"The Greatest Foe Lies Within the Self"
Part One Awakening
December 17, 1980
It was happening again. It was that time when she would hear her mother make muffled noises coming from the bedroom next door, the wet slap of flesh on flesh. That noise rang through her ears over and over, resonating like church bells.
But it isn't Quasimodo ringing Big Bertha or anything, she would tell herself over and over. It is real, horribly true…
When these times came, she tried to imagine her life normal, as normal as she could possibly try to picture. The typical American family, a loving wife, June Cleaver, a caring and yet strict father, a Ward Cleaver, an All-American son, Wally Cleaver, and of course the troublemaker, but undoubtedly cute Beaver Cleaver. All of that was an illusion; a mask of what America really was today.
Her mother screamed. It was screams, blood curdling and blood boiling that brought her back to reality. No more walks through the forest, skipping down the yellow brick road singing, "I'm off to see the wizard, the most wonderful wizard of Oz!"
She slid off her couch reluctantly, knowing full well that if her father caught her moving form the spot she was told not to move form, she'd be swatted over and over with her father's wattle. It was that wattle, propped up next to the fireplace in the living room, all thick and full of small holes, which scared her. The smooth shaft, gleaming in the light of the fire, her father often bragged about that wattle, saying it could bruise any behind he laid upon it.
She edged to her parents door, putting her ear next to the white plank of wood. Chips were forming already, and the house had been bought only three months before. Only three months in Colline Silencieuse and her parents had already gotten started.
"Please…stop," came the soft-spoken voice of her mother. It was followed by the deep bellow that she pictured coming from a dragon in one of those scary children's books, not from her caring father. That was followed by a slap. More banging, most likely her mother had fallen over a table or something. Old English people would have considered her father a ruffian of sorts. He never was an alcoholic or wife beater, it was just…the stress.
The door opened and her father emerged. He wasn't necessarily a big man, not muscle wise anyway. He wore a white shirt, with the logo of his grocery company printed on the left breast, and his pants were slightly blood stained.
That was momma's blood, she thought as she backed away from her father.
He glared at her through his rounded glasses and smiled. His thin lips parted as he spoke. His hands grabbed her small shoulders and dragged her to him. She couldn't comprehend what he was saying. It walked through her ears and ran out just as it had come. He pulled her into his arms and laughed wickedly. For her mother the pain was over, but for her, it was just beginning.
* * * * *
December 17, 2005
Snow had covered the grassy Maine velds and topped the luscious pine trees, giving the whole place a certain peaceful glimmer to it. An artist would had loved to paint that picture, and then turn around and sell it for twice the worth of a Thomas Kinkade portrait, but twice as bad.
Nestled amongst the trees, the wolf's den, and the lakes, was Silent Hill. A small, typical American small town, with the loving neighbors, the nosy gossiper, the family doctor, and the down the street grocer. Peace had settled in the hearts of the residents and they cared nothing more than that they were happy, and the rest of the town was happy.
The town was truly small, consisting of two grocery stores, one bank, a police and fire department, one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. The overall population was around one thousand people, twenty dogs, twelve cats, and seventeen fish. The town's main highlight was the football games every Friday, except when there was no football season everyone seemed to take to their own activities.
Rudger's Lane always seemed full on Friday and Saturday nights when football was as far away as Christmas. Main Street also seemed crowded when Rudger's was too full. People often commented on the Town Square, which was on Main Street, and how it was the perfect socializing place. Why, Miss Emma Rutlidge would take her Bunco gals and sit on the benches surrounding the statue of Mavis Roosevelt, the founder of Silent Hill all those years ago.
Today, school was about to close for the holidays, exactly three weeks till the kiddies had to return, all the while wishing for some way to prevent the whole school experience all together. A permanent winter break, no more time spent laboriously working on what the students often called senseless busy work that they would never use in their entire existence. With regret however, the students recognized the truth and gave up the fight all together. There was just no sense in wasting time and energy to get the School Board of seven to even consider canceling school, let alone extend winter break.
Laura Jansen smiled as Keith Gerret, the star quarterback for the Silent Hill Rangers, passed her and waved. She never actually liked the guy, but he was attractive to her, but then, what football quarterback wasn't? She moved with ease through the seemingly never ending traffic of bodies, some her friends, others her enemies, and some she just didn't know. Silent Hill High School was small, but held a decent population when it came right down to it. Her graduating class of 2006 had a hundred people in it; the rest of the four hundred students were a mix of the lower classmen. Lisa finally managed to squeeze near her locker.
The halls of the high school were painted white, and sometimes the walls might be filled with posters trying to recruit others to join the Chess Club, or make a difference and run for a Student Council position. Lisa didn't care for either and went about opening her small, but accommodating locker. She piled in her Math and History books, and replaced them with Science and English. She travailed through the rest of her back; finding that two of her binders had opened, releasing hundreds of papers into the organized heaven of her backpack.
Just as she was setting the last of her papers into her binder, Joseph Baker smashed into her from behind. Papers flew every which way, some landing in her short, neck length raven hair. She growled in frustration.
"Sorry about that Lisa," said Joe as he picked the paper off her head.
She could feel her face burning with heat at the thought of her crush hearing her growl. She tried her best to plaster on a smile. It was about as easy as picking up a three-ton lorry with a pinky finger, and standing on one toe.
Joe didn't seem to take notice; he dropped his bag on the floor and started picking up the fallen parcels. Lisa knelt, barely keeping the safe distance of headspace it would have required for them to bump. She awkwardly grabbed the papers, some written on, some not, and crumpled them as she put them in her bag. The traffic around them ceased.
