“I can still give you what you want,” Bill says. He’s blocked Dipper’s way up the stairs, and floats before him at eye level. “And even more than that. I’ve run into plenty of brains like yours – get it?” He twirls his cane. “You can’t stop sniffing around for new information, even when it gets you into trouble. Oh, don’t give me that face, smart guy!” he exclaims when Dipper glares at him. “It’s a compliment!”
“It won’t work,” Dipper says, and tries to run back downstairs the way he came.
As soon as he turns around, Bill materializes again in front of him. “Since I’m such a nice guy, I’m willing to forgive your sister’s little performance and tell you a few things about why Gravity Falls is so gosh darn strange.”
Dipper hesitates, but he’s already dreamt about how many people would be hurt, how the carnage would look and sound and smell, if Bill got another chance to use him. “Still not interested,” he snaps.
A human skull appears in Bill’s hand. “I hoped that you’d be a little bit more… open-minded.” The skull opens at the top like a trapdoor. “I guess it doesn’t run in the family after all!”
“Are you talking about what you did to Grunkle Stan? He never wanted you in his mind!” Or did he? Stan is an outrageous liar, after all, and he knows a lot more about monsters than any of them suspected, but that doesn’t mean that he’s working with them… does it?
“You’re getting close, but close isn’t good enough!” Bill chuckles. The skull vanishes. “And you can pretend you’re not tempted, Pine Tree, but we both know better. If you ever want me to let you in on a few secrets…about your journal, about this cute little town, about your family…” He’s receding into the darkness, but his voice seems to come from everywhere at once as he calls out, “I won’t be far away.”
When Dipper opens his eyes – and at least he didn’t cry out this time and wake up the whole house – there’s no sign of Bill, and the attic room is quiet except for Mabel’s unintelligible sleep-talk and her pig’s contented snorting. The journal sits undisturbed on the nightstand, and when Dipper turns on his flashlight and flips through the pages, through images and descriptions of the frightening and wonderful and inexplicable, he doesn’t see any new additions or unfamiliar handwriting.
I still don’t know how it’s all connected…
He’s thought about adding to the latest entry about Bill: surely it would be helpful to record his words, the kinds of deals he likes to make, how it felt to lose control… but the last time Dipper picked up a pen, intending to be as detached and objective as the Author might have been, he froze up for at least a full minute before he slammed the book shut.
He slips out of bed, down the stairs, and into the bathroom. While he’s washing his hands, he checks his eyes in the mirror, searching for the demonic yellow glow. “He’s not here,” he mutters to himself, tiptoeing back up to the attic. “I’m not letting him back in.” It doesn’t matter what Bill tries to offer him.
Secrets about your family, Dipper hears, and whirls around. The room is still empty.
While she sleeps, Mabel has started singing what sounds like a song from her puppet show. If Bill possessed him again, would she be able to save Dipper – and herself – like she did the last time? Would Bill even give her the chance to try?
Mabel flings out one arm, and the song melts into a giggle.
Maybe Dipper will always be a little bit tempted. Maybe that’s just how deals with demons work. But when he looks at his sister, he sees at least one reason why he can never give in.