We spent the night in the cabin, but the next morning, we went straight back to the police station. We rode in silence all the way there. There was nothing any of us could say. I didn't want to talk to them either. On some extent I felt guilty. Actually I took all of the blame for this whole mess. I had written that Scratch would plan to destroy the town. I did all of this. The worst part was that without an ending, this could very well come to pass. What was I supposed to say? "I'm sorry" just didn't seem to cut it.
Zane was the one who broke the silence first, albeit not for very long.
"All we can do now is do our best to stop him. There's nothing else any of us can do," he said. He was right. The only way to give the story an ending was to go back to the cabin, and finish the story in the typewriter there. But without the clicker I couldn't do that, and quite frankly I didn't want to do that. I might end up stuck there again, and the whole plan would have been for nothing.
We were thrown back into the crushing silence of the car ride back into town. I don't think any of us expected what we found waiting for us at the Sherriff Station.
As soon as I stepped out of the car, there came a shill voice.
"What have you done, boy?" it shrieked. I looked to see Cynthia Weaver standing behind me. I was very much surprised to see her. Though I can't imagine why. She was so heavily involved in my last battle.
"Ms. Weaver?" I asked, unable to keep the shock out of my voice. "What are you doing here?"
"I came because I felt the Dark Presence again last night! How could you have released it again! You stupid, young fool!" she cried.
Just then, Tom stepped out of the car. Cynthia immediately froze. The look of shock on her face was mixed with a look of awe.
"T-Tom?" she asked in a quivering voice. "It can't be…"
"Yes, Cynthia, It's me. Tom," He replied. He smiled gently, he was clearly happy to see her.
I remembered back to when I was walking toward the Well-Lit Room with Cynthia, she mentioned how she was jealous of Barbara Jagger for being so close to Tom. And before that, I remember seeing her light-sensitive paint on the walls of an old, run down mansion. Most of it was the word 'Tom' over and over again. There was also a giant heart, with the initials 'C.W.' and 'T.Z.' inside of it. It didn't take a genius to figure it out. Curiously however, there was one sentence among the scrawl that stood out, 'I curse you Thomas Zane!' was what it read. Clearly Cynthia had mixed feelings over Tom.
Snapping back to reality, I heard Cynthia mumbling, wondering how Tom had come back.
"It doesn't matter how I got here, what matters is we're safe for now. Let's step inside shall we?" said Tom, motioning toward the door.
We all nodded and walked inside. We were moving toward Sarah's office when Cynthia stopped Tom.
"Wait! There is so much I want to talk to you about, Tom!" Tom smiled and looked back at Sarah and me.
"I'll meet you inside, give me a minute with Cynthia," he said.
"Of course Mr. Zane, You should catch up with your friend. We'll be in my office when you're ready. Sarah and I walked into her office without them. I leaned against the wall, Sarah sat at her desk.
"Isn't it nice how they met up again?" said Sarah after a while.
"Hmm?" I asked.
"Cynthia and Tom. I've never seen Ms. Weaver look at a man like she did Tom. Are they old friends?"
"She was a close friend of his back when the Dark Presence attacked the first time back in the seventies," I said. Sarah nodded in understanding. I think she knew why Tom looked so young, but in actuality, I'm not entirely sure how much of the situation she really understood. From what I knew of Sarah, she knew there was a threat, and it was her duty to stop it. She never asked questions about what we were doing, never gave a second thought to the Taken we faced. She knew it was supernatural, but didn't care. In a way it was admirable, how she went headlong into danger, without full knowledge just to protect her town.
More silence passed between us.
"We're going to need a lot of light," I said after a while.
"To deal with Scratch?" asked Sarah.
"Yeah. Maybe if we had a bunch of search lights trained on him all at once, we could destroy him,"
"I suppose that's a possibility," she replied thoughtfully. "But getting that much light will take time, and who knows when Scratch is going to strike?" This was true. We may have known what Scratch was planning, but we didn't have a time. For all we knew, we were down to a matter of hours.
Even more time passed, and still there was no word from Tom or Cynthia. It then occurred to me, that I was still wearing the same clothes. This came off as a little strange to me, but then again, hygiene wasn't my biggest concern this last week.
"Is there a place I could change?" I asked Sarah sheepishly. This got a chuckle out of her.
"Sure, come with me." She said getting up. I still had my luggage from when we first arrived in Bright Falls, Alice hadn't left me with nothing. Sarah led me to the staff bathroom, and handed me the bag Alice had left behind.
I thanked Sarah and went inside and stripped off the clothes I had been wearing for almost two weeks now. Inside the bag, I found a white t-shirt, a red and white checkered button down, some jeans, and fresh undergarments. I put on the clothes, and walked over to the sink to splash water on my face. It felt soothing, but it didn't wash away the smell, unfortunately.
When I walked back into Sarah's office, Tom and Cynthia had rejoined the group. There was an air of stillness. As if everyone had been waiting for me, just as Sarah and I had waited for Tom.
"Well, now that we're all here, let's address the issue," said Tom. "We're going to need a lot of light to beat Scratch, I think if we trapped him in the station, and used flares and the lights in here, we can weaken him enough to kill him off conventionally,"
"But Scratch is extremely powerful," I said. "Would trapping him in here work?"
"We'd have to bait him inside," replied Sarah.
