I was recently playing and watching my favorite horror series, Silent Hill. Reliving "Downpour", I decided it wasn't so bad: the idea of a "Green Mile" type of scenario in Silent Hill was appealing, and of the western-developed SH games, it was the strongest one, in my opinion. The idea of Pendleton/Sewell had crossed my mind before, but it was never a story I got around to writing. Maybe it's the dark mood being so sick this spring has put me in, but I decided to go for it.
"Villainsplaining" should be a genre of fan fiction, shouldn't it? It's being done in the mainstream media these days, with shows and movies depicting how a villain got to be the way they are ("Once Upon A Time" does it very well, and there is "Maleficent" and the upcoming "Suicide Squad"). But when a villain doesn't get their own story line officially, well, that's a good place for a fan fiction writer to come in, isn't it?
SH: Downpour had "Anne's Story", and this, I suppose, would be "Sewell's Story". It continues from after the events of Downpour, the canon "Truth and Justice" ending where Anne is seen to confront Sewell with a gun behind her back (presumably shooting and killing him for his murdering her father, Frank Coleridge). I have changed some things from the game, however. Murphy Pendleton, in this story, did indeed kill Patrick Napier, the man who murdered his son, he did not leave the job unfinished as Sewell inexplicably said in the ending (the creator stated, according to the Silent Hill Wiki, that that dialogue was a "mistake", and "Anne's Story" confirmed Pendleton did it himself; I always believed personally Pendleton did end Napier). Murphy has his own story, which I may go into later, and he has become much darker by the time this story takes place. His journey through Silent Hill did not free him in this story, as the canon suggests, or perhaps Pendleton was never meant to be free at all. In any case, he is well on his way to becoming "The Bogeyman", and he knows it. A part of him, perhaps, even wants or needs it. This story is predominantly from George Sewell's point of view, which is why I'm explaining a little bit about Murphy here.
As for Sewell, I decided that he would be the ideal person to end up in Silent Hill. But not just the nightmare town. Thinking of DJ Ricks and Blackwood, I started wondering about the people who actually live in the town of Silent Hill. There is plenty of evidence that the town is occupied when it's not going through its various nightmare events, or perhaps those events take place in a dimension where the residents can't see them. Kaufmann, in the first game, claimed everyone in the town had "disappeared", Laura of Silent Hill 2 seemed to be walking through a normal town, and James and Mary had gone to the town and had such a good time that she remembered it always as her "special place", hence proving there is a version of the town that is at least semi-normal. James' good ending and the fact that he vanished in the town even makes me wonder if there is a "higher" dimension in the town, a version of the town that more resembles heaven than hell, where some people might actually might make it into. But I digress. Even if there was an idyllic version of the town, George Sewell is definitely not going to end up there.
Please read this WARNING: This story spoils the events of Silent Hill: Downpour. It also contains strong language, themes of child abuse, violence, and non-consensual sex acts. This is a dark one, so if you're easily offended, please avoid it.
The man came to in a six-by-eight-foot cell with a ringing headache. He groaned and sat up, clutching his head in his hands. The ringing was literal—there was a sharp tone in his ears, like the aftermath of having one's eardrums blown out at a loud concert. He felt nothing, could not open his eyes to see, and the noise was all-encompassing, his entire world. He gritted his teeth against it, stubbornly trying to get a whisper of some other sound to focus on, a foothold on his audible reality.
Then, it was gone. The headache still mildly fuzzed his head, but the tone had abruptly ended. Music drifted into his hearing now, softly, a little scratchy with radio interference:
As free as the wind blows
As free as the grass grows
Born free to follow your heart
The man smiled. Yeah, that was more like it, a classic, not like all that gibbering thug crap you heard so often out here. As he listened to the song, he released his head, and dared to open his eyes. For a moment, he worried about his eyesight. Then, he realized it was just dark. He shut his eyes and opened them slowly, letting them acclimate to the lack of light.
He was on a cot in a prison cell. For a moment, he felt a disturbing sensation of displacement. The cell was unrecognizable from the clean sterile ones he spent his days around. The three plaster walls were dirty, stained with unnameable marks, peeling plaster, and even small holes. The concrete floor was broken in the corner, where some of the ceiling had caved in and was piled up in rubble. Water dripped from the sink's faucet, and there was a stench more fungal than human wafting up from the toilet. The man didn't recognize the decrepit cell, or the slim view of the hallway that he glimpsed between the bars. Where the hell was he?
