"Hello, little boy, are you lost?"
Ed looked at the woman with a sense of distrust. The nurse had black hair that hung down to chin-level, cut in a straight line across the front so that it stopped just above her eyebrows. She looked at her with what seemed to be a smile on her lips, but her purple eyes seemed clouded over with irritation.
"Where's your mother?"
Still, he did not reply. He just stood there, his lips curled downwards. Ed walked past her wordlessly, not trusting her to be of any help.
"Hey, where are you going?" exclaimed the woman, as she whirled round.
He felt her grab him by the sh…der. Her grip was painfully tight, but… shrugged loose from her. He slipped out of her grasp and ran… the corridor… shouts ec…ing… doc…rs… nur…
…blinked, as he stood there. The walls were streaked black and there was a heavy, smoky smell in the air. There were gaps in some of the walls, large vacuous wounds that exposed the skeletal support beams.
A fire must have gutted this place long ago, but it was still recognisable. This was the same corridor. He had been looking for his little brother; Alphonse had run off after her mother had suggested they go out and play. This was where he had met that nurse with those cold, calculating eyes.
"My mom wasn't crazy," he murmured under his breath, as his feet crunched over large black flakes on the ground. "She wasn't crazy."
Maybe the corridor only resembled the one he had seen in the hospital. Yet it couldn't be just a mere resemblance. The ambulance had taken her to a hospital by the lake and Gordon King was the only one that fit the description that he could see. Perhaps, they had changed the nature of the hospital since he'd left; it had been a long time since he'd been in Silent Hill. He had only been…
Well, he couldn't quite remember how young he had been, but he had definitely been a little kid and now he was…
Ed's mind went blank. He couldn't remember how old he was. How many years had it been since he'd visited Silent Hill? He tried his best to think about that too. It was impossible. He couldn't remember and that scared him.
Some memories did come back, though. He remembered his mother's death. Ed remembered how he had spent hours sitting in front of her grave, unaware of the weather and his surroundings. He had sat there, pining for his lost mother, wondering why she had to die, why she had to leave him behind.
He shook his head with a heavy sigh and walked down the corridor. Ed wasn't sure why, but he found himself walking down the same corridor that had led to his mother's room.
Suddenly, he stopped.
Ed strained to listen in the darkness, his lantern providing the only light. There was somebody else. He was sure there was somebody else; he could hear them crying.
Through a door, Ed found himself in an operating theatre.
Someone had overturned the operating table, perhaps a long time ago. It lay on its side, the metallic frame black and rusted. Rust covered the walls and bare wires hung from the ceiling, wires that would have once supplied the powerful operating lamps.
A man crouched on the ground near a pattern chalked onto the ground.
Ed recognised it as the same transmutation circle he'd seen in the police station. There was an outer circle and an inner circle. In the band between were runes with strange symbols at the compass points: an almond shaped eye in the north. There were three circles inside the inner circle accompanied by more runes.
"Hello, are you alright?" asked Ed curiously, as he approached. He gasped, as the man turned round. "Mr Tucker?" he exclaimed.
The man looked at Ed with baleful eyes, as he crouched there on the floor. With a heavy sigh, he unsteadily rose to his feet.
"What are you doing here?" asked Ed curiously. "Did you find your wife and child?"
A strange smile slowly spread across the man's lips like an oil slick. "You can find all sorts of things in Silent Hill," he replied. "… is f… with secrets…"
"Sorry, what?" asked Ed.
He hadn't heard much of what Shou Tucker had said. The last few words had been indistinct, far away and muffled, as if he was somehow listening to the man through a feet of water.
A spark burst through the air, luminous embers spraying from the bare wires like pollen. They arced to the ground, faded before they could even touch the charred floor. A quiet, yet insistent electric buzzing filled the noiseless void.
"And then there they were!" exclaimed Shou Tucker, as if he had been talking all that time. "It was so simple. Alchemy held the key." He laughed, as he spread his arms out. "All you need is the right transmutation circle."
