On the other side of the dirty clouds was a vision of himself. Reflected in the mirror was his own face, stiff and lifeless as a corpse. Actually, I guess I am dead, James Sunderland thought. My heart's as good as dead anyway. He wasn't filled with a sense of loss, he just felt like his life wasn't worth living anymore. He had become indifferent. Work, free time—none of it really mattered anymore. Even the strong scent of ammonia that permeated the filthy little room couldn't catch James's attention. The dirty urinals caked with a yellow, moss-like substance, the sticky wet floor that soaked into the soles of his shoes—none of it brought a flicker of emotion.
"Mary…could you really be in this town?" he asked the James in the mirror. He had doubts about the incident. Did it really even happen? But…
With his hands on the sides of the wash basin, he peered into the mirror. Despite his attitude, he felt the tiniest spark of hope. He shook his head and brushed the bangs from his face to clear his vision. He knew it was really true because it came in a letter.
He stepped out of the gloomy building and gazed up at the cloud-filled sky. A damp wind brushed James's cheek. Across the parking lot was the vast Toluca Lake, mist dancing on its surface and stretching over the entire scenery.
In my restless dreams,
I see that town.
You promised me you'd take me
there again someday.
But because of me, you were never able to.
Well, I'm alone there now…
In our "special place"
Waiting for you…
There was no doubt that Mary had sent this letter, it was written in her familiar handwriting. Three years ago, he had spent a holiday with her in this small town, and now James was here again. Alone. His car sat in the corner of the small parking lot, engine at rest. Even though it was in perfect working order, it wouldn't be of much use. The highway was the real problem. The tunnel at the far end of the parking lot that led to the town of Silent Hill was blocked off by a sturdy fence and. There was no choice but to go another way.
Naturally, it wasn't James's wife. Looking closer, he found a dark-haired woman standing still and staring pensively at a gravestone. Without even noticing it, James had wandered into a cemetery. Sensing James's presence, the woman let out a gasp of surprise and spun around to face him. He greeted her.
"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you. I'm looking for a town called Silent Hill. Would you mind telling me if I'm going the right way?"
"T-town? You're going to the town?" The woman tilted her head doubtfully, the surprise on her face even greater than when she first noticed James. Though she still had youthful features, dark, heavy circles hung like shadows under her eyes.
"Yeah," James replied.
The woman hesitated for a moment, then answered, "…Yeah. That's the right way. I know it's a bit hard to see…you know, because of the fog, but…there's only one road s-so you can't really get lost."
"What is it?"
When James approached the intersection at Lindsey Street, he caught sight of something disturbing. A large bloodstain ran across the surface of the road as if painted there by a giant brush. James recoiled in shock. Seeing something so closely related to death opened emotional wounds. He stood dumbfounded for a moment, eyes locked on the red stain. From the looks of it, it was still fresh. Clearly a terrible crime had been committed under the cover of the fog, but no matter where he looked …he saw no trace of a victim. It doesn't look like anyone was taken to a hospital…if that were the case, the police would have had this area blocked off…
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of footsteps, like bare feet slapping against the pavement. Looking ahead, James spotted a blurry human figure staggering off into the depths of the fog.
James began to chase after it. Ever since he lost his wife, he had always been indifferent to the rest of the world, and as much as he wanted to just walk away and forget he ever saw the blood-stained pavement…this was something he just couldn't let go. There's just no way he could bring himself to abandon someone who was probably dying, given the amount of blood the person left behind. This guy's probably some kind of thug who got in a fight and was now wandering around town half-conscious and badly bleeding. And apparently, without his shoes, too…
No matter how much James yelled and called, the fleeing figure would not stop. Maybe the person mistook him for his attacker? Despite the figure's staggering gait, he moved very quickly, and the distance between them grew more with every step. As he fled, a trail of speckled blood was left on the road behind them going north to the end of Lindsey Street, then sharply turning right. The trail then continued in a north eastern direction to Nathan Avenue—the main road that led out of town. James was led to an unpaved road lined on both sides with tangled barbed wire fences, just like a construction site, leading to a half-finished tunnel just like the one he had passed though earlier. Naturally, there wasn't a worker in sight. The figure he had been chasing was nowhere to be found as well.
The sound of feet walking over rubble and debris steadily moved closer. Out of the depths of the tunnel emerged a staggering figure. James started to worry as it became clear that this was certainly the thing that led him here…but whatever the "thing" was, it sure as hell wasn't human. The creature's arms seemed to be fused to its body with mottled, rotting flesh, and it completely lacked eyes, a nose, a mouth, and anything that could possibly identify it as a person. It stumbled forward drunkenly while its upper body twitched and writhed in a strange dance. It didn't seem to be injured, so how the heck did it leave a trail of fresh blood? Clearly this wriggling monster wasn't the victim, but the assailant.
