Chapter 4

Silent Hill 2 : The Official Novel

By Sadamu Yamashita
Translated by Emily “Lady Ducky” Fitch

Chapter Four -Patient Records-

Why would a young child like Laura want to be in a place like this? Brookhaven Hospital was completely devoid of liveliness and dominated by an uneasy stillness. There wasn’t a soul to be found anywhere. The lights in the entrance hallway were all switched off, giving the area a dim and hollow atmosphere as if the building had been abandoned for years. Despite this, the halls were immaculately clean and free of dust or debris, like the staff had been working tirelessly to keep the place in pristine condition, and quite recently too.

It was a fairly large hospital with plenty of room for the numerous patients that should have been resting in their beds. Where did everyone go? James began searching through the ward on the first floor with Maria huddled uncomfortably close. He caught the faint scent of Maria’s perfume, bringing up guilty recollections of his late wife. Their search came up empty. Laura obviously ducked into the hospital because she knew they were on her trail, so it wasn’t likely she would risk hiding on the first floor.

“Let’s keep going.”

“Okay.”

As they climbed the dimly-lit staircase, James began to think. He had been so intent on catching Laura that he hadn’t noticed before, but now he couldn’t help but wonder: why hasn’t Maria asked anything about Laura? She knew he was here to look for Mary, but he hadn’t mentioned anything to her about the letter Laura was carrying. And despite this, she unquestioningly followed him on the hunt for the little girl, as if she knew that it was important. Even though she certainly seemed to be a nosy person…this seemed a little much, especially in a dangerous situation like this.

Having reached the second floor, James absent-mindedly took a left when they came to a branching hallway. He stole a quick glance at Maria, who was still clinging nervously to his arm. If he was so worried about her motivations, why didn’t he just ask her right now? He tried to form the words, but he kept hesitating, like he was afraid of saying the wrong thing. It was that uncertainty, among other unpleasant emotions swirling in his mind, that always made speaking with Maria so difficult. It was so strange that—

“Look out!” Maria’s frantic cry shocked James out of his thoughts. She yanked him backwards, nearly pulling him off his feet as a long object swung through the darkness. The metal pipe that was clearly aimed to bash his brains out made a dull metallic sound as it met the linoleum floor mere inches in front of him. Whoever the attacker was, they meant business. The unknown assailant pulled its metal pipe off the ground and swung it again, but James was prepared this time and blocked the strike with his own pipe. The sharper, ear-piercing clang of metal hitting metal shot through the empty hallway and the force of the impact sent a jolt of pain through James’s arms.
20120517-190433.jpg
“Who are you!?” James shouted through gritted teeth. With their weapons locked together, his opponent was forced to stumble closer, into the flashlight’s beam. The attacker had the figure of a human, enough so that it would appear perfectly normal from a distance, but at this close range its true nature was revealed. It was a monster in a white dress, masquerading as a nurse. The proof was its ugly face, swollen beyond recognition, and its gray decomposing skin that gave it the appearance of a walking corpse. The odor it carried was repulsive, like rotting garbage.

The creature’s grotesque exterior concealed surprising strength, but its decaying body was still too fragile to fight for long, and it soon fell to the ground.

“Hurry, finish it off!” Maria shouted while standing a safe distance behind James. What a silly thing to say. Of course he planned to kill this monster, and quickly, too, as it was already trying to pull itself back to its feet with its weak arms. But if that’s true, then why am I so reluctant? It’s just a monster. Something that’s going to kill me if I don’t kill it first. But what if…what if it really isn’t? Could it really be a normal nurse who was unfortunate enough to catch a disease from an infected patient? And now, driven to a state of madness, she wanders the hospital’s halls, too scared and confused to tell if people are trying to help her or hurt her. And if anything was to be gathered from her appearance, she’s probably suffering immense physical pain as well. If James looked at the situation that way, it almost seemed pitiable.

Then, at most, it’d be nothing more than a mercy killing, right? It was as if Maria were shouting words of encouragement, and she knew how conflicted James felt. The nurse was standing again with the rusty pipe still clamped firmly in its gray hand. He steeled himself, swallowing all his feelings of doubt. It has to be painful for anyone that disfigured to live. Monster or human, the best thing would be for it to die. James raised his steel pipe above his head, and swung down with all his might. The nurse’s skull cracked under the crushing force of the blow, and its legs crumpled, sending it sprawling across the floor again. Only this time, it didn’t stand back up.