Two large things lumbered out of the darkness to stand beside Ed. Before he could even react, they grabbed him with one, large, muscular arm, veiny and meaty, speckled in blood. These things were human in a way, though grotesquely muscular. A large protuberance grew out of their head, resembling a large conical spike that pierced through one arm and the skull, stretching the mouth wide over its girth.
"Human transmutation is forbidden by the State," said Tucker, as he gestured for them to come closer. "But here, in Silent Hill, the State cannot reach me." He chuckled. "It was quite by accident, I assure you, but now I am close. Now I am close."
"Let go of me!" continued Ed, as he kicked and struggled to break free from the monsters' grasp.
"Shou Tucker, the Sewing Life Alchemist, I've finally found you."
The smile on Tucker's lips evaporated at the sound of the voice that cut through the darkness. "Colonel Mustang," he croaked.
"I had a feeling you were responsible when I saw those things out there," said Roy Mustang, as he stepped through a jagged hole in the tiled wall. "I don't know what you've done to this town, how you've managed to cut it off like that, but it all ends here."
Tucker shook his head viciously, as if denying everything and anything. "You don't understand, you don't understand!" he screamed. "Do you think God would let it? I have been offering prayers to God, sacrifices to God. This is all his will!"
"And what god would this be?" asked Mustang disdainfully. "It's a strange god that would reward you your efforts with this."
"Stop standing there, yapping," shouted Ed suddenly. "Do something!"
Roy Mustang extended his left arm and flicked his fingers. The eyes of the monstrosity to Ed's right burst into flames. A hideous, inhuman screech escaped its crammed mouth, as it let go.
"No, I won't let you!" cried Tucker, as he rushed for the circle.
Mustang cut off Tucker's path with a plume of flames.
One of the monstrosities that held onto Ed let go. With a muffled rumble of rage, it stumbled towards Mustang, shaking its strange conical protrusion like a club.
A few clicks of his fingers and Mustang killed the beast.
"Oh God, glorious bearer of truth, bring my wife back to me!" called out Tucker, as he slapped his hands onto the transmutation circle.
What little light there was flickered violently, a battle of light and darkness.
A strange, horrific noise echoed suddenly in the darkness. Ed couldn't quite place it, but there was something impossibly nauseating about it. It reminded him of something, of some event. It sounded like someone vomiting, but the vomit was very wet and slick, sounding like water.
Something rose out of the transmutation circle. Long black tendrils sprouted from the ground, each ending in small embryonic hands. These things stretched out, waved like seaweed fronds.
One lunged out like an octopus' leg. It pierced Mustang in his left eye. Others embraced Tucker lovingly, as something charred black crawled out of the ground. It was human in shape, but the limbs…! The limbs were bent backwards not through natural degrees, but as if someone had twisted violently and dislocated the arms. Blood welled up from its mouth and every now and then, the thing would convulse before coughing and spluttering more blood from its mouth in a crimson fountain.
Tucker's smug, confident smile slowly faded into a look of pure horror. He screamed.
Ed turned and ran. He heard screams behind him, violent screams that echoed in his ears. The screams continued to echo, until there was only one.
Tears streamed down Ed's cheek, as he ran through the darkened corridor of the hospital, his own screams of terror accompanying him.
"I'm not here. It's only me now."
Edward ran down the corridor…
Young Edward opened the door, let light shine in and pierced the darkness. Shadows fled. "Alphonse, what are you doing here?" he asked, as he saw…
…Ed crouched on the floor, his knees tucked under his chin and his arms crossed. His face was contorted into a grimace, a mix of fear and confusion. He couldn't understand what was going on.
Only a few moments ago, he was sure that he had been running down the corridor from some monstrosity. He was sure he had been running. How had he ended up in this place, this…? He looked around him; it was a broom closet of some sort.
"What are you doing in there?" repeated Ali, as he stood at the doorway.
"Alphonse?" exclaimed Ed.
The Ishablan laughed. "Do I really look like your brother that much?" he asked. He shook his head. "Come on, your mom would like to see you."
