Part IV: Central Silent Hill-Chapter 3
Panicked, I fumbled for my shotgun and only succeeded in dropping it. I wrenched my flashlight out of my jacket, clicking it on (and it worked again, oh thank you God it worked again) with as much speed as my hands would allow. I caught a split second glimpse of something white coming toward me, and the glint of something metallic and flat in the air. I jumped to the right, and the shiny object was jammed into the wall on my left. I swung around, aiming the flashlight on the thing that had just tried to kill me. What I saw sickened me to the core.
It was a nurse, or what was formerly a nurse. The shiny reflection was from a long knife she held loosely at her side. She wore a standard nurse uniform, an old-fashioned one at that. But any resemblance of a nurse ended there. Her hair hung down in wet, tangled strands. The skin that showed through was rotted and covered in boils. When she stood back up, I saw that a beachball-sized tumor grew out from her back, (similar to the doctor’s), causing her to hunch over in a most uncomfortable way. It didn’t seem to impede her movement, for she came right back around towards me with no impediment.
This time, I had a light to guide me, and I was able to get my gun out. My pistol in my right hand, I placed it on top of my left hand to steady my aim. I had seen the stance done numerous times in movies by cops and hoped that I was actually doing it right.
I opened fire, and the Magnum jumped in my hands. The nurse staggered back, a large bullet hole opening up in her right shoulder. She swayed, but still came back at me. The second shot landed in her neck, blood pouring out of the wound. Yet, still she continued. Finally, I got off a shot to her head, blowing it almost clean off her shoulders. The grotesque, boil-covered body of the mutated nurse fell to the ground as blood cascaded over the corpse. Sighing, I felt a huge relief that these things could be killed. I gradually moved towards the lifeless body, my beam darting left and right.
I stood over her, inspecting the body more. She looked like someone who’d grown up near a nuclear waste facility. Much like the doctor’s skin, it was jagged with raised bumps all over, like a really horrible rash. And on top of that were the large boils. I had the feeling that if I poked one of those boils with a needle that some ickory liquid would squirt everywhere. I struggled to keep myself from retching at the thought.
The sound of multiple footsteps stopped my expelling of bile, and I witnessed three nurses begin to round the corner towards me. The shots must have attracted them. Retreat seemed the best option, and I tried a nearby door. Jammed…just my luck. I tried another one to find the same result.
I kept trying until I found an open one at the end of the hall. Finally inside, I slammed the door behind me. I darted around the room, and grabbed a nearby desk. Sweat pouring, I dragged it across the room, blocking the door should the nurses try to break through.
Huffing, I slid to the floor, listening for the sounds. All I heard was the faint sound of foot halls, but they didn’t seem to be coming any closer, only ambling around. Perhaps they weren’t intelligent enough to try doors. Sighing, I turned my gaze to the space between two beds, and froze. A large puddle of blood pooled beneath the window, and a giant set of tentacles were drinking it. My stomach churned like a barrel of butter.
The sound was the most awful thing. There was a shick and pop of the tentacles sucking the blood through small feelers on the end. An orderly’s body leaned against the bed on the left, the apparent source of blood. I turned away, not wanting to look at the sight anymore. I listened more for the sound of the nurses, and heard nothing. Perhaps I could sneak out, and try to make my way back to the elevator and get my shotgun back.
Getting up, my flashlight danced over the grotesque, brown-green tentacles, and the light suddenly reflected off something. I held my beam on the spot for a moment, holding my hand up to block the reflected light, and took a reluctant step forward. In the dead orderly’s rigormortis grip was a dull, gold key.
“If this is the right key, I’ve got some damn good luck,” I said in disbelief. Everything was falling into place well.
Far too well, if you ask me.
Something was going to give at some point. I took another step forward, and suddenly one of the tentacles lashed out at me. I stumbled backward, almost falling on my buttocks. The tentacle went no further, unable to reach. It strained forward, trying to stretch itself to hopefully reach more fresh blood.
I reached into my jacket, and pulled out the packet from Kaufmann’s office. I looked at it for a moment, and grabbed the sides. After a moment I pried it open and threw it forward, directly within the tentacles’ reach. Immediately, the tentacles went into a feeding frenzy, grabbing the packet and drinking it with the hideous smacking noises. I shivered, thinking of those feelers clinging to my flesh, draining the blood from my own body.
Moving quickly, I reached forward and snatched the key out of the man’s grasp, and jumped back a step. The tentacles were still feeding. I groaned, the sound making me nauseous. I examined the key thoroughly, looking for any clues to what it would unlock. There was no marker or anything stating the key’s purpose.
“How am I supposed to know what this goes to?” I thought. The only way to find out was to use it. I had no other options. I could spend time looking for more keys, but with those weird nurses stalking around the place, I didn’t want to wander any more than I had to. I could try, and if the key didn’t work, I would just have to search the hospital even more, as much as I didn’t like the idea.
