Part V: Sewers, Resort Area-Chapter 3
I gasped, seeing the town itself now turn into a nightmare world. The sky went pitch black, and the snow dissipated in seconds, replaced by a steady rain. An invisible wave moved over the streets, transforming it into a crude chain link ground. I noticed that parts of the chain link formed the mark of Samael, a testament to the marks’ involvement in this town’s transformation. Looking through the fence in the ground showed only an inky Abyss. Pipes sprouted out all across the expanse, connected to the fence, as if used for some unseen purpose. Various steel structures protruded from the ground, some looking like cel phone towers and others like rusty windmills.
Sirens continued to wail, and the sound was louder than ever before. The sounds of cracking and peeling whipped through the air. I looked over to see buildings beginning to chip away and smolder, like a time-lapse of a building deteriorating in seconds. Spots of mold and charred pieces appeared, accompanied by the smell of smoke and charred asphalt. It seemed to show the aftermath of a great fire.
As quickly as it began, it ended. The only sound left was my own labored breathing. Silent Hill was not going back and forth between a normal world and a nightmare world anymore. The town itself was the nightmare. Still, I didn’t understand any more what was going on, but the feeling that things were getting worse was unmistakable. I had to hurry.
Ducking through streets and signs, I saw random piles of burning wood with impaled bodies, some twitching in agony. There were more of those monstrous dogs much like the one at the Levin St. house. These were bigger though, and the head consisted of a squirming mass of worms.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get more creative…
Looking at them made me sick. Fortunately, I was moving too stealthily for them to notice me. The nightmarish world’s ground was much more difficult to maneuver. There were random breaks in the catwalk-like ground, and I almost fell through a couple of times. I had to keep backtracking and find different routes. Silent Hill was making things more difficult for me, but it would not stop me.
Before I knew it, the sound of water gently lapping greeted my ears. In seconds, I came upon a wooden boardwalk that sloped down, leading around to a boathouse.
Upon descending the boardwalk, I saw a light moving about inside the boathouse. Cheryl, perhaps? I crept down the remainder of the boardwalk, and peered in the porthole, hoping to get a view of the person inside. It turned up worthless, as the view was blocked by another interior door. Without further abide, I invited myself in.
Inside, I found a wandering Cybil Bennett, who turned and whipped her gun around at my entrance.
“Cybil! It’s me!” I shouted, holding my hands up.
“Oh, thank God you’re alright,” she said, lowering her gun.
“I’m glad that youmade it! Did you see those things in the sewer?”
“No…but I heard some strange noises while I was down there. I just followed the path, and it took me to the other exit. You must have had more trouble.”
“Yeah….just a little. I’m glad you made it okay. I take it you weren’t able to convince Lisa to come.”
“Well, that’s the funny thing. I went down to the hospital, and looked all over the first floor. But there was no one there. Not a single sign. Sure was creepy. I felt like someone was watching me the whole time. Once I was sure that Lisa wasn’t there, I high-tailed it.”
“With all that’s happened here, I’m not completely surprised. At first, I thought I was losing my mind. Now, I’m not so sure. Maybe you’ve seen it, too. This whole town... it's being evaded by this Otherworld. It’s like a world of someone's nightmares or delusions come to life. Little by little, it’s spreading to different areas of Silent Hill. Maybe that’s what Dahlia meant by ‘Trying to swallow up everything in darkness.’ This is the darkness she was talking about, a weird, alternate world. ”
“I’m not sure I quite get it. You mean a parallel universe?”
“Something like that. It’s still the same town, but twisted and darker. Did you see the chain link ground on the way here?”
“No…? I did hear sirens, though. Those are only supposed to be for natural disasters.”
“Well, in a sense it was…it made everything like there was a fire. Maybe they sounded during the fire and that’s somehow connected. Everything was normal until just now until they started. Every time they sound, something happens. Back in the alley when I first got here, that’s when everything went dark. I guess the ‘darkness’ is literal, too.”
“Why and how could that happen? I know that the Order practices witchcraft, so maybe that stuff is real after all. Unless this is just a bad dream, or even some mass hysteria. Its real….do you think Dahlia’s behind it?”
“I know she is. Why else would she know what’s happening. Someone’s pulling the strings, and if it isn’t her, then she knows who is. She acted like she’s against this darkness. Oh, and she gave me this.” I pulled out the strange, pyramid-shaped Flauros. “She said it would help me fight the darkness. Hasn’t done anything so far…I don't understand it all myself. It’s got to do something...
