Part VI: Nowhere-Chapter 3
Taking two steps at a time, I made my way down in seconds. The light seemed to dim as I went down, only giving off just enough light to see. Now I was in an unknown area, with that familiar metal grating floor. Just like in the town, the symbols of Samael were all over the floor. There was no end through the bottom. There was no ceiling, and it appeared as if we were outside..though it was hard to truly tell due to the darkness. Not far ahead, I could make out three shapes.
I walked forward, and was not surprised to find Dahlia Gillespie. With her, was Alessa and…I wasn’t quite sure who the other figure was. As I got closer, I saw a wheelchair and someone sitting in it, fully covered in bandages.
“Dahlia!” I called out in a challenge.
“I was shocked to realize the talisman of Metraton was being used. In spite of the lost soul returning at last. Just a little longer and all would have been for naught. It's all because of that man…we must be thankful to him. Even though Alessa has been stopped, his little girl has to go. What a pity...”
She laughed maniacally, her voice high and piercing.
“Hold it!” A voice called from behind Dahlia, and Cybil stepped into view.
“You made it!”
“Go ahead and shoot if you like. This child will die no matter!” Dahlia taunted. Cybil fired off a shot, and a blue field reverberated around Dahlia, seeming to block the shot.
“What in the devil's name...!”
Dahlia grins darkly and waves her arm towards Cybil which sends a large shockwave, knocking her to the ground.
“Dahlia, stop this madness!” I cried.
“Well, well. To think you'd make it this far. I’m impressed, I must say. Apparently you truly are gifted.”
“Where's Cheryl!? What have you done to her!?”
“Where is she? Hah?! You've seen her many times, restored to her former self.”
“I'm in no mood for games! Where is she?”
“Don't you see? She's right here.” She then pointed to the figure wrapped heavily in bandages in the wheelchair.
“Cheryl? That’s absurd! How could you have set your own daughter on fire? What’s wrong with you?”
“I did what had to be done.”
“No more lies, Dahlia! Tell me where Cheryl is, and don’t say its her!”
“Everyone else knows it is true. You are the only one who does not think so.”
Though I still didn’t believe her, a feeling of dread began to spread through me. What if it that someone really was Cheryl? What had she done to her?
“Why are you doing this?”
“It's been a long seven years...For the seven years since that terrible day, Alessa has been kept alive, suffering a fate worse than death. Alessa has been trapped in an endless nightmare, from which she never awakens.”
So Cheryl…somehow was Alessa?
“You see, I needed to birth a God, but I wasn’t strong enough. Alessa on the other hand…her powers were more than enough. Yet, the God had to be born of hate and scorn. So, I subjected her to as much as I could. It wasn’t very hard. I set her on fire as part of the ceremony. That suffering also fueled the hatred. To make sure she stayed alive I used a special fire that wouldn’t kill her. But, the ceremony was interrupted…she was more sly than I had anticipated.
“She used a spell of her own that split her soul in two, so that I wouldn’t have enough power from her to perform the ritual. And so we used another spell to retrieve Alessa. She was found by you. You named her Cheryl. But for years, the monster has lurked in this husk of her former self.” She gestured to the burnt, bandaged figure.
“This part of Alessa contained all the hate and spite. Through her comatose state, she is trapped in an endless nightmare. When you came to Silent Hill, you awoke the other half. With the two so close to each other, the power returned and created this nightmare world that you’ve seen here.
“So now, ’He’ has been nurtured by that nightmare. Waiting for the day to be born. That day has finally come. The time is neigh. Everyone will be released from pain and suffering! Our salvation is at hand. This is the day of reckoning! When all our sorrows will be washed away. When we return to the true paradise!”
Dahlia raised her arms and gazed at the sky with a look of contentment and joy. The expression chilled me, seeing how mad this woman really was.
“My daughter…will be the mother of God!” She hollers in ecstasy, but her cry is cut off by a thundering shot. Dahlia is knocked over and blood begins to bloom out over her shawl.
