I do not own Silent Hill. It belongs to Konami.


It took some moments until Ernest answered to Mary's calling.

"Is that you, Maria?" spoke a male voice across the door.

Mary didn't know Ernest personally, instead her alter-ego Maria did. But since they shared the same origin, their beloved James' feelings, they could sense what each other sensed. That's how Maria came to know of Laura's existence, despite her never meeting the girl personally.

"No, it's Mary." She replied, not fond of being mistaken for her alter-ego, who had attempted to harm her husband. She couldn't blame Ernest though, since they had the same voice.

"Ah yes, the other one. The one James was actually looking for." He concluded, recalling his previous talk with Maria. "What can I do for you, Mary?"

"I brought someone whom I'd appreciate if you could help." She said, slightly pulling Josh towards the door.

As the boy observed the whole scene, he found it quite weird to talk to someone through the door. Why wouldn't this Ernest guy open it and show himself? For an instant, he thought of opening the door, but somehow he had a feeling that it would have been futile. He could just hope this Ernest guy wasn't some loony planning anything bad for him. Regardless of that, the older man continued to speak, in his monotone voice.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Joshua Shepherd, sir." The boy answered. By the voice timbre, Ernest guessed Josh was still a kid.

"Oh, another Shepherd. Is he a relative of yours, Mary?" he directed to the woman.

"Yes, he's my nephew." She responded.

"Hmm, interesting. Your family is a quite problematic one, I daresay." He commented, a bit sarcastically, but the woman ignored it. The talk shifted back to the boy.

"What's your wish, Joshua? Answer sincerely." Ernest questioned. It was a strange question, but whatever.

"I uh, I wanna go home... to see Dad, Mom and Alex." The boy answered, timidly.

"To see Alex? Is that all you want to do?" the older man asked. "Don't you want to take revenge on him? To make him suffer for what he did?"

That last remark shocked Josh. Revenge? Suffer? What was that man talking about? Why would he do such things to Alex? Of course, they had their bickers, but always respected each other. It was like that between any siblings. In fact, Josh almost admired Alex, considering him someone to look up to.

"What are you talking about? I would never do any of those things to Alex." Retorted the rather indignant boy. That man was crazy, he could only be.

Ernest stayed silent for about a minute or so. It was as though he was trying to grasp the situation. As he did, the talk was resumed.

"So you don't remember?" he asked.

"Remember what?" Josh replied.

"What happened on the boat. Maybe it had been so fast you haven't noticed it yet," he paused a bit for the boy to digest the information and then, finally gave the answer. "You've died, boy. And your brother was the responsible."

Both nephew and aunt were astonished at the revelation. For Mary, she knew her younger nephew had been killed, but didn't know it had been by (of all the people) Alex's hands. But thinking better now, since Alex was the only one near Josh at the time of death, it should have been obvious. Once again, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to her.

On the other hand, Josh couldn't believe a thing of it at first. "That's a lie! Alex would never do such a thing!" shouted the incredulous boy.

"Don't you remember what happened after you tried to fetch back your father's ring? The cold, the darkness, the loss of sense of time?" Ernest questioned. "You accidentally had your neck broken at the boat's edge and fell in the lake. You drowned afterwards."

Ernest's words rang a bell in the boy's mind. He suddenly remembered the ring chain snapping as he pulled it. So what this man was telling him didn't sound impossible at all.

"More important, if you weren't dead, you wouldn't be able to see your aunt right there" he proceeded, regarding Mary.

Josh gaped as he glanced up to his aunt. She was dead too? How... and why...?

"Auntie, is he telling the truth?" he asked, quite shocked.

With a sad expression, she turned her face away, trying to not face the boy. "Yes, sweetie. I've passed away long ago," After a pause, turning her face back to him, she continued. "And unfortunately, what Ernest said is true: if you can see me, it just mean you're gone too. I'm sorry, but you can no longer go home, Josh." She sadly explained.

At last, comprehension dawned. Everything begun making sense. His memories, his sensations, Ernest and Auntie's words, nobody searching for him... it couldn't be denied anymore. He had died. And worse, it was his own brother's fault. His brother, his own flesh and blood. Why did he...? How could he..? He knew it was an accident, but still...

