I beat SH4 last week, and the thing hasn't left my mind since. The whole story is running around in my head, dropping thoughts and ideas like bombs. This is my response to that: the first in a series of one shots about what I think could have (or should have?) happened in SH4. Think of it as another alternate ending.
It sort of disappointed me how the game spends hours making you feel bad for Walter, but in the end it's still kill him or die. There was very little emotional depth in the ending. So, I took that thought, and said, ... "What if Henry really did feel bad for Walter? Would he try to protect him, too?" ... Read on.
Last night a moth came to my bed
and filled my tired weary head with horrid tales of you.
I can't believe it's true...
Blurred vision, red at the edges of his sight, greeted Henry Townshend as he opened his eyes. Blinking, he watched the ceiling fan rotate shakily. The man stayed stock still trepidation setting in as he waited.
Nothing. No headache, no sudden revolting lurch in his gut; no haunting. Henry heaved a sigh of relief, almost ecstatic that, for once he was at least safe in his own home. Or, at least the bedroom. He hadn't entered the hallway yet.
But Henry decided not to bother with it yet, not now, when he had finally found a place of safety, of rest. A worn out bed that wasn't covered in blood and entrails and trying to eat him (not that he'd come across that yet, but he wouldn't put it past that twisted Otherworld.)
So, Henry lay staring at his ceiling, trying not to think too much. He attempted instead to focus on simply breathing at a normal pace, something he'd been quite unable to do for some time. It didn't last long; his thoughts came tumbling in.
He had failed to save everyone... one by one he had only been able to watch as innocent people were brutally murdered by Walter Sullivan. Henry frowned; even thinking the name sent shivers through his skin.
And now the only one left to protect was Eileen. He couldn't fail this time; Walter couldn't get either of them. Henry clenched his fists, determined to end the madness at number 19.
Of course, he understood Walter's past, having seen it as he traveled the worlds. He even felt bad for him, sometimes. Despite that, Henry wasn't just going to back down and let Walter have his way. Tons of people had horrid childhoods - granted, not quite so horrible - who grew up to be functioning members of society.
'Like me,' the man thought, moving his arms behind his head. His childhood hadn't been roses and daisies, but he was a normal, working civilian in South Ashfield.
"Even sounds like bull in my head." Henry murmured aloud. Okay, so he wasn't a normal person. Hell, he hardly knew his neighbors after two years of living near them, and he never left his apartment much. So he was a bad example; but he wasn't a serial killer.
Henry made sure to squash whatever guilt and sympathy he had then and there; because he knew, in the future, it would hinder him from protecting himself and Eileen. It would make him stumble before the killing blow.
Sighing, the photographer stood slowly, muscles groaning as he did. Henry was sure he had business to take care of in the main room (more dead cats, anyone?), and he couldn't leave Eileen alone for long.
So, setting all thoughts of the "poor" psychopath aside, Henry opened the door, and left his sanctuary.
Henry had a sneaking suspicion about the man in the blue coat, the one he had met on the stairwell, holding a little girl's doll. At first, seeing the man wearing a big, dirty coat, unshaven and holding a little girl's doll... well, that would put anyone on edge the same way a white van in front of a playground would. But this suspicion soon passed. There was something off about the guy, but that wasn't it. When the man gave Henry the doll, he was almost scared to take it.
It was a little creepy, and he didn't know what to do with it. Eventually, he let it stay in the chest, trying not to dwell on the doll and its previous owner.
That didn't work; as Henry's mother once said, he had too many "thoughts in his head and doesn't know how to let them out.". Deeply inflective, it was hard for Henry not to reflect on things... especially things as strange as this.
In a world where everyone Henry had met had either been a human trapped in a dream, terrified for their life, or a predatory ghost, the man in the blue coat was eerily calm. Henry had a feeling he was neither of the two categories. But what did that leave?
Leaning against his storage chest as he searched for a health drink, Henry sighed and hung his head. "He couldn't be..."
He couldn't be Walter Sullivan. He was... was... too calm, peaceful; seemed much too reserved to be a crazy psycho chasing people down to kill them. He even seemed... a little sad.
Scratch that, Henry though bitterly. He had already shoved all sympathy out the window after... after holding Cynthia's bleeding, sobbing form... watching Jasper scream as he burned. And the others... No, Henry thought as his face formed a dark grimace. Whoever he was, man in the blue coat or not, Henry did not feel sorry for Walter Sullivan.
The two victims, breathing raggedly and running frantically through the woods of Silent Hill, slid to a halt behind a tall tree. Eileen turned to face Henry, fear in her eyes.
"What about you?" He squeezed her hand and tried to smile despite how much it made the bruise on his cheek burn.
"I'll be fine; Go back to the Wish House. It'll be safer for us both."
Eileen glanced at her wounds and understood his logic. Nodding, she turned to go just as a gunshot rang through the air. Both jumped as Henry glanced about hastily for the man.
Eileen hurried out into the darkness as fast as she could. As she disappeared, Henry kept her in his sights and also scanned for the murderer.
When he heard the metal gate swing shut, Henry turned his full attention to staying alive.
He had been both horribly wrong and creepily on the money about the man in the blue coat: he sure as hell was Walter Sullivan, the crazy, ax wielding killer. But Henry's first instincts weren't wrong - the man was calm, strangely calm as he went about shooting at his innocent victims. Even as he chased Henry down, his dark chuckles echoing everywhere, there was a deceptive calmness to his manner.
A bush rustled nearby, startling Henry from his dangerous thoughts as he swung and shot at the shrub. It was nothing, just the wind, but Henry's chest seized as he realized he'd given himself away. Why couldn't he ever stop thinking, getting swept away by his mind? It was currently the greatest danger to his health.
Henry knew he couldn't run behind him due to the fence, and he needed to move forward anyway to find that last well with the doll part. But he didn't want to move until he knew he wasn't running right into the murderer himself. Throat dry, Henry ran to the side, ducking behind other trees as he tried to catch sight of him. Two gunshots scrapped him, one burning right through the skin of his thigh as he ran past.
A cry of pain escaped him as he fell to his knees, but the man forced himself to stand back up. Walter was there, standing right in the middle of the path, bloody lead pipe in one hand, gun in the other. Wincing, Henry glanced out and felt the beady, steady eyes on him, the calm visage that hid a deadly intent.
The photographer ducked back down, checking his gun.
"Only two...?" He was screwed. He had to make it back to the apartment for more bullets, but he couldn't remember where the hole was...
The shuffle of boots on rocks made Henry leap to his feet, frantically searching for Walter. He wasn't on that part of the path anymore, but Henry couldn't see him.
He has to be on the path, the man thought, hearing the scuffle of rocks. Which means he's near the fence... I can make a run for the other side... That was probably what the killer wanted, to lure him into the light, but what else could he do? He had to move forward.
So, bracing himself, the man leapt to his feet and ran out from cover, racing towards the other side. Shots rang out repeatedly, not hitting him, though he felt the heat nearby and one even grazed his arm as he ducked. Henry bit his lip as he slammed into the fence, fumbling with opening it and ducking through.
He made it; and there, across the way was the well he needed, and behind it a hole to escape to. The torch in his left hand was dwindling, but if he hurried, he could grab the doll piece and make a run for it...
Scrambling to the well, Henry glanced over, and there it was: the doll's arm at the bottom. He reached in, despite the depth, and felt his fingers graze it. Come on, come on...
A gunshot rang out, and he jumped, dropping the torch. It didn't matter; he could feel the doll, so he lunged to grab it. But, in his panic, the man felt his feet fly up, and suddenly he was too top heavy. Henry's eyes widened as he fell forward into the well, even as more gunshots rang out.
