Title: Descent – Chapter One
Rating: R for language, sexual innuendo and scenes of intense violence and gore
Fandoms: Firefly and Silent Hill
Characters: The whole crew
Timeline: After "Objects in Space", before the BDM
Pairing: Mal/Simon is definitely there, moreso later on, but it's not enough to overpower. In other words, those who don't like it will probably be able to tune it out- there's enough plot here.
Summary: When Serenity is literally pulled from space, the crash landing leaves them in a small, seemingly deserted town with River nowhere to be found. However, the abandoned town of Silent Hill has dark secrets, and it will take the courage and luck of each and every crew member to survive the horrors they find there…
Firefly Fans: First of all, no, you don't have to know a single thing about the Silent Hill movie or game to understand and enjoy this story – I specifically wrote it this way for you guys! I will give you forewarning, though: Silent Hill is famous for being twisted and disturbing, and this story will follow suit. When I say graphic, I really do mean graphic.
Silent Hill Fans: Unfortunately, you'll need to have a good grasp on the Firefly/Serenity canon for this to make much sense. Also, I am going strictly by movie-verse, as I've done little research on the games and prefer not to butcher them- all the monsters from the movie will be making an appearance, but I will also create some of my own. Don't hate me too much for it!
"And so then, I threatened to toss him out in Reaver territory. That was when he decided it would probably be best t'just hand over my bag," Mal said, sitting on the edge of the console, chuckling as he finished retelling the story.
"What'd he think you had in there? No offense, but you don't exactly look like a pillar of society," Wash pointed out, leaning back in his chair, his fingers entwined behind his head. Mal shrugged, taking another swig of his drink.
"I don't know, weapons? All I know is he-"
He was cut off by the sounds of alarms, and lights began flashing all over the console. Wash sat up straight, studying the screen with a frown. Mal looked out the windows, but there was nothing in their path; there may have been something behind them, though.
"What is it?" he asked.
Wash shook his head slowly. "I don't know, it's almost like-"
The ship jerked, shuddered, and abruptly changed course. Wash grabbed onto the controls, taking it off autopilot and trying to regain control, but he couldn't get the ship to budge from the new course.
"What in the gorramn hell is it, Wash?" Mal asked, holding onto the console as Wash fought the new problem.
The ship jerked again, and quite suddenly, the space around them went dark. No stars, no planets, just blackness. Silence filled the bridge as the alarms went silent. Mal took a few steps toward the windows as Wash checked the map.
"Uh…sir, we're gone. We're not even on the map," Wash said.
Mal felt an unease come over him. "Black hole? Wormhole?"
"The ship would've been torn apart in either of those. We're still intact."
Footsteps interrupted them, and Mal turned to see Kaylee practically leap up the stairs to the bridge. "What's goin' on? Why'd we…change…"
She'd noticed the missing stars. Slack-jawed, she stepped up to the windows.
"Where are we?"
Mal glanced out the windows again, his unease growing. "Don't know. Let's gather the crew," he said, his tone now all-business as he headed for the intercom. He didn't get there, though, before a blinding light filled the bridge…
And a mountain came into view through the windows.
Alarms started going off again, and Wash began to fight to raise the nose of the ship- she was headed straight for the mountain. Kaylee screamed and grabbed onto the co-pilot chair to stay upright in the turbulence, and Mal heard Zoe's voice down the hallway.
There's no way he'll clear that, Mal thought as the mountain loomed closer. He stumbled over to Wash.
"Slow down and aim for that road!" he yelled, pointing to a wide road curving around the side of the mountain.
"I can't land that!"
"Yes, you can! You have to!"
Mal grabbed onto the intercom, pressing down the button. "All crew, hold onto something, no time to strap in. We're crashing," he ordered, and then he hung it up. He pushed Kaylee down in the co-pilot chair, pulling the strap around her and clicking it in place just before the ship hit the road.
He was thrown against the wall with the force of the hit, and everything went black.
"Captain? Are you alright?"
Mal groaned and forced his eyes open, blinking a few times before he realized that the blurry figure kneeling over him was Kaylee. He pushed himself up, doing a mental checklist, surprised to find that he hadn't broken any bones.
"She's dead in the water, Captain. Crash knocked out everything. There's no power," Wash said from the flight console.
"Casualties?" Mal asked, rubbing his forehead where he'd hit the wall.
"Don't know. We both just came to," Kaylee said.
"You're not hurt?"
Kaylee grinned. "Thanks to you, no, sir."
"Go find the rest. Tell them to come up to the bridge."
