I do not own Silent Hill. It belongs to Konami.
CHAPTER 02 – FAMILY
If Josh had claimed he wasn't freaked out by an unknown lady in an unknown place calling him by the name, he'd be lying.
"Uh, hello," he stammered back, trying to sort out his mind. "Sorry, ma'am... how do you know me?" he nervously asked.
The woman took a few steps towards him and knelt down to his height. "Don't you recognize me?" she asked, in a kind tone. Josh shook his head.
"Well, I thought you wouldn't. You were still a baby the last time I've seen you." She smiled, placing her hand over the boy's head. Somehow, this gesture rendered Josh a bit more comfortable. That lady seemed nice, but he still eyed her in confusion.
"My name's Mary. I'm you father's sister." She explained.
The boy's eyes widened. 'So, she's Mary? Aunt Mary?' he mentally concluded. Her name wasn't unfamiliar to him. As he previously said, he was too young to have any memories of her and his parents had never commented about her. But Alex had, once. Josh recalled of Alex telling him about an aunt, whom he really cherished and missed ever since she got married and moved away. So she's the one his brother had talked about.
"Now I remember. My brother told me about you." Josh remarked.
"Really?" the woman kindly asked, happy that she wasn't a total stranger to the boy. "And how's Alex doing? It's been a while since I last heard of him too."
Confirming that she knew his brother's name, he finally felt he could trust the lady. "He's fine. But he says he misses you sometimes. He says you and Elle were the only people who were nice to him." He answered, honestly as a child.
Mary's smile faded a bit by hearing that. Even after this long, she still remembered her family. She recalled of the harsh treatment her brother gave to Alex, which only got worse after Josh was born. Many times she had tried to intercede in Alex's favor, but it had done no good, since Adam wasn't very fond of someone else prying into the raise of his children. And she couldn't count on her sister-in-law Lilian either, as she was the type to never oppose her husband. The only thing she could do was treating little Alex the nicest she could when Adam wasn't around. That was, until she got married and moved away to South Ashfield. Despite never having kids of her own (more due to the fact that she had never got the chance), she had never stopped worrying about what became of her brother's children. No surprise that her older nephew missed her.
Anyway she wouldn't bring any of those sore thoughts into talk now.
"That's good to know," she said. "And you, Josh? What are you doing here in Silent Hill?"
The young Shepherd's eyes widened again. He was in Silent Hill? The town his father had expressly forbidden to get any close to? Now he was in trouble!
"Aunt Mary, is this Silent Hill?" he asked, just to confirm.
"Yes, we're on the Rosewater Park, one of main landmarks in Silent Hill. Didn't you know?" she replied, a bit baffled at the boy's question.
"Oh, no! Dad's gonna get really angry with me! And with Alex too, when he comes looking for me! Dad told us to never come here!" a rather despaired Josh shouted.
"Alex's here too? You mean you both came here without your parents' permission?" Mary questioned, but still keeping her calm tone.
"Alex wanted to go to Toluca Lake, so he took Dad's boat and forced me to come. I told him it was a bad idea, but he didn't listen." He said, trying to justify himself.
"You came in a boat?" she asked, raising an eyebrow. "But it's dangerous to sail there without proper experience. What were you two doing out in the lake?"
"Well," the boy started, trying to remember what had passed on the boat. "Alex said I was afraid of everything and I said it wasn't true. Then he continued to mock me and I showed him a ring Dad gave me," he continued, taking the mentioned ring out of his pocket and showing it to Mary. "Then Alex took it from me and I tried to fetch it back..." he said, stretching the ring's chain with his hands. He paused for a moment, as if trying to recall the rest.
"So, sweetie, what happened afterwards?" she asked, urging him to proceed.
"I don't remember quite right, but," he stated, seeming unsure of what to say. "Then I kinda felt cold, very cold. My body went numb in some dark, silent place and then, the next thing I remember was me lying on the lake's shore, near the amusement park." He finished.
Josh waited for a few instants, staring down at the ground, like expecting a scold. But nothing came, so he gazed up at her.
This time, it was Mary's turn to have her eyes widened. She stared at Josh as though she was shocked by something. He lifted an eyebrow, confused. Her smile had faded into a frown, as she knew way too well what had happened to the nephew before her. After all, she had herself passed through the same thing years ago. The cold, the numbness, the darkness, the silence, the awakening in this town... all pointed towards one single thing.
And not just any death. It had been a violent death. And worse, by a trusted one's hand. She should have suspected it from the beginning, otherwise the boy wouldn't have been able to see her. Heck, he wouldn't even be here. Had it been a natural death, the soul simply would have been put to rest in peace. However, if the responsible for the death still felt any sort of guilt or remorse, so the town would reawaken the soul and demand atonement through it, even if by the means of blood. Those were the rules of Silent Hill.
With a saddened face, the woman kept staring at Josh. 'This poor little kid. And I thought I have died at a young age,' she remembered her own demise. 'And Alex, too. To think that he will have to go through the same kind of suffering James did. As if he hadn't suffered enough through his entire life.'
"Aunt Mary, are you okay?" the boy asked, wondering about her lost expression.
Cut off from her thoughts, she answered. "Yes, sweetie, I am. Just pondering about some things."
Thinking for a few more seconds, as Josh stayed silent, she spoke.
"Josh, could you come with me for a moment? There is someone I need you to meet." She said, placing her hands on his shoulders.
"But, Auntie, I've gotta go home. Dad will be mad if I don't." He responded.
"Don't worry, sweetie. It'll be quick, I promise." She assured. Of course, she was pretty much aware that her nephew no longer had a home to return to. He was dead after all, and Silent Hill was his new home. But she decided not to tell him forth, it would be better to let that 'someone' tell it. Josh would eventually have to learn of it anyway.
"OK, Auntie. I'll go." He complied. He had always been a good kid, as his parents had raised him to be.
Mary smiled again and stood up from her kneeling position. She turned around and, motioning him to follow her, started walking away, Josh in tow. As they left the park, their course went along a narrow alley with some trash dumpsters. Leaving the alley, they arrived at what looked like a residential area, full of apartment buildings. What never changed was the ever-present fog, almost seeming to pursue them wherever they went. The boy wondered about that strange phenomenon, given they were far enough from the lake.
After a few minutes of walking, they finally arrived at a huge wall, passing through a door on it. Inside it, there was a rather large building, made in white wooden planks, with a porch and a oval-shaped entrance door. 'Looks like Mayor Bartlett's mansion.' Josh thought. Said mayor's son, Joey Bartlett, was Josh's best friend (besides Alex) and many times he had been invited to play in the mansion. After all, Joey was known to always have the coolest toys in the neighborhood.
As they entered it, the boy realized it was indeed a mansion. The place was quite neat, despite seeming deserted. They walked up the stairs to the second floor and stopped before a closed door. For an instant, Mary thought about the 'one' behind that door, the 'one' who seemed aware of everything happening in Silent Hill, the 'one' who could inform a lost soul of its true purpose...
"Ernest, are you there?"
That's it for chapter 2, folks. How will Josh react to the knowledge of his death? Find it on the next chapter.
Please review and tell me what you thought of it so far.