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Traipsing Through Silent Hill
Artwork Graciously Provided by the Incredibe Steven Luna

Part Nineteen, or Random Story Arc Resolution

  Hello, all you wacky adventurers! We return once more to the dark and quite squeaky world of Silent Hill: Nullrigins, where the truckers are burly, the doctors are skeevy, and the children are horrifyingly powerful psychics that can pop you like a sweaty meat balloon. Last time, Travis just learned that some asshole doctor (most likely Dr. Harris, who probably got his medical degree by writing “Medikal Prufestional” on a paper towel) recommended that his father, Richard Grady, lie to him about his mother being dead. Also, we were in the mirror reality’s version of this crappy motel.

  You’d be interested in knowing that this is the first time we’ve been outdoors in the alternate version of Silent Hill. You’d also be surprised that there is a significant difference between the interior and exterior hellish-nightmare environments, but there isn’t, so my clumsy attempt at duplicity is the most you’re getting out of it. The outside world is enclosed and rusty, and it is also very dark. So… you know… like every other place we’ve been up to this point.

  But Travis, despite the constant metallic-shrieking ambient noise, can hear the call to explore, so that’s what we’re going to do. The only room on the eastern half of the motel I have access to is 309 (other than 306, naturally), where I rudely interrupt a taffyman’s very busy schedule of shuffling about in the dark. I continue to ruin its day with my meaty trucker fists before stealing the health drink it has chilling in the rusty toilet.

  Wait, how the hell does a toilet get rusty? Was this thing made of metal? Or…

  I don’t want to know! I DON’T WANNA KNOW!

  Anyway, on my way out I notice a shiny new weapon—a motherfucking SPEAR. It is presently halfway broken, but it will probably come in handy. As Travis describes it, “This is no prop. It’s a genuine, sharp spear made for hurting.” I’m glad that our trucker buddy somehow knows the innate truthiness regarding spears. I’ve been fooled in the past, and Travis has got my back.

  God bless you, Travis. You are truly the last American hero.

  I pop into the intersection, only to find two roadkills patrolling the grounds. I whip out my old friend, the shotgun, and take them out. Afterwards, I discover that I am critically low on shotgun shells, but then almost immediately stumble on two boxes. Which is good, because those three seconds of quasi-tension were the kind that would send lesser men to the grave. I mean, I’d have to rely on my several hundred other projectiles being fired from my four other firearms. Or my dozens of melee weapons. And then where would I be?

  Anyway, there are no stairs to the second floor in the alternate reality intersection, so I bounce on through the only new door I have access to, and that’s the southern pass. In Room 301, I kill a taffyman selfishly hogging a first aid kit. In 209, I add another spear (again, half-broken) to my stash. It’s here I decide that I shall give the spear a try at my earliest convenience. After all, something this kickass needs to be used.

  At the southern end, the police blockade is not present in this reality. Alessa, godlike psychic wunderkind, realized that the only way to get Travis past such an insidious obstacle as “a wooden fence with some police tape around it” is to just blow it the hell up in the parallel reality. Oh, Alessa, you zany funster. I just wanna give her a quarter for the gumball machine and sic her on my enemies.

  Beyond where the barricade would be is the 500-block of rooms. Naturally, room 500 itself is locked. I mean, come on; we only just got here! Can’t have a boss fight without earning it first, Trav me old boy. There’s also a fuck-monster that I get to test-stab with my spear. It’s a pretty decent weapon, killing the beast with three regular swipes and a power poke. Sadly, the weapon is now in critical condition, meaning it will shatter in one or two more whacks.

  Rusty room 503 is the only place I can break into, and it turns out that it has a mirror! So we hop on back to our brighter-but-no-less-depressing reality. It seems that our costume designer from the Artaud Theater called this place home, as there are photos being hung up to develop all over the place, as well as sketches of the Butcher. He’s even scratched his crazy rantings into the wall, bless his poor disturbed heart.

  I stumble across a note… or a book chapter… or a newspaper clipping… or something that mentions how a being of “tremendous mental energy” would become a vessel for Samael, the cult’s god. What cult, you ask? Well, probably the Cult of Valtiel, mentioned very briefly back in episode twelve. Where was it mentioned? Well, in the description of how the costume designer took “inspiration” from Native American culture and the local Cult of Valtiel. Apparently, Sam (can I call you Sam?) will bring forth paradise, but our costume designer has scrawled in the margin, “Given that this vessel must be molded with ‘suffering and pain’, just what kind of God and what kind of ‘paradise’ would result.”