James stood silently for a moment, staring at the slain monster. Dark blood pooled under its crumpled body, joining the small splatters that had sprinkled across the hall when he had struck it. I made the right choice…didn’t I? Even if he could make himself believe that, the whole situation left a bad taste in his mouth. He felt Maria’s hand on his shoulder.

“James…you did what you had to do.” Maria offered words of consolation, once again as if she knew exactly how he was feeling.

While the first floor was devoid of life, the second and third floors were crawling with aggressive nurses as well as more strange mannequin-like creatures. As he stood over the body of yet another blood-stained nurse, a paralyzing thought came to mind. Perhaps, like the insane nurses, all the residents of Silent Hill were infected with the same diabolical virus. It wasn’t too much of a stretch to picture a biological weapon leaking from a secret military base and polluting the town’s water supply. The nurses and mannequins were at least human enough to be recognized as being female. So perhaps the armless monsters used to be men, their bodies having deteriorated after so much time.

If this really was the truth, then it should have made it feel easier to kill them one-by-one. It would be an act of compassion, ending all their suffering. To think that I’m really “helping” them…that’s a lie. Only an excuse. Like I’m trying to run away from something…but what is it?

“James, wait up,” Maria said, snatching James’s attention away from his gloomy thoughts. She was beginning to fall behind, and had resorted to a slow trot while still trying to keep up.

He had almost forgotten that Maria was with him, even though he was supposed to be protecting her.

“I’m exhausted.” Maria’s face was pale, and she looked like she was having difficulty breathing. “It’s just a slight cold. I wasn’t feeling great this morning either. I guess I got distracted when I saw that everyone was missing.”

James frowned. He was getting a feeling of déjà vu, bringing back memories that carried sorrow like a curse. This was just like the beginning… When Mary had said it was “just a slight cold”…

“You better rest for a while” Driven by anxiety, he hurriedly searched for a safe place for her to lie down. After stealthily examining the nearby room S03 and finding it to be free of monsters, he invited Maria inside and carefully helped her to the bed. “I’ll go ahead and at least make sure the third floor is secure, then I’ll try to find Laura. I think she knows where Mary is. Are you sure you’ll be okay here by yourself?”
20120517-190559.jpg
“Yeah,” Maria answered in a faint voice. Before James could turn to leave, she grabbed his hand. “ Hey, James… If you…if you find Mary, what will you do then?”

“I don’t know.” James shook his head quietly.

The seeds of uncertainty were planted, and James began to doubt himself. While passing though an empty office on the first floor, a stack of papers happened to catch his eye. The contents of those papers still weighed heavily on his mind, like corrosion slowly eating away at his thoughts. They were a doctor’s memos on a certain patient.

20120517-200717.jpg

“…The potential for this illness
exists in all people, and under
the right circumstances, any
man or woman would be driven,
like him, to “the other side.”

The “other side” perhaps may
not be the best way to phrase it.
After all, there is no wall between
here and there. It lies on the
borders where reality and unreality
intersect. It is a place both close
and distant.

Some say it isn’t even an illness.
I cannot agree with them. I’m a
doctor, not a philosopher, or even
a psychiatrist.

But sometimes I have to ask
myself this question. It’s true
that to us his imaginings are
nothing but the inventions of
a busy mind. But to him, there
simply is no other reality.

Furthermore, he is happy there.
So why, I ask myself, why in the
name of healing him must we drag
him painfully into the world of our
own reality?”

It seemed to be more of the doctor’s personal opinion regarding the patient’s mental illness rather than an actual medical diagnosis. Who was the patient these papers referred to? Could it be talking about…me? James shuddered, but instantly rejected the idea. No, that can’t be it! But…all the strange things happening in Silent Hill, the vanishing people, the weird monsters, all those things are just too wild for someone to just imagine. Again, he shook his head in denial. Maybe the reality was just as absurd as the fantasy. After all, Maria, Angela, and Eddie have all seen the monsters too. Even Laura had a letter from Mary. Such a young child couldn’t possibly have known Mary for more than three years.

At any rate, he should be searching for Laura right now, not wandering around and sulking. Knowing that that girl could prove Mary’s survival dispelled most of his misgivings. After the third floor turned up empty, James decided to check the roof. He was surprised to find that night had fallen without him even noticing. Had he really been searching that long? Actually, the hospital corridors were so dark that standing out here in the dead of night really didn’t make much of a difference. Between the fog and the darkness, there wasn’t any view to be seen; even the stars were completely obscured. James walked along the rooftop perimeter, shining the flashlight at any place small enough for a little girl to hide. There was no sign of Laura, but he stumbled on what appeared to be a piece of lost property sitting near the guardrail. He picked up the object: a diary. Its cover was tattered and soaked with rain water. On a sudden curious whim, he flipped to the first page. The words were a bit blurred, but still readable.

