Silent Hill : The Official Novel
By Sadamu Yamashita
Translated by Emily "Lady Ducky" Fitch
By Sadamu Yamashita
Translated by Emily "Lady Ducky" Fitch
After Cybil had departed, Harry stood up from his bench. Sliding the handgun between his pants and belt, he turned and looked around the café. At several tables sat plates of half-eaten food and full cups of cold coffee. In the kitchen there was a cutting board strewn with freshly-chopped lettuce and hamburger meat that had yet to be formed into patties. There wasn’t anything broken and there was no sign of vandalism. It was as if the employees had abandoned their work and the customers had abandoned their food in a hurry. If this place was deserted just like the police station, then maybe the whole town really was empty.
But how could a mass exodus go so completely unnoticed? There was no news of the event and even the police from the neighboring town were unaware of the situation. Could it be a government cover-up? Perhaps some sort of hazardous infection broke out and everyone was removed from town and quarantined…No, if that had happened the town itself would have been blocked off and no one would have been allowed to leave. He also would have run into some sort of checkpoint on the highway on his way here. It was wildly unlikely that they were using one place in town to house thousands of people all at once though. So if nobody left town, that meant that every person living in Silent Hill had just vanished, like they were going about their business when suddenly they were all sucked into a black hole.
Harry grinned and began to chuckle at the thought. He certainly hadn’t considered the possibility of supernatural happenings yet. This was all beginning to sound like a bad horror novel. But no matter how many times you read a book, it’s completely different from real life. There’s no way Harry could ever believe there was something paranormal behind all of this, he wouldn’t let himself. But now it was different. He had already seen with his own eyes a creature that defied any logical explanation. A creature that had very nearly killed him. If he didn’t believe before, he would have to start believing now.
Something colorful caught his eye and he noticed a tourist brochure with a map of the town printed on it sitting next to the register. It was being used as an ad, as there was a large red arrow pointing at the restaurant he was currently standing in. The building was facing Bachman Road, which stretched from north to south across the map. That was the road he had been driving down just before the accident. It must be around here then…Harry’s finger traced a path from Bachman Road to where it intersected with Finney Street and found an unmarked street that continued south. That was the alley where he chased the girl through the fog.
Harry knew it would be incredibly reckless to return to the spot where he was attacked, but he had to risk it. There had to be some sort of clue there, maybe a door he had overlooked. That girl had to be hiding around there somewhere. He folded the brochure and stuck it in his pocket.
After a couple moments of rest, Harry finally gathered up the resolve to leave the café. Just as his hand touched the doorknob, a harsh sound assaulted his ears. It was white noise crackling from a radio. Harry turned and saw a small pocket radio sitting on a table in the far corner of the restaurant. He walked back to the table and took a closer look. Someone had left the power switch on. Maybe one of the customers was listening to a baseball game at the time everyone disappeared. Until now the volume had been too low for him to notice, but why had it suddenly grown louder? Cybil had said that her radio wasn’t working because of the abnormal weather…For some reason the radio’s garbled hissing was making Harry incredibly uncomfortable. The noise was like nails scraping against a chalkboard; it made his skin prickle and his hair stand on end.
As the static grew in intensity, it began to mingle with another odd noise, the sound of flapping wings coming from outside the café. Harry spun around to face the window and was met with sight of an appalling creature hovering just outside. Unlike the monster that attacked him in the alley, this creature resembled a huge bat. Its leathery skin was a sickly mottled brown and stretched like canvas over its massive wings. It possessed vicious talons like a bird of prey; Harry could hear them scrape against the pavement as it came to rest on the sidewalk.
He’d never seen or even heard of such a large winged animal existing in this area before. A biologist might have drooled over such an incredible discovery, but the mere sight of the creature was making Harry nauseous. Its parched skin made a terrible crackling noise as it folding its wings and settled at its perch. The features on what should have been its face and the structure of its body were so twisted it looked like it had been run over by a car. The stench of death the hung over the monster was so strong that it seemed to seep through the window and fill the café with the foul odor.
