Part II: The Streets of Silent Hill-Chapter 1
I awoke in a startle, blood pounding in my ears. Everything looked hazy and unclear, and for a moment, I was unsure if I was even awake. Squinting through my hazy vision, I made out the shapes of an inside area with tables and chairs. A diner. Wait…how did I get here?
It only took me a moment for my vision to clear up, and I soon realized that I was back in the Café Stop. Unlike earlier, the bartender was not present. The window beside me showed that it was foggy and light out again, just like it was before the alley. Now, I wasn’t even sure if what happened in the alley….actually happened. Yet, it must have, because having a dream where you get a headache doesn’t make you get an actual headache when you wake up. And there was very clearly an ache in my head from my fall. I felt around in my pockets, and pulled out the broken heart pendant necklace of Chery’s. That answered one question.
Getting up from the couch, I felt my knees wobble and almost fell over. My world swayed and shifted for a moment, my equilibrium thrown off. I quickly sat back down, trying to regain my bearings. Everything finally stopped moving, and I stood back up again feeling my muscles and bones aching. My head wasn’t the only thing that hurt apparently.
Looking around, it was obvious that the café was deserted, but…I couldn’t help but feel that something was wrong. There was a stillness here that wasn’t here earlier.
Like the stillness from the fog…
This feeling was confirmed when I saw the overturned items on the counter nearby. And then there was the red spot coming from under the swinging door that led behind the counter. What happened here?
Feeling like I shouldn’t look, I did what any curious person would probably do…I looked anyway.
Moving forward, I realized that the red spot went further behind the bar. Ever so slowly, I followed it, and what it led to made me recoil in disgust.
The bartender from earlier now laid in a pool of his own blood. Upon closer inspection, I noticed two bullet holes, both in his head. Something was strange about him, but I wasn’t quite sure what. Leaning in for an even closer look, I began to notice that his skin looked…off.
Reminiscent of poison ivy rashes, the skin seemed raised and scaly. The color seemed strange too, almost a light brown tint. What fate had befallen this man, and what had he done to make someone shoot him?
Then, I heard shuffling to my right. I swung around, my eyes wide in fear. The first thing I saw was the muzzle of a Glock-40. The second thing I realized what the person holding the gun was none other than the officer back at the gas station. Bennett, was it? She looked deathly focused, her gun aimed straight at my face.
“Don’t move,” she commanded, attempting to be authoritative but came out a bit shrill and nervous. It was obvious she was shaken up. She definitely seemed…afraid of me. Usually, the person that has a gun pointed at them is afraid.
“Look, I don’t know why you killed him, but you don’t need to kill me, too,” I started. “Whatever reason you’re afraid or angry, it has nothing to do with me. I have no reason to hurt you.”
“You don’t have to have a reason. There was no reason for him to attack me. He was fine before…even looked after you some…and look at him now…”
“What do you mean, he was fine?” Obviously something had pushed her off the deep end.
“About an hour after I brought you here, he started to act strangely. He was mumbling and repeating the same things over and over, like he was in a trance. Then, he was leaning over as if he was in pain. I came over to check on him, and this weird rash started to break out on him. Then, he came at me with a knife. I panicked, and had to shoot him. After being shot, he just got back up and ran at me like it was nothing…it didn’t’ make any sense…but I had no choice.”
At that note, everything seemed to stand still. A strange reality washed over me. Who kept coming at someone after being shot like that? Maybe zombies, but we’re obviously not talking about the living dead. More like someone with some strange disease and homicidal tendencies. Perhaps some weird strain of virus. Still, this didn’t add up.
“That should have wounded or him or at least kept him down longer, but the first shot only fazed him for a second. He seemed to completely go down after the second shot to the head. It almost as if he …transformed into something. It was the damndest thing I’ve ever seen. ”
She fell silent, looking exasperated. A flicker of shame ran across her face, but I was unsure if it was because she had taken a life or that she hated sounding crazy. She still kept her gun sighted on me. Guess I couldn’t blame her, considering the situation.
“Look, even though you’re an officer I know you’ve got to be freaked out. This town…nothing about it seems normal so far. Trust me, I’m scared too. But look…I’m all right. I’m not sprouting any weird rashes or anything. I’m not acting weird.”
“How can I be sure you won’t? By the way, where’s your little girl? I caught a glimpse of you walking around and followed you into that alley. Found you banged up in a dumpster, your little girl was nowhere in sight. Seems right suspicious to me.”
“On my way here, someone jumped out in front of my vehicle. It was hard enough to see with this crazy fog and I swerved to miss them and wrecked my car. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt too badly. When I came to, my daughter was gone. I’ve been looking for her ever since. I saw her running down the street and followed her into that alley.”