“May 9
Rain.
Stared out the window all day.
Peaceful here—nothing to do.
Still not allowed to go outside.

May 10
Still raining.
Talked with the doctor a little.
Would they have saved me if
I didn’t have a family to feed?
I know I’m pathetic, weak.
Not everyone can be strong.

May 11
Rain again.
The meds made me feel sick
today.
If I’m only better when I’m
drugged, then who am I, anyway?

May 12
Rain as usual.
I don’t want to cause any more
trouble for anyone, but I’m a
bother either way.
Can it really be such a sin to
run instead of fight?
Some people may say so, but they
don’t have to live in my shoes.
It may be selfish, but it’s what
I want.
It’s too hard like this.
It’s just too hard….

May 13
It’s clear outside.
The doctors told me I’ve been
released—that I’ve got to go
home.
I ————–”

The diary ended there abruptly. It must have belonged to one of the patients. If it happened to be from the same person from the other memo, James’s concerns would be wiped away. Clearly the patient had regained their sanity and was discharged from the hospital, meaning it couldn’t possibly be James the memo was talking about. But what if…the patient relapsed? What if they forgot the past and fell back into their world of delusion? What if their reality was to endlessly wander an inescapable nightmare?

A loud noise rang through the air, as if to embody James’s frustration. It was the grating noise of something metal scraping across the concrete of the rooftop. Like someone was dragging something heavy…and even before James turned around, he knew who it was.

“Come and get me asshole,” James challenged, pulling his treasured gun from his belt. Unlike before, he felt no fear facing the pyramid monster. Though his confidence came from the fact that he was able to repel the monster twice before, the biggest reason was that he now doubted the creature’s very existence. There’s no way this ridiculous bastard could be real…but could it really just be the product of an insane delusion? Either way, James was soon going to find out. Completely defenseless other than the gun in his hand, he exposed himself before the imposing monster. If it was just a delusion, then that nasty hatchet would be nothing more than a paper mache toy. The hollow blade would pass right through his body without leaving a scratch.

The monster sluggishly lifted its blade, aiming to slice its target in half. James’s bravery faltered and he recoiled backwards, only to find a chain-link fence at his back, preventing any chance at escape. The fence’s metal frame was rusted and brittle and it began to creak under James’s weight. All of a sudden the structure gave way and tipped backwards off the roof, taking James with it. The blade of the monster’s massive sword grazed the tip of his nose before he was swallowed by darkness and fog.

For what seemed like forever, James lay in shock, staring up at the gaping hole in the ceiling. Chunks of debris and dust were scattered about on the floor of the dark room. The roof here must have rotted enough for him to be able to fall right through it. Even after surviving the impressive fall, the pain in his back was the furthest thing from James’s mind. The pyramid monster hadn’t followed him. Meaning he was safe for a little while longer.

Using the steel pipe as a makeshift cane, James stood up and surveyed the room. He was in the special treatment unit on what appeared to be the third floor. Several doors were lined up on the wall, each leading to a small isolation room for the severely mentally ill patients. James couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. The action sent a stab of pain through his back.

Making his way carefully through the hallway, James quietly peeked into room S03. Maria was out like a light. Now that the pyramid monster was wandering around, he worried even more for her safety. But even if she were able to continue on in her bad state, what would they do if they were to encounter the creature? It would be even more dangerous for her. Leaving the sleeping Maria behind, James stepped away from the room and headed towards the stairs. He hadn’t yet explored the basement.

It would have been far easier to get to the basement if he were able to use the elevator. Unfortunately, the one he was able to find was out-of-order, leaving no choice but to find another way. James came across a fire-door that led to an emergency staircase, but it was locked tight. They must keep the key around here somewhere…maybe somewhere in the offices… With his body still sore from his earlier fall, he continued to the first floor. A small figure caught his eye. Skirt fluttering, the figure darted across the ward. It was Laura! And she was trying to escape again!

James ran to the hallway where she had fled, but the girl was gone. The corridor directly ahead led to a dead end, and with the fire-door and the elevator both out of service, she had to be hiding close by. Sneaking into the first room in the hall, room C2, he quickly spotted her.
20120517-201051.jpg

“You can quit hiding now. Come on out.”

Giggling merrily, the girl’s face peeked out from under the bed. “Uh oh, you found me! You’re not going to tag me ‘it’ now, are you?”

