"A lullaby to close your eyes"
I don't like hospitals.
Not one bit.
It's the smell.
That smell of blood and faeces masked with disinfectant and bad food.
It's an unfortunate consequence of having a self destructive alcoholic parent that one spends a great deal of time breathing it. When I begun writing this in 2006 it was shortly after visiting my mother in one of those necessary but loathsome institutions. They told me that she would probably never leave.
She proved them wrong that time.
And the time after that.
The third time she wasn't so lucky.
By the time I held my mother's hand as she breathed her last in 2008 I had already begun using this story as an outlet for dealing with her slow death but it was only then that I decided that the climax had to take place in a hospital.
If Bruce Wayne were real I bet he'd hate hospitals too. What greater insult for a man who has dedicated his life to fighting misery, pain and death than to surround him with it?
Which brings us to that delightful resort town of Silent Hill.
That place which looks through your false smiles and practiced confidence and sees what you fear the most before ripping it out of you and laying it bare before you.
Who better to demonstrate this than the Batman? I mean who else carries round that sort of emotional baggage? If Clark Kent went to Silent Hill he'd probably have a perfectly pleasant weekend and leave with nothing less innocuous than postcards and hotel stationary. But Bruce? Silent Hill would have a field day.
In fact, I'm amazed that nobody else thought to do a Batman / Silent Hill crossover. It's just so blindingly obvious! So I set the twon loose on Batman and before my very eyes it assaulted him with his most grievous failures (the death of Jason Todd, the creation of Two Face) and ripped the psychological armour that Batman represented for Bruce just as it relieved him, part by part, of the bat suit.
But there's a reason why Silent Hill 2 has the best ending.
Silent Hill works best when its protagonist has some dark secret lodged deep inside, hidden even from themselves and hence the twist at the end.
While the notion of Thomas and Martha Wayne dying instantly before they hit the dirt of Crime Alley is a romantic one it is also absurdly unrealistic.
What if Martha Wayne didn't die straight away? What if little Bruce had to undergo the agony and trauma of watching her slowly fade in a hospital facing the choice between a life of agony or the release of death?
It's a no-brainer but one that Bruce would never forgive himself for.
Maybe that's why he throws himself in front of knives and bullets every night, maybe it's his penance as much as his duty. An attempt to exorcise an unnameable demon inside himself. Perhaps the spirits or forces or whatever is behind Silent Hill is trying to show Bruce what his subconscious tries so hard to keep from him?
That line about how the monsters are actually angels? Yeah, I stole that from Jacob's Ladder (which Team Silent have sited as a major influence on the Silent Hill series) but it's been my guiding principal. And yes, The Tormentor is Pyramid Head... Or at least the force that James Sunderland sees as Pyramid Head.
In realising the truth Bruce discovers that Batman is not an agent of vengeance but an agents of love. Love for his city, love for the people and love for the memory of his parents. I like to think that the Batman that whispers his friendly vow to young Greg Adams is a much more content and well adjusted one than the Batman who first rescued him from Jason Pryzlak.
I hope you have enjoyed this story, dear reader. It certainly has been a long time coming and even as I type I find it hard to believe that it is finally complete. It's taken me over six years. In that time I've gone from an easy but pointless office job to journalism to acting and now to teaching. I have got engaged and then married. I bought a house. I've gone from being an insecure angst riddled twentysomething to an insecure angst riddled thirtysomething.
I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, all the people who have stuck with this story and lent it their gracious support, reviews and feedback.
That means you, Tenro100, Soviet Inclination (wherever you may be), Maiafay (although I maintain that 'full-pelt' is a legitimate phrase), Cyanotique, Konig15, Dthomasjr87 and finally RJ the Clown who I feel has been my biggest champion since pretty much the beginning.
Whether you're one of this story's long-time supporters (it's be terribly self-aggrandising to call you fans) or if you're reading this for the first time all in one go then I thank you once again for reading this story and this little blurb and hope you will take the time to get in touch with a review, feedback or criticism.