Part VI: Nowhere-Chapter 1
“Harry? Harry, wake up!” A voice called to me from the pitch black that surrounded me. I couldn’t feel anything and I was weightless, floating in some black hole of nothingness. The voice seemed to pull me back to reality. Everything moved around me, but I wasn’t sure how I knew when I could see nothing. Then the voice called again.
“Harry? Are you alright? Harry, wake up!”
Very abruptly, a light split open in the darkness, and I was pulled through. I felt myself return, and then my eyes opened to find myself once again in the examination room of Alchemilla Hospital. How many times would I end up here? What was the significance? Perhaps this entire experience was one bad dream after another. Maybe the entire experience of Silent Hill was a dream.
“Lisa. What happened? Where's Alessa and Dahlia?”
“What are you talking about? They haven’t been in here. Alessa couldn’t anyway…” She trailed off, seeming to get upset.
“Lisa, do you know anything about Alessa? I heard she was in a fire. Is that right?”
“Yes…Dahlia’s house caught on fire one night. And Alessa was killed, trapped in the house. There was nothing Dahlia could do. At least I think that’s what happened.”
“What do you mean, you think?”
“Well, I remembered things more clear…before all of this. But some things are fuzzy, like amnesia or something. I still don’t know how I got into that weird room, the one where you found me. And when I really started thinking about it, I couldn’t stop. It was driving me insane.
“So I went back to it, even though I was scared as hell. I hated being in there alone and afraid. But when I went back, it felt…nostalgic. It was as if I’d been there many times before, only I don’t remember why. But when I tried to remember…everything just slipped away. It really bothers me, Harry. I need to remember!”
“It’s okay, Lisa. Just calm down, it’ll come to you. Sometimes rest is the best thing for your memory. Just stay here, and try…”
“I can’t, Harry!” Lisa yelled in frustration, and stood up. Her eyes were wide with confusion. “I…I have to know. Something bad happened and it has something to do with me! I’ve got to go back, I’ve…”
Without finishing her statement, she went flying out the examination room door in hysterics. What was wrong with her? She was so calm before, and now she was acting so unhinged. I began to feel she was in danger of herself, as if she might even….I had to find her.
Upon standing up, I felt around in my pockets for the Flauros, but it was gone. So was everything else. I searched again, and found nothing. I was picked clean.
How did I get here again? Maybe this Flauros thing teleported me, the same way Alessa seemed to materialize out of nowhere.
“Guess all I can do is find her,” I thought. To my utter confusion, I found what was beyond the examination door. Instead of the corridor of the hospital, I was in some open room. A small rail-less walkway went straight forward, surrounded by nothingness on all sides. One false step and…
An elevator…at the end of the walkway stood sentry, almost like it was waiting for me. Expecting me. I felt a pull, a very strong pull coming from it. The doors slowly opened as if in response to my thoughts, the inside looking like the inside of a creature’s mouth.
It beckoned me. It called me. It summoned me.
My destiny was to get into that elevator. Nothing else in the world was more important than that.
I couldn’t resist the call and my feet moved forward, my movements trance-like, my body unable to fight the urge. Soon, I was inside and the doors closed behind me with a loud clang, my destiny fulfilled.
I wanted to be somewhere, but it took me to Nowhere…
I had no idea how long I was inside that elevator. It seemed much like a dream, consciousness never complete nor incomplete. The sense of time and space was surreal, and did not completely exist. In my dream-like haze, I thought of Jodie and Cheryl. Such a short time, three years. But they were far too great to dismiss. Cheryl, Jodie, and I would play together, laughing so much all the while. Cheryl loved to play peek-a-boo, and Jodie and I would take turns humoring her. The laughter was so great, so rich then.
Now, the laughter was choked off into a scream.
“Ahhh!” I stopped in mid-scream. It was me screaming…but why? I didn’t know. I looked up, and found myself in a deserted hallway, covered in rust and rot. It looked very much like the hospital’s hallway in the Nightmare version…wait..it was the hospital.
The sound of a girl giggling startled me, and I jumped up.Cheryl appeared in the hallway, running towards the other end.
“Cheryl!” I called, running after her. We made it to the end of the hallway, but Cheryl did not stop at the door on the end. She simply walked through it.
To my dismay, this wasn’t actually Cheryl, it was simply an apparition. Was this similar to what Cybil saw? Once again, the thought of Cheryl already passing haunted me, but I pushed it aside. The door she passed through was locked, a flat metal bar lay across the width of the door, with screws in each corner of the bar. I couldn’t stop now. There was still much for me to find out. I had to know, if not for Cheryl, for my own sanity.
