisting up into a leering grin which showed rows of pointed teeth.
About damn time.
The woman made the mistake of investigating the noise; she was dragged screaming in a mass of twisting tentacles and hauled into a whirling maw of teeth and squirming shadows to be ground up like mince meat.
The Babadook didn't linger after the mating but it didn't mind. It understood the Babadook had been held within the basement for an infuriating amount of time and wished to roam and find new victims. That, and it wasn't sentimental.
Picking through the damp basement it counted over its eggs- seven hundred and eighty one in all, it found with satisfaction. Only a fraction of those would hatch, with the ones not hatching providing food for the ones which did. Almost half of the clutch were a more ashy hue with a black mold crawling along the shell; clearly ones who favoured the father more though time would truly tell when they hatched.
With a skittering hum its form split into a being of humming energy and spidery limbs, the Deadlights radiating from its core and bathing the eggs in a cruel light. All the eggs shifted at the light, pulling slightly at the webbing as they drank in the rays. It would shift into such a form twice a week to feed its young while they dwelled within their eggs and those that drank up the light the most would be those which hatched. Then it would teach them to hunt, show them how to throw their toxic influence upon the humans and reach into their fears and mind. It would teach its young how best to hunt humans- though each would undoubtedly gain their own favoured flavour -along with teaching them how to shift their forms until it was second nature. Reaching out with a barbed front leg, it gently moved an egg more upright and humming at the faint shifting from within.
Then it settled down at the centre of the nest, shutting eighteen eyes but keeping the rest open.
Just in case.