  I may have messed around with the punctuation. I don’t care.

  Zerorigins gets a lot of flak, but I do really enjoy how they set this sub-story arc up. As much of a hack this costume designer is (there’s even a tacky costume of his right in the room for us to mock), his interaction with the narrative is pretty thematically interesting. He starts doing research on Silent Hill and learns about the cult to help influence his design—it is here that he learns about the executioner and creates his own variant, the Butcher.

  Things go along relatively normally, or as normally as things can go in this goddamn shithole of a town, where child abuse might as well be currency. Then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, something horrible happens to Tony. The costume designer, steeped in his previous research, begins to hallucinate the Butcher stalking the motel as he nears a psychotic break. He throws himself into his research of the cult, feeling that he’s stumbled on something.

  And he’s either dead right now or presently muttering to himself in the real world motel room, unaware of Travis stomping about nearby. Either way, even though notes-as-plot-relevant-details are ham-fisted and kind of stupid, of all the people that can give this information to Travis, it makes sense.

  Otherwise, you know, Alessa could give him the same information by fucking speaking at some point.

  Oh, yeah, about Alessa. Apparently, her powerful psychic abilities made her a target for the cult’s rather psychotic decision to bring Samael into the world. Considering that the girl would be a “vessel” of sorts, this leads me to one of two conclusions: 1) Alessa would be ‘removed’ from her own body, replaced by whatever consciousness the cult brings forth, or 2) Alessa would gestate and give birth to the god. In either version, being horribly burned alive was necessary to put the girl in a tremendous amount of pain so the god could… um… get really big?

  This cult is fucked up. And why do I have a feeling that the psychological and implied physical abuse began well before their decision to make an eight-year-old mother of god? God, this is so fucking uncomfortable. I guess that’s another tick to the “don’t understand/particularly like women” list we started last episode.

  Outside, I rid the world of a feral Caliban and two fuck-monsters before I start skipping about, looking for stuff to steal for my growing collection of pilfered goods. I discover that the real world rendition of room 500 is not only locked, but covered in police tape. There’s an unsettling whispering going on if you stand in front of it, much like what happened with the door to female isolation in Cedar Grove. I WONDER WHAT THAT MEANS!?

  Okay, seriously, they really aren’t being coy with the fact that Richard did something quite unfortunate and somehow Travis was involved in a way that left him psychologically scarred. It still works. There is nothing ambiguous about Travis’s past here, and it’s just fine. If anything, the lead up to the inevitable confrontation is made all the more harrowing by knowing what is at the end of the path. What the fuck is so special about Travis’s dad that he gets a competent treatment, while his mother’s story arc and entire level sucks?

  Sorry. It’s really, really hard to not talk about the sanitarium. It’s like a herpes blister on the mouth of someone you’re talking to. You can lock your eyes on theirs as much as you may like, but the second eye contact is broken for one moment you’re back onto that sore and feeling like a right asshole.

  Anyway, to the west is door to the maintenance room. A shovel is next to it, which means that Travis declares it to be his, and what the hell does the motel think it can do to stop him? Bill him? Ha! Try it.

  Out of curiosity, I examine the shovel to find that Travis finds it well suited for both making people into corpses and hiding said corpses.

  You… you feelin’ okay there, Travis? I mean… I’m here to talk, dude. It’s just you seem to be a bit… bleaker… than before.

  Travis doesn’t answer on account of this being a video game, and instead skips into the maintenance room. My radio is going off, alerting me to saltwater terrorism in the making. I make sure that the taffy menace is swiftly put down using Travis’s patriotism powered pugilism (and about 1/3 of a spear). Free of the horrors of ambulatory sugary confection, I explore the room to find a box of something called “Redeemer Ammo” and a vise. I know that said vise will be very important, as Travis has doodled it on his map.

  There is also a note here telling one of the staff about the overly complex reset process involved with a washing machine that some angry guy in the stupidly named Cleopatra Suite has broken. Apparently, you have to put in a token to start it up, then select low spin, 60 wash, drain, and finally pre-rinse. Why the hell is it this fucking complicated to reset a washing machine? Like, wouldn’t a reset button be more useful?

