Hey all, sorry for the long wait for this little snippet. My life has been the epitome of hellish lately, but I was starting to feel guilty not putting up the ending to this story. I typed this whole chapter with a broken 'c' key, and have had to copy and paste every c you see in this story, so you better love me for it. I do not own Silent Hill (Late disclaimer, yay.) and..um.. sad stuff in this chapter. That's all I'm sayin'. Check profile for updates on AIHB for all who are interested in or curious about that.
I won't even bother to pretend to understand how I managed to make it out of that place alive, but I suppose in some way I owed my life to the man that would take it from me in the end anyway. Ironic.
Despite my obvious predicament, it was the little things that still somehow managed to bother me. My shirt was still torn, and my cheeks.. my cheeks were still bloody. There was no questioning it; my encounter with Walter had been real. Too real.
I wanted to change clothes, to bandage myself up.. Wasn't there still a first aid kit in the chest out front..? Maybe swallowing five or six aspirins would help with the pain. Anything to numb it, anything to make it go away if only for a while.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
The three consecutive noises rang throughout my rattled mind, causing instinctual stiffening that made me tempted to duck beneath the blankets and hide from the horrors that may have lurked beyond the hole or in the living room. The boogeyman can't reach me here..
But it quickly became apparent that, for once, I had nothing to be afraid of. The knocks had originated from the front door. The stoniness melted from my limbs and, with a little difficulty, coaxed my tired body into a sitting position. It was only the neighbors. Only the neighbors. It'd been a while since they'd come snooping, so the sound was a little reassuring. Maybe Frank had finally figured out that something was up and called in the fire department to break this damned door down.
I should have learned by now that curiosity could literally have killed me, but I was drawn out of bed.. drawn to that little hole carved out of the door that kept me imprisoned here. It was my own small window into the real world aside from the jagged opening that led to Eileen's bedroom, but looking through that would be useless considering she was still somewhere beyond the hole. Waiting for me. Why couldn't she come back here with me? Why couldn't we simply suffer together? Walter had made sure to make this experience as unpleasant and lonely for the both of us.
I stood a bit easier than I had before, but an arm still instinctively wrapped around my middle and gripped the injured rib as if its presence would somehow help to ease the pain. The knocking sounded again, this time more urgently, and I resisted the urge to shout, "I'm coming!" What was the use? They couldn't hear me anyway.
The entire apartment felt somehow empty without Walter there. I stared at my disheveled living room, ignoring the sound of the static-y television that I couldn't remember ever turning on. Again the person knocked, but the closer I stepped to the door, the more ominous I felt. Something wasn't right here..
Turn back. A voice whispered. It was the ultimate of all intuition-based feelings, as if some undisclosed force was telling me to stay the hell away from that peephole. Why couldn't I simply have listened..?
I pressed my cheek against the cool metal of the door, hands gripping one of the many ridiculous chains. With one eye closed, the other stared, blinked, and continued to stare.
It was as if there was a delay between my eyes and my brain for it took a moment—a long, soul-wrenching moment—before I finally tore away. "Oh—Oh my God.." I wanted to wretch, to scream, and to sob all at once, but nothing happened. It was as if someone had shut down everything that made me tick. I was frozen, mouth slightly agape in silent awe and pure horror. My voice died with those lasting words.
Though it was only a glimpse, it was long enough for that image to be burned into my mind for an eternity.
What I saw was my fate.
Blood running out of those eyeless, caved in sockets, head canted, lips rapidly moving as it uttered meaningless words, clothing dyed deep, deep red with its own blood.. Oh, God. It was me. It was me. It was me.
And.. it was still there.
I don't know what compelled me to move forward again and peer out into the hallway, or why I couldn't tear my eye away from my twisted counterpart. Why was my vision so blurry..? When had the world begin to spin? I felt like a ghost floating above the Henry that stood at the door and pounded his fists violently against it, ignoring the pain that shot up his shoulders each time he did. I was merely a silent observer, the sole witness to a poor man breaking.. look at him scream and writhe in heartbreak. The tears sting the wounds on his cheeks. No. He cries over and over again as if the word would somehow make the horrors disappear. No, no, no.
