Joshua looked around, brushing absently at his arms as though to dislodge the fog clinging to them. "I can't tell what time it is," he said, trying to sound nonchalant, "This stuff is so thick you can't see the sun. It feels later, though, doesn't it?"
Alice considered their surroundings, trying to allow logic to penetrate through the darkness being created by their collective confusion. "But it can't be later. How long were we walking? I suppose it does feel like a long time..." she trailed off, matching the buildings to the map within her mind. "This looks like the old part of town. Maybe you'll see your church after all."
"Then we're near the lake? That explains the fog," Alex said, scanning the penlight back and forth as far as it would reach, "There has to be someone around...we really ought to report our crash and the collapsed tunnel."
"It's about 3 in the afternoon, nothing explains the fog," snapped Derek. He couldn't stand the limited line of vision, and the fact that Alex had taken over the leadership position hurt him, though he was unsure why. "Let's just start seeing if any of these places are open. That'll be the fastest way to a phone."
She frowned at him for a moment, but relinquished quickly with a sigh. "You're right. Surely something's open." She wasn't sure herself why she'd suddenly taken the lead - she supposed that it was just easier for her to keep her own thoughts in line that way. By being strictly analytical, her imagination couldn't run away with her.
Joshua, however, had made the first move toward one of the the many buildings that lined the street, trying the front door, to no avail. "What the hell?" he asked, shaking his head, "This place looks like it hasn't been open in years. Not good for tourism, is it?"
"What?" Alice walked over to Joshua, "Every building in this part of town is occupied by some pseudo-quaint shop or other." Nonetheless, she found it hard to really disagree with him. The door was closed solid, with a rust-covered chain holding it against any intrusion. A glance down the street saw windows boarded shut, and dust obscuring what she'd swear were shining picture windows just last week.
"Maybe...it's a holiday or something...?" Somehow, Alex's voice had lost all confidence. Something was definitely wrong. Where was everyone? Everything looked as decrepit and crumbling as the tunnel that they'd come through. The light trembled a bit as her hand shook slightly.
"If it was a holiday, *I* wouldn't be working, trust me." Alice attempted to keep the comment to herself, but in the situation, it didn't seem worth the effort. "Something is seriously wrong here. This just isn't right."
After rattling on the doors a few times, Joshua reluctantly came back to the group. "What...what should we do, then...?"
Noticing that all attention seemed to have been turned to her at the question, Alex swallowed the lump in her throat and turned her back. She'd bitten off more than she could chew and she knew it, but...didn't seem like there was a lot she could do about that now. "There's only one thing we can do. We have to keep looking for people. There must be an explanation for all this."
"I've... I've got a cellphone!" Derek felt like an idiot. Why hadn't he thought of it before? He fumbled the phone out of his pocket and flipped it open, "Just a sec. I always leave it off." The phone went through all its motions of starting up, the cheerful fanfare and welcome screen and the few moments of scanning for a signal. Suddenly, it burst into static.
For a moment, it had felt to Alex as though her heart had leapt out of her chest and was simply gone, until the sudden fierce pulsing in her chest replaced the feeling. "Wh-what the hell...! What's...wrong with that thing?"
Joshua's attention, however, was pulled further down the road. "There's..." he started to say, but it trailed off with a confused sound.
Derek shook his phone in frustration, "The stupid thing won't turn off! And listen, it's getting louder!" He looked up, and noticed Joshua staring into the fog, "What? Do you see something?"
Joshua moved forward a bit to stand next to his sister, squinting into the fog. "It looks like...there's a dog over there, or something. Do you see it, Alex?"
Still trying to calm her heart, she adjusted her glasses and squinted similarly to her brother, crouching down and leaning her arms on her knees. For a moment, she saw nothing, but then, there it was...moving slowly, and aimlessly, across the street. "Big dog," she said quietly, the ever-growing static making her more and more nervous, "It's so big. What kind of dog is that?"
Alice walked to the front of the group, and squinted at the figure, "It looks hurt or something? Why does it keep meandering like that?"
"Here, give me the flashlight," Joshua said, holding his hand out to Alex. Reluctantly, she released her hold on it and passed it to him, and he walked forward a few steps toward the dog, whistling a bit. "Here, puppy..."
Alice squinted into the light, moving her head along with the long sweeps. "Where are we? There's nothing like this nearby..." She knelt down and picked up a piece of the crumbling asphalt, then watched it fall into a powdery mix of gravel and dried bits of tar. "Should we try to find the end?"
Joshua helped Derek out, then hopped down from the complete wreckage of his car with a pang of regret. "Well, yeah," he said when he heard Alice, "I mean, what are we going to do, stay here all night?"
Alex, however, was quiet, and trembling just slightly. 'Nothing like this nearby'? Where the hell were they, then? Trying not to panic, she turned the light first down one side of the tunnel, then the other. "I think that's the way we came from, so...which way should we go? I think you might be right about the tunnel collapsing...we should be able to see out from here..."