And beauty surrounds you
The world still astounds you
each time you look at a star
The man shook the weird fear from his head, because it was ridiculous. He knew every inch of this place, why should he feel hopelessly lost? He was groggy, he figured. The explanation didn't fit, though. He knew that the only men who got shitfaced in prison were either drunk assholes or drunk idiots, and he was neither. He told himself he must have come down to the old cells underneath the prison, where he sometimes went to conduct certain business transactions, and had a beer or two too many. Stupid.
Get it together, George, the man thought to himself. He swung his legs off the cot and got to his feet. He must have stood too quickly, because the room whirled before his eyes. He stumbled, blinked, and rubbed his face with a hand roughly. He went to the faucet and ran the water until the rust cleared. He splashed his face with cold water and held it in both hands a minute, letting the unreality of dreams and booze fade. Stupid. What if someone found you down here?
George Sewell lifted his head from the sink and met his reflection in the mirror over the sink. He didn't look very much worse for the wear, despite his suspected hangover: his dark brown eyes, almost black, were bright, his face had its usual sharp, cunning tightness, and his prison guard uniform was only minimally rumpled. He ran some water through his black hair, pushing it back off his face, and straightened his shirt. He reached into his pockets, then his back pockets, but he could not find his black leather gloves, keys, or his baton. Must have put them down somewhere, he thought, though a flutter of that inexplicable anxiety returned. He never usually parted from his trustworthy gloves (never knew when fingerprints might become inconvenient things to leave behind) or his weapon. What the hell had he been thinking?
George scowled at his reflection and turned from the mirror in disgust. Drinking on the job to the point of blacking out! Stupid! What was wrong with him? He knew better. He knew better. He came down to these cells sometimes to think, do business, or grab a little shuteye, sure, but never to get drunk. He only came down because he liked the prison, it was a place he understood, and he knew it better than any of the other schmucks locked up or working here. He was probably the only one in the place that knew about these old cells, built way back when the prison was first constructed. But then, he always had liked history, he got that from his mother—only good thing the bitch had left him.
George rubbed his temple. His thoughts were still random, disconnected, and where was this nostalgia coming from? If there was anything he hated more than criminals, it was sentimental people. He had to get out of this cell, there was probably something in the mold affecting his brain or something. He gripped a bar on the cell door in one hand, grimacing at the flakes of rust scraping his palm, and pulled it. The grating sound reminded him of that tone in his ears, and he gritted his teeth again. He pulled harder on the door, and was surprised when it did not open. Had it swung shut on its own, and that ancient lock had managed to fasten itself one last time? The old Ryall State Prison was still full of surprises, George mused, chuckling to himself. Keys, where were his keys? He was sure he could work the lock open with the old keys he kept for good luck, or the lock picks he kept on his keyring for special occasions.
He once again checked all of his pockets. He searched the cot (had he really slept on such a filthy mattress by choice?) and beneath where it was bolted to the wall. He checked the sink and the dirty floor. He even looked down into the toilet's black dirty water, though he drew the line at sticking a hand down in there. The search turned up no keys, no gloves, and no baton. The anxiety returned, and deepened into dread. What the fuck was this? Was someone playing a sick joke on him? Probably that stupid new guy with the overbite, Hicks or Hickey or whatever; he hadn't been around long enough to find out how George felt about practical jokers.
George entertained dark fantasies about what he would do to the moron responsible once he got out of here. He went over the cell inch by inch, but the search turned up nothing, not even his regulation flashlight. He was tactically naked, and he did not like that idea one bit. He began to suspect that this was more than a joke, and focused his search on finding a weapon. There was nothing readily available. He reached into the holes in the walls, but there were no pipes to tear out. Irritated, he decided to continue the search outside the cell. He turned to the cell door and kicked it. It shuddered and rained flakes of rust down on him, but miraculously held. He kicked it again, and again, but it refused to break open.
For an uncounted amount of time, George battered at that rusty cell door like a bull after a waving cape. He kicked and kicked. He shouldered the door until his arm hurt. He swore bitterly. He turned on the door and paced, running his hands through his hair, muttering to himself, damning everyone and everything. He went back to the door. The rusted metal was tougher than it seemed, and the lock was impossible. A classic. George laughed mirthlessly.
