Disclaimer: Silent Hill is the intellectual property of Konami Corporation of Japan. Rose and Christopher Da Silva were created by Christophe Gans and Roger Avary. No copyright infringement intended.
This story takes place after the 2006 movie. Spoiler warnings, if you somehow haven't seen it yet.
I don't like Revelation. Revelation did not happen. That said, if the Alessa in this story was performed by Adelaide Clemens, I wouldn't complain.
Toys On The Floor
The ash never stops falling. It covers up footprints. Dahlia walks and walks for miles and miles, and when she turns round, there's no trace of her.
Dahlia Gillespie is sixty-nine years old.
Not that you'd know it to look at her. Once, gazing into a cracked mirror, Dahlia realized that, at some point, the passage of time had ceased; the years had stopped settling on her face. She looked no more than...forty-five, perhaps? Fifty? Crow's feet at the corner of the eyes, wrinkles here and there, but remnants of youth could still be seen.
The town was preventing her from ageing. The town still had a use for her. Dahlia could only wonder at what that use might be.
The fog plays tricks on Dahlia's mind. When she is outside, she can see no more than a few feet ahead of her. Inside, the rooms and corridors stretch for miles.
Dahlia keeps many, many shameful secrets.
Six years ago, Alessa walked away from Dahlia, hand-in hand with that woman. Rose Da Silva. Alessa's new mother. A braver mother. A better mother. Alessa shot Dahlia one last sneering, scornful look, and then mother and daughter were gone, vanished into the mist.
Alessa's final act?
Dahlia eventually discovered that, after thirty years of imprisonment, she could at last leave the fog-bound world in which she had been trapped. The chasms that surrounded Silent Hill had disappeared. Dahlia could escape. Dahlia could return at last to the world of the living.
Do what you want, Dahlia could hear Alessa say in that cruel sing-song. I don't care any more.
That was six years ago. Dahlia was still here. Dahlia would never leave.
What chance did a ragged, jittery creature like Dahlia Gillespie have in the wider world? Dahlia Gillespie talked to herself, at a hundred miles an hour, for hours on end. Dahlia Gillespie drifted off into reveries and hallucinations while standing in the middle of streets. Dahlia Gillespie shambled around alleys and lanes, feeble fists rapping against her temple. Dahlia Gillespie shouted and screamed at ghosts drifting through the air.
If Dahlia returned to the world, to the towns and cities, they would point and laugh at her. They would lock her up. They would strip off her clothes, and then turn the hoses on her, no different than any other dirty, mangy cat.
There was no place in the world for a feral animal such as Dahlia Gillespie. Silent Hill was all Dahlia had. Silent Hill was the only home Dahlia would ever know.
Oh, Alessa had known, of course. Alessa knew well. It was a final parting insult – of that, Dahlia was certain.
Dahlia's cowardice had condemned her daughter to the agonies of fire. Dahlia's cowardice would condemn her to an eternity of mist.
Dahlia still has the locket.
Dahlia is addicted to daydreams and fantasies. Daydreams and fantasies are the only indulgence Dahlia has. She shuffles through the streets, her head bowed, peering into the locket, gazing at Alessa's face. She imagines herself and Alessa, together, happy.
A thousand scenarios float through her head, a thousand variables, a thousand permutations. Sometimes, Dahlia takes Alessa and escapes to some bustling, non-descript city, and there they live cheerily together in some cozy, anonymous apartment. Sometimes, Dahlia approaches that policeman – what was his name, again? – and begs him to help them escape her deranged sister. Sometimes, Alessa becomes an adult, and Dahlia is there to see her grandchildren born.
The specifics change, but always the essence remains the same: mother and daughter together, as it should have been.
Once, years ago, the chain broke. One of the little links snapped.
Dahlia slumped in a corner, and cradled the thing in her hands, and she sank to the ground, and wept, and wept, and she knew how foolish she looked, and she knew how pathetic she seemed, and she could only take comfort in the fact that no one was around to see her.
Sanity came to Dahlia in bits and pieces.
Ironically enough, it was only when Alessa left that Dahlia's madness began to improve. With Alessa gone, the Darkness no longer descended upon the town; there were no more alarms, no more melting scenery, nothing but grey mist, day after day after day. Silent Hill became agreeably peaceful, for a while, when the Demon left.
Alessa was no longer around to plunge Dahlia over and over into the depths of guilt.
What's more, those jackals, those wolves, were all dead. They could no longer throw their stones. They could no longer cast their insults, their curses.
Dahlia had time to think.
Dahlia sat at her window, and watched the ash drift down.
Now and then, little moments of clarity came to her.
Little petals of lucidity floated down from the sky and came to rest on her mind.
Dahlia broke her way into shops. She smashed glass, and forced open doors, though she scarcely knew where she found the strength for it. She took armfuls of garments from racks. She pulled scarves and dresses and shawls from mannequins standing in windows.
Dahlia threw away her rags. She filled buckets with water, and heated them over fires, and then she washed away the thirty years of dirt and dust that had accumulated upon her body, the thirty years of squalor and privation that had worked themselves into the very cracks and fissures of her being.
Dahlia doesn't know where the food comes from.
She wanders through the town, and here and there, in cupboards and on shelves and inside boxes, she finds loaves of bread and bundles of fruit and bottles of milk and cans of soup.
Perhaps each of these items somehow fell through the cracks of reality. Perhaps the town doesn't want her to starve. Dahlia doesn't much care. Dahlia doesn't question. She gathers, and eats, and drinks, and sits and watches the mist drift past.
