The Order had ruined Heather's life. It had been three months since her dad had died and she had escaped Silent Hill. She thought about him every day, all the time. Sometimes, there were moments when she wouldn't think about him. But then she would see something funny and would pull up her phone Douglas had bought her and almost try to call him.
Then she would remember. He was gone. Dead.
Thanks to the Order.
Now Heather couldn't even visit his grave like she used to.
"It's going to be okay, Heather," Douglas said as he drove her to school. Both of them had fake names now, but he would call her Heather or Cheryl when they were alone. "Soon, the Order will be finished and they will pay for what they've done to your dad and you. They're not going to get away with it."
Douglas told her that all the time, but yet it had been three months and still nothing much had been done.
"You've been saying that forever," Heather said, looking at the window. This was going to be yet another day of her pretending like she cared about normal teenage experiences.
Before her dad died and she hadn't regained some of her Alessa memories, she had, but now she didn't. Now it all seemed so stupid and pointless. Who cared about prom when she sometimes had nightmares about when her own mother had left her to burn to death?
"Yes, I know, but we're getting closer, Heather," Douglas said.
Maybe Heather should have been grateful to him. He had taken her in when she had no one else. Where would she had even gone? Foster care wouldn't have worked since the Order would have found her. Yes, they might not be as strong now, but she knew they still had some powers.
They could have… Walter? A boy… Heather didn't think she had ever met him as Alessa, but she remembered some people talking about him saying that he was almost as powerful as her. It was doubtful that he would have escaped like Heather had. She had gotten lucky. A couple of people in the Order wanted the two of them to… be together in one of their weird freaky rituals… As if Dahlia would have ever allowed that.
She wanted her daughter to be the focus. Or rather Dahlia wanted to be the center of attention because her daughter had given birth to god. Forget Alessa. Dahlia was the one who she thought should be the center of attention.
Heather scowled and put her headphones in, but she didn't turn her music on yet.
"I mean it, Heather," Douglas said as they got closer to the school. "Everything is going to work out."
"You know the Order had someone named Walter who-"
"Walter Sullivan," Douglas said, surprising her. She hadn't even remembered his last name, but it sounded right now that he said it. "I did some research the last time you mentioned him and he's dead."
Heather shrugged. "Lots of times people think members of the Order are dead and they're not." And Walter Sullivan had been so powerful that he easily could be alive. It wouldn't surprise her at all.
"Even if he is, he won't hurt you," Douglas said. "No one is going to take you again. You're not going to have anything to do with that cult."
"I'm not scared of Walter," Heather said when they finally reached the school. "And even if he is dead, that's not going to stop the Order from doing something else insane. They're run by lunatics."
"Things are going to be-"
"They're not fine because my dad's dead," Heather said. She didn't even wait for Douglas to respond and opened the car door and practically jumped out.
It was rainy and miserable today, but at least it wasn't foggy. Fog… Well, it freaked her out. Sometimes it was hard to get out of bed, and even more difficult to act strong and normalish.
As she walked toward the building, no one spoke to her. When she had first gotten to the school a couple months ago people would try and talk to her. Some even acted like they would want to be her friend, but she had pushed them away and now they avoided her. For the most part. Some of them just didn't like her.
Heather didn't care usually and she never should, right?
So when she got to the school, she went right to her first class and waited outside the door. Yes, she could have walked around and talked to other students but as if. Soon, she was let in anyway. The teacher started to go on and on about the Civil War. That seemed stupid too.
"Chelsea!" the teacher Ms. Oliver called as Heather doodled in her notebook. "Chelsea, are you paying attention?"
Oh yeah, that was Heather's new fake name, until she finally got to be herself again. She was always forgetting.
Heather looked up and didn't even bother answering.
"There's going to be a test on this material. Don't you want to do well?"
Why did she even care? Yes, she was one of those young teachers who were just out of college and had obviously seen too many cheesy teaching movies where the teacher changed the world but still. She had tons of students who she could focus on. Ones that weren't Heather. One of the other students laughed, but Heather didn't even look at them. She glanced back at her drawing.
"Don't you want to go to college?"
Heather froze. College. Her dad used to talk about college to Heather. He would tell her how smart she was and how she was going to do amazing things and change the world. How she was special.
Special… the only way she was really special was when it came to the Order and that just caused trouble.
Now she had no plans to go to college. What was the point?
Luckily, she didn't have to answer the teacher because that was when someone else walked into the room. A girl who Heather had never seen before. Obviously, she was new. She had long blond hair that went do her mid back and a clear disregard for the dress code given how she was wearing a cute shirt that showed her shoulders.