“You mean she wasn’t there?”
“No, and it lead to a dead end. No way she could have gotten out of there without having to get past me. Very strange…” I thought about telling her about the child creatures, but it would only make me sound less rational. “I can’t reach her on my cell phone because there’s no service out here. The bartender…when he was normal, said landlines were out too.”
“Did he act strange when you saw him earlier?”
“No, not at all. Seeing him like this...I don’t even know what to think of it.” Cybil began to relax , and slowly lowered her gun.
“Radio’s out on my bike, too. And what’s really odd…none of the cars around here will start. It’s almost like most everything electrical isn’t working….but for some reason my bike runs just fine and the electricity is on in random areas in town. Nobody’s answering their door. It’s like everybody up and just left…maybe holing up because of the snow. Although why that’d stop ‘em from answering their doors I don’t know.”
“Can you help me find my daughter, then? This town isn’t that big, I’m sure we can find her.”
“I’m not so sure. With the weather the way it is, and this possible plague or sickness…we might be putting ourselves in danger.”
is that how it’s going to be?” I snapped, feeling the anger rise up within me.
“Well, something is better than nothing! I’m sorry if my lost and possibly kidnapped
daughter doesn’t fit under your To-Do List because you’re afraid. I’m quite sure
she’s afraid, if not terrified! What
if she was taken by some sicko who thought they’d take advantage of an injured
little girl! This is the only place I’ve seen with any lights on so if she did wander out on her, she’d have come
here. You need to do something!”
”Mr. Mason, please calm down,” the officer chastised me. “I know you’re concerned, but I’ve patrolled around this area on foot and haven’t seen her or any little girls out.”
“Well that means she’s still lost. Please help me. You’re supposed to serve and protect. Officer Bennett, right?”
“Yes, Cybil Bennett. I’m officially assigned to Brahms, but occasionally I’ll get called to Silent Hill if they need an extra hand. That’s why I’m here. Our station got reports of lost power all over town, so they sent me to help out with whatever is happening.”
“So…you said that you found me earlier?” I started, trying to change the subject. “Where…where was I again?”
“Like I said, you were in an alley near Finch St. I heard a loud noise like something fell and found you inside a dumpster. Why were you in there?? ”
It wasn’t a dream….was it?
I shuddered to even think about it. Cybil stared at me, seeming to read my feeling of unsettledness.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Was it really dark or anything when you found me?”
“No, it was just like it is now. Why would you think its dark? And by the way you were moaning and thrashing around in your sleep ever since I brought you back here. Mumbling about demons…are you sure you’re okay Mr. Mason? I think you hurt yourself more in that crash than you realized.” She furrowed her brows at me, seeming to scrutinize me the way you would a mental patient.
Should I tell her what I saw? The weird sirens, the unexplained instant darkness. The mutilated corpse and crimson red eyes of demonic children. No…she’d think I’m crazy…
”I—I’m fine. Maybe I was just tired and out of it from the crash. I did find something though. Even though Cheryl wasn’t there, I did find her pendant. It has a transmitter that I used to track her down. She’s somewhere around here. ”
“You hit your head pretty good,” Cybil interjected. “You really should be more careful next time. Your car wreck, now this…seems like you’re an accident waiting to happen.”
“Yeah, that’s me so far today. I should be more careful. I think I saw her up on the fire escape or something…maybe I did hit my head and too hard and got confused. I’m not entirely sure. Everything seems kinda fuzzy.”
Which was only a half lie, I did feel kinda….fuzzy. Yet my memory of the real events was crystal clear. I opened my mouth to speak but paused, not sure how much to divulge. Cybil had a spark of intrigue in her eye, like she was on the brink of catching me in a lie. She was probably reading my body language already to figure me out. Cops were trained on that sort of thing.
“Did you, did you see anything weird there, like a wheelchair or a hospital gurney or anything?” I said, feeling that I could start out with small weird stuff first.
“No, no I didn’t. Did you?”
“I...I’m not sure,” I decided to give up the idea of telling her what happened. She’d think I was crazy, no matter what I told her…and perhaps I was.
Change of subject.
“Anyway…what should we do now? She can’t have gone too far. Will please help me? It’s a small town. It shouldn’t be too hard. “ I asked with a hint of hope. Perhaps after seeing me risk my own life to find my daughter, she would surely do the same.
A look of contemplation passed over her, and her facial expression signified she was starting to cave. “Alright. I’ll tell you what. We can ride up and down the main roads, and see if we can find her. We can move slow because of the fog. After that, you’re on your own. Sound kosher to you?”
“Very. Let’s do it.”
