Part II: The Streets of Silent Hill-Chapter 3
My fear building to a crescendo, I quickly clawed my way up to the third branch, and launched myself over the fence. While my leap was quite graceful, my landing was not. I attempted to tuck into a roll, but instead only succeeded in slamming onto my side.
Hot jolts of pain shot up through my knee and I hissed through my teeth as I clutched it. All other past injuries were brought back yet again. If supernatural monsters didn’t kill me, I’d kill myself before all this was over.
Yet, I was quickly motivated to keep moving with sound of the backdoor bursting open. Next, I heard children laughing, followed by feet scrabbling towards the fence I had just so nimbly hopped over. My knee shooting pain all the way the up to my hip, I stood up and began bolting my way west to the intersection of Levin and Bloch Yet, my run was more of a hobble at this moment.
The sound of the children’s laughter continued to get closer, but I didn’t dare look behind me. As I continued running I could hear “Them” talking to me. “Daddy! Come back!” “Wait for me!” They pleaded. “Play with us!”
Being the stupid son of a gun that I am, I shot a glance behind me. The first thing that I saw was those horrible, crimson eyes. There were about five pairs of them, seeming to pierce through the darkness of the night/day, (or whatever the hell it was).
And those teeth…those horrible, corroded teeth that were set in uneven serrated rows.
So here I was, limping as fast as I was able, knowing that these damned Children of the Damned were going to be gnawing at my flesh before long. The pain in my leg was suddenly not a factor. I had to book it.
My endorphins beginning to do the work for me, I was able to make more headway, staying in front of the soulless children. Every store I passed looked empty, and I didn’t want to chance trying the door and find it locked, wasting precious time. Then, I saw my saving grace. A school bus.
The irony was not lost on me, and I stifled a crazed chuckle under my breath. I saw that the door was open, so I skipped two steps up into the bus, and wheeled around to the driver’s seat. I couldn’t help but notice the keys were still in the ignition, as if the driver had to suddenly skip town….probably on account of these things. I swung the doors shut with a hard pull of the driver’s handle and the unoiled hinges squealed, but the doors did their job of closing nonetheless. Now, I at least had some time to gather my thoughts.
Scanning frantically, I suddenly realized that there would most likely be absolutely nothing in a school bus that could aid me in defending myself. My gun was less than useless, considering I had no ammunition for it. And that was even if they could be killed.
I searched anyway, finding nothing but loose papers, some with names of children written on them. Probably on the way to Midwich Elementary…and perhaps the bus was worth a try to drive. Alas, my fear was confirmed and I had no choice now but to wait, and hope these...freaks would not be able to sense me. I waited, knowing that they couldn’t be too far behind me. I was right.
Peering cautiously out the window, I soon began to make out their hazy figures. Their red eyes were a stark contrast to the white, wintry night. At least it was easy to see them coming…
They ambled around, very different from before. When they sensed me before they seemed to move more particular. Now, they seemed to wander, like lost sheep searching for their shepherd.
As they drew closer, I could see them in more detail than before. Their skin looked so wrong. Finally,I could place what it was. I got the impression that they had been in a really bad fire, and pieces of flesh had been burned away, leaving scar tissue behind. It was unsettling, thinking of children being burned to death, and brought back perhaps by some dark incantation. I hadn’t thought much of it, but I had no idea if they were undead or just mere abominations. All I knew was hearing them refer to me as their “Daddy,” in that childlike voice made my blood run ice cold.
Then, one of them snapped their heads in my direction.
I reacted instantly, ducking down behind the seat. Fearing they might climb up to the window to peer in, I sunk down even further, burrowing underneath the seat. This proved to be quite the feat, considering the small amount of space provided.
I could hear their eerie voices again, calling for me
“Daddy, are you there?” One asked dreamily. I stopped breathing, for fear they could smell my breath. I could hear the soft patter of hands on glass. Beads of sweat formed on my head, slowly dripping down. I squeezed my eyes shut, wishing them away.
…Miles away, in a hospital bed, a little girl lay in agony and pain. She was sleeping, having a dreadful nightmare about horrible monsters. Her own spirit-being manifested these terrible occurrences, using some unknown force to create these horrors, bringing them to life.
Then, her spirit felt a kind, gentle force come to her. It was the spirit of a man. The feeling of his spirit was very benevolent. The power of this force fought the nightmares, wishing them away. The nightmare was waning. Temporarily, she would be at peace…
I lied there, unsure for how long, waiting for the sound of claws on the windows again. For the cold, clammy hands to reach under the seat and grab my ankles, and pull me out kicking and screaming. I would feel their serrated, corroded teeth sink into my flesh but…it never happened…
After what seemed like an eternity, I uncovered my eyes. The sound of the children’s investigation had halted. In a manner that was painstakingly slow, I crawled out from underneath the seat, my ears on full alert. Fortunately, the only sound I heard was my body scooting out from under the seat. I got up, and snuck a glance out the window. To my deepest satisfaction, I saw that the darkness was gone and the misty snow continued to come down outside, with no signs of the cursed children around.
