(Disclaimer: I do not own Silent Hill or anything associated with Silent Hill. I do not intend to profit from this writing, it is solely for my own pleasure. The Secret of N.I.M.H. referenced in this story belongs to and was written by Robert C. O'Brien.)
The fire is small—doesn't give off much warmth—but it's better than nothing. The flame is about the size of my fist and barely reaches a few inches off the ground. It does not burn so much as it glows, but the orange light is almost cheerful. I feed it with scraps of newspaper and pieces of splintered wood. There's plenty of rotting wood and detritus around; things that never seem to run out in this town.
Wake. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. These are all she knows. She is trapped in a white, white room. Her eyes see but her mind does not register the colors and the shapes. She is basic, thoughtless, an animal in a cage.
This town. Can I even call it such? A place where demons lurk in the shadows, reaching with their razor-laden hands and strangling fingers, a place where fires burn eternally under the ground…can you still call it a town? The only things left that even resemble a town are the remains of the decrepit buildings and the whispers of the people who once lived here (if, indeed, this place had human inhabitants at all). The rest is, for lack of a better word, madness.
She can hear them behind the door sometimes, scraping, moving filthy scuffed shoes across the tile. Always when she is trying to sleep, always when her eyelids are weighted with exhaustion. She flinches on top of the bed and shrinks back into a corner, burrowing into the covers.
I have come to believe people did, at one point, in another time and dimension, live here. The parked cars on the street, some of them with booster seats in tow, the doodles and drawings hung up on the walls of the school, the graffiti winding along the brick walls of the alleys—these things suggest that this town was once functional, full of sun and sound and people. Not like now. Now, I'm not sure of what this place is. You could call it limbo or purgatory, a place of endless repetition of fear and suffering. Of sleepless nights. Of bloodied hands. Of starving and scavenging.
She is frozen in terror, her widened eyes staring over the tops of her knees. The things behind the door want her, and there's only a metal door between them. She closes her eyes tight, trembling, sweating, wishing it all away.
I say 'scavenging' aloud and Kodiak turns his head toward me. His snout sniffs at the air, wet tip twitching. The glow of the tiny fire glints at me in his brown eyes. He's a Rhodesian Ridgeback; I looked that up in one of the books in the library. They're enormous dogs, with a ridge of hair along the spine. They're bred to hunt lions. Kodiak hunts something a bit more frightening than that. He lies with his hairy back against my thigh as I sit here cross-legged.
I scratch him behind both ears and under his chin. His eyes turn to slits of contentment, his tail wagging back and forth. Kodiak is my only friend in this hell. I have three companions: him, the handgun on my belt, and the shotgun strapped to my back. Together, we get along pretty well. I have only lost a chunk off my right ear and a fingernail so far. Kodiak is missing nothing. He's more careful than I am. Dogs usually are more alert than peop—
—Had a scare just now. I had to pause my writing when Kodiak jerked his head back and stared out the door. He did not give me the sign for danger, that is, he did not stand up and start growling. Something, some noise or vibration, had caught his attention. You never get used to the fear when the darkness comes, but you do learn how to control it some. Having Kodiak with me helps.
Her heart is vibrating and feels like it's going to burst. She finally faints from fear and everything goes black. She slips into the dreams again.
God, my hand is shaking. I write to keep my thoughts in focus. This notebook was lying on a teacher's desk at the school, centered right in front of the chair and behind the faded nametag, as if I were meant to have it. The pen was harder to come by; I found it on one of the nurses I'd killed at the hospital. Don't worry, I haven't committed some heinous act against an innocent medical personnel. It was she who stabbed at me first with her rusted scalpel, swiping blindly but accurately, stumbling towards my light. They like to go for the throat, the nurses. They have pretty good aim for creatures with no faces, only twisted remains, bandages of flesh wrapped around the infantile head.
Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I've just given up my contract for sleep tonight. Might as well write until my eyes can't take it anymore.
The dreams are wonderful at first—she is running free, there is green grass and clean air and there are smiling faces waiting to embrace her. Then the sky darkens, the faces turn into shadowed masks, monstrous with their clown grins, bulbous noses and empty sockets. She runs away, straight into a nightmare.
What is this place? The name printed on the store signs and pamphlets and newspapers says 'Silent Hill'. The name is vaguely familiar, an old memory that refuses to surface, a word on the tip of the tongue. I have dreams of a life before this. Some of them are nice, full of beauty and wonder. Some of them are more…unmentionable. I have come to stop thinking about the dreams. They only tempt me.
I'm keeping a record of my time here, partly to keep my sanity and my head in order, and partly to preserve my story. When I move this pen across this paper, my existence shifts, and I can look at it as if from behind glass. It feels good to write. For a while, I didn't know if I could ever do anything functional again. I was trapped.
I can feel the memories surfacing. I've tried to repress them, but their cries for attention have amplified to screams trailing into the night. Kodiak senses my discomfort and puts his head on my leg. He is my only other anchor to sanity as I begin to write my story.
I suppose I'd better start from the beginning. Kodiak and I weren't always together. Before that, things were much, much worse. Before we met, my fate in this hell was sealed, and the demon had me where he wanted me.
Her senses are on red alert. She knows someone is out to kill her, a cat waiting for the mouse to come out and face the claws. If she can just sink into this mattress and become invisible, become small…
Fuck all of this!
She wants to escape she wants to escape she wants to escape she is—
I used to think Silent Hill was purgatory. Not anymore. Purgatory suggests afterlife. There is no death in purgatory.
—trapped. Sooner or later, she will have to come out.