Here at this school, the teachers acted like showing a shoulder was like running around naked. It was stupid.
"Students, we have a new classmate," Ms. Oliver said as she went over to the girl. She glanced at her shoulders but didn't say anything. Ms. Oliver was young so she wasn't the dress code Nazi. That was mostly the old men teachers.
The girl shrugged, not seeming to be interested.
"Introduce yourself to the class and tell us about yourself," Ms. Oliver said as she let her to the front of the class.
The girl sighed but she did answer. "I'm Daphne, and I like drawing." She put her hands on the back of her head and sighed.
"Where did you-"
"Maine," Daphne said. "Are we still going to play twenty questions?"
Heather's eyes widened. Wow… Yes, Heather might say things like that sometimes, but she didn't think that she would hear it from one of the other students, at least not the new one and not right away.
Ms. Oliver sighed but showed Daphne to her desk, which was right behind Heather's. After that, the class went pretty normally. Heather didn't pay attention and just doodled in her notebook. She would have liked to bring out her phone and play on it, but the last time she had done that, they had taken it away from her. That was wrong on many levels since the phone was her property and they shouldn't be allowed to steal it but that hadn't stopped them.
The day was boring was as a whole but that was fine. Soon the week also became boring and then it was the weekend. She used to prefer that but now Douglas had changed.
"You can make friends, Heather," Douglas said one evening when Heather was staring at Netflix. She wasn't even watching it. She just liked to have it on. "You could make friends and then they could come over."
"I don't want friends," Heather said, and she didn't. What was the point of friends when she was going to leave soon? Making friends could just lead to them getting hurt too. Her dad would have been alive if he had never adopted her. He could have had a normal life.
"Your father would want you to make a friend," Douglas said, even though there was no way he should have known that she was thinking about him. Plus, he had never even known her dad.
"Don't mention him," Heather muttered as she turned off the TV and stood up. She wasn't going to take this. Not right now. "Don't mention him to me after what you did."
"Heather… I… I didn't know that she-"
"Yes, you didn't know what the Order wanted. You didn't know that Claudia was a crazy bitch. I forgive you, but I don't want to talk about my dad," Heather said. She grabbed her phone off the couch. "Just drop it."
"I'm sorry," Douglas said. "I really am sorry about everything that's happened."
Heather shrugged. "I'm going to do some homework."
She thought he might say something else, but he didn't. He usually didn't when she acted like this. She felt bad. Really, she did. Douglas had done a lot for her too. More than he needed to. Probably because of guilt and shared interests but still. And yet she treated him like this at times. He continued to put up with it.
At least the rest of the weekend, he didn't bring up her dad again or the Order or anything that was important. They just tiptoed around each other. There were moments when Heather was almost tempted to apologize. She didn't.
Her life continued just being the pointless thing it had become with her going to class and just existing. None of the joy that used to come with it was around. At night she sometimes had nightmares about Silent Hill again. They were different than the one she had at the mall, but still tricked her into thinking she was back there at times.
That she would never truly be able to escape that nightmare.
And maybe she was destined to go back to Silent Hill. To die there. To never escape. She didn't want to believe that, but it was hard to push the thought away sometimes. But even later in the day when she was at school, she was still thinking about it.
"Students, it's time to find groups," Ms. Oliver said. "And discuss the part of Macbeth you all read for homework."
Yeah… Heather hadn't done that. She had actually tried when she woke up from her nightmare, but it was as if the words didn't make any sense. It didn't seem like it could have ever been English. How had people used to talk that way?
"Want to be partners?" Daphne asked as she came over, smiling at her.
Heather was about to say she didn't need a partner but then someone else interrupted her train of thought.
"Why would you want to be partners with Chelsea?" this annoying boy in their class said. Heather wasn't sure how he had even made it to her senior year when he didn't seem to have a single brain cell half the time. "She doesn't even know how to talk."
"I know how to talk," Heather said. "Maybe I'm just saving my breath for some intelligent conversation."
The boy stared at her.
Daphne giggled. "It's a good thing that I came here, because if not, you wouldn't be talking to anyone."
Heather just smiled. She did end up working with Daphne and a girl named McKenzie too. McKenzie was nice, but Daphne was hilarious and snarky and, well, soon despite that Heather told herself that she wasn't going to make a friend, she found herself hanging out with the girl. She seemed to hate this place as much as she did and she wasn't fake.
"The people here…" Heather said as hung out at lunch. "They all live in a world that isn't real."
Daphne nodded. "Yes, they care about football games and who is dating who and just things like that. None of that really matters. They don't know what it's like to lose someone." Daphne's blue eyes darkened for a moment but then that look disappeared and she was back to being the normal girl she usually was.
