|Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Seijaku
Author: cobra-2k PM
Years after the Hinamizawa Incident, an unstable young woman takes a journey as a dangerous method of treatment. Her hometown in quarantine, she travels to a similar place in America. A former resort town in New England said to be Hell on Earth...Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Supernatural - & Rena R. - Chapters: 8 - Words: 11,579 - Reviews: 31 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 14 - Updated: 06-03-10 - Published: 05-09-09 - id: 5050189
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There is one fundamental fallacy at the core of the human experience. It makes fools of all of us, and all delusions, from forgetting where one's keys are to religions, are all the result of this fallacy.
The fallacy is: I can trust my own senses.
The human mind has two ways of dealing with impossible circumstances. The first is the scientific manner, in which the mind doubts its experiences. An example would be a man seeing a humanoid form outside his bedroom window, and, despite the fact that he absolutely sure the shape is a person, realizes that his room is on the second story, making it impossible for a person to be outside his window, and the shape therefore to be something his imagination has cobbled together.
The second manner is the fallacious manner. Here, the man knows that he can trust his senses. Certainly, there is great evidence that other people are prone to hallucination and simple mind tricks, but he is not other people. He is in control of his own mind, and there is a person outside. Of course, his room is in the second floor, so whatever is out there, human though is must look, is certainly no human...
Only the most stalwart and clear of minds will utilize the former over the latter. It is no fault, though, as natural selection favors an active imagination, the better to avoid potential danger. After all, in the night, there is nothing so dangerous as another living creature.
The reason I relate to you this information will become clear in time.
As Rena watched the ferries board at Toluca Dock, she couldn't help but feel very foolish. Aside from the rather vitriolic Claudia, the people she had met in Silent Hill were undeniably polite. And whatever venom Claudia Wolf harbored for Harry Mason, and however what she'd heard of the Wolf family reminded her of the Sonozaki household, those things were hardly the kind of cultish conspiracy she'd been led to believe inhabited the town.
Yes, The Order. The fanatical, pseudo-Christian faith that worshiped in Silent Hill. Mason had said that they awaited a messiah that would cleanse the earth with fire and terror. Which was apparently par for the course with small town American religion, but these Order people had the advantage of existing in Silent Hill, a place with untold power. Mason said, though, that the Order, for all the power it believed itself to have, was inconsequential, a mere by-product of the Truth about Silent Hill. Indeed, many of the stories that Mason collected about the town concerned people who'd never heard of the Order, and whose bizarre experiences had brought them into contact with no one except the monsters.
The monsters. The strange and wretched creatures that Mason wrote about. He had described them only briefly, but that was not what Rena found intriguing. It was the fact that each person who claimed to have seen a monster in Silent Hill saw something different. Their descriptions ranged from vague and blurry to nightmarishly detailed. When she read about the creatures, the large and aggressive insects, the burned children, and the strange walking fetus-like things, she had tried to picture them in her mind, but found it impossible.
This is not to say that the descriptions were lacking or that Rena was unimaginative. She quite literally could not see these things in her mind's eye. Some kind of block in her brain prevented it. Of course, she believed she knew why. If she were to go to Silent Hill, she would not see what the others had seen. Her monsters would be her own, and she would not, could not see what others had produced.
"And that is what they are: produced," Mason wrote. "Produced from the subconscious mind of the person that sees them, the one that has to see them."
And it is here that the earlier talk of fallacy becomes relevant. For, by Rena's reckoning, scarcely ten minutes had passed since she had left Annie's Bar, yet it was unmistakably dusk.
As Rena slowly realized this, she jumped from the bench she had been sitting at in alarm. The two scenarios were unfolding in her mind. Either she had blacked out for a good few hours, or time had suddenly decided that the rules of the game had changed. Clearly, one was more likely than the other, but that didn't stop it being strange. She hadn't blacked out in a very long time. Not since those days in Hinamizawa. And when she'd come back around, all sorts of odd things had happened. That was the first time that Keiichi-
This was the first time that Keiichi had looked at her with such a hard, unfriendly expression on his face. She tried again. "What's wrong, Keiichi? I just thought it'd be nice to walk home together..."
He snorted. "You really think that? It'd be 'nice?' After what happened last time?"
"Last time?" she asked, her mind racing as she tried to remember. "What's wrong? You seemed happy last time we went to look for treasure." What was he talking about? Yesterday, she'd asked him to come with her to the old construction site to look for neat stuff, and they'd had fun. So what was all this hostility in his eyes? "Didn't you have fun?"
Keiichi glared and moved advanced on her. It was only now, when Keiichi seemed genuinely angry, that she noticed how tall he was compared to her. He wasn't exactly in tip-top shape, but she had no doubt that he could really hurt her if he tried. "Idiot!" he shouted in her face. He pushed aside the hair on the right side of his face, and Rena gasped when she saw a small but jagged-looking cut on his flesh. It looked a bit off-color, as though it might be infected. "I haven't even healed up, and you're pretending like nothing happened?"
"K-Keiichi...how did that happen?"
She didn't notice until he raised his hand back behind his head, didn't realize that he was going to hit her until she took her eyes off of his, and didn't wince until she was sure that he'd stopped himself. Not that it mattered, because the very thought that he was willing to hit her hurt just as badly as if he actually had. "You did it, Rena. I asked you about the dam, and then you said you didn't know, and you hit me. You smashed me into an old car, and then I had to tell my parents how I wasn't in a fight, but managed to get an infected cut on the way home from school."
What could she say? I didn't do it. I don't remember that. The most appropriate answer sprang to her lips before she realized she was saying it. "I'm sorry."
