Hey there, Author here!
Muting Silent Hill is structured like a novel. It is plotted out from start to finish, dramatic pacing included. It is frequently cute, frequently horrific, and largely rated T; but key chapters very obviously required the M rating.
The protagonist is Heather Mason. The plot kicks off focusing strongly on her intimate but platonic (fluffy) friendship with 'Valtiel.' It takes place post game and most of the survivors have by then become interconnected.
Happy Reading! Hope you enjoy your monsters this evening!
The goddess was dead.
Heather was numb, staring down at the monstrosity that she had slain. Judging by it's twisted and malformed limbs, and it's exposed internals, Claudia had been unable to properly 'birth' it. Well. That explained why the cult hadn't tried to cultivate the fetus in another- more willing- woman. Or maybe it was Heather vomiting the fetus up that had deformed it. Honestly, it was hard to say.
Try as she might, Heather still couldn't explain the insane environment in which she found herself. Everything around her defied logic. Silent Hill was a huge, massive mind fuck. There was no real explanation for the monstrous state of it's inhabitants, or for the paranormal activity within. Just guesses, and half-explanations.
She kicked the goddess's face in frustration. She hated this thing, this evil monster that had consumed her life and for which Claudia had killed her father.
For awhile, Heather had considered the possibility that she was in a coma somewhere. Maybe Silent Hill was a dream. Or maybe she was dead; and Silent Hill actually was hell.
And then she'd been left to wonder whether she was hallucinating; Although the events going on around her were very 'real,' was it possible they were being acted out by normal people, and not by monsters? Maybe, instead of doing battle with a terrible goddess in some wretched supernatural hellhole, she'd actually just stabbed Claudia to death in a back ally dumpster, somewhere. Vincent seemed to imply as much.
She kicked the god's face face again.
In the end, however, after considering all of these possibilities, Heather had been left with a startling realization: It didn't matter what was going on. The only tools she had to rely on were her senses, and so she simply had to rely on them. All she could do was take each fact, each monster, each idea as it was presented to her. She had to suspend her disbelief and bury her frustration, and try to understand Silent Hill before it consumed her. And it appeared she had succeeded. Maybe.
She kicked it again.
Heather didn't know if she'd be able to leave, or if the 'other world' would follow her once more. She couldn't tell if Douglass was a figment of her imagination. Honestly, she half expected that if she went up to find him, he'd have turned into a giant gargoyle beast or something equally sinister. Or maybe when they were driving away from the city, she'd look over to find that he'd disappeared from the vehicle. Then she'd crash, and get amnesia, and wake up in a mental institution.
Heather took in a long, slow breath, and then let it out just as slowly.
Whatever Silent Hill flung at her, she was ready. She'd meet it head on, spitting and cursing (and maybe even crying), but she'd meet it. She'd overcome it. She would do everything possible to escape this cursed supernatural hellhole, and, a more benevolent god willing, she'd succeed.
She took in another slow breath, and let it out. Her heartbeat was calming.
Heather turned away from the goddess, shaking slightly and breathing hard. She stumbled some distance from it. "Is that the end?" she whispered. It seemed to have been such. "I guess... it's time to roll the credits."
From what Heather understood, Silent Hill was a paranormal hotspot, brought to life by Alessa. Alessa had been some sort of witch or psychic. Since Heather had been born from Alessa, she'd inherited some of that power.
Perhaps that was why the Otherworld was able to follow her outside of Silent Hill, drawn by Alessa's memories and the presence of the cultists. Or maybe the Otherworld was some sort of warped defense mechanism that Heather had also inherited. But now that everything was over, could she leave?
Any way once sliced it, Claudia was dead and the goddess had been thwarted. Alessa no longer had any reason to fear Heather's continued survival. It was possible- likely, even- that the Otherworld would let her go, and she'd be able to go back to a semi-normal life. Semi.
She ducked her head as a surge of emotion erupted through her chess, and her face contorted as if in pain. "Dad..." she moaned, and then slowly slipped to the bloodstained ground, tears forming in her eyes. Agony, grief, loneliness shuttled through her, causing her body to contort spasmodically. "...Dad..." she sobbed. She cried, and her voice emerged as a tiny whimper.
