One chapter to go. Those last two chapters were the most enjoyable to write.

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


CHAPTER 07 – UNACCEPTANCE

As the siren sounds got louder and louder, the surrounding area darkened. Next, the floor, the walls, the pews... the entire place started to peel into tiny snowflake-like pieces, which extinguished in the thin air. It was happening again: the powers of Silent Hill were manifesting, making the town's other side know to them. Josh and Mary fearfully stared around at the changing surroundings.

What had been left behind, however, wasn't a twisted version of the church. Instead, loomed an open space, although only infinite darkness in all directions. The sole distinguishable feature was the floor under their feet: a circular arena, composed of rusty iron grids, under which some rotating fans could be seen. Oddly enough, anything inside the arena radius could be clearly seen, despite the lack of a visible source of light. Mary had been in Silent Hill for quite a time, but this place was entirely new even to the her.

"I will not accept your choice, Joshua Shepherd." A voice suddenly spoke from the darkness, startling them both. The young Shepherd immediately recognized the voice as the one that had been whispering to his mind since the journey's beginning.

"You... you're that voice inside my head." The boy stated. His aunt had no idea what he meant with that remark, but before she could question about it, they heard approaching footsteps on the metallic floor. They turned to the sound's direction and a figure showed himself before them. Still cloaked in darkness, its features were not visible yet.

"You can't forgive Alex. He must atone for his acts. These are the town's rules." The figure proclaimed, as it stood outside the arena.

"Who are you? Why have you bugged me all this time?" Josh shouted, angry at the mysterious being. Mary stayed silent: she couldn't see well the person, but an uncomfortable feeling of dread formed inside her. It was like this situation was familiar to her, although she couldn't tell why.

"Who I am?" the figure echoed in a mocking tone, slowly approaching them, its features being gradually revealed by the light. First they noticed its small frame, resembling a boy. Then they saw its clothes: an orange T-shirt, brown shorts and gray tennis shoes. Finally its face came into sight: it was just like Josh's! The only difference were his eyes, who displayed a more sinister look. "I am you."

The young Shepherd's eyes widened in shock. Shock being an understatement, he was at a complete loss for words. His mouth only managed to mutter some disconnected sounds as he pointed at his 'twin'. Now he could understand why he could recognize so well the voice: it was just like his own.

Mary was also shocked, though for a different reason. She had realized why that feeling of dread was so familiar to her. It had happened the same to her in the past, when her anger, added to James' feelings, led to the creation of her own 'twin'. An embodiment of the town's powers, whose only purpose was to make sure James compensated for his sins. She immediately remembered her alter-ego Maria. And now it was happening to her nephew.

"Come with me, Josh. Together, we shall seek justice for your death." The evil version offered, reaching out his hand to the young Shepherd.

"No, I don't wanna. I don't wanna hurt Alex. He didn't do it on purpose. I... I forgive him." The boy nervously replied, already recomposed from the initial shock.

The version just smirked smugly. "People can't be forgiven for something they don't even remember." At the baffled look on Josh's face, he elaborated. "Let it be known that he's forgotten about your death. He doesn't even know you're dead."

This revelation left Josh surprised. So much that he actually got in denial. "You're lying! There's no way Alex would forget such a thing." He accused.

"Oh, but he did. And worse, he's not even in Shepherd's Glen anymore to mourn for you. You can go see by yourself, if you don't believe me." The doppelganger assured, in a taunting tone. Despite it, his words held such a steadiness that Josh doubted he was lying.

'Alex... forgot about my death?' the boy's mind raced. Slowly, his will of forgiveness was slipping away, giving in place to rancor again. The version's smirk widened as he had successfully planted the seed of doubt. Just pushing a little further and the kid would be coming along with him.

"Let's go, Josh. The time has come." He beckoned.

That's when Mary intervened.

"Where's Alex then?" the woman demanded. The 'twin' narrowed his eyes at her; he wasn't expecting her intrusion at all.

"Does it matter? He doesn't remember what..."

"Where's Alex?" she cut in. "You said he's not in Shepherd's Glen, so where's he?" Mary was aware that 'Josh', being an avatar of the town's gods, had to answer their questions honestly. He could omit the truth, but not lie. The little Shepherd stared at him, waiting for the answer, the doppelganger didn't like the way things were heading to.

"He was sent to a mental hospital." He just spat with disdain.

Josh felt his blood (or whatever he had inside) run cold. It was as though each piece of information he got was even more shocking than the last one. 'Alex's in the hospital? But why? Is it because of me?'

"Josh, don't listen to him. I know what may have happened," she turned towards her stunned nephew. The young Shepherd gazed at her, curious. "It's called post-traumatic stress. When a person experiments some kind of heavy trauma, the mind suppresses the memory in order to keep itself sane. It happened the same with my husband after my death. If Alex had to go to a mental hospital, it just proves he truly regrets what he's done. He had already suffered enough for your death." She explained.

The boy, of course, didn't catch much of the first part of her explanation. Nonetheless, the last part appeared to have confirmed what he was suspecting. His older brother must have grieved greatly if he had to be in a hospital. It had never been his intention to cause his death, just as Josh had never really wanted to punish the brother he always admired. Her words seemed to bring reason back to the boy, as the expression in his face soothed. On the other hand, realizing he was losing his edge, the version's face turned into a scowl.

