I.

Michael McNeal sleepily reached for his cell phone as the sing-song chimes continued to invade his sleep. His head throbbed and his ears still rang, affected by the overly bass-filled, fast-paced music that thumped the walls of the club the night before. The light smell of smoke, cologne, and alcohol still lingered in his nose and on his body, making him wince.

He had to force his eyes open, and even then, they only responded with a slight crack, which was enough to find the phone. After fumbling for a few moments, his hand reached his gray, N400 Samsung. He pulled the phone into the bed with him and let it ring one more time, before flipping it open.

"Hello?" his smooth, sleepy voice croaked into the phone.

There was a pause before the voice on the other end spoke, "Michael McNeal?"

"Yeah," he responded. He pulled his left wrist from under the covers. His eyes wouldn't cooperate and focus to simply read his watch. He peered over the covers to the clock on his roommate's desk, but that was covered with some haphazardly discarded piece of clothing. His roommate lay with his back to Michael. Even though he was still sleeping, his roommate served no real indication of the time. It could have been two in the afternoon and Brent still would have been asleep.

"Mike, this is Todd."

Michael internally groaned. Todd volunteered to manage the campus security office of the college he attended. Up until last year, Michael's sophomore year, he had a job there. Michael enjoyed it for the most part, but after a turbulent semester, he had to severely cut back his hours. Todd worked out a deal with Michael for him to work on a volunteer basis, which worked out for Michael just fine. He didn't have to leave the job and he could focus more on the trouble areas of his life.

The job was simple enough: sit there and answer the phone. Occasionally, he would have to do a little footwork, but it was hardly enough to get his heart rate up.

Michael was more awake now, sitting up in his bed. "What's up, Todd?"

"Listen, we have a shortage today. I know it's short notice, but can you come in and watch the office for a while?"

Michael sighed, not caring if Todd heard. He had intended on doing nothing. It was Saturday after all, and after a long night of partying, he needed the rest. But then again, how productive was sitting around being lazy?

He prided himself on his work ethic, even though it faltered every once in a while. Michael referred to these lapses in work ethic his "burnout periods," short amounts of time, usually a few days, where he just didn't do any work. He would preoccupy himself with his Playstation 2 or going out. However, those periods were few and far in-between. Michael was an active student, involved in several activities outside of class including class council, and several different committees.

He was fairly popular, but that really didn't affect him too much. He was more concerned with doing a good job, which was satisfying all in itself for him. Still, he considered saying no to Todd.

"It's just an early afternoon shift," Todd quickly added, somehow sensing Michael's hesitation.

Michael was beginning to reason with himself more. If it was just for the afternoon, it gave him time to go out that night.

"And only for about an hour. Lisa got her schedule mixed up and can't get here until four."

"Sure, no problem," Michael replied.

He had no problem helping Todd out when he could. Todd was a fairly decent guy, even though some of Michael's friends had a slightly different opinion. They said he was egotistical and manipulative, but Michael just attributed it to the people Todd hung around, who were much of the same. Todd had always treated him fairly and decently, so there was no reason not to return the courtesy.

"I knew I could count on you. The keys will be at the front desk."

"Yeah, sure." Before Michael could say anything else, Todd had already hung up the phone. Michael set the phone back on the desk and glanced at his watch. As he suspected, it was two in the afternoon.

A night of clubbing will do that to you, Michael mused. He got out of bed quietly and slipped into a robe and grabbed his soap, towel, and washcloth.

The college was a small elite college nestled in the mountains right outside the quaint town of Silent Hill. It was about a twenty minute drive to the town. Though small, it had everything that they ever needed, so it wasn't a big deal. In the summer though, it was a tourist attraction, getting visitors from all over the country.

Michael took longer in the shower than he meant to, enjoying the hot spray of water. When he returned to his room, he noticed his roommate was gone. He dismissed it, thinking his roommate went out for an errand or something.

He put on a pair of jeans, brown boots, and a white, long-sleeved button down shirt. He grabbed a Polo sweater that partially zipped up in the front and his Nike backpack. He slipped his phone in his pocket and threw a few other things in his backpack then set out to the security office.

