Alright, here it is! No drum rolls are needed though, because this is but a humble thread for my short stories and entries for the bi-weekly. So, without further ado, let's start with horror. Bwahaha.
Now, this is supposed to be a prequel to a longer fanfiction relating to the Silent Hill-franchise. You do not however have to know anything about the games in order to read and understand this story. Being familiar with the series might enhance one's reading experience by intensifying some of the aspects, but I tried to write it also as a stand-alone piece. If you spot any grammar mistakes or weird choices of wording, please forgive me for I'm not a native English speaker. (You are welcome to point out my mistakes so I can learn, of course.) I also apologize for the fact that the form of the whole thing is kinda awkward.
That being said, I hope everyone can enjoy it to at least some degree~
! A feeble breeze made the corner of the blanket flutter. Marsha squeezed her source of warmth a little harder, just in case the wind would get any stronger. Despite the wind's weakness it was still as stinging as the frost of midwinter and it made Marsha's eyes smart. Tears started to well up, but she blinked and hid the tears back where they belonged, away from her cheeks.
! It was cold. The air seemed to be standing still, except for the wind that was whizzing in a pallid way, circling around the girl, as if searching for a weak spot from the folds of the blanket, so it could send vivid shivers all over her body. It attacked her feet and tried to sink its freezing teeth in them, but to no avail. Marsha's feet were cloaked by warm woollen pants and socks. She peeked inside the blanket, noticing that her upper body wasn't as well-protected. The vapid white and worn out T-shirt wouldn't stand a chance against the breeze. Marsha wrapped the blanket tightly around her and examined her surroundings.
! It was the roof of a building. The surface of the roof was a dreary shade of grey, apparently made out of concrete. Here and there a small piece of litter covered the dirty roof. They gave a small rustling sound as the wind caught them and guided them towards the edge. After making it past the edge, the litter fell. To the ground, to the water, to a swamp, wherever. Marsha had no idea of what was down below. Besides, she could barely see the the edges, not to mention past them. A thick and pale fog sucked in the rest. It felt weirdly heavy, as did the odd odour which was hanging in the air. Marsha didn't quite know how to put the smell into words, but it was unpleasant nevertheless.
! - Yippers, what a joy this is, she said out loud. The fog muted her voice, making it sound muffled. Marsha cleared her throat and shouted:
! - Exactly the place where a young girl would want to end up, eh?
! Weird. It was as if the fog tried to prevent anyone from hearing Marsha's holler. Raising her voice didn't help at all - the sound was as bland and suppressed as before. Come to think of it, Marsha had never encountered this kind of fog. Sure, she had seen the kind that hovers in the treetops, concealing their height, the kind that rises above fields in cool summer mornings. But this… this was no separating curtain between the stage and the audience, but rather one that had been thrown on top of the people. This fog was completely stationary, and yet it seemed strangely... alive. All the motion occurred just outside Marsha's range of vision, teasing her, and how come everything was so abnormally quiet? There were no sounds of traffic, people or life in general to be heard - all Marsha could hear was her own breathing and the occasional rustling of litter.
! - I need to get out of this place, Marsha whispered to herself. It was comforting to hear your own voice and announcing her goal out loud snapped Marsha out of her perplexed state. She forced her numb legs on the move, taking short, deliberate steps. There had to be something leading to the roof - a staircase or a ladder. Marsha would have preferred stairs, seeing as she had zero desire to investigate the edges in hopes of finding a ladder. She certainly didn't want to fall off.
! Marsha didn't have to walk for long, when she suddenly distinguished the outlines of a black, cube-like object. Maybe it was the entrance to a staircase? Marsha hastened her slow walk into half-running, eager to find out, not paying attention to the tingling in her legs when the circulation of blood was abruptly put into flow. As she reached her destination, she noticed that it wasn't a staircase entrance.
