Monday, February 21, 2011

Silent Hill 2 - Chapter 3

Silent Hill 2 : The Official Novel

By Sadamu Yamashita
Translated by
Emily "Lady Ducky" Fitch

Chapter Three -Doppelganger-




“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, and 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 last forever!”

That cheap little brochure was the reason Mary and James visited Silent Hill all those years ago.  Already that trip felt like nothing more than a legend from ancient times, with Mary as the mythical goddess.  In those days, his entire life revolved around her, and every day seemed more vivid and radiant than the last.  Back in the days when it felt wonderful just to be alive.

It all began at a house party held by a mutual friend.  It was an ordinary enough setting for a first encounter, but at the moment when their eyes first met, it was like it set off a second big bang that created an entirely new universe as the setting for their love story.  Every day their affection evolved from a blazing passion to a peaceful and stable relationship.

Nevertheless, even the most beautiful love stories are pervaded by tragedy and this story was no different.  Fate imposed a harsh ordeal on both of them when Mary fell ill.  The pain and suffering they endured during that time still remained with James, slowly eating away at his heart.  And as many great civilizations vanish, their love story came to an end.  Ever since then, James had been left alone to wander the ruined world with only the memories of that ancient story, desperately searching for the smallest remaining trace of their lost happiness.

“This is the place.”  He spotted the gate through the mist.  There were two entrances to Rosewater Park, and traveling from the alley behind the apartments had led him to the east entrance.

“Mary…please be here…” James silently prayed without even really knowing why.  The odds of his impossible wish coming true were worse than winning the lottery, but still he wished with all his heart for a miracle.  He walked through the gloomy park, his footsteps echoing hollowly on the stone walkway.  Just like the rest of town, this place seemed to be deserted.  Suddenly, a shadowy figure drifted into view.  For a split second, James’s heart soared and he rushed towards the figure, only for it to be revealed as a statue atop a pedestal.

Patrick Chester, son of Edward.
He fought and died for the people,
for liberty and for all of our
tomorrows.
His memory lives on,”

read the plaque underneath the statue depicting a grim-faced solider.  The flutter of expectation gave way to misery as his small hope was dashed.  James smiled bitterly, even as a few tears escaped and traveled down his cheeks.  Good thing no can see me through all this fog.  For even one of those monsters to see him in this pitiful state…  At the very least he could be consoled by that fact that that he hadn’t come across any more of them yet.

He descended a flight of stone steps until he reached a boardwalk.  Beyond the boardwalk's gently curved handrails was an eternal expanse of white nothingness.  The pervasive fog had even managed to ruin the view of the lake.  James searched though his mind until he came upon the precious memory of watching the sparkling water with Mary.  Those memories were just as vivid as the day they happened, which wasn't a surpriseconsidering how obsessed he was with Mary back then.

Casting a sidelong glace across the boardwalk, he could almost catch a flickering glimpse of what she looked like on that day.  He remembered thinking that even the brilliant sunset reflecting off the lake's surface was impossible to compare to Mary’s graceful figure and radiant smiling face.  That cherished image of her was displayed in front of him as if from a projector.  It was like some trace of her had been carved into this place.  James stared, entranced, until the figure of Mary blurred and shifted though the mist.  There was something in the way she leaned on the handrail…could it be that this wasn’t just an illusion?  James couldn’t believe his eyes.

“Are you…Mary?”  He stared with blank amazement as he took one uncertain step closer.  The woman turned around.  Her face was unmistakable.  That radiant beauty that never left his mind even after all these years.

“Mary…?” the woman asked.  “Mary?  Who’s that?  Your girlfriend?” Aside from her hair color, she was the spitting image of Mary.  Even her voice was the same.  James was staring at her so intently he could have devoured her with his eyes.

“No, my wife.  She…passed away.  But you…you look just like her.” The more he looked, the more he saw the differences between this woman and Mary.  The woman was wearing flashy and very revealing clothes, whereas Mary had always preferred plain clothing.  Not only that, but if she really was Mary, shouldn’t she be just as happy to see him as he was to see her?  Also, he couldn’t picture Mary glaring as him like this woman was.  It wasn’t in her modest nature.

“Geez, that’s got to be the lamest pick-up line I’ve ever heard.  Unless you really meant it or something.  Unfortunately for you, my name’s Maria.  I’m not your wife, and I’m certainly no ghost either.  See?”  She grabbed James’s hands in hers.  It was an enticing gesture, like she was familiar with men.   “Aren’t I a bit too warm to be a dead person?”

James felt a mild shock at the gentle touch of her fingers.  Though he could understand in his head that this was a different person, he shivered as it brought back memories of holding Mary’s hand.  Without meeting her eyes, he pulled his hands away.   “Sorry…  I must have the wrong person.”  He turned his back to her and began to walk away.  To leave Maria, his wife’s look-alike, behind felt like abandoning the real Mary.

