Fear and Loathing in Silent Hill

Author's note: This work of fanfiction contains profound ontological trolling. The author, does not take responsibility for possible psychological and moral damage certain material in this work can cause to individuals deeply indoctrinated into rigid belief systems.

Addition 2: Reposted due to general level of stupid mistakes. Also, if someone would like to work as a beta on this project, I would gladly accept your offer, embrace your advices, corrections and mistakes, and listen patiently to your constructive criticism.

An alien place stops being evil when it reaches somebody who's trained in Buddhist Yoga course, or psychedelic or some type of system where they know how to transform energy. I've got a lot of bad energy that I'm gonna pass on; I will transform it to good energy before I pass it on. That's known as the Great Work in alchemy.

?

Sidpa

A long time ago, around the jungle covered hills at the footsteps of the Himalayan jungle lived a young man who decided to find out the secret of life, and the secret how to get out of life, to end the never ending chain of birth and rebirth, cause and effect.

After a long search through all the valleys and the highest peaks of the mountains, the young man stumbled on a teacher of the vama-marga school known for providing illumination in the shortest amount of time possible, unlike the slow but safe school of buddhism and classic yoga.

"Venerable master, what must I do to achieve enlightenment?" The young man asked the old scrawny man.

The rishi looked at the young man with a totally focused stare of a yogin, then smiled. "Spend every night from now in a charnel ground. When you'll see the vetalas hanging around there, come again to me."

The young man obeyed the guru's word without hesitation; and when the Sun made the last step on the celestial ark, he went in a hurry to the ash covered, foul smelling, forbidden to most area where the bodies were cremated as reminder of transience of life.

The night went by very, very slowly, and the sights, the sounds, the smells filled the young man's soul with dread and matter not a lot of people beneath the age of fifty thought about, although he never, even in the middle of the night, when some clouds obscured the white eye of Chandra, saw anything out of usual.

For several full moons the young man visited the charnel ground in hope of seeing the dreaded vetalas, pretas, and other evil spirits attracted by the tamas energy of such disgusting place, covered by a layer of dark gray ash which didn't allow anything to grow from the terrain, with the nauseous smoke of burning flesh lingering eternally into the aether above the new bodies and the powder of old ones.

And one night, when the mind was ready to walk into the state of sleep, the young man saw the dark spirit, with fierce red eyes shining as the sparks falling from under the blacksmith's hammer when it hit the glowing metal, with an impish grin showing teeth as sharp as knifes, and with the face pale as the snow on the peaks of Himavat. The next moment, he smiled as the revelation lighted up his mind.

The next morning, the young man returned to the Venerable teacher, and congratulated him with the good achievement.

Chapter 1: Bio survival

(Derango – An Invisible Tale)

As the bike drove ahead into the great unknown, Eva didn't turn even for a sixteenth of a second to look back, at the road separating her from the prison that had left so many scars on her mental and astral bodies. Despite the advent of the moon on the celestial abode, Eva continued to drive non stop, determined to reach as fast as possible the house of the person who had caused this nightmare for her and ask the most important question, a question that had bothered her mind every day in that equivalent of hell on Earth – why?

The long, bony branches of the trees stretching menacingly onto the lost highway in the middle of nothing seemed to tremble with an unnatural life, waiting for the girl to drive a little bit to the left or right from the middle in order to grab her, envelope her and bring her to the eldritch deities waiting for a sacrifice in the depths of the leafy, gloomy, silent ocean of green. When such anxiety inducing thoughts reached Eva's mind, the girl tried to use all her will to focus on the road ahead, free from any sign of human activity, even a lonely car of another lost soul; but with the advent of the night it was getting more and more difficult to keep it focused, since the hypnagogic chaos demanded strongly the girl's attention.

Eva would have allowed herself to fall into the sea of sidereal wonders, if it weren't for the path she was in, a road free from any signs of something promising a stop for the night, like motels, trucker stops, gas stations, or even a simple house with warm light streaming through the windows. Of course, she could just stop the bike and sleep with the head and arms placed on the steering zone, but the fear inside her didn't let her to take such chances. Who knew what kind of stuff lived inside the forest? Maybe those blasphemous, qliphotic beings are already watching her from behind the outer wall made from bushes that demarcated the asphalt path from the kingdom of the forest.

Calm down. Everything's fine. There are no such things as monsters, Eva thought, trying to be as rational as possible; but, alas, rationality tends to serve well during the day whilst it crumples away under the rays of the moon. Why the fuck did I choose this road? Nowhere: out of time, out of space: lost. Why there's no motel around? The silence: the scariest thing of all. No. The Unknown. Keep focused. What was that?

In a rush of adrenaline, Eva looked left, muscles tense as iron, only to see some fluttering shape moving through the air between the twisted branches of the trees. A sigh escaped Eva's mouth as she recognized the object as a bird. She truly needed rest if something casual like that sent her into full blown adrenaline rushes.

The cold wind bashing against her face, swirling through her red and black hair, was the only tonic that restored, at least partially, some energy in the tired girl with the mind slipping more and more easily into the astral plane. With the advent of the stars, though, the current of air gained some coldness which sent Eva's body into a state of perpetual shivering. And now, with thousands of stars above her, Eva truly wished she had at least taken one sweater. And why did she submit herself to such a torture? Teenage lightning: on the ride of emotions a lot of stupid things are done, and the most vile thing is that in the end none of them ever changes anything. It's just teenage lightning, a harmless spark of light.

The discomfort caused by the night ride made Eva think about the sudden rush of her escape, if it was actually worth it or not, and if her father would actually recognize her at all, since ten years is a mighty long time; she had underwent some heavy metamorphosis through this period, growing from a little girl into a woman, therefore there was a high chance the man who had disconnected her from the safe oceanic womb of a warm, loving home would just say her to go away and don't disturb him. This was the strongest fear in Eva's whole being. Only the dark abyss awaited for her ahead in case of a negative answer; and with every mile toward the city of Ashfield, the desperate feeling of standing on the brink of the great void grew in intensity.

"Snap out of it!" Eva said out loud, words lost in the aethereal swirls. "Everything will be fine. Believe in it, like that boy said."

It was easier said than done, especially when she was in the middle of nowhere with the carpet of pitch black falling down on the last remnant of civilization. And the trees...there wasn't any aura of comfort in their twisted, writhing shapes reminding some frozen creatures from the archaic aeons of time when vertebrates were just an imagination in the vast super computer of the Universe. The place was pretty oppressive, although there weren't any walls around like back in that boarding school, where Phaser and Flanger had to spend their last few days before summer vacation.

"Seems the girl couldn't hold a day in this place anymore. I can guess why," Flanger said as the two agents walked through the gothic hallways of something that was named as school, though, by the look at the gray corridors with small windows, the stampedes of depressed kids in ashy gray uniforms, and the stern looks of the educational personnel, it could be said the word "prison" suited it better.

"But why, Flanger? Why did she ran away one day before finishing the school year and getting the freedom to do almost anything for three months? It isn't very logical," Phaser said. "I have a suspicion she had motives more deeper than hate toward this..this...hole."

Flanger sighed. "Then what is it, Sherlock Holmes? You've heard what others think of her. If I were surrounded by such idiots, I would have escaped the place at a much faster rate than this girl, what's her name, by the way?"

"Eva Gebloomenkraft," Phaser said.

Flanger couldn't hold back a giggle. "That's some pretty stupid name. No wonder everyone here bullied her."

