Part II: The Streets of Silent Hill-Chapter 4
This was a reaction I had learned from multiple people, stating to not run from a dog because it will make things worse by triggering the dog’s instinct to chase. When I looked behind me to survey the dog I presumed to be Rocko, I soon wished I hadn’t.
The dog was now only a simply a shadow of Rocko’s former self. He was bigger than before (if that was possible) and his fur looked matted, as if it was caked in some suspicious substance. Random spots of fur were missing, showing black and gray-spotted scar tissue.
It was an abomination, a hellhound. It smelled rank, like old garbage and rotten meat. Drool dripped silently from its gaping mouth, spotted red with blood. Faintly, I wondered if it had killed someone already, and had a full enough belly to leave me alone. But that was only wishful thinking…
A thought of the scenes in cartoons or movies, which were supposed to be comical, popped in my mind. The person would smile at the dog, saying “Nice doggie,” in a soft tone.Yet now, there was nothing funny about it at all.
Without warning, the dog took off towards me. I pivoted and sprinted towards the front door.
Any slack and I was a bag of kibbles.
In a blur of seconds, I was reaching out and grabbing the door knob and twisting and pushing inward, and then falling. It all seemed to happen at once. I stumbled, and fell inside, panic seizing my heart. The dog was gaining on me, only three feet behind.
It was too late to stand up, so I kicked the door with my foot, slamming it closed. At the exact moment it closed, I heard a loud thud and a yelp from outside the door. Jumping up, I seized the door’s lock bar and rammed it into place. All was safe. For now.
“Hey!” A shout came from the kitchen. John was suddenly there, wielding a baseball bat.
“You’re a little late, friend,” I muttered. “It’d have been nice if I had someone with me out there. I almost got killed.”
“What? Rocko attacked you?” I shook my head vehemently, my eyes glaring at him in accusation.
“Whatever that thing was, if it used to be Rocko, it isn’t Rocko anymore. It was…one of those things.”
John fell silent, his bat slowly lowering. I said nothing, knowing that he must be filled with sorrow at the prospect of his dog being transformed into one of those monsters. We stood there for a moment, taking in the momentary silence.
I expected to hear the monster dog clawing at the door, but it never came. It was must have retreated. I had to find something for my gun.
“Look, I know you’re sad, John. But we’ve got to keep going. I got the key, so I can keep looking for Cheryl.”
“Go on your own!” John shouted, his voice quivering with sadness. “Find your own damn daughter! I’m staying here.”
“You said you’d help…”
“I know what I said! I don’t care anymore. That dog…he was the only thing I cared about in this madness of a town! Everything else is null and void. You can just go on by yourself. Take this with you, at least.”
He held the bat out towards me, offering for me to take it. I accepted it hesitantly, not sure if he was going to hit me with it in his distraught state. He never did, so I continued.
I got out my phone in silence, and compared it to the map. The school was about 2 miles southwest from here. If I ran, I could probably make it without running into any trouble. At least, I hoped I could.
Solemnly, John saluted me and sulked back into a nearby room.
I went over to the back door, stuck the key into the lock, and turned it. An audible click resided, and I put the key on the counter. Readying myself, I clutched the bat as if it was the only thing that might keep me alive. The moment of truth was near.
I sighed, sucked in a deep breath, turned the knob, and stepped out into the unknown once again.
I stepped into the frosty night air, taking in the cold wind and damp fog. Thinking back to the events that had unfolded, I couldn’t help but think that the town itself wasn’t the only thing wrong. The people here…they didn’t seem quite right. It was if they were acting different, like some unseen force was driving their actions.
The town was making them that way…
John’s reaction to his dog’s transformation was quite an eye-opener to the townspeople’s strange temperament. He seemed afraid as if something else was to follow.
Maybe he’s turning into one of those things, like with the infected bartender that Cybil had to shoot.
Perhaps he was. And perhaps he knew it, and knew that staying away from me was the best thing he could do for me. After all, he seemed to know an awful lot about what was going on here. John was knowledgeable, but was he too knowledgeable? Was he somehow involved? Maybe John was part of the Order, even. I was never sure of what to think anymore, especially here.
John’s backyard was a simple square of fence, encompassing about thirty square feet. There was a simple picnic table to my right, with various tools such as a hammer, nails, and some boards of wood. John must have been working on some kind of project back here. Vaguely, I wondered if he would ever stay alive long enough to ever finish…
Ahead of me, I noticed a loose board in the fence. It must have been the only way to get out, because there was no door made into the fence. I pushed it forward, opening up a hole just big enough for me to squeeze my 160-pound frame into. With much grunting involved, I burrowed my way through the hole in the fence, and was out the other side in only a few moments’ time. I was now in a short alleyway area, leading out into a shorter stretch of road that was adjacent to Midwich St. There wasn’t much to see here on the unnamed road, save for trashcans, storage paddocks, and back areas of some stores. I felt on edge here, in a back street area, reminded quickly of the children from before. Yet, nothing kept me from getting to where I was going.
