RESIDENT EVIL X SILENT HILL: JUDGMENT DAY
written by Charles Spencer,
inspired by Ygure
The supermarket wasn't far behind them as they walked deeper into the central part of Black Falls, Vermont. Deeper into the heart of the damned fog. Cheryl Mason couldn't help but say, "Those assholes were no better than dogs." The human predators she stopped from terrorizing the rest of the survivors in the market.
Elza Walker still didn't feel very comfortable around Cheryl. She'd managed to get over her fear sort of. The only way they'd survive was together. Right? The girl in the motocross jumpsuit, who happened to love dogs, asked absently, "Why do you say that?"
Cheryl, who held hands with Rebecca Chambers as they both led the group that also included Alex Shepherd and his wife Elle Shepherd glanced at Elza. "What?"
Elza was frowning a little. "I just asked why you said that. What, you don't like dogs?"
"No, I don't. I'm afraid of them."
Elza couldn't help but ask. "Why?"
In spite of everything. Cheryl slowed to a stop, and Rebecca paused in turn. So did the other three in their group. Cheryl turned fully to Elza, stared into her inquisitive blue eyes, and answered. "In my first life as Alessa Gillespie, I learned to fear a lot of things. My mother Dahlia. People in general. Dogs." She kept in her own thoughts, And even now, I'm afraid of myself and what I can do...for good reason. I've lived three lives. All of them marked by fear.
Alex said, "You didn't say much about your life as Alessa when you told us about yourself before." It was just a statement of fact. Alex had warmed to Cheryl a little more over time.
Cheryl shook her head. "There wasn't much to say. Nothing worth talking about." But everyone, especially Rebecca, felt the sadness in her voice.
Rebecca said nothing, but she sweetly squeezed the haunted blonde's hand as she held it. Rebecca knew better than anyone else what the girl she desired had been through because of Cheryl's extraordinary powers.
Elza put a hand on her hip as her other held her shotgun, clearly impatient. "But how could you be afraid of dogs? Some dogs are mean, but only if their owners mistreat them or whatever! Unless you did something with your powers that got on a dog's bad side?"
Rebecca gave the inquisitive girl a sharp look. "Elza -- !"
But Elza ignored Rebecca flatly as she pressed on. Her eyes narrowed as she said, "Come on, that's it, isn't it? You did some kind of magic bullshit on a dog and he took it personally! What did you do, make their tail disappear?"
Cheryl suddenly snapped, "I didn't have to do a thing, girl. All I did was walk down the street, just like I'm doing now."
Rebecca sidled up to the brunette marvel she had grown to adore more and more with every moment, bringing her body very close to Cheryl's. Rebecca began, "Cheryl..."
"I'm all right, Becca," Cheryl said. She managed a small, reassuring smile. Cheryl Mason turned to Elza and nodded. "You want to know why I'm afraid of dogs, Elza? Okay." She paused for a moment as she took a deep breath. As she gathered her strength. "You need to understand a little better what it was like for me growing up as Alessa Gillespie in Silent Hill. I was trapped in a loveless life because my mother Dahlia couldn't have cared less for me. All she wanted was to lead The Order and serve her God. I was...she only cared for me as long as I had some use to her. And then she realized how powerful I was, that I could be the Mother of God her twisted faith ordained would one day bring Paradise to Earth. And..."
Elle Shepherd said softly, "Cheryl, you don't have to talk about it." Where her husband and Elza looked at Cheryl with fear and suspicion, Elle saw the haunted, vulnerable girl she was in spite of her powers. The unassuming yet truly graceful blonde, pregnant with her and Alex's child, couldn't help but empathize with Cheryl. Especially considering they had Silent Hill and so much more in common.
Cheryl glanced at Elle and said, "Yes, I do." But Rebecca Chambers felt the girl holding her hand tightly, needfully as she looked back at Elza. Cheryl continued: "It was like being stuck on a dark island, my life as Alessa. There was nothing I could do to escape. And no one could help me. No one would. There were two kinds of people in Silent Hill not counting the tourists, Elza. Some were part of The Order, yeah, but there were more who weren't. Some of the unbelievers, they had no idea Dahlia's twisted faith even existed. But Silent Hill was a small town, word would get from one mouth to another about strange goings-on. About the old woman and her freaky little girl who could make things happen. What some did know made them afraid, keep to themselves, keep any strangers in town from finding out. They wouldn't want to talk about it, face it, or even fight it..." Cheryl winced, as if from sudden pain. The pain from her memories. "...and some of them saw the little Gillespie girl as an easy target.
"I went to a public school at the time, and I caught plenty of shit from kids who could sense better than anyone how different I was, they heard all the strange rumors about the Gillespie girl, too. They called me a witch. A freak. Home might have been a black hole, but at least it was better than school and all the constant insults, pranks and bullying. My classmates did everything from snap paperclips and staples at my face with rubber bands to putting tar in my hair. I knew some asshole would try to trip me up at least once in the hallway and I learned to hold it until it hurt because I hated the idea of being ambushed in the bathroom." Cheryl's eyes were hard as she stared at Elza and stressed, "I had to deal with that every single goddamn day. None of the teachers would help me because they knew whose little girl I was. So you could say I developed a fear of people alone. But one of the worst things I ever went through...was because of a dog." Was she trembling? She barely realized that Rebecca was holding her hand in both of hers...but the pixie's sweet, sweet gesture didn't help at all.
"It was as I was walking home from school one day. At least that was time I had to myself, no one gave me shit, and...and Dahlia wasn't there." She remembered that day well, Alessa walking home wearing a light jacket over that deep purple dress she favored. She was only seven years old. "But this old man was sitting on his porch as I walked past him -- how many times did I walk past his house before that? Anyway, he was drunk and he started calling me a witch. I tried to ignore him and I kept walking...but that got him mad. I didn't think about the fact he had a dog with him. A German Shepherd." Cheryl had to pause again, the expression in her eyes was of quiet agony. "Dahlia never let me have a pet. I never had any experience with dogs at all. I didn't know what that old bastard meant at first when I suddenly heard him yell, 'Sic her, boy! Sic her!' I turned around and I saw that dog charging at me, and I swear the clicking of his claws on the pavement was as loud as his barking, and then all I could focus on was his long yellow teeth as he jumped on me and...and -- " Cheryl seemed on the verge of tears as she faltered and impulsively lifted her free hand to her breast, trying to will herself to calm down...it took so much effort.