As I stood up, my eyes caught something I didn’t see earlier. A piece of paper was sitting on the seat, looking wrinkled and tossed about. My hand reached down and picked it up without even thinking about it.
The picture was of an empty doghouse, with an arrow pointing to the inside. A sign nearby said “BEWARE OF DOG.” Strange. There was no dog in the picture. Then, I noticed the paper was the same size as Cheryl’s notebook. She must have been here, unless it was just a really freaking weird coincidence. In this town I seriously doubted coincidences could exist.
Looking carefully at the picture, I noticed that a sign in the background said Levin St. Could this be the same house as Cybil’s friend on Levin Street? There was only one way to find out.
I made my way out of the bus, and found that the demon children were gone for good. After checking my map again, I headed north on Levin St., watching as the numbers counted down to 1600.
After five minutes’ time, I had found the address. I noticed the BEWARE OF DOG sign sitting out in the yard, right in the same location as Cheryl’s drawing. How in the world could Cheryl have drawn that without having been here first? There was no other explanation. She had to have been here at some point. My spirits started to lift a little bit. Perhaps she was even waiting safely inside.
I sauntered on down the driveway, feeling that luck was finally coming my way for. At this moment I heard a low growl, the sudden scampering of paws, and a huge Rottweiler came roaring towards me.
Its interesting how in certain situations you can feel totally paralyzed mentally but your body will react on its own, as if on auto-pilot. That’s exactly what happened next.
The sound of paws squishing against the dewy grass was there in a split second, moving fast and determined. The fog’s dampening field made it hard to figure out where any sound was coming from, and next I saw a large dog bounding for me. Without even thinking, I leapt backwards and ended up falling and planted myself in the grass. The dog lunged at me, but stopped short by three inches on account of the metal chain attached to its collar.
With a whine, the dog snapped back from the tension on the chain. I had just come inches from being a doggy treat for Mr. Rotti. Perhaps I should have BEWARED more than I did. I could see spittle coming from the sides of its mouth, the teeth still rared back in a challenging grimace.
“Rocko! Settle down now!” A voice from my left called. I looked up to see a man’s head sticking out of his door, gazing out toward the dog. In an instant, the guard dog ducked its head down, and retreated to its house in shame.
“Hey there, man! You okay?” The man called, starting out the door toward me. He was a middle-aged man in his late thirties. His hair was short and reddish-blonde, parted to the side in a bad comb over. His face was deeply lined, as if he was older than he really ought to be and his brow was creased in concern.
“Yes, I am,” I explained, dusting myself off. “Well, as good as I can be right now. I just got a little jump-scare, that’s all.” The man looked relieved at my well state of being, but his demeanor quickly changed.
“Did you see the sign?” He asked, pointing to the oh-so-obvious sign in the middle of his lawn. The question was stated in a condescending and smarmy way.
“Yes, sir,” I returned, feeling awkward. “I, I just thought he’d be visible if he was here, ya know? Thought he might have been inside, but I guess he was just snoozing.”
“Well, you need to pay more attention,” he said, sounding annoyed. “But I guess you didn’t see him cuz of the fog. Damn thing’s messed up everything up around here. It came at the same time as the snow. Weird stuff. Everyone complains about the dog, but then again it wouldn’t be a problem if they paid attention, right?” He tapped the sign with his forefinger. What is this obsession with the dog and the sign? I get it… we need to beware of your dog…
“I guess not, sir. You’re…you’re John, right?”
“Yes, I am. And who are you? How’d you know me? I don’t imagine you’re from around here. I’d know you if you lived here. Silent Hill ain’t too big, ya know?”
sir. I’m not from around here. I’m actually a journalist from Virignia.”
“Like a reporter?! Well, if this is about my dog, let me tell you that I have a right to protect my yard! Don’t ask me no questions, because this is America and…”
“Sir, this is not about your dog!” I started to yell, getting frustrated at this man’s stupid fixation. “I’m looking for my daughter Cheryl. She’s been missing for the past four hours or so. I was wondering if you’ve seen her.” I pulled out a photo from my pocket, and showed it to him. He leaned forward, narrowing his eyes in concentration.
“Naw, haven’t seen her. I’ve been inside all day. Snow and ice…don’t like all that stuff. Jes’ makes ye wanna stay inside and drink coffee, ya know? So, your daughter’s missing?”
“Yes, sir. I…I actually got in a wreck driving here.”