Derek shook his shoulders, still feeling a little pain from the crash, "Forward, then. If there's no opening out the back, there should be to front. Maybe we'll run into another car on the way there."
Alice shrugged, it was logic she couldn't argue. "Do we all agree, then? We start walking, and hope we run into help."
"I don't know what there is to discuss," Joshua said, giving one last forlorn look at his car before starting to walk forward, confidently...a little over-confident, one would think.
"How can you be so nonchalant?" Alex demanded, catching up to him and grabbing his arm, "You haven't even told us why this happened! What did you see? There wasn't anything in the road, Joshua!"
Angirly, he shoved her off of him, and spun to face her. "How would you know? You weren't driving--" The word cut off as he seemed to see her for the first time since the crash, his eyes widening at the still-oozing blood that made a wide, rather grotesque streak from her forehead, over the bridge of her nose, and down her cheek. "A-ah..."
Alex noticed the extreme change in expression, looked to the side, and dragged her fingers across her cheek. She'd definitely lost more blood than she'd thought, but she felt fine, so it couldn't have been a dangerous amount. "I'm fine," she muttered, "But don't change the subject. Tell me what you saw that made you panic so badly that you rolled the damned car."
The expression that had triggered her own panicked reaction flashed through Alice's mind. "You saw something, that's for sure. Tell us what it was."
"I didn't see anything. I wasn't paying much attention, though." Derek put his hands on his hips, "Something must have happened, though. No one loses control of a car that suddenly."
Joshua turned back around, stuttering, "I-I didn't..." With a sigh, he gave up. He knew that once he started faltering, he was transparent. "Look...don't think I'm crazy, okay? I swear...I swear to god I saw the road up ahead of us completely...'destroyed' isn't even the word; the road was gone. I don't know how else to say it. I didn't see the road anymore."
Derek broke the silence that overtook the group. "The road was gone? That's fucking crazy." He turned to Alice, accusation flashing in his eyes, "You put something in the food this morning, didn't you? He's the only one who ate anything! "
To say Joshua was startled was putting it lightly. "What...what the fuck are you talking about, man? Where in the hell did you get that idea?"
"Hey, hey!" Alex shouted, "Now everyone just calm down! Getting at each others' throats isn't going to solve anything, okay? It doesn't matter what you saw, I'm sorry I brought it up. Let's just...let's just get the hell out of this tunnel, all right? We'll figure out what to do from there." She wasn't used to playing mediator, but it was the only thing she could do in the situation - she was scared, and if the only people she was with started to fall apart, she didn't know what she'd do.
"*I* ate the breakfast, how's that for theory breaking?" Alice shoved past Derek, stopping his objection with a sharp push from her elbow, "This is the way, you said? Then let's go." She couldn't help but fume. She had figured out that he was a paranoid SOB, but didn't expect him to jump to such a rash accusation.
Joshua followed suit, brushing past Derek without another word. Alex sighed - disaster averted, at least for a moment. She started to follow, but paused by Derek, speaking quietly, "I know this is weird. I'm scared too. Let's just try to get out of here, and it won't be so bad. Okay?"
Why she was being so kind, she wasn't sure. Ordinarily, she'd have snapped at him just as much as anyone else. Maybe it was because she was so frightened herself, and imagined that everyone else was as well...
Derek was a little taken aback. The tone of voice from Alex was completely different from the one he'd heard the previous day in his hotel room. She suddenly seemed more mature, with actual confidence behind her actions, instead of the relentless drive of good manners. Out of a feeling of odd respect, he held back his comments, and quietly followed behind the group.
Joshua led the group, going for the 'strong, silent type' image. His irritation at Derek had faded quickly, and now he was just trying to focus on getting out of the seemingly never-ending tunnel.
After a long while, he squinted, leaning forward slightly as though that would help him see better. "I...I think I see light. It's faint, but..."
Alex came up beside him, squinting slightly as well, and sure enough, she saw it too - a spot of dim, grey light ahead of them. "Thank god," she breathed, picking up the pace a bit as she was anxious to get out.
As they moved closer, though, Alex noticed that the beam of light from the tiny flashlight was being obscured by a film of dust, or smoke, or...no, it was fog. The cool clamminess against her skin was unmistakable. "How strange," she said, almost to herself, "It was perfectly clear out when we left. Were we out for a long time?"
Alice squinted at her watch, "No... Looks like, about a half hour since we left. It isn't even 1 yet." She watched the watch for a moment, "Wait, shit! The battery died. Never mind, then. It didn't seem like we'd been there very long." The fog was thick, and she could feel it settling into her lungs. "Fog comes off the lake sometimes, but never like this."
Finally, they'd passed out of the tunnel, and both siblings let out a breath of relief. Even if it was foggy and somewhat cold, anything was better than the decrepit coffin that they'd come from.
Still, Alex thought, something seemed off. "Is it usually this quiet? I would think there'd be more people around..."
