Part IV: Central Silent Hill-Chapter 2
Hospitals were never a place that made me feel comfortable, especially associating them with my wife’s untimely death. Now, here in this forsaken place, my nerves were walking on eggshells.
The main lights didn’t seem to be on, but it was still fairly visible inside. Emergency lights gave enough light to see, even if it was dim. Any excuse to save my batteries was a good one. I clicked off my flashlight, placing it in my jacket pocket.
There was a front desk to my left, a simple coffee table and a couch to my right. Straight ahead, the hall went around a corner to the left. Walking forward, I could tell that this hospital was abandoned just as much as the rest of the town. Everything was covered in dust, my hand leaving prints on everything I touched. First things firs, I needed to find a map. The only thing worse than being in a hospital was being lost in a hospital.
Above the couch was a map encased in glass, tacked to a square piece of corkboard.
“Ask and you shall receive,” I mumbled.
The glass easily slid to the side, and pulled the map out to survey it. There was an examination room around the corner. Not knowing what else I should do, I followed the hall around the corner to that very room.
Entering, I came upon a strange sight. A man, dressed in a nicely-pressed, gray business suit sat in a chair, staring at the floor. His hair was jet-black, and slicked back.. He had a gun in his hand, hanging limp from his wrist. It looked like he had dozed off as he sat in the chair.
Following his gaze (whether conscious or not) to the floor, I stepped back when I sawsome odd monstrosity lying dead on the floor. It was large, covering about eight square feet. The skin was a stony-gray color, much like the piece I had found in the Post Office. It looked a lot like a pterodactyl with razor-tipped claws and long, membranous leathery wings. The stench of its death hung in the air, stinging my nostrils. It may as well have been the same monster that killed all those people back at the post office.
All this came in at once, causing me to gasp aloud. The sound of my gasp was apparently louder than I thought. The business man snapped his head up and opened fire, and I dropped instinctively…the bullet whizzing past my head. It was so close, I literally heard it whistle by my ear.
“Don’t shoot!” I yelled, holding my hands up. “I’m a human. I’m normal. Look, see? I’m okay!” His aim lowered as his senses came to him. A 9mm bullet hole was left smoking in the wall, not three inches from my head. The smell of gunpowder plumed through the air.
“Oh…” The man uttered, his face sagging as if in embarrassment. “Thank God. Another human being! I almost shot you! Forgive me…I…I must have dozed off, and you startled me…” The man seemed honestly sorry, but his tone still had a neutral intonation.
“It’s okay. With the way things are, you’d have to be on edge in this….nightmarish place. Do you work here?”
“Yes, I'm Doctor Michael Kaufmann.”
“Do you know anything about what's going on? I don’t live here, I’m just a tourist. I came here on vacation, and crashed my car. When I woke up…”
“It was like this, right? You’re not the only one. I was taking a nap in the staff lounge after working a double shift, and woke up to weird noises. Everyone seems to have disappeared. And it's snowing out…..at this time of year. Then, this weird fog has covered the town. Something's gone seriously wrong. Did you see any other monsters? Have you ever seen such aberrations? You and I both know creatures like that don't exist.”
“I totally agree. Look, I’m here trying to find my daughter. Have you seen a little girl anywhere? She's only seven. She’s got short black hair. Wearing a plaid dress?”
“Your daughter’s missing? At a time like this, too…I'm sorry. With all those monsters around, I highly doubt that she's...”
I felt a knot of dread in my stomach at his words, knowing that it could very well be true. I’d tried not to think about it before. He sensed my apprehension.
”Sorry, I didn't mean to alarm you. Your wife, she's here with you, right?”
“My wife…died four years ago. It’s just me and my daughter.”
“I see. I'm…sorry to hear that. And just now, I almost killed you. Guess I shouldn’t have fallen asleep with a gun in my hand, huh? This…thing…” He pointed to the ground, “…was in this room when I came in here. Probably came through the window.” He nodded towards the window in the back.
“You…you’re the only other person who’s seen these monsters,” I whispered to myself.
“What was that?”