"I used to be like that," Heather muttered. It was crazy that had been possible given her past life as Alessa, but yet it had happened and she had been happy. She had what Alessa had always dreamed of then. A parent's love.
She had never gotten that from Dahlia, but Harry…
"Are you okay, Chels?" Daphne asked.
"Yeah… yeah, I'm fine," Heather said with a sigh as she took a bite of her apple which tasted like it was made of plastic.
"I used to be like them, but it was… it shouldn't have been possible," Heather said. "Someone like me…" She was saying too much and Daphne was going to have no idea what she was talking about. It was for the best.
She was sure that she would ask what she meant.
"I'm sure you're not as bad as some people," Daphne said. "Everyone has a dark side." She grinned. "Well, except me. I'm just pure goodness."
Heather giggled and rolled her eyes.
The next month was actually fine. She was feeling… well, maybe not good, but it was easier. She was trying to help Douglas out more too, but that was still hard. Trying to remember things when she had been Alessa.
But overall it was better.
She even agreed to work on a project at Daphne's with her and two other girls from their class. Originally, they were supposed to just go to the library, but that had changed when the library had closed due to flooding.
Daphne's house was… different than Heather had imagined it. She had imagined that Daphne would just live in an apartment like she did. She didn't seem like a girl who would live in some perfect neighborhood in a house with a white picket fence.
"Wow I thought Daphne wouldn't live in such a 50s sitcom house," McKenzie exchanging looks with Taylor, the other girl.
Heather didn't say anything.
As soon as Daphne opened the door, she seemed to know what they were thinking. "We're just renting. I'm not this boring."
Heather smiled weakly. Sometimes Daphne seemed to have more psychic abilities than Heather should have gotten being Alessa. But Daphne was just good at reading people, and, well, Heather…
And then the inside of the house was the exact opposite of the outside. There weren't any personal effects. It was as if the house was being staged to be sold. One of the only things that showed any personality there was a picture of who Heather guessed was a young Daphne and a woman who was lying in a bed. Her skin was pale and her eyes had circles under them but she was smiling and had her arm around her shoulder.
"Is that your mom?" McKenzie asked.
Daphne's face paled and her eyes widened. "Uh… yeah… she's my mom."
"Is she here?" Taylor asked.
Heather didn't say anything because she could tell that something was wrong. She knew what it was like.
"No, she's not."
"Let's just get to work on the project," Heather said, but she reached and picked up the picture. It… there was just something about it that spoke to Heather. Maybe it was because she also knew what it was like to not have a parent with you. Or something else.
Daphne pulled it away.
"What happened-?" Taylor tried to ask.
"She's dead, okay," Daphne said, looking at the picture before putting it face down back on the coffee table.
"I'm sorry," Taylor said, her eyes widening.
"And don't ask of what because it's none of your business," Daphne spat out, glaring at her.
Taylor took a step back as if Daphne had smacked her. McKenzie didn't say anything else and neither did Heather. She wasn't going to after that, but she understood what Daphne had gone through.
Things got a bit more normal after that. They went into the kitchen and started to work on the project, which was boring, but Heather had gone through a lot worse than that. At least things were somewhat normal until someone else walked into the kitchen then it got… well, awkward.
He was just a middle-aged man with sandy blond hair and well… he looked pretty much every man that age. Very normal. His eyes widened when he saw them and then looked at Daphne who just smirked and rolled her eyes.
"Lau—Daphne… We should talk," Daphne's father said. He had to be her father. The two of them even looked somewhat similar when it came to coloring.
"You know, I'm kind of busy working on a project," Daphne said, only glancing up to look at him for a second, but he gave her a look and she sighed and slammed her book shut. "Fine, but I have to be back soon."
Daphne and her dad then left the room. Part of Heather was tempted to try and hear what they were saying, but that would be rude.
"That was weird," McKenzie said, writing something on a paper.
"Daphne's dad is hot," Taylor said, grinning.
"Ew… He's old," McKenzie said, making a face but then she giggled.
Hot… Daphne's dad… Heather didn't really see it.
"Age is nothing but a number, Kenz, and I don't mind my men seasoned."
Now it was time for even Heather to laugh, even though the whole thing was kind of awkward.
McKenzie made a face. "He's probably in his forties."
"Relax, Kenz. Nothing is going to come of it. He's Daphne's dad, but I can look, can't I?"
That was when Daphne came back in and gave them all looks when Taylor looked at her paper and grinned.
"What's going on?" Daphne asked, as she went over to her chair. "Why do you all look so guilty?"