He managed to move his arm so that his head collided with it instead of the rock bottom of the well, but that still stung like hell. The doll arm dug into his back as he fell, knocking the breath out of him, as he became almost blind in the darkness.
It wasn't too deep, but it hid him entirely, and he could only barely see the foggy sky above. He was about to grab the arm and leap to his feet when the ominous creak of a gate opening stopped his movements and his heart.
Footsteps entered the area, slow and steady, as Henry's heartbeat raced in his chest. The man clapped a hand over his mouth and focused on breathing as quietly as possible. Dear god please don't see the torch... Henry prayed the thing had gone out as soon as he'd dropped it.
The footsteps came ever closer, steady and quiet, as Henry felt his chest would implode with the agony. Was he coming? Did he know where he was? Unable to stand it, Henry squeezed his eyes shut and bit his lip.
Was this it? Would he die curled up in a well, shot and killed by a man whose only wish was to be loved? If he wasn't trying to hide, he would've laughed. Take a number, Walter.Henry had never been loved. He hardly was even seen, let alone loved. His parents divorced and mainly used Henry as a tool to get vengeance on the other. Kids in school thought he was strange and avoided him, if they didn't outright hate him. His coworkers, the few who knew his name, thought he was a freaky shut in, and his neighbors did too.
Henry Townshend, freaky shut in. That will make a wonderful tombstone. No, Henry had no one special to him. The closest he ever got to having a friend was Eileen, who he only met in a dream because they were both being targeted by the infamous killer.
Speaking of, the footsteps were just by the well now, and Henry could vaguely see a form above. His heart practically stopped and he shut his eyes tight again, ignoring the stingy tears that were falling down his bleeding cheek. Eileen... what will happen to her...?
I... I don't want to die...
I never even ... never... never found anything... anything worth living for... but I want to! I want to live, I want to live for a reason! Don't kill me before I even have the chance...
Unable to even control himself anymore, the man was outright gasping for air, tears streaming down his face, a few sobs escaping his throat. He glanced through blurry eyes at the man above, and almost thought of reaching for his gun. But for what? To hit the unstoppable man with two bullets? Henry shut his eyes and prayed Eileen would find a way out.
Though blurred vision, Henry watched as Walter lifted his gun, slowly took aim, and...
/11 & 21\\\\
Henry woke with a start in his bed, gasping for air as if he'd never breathed before. His heart was hammering in his chest both from fear and the pain of the bullet that had just lodged itself there... his hand flew to his chest, searching for the wound... but there was nothing. No blood, no bullet hole. It had all been a dream.
But, as Henry attempted to sit up, he felt something cold in his other hand. Afraid as he'd never been the man slowly turned to see it.
His left hand was being held by the doll's arm.
Walter Sullivan was standing just outside Henry's door, blatantly staring with glazed eyes through the tiny peep hole as if he could see through. Henry felt his lungs burn from shock and fear as he fell back, screaming and flinching from the door as if it were on fire.
He lay motionless on the floor, staring in disbelief. He hadn't seen Walter in his world since his attack on Eileen, and back then he hadn't known the man in the blue coat was the killer. Why was he back? Was... was he...
Is it my turn now? Henry felt his breath hitch. But a thought occurred to him; unlike Eileen, he knew what was happening, and unlike Eileen, he couldn't even open his door if he wanted to. Walter couldn't get inside... he was safe.
Forcing himself to rise, Henry moved with shaky limbs towards the door again. The last thing he wanted to do was look out that door... but still he did, trembling hands resting on the wood as he looked out the hole again. Sure enough, there he was: sadistic fiend and tortured soul.
It took every bit of self control Henry had to regulate his unsteady, shallow breathing. The brunet clenched his sweaty fingers to sweatier palms and began to back away, but he paused. Outside those horrid eyes watched him.
For days straight, Henry had been on the run from this monster. Through blood soaked nights, joints aching from constant escaping, muscles sore and wounds burning as they were left untended and open. Henry protected his neighbor Eileen and took the brunt of Walter's malice for himself.
And for days, he had dove deeper into the pain, the memories, and the psychosis of Walter Sullivan, the man and the boy, and had come to understand him better than anyone ever could. The agony, the loneliness, the loveless existence, all of which burned Henry's soul with empathetic pain.
Henry knew those feelings; knew what it was to be alone, always alone, never have anyone there to care for you, be with you. Better than most, Henry felt Walter's pain, and it made having to fight the crazed man much harder. I knew it was a bad idea to feel bad for him... but it was too late for that.
Pausing mid step by the door, Henry looked back into the peep hole. A lump formed in his dry throat as he slowly got closer to the door. On any other man, Henry's determined gaze would've appeared defiant, almost strong; but on him it seemed more solemn, more subdued.
This was the man - was he still a man? - who was determined to take his life. The man so demented and twisted by hate that he would sacrifice 21 mostly innocent souls for his own gain. The murderer whose only true goal was motherly love.
The form outside moved and Henry instinctively jumped. A smirk came to Sullivan's lips - can he really see in here? - a smirk which usually served the purpose of destroying Henry's already frayed nerves. Today, it... it just made him sad. Finally, Henry turned away and scoffed, sliding against the wall, down to the bottom of the door.
I'm such a bleeding heart...
He was the last one - first Eileen... and then him. And then whatever madness Walter was reaching for would finally be complete.
Henry felt his stomach churn and he bit his lip.
If Room 302 really was sentient (which it just might be, with all the crazy ghost hauntings) then Henry was pretty sure it didn't need to be even more alive. It was pretty violent already - if Walter gave it more power, who knew what would happen.
According to Joseph's diary, Walter was trying to "purify mother"... well, did that mean get rid of the ghosts? Make it safe again?
Stop it Henry, the man told himself. You're not supposed to try and understand his plans, just stop them.
But he couldn't help it - Henry was a thinker, and with all these crazy pieces of the puzzle in front of him, how could he not dwell on it all?
What would happen if the Sacraments were completed? Would the apartment really come to life, a malevolent creature, destroying any person who came near? Or would it become a peaceful, warm place to live again, like it was the first two years Henry had lived there?
Henry couldn't decide if Walter's evil murders would end in an eviler outcome - or if maybe they might bring him the peace he was looking for.
It doesn't matter! Henry thought angrily, shoving Joseph's diary away. He couldn't let the Sacraments finish. Peaceful or not, Eileen didn't deserve to die. Henry knew Walter was only trying to find love... but he couldn't let Eileen pay the price.
It would only hurt more if Henry knew he was destroying Walter to save Eileen. He had to do it... why make it harder than it already was?
In a way... I'm as bad as him. Sacrificing a life for my selfish ends. Choosing Eileen over Walter.
What kind of crazy talk was that! Walter was a murderer, who had killed 19 already, of course Henry had to stop him! His choosing to protect Eileen was nothing like Walter's decision to kill the innocent!
But Henry couldn't stop the doubting thoughts.
Sighing, the man grabbed his ax, and turned towards the chest. A new haunting was popping up, he realized, as the faucet turned on, so he opened the chest and removed a candle. It was time to get out of his head and back into the real world.
And out here be monsters.
This had to be the dumbest, most insensitive thing he had ever done. Henry felt his heart hammer as Eileen stared at him, wide eyed.
"What... was he like?"
"S - sorry, I just -" Henry's face flushed and he turned away. "Forget it. I was..."
"No, I ... I think I understand." Eileen placed a hand on his, squeezing. The man slowly glanced up to her motherly, bruised face. The woman seemed stronger than she'd ever been, though her eyes were haunted.
