The sun's rays break through thick, caramel colored curtains, seeping into a cramped apartment living room and nudging its sole inhabitant on the shoulder. His ashen grey eyes flutter open and his rough, calloused hands rub away the morning rust that had accumulated in the corners. He rises from the couch and arches his back in discomfort, though the knot that had been tightly woven by the minuscule couch could not be untied by merely stretching his spine.
Ah, this couch has really done a number on me. And it's all because of -
"Oh! Nick! You're finally awake!"
The young girl standing before the man, dressed fully in her Spirit Medium garb, her slender arms behind her back and a mischievous smirk on her face, is an eighteen year old girl named Maya Fey. She was staying the night in his house with her young cousin Pearl Fey, who seems to still be asleep. The two of them insisted on taking the bed, while the unfortunate owner of the apartment, a certain attorney by the name of Phoenix Wright, ended up on the cheap couch that he had bought at a bargain shop, unaware that it would end up being his second bed.
Of course, it's not like he was going to deny his two guests the bed, since he doesn't have a guest room and the bed is really the only logical place for them to sleep. However, he would appreciate it if the older Fey didn't speak at him in exclamation points in his current state of drowsiness in consideration for the constant migraines and back aches she has been causing him from the day they met. Oh, great. I can feel the headache coming on already…
"Maya." He yawns, flexing one arm upwards and covering his mouth with the other. "What time is it?"
"Six AM!" she exclaims, her voice rising to a tone just below a yell, causing Phoenix to wonder how she isn't waking the sleeping eight year old in the bedroom with all this racket.
He grunts, twisting his legs over the edge of the couch, trying to feign sobriety, although it's no secret that his mind is still taken with sleep. Otherwise, he would have noticed that not only are Maya's hands behind her back, but they're holding a two-foot long cylinder made of paper, the edges of which are jutting out either side of her hips like hollow handles.
"And why are you here?" he asks, but he unintentionally slurs it so that it sounds more like "anwyyoo'eer" It's less than coherent, yet Maya figures out what he's trying to say.
"I stayed the night! Don't tell me you forgot, Nick!" she pouts, puffing her cheeks up and looking away from the attorney.
"Ngh…" he sighs. "No, I didn't. I just meant…" -yawn- "... why are you in my living room this early in the morning?"
Her pout immediately vanishes and that grin was back on her face -the one that she always wore before convincing him to do something that he'll regret later. "It's part of my Spirit Medium training," she simply says, though Wright feels like she may just be saying that to prevent him from questioning her, and either way, he decides that he doesn't even want to know how her mind works.
He can still feel her ulterior motive hovering in the air around him, seeping from her pores and lingering around the edges of the sugarcoated grin on her face. He can almost smell the expensive vacation he is going to pay for -and all in the name of repaying a debt to his late mentor, Mia Fey. Trying to push that thought to the back of his mind, he decides to initiate small talk. "Right. So did you sleep well?"
Naturally, his inquiry gets trampled over by Maya's enthusiasm, and right on cue, she begins to speak. "Look what I found, Nick!" She pulls the object she has been holding out from behind her back and unravels the paper to reveal a large poster. She holds it out towards Phoenix so that it covers her face and torso. The poster shows an image of a picturesque lake in the middle of a green park with flowers in full bloom. Plastered in the middle in a simple, yet elegant serif font, are the words "Silent Hill"
"'Silent Hill: A must-visit for lovers of the occult. Get in touch with your spiritual side now. Come to Silent Hill today.'" Nick reads, and while his brain is telling him to shut this whole charade down before it gets out of hand, he just feels exhausted. He knows where this conversation is going, and he doesn't think he can stop it. At least the place looks nice. Maybe if he's lucky, Maya can prance around doing her training and "getting in touch with her spiritual side" while he relaxes by the lake with a good book. Nonetheless, if he knows Maya as well as he thinks he does, that is an impossible task.