"Why is it stupid? Bloomenkraft translated from German is 'flower power'. In my opinion, it's a lovely name," Phaser said, stopped in the middle of the twilight, deserted corridor, then put a hand on the handle of a white door to his right. When he opened it, he collided with a teenage girl looking like if she had woken up from a deep shamanic trance.

"I'm sorry," George Dorn said.

The girl set off away from the Burger Shot without paying real attention toward the long haired dude she had just ran into, as if she was still under the spell of sleep, her face pale, her eyes looking distant. George looked at her until she disappeared in hallway nearby, mind pondering over her unusual appearance, way too scruffy for a teenage girl. For a single moment, the reporter from Slurrealism journal felt a strong urge to go after her, stop her from whatever she was planning to do; and as in confirmation of his anxiety, some middle age man in a long light brown coat set off right after the girl.

Not my business, George thought. But the girl! There was something...catchy in her, demanding help. Maybe it was his paternal instinct kicking in after almost five year of rather promiscuous sex life with no interest at all in stability? There was some weed in his red truck that would help to forget this moment of karmic arousal, so it would be best if he would get as soon as possible to the vehicle.

While walking next to the corridor where the girl and the pedophile looking guy had disappeared, George Dorn couldn't stop his head from instinctively turning left. However, disappointment, and a sprinkle of relief, spread through his being as George encountered nothing but an empty hallway, free from shadows due to the intense, hospital like illumination coming from the ceiling. Suddenly, like a wave of nausea, a sense of unreality dawned on the man, a peculiar feeling that something was off despite looking absolutely normal.

Better keep going, George thought and hurried away to the exit. On the road there, he was amazed to see only two or three customers strolling around, eyes wide from confusion and fear. George didn't pay much attention to them, as he was busy escaping from the ominous place filled with murky currents in the air. On the way to the exit, though, some things intensified his unspecified sense of unease: the emptiness, the vastness, the silence of the mall was something new for George Dorn, who had never been to a shopping place where the subliminal muzak had been turned off and where only about five people wandered aimlessly from shop to shop.

Once he passed the glass gates, he took a large breath of the evening air, looking at the red wound in the west. Never before George had seen such a beautiful and at the same time anxiety inducing sky. It was like half of the sky went crimson red, like if some eldritch daemon had pierced the thin blue fabric of the celestial sphere as a sacrifice to some powerful Outer God suffering from thirst for destruction of innocent, little worlds filled with naïve people who had no clue about forces way more powerful and dangerous than their own peers.

George's red pickup truck was pretty noticeable in an almost empty parking lot. Apart from the reporter's vehicle, a light brown old looking Sedan stood right near the entrance; and a weird looking car, something similar to golden roofless Cadillac, occupied in a non legal manner several white squares in the middle of the empty square of asphalt baking under the rays of the summer sun.

Whom that thing could belong to? George thought as he sprinted to his truck, to his safe place, unable to hold back the fear anymore. He was perfectly sure something was deeply wrong with this mall on the outskirts of Ashfield, and the feeling of uneasiness was so strong he even cursed the editor, Joe Malik, for sending him on this assignment. The paycheck was enough to live with all the needs satisfied, but was it really worth getting into place deemed cursed by almost all the people of America, if not to count various lunatics and seekers of paranormal thrills?

Once George was safe inside the truck, he decided to call Malik, just to be sure the contact with the real world was still on. He wasn't really surprised when the iPhone connection gave him a notice that it was impossible to reach the signal.

"Damn!" George cursed, wondering where the hell he had stepped into. Everything connected with the ghost town was a taboo, and everyone who tried to penetrate into the mysteries of that bubble of legends ended up being dead, or lost without any single trace. Was it really worth it to mingle with stuff beyond human comprehension just for the sake of money, fame and a good article?

Maybe it was just the mall? You're getting way too ahead, George, the long haired man, who was a fan of the golden age when people had made once again a good contact with their bodies and the natural world, thought while drumming his fingers against the steering wheel, eyes focused on the large ugly building ahead that had caused the bout of paranoia. And the girl? Is she okay? What if something was wrong with her? What if that pedo caught her and was performing now the male socio-sexual program?

"Fuck it," George said, started the engine and, when the motor rumbled beneath his feet, turned the truck toward the highway exit. He had other things to meditate upon than some teenage girl with tired eyes seeking help, which couldn't be said about the black haired agent glancing at the room Eva Gebloomenkraft had occupied for ten years.

"Phaser, we're breaking the law," agent Flanger, the voice of reason in their duo, said to the curious partner.

"I want to find out more about Gebloomenkraft," Phaser said, looking at the well illuminated but abandoned room with two beds and desks occupied by personal computers. "It's more than just a weird coincidence. Did you see the principle face? He was fucking astounded when I said about this Eva Gebloomenkraft disappearance."

"Yea, that was pretty weird," Flanger whispered. "But if they'll see us here, we can get under prosecution. We're breaking the law about confidentiality."

"Screw the law. I want the Truth," Phaser said and strolled to the bed on the left, with the wall above it covered in newspaper clippings.

Flanger rolled the eyes. A set of weird coincidences had happened over the course of twenty four hours, and Phaser, like usual, blew the thing out of proportion. Yesterday evening, right before their shift, someone, who had decided to remain unknown, had called Phaser and asked help specifically from him. According to his words, a girl named Eva Gebloomenkraft had run away from the local, well known both for its cruelty and discrimination by the size of the wallet, boarding school, and since any trouble with legal authorities wasn't desirable, due to the heavy blow in the facility's reputation, they had decided to call certain underground FBI units of dubious fame.

However, the real hilarity had arrived the next day, when Flanger and Phaser visited the school. The director, an old looking lady who hadn't outgrown the fashion of the Victorian age, had looked at them with more than amazed eyes.

"What? How the...? How did you find out? We haven't even called the police yet," Miss Anerisch said in astounded voice to the two agents sitting across the large mahogany table, eyes shifting from the redheaded woman to the black haired gentleman.

"An anonymous caller had called yesterday and begged us to help him find Eva Gelsol...Geblo...whatever," Flanger said, ashamed that she couldn't remember the name of the fugitive girl.

The principle's eyes widened like if she was seeing an act defying all the laws of nature right a few inches away from her face. "But...but...that's not possible. Eva left away with a big ruckus only today, right before the first lesson."

"What?" The agents had asked in unison with confused and at the same time amazed faces.

Principle Anerisch retained again her image of a woman with a heart of stone.

"It must have been a weird coincidence, and I'm truly sorry our little Eva Geblooomenkraft had bothered you in such a peculiar way, however we'll deal with it on our own, without the help of federal agents," she said robotically. "After all, it isn't the first time she escapes from our educational facility."

Phaser bent down in his seat and propped the elbows against the knees. "Can you tell us more about her escape attempts?"

"It's confidential information available only to the teaching personnel and Gebloomenkraft's parents," Miss Anerisch said it tone as sharp as the blade of a katana. "I will ask you to leave, and once again I apologize for the situation. That Eva is a pretty pesky rat around these parts - always knows how to create trouble for everyone."

On this note, their conversation had ended, leaving Miss Anerisch infuriated and the agents confused and interested in this rebel girl, but Phaser had decided not to follow the principle's plea of getting out of here; instead, he had gone straight into the girls' dormitory, where he asked a few female students about the whereabouts of Eva's room.

And this way our story returns back to the present moment, to the room occupied illegally by government agents, one checking for clues around the perimeter, and the other one standing at the door, ready to call the partner if some suspicious person would come to this particular area.