"As we've been going on, we keep seeing... all these horrible things." The woman shivered, moving her arm to clutch her bandaged one lightly. "The horrid things that were done to the other victims... and to that boy." At the mention of the boy she sighed. "I... I can't help but feel for him. The boy... a - and..."
"Him?" Henry finished. Despite what she was saying, Eileen was still horribly frightened by "him", and so was Henry. The man nodded. "Me too. I can't help but wish that..."
"That he was happy?" Eileen muttered. "That he didn't have to go through all that?" A soft, sad smiled graced her face. "Yeah. But it looks like the only way he sees to find happiness is if we die." She looked up at him, pained, and solemn.
Henry nodded, and glanced off into the fog of the stairwell they were resting on. "I - I just..." He was never good with words. For all his thinking, he could never get his thoughts out.
"I wish we could help him." Eileen lifted her hand to her damaged eye. She paused for a moment, gazing off into the dark distance. "It's like we're all victims. Him... the ghosts... and us. We're all suffering because of that stupid damned Cult. Silent Hill..." The woman huffed. "I'd seen that kinda brainwashing on TV and in documentaries... but to think it could happen right here, where we live..." Biting her lip, Eileen glanced away.
Henry felt like he should comfort her, but he wasn't sure how. Slowly, he reached over and put an arm around her shoulders.
"I won't let him get you." Henry promised solemnly, head down. Eileen glanced over, smiling lightly.
Henry glanced up, and slowly shrugged.
She didn't seem to like that answer. "Please, Henry. Take care of yourself. Don't hurt yourself for me." The genuine pain on the woman's face made Henry burn with embarrassment.
"I'm sorry... I didn't mean..."
She nodded, and Henry fell silent. What didn't I mean?, the man wondered. He wasn't so sure anymore. His head was so full of questions and confusion he hardly understood anything, even himself, anymore. So, for once, he shut his thoughts off, leaned against the wall, and took comfort in one of the only places that was relatively safe.
"He was tired."
Surprised, Henry looked back to Eileen, who was staring away as if looking into memory.
"He had... h - had that knife, and he was merciless... but he just seemed weary. And when the boy ran in, he... he kind of smiled. But it wasn't like a smile. He smiled, and then he looked at me a - and my blood was all o - over... over his face... he seemed ready for it to be done. Like he was glad the boy intervened so he could just go. He told m - me it wasn't... wasn't over... but it was like he wasn't just telling me. He was saying it to himself too. It wasn't over... but he wanted it to be."
As Henry listened, biting his lip, he couldn't help but wish it was over too.
Meeting the little boy every so often during the travels through the Otherworlds... it only made Henry question his resolve.
When I kill Walter, he would wonder, ... will the boy die too?
Everything was so wrong. It was all so dark and twisted beyond belief, and Henry was so tired of fighting it. But he couldn't give up, he couldn't stop. Eileen was depending on him, and... in a weird way, so was Walter. In a twisted, psychotic way.
Henry woke up in bed after crawling through the hole and felt the agony of a haunting beating upon his head. Sighing, he stood and hurried from the room, to regroup and collect the items he needed. Was it another creepy phone call? A kid in his closet? The weary man stumbled to the chest, a little dizzy. He had lost a lot of blood during his last encounter with Walter, which he had barely escaped from. Henry didn't know what had changed, but Walter certainly didn't seem "tired and weary" when he attacked Henry. Quite the opposite, he seemed absolutely thrilled to be shooting him full of holes or beating him to death or hacking him up.
Collecting a candle and a medallion, Henry returned to his room to find the haunting. It was neither of the things it had been before; in fact, Henry wasn't sure what it was. There were no creepy ghosts, no cracks in his wall... where was it?
As he searched his room, Henry turned about, until his eyes fell upon his photograph... of...
The man stared at the picture on his wall. Once, it had been a photo of the Balkan Church in Silent Hill. But now... now it was a picture of Walter Sullivan's face.
Henry stared at the haunting, which was simply Walter smirking at him in his eerie, detached way.
The man stared for a minute, his mind only vaguely burning since he was still a few feet away. Then, he left the room, candle and medallion in hand. Later, when he reflected on that moment, Henry would insist he left it because it wasn't doing much of anything. He could easily avoid it, and save the items for more dangerous haunts. At least, that was what he would say.
Henry's heart almost stopped when Eileen tripped going down the staircase.
"I - I'm fine!" The woman began trying to stand, but it was difficult without the rail and using only one arm. Henry dashed around her, kneeling to help her up. As Eileen cursed her high heels, Henry scanned her for wounds.
She shook her head, brow furrowed. "N - No... my chest just hurts a little. All this running and fear... not to mention the high heels." Eileen laughed a little, and Henry smiled.
"Okay. Do you want to rest?"
Eileen shook her head. "We should keep moving. Unless you're tired?"
Henry put his hand under her arm to help her walk. "We can keep going. Tell me when you want to rest."
The two continued down into the darkness, the only sounds echoing around being their footsteps. They continued that way for a while before Eileen let out a pained gasp. Knees buckling, she would have fallen if Henry hadn't been holding her arm.
"Eileen!" He sat with her, bring her to lean against the outer wall. "Are you sure you're all right?" There was a thin layer of sweat on her forehead, and she seemed so tired.
"M - Maybe... maybe I do need a break." She turned and smiled at him. "You should keep going. Return to your apartment, take care of stuff."
He did need some more bullets... and the apartment probably needed "cleaning". "If you're sure." She nodded and waved for him to go, which he did after hesitating a moment. "I'll be quick."
Rushing down the stairs, he hurried through the nearest hole.
Walter's picture was still staring at him when he woke up, but he ignored it and left the room. He needed to move, and move fast, because all the going ons of late were really taking a toll - both on him and Eileen. This needed to end, and soon.
He went to the chest, removed some bullets and health items, returned a broken golf club and removed his ax. Henry was standing and about to return to the Otherworld, when the radio caught his eye.
Something... a feeling. He felt he should check it. Henry moved to the radio, and nervously flicked it on.
"... the most recent victim of the strange attacks, a Miss Eileen Galvin, who was transported to St. Jerome's Hospital, is rapidly declining and may soon follow the other victims."
Henry's stomach leapt into his throat. Eileen...
They had to keep moving.
Henry knew they were getting closer to the end, he could feel it. It was like a deathly cold chill climbing up his spine, clinging to his heart. Something bad was going to happen, something... because this couldn't end well, for anyone.
Either he and Eileen would make it, and defeat Walter, killing the poor soul who never knew a mother's love. Or, he and Eileen would falter, not run fast enough, hide quick enough, and would be taken by the murderer. Either way, someone would die.
Henry clenched his fists, glancing around the corner of the hall. He was in the pet shop, alone; Eileen had been tired and was resting inside the elevator. Henry knew that was dangerous, but they would never make progress if she could barely walk. She had his gun and enough bullets and health items to care for herself.
Leaving Henry with basically nothing. He had no health items, and an ax that would probably break any day now. But he had to keep moving. As quiet as the grave, he walked through the pet shop, ignoring the eerily empty cages, and exited to the stairwell. Before he could approach the stairs, something crinkled under his foot.
Henry kneeled to find a newspaper on the ground.
... pet shop owner murdered...
... gun shots...
... every animal gunned down...
Henry didn't need to read it. He could hear it. Behind him, echoing in the empty air, the sounds of the horrid murder cut through his ears and his heart. The paper trembled in his hands as a man screamed, cried for mercy, as animals howled and screeched their last. The gunshots never stopped, the ratta tatta continuously drowning his ears. And behind it... that laugh... that familiar laugh, dark and low, twisted and tormented, as the owner of said laugh gunned down the innocent shop keeper and all the animals inside.
Tears were pouring down Henry's face onto the blood stained paper. He gripped it so tight he tore it.