For a moment, Harry was so stunned he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the repulsive sight, but he quickly scrambled to the floor and hid against the wall underneath the window. The bird-like monster was surveying the area with a fierce glint in its beady eyes. No doubt it was searching for prey. With its pick-axe like beak, it looked like it could tear flesh from bone in a matter of seconds. Anything, or anyone, who crossed its path would most certainly be remorselessly ripped to pieces and devoured. Feeling the monster’s dangerous presence through the wall his back was pressed against, Harry held his breath like his life depended on it. Static continued to spill from the radio, now beginning to sound like mocking laughter. The noise cut through the silence, as if it was trying to alert the monster to Harry’s presence. He wished desperately that he could go turn it off, but he didn’t dare move from his hiding place.
The monster let out an ear-piercing screech that echoed through the empty streets and the sound of fluttering wings came again. It sounded like it had left. After what seemed like an eternity, Harry chanced a quick peek out the window and saw with incredible relief that it had indeed flown away. He turned his head to look at the radio. As the “bird” grew farther way, the static lessened until the café was quiet once again.
It took surprisingly little time to rebuild the confidence to leave the restaurant. During the nerve-wracking encounter with the bird monster, he had been gripped by paralyzing terror. For a moment, he was so shaken that he was tempted to heed Cybil’s warning and barricade himself inside the café. However, the thought of his daughter meeting with such a creature spurred him into action. Harry suppressed his cowardly thoughts and forced himself to step outside.
Silent Hill was still sealed beneath a blanket of fog. He strained his ears, but Harry couldn’t hear anything through the frozen silence. A howl echoed through the distance. It sounded like the barking of a dog. It must be a pet left behind by its owner. Harry felt bad for the poor thing, but he couldn’t afford to stop and help. Cheryl was his top priority now. Once he found her, his only plan was to get as far away from this strange town as quickly as possible. He would have to leave the chained animals to suffer from hunger and thirst and hope that some kind soul arrives to help them before they grow too weak to survive.
Harry hurried north up Bachman Road, then turned west onto Finney Street. Icy gusts of wind fought against him every step of the way and the moist air was making his clothes damp and heavy. Each of his pounding footsteps were quickly swallowed by the white curtain of fog and continued to echo through the stillness. Before long, he found himself staring down the same alley he visited before. He pushed on without hesitation until he caught site of the metal gate in the alley’s furthest left corner.
There was a small shape curled in front of the gate. Harry couldn’t help but picture the three-headed Cerberus guarding the entrance to hell. As the figure sluggishly rose to its feet, he could see that it was indeed a dog. It regarded him warily as he carefully approached.
“Hey there little guy. Were you the one making all that noise?” He reached out his hand to pat the animal on the head, but he was beginning to feel a bit uneasy. What if it was unfriendly? Still, just as he was on a quest to find his daughter, he could sympathize with a dog that had lost its owner. Someone somewhere was probably worried sick that their precious pet was missing. As he moved closer, the fog that separated them faded and the animal’s true form was revealed.
He had made a decent enough guess when he called the thing a “dog”. It probably had been a dog at some point in its life, but what remained of it now was just barely enough to recognize it as a canine. Most all of its hair had fallen out and pinkish, burn-like splotches of diseased flesh covered its entire body. The creature was so emaciated it seemed like little more than dry skin wrapped over the skeletal frame of a dog. On top of all that, it was clearly suffering from rabies as well; its eyes, now fixed solely on Harry, were filled with crazed hostility.
Static spilled out of his jacket pocket, like the radio was sounding an alarm. It sounded just like it had when Harry spotted the avian monster outside the café. Maybe this radio can pick up something that humans can’t, like some kind of electromagnetic wave. Maybe that’s how it always sensed the presence of these unnatural beings before Harry could. That was his theory anyway.
The monster’s lips curled into a snarl, revealing its yellowed fangs. It let out a deep, murderous growl that filled the air with the stench of its rotten breath, a stench so strong it nearly made Harry choke.
