The sun was setting in the dusty yellow sky as the last remnants of the final battle dissolved in the scattered light. A breeze whistled through the sea of skeletal Keyblades stretching towards the horizon. The survivors of the battle gazed up at the sky with a growing sense of hope.
King Mickey turned towards the group, relief in the sag of his shoulders. "It's finally over," he said.
The group nodded their approval, all except one.
"No," Sora muttered, gazing listlessly down at the ground and shaking his head.
Riku stared at the slump of Sora's back. "We'll find Kairi. Let's head back to Master Yen Sid," he said. "We can figure it out."
Sora tilted his head up to the sky. "No, I know what to do."
"Sora…" Mickey said, uncertain.
Sora turned to face the group. "My whole journey began the day I lost her. And every time I find her… she slips away again," he said, staring down at his open palms. "I thought we'd finally be together. But she's out there, alone." He looked back up, his brows set and his gaze firm. "Not for one more second."
Donald and Goofy stepped forward. "We'll go too!" Donald said.
"That's right!" Goofy agreed.
Sora gave them a pained smile. "Thank you, Donald, Goofy. But this time, I have to go it alone."
"Sora, listen," Mickey said, his voice pleading. "The power of waking isn't to go chase hearts around. Even if you do locate Kairi, you might never come home to us again."
Sora put his hands on his hips and tilted his head up in his usual, reassuring stance of self-confidence. "I will! And we'll both be back before you know it."
Riku had been listening with his head bowed to the ground. At the growing distress in Mickey's voice, he walked over and knelt to put a hand on Mickey's shoulder. "Let him go, Mickey."
Mickey looked up at Riku, confused and upset. "Riku…"
"His heart and his mind are made up," Riku said, as if that settled the matter. "Now, believe in him."
After a moment, Mickey nodded. "Yeah… safe journey, Sora."
Sora nodded. "Thank you," he said. He turned to face the sky once more, and held out his hand to summon his Keyblade. The Kingdom Key appeared in his hand in a sparkle of light, and he felt the familiar weight of it tug on his arm. He pointed it to the sky, and a bright light shot out and fractured the clouds like shattered glass, leaving behind a gaping black hole. A sigil formed in the darkness, and as it formed into patterns, the light grew. Wincing, Sora squeezed his eyes shut, but he could still see the light glaring bright red through his eyelids. Just before the light engulfed him, Sora looked back to see Riku's strained smile fall into a frown, before the white swallowed him, and his friends were gone.
He was drifting through a featureless white void. For a moment, he panicked, not sure where he was or where to go; he could see and hear nothing, and the nothingness pressed in on him from all sides. He pulled in deep lungfuls of air, and pressed the hilt of his Keyblade to his chest, steadying himself. He felt it then, a sort of pulse, like a heartbeat, reverberating beneath his hands. It beat out of sync with his own racing heartbeat. He took another deep breath, in and out, in and out, until his heart rate slowed, and the two pulses synced up. Sora concentrated on the second pulse, held it in his mind, and reached towards it with his whole being. His arms outstretched, the Keyblade in front of him, he finally began to feel movement. Something was pulling him towards it, and he let go, trusting his heart to guide him to the right place.
It was growing closer now. That second pulse was getting louder, ringing in his ears. He could almost reach out and touch it…
"You see? I had no doubt you'd pull through," a voice said.
Sora's eyes snapped open.
He was gazing up at a girl's face silhouetted against a blazing light. He squinted, trying to adjust his eyes. Even in shadow, the girl's eyes had a blue sheen.
"I thought I'd find you snoozing down here," she giggled.
Sora sat bolt upright. His heartbeat was hammering in his ears, beating a frantic rhythm against his chest. He'd been laying on the floor with his head on the girl's lap. Her hand jumped backward from where it'd been resting in his hair, her eyelashes fluttering in surprise.
"Kairi!" Sora shouted, and reached for her… but stopped.
She tilted her head in confusion, her short red hair brushing her shoulders. "Sora? What's wrong?" she said. "I've been looking everywhere for you. Aren't you happy to see me?" Her voice had an odd, clipped quality, like snippets of a recording spliced together.