Nineteen people had been killed in cold blood, just like the shop keeper, and here Henry was, feeling sorry for the killer. Sorry because they were alike - because they were both lonely.You're foolish Henry. Walter was a psycho, a real Hannibal Lector, a pathetic man who felt no remorse. And it didn't matter how much Henry felt for him, cried for him, stared at the picture on the wall in his apartment and wept that life wasn't fair.
One of them still had to die.
It took a long time... but they finally made it to the bottom.
And at the bottom of the staircase, the two tired souls collapsed in a broken heap.
They both lied back onto the dirty, dingy floor, simply content that they could relax for a moment. Henry stretched out his arm for Eileen to place her head there, and Eileen smiled.
"You're such a gentleman. You're a sweetheart, a modern day knight... it's always that way, huh?" She chuckled. Henry turned to glance at her.
"What do you mean?"
She grinned playfully, happier than Henry had seen her in a while. "The good ones are always taken or gay!" She giggled when the red blush flood Henry's face.
"H - How did you - ?"
"Remember, that day a few weeks ago?" Eileen began. "Or, I think it was a few weeks ago... I don't know. You came home with that guy?"
Henry remembered and his eyes darkened. "Yeah."
"Oh - I'm sorry." Eileen's smile disappeared and she looked like a guilty child. "I should've known better than..."
"It's all right." Henry tried to smile. "And thanks... for the, uh, compliments."
Her smile returned. "You're welcome."
They both closed their eyes, ignoring the creepy decor all around them, and simply relaxed for a few blissful moments. It might be the last time - the last time they could simply rest, the last time they could be at peace, maybe even... Henry tried not to think about that.
Glancing down at Eileen, Henry remained quiet for a moment. But the question in his mind wouldn't rest. For once, he felt like he had to talk. Needed to talk. This might be the end; he didn't want to end in silence.
"Do you think..." His throat and mouth were dry. "Do you think he could be saved?"
Opening her eyes, Eileen glanced at him. "You mean...?"
He nodded. "You know... they tell stories like that. People raised in horrible places, hurt all their lives... beaten or raped by people they loved... or they never knew love at all. They were trapped for decades, before someone saved them or they escaped. People like that... do you think they could be helped?" Henry turned to look up at the immense stair case. "Maybe its not to late to show them how to live. ... I guess it's cliche to call them broken... and there are some things that can never be fixed... but... I can't help but wonder..."
Eileen let him ramble, amazed at how much the always quiet and shy man was saying. For once, there was some real life in his eyes, some color in his cheeks, even if the subject was sad. "Well, there's the little boy." Eileen commented. "If the boy is still here, maybe there's still good in him."
Henry listened, then nodded. "Yeah. But... but how to reach it? How do you... how do you go about helping somebody like that? I mean, if a person... he's just so sad. He's trying to find happiness the only way he knows how, the way he was raised to believe. Everyone else thinks he's a sick bastard, and he is, but... he just wants love. Doesn't everybody? I mean, if your mother's life was in danger, would you kill people to save her?"
Eileen nodded. "Hell yeah. I love my mom."
Henry turned and looked at the sky. "... not me. I ... don't really like my mom."
Eileen snorted. "You would go through hell and high water for your mother." Surprised, Henry turned to look at her. "If you would do all this for me... for the others... for strangers... I know you're not the kind of person who would leave someone to die if they could help it."
Darkness seeped into the man's eyes. "I..." He glanced away. "Then what am I now? Going to murder someone whose never known... anything. It's like killing a child. I'm killing a child, I'm - I'm butchering a helpless -"
"I wouldn't call him helpless," Eileen murmured, but Henry didn't hear. He was sobbing. Sitting up, Eileen put a hand on his chin and turned him to face her. "Henry. Henry." He quieted a bit, and Eileen smiled. She'd never seen him show so much heart, so much emotion. "If anyone on earth can save him, its you. You saved me."
"Did I?" He muttered, thinking back to the radio.
"Yup. Even if its not over... you've protected me hundreds of times, gotten hurt because of me. You're the best kind of soul, Henry. Kind hearted. Honorable. Chivalrous. Even if you are so quiet and introverted, that just makes you more lovable."
"I've met many people who would disagree."
"Well, they can go to hell." Henry jumped, surprised by Eileen's sudden anger and protectiveness over him. "Look... I know this is gonna be over soon, and however it ends... I want to thank you, for everything you've done. Thank you."
Throat dryer than ever, Henry wiped his tears away and tried to smile.
Eileen smiled, but suddenly, the smile vanished and her brow furrowed. The woman let out a raspy sigh, and collapsed onto his chest.
"Eileen!" Henry sprang up, cradling her, turning her over in his lap. "Eileen!"
"Henry, I - I don't feel so good..."
Panicking, Henry's hand went to her wrist to check her pulse, all the while remembering the radio. She's fading fast...
Henry realized that Eileen, as much danger as Walter posed, would be in even more danger if she had to stumble behind him, about ready to collapse. The best way to protect her would be to leave her somewhere, and to finish his business as soon as possible.
"Can you watch over her?" Henry asked, glancing up at the ceiling. There, Joseph's ghost was trapped, unable to leave.
"She will be safe here, for now." Joseph's dark voice stated, as Henry helped her over to the couch. "But don't linger. He cannot come in here yet, but it won't be long..."
Nodding, Henry made Eileen comfortable as she wearily blinked her eyes.
"I'm really tired..."
"I know." Henry knelt by her. "But please... try to hang on. Don't go to sleep just yet." She sleepily nodded, lying her head on a pillow.
Henry stood, eyes trained on the brunette's pale face, his heart aching for her. He worried... wondered if she would live even if he defeated Walter. Was it already too late? The man didn't realize he was gasping and shivering.
"Calm down." The booming voice commanded. Henry tried, but everything was falling apart around him... how was he supposed to do this? "You can't give in yet."
But that was all he wanted to do, Henry thought as his knees gave way. All his life he'd been lonely, hurt, and confused, but this was a new low. He fought the tears, but he couldn't stop shaking.
"Stand up, Receiver. You are the only one who can stop him."
Stop him. Right. He almost forgot that he still had to commit murder.
But, at that point, Henry just wanted to get away from the commanding voice that wouldn't let him grieve. So, standing, he raced from the room, down the hall, and returned to his Room 302.
/ almost the end \\\\
The room... the storage room in the back...
Henry choked when he first walked in, smelling the rusty blood, the decay, the flesh rotting. He left and turned right into the bathroom, dry heaving over the toilet.
Walter's dead body hung from a cross in his apartment.
The sight was horrifying, from the smell of the room, to the wounds on his body, to the twisted smile on his decaying face. Screaming, crying, angry from head to toe, Henry cursed whoever had put Walter Sullivan's star under such a dark, unforgiving sky.
/ hide \\\
His apartment building had become the ninth circle and everything was wrong. Darkness and reddish hellfire permeated the air, and everywhere Henry went, Walter followed.
During his exploration, Henry entered an apartment to look for clues, but just as he did, he was shot at. Across the way, through the bars that separated one apartment from the other, stood Walter, gun trained on him. A scream of agony escaped the photographer as the bullet imbedded itself in his right arm. He fell to his knees as more bullets went off, crawling out of harms way.
Gasping heavily, Henry ripped his shirt sleeve to take a look, and he didn't like what he saw. His arm was oozing red, the bullet lodged into his dominant arm, which would forever be weaker and harder to use. The man cursed heavily, realizing that the only way out of the apartment was to go back the way he came, back into the line of fire. He was slowly becoming weaker and more vulnerable.