“Hey, where’re you going?”  Maria’s voice chased him down.

“To look for my wife,” James said, looking back at her again.

“Eh?”  She caught up and walked beside him.   “Didn’t you say she was dead?”

“Yeah.  For three years now.  But she sent me a letter.  She said that she was waiting for me in Silent Hill at our ‘special place.’”

“Are you kidding me?  You really got a letter from your dead wife?  You sure someone isn’t messing with you?”

“It’s okay to laugh.  I know it sounds silly but…I’d really like to believe that it’s true.  That Mary really is alive.”

“Hmmm…so then this park must be your ‘special place,' right?”

“I think that’s what she meant.”

“Sorry to say this, but there’s no one here but me.  I should know, I’ve been out here for a while.  You have any other ideas?”  The way she was meddling in his business with her noisy chattering was starting to get on his nerves.  This woman was nothing like Mary.  And yet…the image of Mary looking over the lake was still fresh in his mind.

“Well, there’s the hotel, too.  I forgot its name, though.  Lake-something…”

“The Lakeview Hotel?”

“Yeah, that’s the one.”

“Well then, guess we better get going.”

James stopped in his tracks.  “You live around here?”

“Nope.  But I know this area well enough.  Why?”

“You don’t know?  There are these weird creatures all over the place and everyone’s gone missing.  If you’re so familiar with this place, then tell me, what’s going on in this town?  What the heck are those monsters?”

Maria shrugged.  “I don’t really know myself.  Before I knew it, everyone was gone and I was all alone out here.  Anyhow, you’ll want to go this way.”  She grabbed James’s arm and began walking.  “We can go to the hotel now and you’ll have me to guide you.”

“Wait, why should I let you come with me?"

“Well, you said I looked like your wife, didn’t you?  If that’s the case, then would you really leave me here all alone?” Maria asked, displaying a charming smile.  Between the low visibility because of the fog and the overall danger of the situation, James wasn’t thrilled at the idea of having to look after a stranger.  Especially her.  If he was by himself he’d be able to run away if he needed to.  Having her around might just slow him down. 

Soon after the two left the park, a mannequin-like monster emerged from the fog.  It was easily dispatched, but James was forced to use the last of his precious ammo.  What would he do if they were surrounded by monsters like he was before?

“Ouch!” Maria complained with a scowling expression.  “Hey, be more careful next time!  I don’t want to get myself hurt because of you!”

James checked the condition of her injury.  Blood oozed from a scrape on her upper arm.  “Sorry.”  The monster only gave her a scratch, but James still felt the need to apologize.  He didn’t particularly dislike Maria, but he didn’t want to listen to her exaggerated complaints.  Still, her appearance puzzled him to the point that he didn’t know how to react to anything she said.  Especially when she spoke with the same voice as Mary.

In any case, if he wanted to keep Maria safe, he’d have to get a hold of more bullets, and fast.  It’s not like he’d just run into an arms dealership in a residential area like this.  He looked around, trying to catch sight of anything through the fog.  He noticed a gas station.  Upon closer inspection, he found that the building was locked up tight, but there was something else that caught his eye.  It appeared that someone abandoned their car here in the middle of refueling, but stranger still was what James found at the front of the vehicle.  A long iron pipe had been stabbed through the front hood.  There was no doubt that this had happened because of the uproar the monsters had caused.  In any case, if he could kill a monster with a wooden board, then a steel pipe would be useful enough as a weapon.  James climbed on top of the abandoned car and pulled at the steel rod with all his strength.  His efforts were rewarded when the pipe was pulled free.

“Hey, be careful swinging that thing around.  You better not hit me by mistake," Maria said as she tapped her foot impatiently.  She had an awfully sharp tongue for someone who claimed they wanted to help.

The pair proceeded west down Nathan Avenue.

“You see that?  Over there is the Historical Society.”  Maria pointed to the right of the road.  It was a small building, befitting this small town.  James couldn’t imagine there being anything interesting to see in there.  “A little ways ahead there’s a bridge we need to cross, then we’ll turn onto Sandford Street.  If we keep following that road, we’ll reach the hotel eventually.”

“How long do you think that’ll take?”  The last time he’d visited this town he had a car so the distance to the hotel had seemed like nothing at all.

“We still have a long way to go.  It’s all the way on the other side of the lake, after all.”

“That far, huh?”  James let out an exasperated sigh.  It looked like he’d be stuck with Maria until they reached the hotel.  However, it soon became clear that protecting Maria was the least of his problems.  In the place where the bridge should have begun, there was a huge gaping hole in the road.  The bridge had collapsed.  There’s no way…  Could those monsters have caused this, too?  Maybe the bridge had been destroyed in the panic as people were trying to leave the town.  Seeing as the other end of this highway was blocked for construction, this would have been their only means of escape.