“A wreck?! Well, dang son I can tell. You’re lookin’ quite scuffed up and mighty tired. I suppose I’d look tired too if I had a daughter and she went up missing. I’ll keep an eye out for her, though.”
“Look, sir,” I started. “My friend says she knows you. Her name’s Cybil Bennett, a police officer over in Brahms.”
The man’s eyes lit up. “Oh, Cybil! Yeah, I know her! We grew up together here! She decided to move to a little bit bigger town, so there’s more stuff to do, you know? A police officer here’d be a waste of time.”
“Waste of time? You don’t have any crime in Silent Hill?”
“No sir.” His eyes suddenly shifted, as if he was trying to think something through. “Nothing bad happened here in years! I mean, we do have police. Occasional break-in every now and then, but that’s about it!” The change in his composure suggested he was holding something back.
“So, Cybil hasn’t come by here at all?”
“No, sir-ree. Hasn’t seen ol’ Cybil in three months. She was supposed to be coming by sometime and seeing me in February. Why you ask?”
“Well, she was going to meet me here but, we got separated. I think she wanted to talk to you.”
“Oh, okay,” he said agreeing, then his brow furrowed. “What’s that got to do with you?” This question took me off guard.
“I uh, ran into Cybil after my wreck. She got…distracted with some other things here in town before she could really help me look for my daughter, but she mentioned she was going to come talk to you. Thought if I hung out here then she could kill two birds with one stone.”
“Fair enough. Say, why don’t you come inside, then? It’s mighty chilly out there,” With the temperature the way it was, I couldn’t argue with him, so I stepped inside. It was a good feeling, knowing that Cybil and I weren’t the only life in this town.
Inside, I saw that John’s home was not very big. The entire house consisted of a short hallway, a small den area, a tiny kitchen, and two rooms.
“It ain’t much, but it’s home,” he stated simply, seeming to read my thoughts. “Hey, you wanna see something neat?” He turned into the first room on the right, leading into his bedroom. How strange to have a bedroom closet to the front door…even the way the houses were setup were strange in this town.
He opened the door, and pointed right above his bed, where a sheathed sword was mounted on the wall.
“That right there, is a katana from 1412. Samurais actually used that sword. Pretty cool, huh? Cost me a fortune to get it.” I stepped in closer, inspecting it. Why a country bumpkin like John was interested in katanas was beyond me. Then again, people probably thought reoccurring nightmares and seven year olds that talk about weird towns in their sleep is pretty strange, too.
“John, can I ask you a question?” I began, not sure how to begin. I had to bring up the strange occurrences in town, but without sounding like I had bats in my belfry. Perhaps John knew something that I didn’t.
“Yeah, I guess so.” I began pondering how to rephrase everything.
“You know the uh…town’s history, right? With the...cult and everything?” At the immediate mention, John began to look uncomfortable.
“Yeah, everybody knows that.”
“Well, those cults are gone and everything, right? I mean, I know there could be some, but…I’m a journalist so naturally I read up on places before I visit. There was a lot of weird occult activity here from what I read.”
“Oh yeah, yeah. There was. Not anymore though. They died out years ago. Haven’t seen anything weird myself. Why you ask?”
just…since I’ve gotten here. I got this…this sense that something is not quite
right. There’s been weird things happening.”
“Oh, yeah. Like what?” He began to look even more uncomfortable now, his arms crossed in a false bravado or a defensive stance.
“Well, since I’ve got here…I really haven’t seen…well…ANYone. All the people’ s houses are locked. Most of their lights are out, which is probably due to the lack of electricity, I guess. I haven’t seen anyone since I’ve been here except Cybil and a bartender. Not even people walking around town. Cybil said she tried knocking on a lot of doors with no answers. It’s like the town is….dead. I’m afraid…I’m afraid that something bad has happened here, and maybe to my daughter.”
I decided it would be best to leave it at that. If he knew anything, this would be enough to get him talking.
“Well…” John started hesitantly. “I guess I can tell you, and don’t be alarmed. This is just a fact, alright? People here…are very different, see. When people disappear in other towns, there’s a big search and rescue operation. When someone disappears in Silent Hill…” He looked out into the distance, contemplating his words.
“When people disappear here, it’s just known that it’s for a reason. No one looks into it because if they disappear, then its meant to happen, see? It’s something that was ordained.” I listened to his words, trying to take it in. No one looks for missing persons in Silent Hill because it’s ordained? Sounds like a word uses mostly by churches…
“What exactly do you mean by that?”
“Well, a lot of history books tell you that the cults left Silent Hill. That’s…not entirely true. We…we have a group still here. They’re called The Order,” he looked down, looking ashamed of himself. “I’m sorry, it’s just that, I feel odd telling an outsider this. The Order, they uh…kind of run things around here.”
John took a paranoid glance around the room.