Had Laura been running all this time because she thought they were playing tag? Here he was going on a desperate search while this girl treated it like a game. James was running out of energy. “Please, Laura. Don’t run away anymore.”

“Huh? How do you know my name?”

“Eddie told me.”

“That big fat blabbermouth!” Laura cried, her face twisting into a little scowl.

“I want you to tell me how you know Mary. Mary Shepherd Sunderland.”

“What’s the big deal?”

“Because I have to know,” James said sternly.

Laura looked startled by his serious expression. “Are you gonna hit me if I don’t tell you?”
“No, I’d never do anything like that.”

“Mary…was my friend when I had to stay in another hospital.”

“What? When was this?”

“Just last year.”

“Liar! Last year Mary was already…”

“You’re the liar! You won’t listen to anything I say anyway!”

Once again, James was met with disappointment. Clearly Laura still wasn’t going to tell the whole truth. But what did a little girl like her have to hide? Did something bad happen between her and Mary?

“Anyway, we should get out of here. This isn’t the place for a kid to be running around alone. This whole town is dangerous… I’m surprised you haven’t gotten yourself hurt yet.”

“Why would I get hurt? This town is all calm and boring.”
At least now that he found Laura, he could meet back up with Maria on the third floor.

As soon as they stepped out of the room, Laura said, “Wait, I have to go somewhere.”

“Not now, okay? We can’t get sidetracked.”

“But I forgot something really important! It’s a letter from Mary!”

James stopped in his tracks. He instinctively spun around to face the little girl holding his hand.
Trying to get on his good side, Laura showed the sweetest smile she could muster. The effect was ruined when she complained like a spoiled child, “Pleeeease? It’s really close!”

The label on the door in front of them read “Treatment room.” This must be where they brought the patients who arrived by ambulance. Rows of beds were lined up on the far wall. The only other feature in the otherwise empty room was a shelf hanging on the wall where a variety of medical equipment and drugs were stored.

“Is this really the right room?”

“Uh-huh. It’s right over there.”

“Where?”

“On that shelf, way in the back.”

James stepped into the treatment room. He had only made it halfway over to the shelf when he was caught off-guard by the sound of the door slamming shut behind him.

“Laura?” He turned around, wondering if anything had happened to her. His question was met with amused laughter from the other side of the door.

“Ha ha, I got you! I can’t believe you were stupid enough to fall for that!”

“What are you doing? Laura, please open the door.” James ran to the door and tugged on the knob, but somehow she had managed to lock it from the outside.

“Why should I? I’m just a little liar. You said it yourself.”
20120517-201441.jpg
“Come on, open up!”

“If you want me to open the door, why don’t you just ask nicely?”

“Listen Laura, I’m not kidding around! You’re not safe out there, there could be monsters! Please, you can’t just wander around by yourself!”

“You don’t want to ask nicely? You’re sure? I guess I won’t open the door then. You can just stay in there for a while.” A low, menacing roar rumbled from somewhere in the gloom of the treatment room.

“Laura? Laura!” While pounding on the door, James grabbed the light from around his neck and frantically scanned the room. The ceiling. There was something hanging from the ceiling.

“Open the door! Quickly!” No matter how loud he yelled or how hard he pounded, the door would not open. Laura must have gone off somewhere, leaving James trapped in here alone with whatever else was hiding in the shadows. He tried again to catch the creature in the flashlight beam. What he found appeared to be something in a large, dark gray sack. Its movements were sluggish as it lazily made its way closer.

Its form was unlike anything James had ever seen before: a bizarre monster like a pendulum. Its body was a soft and flabby chunk of meat, like a half-digested human, suspended from the ceiling by a metal rectangular frame. It was nothing but a fleshy mass of decaying skin and muscles, melting away to reveal the twisted black intestines underneath. Deformed arms and legs jutted out at odd angles from the wrong places.
20120517-201609.jpg
From the darkness emerged two more of the repulsive creatures, surrounding James on both sides. Slowly inching closer. Grim as the situation looked, James struggled to keep calm. He just needed to focus on fighting. He just needed to stay alive. It would be impossible to fight them off with the pipe, their bodies were too well protected by the cage-like frames. He would have to use his gun. The thought of using up his precious bullets filled him with dread. He really should be saving them in case pyramid head appeared again, but then again, having extra ammo wouldn’t do any good if died now.
20120517-201717.jpg
James opened fire on the three creatures, making sure to divide his remaining ammo equally. Even being trapped in a dark room surrounded by monsters, the emotion he felt more than fear was his anger towards Laura. He had to get out of here alive, if only to punish that evil little brat. Driven by this immature rage, James’s carefully aimed and controlled gunshots turned to wild and almost random firing.