Alex, clearly intent on keeping to herself, threw open the back seat of the Jeep and hopped inside, slamming it behind her and almost immediately adopting a bored stance and staring out the window. Joshua, on the other hand, got into the driver's seat and ushered everyone inside in a somewhat overly joyful manner - a true example of "boys and their toys."
"Come on, everyone, hop in! Sit wherever there's room. Aah, I only ask that you wear your seatbelts. Can't be too careful, you know."
Derek jumped into the passenger seat with enthusiasm, not missing a beat in his constant yammering. Alice quietly helped herself into the backseat, sitting opposite Alex in a quiet, courteous manner. The young girl still seemed annoyed, and she had no doubt that her complaints about her brother ran much deeper than those shared in the kitchen. Either way, it really wasn't her business. She did feel oddly protective over the girl, but the possibility it was a manifestation of her own paranoia towards men was great. She sighed, and rested her arm on the door, draping her weight down in anticipation of what could only be a long day.
Contradictory to his overly-careful preparations, he quickly started the car and recklessly shot out onto the road, ending up going about 10 to 15 over the speed limit. Alex was unfazed; this was usual for him.
After a minute or two, he finally broke his chatter with Derek to speak to their reluctant guide, "So, Alice, where are we headed, anyway? You said you knew the way to that church?"
"Oh, yeah." Hearing her name all of sudden breaking through what had already become white noise snapped Alice out of her daze, "You'll want to take a right at the next sign. It'll say 'Dead End,' but that's only one of the side streets. Once you go through a tunnel you'll see the road to take, it'll have another sign pointing out the way to the old district." She ran through the route in her head, trying to remember any "shortcuts" along the way, something winding that would impede their progress, "After the church you'll be able to go to the park, there are a few monuments there that you'd enjoy." She sat forward in her chair a bit and crossed her legs, letting her knee dig into the seat in front of her robbing the comfort from Derek, hopefully.
Derek coughed, and shifted in his chair. He really wasn't as stupid as this hotel woman seemed to assume with her passive-aggressive tactics. "Monuments to town martyrs, correct? There were a few photographs published in a travel magazine a few months ago, actually. I suppose there may be something of interest there with a little cross-referenced research."
Alex noticed the motion on Alice's part, and sent a grin her way, with a low-aimed thumbs-up. She was definitely thankful that the other woman had come along - already the two boys were being irritating beyond reason. Still, she held onto a tiny shard of hope that they'd eventually snap out of it.
Joshua took the turn that he was told to, flicking on the lights of the car as they rolled into the long, dark tunnel. In the headlights, he could see that the tunnel wasn't in the best of shape, to put it lightly. "Geez. Don't taxes pay to repair stuff like this? I mean, this is just freaky looking."
Alice stared out her window. Something seemed wrong immediately. The tunnel they were supposed to be going through should have only lasted a moment. It was nothing more than an archaic overpass. She hesitated. It was possible that Joshua had taken a wrong turn along the way, and that her directions had only led them further astray. If that was the case, she wasn't about to stop him. While she laughed off his comments, there was a hanging unease in the air.
Alex felt nervous as well, looking up at the barely-lit, decrepit ceiling of the tunnel. Swallowing hard, she took her earphones out and leaned over slightly, trying to see light from the end of the tunnel, with no luck. However, she felt her heart seize up a bit as she caught the reflection of the rearview mirror - no light from the back either. "Josh," she finally spoke, in an insistant manner, "You must have gone the wrong way. Come on, turn around."
Frowning, he chastised her, "I have the best sense of direction of anyone you know. This is the right way, I know it."
"Just turn around!"
At her raised voice, he turned around in his seat to snap at her, but caught something odd in his peripheral vision. What happened next happened almost too quickly to discern in what order the events had occured.
Joshua had slammed himself back into the seat, forward-facing, and suddenly hit the brakes hard. "Shit!" In a panic, he swerved the wheel.
Alex let out a scream, and the little Jeep flipped, skidding against the road, crashing up against the side of the tunnel, and eventually sliding to a stop on the other side.
Derek slammed shoulder-first into the dash, he'd been turned towards Joshua to talk to him easier. The last sensation he could recall before waking up on his side against a slightly-crumpled car door was the digging of his seatbelt into his skin.
Alice had come out of things less shaken. Reacting to the moment of panic she'd seen in Joshua's eyes just before he'd sent them into the crash, she'd ducked down and braced herself Derek's seat. Her next instinct was to snap back in Alex's defense. Claims of "sense of direction" meant nothing in a strange town. It all seemed trivial against the prospect of injury and hitching their way back to the hotel.
Alex slowly roused herself, having briefly lapsed into unconsciousness. The window beside her was shattered out, and the cool wetness she could feel running down her face she quickly figured to be blood. In a daze, she touched her fingers to her forehead and winced - sure enough, there was a gash, though nothing too awful. Bracing herself on the ceiling (which was now technically below her), she unbuckled her belt and rolled to her knees, taking in a few breaths and making sure nothing else was physically wrong with her. Nothing, so far as she could tell. "Is...is everyone okay?" She was surprised at how flat her voice sounded, like they were in a vacuum. Clearing her throat, she spoke again, "What happened? Is everyone all right?"