"My… mom?" asked Ed.
"She's waiting for you, Ed," said Ali.
His mind in turmoil, Edward Elric slowly got back up to his feet. "My mom asked for me?" he asked curiously, and received only a silent nod in response.
It was such a strange answer! It didn't feel real to him, but then, how could it feel any less real than what he had seen?
Cautiously, like a newborn calf, Ed took tentative steps out of the closet. He stepped out into white corridor, his hands shielding his eyes from the bright sunlight that streamed through a window.
Two orderlies walked past, wheeling a man on a bed. He looked pretty badly beaten up, his face bruised, blood streaming from his lips.
"Cerebral haematoma, multiple contusions, infarctions," listed off a doctor, who walked past. "Also some stabby bits."
"Come on," said Ali, before he led the way.
Ed followed the Ishbalan, walking past a doctor that looked suspiciously like Roy Mustang. He saw the nurse from his childhood, although she didn't seem to want to look at him. She consistently turned, so that he could only see the left half of her body.
"All you need is the right transmutation circle."
He whirled round. Ed looked down the corridor, but he couldn't see anyone. There wasn't a single soul in it, save for Ali and him.
"Edward is something wrong?" asked Ali.
"No, it's nothing," responded Ed, as he turned. "It's just… Do you smell that?"
"It's like blood," said Ed.
Ali laughed at this comment. "It is a hospital, Ed," he told the blonde Amestrian. "You'd expect to smell some."
"No, I don't think you would," said Ed with a shake of his head. "Not this intense." The smell was overpowering. It was as i… and… but m…re like there was… He could n…
Ensinamentos quenão falamde dornão tem significado.
"Are you coming or what?" asked Ed, as he looked back at his younger brother. "Mom's waiting." He watched impatiently, as Alphonse… their mother's hospital room…
L'humanité ne peutrien gagner…
Ed clutched at his head. It throbbed and hurt. His left leg hurt just where the automail connected to his body. He had never felt this much pain before, not since the… Ed was sure the surgery had hurt, but he couldn't quite remember it.
"Ed, are you sure you're alright?" asked Ali, as he walked back.
"What's happening to me?" murmured Edward under his breath.
They were no longer in the bright white corridor of the hospital. The walls were blackened and charred, like when he had first entered the ruined hospital.
...ohne vorher etwas geben.
"Wait, what?" asked Ed, as he looked back at Ali. "Did you say something?"
"I said: are you coming or what?" asked Ali impatiently.
Ed sighed heavily. "Yeah, I'm coming," he said with a nod of his head.
"So, Edward, did you have fun with your little brother?"
Their mother sat in the bed, a book on her lap. She smiled at them. Though the sun shone through the window behind her, they could still see the smile on her shadow darkened face.
Alphonse's face lit up, as he rushed to her bedside. "Yeah, we went on the carousel and the merry go round and Ed ate too much candy floss and got real sick!" he blurted out breathlessly.
"I did not!" protested Ed.
They say the sickness has been going around.
Ed thought about how she had looked, when they'd visited her again later that day. She seemed so intensely happy. He remembered how big a smile had been, how brilliantly it had shone even though her head was in shadow because the sun shone through the window behind her.
He could remember her brown hair, the red lips and her beautiful white skin.
How sad… she left behind two children.
But what about her husband?
Suddenly, a thought occurred to Edward. "Say, Ali, how do you know what my mother looks like?" he asked the blonde Ishbalan.
Ali turned round. "What do you mean?" he asked, as he looked at Ed with inquisitive golden eyes.
"Alphonse?" exclaimed Ed in disbelief.
Ali laughed again, as he rested his hand on a door handle. "Why are you always confusing me for your brother?" he asked, as he turned the handle. "Come on, your mom's waiting for you."
I don't know where he is, we have no way to get in touch with him.
The door opened up into a large room, impossibly big for a hospital. Its walls were black, charred by fire and where there used to be windows, were only the rusted iron frames.