Even after I reached the point that the side street intersected with Matheson, nothing out of the ordinary occurred. It was simply me traversing the old roads of Silent Hill, accompanied by a flashlight and a baseball bat. All I had to do was head south, and I would reach my destination.
This area was very similar to Levin St., with mainly houses and some small stores. It was definitely more of a residential area. I let my flashlight’s beam flow naturally over everything, trying to take my entire environment in, rather than being too focused on where I was going. I didn’t want to be get bum rushed by any more ghastly creatures. I shuddered at the thought of entering the school. Dozens of evil school children would probably be waiting for me there, their eyes ablaze with crimson luminescence. It was almost like something out of a child’s nightmare
I learned by observing the various stores and locales that Silent Hill had indeed burnt down not long ago. At certain areas, there were still scorch marks and other tell-tale signs of a fire. In fact, there were numerous empty shops that had been abandoned completely, perhaps to honor those that died some eight years ago. Either that, or nobody wanted to bother restoring it. Of course, the great fire was a part of the town’s history, just like the odd activities of the resident cult groups.
A sense of loneliness began to wash over me, and suddenly I felt abandoned, helpless. It was only me, Harry Mason, in the midst of a grim town filled with unspeakable horrors. Nothing to worry about, right? Feelings of despair and futility enveloped me, very similar to how the fog of this forlorn city seemed to envelop me physically.
Nevertheless, I pushed on despite the weighty feeling of the fog pressing onto me, trying to swallow me whole.
“Now, let’s stop for a moment,” Ingram said, in a most polite manner. “These feelings that you described just now. You have stated before that these feelings still affect you, yes?”
“Y-yes,” I stammered. “It’s…it’s like this intense loneliness that eats away at you. It drains your spirit, your drive. Almost the very core of your being. Thinking back on it now, I really do believe that the fog in that town was somehow cursed. It was what kept that town so silent, so oppressed, if you will. It affects the people of that town, making them subjective to sin, bad decisions, selfishness, you name it. It makes you weak, vulnerable. The fog, it…it just consumes you. It’s not only around you, but it gets in you, as well. Clouds your senses, even.”
“Does it make you depressed, Harry?”
“Yes! It feels like in some moments, that the fog is back. Even after escaping that Hell of a town, the fog stays with me. It’s a permanent scar, a reminder of my experience. Silent Hill never wants me to forget. I left that town, but in a way, the town never left me.” A surprised look came upon the psychiatrists face.
“Interesting insight. Very poetically stated, Mr. Mason.”
“I am a journalist, you know.”
“Quite right. The feelings you’ve explained are very reminiscent of symptoms of depression. Now, does this ‘fog’ seem to have you right now?”
I pause, for I didn’t think about those feelings at this point in time. Then, if I had to think about whether those feelings were present, obviously they weren’t.
“No, it’s not, actually. Talking about what happened helps. It’s repressing the memory that brings the loneliness sometimes. It was harder when we told no one, Cybil and I. It feeds off your silence, I believe. Strange, huh? Knowing the town’s name is Silent Hill. You need to break the silence, I gues.
“It’s kind of like the feeling when others don’t believe me, or when things in life seem crazy or out of order, is when the ‘fog’ creeps in on me. It’s almost as if I can feel negative energy from the world around me.
“Interestingly enough, I think that every one can feel this. It’s similar to intuition. We simply sense something from a person or place. In physical/psychological terms, it is when a person with acute senses picks up on negative manifesto in the very environment around them. I wouldn’t label you crazy for that, Mr. Mason.”
I let out a small burst of laughter, a nervous one, but a hearty one nonetheless.
“I’m sorry, Dr. Ingram. It’s just that, I’m shocked you haven’t said that I’m crazy yet.”
“You’re shocked that I don’t think you’re crazy. And why is that?”
“You obviously haven’t heard my entire story…”
Back To Silent Hill
“Midwich Elementary School” was written in chipped, cryptic letters on a large wooden sign. It was weird that even though the town had been restored in the past seven years that so many things in the town seemed so ancient. It was like time stood still. Then again, not everything was caught in the fire and had to be replaced. I then noticed the establishment date. “Built in 1941.”
“What an old school,” I thought. You don’t see many schools that were built so long ago, and if you did they’re usually restored to a more contemporary look. But not this one.
The school loomed in front of me, like a great monstrous being that dared me to go inside. As intimidating as it was, it also fascinated me. I could feel the years, the history screaming out from the school. So many things had happened here, whether good or bad. The school almost seemed to invite me.
“You know what else invites people in?” I said to myself. “Vampires. They’re known to be hospitable…”
I took a step forward, feeling very unsure of my course of action.
Then…a random thought scurried across my mind. I remembered watching the movie “Village of the Damned,” and something clicked. The name of the town was Midwich. A chill traveled through me, but the rational part of my mind told me
Harry, it’s just a coincidence. Or maybe they were a fan of the movie?
Both sides of my brain were hard at work, trying to tell me their opinion of this matter. When it came to this, the third voice mattered. The voice that convinced me that Cheryl needed me.
I used that motivation to carry me up the steps, each new one a little easier than the last. Before I knew it, I was at the top, standing before a set of double-doors. This was it. Play time was over…