At his sister's voice, Joshua snapped out of his daze as well. The airbag of his car had deployed, so his face stung quite a bit, but he was fine aside from that. "I-I think so..."
Alice came out of her almost-meditative state at the voices of the young girl and her brother, "I'm fine," she let herself slump down, following gravity to the ground and regaining a sense of reality and dimension, "Any chance of getting out of here?"
Alex winced again, looking around, then pointed towards the back of the car. "We should be able to get out through the back, I think..." Turning her attention forward again, she looked at Derek, and felt a little tremor run through her. "Oh god, is he okay? He's not...he's not awake."
Releasing himself from the buckle as well, Joshua leaned over to check on the other man, clearly frightened. "H-hey...Derek, yo, wake up!" He looked back at his sister and Alice, trying to look supportive and confident, saying, "He's breathing, at least...I mean, he looks fine, so I bet he is..."
Derek shifted his eyes back and forth, slowly working them towards opening. He flexed his hand and concentrated on the fact that he could hear voices. With effort, he answered them, with mutters and a few audible "ows," but answers. Alice had moved towards the back of the car to feel around for a handle to open the door, or even the window.
"Is he up? Good. You two start trying to get out up there, and we'll try back here. One of us ought to have a little luck."
Alex, satisfied that Derek was all right, moved to the back with Alice and went for the handle, not surprisingly finding it wrenched and useless. "We might have to break out the window...Josh, any luck up there?"
"Not up here...my door's too badly busted up, and we're right up against the wall on his side. We might be able to break out the windshield, but..."
Derek pulled himself into a sitting position, shaking off the aftereffects of the shock that had thrown him into a faint. "But, what? Long as we have something hard enough, we should be able to bust out a window. Hell, some windshields'll kick out whole." He looked up, holding back the quiver in his voice. He was only used to things going along with his plans, and had not expected such a drastic interruption as this.
Looking out the window in some desperate attempt to see something other than the blackness that seemed to engulf the car, her voice quavered a bit as she spoke, "I have a better question. Does anyone have a flashlight, or anything? Even if we get out, we won't get far in here without one..."
Derek piped up, "I've got a small one! It's a stupid pen my ex-girlfriend gave me, the back half of it's a penlight. She thought it was hilarious."
That relieved her, and she nodded, crawling up beside him. "Thank god for that. Can I see it? I'll see if I can see anything out the back...the windshield may be the best way to go, in the position we're in."
Derek nodded, and pulled out his handful of pens. The light was easy to find, it was slightly longer and heavier than the others. He passed it over to Alex without a word. Alice eyed his suspiciously. His behavior had gone from weird to extremely weird: he didn't seem the type to stay quiet in a situation like this, let alone offer less-than-expert advice on everything. She decided to let it go, however. If he was going to drop a facade, all the better for them. She turned her attention to Alex instead. "Got any plans in mind?"
She laughed, a sound that was full of all the anxiety she felt. "Are you kidding? I'm just trying not to completely freak out. All I know is that we need to get out of this car, then out of this tunnel." Turning on the light (which was more powerful than she had originally thought it would be, thankfully), she shined it out the back. "Can you see anything...? God, it shouldn't be this dark."
Alice squinted out the window, following the beam of light to where it finally rested on a patch of gravel-littered road. "Maybe the tunnel collapsed. It could be blocking us in."
"It couldn't have collapsed on both ends...not without the whole thing falling in. Josh...try to get through the windshield, okay? It's bigger, so we'll all fit through easier..."
"All right, all right," he sighed shakily, too nervous to snap at her for suddenly taking command where he felt he should have it, and, bracing himself on the seat, he pressed his feet into the windshield. Most of the pressure was aimed at the top, in hopes that it would all come out in one piece...hopefully the adhesive was cheap. "Derek, help me out, will you?"
"Yeah..." Derek trailed off, but moved in obedience, pressing his weight against the windshield. He winced a little at the feeling of it beginning to splinter under the pressure. Little by little, it began to give under the strength of both men.
"Just...a little...more...!" With a final grunt of exertion, the windshield gave and broke away from the car, with a minimal amount of splintered glass. "There...thank god. Let's get out of here..."
He went out first, then extended his hand back inside to help the other three. Alex seized the initiative, and scrambled out quickly, feeling a wave of claustrophobic dread hovering on the horizon of her mind. Once on the ground, she took a couple of deep breaths to calm herself, and started to look around with the flashlight.
"What...what the hell...?" she murmured, eyes widening as the beam of light traced over the complete disrepair of the tunnel...not only the walls and ceiling, but the asphalt as well. Just what the hell was going on here?
"I'm hailing from out in Tennessee, don't mind the lack of accent, I was born further out west then that." Derek shook Joshua's hand with gusto and grabbed at the counter behind him and gropped around for his card and key. After a few tries, he managed to crush his fist around them. "It was great meeting you guys." He afforded a suspicious look back at Alice, taking her slightly by surprise. Without much more flourish, he grabbed his bag and took off at a strong trot towards the hallway of rooms.
