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Date Posted: 01:47:35 06/21/20 Sun
Author: River Acheron
Subject: (S) HOMETOWN 2: Crimson Ice (Prologue)

Well, here it is! I will try to post one chapter a week. Maybe more if I have the free time. This is a story that takes place in the Silent Hill universe (the game canon, not the movies!). If you haven't done so, I highly recommend reading the first HOMETOWN I posted a year ago. It's here in The Library. :) I hope you enjoy!

HOMETOWN 2: Crimson Ice


June 2013

Winter gazed at his distorted pallid reflection within the small oval mirror that hung by a rusty hook over the filthy sink in the chapel's closet-sized bathroom. As cold, salty tears trickled down his 16 year old cheeks, he methodically mused over the past year and a half, and wondered how things - his very life (if one could even call it as such!) - had gotten to this point. He could not answer that, but of one thing he was more than certain...he was broken.'Not merely cracked like this dirty mirror', he pondered. 'Utterly, and completely broken'. As Winter continued to stare at the pathetic reflection of a skinny, confused boy with foppishly emo white (almost translucent) hair, button nose, and abnormally red lips, he silently asked himself how the truth he had recently learned about himself was even possible. Granted, nothing about Winter was what anyone would classify as "normal". After The Order recruited him into their ranks a month ago, things got even more ambiguous for him.

"It's not as if they need me anyway", he sniffed. "They're just looking to increase their numbers." That much was true; recent events had pushed The Order even deeper into hiding, abandoning their presence on the physical plane 100%. They blamed it on more outsiders moving into Silent Hill, they blamed it on an increased American obsession with the occult, and most of all they blamed it on the FBI's field office in Augusta. After all these years, after all this time, the feds were taking an active interest in all of Toluca County, following that three-day disappearance two months ago. The fact was, The Order felt threatened and dangerously close to exposure, so it was decided that it was for the best that they recall all operatives, and go sub rosa in The Otherworld...a dark twisted version of Silent Hill. Also, they felt the need to increase their ranks for the first time since...well, since time immemorial. Winter, for all his sniveling melancholy, was the perfect initiate.

1 month ago

"Please trust me, my child. Your innocence, your purity, is just what we need"
"What help could you possibly think I could contribute, Father Gregory? Um....do you know...I mean, you know WHAT I am....right?"
"Oh, we know, Winter my boy. We know."
"And you're okay with that? I'm not even sure I am. The very idea haunts my every waking moment."
"It's moot. And to address your earlier concern, we think you could contribute a LOT! As you know, our own Sister Claudia and Father Vincent failed us! Betrayed us! Trying to bring Samael Incarnate back into our world in physical form was nothing but a self-serving fools errand. Bah! The "revered" Claudia. Bitch! All she wanted was power for herself, and that pathetic fool Vincent was her little lapdog."
"I...I remember the sermons you preached, Father Gregory."
"Good, Winter. Good. I sure hope so because this foul, shit-stained flawed experiment called Earth is going through a radical paradigm shift. Our Seers have prophesied great changes in the coming decade! Why, in just a few short years cars shall be built to drive themselves, cellular devices and electronic tablets will encompass and control even MORE of everyday reality, a global pandemic will sweep the earth and cause the little human rats to become more isolated and complacent, humans will even utilize artificial intelligence as their own personal assistants. Foolish, clueless humans! Many of our Order fancy that we ALONE are masters of realms, of hidden forgotten planes of existence, and that humans are stuck in their restrictive world of Newtonian physics, Euclidean geometry, and Cartesian Geography."
"Ar...aren't they, Father?"
"No Winter. They too are hidden away in a plane of their own making, Only theirs is a simulation of ones and zeros. Not a literal simulation of course...I merely refer to their pathetic society built on complacency...a hyperreality that lulls them into a false, digital dream. In ages past, such things were termed 'Bread and Circuses'. Today, it is 'Gigabytes and Data'. Like their ancient Roman ancestors, they too are soon in for a rude awakening. By 2026, a great cataclysm has been witnessed to occur, brought on by humanity's slavery to their little digitized simulacra they call 'the real world'. That is when we strike! That is when we play our fiddles as their misbegotten empire burns and crumbles to digital dust...at their most vulnerable, at a level of despair not SEEN since the fall of Rome! That is when we...when *I* will reshape their world. I will personally welcome them to The New Dark Ages! No longer will our Gods squirm in through the cracks in the veil, no longer shall our Gods rely on subtle manipulation to achieve their ends, and no longer...NO LONGER...will our Gods be limited by the boundaries of Silent Hill