"What do you think?" She moves the poster down, satisfied with the good, long look she had given the man. Her face says, "This is a bad idea, but we're doing it anyway" and Wright decides that he'd much rather be staring at the poster of the lake.
"What do I think about what?"
"Can you take me and Pearly there?" she inquires, and he is one step ahead of her.
She frowns, looking absolutely shocked that her request wasn't granted at the flick of her wrist. "But, Nick!"
Don't act like you expected me to agree to this, Maya. He sighs. Be strong, Phoenix. Don't be swayed by the puppy-eyes.
Maya intensifies her gaze, causing him to feel slightly awkward and inch backwards into the couch. "Nick, you have to take us."
Putting one of his fingers to his cheek and scratching nervously, he suggests, "Well, you're old enough to travel without a chaperon. Why don't you take Pearl and go visit this Silent Hill place on your own? I'm sure you'll have fun without me."
She huffs and breaths out into her bangs, stirring them lightly. "But, Nick!" she complains, "I don't have enough money to go on my own! That's why you have to come with us!" She anxiously rolls and unrolls the poster in her hands.
How shameless… Phoenix bites his lip and runs a hand through his hair. She's not even trying to hide the fact that she only needs me for my money. Sure, if she had said that she wanted him around for his good company, he wouldn't have believed her. They are good friends, of course, and they do enjoy each other's company, but Maya's habit of taking advantage of her attorney friend is one that dates far back in the history of their long friendship.
"Maya, I have work to do. I can't just go off on every adventure you pull out of your very large sleeves," he scolds, trying to rival her ferocity with some of his own.
She takes the rolled up poster in her left hand and puts her hands on her hips. "You haven't gotten any requests in months! And we won't be gone that long! The brochure says that the spiritual cleansing tour, sponsored by the Sacred Order, will only last a week."
It seems that this thought isn't as mute as he thinks, and he girl hears it loud and clear, giving him a nod and extracting a small pamphlet from her robe sleeve. When I said that she likes to pull things out of her sleeves, I didn't mean it literally! She hands it over to the attorney, but he simply keeps it in his lap, staring at the less than inviting seal on the cover. It looks like something out of a witch's grimoire. Is this tour really for Spirit Mediums and not occult freaks?
She giddily bares her teeth. "And as soon as it's over, you can go back to sitting in my sister's office, waiting for people not to call you!"
She said that way too cheerfully for my liking… He frowns, blushing slightly in embarrassment. She has a point, though. And their life has been a bit too monotonous as of late. Maybe he and the girls do need to go on a tour. Besides, that lake does look rather inviting. He could even ask Edgeworth to come share a cup of tea with him at the park, but knowing his rival, he's probably swamped with trials -unlike a certain spiky-haired defense attorney.
With a defeated exhale of breath, Phoenix speaks. "How far is Silent Hill?"
Maya gasps in elation. "Oh, thank you, Nick!" She claps her hands together and grins. "Silent Hill isn't too far away. It's all in the brochure!"
He looks down at his lap once again. "And the cost of this tour?"
With a giggle, she turns around and starts heading towards the bedroom. "All in the brochure!" she calls out over her shoulder. He isn't sure whether it's paranoia or not, but that giggle seems to imply that the price is something that would be best revealed to him while Maya herself is out of the room.
Wright's car passes under a canopy of trees, creating patterns in the light on the roof of the vehicle. The autumn air is chilly and the leaves are dropping gently from their branches and onto the ground. Strangely enough, for the past hour or two, the passengers of the car haven't even seen another car pass by them on the road. It's a strange kind of loneliness that the three of them hardly feel with Maya and Pearl's constant excited chatter.
Every minute that passes in the long car ride from his city to the small town of Silent Hill makes the man second guess his decision to go along with Maya's plan more and more. They have been on the road for almost five hours, and Phoenix Wright has never felt so saturated with Fey women. He feels Mia's eyes on him from wherever she is now; maybe she's pitying him. Maybe not, or she would have taken over for one of the two girls in the back seat. She must be enjoying this.