Joshua blinked a couple of times, confused more than anything, and he couldn't hold back a light chuckle. "Well. That wasn't awkward or anything. I think we'll head down to our room now, aah...oh, I didn't catch your name." He gave a slightly embarrassed smile to the woman behind the counter at the revelation, and laid his hand down on the counter as though to grab their key and his credit card...only to feel the smooth wood, nothing more. "Hey, what...oh shit, did that guy go off with my card?!"
"I got it, don't worry," Alex said, turning to jog down the hallway before her brother could stop her. Room 108, the woman had said...soon enough, she came up on the right room, and knocked on Derek's door.
Derek dug through the hotel room, looking for cameras, bugs, evil talismans and anything else that the strange hotel owners may have hidden within the room. Content that the room was secure, he began unpacking his computer. Apart from a single change of clothes and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings, if was the only thing he'd packed. He was in Silent Hill only to investigate. He'd just managed to unzip his bag when he heard a sharp rap on the door. He padded over quietly to the door, and look with caution through the peephole. It appeared to be the out-of-state girl from the lobby, "Who is it?" he demanded, leaning away from the door so as to seem across the room.
"It's Alex, from earlier," she answered, leaning her shoulder on the doorframe, "I'm sure it was an accident, but you kind of swiped my brother's credit card. And our room key. Would you mind giving those back?" Her tone was somewhat amused, and she had a slightly absent smile on her face, one that made her look softer and a bit more mature than her usual blank expression.
"Ah, sorry, come in then." Derek dug into his pocket. Sure enough, there was an extra credit card in his pocket as well as a second key crumpled into a receipt. He unlocked the door and stepped aside as it opened. "Do you mind if I ask you a few questions? I'm a well-known internet journalist, you know."
Alex raised an amused eyebrow, that smile widening a bit. "Oh, you are? I wonder what you're doing here, then." She walked inside, briefly wondering if Joshua had seen her do so, but when he didn't come barrelling down the hallway screaming, she was relieved. "I mean, it seems like there isn't a whole lot more to know about this town...seems like it's all already been written. But I'll be glad to help, if I can," she said casually, sitting down in one of the chairs in the room and crossing her legs, even being respectful enough to take the earphone out of her ear and shut down her mp3 player.
"I'm looking into the long history of cult activity that has this town in its dark clutches." Derek struck his "important" pose. "Now, why did you decide to come to Silent Hill? Was it a dream? A premonition?"
"Oh, I think I'm just going to bore you," she laughed, "I'm here because my brother is writing a paper on the area for a class...and my parents are ridiculously overprotective of me, so they forced me to come along with him." Tilting her head a bit, her gaze became more curious. "Is this place really that interesting? I've read about the cult stuff, but I always thought that it was kind of dead...it's still going strong, huh?"
"Oh, they've moved underground, but the Silent Hill cult will never die." Derek scribbled down a few notes. "What was your name again? And what topic is your brother researching that he had to physically visit the town?"
"Alexandra Lindon, but you can call me Alex. As for my idiot brother, he's here because of the cult influence on the town too...or rather, the past cult influence. He's just going to get a few books and talk to a couple of people before we go home. I think he just wanted to get away from the city, if you ask me." She sighed a bit, shaking her head. "He can be such a drag. Maybe he'll uncover something too, and that'll make this weekend something other than a complete bust."
Derek restrained a tremble of excitement, "Ah! I'll have to interview him, as well! Perhaps we can compare leads, it will be an excellent opportunity for both of us!" Truth be told, Derek lacked anything resembling a lead. All he had were a few newspaper articles, an incomplete series with a missing author and a date that was years back. He was sure he'd find something here, and he needed something unique desperately.
Alice knocked softly on the door to room 108, "Ah, excuse me? Ms. Alex? Your brother asked me to come check on you. " She turned to face Derek, who was again writing in his notebook, "Sir, if you take the other guest's possessions again, I'll have to ask you to leave the hotel."
Derek gave her a suspicious stare, and took down another short note, "You were born in this town, correct? And your father as well?" Taking in Alice's bemused expression he considered his information accurate. He began a slow pace across the room, shaking his pencil in the air. "Yes, I did a little research on this hotel. Why have you carried it on? Does your father have any... other business?"
Alex stood up, stretching a bit and pressing the bud of her earphones back into her right ear and hitting 'play'. Walking to the door, she placed her hand on Derek's arm with a smile, saying, "Hey, good luck with your story. I'll see if Joshua'll be up for an interview too, but I can't guarantee anything, okay? Ooh, sorry to interrupt."
She'd almost made it out before she remembered the card and key that Derek had, and, cursing under her breath, she turned back and put her hand on Derek's arm again with a sheepish look. "Aah, I forgot...my brother's card, and the key to our room?"