After Cybil began to get her coat on, I suddenly realized it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world to document this experience, being as I am a journalist and all. I imagined coming back home, laughing to my friends about how I had lost Cheryl, and she ended up being picked up by a town resident who invited her in from the cold the entire time.
Making money off Cheryl’s situation seemed wrong, but if everything turned out fine in the end, it wouldn’t hurt to at least have an interesting story to tell. And that’s what I’m all about--telling stories. And I wanted my mind fresh with details.
I excused myself from Cybil, walked over to the bathroom, and pulled out my voice recorder that I kept with me at all times. I was surprised to find it was still in working condition after being in the crash and my unfortunate fall into the dumpster. If it actually happened In fact, there surprisingly weren’t really any scuffs or scratches to speak of either. While I was at it, I checked my camera bag, as well. Everything looked fine. I pressed down the Record button and started my narration.
“April 20th, 2001. This is Harry Mason reporting. I’ve gone on vacation with my daughter Cheryl…or at least that’s what I’ve told her. She’s been having night terrors, and it’s somehow related to a town called Silent Hill. We traveled here to find out if there’s a connection. We planned on spending a three day trip here, a small resort town in northeast region of West Virginia. Everything was fine until we came within five miles of the town.
“A cloaked figure stepped out into the road, and I swerved to avoid it. I woke up later with my car totaled, and my daughter Cheryl missing. I’m now at the Café Stop, a small coffee shop a block or two from the crash site. Inside, I’ve run into a bartender and Cybil Bennett, a police officer from a nearby town.
“There’s a bad snowstorm, and phone lines aren’t working. Reportedly the vehicles in the town aren’t working either. I had to go out into the night alone to find my daughter. Using a transmitter from the pendant my daughter wears, I was able to track it down to an alleyway. What I found there was some unexplainable phenomena.
I didn’t find Cheryl there. But I…I--I’m not sure what I saw next, but I believe I had an intense hallucination. Either that, or reality as we knew it has kept some surprises from us. I thought that I was attacked by some kind of hellish, demonic monster children…as crazy as that sounds. Right before that, a strange siren went off in the town, and everything completely blacked out, as if night had come in an instant.
“I was knocked unconscious trying to climb a ladder to escape the demon children, and woke up back in the Café Stop, where I met Cybil earlier. I found a dead body of the bartender, who apparently attacked Cybil while I was gone, due to some weird virus that had overtaken him. I don’t know what’s going on here, but something isn’t quite right in this sleepy town…Harry Mason signing off for now.”
Five minutes later, Cybil and I had stocked ourselves on supplies and were riding her motorcycle down the main roads of Silent Hill. The streets of Silent Hill were, as the name implied, silent indeed. It wasn’t just the alley that was deserted, it was the entire town. Even Cybil who was accustomed to the town seemed unsettled by the quietness. There were no sounds of people moving inside or out, or any lights on except street lights. According to my watch, it was only six ‘o clock (which didn’t seem to make sense for night or day considering the timeline of everything). Either way, there should be something going on in town..but we found none here at all.
“No one seems to be home,” Cybil said, seeming to read my mind. All storefronts that we observed were deserted as well; some having small lights near the entrance on, but that was the extent of it. As we scanned the streets, we realized that Silent Hill had a very peculiar aura about it. It wasn’t just the appearance; there was this feeling in the air. It was impossible to explain, but somehow the air was charged with a heavy, supernatural feeling. Almost like a giant weight pressing on you from all sides. It seemed to press inwards, closing in on you like some invisible vice. Much like the sensation I’d heard of people describing the atmosphere of a haunted house.
I began to think back to the weird incident in the alley, and soon started to believe that that was, perhaps, all just a dream. I was so worn out and stressed from the drive and crash that I simply hallucinated, and climbed into a dumpster like a raving lunatic. Yet, the weight of a small heart pendant told me differently. The memory of those things…it was all too real to me. Couple that with the diseased bartender and unusual snow and fog that both Cybil and I were experiencing…something was definitely going on here.
Cheryl was missing, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something didn’t want me to find her. I wouldn’t dare tell Cybil that Everything seemed to work out so far, with my help from Cybil. Yet, the strange secrets and ways of Silent Hill once again began to come to the forefront. As we discovered from riding around the town, to Cybil and I’s utter surprise, that strange chasms had popped up all over the roads. The first of these we found was the east and west ends of Finney St., on the north end of the town.
I remember the panic that ran through us as we saw the road ending abruptly. Cybil had to fish-tail the bike to avoid sliding into the abyss. She parked her bike nearby, and we both went on foot to inspect the anomaly. There had been no sounds, or any previous indications that an earthquake had occurred. Earthquakes didn’t really occur in this region, anyway.