“Oh…oh nothing. It’s just strange. I’ve found other people around town. It’s not completely deserted, but…no one else has seen the same monsters that I’ve seen. This one police officer…she’s seen the sink holes around town, and was attacked by a bartender at the Café Stop.”
“Oh…was she hurt?”
“No, no. She didn’t give him a chance. There were strange marks on his body. I wasn’t actually there when it happened, but I didn’t second guess after seeing other strange things here. I was at the post office earlier, I…I…tried to warn them about things going on but…they didn’t listen to me.”
“…hmm. Strange. Although I have noticed people here seem to go out of their way to stay out of other people’s affairs. Although you’d think with a girl missing….what other strange things have you seen? You seem to have come across more than me.”
“Where to even begin….? This sudden darkness comes at certain times, I’ve been attacked by these demonic looking children, some type of shadow-ghost, there was even a giant marking at the school, looked like a pentagram of some sort. And there’s apparently some type of a cult that resides here in town. There’s a woman…Dahlia Gillespie who seems to be a major figure with…I think The Order is what they called it.”
At this, the doctor’s expression changed, as if he was taken aback that I would know this. Almost the look a man who is afraid of being found out. Immediately after, he went back to a more curious but seemingly emotionless aura.
“I don’t know what to tell you. That sounds like quite a story you’ve got on your hands. Well, I'd better be going. I can't just sit around here talking, it makes me feel useless. I’ve got important business I must attend to. I bid you aideu.”
With that, he pushed right past me in a hurry, and threw the door closed behind him.
“Wait!” I called, going after him. This man was one of the few sane people I’d run into, and he was running away! I came out of the Examination Room, and barely caught a glimpse of gray from the man’s suit going through the hallway door leading into the south end. I was running full speed, but he was well ahead of me. I went through another set of doors into the east area. I caught a split second glimpse of Kaufman as he disappeared into the elevator doors, waving bye to me with a dark, satisfied grin. When I pressed the button to call it back, there was no response…
In fact, the light to the elevator button fizzled out as if the power to the elevator were suddenly cut.
One thing was for sure: Dr. Kaufmann did not want to be followed. Feelings of conspiracy invaded my thoughts. I had no proof, but this fellow was involved. The way he seemed alarmed when I mentioned Dahlia and the Order, and then had to leave so urgently. Something big was going on in Silent Hill, even if it was separate from these nightmarish events. If I could get ahold of this Kaufmann again, I’d definitely want to confront him about what he knew. I just needed some concrete evidence. Perhaps the evidence I needed was right here in this hospital.
I looked back down the hallway, trying to decide where to go next. Referring to the map, I decided that maybe I should cover this entire floor before jumping to the next. I wasn’t completely sure what I was looking for, anyway. Two rooms, the Director’s Office and the Doctor’s Office, looked promising as far as holding any important information. Hopefully they would tell me something more about this wretched place.
I tried the Director’s Office first, only to find it locked by a sturdy, wooden door.
“Okay, let’s see what’s behind door number two,” I muttered sardonically. This time, I had more luck.
“Dr. Kaufmann” was etched across the opaque glass window. The door swung open easily enough, taking me into a small office with nothing out of the ordinary. A small file cabinet, desk, a slew of scenic pictures, and two chairs adorned the office. A memo pad, some pens, and other miscellaneous items sat in perfect order on the desk. I fished through the drawers first, slinging them open and rifling through various papers and office supplies.
What doctor leaves his office unlocked and unattended like that? I thought. Oh well. His loss, my gain. I continued to rummage through his drawers, trying to find a note, a scribble of information, anything that could clue me in to what was going on. I was sure this Kaufmann knew something that I didn’t.
After a fruitless search, I gave up. As I stood up to leave, I heard a whirring noise, and jumped in surprise. It was a fax coming through a nearby fax machine. Relieved, I rushed over to see what strange clue was showing up now. Maybe even Cheryl was guiding me somehow, leaving a trail for me to find. A supernatural tale of Hansel and Gretel came to mind.