Her eyes never strayed from their gaze into Elza Walker's, but in that awkward moment of quiet the girl in the motocross jumpsuit was the one who looked away. She felt so completely, enormously stupid and criminal. Elza's voice was full of shame as she tried to say, "Cheryl..."
But Cheryl Mason, who suffered so much because of Silent Hill and The Order in three lifetimes, was steadfast...her voice was surprisingly calm as she spoke. "You wanted to know, Elza, so let me finish. I lifted my arm in front of my face to defend myself, and...I was on the pavement as that damned dog had my arm in his jaws, shaking so harshly. I felt his teeth tear through my jacket sleeve and into my skin, and I couldn't stop screaming..." Her lips turned into a thin line as she shook her head slowly again, unable to speak for a moment. No one else spoke. No one else moved. Then Cheryl looked at Elza and quietly finished, "That old bastard finally called his dog to heel, and I think I was still screaming as I ran the rest of the way home." A sudden smile, but so rueful. "Ha. My being hurt didn't matter to Dahlia, of course. She just told me to get cleaned up and not be a bother."
The silence was so overwhelming after Cheryl finished...Elle Shepherd's heart clearly went out to the blonde girl as she said, "I'm truly sorry, Cheryl."
Cheryl looked at the lady and nodded, but her lips were a bitter thin line. "I know, but your feeling sorry for me doesn't help. Feeling sorry for me won't change things or...or make the memories go away. But remembering that dog isn't so bad anymore. Not since Reeve made me flash back and remember Dahlia sacrificing me, making me into the Mother of God..." She closed her eyes sadly and sighed, "None of that would have happened if it wasn't for me...for my being so fucking different..."
Rebecca Chambers felt so deeply for Cheryl, especially when the blonde said that last statement. No-no-no, don't blame yourself, honey, please don't! She wanted to say it, as well, she wanted to speak that reassurance aloud --
But before she could, someone else spoke first. Alex Shepherd's eyes examined Cheryl as he said, "You couldn't have had any love for anyone in Silent Hill, huh?"
"When I was Alessa? No, I didn't. After what Dahlia did to me, I was kept alive and a prisoner in Alchemilla Hospital...and the only one who ever showed me any kindness at all was Nurse Lisa. I-I mean, Lisa Garland." Cheryl's expression brightened only a little as she remembered the nurse in red. "She honestly cared for me, Alex. Lisa tried everything to ease my pain, even though it was useless...she never stopped trying." And then the bitterness returned to her beautiful face. "She was so different from everyone else in that fucking town, especially the doctor who used her, Michael Kaufmann. I grew to hate him and Dahlia and everyone else who made me suffer or didn't care for me or didn't even know I existed." The loathing was thick in her voice. "Pain and fear and hate was all I ever knew for years as I was kept in Alchemilla Hospital. Was it any wonder I lost my mind?"
Elle offered, "You said it was a great shock to feel your other half -- I mean, the first Cheryl Mason arrive in Silent Hill."
"Shock is...too insignificant a word to describe how I felt. It was as if I woke up from a neverending dream of complete agony and hopelessness. But what surprised me even more was that her -- I mean my life as Cheryl was so different from Alessa's." It was awkward even for Cheryl to think of herself as literally split into two girls for years. "Cheryl knew the kind of love from Harry Mason Alessa didn't even know existed. But that didn't matter as much as knowing we could help each other...Cheryl could..." Cheryl's voice trailed off to nothing as she gazed at Alex's lovely blonde wife.
Holding her beloved's hand in both of hers, she asked softly, "What, Cheryl?"
Alex cocked his head a little as he thought back to what Cheryl told them all before about herself. "The way you described it, Alessa called to Cheryl to find her, to save her from Dahlia and Kaufmann...that's what I thought you meant, right?"
Elza still wasn't sure if she could believe it even as she recounted, "Uh-huh, and then Cheryl got kidnapped, too. Harry Mason had to save you both...I mean, both halves of you!"
Alex frowned. "And then Alessa -- I mean, you were made whole again. That is how it went, right?" Rebecca didn't have to say anything. The afternoon before -- it really only happened yesterday? -- the BSAA agent was accidentally given the encapsulated memories of Cheryl's past lives. Rebecca didn't have to say that it was all just as Cheryl had said. But...
Wait, Rebecca thought. Wasn't there something else Alessa needed Cheryl for? Isn't something
missing? Her brow knitted a bit as she really thought about it.
It was then, with uncertainty in her voice, Cheryl answered, "Y-yeah...yeah, that's how it went." Even Rebecca had to look at the blonde.
Elza frowned. "Uh, why don't you sound sure when you say that?"
Elle asked, "That's all Alessa wanted, for Cheryl to rescue her somehow, right?"
A moment of silence passed in the fog...and Cheryl finally managed thinly, "I...I don't remember."
Elza Walker griped, "What, serious? I thought you remembered everything, girl -- !"
Cheryl snapped at Elza, "Well, there's some things I don't remember!" Her face was tight with anger. "It's been a long time, and memories can naturally fade! How much do you remember about your life, Elza? Just as importantly, how much do you want to remember?! In case you haven't noticed, I don't like to talk about what I fucking went through as Alessa!"
Quickly, defensively, Elza said, "O-okay, okay!" Her eyes were suddenly full of fear as she looked at Cheryl.
Cheryl's lips pursed as her expression softened with regret. "I...I'm sorry. Some things I just...forgot, that's all." But...even she wasn't convinced.