It was about a ten minute walk from his room. Lucky for him, he didn't have to brave the quickly descending night or the cool breeze. The office was located a few floors down in the same building. He only brought his sweater along in the case that he had to make a run to the other dormitory across campus.

Taking the elevator, Michael was surprised that the hallways were empty. He then remembered his roommate telling him about some festival going on in the town. Everyone was probably already there, including his roommate.

When Michael entered the security office, again he found no one. He scanned the room for some kind of sign that someone had been here before him, but found none.

"That's great," he flatly said. He was always strictly told that the office was not supposed to be left unattended, yet everyone else did so. Michael cynically thought that he was the only one that even paid attention to that rule.

He settled down at the cluttered desk, unhappy with the mess that had been left. He took a few minutes to organize the papers, miscellaneous notes, and books. When he felt everything was in a reasonable order, he sat down and leaned back in the chair, exhaling loudly.

"Only fifty-nine minutes to go," he sighed loudly. He noticed the security log just lying on the desk off to the right. Muttering to himself, he picked it up intending to put it in the drawer. However, when he opened the drawer, he found a gun. A 9mm.

"What's this doing in here?" he asked, not even wanting to touch the thing. He put the security log on top of it and shut the drawer quickly.

He grabbed the phone, intending to call Todd to ask him what the hell a gun was doing in the office. But, when he put the receiver to his ear, static echoed through the earpiece. But this was different from normal static—it had more of a meaning, alternating between high and low crackles, like someone was trying relay a message.

Michael pulled the receiver back from his ear, and looked at it, as if the receiver itself was the cause of the noise. He tried hanging it up and picking it up again, but the same static screamed into his ear.

"I'll just use my cell phone," he said to himself as he grabbed it out of his backpack.

The screen read 'Looking for Service' in bright red letters.

"Great." Michael was disappointed because he usually got great service for his phone. He couldn't remember a time when he didn't have service. Until now. He put the phone back in his backpack and stood, stretching.

He crossed the room to turn on the television when he heard a noise like meat being thrown on a wet floor. It startled him, since he had gotten comfortable with the silence in the building.

Michael listened intently for a moment, waiting to hear something again, but the sound didn't return. He crossed back over to get his cell phone to go outside, but then, a slow scraping noise sounded. It was definitely similar to the first noise except the meat was being slowly dragged across the floor.

He threw on his Polo sweater and threw his backpack on his shoulders, and decided to see what was making the noise. He stuck his head cautiously out of the door and that's when he spied a trail of red something. The first thing that came to his mind was blood. But what was it doing in the hallway?

Michael wasn't one to jump to outlandish conclusions. He didn't believe in ghosts and other strange occurrences. Everything that happened had some kind of explanation for it. He hated people that latched onto superstitions and used them as an explanation for everything.

So when he saw the blood, which is what he was considering it now, he figured that there must be some logical reason for it.

Still, it was better to be on the safe side. He went back for the gun in the drawer. He didn't care for guns much, but he knew how to shoot a 9mm. His older cousin had taken the liberty of showing him over the summer.

If anything, it was for his own security, not to use it against anyone. At least, he hoped.

The hallway was well lit, so it wasn't as if there was someone trying to sneak into the building. However, Michael still moved carefully down the hallway, hoping to see someone else at least poke their head out of their door to let him know he wasn't alone. Why was he suddenly feeling uneasy?

He followed the trail of blood around a corner. Michael followed the trail with his eyes as it went up the wall. What the hell would have dragged something up the wall?

A rising knot in his stomach threatened to stop his breathing, as Michael continued to follow the blood along the wall. He noticed that the hallway seemed to be getting darker as the blood trail got thicker.

The trail continued to loop until it was now on the ceiling. Whatever had made this trail was going through a lot of trouble.

Michael was so busy watching the trail, that when it stopped abruptly, he was a little relieved. He then cast his eyes downward and saw the mangled remains of something indescribable.

The putrid smell invaded his nose and mouth, causing him to choke for a moment.

