Part III: School's In Session-Chapter 4
Instead of the empty living room, I was very “privileged” to witness a picture of Kim Gordon. She was sitting in the recliner with a bottle of pills turned over and an empty bottle of alcohol. A line of blood ran from the corners of her dry, cracked lips. Perhaps she might be waiting for me at the Alchemilla Hospital…
A sound suddenly cut the air, causing me to almost drop my camera. It was the reverberation of a bell…a church bell more specifically. As old as this town was, this was probably not a timed bell, and that meant that someone else was here.
“Cybil…” I pondered, and my heart soared.
I ran out the front door and back into the fog, which now was less dense. Maybe it was a mental thing because of my temporary euphoria, but I didn’t care at this point. Someone else was here, and that was relief enough. Looking down at my map, there was a Balkan Church northeast from here.
The next few minutes went by in a blur. I booked it through every street, ignoring any and all strange noises, and found no blockades along the way.
The deep, rich melody of the bells continued as I trucked through the streets, making no effort to make myself incognito. Those earlier negative effects of the fog had no hold on me for now. I was on a natural high, letting endorphins give my body its own natural boost.
As I ran through the various streets unscathed, I thought back to the strange note that Kim Gordon had written to this Claudia person. If she was doing anything legitimate, she would have come right out and said what it was she was shipping in the note. Maybe it was in the bottle of the picture I took.
Finally, my curiosity got the best of me, and I stopped long enough to review the picture I had taken. Maybe there was some hidden detail or clue in the photo I hadn’t noticed beforehand. When I put my camera into Preview mode, I found that the picture was completely gone. Panicking, I found that all the other pictures I’d taken previously were gone, as well. What the hell? Silent Hill didn’t want anyone having evidence?
Silent Hill was not just a town. It was a being. It was alive
It was an entity, protecting itself from outsiders it saw as a threat. Were this to be true, then I was some kind of a threat, but how? I just wanted to go on a vacation. Then again, anywhere with secrets found enemies with journalist. Enraged, I threw my camera down, seeing as it was useless now. Cybil was waiting for me, so I left the smashed pieces of my camera behind me and sprinted through the streets. After this whole endeavor, I was sure to have dropped some pounds. All this running was becoming redundant, and a pain in my side, literally…
Before long, the sound of the bells was almost deafening. As I approached the church, the sound suddenly faded out, as if the mysterious ringer had stopped. The entrance was thankfully unlocked so I stepped inside.
The church was very old-fashioned but very ornately decorated. The ceiling was almost endless. Lines of heavily adorned pews stood in rows to my right and left. They all had cushioned red velvet seats.
If only my pews were that comfy looking, I thought. Looking ahead, my eyes made out a strange-looking woman standing behind the altar at the front of the sanctuary. She faced a gigantic statue of Jesus’ crucifixion on the wall. As I took a couple of steps in, the woman slowly turned to face me. I immediately recognized her. It was Dahlia Gillespie.
She was strangely dressed, wearing a white shroud covering her head and a long, tattered-looking dress that resembled something Amish. Multiple gray tufts of hair stuck out wildly from underneath the head covering. The clothing in general was odd, and very old-fashioned.
“Excuse me. Were you the one ringing that bell just now?” I asked quizzically.
“Yes, I was. Sorry to disappoint you. Ironically though, I've been expecting you. It was foretold by Gyromancy.” The woman spoke in a croaky voice. She had lilts and punctuations in odd places to her words, giving her speech a strange rhythm. From the moment she began to speak, a voice in my head screamed the word “crazy.”
“I’m sorry. What are you talking about?” I was probably looking at her like she belonged with the creatures in the fog. What the hell was gyromancy?
“I knew you'd come. You ARE here for the girl, right?”
“You must be talking about my daughter Cheryl!” As much as I didn’t like this woman already, if she had Cheryl’s whereabouts I needed to play nice.
“I see everything, Harry Mason. Everything.”
“How did you ….you must know something! Tell me where she is?!”
My anger began to rise, and I started to make a bee line for her. For all I knew, this crazy woman probably kidnapped Cheryl!
“Stay back! Nothing's to be gained from floundering about. You must follow the path. The path of the Hermit can be sealed by Flauros.”