Taylor and Kenzie exchanged looks and then giggled, even when Taylor's cheeks reddened and she looked back at the table.
"They were just talking about how they thought your dad was hot," Heather told her.
"Wait, no!" McKenzie said. "I wasn't talking about that. That was all Taylor and her weird old man fetish."
"Old man fetish?" Taylor asked. "You make it sound so bad and he's not that old."
"Okay, one, ew. Two, ew eww, and three that's disgusting and he wouldn't want to be with someone your age." Daphne was making a face. "And four, he's not my dad."
"Not your dad?" Taylor asked. "But you look like him and I mean that as a compliment, because like I said, he's hot."
"Eww… Please stop that," Daphne said. "And he's not hot. He's… No… Please just no."
Taylor didn't stop right away, but after awhile she finally did and they could work on their project. Everything was going normal until Daphne's… person she lived with came in with two pizzas.
"I brought you girls something. Pizza from Daphne's favorite place. Combo and Daphne's favorite flavor boring cheese with no toppings what so ever," he said as he put them on the middle of the table. He placed some Mountain Dew on the table too. "Brought some of her favorite drink too. Mountain Dew, another thing that's disgusting." He smiled as he said all of this.
Daphne rolled her eyes. "Pizza doesn't need anything other than cheese. It's just good that way."
"Boring that way, you mean?"
"You like pineapple on pizza and that's like a crime," Daphne said.
"Oh, I didn't introduce you. This is John. John, this is Taylor, McKenzie, and…" She smiled at Heather. "Chelsea."
"Nice to meet you all," John said, but he was only looking at Heather and occasionally he would give Daphne looks. "I hope you enjoy your pizza. Don't feel like you have to eat Daphne's cheese one."
And with that he left.
"Your dad seems nice," Taylor said.
"Not my dad and…" She shrugged. "He's… I don't know, he could be worse."
"Yeah, you could have lived with, like, a murderer," Taylor said as she took a piece of combo pizza and shoved part of it in her mouth.
Daphne's eyes widened for a moment but then she nodded. "But I also could have had something else."
"What else?" McKenzie asked. She pointed at Daphne's coach purse. "He gets you fancy clothes and purses and your iPhone is awesome. I wish he was my dad."
Daphne shrugged. "It's just because he feels guilty."
"Why?" Heather said. She couldn't help but ask it even though she regretted it even as it came out. "What does he have to feel guilty about?"
"It's… It's just complicated, but he's… okay, especially since he's not my dad."
"You don't have to be related for him to be your dad," Heather said. Harry and Heather hadn't shared a drop of blood, but he had been her dad. The best dad that she could have ever wanted.
"Yeah, but he's not my dad. He's not."
Heather didn't push it more, but from what she had seen they acted like father and daughter. Obviously, they had known each for a long time and they cared about each other, even if he wasn't her dad.
Heather kept hanging out with Daphne and she had even come over to her place a few times, even though Heather hadn't gone over to hers again. A few times she had seen her dad, and he had ever paid for Daphne and Heather to go to the movies a few time, but they didn't speak much. He always studied her as if she was some kind of puzzle that needed to be solved, but when she had asked Daphne about that she had rolled her eyes.
"John is weird. He's usually all quiet and doesn't like to talk all that much," Daphne said. "But he's not going to do anything. He's probably just wondering how I got a friend."
"I doubt that."
"He thinks I'm mean," Daphne said.
"Yes, I am. I can be mean but only when people deserve it or I just tease people to have fun," Daphne said, shrugging her shoulders. "I don't mean any harm from it but… I'll talk to him and get him to stop acting so weird."
Heather nodded, but she wasn't threatened by him. He probably was just weird but still she hadn't told Douglas that much about Daphne. When she came over, she had only met him once and that had been fine, even though he had asked her all sorts of questions.
She must have passed because he had stopped more or less.
Heather was glad Daphne had someone like him. Once she had told Heather that before she had lived with him, she had been in a lot of foster homes and some of them had been horrible. John treated her good. She was safe.
Heather knew what it was like to be afraid, and she was glad her friend didn't feel that way. And Daphne was her friend now.
Today, Heather was going to hang out with Daphne at her place. She had a lot more fun things. Heather and Douglas only had Netflix and it seemed like she had seen everything worth watching. Daphne and John had apparently every TV channel sometimes. Cable was lame, but it had some good things.
Like they could watch movies and pretty much any movie. They planned to have an awesome marathon. John had also gotten them a bunch of snacks, even though he wasn't going to be there. They started off just watching a popular romance. Heather used to love horror movies before… but now she hated them with a passion, especially if they reminded her even a little bit of Silent Hill.