Not knowing where else to go, I walked back to where I started and entered the first door on my left. It came to a set of stairs, which I dutifully went down. The end of the stairs came at the entrance to a…classroom? It was identical to one of the rooms from Midwich Elementary School. Where was I?
I was Nowhere.
Approaching the desk, I saw that it was the same one that Alessa had been sitting at. In fact, it was the only desk. That was the only difference. There was still the strange weirds carved on the desk like “Thief,” “Drop Dead.” and “Evil.” What kind of child carves things like this on their desk? Or perhaps the other children did. No, that wasn’t it. They all seemed to be carved by the same person.
I traced my fingers over the carving, and suddenly a vision appeared before me. The classroom was full with children, including Dahlia Gillespie. Many of the children were yelling at Alessa, and she was backed up against the corner. They were throwing paper balls, jeering, and Dahlia was doing nothing about it. In fact, she was…smiling. Not just a happy smile, but a smug smile that a criminal has in court when they know they’re getting away.
Rage filled my veins. How could her mother sit there while these children tormented her? And then, just as suddenly as it came, the vision was gone.
I turned my attention to the nearby lockers, and checked them for anything. All were empty, except one with a key. The number “32” was etched on the side. I slipped it into my jeans pocket for later use. There was nothing else in the room worth looking at, so I returned back to the hallway. The next door down was locked, and I tried the key, but with no luck.
Suddenly, I could hear the sound of a loud banging from inside a room across from where I was standing. Going inside, I found a locker room, and it looked to be one from Midwich. The banging was louder now, a punched rattling noise, like something trapped and struggling inside a locker.
In the first row, there were only tall rectangular lockers, and the sound did not originate from any of them. The room was U-shaped, and so I went around the turn to the other side. These lockers were smaller and square shaped, and the sound was coming from the back.
The rattling was driving me insane by this point, and though I was afraid of what horror may lie before me I had to open it. Yet, it was locked and the numbers “32” were etched at the top. I tried the key with much success and upon unlocking the door, the rattling ceased. Inside, there was nothing but blood.
“Huh?” I wondered aloud, peering in closer. What was making that noise? Finally, I decided to head back to the hallway. It was as if some elaborate prankster was at work here. You can imagine my surprise, as I was returning to the locker room door, when a tall locker suddenly burst open. I reeled, almost falling over in shock. A body had fallen out of the locker, covered in dried blood and completely mutilated.
I stopped, waiting for my heart rate to return to normal. If monsters didn’t kill me first, I was going to literally die of a heart attack. I contemplated searching the body for a key (those seemed to be the way of life around here), but the smell was awful. Finally, knowing it may be the only way to progress, I reached in all the pockets. The corpse made wonderful sloshing noises as I moved it and I struggled to not vomit several times.
I was able to keep it in check long enough to find my bounty…a screwdriver? Well, it was better than nothing, so I placed it in my back pocket. Seeing as I had no weapons, I could use it as a tool and somewhat as a weapon.
Back in the hallway, I took the next door on the left, and to my surprise, I was in the Green Lion Antique Shop once again. This hallway must be some kind of portal to these other places, I thought. Or did it only emulate these places? They weren’t exactly the same. In the shop, everything looked just as it did before, except when I went around the bend. Instead of being back in place, the clock stood to the side of the ragged hole in the wall.
Naturally, I investigated. All was exactly the same with the altar and everything, except for the knife. The bloody knife from before laid directly in the middle of the floor instead on the altar. I picked it up for a closer look and found an inscription on it that said “Melchior.” What could it mean? I held the knife in my hand, trying to find something that related to that word. I knew Melchior was the name of one of the Three Wise Men, but that was it. Then, I noticed a plaque above the altar that I hadn’t noticed before. It read
“To Reveal Truth,
One Must First Sacrifice”
I noted the blood on the "knife’s blade, and made the connection. This cult apparently believed that shedding blood revealed truth to them. At least I had some kind of weapon now. With nothing else, I went back out into the rustic hospital hallway. After coming across more locked doors, I approached the last one at the end, where Cheryl had gone through. Looking at the bar that secured the door, it dawned on me that I had entrance now. I took out the screwdriver from my pocket, and began working the screws out of the metal bar.
The bar began to loosen, and by the time I was working on the fourth screw, the bar hung loosely off of the doorframe. I pocket the screwdriver, having a feeling that I would need it again, and entered. Now, I was in the small waiting area that accompanied an elevator. It only went down, and so I went.
