Cry, Silent Hill // By: Rob Myers
"Help! One of you get in here! Now!"
It was Cybil's voice that shook Lady out of her reverie. She raced inside behind Dante.
Cybil was pointing up at the church's balcony where one of the cultists, a balding man with the eyes of a fanatic, held a little girl in a blue dress before him. He pressed a butcher's knife to her throat.
"Is that …" Lady blurted.
"It is the daughter of the witch," Christabella proclaimed stepping forward, her sycophants crowding behind her. "You heathens … you shall surrender your weapons, or witness the spilling of this creature's blood…"
"Hey, kid!" Dante yelled, ignoring the advancing congregation. He turned to Lady, "What's her name again?"
"Sharon," Lady and Cybil spoke simultaneously.
"You shall not block the path of God's holy judgment …" Christabella raised her arms, and her followers braced themselves to charge.
"Sharon!" Dante yelled over the matriarch, "Close your eyes, OK?"
The girl shut them tight as the cultist made ready to slit her throat.
Dante vanished from the midst of his companions, and instantly reappeared in the air above the balcony. Like a crimson comet Dante plunged down foot-first and connected with the man's forehead, sending him flying into the back wall of the balcony as the knife spun away to the side.
"Hell yeah," Lady said quietly and pumped her fist once.
Then Dante strode up to the dazed and moaning man, drew his shotgun, and calmly blasted off the top of his skull.
The cultists' horrified screams filled the house of worship.
Dante holstered the smoking weapon, picked up the child and leapt off the balcony, sending the cultists and Christabella fleeing as one to the far end of the church. Dante landed gently next to Lady and set the clinging girl down.
"Not bad, huh?" he grinned.
Lady was dumbstruck as she stared at Dante in mute horror. She'd seen him execute unknown scores of demons with greater efficiency and even more brutality, and she'd gladly cheered him on. But this …
"You fu… You filthy MURDERER!" Cybil exploded from where she lay on the floor.
"Huh?" Dante looked from one woman to the other, totally confused.
"Dante …" Lady began, then remembered the child. She crouched down beside her and beckoned, "Come here, honey…"
But the girl shook her head and pressed back against Dante's legs. She still hadn't let go of his hand.
"When we get out of here, buddy," Cybil was livid, "I'm going to see to it personally that you get the chair."
She paused, thinking…
"As many times as it takes," she finished with a snarl.
"Seriously, what is your problem?" Dante stepped towards the prone cop, but was brought up short by the girl's grip on his hand. He looked down at her, "Uh…"
"Do you know where my mommy's at?" she looked up at him with tear-filled eyes.
"Oh, God, that's right," Lady exclaimed, "She's at the hospital. Sweety, please come here…"
But Sharon hid behind Dante's coat, still clutching his hand in a deathgrip. Dante tried to pull his hand free, but Sharon was having none of it.
"One of you think you could, uh…" Dante looked up to see Cybil leveling the Glock at his forehead. He met her gaze, and now his eyes were cold.
"You know, that's just gonna tick me off and scare the kid," he tugged his hand, but Sharon's grip was firm, "And she's plenty scared as it is."
"Believe him on that one. Cybil, listen…"
"I'm still a cop, 'Lady,' or whatever your name is," she lowered the gun, only to point it at Dante's privates instead, "And I'm not letting this psycho out of my sight."
"Yeah?" Dante sneered, "You're lucky you're so busted up right now, because otherwise…"
"Both of you, please, calm down…"
From the far end of the church, Christabella's voice boomed, "See how the evil ones behave, my children? Killing the innocent and even turning on each other once they …"
"SHUT UP!" Lady, Dante and Cybil roared as one.
Sharon tugged again on Dante's hand and he reluctantly abandoned trading glares with the cop.
"Please, mister, my mommy needs help…"
Dante tried to remember how his mom talked to him when he was young, and crouched down to the girl's level.
"Ok, yeah. I just gotta know how to find her first …"
"She's at the hospital, Brookhaven Hospital, in the basement," Lady explained, desperately trying to get things back on track. "I'll draw a map…"
"He's not going anywhere…" Cybil spat.
"Well you ain't going after her," Lady dug out a notepad and started scribbling, "And I don't have enough ammo for a round trip. He'll come back."
Lady tore out the page and smacked it into Dante's chest.
"When you get back," she whispered, "We're going to have a long, LONG, talk…"
Dante took the map.
"Listen, these people, they're all…"
"Don't," Lady gritted, "Don't try to rationalize it. Not right now. Just go rescue the kid's mom."
Dante looked down at his newest (and seemingly only) fan, and tried to grin all friendly-like.
"I'm, um, gonna need my hand to find your mom. Ok? This is my best friend, Lady," Dante met his partner's eyes but she glanced away. Dante sighed, but kept going, "She'll take care of you until I bring back your mom."