“They have a big say in this town when it comes to making any big decisions. They’re not keen to outsiders, so they probably wouldn’t like you. In fact, they probably wouldn’t even like me telling you this. They try to keep everything in-house, if ya know what I mean.” He stopped talking, and gazed out into the distance. It almost seemed as if John was telling me a dirty secret.
“Do you think…they have my daughter?”
“I wouldn’t put it past them. They really try to influence the younger kids to their ways, since they’re more impressionable. I don’t think they’d ever go after someone for no reason, but if they saw a little girl wandering the streets, they’d probably take her in. Just on opportunity alone. Dahlia…Dahlia’s really silver-tongued. Persuasive. ya know.”
“Dahlia? Who’s Dahlia?” John got a shocked expression like he couldn’t believe what I just said.
“Dahlia Gillespie. She’s the head of The Order. You wouldn’t dare cross her.”
“She’s not someone you want on your bad side. She’s a very powerful person here. People who cross her tend to …disappear.”
Underground cults? Demon children? EVP’s and ghosts in pictures? So much for the sleepy, lake resort town.
“Well…I guess the idea of strange events aren’t too far fetched,” I said dreamily, thinking back to all of the supernatural events that had occurred in the last couple of hours.
“So, you’ve seen things?” He said, his eyes showing a sign of curiosity mixed with suspicion.
“Yes, if by things you mean things that are not natural, or not possible. I’ve seen things that defy the existence of what we know.” A look of recognition dawned in John’s face.
“Yes, it must be beginning now. And there’s nothing we can do to stop it. It was bound to happen…sooner or later…” He suddenly got a far-off look, as if making a connection or affirmation of something he had wondered for a long time. His eyes seemed spacey, deep in lost thought.
“What’s happening? Do you know something?”
“Silent Hill is alive, Mr. Mason. The stories are all true. The cultist activities have placed a curse on this town. Things have taken place over time and something has broken through. I believe it has something to do with you Mr. Mason, or perhaps even your daughter.”
“My daughter? But we’ve never even…”
Suddenly, the thought of finding Cheryl on the side of the road seven years ago came to mind.
“My daughter…we found her on the mountain-side road near this town seven years ago.”
“Mr. Mason. I’m not a betting man, but I bet that you have to be somehow connected to this madness. If you’re the key to starting this mess, then you’re the key to stopping it. I will help you find your daughter, but all the same, I won’t put myself in any danger.” He glanced toward the kitchen windows. “If you’re going to find your daughter, we need to act quickly. Where have you looked?”
I quickly went over the details of my venture thus far, discussing the cryptic notes left by Cheryl, including the strange photograph experience I had in the playground.
“Jeez. I’ve heard some strange things, but…”
“How can I get to Midwich from here? All the other roads are blocked off.”
“The door in the kitchen,” he started, pointing towards the back door. “I always keep it locked, but it’s a really old door that only locks with a key, no lock bar or anything. But we need the key from the doghouse. Can you go get it for me?”
For a split second, I thought I saw a sly smile play across his lips, one full of malice and conspiracy.
“What? With your dog out there?” I said incredulously. The image appeared in my mind of that huge Rottweiler lunging at me and ripping my throat out.
“He’s all right. Just give him this,” he got up and reached into a cabinet nearby, and pulled out a small dog treat. He threw it to me, and nodded.
“You don’t have nothing to worry about, Mr. Mason. Ol’ Rocko is harmless. He’s just protective of his yard, that’s all.” I couldn’t believe he was asking me to do this! Why couldn’t he get his own damn key!
“Why don’t you get it? It’s your dog!”
“Do you want me to help you or not?!” Why was he being so insistent about this? I couldn’t help but feel suspicious.
I stood there, furious with the only man who could help me at this point. Huffing, I stormed outside, peering out into the yard before I walked much further. The coast was clear.
“Here, boy. Here Rocko,” I said, more a plea than a call. I sounded like a scared five-year old boy. To my surprise, the tredding of the dog’s paws never came. I cautiously tip-toed toward the doghouse. As I approached the dog’s dwelling, I saw that it was exactly as Cheryl had drawn it.
I looked down at the shackle that had once been chained to the monstrous Rottweiler’s neck. It lay bare inside the doghouse, as if Rocko had taken it off himself as he lay inside. There were no signs of a broken chain or anything…
Kneeling down, I scooted myself under the doghouse, and reached my arm inside, feeling around the edges for the cool touch of metal. My fingers grasped the smooth texture of a plastic case, and I pulled. I soon realized that it was a plastic case with a magnet glued to one side. Opening it up revealed a shiny, golden key.
Then, the siren sounded again. Light soon began to fade at a rapid, unnatural pace.
I stood up quickly, knowing all too well what this meant. Discarding the plastic case on the ground, I strode towards the front door of the yard.
A low growl stopped me in my tracks.