Sora hesitated, staring at her, and pushed himself backwards a little.
There was something… wrong.
It was Kairi, looking just the way he remembered her. But her smile didn't quite reach her eyes.
"You're… not Kairi," Sora said slowly.
The girl sat up a little straighter, curling her hands in her lap. "Oh? Who am I, then?"
As his eyes adjusted to the light, Sora could make out more and more of their surroundings. Most of the light was pouring in from towering stained-glass windows, raining down a cascade of colors on the intricate, stained carpets lining the dusty floors. They were sitting at the foot of an empty altar, and behind them, the remnants of broken pews lay in heaps. The cathedral ceiling arched high above their heads, and the broken beams lay precariously over one another, strung with cobwebs.
The light faded into darkness around the edges of the room, and as Sora watched, the darkness began to shift and undulate. The blackness formed into shapes, into creatures that padded across the floor and climbed over broken pews. Their inky black color flowed into rainbow shades of purples and greens and blues as the light passed over them. Within a moment, Sora and the girl were surrounded by a growling, snarling mass of dark creatures.
Sora looked away from them to gaze at the girl, who just sat and stared back at him, the same wooden smile frozen on her face.
"Akiri," Sora said, and the girl's smile stretched a little wider.
"Sora," she said with a simper. She tilted her head down, and her eyes flashed a brilliant gold. "I've missed you so, so much."
With a raging howl, the creatures pounced.
"Riku? Riku, are you there?
You were wrong, Riku. You were wrong about me. I can't do this alone. I can't do this without you.
I've been waiting for you, waiting for you to find me.
You told me once that reality is what we make of it. What we make of it.
Did you mean our dreams shape our reality?
In my restless dreams, I see that town…"
Static swallowed the end of the voicemail, and Riku was left staring at the glow of his gummi phone in the darkness.
He'd found this message on his phone from an unknown number, and even with the eroded quality of the audio, Riku could recognize the sound of Sora's voice. No matter how many times he tried to call Sora back, he couldn't get through.
That town… it could only be one place.
Riku walked along the dark misty road, his boots scuffing on the broken asphalt. His footsteps echoed off the pavement and darted amongst the trees lining the road on either side. A circle of light chased ahead of him, beaming from the flashlight on the back of his phone. The light swirled and shifted as it reflected off of the cool foggy air.
There was a rustling sound, and the light darted to the edge of the road. Riku felt his heart pounding in his chest as he stopped and stared at the bushes. The leaves rustled again, and a small, dark shape emerged.
The flashlight glinted off of two round blue eyes. As the shape padded into the road and blinked its eyes, the light rippled along the fur of a black cat. Its midnight coat was cut by a white underbelly and paws, practically glowing in the reflected light. Its ears were folded down against its forehead, and its long, thick tail swung behind it.
The cat paused in the middle of the road as the two regarded one another. It didn't look at all dangerous, with its glossy fur and its cute folded ears; but Riku didn't let down his guard for a moment. Until it spoke.
"You should run," it said in a small voice. "It's coming."
Riku recovered quickly. A talking cat was hardly the weirdest thing he'd seen on his travels. "What's coming?" he said.
The cat didn't respond, but its ears twitched and its head swiveled to look down the road. Riku craned his head, but he couldn't see anything where the cat was looking, just an endless expanse of fog. Then he heard it: what sounded like a long, wailing siren, starting out faint and growing ever louder. The cat turned back to look at him, and its mouth moved, but Riku couldn't hear what it was saying; the siren was screaming in his ears, and he had to snap his hands to his ears to try to block the sound, the phone clattering to the ground.
There was a bright flash out of the corner of his eye, and Riku looked up to see a growing ball of white light in the distance. The cat took a step backwards, but held its ground. The ball was growing bigger, rushing towards them at a rapid pace. Riku took a step back, then two, but before he could even think to run, the light was upon them.