In the middle of the room, on the metallic grille that served as the floor was a single solitary bed.
A brown-haired woman sat on it, on top of the covers, a book on her lap. As he followed the blonde person that now looked so much like Alphonse, even down to the skin colour, he saw the woman turn to look at him.
"Ed, I'm so glad you could come and see me," she exclaimed. "You must have had such a difficult journey getting here."
"Mom…?" exclaimed Ed in disbelief, as tears began to well up in his eyes.
His mom smiled at him with beautiful ruby red lips set in a white porcelain face framed by rich chocolate brown hair. She looked just as he remembered her from their time at Silent Hill, when they had visited the carnival with all its bright star-like lights and vivid sparkling colours.
"I've been waiting," said his mother after a long time.
"We've been waiting," said Ali/Alphonse, as he walked up to her side. "You took so long to get here. Didn't you want to see us?"
Ed shook his head. "No, it's not that," he responded. "I wanted to see you. I really did." He looked at the two, a golden-haired kid with golden eyes and a woman with the most beautiful smile in the world. "That's, I suppose, why I came here. But…"
"But?" she asked.
"But what?" asked Ali/Alphonse curiously.
"I shouldn't have come here," said Ed with a shake of his head. "I shouldn't have done it. I realise now."
Upon seeing them, he realised something he had once seen in a book he'd read. Ed had found it in his father's library. The author, a painter, had written something about memories. Now that he looked at these two standing in front of him, he knew what was going on. He knew now that what the painter had said was true.
"I know now," said Ed, as he pointed an accusatory finger at them. "I don't need you."
"What?" exclaimed Ali/Alphonse. "What are you talking about?"
"Big brother, I'm hungry."
"Let's go home."
There followed a long cold silence. Even the stirring of the wind and the rustling of the leaves failed to be audible in the tangible silence.
"In one of the alchemy books I read, they say you can make people with alchemy. They call it a homunculus. It also said that human beings are made up of the mind, the soul and the physical body."
"Uh huh, I read that too."
"If that's true, I wonder if we can bring Mom back."
"But it said that it's forbidden to create a human being using alchemy."
"Yeah… That's why it'll be our secret."
"But brother, this is what you wanted," protested Alphonse. "This is what you desired. Mom's here now." He smiled widely, as he beckoned Ed to come closer with a gesture of his hand. "Come closer. Help me with her. Let's go home, together."
Ed shook his head. "No, that's not Mom," he protested, "and you're not Alphonse." He pointed a finger accusingly at the blonde-haired lad. "I remember now," he said. "The transmutation took the real Alphonse. My little brother, my real little brother, is dead."
He thought of that dark, stormy night when his brother and he had attempted human transmutation. That night, he had learnt the truth. The Dead could not be brought back. The circle of life moved only one way.
"I don't know what you are, I don't know who she is, but neither of you are who you say you are," continued Ed.
The image of his mother shook her head. "Oh, Edward, I'm so disappointed in you," she said sternly. "I had such high hopes for you, my darling little boy. You were so clever… so why did you do this to me?" She gestured to herself with both hands, as her body trembled.
The tremors intensified and soon her body convulsed, as blood dribbled down from her forehead. Bloody tears streamed from her eyes, as it oozed out of the corners of her mouth. "Edward," she whispered, before her chest burst open with a sickening crack and a blood-curdling scream.
Ed flinched, his eyes blinked shut.
In that brief moment, things had changed.
Neither Alphonse nor his mother stood in front of him. In their place was some strange monstrosity. It lay on a bare metallic bedframe strapped to its bloodied torso. Its tangled black hair dangled off the edge of the metallic frame. The thing wheezed horrifically, as it stared out at Edward, its exposed ribs opening and shutting like a shark's maw. One of its arms extended upwards, its hand gripping a severed leg. The other hand also gripped a severed leg, though the arm lay off the edge of the metallic frame.
Black legs, covered in staring eyes, extended out of the opened chest. There were eight in total, making the thing look like some grotesque spider.