“What do we do now?” Maria asked, sounding more amused by the situation than anything.  There’s no other way…  Discouraged, James hung his head, completely unable to find a way around this new obstacle.  His gaze fell on what appeared to be a body lying in the corner of the road.  Was it another dead monster?  James crept closer to get a better look and was startled to find yet another human corpse.  It was clutching something in its pale hands.  Choking back his disgust and crouching next to the body, James pried the object from its cold fingers, taking great care not to touch it any more than he had to.  It was a map of Silent Hill.

Map in hand, James scurried away from the rotting corpse and back to where Maria was waiting.  Unfolding the paper he found that one point was marked with an “X” in what appeared to be blood.

“That’s the bowling alley,” Maria remarked, peeking at the map over James’s shoulder.  “It’s right across the street from that gas station we stopped at.”

“Yeah, but why is it marked?  What kind of place is it?”

“It’s just an ordinary bowling alley.  It’s not a very popular place so you’ll hardly ever see anyone there.”

“Well, let’s head there then.”  They would have to turn around and walk back to town anyway if they wanted to find another way to reach the Lakeview Hotel, so it couldn’t hurt to stop at the bowling alley along the way.  If that person on the side of the road had risked his life to hold onto this map, maybe it was the key to solving the mystery of the unusual phenomena in this town.  Maybe, James secretly thought, finding this map is somehow Mary’s way of guiding me?

After making their way back into town, the two located the “Pete’s Bowl-O-Rama”, the bowling alley underneath the bloody “X."  As James opened the door to step inside, Maria abruptly said, “I’ll just wait out here. You’ll be alright by yourself, won’t you, James?”

“You changed your mind?”

“I hate bowling.”

"Really, or are you just scared?  You don’t have to worry.  If I come across any monsters in there, I’ll be sure to take care of them.  I guess if it really is that dangerous inside, I really would prefer to be alone."

“Fine by me,” Maria said as she causally leaned against the wall.  James stepped into the pitch black room, letting the door fall shut behind him.  It seemed like only one set of lights in the entire building were actually workingan amber glow came from further inside.  He could make out the voices of two people chattering in the dim light.

“…ou a robber?  Didja kill someone?”

“Nah, nothing like that.  I’m not that awful of a person.”

“What?  But that’s so booooring.  Didja get chased by the police?”

“I dunno anything about the cops.  I just ran away…‘cuz I was scared.”

“If someone’s mad at you, why don’t you just say you’re sorry?  That always makes things better.”

“That’s no good.  No one would ever forgive…someone like me.”

Not only did James recognize both voices, but he easily recognized the face of the younger speaker.  It was the girl from earlier!  James quickly ran over to where they were sitting, but the girl, probably frightened by the sudden sound of footsteps, ran away and hid in some dark corner of the room.  Turning on his flashlight, he scanned up and down the lanes, trying in vain to find her hiding spot.

“Eddie,” James called to the other person.  Sitting at a table illuminated by a small camping lantern was Eddie’s portly figure.  He was munching on a piece of pizza taken from the box that sat on the table.

“Uhh, and you are?” He asked through a mouthful of food, regarding James questioningly.

“I’m James, remember?  We met back at the apartments.”

“Oh yeah, you’re the guy from before.”

“That girl that just ran away, who is she?”

“You from the hospital?  Trying to catch Laura?”

 “Not exactly.  I just need to ask…  Laura, was it?  I need to ask Laura something.”  The light pitter-pattering of footsteps echoed through the space.

“Bye-bye!” came Laura’s mocking voice.  James hurriedly searched with the flashlight’s beam, but was still unable to find the girl.

“She must have ran outside.  Come on, Eddie, we have to find her!”

“Ehh, maybe later.”

“You’re not going to go after her?  Aren’t you her guardian?  There’s all kinds of monsters running around out there and you’d rather sit here eating pizza than go make sure she’s safe!?”

“Her guardian? Me and Laura just met by accident on our way to Silent Hill.  It’s not like I brought her here or anything.”

“Even then, it’s still your responsibility to look after her.”

“Laura’ll be fine by herself.  If I went with her, she’d probably just complain about how I’m getting in her way anyhow.”

“Just forget it!”  Infuriated by Eddie’s careless attitude and tired of this pointless argument, James turned and headed back to the entrance.  Eddie didn’t seem to find a problem with this, as he simply returned to his leisurely meal.  Go ahead and eat your stupid pizza to your heart’s content.  I hope you get eaten by a monster next you fat idiot!

Maria was still waiting outside.  “Maria, did a little girl run though here?”