There was an enormous sound like an explosion in his head, and Riku fell to the ground, his knees scraping against the rough asphalt. The bright light, the deafening sound was agony; he screamed, but his voice was lost in the din. Just when he thought he couldn't take it anymore, the noise dropped out. In the silence, he could hear his own ragged breath wheezing out of his lungs. He tried to open his eyes, but it was just too bright to see; his eyes stung as if they'd been pierced by hot knives. Riku fumbled for his pocket, and his fingers brushed a long strip of fabric. Hands shaking a little, he pulled it out and wrapped it around his eyes, tying a knot in the back to hold it in place.
After a moment behind the blindfold, he was able to finally open his eyes. What he saw wasn't the dark fabric, but the landscape stretching out in front of him. Or, what he could manage to see of it.
It was still so bright, so incredibly bright, that almost everything looked white. The only way he could see what was around him – the road, the trees, the bushes – was from the shadows. Everything was blown out, as if caught in the moment of an explosion. The air sat heavy and warm on him like he was standing under blazing sunshine.
The cat waited on the road in front of him, lashing its tail impatiently. It looked strangely out of place in the bright landscape, almost as if it were pasted onto the scene. In the light, the cat's glossy coat was a deep purple, etched with jagged black stripes. Its underbelly was a warm cream color instead of white, and its ears were a shade of magenta. It watched him with strikingly red narrowed eyes.
Looking down, Riku could see his own body and hands as if lit by a brilliant light, but otherwise, he appeared similarly as solid and colorful as the cat. His attention was caught by the hiss of static, and he saw his phone lying face down on the ground. The flashlight was still on, but the beam coming out of it appeared to be inverted; it was casting a long trail of darkness that faded as it grew further from the phone. Riku bent to pick it up and aimed the darkness towards the trees, and they materialized out of the white as if being painted back in. The hissing static was coming from the phone, slowly growing louder.
There was a low growling sound, and Riku looked back down at the cat. The cat was standing with its back to Riku and its fur on end, watching a shadow move along the ground. Whatever was casting the shadow was just as invisible as everything else in the blinding light. Riku turned the flashlight beam towards it, and out of the shadow of the beam, a small, white shape emerged.
It was some sort of four-legged creature like the cat. In the darkness it appeared almost white, but it had some shades of bright purples and greens and blues shifting along its edges. It cowered in the shade of the flashlight, as if the touch of it stung. It turned two round, yellow eyes towards Riku, and with a loud screeching sound it leapt towards him, disappearing as soon as it left the shade.
Before Riku could think to react, the cat pounced on it, snarling and spitting. As the cat landed blow after blow, the creature became more and more solid as black blood stained its body. Wailing, the creature fled into the light, trailing drops of steaming darkness behind it. The static faded out into silence.
The cat stood and watched it run, shaking with adrenaline. After a moment it sat and began to lick the blood from its paws.
"Um… th, thank you," Riku said.
The cat looked up at Riku and got to its feet, shaking itself off from head to toe. "There's more where that came from," it said. "We should get a move on, um…?" It tilted its head.
"My name's Riku."
"Riku," the cat repeated. "I'm Chirithy." It looked Riku up and down, its tail waving slowly from side to side. "You're a Wielder, right? I can tell. Your Keyblade won't be much use here. Your best bet to stay safe is to stick to the shadows." It turned and started to trot down the road. "Come on, follow me. We have to get to cover."
Head reeling, Riku jogged after the cat. As they traveled down the road, the shadows of the trees fell away, and the shapes of buildings began to appear from the light. Many of the buildings had been blown apart, and their pieces hung suspended in the air, frozen in the moment of impact. As Riku and Chirithy neared the edge of town, the cat gazed up at a sign in the shadows and stopped to look back at Riku.
"Welcome," Chirithy said, "to Silent Hill."
Riku reached back to tighten the knot on the back of his blindfold and let out a deep breath. "It looks the same as ever," he muttered, and stepped forward into the light.
Wait for me, Sora.
This time, I'll find you.
A happy 10th anniversary to the last chapter of The Open Door! :) Ten years ago I posted the last chapter of this fic. A lot of things have happened since then. I've been tossing around ideas for a sequel that may or may not happen. I hope you enjoy this little "secret movie" anyway.