Her father would want her to go on. He'd want her to fight... like he had, so very long ago. She'd be able to go back to a semi-normal life; she had to believe that. And she'd know the truth soon enough. Her back straightened, and her shoulders rolled back. Heather would need the help of a dedicated shrink to ever fully recover from this experience, but right now she was as strong as she could be given her current circumstances.
She took in a final slow breath, and then slowly strode forward into the inky blackness of Silent Hill. The darkness of this place had always frightened her, but now it seemed so much less intimidating than what she had faced and left behind...
Heather jerked her head to the side and peered into the darkness, brows narrowed. "Silent Hill, if you spring another monster in my face right now, I'm going to go batshit crazy on it's face," the teenager muttered, now back in control of herself.
For a moment, all was still. Then the darkness parted, and a writhing, spasming form crawled into the dim lighting. Man-shaped but down on all fours like a beast, this creature was immediately familiar to Heather. It slunk across the floor like a lizard or puma; graceful after a fashion, but violently epileptic. She hesitated at the sight of them, and then her shoulders relaxed a bit.
"Oh," she said, and she was a little surprised to hear relief in her voice. "You." It wasn't that she was happy to see the monster exactly; but in Heather's experience the twitchy boogieman had never once attempted to harm her.
The creature paused with one hand held puppet-like in midair. It lifted his torso a few inches higher off the ground and twisted towards her, as if it had just become aware of her presence and was surprised. The head quivered rapidly back and forward.
Heather grimaced. "Look, I have no idea if you understand me, but if you're pissed at me for killing the giant, angry, evil thing," she jerked her thumb at the enormous body of the goddess, "then can we just fight now and get it over with? Because I really don't want to go home, spend a few years of blissful relaxation, and then have another supernatural crisis fall in my lap. If it's all the same to you, I'd like to tie up the loose ends now."
The creature continued to twitch for a moment, and then slowly crawled up to the body of the fallen god. He (Heather presumed it was a 'he', although she alternated between thinking of him as both 'it' and 'he', depending on his actions) was carrying a dirty sheet, and he unfurled it messily before starting to pull it over the dead goddess's body.
"Right," she muttered. "You do that." She couldn't help but feel slightly curious as to what he was doing. Even though Silent Hill defied the laws of physics, it had a very strange and almost ritualistic system of rules on which it operated. In lieu of physics, she supposed. There was likely incredibly significance to this bizarre burial.
The twitching creature just continued, pulling the sheet fully over the goddess's face, and smoothing the fabric with it's hands.
Heather grunted. "As usual, you go about your business and completely ignore me. Unless I'm dying."
The head twitched in her direction, and the creature paused in his activities. He went very still and seemed quite surprised. Heather lifted a brow and crossed her arms over her chest, a curious expression on her face. "That was a bluff," she told him. The head tilted to the side. "I wasn't exactly sure what happened, but that little jump of yours just gave it away: You have been saving me."
The creature ducked his head slightly, his fingers kneading the sheet, almost as if embarrassed to have revealed anything about his enigmatic nature to her. He began twitching again.
Heather should have turned around and left. She should have gotten as far as she could from Silent Hill... But something compelled her to stay just a moment longer. To find out more about this horror that had engulfed her life. Maybe if the Otherworld failed to release her, or if it ever returned again in the future, she would be better equipped to fight it.
She took a slow step towards the goddess's body, stepping around it's tattered carcass and moving slowly towards the twitching creature. He watched her approach quietly. Heather felt remarkably fearless.
He didn't exactly look harmless; he was shaped like a powerful man with coiled muscles visible down the length of his arms, and he was wearing a filthy smock that could have belonged to a clergyman or a butcher. Yet at the same time, Otherworld monsters usually emenated a feeling of insane and tortured malice. This twitching, spasmodic creature had never conveyed anything even remotely hostile. Not towards her.
"You're... What could I call you...? Those marks on your shoulders, I saw them up close earlier... They're like this talisman..."
Heather had almost forgotten about the Seal of the Metatron, and she slowly reached into her clothing and drew it out.