“Ooooh!” She utters, and falls face down. Into the light walks Michael Kaufmann with a briefcase and pistol in his hand. He looked seriously irked, and no doubt he was ready to kill Dahlia.
“Quit screwing around! Return things to how they were, you canneiving bitch!” Kaufmann spat the words with hate.
“I didn’t ask for this! Nobody uses me!” Kaufmann stares hard down at Dahlia. Still smiling, Dahlia gets up on her hands and knees, and cackles.
“Your role is over, pawn! We don't need you anymore. What do you think you can accomplish by coming here?”
Kaufmann gives her a swift kick in the ribs, and Dahlia clutches her side in pain.
“My, aren't we getting cocky? You’re too used to things going your way. I think it’s time we level the playing field a little bit.”
Kaufmann takes out a vial from his pocket, and I immediately recognize it as the Aglaophotis.
“Aglaophotis! I thought I got rid of that!”
“All I had to do was plant a fake one for you to find! It was too easy! You think you’re so smart, planning your Paradise and cleansing of the world! Hah! You’re nothing but a washed-up hag!”
In this particular moment, Kaufmann didn’t seem like such a bad guy. He was a slave to his greed, but like everyone else, he was hurt by Dahlia’s actions.
“Stop!! No!!!” Dahlia cries in horror.
Kaufmann tosses the vial and it sails through the air near Alessa and the burnt Alessa. The bottle breaks on the floor, spraying the contents on both. A white light envelopes the two Alessas and the light glows hotter, then softens.
When the light dims enough to see, in the place of the two Alessas is a figure.
The figure looks like an angel; with wings, a white robe, and a halo. A soft white glow surrounds the figure, yet her eyes tell a different story. I had a strange feeling that this thing was far from heavenly.
“Huh? What’s all this?!” I questioned madly.
Dahlia looks over at the glowing Alessa-like figure, and begins laughing madly. The peals of laughter reverberate through the air.
“What on earth? It's not supposed to...” Kaufmann mutters to himself in disbelief. Suddenly, the angelic figure turns to Dahlia. I could feel anger coursing through the creature, radiating in waves. This was a God? I couldn’t believe it be a God. This was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The Death Angel raised its arm, and a bolt of lightning shot down from the sky, striking Dahlia. Electricity coursed through the witch, and she was dead almost instantly.
Kaufmann’s eyes widened in horror, and he fired off a shot at the creature. It did nothing, as the bullet seemed to liquefy when it came near the creature. He tucked tail and ran, disappearing out into the darkness. The creature turned and faced me, and its eyes flared with red hatred. This thing…it could destroy the world if what they said was true. Maybe I could still hurt it while it was still not at full strength.
Yet, how was I supposed to kill it? Kaufmann’s bullets melted when they got close. This Death Angel creature would kill me in seconds if I didn’t act quickly. It walked toward me, as I scanned the area, trying to find something I could use. I realized in horror that wherever the Angel stepped, the ground beneath was scorched and worn, as if exposed to acid and fire. I shudder to think what it could do if it touched me.
I strafed to my right, keeping my distance from it while looking around for some kind of weapon. Cybil was not far, with her gun near her, but I knew the gun was useless. I had to do something. I saw Dahlia lying not five feet from me, and began to wonder if she had some kind of magical object with her, one that might protect me.
Moving backward, I reached behind me to check Dahlia. Before my hand could even touch her, I pulled my hand back. I felt electricity crackle through the air so close to me, my hairs stood on end. The thing had tried to strike me, just as it had Dahlia. I went to grab at Dahlia, but another bolt of lightning struck nearby. It seemed that she wasn’t going to let me touch Dahlia.
Suddenly the Angel turned and faced Cybil’s unconscious form. Her arm raised and she seemed to be preparing for another shock.
“No!” I cried, and ran full speed toward Cybil. This action didn’t show any notice from the creature, and in mid run, I could see blue sparks materializing in the Angel’s hand. It was either Cybil or me. And so I leapt through the air, landing in between the creature and Cybil.