His whole body shaking, James began to slowly retreat. Terrified as he was, he was more concerned about letting the thing get anywhere near him. He wanted to escape. He wanted to run away. It would be so easy to just turn around, climb back though the barricade, and run…but he didn't. Turning around, he ripped an old board from the barricade and, full of vigor and rage, prepared to use it as a weapon. Why he had chosen to do such a reckless and stupid thing even he didn't know. He just couldn't stand letting that twisted creature exist anymore. He couldn't leave a dangerous monster to wander around and cause more harm. However, the true reason he hated this thing had nothing to do with any sense of justice. It was disgust.
Gathering up all his strength, James swung the plank, aiming for the writhing monster's head. The creature recoiled, and despite not having a mouth, let out a piercing screech. Again and again he swung the plank until he lost count of how many times he had struck the thing, and his arms became sore and tired. Badly injured, the monster fell to the ground, landing where its arms should have been on the scattered debris. Despite the beating it took, it still twitched and wriggled on the ground. Then finally it grew still.
"Is it dead…?"
Just to be safe, James nudged it with his wooden board. No sign of movement. Now that it was lying on the ground in a pool of blood like this, it looked more like a slimy slug than a human being. Its featureless face was smashed pretty badly, and it was leaking spinal fluid everywhere. There was no doubting it, the horrible creature was finally dead.
"What the hell was that thing?"
No matter how he looked at it, no matter how he tried to rationalize the existence of that monster, nothing made sense. Could it be some kind of crazy screwed-up test subject that escaped from a lab…? He toyed with similar possibilities in his head. He tried as hard as he could to believe them. James shook off the useless guesses and tossed aside the blood-soaked plank. He was about the slip back through the barricade and leave the tunnel when the radio again caught his attention. He regarded it with suspicion. When the creature had come into sight, the radio was blaring white noise, but now that the thing was dead, it had fallen silent.
Suddenly, it began to flicker to life again. James looked around, worried that it was announcing the presence of another monster. But it sounded…different somehow. If he listened carefully, he could just barely make out a woman's voice. James gasped. Mary! That was Mary's voice! Turning around, he grabbed the radio and listened more closely. Mary's voice called to him between bursts of static.
"a………………………I'm………..e…Come to……………wo………si………ments…….………………………..hing f……………..
……………why…….id you k……......me……Jam……………"
James held the radio's speaker to his ear, eager to hear more. But his wife's voice faded away, and all he could hear was crackling static. He hit it and turned all the switches, but no matter what he did, the voice said nothing more. Giving up, he put the radio in his jacket pocket, leaving it switched on just in case. Perhaps Mary had made it to the town's radio tower and was trying to get a message to him? Maybe the real purpose of her letter was to get him close enough to town to pick up this signal. But if that were true, then why didn't he get it on his car radio on the way over here? And how come this stupid broken radio was the only thing picking up the signal?
James re-traced his steps until he had made it back to town, then made his way towards the Woodside Apartments building. When Mary had spoken to him through the radio, he thought he could just barely make out the name of the building. However, there was a slight problem. He had no idea where the apartment building was. He had checked his map of Silent Hill, but it wasn't marked anywhere. With any luck, he would run into one of the town's residents soon so he could ask for directions.
James began walking north up Lindsey Street, then went west at Nathan Avenue. Just to the north of Nathan Avenue was one of their "special places," Rosewater Park. Since he wasn't having any luck tracking down the apartment building, he would make his way toward the park for now. Suddenly, James noticed two people emerge from an alley ahead of him. Great. Maybe now he could get some directions.
"Hey, you over there!" He yelled to get their attention and ran over to meet them.
However, he stopped dead in his tracks when a familiar nose came from his jacket pocket. The radio had crackled to life and was emitting static again. Unfortunately, his voice caught their attention, and the blurry figures turned to face him. As they approached though the fog, it was becoming more and more clear that something was very wrong. As they walked, they twisted and writhed about in a most unnatural way. They were monsters. Exactly the same as the one he'd killed earlier. Did a whole group of these messed-up things escape from a lab somewhere?
Even now, just watching the things thrash in agony brought back the same feelings of hatred and disgust. He wanted to destroy them, smash their heads in just like the other one—anything to end the existence of these awful monsters. James realized suddenly that he had abandoned his weapon, the wooden plank. For a moment, he considered just using his fists, but the thought of actually touching their repulsive flesh sent chills down his spine. More importantly, he had the disadvantage of being outnumbered two to one. Maybe this time it would be best to avoid unnecessary conflict.