However, Alex Shepherd gazed at her with legitimate empathy. "You already said you buried memories like...well, like Alessa's being sacrificed. For what it's worth, I know something about that. I buried the memory of causing the accident that killed my brother Joshua."
His wife Elle nodded deeply and added, "It's simply a defense mechanism we all have, Cheryl. To repress the most painful of memories."
Rebecca smiled gently as she was so close to Cheryl. "Yeah, but I think you just forgot, honey." That had to be all there was to it, she reasoned. What could have been so bad about...?
Cheryl Mason reacted like someone slapped her when she heard that cold, oily voice speak to her by thought. It was Reeve Meyers, and he wasn't communicating to her directly. He couldn't. But he must have been using his power to call out to her across the breadth of Black Falls. And she still heard him, a voice in the distance.
Rebecca felt as much alarm as could be seen in Cheryl's eyes. "Cheryl, are you all right? Cheryl?"
Reeve's ethereal voice called out again: "Alessa!"
Her expression taut, Cheryl looked at the pixie and said, "It's Reeve. He's calling to me, Becca."
Rebecca's expression also hardened, but her voice was still soft: "Ignore that asshole, honey."
"It's no trouble to do that, it's just..." As Alex, Elle and Elza looked at her, not understanding yet what was going on, Cheryl's voice trailed off as she heard:
"Alessa, answer me now. We have much to discuss. It concerns those who accompany you, especially Rebecca Chambers."
Cheryl blinked. Why the hell would he say anything about Rebecca at all?
"Do you really care for Rebecca? Would you do anything to protect her? Then answer me now."
Cheryl almost whispered, "You son of a bitch." She looked at Rebecca, worried for her. "I'm sorry, Rebecca. I need to respond to him. This won't take long, and he'll still have trouble locating us as long as I keep my concentration."
Rebecca felt a vague foreboding. "Cheryl, I don't like this."
"Me, neither...but it's about you. Let's go there." Cheryl Mason pointed to a professional building, a small complex of legal and health services, barely visible on one side of the street. "We've been standing here talking long enough as it is."
Rebecca Chambers nodded and looked at the others. "Everyone, follow us and stay close!"
"I've got movement!" The old business district, only a block east from Wyler Community Hospital. The warning came from Caroline Floyd, who aimed her assault weapon toward the two-story townhouse they were passing by. She glanced at the house more than once because she could barely see through the smoky gray fog that one of its first floor lights was on. And she saw shadowy movement from within, but it wasn't possible to tell if it was human or not.
Caroline was at point for Bravo Team, only a few paces ahead of Leon S. Kennedy, Helena Harper, Marissa Ronson, Karena LesProux and their advisor, Anne Cunningham. Leon lifted a closed fist as he ordered to everyone, "Stop!" He moved over to the lady in green and asked, "Where, Caroline?"
Caroline pointed toward the townhouse. "Right there, Leon. I saw movement in the window, first floor, to the right of the entrance!"
Caroline was someone Leon learned to trust completely ever since he recruited the former Army Ranger into the DSO. "Okay." He looked to the others. "Slow and easy, everyone. It could be Rebecca Chambers and that Mason girl, hopefully...it could be hostiles just as easy. On me and stay quiet." Everyone nodded in the affirmative and he led them slowly, carefully up to the porch of the residence...and they saw a sign right above the front door; they could make out through the grime it read Clancy's Furniture. Not surprising. In most small towns like this, folks ran many kinds of businesses from traditional residences, and not simply bed and breakfasts.
Crouched and huddled in a tight group, Helena Harper asked in a hushed tone, "How do we do this, Leon?"
Leon kept it simple: "We cover all the angles, and we do it quiet. Caroline, I need you to go in through the back way. Check out the second floor as fast as you can, but be careful. We'll enter through the front and call you the moment the first floor's clear."
Anne Cunningham glanced at Caroline with worry as she asked Leon, "Wait, you want her to go the other way all alone?"
Leon responded, "Caroline's veteran special forces, Anne. She does shit like this in her sleep."
Caroline gave Anne a warm smile, but her eyes were stoic, full of quiet strength...she said, "I honestly appreciate your concern, Officer Cunningham. I'll be all right." Anne wasn't as sure as Caroline about it, but she managed a nod in return.
Leon then said to the lady in green, "When you reach the back door, wait sixty seconds and then enter. We'll enter the front at the same time. Go."
Caroline Floyd nodded. "Roger!" And then she was gone, just like that.
Leon then focused on the door as he extracted a set of lockpicks from inside his jacket. He said to the others, "I'll get this door open. Everyone be ready...Marissa, when we make entry, you'll have point."
Marissa Ronson nodded, honestly eager to go. She purred, "Of course, Leon. If any Order tossers are in there, I'll be the first they catch trouble from!" Her slender hands tightened on the tool she employed to ensure that, her M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. Quiet at the moment, the monster was powerful enough to 'zipper' or virtually cut a human target in half.
Leon and the others were confident, yet cautiously so, that they were ready for whatever was in this townhouse.
Unfortunately. While Cheryl and Rebecca's group were shrouded from Reeve Meyers' unworldly perceptions, Leon, Helena and everyone who infiltrated from outside the fog meaningless hours ago had always been under his telepathic watch. The leader of The Order's Sect of Valtiel watched them at every opportunity, and he did so now as he waited for Cheryl Mason to respond. He knew who was inside of the home converted into a furniture store. As much as Reeve wanted to use the infiltrators as catspaws, he decided that thinning their numbers would be practical. He didn't need all of them to find Cheryl, and it would reduce the potential risk to him and his designs, too. Reeve simply sent a subtle telepathic suggestion to one of those in the townhouse. Someone who looked at the others with him as he felt the sudden, inexplicable and undeniable feeling he gave voice to in an urgent whisper: "Someone is coming! Get ready! Louis, cover the back door now!"