For the moment, Henry focused on the wound, ripping his shirt sleeve off. He wasn't a doctor but he knew the bullet had to come out, so, stomach clenching, he gently moved his fingers towards the wound. The burn intensified and he screeched, wrenching his fingers away. He had no idea what he was doing - probably just making it worse.
Sweating and dizzy, he tied his sleeve around the wound, and glanced back down the hall. Walter was standing there - not firing, but watching, and waiting. Henry dove back, heart about to burst. I can't take much more of this. He already had a bruise the size of a cat on his rib cage from where Walter's pipe had collided with him. His legs were weak from running, and from old wounds, his mind blurry from blood loss. Not to mention his mental state...
But he wasn't going to give in - not yet, not yet, not yet. Henry bit his lip, chanting his mantra. Not yet... can't stop, not yet... There was still hope. Eileen might be saved if he hurried.
It was that thought that made him stand, grabbing his weapon with his left hand. He sucked in a deep breath and, after glancing around the room and seeing nothing of interest, decided to leave.
He ducked and rolled just as a torrent of bullets tore through the air behind him. Landing on his feet, Henry leapt up and dashed out of the apartment, and down the hall.
Where to go? How to move forward? He had to get into the superintendents room, but he had no idea how. Six chains, just like those that were on his door, kept him away. So, for the moment, Henry ran only to escape Walter, unsure of what his next move should be.
He left the hallway, entering the main room, before crossing and entering the opposite hall. The man slid to a halt, breathing ceasing, as he came upon a startling sight.
Before him, hanging from the ceiling... was Walter. Something that looked like Walter, at least, head hung, wrapped up in a cocoon or something. Slowly, nervously, Henry approached it, but when he got close, it vanished. A voice wafted through the air...
"I told you we shouldn't have a baby..."
Who was that? A man? What was he talking about?
Henry heard a growl and glanced to his left, to the dogs which were advancing on him. Behind them, on the far end of the hall, he saw another Walter look alike. Maybe, the man thought as he lifted his weapon with his weak arm, he had finally found a clue.
/ walter \\\
There were six wrapped up Walter bodies in all, one for each chain on the super's door. Henry approached each, felt the voice wind its way into his head, and felt his heart break each time.
His parents threw him away the moment he entered the world... that would be the theme for Walter Sullivan's life. Being mistreated, discarded, and abused. More than any of the wounds on his flesh, these thoughts hurt Henry. He dreaded approaching the Walters, which from a distance, almost seemed to be peacefully sleeping, wrapped in a warm blanket. But, it was an illusion, which faded into the air once he came near. There was no warmth, no peace for Walter. There was nothing at all.
Almost in tears for the hundredth time that day, Henry approached the super's door, hand hovering over the doorknob. He feared, slightly, what he would find inside. But he couldn't be afraid. He had to keep moving.
The knob creaked as it turned, and the door fell open quietly. Henry carefully walked in, shut the door, and glanced about for creatures. Nothing... yet. He moved on.
The red box on the shelf called to him. Heart beat irregular, Henry stepped towards it, and picked up the box as if it might bite him; and it did. Once his hands touched the cool surface, once he opened the box to reveal the putrid thing beneath, the memories swarmed him. Screaming, Henry dropped it and clutched his head as Walter Sullivan's soul swept through him like a hurricane.
The pain, the torture, he had known it; now he could feel it. Now, he felt Walter's heart drumming in his chest as Andrew De Salvo approached him in the Water Prison, afraid for his life... he cried as Walter cried, lonely and broken in the Wish House... he trembled in Walter's body, sitting on the streets, watching little Eileen walk away, holding the doll in his shaking hands...
Henry broke away with a gasp and a sob, covering his mouth with his hands.
Oh God. It had to become harder. As if it wasn't hard enough... I know he's been through so much. If you want me to kill him, stop showing me how human he really is!
Sobbing, the man reached for the box again. The "flesh of the mother" needed to kill Walter... it was in his hands. He could finally get rid of the man who had kill so many, he could stop the psycho who had followed and tormented him and Eileen for so long. He could...
He could toss the thing away. Throw it out the window, forget it existed. He could curl up into a ball and wait to be found.
He could kill Walter. He could let Walter kill him.
... or maybe he could fight.
Maybe... Henry sniffled and wiped his eyes. He didn't like his options. No, he hated them. He didn't want to kill, he didn't want to be killed. He didn't want the evil apartment to come to life, swallowing goodness whole. He didn't want to watch the life fade from Sullivan's eyes as he crumpled, broken and bleeding...
A small smile came to his lips as he realized what he wanted. He chuckled, wiping his eyes again. He wanted... closing his eyes Henry imagined it.
Life was normal. He was still living in the apartment. Eileen was safe... everyone was safe.
One day, he decides to venture out. Perhaps visit Silent Hill again, take more pictures. It had been such a photogenic place. Perhaps as he wandered, his artistic side taking over, he might bump into someone. Shy and nervous, he would apologize, and the other would only smirk and forgive him. They would talk, introduce themselves. Become friends.
Maybe they would see each other more, hang out in the apartment. Walter would explain his past, explain his ... mother... and Henry would understand. Henry would hate those that had hurt him, and promise never to hurt him again. Walter would understand Henry's loneliness, his shyness, and they would get along well. They would live together, in 302, and maybe then even broken things could love themselves.
Henry opened his eyes and his dream shattered. The box was still in his hand. There was a decision to be made. Tears dropped onto the lid as Henry closed the box, clutching it to his chest. He remained still.
...a man whose only wish was to be loved...
"I wish we could help him."
"Stand up, Receiver. You are the only one who can stop him."
"I told you we shouldn't have a baby..."
"If the boy is still here, maybe there's still good in him."
"It's like we're all victims."
Henry stood, and thought about something. He needed answers... answers about this power, this room 302. The power that was derived from the gods of Silent Hill.
A while back Frank's son had moved back in with him. His wife had died, and he needed time to get back on his feet. Henry remembered that he was quiet, somewhat reserved, like him... but he also remembered the man was interested in Silent Hill. He might've been there before... glancing across the room, Henry saw a couch, with a blanket and pillow, with a few boxes around it. The son's makeshift room.
Approaching it, Henry glanced into the boxes. Maybe, with his interest in Silent Hill, the man might have some information Henry could use.
/ questions from answers \\\\
Box in one hand, a few books in the other, Henry raced back to room 302. In order to take everything he needed, he had to leave his weapon behind, but that didn't matter. Henry was closer than ever to finally ending this insanity.
Barreling down the hall, he rushed to safety, before realizing bars stood in his way. "Shit!" The man kicked them, then realized he would have to go the other way, up the stairs in the other hall. That would lead me back by Walter...
He was royally screwed. Turning around, Henry reentered the main room... and to his shock, found someone standing in the center.
The woman spun towards him, tears streaming from her eyes. The two rushed to each other.
"Eileen, what're you..."
She was sobbing, clutching something to her chest. Henry glanced down to see a notebook, which Eileen opened for him. Someone had drawn in it, drawn pictures of a father...
"We ... we have to help him -" The woman was interrupted by a sob. "We have to - have to help that boy. That poor boy..." Eileen, trembling, looked up to Henry with hopeful eyes, and Henry stared. In the end, the decision he was making... he had known all along what he would do. And so, almost numb, he nodded.
/ mother \\\
The two headed back into the hall, down to the end, towards the room which had a staircase in it. But there were more bars here. Cursing, Henry turned the only way he could: towards a nearby apartment.
"Here," Henry knew Eileen could only hold so much, but between the two of them, they managed to divide the load so that Henry might be able to fight. Eileen had the cord in the box, and two books tucked under her arm, while Henry held the largest book. He figured he could beam someone in the head with it.