Die, you fucking, piece-of-shit monsters!

As the bullets pierced the ugly lumps of meat, spurts of blood scattered through the air and splattered across James’s face. He looked like a demon. All his rage and excitement along with the smell of blood swirled together, and he began to feel dizzy.

James…

It was the cold whisper of a female voice. It was so soft that it seemed to be coming from inside his head.

James…

His consciousness blurred and faded into darkness.

James stared vacantly at the side of a concrete wall. What was he doing here? He couldn’t remember. All he knew was that he was in a dark place surrounded by walls. He was certain that he’d been in a hospital. How long had he been here? No answer came to mind. Wait… He had been in the treatment room before, fighting those monsters. But something still didn’t feel right…

When James opened the door to return to the ward, it was like the world had completely changed. The worn linoleum was peeling from the floor, revealing the bar concrete underneath. The walls were faded, cracked, and dyed red with dried bloodstains. Broken bits and pieces of medical equipment were scattered everywhere, all of it covered in a layer of dust and filth. Brookhaven hospital had fallen to ruin.
20120517-201829.jpg
James could not even begin to grasp this sudden and jarring change. He could only stand and stare in mute amazement. This is impossible. Have I gone crazy? Is this some insane nightmare?

“Maria…” All thoughts of Laura gone from his mind, James began a steady walk to the third floor, almost like something was pulling his soul there. All he clung to as he traversed the darkened halls was one single idea: if he could find Maria, he could find out if this unsettling situation was something only he was seeing. He could ask her if it was all just an illusion. More than anything, he wanted to believe that this wasn’t real.

He swung open the door to room S03 to find the bed empty. The only thing that remained was an empty bottle of pills that rested on the bedside table. Was it from the hospital’s supply, or was it something she had been carrying with her? James’s gaze was fixated on the bottle. He remembered this medicine. It was what Mary had been required to take in large amounts three times a day, back when she became ill. The fading pain in his chest began to ache again. Did Maria have the same disease?

“Maria…where are you?” In James’s mind, Mary and Maria were beginning to overlap. As if Maria was trying to replace Mary. Maybe the last traces of his wife’s existence were no match for the need and concerns of a human being who was still alive…

After wandering and searching for so long that he lost track of time, James found himself in a ground floor storeroom. Large, rusted pieces of equipment had been crammed in the small space like unwanted garbage. The whole place was narrow enough to feel like it was suffocating him. There didn’t seem to be anyone else in here. James’s shoulders sagged with disappointment. Suddenly, he heard a voice calling out his name. It was like…a beautiful sound from heaven. Like the song of an angel, so captivating and breathtaking that it could even wake the dead. Heart lightened, James turned around. There was that lovely face he had been persuing for so long…

“Mary?”

“I’m Maria!” She glared at him, the annoyance plainly visible on her face.
20120517-201952.jpg
“Oh, sorry…” James shrank away. “I guess I was just confused… I don’t really know what’s going on right now. Anyway, I’m glad to see you’re still alive. Are you feeling any better?”

“Anyway? What do mean anyway?! Do I really mean that little to you?! I could have died back there. Where the hell were you when I needed you? All you ever talk about is that dead wife of yours. Is that really all that matters to you? Do you even care what happens to me at all?” As the angry questions poured out, Maria looked to be on the verge of tears.

James found himself to be overwhelmed by her furious accusations. “N-no, it’s nothing like that…”

“Then stay with me! Don’t leave me alone again.”

“I understand. I promise I won’t leave your side.”

“Then…it’s okay. I forgive you.” Little by little, Maria’s temper seemed to melt away. Returning to her usual flirty tone, she said, “Did you find Laura?”

“Yeah. But, she ran away again.” The pesky little girl’s prank had given him hell, and he was still bothered by the hospital’s grotesque state. Honestly, he was getting sick of looking at it.
20120517-202154.jpg
“Well that’s no good. Now we have to chase her down all over again,” Maria said harshly, as if she were scolding James for letting Laura get away. “You know, I’m not sure what it is, but all of a sudden this hospital is giving me a strange vibe. Poor Laura’s probably scared stiff.”

Those words took a burden off of James mind. So I’m not so crazy after all. If Maria can see these strange things too, then it’s not just a hallucination.

“Yeah, we should get going,” James nodded vigorously.