Those in the townhouse had already taken a precaution...one that came to light the moment Leon got close enough to the door to see it was already open. Just a crack of space was evident between the door and its frame. Leon frowned as he took a chance and opened it a little more, very very slowly. He looked inside the widened crack and saw only dark space. He kept himself on full alert, it was still at least another 30 seconds before Caroline entered from the back. But he didn't realize the mistake he made, he only compounded the danger his team was already in because taped to the bottom of the door was a slender length of black thread that stretched to a hole in the right-side wall, through it, and to another room...where it was attached to a small circular jingle bell set on the flat bottom of an upturned wineglass. A crude early warning system for uninvited guests, human or not. Leon had pulled the thread just enough to drag the bell off the glass and make it ring lightly. He didn't hear the sound that gave those within the signal they needed, and they'd already planned for something like this.
Still, Leon's instincts honed by years of training and combat experience that began on a terrible night in Raccoon City in 1998 spoke to him, warned him that something was wrong. It only got worse with each second he counted down. Ten seconds before he and Caroline would have made their simultaneous entry, a woman's scream suddenly rang out from within the house.
Leon stood as he readied his handgun...everyone else with him followed suit as Karena LesProux said quickly, "Someone is in trouble!"
Marissa Ronson hefted her SAW and snarled, "We can't wait, let's go!" Without warning, she threw the door all the way open and rushed in ahead of Leon and the others. Her only thought was for whoever was screaming. To help them, to stop whatever threatened them.
Leon said awkwardly, "Marissa -- ! Oh shit, MOVE!" He shouted that last as he burst into a run after the redheaded firebrand, trying to close the distance between them. But she was too far ahead, and Leon's sense of foreboding only worsened as he shouted, "Marissa! Goddamn it, Marissa, slow down!"
Inside the professional building. At an intersection of wide hallways on the first floor. The place was as foreboding and dimly lit as anywhere in Black Falls now, but Rebecca asked, "We should be okay here, right?"
Cheryl nodded. "For the moment, yeah."
Impatient, Alex asked, "What the blazes is going on?"
Rebecca said, "Reeve is calling out to Cheryl. She's going to answer him."
The three just stared back at her until Elza said nervously, "Uh, okay...like I understand what the heck you mean by that."
Rebecca asked with an awkward smile, "Can I...uh, listen in?"
Cheryl nodded warmly. "You'll all be able to hear me." She looked at Alex, Elle and Elza. "You'll hear my thoughts and Reeve's. It'll be okay."
One more time, before anything else, Reeve Meyers called out, "Alessa! My patience does have its limits. Answer me."
Barely a moment later, sure that her power would continue to obscure their location from their enemy's senses, Cheryl Mason answered curtly in both voice and thought: "What the hell do you want, you fucker?"
"Ah, how nice to hear from you, Alessa! However, you could at least make an effort to be polite! It's quite unladylike of you to be otherwise."
Unlike Rebecca, Alex and Elle Shepherd and Elza Walker were clearly disturbed and astonished by their being able to hear this communication of pure thought. Elza never encountered Reeve before in any way, and felt herself cringe hearing his thoughts, which felt like spiders crawling on her skin, pure evil. Cheryl snarled, aloud and in her mind, "Really? After everything you've done, to me and to this town, you want me to be polite?! I've got a hundred different ways to respond to that, asshole, and NONE of them would be polite!"
"Fine, we can sling curses at one another...or we can have a civil discussion, which is all that I want at the moment."
"You want to make me the mother of your goat-faced God and I want to stop you. What's to discuss?"
"More than you know, Alessa. Let me begin by asking this. Outside of defying your holy destiny in the name of self-preservation, why do you want to stop me?"
Cheryl snapped, "Because you're an evil prick who doesn't give a damn about anything or anyone." Elza almost burst out in a giggle in spite of the surreality of it all.
"True...but I'd like to know why YOU give a damn. Why such compassion toward this hard, chaotic world and everyone in it? You want to stop me from harming anyone else. You want to save this entire world and the sad, pathetic state it is in. Why?"
"If you honestly have to ask, there's no point in answering!"
"Indulge me, Alessa. Actually, let's limit what I'm asking to those who travel with you. I can't sense them at the moment because of you, but I can guess you still have Alex and Elle Shepherd in your company. Well?" Alex and Elle heard that and looked at each other with naked concern.
Cheryl avoided looking at Rebecca and the others, just in case Reeve somehow found a way to look through her eyes...a possibility she couldn't discount. Still, she said honestly, "You guess right, and you're never going to touch them again."
"Why? You don't even know them. They never did anything for you...those blasphemers have no value to one as powerful as you are! Why safeguard them?!"
"You ask me that because I have something you don't: a heart! I don't believe in the same sick shit you do! I don't believe in all the things Dahlia believed in!"
"Indeed?" A deliberate pause. "So you care for others to spite the memory of your late mother?"
Cheryl grinned and said, "Don't even try to be clever with me, asshole! You and I both know that it's simply because I'm nothing like you, Dahlia and the rest of you Order bastards! I want to help Alex and Elle because it's right, because as long as I can, I will!"
"Your infidel of a father was a corrupting influence on you, Alessa."
"And I'm more proud and grateful than you could ever know that I'm Harry Mason's daughter, Reeve! He gave me his guidance, respect and love, things Dahlia NEVER gave to me when I was Alessa Gillespie! And I'm really damn tired of you calling me that, so you can stop anytime!"
"Alessa was the name you were born with, just like you were born to be the Mother of God. You can deny neither."
Cheryl Mason shot back, "I've been doing a good job so far. And just wait. Sooner or later, you'll wish you were never born, just like I promised before!"
Reeve's reply was darksome, full of sheer threat: "Oh, we shall see about that."
38-year-old Marissa Ronson was always someone who charged ahead when weaker hearts hesitated, even when she was a little girl in her birthplace, London. It came from her upbringing under a strong father and quiet mother...when she was old enough, the redheaded girl enlisted in the British military. At first the young recruit annoyed her training officers with her tendency to be abrasive and outspoken...it got to the point she earned the nickname 'Tweed'. But Marissa also gained more and more praise as she specialized in recon and bomb disposal, and then she finally earned the honor of becoming part of the UK Secret Intelligence Service. But what she hoped was a long and distinguished career in her native land's military service was abbreviated by a harsh twist of fate in 2007.