Romance was nothing like Silent Hill so it was the best option. She also didn't like any story that could have to do with abusive parents since that reminded her of Dahlia or parents dying because that reminded her of her dad.
So romance was good since that wasn't usually a problem in that.
The first romance movie was… well cliché, but that was fine. Heather and Daphne ate popcorn and laughed at all the cheesy lines
"Let's have some fun," Daphne said as she jumped off from her seat. "I can make us some drinks. Daiquiris."
"Daiquiris?" Heather asked. She had actually never had one of those before. She had a few sips of beer once when she had been with her dad and a second time when she had been at a party at her old school but that was all.
"They're really good," Daphne said. "And I won't put too much alcohol in yours if you're worried about that, Chels."
"I… I'm not worried," Heather said. Douglas would think this was a horrible idea. Drinking, but he wasn't her dad, and maybe this would make things a little easier for her. Perhaps she could even watch… well, not horror but something besides cheesy romance movies. "And I want to have one. Won't John get mad though?"
Daphne shook her head. "Nah, he doesn't care if I do things like this. He trusts me. Europeans drink at our age all the time."
That was true but still. She didn't know what her dad would think about this. He had only let her have those sips of beer because he knew she would find it gross.
But Heather wasn't a kid now.
"We're more mature than most people our age anyway," Heather said, and it was true. Heather because of her past with the order and her dad dying but Daphne… she knew there was more to her than she knew. Probably something that happened to her before she knew John.
He might be strange but he wouldn't hurt Daphne who he obviously loved.
Daphne slipped into the kitchen to make the daiquiris while Heather flipped through movies and tried to find a good one. Finally, she settled on some superhero movie she hadn't seen.
That was when Daphne came in with bright red daiquiris and gave her one. Heather took a small sip and then coughed when she tasted it she coughed because it and such a strong taste.
But it had some good flavors too. Like the strawberries.
"I like the nutty flavor," Heather said, tasting it.
"Almond milk," Daphne said. "I don't like regular milk and I think this is just better."
And it was good. Heather liked how it made her feel lighter and the movie seemed a lot funnier than movies normally did. Each of Iron Man's jokes made her laugh so hard. They weren't that funny but apparently this movie was hilarious when someone had been drinking.
It was great. Daphne brought her another drink which tasted just as good.
"Daphneeee," Heather said, dragging out her words. "You know that I… I'm not…"
"You're not what?" Daphne asked.
"I'm not…" Heather giggled. "I can't say that. I can't."
"You can't say why?" Daphne asked. Her face was blurring but she was raising an eyebrow.
"I'm not…I'm not…" she clutched her head. The world was spinning. Why was that?
"It's okay," Daphne said as Heather rested her head on one of the couch's pillows. It was so soft. So so soft. "Are you okay?"
Heather couldn't say anything.
"You should drink some more," Daphne said basically forcing it down her throat. Heather tried to push her away, but her arms weighed so much. "Now you should drink some water."
Heather closed her eyes and then a door opened. She tried to move but she couldn't. When she opened her eyes everything was spinning. Something was horribly, horribly wrong.
"It's okay, Laura," a male voice said.
Laura? Who was Laura? Heather tried to ask but she couldn't. She forced her eyes open again. John was here and he had his arm around Daphne.
"I… I didn't think…" Daphne said.
Heather… she couldn't keep her eyes open no matter how hard she tried.
"James…" Daphne, or was it Laura, said.
"It's okay," he said again and then he moved away from Laura. Closer to Heather.
Heather tried to will her legs to move. Nothing. They did nothing.
James grabbed her arm and glanced at Laura. "Do you think she drink enough of the drug for her powers not to work?"
Oh god. This couldn't be happening. It just couldn't. Heather's stomach twisted even more than before. No way could Daphne have ties to The Order.
But she wasn't Daphne and he wasn't John.
They were Laura and James. Laura and James.
"Those Order people are probably crazy," Laura said. "She doesn't have powers."
"Maybe but they're crazy but they're right about the powers," James said and then he pulled out a needle. Heather tried to let out a cry and pull away. Nothing. Nothing worked. He pushed it into her skin. Right away it got even harder to keep her eyes open.
"I'm sorry, Alessa," James said quietly in her ear. "I really am sorry, but I have to do this. They can bring my wife back. She was my everything and Laura loved her." James let go of her arm and she heard voices. James and Laura. They didn't make sense.
She opened her eyes for a second and saw James hug Laura and kiss her on the forehead. Just like Harry used to do to Heather.