! It was an elevator. An elevator that was covered with filthy, wooden boards. Marsha didn't quite understand how the boards were able to stick to the surface of the elevator doors, because there were no nails. An unpleasant feeling of a stone dropping into Marsha's stomach made the girl jerk as a quiver of slight panic and uncertainty swooped over her - did this mean that she couldn't use the elevator? That she had to find a ladder, or something, anything that would lead her away from the misty roof. Or maybe… there was no way out? No. There had to be. Marsha wiped the thought of the worst case scenario out of her mind as soon as it had appeared there. She knew she needed to at least try and get the boards out of the way.
! Holding the blanket restricted the movements of Marsha's arms. She realized that she would have to discard her source of warmth for a little while in order to be able to move her arms properly. Slowly, she loosened the grip of her fingers and let her arms slump to her sides. The blanket's own weight pulled it away from Marsha's shoulders and made it fall to the surface of the roof. Not only did Marsha loose her warmth, but also a certain sense of safety seemed to have disappeared with it. It sounded silly, yes… but the blanket was some kind of symbol of consolation in this unfamiliar, eerie and obscenely quiet surrounding.
! Without any delay, the freezing wind attacked Marsha, gnawing her neck, arms, face, every inch of pale, bare skin now in display. The worn out T-shirt offered no protection from the coldness as the breeze fluttered its hem and cuffs. Despite the chills that seemed to pierce even her bones, Marsha grabbed the topmost board in a strong grip, settled her feet to a sturdy position and yanked with all her strength.
! The girl had expected that the board wouldn't budge. Maybe give a small creak and move just a tiny bit. What she certainly had not expected was that the board would come off almost as easily as a hot knife from a pile of butter. The powerful pull made Marsha lose her balance and she staggered for a second before falling down to her back. Luckily the blanket softened the sudden fall, but it didn't shield Marsha completely from the hard impact to rough concrete. The air escaped from her lungs and for a moment she just lay there, bewildered, staring at the doors of the elevator. She soon threw the board away, stood up with a low grunt and without hesitation rid the elevator doors of the two remaining boards of wood. They came off just as easily as the first one. Why, Marsha didn't have the faintest idea.
! As all three boards lay in various spots on the roof, Marsha picked up her blanket and wrapped it around herself. She felt better instantly when the soft cover chased off the stinging shackles of cold. Now that there were no obstacles preventing her from stepping inside the elevator, Marsha reached out her hand and pressed her palm against the doors. The surface was frigid and smooth, apart from a few scratches here and there. The elevator looked fairly old and judging by the thin layer of dust, it hadn't been used for a long while. Next to the right side of the doors was a button with an arrow pointing up. Several snippets of transparent tape were covering it, but that didn't prevent Marsha from pushing the button.
! - Please work…
! A dim, yellowish light lit up and a clear “ding!” rang from inside the elevator, a funny sound in its everyday ting in this abnormal situation. Marsha heard clanking and humming from behind the doors, distinguishing the movements from the elevator ropes as they were pulling up the elevator car. Marsha felt relieved and allowed herself to take a deep, calm sigh. She was more than happy to be liberated from having to search for a ladder on the edges of the roof. Now that the best option of transportation was working, or at least seemed to do so, Marsha could get out of here. Back home, back to her parents and sister. God, she would’ve given anything just to hear her mother’s warm voice and have his father pat her head. Thinking about them made her almost desperate with homesickness and she could barely restrain a sob. Marsha wiped the corners of her eyes, cleared her throat and focused all of her energy in keeping her feelings of longing and fear in control. Somehow she didn’t want this place to notice any moments of weakness. She couldn’t explain it, but she was sure her current environment would become hostile towards her if she were to give up now. At some point… no, from the very beginning… she knew this area had to be something similar to an amorphous entity. The fog, the smell, the dubious and absolute silence, hell, even the individual pieces of tiny litter rustling around, all of it, conveyed an ominous presence. And as most of mankind, Marsha was most afraid of things she couldn’t find a logical explanation for.
! The sound of the elevator startled Marsha and she gasped, immediately embarrassed of overreacting. Unless she had a reason for being uneasy. Why wasn’t there a thump of the elevator car coming to a halt? All she had heard was the jingle and nothing else, she was sure of it. Marsha didn’t get time to marvel at it though, because the doors were opening. Home, her kitchen that always smelled of food, the backyard that practically screamed to get its lawn mowed, all of this flashed through her mind as she shook in excitement at the thought of going back.
