Finally free... free of those cuffs, free from that jail, ..free from his inner demons... and free, from Silent Hill.

Now the song, "Born Free" didn't feel so much like salt in an open wound ..not anymore.

A day had gone by since that incident with the bus, and being plunged into that living nightmare, far worst than his life has been for… he couldn't even remember how long. Everything that occurred still overwhelmed his mind, but the embedded lessons had sunk in. Could Frank have been helping him still..? Or just another figment of... whatever that was. He had heard on the radio, the police pronounced him dead in the crash, though they found no body. They must of presumed it washed away in the lake. At least they weren't looking for him anymore.. He hoped... Better safe than sorry, he was leaving the state.

Staying at a local motel for the night, it reminded him so much of the one he ventured through during that little episode.. it made him uneasy. Those events playing back in his thoughts, all of it, as he walked back to his room. Finally snapped from his daze when he heard the siren of a cop car coming up the road. It was close... his blood ran cold. His mind raced. In a split-second decision, he went for the first door nearby and slipped inside, shutting it behind him. Keeping himself hidden behind it, he listened through the wood as it drove by and the siren's blare faded off into the distance. He took a long sigh in relief and let go of the handle ..safe.

But the room he entered was not his own. Turning around, to his surprise, he found a small boy who was watching tv, sitting cross legged on the bed, now looking back at him. Murphy had to blink to confirm to himself that it wasn't Charlie, the spirit of his son haunting him. Worried now the boy would react badly to a stranger in the room. Instead.. "Are you afraid of the bad man too?" the child asked him, seeing how nervous the man was.

"..Wh-What...?" He was confused. ...Bad man?

"Who are you talking to sweetie?" came a feminine voice as a woman emerged from the bathroom, presumably the mother.

'Shit...' Pendleton thought. '.. I'm in trouble.'

She looked over and saw him there. "Oh.. hello. Something I can do for you?"

He had to come up with an excuse, fast. "Sorry... uh.. the door was open. ...I misplaced my key... I thought... maybe.. the rooms were connected somehow..?"

The young woman glanced over to the wall they shared between rooms, but it lacked a door like some places. "Oh, no.. I'm sorry. They don't."

"That's fine." Murphy replied quickly. Going for the door, but he didn't want to go out there... concerned the patrol car might come back.

"Well, if you're stuck... you're welcome to stay.. I know the workers probably turned in already." Leaving no chance for retrieving a spare key, if he were really locked out.

Murphy, not expecting such a kind gesture, turned around to face her again. "R-Really...? No.. I couldn't ask you to do that."

"It's not a bother ...please. You can take the couch." she insisted.

He was truly touched.. He had never seen such goodness in another ...not for a long time. He silently accepted. He felt somewhat better not staying alone. However the sight of a family did things to his heart.

"Sweetie, you'll share the bed with me." she told her son. The boy having looked between them curiously throughout the whole conversation, then back at the television screen.

"I'm sorry...Miss..?" asking her name.

"Just Marissa.." she finished with her answer.

"Marissa ...thank you."

The woman smiled as she arranged the pillows, putting one on the couch for him. "And you are..?"

Murphy looked at her a bit confused.

She smiled a bit more, short of a laugh. "Your name. You didn't say."

He was quiet a moment. "Murray." his name still wasn't cleared, so he couldn't use his real one. Too easy for him to be recognized and tracked down. It was close enough to his own so he shouldn't have a problem remembering the lie. "..It's.. nice to meet you."

"..Same." It was nice to find a friend on their travels. "10 more minutes, then bed." she mentioned to her son, lightly playing his hair in an affectionate way before returning to the bathroom.

Feeling a bit awkward at first, Murphy cautiously took a seat next to him on the bed. Nothing to do otherwise. Noticing the screen was in black and white. "Hey.. what's that you're watching?" trying to make small talk.

"An old movie. Mom says it's good."

That was actually something that interested him as well, after volunteering at the cinema in his younger days. "Oh yeah...? You like watching old films?"

"He likes to watch the classics." The mother answered, exiting the bathroom in just a nighty, absentmindedly to what she was wearing in front of guests.

Murphy was caught speechless by the sight, making sure not to stare with what he could muster. The son didn't pay any attention to it, as if he were used to this sort of thing.

"Is something wrong..?" Marissa asked him, seeing the look on his face briefly.

"Uh.. I-It's nothing..." Murphy replied, his eyes averted off to the side. The last time he'd seen a woman underdressed was his ex wife ...Carol. But she was more conservative, conventional.

Still a little concerned, she left it alone for now, deciding to join them.

Feeling strange about all of this, he was uncomfortable. Watching in silence, he eventually allowed the program to distract him for a short time. By the end, he felt somewhat better.

After the movie was over, the boy had fallen asleep between them and she tucked him in. Murphy watched this, bringing back some fond memories.

"...What did he mean before..? About the 'bad man'?" Keeping his voice down so he wouldn't wake him.

Not sure what he meant, she thought about it. "Oh..! The man at the front desk ...he's very..."

"..Yeah... I know what you mean." Murphy said so she wouldn't have to continue.

She gently stroked her fingers through her son's hair as he slept.

"..What's his name...?" he didn't know why he asked. Great... she would probably think he was some kind of creep.

"Tyler." She replied, not seeming to be resistent toward the question.

"..He seems like a good kid..."

"...He really is."

It was quiet for a minute or two. Neither seemed to know what to do.

"So Murray.. where are you heading to?"

Murphy had to pause, for a moment it sounded like something Howard might say. In fact, he thought he heard the mysterious postman.. but it was just the two of them. Maybe his mind was playing tricks on him... He did just go through a traumatic experience. "Oh, nowhere... just passing through." In reality, he was looking for a safe place to start his life over.

"Well, I hope you find what you're looking for."

The familiar phrase gave him a start, but she was definitely the one that said it. Another thing the mailman told him when they bumped into each other in that.. 'town'. Please don't let it torment him again... he thought.

Marissa was a little worried. "Are you sure you're alright...? You look ..spooked."

"Uh.. yeah... fine... just a bad memory." That's all it was now ...right?