"Looks like this girl we're searching for is mad for Hugh Crane, the stage magician," agent Phaser said, looking at the articles cut out from different newspapers circulating around the North East of the US.

Many of the clippings looked old, even decades old; only one looked relatively new, and it was concerned with the sudden disappearance of the scandalous person known for his acts of black magic and impossible escapes from devices beyond the imagination of Houdini. It was an event which had caused such heavy repercussions about a year ago that even Phaser had been ready to give up the casual work in the FBI and go on the search for this idol of anarchy; but as the time went by, the mania had diminished, with a relaxed sigh from the moral majority of the Western civilization, and Phaser decided to put down for a while the hunt after Crane, accepting the widely spread theory that the magician had finally settled down, grown up from the rebellious phase, and begun family life somewhere away from the flashy lights of the cameras.

"I don't care, Phaser. I want go get out of here. I suspects the guards are already in a state of alert, because we didn't go out of the place like we should have done," Flanger, the moral part of the FBI dyad, tried to beat some sense into her romantic partner.

"Give me a minute, Flanger," the black haired agent said, then moved away from the wall toward the light brown table holding the flat screen personal computer.

His glance fell on the table, where a light blue book with the title - "How to escape" by "Cagliostro The Great" - written in white letters rested. Phaser took the book and opened it at random. The pages flipped under his fingers until the whole book was shuffled from end to the beginning, which opened the narrative with a provocative sentence, the only one on a page of immaculate white:

You are absolutely free at any given moment of time in any given area of space.

That was way too optimistic, Phaser thought, closed the book, then proceeded to check the drawers, Cagliostro masterpiece in his left hand. He hit the jackpot in the lower drawer, occupied by a fat looking folder. Phaser brought the document into the morning light penetrating into the room, and his stare immediately stuck at the name of the large collection of papers.

"Silent Hill: Myth or reality?", the folder said.

A quick shuffle revealed the memo was more than just a collection of random articles; in fact, it looked more like some scholarly work, a paper of a candidate pretending for getting officially the PH.D status, rather than something a fifteen year old rebel could spur in a bout of boredom or maybe madness. But who knows what kind of devious, blasphemous processes are happening inside these adolescent girls. If they couldn't make the sperm-egg fusion, they would get heavily into matter where they could transform somehow the new, raw energies, power in its most material state, into philosophical or scientific babies.

A look at the memo made the light of insight flicker inside Phaser's head. "Hey, Flanger, I think I know where Eva-"

"They're coming!" Flanger said, then entered the room, closing the door behind as silently as she could.

"Fuck! Where shall we hide?" Phaser whispered angrily. For one moment, he intercepted Flanger's heavy stare saying Look what have you done now, implying if he would have listened to her, the voice of reason, everything would have been fine.

In the moments of frenzy, already hearing the thuds of booted feet increasing in clarity with every step, Phaser looked out of the window, but once he discovered hard ground two stories below, he decided to to change plan; and the bed covered by a dirty green sheet standing near the wall to his left provided a good hiding place beneath it, with the dark pitch darkness being the ideal area to escape any kind of unwanted stares. Phaser immediately dived there, primordial instincts about safety kicking in into his organism. Flanger, meanwhile, strolled confusedly across the room, mind in the grip of panic, eyes wandering beyond light speed from one corner to the other, however when the bronze doorknob turned, the female agent hid right behind the opening door, breath stuck in her trachea from another wave of truly mind boggling fear.

"They aren't here," a deep male voice boomed through the place.

"Are you sure?" Another voice of the same quality replied.

Several thuds followed the short dialogue as the men, probably the boarding school guards, stepped inside, and Flanger felt her heart stop beating for a few seconds and a wave of cosmic cold sweat wash over her body, from head to toe. Why the fuck had she agreed on this adventure? She was always like this: a follower, not a leader. Maybe if she would had said no to Phaser back in the hallways before they reached Eva's room, nothing of this kind would have happened. She decided, however, to remain quiet, thus bringing her into a situation which could put an end at her FBI career if one of the guards would dare to check the other side of the door.

"I don't see anybody," one of the man said. "They must be somewhere else, I guess."

"They will come out sooner or later," his partner responded. "Let's go back to out place. There's nothing to worry about, and if they have sneaked out some documents, our search will make it clear which things belong where."

A few thuds later, the door closed with a loud bang that seemed as sweet and soothing as the sound of a flute in new age tracks to the redheaded agent. Flanger let out a silent sigh, legs ready to go at any minute, then shifted her eyes to the bed, from under which her partner, that idiot who enjoyed getting into extreme situations just for the sake of something elusive as the truth, emerged slowly.

When Phaser got up on his feet, hands clutching the informational catch – the memo and the book – Flanger understood that the gray layer of dust upon the black coat and the white shirt beneath would give away a lot about their activities to the guards standing near the gigantic wall cutting the school away from civilization, making it an ideal ground for spreading the kind of knowledge that will create the ideal person the principle, and the parents who submitted their kids here, wanted - a mindless robot programmed to function only within the four terrestrial circuits with a heavy receptivity to all kind of Bavarian fire drills as well as authoritative-submissive games.

"We can't go out of here until you get rid of the dust," Flanger voiced her thoughts, concerned and afraid.

Phaser looked down at his ruined clothes. "Fuck! This is some shitty day, I must say."

The agent put the book and memo on the bed, and started clapping the dust out of his garments, sending large clouds of gray material made from all kinds of decayed, dead stuff through the air. After about five minutes, when Flanger made clear to him that he looked just like before coming here, Phaser took the documents back into his hands, then opened the door slightly, for about two or three inches.

"The coast is clear," he said and swung the door open.

"Phaser, didn't you hear what those guards said? They won't allow us to take any stuff out of here," Phaser reminded Phaser.

The black haired agent dropped his gaze down to the floor. "Shit! But here's the answer to her location. We need to get them out of here somehow."

"Easier said than done. And, by the way, what you're doing is a heavy crime which can get us in prison for a pretty long time. Are you willing to take such risks for some delinquent?" Flanger said as she closed the door behind her.

"I don't think she's really a delinquent," Phaser expressed his opinion, eyes shifting from one end of the hallway to another.

"Why? Multiple escapes, trouble with authorities, the school wide reputation of a rascal – everything fits the description of a delinquent."

"Cagliostro the Great was also a rascal," Phaser said, then proceeded down the hallway as quiet as possible to avoid getting caught way too near as possible from Eva's room.

"Are you trying to say this girl imitated the magician?" Flanger said, keeping up the black haired agent's tempo despite the weakness in the knees and a general lightheadedness caused by the refraction of sudden panic from her organism.

"I think it's quite plausible, and I've noticed some clues supporting my statement, apart from the paper clippings and the book, but I will tell you about them once we'll get the hell out of here," Phaser said, then turned right into another hallway, although this one was mildly crowded with teenage girls relaxing after the first morning class. "The documents I've found may reveal some interesting info about our suspect, though I've no idea how to transport them outside without the guards finding out about them."

"I might help you," a cracking voice said from behind.

Both agents turned around in less than one sixteenth of a second, still strung out about the close encounter with second circuit apes hired to protect the territory from unwanted, physical and ideological alike, intrusions that could come from the primate turfs adjacent to this little close community protected by something close to the infamous Berlin wall.

Instead of encountering something dangerous, they only met a boy with short brown hair and a pair or rectangular glasses over azure blue eyes. Everything in him screamed the label nerd, though it was weird seeing one in the women dorms, surrounded by girls who could even make twitch a sane male without traces of pedophilia in his nervous system.