So I dragged the dresser away, and crept back out into the hallway. No sign of any nurses so far. I inched my way down the hallway, my gun ready to fire at any moment. Now closer to the entrance door, I focused my beam on the ground. About three feet from the door, my light shined on the barrel of my shotgun. I dashed for it, keeping my back to the entrance door. Just as I seized the gun, I heard a scream. The glint of multiple knives reflected off my flashlight’s beam, and the nurses were running towards me.
I stuck my magnum into my belt, and reached behind me with my free hand, the shotgun trained towards the center of the nurses. My fingers only felt wood for a moment, and finally, the cold roundness of a metal doorknob. I grabbed it, turning my body as well as the doorknob, and then ran through the door and shut it in one fluid movement.
Afraid to turn my back to the door, I took steps backwards towards the elevator. After a second or two, I felt the cold metal of the elevator doors, and I smacked the Down button. I kept my gun steadied toward the door as I heard the hum of the motor, and it finally came. In moments, I was back down to the first floor. I came out into the first floor, finding it in identical shape as the fourth floor was, except tt had been changed into the Otherworld.
Blood and rust covered the walls, giving off a rank and metallic smell. The walls were peeling and littered in cracks. It reminded me that those things could be on this level as well, and I kept my shotgun out. I made my way to the basement stairs unmolested. In moments, I stood before the Basement Storeroom, in a blood-spattered hallway, a dark mirrored version of the real hospital.
Or was the Dark version of the hospital the real one and the “regular” version actually unreal?
Praying silently that I didn’t have to go back upstairs, I slid the key into the keyhole. The key went in easily enough, but stopped. I tried to turn it, but it didn’t work. No, no, it can’t be. I turned it the other way, with no result. Finally, I shoved it in further, wiggling it back and forth vigorously. Then, my hopes ascended with the smooth “click” of the lock. This was the right key after all! I opened the door, feeling hopeful about my new discovery.
The room was small, much smaller than I expected. There was only a large shelf, a table, and a tall, skinny cabinet. Various medical supplies like pain medications, antibiotics, gauze wraps, IV’s, needles, and bags of fluid lined the large shelf. The table only adorned a small lamp. The tall cabinet sat alone on the left wall, seeming out of place somehow. Before examining, I took some rolls of gauze from the larger shelf, wrapping my hand. The ache in my knuckles was intensifying, and I needed to shield my hand from any possible infection. As dingy as this nightmare world was, there was no telling what diseases lurked on the rustic walls.
I took two extra strength pain meds, and went back to the cabinet. I opened it up, finding only large wraps of bandages. Stepping back, I noticed the shelf wasn’t completely flat against the wall. I checked the sides, and noticed scratch marks on the floor, as if something had been dragged. Light bulbs went on in my brain, and I immediately started shoving the shelf to the side. I found it was almost too easy, and soon uncovered an aged, wooden door.
This was the moment. Without any hesitation, I opened the door to find a long flight of stairs leading down. They went down so far, my light didn’t even show the bottom.
Down I went, and Lord only knows for how long. Further and further down the rabbit hole, Alice.
The light was much darker down here, so I had to take my time to keep from tripping. After what seemed like forever, I came to a short hallway. It was plain, cement and led to a single door at the end. I was through in mere moments.
I wasn’t sure what I was seeing, my eyes adjusting to the light. A large fluorescent light buzzed loudly overhead, lighting the room just enough to see. There were some random pictures on the walls, but the point of interest was not on the walls but in the middle. A hospital bed soaked through with dried blood took the center stage, with a drip stand and a small dresser on both sides. I moved closer, noticing that a picture of Alessa took prominence on the dresser.
The picture of the hospital from earlier immediately came to mind.
Alessa was kept here?
Wraps of gauze sat atop the bed, completely saturated with blood. What had happened to her? That girl who was in the classroom and appeared on my camera at the playground…did she die here? Suddenly, something moved in the back corner, where an end table sat. I shone my flashlight over there, and caught a glimpse of blonde hair.
Squinting in awe, I watched as a woman in a nurse’s outfit climbed from underneath the table, her eyes glazed over. I started to reach for my gun, but realized that nothing was wrong with her. There was no large cancerous ulcers on her back, no blood caked on her face. In fact, she looked quite lovely.
She was a tall, blonde woman, and obviously in distress. Upon standing, she froze for a moment, looking me over as if checking to see if I was okay. Our eyes met, and realization flashed in her eyes. In one quick movement she ran to me, snatching me up in a hug. She wept loudly, her shoulders shaking. Whoever this woman was, she was scared out of her wits and from how tightly she held me I may have been the only human she’s seen in forever.
I stood there for a second, unsure of what to do. Awkwardly, I put my arms around her and held her. How strange, to be comforting a complete stranger like this. But I did. It felt like the right thing to do.