Defeated, the man sat on the edge of the cot. His fingers curled in his hair, gripping it behind his head tightly, his face bent over his knees. Thoughts raced through his mind rampantly. He swallowed hard and fought the extraneous ones down. It did not matter how he had gotten here: if he had done it himself, it was a dumb mistake never to be repeated; if someone else had done it, they'd pay. Simple. He needed his energy to combat the not-so-simple problems: getting out, and, most importantly, getting a weapon.
George got up and headed to the sink and toilet. He wondered at criminals, how low a person you had to be to just take it for granted your crime was worth shitting in public for the foreseeable future. Animals, George figured, they were more like animals than people. Fuck them. He hoped it was that idiot guard that had done this, because if it was a prisoner, he might just have to wipe out a whole lot of them, and that would require some effort in covering up.
George put a fist through the wall below the sink. He tore away the stained dry wall until he laid hands on some of the piping. It was thin but it was metal, and if he was lucky ... Yeah, there it was. He broke off a segment if pipe, and the rusty brittleness gave the end a sharp edge. He held it in his hand, considering it. One scrape with that thing, and he'd have more problems than he already did. Not to mention, if this was someone's plot, they'd most likely be armed with more than a pipe, and he would need all his luck, wits, and the element of surprise. Reluctantly, he stashed the pipe under the cot's mattress. Even with it out of sight, George felt better knowing it was within reach. In prison, unarmed men were bitches for the taking.
George kicked the door again a few times, but it was hopeless. He sat down on the cot, blowing out a long sigh and waiting. He was good at waiting, had done it many long nights when a bus was late, or a covert transfer was being pulled off in darkness. Earlier, he had waited long nights ... waiting for pain, waiting for who knew what? Just waiting …
The man shut his emotional brain off. Memories again, what the hell? And what had happened to the music, anyway?
The radio had been disrupted by static, but now music filtered in again. Same song, somehow. George didn't care, he liked it. It made him feel terrific to hear that song about freedom blasting in the ears of the idiots that had thrown their freedom away. The irony of hearing it now that he was behind bars was not lost on him, but he knew this was only temporary. He didn't belong in a cell, after all. He was better than that. He had always been better than that, and some things never changed. That was the only good thing about the world: some things never changed.
"You think this is funny, huh? Yeah, real funny! Ha, ha! Fucking hilarious!"
There was a rattle as the man hit the bars.
"Hilarious! Ha! You better hope you got the balls to leave me in here until I die, you asshole! You better pray I never get out of here! Because if I do—Oh ho, God help me, if I do!"
George launched into very anatomically detailed and foul-mouthed descriptions of what he would do with the person that was responsible for this personal outrage. The rage was so blindingly hot that it seared away his fear. It was a kind of succor, that all-consuming hatred, and the man gorged himself on it. Anything not to let the dread sink its claws into him, as he knew it was waiting to do.
How long has it been? George wondered. He had been pacing again, and now he threw himself down on the moldy cot. Worry shot through the coolness he had been keeping on his face, making its contours shift from rage to weariness. How long? I'm not hungry, I don't need to use the 'facilities', such as they are, thank god. Can't be that long, right? Has anyone missed me yet? They would have called—
George looked to his belt, but of course his radio was gone. Why hadn't he noticed its absence earlier? Well, he rarely used the damned thing. He handled the prisoners well enough on his own, and didn't use the thing for stupid chitchat like some guards did, as if they were adolescent girls. Still, he should have thought of it earlier. The situation was bad enough, but now he worried that his mind might have something seriously wrong with it. He went to the mirror and checked his forehead for cuts or abrasions. He ran his fingers over his skull carefully, ruffling his hair, but there was not even a bruise. What the fuck, then? Drugs? He didn't touch that shit. Had someone drugged him? This was turning out to be a bigger deal than he'd thought. Had someone planned this? Who? All his enemies were dead, he'd seen to that. Well, excepting that one that escaped, but there was no way he had gotten into Ryall State Prison.
Staring at his shoes like some weakass kid, George realized that the music had gone silent. The radio had crackled on and off during his time there, mostly repeating his favorite song, "Born Free", or pleasant rock instrumental tracks that sounded vaguely familiar. Now, it had completely died. He waited for it to come back to life, but there was only silence.
Then, the footsteps.
George did not look up, he only listened. The footsteps were heavy, definitely boots, as any East Coaster knew from years of brutal winters. The person walked slowly, methodically, and they stopped right in front of his cell. Without a doubt, this was the asshole that had incarcerated him. He thought of the pipe beneath the cot mattress, and calmed himself. The waiting had been torture, but this? He could handle confrontation. In fact, he was dying to do some confronting by now.
