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Date Posted: 00:29:47 07/18/20 Sat
Author: River Acheron
Subject: (S) HOMETOWN 2: Crimson Ice (Chapter 1)
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.
HOMETOWN 2: Crimson Ice
The town itself created him. Winter was created as a manifestation for lost souls who, through their misdeeds or guilt, crossed over to the other side. He went by many incarnations over the years. Not that he consciously remembers them, as each "birth" into existence is entirely self-contained.
In 1883, he was Josephine. A twisted version of the wife of Simon DeSilva, Toluca Prison's sadistic warden. The town created her to punish him after his death.
In 1918, he was Cassie. A radiant angelic version of Captain Silas Drake's mistress, who appeared to him in his cabin, shortly after steamboat, The Little Baroness, found itself lost and trapped on a foggy, snowy Toluca Lake in a lifeless Silent Hill.
In 1941, he was Burt. A shadowy, threatening version of a tycoon who was poisoned by Rosalie Summers, and appeared shortly after she woke up in a time-trapped room in Brookhaven Hospital, explaining to her, her fate.
In 1979, he was Nick. An exact copy of Susan's husband, whom she murdered a few weeks before, and found herself in the foggy dead world of Silent Hill.
In 2001, he was Maria. A sexed up fantasy version of James Sunderland's dead wife, Mary, who appeared to him several times in Silent Hills fog world, and his own personal drab, body-bag ridden version of The Otherworld, to help him deal with both grief and guilt.
In 2012, he was Winter. A manifestation of suicidal 15 year old Jackie's perfect idea of a 16 year old gothic emo dream-boy. He was "born" to help her choose life. He failed. In the end, she willing cast herself into a greenish algae, moss, and slime covered Toluca Lake, in The Otherworld (Her version being a perpetually raining, soaking wet, soggy, fungal-laden Silent Hill.)
In each manifestation, the town used the same raw energy to essentially create a "person", to either help or punish a soul (sometimes both). What is now called "Witner", is that energy. Passion incarnate. Each time, the energy's manifestation truly believes they are that person. They believe themselves to be real. They have sentience. However, after Jackie's death, the town cut Winter's cord...abandoning him. He spent almost a year wandering around the empty, lifeless, foggy Silent Hill...that level of reality where all lost ones first find themselves. It lies extremely closes to the physical realm, and exists as a sort of way-station. Later, Winter learned that The Order calls this level of reality, The Conduit.
Winter began to reflect as the carousel spun faster and faster. Everything began to blur, and a soft air-raid siren that he knew so well by now blared out in the distance, heralding in "the change". The suffocating sour and putrid air became cooler and cleaner. The night sky started to brighten into a dismal gray. The metal grate beneath Winter's feet turned into a hard plastic - as did the horses. The amusement park beyond the carousel also lost all of it's horrific details. As fog rolled in, large flakes of snow began to lazily drift down. The carousel slowed and came to a gentle stop.
Winter was in The Conduit...an almost exact mirror version of the physical plane, aside from the fog and snow, and well...nasty little surprises every now and then. He stepped off the carousel, and made his way past The Mountain Coaster, Lakeside Arcade, The Swing Rocket, and the Sweet Candy Factory And Souvenir Shop. Winter looked up at the dreary, bird-less, overcast sky. Snowflakes caressed his pale yet delicate face and melted slowly. The cold crystalline water blending with his teardrops. While Winter didn't mind The Otherworld (In fact, he was quite used to it...even The Nightmare level hardly phased him anymore), this was him home...The Conduit. It was on this level of reality that he was brought into being, and it suited him quite well, in fact. "Here" but not really. A figment somewhere between the lines where reality and unreality intersect. The Conduit comforted Winter in some sick, self-destructive way. That comfort, paradoxically also depressed him. Depressed the Hell out of him.
"I'm here for you, James. See? I'm real."
came a unremembered sultry female voice from the depths of his subconscious....a voice from another lifetime...and as always, born from a wish.