“And this Alessa girl is involved. She looks strangely like Cheryl, and I don’t understand why but somehow that has to be relevant. I ran into Kaufmann again, and he said something about a ritual Dahlia performed. I think Alessa was part of that ritual. Alessa has been at every location that’s turned into this Nightmare world. She looks almost just like Cheryl, so maybe…”
“Maybe she’s trying to make Cheryl her new daughter, pretending that she’s Alessa. Didn’t you say she tried to bring her back?”
“That’s just what people said, so it may not be true. But a grieving mother who’s crazy to begin with and lost her daughter in a fire…I could almost buy that she would kidnap someone else’s daughter.”
“And trust me, this theory sounds weird but, we’ve already seen plenty of supernatural things already. What if Alessa’s spirit is angry that Dahlia is trying to replace her with someone else? So she’s doing all these things to the town.”
“I’ve heard of ghosts plenty of times and have seen strange things but….they only bother people or throw things around, they can’t change an entire town. I mean we’ve seen weird thigns but that’s a little more far-fetched, Harry.”
“Really? What’s crazy here, anymore. Either way, Kaufmann’s definitely involved with Dahlia.”
“Why would you say that?”
“I saw him at Annie’s Bar, and he was attacked by a monster. I saved him, and in return he told me all that he knew. He and Dahlia had been working together, selling this White Claudia drug to people in town. Making lots of money, and Dahlia used that money to help build her Church. He was getting uncomfortable with the things Dahlia was doing. Said there was a final favor he did for Dahlia, and after that he didn’t deal with her anymore. It must have been something huge to spook him. And get this…he said the last thing he did was to take care of Alessa.”
“Taking care of Alessa…that wording is a bit ominous. Maybe she needed his help to make it look like an accident…oh my God.”
“All this started when Cheryl and I got here. We’ve just got to find out the connection. She’s scared, Cybil. I—I keep hearing her, seeing her all over town!” I suddenly felt myself overwhelmed by everything, and was breaking into hysterics. I was doomed to this place, cursed into some kind of purgatory.
“Harry… this whole thing's been a major blow to you. You need to rest, I think.”
A door creaked, and we both turned to see the inner cabin door open. The person was none other than Dahlia herself.
“Dahlia!” Cybil immediately drew her gun, but Dahlia didn’t respond.
“The demon is awakening! Spreading those terrible wings! Hungry for sacrifice, the demon will swallow up the land in its hunger! I knew this day would come. And what's more, the task is almost finished. There's only two left, to seal this town to the abyss, the mark of Samael. When it is completed, all is lost. Even in daytime, darkness will cover the sun. You’ve seen it happening already. Soon the dead will walk, and martyrs will burn in the fires of hell! Everyone will DIE!”
“Quite babbling, and tell me what I’m supposed to do!”
“It is simple. Stop the demon, and you will save her! The demon is taking that child’s form! Stop it before your daughter becomes a sacrifice. Before it is too late!”
“Child’s form? Your daughter….she’s the demon?!” I inquired.
“Yes! You have already figured it out on your own! You are chosen to defeat her! Only an interloper can undo what has been done!”
“How are we supposed to trust you! You’re behind all of this!” Cybil interjected. “We know all the White Claudia trafficking AND your deal with Kaufmann. You paid him to kill Alessa, didn’t you?” Dahlia scowled at Cybil, and turned her gaze back to me as if completely ignoring her.
“You know nothing, pig! There are others in my Order. They have dabbled into things which they cannot control. I tried to warn them, but they wouldn’t listen. Without my guidance, they went on their own, and only succeeded in freeing evil forces! They’ve opened a gate to a dark world! I am here to stop all of this! And what’s worse, it’s my own daughter!” She seemed now on the verge of tears. “To mock me, that demon they unleashed is taking the form of my daughter. But only the power of an outsider can stop it. My visions have shown me! The fate of it all is upon you, Harry Mason.”
“Me? I don’t know anything about any of this! How can I stop it! You’re the ones who are involved in this. If it’s really your magic that started it all, it can undo it too.”
“It is simple, what you must do. Go to the lighthouse on the lake, and to the center of the amusement park. Those are the last two places they need to create the mark to complete its task. If you can catch her in time, use the Flauros.”
“How am I supposed to use it?”
“You will know when the time comes! Now make haste, you are the only hope and time is short!”