  Also, I hate douchebaggy customers. Namely because you’re not legally allowed to punch them in their stupid douchebaggy faces. Ten bucks says this guy is a serial killer.

  Anyway, the only other thing of interest is a passageway to a maintenance tunnel between the 500-block and some stupidly named theme rooms. No, none of them are the Cleopatra Suite. That’s on the second floor. Clearly. Don’t be dumb.

  Inside said maintenance passage (which is definitely out of place, considering that this is the only maintenance hall of its kind in the motel), there is something that should come as a shock to no one visiting this terrible town: peepholes drilled into the wall in order to spy on tenants.

  The very first one I look into is the one for room 500. This triggers a flashback where Richard is muttering to himself about how hard it is to go on without Helen. He then suggests that she may have had the right idea… I guess with killing Travis? Or with her attempted suicide? I’m leaning more toward the suicide end of the spectrum, to be honest. In any case, things are not going well with Richard.

  During the flashback and after Mr. Grady vanishes, a calendar on the wall clearly has the date “12” circled. I’d tell you what the month was, but they don’t use the Gregorian calendar in Silent Hill. Whatever the hell they do use has marked this as “Fish Month”, judging by the picture used to illustrate the calendar. I guess the next part of this puzzle involves trying to deduce what that’s supposed to mean.

  Anyway, it takes one more peephole to realize that all of them are going to provide visual access into the bathrooms of their respective rooms. This shitty town never ceases to disgust me. Most of the holes are boring, although the one to the Rose Suite reveals a needle sticking out of a table, a red sweater on a coat hook (similar to the one Lisa was wearing). There are also sobs or muffled laughter that can be heard, but it’s hard to tell what the hell they are over Travis’s labored breathing.

  Seriously, the dude looks into the peephole and immediately starts heaving. I don’t know what Climax was going for, but I don’t like it.

  Also, room 503’s peephole reveals that the Butcher is chillin’ in the costume designer’s room. Despite Travis’s dramatic breathing, it doesn’t seem to notice that it’s being watched. Maybe it has the same raspy breath problem that plagues Travis, and thus can not hear him. Who knows?

  The end of the hall has a key to the manager’s office. It also has a photo labeled “Cause of death SHOTGUN”. Surprisingly enough, a very headless man is the star of the image. To be fair, it’s hard to tell with the PSP’s screen size and the person’s missing skull that the victim is a gentleman, but it seems like a safe assumption based on what I can make out. As out of place as it is, it is now time to run back to the manager’s office and register a formal complaint about the employees spying on clients’ bathroom habits. The trip back involves taking a side road that allows me to unlock a passage to the eastern portion of the motel.

  I am dismayed to discover on my arrival that the only occupant of the manager’s office is a fuck-monster. Miraculously, the baton I had in hand doesn’t immediately break as I put the thing out of its misery. There’s a note in the form of a duty log regarding room 500. Apparently, one of the cleaners called the manager regarding the fact that a kid was standing in a room for ten hours despite a horrible stench. Also, the door was open, so how someone (staff or customer) didn’t at least peek in for ten hours is positively ridiculous. Hell, the maintenance people have to walk right in front of the room to get to the maintenance room and their horrific peep tunnel. How did this go unnoticed?

  Anyway, it’s safe to assume that Richard killed himself, right? And that Travis was in that room for almost half a day, probably wailing for his father or in stunned silence, right? I mean, that’s clearly what’s going on here, right? Christ, that is fucked up. Honestly, Travis seems remarkably well adjusted for what happened to him. At least the manager is a decent enough chap to comment that things like this shouldn’t happen. Unfortunately, he’s not so decent as to prevent his staff from watching his customers use the bathroom.

  Is there anyone in this town that doesn’t just suck?

  Well, when Travis looks at the stuffed animals on the manager’s wall, he comments about how “This kind of thing makes me feel bad.” Travis, you’re an animal lover! No wonder roadkills haunt you—you feel so guilty over hitting things with your rig and not being able to stop. I’m sorry, Travis. I was just so lost in all this horror that I forgot that you were a shining light in this goddamn nightmare. You, noble trucker, on your way to save the only other non-jerkass in this entire bullshit city of asshole cultists.

  Then Travis examines the manager’s preposterous amounts of no-doubt meticulously kept files before deeming them “useless”.

  I… I love you, Travis.

  I need a moment. Join me next time for Final Confrontation Out of Goddamn Nowhere!

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