Twenty before twenty-one.
I decided then that there was no feeling worse than knowing that a deal with the devil had been signed in blood, only to realize later that the contract was fraud and my decision was a mistake. But every time I'd called out, or even brought Walter's name into my thoughts had been another letter in my name.
"I don't want to die.." How pathetic I felt. It was a moan, a feeble, broken moan as I rested my head against the door, helplessly sobbing though the tears had stopped flowing a long time ago. I fisted the chains and fruitlessly tugged, the rusted links jingling in a mocking song.
"Death is a part of life, Henry."
Walter. Of course the beast would show up. I was perfect for him now. The venom from this world had penetrated my skin and seeped into my bones, my blood, my very being, crippling me beyond repair. I felt his presence, the deadly air that followed him like a gaseous poison smothering me as he approached. One arm snaked securely around my waist while the other slid through the split fabric of my shirt to rest over the bare skin above my heart. Was it still beating? I was so tempted to ask. He pulled me to him in what might have been a comforting embrace from behind, but I clung to the chains as if they were my lifelines. His touch repulsed me.
"No.. dy-dying is for old people. I'm only twenty-nine. I haven't even gotten to live yet.. please.." Why was I pleading with him? Why had death seemed so appealing before, but now that I was faced with it—literally faced with it—the very thought brought the bitter taste of rising bile in the back of my throat?
..Why was Walter's hand so warm..? It burned.. burned along with his scentless breath that caressed my ear with each word he spoke. He wasn't real. None of this was real."Mother does not discriminate, Henry, and neither do I." He'd returned to the enigmatic, frightening phrases that made it more and more apparent I wouldn't be around long enough to see tomorrow's sunrise.
"And does it not fill you with pride to know that you are giving your life for such a noble, selfless cause? Before you are gone completely and ascend to Paradise, perhaps you will get to see my reunion with Mother.." His voice had dropped to an almost dreamy purr as he pulled me so tightly against him that I winced, biting back a cry through pursed lips.
I knew that trying to reason with Walter was like trying to convince the sun not to shine or the rain not to fall. You do not feel anger toward the storm brewing on the horizon.. you simply avoid it. (1)
I tried anyway. Pride no longer mattered here. Dignity.. dignity was simply a faraway promise.
"This apartment is not your mother, Walter! Your mother was a human being with two arms, two legs, and a beating heart. She might even still be alive while you waste your time with this.. you could be trying to find her.." My words were rushed and blurred, almost unintelligible, and of course Walter would hear none of it. To him, I was the one spouting nonsense.
"Shh.. you're only upsetting yourself.. let your final hours be happy ones." He smiled against my ear, words spoken in a tone that was meant to be soothing. I squirmed in his grip, wanting nothing more than to get away. Get away.. to what? The hole? My life had become a giant circle of pain and torment and either way it would end it death, wouldn't it? My final hours..
I felt the realization run through me like an electric charge. Eileen.. she was number twenty, according to him. Could he have..?
"Eileen. What about her? Tell me you didn't.. please.. please tell me you didn't.."Somehow I already knew the answer, but I couldn't bring myself to actually say the word. Kill. It was as if the word was a physical manifestation of everything I dreaded and feared here. Eileen couldn't be.. No. No, I was supposed to protect her. And besides, Walter was after me, wasn't he? Eileen was simply collateral damage.. a poor, helpless woman who'd been caught in the crossfire.
It took a moment for Walter to answer. I didn't know if this was because he was preoccupied with the careful movements of his fingers as they danced over my skin or simply because he did not wish to speak.
"Miss Galvin," He began with a sigh as if the subject bored him. "Miss Galvin has been offered. Her dress was so beautiful stained with the crimson of her blood. Her suffering has ended."
I knew I should have felt anger. Outrage. Sadness. Something. But there was only peace. Eerie, disheartening peace. The feeling was misplaced, yes, but I was tired.