"You don't have a choice, Josh..." his 'twin' claimed, his voice turning eerily rougher. "You can't defy the laws of Silent Hill." Was his last sentence, before his arms started to abnormally swell. Aunt and nephew immediately backed away from the twisted version, as his limbs continued to expand.

Suddenly, long metallic appendages burst from his swelled arms. The appendages tips reached at the floor and lifted the body on, making him resemble a giant spider. The metallic joints grated with each movement. His body itself started to bloat too, to such an extend that his clothes were ripped off. His chest area mutated into female breast-like protuberances, the skin turned paler and, most disgusting, a black hose emerged from his genital area and connected itself to the mouth. But what horrified Josh the most was the creature's face: it had morphed into his own mother's. The resulting monster looked like a pale pregnant Lilian Shepherd with six metallic claws instead of arms.

Both aunt and nephew stared in horror at the doppelganger's real form. Never before had they seen such a disturbing and hideous creature, not even the ones that Mary had spotted lurking around Silent Hill. The monster advanced towards Josh, but Mary put herself between them, in an attempt to protect her nephew. But in vain; with a quick swing, the monster slammed her out of the way and grabbed the boy with its two frontal claws.

The young Shepherd struggled and yelled, but was unable to get out of the hold, as the grinding claws brought him closer and closer to the monster's body. The last thing he could remember was being slowly absorbed into the creature's disgusting belly, just as his whole world turned black.

Lying on the floor, Mary could only helplessly observe the gruesome scene before her.

'I failed...' she thought sadly.

.

The calm waters of Toluca Lake observed from the Rosewater Park were a soothing view. The shrouding fog might have seemed eerie to some, but there were those who managed to find beauty on that too. They would call it 'mysterious', even 'romantic'. The perfect scenario for someone who wished to forget about their concerns and pains.

Someone like Mary. Leaning on the waterfront fence, she admired the lake she had once visited with her beloved James. It had been brief, but the peace of mind she had felt back then was still etched in her memories. And it was exactly that peace of mind she was trying to reproduce now. Of course, it was harder without James by her side this time.

She sighed at the thought of James. It brought her happy memories, but sore ones as well. She remembered that his body still lied somewhere inside those waters, as the outside world still labeled him as a missing person. She remembered her remorse over her husband's suicide, that being the reason she was still bound to this land. And, most recent, she remembered failing to keep her younger nephew from committing the same mistake as her.

Mary couldn't stop worrying about Alex too. If things went on like before, her older nephew would very soon depart from the living world as well, since Josh's forgiveness no longer mattered to the town's gods. Guilt now overwhelmed her mind... guilt for James' death and guilt for not being able to protect her family. She had failed them all.

'Maybe I'm destined to remain bound to Silent Hill for all eternity.' She thought, a gloomy look in her face.

She didn't know for how long she stayed there, until the sound of footsteps was heard. She glanced at the noise source and her eyes widened at whom: Richard Grady, walking on his feet.

"Richard, how did you manage to...?" she asked, surprised at the sight.

"The hanging rope?" the man completed, smiling. "My time has finally arrived, Mary. I just dropped by to say good-bye."

That remark surprised her even more. "Your time has come? You mean..."

He only nodded.

"But how?" she asked, half-curious, half-admired.

"I've seen my son," he answered. "He seems really fine now. It looks like he has finally overcome his past, despite what I caused to him. After all those years, seeing Travis like that finally brought peace to my soul. At last, I can leave this place."

The woman smiled cheerfully; she was genuinely happy for him. Out of all the lost souls, Richard was probably the one who had been around for the longest. And now he could finally leave the town.

"I'm happy for you, and for your son. This time, you can have your well-deserved rest." She complimented.

"Thanks, Mary. I hope for your day to come soon. So, farewell." He concluded, making his way out. She watched his retreating back, until he halted a few steps away and turned back. "Ah, there's something I forgot to tell you," he stated, getting the woman's attention.

"Your nephew was together with my son when I saw him. Alex is his name, right? I guess he was taking a ride to Shepherd's Glen or something."

For a split second, that information cheered her up, just to sadden her afterwards. Alex's return only meant his suffering would start very soon. So she just leaned back on the fence, downhearted.

"Thanks for telling me, Richard. But there's nothing I can do for him." She admitted.

The man felt a little bad for leaving her in this condition, but he had to go and there was nothing he could do either, so he just headed back to the park exit. Nevertheless, once again he halted and spoke.

"You know, Mary. Even if you couldn't keep Joshua from falling into darkness, it doesn't mean you can't help... in another way." Were his last words, before his figure gradually vanished in the thin air.

The woman was confused at first, but after pondering about what was said, she finally caught the message.

"Another way?" she muttered. "I think it's worth a try."


What does Mary intend to do now? Will she finally be free from Silent Hill? Find it on the next and last chapter.

This is a short chapter and could have been easily merged with the next chapter, but I decided to separate them to create some suspense.

I've intended to make Amnion's transformation just as Maria's before the boss fight in SH2. But I think it turned out better this way.

I'm considering SH0 'Good' ending as canon in this fanfic.