"So I'm guessing I'm the bait?" I said.
"He does seem to have a deep animosity towards you," said Tom. "It makes sense that you would be able to draw him here,"
I looked out the window, and I saw that the sun was setting. Dusk was arriving.
"He'll be coming soon," I said, indicating red sky.
"So it would seem," replied Tom. "We'd best get ready," We gathered as many flares, flare guns, and lights as we possibly could. All other officers were gone, we were alone in the station. This was actually in our advantage, as no one would question what we were up to. As we worked, the sun lowered into the horizon, turning dusk into twilight.
I stepped outside, it was time to become the bait. All I had on me was my flashlight, and my pistol. It wasn't much, but I wasn't meant to kill Scratch just yet. That came later. As the darkness grew, I felt it grow colder as well. Scratch was almost here.
Just then, I heard The familiar scream of the Dark Presence. In a pillar of smoke Scratch appeared before me. He was dressed in his black suit, his hair slicked back. The same cocky grin on his smug face. My heart burned with hatred of this man. Of me.
"I believe we've reached the end of the story, writer. But I intend to be the one who comes out on top!" he said menacingly.
"This is going to end only one way!" I shouted back. "And you're not going to like the ending!" He began to walk towards me. It was perfect, I could back up, and lead him into the trap.
"What? No Taken with you?" I taunted. I had to keep him talking, so he wouldn't suspect anything.
"I don't need them. They are merely pawns in our glorious game. Besides, you've proven that Taken are no match for you. I figure if I want the job done right, I'd better do it myself," all the while he was getting closer to me. I began to back up toward the station in mock fear, I had to keep him advancing at all costs.
Finally I reached the front door of the station, and I began to back into the hall. Scratch began to follow me inside. The plan was going flawlessly. When I backed into the counter, Scratch took his turn for a taunt.
"You're all out of room, writer. Time to end this!" he said.
"Now!" I cried, and as soon as I did, the lights flew on, flares went off, I trained my own light on Scratch and shot a few flares at him. There was screaming, and a horrible sound I'm sure I will remember for the rest of my life.
Next we all began to fire our bullets, we wanted to wound Scratch before he had time to regain his composure. We all fired, I shot my pistol, Sarah, her shotgun, and Tom his hunting rifle.
Then we stopped and let the dust clear. We were all breathing heavily. Ms. Weaver even stepped out of Sarah's office to see what had happened. When the dust settled, there was no trace of Scratch.
"Where is he?" demanded Sarah.
"Perhaps he disappeared like the Taken or Barbara," I said.
"So…did we win?" asked Cynthia. But before anyone could answer, a horrible laugh pierced the air. It started very subtle, but it evolved and escalated to a full on cackle, then to an evil laugh so menacing, I'm sure it would haunt my nightmares for months to come. Assuming I lived that long.
As the laugh went on, the lights began to burst, and fade to darkness. There was no longer any light in the room, save for the light coming from our flashlights. Finally, when all light was extinguished, the laughter stopped.
"I'll say, that was a good effort. But it was all in vain!" Then the door burst open, and a trail of smoke came into the room, it was like a hovering snake. An entity in itself. It hovered there for a moment, before making a beeline for Cynthia. She froze due to fear, and the smoke got ever closer to her.
However, before it could reach her, Tom jumped in front of her.
"You will not have her too!" he roared. Anger and hatred dripped from his voice. He would do anything to protect her, much like how I felt about Alice.
"Tom! No!" I shouted, but it was too late. Tom disappeared into the dark smoke and was no more.
"Tom!" wailed Ms. Weaver, but it didn't last very long, as the smoke circled around and swallowed her as well. Rage burst forth from me.
"Scratch! You sonofabitch!" I roared. "I'll destroy you!" Then the smoke went for Sarah, but I would have none of it. I stepped in front of Sarah, and brandished my flashlight like a shield. With the power of my will, the light from the flashlight began to grow, and become more powerful.
"You won't destroy this town! I'm going to take you away from here. Far away! And then I will hunt you down! And I will kill you! That's a promise!" as I spoke the light grew even more, the smoke began to scream out as if it was in pain. Soon the light was enveloping both the smoke and myself.
Somewhere in the distance, I could hear Sarah call my name. But it didn't matter anymore. Scratch was my target. In a burst of light, Bright Falls disappeared from under my feet, and Scratch and I were carried away, into the darkness.
I was walking alone now, the smokey darkness surrounded me. All I had was my flashlight, and the pistol. I looked around frantically for Scratch, but he wasn't in sight.
Then, I thought I caught him out of the corner of my eye. I turned, but there was nothing there. Out of the darkness there was a laugh.
"I'll catch you eventually!" I yelled.
"Maybe so," came Scratch's voice from the darkness. "But what will you do then? By then, I'll have everything you love," As he said this, I was thrown back, and darkness clouded my vision.
Then I was thrown hard into the ground, and the darkness began to recede. I was alone, on a trail, which appeared to wind through a forest.
Without a second thought, I set out after Scratch.
A/N: So thanks for sticking with the story this long. This is the end, I did my best to bridge the first game to American Nightmare, ending with the opening cutscene from the arcade game. I really hope you enjoyed it. To my fans, thank you for your support. This has been fun, and I can't wait to start more stories.