"And who are you?" Flanger asked in the calmest voice she could make at the moment.

"I'm Eva's only friend," the boy said in sad tone. "Even though she was about a year older than me, she never treated me badly."

"What can you say about Eva?" Phaser asked.

"Nobody understood her, or tried to look past the image she used in public. I was the only one who cracked her game," the boy said. "Underneath the masks, she was a very nice person, the best in a hole like this, where everything, to be honest, is grouped around reputation, power games, stuff like that. She showed me there's more to reality than the stupid games going around here, you know, the dating, romance, nerds versus jocks, and so on."

Phaser looked with an I told you stare at Flanger, then put the right hand on the boy's shoulder.

"Thanks for the information. But how are you gonna help us in extracting the document from this boarding school?"

The boy smiled mischievously. "They never check students. Gimme the documents and meet me outside the perimeter at the picnic area in half an hour."

"Are you sure you won't betray us?" Phaser asked tiredly, used to giving important stuff to various people who would later disappear into nothingness.

The boy shook the head. "No! I promise. I will do anything to help in finding Molly. I own her very much for showing...certain things."

The last words threw a blush on the nerd's, if to use the traditional American labeling system dealing with the classification of people according to their properties used in interactions inside the educational facilities, face, but the boy quickly get a hold of himself, not allowing way too much information slip via kinesthetic signals.

"I will trust you then," Phaser said. "Here are the things I want to get outside. See you later."

He handled the boy the Silent Hill memo and the book, then turned around and went through the corridor in a relaxed pace, in order not to attract the attention of the girls lost in the madness of puberty who, thank goodness, were preoccupied with blabbering to each other about their primitive love affairs the description of which can be found at every single page of fanfiction and fictionpress.

Only after the long labyrinth was left behind did Flanger ask her partner about a discrepancy in the non written rules of school life.

"Haven't you noticed the girls there didn't see the nerdy kid at all?" She asked Phaser while descending the long marble stair leading to the main hall with the school's insignia – a woman holding with the bare hands a lion's paw – depicted on its polished, illuminated by fierce white neon light floor.

"No. What is it supposed to symbolize?" Phaser asked.

"It isn't normal! You don't see it even in normal schools, and here...here...Not a single girl would allow a guy like that walk freely through her living quarters. It was like if he was invisible. I don't know how to express it better," Flanger said, then stepped on the last step of the cyclopean stair.

"Maybe, thanks to Eva, he's regular there?" Phaser proposed.

Flanger rolled her eyes. "If that place was jock free, then how a nerd was granted with such a privilege?"

This was a question even Phaser, an avid searcher for truth in paranormal events since elementary school, couldn't find a rational answer for. Lost in meditation, the black haired agent looked down at the school's sigil, that symbol of knowledge showing the conquest of the natural side of the world by dissecting it into words, classifying the different events happening through all its strata, damning the beauty and mystery of the world for the sake of the logical, cold, free from any romantic flights of thought into abodes beyond the astral and mental matter; but something had happened at this moment, and the woman wasn't controlling the lion's mouth anymore, but was sitting, naked and in the grip of ecstasy, on the creature. And the beast wasn't really a lion anymore, since on the place of the animal head four human ones had appeared, and the tail turned into a snake with fangs dripping onto the vibrant lavender soil iridescent drops of venom. And the woman's right hand, lifted up toward the orange sky, held a golden cup that emanated a stream of illuminating, exhilarating, intoxicating flames of white light that turned deep, warm orange at the end; and as the light gained more strength, filling everything with the inebriating fumes of joy, of creative and destructive power, of freedom, Heather woke up only to meet the warm cozy darkness within her crossed hands.

Slowly, wave after wave, the tumult of a classroom during recess reached her ears. Head lying down on the desk, Heather managed to discern in the swirling, cacophonic mess of sounds the shrieks of the bestial beings going under the name high school girls, the lusty, paleolithic growls of the male part of the eleventh grade, and only one heavenly melody that came right from behind a her – the wordless song of Bob's ipod, cranked up to the max like usual. Heather understood, though, why the male primate behind her listened to music on ear splitting volumes, because if you had enough brains to understand what truly was going on in school, and to transcend the uber stupid games dealing with second circuit and fourth circuit concepts, you would use every way you can to distance yourself from this circus of glamour and masks.

"You know what he said to me? He said that he will buy a defected house for me so that when I enter inside it will collapse on me," a girl bellowed through the space of the cave.

"That's bad, Charles. You're truly the Dunwich Horror," Millie, one of the cheerleader girls, exclaimed in a lusty, naughty voice of an aroused primate ready to make the sperm-egg fusion with the specimen she had chosen for this highly delicate operation.

"Hey, Bob, see that. That's how Charles works," the low end voice of John Squealing appeared behind Heather. "Look at him! At this age, he already has the attention of woman, the respect of the jocks, and an Einstein like brain."

"Can't you see I'm busy," Robert responded in a distant voice, annoyed by the sudden intruder into his work space.

"He's not Charles," Artemis, another one from the cheerleader flock, almost moaned in a visceral fashion. "He is Charle, you know, the French Charle."

More giggles followed from the areas deep inside the cavern, where one of the male primates, best at showing off in the second circuit games, and best at conveying powerful mating signals in the fourth circuit games, enjoyed the high status as well as the coming with it attention from power and reproduction seeking females, ready to make babies from this guy in the manner of ant and bee queens.

Heather lifted off her head from the table, the red print from her arms clearly visible on the forehead, and looked with anxious eyes at the clock. Unfortunately, ten minutes separated the present from the last lesson, after which the official escape from this heaven for scatologists would become available.

"That's always with you. Every time someone wants to talk with you, get to know you better, you either say fuck off, like right now, or go into the fool mode," John wailed to Robert.

"So what? You're also a fool, you know," Bob said.

"And how's that?" John asked, tones of anger penetrating his bassy voice.

"You're a fool, because you don't understand you're also the magician," Robert said calmly, a professor explaining for the millionth time the simplest thing in the Universe to a crowd of utterly dull students. "If you will understand that you're the magician, you can stop being such a miserable fool, then."

"Can you make it more clear?" John said, irritated.

"To be true, I've already told you one of the Illuminati secrets, and I did in a language as clear as possible," Bob said in a more emotional voice than usual, though it sounded pissed off rather than positive. "Think for yourself, schmuck!"

"You know, I think it's right that you're alone, schmuck!" John shouted, then, as his thuds said, went away from Robert.

What was that all about? Heather thought, confused by John's behaviour, who usually was a quiet, talkative guy. However, this was one of Bob's most powerful abilities – the power to piss of everything and everyone in a matter of few minutes, or, if he was in a more cheerful mood than usual, to at least shock the crap out of everyone in the proximity of a meter.

Looking at the clock, 13:23 pm., Heather sighed from the acceleration of time – finally, the perceptual slowing down of time particles brought by the math class had dissolved - then brought from her gray schoolbag the biology book with the black textbook resting within its pages. She opened the book at random and found herself looking at the images of Cnidaria species. The round, translucent forms of the jellyfishes surrounded by the deep blue background of an aquatic environment made Heather feel less anxious than usual. She always liked the creatures flowing through water. There something very calm, very pure, very innocent in their life, free from the pressure every dry land creature must suffer from birth till death, especially if it was unfortunate enough to be born as a talking ape.

