Part IV: Central Silent Hill-Chapter 1
The fog twisted and swirled around me, seeming a bit thicker in the central district. There was not anything worthy of interest, just some benches and shrubs for decorating the drawbridge area. Close to the sides, I was entitled to at least look once at the view of Toluca Lake.
Gazing out into the misty lake, I was enthralled by the beauty there. As sad and abandoned as this town was, it still had wondrous charm to it…monsters and abominations aside, of course. I’m sure on a sunny day in June this was one hell of a sight, considering how pretty it was here on a foggy, creepy day. The wind blew slightly, moving around pieces of trash on the bridge. As I stood there, taking in the view, I began thinking back on all the events that had led up to this point.
I drifted off in thought, letting my mind wander freely. An abandoned town, full of unexplained mist and fog. An odd virus that infected people. Ghostly pictures of people or things that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye. Demonic children, wraith-like creatures, and corpses brought back from the dead. An alternate world that was a nightmarish version of our own. Potential illegal drug and/or cult activities. How did these all connect?
Something tapped my shoulder.
I jerked away, turning around to see who was there. But it was only the mist, rolling through the air casually and free.
“Hello?” I called. There was no answer. I wandered around, expecting to see someone giggling and hiding somewhere out of sight. But there wasn’t. It was only me.
The mist, I thought. It’s playing games with me.
I decided it best to move on. I couldn’t spend all day lost in thought. I had to stay focused. After a minute more of walking over the bridge, I soon came to an intersection of Sagan and Crichton St. A little past the intersection, I saw a Police Station sign. My prayers had been answered! Where cryptic hints and Hermit paths worked, a police force armed with guns worked even better. Yet before I let my hopes get too high I stopped and thought logically, and chances were there would be no officers present. But I checked, anyway.
Sometimes, I really hate being right.
I opened the wide door of the police building, cautiously peering around the edge of the door. Everything inside was pitch black, not to my surprise. There were no sounds of movement or any life in the station. Clicking on my flashlight, I quickly surmised that the police station was not big at all. A small police force for a small town. Made sense.
Of course, if you had a Crazy Religious Cult Force, it might be a whole different story…
This Dahlia woman had much to do with what was going on, and John was right about Dahlia’s psychological state, which was raving lunatic. Strangely, I got the sense that she genuinely wanted me to find Cheryl, maniacal speeches aside. She did give me this Flauros thing…whatever the hell that did. From what she said, it would “keep the darkness at bay.” If that meant that it stopped the wailing sirens, demon-spawned children, mutant dogs, reanimated corpses, and wraiths, then I was pro-Flauros all the way. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel she may have ulterior motives behind her assistance.
Letting the beam of my flashlight naturally survey the room, I noticed that somebody ransacked the place. Papers were strewn over desks, drawers were gaping open, and all-in-all the place was trashed. Nothing seemed to stand out to me, especially with so much littered about in the room. Seeing as there were no clues to this town’s mystery, I decided it was time to do something about my handgun situation. Surely they would have the ammunition required for my gun.
It didn’t take long for me to find the gun cabinet, which was locked.
“That’s okay, key aren’t required when you had a fire-ax,” I grinned.
For whatever reason it was just lying there in the control booth, I was very grateful for it.
It only took three hard chops at the lock to break it open, the metal crunching and the cabinet door creaking open. It was like a gunslinger’s dream. Inside was a short-barreled shotgun (12-gauge or 16-gauge, I was unsure), two Sniper Rifles, an arsenal of handguns, and some tazers. I always liked shotguns, but with all the running I had to do, I was unsure of using them. I decided that a powerful handgun would be best.
Then, it caught my eye, and I found my prize. It was a six-cylinder Magnum, and a cartridge of rounds sat below it. The polished, wooden handle and large-cylinder chamber was such a beautiful sight to my sore eyes. If I was going to fight the denizens of the dead and beyond, I wanted to at least be confident in doing so.
It took me about five minutes to suit up. Not only did I take the gun, I grabbed a holster and a small bag to keep the extra ammunition. I searched around the cabinet, and found a flak vest with enough pockets to keep me well-stocked. As I took off my coat and began putting on the vest, I had the image of me as a cowboy. The Lone Gunslinger, returning to his hometown to battle the evil forces that had been drawn in. I laughed nervously to myself. I was living a young boys’ dream inside of a nightmare. Either way, having some firepower was going to make things more interesting.
I began turning to leave, and finally decided that I might need that shotgun after all. Considering these demon children always came in packs, this would be a valuable asset. I loaded the short-barreled shotgun with the shells provided. Things were starting to get heavy now, and time was of the essence.
As I was loading the shotgun, a white dry-erase board caught my eye. There was something written on it in hurried, scribbled writing. I stopped and walked over to read it.
“Product only available in select areas of Silent Hill. Raw material is White Claudia, a plant peculiar to the region. Was it manufactured here? Is the dealer the manufacturer?”