A piece of paper fell into the tray, which I snatched up and perused
All personnel are NOT to go into the Basement Storeroom, unless supervised by Dr Kaufmann or Director Irving. It will be locked until further notice. Thank you”
All too easy, it seemed. Perhaps this White Claudia plant or drug mentioned at the police station was stored there. Dr. Kaufmann probably may even be distributing it, and maybe that’s the package referred by Kim Gordon. It was a loose connection, but many clues I’d found so far were somewhat cohesive.
I could probably prove it, if I could just get into the storeroom to find the real dirt. And while it would be nice to get some information about this, the more daunting question was where Cheryl could be. I only prayed this supposed drug ring wasn’t attached to her somehow. What if children were a part of distribution too…
I searched the room top to bottom, but to no avail. What I did find was a blood pack inside a small refrigerator in his office. It was a small, white mini-fridge like you’d see in a college dorm room. A note stuck to it said, “Tentacle food.”
Tentacles? What was he talking about? Odd as it was, it wouldn’t surprise me to find a tentacle monster here, of all things. It’s not like I hadn’t experienced anything less strange than that. Doubtfully, I decided to take the blood pack with me anyway. What could it hurt, besides feeling weird?
“Weird seems pretty normal around here,” I commented to myself.
The pack sloshed and squished with a sickly noise with each step I made way to the “Down” stairs. I could at least try the Storeroom door before ripping the place apart for a key. I made my way downstairs, finding the lights growing dimmer as I went down. Finally, I had to use my flashlight again to see. The emergency back-up lights were not used here, apparently. Which was odd, considering the first door I encountered led to a Generator room.
Going in, I found that the generator was not on. Perhaps someone had cut it off? I walked over and pulled the lever to the right, followed by the loud hum of machinery. The overhead lights flickered and seemed to come on, but only at half-mass.
“I’ll take what I can get,” I said with a sigh and went back out into the hallway. There were only two other doors, one a janitor’s closet. When I tried the other door, I found it locked tight. It had to be the Basement Storeroom. Cursing under my breath, I knew that now I had to search the whole damn hospital for this key.
If it was even here…
This was not going to be a fun time, but at least the elevator would work now. Remembering how dark basements suddenly made you panic as you left, I hurriedly made my way up the stairs, coming out to the 1st floor once again. The elevator was thankfully nearby, and I found with much relief that it was working.
Once inside, I immediately felt uneasy due to the bloody gurney I found inside. There was a bump under the gurney’s sheets, signifying a body inside. This I immediately solved by wheeling it out into the 1st floor hallway without a second glance. Now gurney-free, I pressed the button for the 2nd floor. My eyes glanced over at the gurney, and I swear that as the elevator doors closed, the lump in the sheets began to move.
The whir of elevator pulleys began, and I was moving upwards. After a moment of the elevator’s hum and the slight jolt of a stop, the doors opened back up.
Immediately, I thought of being ambushed, and readied my shotgun. Fortunately, nothing came for me, and I was safe for now. The elevator doors led out to a small, lobby area with some armchairs and a small couch. A large door stood to my left, most likely leading into the main hall looking old and decrepit. To much of my dismay, I found them locked.
“Why is everything locked?” I yelled, kicking at the door. What kind of hospital locked doors to the hallways? What is wrong with this place?! Maybe there are people barricaded inside. Still, it didn’t help me any.
Huffing, I sulked back to the elevator, and pressed the button for “3.” Surprisingly, this was the last floor. How small of a hospital is this? Rethinking how tall the hospital looked, it didn’t seem right. It wasn’t a huge hospital, but it surely had more than three floors, didn’t it?
Ding! I had arrived.
On the third floor, the same layout persisted. And once again, the doors were locked. Cursing, I took out my shotgun in a fury. I held it up, aiming it directly at the doorknob, and fired. The shotgun resounded with a thunderous boom, seeming to shake the room. After, I lowered my gun and went to open the door, I froze in shock. The doors were exactly the same, as if nothing had even touched it.
The blast from my shotgun had done absolutely nothing.
There was no bullet holes, no sign of damage at all. Disbelief filling me, I fired again. The shot almost seem disappear within an inch of the door. I got a closer look to find the remnants of the shell lying at the foot of the door. It was as if there was some kind of forcefield around the doors, protecting it from intrusion. When the contents of the shell hit it, it simply just dropped to the floor. Giving up, I stomped back into the elevator. I slid to the floor, holding my head in frustration. I let my eyes relax, not focusing on anything. Now, I had to go back over these floors by foot on the stairs.