"What the hell?" he whispered in response to a lurching sound came from the recesses of the hallway. A slow shuffling noise was all that he heard. Michael was frozen. His mind was screaming to run, but his body wouldn't respond. All he could feel was the rapid beating of his heart and the icy gun in his hand.

His legs felt heavy as he finally picked his foot up and took a step back. The sound was coming closer, coming out of the dark. Michael suddenly didn't want to see what it was.

When it came into the light, it was fifty times worse than anything he could have possibly imagined. It was unreal, like something straight out of a gory horror movie. He couldn't even begin to distinguish common features that compared to anything walking on two legs, like a head, or arms, or even a face.

It shambled toward him, with a nonchalant confidence that it was going to achieve its goal, whatever it was. Its body moved almost rhythmically from side to side with each purposeful step. The legs were short, but it was quickly closing the distance.

Michael finally saw a mouth, but it was a gaping, perverse gap in its flesh that opened and closed with ill-intent.

Michael immediately raised the gun, his body finally functioning. He took a few quick steps back and fired. He shot the creature, that's the only thing Michael could call it, six times. It swayed for a second and took another step before falling to the ground. It wiggled and moved in a spastic fashion, obviously hurt from the gunshots. It finally stopped moving as a pool of blood began to form underneath the thing.

He wasted no time in running back to the office. Michael didn't inspect the creature, didn't try to find out what the bloody mass was—he did none of the foolish things people sometimes did in these situations. All he could think of was getting away and getting someone out here who could deal with whatever it was.

Maybe it was some escaped lab experiment gone horribly wrong. Maybe some hospital patient had escaped and went crazy. Maybe Michael was simply hallucinating, that his mind made up an image to cope with seeing a dead body. He tried to bring himself to a dozen rational conclusions, but none of them would quite fit into the situation.

He grabbed the phone, but the same static still sounded, almost seeming louder and more menacing than before. Michael slammed the phone down and went into the drawer again and grabbed the packs of bullets that were in there.

Something distinctly told him that he would need them during the night. He threw them in his backpack and glanced around for anything else that could have been useful.

Before he left the office, Michael had grabbed a first-aid kit, two keys, and a screwdriver out of the office. He wasn't sure why he even thought he would need the tool, but it didn't hurt to have.

He then tried to knock on some of the dorm rooms, but no one answered. Michael tried to open them, but they all seemed to have broken knobs or something wrong with them.

Immediately, Michael knew something strange was going on. He didn't want to admit it though. That would mean having to acknowledge that the creature, or runaway lab experiment, was in fact what anyone would call a monster. And that monster had made a snack of something. No, someone.

He dashed up the stairs. In a smart move, Michael figured using the elevator was too slow and in some ways a death trap. Once at his room, he slammed the door, resting on it for a moment, trying to collect his thoughts and decipher what had happened.

Michael drew in a calming breath, and exhaled slowly. He bolted the door, noticing the room was dark, much darker than it should be. The darkness of the evening seemed to have come early, a bit too early. He tried to flip on the light, it came on for a brief second, and he noticed something scrawled on the wall, then the light went out.

He flipped the light switch up and down a few times, coming to the conclusion that the power had gone out.

Michael remembered the flashlight in his drawer underneath the valet, which he was right next to. He felt underneath the sink until his fingers grazed across the small Maglite. Turning it slightly, the white beam cut through the darkness of the room.

Michael turned the light onto the wall. It looked like something had been scribbled in blood, the writing resembling the blood trail along the floor and wall of the hallway. It was hard to read from his angle, but Michael didn't want to leave his spot. He played the light over it carefully, reading it quietly.

YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE LEFT YOUR ROOMMATE ALONE. HE CRIED AND SCREAMED, BUT YOU WEREN'T THERE. NOW HE'S ALONE IN THE CLOSET. WAITING FOR YOU.

Michael was frozen. He didn't know what to do. A part of him wanted to dart out into the hallway and not look back. The other part figured that there was something much worse waiting for him once he stepped out of the room.

His eyes went to the closet. It seemed like it did any other time, but the message put a whole different spin on the small enclosure.

"Brent," he whispered reluctantly. He knew from watching enough horror movies that his roommate would not answer him back, no matter what condition he was in. Still, it seemed like the only thing to do at this point.