The blonde teenager, who had unconsciously dropped out of the secular games going on around her a few years ago, turned the page, and the story returned back to the FBI agents, patiently waiting for the nerdy boy in the picnic area a mile away from the boarding school. The gray towers of the Stern facility were visible across the waving crones of the blossoming tress, cold and menacing atavisms of an era long gone in the aeons of time; and while looking at those menacing peaks, Phaser could not wander about the fourteen year old looking boy who had promised to carry the sources of vital information over the border between the real world and a cemented mass of decay well hidden by nineteenth century mannerisms. The guard at the post near the cyclopean iron doors answered on Phaser's query about certain rules that nobody – absolutely nobody, neither the students nor the teachers – passed outside or inside without a check; therefore the agent felt fear of failure running strong trough his veins as he waited for the messenger to arrive, mind working through every possible trouble the boy could run into. For a moment, though brief one, Phase actually considered the nerd as an agent sent from the principle to apprehend the possible clues that had been found by their clandestine investigations.

Flanger, meanwhile, just sat down behind one of the wooden tables, enjoying the calm, tranquil nature around her. She actually hoped the boy wouldn't show up, so that they could forgive this weird case once and for all and go on living as if this supernatural fiasco had never happened. But, alas, to Flanger's dismay and Phaser's joy, the nerdy kid appeared from the bushes at the appointed time and with all the materials in hands.

"You lied to us?" Flanger said as she got up from the bench. "The guards check everyone."

"I didn't want you to worry too much," the boy said innocently.

"But how did you manage to get out with these things unnoticed?" Phaser asked, taking from the nerdy boy's hand the precious clues leading to the solution of Eva Gebloomenkraft's mystery.

The boy smiled. "There are no restraints everywhere."

"You are also interested in Cagliostro the magician?" Phaser asked curiously.

"It's one of the things Eva taught me while she was here."

"And what's the meaning of it?" Flanger asked, arms crossed on the chest.

"That there are no limits, material or not," the boy said with a know-it-all grin dancing on his face. "I need to get back before they start suspecting me of going after Eva. Hope you'll find her."

"Take care!" Phaser said and watched how the boy, still smiling like a monk rolling in the waves of divine grace, turned around and proceeded into the thick bushes demarcating the picnic area, striped blue and white shirt undulating from minimal currents of air that shifted through the local aether.

(Here kitty, kitty, kitty, a burly man with olive skin said, wry smile on the face, as he tried to catch a gray cat on the deserted streets of the legendary, among the fringe crowds, town of Silent Hill.)

"What we will gonna do now?" Flanger asked, disappointed by the unusually lucky, for Phaser, twist of events.

Phaser looked at her with a an adventurous smile. "We'll take a ride to Silent Hill."

(Sir Tristram, violer d'amores, fr'over the short sea, had passencore rearrived from North Armorica

on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor had

topsawyer's rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse to Laurens County's gorgios while

they went doublin their mumper all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to

tauftauf thuartpeatrick not yet, though venissoon after, had a kidscad buttended a bland old

isaac: not yet, though all's fair in vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe. Rot

a peck of pa's malt had Jhem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory end to the regginbrow was to be

seen ringsome on the aquaface.)

The celestial sound of the school bell announcing the end of the last lesson for the weekend rolled through the forlorn hallways of the educational facility like a rippling wave caused by a heavy earthquake passing through the primordial ocean, waking up the comatose kids and teenagers back to the dazzling world of waking human consciousness, bringing ecstatic grins on the faces both of the adult and young livestock, breaking the monotonic process of hypnotizing the younger generation into the reality tunnel of the older one by the mean of endless repetition of matter rather unimportant for ordinary human life; and Heather, returning from the cozy, oceanic state of hypnagogic sensations, when the real seemed distant and the unreal had a foggy, pleasant, marshmallow like warmth, focused her hazel eyes onto the world of three dimensional solid objects confined within Euclidian geometry, then noticed the sudden hectic activity of her classmates as they were getting ready for getting out from the cement womb of school.

"So, let's meet at out place where, you know, we'll have some fun," Christie, one of the seemingly modest girls, said to Charles The Dunwich Horror.

"Charles, what's your today's trajectory?" Another girl asked the same guy, eyes glistening with the fanatic stare of someone who had met the Godhead in flesh and within an aura of bright white light, or of someone who truly believed in the propaganda of the leaders oppressing hir life in any way imaginable.

"Straight parallel," Charles responded jokingly, then his thuds grew weaker as he went out of the classroom.

Seeing everyone else in a state of perpetual excitement, Heather, head still in the clouds, started putting the books into her black schoolbag, mind lingering for the pleasant,warm bed awaiting her back home; but, due to cloudiness of the blonde's consciousness, she accidentally threw on the floor the biology book, which landed on the floor with a large flap.

Cheeks red from embarrassment, Heather bent down in a swift motion, however an alien hand grasped the book with the green cover before she had managed to lay her palm on it. Heather bent up, spine making a barely audible pop, and looked at the guy who decided to show some chivalry toward the being classified as a no good shit by the compassionate, enlightened, kind people of the eleventh grade. To her surprise, it was another no good shit.

"Thanks," Heather said, taking the book, eyes perched at the immovable brown orbs of the guy sitting behind her. "I'm such a fool."

Robert, to the girl's surprise, smiled, the usually heavy eyes that seemed to look straight into the core of the observer gaining some warmth. "God loves his fool. God lives in his soul."

"What?" Heather asked, confused.

Bob waved with the right hand. "Nah. Don't pay too much attention."

He cast a glance left, to the idyllic scene outside the steel jaws of this prison for the mind, the destroyer of human creativity, the incubator of stale cliches and modes of behaviour, then got up from the desk, and proceeded toward the exit, carefully evading on the way there the living corpses of the classmates.

The blonde girl felt a wave of sympathy toward the guy who had managed to bring down even the attention seeking whore Charles from the dais of glory and reputation ( At least I don't screw people, with a screw, that is), and decided to stick with him at least till the bus stop a few hundred meters away from the anterior side of this building created by creatures born in the deepest pits of the qliphotic realms.

As soon as Robert's black short, with a sentence saying नाशिवं विद्यते क्वचित in white letters on the back, disappeared from the classroom's door, Heather got up and went after the local weirdo, will focused on getting a new acquaintance, and possibly a new friend, today. To be honest, she didn't know why she wanted to follow him; it was something deep inside her that demanded sticking with the loner who hadn't showed any sign of physical or emotional attraction toward the females in the midst of paedomorphosis that could turn any self respecting adult male into drooling slave of his testicles. But life is crazy, and sometimes things beyond any definition of logical happen, just like this new idea of his to go straight into Silent Hill because of this Gebloomenkraft girl. It wasn't even their problem – the local police must deal with delinquent adolescents, not the FBI. The day started sucky, and it was all getting downhill since then.

"I think we should get back home," Flanger said, annoyed. "It's not our business. Let the local authorities deal with it."

"I don't believe in coincidences, Flanger," the black haired agent said, eyes focused on the windy roads typical for the mountainous areas of North East America. "Whoever called us, he must have had a pretty good reason, don't you think, Flanger? And how did he find out our number, by the way? I want to know the truth about this whole peculiar situation we're in."

Flanger rolled her eyes. Once Phaser got something into his mind, he would fulfill it till the end, no matter if he would find out himself in a life or death situation or not, though the former happened a lot more than the latter – it was the result Phaser had to pay for reaching the truth and meddling into affairs better left for agencies higher than the FBI.

Instead of feeling mad at her partner, Flanger decided to check the Silent Hill document lying on her knees. She opened the large file, then started shuffling through the chaotic array of memos, photos, notes, newspaper clippings and maps.