"Oh! Yeah!" Derek shoved the key and card out at her, still keeping his eye on Alice, and hardly giving the younger girl a thought, "Thanks for talking to me. I'll connect with you again tomorrow." He returned back to Alice, "Maybe business within the town?"
"No, business with his TV. What are you implying?" Alice shook her head and started to walk back out the door, following Alex. "You think I'm a satanist or something?"
"Or your family."
"Whatever." Alice pushed Derek to the side with a half-hearted motion and pulled the door closed behind her. With a sigh she returned to her own room.
Alex brushed off Derek's snub with a bit of a roll of her eyes, unable to help but feel just a tad bitter. Seemed like someone might be interested in her as opposed to her brother for once, but...eh, it was no big deal. Noticing Joshua further down the hall, she waggled the key in her hand and walked to their room, letting herself in and flopping down onto the bed nearest to the window and closing her eyes, letting the dusty light of the setting sun cast over her face.
Alice scowled. She'd really relied on this batch of guests being cheap and lazy. Nonetheless, they'd all arrived for breakfast that morning. She'd had to make an extra batch of omlettes and presented them with flourish. "Well! Eat up! I'm sure you've all got things to do today out in town."
Joshua ate with gusto, barely noticing Alex, who sat beside him with her chin leaned on one hand while the other barely prodded the omelette. Her usual blank expression was back with a vengence.
"So, Alex told me you wanted to talk to me about something...er, Derek, was it?" Joshua was obviously trying to alleviate the obvious tension in the room by being overly cheerful, a tactic that usually worked for him at school...
Derek perked up immediately. He'd been poking suspiciously at his plate, "Yes! Your sister there tells me that you're here to investigate the insidious workings of the town as well!" He grinned, hoping he was sounding professional, "I'd like to compare information with you, share a few secrets, you know."
"Um, well..." Joshua faltered a bit - truth was, he didn't have much to go off of either. A few scattered news articles, a brief mention in a book on cultism...still, he refused to be intimidated by this weirdly uppity guy, so he regained himself quickly. "I suppose that's the point of investigation, isn't it? To gain new information? Today, I was going to follow my leads to the church on the other side of the lake - heard a lot of weird things happened there, you know?"
"Ah, the church..." Derek scratched his ear, trying to remember mention of a specific church, "Yes! There were a few murders there a few years back, right?" Alice cleared her throat loudly, announcing without words that she was leaving the table. She grabbed both Derek and Joshua's plates and marched towards the door to the kitchen.
Sighing, Alex got up with her plate and followed. "I'll help," she said in a flat tone, sounding thankful for the excuse to get away from the table. "I'll clean them, or something. You don't have to pay me or anything, I just want something to do."
Alice smiled, "Thanks, you don't really have to. There's a pretty vicious dishwasher back there. We got it cheap off a burger joint that went under." She dumped the plate contents into the trash can just inside the door, "You seem pretty miserable to be here, not exactly an ideal weekend retreat?"
Letting out a derisive chuckle, she scraped off the remains of her omelette into the trashcan as well. "Yeah. I'm a prisoner of my own older brother. I bet he drags me along to this stupid church he wants to go to." Sighing, she ran a hand back through her hair, which she had forgotten to pull back that morning. "After all, our parents told him not to let me out of his sight, and he's the ultimate kiss-ass. It sucks." Her expression darkening a bit, she added, "And that Derek guy seems like a total tool."
"I was going to to say 'asshole,' but tool is more accurate." Alice laughed, "At least they're keeping themselves occupied? Since neither of them has a clue." she scrunched her brow in an irritated expression, and glared in the direction of the continuing chatter.
"Yeah, I suppose. Either that, or they'll end up fighting...you know, just so much nut-flexing." So, Alex wasn't exactly a demure girl, but it couldn't exactly be expected of her. Nor, for that matter, was she coy, as she followed up her prior statement with a slightly quieter one, "He is kind of cute, though. Shame."
Alice laughed, "That guy? He looks like he should be institutionalized." She winced a bit, regretting having spoken without regard for the girl she was addressing. "I'm probably just irritated with him, he's causing a big commotion, and I really don't want to see him running amok in town, calling everyone witches or whatever."
Far from being offended by the comment, she laughed. "Yeah, you're probably right. Some would say that I should be instituionalized too." Walking over to the counter and setting the plate down, she hopped up to sit there, pulling a plain black hair tie out of her pocket and started working on smoothing all her hair back into a low-hanging ponytail. "I hope they don't cause too much trouble. I get the feeling that he'll be going with us to the church...ugh. I'm sure it'll be testosteronerific. I'll try to keep an eye on them, though."
"Good luck with that. The town's a pain to navigate, so hopefully they'll get lost." She threw the dishes into a plastic tray and heaved it into the large stainless steel box that encased the dishwasher, "Try to keep them from bothering too many strangers. Most of the people here are pretty touchy about the town's past."
"I'll try." Finding a tangle in her hair, she pulled it around her shoulder and started to work it apart, a motion that made her look suddenly vulnerable. For a moment, she was quiet, then she asked, "Is it really that bad? I mean, what they say in the books...it's some really scary stuff."
