**Please note that "Silent Hill" and all related settings and characters are property of Konami. I mean, do you think I could come up with something this twisted on my own? Also, this is a work in progress and I'll add to it as I can. All reviews and suggestions are appreciated!***

Chapter 1.

Augusta Jackson's world fell apart shortly after breakfast on a warm Friday morning in early May, as she stood by the bank of pretty, cast iron mailboxes in the courtyard of her apartment building. She held a pale pink envelope in her hand and hoped the world could go on normally, as if nothing had ever happened, if she could only ignore the envelope and pretend she had never found it.

If she pretended hard enough maybe that would make it true and the envelope would vanish, never having been there at all. Then, traffic could continue flowing smoothly by on French Broad Avenue, which ran past her apartment building, whose walls wrapped protectively around three sides of its shady brick courtyard and could go on bouncing the traffic noise from wall to wall to wall with an odd, hollow roar. Meanwhile, the leaves of the trees crowding the courtyard and the flowering vines clambering up its walls would continue rustling in a morning breeze. And wrought iron balconies above would drip with moisture from last evening's thunderstorm and the windows and French doors of every apartment would peer at one another blankly from their white wood frames, and moss would go on thriving between every brick.

As if nothing unusual had happened. If only she didn't look down at the thing in her hand. Or, as long as she dropped it where she stood, or threw it as far as she could and hoped the wind would carry it into the street to be shredded by passing cars' tires.

She looked down. She couldn't help it.

The envelope, with the embossed rosebud of the American Greetings Company on its flap, was like any other envelope that could hold any other card from any card shop anywhere in America. The card could express sympathy, or wish its receiver a happy birthday, or tell someone they were loved or appreciated.

But Augusta Jackson had received a Mother's Day card. It wasn't possible, she thought. It couldn't be what it was and yet the address was correct – drop an envelope with that address on it in any mailbox in the country and that envelope would make its way through rain or sleet or fog or gloom of night to Augusta's apartment building at the corner of French Broad Avenue and Haywood Street in downtown Asheville, North Carolina, directly across from the Chamber of Commerce.

And the stamp was an ordinary thirty-seven cent stamp, and looked like a tiny American flag. And the postmark and return address – Silent Hill, Illinois – were perfectly normal as well. This card had been mailed from a beautiful, normal town by a lake three states away from this beautiful, normal city in the mountains.

But the card had come from a child dead before she had ever lived, and that was what Augusta couldn't understand.

"I love you mommy. You are the best mommy ever. Love, Mary-Elizabeth," was written across the inside of the card, where a charming little poem about a mother's love couldn't make itself heard against words printed with a bright red crayon obviously clutched carefully in a little girl's hand. A little girl in a pretty dress, so proudly showing off her penmanship (which had astounded her kindergarten teacher) to her mommy. A little girl who would have turned five last August – if Augusta's calculations were correct – and who would now love school and love learning but who would have already been taught to read and write by her mommy, with help from the Pack Memorial Library only a few blocks away on Haywood Street, where the two of them would have walked hand in hand every day they had time enough to explore the world of Winnie the Pooh or the Berenstein Bears. A sweet little girl with a beautiful smile who would have been the light of her mother's life and a source of joy to everyone who met her – but who had never lived outside of Augusta's mind and heart because Augusta had aborted the fetus the moment she could after learning she was pregnant.