Terrorists had threatened to destroy the Parliament Building and claimed to have placed several explosives within the structure to guarantee its destruction. Marissa Ronson was part of one of the several demolitions teams deployed to find and defuse the bombs after the seat of government was cleared. What happened next wasn't her fault, but the consequences affected her profoundly. Every team synchronized their efforts to disarm the bombs at the same time because it was feared the bombs were linked together; stopping one could have instantly detonated the rest. Unfortunately, at the critical moment, the supervising agent of Marissa's team slipped as the rest didn't...it was the last mistake the man ever made, and even prepared for an explosion behind heavy padding and demolitions gear, Marissa and the other agent in the team barely survived. It took a long time and several operations for the lady to heal from her injuries.
Marissa suffered an even harsher blow when she got out of the hospital: the powers that be took her out of active service and had her slated for a desk job in the SIS. It seemed the old boys thought she might become a risk in future operations because of her previous injuries. Marissa was rightfully pissed off and protested, but her cries fell on deaf ears. It meant everything to her to be out there in the field, where she could honestly make a difference and defend her country. Rather than languish behind a desk for the rest of her service, Marissa angrily resigned her commission. When Leon S. Kennedy became Senior Agent of the Division of Security Operations a few years ago, he took it upon himself to recruit potent new blood for his agency, and he didn't limit himself to candidates purely of American origins. Russian Vladamir Borovski had been integrated into the DSO by his predecessor, and Leon had already recruited Michaela Schneider, who had been retired from Germany's GSG-9. He heard of Marissa and felt she could still make a contribution to defending the innocent because of her recon prowess; she certainly was capable of achieving at least another five years of service, perhaps ten...the one provision was that she become an American citizen since the agency was an extension of the will of the President himself. Marissa, a firebrand eager to become part of the good fight once again, joined the DSO, moved to the U.S. and never looked back.
Leon never had a reason to regret recruiting Marissa...she became one of his closest friends, in fact. But there had always been a nagging worry in the Senior Agent about the aggressive redhead, and it wasn't for her penchant for being abrasively forthright. He'd always sensed a reckless spirit in Marissa...every chance she had during an operation, she was the first to hard-charge into a hostile situation, twice even against orders. Leon took her aside and voiced his concerns, and at least Marissa was honest when she talked about it. She said that ever since she the SIS lost confidence in her, tried to put her on a shelf, she felt like she had something to prove to them...that she could still be a soldier, that she could still serve and protect others. Maybe it was something she needed to prove to herself, too.
But Marissa promised Leon he didn't have to worry about her...she'd cool down, she said. She'd be more careful and not be the first to rush where angels feared to tread. Marissa promised Leon that long ago, but here he was in Black Falls chasing after the firebrand through a dank, dim hallway toward only god knew what. His instincts grew increasingly in alarm with each step he took, that it wasn't the cries of a woman in distress they were hearing. Leon feared they were moving into a trap, and goddamn it, Marissa was going to be the first one in as she disappeared into a doorway on the right, following the screams.
"Marissa! Dammit, Marissa -- !" With Helena, Karena and Anne close behind, Leon lost sight of her for only a couple of seconds. That was all. He reached the same doorway in a rush and stopped immediately, and the agents behind him almost ran into him before they stopped awkwardly, as well.
The tableau was a grim one: Marissa Ronson was there almost in the center of the large display room for antiques that was once a living room...the furniture, like everything else, looked far far older now. Marissa had her M249 SAW in her hands at the ready, but she was frozen...only a couple of yards before her was another woman, a blonde, plain and unremarkable in appearance except for her dark clothes and the .38 Special she was pointing at the redheaded agent's face. To Marissa's side was a man, also in dark clothes, and he had an old M1 Garand rifle pointed at the lady's head, as well. Both of these Order Soliders had their attention fixed on the redhead, ready to shoot her.
Dismayed, Leon couldn't see Marissa's face as she said thickly, "Leon, I...I-I'm sorry! Don't come any closer -- !"
The male Soldier snarled at Marissa, "Shut up, bitch!"
The sight of Marissa under enemy guns hit her fellow agents like a ton of bricks...for a critical moment, they were frozen. Anne Cunningham managed to curse, "Oh, fuck -- !"
Leon S. Kennedy tried to say, "Marissa -- "
"All of you drop your weapons!" And suddenly, from behind them and the shadows around them, four more Order Soldiers appeared. All men. All heavily armed. The one who just spoke, a balding middle-aged man with silver hair, leveled his double-barrel shotgun at Leon and continued, "If you do not, she dies...and so will you!"
Leon, Helena and the others had no choice...they were in deep shit and there was nothing they could do.
Reeve asked, "I can guess Rebecca Chambers is with you, too?"
Cheryl kept staring into space, resisting the strong urge to look at Rebecca...but she responded, "Yes, she is. Why do you want to talk about her?"
"Because she is more important to you than anyone in this world. Isn't she?" Cheryl made no attempt to reply. "It will not harm Rebecca in any way to answer, Alessa. Remember our minds were briefly linked at the moment I took control of you in the hospital, when I made you use your powers to bring the fog of Silent Hill to this pathetic town. I came to understand much about you, Alessa, including your greatest fears...and your fondest desires."
But Cheryl's voice and thoughts answered, "What you did to me worked both ways, Reeve. I saw into your cesspool of a mind, too!" She let that sink in for the monstrous leader of the last remnant of The Order. "I know what you want, and I know what will happen if God is reborn. I've seen your visions of 'Paradise' and how it will change the world, Reeve." Rebecca didn't know that, and the way Cheryl said what she did...it was something she didn't want to talk about for good reason. Rebecca feared knowing what the cult's vision of Paradise was, anyway. Cheryl snarled, "I swore long ago that even if it means killing myself I wouldn't let myself become the Mother of God, and now more than ever I WILL do that to stop you! You'll never get what you want! Never!"
