Part II: The Streets of Silent Hill-Chapter 2
A deep feeling of agitation filled me. After walking through the streets and planning the path to Cybil, I was once again confronted with another dead end. At the west end of Matheson St. stood another of the giant, endless craters. What kind of trickery is this, anyway? There was essentially no way for me to get to her, except to cut across somewhere.
So, after an extensive comparison to my map, I found some other routes and areas that I could use to cut across. Northeast of the chasm that separated me and Cybil, I found an area in the street with a high wooden fence. I jumped up and grabbed the edge, and my fingers slipped. Frustrated now, I took five steps back, and sprinted forward, jumping at the right distance away.
This time, I was able to grip the tall wooden plank, using my feet to push myself up and over. Clumsily, I landed on the other side, feeling slightly dazed. The scrapes and bruises from being thrown off the bike were very prevalent again. Groaning as I stood up, I brushed off my clothes and saw that I was in a children’s playground area. According to my map, it was some sort of community play area in a cluster of houses.
For no reason, I began to feel very uneasy. In fact, I felt that something was actually in the playground with me, watching me. My hands shaking, I moved my flashlight around the area, lighting up a merry-go-round, a swingset, three spring-loaded horses, and a short slide. Children’s play areas were supposed to be very serene and comforting, but in this situation it was more than too eerie for me.. The movie Children of the Corn flashed through my mind, coupled with the image of those devil children.
Pushing the thoughts aside, I walked through carefully moving my light over anything of interest. Yet something odd happened when I cast my light over the swingset. My phone crackled loudly with a high-pitched squealing noise which made me jump. Instantly, I thought of the children being nearby. I swung my flashlight all around me frantically, looking for any red eyes or gray-skinned devils. Nothing.
Sighing, I took my phone back out of my pocket, inspecting it. There was no light flashing on the phone, or any sign that it was being used. I tried to think back to all of the times that I had heard that sound. First, it was in my car. The second time was in the alley, when the evil children had approached. Perhaps it was some kind of supernatural detector. I tried shaking the phone and pressing buttons, but nothing seemed to stop the noise. My phone for conventional purposes wasn’t too helpful, but had no trouble crackling around weird phenomena.
My eyes fell upon what looked like a back door. I started towards the door, and noticed the white noise faded with each step I took.
Now, more curious than afraid, I slowly walked back towards the playground, shining my light for any bumps in the night. Nothing there. Just a simple swing…
I paused, looking at the swing closest to me. When my eyes registered the image, I blinked, not sure of what I was seeing. It was still there, so I rubbed my eyes vigorously, and looked back again. The strange sight remained.
What my eyes perceived was a staticy, shadow figure at the swing set. In fact, when I leaned closer in, it almost looked like a person sitting on the swing. The strange squealing sound got really loud now as I approached. This had to be the source.
This is incredible! I thought. Perhaps I could get a picture of this, and find out what kind of anomaly was at work at here. As I began taking out my digital camera, I began to actually get excited about this strange scene I was witnessing. Fear was replaced by wonder, and I took a step back to center the shadow in the shot. Now with a good backdrop comparison, I snapped the photo. With excitement now, I pressed the button to preview the picture.
At the precise moment I took the picture, my phone stopped squealing. Perhaps I had appeased whatever this being behind the scenes wanted me to do?
“One more strange fact for the books,” I said to myself lethargically as my camera switched modes.
Not so crazy now, are ya Harry! Weird phenomena in Silent Hill! Strange chasms. Demon children. If I can just prove it…
Of course, they’d probably say it was a trick of the light, but either way I still had a good story to tell. With a blink, the picture popped on my little camera preview screen.
What I saw on the camera horrified me.
The picture displayed Cheryl in place of where the ghostly figure sat on the swing. My jaw dropped. My throat went dry. This was not possible …
Thinking I must be delusional again, I snapped another photo, just the same as before. Again the same picture of Cheryl, casually sitting in the swing set appeared. Her face was odd though, her expression forlorn and dreamy. I looked back to the actual swing set again, only to see that the shadowy figure on the swing was now gone.
I took out my recorder once again.
“Harry Mason speaking again. The police officer Cybil Bennett and I have traveled through Silent Hill to find my daughter Cheryl. We’ve found that there are giant chasms all over town. The road simply ends, and they’re all over, giving no escape to the town. Nothing makes sense here, but I know for sure that this town is haunted…or cursed. I never believed in ghosts and the supernatural before, but you’d have to be a believer if you saw this.
I think…this town is alive. It’s almost a lifeform in of itself. And I don’t think it wants us to leave. It needs us here for something, but I don’t know what yet.
“While Cybil and I were searching there was an earthquake that knocked us off her motorcycle. A new chasm appeared, separating us. Now, I’m at a children’s playground, and found a shadowy figure on the swing set there.