“Stay back!” Harry fought to keep his voice level as he took a slow step backwards.
“It’s okay boy…just run along now.” The moment he reached down to retrieve the pistol from his belt, the “dog” shot forward like a missile, giving him only a second to react. He heard a sharp crack as the shot he fired bounced of the pavement inches away from his target. The rabid dog lunged at the outstretched arm holding the gun, looking to take a chunk of Harry’s flesh into its disease-ridden jaws. Harry withdrew his arm just fast enough that the teeth met the sleeve of his jacket instead.
“Let go!” The more Harry struggled to twist his arm free of the dog’s jaws, the more fiercely it sunk its teeth into his sleeve. He hoped that the fabric would tear off, but his durable name-brand jacket held up against the assault. Harry swung his leg back and kicked his attacker as hard as he could. The dog let out a shriek of pain as the tip of his shoe sunk into its soft underbelly. It released its grip and tumbled onto the pavement.
That injured cry hit Harry straight through the heart. He couldn’t stand to see animals being abused like this. However, the usually gentle-natured man was still human, his actions now governed by self-preservation and fear. He quickly aimed his weapon and fired. Once, twice, three times…he carelessly pulled the trigger again and again, screaming insults with each shot. He fired until the fifteen round magazine was completely empty. The dog lay twitching in a spreading pool of blood.
Still breathing heavily, Harry slowly returned to his senses. He had to use all his energy just to force his muscles to move his stiff body. However, his intense relief withered in an instant as he heard growls from the trembling figure on the ground. The dog he believed to be dead began to struggle feebly back to its feet. Despite its near fatal injuries, it seemed to be rapidly recovering its strength.
Harry aimed that the creature again…only to be reminded that he had foolishly wasted all his ammo. Struck with a sudden burst of inspiration, he lifted his foot and brought it down with all the force he could muster on the creature’s frail body. Ignoring the sickening, squishing sensation he felt beneath his shoe he stomped again and again until the dog lay still. Harry slumped to the ground, weak with exhaustion and the horror of what he had just done. Its skull was shattered and its body reduced to a bloody, flattened carcass. It was the same as the mangled dog he’d seen on the other side of the gate.
Although his question had been answered, it brought Harry no comfort. If someone else had encountered another mad dog roaming the streets, the possibility existed that even more were lurking around now. Whatever was going on in Silent Hill had to be pretty serious if it could turn someone’s pet into that ferocious beast. Cybil wasn’t kidding when she said it was dangerous.
As he went through the gate and walked down the alley, Harry meticulously checked for any gap big enough for a child to squeeze though. He found nothing. There was one iron back door with two small ventilation windows, but it was locked tight. He couldn’t get it to budge no matter how hard he tried. The windows were so far out of reach that Harry couldn’t even touch them, let alone a small girl. He gave up on the door and continued onwards.
His fruitless search came to a halt when he reached the alley’s dead end. The gruesome crucified corpse was there waiting for him. He averted his eyes, looking down at the pavement instead. He noticed pieces of paper scattered across the ground. He didn’t remember seeing these here before. He reached down and picked one up. The page was covered in crayon drawings; there was a picture of Snoopy, a bride standing in a church, a balloon and a dove flying in the sky, a garden full of flowers…They all seemed incredibly familiar.
He spotted the green cardboard cover lying nearby. There was a person’s face scribbled on it. Harry’s face. These torn pages were all from Cheryl’s sketchbook. Ever since he’d given it to her as a present on her fifth birthday, she’d carried it everywhere. Not only did he love to draw, but it was her favorite way to entertain herself when her father was too busy to play. By the time she’d turned seven she’d managed to fill nearly half the pages.
“I hope you’re not planning on making a career out of this,” Harry teased.
“I don’t think I wanna be an artist. I’d rather work outside than be cooped up inside all day.” Cheryl’s response stung a bit. He knew it was aimed directly at him.
“Well, artists don’t have to stay in a studio all day. You could go out and do landscape sketches.”