"I AM real!", Winter shouted as he walked out of Lakeside Amusement Park's big blue gates in Silent Hill's resort district. Winter was tired of simply existing, and the jury was out if he was even doing that. He was a boy-fiction. A being who was not real, wandering around a version of a town that was not exactly the genuine article either. The mystic fog swayed back and forth, as if in some grim death-waltz. Winter's blood red hood and robe, and his shimmering black body suit moved in a surreal contrast in the cryptic grey-white surroundings as he walked East on West Sanford Street. Silent sobs were slowly transforming to hyperventilation as his despair was turning into . As he turned left entering Old Silent Hill, his anger grew to pure uncontrolled rage. "I AM REAL!!", he bellowed out louder than before as he walked North. On he walked...sweat pouring down his face, his fists clenched so hard that blood trickled from his soft palms. Veins protruded from his neck. As he made another left on Bradbury Street, he finally dropped to his knees in front of Midwich Elementary School. The two-story art-deco style school loomed in front of him. The fog and snow flakes drifted a few inches away from him, as if the very town itself was terrified of him for a moment. "I AM REAAAAAL!!" he screamed at the top of his lungs, as he pounded the pavement, his usual melodic voice becoming beast-like.
At the exact same place and time on the physical plane, Beth the crossing guard was ushering kids from K to 6th on the buses that were parked along the corner of Bradbury and Midwich Street which waited to take them home on another hot, sunny June afternoon. Suddenly, and without warning, Beth dropped her hand-held STOP sign as every muscle in her frail 67 year old body stiffened. Waves of emotions invaded her psyche as she stood frozen in terror, sadness and anger. (Later tonight, she would tell her husband Charlie that the world around her literally rippled for a moment). Within that moment, she thought she could...see?...feel?...sense something beyond. Something just outside it all. Beyond perception. When she regained her senses only a mere 10 seconds later, she shivered as she felt something cold brush her arm, and goddamned if it wasn't a large snowflake...quickly melting on her goose-bumped infested flesh.
Winter repeatedly slammed his increasingly bloody fist into the pavement so hard that the Conduit itself slightly rippled. His fists actually cracking the pavement, and just for a moment, his tears turned to blood. Finally, his breathing slowed and he calmed down. He looked up; his seductive, cat-like green eyes were swollen and blood-shot, his normally gorgeous shimmering white hair was matted and sticking to his forehead, his once-perfect porcelain face smeared with blood and tears. He looked up at the imposing Midwich Elementary School clothed in a ghostly haze by the fog.
On he walked, down Bradbury Street, passing Levin Street on his left. Winter tried to understand what "existence" even really meant as he sniffed back snot and squinted back tears. 'How can I not exist?', he tried to reason with himself. 'Don't I have fucking feelings? Does it matter how I got here?' Winter didn't think so. 'After all, I have my own private thoughts. A mind I can call my own. Not even Silent Hill can take that away from me. Even if my energy is repurposed, energy cannot be created or destroyed.' Winter turned left on to Bachman Road, and took in the lonely, sad desolate reality of The Conduit...realities way-station. The wasteland between the planes. The nexus between the physical plane and the Otherworld (What some of the old timers in The Order called The Reverse-Side). 'I know one thing', Winter concluded as he walked, 'I'm a helluva lot more real than this goddamned facsimile' Ever since he realized what he was (or wasn't, as the case may be), he longed to be part of the physical plane, but he had since accepted that it could never be. Winter was born of The Conduit, and could only exist there, or in the lower plane of The Otherworld. He had no true physicality, not really, at least not any that could exist on a plane of strict physics, and unforgiving logic. Longing, wishing that things could be different, could not make them so. 'Even if it WERE possible', Winter mused, 'it's not like there's a big door somewhere with THIS WAY TO REALITY painted on it'. Winter's realm was both infinitely far yet infinitesimally close to the physical plane, and he made peace with that dichotomy. He - begrudgingly - accepted his eternal isolation. His real existential horror came from wondering what the hell he is.
"True", he said out-loud to no one as he continued walking slowly up Bachman Road. "I'm only energy. But isn't everyone? Isn't every living thing? From humans, to deer, cats, trees, right down to bacteria and viruses? In fact...isn't EVERYTHING really just energy? The entire universe and all it's hidden compacted dimensions and parallel realities nothing by energy when you get right down to it? Am I ~so~ different?"
On he walked, turning left on Finney Street, going nowhere in every sense of the word. Trapped, and at the same time, one with a lifeless and lonely Silent Hill. Winter's mind drifted to the father of modern philosophy, Rene Descartes.
"What was it that he said about existing?", said Winter, as he walked on the sidewalk through the lazy flakes and ghostly fog, passing empty little townhouses standing quiet along Finney Street in Old Silent Hill. "Cogito Ergo Sum!", he remembered. A crooked defiant smile formed on his lips as he squinted his eyes in determination. Half-silently he whispered,
"I THINK....therefore I AM!"
~~End Chapter 1~~
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