Kaylee nodded, stood, and left the room in a hurry. Mal slowly stood, looking out the windows.
Outside, grayish-white flecks fell from the sky, making what might've been a sunny day fairly dark and overcast. It was almost like snow, but darker. He could only see about half a mile up the road, where it then curved around the mountain, out of sight.
"Any idea where we are, Wash?"
Wash shook his head. "It's no planet I recognize. What is that stuff, anyway?"
"Not snow," Mal said.
"What in the gorramn hell is going on?" Zoe asked as she marched into the room, a shallow cut on her cheek.
"We crashed," Wash said with a shrug, and Zoe gave him a 'look'.
"Where are we?"
"That'd be the winning question, Zo," Mal said. Inara, Book, and Jayne stepped into the bridge one by one, all looking equally disheveled and concerned. Mal counted them up; only River, Simon, and Kaylee left to arrive.
"Everyone hang tight for a minute, alright?" he said, standing by the door and waiting for his missing crew members. After a minute or so, Kaylee appeared in the hallway, out of breath and looking quite a bit panicked.
"I tried to stop him, sir, but he just…he wouldn't…"
Mal felt his heart drop into his feet. "Spit it out, Kaylee," he said, crossing his arms and trying to appear unconcerned.
"River disappeared durin' the crash. Simon left the ship, he went t'look for her," Kaylee finally said, a tone of helplessness in her voice. Mal cursed under his breath.
"Alright, everyone, here's what's going to happen. Wash, Kaylee, you're staying with the ship. I want her fixed up and ready to fly yesterday. The rest of you, you're coming with me to look for the doc and his sister," he said.
"Sir, they could already be dead. We don't know if that stuff in the air is lethal," Zoe pointed out, and Mal nodded.
"Suit up and step outside. Take some calculations," he ordered.
The entire crew looked at Zoe as if she'd gone crazy. Mal frowned, and then shifted his weight. "It's what?"
"Ashes, sir," Zoe confirmed. "It appears that there's a large fire burning somewhere around here, large enough to drop ash over this entire area."
"But there's no smoke."
Zoe shrugged. "Just repeating what the meters told me."
"Is it poisonous?" Kaylee asked, sitting in the co-pilot chair and wrapping her arms around her legs.
"Meters say it's not. Odd, for ashes," Zoe said, staring out the window. "I still wouldn't stay in it long."
Mal took a deep breath. "Right. Let's grab some guns, find Simon and River, and get the hell out of here."
Simon barely glanced at the large, faded sign by the road, one that read "Welcome to Silent Hill". He was too worried to care about where he was. But one thing he didn't expect was to turn the corner and walk right into an abandoned ghost town.
The ashes fell so heavily that everything in sight was covered in a thick whitish-grey layer of dust; it made the air heavy and difficult to breathe. The buildings were old, the signs falling apart but still readable. It was completely quiet, eerily so, and there wasn't a single person in sight.
Simon spun around at the sound of his name, flinging flakes of ashes from his hair; no one was there. The street was empty. He shivered, turning back around. He glanced at the ground, and his expression quickly turned to one of confusion.
Footprints. There were footprints in the ashes that hadn't been there before; they just started in the middle of the street, as if the person who made them had simply materialized out of thin air.
Simon saw a flash of movement in the distance, a glimpse of long brown hair.
He took off after the figure, who'd disappeared around the corner. His steps sounded loud in the emptiness of the town, as if he was disturbing what little peace the place had.
He turned the corner onto a residential street; no sign of River. He slowed to a jog, watching for any hint of another living soul. There was nothing; cars sat abandoned in the street, house doors stood wide open, and the only sound was the creaking of a loose screen door in the gentle breeze.
Whatever happened here, they had to leave in a hurry, Simon thought, looking down at a woman's purse that had been dropped on the ground. At the same time, though, he saw something else on the ground that put him back on the trail.
A set of clean, fresh footprints disrupted the thick layer of ash on the concrete. He followed the tracks further down the road, where they curved up onto the sidewalk and to the door of a small, white house. The door stood partway open, and the forest green shutters hung haphazardly off the windows.
"River?" Simon said quietly, stepping up to the door. "Are you in here?"
A floorboard creaked inside. Simon pushed the door open the rest of the way and stepped inside.
It was a fairly normal home- or it would've been 150 years ago. No computers, televisions, or any other sign of progressive technology- just a couch, a fireplace, a coffee table, and some bookshelves. None of it looked as if it had been used within the last 30 years.
Simon jumped as a door slammed in the back of the house. Thinking he might have finally found River, he quickly walked through the front room into the back hallway. There he found two open doors, and one that was closed.