Dahlia bathes each day.
She eats three meals each day; breakfast, lunch, and supper.
She trudges through the streets, eyes fixed on the locket open in her palm, enwreathed in fantasies with her daughter.
Dahlia does not know what future Silent Hill has in mind for her. Perhaps it will keep her alive for a thousand years. Perhaps she will fall dead of a heart attack at any moment, an old woman of sixty-nine. Uncertainties bother Dahlia less and less, these days.
And then, one day, entirely without warning, Silent Hill decides to show her something truly horrifying.
Alessa Gillespie is eighteen years old.
Or is it forty-five? So difficult to tell, these days.
One morning (Or afternoon. Or evening. So difficult to tell, in this deathly mist.) Alessa appears through the fog, and at the sight of her, Dahlia's heart leaps into her mouth. All the strength escapes from her knees. Her stomach boils with a mass of simmering, bubbling poisons.
The town deceives me! Dahlia gazes at the distant figure with bulging eyes. That is not my daughter, no, no. A phantasm. A delusion. A trick. A deceit, no different than all the rest.
But Alessa is real. Alessa plods through the streets, and Dahlia follows, peering at her from shadowed corners.
The little girl is all grown, but Dahlia recognizes her child well enough. Brown hair, reaching past the shoulders. Filthy, stringy, hasn't been washed for days. Her face. Her eyes. Features that have been seared into Dahlia's memory, and will never fade. Oh, but life has not been kind to Alessa, lately. Her skin is pale, sickly. Her eyes are surrounded by rings. Alessa has not been sleeping properly. Alessa has not been eating as a young girl should.
Dahlia trails Alessa through the town. Alessa's clothes are noticeably haphazard. A heavy coat, jeans, scarves, a thick sweater, all weathered and tattered in places. No, life has not been kind to Alessa at all.
Watching from the gloom, Dahlia is reminded of her own days as a shambling vagrant.
Alessa emerges onto Sagan Street, and comes to a halt in the middle of the road. She stands, and looks about at the buildings that surround her. Dahlia squints at her face, and wonders at the expression she sees.
Dahlia can take no more. Sensing a presence, Alessa wheels around, and watches as Dahlia approaches across the street.
"You should not be here."
How long has it been since Dahlia had a proper conversation?
Alessa says nothing. She just stands and stares at her mother, her brows furrowed, her lips pursed, her demeanour guarded and unwelcoming. Now that she has closed the distance, Dahlia can see the exhaustion in her daughter's eyes. The hundreds of miles she has travelled without rest.
Alessa needs to sleep. Inwardly, Dahlia is already making plans to prepare a bed for her.
(She'll have breakfast ready when Alessa wakes up afterwards.)
"I hoped I would never see you again," Dahlia says. Her voice will not do as she commands it to. It quivers, and wobbles. "Alessa. I hoped you would never come back. There is nothing for you here. Not this place. Not this town."
Still, Alessa remains silent. Dahlia's eyes flick downwards.
Alessa's hands are covered in band-aids and bandages.
"Your fingers," Dahlia says. She looks up, and looks into Alessa's eyes. "I have bandages. Are you cold? Alessa? I have coats and blankets and food. It's cold here."
Alessa's eyes are tired. Tired and haunted and cold and lonely, and...
...and then a spark begins to glow, and Dahlia can see the fury rising within her daughter. The fury that consumed this town. The fury that visited vengeance upon those wolves. The fury that bent reality itself to its will.
"How can you have the nerve to speak to me?" Alessa says, then, her head shaking in disgust. "How dare you even look at me!"
When Dahlia speaks next, it is in the faintest whisper. "They tricked me," she breathes.
And with that, the spark of fire explodes into a dreadful, towering inferno.
"No, no, no, no, no!" Alessa's voice twists and warps and contorts; there is a disturbingly disembodied quality to her speech, as though she were nothing but a human puppet, worked by a demonic ventriloquist. Eyes blazing, fists clenching and unclenching, Alessa stalks forward, drawing closer and closer to Dahlia with each step until they are almost nose-to-nose. "They did not trick you, mother! They didn't need to trick you! They didn't need to lie to you, they didn't need to deceive you, they didn't need to fight you, because you did nothing! You stood there, and you let them take me away! You let them tie me to a fucking grill, and burn me on a fire! You gave me to them, and the reason you did, was because you're a coward!"
Grimacing, Dahlia sends a series of rapid, ineffectual slaps across Alessa's mouth. Alessa is astounded a moment, goggling at her mother with wide, disbelieving eyes – and then she bursts into laughter.
"What the fuck was that?" she crows, sniggering and snorting. "What the fuck was that? You worm! You're nothing! Nothing! I know what a proper family is, now, mother! I had a real mom, and a real dad, for a while! They showed me how pathetic you are! They made me realize how pitiful you are!"
Dahlia turns on her heel, and shuffles away. Tears are coming. Now, Dahlia wishes only to reach her apartment. Now, Dahlia wishes only to crawl beneath the mound of blankets piled upon her bed. There, she can howl and sob all she wishes, but at least Alessa will not be able to hear her.
"You're nothing!" Alessa screeches after her as she goes. Alessa is rooted to the spot, fixed bolt upright in the middle of the street, and as she rants and screams, the ground around her begins to melt and crumble away, the asphalt dissolving beneath her rage. "You're not a mother!" she roars. "You're not a provider! You're a failure! You're a weakling! You're a whore, and I had the misfortune of being your daughter!"
Chapter Two comes when humanly possible.