"This girl was definitely obsessed with the town," the redheaded agent said. "But what had she forgotten there?"

Phaser shrugged. "That's what we're going go find out."

Irritated by her partner's response, since she didn't want to be close to that haunted town in any way imaginable, Flanger decided to delve into the huge source of information that had caused some sweat to both of them in the process of extracting, though the official word would be stealing, material from the boarding school. She took the first paper and started reading it.

SILENT HILL PROJECT MEMO #1 1/23

E.G.:

I have found some info regarding the town of Silent Hill in the book "Religion and the Appalachians," Miskatonic Press, 1991, where a large portion is dedicated to the weird cult of Silent Hill, possibly responsible for the incident. The author states the local cult, known as the Order, is rooted in the middle of the nineteenth century, when the first settlers, who practiced a heretic branch of Christianity whose main point was that first were people and only then God – the idea was presumably stolen from the hermetic and qabalistic teaching of the late medieval time and modified a little to hide this fact of lineage – arrived at the ground which later became Silent Hill and started propagating their faith away from the major Protestant centers. By the 70's of the previous century, the Order was pretty much in a state of decline, and looked more like a poorly made conglomeration incorporating elements from local shamanism, left hand cults, and the fantastic visions of the local madmen.

Jake

"Now we know the name of the guy who had helped us – Jake," Flanger said.

"Why?" Phaser asked.

Flanger checked the other memos to be absolutely sure, then voiced the result of her investigation. "Every paper is signed by someone named Jake. Since we know Eva had no friends, the most logical assumption is that Jake is the blond kid."

"What if Jake is the one who called us?"

Flanger lifted her brows. "Well...the voice of the man who contacted us definitely didn't belong to any kid of pubertal age – it was clear, deep, throbbing voice of a fully developed male. Due to Eva's reputation, I think it's quite possible she had some...men outside the boarding school."

"I think Eva wasn't really the kind of delinquent who enjoyed spending time with grown up men; to be honest, I don't think she wasn't something like that at all."

"How can you be so sure about that?" Flanger asked, taking a quick glance at the agent left to her.

"Have you noticed how clean her room is? That's not a trait you see often in delinquent teens. So, I presume she isn't one, that she just faked the whole thing to, I don't know, shock or teach something to her peers. She was influence by Cagliostro, after all," Phaser continued her elucidation.

"Okay. But who was that guy who had called us, then?"

Phaser could only shrug. "That's one hell of a mystery."

Since the conversation reached a dead end, Flanger proceeded reading the memos. The second one offered a new angle on the Silent Hill dilemma.

SILENT HILL PROJECT.

1/30

Further investigation revealed certain facts absolutely contradicting my previous memos. For example, Witchcraft and the New World, Ralph Roberts, 2002, Oxford Press, gives only one paragraph to the Order, mentioning it among other religious organizations that had formed in the wake of the sixties, and traces its origin to Dahlia Gillespie, a hippie activist who turned, as a result of heavy psychedelic drug use, into a self deifying cultist and made, upon the basis of severely distorted new age teachings, her own religion which emphasized human beings, especially females, as potential carriers of God and had elaborate, and rather painful, rituals to accomplish the birth of this God, a being whose mission is to bring Eternal Paradise on Earth. To the present day, we have two different views, both with substantial facts to support the theories, on the things that had been going on in Silent Hill till recent years; but, in the end, one thing is one hundred percent certain – in 1973 something happened to the town, and it caused a sudden disappearance of all the city dwellers, the cessation of all contact with the town, and a plethora of paranormal events in the town and the adjacent areas. If to tell my personal opinion, the area around Toluca Lake reminds me of the Zone from Stalker, the game.

Jake

Now things were getting tricky. Flanger, like anyone else who had lived the majority of her life in Maine, heard different rumours about the forlorn town, but she had hoped professionals could solve the mystery behind it, bring the truth from behind the veil; however, like she had understood from the memos, even well known and respectable professors from influential universities didn't know what the hell was going on in that little town – not a pretty good sign. The last time such a tumult of conflicting opinions swirled trough the scholarly locale happened a few years ago, when that Navidson tape spread like a viral video all over thew world; and Flanger still had, occasionally, thank God, nightmares about that damn house. Phaser, after seeing the tape, wanted to visit that place; only by implementing every way of causing hysteria know to women had the agent stopped him from the truly crazy idea. If they would have gone to that place on Ash Tree Lane, Flanger had a suspicion they would never have returned to the world of the living.

Now, however, there was no way to convince Phaser to turn back, so it was better for her to relax and hope all the legends, rumours and gossip about the town being invaded by demons, cultists, aliens, convicts and so on were actually untrue, merely tales created by the lazy to scare the bipedal primates with subtle, romantic nervous systems that are easily impressed by the stories about the gothic, the scary, the supernatural.

With the Sun descending above them in the empyrean sphere, the two agents rolled up and down the serpentine roads built on the slopes of the tall mountains which during the warm season were carpeted by a layer of emerald green forest; and with every single mile, they abandoned the Euclidean world of poorly wired robots and entered into twilight regions where the real and unreal are indefinite concepts in the cosmic play that only an individual can dissect and separate if he or she is trained enough to see the real thing, free from the delusions of the self put on top of it as a nice decoration on a wedding cake.

But the tyranny of the higher Manas also has its limits, especially if the talk is about teenage fugitive girls, and Eva's control was slipping away, bit by bit, as she traversed the green ocean after the last step of Vishnu, tired, sleepy, with waves of sadness breaking against the soft, cracked border of her awake consciousness. Eva lifted the exhausted eyes from the road, and a surprised gasp left her mouth as she saw the dim yellow light behind the trees to her right, a beacon of something human in the Great Wilderness between American settlements.

For a moment, the girl felt a stab of fear, as images about degenerate maniacs gone mad waiting for women or men taking delight in torturing young, ripe women in a sophisticated way in their sheds filled her chaotic mind which jumped from one disturbing vision to the next like a monkey in the jungle; but the more she came closer to the source of light, the more she relaxed, since the reason of the yellow glow was nothing but a gas station, lonely, desolate, abandoned in the darkest pits at the bottom of the cosmic well. On other hand, though, it truly looked scary, because everyone knows empty spaces in the middle of nowhere are a spawning ground for humanoid monsters that share an insatiable lust for young women with curved, arabesque like forms.

"Keep it real, girl," Eva reminded herself. "Monsters only live in movies, and that's a different reality than ours."

And silently, she cursed herself for adding so much socio-sexual aspects to the visual manifestations of her fear of the unknown; but it must be reminded that we're dealing with a fifteen year old girl, a human being right in the middle of the stormy winds of carnal pleasure characteristic for the fourth circuit, so the epithet "pervert" definitely must not be attributed to our heroine, because her thoughts weren't really different from all the other teenage girls out there, slutty and virtuous alike.

Subduing the casual for horny teenage girls aeipathy toward second circuit alpha males, no matter how ugly, devious or disturbing they are, since as long as they will take and rape every form of a dominant male goes, Eva reached the gas station and stopped the bike under the circle of the surreal yellow light illuminating the parking lot and the two gasoline pumps in front of the diner. The girl dismounted her vehicle, which she had built inside the boarding school during free time, loud thuds sounding alien in this long forgotten artifact of human civilization, then went to the glass doors

Once she entered, a silvery bell brought the waiters attention toward the fugitive girl.

"Hello there!" The waiter, a young black woman with an afro haircut, said cheerfully, happy to see at least one human face during her shift in a hole like this. "What can I do for you?"