"Claudia said it wouldn't protect me, but I could tell it slowed the birthing down. I was told that 'Metatron' means 'Attendant to God'." A sudden realization dawned on her, and she glared up at the twitching being. She took a step closer, and then another, until they were only separated by a few feet. The creature didn't move, still perched on the goddess's carcass. His arm was turned towards her, and now she could clearly make out the symbol carved into his flesh. It was the Seal of the Metatron!
Heather sneered. "So that's what you are, hmm? Not a warrior, just a stooge? You haven't attacked me, because that's not your job. Your job was to help with the god's birthing, and you needed to keep me alive in order for that to happen. You're just here to bury her."
The twitching creature continued to watch her. He was very quiet, as usual, although not entirely silent. His range of noises consisted of small hisses, gurgles, and snorts. He emitted them quietly and in no particular order, and they blended in with Silent Hill's usual ambiance.
Heather's eyes narrowed and she took another step towards him, wondering what it was she felt stirring in her gut. Hate, perhaps? What if this Metatron somehow 'revived' the god, or if he set new problems into motion? Maybe he would feature in some ritual that would re-impregnate Heather and start this nightmare all over again- she definitely could not allow that. But she didn't necessarily feel hate. More like... betrayal. For a moment, she had thought that this creature was directly linked to Alessa, and had been trying to honestly and simply protect her.
"You-... you... something dragged Claudia down here. Something killed her. Okay, well, maybe it was a combination of the birthing and the fall that killed her... I mean she does look like she disintegrated... but something roared and dragged her down here. Something that moved too quickly for me to see. It broke up the concrete and metal! That was you, wasn't it? Why the hell did you attack her? She was birthing your god!"
The twitching creature, of course, did not respond. He did seem fairly interested in her, however. Although his head twitched at an inhuman rate, the general lean of his body still suggested that he was most definitely looking at her.
Heather fumbled for answers to her own questions. Claudia had admitted that causing Heather so much pain was sinful, but then she was a deluded woman who served a creepy god who liked to paint her abode with blood and create twitchy-headed Metatrons.
"You killed Claudia because she ate up the fetus. You killed her because I was the only one who could bear the god properly, and she screwed things up. She said she'd sinned in trying to hasten the birth of god, and Vincent agreed she'd gone too far. Or maybe it wasn't because she tried to save god, but she did something wrong, and that's why you mauled her."
As more mysteries met with their explanations, Heather grabbed her handgun and lifted it up, pointing it at the spasmodic creature's head. Then, realizing she'd be hard-pressed to hit a constantly moving target, she lowered the gun to point at the Metatron's chest.
"So why the fuck haven't you killed me! I'm the one who refused to bear the god, I'm the one who threw her up! And then I fucking killed her! That was my choice! I'm the one who doesn't want a giant, evil, angry, horrible god living in this world! Me!"
The Metatron continued to watch her. She was sure he was watching her, as she had been sure over the last few minutes. His head was pointed in her general direction, even if his face was nothing more than panels of leather flesh sewn together. In any event, he did not seem provoked by her taunts. He didn't display any emotion at all.
Heather swore. She didn't lower the gun, but she could not bring herself to pull the trigger. Whatever the motives of this monster might have been, he did not appear willing to harm her. Silent Hill hadn't thrown many friends her way. The Metatron had never tried to hurt her her, and had never directly led her into harm. His presence had always been at once eerie and somehow comforting.
In fact, Heather never even been attacked while in his vicinity. Once she'd discovered that his presence repelled Silent Hill's other inhabitants, she'd actually started to make use of his appearances. Whenever he showed up, she'd reload her guns, bandage her wounds, have allow herself to cry for a few minutes.
For a long time, neither she nor the Metatron moved. At long last, he turned and used all of his fingers to tap a thick leather curtain behind the goddess.
Heather frowned. During her battle with the goddess, her adversary had been largely confined to one location. It appeared that she had been tied to the thick curtain behind her- the same one that at times had shielded her face from Heather's bullets. Still, it had prevented the goddess from crawling around the room after Heather, and, by that virtue, it may have saved the teen's life. Now that she looked, it appeared that a black cord was wrapped around the goddess's hips.