The words registered, and they burned me alive from the inside out. Eileen. Sweet, innocent Eileen. But she felt like someone else's memory to me, as if I were reading about a beautiful woman whose life had an unfortunate last chapter.
"Failure." Eileen's voice whispered. "Failure, failure, failure, failure."
I felt strangely light. Nothing mattered anymore. My life.. what good was it? I was just another lump of useless flesh that did nothing more than congest the streets and pollute the planet. No one would miss me if I died. I had no true friends, no close family. I was alone in life, just as I would be in death. No, no that's not true. Walter would stay. He would make sure he 'revived' his mother correctly. There was nothing left for me to do other than relent and assist a psychotic, pathetic man.
Instantly, my mind cleared. It was as if the revelation was the enlightenment and salvation from God that I had been so desperately searching for. I shut my eyes and allowed all tension to leave my body. The warmth was all that mattered.. I leaned back into it, into him, and I knew that he'd realized all the fight in me had evaporated.
Walter's grip loosened, and, with a gentle, encouraging tug on one of my shoulders, turned me to face him. His eyes haunted me. They held a frightening sort of innocence, innocence that mingled and intertwined in disturbing harmony with an underlying menace. He studied a scarred and bloodied face; studied lackluster jade eyes that had had the life drained from them a long, long while ago. I tried to focus on him, but my mind swam with too many thoughts, thoughts that made it hard to concentrate on much of anything.
We create monsters that we cannot control.
As if acting on its own accord, I watched my left right hand shakily rise and come to rest against his cheek. The look he gave me in response was one of pure confusion, although that quickly shifted away and he smirked. Just.. smirked. His skin held a clammy sort of warmth, one that made my hand twitch and want to pull away. Nothing was right about him. He was the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing, a monster masquerading as a human, and I was the unsuspecting lamb.
"See, Henry? Fighting destiny is the sport of fools." He murmured. I tried to comprehend the words, tried to come up with some witty response. But I was going to die here anyway, wasn't I? I'd been sucked into a world borne of confusion and torture. It was not my place to give orders or resist. Resistance only brought more pain.
I felt my lips curl upward in a defeated smile, a gesture wholly misplaced and foreign on a face so pained and broken. He placed an encouraging hand over my own and leaned forward so that our foreheads touched. Warm and cold and warm again.. a confusing array of sensations danced over my face and throughout the rest of my body from the simple move. He seemed strangely.. tender in this position; muted, hazel-green eyes peering into my own. I squirmed beneath the gaze, feeling as if my very soul had been exposed and thrown in front of a pack of angry, starved lions. But I held my ground, staring back at him just as intensely. Let your final hours be happy ones.
I don't remember pressing forward.. don't remember tilting my head slightly to the left so that our lips lined up perfectly without any interference from our noses. The instant our lips touched, I felt a sense of something breaking within me.. some boundary that had been carefully set in place to act as a voice of caution, of common sense, and of sanity. I felt only satisfaction. Unsettling, disturbing satisfaction.
His tongue broke through the dam of my lips, warm and moist, and probed the delicate interior of my mouth with a curious sense. I was frozen in place, silenced by the kiss, and could barely keep standing as the world around me fell away.
Each world swirled and danced through my head and before my eyes.
Cynthia is gorgeous, beautiful in a way that screamed no man would be able to tame her. A spirit caught in a world of funhouse mirrors that misconstrues the truth. Does she have any family that will miss her? Her own natural Temptation is what kills her in the end.
The forest and trees are peaceful, a welcome change to the oppressive walls of the apartment. But they aren't real. Beyond it all lays a house of horrors where Jasper lingers. His stutter makes him so hard to understand sometimes. But beneath the sputtered words lies a story of the Devil, a Devil which intrigues him. Jasper is the Source of it all, and perhaps his demise was well warranted.