“Stop!” I cried, putting my hands up. Although I never really truly knew Cybil, I felt I had to at least give her a chance to escape. I’d lived a good life. I’d had a wife and a daughter with good memories. Suddenly, I saw something change in the creature’s eyes. The red in them started to fade, and her body stance relaxed.
“Why do you do this?” The Angel spoke, its voice arcane and feminine. “Do you wish to die?”
“I do…if it means that she might live,” I spoke, my words coming in blurbs because my heart was beating so fast. “I’ve lost my wife and my daughter already…I want her to have a chance to live.” At any second, this creature that was once my daughter would take my life. I waited, but it never came.
Something then changed in the atmosphere. No words could touch it, but something began to change. An aura of light surrounded me, and it seemed to stretch out, covering everything. When it reached the creature, the creature’s own light dissolved away. That evil aura that it exuded before was gone.
Cybil stirred beside me, and lifted her head. “What…?” She muttered, looking around. I walked over and helped her up, and she was able to stand on her own.
“I think I stopped it…” I said, and looked over at where the creature was.
I could now see that the figure was no longer the creature, it was Cheryl again. Seeing her face again, so sanguine and angelic to me. I almost didn’t believe it at first. To be cautious, I kept my distance in case that darkness was still there, hidden behind her form again. For now, it seemed to be my daughter.
“Go talk to her,” Cybil said, urging me on.
“Daddy?” She spoke, and it was definitely Cheryl’s voice.
“Cheryl?!” I said, and approached her.
“I missed you, “ she said, her eyes lighting up.
I kneeled down and embraced her in the tightest hug I could muster. My eyes welled with tears of joy.
“I love you, Daddy.”
“I love you too, sweetie. I was so….”
“But I’m home now. Where I should have always been.”
“What? No! Come with us! You’re….you’re normal now!”
At this, Cheryl moved my arms off of her and took a step back.
“Daddy, I’m not who you thought I was. I’m part of Alessa, the good part. I’m so sorry, Daddy…don’t be upset but…you have to let me go.”
“No, you can’t! I just…I just got you back…”
“If you love me, you’ll have to do one more thing for me. You have to kill me.”
“What? Kill you? That’s ludicrous, no!”
“That thing is still a part of me.” Tears began to spill over with the mere thought of it. Though with everything in mind, what she said was probably true.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” I said in denial, reaching out to hold her, but she shied away.
“No! I…can only hold it back for a minute longer. If you let it get too strong…it will destroy everything! You have to do it. You have to!” She shouted. I turned to Cybil, shooting her a desperate look. There was no answer in her eyes. She only looked back helplessly.
“No, not like this…” I said, beginning to weep. She was the only daughter I had, and now I had to give her up. Tears streamed down my face, and I wanted to hold her just one last time. I could see the strain on her face. She was holding on so hard, to keep that entity of death from coming back.
“Harry, I need you to move,” I heard Cybil say from behind, and I saw from over my shoulder she had the gun drawn and ready. Her face was set and determined, yet strained. She didn’t want to do this anymore than I did.
“I...I don’t think I can, “ I said in between sobs. Suddenly, a dim light began to appear around Cheryl.
“You…have…to,” she said in a strained tone. “I can’t…hold it back much longer.”
“I can’t do it….”
The light began to grow.
“Do it! Do it now!”
“No, I can’t…”
In slow motion, I heard multiple gunshots. The bullets sailed over my head, and crashed into Cheryl’s chest. Blood seeped out, and Cheryl hitched forward on one knee. I went into shock, only able to sit there motionless. Cybil stepped forward, and continued shooting until her gun was empty.
“No!” I cried, suddenly snapping out of my shock. I ran over and kneeled dow, holding Cheryl’s motionless body.
“C’mon, baby girl. You can make it. You’ve got…the, the, the powers you can, you can use. You’re not, you’re not gone.”
“Harry…” Cybil said, but I ignored her.
“Don’t leave me, Cheryl. There’s so much we haven’t done together. You’ve got to come back again.”
I eased Cheryl back to the ground and held her hand in mine.
“See? Don’t you feel my hand? I’m still here. Come back here, where I am. Come back.”