The next floor was like the one before, and I began my monotonous search. The first room hailed a birdcage, and a faucet. My heart leapt in my chest when I neared the birdcage, because the sound of fluttering wings started at my approach. Yet, there was no bird inside. I searched all around the room, with no sign of a bird.
The sound was coming from the empty cage itself. So many oddities in this strange place. Moving on the next room, I found myself in a video store. After a quick look around, I realized it was the same one I passed on my way to the Green Lion Shop.
There were some empty counters, littered with trash and broken glass. My feet crunched on the glass as I explored. I gave it one last sweep on the broken glass counters when I noticed a small silver ring. I picked it up, feeling how strong the metal was. It looked ordinary and of no special quality . The difference was how it felt. It was almost weightless, yet somehow strong. The ring seemed to exude some sort of power. It had to be of some importance, I was sure. Everything was laid out for me like a path, just as Dahlia had said.
After putting the ring in my pocket and double-checking the store, I went back out. Many doors were jammed shut, and then I reached a door around a small turn. The door was smaller, almost like a closet door. When I tried it, the knob turned slightly, but not all the way. I looked into the keyhole, and something was stuck in it. So I took out my trusty screwdriver, and worked it into the keyhole. It took a few minutes of swearing, twisting, and jiggling of the doorknob, but I finally got the door open. Inside, my hypothesis of a storeroom turned out to be right. It was almost identical to the storeroom in the hospital basement, but it was bigger. A single door was slightly ajar at the other end, and so I slipped through.
Now, I was back in that very familiar room. The one that was hidden in the hospital basement. Yet, the blood on the bed looked fresher than before. In fact, the blood wasn’t even dry. The moisture of it on the bed shined slickly under the fluorescent light. I also noticed that the IV bag still had fluid in it. In fact, it dripped as if it was being used. Suddenly, three apparitions appeared before me.
The scene was of a small figure lay still on the bed, wrapped in blood-stained bandages. Dahlia Gillespie and Michael Kaufmann stood on each side of the bed, looking down on the bandaged figure.
“Everything is going according to plan. She is sheltered in the womb,” Dahlia said eerily.
“But it's not done yet. Half the soul is lost. That is why the seed lies dormant. What so remains captured in that husk... it’s buried deep down in the subconscious. Does this mean it won’t work?” Kaufmann asks.
“No, no. These are just stalling tactics. If we lend a hand we will be able to get power. Never fear. The promise shall not be broken.”
“But the power we could draw now would be very weak; almost nothing. Unless we get the other half of the soul.”
“We'll use a spell. Feeling this child's pain, it's sure to come. I am most certain it will work.”
Suddenly, I realized that the child they were referring to was right there. The black hair stuck out of the bandages, and everything suddenly clicked into place in my mind.
The child must be Alessa!
“But that will take time,” Kaufmann commented.
“No rush. Alessa will come back. In the meantime, her hate and her suffering will only grow, making her all the more powerful when the souls reunite!”
The transparent figures disappeared, leaving me alone in the room once again. I pondered over what they said. What they inferred sounded immensely cruel…Alessa’s soul had split in two. And they were trying to summon the soul back? Was this because of the fire?
By the way Dahlia spoke, it almost seemed like she was joyful about Alessa’s hate and suffering. Like she needed it for something. Answers were so close, but I still need just a little more. The pieces of the puzzle were about to fit, but there was only a couple pieces remaining.
Seeing nothing else here for me, I went back out into the storeroom. When I got to the other door, leading back into the hallway, I heard a voice behind me.
“Harry?” A woman’s voice called. I turned to see Lisa.
“Lisa, you’re here!” I said in surprise. I went to embrace her, but something about the look on her face stopped me in my tracks. There was something unsettling about her.
“Harry…I feel awful…”
“Well, you’ve just been so nice to me, and so helpful. You’ve done all that you can for me, even if it wasn’t much. And in return, I’ve just given you grief. And I haven’t been honest with you.”
“Honest? What have you lied about?”
“Well, I’ve been holding something from you, and I can’t do it anymore. And now that I know for sure, I can explain it. There’s not much time left.”
“Wait a minute. What are you talking about?”
“When you asked me if I knew anything about Alessa, and the fire, I lied. I know quite a bit. Everything, in fact.”
“What do you mean?”