"No, Pearly," Maya insists, "the Nickel Samurai doesn't have six toes on his left foot! He would have them on his right foot. It just makes more sense!"
"Hmm…" The younger girl purses her lips in thought. "But in episode 206, the magistrate's secretariat stepped on his left foot and I'm sure I saw an extra toe pop out of his sandal."
With a shake of her head, the young leader of the Fey clan replies, "But in episode 147, you can clearly hear the Nickel Samurai telling the nurse about it!"
The attorney doesn't know why exactly the two girls have initiated a conversation about the existence of a fictional samurai's polydactyly, but all he can think of is the fact that, according to the map, they've almost arrived at Silent Hill, which means that soon Phoenix will be asleep in his hotel room, away from the babble.
It strikes him that the visibility is getting progressively worse as they go along. The trees begin to thin away, distancing the forest from the street, and the fog and chill is becoming more overpowering. Thankfully for the trio, they're in the car with the heat turned up. In their Spirit Medium outfits, the two young girls don't seem to be dressed for the weather. However, it is late, so perhaps the weather will clear up tomorrow. He can only hope so, because he's very much looking forward to his lounge by the lake.
"Is the Steel Samurai's sixth toe that important?" he interjects, feeling a bit bored with the repetitive scenery and needing some interaction to keep from falling asleep at the wheel.
"It's actually the Nickel Samurai," Maya corrects him, leaning into the space between the driver's seat and the passenger's seat beside it.
Pearl tries nudging her way into the space with her cousin, but fails and pushes her head onto the opposite shoulder of Nick's seat, speaking into his other ear. "And it's really important, too. Its the key to figuring out who the secret guest star in the Steel Samurai season finale will be!"
Wright fails to see how a toe could possibly aid in the interpretation of someone's identity, but if he has to choose between staring at an empty road and talking about the Nickel Samurai's toe, then the odd toe seemed more interesting -but only marginally. "And did you figure it out yet?"
"Well, the first step is figuring out the mystery of the secret toe!" Maya says as though it's the most compelling mystery since the Agatha Christie stories.
Tilting his head slightly to face Maya, he smirks. He has finally found a way to turn this conversation into something he can enjoy. "Well, what evidence do we have on the record so far -"
"Nick, watch out!"
Nick's head turns sharply around to face the windshield. At first, he can't see it, but Maya's shrill yelp causes his eyes to see more clearly -or perhaps it's the fact that he's driving at a speed of 40mph straight towards it. In the middle of the road, he can see a silhouette. It's small in stature and resembles a child. Phoenix's foot slams down on the brake pedal as his arms frantically turn the steering wheel as far to the side as it would go -left or right, it doesn't matter, and he can't tell either way.
Pearl's piercing wail can be heard along with the sound of the tires screeching as they struggled against the asphalt. Phoenix can't even see anything anymore. His eyes are fixed on the front windshield, but the world is spinning around so fast that there's nothing in it so see. It's strange, like he's not even in his body anymore. All around him, he can't see anything but white noise -can't hear anything but static. The screeching and the frantic screams fade away, and soon, so does his consciousness.
At first, he thinks he's gone blind. He's aware of himself, but his surroundings are black. He soon realizes that he has temporarily forgotten how to open his eyes, but soon, he gets his eyelids to rise and he can finally get a good look at his surroundings, seeing shattered glass and the roof of his car caved in above him.
Wait. I crashed the car, didn't I? How long have I been out?
It doesn't take long for the aches and pain in his bones and muscles to kick in. The accident really rattled him and he can hardly move his limbs; it's almost like his joints are rusted in place like old machinery. To make things worse, the caved in roof left him unconscious with his head in an awkward and uncomfortable position. He needs to get out of the car as quickly as possible lest he pull something in his neck.