Suddenly, my mind snapped.
“How could you!” I cried, and grabbed at Cybil. She struggled, and shook me off. All I could feel was hurt and rage. I grabbed Cybils’ shirt and slugged her right in the face. She fell to the ground, and I ran over to continue my onslaught. It was the only thing that could make me feel better. For killing the last person that I cared the most about.
“Daddy…” I heard a weak voice call behind me. I stopped and turned to face Cheryl again. The once white dress was now stained a dark crimson. The aura of light that surrounded her was dying out, and so was she.
I walked over and knelt down next to her.
“Cheryl…” I spoke softly and cradled her head in my lap.
“Daddy…thank you,” she said, her eyes glossy and peaceful.
“No, no no no. Don’t do this to me.”
“It’s okay, Daddy. It’s over now.”
There were more tears. More weeping.
“What, what do you mean?”
“Here,” Cheryl said, her voice quickly fading. She held out her arms, and a white light formed a shape in the crook of her arms. The light went out, and in its place was a baby, wrapped in swaddled clothes.
“This is your chance…to start over. Go,” she said, and handed the baby to me. As soon as the baby was in my arms, Cheryl looked at me one last time. She gave me a smile so bright it could outshine the sun, right before she died. My tears were gone. I had none left to shed.
I knelt there, for how long I couldn’t say, my shoulders hitching and my sobs coming in ebbs and waves. It was too much. A hand touched my shoulder. It was Cybil’s.
“Harry…” She said gently, looking down at me and the new baby. “Is this…?”
“Yes…” I said, my despair turning to hope. “Cybil…I’m…so sorry.” Cheryl was right….all was not completely lost. I was being given a second chance.
Then, I heard a sound like a bottle rocket shooting into the air. Only, this sound was coming from the air to the ground. A red and yellow fire shot down, landing only twenty feet away. It hit the metal grid floor, and stayed there, burning away. It was some kind of supernatural fire.
“We have to go, Harry,” Cybil said gently, but with a certain firmness. I nodded silently, and stood up, gazing down at the baby. It was fast asleep, oblivious to the world around it. That was a very good thing.
We looked around us and soon realized we didn’t know how to get out. We were Nowhere, weren’t we? As if in answer, a light like a star suddenly shone to our right, and we could see that it was lighting a path for us.
“There it is, the way out,” we heard a voice behind us. Dr. Kaufmann stood there, his briefcase still in one hand. “Let’s get the hell outta here,” he spoke, and we all nodded in agreement. Then, his smirk of confidence changed. As much as we wanted to run, we couldn’t help but stop to watch the next scene that unfolded.
The ground opened up behind Kaufmann, and a hand shot out and wrapped around his leg. He was forcefully dragged backwards, his feet kicking wildly. Over his shoulder, we could see the bloody face of Lisa Garland, donning a demented grin of triumph. Kaufmann screamed for mercy, begging not to be killed.
Lisa took no heed to his pleas and pulled him further in. Kaufmann only stared horrified as Lisa embraced him in an unholy kiss, her blood flowing over onto Kaufmann. Suddenly, they fell through the floor where she had come from. The mixed sound of Kaufmann’s screams and Lisa’s laughter could be heard above the whoosh and crack of the hail fire raining down.
Cybil and I both looked at each other and down at the baby. In one quick movement, we ran with all that we had. Out feet pounded the metal, rattling as we ran. Fires continued to soar around us, striking metal and leaving scorched and blackened marks wherever they touched. Silent Hill was being taken care of, it seemed.
The light began to get brighter and brighter, and soon our environment morphed as we ran. What was hard, clanging metal soon became asphalt softened with a light snow. The dark sky was now a hazy blue, with small bits of snow drifting through the air.
Peace filled our souls, and we traveled on. Before we knew it, the snow was nonexistent, and the weather was normal as it had been before I arrived at Silent Hill.
Soon, we passed a “Welcome to Silent Hill” sign. We had made it out alive. But we would never soon forget the nightmare we had survived in that sleepy little town…