“Alessa was my patient. And she was in horrible shape when she got here. She had horrible, horrible burns. Worse than I had ever seen before. There was even gasoline on her, so it was obvious that this was no accident…Dahlia did this to her! Clinically, she was dead. But she kept breathing and was somehow alive. Something was keeping her from dying. Within an hour of her getting her here, Dr. Kaufmann moved her to the basement and hid her away. When I figured out why, I was appalled…
“Oh my God…”
“Yes, her own child! I didn’t know that until later, and Kaufmann had me look after her. Once I figured out what was going on, I refused to be involved. I couldn’t stand it anymore. But…Kaufmann…he had me hooked.”
“What do you mean?”
“His dealings with Dahlia…he got me addicted to White Claudia. I had drug problems already, and he was always offering, so I eventually tried it. It didn’t take long for me to get addicted. He threatened to not let me have any more if I walked away. I…I wasn’t strong enough. I let that poor girl continue to suffer instead. All for some stupid drugs. I--I’m an awful person…” She burst into tears, clutching her face and her shoulders hitching.
“Lisa, I don’t know what to say…”
After watching her sob for a moment, I turned her face to me and held her.
“Am I a bad person, Harry? I think I am, and you probably do, too. Don’t you think I’m a monster?”
“I’m…I’m not completely sure what to think. You shouldn’t have gone through with it, but…I just don’t know. This is all…very weird to me. Why would Dahlia set her own daughter on fire?”
“She needed it for some crazy ritual!
Something about a Dark Paradise. One of the sacraments to finish the rite was
for Alessa to suffer by causing great pain. Yet, that turned on her when all of
that anger, rage, and pain created this nightmarish world! Before she could
finish the ritual, Alessa cast a spell that split her soul in two.”
“Yes…Kaufmann said her soul had split.”
“It was something Alessa did to protect herself and everyone else, a selfless act. To stop the end from coming.”
“The end? How?”
“I don’t know. Alessa had very special powers, and Dahlia was envious. Maybe she was afraid she would grow up and be more powerful than her. Yet, she thought instead to use it for this coming of paradise. In the process Alessa split her soul…to protect Dahlia from completing whatever it was she was trying to do.”
“This is all…very strange. I know Dahlia was crazy and all, but I didn’t know Dahlia was that…”
“Heartless? Cruel? Yes. She talks about Alessa like she’s some dark witch, when Dahlia’s the evil one. I also found out something else.”
“I was wondering for a while…why I’m not like the other nurses, you know? Why they changed, and I’m still the same. Well, it’s very simple. I’m not different! I’m just like them!”
“Oh stop it, Lisa. You’re not….”
Just then, I felt something sticky under my fingers. I let go of Lisa, and stepped back to see a spot of blood on my hand. A line of the red fluid was coming out of from under her nurse cap and ran down the back of her shirt.
“Lisa, you’ve got…”
“I’m not different at all! I never wanted to change, I just had to accept what was coming!”
Something in my stomach churned, and I got a really bad feeling. I stepped further away from her, and she staggered after me. The line of blood then became two lines, and soon multiple rivulets were pouring from her head, as if by some unseen wound that got worse. A forlorn, creepy smile of acceptance crossed her lips.
“Harry, stay with me a while longer?”
“Oh my God, Lisa! You’re bleeding!”
“I want you to be with me when it happens.” She didn’t attempt to wipe away the blood that was oozing out, seeming completely unaware.
“Lisa, you’re hurt.”
“I’m just so scared. Please hold me a while longer, Harry?”
I wasn’t sure if I could bring myself to comfort her. If she was really changing, she might try to hurt me. The horrible transformation continued then truly began as Lisa’s back started to hunch, and a pulsating tumor bulged from the back of her shirt. Her face was completely covered in blood now.
“Harry! Don’t leave me alone! I can’t be alone again!”
I felt my back hit the door behind me. The feeling of complete helplessness entangled me, knowing nothing could be done for Lisa except to leave her. I couldn’t stand the thought of killing her. She made mistakes, but underneath she was a kind soul. It would just be too much. Gently, I opened the door behind me and closed it. I immediately put all my weight into the door so she could not follow suit.
“Harry! Don’t go, please!” Lisa cried from the other side. I could feel a pressure trying to push the door open from the other side, but it was feeble and weak.
“Please….let me in, Harry…” Her voice sobbed and pleaded. After a moment, her voice sounded more distant. Soon, it was silent again and I sighed, sliding down the door and onto the floor. The town had claimed yet another victim. Who would be next to fall prey to its will…its power? I vowed not to be one of those, and if I could help it, neither Cheryl nor Cybil would be. I had to press on…