“Yeah, she went that way.  I tried to chase her, but she got away.”  Maria pointed to an alley that extended south from Nathan Avenue and continued past the bowling alley.  However, as they followed the alley, the two of them came to a dead end.  Again the path was blocked by a brick wall and Laura was nowhere in sight.

“She probably got through here and ran on to Carroll Street.”  There was a small, cramped gap between two of the buildings, hardly big enough for a child to squeeze though, let alone an adult.

“Is there another way around?”

“Yup.  Right that way.”  Maria motioned to the door directly behind her.  It was the backdoor to one of the buildings, and it looked pretty promising.  However…

“It’s no good, we’re locked out.”

“Is that so?” Maria dug in her skirt pocket and produced a key that fit perfectly in the door’s keyhole.

What a jerk.  Even if Laura would be fine, the idea of Eddie sitting in that empty bowling alley, carelessly and greedily stuffing his face with pizza still irritated James.  He just couldn’t understand how someone could act like that.  How could he just ignore the fact that a helpless child was wandering the monster-infested streets of a deserted town all alone?

Even stranger was how Laura seemed ignorant of the danger, like she couldn’t see the monsters.  How can she act like there’s nothing to be afraid of?  I don’t think I could do that even if I tried.  Truthfully, he sort of envied Laura in this regard.  Envy like an ugly, monstrous dog with a disease-ridden and painful bite.  James had courage….only it was more like recklessness.  I really can’t stand that kind of weakness.  I don’t want to go outside.  I just want to stay shut-up indoors.  Being alone really is the best thing.  I don’t want anyone else to get hurt…because of me…

“Here we are, Heaven’s Night.  I used to work here a while back,” Maria said.  From the back door they had climbed a set of stairs until they arrived at the inside of a bar.  Over by the stage sat a row of seats, most likely for the shows presented here.  “I was a dancer, you know.”

Now that made perfect sense, James thought and nodded in realization.  It certainly explained Maria’s hairstyle and showy fashion sense.  She probably had big dreams of performing in Hollywood or Broadway in some fancy club, but somehow she ended up here in a tiny little bar on the outskirts of town.  She really had no hope of appearing as a classy lady hanging around in a place like this.

“You’re being awfully quiet.  Are you imagining me up on that stage dancing right now?”  Maria laughed teasingly at James’s silence.

He denied it with a halfhearted and ambiguous reply.  The truth was that Maria had guessed absolutely right, but he wasn’t thinking about her for the reasons she seemed to be implying.  It was more painful than that.  The thought of this woman who looked exactly like Mary dancing in such indecent clothing and exposed to men’s greedy eyes…  It was like seeing Mary herself endure public humiliation.  Almost like the inquisitive eyes of a stranger watching her in her sickbed…

In an attempt to escape these gloomy thoughts, James walked over to the front counter.  Stepping behind the counter, he searched around on the bottom shelves.  As he had hoped, he came across a gun kept for security, an automatic weapon that held fifteen rounds.  But with his good fortune came a bit of bad luck; there was no extra ammo to be found.  James stuck his new weapon in his belt loop and discarded the gun he had used before.

For a moment, he pondered what to do with the pipe he had went through so much trouble to acquire.  He came to the conclusion that it would be best to keep it and rely on it as much as possible for fighting, saving the gun for a dire situation.

“Well, it doesn’t look like that girl is hiding in here.  I bet she’s left at the other side of the building by now,” Maria said as she held the front door open, inviting James to follow.  The two descended another staircase and reemerged onto the foggy streets.  To the north, the road was blocked by more construction.  Where else did the girl have to run off to?

“Over there!” Maria shouted, pointing to the south where a small figure swiftly slipped into the mist.  Alerted by Maria’s voice, the shadow darted to the side, and hurriedly entered the nearest building.  Wasting no time, James and Maria chased after the fleeing child until they reached the door she had retreated into.  Marked on a plate above the entrance were the words “Brookhaven Hospital.”  The door had been left ajar, almost like an invitation to step inside.



----------------Notes----------------

Eddie, this town is full of pizza! How can you just sit there eating monsters!?

...wait.

Original - Sadamu Yamashita
Characters/story - Konami
Translation - Lady Ducky

You MAY NOT re-post this translation anywhere without my permission and I must be given credit as well as the original author.

3 comments:

  1. I just wanted to say because I didn't get the chance to when I found your blog earlier today (in class. What do you mean I was supposed to be working?) that I love you for translating this! Silent Hill 2 is one of my favorite games and my favorite in the series, needless to say I'm sure you can guess who my favorite Silent Hill protagonist is too.
    I've bookmarked your blog so I can keep watching your stuff, I'm so excited!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mari: What? What is this work thing of which you speak?

    Errr...

    Anyway, I glad you like it. ^_^

    ReplyDelete