“Being a truck driver would be neat.”
“A truck driver? That’s a boy’s job you know.”
“But I’d get to go all over the country and see everything.”
“That cargo can get pretty heavy though. You think you’re up for it?”
“Okay, I’ll be a taxi driver then!”
“Then you better be careful if you have to make change. I’ve seen your grades and math is definitely not your strong suit…”
“You’re so mean Daddy!”
“Okay, okay. I’m sorry. I’ll tell you what. You go out and do whatever makes you happy and no matter what you grow up to be, Daddy will be right there cheering for you.”
Cheryl brought her sketchbook with her on their trip. He remembered her clutching it to her chest as she slept in the passenger’s seat. This was his daughter’s most cherished possession, so why would he find it torn to pieces in a place like this? What’s that…? Harry frowned and picked up one of the scattered sheets. Instead of a drawing, this page was filled with two large words: “TO SCHOOL”. It was definitely in Cheryl’s handwriting. But why?
He pulled out the tourist brochure and flipped to the map. Just outside of the residential area was a large building labeled “Midwich Elementary”. She must be there! Harry was absolutely convinced. Cheryl left this message behind for him. He had the sudden terrifying vision of his daughter being grabbed by a stranger and screaming for daddy to come save her. That combined with the knowledge of all the hideous crimes in his mind was enough to make him feel light-headed. Spurred on by impatience and rage strong enough to make him forget his aching feet and burning lungs, Harry sprinted with all the speed he could muster toward his new destination.
No one here either…Cybil had searched all across town and back, but in the end the result was always the same. She’d never seen a place so utterly empty before. The streets were silent, the homes were vacant, even the fog seemed to hang motionless in the air. The more she saw, the more dire the situation became.
As she hiked north up Bachman Road, she saw a destroyed segment of guardrail that led to a ditch on the side of the highway. Harry’s jeep sat at the bottom of the ditch, just as he had said. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe his story, but the sight of the vehicle lifted a weight off her shoulders. It was something tangible and real. It was proof that she wasn’t the only living human wandering these streets.
Cybil soon came to a halt. The road in front of her simply stopped; crumbling down into what appeared in the fog to be a bottomless pit. It would be suicidal to try to reach the road to Brahms from across this chasm. After another hour of walking across town, Cybil found to her disbelief that the road out of Silent Hill to the west, Finney Street, had collapsed as well.
Could there have been an explosion cause by a faulty gas line? Hard as it was to swallow, it was possible that it was just a very inconvenient accident. But as she trekked across town in a stunned daze, it became clear that this was no coincidence. Every single road leading out of the city had been similarly destroyed, leaving an impassable pit in its place. Not only did Cybil feel the act was deliberate, she got an overwhelming sense of malice at the sight. Who could have done possibly done this? It was something so impossible; she might have looked at it as an act of God. Or perhaps, the devil. At the very least, this was the work of human hands with a very sinister purpose.
The fog swirled in the pit, like smoke from a cauldron. It made it look more like an endless abyss than a collapsed road. Cybil could easily imagine that some sort of vile creatures could crawl up out of there at ay second. Every route to freedom was sealed. The dense, grey canopy of fog still hung heavy over the town, acting almost as a magic barrier trapping them all inside.
Harry was huddled underneath the front porch stairs of a house facing Levin Street. White noise crackled from the radio in his pocket, steadily growing louder. Above him, large wing flaps echoed across the empty street and a blurry black shadow cut through the sheet of fog. It would hover off into the distance, then slowly return again. It was looking for him.
He still had the handgun, but thanks to his panic during the last encounter it was now empty and useless. The only other weapon he had was a thin steel water pipe he picked up on his way back out of the alley, but it was so brittle that he might just have a better chance making a run for it. And how badly he wanted to run. His impatience and desperate need to see his daughter safe far outweighed his fear, but he forced himself to wait.