Having made up his mind, James turned and ran south before the creatures could stagger any closer. He ran to Katz Street, a road which ran east to west right through the center of town, then he took a detour onto Neely Street. Their jerking movement seemed to slow the monsters down, and with each turn they fell further and further behind until they were swallowed up in the mist. As he ran, James noticed that the further away he was from the pursuing monsters, the softer the radio static became. Could it be…responding to the presence of those creatures? How the heck could a broken radio do something like that? Whatever the reason, if it could help him protect himself, it was definitely worth having around.
However, even though the monsters had fallen behind and were nowhere to be seen, the radio still wasn't completely quiet. He ran straight through the intersection of Martin Street and Katz Street, passing over the crossroad at Neely Street soon after. He just had to keep running forward. He now had his eye on Munson street, because as he crossed Neely Street, he had spotted yet another creature coming at him from the middle of the road.
"What the hell!?" James shouted in disbelief. These things were just wandering around all over the place. Have they taken over the town or something? Now Katz Street seemed to be occupied with the armless creatures as well, leaving him with nowhere left to go. James stood paralyzed with horror and could only stare at the twisted shadows dancing in the fog. Even if he tried running again, there was no way he could make it back to Nathan Avenue. In this moment of desperation, he was reminded of the warning the woman in the graveyard had given him. At the time he certainly didn't take it too seriously, but now…
He should have listened to her. He should have turned around and ran away when he had the chance. Even after encountering the first monster, he should have just left this crazy town. But he couldn't. His desperate search for Mary…he couldn't just give that up. Just the thought of seeing her again, even just once, was enough to make him continue on even now as things were becoming more dangerous. She was the reason why, no matter what, he had to live. Even if it meant risking his life. He couldn't just stand here and die.
"To hell with it then!"
James charged forward, praying that he'd be able find a gap between the monsters, or that he'd be able to shove one aside and make it past the converging mob. The moment he approached the first twisted body, the fog seemed to change color before his eyes, and his mouth and nose began to burn with an acrid, rotten smell. Having momentarily lost focus, he ran straight into one of the monsters and was sent sprawling in the other direction, hitting the pavement hard. He was suddenly struck with a violent coughing fit and his mouth felt numb, as if he had been injected with anesthesia. It was poison. Now these vile creatures were spewing poison into the air. How the heck could they spit poison if they didn't have mouths? As another monster stumbled towards him, he looked up to see that its body was split by a cavernous vertical crack running from its neck to its waist—its dark, wet entrails fully visible.
The creature bent backwards as if it was taking a breath from its bizarre second mouth. James had a feeling that it was preparing to spray more of the awful acidic poison, but he wasn't about to stick around to find out. Swinging his leg like an axe, he kicked the monster's legs as hard as he could, knocking it off its feet and leaving it squirming on the pavement. Its lack of arms caused it to thrash about helplessly as it tried to stand upright again. Quickly pulling himself to his feet, James began to kick the creature while it was distracted.
"Just die already!"
His heavy boots easily broke though its soft skin, leaving them covered in sticky red body fluid. The monster shrieked and convulsed with every impact. Twisting around, it began to violently thrash its legs, enabling it to crawl across the ground. At first James thought it was trying to escape, but in one quick movement it twisted around in a u-turn and flung itself straight at him. It was trying to counterattack.
James was beginning to feel quite sick. His whole body was shaking and he was beginning to feel dizzy, no doubt because of the poison. This was bad. If he didn't get away from here soon… he wasn't sure how much longer he'd last. He took a shaky step backwards and his back hit against a chain link fence, causing it to rattle. Wait…could it be a gate? James turned around saw that there was indeed a gate. He pushed it open, hurried to the other side, then flung the gate closed and locked it, putting a chain link wall between him and the writhing monster.
Behind him sat a three-story high wooden apartment building, its old boards and peeling paint showing its age. Next to the entryway was an equally old plate which read:
-In the Japanese version of Mary's letter she does not blame James for not being able to take her back to Silent Hill, but rather she blames herself and her illness.
-More than once James refers to the lying figures as being/looking like a Nopperabo, a faceless Japanese mythological creature. I couldn't really find a way to work that in though.
-Because Silent Hill is located somewhere in America and the characters are most likely American themselves, none of them use honorifics (-san, -chan, -kun, ect) when speaking to each other. They refer to the other person just by their first name, as is more common in English.
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