Reeve's thoughts finally sighed, "You always placed so little value upon yourself, Alessa -- "
"Goddamn it, stop calling me that!"
"Why? That IS your name, Alessa, given to you by your mother Dahlia when you were born in 1969. And your father...well, he was so insignificant and unworthy his name doesn't matter. His life certainly didn't."
"My father was Harry Mason, Reeve. He was the best man I ever knew. He made me feel loved...he wanted nothing from me but to be happy!"
"And yet in spite of his devotions, you are so unhappy, aren't you? So willing to toss away your life to stop me."
"Because I want to save people from you, dammit!"
"No, Alessa. You and I both know how awkward and unhappy you've been around people in this, your new life. The one exception was Harry Mason, the man who called you his father, the one you knew beyond any doubt loved you. And when you remembered your previous lives, you understood why you were so unhappy. This world and those who live within it never gave you anything but misery in your first life, Alessa Gillespie. You remembered how much you feared and hated them, and even moreso loathed your own existence." A moment passed that felt too damned long as Cheryl only stood there, staring into space. The bastard did understand her too well, unfortunately. As Rebecca looked at Cheryl with worry, Reeve suddenly declared, "What you want most of all is to save Rebecca Chambers. You honestly think that useless girl is more important to you than your own life -- "
Cheryl Mason surprised everyone, even Reeve, when she suddenly shouted, "She is! This is something you may never understand, but in the time I've been given to know Rebecca, I -- !" She paused awkwardly, but the affection she felt for Rebecca was so clear and profound, the pixie couldn't help but blush. Cheryl finally snarled, "It's none of your fucking business how I feel! But I will tell you I'll give anything to protect her, even my life, and I sure as hell won't stop fighting you until she's safe!"
"I cannot tell you how disappointed I am to hear you say that. You have great power and an even greater destiny, and it's bad enough you foresake them out of stubborn rebellion! Bad enough you let your conscience and foolish sentiment guide you! But to let your desires make you feel Rebecca Chambers is more important than you shows once and for all how weak you are!"
"It's the height of foolishness to let such desire and sentimentality weaken you considering the power you have! If you defied me out of your own ambition, to one day take your mother Dahlia's place as leader of The Order, I could respect that! But the fact you'd use your great power in the name of useless SHEEP like Rebecca you reduce yourself to their level, and that only earns you my complete contempt!"
Cheryl smiled. "That's the nicest thing you ever said to me, asshole." This time Elza Walker did giggle.
The Order Soldiers forced Leon, Helena, Marissa, Anne and Karena to sit on their knees on the floor after they were disarmed, their hands held high. The Soldier clearly in charge, the man with silver hair, loomed before Leon and questioned, "Is there anyone else in your team, infidel? Anyone waiting outside?! Talk!"
Leon couldn't help but think these Order fanatics looked so ordinary...but then, that was the greatest strength of a terrorist. You'd never know the threat was there until the wolf shed their sheep's clothing. Thinking of Caroline, who was the one chance any of them had to survive right now, Leon said, "No, there's no one else! Now you answer my question, whoever you are. You're part of The Order, aren't you?!"
"That's right. This town is holy ground now...soon, Paradise will be brought to the entire world."
Helena blurted, "We don't understand what the hell that means! What happened here? What did your people do?!"
Dispassionate, the leader declared, "You wouldn't understand even if I told you. You're nonbelievers, and you're meant to live in ignorance!"
"We know enough about your bloody Order!" Those sharp words came from Marissa, the firebrand. She hated herself for getting her friends in this predicament, almost as much as she hated the scum threatening them. "You're just terrorists who hurt innocent people because the world isn't the way you want it!"
The woman of the group of fanatics stepped toward her and snarled, "We are not simply terrorists, bitch. We follow the one true way -- !"
Marissa spat, "Oh, bollocks! How many assholes in history have said that, and from how many different faiths!? Time and again, people want to tear down others who don't believe in the same things they do! And here you bloody lot are now, killing and sacrificing people for your idea of 'Paradise'!"
Leon cautioned quickly, "Marissa, don't!" They were in enough risk right now, provoking these assholes wouldn't help worth a damn. "We wouldn't understand them and they won't even bother to listen to what we have to say."
The leader of the Soldiers nodded again. "You're right, infidel. We are devout soliders for our High Priest and our God..." He looked at Marissa angrily. "...and you should listen to your leader and keep your whore's mouth shut!"
Another Soldier, a much younger man with blonde hair, stepped up to his leader and offered, "Norm, maybe if we sacrifice these government dogs, we'll know the blessings of God...we'll have sanctuary again with Father Reeve -- !"
The leader, Norm, quickly cut the young man off: "Be quiet, Theo!"
His mind racing, desperate to latch onto any chance to distract these scum and buy time for Caroline, Leon said, "You're talking about Reeve Meyers, your High Priest. He isn't here with you?"
Norm and the rest of the Soldiers stared at Leon with hard eyes...Norm finally said, "The Holy Father is somewhere else. You don't need to know anymore than that."
Leon shrugged as he held his hands high. "Fine, but I'm curious. Why aren't you with your leader? If you're as devout as you say you are, why didn't he give you sanctuary, too?"
Norm stepped closer to Leon, his rifle gripped tightly in his hands. "I said you don't need to know anymore! Enough questions!"
But Leon pressed on: "I've just got to wonder. You must not be very important to Meyers if he'd leave you out here to fend for yourselves -- !"
The man called Norm shouted, "SHUT UP!" For emphasis, he struck Leon hard across one of his temples with the butt of his rifle. To his credit, the veteran agent almost buckled in his posture yet held firm. But his face was twisted with sudden pain as he began to bleed from the gash on one side of his face.