He had tried to reach the school by Finny Street and Matheson Street, but both roads seemed to have caved in, making it impossible to continue. He had attempted to bypass the road by breaking into any number of the houses that lined the street, but every last door and window was locked and stood firm against any blows from his steel pipe. He should be glad the homes were so well protected, but right now it was only making his mission more difficult. It almost felt like someone went out of their way to make sure Harry couldn’t reach the school…
It was when he reached the Matheson Street chasm, right as he was beginning to lose hope, when something caught his eye. At the edge of the pit atop a pile of crumbled concrete, he found another message from Cheryl. Like the first note, it was scrawled in big letters over two sketchbook pages. The first read “DOG HOUSE,” the second read “LEVIN ST”. He remembered seeing a dog house in front of one of the houses on the street. That had to be the way. If he could just smash his way into that house, he could jump the fence in the back yard and make a run for the school.
It never occurred to him what an amazing coincidence it was to find that note where he did. The suspicion that finding a note written by his daughter telling him exactly where to go at exactly the moment he needed it might be too good to be true never even crossed his mind. His thoughts were only on Cheryl, his precious little girl. She’s out there now, alone and afraid…
I have to go now! Harry inched out from under the porch stairs, holding his breath in anticipation. It was right there. The dog house was in his sights, sitting tantalizingly out of reach. He sat motionless, waiting for the flying monster to move away again so he could make a run for it. His legs itched with the desire to run, to carry his as fast as possible to that house. To Cheryl.
Another sound reached his ears. A faint tapping along with the sound of wet meat slapping against the asphalt. A dog, just as gruesome and deformed as the one that attacked him on the way to the alley, was wandering down the street. Harry clenched the steel pipe tighter in his sweaty hands. If the dog spotted him, not only would he be forced to fight it but that would inevitably draw the bird’s attention. He doubted his odds against one of the monsters, let alone both of them.
Icy beads of sweat slid down Harry’s forehead. Now or never. He locked his sights on the yard with the doghouse and dashed from his hiding place. He couldn’t hear the sound of wings and he was running in the opposite direction the dog was traveling. For one glorious second, Harry thought he was in the clear. Then he heard barks from behind him. They were quickly followed by claws scraping the pavement and rapidly closing in. Harry pushed himself even harder, desperately sprinting the last few yards to the front door. He stumbled over the first few porch steps, but regained his footing and made it to the front entrance.
He’d done it. He’d outrun the hellhound as was now only a few precious seconds from safety. At least, he would have been had the door not been firmly and heartlessly locked.
“Come on…” Harry begged the doorknob as he tried fruitlessly to force his way inside. He slammed his fist against the side of the house and yelled for help, but he was rewarded only with silence. The blood drained from his face. Inches away from sanctuary, yet trapped in the path of a vicious monster. Harry pressed his back against the cold wooden door and held the steel pipe in front of him. He was, at that moment, prepared to fight to his grave. Although, once that dog got ahold of him he wasn’t sure how much of him would be left to fill a grave. The starving beast leapt at him, its black eyes burring with feral rage and its jaws dripping with drool. A gust of wind tore across the patio, forcing Harry to cover his face. When he opened his eyes, the dog was gone. A piercing cry, like nails scraping against glass, ripped through the air. The familiar sound of wings mixed with yelps of pain and more horrid screeching. The monstrous bird had captured its prey.
Harry could hardly believe his eyes. The monsters were cannibalizing each other! The terror of imminent death gave way to overwhelming relief that drained his strength and sent him to his knees. It was all too much. The suffocating shroud of fog, his fear for his only daughter, the ever-looming threat of death at the hands of creatures that defied rational explanation…it was beginning to make him feel light-headed.
Snap out of it! You can’t lose it now. You’re her father, if you don’t save Cheryl, no one else will! Harry breathed in deeply and pulled himself to his feet. He shakily made his way back down the steps. The dog house. That’s what it said on the sketchbook page. That was his last hope. The small hut was empty; half of a broken chain was all that remained of the watchdog lived inside. A gleaming key was taped to the back wall. The house owners must have put it here for their dog to guard. How Cheryl knew this was here Harry had no clue, but he was grateful she did.