Trying to calm myself, I stood back up and went to push the button for the 1st floor, and then stepped back in surprise. Instead of a row of four buttons (B, 1F, 2F, 3F) as before, there was a fifth button labled “4F”. It definitely was not there before, because I would have noticed it by now.
“Son of a gun,” I said in wonder. Cautious at first, I let my finger hover closely in front of the button, expecting some explosion or booby trap. It couldn’t be. While I had nightmarish creatures attack me, Silent Hill had also shown me things to help me further my progress. I went ahead and pushed it, not knowing what other alternative I had.
The elevator then hitched violently, knocking me to the floor. I grabbed onto the handrail, pulling myself up. The pull of the gravity weighed on my arm, and I held steadfast. I didn’t want to be thrown around like a rag doll. A dull creak issued outside the elevator, and I waited in dark anticipation. It sounded like the elevator cord was going to snap. So I waited, and waited. Finally, the elevator continued, but it didn’t stop; at least not when it should have.
The other floors only took fifteen seconds to arrive, and now it had been a minute and a half. Finally, when I thought it would never end, the elevator rumbled and jerked to a stop, knocking me to the floor again. Faintly I thought I heard a siren wail, but I was probably imagining it. The doors parted slowly, revealing the plain lobby once again.
Perhaps the ride wasn’t any longer. It was just my mind playing tricks on me, because I was worried about where this 4th floor was going to take me. This fog had gotten to me again.
I approached the door to the main hallway with a feeling that perhaps this place would prove a better experience than the elementary school. After all, I hadn’t run into anything yet. I couldn’t have been any farther from the truth.
Stepping into the hallway, I found with high hopes that all the lights were on. Everything looked normal, as it should. No nightmare world filled with rustic walls and caged floors, or dried-up blood splattered on the walls like some demented Jackson Pollock interior decoration. The good feeling followed me, and then I got to the middle of the hallway, and the lights suddenly faded out with a crackle. Perhaps my perception of the siren wail was not an auditory hallucination after all.
The darkness had come, once again. I panicked and turned backward too quickly, tangling up my feet and falling chin first onto the floor. The uncomfortable shockwave of my teeth clacking together traveled through my jaw and to the top of my head. I flipped over, rubbing my chin with my palm. A dull throb of pain followed. I instinctively stuck my finger in my mouth, expecting a tooth to be missing, even though it wouldn’t be. It didn’t hit them quite hard enough for that.
Suddenly, a noise made me forget my pain.
There was a dead silence at first, and then it came again. It was a harsh, ragged breathing sound, like someone with asthma had just ran a marathon. It was loud with a hoarse croup to it. My body tensed up, and I began to feel around for my flashlight, but my hand wouldn’t obey the orders my brain gave it.
The wheezy breathing rose and fell to a specific rhythm, as if it was doing something that required it to stop every few seconds. Then, I began to hear a subsequent sound after every huff. It was a skidding sound, as if something was being dragged.
The rhythm continued on. Breath…drag…breath…drag…breath…
Fumbling still, I was finally able to get my flashlight out from my pocket and turn it on. Further down the hall, I caught the horrific sight of a doctor, covered in blood and unsightly-looking sores, dragging a dead body across the hall and into a room. A huge hump stuck out in the doctor’s back, so large it looked as if someone stuffed a couple of basketballs in the upper-back of his coat. His skin was bumped up like poison ivy, similar in fashion to the bartender’s skin. When the doctor dragged the body, it left large bloody skid marks on the floor. After a moment, he passed through the door, towing the cadaver behind him. He closed the door, and it fell silent again.
Without any warning, my flashlight blanked out. Cursing, I started to bang on it, and finally gave up. Maybe it got overheated?. I stuffed it back in my pocket and started to feel along the walls, when suddenly I heard footsteps.
It started slow…then began to speed up. Listening intently to the acoustics, I realized with a knot in my stomach, that something was moving towards me, and I couldn’t see an inch in front of my face…