! Slowly, slowly, the doors…
! Getting away, far and far away from this dreadful place, into her room decorated with blue wallpapers of sea scenery and trophies won from volleyball tournaments, between warm sheets…
Open. They were open. But what Marsha saw in front of her wasn’t an elevator car. All that was there were four thick traction steel ropes. And a gaping, pitch black shaft that resembled a hellish abyss.
! In other words… there was nothing.
! For a moment all Marsha could do was stare. She didn't understand. Why would the doors open spontaneously without the car even being there? She had only pushed the button once, so that couldn't have triggered this peculiar behavior. Maybe the elevator was simply malfunctioning and the doors just opened too soon? Yes, that must be it. The car would be up soon. After all, the ropes were moving, albeit slowly.
! Marsha relaxed the tension in her muscles and heaved yet another sigh… But the episode wasn't over. Suddenly the ropes stopped moving and the clanking sound of the cable system ceased. Marsha frowned and let out a frustrated grunt.
! - Oh for goodness' sake, what is it now? This thing must be pretty old in order to be so crappy, she muttered under her breath. However, as the cables continued to stand still her annoyed expression changed into one of worry. Was there really something wrong in the machine room? The possibility of an old senile elevator being the only thing keeping Marsha from descending safely onto ground level was beyond bothersome. When there still wasn't any movement, Marsha gathered up the courage to approach the edge of the shaft. Even if she hadn't been surrounded by sinister fog and dreadful silence, getting closer to something that resembled the entrance of limbo rather than a harmless machine wouldn't have been on the top of her “to do” list. Marsha took two steps, leaned into the black wall and peeked into the shaft.
! Since there was very little sunlight and Marsha didn't have a flashlight, she couldn't really see much. It looked as if the steel ropes just disappeared into pitch black water; that's how dark it was. She swallowed and moistened the mucosae of her mouth which had gone completely dry. She could try and descend by climbing down the ropes of course, but reckless antics like that only succeeded in movies. If Marsha were to give it a shot, she knew she would probably die or get fatally injured. It would require a perfect jump and grip in order for her to manage the stunt and even then multiple agonizing scenarios could happen. Besides, there was no point in landing on top of an elevator car if it was stuck between floors… and unless she could suddenly conjure a light source out of nowhere, she had no way of knowing the elevator's position.
! Such thoughts accompanied by looking down into a completely uninviting darkness made Marsha feel nervous. She was about to swung herself away from the edge, when a sound suddenly emanated from below. A small tinge of hopeful relief light up in her chest as Marsha wondered whether the thing had started working again. She couldn't have been more wrong.
! The normal sound of ropes looping around a sheave changed so abruptly and in such a horrifying way that Marsha's whole body jerked violently from the scare. Her legs tangled with the blanket folds and she couldn't maintain her balance anymore, falling backwards on the concrete. Throbbing pain immediately struck her body and an overwhelming wave of incapacitating fear enveloped her. Marsha pressed her palms over her ears and closed her eyes in an attempt to shut the noise away, but to no avail. The air was raped by a sound that resembled loud train brakes clashing with screeching metal. Marsha was sure her eardrums would burst any second, but then the abusive audio quietened into a stretching grind. It was just as unpleasant, but not nearly as vociferous.
! Ears still ringing and her heart strained by palpitation, Marsha slowly lowered her hands and opened her eyes. Those positive feelings she had just a few minutes ago were lost completely and it was about to get worse. For reasons beyond Marsha's comprehension the elevator ropes had started to unravel.
! - No, she whimpered, her voice resembling that of a panicked animal rather than a human being. How was this even possible? Wasn't each rope supposed to be made from several lengths of steel material?
! Unless it had nothing to do with logic. This realization struck her like lightning, a flash of understanding in a vast sea of confusion. Yes. It was mocking her. Offering a chance to escape only to turn it futile in the end was a scornful way of ridiculing her sanity. Whose? Why, whatever it was that incorporated every dreadful phenomenon she had encountered so far. It wasn't personified, but Marsha had a strong feeling that it had a consciousness… and it was malignant. All this place seemed to have in store for her was desperation and mental suffering.