"I would like one large meal," Eva said in a tired voice, then cast a glance at a white door in the farthest reaches of the little salon.

Eva proceeded there, paying on the way attention to this rather trivial yet somehow surreal, unreal place. The tables near the long glass window with crimson red coaches on both sides looked way too new, totally unspoiled by the presence of a human body. The white tiled floor reflected strongly the yellow light emanating from the long neon tubes on the equally spotless white ceiling. Three fans rotated in a somnolent daze, no shadows being cast on the floor or walls due to the intense illumination that would be probably at home in a medical facility rather than a diner on the brink of the Great Unknown. The whole place gave off a fake aura, and Eva felt stuck in a David Lynch movie where everything always looked extremely normal yet somehow odd, wrong, distorted in some primal, subconscious way.

She entered the bathroom, which also looked brand new, and went to the mirror, eyes shifting right and left, trying to find the hidden monster in the shadowless corners of the place. In order to ease up the schizophrenic feeling, Eva turned on the hot water, brought the hands under the warm stream of oxidane, then splashed it on his face, sure that once she would open her eyes she would see someone else apart from her in the mirror.

To her relief, no one decided to scare her in such a way; she only saw her tired face, with a stripe and star tattoo on the cheeks which she had made during one of the occasional escape attempts from the place reminding in some twisted way of the secluded castle where the libertines from 120 Days of Sodom performed their ever increasing in perversity acts against all the laws of human morality. Sometimes, when her mood was extremely low, Eva thought the tortures described in that book were relatively mild in comparison to the modern state of affair in places where the awful creatures known as teenagers spent most of their life together, playing the same old dominance submission games but with a sexual, no, reproductive twist on it.

As she looked in her brown irises, she returned back to the abysmal rainy day ten years ago, the start of her life amidst the sources of ignorance all around Earth.

"Why?" She whispered, tears appearing in the borders of her eyes.

Eva wiped them with the back of her right hand, then returned into the diner, where the heavenly smell of the big meal – a hamburger, French fries, and a large Soda – stimulated her hungry stomach just waiting for something to get into its well.

Mind blank, Eva sat on the round bar stool, took the juicy hamburger and started devouring it with great pleasure, enjoying every single wave of taste with her being. Never before had food tasted so good. It was like he was for the first time alive after a period of a three year sleep, however the mind was still in a state of shock, unable to comprehend that ominous, impossible according to all laws of nature letter.

Just thinking about it made James too anxious to eat, so he put aside the microwave oven dish composed from vegetables and pieces of animal flesh, and cupped his head with both hands. How was it actually possible? What if he was going mad? Such things did not happen in real life.

James lifted the head and looked at a half empty Budweiser can on the table. Should he drown this whole phenomenon with the foul tasting liquid made from fermented barley that, if taken enough, can put a human being onto the brink where phantasmagoric visions from lands deeper than the realms of slumber start influencing the real world, which is gradually forgotten and dissolved into waves of warm awareness manifesting in sober states only during the mornings when the blanket gains the narcotic, uterine, addictive and unforgettable coziness. Or what if the cause of this delirious thing was the liquid inside the iron can? What if he had drunk enough of it to start losing touch with the consensus world?

There was only one way to test which statement is wrong and which is right.

"So, what do you know about Silent Hill?" Flanger asked her partner.

"I heard some rumours about that place, like everyone else who lives here, about people vanishing into thin air, weird, frightening sounds, unusual shapes in the forest around the town," Phaser said. "But I don't have any solid theory, even a hypothesis, about the town. But from one angle it reminds in an eerie way of the Bermuda triangle."

Flanger furrowed her brows. "Yes, there's some kind of similarity between the two events."

"There's more than similarity," Phaser went on. "Unexplained disappearances, electromagnetic phenomena, weird lights over the lake, atmospheric events that go beyond logic – it all fits the classic Bermuda triangle array of events."

"Phaser, it's all based on rumours," Flanger said in a slightly annoyed tone. Once again her partner got carried away by the oral lore spread throughout this region about everything slightly out of the usual. A century ago it had been the town of Arkham in lieu with the inaccessible mountains in Vermont; now it was the little tourist resort town known as Silent Hill. "We are dealing with unsubstantiated tales going from mouth to mouth, and you know that in this kind of communication every participant add their own twist to the legend. After two or three exchanges, there's nothing left of the original."

"Well, now we have a reason to check what's really going on there," Phaser said, adventurous smile on the face.

"Wait!" Flanger said, flabbergasted. "Have you created the situation on purpose?"

Phaser cast a sarcastic glance at the redheaded partner. "Look who's paranoid. I didn't create anything, because I don't know anything about Eva or the caller. It just happened, and I'm glad the investigation took us to Silent Hill. It's just a weird coincidence."

"What a weird coincidence, though," Flanger said, then buried herself into the examination of other memos.

"By what coincidence have you ended up here, uh, sweetheart?" The black waiter-slash-cook asked kindly.

"Life," Eva responded in a neutral tone, word dissipating slowly through the empty diner.

"Okay. And where are you going? I may help you choosing the right road."

"Ashfield," Eva said in the same tired voice of someone defeated by life.

"Hmm...It's pretty distant from here," the black woman said. "Maybe you should stay here for the night. We're open twenty-four seven, so it isn't a problem if you'll decide to take a nap."

Eva shook the head. "No, I want to get there as fast as possible."

"What if you're gonna fall asleep while driving?"

"It wont happen," Eva said, though she wasn't really sure about it. She did feel quite tired, especially if consider all the stress she had experienced since the morning escape; and at the present moment she couldn't relax, for she was afraid the police will catch her any minute now – the watchdogs of the boarding school preserved their reputation as the twelve knights of King Arthur the Holy Grail.

"Are you sure?" The black waitress persisted. "You look exhausted...sad...lost in your thoughts, you know? That's a bad state to be. It leads to many mistakes. A focused, alert mind is the key out of all terrible situations."

"I need to be there," Eva responded in a tone sadder than usual, the image of her father rolling across the screen in front of her third eye. "Are there any shortcuts?"

"There is that old road which goes straight through the Toluca lake region, but it's a risky choice – Silent Hill is on the way, and you'll have to cross the city from the Southern to the Northern areas."

"What's so dangerous about it?"

The waitress widened her eyes. "Haven't you heard anything about Silent Hill?"

Eva shook her head, then placed the last bite of the hamburger into her mouth, adding some soda to it in order to facilitate the salivation process.

"It's the town possessed by the devil!" The black woman said in a barely audible voice, afraid some emissary from the Master of Darkness will hear her words of Truth alerting the girl about taking the short path. "People there, like the folk of Sodom and Gomor, averted their eyes from the never ending grace of God and started worshiping idols of half-human, half-animal demons. But, unlike with Sodom, Our Lord didn't show his cleansing wrath to the town, and so the darkness spread across, and people disappeared into it, destined forever to suffer from the strongest, most painful tortures available in hell."

The black woman paused, allowing some thinking space for the teenage girl.

Usually, Eva wasn't impressed by such truly stupid stories created by Christian hardcore fundamentalists, however the exhausted mind, supported by the eldritch atmosphere of the locale, created a sense of unexplainable diffuse dread in her being. From the sudden burst of anxiety, Eva even turned around to cast a glance at the woods on the other side of the road, sensing in a paranoid fashion some alien presence spying on her trough the thick bushes, imagining its fiery crimson red eyes and its mouth with every centimeter filled by long, pointy, razor sharp teeth that drooled with transparent saliva; however, once the imagine gained enough vividness to make her body shiver, Eva turned the head back, confused eyes looking at the unusually empty place, and tried to push the fear out of her system.