Cybil broke in. “Dahlia, you’re coming with me. You’re under arrest for drug trafficking, and we’ll find out more about your ‘deal’ with Kaufmann.” Cybil walked towards the cabin door with her gun still drawn. I tensed up, expecting Dahlia to make a move.
“Very well, then.” Dahlia lowered her voice and turned to Cybil. I creased my brow, wondering what she was up to. She put her hands out to be cuffed, and turned her back to Cybil, facing me. Cybil read Dahlia her rights as she put handcuffs on her wrists.
“Once again, thank you Cybil. And be careful.” I shot a quick glance at Dahlia, changing my phrase to a subtle, “Be careful.”
“I’ll be fine, Harry. I’m going to take her to the amusement park, just in case we can catch Alessa there. I wouldn’t believe earlier she was actually here, had I not seen her walk across the lake myself. We’ll wait for you.”
“Do not worry! I will take good care of Cybil. Hurry on to the lighthouse, Harry! There isn’t much time!”
Dahlia turned, and both she and Cybil exited. I then began to feel that leaving her with Dahlia might not be the best choice, but what other option did I have? Keeping them with me would only slow me down.
Standing there, holding the Flauros, I felt suddenly lost. What am I supposed to do with this? Hold it up in the air, and whisper “abra kadabra?” Surely Dahlia would tell me more if I needed to know, right? Of this, I was not sure
Something about what Dahlia told us about other people in her cult being responsible …it just didn’t seem to add up. She was lying about something, but I had no time to wonder. Time was of the essence.
The next five minutes went by in a blur. I was out of the cabin door and onto the pier. It was difficult, getting to the lighthouse. Due to the changed world, it was not a straight shot through the pier as it should be. The change had broken areas much like the street of chain-link fence. I had to zig-zag my way through.
All the while, I found more of the mutated dogs creeping about and even spotted a couple of those flying pterodactyl creatures. I was able to stay unnoticed, and finally made it through. I looked up at an ancient-looking lighthouse, which seemed to loom over me in the pitch black sky.
The structure was more than foreboding; it was a dark guardian, looking out into the expanse of the harbor and town. There were a set of wooden stairs leading to the lighthouse entrance. Very quickly, the aching in my body came back. The fog had been zapping it out of me from the beginning, and it was taking its toll. Yet, I still had the same motivation I’d always had from the beginning.
Vaguely, I saw a shadowy figure atop the lighthouse. The figure itself was luminescent, and I had no doubt it was Alessa. The sight of the figure, probably marking the lighthouse, sent me into full motion. I dashed up the steps, taking two at a time, and burst through the entrance.
Now, there was a spiraling set of steep metal stairs. They went up, up, and into the top of the lighthouse. My adrenaline carried me (thankfully) to the top. Wind whistled loudly through the air outside, and the clang of the metal steps pinged and clanked sharply. After what felt like an hour (but in actuality was a minute or two) I reached the top.
Right away, I felt a strange energy, like an invisible force that enveloped the space all around me. I stopped at the sight of Alessa, looking up to the sky with her arms outstretched. It was like she was in a trance, performing some kind of dark rite.
“Alessa!” I yelled. “Stop this!” I was out of breath, and could barely muster the words. She turned around in a dramatic slow turn, her form entrancing me. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her even if I wanted to. A strange, creepy smile played across her face that immediately made me uncomfortable. It was the face of a child with mischief in mind.
“You’re too late now. Soon, it will be finished.” I had to say something, anything that might convince her otherwise. My Flauros wasn’t doing anything, and I had no idea how to stop a ghost.
“No, you can’t! Your mother…she’ll be so disappointed. Do you want to make her sad?” At this, Alessa let out a maniacal laugh.
“Disappointed? She’s the one that made me into what I am! You must be so gullible to believe her lies! By now, your friend is already dead! Too bad that she won’t be able to witness the beginning of the end!”
A horrible feeling wrenched my gut.
Without another word, she faded into nothing. The ground beneath me trembled, and a hot glow of energy flowed through the ground. A line of red light formed, tracing out a triangle shape, and then two outer rings with some strange markings in between. Before it was halfway done, I already knew what it would be, the mark of Samael. Alessa was right, I was too late to stop things here. But, the amusement park wasn’t far away, so there was still a chance.
I thought over everything she said as I rushed back down the lighthouse steps to the amusement park.
She made me what I am! The beginning of the end… Believed her lies…by now your friend is already dead!
As I made my way towards Lakeside I could feel deep within my gullet that Cybil was already in trouble.