! One by one the ropes snapped, sending the car hurdling down the shaft. Marsha expected it to fall all the way, but apparently a built-in braking system prevented it as she didn't hear any loud crash or explosion. In any case the car was most likely close enough to the bottom to make jumping down a death certificate. Marsha was trapped.
! She was back to the starting point. Now that the elevator had appropriately eliminated itself, few options remained. She was forced to investigate the edges of the roof in a quest to locate other means of getting to the ground. Marsha got back up and groaned when pain pierced her limbs and back. The blanket had saved her from worse injuries yet again and she quickly made it into a shield against the cold. Having no desire to look at the gaping shaft, Marsha picked up one of the boards nearby and decided to go left. The silence was even more oppressive now that the malfunctioning screeches had deceased to wail, which made her advance with caution. She wasn't exactly expecting abortions of nature to attack her from the swirling fog, but she didn't deem it impossible.
! - Best to at least try and act courageously I guess, she sighed and took yet another careful step. Marsha kept her gaze facing downwards in order to see where her striped woolen stockings were going to land. She would occasionally step on a faded receipt or shabby leaflets, but other than being general garbage they didn't catch her attention. When she suddenly heard a faint creak in the distance however, she became alerted immediately. It didn't come from behind her where the elevator cube was, but rather from the front. Frozen to a slightly crouching position, Marsha listened intently. There, there it was again! She squeezed her wooden weapon and changed her course to the right, following the sound.
! Even though the creaking had seemed frightening at first, Marsha was to discover that its source was harmless. It was merely a twisted antenna, hanging halfway over the edge where a breeze was circling. So, this was where the roof ended and unknown territory began. Marsha made sure not to get too close, but she couldn't resist stretching her neck and looking down. As expected, there was nothing but an endless hollow of swirling fog.
! Another creak cried, which made Marsha snap out of it. She turned to look at the antenna again and noticed that a piece of paper was stuck on one of the farther poles. She squatted and carefully pulled the paper free, surprised to see that it was actually clean and readable. A picture of a tranquil lake spanned both front and back leafs. Marsha opened what she reckoned to be a sightseeing brochure and began to read.
! Welcome to Silent Hill!
! Silent Hill, a quiet little lakeside
resort town. We're happy to have
you. Take some time out of your
busy schedules and enjoy a nice
restful vacation here.
! Row after row of quaint old houses,
a gorgeous mountain landscape,
and a lake which shows different
sides of its beauty with the
passing of the day, from sunrise
to late afternoons to sunset.
! Silent Hill will move you and fill
you with a feeling of deep peace.
I hope your time here will be
pleasant and your memories will
! Editor: Roger Widmark
! - Silent… Hill? Marsha said to herself in an interrogative tone. She had never travelled there personally and had very little knowledge of it in general, excluding an article she remembered to have read. Something about a gruesome murder case involving small children.
! But… did this mean that she was in Silent Hill right now? It was awfully convenient that this brochure just happened to be here, next to an item that produced sound and was sure to attract attention in an otherwise quiet environment. In addition to its appropriate placement, it differed from everything else around it with its quality. All other things Marsha had encountered so far were worn out and dirty, whereas this seemed almost new. She had a hard time accepting that it was just a coincidence.
! A chuckle. Dry, amused and condescending.
! And it was right behind her.
! Marsha wasn't granted any time to react before she received a push on her back by something that felt like a shoe. It was gentle, but intent. And certainly enough to make her keel towards the sea of fog and fall.
As she fell, Marsha's body twisted and she was able to catch a glimpse at the person who had mysteriously appeared to kill her. Its shape was tall and dark and it wore a long coat. A coat with dried brownish stains on it. This was all Marsha had time to see until fog engulfed her like an abyss swallowing a sinner.
The blanket was swept away by the force of the drop, leaving Marsha to be free game for the freezing wind to gnaw. There was no room for fear, regret or grief. Only utmost surprise and cold remained.