"Okay, hey? Hey! You got me!" he called out, getting to his feet. Let them think he was harmless, willing to go with a joke. If they didn't know him, they'd be put at ease. If they did, they'd think he was giddy from whatever shit they gave him or had snapped. "Real funny, boys, real funny."
The man stopped in front of his cell door. He stood before the bars, framed in red rust and decay. It was a man roughly George's height, wearing a long black coat, with a gas mask covering his face. A psycho and a joker, George thought in annoyance, wonderful. He was not looking forward to confronting this piece of shit, but he was glad it was just a man, just some stupid man with an ax to grind. He could handle men. He had been handling dangerous men his entire life. In fact, the idea of taking down someone that had bested him, even in this small way, was a little exciting. It had been a long time since he'd had a challenge.
"You got me, all right?" George forced a laugh. "Ha! All right. I get it. I'm the old dog around here, right? What? Are you new? Did they make you do this as some kind of initiation? I get it, sure. Screwin' around, having fun. I get it, I do. So just let me out, and we can … we can have a few beers and a laugh over it, okay?"
George did not mention that whatever beer he drank with this asshole would definitely be the man's last. He gave the masked stranger his most affable smile. He was not bad-looking, he thought, and when he wanted to, he could really pull off the old 'one of the boys' charm.
"A few beers?"
The voice was muffled, but familiar. George could not quite place it, but he knew he had heard it before.
"Yeah," he said. "Yeah. Bars still open? My watch seems to have stopped or something. Ha. Well, I have some at home, anyway. Come on, we'll drink a little, laugh the whole thing off. Whaddaya say?"
"I say … " The stranger fiddled with the gas mask, and then lifted it off. "I say, that's not good enough, Sewell."
George stared at the face for a moment, stricken dumb with surprise. Then, he burst into laughter. The formerly masked man scowled darkly.
"Oh, Jesus, Pendleton!" George exclaimed, still laughing. "Oh thank God, it's just you, cupcake. Ah ha ha! Hey, open this up, all right?"
Now it was Murphy Pendleton's turn to be dumb-stricken.
"Just me? Just me? How the hell can you say that?" he asked, infuriated. "Don't you get it? I put you in there, Sewell!"
"Yeah, obviously, I know," George said. He snorted, shaking his head. "Oh, man, you just don't know when to quit, do you, cupcake?"
"What the hell does that mean? What is wrong with you?"
George laughed again, shaking his head. That was all the innocent little dessert amounted to in the end, wasn't it? 'Why' this, and 'what' that. Yeah, the man was a first-timer, some father on an idiot revenge plot he saw on some crime drama or movie, but come on. He had been naive in Ryall State, but this was really taking the … well, cake.
"Stop laughing!" Pendleton demanded, as if he could demand anything with authority. "What the hell is so funny?"
"What's so funny? You, cupcake, you," George informed him. He stifled his laughter and looked the man up and down through the bars. "So let me get this straight, right? You have the luck of the Devil himself and survive a prison bus crash, escape, and actually manage to stay off the radar for two weeks, and then—what?"
George leaned right up to the bars, bringing his face close to Pendleton's. The man swallowed, and could not meet his eyes. Yeah, the old fear was there. They were both killers, but there was a world of difference between a man that killed for revenge once and a man that killed as he needed to. George had once thought Pendleton was his kind of man, but he had disappointed him. He was weak, and now that chink in the armor would serve George well.
"You miss me so much that you just had to come back, huh, cupcake?" George asked. He was aware of the closeness between them, how their breaths mingled. All these weak ones in prison were fags, anyway; Pendleton was probably enjoying it, and he could use that, too. "Couldn't stay away, could you?"
"No. No. I just—"
"You just wanted to see me one more time," George mocked him. "I'm touched. Really, I am, Pendleton. It's sweet. So why don't you let me out of here and we can catch up?"
"You really think I just have some obsession with you?" Pendleton asked angrily. "For fuck's sake, what is wrong with you? Have you taken a good look around, Sewell? Do you think we're still at Ryall? We're not in Ryall State!"
The words cemented the displaced dread George had been feeling. He tightened his lips into a grim line, and was quiet a moment. He would have thought it a lie, some dumb attempt on Pendleton's part to scare him, but he had known it all along. This was not his prison.