"Really?" he said sarcastically as he stepped back and let his hair cover the cut again. "Then maybe you can explain sometime, and maybe I'll even feel like believing you. But right now, if you really want to help me out? You can leave me the hell alone."
She forgot what she'd said in response to that. She assumed that she agreed, but she really couldn't recall. What she could recall was every second of her run home, tears staining her shirt every step of the way, hating herself more with every confused and ashamed thought that ran through her head. Why had she hit Keiichi? She liked him a lot, so why would she do that? And maybe more importantly, why couldn't she remember doing it?
She hadn't slept much that night. She tried to think of some kind of excuse that would make Keiichi believe that she hadn't meant to do it. In the morning, she saw Keiichi on the way to school, and had tried to explain things to him. He seemed much less angry in the morning, but still only grudgingly agreed to walk to school together. It would be a few more days before they really talked about it and he forgave her. Of course, this wouldn't be the only time something like this would happen.
Still, Rena was wise enough to recognize a blackout when it occurred. She got up and checked her cell phone for the time. About seven at night, a good six hours later than she remembered it being. She checked her surroundings to see if she had moved. As far as she could tell, she hadn't left Toluca Docks, and the ferry was nowhere in sight. The night was clear, but the other side of Toluca Lake was difficult to make out. She could hear the distant sounds of an amusement park from across the lake. She might have to check that out, supposedly after dark very bizarre things went down there.
For the moment, though, she decided that she should just head back to Annie's Bar. The man she'd met earlier might be able to shed some more light on local rumors than she could on her own. Tomorrow, she'd really have to start investigating in earnest. Not that she had any real idea of what to look for, or even if looking would do anything. Some of the people Mason had interviewed had come to Silent Hill expecting to find strange things, and others were only passing through when they were taken.
Annie's Bar was far from crowded. There were only five people there that she could see: a bartender, a middle-aged woman instead of Ellis, two men with mullets, one man in a business suit, and, sitting at a table by herself and sipping from a glass of wine, was Claudia. When Rena walked in, Claudia immediately met her eye and gestured for her to sit down.
"Congratulations, you've found the least interesting watering hole in town," she said as Rena sat down with her. "My condolences."
"Thanks," Rena replied, not really knowing how to respond. "Um, about my car-"
"Oh, don't worry about it," Claudia said, brushing her off. "I've already arranged it so you can stay on the house. With any luck, they might even get the guy that did it with the paint scrapings on your car."
"Yeah," said Rena. She looked around. There wasn't really much to the place. One of the men with the mullet stood up and started flipping around the menu on the jukebox. "This place isn't very popular?"
"You want popular, you go a few blocks that way," she pointed in a vaguely east-ward direction, "you get to Heaven's Night. That's where your tourists go."
"Yeah, can't say I like having a strip joint in my town, but it brings in money and they pay their taxes. So that's that." Claudia shrugged as she downed her glass. Rena didn't think she looked old enough to be drinking, but the bartender wasn't making a fuss about it, so she supposed she'd better keep quiet. Speaking of the bartender...
"Do you happen to know where Ellis is?" she asked. "I met him earlier today, I thought he said he worked weekends."
"Ellis?" Claudia asked, taking out a hip flask and pouring something into her glass that was, by its smell, incredibly potent. "He doesn't work nights, far as I know. Why? He feed you one of his stories?"
"Yes, he was talking about his friend Alessa-"
Rena was cut off as Claudia's eyes widened and she choked on her drink. Rena moved to help her, but she waved her off as she regained control of herself. "He...mentioned Alessa?"
"Yes, he did. I didn't know you knew her too."
"Listen to me," Claudia said as she leaned in over the table, closer to Rena. She could smell the alcohol on her breath. "Listen. Don't talk to me about Alessa. She was...she was very important to me. And whatever Ellis says about her, you don't listen, Ellis wasn't even here until a year ago, and by that time Alessa was gone. She was my friend, not his."
"I'm sorry," Rena said, leaning back in her seat, trying to get as far as possible without seeming rude. Still, she realized that no matter how drunk Claudia might have been, she was definitely talking about this Alessa person in the past tense. "What happened to her?"
Claudia sat back down in her seat and took a long, hard look at Rena. Then she took a swig from her glass before answering. "Alessa transferred to a different school."
"Far away, across the country. No way I'll ever see her again. My best friend, gone. Thus-" she smiled sadly and raised her glass in a toast.
That sadness was real, but there was more to it. She knew there was, because it was the same kind of half-truth that she had told to Keiichi all those years ago. And even though she knew it didn't matter -that it shouldn't matter- she knew that this was not something she could overlook. But for the moment, there was something more pressing at hand.
The jukebox had finally started up, but Rena couldn't hear any music coming from it. But her head started to throb horribly. She put a hand on her forehead, and then she heard it. Some kind of blaring horn, way off in the distance.
"Do you hear that?" she choked out to Claudia. The pain was making it difficult to talk.
Claudia's answer was muffled, like she was speaking through water. "Yeah, love this song."
Rena jumped from her seat. The people in the bar were acting like nothing was wrong, but how could they not hear that horrible noise from outside? They were acting like the jukebox was just playing music. As she stumble from the bar, she could vaguely hear Claudia singing behind her, "Find the lady of the light, gone mad with the night, that's how you reshape destiny."
Even that was drowned out as Rena forced her way through the doors of Annie's Bar and collapsed to her knees. The deafening squall of the air-raid siren pierced through her mind until she lost consciousness.