“I wonder where a little kid would want to hide around here. Maybe the basement? We haven’t checked down there yet.”

“I thought the same thing, but there’s no way to get down there. The elevator won’t move, and the door to the staircase is locked, so I don’t see how Laura could be hiding in the basement.”

“Really? I peeked into the basement stairs a little bit ago. I didn’t use a key or anything.”

Maybe whatever had twisted the hospital into its current form had somehow unlocked the fire door as well. If that was the case, then there was only one way for them to go. James and Maria trudged through the decrepit halls towards the basement. Just as Maria had said, the fire door was unlocked. James was positive that this door had been shut tight before, but he kept his mouth shut in an effort to avoid another argument.

On the other side of the emergency door was a damp corridor that was infused with a stale, musty scent. It had a secluded atmosphere that didn’t fit at all into the hospital setting, and it didn’t seem likely that this hall was used for transporting deceased patients. Their footsteps echoed dully through the dark, enclosed space, adding to the air of loneliness. As they rounded a corner, the monotonous sound was interrupted by a startled cry from Maria, “James!”

A sound James had heard many times before was slowly making its way closer. The harsh and unpleasant sound of something heavy scraping across the floor.

“Stay back!” Standing in front of Maria to protect her, James pulled out his gun, prepared for a fight. He knew the gun was a reliable weapon, but after the encounter with the monsters in the treatment room, only three precious bullets remained in the magazine. Thinking quickly, James fired the last three shots at the approaching creature, taking the opportunity to grab Maria by the hand and run as it recoiled in pain.

“Hurry!” As pulled the panicking Maria through the halls, James could only pray that there was an exit waiting for them at the end. If the worst should happen, at least he still had the steep pipe to defend himself with. They dashed through the twisting corridor around what seemed like hundreds of corners until their legs ached and their breath came in ragged, terrified gasps.

The end was in sight: a tall, gray door sat at the end of the hallway, seeming to be impossibly far away.
20120517-202327.jpg
Was it the entrance to a room? Was it a dead end? James’s disappointment dissolved where he saw it was actually an elevator. And the door was sitting wide open, beckoning them to safety. Come on, please work! James ran inside and hit the first floor button. It really didn’t matter which floor they went to; anywhere was better than here. He found that in his frenzied rush, he was repeatedly slamming the button like he was trying to break it, as if pressing it more would make the doors close faster. He scanned over the panel and pressed the button for opening and closing the doors.

Instantly, the two halves of the door began to slide together. Suddenly it hit him: Maria was still outside the elevator! James hit the door button again in a desperate attempt to stop the doors from completely shutting her out.

“Open damn it!” The elevator lacked safety equipment, so the cold metal doors continued moving closer together, heartlessly ignoring both James’s and Maria’s pleas.

“James!” Maria begged for help with a bitter cry, having managed to thrust her arm through the gap and into the elevator. Her screams were cut short by the sudden sound of a blade tearing through flesh.

“Maria!”

Her limp arm slipped though the crack, vanished, and the doors clicked shut. As the elevator began to ascend, James sank into the depths of despair.

“Aww, where’d he go?” Laura muttered with displeasure. James must have left the hospital already. By the time she returned to the treatment room, he was long gone. Even though Laura hated James because of Mary’s circumstance, having lost her persistent pursuer left her feeling just a little bit unsatisfied. Tag and hide-and-seek were fun and all, but it was no use if you had no one to play with. For a while, she made a game out of pretending to be a detective, searching through the empty hospital for clues until she finally grew tired.

Even it this was a different hospital than the one she had stayed in, there really wasn’t anything to see that she hadn’t seen before. The spotless, clean floors and the complex machines and equipment only served to remind her of the long, boring days spent stuck in her hospital bed.

“Hmph. Guess I’ll just go back to the bowling alley. I hope that Eddie gave himself a stomachache.” A light skip in her step, Laura started towards the exit.

Even after all that, I wasn’t able to save her…

Desolate and heartbroken, James crouched on the ground and leaned against the colorless walls of the elevator. The walls were beginning to feel more and more like a cage. Having reached the upper floor, the metal doors has slid open to reveal the pitch-black hallway beyond. It was darkness almost as deep and somber as the one that hung over his own heart. First Mary, and now Maria…

Because they shared the same beautiful features, it was like losing the same woman twice. They slipped away until they remained nothing but a memory, leaving James with twice the grief. An overwhelming feeling of emptiness that felt the same as death. He wanted nothing more than for this madness to end. Although… What if he was the one going mad? What if everything was turning into a nightmare that he couldn’t escape?