"River, it's me," he said gently, approaching the closed door. "It's Simon."
He turned the doorknob and slowly pushed the door open to reveal what appeared to be a small child's bedroom.
No one was inside.
He walked to the window, but it was pretty obvious that it hadn't been opened in a very long time. Dust covered the sill and the latch. He sighed heavily and turned around, studying the room for any sign that anyone had been in here.
As his eyes passed over the dresser, he spotted something odd- two clean handprints on the edge of a picture frame. He stepped over to it and picked up the frame, using his sleeve to wipe the thick layer of dust off the glass.
A little girl. She had to be 9 or 10 years old, with bright, expressive blue eyes and hair remarkably like River's. Behind the girl sat a red-headed woman with strikingly beautiful features and the same captivating blue eyes.
He turned the picture over, surprised to find words written in the dust on the back- "Follow me I'll lead you to death."
Curiosity got the better of Simon. He lifted the tabs on the back of the frame, removing the back panel. Inside, hidden behind the picture, was a single skeleton key with a red ribbon tied onto it. Simon pulled it out, holding it up to the light streaming through the window.
He suddenly got the feeling that he was being watched. He spun around, but once again, no one was there. You're just being paranoid, he thought, dropping the key into his pocket. Something told him that he might need it later.
Quite suddenly, a loud, wailing sound filed the air; it dropped and rose in pitch, so loud and strong that Simon nearly had to cover his ears. As he looked out the window, he saw that the sky was rapidly darkening, all the light draining from the town outside – and the house he was in as well.
He backed away from the window, the siren continuing, and a new sound joining it. A wet, splitting, flaking sound, and the sound of steam. Simon reached out, the room completely dark now, and he felt for a wall- only to find that the wall was wet, and the wallpaper was flaking and falling off, dropping to the floor in steaming strips.
The siren faded, and Simon froze, listening, his heart pounding in his ears. Silent Hill was no longer silent; he heard small snapping sounds, creaking, like the dead world around him had come to life when darkness fell. He heard a door open and close, back in the front room.
"River?" he said quietly, blindly making his way back to the door. He felt for the doorframe and stepped through, and then he heard a quiet groan that turned into a whine, followed by shuffling footsteps. It definitely didn't sound like River.
"Who's there?" he asked, taking a few more steps into the room.
That was when a hand latched onto his arm.
It took less than a second for the burning to set in; the pain was excruciating. Simon let out a shriek, yanking his arm away and stumbling backwards, the stench of burning flesh permeating his senses. He grabbed onto his arm, only to find both his sleeve and his skin burned clean through- he could feel the singed, curling edges of the handprint branded on his arm.
He heard the whining again, and with a strangled, desperate cry, he made a run for the door. Only a few steps and he ran into the coffee table, the momentum making him roll right over it and onto the floor on the other side.
A hand grabbed his ankle and he kicked at the creature, knocking it away. He crawled and then stumbled to his feet, thrusting his hands out in front of him to feel for the door. He could hear the dragging footsteps of that thing behind him, and when he finally found the door, he practically leapt outside and slammed the door shut behind him.
He backed up a few steps and let out a sigh of relief. Whatever it was, it seemed disinterested in trying to open the door to follow him. His arm pounding with pain, Simon turned around and tried to develop any kind of night vision in this pitch blackness. No such luck.
At first he thought he was hearing things; but no, the sound was clear as day. That grunting and whining, the shuffling footsteps, it was the same as the creature in the house- but it was outside.
And it was getting closer.
His breath catching in his throat, Simon ran in what he hoped was the direction back toward the main road of town. The whining was getting louder, and the shuffling, and something told Simon that there were more than two of those creatures – much more.
Simon suddenly ran into something, something short, slimy, and very much alive, and he hit the ground hard. Moments later the burning hands were on his leg, trying to drag him back, and he screamed and thrashed in agony as the hands burned through his clothes and skin once again. Every touch was torture, the pain taking over his mind.
He managed to kick free and tried to get up, but by then the whining was all around him, the hands were grabbing at his arms, legs, and hips, dragging him back down, and he couldn't break free, couldn't think, couldn't breathe…
A hand grabbed at his neck, and he couldn't even hear himself screaming at them to let go, screaming to Mal, River, anyone to come and save him.
It ended as suddenly as it had begun. The whining intensified, and suddenly the creatures were falling back, stumbling away, leaving Simon nearly unconscious on the ground. Even as the whining faded and the light began to return, Simon couldn't summon the energy to move.
A sob wracked his throat, and he practically convulsed in pain, his body twitching in agony.