Alice scratched the back of her neck, "There's been a couple of weird things, mostly murders and stuff like that. We've got a cult, yeah, but they pretty much died out when they got busted for some serious drug running a long time ago. There are a few crazies running around, but I can't say anything else has happened recently." She started up the dishwasher, and shouted over the rising roar, "Most of the stories are hallucinations and over-active imaginations."
"I wonder what they're getting their panties all in a knot over, then?" She had raised her voice to be heard over the dishwasher too, then noticed through the door that Joshua was waving her out. She sighed deeply, not looking forward to the day's activities. "Well. 'Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.'" Chuckling a bit, she hopped down and walked out, throwing a wave over her shoulder to Alice before joining her brother in the next room.
"Ah, wait!" She lunged forward, just barely catching Alex by the shoulder, "I can go along, as a, uh, guide. You probably won't be able to handle both of them alone, now that they're running on pure enthusiasm"
Looking up at Alice, Alex gave a more genuine smile than she'd given since leaving her home. "Oh god, will you?" she asked, "I wasn't sure that I could keep the two of them in line by myself. You're not too busy or anything?"
"Ha! You see much to do? It's not like I'm about to go make everyone's beds. I wake up, water my plants, eat a little and start counting down the hours until bed again when it comes to this time of the year." she rolled her shoulders back a few times, working the sleep out of the joints, "I'll take any excuse to get out for a while, even if it is babysitting."
"Heh, all right. Well, I appreciate it, definitely. I bet they will too...the idea of them getting lost around here scares me more than anything I've read in the books." Chuckling, she started forward again, walking up to Joshua and giving a nod to Derek as well, "All right, so, where are we going, Magellan?"
Startled by Alex's sudden appearance, Joshua jumped a bit, then quickly regained his cool. "To the church, where else? I think Derek's coming with us. You are, right? I've just been trying to figure out a good way to get there."
Alice spoke up, "Alex actually talked me into showing you around. I was telling her how hard it was to get around town. The roads are set up all weird, since the lake floods sometimes and stuff. I can show you how to get over there."
Derek sorted through his pockets, making inventory of his pens, pencils, tape recorder and steno books. "Excellent! You can show us other cult activity hotspots."
Alice opened her mouth to snap at him, but thought better encouraging him.
Alex gave him a sideways glance with a bit of a sigh, hoping he'd come off this 'I'm totally a REPORTER!' thing at some point...maybe once he saw a bit of what he wanted? "So, how are we doing this? One car, two, three?"
"Well," Joshua said, tapping his chin, "I've got more than enough room in the Jeep, if we don't want to be separated. It'd probably be easier that way."
Derek nodded in agreement, "It's best to stay together during any investigation. Will you be driving then, Josh?"
Joshua grinned, nodding enthusiastically. "Of course. That Jeep is my baby."
Feeling irritated again, Alex grabbed the usually-dangling earphone and pressed it into her other ear, drowning out anyone else. At the risk of sounding whiny, she never spoke about how much she hated her brother sometimes - it seemed like he had everything, she got nothing, and he took it for granted. Though she was more than an adequate driver, she had no license ("It's not you, it's all the other crazies out there...we don't want you to get into any accidents," her parents had said, over and over), much less a car she could call her 'baby'. Books and music, those were her only freedoms. And, therefore, it rubbed a raw nerve whenever Josh gushed about the things he was allowed to have that she wasn't.
Alice sighed, and patted Alex on the shoulder as they filed outside. She locked the front door of the hotel once they were all outside. It wasn't as though anyone would need to get inside now that the whole group of guests and the one-woman staff were off on an expedition of fairytales. Derek was beyond enthusiastic, and was already taking down note of things he assumed he'd see throughout the day. He'd brought along his computer bag, as usual. It was his constant companion, especially when he planned on finding a story to cover. He planned on writing the entire piece as a gritty first-person account, and was hoping to get some sweeping descriptions of the landscape down before they even left the car.
"Man, this place is..."
"Couldn't we have just stayed at a Holiday Inn or something?" The slightly irritated girl sighed up at the small hotel that she and her older brother were booked into, pressing the bud of her earphones a little deeper into her right ear while the other dangled free.
"Don't be a brat," her older brother snapped, "It'll be nice. Getting you out of the hotel is what I was going for. I mean, this place is cool. Maybe you'll find a bookstore with a bunch of those old books you love so much."
Alexandra Lindon couldn't help but grin - her brother Joshua, bumbling as he was, couldn't be mean for very long. Relenting, she motioned extravagantly to the front door. "After you, then."
Together, they walked through the modest front door of the hotel.
Alice was irritated, which was to be expected when faced with 3 guests checking in to the hotel after a month of dead-time with at least another 2 months to go before the usual cheap tourists poured in with their ripped and smudged traveler's checks and canceled credit cards.