The key opened the door without issue and once inside, Harry locked the door and breathed a long sigh of relief. This house, like the rest of the town, seemed to be abandoned. Despite the desperate situation, there was still an unsettling feeling that came with trespassing in a stranger’s house. Like someone could jump out at you at any moment…
Only one thing grew stronger than his unease: the emptiness in his stomach. He passed through the living room and dining room into the kitchen and straight to the refrigerator. The food inside looked good enough. He grabbed a can of beer and finished it off in a matter of seconds. He popped open another can and drank between handfuls of ham and cheese. He hadn’t eaten anything since noon. The plan had been to take Cheryl to a nice French restaurant by the lake for a special dinner. He heard great things about the salmon meuniere, and Cheryl had always wanted to eat at a fancy place like that. Harry never thought he’d be alone and scavenging food from a stranger’s kitchen.
The alcohol had done its work to calm his frayed nerves and the food had filled him and restored some of his vigor. Much as he would have loved to stay and rest even longer, there was still work to be done before he could depart. Harry began to search the empty home for anything that could be of use. Ideally he wanted something that could replace his empty pistol as a suitable weapon. As he dug through closets and drawers, he prayed the former residents weren’t pro-gun control.
His prayer was answered when he found a nine millimeter handgun much like his own stuffed in the bedroom nightstand. Unfortunately, it came with little spare ammo; the magazine contained twelve bullets and the cartage box, only seven. It wasn’t much, but he’d much rather have this than rely on the steel pipe. He discarded the empty gun and put the extra rounds in his pocket. He was also lucky enough to happen upon a small emergency flashlight. It would be invaluable once night fell.
Having collected everything of use, Harry made his way to the back door. He wasn’t prepared for what he found on the other side: a wall of pitch-black darkness. It was mid-afternoon when he entered the house, and he’d only been inside a half hour at the most. Whatever was causing the bizarre events was not content with just manipulating the weather, now it was altering the flow of time. None of that mattered though. He’d walk out into a hurricane if it meant holding Cheryl safe in his arms again. Even if the world ended and God and the devil clashed in these very streets, he’d endure it all for her. Relying on nothing but a dim flashlight and a faint hope, Harry charged into the town dyed black with darkness.
“So night has fallen already…” Dahlia Gillespie whispered and she gazed out over the town from the church steeple.
“Darkness spills over the earth…like black tears from heaven…” A bitterly cold night breeze disturbed the black fog and tugged at the veil on her head. The snow white veil was the sign that marked her as a humble servant of The Lord. Though faithful as she had been to her God after so many long years, the road had not been easy. Through those seven years of hardships and humiliation, her devotion never wavered. Now she would be rewarded for her tireless efforts. The world would enter a shining new age, the people would bow before their new God, and she too would receive honor and glory beyond imagination.
“To those who look down on you with contempt
To those who hold not the same glowing light in their hearts
May you, Oh Lord
With judgment swift and fair
Cast them into the hungry mouth of Hell
To suffer their eternal punishment”
A wrinkled smile rose to Dahlia’s lips as she intoned her prayer. Anxious as she was for the hour during which her words would come true, there was one last piece that had yet to fall into place: The Holy Mother. The blessed vessel by which God could be brought into the world. Without Her, the ritual would be impossible.
“Where are you my dear? Won’t you come out soon?” Dahlia glared through the darkness. If it was a game of hide-and-seek the girl wished, then hide-and-seek she would have to play.
Gosh Cheryl is so cute in the novel. Heck, I want to go save her myself. Okay maybe not, but still.
As usual, let me know if I made any spelling errors and I'll fix them.If you'd like to draw any scenes from the novel, send them to me and if I like them, I just might put them up here.
Original - Sadamu Yamashita
Characters/story - Konami
Translation - Lady Ducky
Artwork by Masahiro Ito
You MAY NOT re-post this translation anywhere without my permission and I must be given credit as well as the original author.