He manages to move his wobbly arm just enough to reach to his side and unlock the door before pulling on the latch to get the door open. Fortunately, the door doesn't struggle as much as he expects it to and he manages to get it open with ease. Once he has dragged his battered body out of the vehicle, standing outside of the wreckage, he can finally get a good look at his car, and he deems it nearly unsalvageable. The front of the car has been completely totaled -it's been pushed in like an accordion -the tires are shredded and the windows have been completely obliterated. A heavy-looking piece of wood seems to have dropped onto the roof as well; perhaps it came from the old and broken sign they crashed into. It's a miracle that he was even able to get out of the car nearly unscathed, save for his sore, sore bones. And speaking of getting out…
Maya and Pearls! Did they get out? Are they okay?
He rushes to the back windows, his eyes scanning the darkness, searching for the two girls. The front of the car is the part that endured most of the damage, but the back of the car was still damaged by the broken wood. "Pearls! Maya! Are you two in there?" The lack of a reply makes Wright sick to his stomach. He doesn't want to face a reality where he may have gotten those girls hurt. Could something have happened to them? Are they unconscious? (Or worse?) He wants to believe that they're okay. Maybe they just can't hear him...
Tapping lightly on the shattered window, he lets some of it drop onto the seat in order to reach his arm into the window and unlock the door from the inside to get it open. He can feel some of the shards digging into his blazer, piercing his arm, but he can't think of anything but the girls. He can't let anything happen to them. They're his family. He made a promise to Mia that he didn't want to break.
This door puts up a bit more resistance than the driver's seat door, but he eventually pries it open with a loud metallic shriek. He dives in almost immediately, his arms extended, his hands waiting to touch fabric or hair or flesh, some kind of proof of existence. His hands find nothing, though. He almost doesn't believe it, but there's nothing there in the back seat except for the large violet backpack that Maya and Pearls had packed before leaving.
Did they just wander off? No… That's impossible since they left their stuff here. They couldn't have -they wouldn't have wandered off. Where would they even go?
It's dark and the fog is thicker than ever, painting the night sky an even darker black. He can scarcely see anything but his car and the wooden sign that it had collided with, which is still standing tall by some miracle and had endured minimal damage, not counting the chunk that had fallen off of the bottom. The atmosphere in the lonely street is smothering him, and he can smell the distant yet distinct scent of ashes. Is something burning?
He walks up to the sign and tries to make out the words written on it, but the sign is very high up and it's way too dark. He shoves his hand in his pocket and pulls out his phone, praying that it still works. Maybe he can call Edgeworth or Detective Gumshoe to help him out. A lingering and painful sting travels from his right temple to his left and back, made worse once he sees that his phone isn't getting any reception.
So much for trying to get in touch with some help. I guess I'm on my own right now.
The least he can do is turn his phone's built in light on in order to see where he's going. He hopes he can get to town soon, though, since his phone's battery won't last for more than a couple of hours. His first order of business, however, is to determine what's written on that sign that he crashed into. It's the only way he'll know where he actually is.
He holds the light up to the sign, feeling relieved that his flashlight can even reach that far and even more so at the message on the sign. The reassuring words tell him that help is not too far away.
I'm coming, girls. Don't worry. I'll find you.
I'm so glad you've read the first chapter of my fanfic. This first chapter doesn't have much going on, as first chapters usually are. I hope you enjoyed it though. Let me know with a review, yeah?
This is also my first time writing a full story in the present tense, but I really wanted to try it at least once. So if you notice any random breaks into past tense throughout the story, I hope you let me know.
One last note, though: I don't want to say this in my first chapter, but I'd like to be honest to any reader who plans on sticking around for this fic -since this will be my third ongoing multi-chapter, it may not be updated as often as my other two. But I suppose it will depend on how inspired I am. I don't want to abandon any of my currently ongoing series, so you can rest assured that though it will be slow, there will be updates.