“Every time I stood near the shadow, my phone makes this crazy squealing noise, like it’s trying to warn me. It made this noise earlier, when the demon children were near me in the alley. I think maybe it somehow senses things, like paranormal entities. I snapped a picture of the shadow, which somehow stopping the strange noise, but even more disturbing… when I checked the picture of the shadow figure it showed my daughter in the photo. I don’t know how to explain any of this!
“I can’t prove to anyone that this is real, because now the shadowy figure is gone. No one will believe me. I’m so scared. Nothing even close to this has ever happened to me before.”
I paused for a moment, and knew there was nothing more to say. My adrenaline pumping, I put the recorder back into my jacket pocket. As the weight of the recorder fell into the pocket, I somehow had an urgent need to review the recording. After all, there has been weird interference with devices so far. I’d hate to record all of this only to find it gone. This town had messed up devices such as phones and cars, so why wouldn’t it mess up other electronic devices? It was good procedure, anyway
Pulling out my recorder, I began playing it back and everything sounded perfectly clear, which was a great relief to me. Then, at the part where I began talking about the playground, I heard something in the background, something I didn’t hear when I had recorded it earlier. I rewound it, turned up the volume, and played it again. Still unsure, I turned the volume as loud as it would go. This time I could hear the noise. It was a voice, and after I understood what the voice said, I was chilled to the bone.
It was Cheryl’s voice.
She said, “Help me Daddy.”
E.V.P. Electronic Voice Phenomenon-“Any vocal sounds or noise on an audio recording device that cannot be rationally explained to how it was embedded into the audio recording.”
That was the basic meaning, anyway.
It could mean lots of things. It could be a static interference, or a sudden interruption in an audio recording that can’t be explained. But the majority of the time, when someone says they’ve recorded an EVP, they’re referring to a message on the tape that is unexplained but supposed has come from one particular source….ghosts.
Typically how this happens is when someone goes to a location that is said to be haunted, they’ll record themselves talking or just dead air, and when they play back their tape they’ll hear noises or people speaking that did not hear during the actual recording. Many times they might ask questions and actually get an EVP response.
And this voice…Cheryl’s voice, in a normal, sane world, would not exist on this audio recorder. This was a fresh tape, so her voice couldn’t have bled through either
Every core of my body and every inch of my skin was covered in goose bumps. It felt like a blizzard was blowing all around me. I was too scared to move, even to breathe.
Tears began to well up in my eyes. Was my daughter dead? Had Cheryl been abducted and killed my some sicko hours ago and now her spirit was trying to tell me what happened to her? In a madhouse of a town like this, I began to believe it was possible. A father’s worst fears are hopefuly never actualized. I stiffened, trying my best to stifle my crying. I had to hold myself together for her; at least until I knew for sure what happened to her.
Or maybe this was all a bad dream? Maybe I would wake up any time at some hospital and have Cheryl beside me. Considering I was in a bad crash, it seemed more plausible I was living one big, weird nightmare and everything was fine in the real world. If only I could just wake from this dream. Yet as far as I knew, this world was the real one for now.
After a moment, I was able to hold it all together. I had to be strong if I was going to survive this, (psychologically at the least) and if anything at all, I could help Cybil before anything else happened to her. She had almost killed herself trying to help me, so I could at least return the favor.
Taking in a slow breath, I rechecked my map again, and turned to go through the door I had previously chosen to traverse. Yet, a sudden creaking noise made me think otherwise. The source of the noise was from the merry-go-round I had previously scanned over. Angry at being scared by something so stupid, I walked over to the merry-go-round to kick it out of anger when my light shined on a flat, rectangular object on the ground.
Laying between the open space between the bars of the merry-go-round, sitting half-way on the edge, was a sketchbook. It was open, and I snatched it up, keeping my thumb on the open page. Checking the front cover, I recognized the doodling on the front. Cheryl’s sketchbook! Cheryl had been here, too!
I opened the book back to the aforesaid dusty page which displayed a picture of a square building with multiple windows and an unknown girl skipping towards it. A sign on the grass near the building spelled out the word “Midwich.” Recognizing the name, I skimmed over my map and found it in moments. It was a western road in this area. Upon scanning the map further, I found that Midwich was also a school. So, the little girl in the picture was going to MIdwich Elementary School…
Was Cheryl trying to tell me that she was going to the Midwich Elementary School here? But why, she’s never been here before, so how could she have even known about it? Why isn’t Cheryl staying in one spot? Perhaps, being a child, she associated the school as a place she felt familiar with. School was one of the places she went to everyday, but still it just seemed too unnatural for a child to wander around in a town she’s never been before.