With great effort, James finally got back on his feet. He remembered his wife’s face, the face of a dead woman. That lovely face was the foundation of his entire being, his reason for living. These feelings of grief and sorrow were only a distraction. Searching for Mary, holding on to the belief that she was alive—those were the only things that mattered now.

James stepped out of the elevator and into the first floor’s administrative area. It was the same one he had visited earlier, only, just like the ward he’d walked though after fighting the creatures in the treatment room, this place now had a dirty and ruined appearance. As a result, the door to every office and examination room in the ward was rusted shut and impossible to open. There was only one room that could be entered: the director’s office.

If he wanted to find Mary, he’d have find Laura first. Besides their “special place” at the hotel, the girl was the only lead he had left. James peeked inside the director’s office. The elegant spines of many well-kept medical books were tightly lined up on a bookshelf. However, there was no sign of Laura. He’d already searched through every accessible room in the hospital without any luck. Did this mean he’d have to wander aimlessly through town until he found her again?

The beam of his flashlight fell on the large desk that sat by the window on the far side of the room. Someone had left a map there. And it was this lone map, laying on top of what would otherwise have been an empty desk, that grabbed James’s attention for some reason. It was a map of Silent Hill with a single location marked with an ‘X’ and a few sentences scrawled in the corner. Did the hospital director write this?
20120517-202700.jpg

“He who fears being watched from the abyss,
will be unable to look into it himself.
The truth can only be obtained by pressing forward.
Follow the map.
You’ll find a letter.”

James looked up from the map with a start to see something outside the window. From the corner of his sight, he caught a glimpse of a small shadow. Wasting no time, he dashed out of the office and towards the hospital’s main entrance. There was no mistaking it— it had been the figure of a little girl. Laura was leaving the hospital. Wait! You have to tell me… You have to tell me about Mary!

Standing in the hospital entrance, James carefully panned across the street with his flashlight. Laura was gone, having slipped away into the midnight blackness under the cover of fog. Did she run left or right? James was unsure, but he made the decision to turn right and began walking south down Carroll Street. Whether Laura went this way or not, his real goal was to reach the spot marked on the director’s map. Maybe it was the mention of the so-called “letter” that was making him feel anxious, but he couldn’t help but think that whatever it was had to be important.

James studied every twisting turn marked on the map: west down Rendell Street, from Munson Street to Saul Street. North to Neely Street, and east to Sanders Street. James’s destination lied somewhere on Lindsey Street. His thoughts turned back to his gun, which he had abandoned in the hospital basement during the tense chase. Not that an empty gun would do him any good now. He still had the steel pipe to rely on though. Holding his only weapon tightly, James proceeded ahead, hoping that he wouldn’t have to use it.

Halfway through Saul Street, James came upon a building that blocked the road like an overpass, creating a tunnel he’d need to walk through. The inside was obscured by an even thicker and gloomier darkness. The floor was covered by an iron mesh, similar to the kind used during construction, and there seemed to be nothing solid underneath. James was reluctant to walk across it as nothing about the thin surface looked safe. Looking closer, he thought he could see a vague black shape squirming beneath the chain-link flooring. Was there…a monster down there?
20120517-202825.jpg
Though it shared their jerking movements, it was different from the armless monsters and the mannequins. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t something pleasant. If I sprinted through, maybe I could make it, James thought. There was no way of knowing how long the tunnel was from here, but wouldn’t a creature trapped beneath an iron mesh be unable to attack him? Back in his school days, track and field had been his strong point, and he had been especially good at running short-distances. He had always placed well in races with his classmates. But now that he was an adult, his body was weakened by a definitive lack of exercise. Nevertheless, he had to try.

With a quick chant of “ready, set, go!” James charged into the tunnel. As he ran, the light hanging around his neck jerked side to side violently, making it nearly impossible to see where he was going. He was sprinting at full speed down a pitch-black tunnel with no exit in sight. With every pounding footstep, the chain-link floor rattled and shook. The sound mingled with the white noise blaring from his radio. Underfoot, the shadowy figures of the monsters lied in wait, clinging onto the iron mesh. His intention was to run without distractions, but even against his better judgment, he couldn’t help but look down.

