I do not own Silent Hill. It belongs to Konami.
CHAPTER 04 – A RESTART IN SHEPHERD'S GLEN
As soon as the other officers made it to base, three parties had been arranged. One set to go off to the sheriff's house and aid Officer Tower in the murder investigation. The second group, which had actually only two members, was to remain in the station and keep watch. It wasn't because of an emergency that the station would be left unguarded. The last team headed off to Silent Hill in search of Officer Bennett, with whom contact had been lost for the past hours.
With Wheeler and Mayberry included in the last group, they were right now driving towards the abandoned town. On the way, they discussed the known facts and speculated their courses of action.
"When was the last time Bennett had made contact?" Wheeler asked to Mayberry, who had been in the station before him.
"About fifteen minutes before you arrived. She had transmitted from her bike radio." The other man answered.
"Did she report anything unusual? Like strange people roaming on the streets or something?"
"No, there was virtually no traffic at the time, according to her," the curly-haired man stated. It was expected nevertheless, since not many people drove around that late at night. Then, his expression changed, as if recalling something. "But I remember, however, she claimed to have spotted another vehicle following the same route. A jeep, it seemed."
"You think it might have anything to do with it?" Of course, Wheeler knew it was a hasty guess. Just because a jeep had been in the same road as Cybil didn't mean its passengers were involved with her disappearance. Had it been, it would be almost as though blaming a bystander only due to the fact they happen to be in the same neighborhood as the victim. The possibility was simply too off, the young cop was aware of it, but he couldn't avoid being worried about his friend.
"I don't know," Mayberry dismissed. "That's what we're going to find out though."
"Stop jumping to conclusions, rookie," snorted Stone at Wheeler's comment from the passenger seat. Much to the latter's dismay, the former was in the same car and, worse, the one in charge since he was the deputy there. "Someone who arrives late at his shift and misses the report shouldn't be trying to guess what took place to begin with."
The other cops in the car glared at their colleague. Ever since they met, Stone and Wheeler never got along, due to a disguised racism the deputy held. In fact, most of the station also thought of Stone as a real jerk, with his cocky attitude. Even Sheriff Gucci had been aware of his behavior, but oddly didn't seem able to do much against it, which only reinforced the assumption that Stone's family had some influence on the police. For an instant, Wheeler considered retorting back to that guy, but decided against it. With Gucci gone, Stone would probably become the new sheriff and he'd better not get on his bad side (although he somehow had a feeling he already had).
Besides, Cybil's whereabouts were a more pressing matter to attend to.
The road came to a hillside. On one side, the rocky walls; on the other, a chasm; and in the middle, the road squeezed between them, illuminated by sparse lampposts. Any small mistake in the driving here would most certainly end up in tragedy. Most of the car occupants silently hoped this place had nothing to do with Bennett's disappearance.
Their expectancies, unfortunately, turned out to have been in vain the moment the headlights reached upon a very alarming view. On the roadside, next to the wall, a mainly white-colored motorcycle stood alone, its owner nowhere on sight. Immediately they recognized it as Cybil's bike and, after bypassing it for a handful of yards, they stopped the car. The second police car which was following behind also parked a few feet ahead.
Seconds later, every officer in the team was surrounding the abandoned bike, noticing it was mostly undamaged. Thus, it hadn't been an accident. Even so, standard procedure for road accidents quickly commenced: some started isolating the area with caution tape and traffic cones, whereas others loomed over the chasm edge with flashlights looking for any signals of their missing comrade (which they absolutely hoped it wasn't the case) in the valley below.
Luckily, Cybil wasn't there, so the only possibility left was that she might have entered the town by foot. Why she had left her bike out there, no one present could answer. One of them reported back on the radio, stating that the motorcycle had been found, but nothing of Officer Bennett yet.
"Searches will be continued in Silent Hill," Stone announced, as no clue of the policewoman had been found. He pointed at Mayberry and two more officers. "You three will come with me to the town. The rest of you, stay here and guard the scene until the investigators arrive." He begun giving orders, just before heading to the car.
Wheeler, however, didn't like being cast aside from the search team and tried to reason with the deputy. "Sir, I request to go to Silent Hill too. I'd like to help."
Stone squinted his eyes in his direction, affronted. An arrogant man like him didn't accept being questioned, especially by a newbie. "I said 'the rest of you stay here and guard the scene'." He repeated, in a rather threatening tone.
That made Wheeler's blood boil. The deputy was plainly dismissing him, not even bothering to state a good reason why. After all, the more people in a search group, the more likely to find someone missing. So why wasn't he allowed to go with them? Most probably Stone was just attempting to keep him out of the spotlight. This guy's prejudice was going too far; Wheeler only wanted to help.