She'd never forgive her father for saddling her with this hell hole. Just as she launched into a mental rant about how she was going to sell the whole place for firewood and get a real job frying burgers, her party of 2 walked in the door. They looked young, which was never an inspiring sight. Thankfully, they looked related as well. At least the possibility of young lovers on the run was out. Alice fixed on her best (or "least grimace-like) smile to greet them. "How will you be paying for this stay?" ("Shit. Smooth")
Joshua walked forward to the counter, giving Alice a charming smile, completely unfazed by her somewhat noticeable irritation. Brushing a hand back through his hair in a manner he had always thought suave, he reached for his wallet, and said simply, "Credit card."
Watching this display from a few steps behind him, Alex held back a snicker and shifted the backpack on her shoulder. Could he be more of a ham?
Still, she wasn't sure why she was here. Joshua had a paper to write, and she had tagged along because her parents had insisted. ("Ridiculous," she had thought, "I'm seventeen, why should I be treated like a child?") But, things were what they were. The thought of old dusty bookstores did appeal to her, after all.
The possibility of young lovers was out, for sure. The girl accompanying the overly-outward man in front of her was beyond bored, and beyond distracted. Really, she looked like she'd rather be shoveling shit in hell then be anywhere near this guy. "Sister?" she ventured the guess out loud, but regretted it. She attempted to cover the mistake by running it directly into the next sentence, "SisterrrID please?" She smiled again, with a slight head tilt. She may as well match the game of showing off play for play with this guy.
Alex looked up at the mention of 'sister', and sent a small grin and a thumbs-up at the woman behind the counter. Joshua, on the other hand, gave a glance back to the younger girl before returning his attention to Alice, not deflated in the least.
"Yes, she is my little sister. We do look alike, don't we? Ah, yes, my ID..." Taking the driver's license from its pocket in the wallet, he held it out to her between two fingers. Had just recently turned 21 and looked it - fresh-faced, somewhat full of himself, and ready for adventure.
The names matched up, and everything ran through as it should. It really was a shame. This guy had started out irritating, and things were slipping downhill. She returned the cards, and passed a small receipt across the counter. "You'll be taking room 106. We'll only have 1 other guest, hopefully, but you'll still have to keep things down. If you want breakfast, it's another 2 dollars a day. Served at 9:00 out here in the lobby. That should be everything." She pulled the key out of a small locked drawer, and passed it along as well. Just as she began to wish the guests an ever-fond farewell, the doors to the hotel slammed themselves open. With a wince, Alice saw that the other guest had arrived.
He was a tall-ish guy, and also young. Everything about him reeked of cheap, right down to the reek of cologne. He looked crazed. There was no other way to describe him. His hair was thrown in all directions, as though he'd just woken up in a corn field and his clothes were in no better condition. He'd tried to "dress up" but the hems of his pants were torn and his jacket sleeves too short. He pushed his way to the counter (somehow making an obstacle of 2 people) and dropped his luggage with a huff (as though an oversized computer bag was a burden). "Reservation for Kissel, please. Derek Kissel." He pulled a credit card out of his pocket and tapped it in the counter. It seemed to be a self-important mannerism, but the way his eyes shifted over the room revealed it to be a nervous tick trying to cover itself up.
"E-excuse me--" Joshua started, a little perturbed by the new arrival, though he wasn't sure exactly how to say that he'd just been extremely rude. Instinctively, he put himself between the man and his sister, to which she rolled her eyes and took a step to the side to look over the scene a little better.
Somehow, the grunge rock that flowed from her mp3 player to her ear reminded her of the man who now stood in front of them - wild, dirty, with a flagrant disregard for the norm and a touch of egotism. She couldn't help but smile a little at the thought. Maybe this would turn out to be interesting after all. After all, what was so important in an old little resort town that this man was so rushed?
Derek jumped, he'd just realized he was actually standing next to someone. "Derek!" he thrust out his hand and threw up a new smile, "I..I'm Derek. Nice to meet you! Are you from Silent Hill?" He looked around, nervous again.
Alice grabbed the card from the man's hand. He didn't seem to notice, he was too busy threatening Joshua with his impressive canines, or something. Since it was near impossible to believe anyone would pretend to be anyone this deranged, or that the awkward pile of person in front of her had the mental capacity to commit fraud, she simply charged the card and piled it back onto the counter with a slightly crumpled receipt. She scrawled "108" onto the slip of paper and dug for the key.
Joshua was made more than just a little nervous by the sudden change in the man's demeanor, but, not being one to be rude, he extended his hand and took Derek's, giving it a firm shake. "I'm Joshua. No, I'm not from Silent Hill, I'm...from out of town."
It was obvious that he had no intention of introducing Alex, so she walked up next to him and offered her hand as well. "I'm Alex. Actually, we're from D.C., so this wasn't too far a drive. How about you, where are you from?" Whether or not she was being more friendly to Derek simply to spite her brother was up for debate, but at the very least, she wasn't opposed to meeting new people.
|» Chibicko- Silent Hill Characters|
These are the characters for the upcoming Silent Hill RP!|
( AliceCollapse )
( DerekCollapse )