One black leg raised itself.
Ed ran as the monster stabbed downwards with its sharp leg. He dived out of its way, rolled across the rusted grate that was the floor.
He turned and ran for the door.
There was none. The room was nothing but solid walls, punctuated only by the holes where windows used to be. He ran for one of those instead, heard the loud tapping of its legs against the bare metal behind him, and a horrible repetitive panting scream.
Outside the window was nothing but fog. It hung thickly in the air, a white and grey mist that obscured everything.
As he leaned against the window, something cracked. A small piece of wall fell and plummeted through the air.
A great shadowy leg nearly speared him through.
He managed to dive out of the way and run underneath the monster.
One final cry and Ed heard something squelch sickeningly. Something from above splattered down around him. It started smoking as it contacted the metal and he could feel the heat on his clothes.
Ed quickly stripped his red coat off and flung it to the ground, watching it smoke as some sort of strange slime ate through it. He looked up and his face contorted.
If he had thought the front of the monster was sickening, he had clearly not seen the back. The upturned belly was round with pregnancy, but something dangled from the vagina. He recognised it.
The hair was slick with blood and the face was pale with dead, obscured in gore, but Ed recognised the shape. The armless torso that hung out of the vagina was shaped just like Alphonse.
Ed watched the armless corpse convulse and then send a spray of bile green liquid at him. He leapt backwards, let the liquid splash over the metal grating.
He remembered the gun.
Why hadn't he thought of it before?
"Edward," whispered the monstrosity, as it rushed at him, swinging severed limbs. "Edward!" screamed a voice that sounded like that of his younger brother.
Carefully, Edward raised the gun. He aimed and fired several shots. The gun clicked. He ducked underneath a severed foot and rolled out of the way of a black leg.
Edward ran as fast as his legs could carry him. As his feet pounded across the metallic grille, he reached down into the pocket of his coat… "Oh shit!" he swore.
There was a gaping hole in the fabric of his coat. He looked around him. Did he drop it in the room? Was it… perhaps, but…
"Edward," whispered the monster.
A severed struck Ed in the face… knocked him…
"What's going on?" cried Edward, as he struggled back to his feet, blood streaming down from a cut on his forehead.
He screamed as he saw the bloody face of the monster in front of him.
"Edward, don't leave me," it called out, as it grabbed him.
What little light vanished and plunged the room into darkness. The light tried valiant struggle creating a strobe pattern that flickered and seemed to make things shudder and change.
Where we come from, there's always laughter in the air and the raven's sing a pretty song.
"But it's too bad you couldn't put me back together too."
"The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant."
It should have been simple.
Edward and Alphonse Elric had had everything: thirty-five litres of water, twenty kilograms of carbon, four litres of ammonia, one and a half kilograms of lime, eight hundred grams of phosphorous, two hundred and fifty grams of potassium, eighty grams of sulphur, one and a half grams of fluoride, five grams of iron, three grams of silicon and trace amounts of other elements. All that was required to make a human body had been theirs to use.
For years, they had spent hours on end, toiling over the books, working hard for this one great achievement. Years of tears, sweat and blood had been spent on the greatest achievement they could endeavour—human transmutation, the resurrection of their dead mother.
But the floor was awash with blood. Pain seared through his nerves.
His brother's screams still echoed in his ears, reverberated in his mind like the last anguished screams of a tortured ghost. Or was it his? Was he still screaming, from the agony of his lost leg?
It should have been simple.
And it was.
He just simply failed and paid the simple price.
One left leg and the life of his dear younger brother. Laughably simple, a trivial price to pay.
VIER… SA… SI… DIE…
Author's Note: So this is the final chapter. Sorry it took so long, but I had no idea I'd be stuck in another country for a month. And of course, by the time I came back, I completely forgot to continue on this. Well, it's done now. And no, I'm not going to ask any questions about the story. I'm going to leave it all up to yourselves to come up with your own interpretations. It's probably not that good, but I do hope you enjoyed the story whilst it lasted.