That was puzzling. Like everything else in Silent Hill, it appeared that the Metatron was unwilling to make sense.
"Her face was her weak point... and you covered her face with this leather curtain," she said slowly. "Like a veil. I learned a lot in this town, and the goddess was supposed to wear a red veil that made her invulnerable." The Metatron's twitching stilled somewhat, adding some support to her theories. "But... but you also bound her in place? Why, so she wouldn't move away from the veil? No offense, but if she had been able to follow me, I would have been screwed."
The Metatron seemed unoffended by her insinuation that he had hastened his deity's death. Not for the first time, Heather considered that the things in Silent Hill might only have had behaviors and purposes, but no real intentions. No real minds or personalities or goals. …
Then again, maybe he just didn't really understand her. This was the first time she'd ever been in a position to talk to a monster, and it was certainly a new experience for her.
Heather shook her head, confused. "And you where down here the whole time, while I was shooting bullets into her skull, and you didn't do anything to help her? I saw what you did to Claudia, you're not helpless."
The Metatron still didn't move except to twitch and make soft gurgling noises. Bewildered, Heather just kept shaking her head.
He had let her kill the goddess, and he had saved her life in doing so. Furthermore, Leonard Wolfe had believed that the Seal of the Metatron could prevent the goddess from being born. Certainly, Heather had been forced to use herbs to abort the god, but it appeared that the Seal had at least slowed the birth.
And, then again, Heather had heard the seal called a great many things, such as the 'Crest of Virun VII'. Which, if Heather was parsing things right, meant that the seal might mean a great many things to a great many people. Perhaps it was not tied as intimately to the cult's goddess as one might imagine. And perhaps the Metatron was less a god-thing, and more a figment of Silent Hill.
Heather was quiet for a long moment, staring up in bewilderment at the faceless being. Then she sighed. "I have no idea where to draw the line between 'stuff Alessa dreamed up' and 'evil cult/god shit.' Maybe it all just burrs together."
He had the decency to purr slightly, indicating that her final statement might not have been far from the mark.
Heather grimaced. After awhile, she lowered her gun. "I think any cult that requires immense hatred and death in order to bring a god into the world is evil, just so you know. I'm not particularly happy with you for helping them."
He gave something between a whinny, a grunt, and a snort (all of which were clearly inhuman), and twitched, as per usual. Apparently he did not associated himself with the cult. That was somewhat comforting, even though it was possible that he didn't associate himself with the cult because he saw himself as above them. But he had mauled Claudia, and he hadn't killed Heather.
"I have the strangest feeling that if I were some sort of symbolist or mythology major, I'd have a much better idea what the flying fuck is going on down here," she grumbled. "You were always turning valves before. Why?"
Seeing that she was no longer angry, the creature turned back to pulling his sheet over the fallen goddess. He didn't stand, creeping around the goddess's body like some sort of arboreal lizard. Heather watched him quietly, studying the split flesh along his arms, the puppet-like gestures of his hands, and the black laces tracing up his back. He was perversely fascinating.
As much of a mind fuck as Silent Hill was, there was so much depth to it. Like an endlessly spiraling mental patient's brain.
"Are you real?" Heather couldn't help but ask. The creature twitched his head in her direction and paused again. "Are you real? Are you from an actual heaven or hell? Are you a hallucination of mine, or maybe of Claudia's? Are you supernatural, or psychological? Are you here by the will of the cult and their goddess, or are you here because of Alessa's delusions? If anyone else was here, could they see you? Could you leave Silent Hill? Do you exist?"
She shivered slightly as she questioned him. Despite her earlier resolution, Silent Hill had never been so still and calm... It was disconcerting.
The creature slowly docked his head to the side, and then jumped to the ground. Heather took an involuntary step backwards, and eyed him warily as he slowly rose to hunched but bipedal position. He took a step towards her, and then another, his gloved fingers grasping at the air. Then he carefully straightened, his spine uncoiling vertebrae by vertebrae. His shoulders rolled back, and his legs straightened. Suddenly he was a great deal taller than her, and of an imposing presence and weight.