As Winter thought back on that awkward conversation a month ago, he gingerly wiped his swollen red eyes with his slender fingertips. After heaving out a hearty sigh, he attempted to compose himself as best he could and walked out of the bathroom, back to the chapel proper. It was late, most of The Order retired to their chambers, leaving Winter alone to wax philosophic. He slowly walked down the chapels nave and made his way down the aisle towards the two massive doors that led outside (that led Nowhere, technically). This was no Christian house of worship. There was no crucifix in sight, and no Bible. Rather, the arcane Seal of Samael was present on the floor, and a dusty old book titled 'Otherworld Laws' sat on the oak alter. This was also no normal chapel. As The Order's current main base of operations, living quarters, and place of worship, the chapel existed in the absolute lowest, most secret pit of The Otherworld. This level was not based on any one person's inner demons, but was shaped by The Order themselves over time - by the combined twisted psychology of them all. In fact, only once did an outsider accidentally stumble upon it. A girl, named Heather Mason, but even that was though extenuating circumstances, and Claudia's hubris and pride. Those days were long gone now - ten years gone - and now Father Gregory was the de-facto leader. From what Winter learned, Gregory was once a simple monk and acolyte who often challenged Claudia's teachings. After her demise, Gregory slowly made his way up the ranks, mostly because of his shrewd magnetism. He had a orator's gift where he was able to rally The Order to his banner and his way of thinking, by silver-tongued charisma, which just a pinch of manipulation. Gregory terrified Winter from the moment their paths crossed. It wasn't just his slithering snake-like voice which mirrored his beady reptilian eyes, but it was also the way they seemed to twinkle in sadistic glee every time he would drone on about humanity's eventual destruction. Winter slowly walked down the ornately decorated black, red, and gold carpeted nave. He was dressed in a shimmering black leather full-body suit, partially cloaked by a crimson robe and hood dyed with real human blood. His thick black boots with silver buckles thumped as he walked.

"These people are the first ones I ever met who didn't attempt to mold me into what they...", he said out loud. His voice echoing throughout the chapel.

"But is that not precisely what The Order is doing to you, Winter? Is this really so fundamentally different than...the others?", interrupted a mysterious spot-spoken voice that paradoxically came from within his own mind, and from some distant external source.

Winter was forced to admit that was true. For as far back as he could remember, he was forced to live for others; lived for their desires, lived for their guilt, and lived for their hate. He was sick and tired of being used as a means to an end. After stepping out of the chapels two huge doors, he slowly made his way up an unnaturally and impossibly long concrete staircase for about 10 minutes as he continued to ponder his lot in life. Finally, he came to a path that connected to a horrific looking carousel in what could be called - almost literally - an amusement part straight out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting of Hell. Each carousel house was a real horse corpse skewered to a rusted metal pole. The dead, rotted houses were each draped bu a semi-opaque bloody body bag. The carousel's floor was a rusted metal grate. This was a hidden, dark, and extremely twisted manifestation of The Otherworld, brought on ten years ago by Sister Claudia. The Order now calls this plane, 'The Nightmare' (Or 'Hell', depending on who you ask). As the carousel began to turn, the dead horses began to neigh and twist their heads back and forth at an unnatural, rapid speed. Evil, clanking, metallic carnival music crept through the putrid night air, coming from a nearby speaker, next to a rotted, overturned popcorn wagon, and a human-sized Robbie The Rabbit mascot costume laying on the metal floor, which slowly turned it's white and pink rabbit head towards the carousel - blood oozing out of it's happily grinning furry mouth. Winter leaned against one of the horse corpses, totally unfazed by the horrors surrounding him.

"I am being used by Father Gregory and the others. None of them care about me.", he lamented. Yet, inside Winter there was a deep longing for acceptance. 'At least this time I wasn't born from a wish', he thought. For a few months now, a terrible truth crept into Winter. It was a nihilistic horrific truth about himself...about what he was. (About what he was not would be more accurate.) Winter realized he was not real, by most definitions of the word.

Winter did not exist.

~End Prologue~


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