"Do you know where we are?" Pendleton continued, knowing he had struck a nerve. "You ever hear of a place called 'Silent Hill'?"
George looked at him, narrowing his dark eyes. He allowed no expression to cross his face.
"You want out? Sure. Why not? Go ahead." Pendleton squeakily turned a key in the rusted old prison door lock. "Go, see for yourself. Explore the town. Run, if you want to. Run, the way I ran! Go on! Go!"
Pendleton unlocked the door. George licked his lips, staring at him. He had to admit, he almost admired Pendleton for coming this far, for trying so hard to take power over him. It was the kind of stunt he would have pulled—if he were half an idiot and desperate, like Murphy Pendleton was.
"Are you still laughing?" Pendleton asked. He grabbed George by the front of his shirt suddenly and slammed him against the bars. "The fuck is so funny? If you knew where you were, you wouldn't be laughing."
"If I knew where I was?" George mused. He flicked Pendleton's hands off of himself and pushed him back. "Oh, cupcake, do I ever know where I am."
"The hell is that supposed to mean?" Pendleton's confidence was fading fast. He had obviously expected to be in complete control, and was back to being his old weak self now that his plans had fallen through.
"What I mean, cupcake, is—" George pushed past the man, bumping his shoulder as he went. He turned back and gave the man a grin. "—I was born in Silent Hill. I know exactly where we are."
George looked around. They were near a guard station in an underground prison. He elbowed the radio, and "Born Free" began playing again after a burst of static. He whistled along, searching the decrepit wooden desk. Predictably, his things were in there. He snapped on his leather gloves, and put his baton in its holder on his belt. He tried his radio, but it only gave him interference on all channels. No matter. All he needed was a phone, or the nearest police officer. Pendleton was done, really done this time. The poor sap had always been doomed. He had tried to help him, toughen him up, show him how the real world worked, but the man stubbornly remained rooted in some juvenile justice fantasy. It was enough to make you want to throw up—from pity or disgust or both, George couldn't say, he just hated weakness.
"No. No, you're not."
"What's that, cupcake? I didn't hear you."
Pendleton had been plodding before, and weighed down by ankle cuffs. He moved fast now, too fast for George to catch him. He was upon him suddenly, slamming him over the desk, whose wood crumbled beneath his face as his skin hit it. George struggled, but Pendleton had gotten stronger. Good for him, George thought dryly, contemplating the man's murder.
"You're not getting away that easy!" Pendleton yelled at him. His grip tightened on George's arm. "No. No! I didn't bring you here just to let you go like that!"
"You brought me here? Ha! Give me a break, cupcake," George said. It did cross his mind that using the condescending nickname might not be the best way to get away from the obviously troubled ex-convict, but he could not help it: Pendleton was a cupcake through and through, even now, and it just slipped out. "What'd you do? Drug me? Throw me in here? Where are we? Toluca Prison, right?"
"How did you know?"
"I told you!" George could not push Pendleton off, much to his chagrin, but he managed to twist around. He was still embarrassingly beneath the man, but at least now he could look him in the eyes. Those damned sheep eyes. "I was born here! This is my hometown, goddamnit! I don't know what you thought, people get weird ideas about this town, but it ain't shit to me! All right? It's just my fucking hometown!"
"Jesus," Pendleton swore softly. He was so surprised that he let George go, standing away from him as if he were diseased. "You were born here? You lived … here?"
"Yeah, big deal." George stood up straight, shrugging his shoulders into place. Pendleton was a lot stronger than he remembered. "A lot of people live here, right? So what?"
Pendleton stared at him like the idiot he was. George considered whacking him with the baton, but he didn't know what weapons Pendleton might have under that ridiculous coat of his. He was dressed like some fireman out of hell, though the getup looked less imposing without the gas mask.
"Hell is up with you, anyway?" George asked. "You supposed to be some kind of horror movie villain, or what?"
"Riiiight," George said. That settled it, the dumbass had lost his mind. Better not to mess with him alone, and besides, he wasn't worth it. "Well. It's been real, cupcake. I'll see you on the other side."
"The what? What did you say?"
George shrugged Pendleton's paranoia off. He took his baton out of the holder again, twirled it, and headed down the hall. He whistled "Born Free" as he went. Pendleton called out to him, but he ignored him. As he expected, the man did not follow. Well, once a coward, always a coward.