"Brent, are you in there?" his voice faltered, betraying the sense of fear that was overtaking him. He decided to leave it alone. There was no sense in getting himself all worked up, besides, this was probably some elaborate joke someone was playing on him.

Yes, a joke. That would make sense. Why no one was around, why everything just suddenly happened, Todd calling him in on such short notice. Of course, it made sense now. Or at least, Michael tried to make it make sense.

Still, he looked around the room for anything that he may need before he left. He grabbed some food and water, a compass and a map of the area from his desk. He figured that if his friends were playing such an elaborate joke, then they would probably chase him out into the forest. This way, he would be prepared.

He crossed the room, satisfied he had everything that he needed. Michael's eyes fell on the closet again, and he reflected on the cryptic, if not downright creepy, message. Michael dreaded going near the closet, but he had to figure out what had happened.

He walked quietly to the closet, putting his ear to the door. He didn't hear anything...not the slightest noise. He backed up and put his ear in a different place, hoping to hear breathing or something to give away that his roommate was really in there laughing and planning on scaring him. He heard nothing and tried the knob, but it wouldn't open.

At the sound of the knob turning, he heard his roommate.

"Mike, help me. There—there's something else in here with me."

His blood ran cold. Michael's mind instantly went to the creature that he did away with downstairs.

"Brent, is that you?"

"Mike, it's getting closer—"

He wanted to believe that his roommate was playing around, that he was in on the joke, but the fear in his voice couldn't have been fake.

"Brent, open the door," Michael said, turning the knob much more energetically.

"I can't."

"Stop messing around."

"I want to open the door, but my hands...my hands are...gone."

Michael became dizzy. It was like every nightmare and horror story he had read was coming to life at this very moment.

He took immediate action and tried to ram the door.

"It's getting closer!"

Brent's panic was unmistakable. "Brent, hold on. I'll get you out, I—"

A piercing scream rang out. Sickening sounds came from the closet. Michael could only imaging what was happening.

"Brent!" he screamed as he banged on the door. He tried to turn the knob again, but it wouldn't turn. "Answer me, Brent!"

No sound came from the closet. Somehow, Michael knew something had happened to his roommate. He knew that some terrible monster had gotten to him, and there was nothing he could do to save him.

"Brent," he weakly said as he rested his head on the door. The one person that he had found in the school was now gone. Permanently.

Michael composed himself, determined to figure out what was going on. As he neared the door, the closet door began to creak open. The door slowly opened, then stopped.

He didn't want to go near it, not if there was something dangerous still there. "Brent?" he called hesitantly.

No answer.

Michael thought about leaving once again, not even being concerned with the closet or anything else, but Brent...

He walked to the closet door, which hid the inside of the closet from him. Michael's mind went to the gun again, which he held toward the floor, just in case Brent was joking around, he wouldn't shoot him. Then again, a bullet to the leg never killed anyone.

Michael stepped around the closet, half expecting something horrific to leap out at him, but there was nothing. The closet was empty.

He was dumbfounded and bewildered. Michael was positive that he had responded to his roommate's voice, heard the noises, heard the screams, yet, there was nothing there. Clothes hung loosely and undisturbed in the deep closet. Nothing looked out of place, as if all was as it should be.

Then the glint of something on the floor got his attention. A key, with a note.

PHONE: 452-595-0931

Michael studied the key. Room 431 was etched on the key. He stuck the key and the note in his pocket, but what was in that room? And more importantly, where was his roommate?

Michael turned to leave, when he saw the writing had changed, to simply read:

I'M DEAD.

Michael ran out of the room, fear emanating from his every pore. This was beyond some simple joke. There was something happening way beyond Michael's understanding. Soon, though, soon he would come to realize the circumstances that surrounded the school and ultimately, the town of Silent Hill.

Notes:

Silent Hill belongs to Konami. All other characters are fictional.

Whew! I just played through and beat Silent Hill 3—scary stuff. I decided to write this story while sitting alone in my room (even scarier). Any comments or criticisms would help, as I'm constantly trying to improve my writing.