The Weeping Willow, also known as Willow or The Crying Woman, is the first successful Afflicted created by The Slender Man. She is one of the most prominent characters in the We The Afflicted canon, where she made her first appearance as the narrator of the blog In The Dark Shadows.
The Weeping Willow was originally a human woman targeted by the Slender Man. After extensive stalking and psychological torment which left this woman in a severe state of depression and anxiety, she was taken. Over the course of several months, she was tortured even further until she was willing to take any way out of her situation. The Slender Man was more than happy to oblige, but a problem occurred, as she became angrily defiant instead of subservient. She rebelled against her captor out of hatred for the agony it had subjected her to, which in turn, created a weaker mirror image of itself in her. The Weeping Willow and Slender Man have been mortal enemies ever since, and the similarity of their chosen homes and victims has led to frequent clashes between the two.
The Weeping Willow most often appears as a young woman, with long brown or black hair and black (sometimes thorny) branches for arms. She can have anywhere from four to eight barren black branches extending from her back. The branches are flexible, sharp enough to leave gashes in stone, and unable to be retracted. She lacks eyes and a mouth, instead having black, empty voids where these would appear. Black ichor, which in fact is a replacement for blood, constantly leaks from the eye voids, leading her to appear as if she is constantly crying.
She commonly wears a plain, torn black or grey dress. Alternatively, she has been seen wearing a grey (or black) long-sleeved shirt and black jeans.
Interaction with Humans
The Weeping Willow tends to live in swamps and marshy areas or well-shaded deciduous forests, usually near suburbs and schools. She does not trust most humans and will attack those who wander into her forest. She has been observed that she will eat the corpses of her victims, as well as the victims of other Afflicted. She primarily preys upon young children, the betrayed or hurt, people who feel intense guilt or shame, and those who have suffered from clinical depression or contemplated suicide at some point in time by stalking and kidnapping them. Those stalked first experience increasing depression and paranoia, then bizarre hallucinations accompanied by delusional thoughts, and eventually some engage in self-harm, or attempt to take their own lives. Those that do not commit suicide usually disappear. If their body is found, they are usually in a state of severe mutilation, as if slashed apart or impaled several times. In all cases, death of the victim is determined to be the result of severe blood loss (despite this not actually being something a pathologist could put down on the death certificate).
The sound of multiple tormented voices sobbing in unison follows her wherever she goes and the sound of it varies depending on the listener. Some have heard more than one pitch to the voices, some have heard children or infants crying, and some have heard the cries of animals. These voices often drive her victims mad to the point where they sacrifice themselves to her just to end the horrible noises. It's believed that this behavior may have been responsible for the Banshee legend, since her victims thereafter often die or disappear shortly afterwards.
Violent though she can be, she seems to take a certain protective interest in children and will usually spare them. She has also appeared to "pity" certain targets, who instead become Melancholies (collectively The Melancholy), servants of hers that are somewhat similar to the Slender Man's Proxies. The method in which these servants are created is always the same - the victim is forced to drink the Willow's Tears. It's unknown what is in the Tears that causes such a speedy conversion to the Weeping Willow's side, but it is known that breaking free from servitude is incredibly difficult and can even be physically painful for a Melancholy. It is currently unknown why she even wants, or even needs, servants. It has been theorized that it is either for protection or a need for companionship.
The Weeping Willow has possessed various abilities, but a few remain constant. She is currently known to have the following abilities:
- Short-distance teleportation
- Uncanny strength
- Uncanny agility
- The Weeping Willow was inspired by a major plot point in the ARG Corvidaek in which a young woman named Willow "Lenore" Ashens (played by DarkShadows) allowed the Slender Man to alter her into a more powerful creature so she could help defeat an alliance of Fears bent on enslaving the entire human race.