Well I’ll be…White Claudia wasn’t a person at all! It was a plant. From the looks of it, perhaps it was used as some kind of illegal substance. Did this have some kind of connection to the events going on now? Could it be that maybe I was under the influence of this White Claudia, and was experiencing symptoms of hallucinations? It would explain a lot of this mess…
There was also a small sticky note posted to the board . It read, “Coroner Seals called. Officer Gucci unlikely to be murdered. He apparently died naturally, but medical records show Officer Gucci had no prior symptoms of heart disease.” Officer Gucci? Hmmm. Perhaps Cybil knew him. I could ask her whenever I found her.
“IF you ever find her,” the dark voice in my head spoke. I ignored it, trying to focus on the positive. Keeping these thoughts in mind, I trudged out of the station, beginning to feel the effects of my long adventure thus far. Some time or another, I would need to sleep. Yet, I don’t think I was physically nor mentally able to do so. Not without finding Cheryl and knowing she was safe first.
I went back outside, finding that the snow had started to pick back up and the fog had become thicker. Perhaps the town knew I was somewhere else, and followed me. This was only a wild guess, but instincts were everything in these kinds of situations.
Suddenly, thoughts of Cheryl running into these monsters being eaten alive by those demonic children, or wasted away to nothing by the Shadow Men.
“She didn’t even last five minutes,” the unfamiliar voice came again. “If you find her, it’ll be pieces of her scattered all around town!”
“STOP IT!” I yelled, and there was silence. This negative feeling brought on by the mist was starting to intensify, manifesting itself as an actual voice. It was the fog, I was sure, taking all the negative emotions and creating this thing inside of me.
I couldn’t let it win. I continued on, making my way south down Crichton St. Now that I thought about it, wasn’t Crichton also the name of an author? Indeed, it was. Michael Crichton, the author of Jurassic Park, as well as other sci-fi novels. Looking at other street names, I began to realize that all of the street names were associated with an author’s name or some kind of horror/sci-fi movie or novel.
Koontz St. was named after Dean Koontz. Bachman Road was named after Richard Bachman (Stephen King’s pseudonym). I’d read enough thriller/horror novels when I was younger to know some of these. Elroy sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. Seems like whoever named these streets had some flare for the extraordinary or sci-fi. This town wasn’t ordinary by any stretch of the imagination, but the names could be some odd coincidence.
I was about halfway down Crichton when a building stood out starkly against the rest. It was a Post Office, and the lights were on inside, unlike the rest of the street. As much as I needed to get to the hospital, I just couldn’t help but feel I should go there.
As I halved the distance, I saw that there were eight people inside, standing in line. One of them was a postal worker, checking people out. Why would the store be open at a time like this? With all these monsters and strange things wandering about, how they could go on acting like nothing was wrong?
First, I slung the shotgun over my back, hiding it under my coat. After all, if I saw someone coming into the post office with a shotgun, I’d freak.
I stepped inside, walking towards line Six of the seven people in line snapped a glance at me as I entered. They were gawking at me the way people gawk at the new kid at school. I decided I could ask them if they’d seen my daughter even though I knew that she was more likely at the hospital. It never hurt to ask.
“Excuse me, sir?” I said, pulling out my wallet. “Have you seen a little girl? She’s lost, seven years old.” I took out a 4x6 of my daughter, holding it out for them to see.
“No, I’m afraid I haven’t,” the woman directly in front of me said curtly, and turned back around as if she didn’t care.
“Nope, haven’t seen her,” a gruff man further up in the line answered. The rest of them simply shook their head, looking back as if completely uninterested.
“Can any of you help me?” A couple whipped their heads around, shooting me a hard glare, and rolled their eyes.
“Do any of you even care? My daughter’s missing, and there’s a storm out there! She could freeze to death, and not to mention those things out there…” I stopped myself, not meaning to say that much. A man two places up looked at me as if my head was on backwards.
“Sir, you alright? You seem upset. What things are you talking about?” He was in his late thirties, and wore a red flannel shirt and a red cap. His appearance was rough, and he reminded me of a stereotypical lumberjack.
“You know what I’m talking about! The weird…uhh..creatures and apparitions.…I know it sounds crazy but…it has something to do with Dahlia Gillespie. She’s somehow involved. You guys know about the stuff that goes on here.”
I couldn’t help myself, the words just seemed to spew forth from my mouth. The people simple stared back at me blankly, while some others just looked stern and irritated. “And none of you want to admit what’s happening right? She has a hold of you too, doesn’t she? ” A sudden tension filled the room, making the air feel tight and heavy. The older woman in front of me turned around to directly face me. I’d finally kept someone’s attention.
“Look, sir,” she said in a low register with a great sternness. “I don’t know who you are, what you’re doing, and I don’t care. Here, everybody minds their own business. Maybe you in the city that’s how things are, but here you don’t go spouting off nonsense in front of people like that. If someone is missing, then they probably don’t want to be found.”
“You’re saying my seven year old daughter is in a strange town for the first time by herself and she doesn’t want to be found? Seriously? I got into a car wreck on the way here, and woke to find her gone! I think someone here might have taken her!”
She now lowered her volume. “Well, in that case someone else doesn’t want YOU to find her. Plain and simple. Leave well enough alone or else you’ll get yourself into something more than you can handle. And if you know what’s best for you, do not mention Dahlia’s name that way. You might end up missing yourself. I hope I’ve made myself clear.”