Heather gripped her gun but didn't lift it, her brows furrowed in confusion. After a long moment of very mild twitching, the Metatron lifted a hand. His movement were slow, unhostile, and careful. He reached forward, and tapped her on the nose.
Heather stared at him.
He pulled his hand back a little and then jerked his head to the side, as if asking: 'So, what do you think? Real or not real?'
Heather opened her mouth and then closed it. She frowned, and then slowly lifted her hand, and touched his. Although red latex covered his malformed fingers, the heat of life emanated from within him. If he was nothing more than a hallucination, he was a very good one. He seemed mildly surprised at her touch, and his fingers flinched slightly away from hers before going still.
Heather looked hesitantly up at the monster's facelessness. Details stood out to her: the blood and grit marring his smock; the leathery texture of the material; the slick black material framing his neck; the waxy wrinkles of his flesh. She could smell him; the odor was metallic and mildly like sea spray. This was not a hallucination. This was too vivid; too real.
A shudder slipped down her back, because a monster was standing over her, 'staring' at her, and yet behaving as docile as a lamb. He was eerie. Shocking, and eerie and unsettling; But... but not exactly frightening.
Heather looked slowly down at his gloves, noting for the first time that several of his fingers were stuck together.
"Your fingers... and your face... the flesh has all run together. That happens in recovering burn victims, doesn't it? People like Alessa. But you also look like one of the gods depicted in the cult's paintings." She looked up at his face. "You're like half and half. Half psychotic, evil god attendant; half unhappy, little girl delusion."
"... You also sound almost exactly like a tiger. Like, every sound you make is either tiger-ish, or sounds like what I'd expect a dinosaur to sound like," she noted dryly. "How do you even make sounds? Your mouth never moves."
He twitched and pulled his head back, and then crouched slightly and docked his head to the side. To Heather's horror, a slit opened up in the side of his head, and a tongue pushed out and wove through the air. She stiffened.
"Oh," she mumbled quietly. "Of course. Your actual mouth is on the side of your head. Clearly. Why did I not see that coming? No pantheon would be complete without a god or angel who has a mouth on the side of his head."
Apparently realizing that he'd been distracted from his work, he growled harmlessly,dissolved back to all fours, and turned back towards the goddess. Heather blinked in surprise and, despite her earlier disgust, she reached forward quickly and grabbed his shoulder. Some of the tissue just beneath his shoulder was raw and bloody, and not at all pleasant to the touch
"Wait!" she called nevertheless.
Once more he flinched down from her, and whipped his head around to 'look' in her direction.
Heather swallowed, her fingers releasing and then touching his shoulder again. He was definitely warm, although his skin was leathery and taut. Why the hell aren't you hostile towards me? she thought. Then a weirder thought occurred to her: Why aren't I more hostile towards you? She couldn't help but wonder if maybe Alessa had poured memories of a protective or fatherly figure into this creature. With a gulp, she realized that he might have been the same height as Harry Mason. "Am I done?" she asked him weakly. "Can I leave? Or is all of this just going to follow me?"
Although the Metatron's primary drive might have been to ensure the birth of the goddess, there seemed some merit in the idea that he had also been built from some of Alessa's more positive memories. After a moment, he slowly swiveled back towards her (although he did not stand up), and gave her a gentle push. It was not exactly an answer, but it was sufficient. She took a deep breath, and nodded. Despite herself, a few more tears formed in her eyes. Resigned tears.
"T-thank you," she mumbled. "Thank you for the things you did to help me." She had the strangest urge to hug the frightening monster, but as he was crouched down and she was standing, it would have been difficult to pull off with any grace. She took a slow step away from him, and then another, and then she turned and slowly headed off to leave Silent Hill behind her forever.
Valtiel watched her go, twitching irregularly. When she was gone, he lowered his head and then picked up a stray blonde hair from the ground, and twirled it between his fingers.
"Are you real?"
He lifted his head and gazed silently after her for a moment. Then he became aware of his task again. He made as if to discard the hair; but after a moment he folded the strand into the curve of his palm and closed his fist around it.
Are you real...