There was no telling what this woman had been through, and most likely had encountered as many horrors as myself, if not more.
I don’t know how long we stood there, holding each other, but it felt good. Not in a sensual way, it just felt good to feel the embrace of another person. They say that aside from smell, touch is one of the strongest senses attached to emotion.
Especially after all the horrible events that transpired, the embrace felt very good and I couldn’t but help for a moment imagine that I was holding Jodie. Tears fought to the surface, but I was able to keep them under control...barely. I missed her so much, so badly. This wasn’t Jodie here in real life, but for now I could pretend. Living a lie is better sometimes…
Her sobs eventually stifled, and she stepped back to look at me reproachfully.
“I’m sorry, I just…”
“It’s alright…” I said soothingly. “You’re safe now.”
“Oh…it’s so good to find someone who’s….normal. What’s your name?”
“Harry Mason. Uh….yours?”
“Lisa Garland…you’re not from around here, are you?”
“No, I’m not. I was in town on vacation, and crashed my car. When I woke up, my daughter was gone. I’ve been searching all around town trying to find her. Have you seen a seven-year old girl around here? She’s got short black hair, wearing a white and blue checkered dress?”
Lisa thought for a moment and shook her head.
“No, I’m afraid I haven’t. I was in the storeroom, trying to get some supplies earlier today…or was it yesterday? It’s really kind of hard to tell now. Anyway, after I came down here I felt dizzy and passed out. When I woke up, everything had changed. I went upstairs, and there were the other nurses but they were…different. They were monsters, and tried to attack me. So I came back down here, because it was safer. And then I found that door. That must be why they didn’t want us in the storeroom, to hide this place. But, no one’s here. I wonder what were they trying to hide. From the look of this , it looks like someone was kept here.”
“I don’t know…but who or whatever it is they were trying to hide, it’s not here anymore. I think that that Doctor Kaufmann has something to do with this.”
“Dr. Kaufmann?! No! He’s a great man! I work personally with him. He looks after us, takes care of us very well. Why would you think that?”
“I…I don’t really know. I met him upstairs, in the Examination Room. He’d killed one of those creatures. He just seemed like he was up to something, and kind of left me in a big hurry. It’s hard to explain, it was just his demeanor. You’d think he would want to team up with someone else, with the way things are. Instead, he just left me in a hurry.”
“Sounds like maybe you’re just on
edge, maybe a little paranoid, Harry. Strange situations can cause people to
act strange. I’ve been a nurse long enough to experience it from patients and
their relatives. Besides, maybe he remembered there were patients or others who
needed his help.”
“Maybe..maybe you’re right. Perhaps he had patients still...before the change. This place, this town. It changes. I don’t know how to explain it. Sometimes, there’s this siren, and everything gets dark. And then, everything changes to this.” I pointed to the room, noting rust and blood on the walls. “It did this at the elementary school, too. What’s going on here, Lisa?”
“I…I don’t know. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Weird stuff happens in this town, and the some of the people are acting strange too. But nothing like this. I’m sorry, I just don’t know.”
“Yeah,” I sighed, and looked at her. She really was quite pretty, with her fair skin and oval face. I had a sudden urge to kiss her, and stopped myself. “Let’s get out of here,” I blurted out.
“That’s…probably a good idea,” she laughed nervously, and we both stood up. We made our way out of the hidden basement, up the stairs, and back up to the first floor in comfortable silence. Having the presence of another normal human being made me feel much better. As we walked by the Examination Room, I suddenly began to feel faint. I wobbled, putting my hand on the wall to steady myself. The walls seemed to move of their own accord. It felt like the floor was moving underneath me. Had I been drugged?
“Whoa…” I uttered. Lisa grabbed my shoulder, helping to steady me.
“Harry, you alright?” She asked, concern set in her eyes.
“I…I need to lie down.”
“Here. Let’s go in here,” she replied, opening the Exam Room door. She helped me in, and I sat on the table. Everything seemed wobbly, my equilibrium thrown off. Luckily I had a nurse to watch over me now.
“You’re definitely dizzy,” she probed.
“Yeah, I just…my head feels fuzzy. And it’s like I have Vertigo or something. The walls are moving…”
“Did you take any medicine from the storeroom?” She asked, more concern building in her face.
“I just took some Tylenol for my aches. I got hurt a couple of times around town….”
Suddenly, the rising wail of the siren began, and my head was livid with pain. I clutched the sides of my head, my cranium a throbbing mass of aches. It felt like needles were crawling in my head, while a vise tightened around it Red spots sprouted in my vision, making it almost impossible to see. The siren began to reach its fever pitch now.“Harry? Harry?!” Lisa yelled, rushing to my side. I felt myself fall over and completely black out. The last thing I heard was the falling, continual wail of the sirens