Did the bell ring, she asked herself as she looked up at Joe. He was about six feet, oddly cropped brown hair cut short to his head, and was the captain of the wrestling team. He smiled as he handed her the last of the papers.
"Well, I'm sorry about that," he said, standing once more to his original position at the locker beside her.
"It's okay," she replied, trying her best not to sound awkward. She too stood; with much less than princess grace, she almost tripped over her own boots, and smiled. "So, did the bell ring or did these people get abducted by aliens?" she asked between a laugh which she feigned, and a sudden realization of stupidity. Great, now he must think I'm a total loser!
Joe didn't seem to mind, and if he did he didn't say anything. Instead he nodded. "I think the bell rang, but I hardly doubt it. When I left the library it was ten till, which means we still have ten minutes before class even starts. I know it didn't take me ten minutes to walk down a flight of stairs and to here."
Lisa nodded. "You're right, maybe everyone is in class," she said.
"Yeah," she echoed. LOSER!
Joe put his left hand in his pocket and lifted his shoulder from the locker. "Well I better get to class then, see you around sometime?" he asked.
"Yeah, sure thing," she said, adding on the last words so she didn't sound coy. She turned and watched him go, watching his every movement, right down to the feet. God what a vision, she thought. The bell rang. Lisa was late for class.
* * * * *
December 17 1980
The pain hadn't lasted as long as the last time. Either her father was going easy on her, or she was just getting used to the whole hurting thing. Pain was something she could never take something she never got used to.
Her father alighted from her and laughed. "Stupid brat, crying already?" he asked.
She choked back tears. Her father dressed himself and smiled at her. The fire in his eyes was evil, pure evil. If she hadn't known any better, horns could have grown out of his head and everything would have literally gone to Hell and back. But there were no horns, no pointy tail, and no pitchfork. Just a broken and battered spirit and an aching body. Her mother had made no move since her father had taken her in the room and preformed what he called his 'merry dance'. She didn't fins anything merry about it.
Anxiously she waited for her father to spit at her, then leave the room before she pulled on her clothes. Already they were stained with blood from her beating. Her mother moaned from her post in the corner, strewn over a broken table and lamp. She limped over to her mother and knelt beside the battered woman.
Her mother was once a beautiful woman, one that allured the gaze of many townsfolk men. Why, in her day, she had long, thick rapturous golden locks, but now they were mere gray, blood stained mess. It was from all the beatings. The girl wrapped an arm around her mother.
"Mommy," she called to the near dead woman.
Her breathing had stopped. Her heart had stopped. The girl nestled her head in the dell of her hair, smelling and tasting the metallic taste of blood the woman had entwined within her hair. Teardrops fell into her mother's head. Then there was nothing. Just an insane heat, smoke and ash. It filled her lungs faster than fresh air, and stung like the thousands of bee stings she received through her imagination, and it even hurt worse than the wattle by the fireplace. It didn't matter though, it was over.
* * * * *
December 17, 2005
The cause of the disruption was the bell. Lisa jolted into her last hour of the day, English, only to find that everyone had taken there seats and work had already started.
Mr. Jerry Begere, one of the school's meanest teachers, scolded her on her tardiness and gave her two extra assignments to do over break. She apologized for the interruption and took to her seat. He went back on with his lesson about Shakespeare.
"Shakespeare never liked to punctuate anybody while they were doing something," he said, glaring at Lisa.
Class seemed to drift in and out. Lisa gazed at the clock; it only read the time was one forty. English lasted the longest, that she concluded herself at the beginning of the year. And talking about dead people didn't help either. She wasn't the writer type, never had been and as far as she figured, never would be. Lisa sighed.
Then it struck her. It was a small, dull tingle in the back of her head. The sort of feeling an arm or foot gets when it 'falls asleep". It then moved around, shifted from her head to her chest. The pain intensified in her chest and head, like Zeus must have felt when Athena was born. Oh God, please don't let a girl pop out of my skull, she thought as she rubbed her forehead. Stupid Lisa, people aren't born from heads, besides it requires much more than a kiss to make a person. Her body ached now, no longer a dull tingle, but a full out burning sensation that engulfed her entire body. She screamed as she fell out of her desk.
She wasn't sure whether or not the look on Mr. Begere's face or the look on her classmates' faces were of shock or confusion when it happened. And for the matter she would never know. Fire and smoke took over the room, it choked the students, and it shattered the windows, and burnt everything. The brick, the white plaster wall, the posters, the desks, even flesh. Agonizing screams thundered through the room. Then there was silence. Only the sound of roaring flame was heard.
When the ambulance and the fire trucks arrived, Lisa was regaining consciousness. The world was all a haze, but she could make out the burning brick, and the awful aroma of burnt flesh. Suddenly, a wave of guilt fell over her. Did I cause this? But how? This is impossible!
It felt worse than the time her parents had boycotted Greene's Grocery because of the cost of milk and bread. They told her never to shop there, or she would be punished. However, one day she went and bought some nail polish because they were the only ones holding that color in stock. She sneaked into her house and hid it from her parents. They still to this day had never found out.
Her body felt weightless for a moment. It was then that she realized hands were at her back. Paramedics, they must be lifting me up, she thought. She opened her eyes into thin crescents. Her lungs filled with smoke made it hard for her to speak clearly.
"Tell my mom…I'm…sorry about…the…nail polish."
Her mind slipped back into darkness as soon as the words left her mouth.
TO BE CONTINUED…