Helena breathed, "Leon -- !" She wanted to stand, take that rifle from the terrorist, and shove it up his ass. All of the captives needed to do something, anything, but they couldn't.
His lips in a tight grimace, Leon managed to look up at Norm...in spite of the chance he might be struck again, he snarled, "I'm just...telling you what you probably figured out...isn't that right? You were expendable to Meyers...he used you and then left you to die out in this fog without whatever protection he's given to himself!"
The woman amongst the Soliders suddenly responded, "No, you're wrong! We served a holy purpose, to keep any infidels from escaping the town -- !"
Norm shot the woman a glare. "Alice, shut up!"
"It won't do any harm to tell them, Norm!" Alice stared at Leon dangerously, the dull light of the zealot in her eyes. "I know what you're trying to do. You want to turn us against the Holy Father, but he wouldn't betray us! The faithful will be rewarded!"
"Oh, yeah?" This from Anne Cunningham, who looked at the cultists with a cold grin. "With how many virgins, asshole?"
"You little -- !" Norm began to move toward Anne, readying his rifle to strike down this infidel, too. But his movement and his curse were cut short by a sudden report that was so loud in the silent air.
It was a gunshot that came from the second floor.
At the same moment that shot rang out. Reeve Meyers sent to Cheryl by thought: "In spite of my contempt, in spite of your defiance, I wanted to give you something. It's what you would call a one-time-only offer. This is your one opportunity to accept my appeal to surrender yourself now."
Cheryl Mason almost laughed. "Oh, how nice of you! I've been fighting you and everything you've thrown at me to defy you! Why the hell would I just surrender?!?"
"You will to make things far less unpleasant for Rebecca Chambers, Alessa."
"How?! If I do give myself to you so you can make me the Mother of God, if I give birth to that bitch, you and I both know Rebecca will be condemned! So will everyone else!"
"Perhaps...or perhaps not if Rebecca is given the chance to spare herself such a fate."
Cheryl might as well have felt a dark fist clutch her heart. "What do you mean...?"
"You know it would be a far, far kinder fate if she were to die in Black Falls as it is now. I must inform you, though. If you insist on defying me and your holy destiny, then this town shall enter a...transition. It will become a place of darkness...a place you know as well as the unending fog."
As Rebecca watched, increasingly worried for the haunted blonde, Cheryl's expression became one of dread. She knew exactly what Reeve meant. "No." Alex and Elle were clearly full of fear, as well. Elza could only look at Cheryl dumbly...even after everything she was told by the girl about Silent Hill, she didn't quite understand.
"Oh, yes. It's what you're most afraid will happen, isn't it. Rest assured it will and if Rebecca dies within the darkness, you know as well as I do that innocent girl will be condemned regardless."
Cheryl knew exactly what Reeve meant. She knew better than anyone the power the otherworldly darkness had on the living...and those who die within it. "No, that can't be possible! You need me to make that happen, and I won't let it! I WON'T!"
"You have no choice in the matter, Alessa, because all I need to do is -- !" Reeve's thought suddenly braked to a halt, just like that. Awkwardly.
"What?" Cheryl's brow knitted as she latched onto what Reeve had begun to say. She sensed the leader of the Sect of Valtiel had almost said too much, and she was right. Cheryl yelled, "What's all you need to do?! WHAT WERE YOU GOING TO SAY?"
Somewhere else, Reeve Meyers cursed himself...he knew better than anyone that knowledge was power, and he did indeed almost reveal too much. The less Cheryl Mason knew about the full truth of things, the better. Reeve's thoughts growled in answer, "It's nothing of consequence to you, Alessa! I made you bring the fog to Black Falls, remember? And what makes you think summoning the eternal dark is in your control?! IT NEVER WAS!" Cheryl gasped defensively, and it pleased Reeve to know that she believed his lie. He only made the lie stronger by proclaiming, "In spite of your making them happen from the beginning, the changes that overwhelmed Silent Hill and Shepherd's Glen were ALWAYS beyond your control, and it is no different here!"
Reeve's response was designed to prey upon Cheryl's insecurities, her inner doubts...and unfortunately, it worked. Her lips quivered as she tried to say, "I-I was only a child then, goddamn you! I had no idea what I was doing! But things have changed, I'm older now! If I made it happen in the first place, then -- !"
"Enough, Alessa! Now the time has come for you to choose. You can surrender to me and give Rebecca and anyone standing with you the chance to end their lives before the darkness arrives. It would be the merciful thing, wouldn't it?" Elza felt terror slowly fill her soul...how could death have been better than what Reeve was threatening?! Reeve pressed on, "If you do not surrender, if you insist on defying your destiny, then you know nothing will be certain anymore and Rebecca might pay eternally. Choose for her now, Alessa Gillespie!"
The Order Soldier assigned to watch the back way was incredibly lucky. Caroline Floyd didn't see him as she crept in silently after picking the lock of the back door, like Leon impelled by the sound of Alice's screams. In the same dark clothes all his bretheren wore, the Order Soldier was hidden well enough in the shadows of the dark back hall. Still, he almost wet his pants in reaction as Caroline moved like a wraith to the stairway several yards from his position, focused purely on the screams she heard from deeper in the house. Not desiring to be punished by Father Reeve for failure, the Soldier gathered his guts and followed her as quietly as he could.
The commotion at the front of the house distracted Caroline, which only helped the enemy who pursued her. As she reached the top of the stairs, she heard barked orders to surrender, noises she couldn't place in the proper context -- the Soldiers disarming Leon and her fellow agents and forcing them on their knees -- and then she felt sudden, lurching fear as she heard the enemy in charge start questioning Leon. Caroline heard her team leader answer as she moved into an atrium area, the halls on all four sides overlooking the displayed furniture downstairs in the gloom...an old oak rail all that separated her from open space. The former Army Ranger realized how much trouble her friends were in.
Caroline Floyd had the chance to think, Hold on, Leon, all of you please hold on! I'll be right there -- !