Done with that, the two turned to the apartment. Henry turned the knob and swung it open - and immediately shoved Eileen to the side, taking the bullet for himself. A few more gun shots rang out, but no more hit him, imbedding in the back wall instead. Screaming his throat raw, Henry fell against the back wall, clutching his right shoulder. The book he'd been holding fell to the floor as his arm truly became useless.
But the man didn't falter, even as Eileen screamed his name. Like a football player he barreled through the door and plowed into Walter Sullivan, knocking the pipe from his hand. He kept running, shoving them both away from the door and into the couch, falling against it. Henry locked his knees and held his arms over Walter's, keeping him pinned.
The woman listened, rushing down the hall, through the hole in the wall, into the apartment with the stairwell. Henry didn't move an inch as he listened to her heels clink on the stairs, disappearing into the second level. Only then did he lift his eyes.
Walter looked surprised; actually, he looked a bit amused. Eyebrows cocked, a small smirk on his lips, he chuckled as Henry felt cold steel press against his belly. Henry's heart froze, but his body began to tremble.
No words were spoken, but Henry's thoughts were going haywire. He couldn't help it - color rushed to his face, which could easily have been blamed on exertion. Breathing became labored, which once again could be because he just raced right into a serial killer. Henry's eyes scanned Walter's face.
He'd never been so close to him, so close they were touching. Henry's heart raced at the thought that he was practically straddling the man's lap. But these thoughts were interrupted when Walter pressed the barrel of the gun against his rib.
"Tell me... why shouldn't I finish you right now?" Walter murmured, his dark, low voice sending shivers down Henry's spine for more reasons than one. In that moment the brunet winced and hated himself.
You are a sick fuck...
"Eileen.." Henry muttered, voice much higher than usual. "You can't ... i - it would be out of order..."
"We both know that won't be true for much longer..." Walter spoke Henry's worst fear aloud. "I could easily spend a few minutes toying with you, just waiting for her to waste away."
Why, why, oh why, did that actually make Henry many, many different kinds of scared... but also something else? A little... happy? If Walter hadn't been there, Henry would've laughed, then cried.
I'd be happy to spend time with him... time where he's killing me. I'm sick. Sick, sick, sick.
"P - Please... not yet..." Henry licked his lips, and suddenly his eyes went to Walter's. But he forced himself to look back up. "Just... just give me time..."
"Time?" Walter smirked, chuckling again, and Henry felt something stir in his stomach. "And why should I?"
Mind racing, Henry tried to think of something, anything, that would convince him. Then he got it.
"B - Because..." Henry gazed right into the green depths he loved and hated. "Because you'll get to spend an eternity with Mother. L - Let... let me just have twenty more minutes with her. Please."
The answer shocked him, eyes widening, but he didn't move or speak. For a minute, Henry thought Walter would shoot him right there. But then the gun moved back a bit. Walter lifted his hand and waved.
"Twenty minutes." He declared to a shocked brunet. Henry remained stock still. "Go."
It took him another minute to convince himself to move, which he hoped Walter saw as overwhelming fear and not a stupid, suicidal libido. Henry raced from the room, towards the stairs, not once looking back.
Walter watched him go, head cocked to the side. His eyes glanced at the doorway, and fell upon the book Henry had dropped. It was a thick tome, now stained with flecks of blood. Standing, Walter approached, until he was close enough to read the title.
The Origins of the Order
/ twenty minutes \\\
"We have to hurry."
Eileen was thrilled when she saw Henry enter the apartment, sitting up off the sofa to greet him. He smiled, then turned to the books on the table. "We don't have much time, so we have to figure this out, quick."
"It has all been found out for you. The way to kill the Assumption -"
"Yes, that part I know." Henry spat at Joseph, grabbing a book and flipping to the index. Eileen reached for one as well, staring at the man.
"How'd you get away?"
"Convinced him to give me twenty minutes." He flipped frantically through the pages, searching for something, as Eileen flipped through her book.
"What are we looking for?"
"I really have no fucking clue." Henry whispered hurriedly, still scanning pages. "I don't know what I'm doing, or what I'm trying to do, I'm going a little crazy." The man shook his head, and kept looking. Concerned, Eileen glanced up at him.
"You're being pretty talkative."
"Yeah. I guess I do that when I freak out, ironically." Henry continued reading pages, still speaking to Eileen every so often. "That's really weird huh? I'm on the verge of death and now I start talking. Never spoke much my whole life, but only now do I start trying to get to know people." Disgusted, Henry lowered his head and kept reading. After a page or so, he sighed, and slowly set it in his lap. Tired eyes glanced up at Eileen's, red and teary. "I'm just so afraid. Afraid to live. Afraid to die. Unhappy and lonely the whole time."
Eileen felt tears fall down her face, and she sighed, setting her book down. "Why were you afraid?" Henry looked at her funny, and she smirked and shook her head. "Not now. Back then. The afraid to live part."
Henry's dark eyes glanced downwards. "... didn't think I was worth anyone's time. Why would people want to talk to me...?" He glanced up. "Never had much confidence. My only family spent all their time yelling and ignoring me, so I never figured I was that important. I just... learned to be alone."
Slowly, the man shut the book, keeping his page with a finger. "The worst part is... I finally started reaching out to people, and they started dying. Cynthia. Jasper. Even Andrew, though he was certainly no loss." The man snorted. "... Richard. And n - now you. Now I'm losing you. And Walter..." Henry sighed. "He's like a storm. Storms are beautiful and amazing, but you can love them all you want... they'll still rip your house to shreds."
"Walter's a human being. He can be talked to." Eileen corrected softly. Dejected Henry lowered his head.
"Sure about that?" Like a child, Henry rubbed his nose, but the action cause his still bleeding shoulder a lot of pain. He ignored it best he could. Finally, he opened his book again. "I'd better get on this." But, Eileen reached out and set her hand on his, covering the page.
"Henry... you know everything you need to know." She smiled, her visibly eye warm with love, and Henry wondered what kind of mother she would have been. A wonderful one."You're the best person I've ever met. Kind and strong, and selfless. If you want to save him... then I'm sure you can." She smiled, and somehow, Henry felt a bit of a smile on his face. After a quiet moment, Eileen tugged on his hand.
Holding his book, Henry moved to sit on her left side, so she could lean on his unwounded arm. Then, with his arm wrapped around her, he began reading the text. Scanning, flipping, and searching, he went through the three books, as precious time slipped away.
"H - Henry?"
Glancing down, Henry's eyes softened at the sweet, peaceful look on Eileen's half-asleep face. His throat was dry as he said, "Yes?"
"M - Maybe... if you treat him like he's normal... like he's sane... like his mother truly lives here... maybe you can get through if you - you just forget those other things." Mumbling, Eileen turned her head towards his shoulder, voice getting lower. "You c - can... You could forgive easier than most... my mom wasn't very f - forgiving... I had hoped to be diff - different... a different mother."
Henry turned and placed a kiss on her forehead. "You are different. You're different from everyone I've ever met. Most people ignore me and turn away when they see me. You cared about me, paid attention to me." Eyes watering, the man whispered a quiet "Thank you".
"Henry..." As the man got out from beneath her and gently set her head on the pillow, she reached for him. "Henry, I'm cold..."
"I - I know." To hell with everything, he wished he had a blanket. "But it won't be cold for much longer. I promise." He held her reaching hand and squeezed it. "It's gonna ... gonna be okay." Memories of Cynthia made his voice crack worse.
Eileen seemed to believe him, and closed her eyes turning her head. "Henry Townshend, ... you're really worth people's time. You're important." She whispered, and squeezed his hand one last time.
