The Dark and the Cold

He could feel his breath waning as he struggled to fill his lungs with air, as exhaustion threatened to stop his legs from all that aimless running. And to what end? He was being chased by creatures he didn’t know even existed; misshapen shapes of muscle whose only intent it seemed was to gang up on him, bring him to his knees. Do I make a left? Or should I go right this time? His mind was worked up to a frenzy, as he tried to find the next possible doorway that would take him out of this nightmare. Wait- I think I’ve already been here bef–

His heartbeat shot like a rocket as he felt a burning cold sensation from his right side. His ears almost went deaf from the hideous screeching that these… creatures made as they held him in their unholy embrace. Get! Away! From! Me! With all the strength that he could muster, he shoved the grotesque figure violently to his left. With a thud, the creature groaned until it was silent. Harry would have stood there a second longer to relish his small victory, but he knew that doing so would only put him in contact with the rest of those vile things. Feeling the small bead of sweat forming on his forehead, he quickly raced to the door he saw in front of him.

How in the hell did I end up here? Harry thought he had an answer already to that nagging question, but his thoughts were always interrupted by the sounds of maniacal pursuit, the sudden ambush of cold and clammy hands. Not being sure if his mind was playing tricks on him, he swerved to his side by reflex, as he thought he had heard a voice from somewhere in that vast darkness. He was glad to have had a flashlight with him, but even the shadows that painted themselves on the walls seemed to be mocking him, taunting at him, seemingly whispering his name in a chilling voice.

Harry.. Harry… HARRY!

Another one of the creatures had caught up to him, and to Harry this looked even more of an abomination than the rest. The head was like a hastily mixed lump of flesh, and where its face was supposed to be, an ominous hole just lay there. But though it had no eyes, he could not for the life of him explain how it seemed to peer at him directly with that unnatural void for a face. His terror seemed to give him a boost, and he hurriedly pushed the creature away before it could embrace him further. Where is the damn exit? I must leave this place!

He no longer tried to look back as he ran, he knew he would only get disheartened by the sight of… them, increasing in number like a plague of locusts. Their shrill voices seemed to rise even higher, as if they were trying to drown him in a sea of utter madness. Harry faltered for a moment, can’t.. go on.. lie down.. He had probably been running for just minutes, and yet it felt as if he had spent all of his energy. He knew that he shouldn’t stop, but he was also aware of his depleting strength. I just want this to be over. His eyes were just about to close when suddenly–

“This way.”

His mind snapped to attention. With all the noise that seemed to fill his surroundings, Harry wasn’t entirely sure that he had heard a voice just now. I’m probably just imagining it, but it sounded like her!

“You can’t fight them. You have to run. This way.”

And as if a fresh set of batteries had been placed inside him, Harry bolted with lightning speed, and continued his race through the halls. And as sudden as the nightmare had begun earlier, everything was abruptly washed in hazy rays of early morning light. He didn’t recognize the building he had just come out from, nor the words that decorated the top of the wooden door. Latin, I think? Harry stared at it for a few more seconds, but he couldn’t think of a fitting translation. Another time, perhaps. He looked away.

He knew it was her voice that he heard that time. A lot of things didn’t make sense to him at the moment– the car crash, the house– but she was all he had right now. And even if he had to go through  a hundred nightmares, he would carry on, until he found her, until he could hold her in his arms again.

Ahead of him, the bridge was standing defiantly against a thick blanket of fog. Checking to see if his flashlight was still working, Harry aimed its light straight towards the  unknown. I’m on my way, Cheryl. Daddy’s on his way.

 

Time flows, nobody knows
The years go by…
Where we go, alone from here

Night falls, strange colored walls
My eyes deceive…
What is wrong with me?

-Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Acceptance
 

(Note: I wrote this narrative a few minutes after I had finished playing the PSP version of the game Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. This serves as a tribute to one of the most engaging games that I have ever played.))

-Ed. E.

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