With that, she turned back around and continued waiting as if our conversation never happened. Those were the last words I ever heard from her. Everyone else went back to waiting.
What is wrong with them? I thought. It’s like they’re in some kind of trance or they just ignore what’s going on around them in fear. That’s the kind of hold Dahlia has on these people. Yet, she wants to help me? None of this makes any sense…
I turned to go back outside, but decided against it. After all this time I’d been here in Silent Hill, I hadn’t once used the bathroom. So, I went to my left and found the Men’s room.
A minute later, I stood looking in the mirror pondering everything that had transpired so far. This nightmare seemed to be never-ending, and perhaps it was. Maybe I was stuck in a time loop, and would look for Cheryl over and over for eternity, following clues that ran me in circles in this accursed town. I splashed water on my face, letting it run down. I relaxed for a moment, letting my mind rest, when an ear-splitting scream startled me out of my rest. I crept up to the door, and pressed my ear to listen better.
The noises that followed made my blood curdle. There was a shattering of glass, then multiple screams of horror. Then, a loud thud. More screams, then a barely audible ripping noise followed by an intensified scream. In between screams, there were various cries of “Oh my God,” and “What is that thing!,” “Help!”, or “Get ‘offa me!”
I wanted to rush out there, guns blazing like some cheesy action movie hero, but fear had seem to creep back in on me once again. Doing something in reality is not the same as in your mind. After a moment, there was the sound of someone’s quick foothalls, then a final scream that was choked off quickly with a tearing noise. And I swear, somewhere in between, I thought I heard the sound of fluttering wings. After what seemed like an eternity, the noises stopped.
I waited. One minute went by, and I unholstered my shotgun, pushing the door slightly open with the barrel. Peering through I could only see the wall adjacent to the door. I opened it further, and stuck my head completely out. All I could see from here was a large bloodsmear on the floor, and more seemed to be streaked all over the walls.
I walked further out, my gun at the ready. What I saw was nothing less than a bloodbath. The seven people inside the area were strewn about the room, huge gashes across their necks and torsos. One man was cut almost completely in half, his insides spilling out. These people were completely massacred.
I choked back bile, but could only hold it for so long, dashing back into the bathroom. After emptying what few things were left in my stomach, I leaned against the tiled wall of the bathroom. I breathed heavily, trying not to focus on the tightening of my stomach muscles.
I went back out into the main area, looking once again at the total carnage. There was shattered glass from the broken window and pieces of --skin tissue?-- on the floor. I couldn’t say for absolute sure, but it almost looked like part of a wing. The piece was grayish, and was scaly feeling like a reptile’s skin. I shivered, and dropped it. Perhaps the creatures didn’t even need a siren to appear anymore. Maybe Silent Hill’s nightmare is growing stronger. That seal at the school…maybe it had intensified everything. Who knew at this point?
Standing there, I got a very interesting glimpse of the future. A policeman just happened to drive by the postal office, and saw dead people thrown all around. In the midst of it was me, holding a shotgun. That wouldn’t be good PR at all. Deciding there was nothing else I could do here, I trekked on to the hospital.
Shaking from the shock and emptiness of my stomach, I went back out into the foggy, snow-riddled streets of Silent Hill. Paranoia only made me feel worse. That flying creature could still be nearby. My flashlight’s beam quivered, and I would snap it in any direction I heard a noise. Fortunately, the noises never heralded any more Things…yet
Without any uncouth interruptions, I traveled down Crichton to Alchemilla Hospital. I noticed as I walked through the streets that there were no houses here. This area must a commercial and shopping district. There mainly general stores, some dress shops, a pizza joint with a vintage arcade machine, a burger place. All of the stores were done in a style reminiscent of the 50’s and 60’s. There was even an Apothecary sign on one of them, and a Barber Shop, with the spinning red and white pole.
Within mere minutes, I was there.
So this was Alchemilla Hospital…
In all its dark splendor. The size of the hospital itself was not very large, but something about its very presence seemed very threatening. Like some hulking monster watching over its den. And its physical presence wasn’t the only factor that made it so menacing. Violence seemed to radiate from the place, coming off in thick waves. It was as if the hospital was the essence of death. You could dismiss that as being normal at most hospitals, because people died in hospitals all the time….but this was different.
It wasn’t just the presence of death, it was the presence of evil. Subconsciously, I knew that this was the place where I would have a lot of questions answered. Hospitals were scary enough by their own volition, but in a place like this, it might as well be Hell itself .
Nevertheless, I had to enter.
Taking a step forward, I immediately felt a primitive instinct, a subconscious notion of self-preservation pulling me away from the building. All the same, the hospital and the answers within beckoned to me. With every step forward I took, it felt like two magnets of the same polarity were being forced to come together. When I stood at the entrance of the doors, the force of my self-preservation pushed me away the most. Yet, I negated the force by thinking of Cheryl.
I have to do this…for Cheryl.
With my stomach cramping, my nerves shot, I pulled open the doors and stepped inside.
And I knew, once I stepped through those doors, there was no turning back…