Henry remained kneeling by her for a moment more, staring at her peaceful face as she slipped away. He stood, and approached the chest, removing a doll from inside. This sad, sad doll that had brought tears to a grown man's eyes.
Henry tucked the doll beside its first owner, in the crook of her arm, and swept his hand over her hair one last time. His usual introverted self returning, Henry spoke to her only to say, "Good night."
/ lullaby \\\\
"You are being foolish."
Henry ignored the booming voice above as he read a bit more in the books. Mostly, his suspicions had been confirmed, but he wanted to keep reading.
"The only way to keep this darkness from harming others is to -"
"Death doesn't stop death." Henry muttered, and that was all. He flipped through a few more pages, then threw the book down. The clock couldn't tell him the time, so he had no idea when Walter would be here, but he tried not to panic. Instead, he returned to his room, grabbed a notepad and pencil off his desk, and returned to the main room. He wanted to write this down, just in case. Maybe in the future he could guide someone like Joseph had.
Though hopefully what I'm doing will end the madness here, Henry thought. Still, he jotted it all down quickly, and then set it on the counter. Ax in one hand, gun in the other, he was prepared.
But, he supposed he might still have some time. Henry smirked a little. Any last requests?
The man turned to go to his version of 302, but the voice spoke again.
"You're in love with him."
Henry stopped, but said nothing.
"You are a fool. He will never return any kind or loving feelings."
Henry smiled sadly, but didn't reply. I know that. But he still forced his feet to move, ignore the wound he had hastily covered on his shoulder. Dizzy, weak kneed, and tired, Henry went through the hole and back home.
/ 302 \\\\
Henry stood in front of the picture of Walter Sullivan and tried to imagine what he would say to him. Speaking: his biggest weakness. For all his thoughts he never seemed able to put them into words.
The haunting was hurting him a little bit, but he ignored it, having been through much worse. Instead, he breathed in, breathed out, and tried to talk.
"I'm so sorry. I can't believe all those things that happened to you. I wish... wish I could go back and kill them myself. But, I know that won't change anything. I..."
Henry froze. 'I' what? I want to help you; I want you to be happy;
... I love you.
The unspoken words sent sputters of laughter through him. Hey, at least I'm getting a good kick out of this. Sighing, the man shook his head and realized there was nothing he could say. Henry was hardly capable of telling people much of anything, and Walter was probably too far gone. How could Henry help him at all?
With one last sigh, Henry leaned forward and showed the picture of Walter exactly how he felt about him with a light press of his lips against it. He was always bad with words anyway.
/ 21121 \\\
Henry's breath hitched in his throat at the baritone, as he spun to see the speaker. Walter stood across the way from him, on the other side of a giant pool of blood which housed some sort of spherical murdering machine.
"Sorry. The clock in my room doesn't work." Henry muttered, feeling the weakest he ever had in his life.
"That's fine." Walter's heavy footsteps echoed throughout the large room. "When mother is purified, everything will be perfect."
Nodding, Henry adjusted his hold on the ax. "I hope so."
Surprise and delight alighted the other man's face. "You have accepted your destiny?"
"My death? No." The man admitted shakily. "... I've accepted my life."
Henry nodded. "My life... it wasn't the best. I did stupid things out of fear. I didn't live the way I wanted. But, I've accepted it. I'm ready to move forward." With determined eyes he looked up into Walter's burning orbs.
"Life is misery and suffering. Only mother can cleanse this dirty world and make it good."
Shaking his head, Henry spoke. "Life is life. It's what you make it. I let my life fall apart because I was too shy to make it better. I didn't think I deserved a good life with friends, family, love. And your life... it was torn apart by terrible people who deserve nothing less than hell for what they did. But it's not always that bad."
"You still believe in the world, despite its inherent failure." Walter smiled, which was more disconcerting than his smirk. "That is why mother chose you for last. You are so pure, so kind hearted, willing to protect even strangers. The way you threw yourself in front of blow after blow to protect the Mother Reborn... how you attacked me, putting your life in my hands, to save her... you are perfect." The smile died, and his eyes smoldered. "I cannot allow this disgusting world to destroy you."
It already is. "Killing people won't save them from misery. The only way to do that is to show them happiness. To share yourself with them and spread joy."
"I have never seen any human do such a thing." Walter's steps paused about ten feet from Henry.
"Eileen and I did. We had hardly known each other, but we became friends as we fought for our lives. We... brought each other joy."
"You and the Mother Reborn are too good for this world." Walter insisted, tightening his grip on the knife in his hand. Henry's heart skipped a beat.
"The world isn't all bad." Henry replied. "The part you've seen... is the deepest, darkest part there is. It can only get better from there. There's still good out there." Even though he knew what would happen next, Henry lifted his hand and extended it. "There is happiness waiting for you, if you can open your eyes and see it."
Walter almost scowled, lifting the knife. "Mother is my happiness; mother is waiting for me, and I must not keep her!" An insane smile the likes of which Henry had never seen split his face as he finally charged him. Henry was hardly surprised, but the speed with which he moved was astounding. Falling to his knees, Henry rolled right and missed the first blow.
But Walter turned on him fast, kicking him so hard in the side he was sent rolling a few feet. Before he could get up, a hand grabbed his collar and spun him around. Walter was now kneeling down over him, knife above him.
"Twenty one out of twenty one..." Walter whispered happily as he flipped the knife around, blade towards Henry. Ripping through the holes of the shirt, Walter revealed the top part of his chest before running the smooth side of the blade over it quickly. Henry shivered and tried to fight, but he knew this was part of the deal. This was inevitable, it had been from the moment he'd looked out the peep hole and seen his future.
It burned worse than any needle or paper cut and stung like acid as Walter carved into Henry's upper chest. The number 2, with its curved top, was worst, while the one was a simply slash and hardly ached. It took a few minutes, and Henry tried to remain still just to keep the pain from worsening, but then it was done.
"The sacraments are complete..." Walter murmured so joyously Henry actually felt happy. He was making the right choice. "Well, they will be very soon." A smirk came back to his face as his tone deepened and darkened, and Henry was suddenly afraid again. He remembered the thing outside the door, which had lost his eyes, and he realized he still had to fight.
With his ax having been knocked away, Henry instead threw his head forward and knocked right into Walter's, surprising him enough to shove him away. Reeling, Henry stood and grabbed his weapon, righting himself a little too quickly.
I've lost a LOT of blood, he realized, his feet dancing back and forth beneath him. Walter watched, shaking his head.
"You are strong, Henry. You've survived a long time. But this ... is the end."
"I'm - I'm not going down... w - without a fight." An appreciative chuckle answered him as he lifted his ax.
"I know that. That's why you're perfect. You never give up." Walter threw the knife away, reaching into his jacket for two familiar things - the pipe and the gun. Henry still had his gun in his pocket, but stayed with the ax. Charging, he raced at the man as Walter lifted his gun and aimed.
The first shot missed, but the second skinned his ear. The third hit his left arm - effectively crippling him as his ax fell from his grasp. The man tripped over it, scratching his leg up a bit, falling onto his hands and knees as Walter approached.
Breathing raggedly, sore all over, hungry and dirty and sad and tired - Henry looked out to the pool of blood and the evil machine. Walter stopped by his head.
"I was planning to use this on Miss Galvin... but now it seems it won't serve a purpose." Henry's stomach flipped at the thought of Eileen being in that... thing... shocked, he weakly looked up at Walter.
"H - How..." The man glanced down. "How could you do that to her? I know you cared about her. Your younger self protected her... why would you hurt her?"
Walter, dark and determined, replied. "She is too good for this world."
"She's no angel, she's just a human! A wonderful human who should've grown old with a husband and kids!" Henry shouted insistently, hands quaking beneath him as he tried to lift himself.