"With all due respect, sir..." he said, trying to suppress the indignation in his tone. "Officer Bennett has been a good friend and, if she's in trouble, I want to help her."
"You stay here, rookie. And that's final." Stone coldly said, turning back to the car.
When the police car finally left for the town, Wheeler sighed in anger and frustration, feeling like cursing out loud. Stone didn't even have the dignity to call him by his name or rank, instead addressing him as 'rookie' only. Dealing with that stupid, racist bum on command would surely be hard. He hadn't signed up for this and, inwardly, was wondering if this job was going to be worth it at all in the future.
Unbeknown to all of them, on a road on the other side of Silent Hill, a lone male figure rushed out of the town, carrying in his arms something wrapped in white drapes.
Something akin to a newborn.
Shepherd's Glen, about one year and a half later.
The local police station was mostly quiet during that morning. On that particular day, Wheeler awaited in the lounge for a meeting with his new employer, having arrived a couple of minutes earlier than scheduled, just to be sure.
While the wait proceeded, the young cop spared a glance to the new uniform he was wearing, different from the one he'd last worn (this one consisted in a light-brown shirt with grayish pants). Either out of boredom or nostalgia, he couldn't help but recap through the reasons that drove him here. The reasons for which he was in this new job.
That fateful night, around eighteen months back, when Brahms police had lost two valuable comrades, one being dead and the other, missing. The murder of the chief of police, Thomas Gucci, at least had enough evidence to be linked to the drug dealers. Regrettably, however, the disappearance investigation hadn't been so successful.
He recalled as the search team (of which he wasn't allowed to take part) had come back to the station two days later, completely empty-handed. They had requested the aid of the local police, which as expected didn't know a thing about her whereabouts, and had combed through the entire town, head to tail: in the main landmarks, in the locations the drug dealers hung around, in the nearby woods, but nothing in the end. No Cybil, no clues, no nothing.
Nonetheless, the searches hadn't ended. A general broadcast was sent to every police department in the state, eventually dragging in the FBI. With the case getting federal attention, one could hope it was finally going to lead somewhere. Especially because Bennett's disappearance was believed to have some sort of connection to another that, surprisingly, had occurred in the same time, in the same place. Apparently, a novel writer by the name of Harry Mason had traveled to Silent Hill on the same day, his daughter and himself being reported missing shortly afterwards. According to the investigations, this Harry guy owned a red-colored jeep, which matched the description the policewoman had last reported.
Much to the Brahms police's dismay although, even after involving the feds, the mess hadn't advanced one step ahead. Harry's jeep had never been found and, despite the coincidental time and place, there was nothing else that could link both disappearances. The chief's murder, naturally, went up to the court, resulting in a few thugs being trialed and convicted. Still, since neither Cybil nor her body had been found, basically they couldn't prove whether the dealers had something with it and, thus, couldn't prosecute them. Eventually, the FBI itself ended up losing interest on it and deemed the case cold.
On the other hand, Brahms police hadn't given up on her yet. It was their teammate they were talking about, so they wouldn't let things be finished like that. What had turned out though, as Wheeler himself had predicted, was that Officer Stone had become the new chief of police there. This wouldn't have been a problem, if it wasn't for the fact Stone didn't seem so bent on looking for her. Actually, in a couple of occasions, he had even hindered the searches, claiming the police had more important work to do than seeking out someone who was probably dead by now. And here was Wheeler, thinking Stone couldn't get deeper on the team's bad side.
The last straw, however, had come three months ago, when Stone finally decided to call the investigation off. Despite the team's protests, Stone had stated it was futile to keep searching after such a long time frame and labeled Officer Bennett as 'killed in the line of duty', merely ordering a posthumous plate in her memory. Hardly something to make justice for her.
At last, Wheeler had enough of it. Working under Stone in itself was very distressing, as he was pretty much aware of his dislike for him. It had been a tough choice and he didn't want to quit the force either, but had no other option in the end. The working environment was simply too toxic for him to continue. And given he hadn't much time of service yet, it'd better to leave now and restart fresh somewhere else than sinking roots in swampy soil. Most of his colleagues, nevertheless, were too old for that and needed to stick to the place anyway. But, even from afar, Wheeler promised he would keep in touch with his Brahms old peers.
And there he was, waiting to meet his new employer in this little town, having received the offer not long ago. His job interview hadn't been done by the chief of police himself, instead by one of his trusted officers. It was fifteen minutes past the scheduled time; the sheriff was late. Anyway, whoever his new boss would be, he was sure they couldn't be worse than Stone.