Sharon nodded and reluctantly relaxed her grip as Dante handed her over to Lady, who just turned her back and led the little girl away. Gritting his teeth, he turned away as well and headed out.
The cop snarled at him as he went past.
"This isn't over. Freak."
Dante just flipped her off without breaking stride.
"And my luck with women continues," he muttered as he headed out into the fog.
Once outside he pulled out the map, scanned it, looked around himself, furrowed his brow … then flipped the sheet of paper over. He peered at it for another minute and, moving his lips as he read, he turned all the way around once pointing in different directions with his finger. Finally he flipped the map back the way he'd first had it.
"Good thing I finished sixth grade," he grinned.
He loped easily through the empty streets towards the hospital. The map helped some, but mostly he could just follow his "nose," or whatever sense it was that clued him in to evil. He covered the distance far faster than Lady had when she was helping the injured cop.
It was exactly as Lady had described, but then a rundown hospital was hard to mistake. Inside, he followed the tracks in the dust left by the cultists on their earlier visit until he found the elevator shaft. He wedged Rebellion between the doors, gripped them with both hands and smashed them all the way open, destroying whatever spring mechanism had held them shut all these years.
"Going down!" he quipped, and stepped into the empty shaft.
After far too much time passed in freefall he realized this hole was waaaay deeper than Lady had written down. Not that he was worried about the landing -- he was just getting bored.
The elevator stranded at the bottom had its roof blast open as a scarlet missile smashed through it. Dante brushed himself off, and pried open the doors with his fingers.
"First floor! Buckets, bolts, carbuncles, uh, hardware, and ladies lingerie!" He paused, and then snickered at that last one – he hadn't even meant it like that. Good thing she wasn't around to hear him, he thought.
Then he remembered how pissed she was at him, and the good mood faded. Hurt and angry again, he followed the written instructions to find room whatever where this Da Silva chick was supposed to be going. Rounding the first corner he ran into a pleasant surprise.
"Helllloooo nurse!" He surveyed a flock of well-stacked hunnies in tight nurse uniforms and…
Ew. Scars, puckered dead flesh, bandage-wrapped faces, and the spastic body language of your average reanimated corpse. Waving scalpels, saws and other unpleasant medical instruments, they advanced towards the sound of his voice.
"Uh, on second thought …. Goodbye, nurse," he drew Ebony and Ivory and spun them. "Heheh. Time to go to work, guys."
A minute and a half later he propped a foot on the tallest pile of corpses and consulted the map again to refresh his memory. When something grabbed his other leg, he kept studying the map as he pulled out Ebony with his free hand and blasted out the zombie's brains.
He finally found the room he was looking for, and a pale unearthly light shone flickering under the door. Putting his ear to the door he could hear a little girl's voice, exactly like Sharon's, droning on and on and on … and on. About … something.
Dante stepped back and scowled in confusion.
"What, are they having some kind of emo spoken-word performance in there?" He shrugged, "Well come to think of it, this place is a suburb of Hell …"
With that he drew his guns, lifted his foot, and smashed the door off its hinges and into the room.
"We're going to throw the book at your boyfriend, you know," Cybil fumed from her seat in the front pew, cradling Lady's TEC-9 and surveying the cultists.
"He's NOT my boyfriend," Lady blurted, sounding a little too defensive even to herself, "And besides … He must have had a reason. I've never seen him …"
"You even told me before, he's like half devil, demon, whatever. And I've never seen a human do what he did … move like that, I mean," Cybil shifted her weight on the hard wooden seat. "Cripes, he probably drinks human blood."
"That's just vampires. His father was Sparda," Lady announced, with some little pride. "That should say something."
"Pffft! Man, you actually believe that old myth?" Cybil snorted. "You're not nearly as smart as I first thought."
"I have my reasons," Lady stroked Sharon's hair as she lay sleeping in her lap.
"And even if it's true, so what? Maybe his old man was some kind of hero or something, but he was still a demon. That's no guarantee his kid's gonna grow up decent."
Lady opened her mouth to respond, but then she remembered Vergil, Dante's twin. He had in fact not grown up to be heroic at all. She still wasn't entirely sure what Vergil's ultimate goals had been, but protecting humans hadn't seemed to be on the list.
"Ok, true," she conceded, "But this one did. I'm sure of it."
But she didn't sound too convinced.
"I really didn't think you were the type," Cybil sighed with some disappointment. "Live and learn."
"Just another stupid girl tangled up with some creep, constantly making excuses for him …"
"You should listen to your friend, sweetie …" Christabella piped up.
"SHUT UP!" Cybil and Lady barked.
"Son of a traitor. Son of a whore," the duplicate Sharon spat.
"You know, you were a lot more likeable back at the church," Dante mused as he pressed Ebony's muzzle to the girl's forehead.