Slowly, Walter turned towards him. "Miss Galvin worked long, hard hours. A college grad still struggling to find work in her field, she had little money to spend, and less free time. Her work kept her busy and tired, and her job kept her in danger - working downtown at all hours of the night. Her friends were no better - taking her to clubs and parties where the taste of one wrong drink could destroy her. She was constantly striving for more - and the world was constantly denying her. She has suffered at the hands of this world."
"And you..." Walter knelt in front of him, gun still in hand, but no longer pointed anywhere. "You spent your life in seclusion, studying and practicing your craft. Your parents hated one another and tolerated you. They did not support your dreams or your happiness. Poor and lonely, the apartments in South Ashfield called to you. Mother called to you. And so you went. You avoided people and the world, because you knew that the world was an evil and destructive place, just as I do."
"Y - You're wrong." He muttered. "I avoided people because I was afraid of being loved. Not of being hurt. I was afraid - afraid I wasn't worthy of love."
"But you are, my Receiver, and this horrid world denies you. You must be set free."
Walter stood, lifting the gun to point it down at Henry's head. The man felt an eerie kind of peace descend over him. Both stared at one another, green eyes into green, and Henry hoped beyond hoping that this would work.
"One last request?"
Walter smirked and nodded.
"I - I don't want to die on my knees." Walter backed up a foot, as Henry slowly tried to stand. His legs were shaking, giving out beneath him. "I - I can't..."
He didn't think he would, but to his surprise, Walter approached, and put the arm without the gun around him. It was... warm. Warmer than Henry had thought it would be. The man tucked his arm under one of Henry's shoulders, and then around his waist, with the gun still pointed at the last sacrament.
This made it all worth it, Henry thought with a dark chuckle. His murderer was holding him in an embrace, and he was happy. Henry leaned his head against the man's shoulder, tucking it into the crook of his neck, and inhaled. Rust and death... what a sad bouquet.
"Are you ready, my Receiver?" Walter murmured, not knowing just how much Henry really was "his". "Are you ready to usher in paradise?"
Henry reached his trembling hand into his pocket, and took hold of the gun. Chuckling darkly, his killer shook his head, a handsome smirk on his face. I can't believe I'm so close to him...
"I thought you had accepted this, Henry." The name sent tremors through him; the way the deep voice murmured it almost reverently. Removing the gun, Henry lifted it and pointed.
There was so much he could say.
The world can be a dark and horrible place. Sometimes its hard just to make it through one hour of one day. But it isn't always so terrible. It can be a beautiful, loving place. This world can comfort or take away, but we can't give up. Mothers... they are loving and gentle, but they're strict when they have to be. We can pull through. I can help you pull through. I'll hold you through the night and lead you through the morning. I'll hold the darkness at bay and show you how to let the light back in. Let me try and set you free of your demons; I will do everything I can to save you.
I love you.
"I - I have."
The gunshot rang out.
Walter stared in shock down at Henry. The man felt pain blossoming in his chest, spreading from his belly button out... Damn, he thought, glancing at where he'd shot. I picked a bad place. Slow way to die...
Glancing back up at the wide eyed, gaping visage of Walter, Henry felt some sort of satisfaction. He'd never surprised the killer, but now the other was on edge... for once. But then he wondered if he'd miscalculated the shot. Had he hit Walter's arm?
"You have... accepted it." Walter murmured. Henry smiled and nodded. It was apparent that Walter was thrown for a loop, and Henry couldn't help but laugh. Walter Sullivan, surprised by little old Henry... Henry Townshend.
The gun fell from his weakening hands, as he moved his arms to Walter's neck. He tried to weakly pull himself up, to hold Walter in a way.
"D - Don't give up on the world." Henry murmured. "M - M... Mother isn't the only one who l - loves you."
Holding the man tightly, Henry questioned his final decision. He thought about it, examining the unshaven face, the confused green eyes. Why not confuse him a little further?
With his last bit of strength, Henry pulled himself up and put a light kiss on the man's cheek. He lingered but a moment, before his arms gave and he collapsed, held up by both of Walter's arms now. Through blurry vision he saw the bloody mark on Walter's cheek where his lips had been. He smiled.
Then he fell back, and gave in to death.
/ 302 \\\
There was a place, and it was dark. All it had ever been was dark, for that was what it was drowning in. It was gifted with pain and hate and sadness, lots of sadness. It fell into myriads of torture and agony and suffering, showered with gifts of loneliness and death. It twisted into forms of these, fusing them all together, the souls of each of its sacrifices, and the one who gave it power. All their angry, bleeding corpses gave it nourishment.
But then a new thing came. It was pretty and bright and when it died, it died with a smile. It opened its arms and showered the place with more - with things the place had never heard of. Love. Kindness. Acceptance. Happiness.
It filled the place up with it, pouring it in and rushing all the other things out. The suffering burned away under the light of hope. The sadness seemed to sink into the distance as happiness fell upon it. All the rage and hate melted as it was embraced by love.
And the place changed.
/ walter \\\
Off in the darkness, a little boy was standing outside an apartment, waiting for his mother to open the door. Little Walter beat his little fists on the door blocking him from his happiness... but, then, it suddenly opened.
Staring at the door in shock, Walter hesitated for but a moment, before he rushed into the sanctuary.
It was a clean, warm space; nicer than anything Walter had lived in. Pretty yellow wallpaper lined the hall and living room, with floral curtains on the windows. The kitchen was a soft brown, with pretty decorative tile, and smelled of spices and mother's cooking.
In the living room was nice, new furniture, perfect for a young child to bounce and play upon.
Enthralled, Walter ran in, and stopped by the TV.
The woman from the other room was sprawled across the couch, hands tucked daintily under her head, a doll between her arms. Soft brown hair framed a heart shaped face, and she wore a pretty purple dress. Walter approached slowly and softly, in awe of what he saw. He came to stand by her sleeping face, putting a small hand on her cheek.
She kept sleeping, but Walter still smiled brightly. He glanced down to her legs, where her knees were bent forward, and he happily scrambled there. Gently, he climbed over her legs and tucked himself between her and the couch.
"I'm gonna stay with you; for ever and ever..."
Later, a radio played an announcement, while adult Walter stood by the kitchen, arms crossed, head down, brow furrowed in thought.
The madness seems to finally be over as the unexplained accidents and health problems have come to a stop...
Walter glanced to the windows, which let in pure, warm sunlight. The sky was perfectly blue and unclouded.
Henry Townshend was gone.
I hope you understand
why I'm forced to take my life in your name
I want you to know, it's nothing all the same
And though we've never met
I've seen your image in a million waking dreams
Your eyes they call to me, "Set me free."
It's not easy, being the chosen.
- Voltaire, "The Chosen"
Henry Townshend's Note
This is crazy.
I think I'm in love with a serial killer.
I don't want him to suffer anymore. Someone very warm and kind once told me we were all victims. Up till now, I've tried to save everyone... so now I'm trying to save him.
I read about Silent Hill. Once it was a holy place. Then, a lot of bad things happened; plagues, accidents, deaths. That was before the cult even started.
My theory is that bad things change places.
It does that to people. A person who suffers a lot will begin to see threats and pain all around. The same with this place. 302 has become haunted and violent because its being fed by Walter's pain, by the pain of all the sacraments.
I want to try and change that. Maybe a death that isn't full of pain and hatred might make a difference.
I'm scared... and I have no idea if this is right. But I have to try something.
This is the first part of a series I'm planning, all of which will be one shots. The next one, "Photographic Memory", will be posted in a few hours.
I hope you enjoyed this, and hope you'll keep reading. 83