That was when said person entered through the station door. A man in his early thirties, not much older than the rookie, his haircut presumably indicating he was or used to be in the military. Indeed a great difference from Brahms, with someone so young being in charge here. But again, Shepherd's Glen was a tiny town, even smaller than Brahms. You probably didn't need lots and lots of experience here to get yourself a position, in theory. And if he was a military, he was likely to know at least how to keep things in order. He also bore a somehow stiff demeanor and, therefore, could be interpreted as a strict person. Wheeler made a mental note not to slack off while under this man.
Seeing the uniform-clad man at the lounge, the sheriff made a beeline to the former. "James Wheeler?" he asked, inquisitively.
"Yes, sir," the dark-skinned officer nodded, standing up from the bench he was sat. "Officer James Wheeler presenting himself for work, sir."
"At ease," the other man simply said. "I'm the sheriff, Adam Shepherd. Welcome to Shepherd's Glen."
So far, so good, thought Wheeler. His boss seemed pleased with his salute (the same he had used back in Brahms). Indeed he was a military. Wheeler just hoped things would continue this smoothly.
The fact that the sheriff bore the same surname as the town's didn't surprise the rookie either. As the good ahead-planner he always was, a bit of research on the town's history brought out that the Shepherds were one of the founding families of Shepherd's Glen, subsequently named after them. Of course, with that also came the slight suspicion the family name had a influence on his position as the sheriff, much like it had with Stone. Just slight.
Gosh, Wheeler wished he had someone to recommend him for a high position...
Adam guided him through the station, leading him to an office with a few desks and policemen in it. Most likely his new co-workers from now on.
"This is your office," he explained. "I'd show you more around, but right now I have a medical appointment. Anything you need to know, ask your colleagues."
Well, that was fast. Wheeler was expecting to talk and learn more about his boss, but this man appeared to be in a hurry.
"Are you feeling okay, sir?" he asked, regarding the mentioned appointment. Although he sought to be in Adam's good books, there was also genuine concern for his boss needing to leave in the middle of the day.
"Oh, it's not for me, that's for my wife," Adam cleared. "She's pregnant with my first child. The birth is up to next month."
The rookie's eyes widened. His boss was a soon-to-be father. "Congratulations, sir." He sincerely complimented.
His praise, however, didn't have the expected effect on the sheriff. Adam's expression shifted to a scowl, even letting out an angry huff in the meantime. That lasted only a split second, before Adam realized this and quickly recomposed himself. Wheeler pondered what he'd said that could have ruffled his boss' feathers; he had just complimented him.
The newbie also noticed Adam giving a very brief side glance towards a metal-carved crest hung on the station wall: a shield with an anchor and two crossed swords at front, vines sprouting off the hilts, and the inscriptions 'Shepherd' above and 'England' below. Probably the Shepherd family coat of arms. The sheriff's eyes were sad, almost depressed. What was with that look? It looked rather he was going to a beloved one's funeral than becoming a father soon.
"Thanks," Adam muttered, his tone indicating he didn't really mean it. "I shall leave now. Have a good day."
Before he left though, Wheeler needed to know of a few more things about the job. For now, he wasn't going to press the previous subject further; prying into his boss' privacy wasn't a smart idea.
"Sir, only one thing I need to know: what about the town just across the lake, Silent Hill? I heard it's a troublesome place." He asked. After all, Shepherd's Glen wasn't that far from that Silent Hill, despite not as close as Brahms. He didn't want more 'incidents' with that city.
A quick, barely noticeable trait of discomfort returned to the sheriff's face, but he readily shoved it away before answering. "Indeed it's a troublesome town, but rest assured. Whatever happens there doesn't affect us here. You won't have to go there, be sure of it."
"Won't the local drug dealers give any problems?"
"They won't," he shook his head. "Mark my words, Wheeler: Shepherd's Glen is a very calm and safe town. Even in this job, you'll never have to load you gun." He reassured, just to leave soon afterwards.
That answer seemed to satisfy the young cop, as he simply entered the office to start working. Well, at least here he wouldn't have to worry about people going missing like happened in Brahms.
Nonetheless, deep inside Wheeler's mind, something still felt off.
Something telling him that he hadn't seen the last of Silent Hill yet.
That's it, folks! We now come to the end of the second installment of Silent Hill Reminiscence. I think, from this part on, the plot is quite familiar to the readers.
Thanks for reading! If you haven't read it yet, please check out on my profile for the first installment of Silent Hill Reminiscence: Detective Cartland. I have a few more ideas for the next installments, so stay tuned for them.