The creatures were dangling from the floor by their thick, suction pad-like forearms and they chased James with surprisingly quick and skillful movement. The way their arms flailed about as they followed behind him made it appear as if they were trying to get his attention. Almost as if they had something they wanted to say. I beg you, listen to me. Please understand…

From underneath the metal grid, paw-like tentacles emerged and stabbed at James’s feet, sending a shock of pain through his body. “Cut it out!” James raised his steel pipe and swatted at the creature’s ugly tumor-like arms. There was a small burst of sparks and the metallic clang echoed though the length of the tunnel. However, the metal floor was the only thing he struck, and the undamaged monster barely slowed. Between the metal grid protecting it and its incredible agility, it would be difficult to land a solid blow.
20120517-202927.jpg
“Ow!” James staggered from a sudden numbing pain in his foot, grabbing onto the tunnel wall to keep from falling. He knew that if he were to fall to the ground it would all be over. They would gnaw at his body with those nasty suckers, and he’d be unable to get up and escape. He would die as the creatures slowly ripped away and devoured his flesh. Though he was losing feeling in his legs, James continued forward. As long as he could still move, escape was the only option.

James rushed madly ahead, desperately beating down any of the monsters’ attacking limbs. He raised his voice in what was both a war-cry and a scream of pain with every step. He saw what looked to be a bar located on the corner of Neely Street and Sanders Street. With the radio static signaling the approach of more monsters, James decided to avoid them by slipping inside the building. He managed to exit the tunnel, and burst thorough the front door just as the pain in his legs was becoming unbearable.

Going by the vacant interior, this place had been out of business for some time. There wasn’t a single chair, table, booth, or stool to be found… The whole place had an atmosphere of ruin and decay much like the hospital. James fell to the floor, resting his back against the wall covered in peeling plaster. He shined the flashlight around the room. If there was a monster lurking around, he should have heard it by now, but it wouldn’t hurt to take the extra precaution. Apparently, after this bar was closed, it had become a hang-out for the local delinquents—cigarette butts and the remains of marijuana joints littered the floor, and tucked into the corner was a small, ripped up plastic bag that was stuffed with what appeared to be cocaine. Every available surface, from the walls to the windowpanes, was plastered with graffiti and obscenities. Most of the writing was either meaningless nonsense or offensive just for the sake of being offensive. But as he casually scanned over the words, his eyes became nailed to one message:
20120517-203035.jpg
If you really want to SEE Mary, you should just DIE. But you might be heading to a different place than MARY, James.

James stared in stunned silence. There was no way this could be a coincidence… He was gripped by a sudden feeling a nausea, and his head ached like a bell being struck. Breathing became difficult. He felt like he would suffocate if he had to look at those words any longer. The pain in his partially numb legs forgotten, James scrambled to his feet and towards the exit. He stumbled and smacked into the door before forcibly tumbling out onto the street.

He hurried toward Lindsey Street as fast as he could manage in his current state, desperate to put as much distance as possible between him and the bar containing those piercing words. Though he had grabbed the steel pipe without thinking, every last thought of fighting monsters or keeping himself safe had completely vanished from his mind. He didn’t care about how defenseless he was, rushing out into the open, he just kept running, eyes firmly fixed on his goal as he wandered though the darkness. The spot indicated on the director’s map…was a surprisingly ordinary-looking house. As the map promised, a letter sat on the stairs in front of the entrance.
20120517-203129.jpg
Or perhaps you are a fool.
The truth usually betrays people.
A part of that abyss is
in the old society.
The key to the society
is in the park.
At the foot of the praying
woman, inside of the ground,
inside of a box.
My patient buried it there.
I knew, but I did nothing.
It made me uneasy to have
such a thing near.
I wasn’t looking for the truth,
I was looking for tranquility.
I also saw that thing.
I fled, but the museum
was sealed as well.
Now no one dares to
approach that place.
If you still do not wish to stop,
James,
I pray to the Lord to have
mercy on your eternal soul.

James read the letter countless times, but none of the words seemed to register, as if he had lost the ability to read them. All he could do was stand and stare blankly with his apathetic expression at the jumble of meaningless sentences.

Laura waded through the milky white fog. She had high spirits now that she was on her own again. She was in the mood for a picnic. A little earlier she had arrived at the bowling alley only to find it empty. That half-wit Eddie probably wandered off and got lost. However, all the grown-ups seemed to be terribly afraid of something, and she couldn’t help but feel the tiniest bit worried herself… No. It’ll be okay. She’d told him where she was planning on going, and so maybe they’d run into each other again soon. Laura traveled west down Nathan Avenue with light, care-free steps. She had little trouble—there were no cars or crowds of people to get in her way. It was the ideal pedestrian walkway, and it belonged only to her. She crossed over a bridge—the bridge that would take her one step closer to where Mary was waiting.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: