Part III: School's In Session-Chapter 3
“Cheryl!” The sound of a dial tone droned, and I felt worry creep across my chest. At least I knew Cheryl was out there, but where? Obviously she had access to a phone, maybe at a hospital…
I turned back around to continue leaving the school, when I heard the double doors behind me click, and begin to creak open. A moment of exhilaration filled my heart. It must be Cheryl! Maybe she was here after all!
To my utter horror, I turned to find the pin-cushioned corpse of John Bagwell greeting me with a malignant grin. He stood at the doorway for a moment, his milky white eyes showing no sign of life. But I knew where because I could feel it. His gaze was fixed right at me.
“You…” He hissed through his teeth, and he took a shambling step toward me. “You left me to die!” John continued his zombie-like walk, made very awkward by all the razor-wire and knives protruding from his body.
“Not my fault! You wouldn’t leave!” I shouted, beginning to step backwards towards the exit. “I tried to talk you into it, but you wouldn’t come! You were too grieved over that stupid dog!” My voice had an angry pitch to it, but I knew, and I’m sure John knew, that I was petrified of him. I kept slowly walking backwards, afraid to keep my eyes off of him.
“You…ssssshould have made me,” he said again, in his snake-like voice. His right arm was held out, beckoning me to approach me.
“How about thissssss. I forgive you. All you have to do isssss….give me a hug. Let’s…..bury the hatchet….ssssshall we??” He lurched further towards me, both of his arms open now. Had this been a horror movie, the way he shambled towards me would seem comical. Yet, the flashlight’s glint off of the blades surrounding his body and the horrendous cuts and gashes told me otherwise.
“No!” I shouted, and broke out into a run. My hands were already in front me, shoving into the bar when I reached the door. The door rattled harshly and the opposing force shoved me back. The door was locked from the other side. I had no way to out.
Panicked, I watched as the ambling figure of John Bagwell wobbled toward me as some gothic pin-cushion with legs. He grinned, revealing his yellow-stained teeth and a forked tongue flicking out from between them.
“Atta boy,” he jeered. “Just let daddy Bagwell get you. It’s sssssso much easssssier this way.” I felt a strange feeling of terror wash over me. At the last moment before he reached me, I turned and thrust my fist through the window. Shards of glass peppered the floor of the hallway inside. I could feel pieces of glass sticking into my hand, but I didn’t care.
I reached through and pushed the bar on the other side. With an audible click, the lock was released, and I half-fell into the hallway. Behind me, I could see John amble towards me, that awful sneer still etched onto his face.
“What’sssss ‘a matter, Harry? You don’t want a hug??” He tone implied he was offended or hurt by the ridiculous notion. I scrambled to my feet, and booked it to the exit straight back. With a turn of the knob, I found that it was firmly locked. I stood back, full of determination, and kicked with all the force I had. The door didn’t even budge. Behind me, the corpse that seemed to parody Pinhead still progressed, not willing to give up.
“You left me, Harry….you left me to die!” The horrible corpse called out, now in a different voice. It was so familiar….and after a few moments it became plainly obvious. John was now speaking in the voice of my dead wife, Jodie.
For a moment, I was filled with an utter dread and guilt that I’d never felt this strong before.
“I thought you loved me, Harry! You were supposed to be there for me! Now I’m all alone…all alone!”
“No, I…I didn’t want you to die! I, I did everything I could ….”
“No! No you didn’t do everything you could! You were too worried about drinking and spending time with your friends!”
“It’s not like that, Jodie! I-I-I had to get away! I worked and still came home and sat with you! I had to get SOME time for myself, didn’t I? I still needed some downtime to-to help deal with everything. You think it was easy for me?” I really didn’t understand what I was doing…engaging in conversation with this thing.
“That’s easy for you to say, Harry! And so selfish…you weren’t the one in pain! I was dying, Harry!”
“I-I-I know you were in pain….it took everything in me to be strong….to be at your side. All I wanted was for you to get better, but….there wasn’t any chance. The doctors caught it too late.”
you still left me! Had you stayed with me more, maybe I could have gotten
“I’m….I’m so sorry, Jodie,” I felt hot tears stinging my eyes as I fell to my knees, wracked with guilt for all my misgivings.
“You said you would be there. Every step of the way, and you weren’t, Harry! You weren’t.” Then, something clicked inside my head. Jodie would never say this to me….she wouldn’t make me feel like this about everything. I had put so much time in just sitting and watch her waste away, anyone would have needed some time away.
“I was there for you, Jodie. And you were in pain, and you’re gone now. A part of me left when I lost you. But…I have to let you go.”
I almost gave in to its tricks. What was I even doing? It was using my guilt of my own dead wife to get closer. At that point of epiphany, something happened. Something changed. Something snapped within me.
Seeing this abominable…thing that wanted to make me suffer, mentally and physically, when I had done no wrong. It infuriated me. I suddenly felt no fear of this wretched thing. I only felt justice.
I found a nearby fire extinguisher sitting in a case against the wall, seeming to beckon my hand. I wasn’t running in fear anymore, I had to fight back. I reached inside the case, took the extinguisher out, and wielded it with both hands. I approached the grotesque being. My blood pumped wildly, filled with adrenaline. I felt like I was invincible, a wrecking ball that would demolish all in my way.
“Get back!” I ordered, raising the weapon. This monster, this thing was not going to stop me. All my life, I detested violence. I was a peaceful man, and even wrote stories to shock people of the violence of this world. But when it came down to it, I was just afraid. But in this moment, I was prepared to fight. To protect my own daughter from whatever this existence had brought.
“Harry…you wouldn’t hurt me, would you?!” It continued in Jodie’s voice, whimpering at my threat.
“You are NOT Jodie! I said MOVE!”
The monster furrowed his gaze and regained his former creepy tone. “I’m afraid I can’t do that, Harry! Jusssst give up, Cheryl’ssss already dead!!”
And it cackled, a wretched snake-like laugh. A flare ignited within me, and suddenly everything in my vision turned red. I didn’t even care if what it said was true or not, because either way I was going to send this monster’s ass back to oblivion.
A fury bubbled over in me, one that I had not known before. Suddenly, the fire extinguisher was completely weightless in my hands.
Without a second’s hesitation, I effortlessly heaved the extinguisher into the monstrosity’s face. I heard a crack of bones, and the monster leaned back, pinwheeling its arm for balance, and teetered over onto its back.
It felt good….very good…better than I’d felt in a long time. For once, I felt empowered. I looked down upon the monster that now looked like a helpless turtle. A huge gash was now on its face, gushing rivulets of blood. I reached over and picked the extinguisher back up.
“Ooh-hoo, looks like things got a bit Harry there!” John giggled, as if he had cracked a particularly good joke.
“No, it’s just getting there,” I said gruffly. I raised the extinguisher back up, and for a moment the monster’s expression showed that it was taken aback. I slammed the extinguisher back down on its face with a heavy force, splintering more bones and splashing blood everywhere. The blood was on the floor, on my shoes, on my shirt….and I didn’t care.
“Ooh! You’ve got ssssome fight in you!” He snickered, thrashing on the floor excitedly. It was all a ruse, because I could see the slight grimace on it’s face. I was going to punish this thing, and I wanted it to hurt. To feel everything that I had felt.
As I continued to bludgeon this creature, I seemed to have an out-of-body experience. The moment was so intense and so surreal, that I seemed to watch myself as I slammed the extinguisher into the thing over and over. Yet, it wasn’t just a beating, it was a sweet release.
In this moment, I felt a well of frustration, anger, anxiety, dismay, dashed hopes, and so many other emotions being released. I had let everything out on this creature, sending it back to hell where it belonged.
After a few moments, I heard someone screaming, and then realized that it was me. Once I came to this realization, I started to come back down. My consciousness felt the pull of gravity and I was back in my own body again. The extinguisher slipped through my fingers and fell to the floor with a loud CLANG. I stood there, feeling so extremely tired yet, so alive. I felt….reborn.
I dropped to my knees, sucking in deep gulps of air. My heart rate was still pumping wildly and it hurt my chest. I looked over at the creature, seeing that it was shallowly gasping for air. The thing was on its last wind. Slowly, the creature stopped moving
I wasn’t sure why…but just the weight of it all seemed to come down on me. The anger was gone, but suddenly I was missing Cheryl and I began to weep until I felt satiated.
At the very moment I was done, I heard the wail of the siren come again, and everything went black…
“So, Mr. Mason. Tell me about this out-of-body experience. I find this quite intriguing,” Dr. Ingram leaned forward, his index finger and thumb holding his jaw in concentration.
“Well, Doc…I’ve heard before about this happening in very intense moments. These strange, bizarre things that I was afraid of, I felt like I could stand against them if I wanted to. As crazy as it sounds, its’ one of the best memories I’ve ever had next to my wedding and finding Cheryl, of course.”
“Really? That’s….certainly interesting. So you’re saying that this was a strong, redefining moment for you, yes?”
“Very much so. It was like David standing up to Goliath. The strange thing of it all was…” I paused, trying not to choke on the words. “That thing…it was like it already knew about my guilt. Like it was in my head….how else could it possibly know about Jodie?”
a manifestation of some sort.”
“Perhaps….I still wonder how much of this entire thing was in my head…which is why I’m here, of course, heh-heh.”
“And I’m glad you’re here to talk this out, Harry. Life seems so basic to most people, but when you really look past the surface there is so much more going on than we realize. ”
“Yes, I agree. Stranger, the times that monster spoke in his normal voice, as normal as can be anyway, the way it jived and coerced me reminded me a lot of my father. Who…in short was just not a good man. It felt like I was…fighting against my father …”
“Another reason why it was so monumental.”
“Yes. Like I finally stood up to my old man. I never got the chance to do it in real life. He died of lung cancer before I got to do it. I almost cried of happiness, to tell you the truth, although I hate to say it. I was close to my mother, who had to endure him for so many years before she became strong enough to leave. It took me longer to stand up to him, though. She was always telling me to fight for myself, because she wouldn’t always be around to do it. And finally, I did.”
“Well, I’m glad this horrible experience had some positive impact on you, Harry.Unfortunate that it happened under such circumstances, though.”
“Never the matter. I would go through anything for Cheryl. I was hoping the whole time I’d just wake up to find it was a stupid nightmare. But, it never did.”
“An interesting tale, indeed. Here’s what I’m thinking…Silent Hill, or at least this supernatural elements of it, such as creatures, transformations and all, were a manifesto, a town created of your worst fears and nightmares? Maybe it was a random town designed in your mind for you to face your fears and cope with your loss of your late wife. Perhaps that’s what this…”
“I am NOT making this up!” I shouted, standing to my feet. “I’m not a lunatic! I know these things are impossible, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen!”
“Mr. Mason, please…calm down,” worry and fear spread out of the doctor’s eyes. “Should we stop now?”
“No,” I sat back down. “I can’t. I supposed you’re right…I should calm down. I’m sorry. It’s just, you implied that I was making everything up so…..”
“I’m only speaking rhetorically. We’re investigating this still. I wasn’t diagnosing you and I’m not calling you a liar. I’m just discussing the possibilities aloud, that’s all.”
“There’s only one possibility, doctor. And that’s that this really happened. There are forces beyond our power and means, Dr. Ingram. And when those forces are in motion, there is only so much we can do to stop it. It’s supernatural, yes. But not superimaginative.”
“I…I’m afraid I can’t outright say that I believe you’re story, Mr. Mason. You know that as a man of science and medicine that I need some type of proof. Which is why you had so much trouble with the police when you had to explain to them that your daughter Cheryl disappeared into a supernatural town and you had another child with you…I’m sorry, but would be lying if I said that I believed it. I’d rather be honest with you.”
“Then, do you think I’m crazy? Tell me, honestly.”
“I believe a very traumatic experience happened, and I believe that it changed you and your daughter’s life. However, much of the details of the events in Silent Hill I cannot help but disagree with.”
“Well, I appreciate your honesty.”
“You may continue your story, at any rate.”
Back To Silent Hill…
I awoke, cold on the tiled floor of Midwich Elementary School. For a minute, I swore I heard the sound of bells playing. I found that the fog was now inside the school. I stood up, and examined my clothes. There were no bloodstains present. How odd…
I was in the same place as where I was before when I pummeled that horrendous monster. The middle of my right hand throbbed, and it looked red. Small, partially healed lines where I had been cut by the glass window I broke reminded that the entire encounter with the monster was real. How long had I been out this time?
I took out my cel phone to check the time, but my battery was dead. Great, now I was cutoff from everything even more. Sure, my phone didn’t’ seem to work, but there was some comfort still in having it ready to use if need be.