Was this woman on crack? What nonsense is she spouting about? Gyromancy? Path of the Hermit? Flauros? She had obviously lost her marbles, if she ever had them in them in the first place.
“If you know so much, then where is Cheryl!”
The crazy witch responded with little emotion as if she didn’t even realize how angry I was.
“Here is the Flauros, a cage of piece,” she then brought a pyramid-shaped object out from under her shroud and placed it on the altar. “It can break through the walls of darkness and counteract the wrath of the underworld. These will help you. Make haste to the hospital before it's too late!”
Without missing a beat, Dahlia began heading towards a side door off to the left.
“Wait!” I yelled, breaking into a sprint. How could she take off like that, without explaining herself? By the time I got to the door, it was too late. She had already gone through the door. I rushed to it, but it was locked solidly. I took a step back, preparing to kick the door in, but something told me not to. I’m not sure if it was that kicking down a door in a church seemed blasphemous, but an instinct within me said to not pursue her.
There was an eerie aura about her, and she probably had some crazy hex on it from what I could tell. All things considered, it was strange that she mentioned a “path.”
Throughout my visit here, I had strange clues and hints that had guided me everywhere so far. Now that I thought about it, it did seem like something was leading me around Silent Hill intentionally. A rat being led through an experimental, nightmarish maze
As crazy as she was, she obviously knew more than I did. If only I understood what these weird names meant. She knew that the hospital was important, and the sooner I got there the better. I didn’t know what awaited me there, but if it led me to Cheryl, then I was going.
Eyebrows raised in curiosity, I stepped up to the altar where the peculiar object sat.
“Flauros, huh?” I mumbled under my breath as I picked it up and studied it. The pyramidal object was perfectly symmetrical. There were strange symbols carved onto the stone. There were four in all: Three on the sides, and one on the bottom. What could they possibly mean?
Still so many questions and so very few answers. At least I was still on the “path of the Hermit.” Weird stuff. After looking over the object several times, I stuck it onto the small bag I previously had my camera in. The size was a little big, the points of the pyramid poking out of the bag, but it would do. Besides, maybe it would be a good luck charm…but then again how much luck could be had from an object a crazy lady gave you? More likely hexed, but there was only one way to find out…
Seeing if there was anything else of value, I looked back down at the altar where the Flauros was. To my enjoyment, I found another key. This one had a round shaped label that read “Drawbridge.” Was there a drawbridge around here?
Looking at the map, I saw that there was a drawbridge on the east end of Silent Hill.
“Well, waddya know,” I smirked.
It would seem the bridge was needed to cross over into the area labeled Central Silent Hill. And this key was my ticket. The hospital was on that side. This “path” idea seemed less and less crazy. With a newfound hope, I exited the church and worked my way east towards the drawbridge. I went out to endure my old friend, the fog, once again.
After an unknown amount of time (which seemed to be nonexistent in this town), I came upon the drawbridge. As my suspicions had guessed it was drawn up. With the mist clouding up the air, the bridge could have stretched all the way up to heaven for all I knew. A set of stairs off to the right led up to a control booth. I took the steps slowly, expecting some kind of trouble. Things were going way too smoothly now. Yet, there was none.
Inside the booth, I nearly tripped over something. Muttering under my breath, I learned to my delight that a fire-ax was laying in the middle of the floor. I picked it up and was pleased to see it was in good condition. This would definitely come in handy.
The controls for the booth contained a keyhole and a lever. What could be simpler, right? I inserted the key and turned it to the right. A click sounded resided nearby, and so I pulled down the lever. With a slight rumble, the machinery hummed to life, and the entire area seemed to vibrate forcefully. It seemed I was on my way.
I scrambled down the stairs, waiting for the bridge to continue lowering in much anticipation. The steady sound of gears at work encroached all around me, various pulleys and other machinery at work. I was transfixed, my gaze glued to the bridge. It would take me further into Silent Hill, braving various other challenges and hopefully no other horrors. But nothing in life comes easy, and in this town easy was a far cry from reality.
In minutes, the bridge was down and now my path was laid out before me, which I took gladly and in much anticipation.
In mere moments, I was in Central Silent Hill. And headed for a hospital.
I absolutely HATE hospitals….