Slowly, Josh's doubt turned into anger. His questioning started turning into accusation. Why had Alex taken him to the lake in first place? Why had he mocked him in first place? Why had he snatched Dad's ring from him in first place? Had it been envy? Had it been jealousy for him being the preferred son? Had he done it so he could have their parents' attention only for himself? As those thoughts rushed through his mind, the boy kept his head lowered, his bangs covering the eyes to intentionally hide his expression.

'Why, Alex? Why? I thought we were friends. I thought we were brothers. I truly admired you, but now...' he mentally cursed, clenching his teeth and fists, as a single tear ran past his bangs.

Suddenly, a siren-like echo wailed through the air, followed by the immediate darkening of the entire surroundings. At the same time, Mary heard a ripping sound nearby: it came from the ground under Josh's feet, which started peeling into many snowflake-like pieces. The peeling spread to to the whole room, leaving behind a twisted, rusted version of itself. The mansion, formerly neat, was now a creepy and bloody dimension. The woman knew far too well what it meant: the town's powers were manifesting through the boy's feelings, feelings she also knew too well. After all, she had gone through the same long ago, when she had been murdered by the hands of her most trusted one. It had been those rancorous feelings, combined with James' sexual frustration, that led to the creation of her alter-ego Maria, who acted as a constant reminder of his deeds.

Mary quickly ran to Josh, knelt down and shook him slightly by the shoulders. She wasn't willing to let someone of her family be consumed by anger and become the town's puppet like she did. "JOSH!" she called out. "I know how you're feeling right now. I have once felt the same, but listen to me," she pleaded. "You can't think like that, sweetie. You can't blame Alex for that, it was all an accident."

Her pleas fell in deaf ears, as the boy still kept his head lowered and the sirens wailing. No matter how smart for a kid, he still lacked the emotional control adults had, so anger could easily take over his senses. He had to make Alex pay for his sin, he had to make him suffer. But Mary still had to try to convince him. "Josh, I know your mind is telling you to avenge your death. I know it sounds appealing now, but believe me... it's not worth it! In the end, you'll only end up regretting it. And I'm sure Alex is already suffering for what he had done." Her words indeed weren't empty: she didn't deny to have wished James to suffer too, as a means to atone for her murder. But she wasn't aware of the depth of her husband's remorse, so by the time she and Maria had noticed how far they had pushed him, it was too late. He had committed suicide by driving himself and his car straight into Toluca Lake. She couldn't let a family member repeat the same mistake.

The sirens shut down, but mainly because the whole place had already been corrupted. The boy raised his head, so their eyes could be seen. They burned with anger, slightly moistened by the tears. Mary knew he was simply lusting for revenge.

"Joshua," said Ernest across the door, nonchalant to what had just happened. It wasn't his problem to begin with. "Until your brother atones for his sin, your soul shall remain bound to this town. In order to rest in peace, you have two options: making him repent for his deed by the means of suffering, or truly forgiving him. The final choice is yours." That was the purpose of his awakening, in the end.

An eerie silence fell to the room. No longer Ernest's voice was heard. He was probably finished with it. Only aunt and nephew stayed there, staring at each other, one in anxiety, another in wrath. That's when she decided to break the silence and speak.

"Josh, you shouldn't..."

"I can't, Aunt Mary!" he cut, anger in his voice. "I can't forgive him!"

She would have insisted on talking, but knew it would be no good. He was still a kid, so he wouldn't understand the circumstances of his death. He just had to find a responsible for that. Death was always a complicated issue to explain to kids. But she couldn't just let it go either. If she did, Josh would be only damning himself and Alex, the former due to regret and the latter, guilt. Somehow he had to be convinced.

Mary stood up, but leaned a bit towards the boy. "Josh, before you do anything, I'd like you to meet a few more people. They might make you change your mind." She requested, in a calm tone.

"Auntie, I said I can't..." he replied, with a scowl.

"Please, sweetie. That's all I ask. When we're done with it, if you're still willing to carry out your revenge, then I won't interfere with it. I promise." She pleaded.

Josh wasn't looking forward to. He wanted to find Alex right away and demand retribution. But this lady had been nothing except nice to him. Without her, he wouldn't even know he's been dead, so shouldn't she deserve at least a chance to prove her point?

"OK, Auntie..." he said, a bit dismayed.

The woman smiled. "Come with me. I'll take you to them." She said, taking the boy's hand and led him out the mansion.

Wow, that was the longest chapter so far. Lots of explanations.

Now come the most interesting parts: Mary and Josh's talks to these 'other people'. Find more on the next chapter.

Please review and tell me what you thought of it so far.