At least now I could finally leave. Before I turned out to the door I could something illuminating from the courtyard. Looking through the frosty glass doors, I could make out an outline of the same glowing pentagram-like symbol. It was here in both worlds. Something was constant between these two worlds, it seemed.
Perhaps this symbol was some link between these two worlds. Only further venturing would tell me more. After I left that building, I had the feeling that I would never step foot into any elementary schools again…
As I walked through the door, I heard a metal jingling noise. I looked down to see a small set of keys that I had grazed with my foot. Bending down, I inspected the tag that said “K. Gordon.” Wasn’t that the name of the teacher on that list in the lobby? I snatched up the keys and stuck them into my pants pocket, heading back to the receptionist area.
Skimming over the list, I found K. Gordon. Apparently, he (assuming K. Gordon was a he) lived on 35 Bradbury Circle. Looking at my map, I saw that Bradbury St. was only a stone’s throw away. Writing down the address, I decided to pay this Gordon a visit. Gordon could be missing like everyone else, but perhaps I could find some answers there. Considering I literally ran into his keys just now, I just took that as a sign. Something seemed to be leading me through this town.
And so I trekked back out into the abysmal fog, following the road to Bradbury. The funny thing about this fog was that it played tricks with your mind. So many times, when something came into view, I would swear for a moment it was another monster or creature, but would end up being something that looked absolutely nothing like a creature. I really began to believe this fog messed with your senses. And it wasn’t just sight. Every now and then, I thought I heard a footstep, or a rustle in the bushes, or the crunch of gravel nearby. Yet, nothing was ever there.
On Bradbury, I found that the numbers went all the way to 20, but stopped at another one of the confounded chasms. Its gaping hole in the earth seemed to stretch on forever, and the lines in the pavement formed a jeering face in my mind, mocking me.
I wanted to scream my head off. After I rethought the address and looked at the map again, I backed up and found another alleyway connecting to the houses on the other side. Not knowing what else to do, I followed the alley all the way down. Fortunately, all of them had numbers identifying the houses they went to. Making my way through, I counted all the way to….35. Here it was.
With a shiver, I noticed that this alleyway was much like the alley close to where I had first met the demon children.
Trying to shift my thoughts, I looked at the wooden fence. I investigated the wooden fence area, and prepared to jump it, when I found a gated wooden door with a padlock. I was able to unlock the padlock with my new key, and I swung the creaky door open into the patio area. It was almost identical to the setup of John Bagwell’s house and the other houses on Levin St.
“Hello?” I called, preparing to hear a surprised response. Nothing. I hollered again, but again no response.
Only the sound of the wind outside, and the damp fog which permeated the space around me.
Apparently, the snow had eased up, and while it was still cold, it wasn’t as bad as it had been earlier. I stepped in, still on guard to defend myself in case Gordon mistook me for a burglar. If a stranger showed up in my house under such circumstances, he would be more than unwelcome.
“Mr. or Ms. Gordon? Are you here?” I said, as I slowly worked through the kitchen. No answer still. After a minute of searching through the house, it was apparent Gordon was not here, and it seemed no one had been here recently. There was nothing sitting out on the counters or other tell-tale signs of recent life in the house. It looked like Mr./Ms. Gordon had cleaned and never came back…
Surely there was a picture of the homeowner sitting out somewhere. And I was right. After looking around, I found a picture of a woman holding a large-mouth bass in one outstretched hand, grinning from ear to ear. She was wearing typical fishing gear, a vest, hat, and rubber boots. There were other pictures of this same woman with others, but she was the only person in each picture. This must be her.
Upon further inspection, I found some documents that listed her name as “Kim Renee Gordon.” I also noticed a white envelope atop the TV, and inside was a simple note that said, “I have the latest shipment, Claudia. Just give me a list of names, and I’ll distribute them.”
Interesting….who is Claudia? Yet another unanswered question. Then, my phone began to break out into that strange static noise. I cupped my ears in reaction, dropping the note. How could my phone make any noise? It was dead.
Despite that fact, I took out my camera and snapped a photo of the den area, where the note was placed in front of the TV. Immediately, the squealing sound from my phone stopped, returning it to its state of normalcy.I pulled up the Preview mode of my camera, and grimaced at the image that came up