"PLEASE! Please," Rose begged, "Don't kill her! She's…"
"This ain't your daughter, babe."
"She knows, bitchspawn."
"Oh the mouth on you," Dante cocked Ebony's hammer. Over his shoulder, he addressed the pretty blonde woman, "You're Rose, right? Care to explain what the hell's going on here?"
"Well," Rose surveyed the decaying hospital room and its other occupants, the disabled mute nurse, the severe burn victim lying in the bed … "I have to admit I'm still kind of confused myself…"
"I was making everything clear," not-Sharon snarled, "Until this son of a cow…"
Dante pressed harder with Ebony, forcing the girl back against the wall.
"Listen, you want to insult me or my dad, fine, whatever. Won't change the outcome any. Just leave my mom out of it, capiche?"
The little girl smiled sweetly.
"Mother is God in the eyes of a child…"
"She said that before," Rose interjected, then gestured at the bed, "This is Alessa, Sharon's re … Sharon's birth mother."
"Ohhhhhh," Dante exclaimed, "Now it all makes sense."
"Really?" asked Rose hopefully.
"Not in the slightest. And little Miss Pottymouth here is…"
"I AM THE REAPER," the girl-creature announced in an inhuman voice.
"Neat trick," Dante scoffed, "Well, I'm the reaper … uh, reaper. Whatever. Anyhow, I butcher five of you fucks before I even take my morning dump."
"NOT LIKE ME," the thing proclaimed smugly.
"Cool, maybe you'll be a challenge," he addressed Rose again, "Why is it, exactly, that I can't just kill this thing?"
"I am here because Alessa summoned me," the demon said, using Sharon's voice again. "Only when her pain is repaid in full will this town be released…"
Dante looked to the bed's occupant.
"Revenge, huh? And you really are a witch, aintcha?" Dante cocked his head, "So now you've used your own daughter, tormented the hell out of both her and the people who were nice enough to raise her, just to get back at those pansies in the church?"
His look turned to a glare.
"Kind of a selfish 'God,' aintcha. Mom?"
The eyes of the woman in the bed were unreadable.
"That's right," said Rose, realization dawning, turning to Alessa, "It was you. You've done all this to Sharon and to me, it's all your doing. And you wanted me to help you?"
Alessa had no way to respond.
"Help her? How?" Dante asked.
"I think," Rose ventured, and pointed at 'the reaper,' "She wanted me to help that … thing… do something in the church."
"Oh." Dante withdrew and holstered Ebony, "Well that's no problem."
Lady decided one more time to try to have a pleasant conversation with Cybil.
"So," she gestured over their heads, "What do you figure the big ladders are for?"
Cybil looked to the structures looming above.
"Beats me," then she looked towards the half-filled firepit placed between the ladders. "Kinda looks like …"
Everyone jumped at the sound of the doors bursting open. Lady turned to see Dante posing in the entrance, grinning like a loon.
"Man, this joint is dead! Let's liven it up a bit, shall we?"
Behind him a shapely blond in a tattered gray outfit and knee-high boots cautiously stepped forward.
Sharon leapt from Lady's lap and sped to the woman who scooped her up and spun her around in profound joy and relief. Lady teared up, and Cybil clapped and gave a hearty "Whoo!"
Proud as a muster of peacocks, grinning ear-to-ear, Dante marched up to Lady. Despite her current misgivings, she was still thrilled to see him.
He leaned in as if to give her a kiss, and instead whispered intently.
"Get them and the cop out of here. Right the fuck now."
She pulled back to stare at him in confusion. He kept his grin but his eyes held a far different message.
Still unsure, she stared back. Her eyes full of a hundred questions. Dante tried to grin reassuringly, but it took effort.
"It's not… it's not what I think you think. At least, I think it's not what I …" he gave a wry smirk. "Anyhow, you've trusted me before. Trust me now."
Lady made her choice, nodded, and scrambled to her feet, grabbing equipment as she went, while Dante turned to stand before the cultists. Lady hauled Cybil to her feet, who was still too happy and relieved to protest or even notice when Lady smoothly reclaimed the TEC-9. Halfway to the door, Rose and Sharon came to help with Cybil, further distracting her. It wasn't until Lady was pulling the doors closed and exchanging a concerned look with Dante that Cybil's other concerns resurfaced.
"Hey. HEY! What the hell…"
But she was cut off by the closing of the doors.
"Hi there, folks," Dante turned to the throng, pulled Rebellion from his back and held it before him, "There's something I want to show you."
The cultists crawled away from him in blind terror, Christabella dropped to her knees and began chanting something inane. Dante raised his sword …
The sounds of human screams leaking out of the church further enraged Cybil. Lady leaned her head against the doors, taking it all in, praying to whatever good entities there were that she had made the right choice…
"What is going on in there?!" Still barely able to move from where she lay, Cybil clawed at Lady's boot like a caged animal. "What have you done?!"