Perhaps too, every other place she’s gone to was filled with these insane demon-children and thought that the school would be safer. I chuckled darkly at the thought: If any demon children were actually here at Silent Hill, they would be at an Elementary School, wouldn’t they?
Then again, not a lot of things here at Silent Hill have made much sense. And why leave a cryptic drawing? I guess aside from everything I’d seen, Cheryl leaving me notes in the form of drawings didn’t seem too off-kilter.
So now I had two choices. Find a way to Midwich, or continue my trek to help Cybil. Some hard-pressed decisions now lay before me. After a moment of weighing the options, I decided it best to help Cybil. I couldn’t be too far away from where she was, and she could be an immense aid in helping me find Cheryl. (And not to mention the fact that no demon children had shown up when I was with her. It wasn’t for very long but I’ll still consider her a good luck charm at this point. And any less chances that I would run into them was a good one…that demon children shit was just creepy.
I was euphorically relieved to find the door was unlocked, and felt good knowing I was back inside. Being on the streets of Silent Hill was very unnerving. I felt so out in the open and exposed. Who knows what number of horrors roamed the streets, lurking in the shadows. Inside, there was no heavy fog that shielded your view from any adversaries. I felt safer, more secure here.
I glanced around at all the numerous dusty boxes and metal shelving. Apparently, I was in the back storage area of a store, but there was none listed on the map. Perhaps it had closed down? I wouldn’t be surprised, because I’d heard that some stores that were damaged in a fire were never torn down but never re-built, like some sort of monument to the lives of those taken in the great fire. Most people would just build a statue or a plaque for tragedies, but I guess everyone had their own way of doing things.
Searching around, I found a safe deposit box that was left wide open. Inside, the only items that I could find were loose papers, receipts, and other printed transactions and financial paraphernalia. The apple of my eye at this moment consisted of a trigger and ammunition. Yet, I couldn’t get my hopes too high at this moment. They’d only be let down in this “Fun House” of a town.
I worked my way to the front of the store, letting my flashlight do the viewing for me. Though it was light enough outside at the moment, it was uncomfortably dark in this power outage. My light guided me to the front counter area, where I found two items of interest. They were laid so well out in the open, it almost seemed as if…someone had intentionally placed them there.
The first was a piece of paper, which I picked up to investigate. The other item was, to my sheer joy, a HP Browning handgun. The note read:
“Harry. I’m doing fine. Holding my own. Got to this store, with the door hanging wide open. Found this gun under the counter. Unfortunately it’s not loaded. Trying to find my way back, and remembered I have a friend on 1600 Levin St. His name is John Bagwell. Meet me there if you find this.” Relief was the only word to describe my feeling then. Things were finally starting to look up. I had a gun (though unloaded), Cybil wasn’t hurt, and we had some direction to go. From Cybil’s friend’s house on Levin St., we could work out a plan.
Feeling much better, I shoved the handgun through the back of my belt loop, and tucked the note into my coat pocket. With my memory, I would quickly forget the address, especially under stressful times like these.
“If Cybil was able to get into here, then I can get to her, too.” I started to the front door, and found that it wouldn’t open. The doorknob turned fine, but the door still wouldn’t move. No wait, it was jammed. I put all my weight against the door, shoving as hard as I could, but the door was warped, too big to match the doorframe.
“She must have closed it on her way out,” I thought aloud. Now the door was stuck, and we were separated. Many times when I was a kid and forgot to close doors, I would hear that familiar phrase, “Close that door! Were you born in a barn?” At this moment I wished that Cybil had been born in a barn.
I kicked at the door, tried to pry it open with a metal bar, but nothing seemed to work. Exhausted, I decided that it wasn’t meant for us to find each other. Not yet, at least. All the same though, the newfound hope of knowing someone in town seemed to lift my spirits.
My lifted spirits carried me out of the store, back the way I came, and into the children’s playground area. Just as I stepped outside, a familiar noise made itself more than clear.
As the light outside began to quickly fade, once again that old familiar tune of a siren began to play. To me, it was a dirge of death. Remembering what happened last time the siren went off, I lunged at the wooden fence I hopped over earlier, and found that I couldn’t reach it from this side. The ground was lower.
“Calm down, Harry. It’s just getting darker. You’re going to be fine.” Taking my flashlight back out, I began swiveling my light around the area, looking for a way to get out. A sigh of relief escaped my lips as I noticed a short tree not far from the fence. I could easily climb it and jump over.
Gripping my flashlight between my teeth, I hoisted myself up on a limb, and began my ascent to the third branch, which would provide access over the fence. Just as I thought that I was out of this mess completely, I heard the sound of shattering glass come from inside the store. Panic seizing me, I knew instantly that this was not Cheryl or Cybil.
Something was coming for me…