"It is said that a certain red demon can still be encountered near the abandoned town," the black waitress continued. "As the legend goes, this demon, this Satan's right hand, has a shining crimson red helmet on the head which is so horrible even one look can freeze your soul forever. And when he removes it, to show the unfortunate interloper his real being, the revealed snout can drive any man or woman mad, because it's a face totally deprived of God's beauty, a symbolic mask of all the evil deeds that had happened in that awful, awful town."

The waitress put her arms on the counter and looked straight into Eva's eyes, a meeting of two pairs of deep brown orbs. "Stay away from that town! It's truly haunted, evil! The meal will be a dollar and ninety nine."

On such a chilling note, the palaver ended, and Eva, belly full, mind clear a little bit from the sourceless fear induced by the relatively stupid Christian propaganda, paid the bill for the magnificent food which, despite its simplicity, had tasted like the food of the Gods, like the forbidden apple from the Garden of Eden. Then the girl got up from the soft bar stool, once again feeling weird by the unusual dream-like quality of the diner, went toward the exit, and opened the door.

"Have a nice ride! Don't go too fast and, if you'll feel tired, stop for some little rest. And, please, avoid at any costs the shortcut," the waitress said.

Eva nodded, then proceeded outside. As the doors closed behind with a weak thud, Eva went toward the motorbike looking lonely under the surreal yellow light cast by the gigantic golden apple that functioned as the gas station's symbol. If circumstances had been better, Eva would have laughed heartily at the absurd neon sign, however right now, in the middle of the night, mind tired and scared by Christian bogey tales for the believers of hysterical complexity, the girl could feel only the same indefinite sense of wrongness, of otherness that seemed to drown the diner in its ominous aura.

Cold chill going up and down her spine, Eva saddled the bike in one swift motion, turned on the engine, and accelerated quickly into the dark veil ahead in an effort to leave all the negative experiences behind, at that damn weird gas station. But fear is an insidious emotion, as George Dorn had learned over the several hours after the peculiar incident at Ashfield's mall, and once it manages to find the way inside through the various cracks in one's ego, there's no way to get rid of it. You can forget it, try to push deeper and deeper into the antipodes of the mind, but one day, after a few months or even after a a few decades, it will come back into full force with only one aim in its eldritch excuse for consciousness – to make you tremble, to paralyze you, to remind you that you're just a schmuck lost in the cosmic vortex operated by forces absolutely outside any level of your control.

Since he had stepped into this town enveloped by fog as thick as vapour in sauna, he couldn't shake off that insidious crawling fear gnawing at every nerve in his body. Every shape in the mist suggested something unholy, and only when he drove closer to the protean shadow did he understand it was just his mind playing the old pareidolia trick; but one particular form, a silhouette of overly hideous anatomy he had seen while driving past the town council of South Vale, didn't want to disconnect from his consciousness. Even now, looking at the Toluca lake murky waters from a vantage point in the parking lot, in a relatively safe and sound place, George still could envision the chtonic being or shadow that probably had been the result of unnatural light refraction through the albicant haze.

But what was that thing on the head? It looked like something of pyramidal shape covered with a shining crimson substance very similar to human blood. George shook the head to dissipate the anxiety inducing memories connected with the trip through the Southern regions of Silent Hill, a region that, with its decay, should be used as a place for making ultra classy movies. The feeling of abandonment, of vanished human lives, was even stronger than in the Chernobyl zone, which George had a chance to visit because of Malik's desire to make an article about possible paranormal, weird, surreal phenomena happening in that dead zone. At least there, in Ukraine, he knew he was alone; here, there was an incessant feeling of being watched by unknown beings hiding somewhere in the aethereal folds of the substance lighter than water yet heavier than air.

In another paroxysm of fear, George looked around, only to see some abandoned cars with rust spreading across their metal carcasses, lonely remnants of human civilization. To his relief, no supernatural creature greeted his sight, already affected by the milky damp carpet flowing through the strange air, recounting stories of the souls lost forever in the endless plains between reality and hallucination, between sleep and the awake state, between life and death.

George turned back to the dark waters of the lake and tried to see the Northern shore, where lay the next, and last, step of his journey through this smoggy locale. He will take a few photos of the town, get a feel of the place, although he suspected there would be no difference from South Vale in the north, then speed away from this dark place of Earth, hoping the mad editor won't decide to send him here once again. On the road into the heart of Silent Hill, George had planned to make a few photographs of Brookhaven hospital, since people like seeing abandoned nut houses while reading about cursed places, of the bowling club, as a reminder of a quiet life long one, and of the local strip club, to show that even things forbidden do not stand against the mists of time; but right now, paranoia running strong through the veins, and with the darkness of the night settling in, George doubted his dreams would come to fruition, as there wasn't desire in him to take a detour from Nathan Ave just because of giving some extra spice to the article.

It will be best, George thought, to make a drive through the city before the mist, coloured in somnolent hues of gray and azuline of the blue hour, will be submersed into the night's darkness, thus rendering the visibility to almost zero level. And, as a certification about the possible dangers of the night, a harsh metallic noise echoed through the empty parking lot.

George, jumping from surprise, turned around, hands clenched into fists and ready to struggle to the last breath if some nocturnal critter would decide to attack him under the veil of the incoming night. Alas, there was absolutely nothing behind George, just the same space, not different from the last time he had checked it.

However, George felt there was something wrong with the area he was in. That screeching sound reminded him of something metallic being carried against the stony surface of the road, and he suspected, if this was the case, it was something heavy and lethal, a tool ideal for silent executions.

"You need to calm down, man" George said to himself, mind busy remembering if he had some number or not back in the truck.

A minute later, when positive feelings of anticipation flowed his brain, George proceeded hurriedly to his truck. He opened the truck, then bent down toward the drawer in front of the passenger's seat, opened it and saw what he had been searching for – a long self made cigarette with both ends folded like candy wrapper. George was ready to stretch his hand toward the object of his thirst when the same metallic sound he had heard a minute ago screeched near, very near, right behind him; and some evil presence, cold as the space in the vacuoles inside the Antarctic ice sheet, alien as a life form in open space, covered with its Stygian shadow George's paralyzed form, unable to make even a single twitch from the avalanche of terror that swept through his body at the speed of a DMT high comeup. The young journalist knew his doom was at hand, however, when the adrenaline wave hit every single muscle fiber, he fell on the seats, then crawled beyond light speed out of the car, finding a resting place on the cold cracked asphalt of the lot.

Body ready to fight or flee, depending on the physical qualities of his adversary, George stood up on his feet, legs and hands loaded as mattress springs. When he saw nothing but empty space, with nothing dangerous in sight but the narcotic white miasmas coming presumably from the lake, understanding that the dangerous foe who had given him almost a heart attack had been just a projection of his strung out mind, George sighed from relief. Limbs trembling, the young man plumped into the truck's sear, which creaked loudly from his weight, and took with a trembling hand the joint. It was the only medicine that will blot out his mind, disorganized and jumpy like a horny monkey in some equatorial jungle.

Once the lighter lit up the tip of the reefer, giving a yellow spark that quickly turned into a black spot emanating arabesque like trails of sweet smoke much more pleasant than the harsh tobacco fumes, George took a long toke, then closed the eyes and relaxed, allowing the cannabinoid substances to do their work.