“Have you ever seen anything like it?” Cybil said in wonder. “Seems to go forever, but it could just be the fog that makes it look that way. ” I was speechless, and could only nod in agreement.
The road simply dropped off, leaving a dark, misty chasm in its wake. Not wanting to get too close, I kept at least an eight foot distance. Cybil was right though; the chasm was so deep, wide, and long, that no end could be seen in any direction. This chasm could stretch on forever as far as we knew.
I couldn’t help but start to feel as if Silent Hill was a living being, that swallowed whole anyone who dared trespass on it. And it didn’t want us to leave. It was a devourer of the interlopers, and I was punished because I was an out-of-towner. A trespasser. I imagined a mob of townsfolk wanting to drive us out town with pitchforks in hand. It still seemed better than the weird unexplained events we’d befallen.
Frustrated, we went back east a block, and south down Levin St. We’d have to loop around to find any possible “other end” of the chasms. It’d be interesting to find how far out these quakes had progressed. It still baffled me how such huge chasms could appear without any physical warning. Very supernatural things were happening, and I’d only been here a short amount of time.
As we drove the intersection of Levin and Bloch St., we suddenly felt something stirring beneath us. I yelled at Cybil, warning us that something was happening. She didn’t seem to hear me and soon the stirring intensified through the ground, and suddenly it was a rumbling. Without warning, the ground rocked violently, and we were knocked off the bike. We both flew off in opposite directions. The world spun and whirled by at a rate that made me sick for a moment. Soon, I felt the crude asphalt skid against my body, causing me to tumble about five feet from the momentum. Thanks to this, I now hurt not only a little….I hurt alot.
My heart still pounding, I lifted my head just enough to see Cybil lying in a similar fashion about twenty feet out from me.
“Are…you okay?” I attempted to yell, only coming out as a gasp. The wind was knocked out of me, and it hurt to do anything that required more than a whisper. She didn’t respond, not surprising due to my lack of volume. I waited ten seconds, and tried to call out again.
“Cybil! Are you okay?” I shouted, much better this time. She raised one arm in the air to signal she was still conscious. Her arm flopped back down to the pavement, indicating she was unable to move. I slowly tried to stand up, feeling the bruises and scrapes stinging my body all over. There were fresh holes in my jeans, and my jacket was well scuffed up.
What was that tremor? And why had it stopped so suddenly? I shook my head to clear my thoughts, and began to walk towards Cybil. Then, the tremor started again.
I rocked forward and backward violently, unable to get my balance equalized. Falling backwards, I was immediately scared, not so much out of my own safety but more so for Cybil, and feeling helpless. She was wounded even worse than I, barely conscious in the middle of an earthquake.
My worst fears were confirmed as the ground rocked even more violently than before, and a loud crack resounded through the air. I suddenly broke out into a run towards Cybil, and realized halfway there that I wouldn’t’ make it.
A large crack formed in the ground, quickly webbing out between Cybil and I. Before I could even get a third of the way there, a hole began opening up and spreading at a phenomenal rate. I’d done research on earthquakes before, but this was something new. No earthquake had formed a chasm so quickly, at least not that I had ever seen or heard of. Nothing here was normal it seemed.
As my despair for Cybil heightened, I watched the chasm work its way towards her limp body, and felt utter disappointment in myself. In the last three hours, I lost my daughter and now was about to lose an officer whom I had just met. Fortunately for me, Cybil was not taken by the earthquake’s chasm.
About a foot away from her unconscious form, the quake stopped just as quickly as it had come, leaving a silence even more eerie than before. My mind began swimming ferociously, trying to wrap any kind of logic for this town. Is this a result of some weird curse, or some crazy biological or ecological experiment? Perhaps the entire town was a giant facility, like The Truman Show, where the weather and everything else was carefully controlled. Maybe even now, a camera was watching my every move. I shrugged off the idea. I was just being paranoid…or was I?
I began thinking back to the numerous reports of occultist groups that was embedded in Silent Hill’s history. Many disappearances and murders occurred in this town, and almost all were tied in with cult activity. Perhaps the strange events taking place today were a result of some secret occultist group…but how? Reports of the group had died out long ago, yet the thought still continued to linger in my mind. Any possibility was fair game at this point.
Looking ahead in disbelief, I was now looking at a fifty-foot gap between Cybil and I. There was absolutely nothing that I could do to help her. I could only hope that no more diseased people or strange creatures would find her before me. Sighing, I took the map of the town back out, and tried to find an alternate course.
After marking the blocked areas off, it seemed there another path that looped around to the other side, considering there weren’t more obstacles in-between. Without much contemplation, I decided to take it. I worked my way down the streets. Now I had two people to rescue.
This was not my day.