"What needs to be done," Rose said quietly, cradling Sharon like she would never let go.
Cybil gaped at her in shock.
"Rose? What the hell? They might be vicious scum, but they're still people…"
"No," Rose said quietly, "No they're not. They haven't been for a long time now…"
Lady snapped out of her immobilizing guilt to stare at Rose. Cybil went from rage to … confused rage.
"What the fu… what?"
"You mean," Lady ventured, "they're just more evil spirits? Ghosts?"
Lady collapsed to the ground, shaking in relief, trying to forget what she almost thought she just did.
Cybil sat silent processing this, remembering all the things she'd seen since she got here, what she'd learned of Rose's nature. She realized it made perfect, insane, sense.
She looked up to Rose.
"We should get away from the doors then," she nodded at Sharon and made air quotes, "We don't need to hear this."
Rose nodded and stood, carrying Sharon. Lady, once again mute, dragged herself to her feet and boosted Cybil up. Together, the three women trudged down the steps and across the graveyard to wait.
Inside, all Dante had done was give himself a nasty cut on his fingertip. A few drops of his blood leaked out onto the floor, though the wound healed almost instantly.
Then he calmly headed for the back row of pews as the Earth opened up behind him. And that was when the screaming had really started.
Later, as the blood of the last cultist sprayed the walls and the chunks of their body fell to the floor and faded back into the ether, Dante stood up from his seat and gave a sarcastic golf clap.
The Alessa/Reaper's voice rippled through the air though her mouth did not move.
"You enjoyed that, did you?" It boomed.
"Very nice," clap, clap, clap, "Yeah. You're real 'tough' when it comes to masses of unarmed idiots in a confined space."
He paused, studying the forest of blood-dripping barbed wire tentacles writhing in the air above him.
"And, damn, looks like you worked out some real, like, rape issues with that Portabella chick. It's the 21st century now you know. It's OK to be 'out.'"
The thing that had once been an elementary schoolgirl chuckled.
"Would you like the same treatment then, slut's son?"
"Oh, so you're bi? Well sorry, you're not exactly what I'd call a 'MILF,'" He walked right up what remained of the center aisle, straight into the central nest of curling, snapping wires, "And you're still trying to push my 'mom' button, huh? FYI, you're trying too hard with the taunts now, and it's getting pathetic."
With that, he reached behind himself into whatever place his weapons came from, and pulled out … a glowing purple guitar.
"It is not our fault," Alessa/Reaper boomed, "That your coward of a father mated only with whores who he beat mercilessly."
A pulsing shriek and a wave of light burst from the guitar, surprising even Dante.
"He was a perfect gentleman!" the guitar seemed to wail, "You skanky bitch!"
Dante's eyebrows shot up, as he tried to hold the guitar still.
"Damn, you seem to have really pissed off my friend here," He gave Nevan a decisive strum and a shockwave of sound radiated outward, knocking away the encroaching tentacles.
"And now…" he played a blazing lick on Nevan, and a furious cloud of bats crackling with electric arcs formed around him then shot away to send thousands of volts along the wires supporting the hospital bed above, where the possessed and insane Alessa was bound. She screamed in agony, both with her disembodied reaper voice and physically through whatever scars had sealed off her mouth years ago.
"Yup, that's what I thought," Dante plucked a few more notes out of Nevan warming up, eliciting more howls of pain from his "audience."
"Hmm. How did that one Dethklok tune go? Think it was called, 'Crush my Battle Opponents Balls,'" he strummed, Alessa screamed, "I know you might not have actual balls, but I think we can show you what it might feel like to have them crushed…"
"Alrighty then… a one-two-three-four…"
Across the graveyard, Dante's companions were forced to flee to the other side of the street and into the ruins of a bakery to escape the horrific cries that echoed through the town.
As the last of the screams peaked and abruptly stopped, something truly strange happened. Looking up from the table where the group sat, Lady was at first confused by the bright light that poured in through the windows.
"It's the sun," she realized. "He did it."
There were grins all around.
"Can we go home now, mommy?" Sharon asked, "I want to see daddy."
Rose planted a kiss on her daughter's forehead.
"Yes, sweetie. I do too."
"Yeah, um," Lady grinned, scratching the back of her head, "He was the one who hired us to find you…"
Sensing Lady's embarrassment, Rose patted her hand.
"Whatever he promised you, you've earned it."
A loud crash from across the graveyard made them all jump, until they saw a scarlet figure stride out of the dark church and stretch his arms in the sun.
"Oh!" Sharon piped up and jumped from the booth, "I have to go thank mister… um…"
"Dante," said Lady, and she watched the girl sprint out the door.
© 2007 Rob Myers