I felt my body convulse in the kiss, but I forced myself not to pull away. Walter's body pressed harshly against my own, the sounds of feverish skin on skin and his own ragged breathing the only noises meeting my ears. But the images.. the moving pictures that only I could see were like a roar that drowned out everything else. These people.. I'd never met any of them before and yet their deaths felt like claws being dragged across the surface of my heart.
Andrew. He is an evil man working for an evil organization. Does he know how much pain he caused countless little lives? His Watchfulness kept children in line, yes, but it also guaranteed him an unholy death at the hands of a tarnished soul.
Richard saw this hell, too. So close did he live to the source, just as unaware as I had been before. He promised Chaos wherever he went.. Chaos and murder and heartache. What he disliked, he simply killed. Was life for him always that simple?
I knew what was next. I saw her face in my mind; saw the pure smile that was the front of an equally pure heart. Instinctively, I shrank away from Walter as if trying to outrun the images, but he held me firmly in place. The kiss was purely his to control now and with each passing second, I felt myself growing more and more weary. It was a strange sort of fatigue, incomparable to anything I've ever felt before.
There was nothing for her. No thoughts, only memories. Take me with you, she'd said. I flinched, drawn momentarily back to reality by a hand being drawn over my stomach; caressing skin and bone alike. My chest quivered as the injured rib was touched, but I felt no pain. The reaction was more of a reflex than an actual reaction. With a lazy blink, I realized that Walter was no longer before me. His lips had descended to that same spot on my neck from before, only this time I felt his lips move in soft speech.
"It'll only hurt for a second." It was the promise of a doctor administering an injection to a frightened child.
And then there was the pain. I felt it this time, clear as day. It blossomed from my abdomen upward in a violent wave, overcoming anything and everything it touched. My backed arched, a bubbling scream dying in my throat before it could be voiced. But, again, it was all relative. Was I really feeling any of this at all? My gaze blurred and rolled up to the ceiling, the expanse of rust-brown stucco becoming a screen that reflected what played within my head.
Beside the bed was where it was best to pray. Mom always said to kneel but sometimes I'd stand to make getting into bed easier. Tonight she was with me though, kneeling obediently beside me as we placed our hands together and bowed our head. "Repeat after me." She whispered as if God would get angry she hadn't started the prayer yet.
"Our father which art in Heaven.." And I did. Every word I repeated and memorized, for this was a bedtime prayer different from the easy-to-remember 'Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep'. I was mesmerized. What did all of it mean anyway?
Tucking me in, my mother perched gracefully on the space that remained on the twin-sized mattress that was not taken up by my slight form. "Do evil people go to Heaven, too, Momma?" I asked, and she gave me a puzzled look. Perhaps the prayer had been too grown-up for me, it said. She tapped her chin thoughtfully before answering.
"I don't believe that there is pure evil in this world, Henry. All those bad people out there just have monsters inside of them. Monsters that tell them to do terrible things. Sometimes they can conquer those monsters on their own, but sometimes they need someone to help fight them. And in the end, if they ask God for forgiveness for what they've done, they will be let into Heaven, too." She said, leaning down and placing a soft kiss on my forehead. From that night on, that was the only prayer I spoke.
After all I'd seen, I wondered if Walter had a monster inside of him, too. Did he need help fighting it? Everything was slowing down, and my vision swam. I watched two, three Walters dance in front of me, smiling and stroking my hair. "It'll be over soon." His voice was warped and sluggish in my ears. And he was right. The pain faded, and Walter's face became nothing more than an unidentifiable shape. But I continued to stare, a lazy smile only barely turning up the corners of my lips. Liberation came in the form of three simple words.
"Fuck you, God."
Then, it all faded to black.
Whoever battles with monsters had better see that it does not turn him into a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
And there you have it, my lovies. I found that quote on the internet by a man named Friedrich Nietzsche and thought it fit nicely. As for the little (1) up there, I stole that quote from a little show called Star Trek: Voyager. I thought it was really cool and wanted to incorporate it here. Don't judge me. Also I hate putting the character death warning in my summary. I feel like it takes away from the story. BUT, if you think that I should to save that one Henry fangirl from killing herself (Me!), then let me know. ):