The Soldier following her misstepped and the floorboards under his foot creaked loudly twenty feet behind her. He saw the woman in green freeze...and then with a burst of speed spun around as she readied her carbine, but he was already aiming at her and he fired out of a mix of hatred and panic. The muzzle flash of his own hunting rifle, a 30-06, was close to blinding because his eyes were so adjusted to the gloom, but he still barely saw the woman as she stumbled backward, pitched over the railing and fell. The man quickly moved to the railing and looked down...he was elated to see Caroline Floyd lying on the floor below. Unmoving.
He rushed into the next area that overlooked the display room where Caroline's fellow agents were held by his comrades...the man saw his leader and yelled, "Norm! I killed one of those dogs sneaking in from the back! A bitch in green fatigues!"
Leon's heart nearly stopped. He breathed, "What...?!"
Norm stared at the man above and said, "Where is she, Louis?!"
Louis proudly said, "I shot the bitch, Norm! She's dead!"
Marissa looked up at Louis and she felt like someone had taken her own heart from her chest. The redhead managed to groan, "You...y-you shot Caroline?!?" In spite of her situation, Marissa stood up as her soul burned with righteous fury. She rose from her knees and cursed at Norm, "Goddamn you -- !" But the six Order Soldiers surrounding her and her friends aimed their guns at her, stopping her cold. The redhead could only seethe at them, and little more.
"Marissa!" Leon wanted to tell her to sit back down...they had to wait for an opening, any kind of chance to turn this hellish mess around -- !
Norm moved closer to Marissa...he held his shotgun by its barrels in his right hand, but his primary left now held an old .38 revolver that was pointed at her face. He shouted, "Do you want to be the next to die, whore? Do you!?" His expression became even colder and he didn't wait for her to reply...he glanced at Leon and declared, "Hell, we need to kill you all, anyway! And like Theo said, your sacrifice might help us reach Father Reeve and sanctuary until Paradise comes!"
Time was running short...so terribly, terribly short for Bravo Team. Helena Harper breathed, "For god's sake -- !" It wasn't an entreaty for mercy. She simply couldn't believe it might end like this for her. For Leon. And the man she desired felt the exact same way. Karena was stoically silent, her mind racing to think of a way out of this like Leon was doing. Anne was numb from fear...she almost forgot to breathe.
Norm stared at Helena...he heard what she said. The zealot responded, "I don't know what god you believe in, but this is in the name of ours! Only by sacrificing the unworthy will the faithful be rewarded! Only through sacrifice will the unworthy atone!" He spoke those twisted tenets of The Order with the passion of a true believer. Norm then looked at Marissa again as his handgun was fixed on her face. His eyes narrowed as his grip on the .38 tightened. He asked Marissa, "Do you have anything to say before your atonement, infidel?"
He's going to kill me, Marissa thought with perfect clarity. The redhead had no doubt of it. In that moment, the lady felt the fury lift from her heart and be replaced by a surprising, welcome...calm. It's all right, she thought. If I'm going to die now, it's all right. I was always ready to give my life for others...didn't Vlad do the same thing? Vladamir Borovski, a friend she served with in the DSO...the same as Caroline...she could hardly believe dear Caroline was dead, too... Oh god, if you can hear me, please don't let anyone else pay for my being foolish...if anyone must pay please, please just let it be me. Bless Leon and the others with the chance to get out of this!
I only regret...I didn't do better.
Norm was tempted to frown a little as he saw the transition in the face of the woman he was about to kill. She didn't just seem so calm...she actually smiled, the gentle curve of her full lips truly serene. Still, as she gazed at the Soldier, Marissa Ronson said with proud, quiet defiance, "I hope you go straight to Hell, you useless cocker!"
Silence for a beat...then two...and finally Norm said, "Ladies first!"
BLAMM! The gunshot sounded like an explosion to Leon Scott Kennedy as the Order Soldier fired, and Marissa's head rocked back from the impact of the lethal bullet entering her forehead. The gunshot was so loud it almost filled his mind as he saw his friend and colleague's body fall and crumple to the floor in slow motion. The explosion of sound was so loud he barely heard the screaming. Was it Helena? Was it someone else? Was he screaming as Marissa Ronson's body finally came to rest, lying at Anne Cunningham's knees, her face still so calm, her eyes closed as if she was sleeping? He had no idea...no idea...
Cheryl Mason knew the consequences of her choice.
It was either face the complete dark and all the terror and total uncertainty that came with it...or surrender and see all she held dear be consumed anyway. The only consolation she had was that Rebecca Chambers and the others would be given the chance to end their own lives rather than be unspeakably condemned in the dark in any number of hideous ways. She knew that death in the otherworldly night was only the beginning of something infinitely worse.
All she had to do was remember Nurse Lisa to know that.
But even in the darkness, she knew, they still had a chance...even if it was so slender and remote.
And Cheryl remembered her father...Harry Mason. So ordinary. So loving. So brave. He fought the overwhelming evil of The Order and all they summoned in Silent Hill for her sake years ago.
How could she do any less for Rebecca? She wouldn't...no. She couldn't do any less than fight for Becca, for Elza, Alex and Elle and everyone.
But the dread was still there...the doubt she couldn't shake, the feeling she was fighting the inevitable...
Cheryl stood there as Rebecca held her hand...and she said, "No. No, I won't surrender, you son of a bitch." Her beautiful face hardened in resolve every moment as her trembling voice gathered strength and volume, just like her thoughts. "Get it through your thick fucking head my name is Cheryl Mason, and I won't stop fighting you! You hear me?!? My father risked everything to save me from Silent Hill, and I won't do any less to save Rebecca and everyone from your evil! ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, I'LL NEVER STOP FIGHTING YOU!"
A moment passed...Cheryl felt her heart thudding in her chest...
Finally, Reeve Meyers responded, his thoughts laced with pure hatred for her: "You...truly are worth nothing but contempt, because you won't save Rebecca. You can't defy your destiny or the will of my God. Let me show you why!" And...that was all. The monster's thoughts fell silent.
Cheryl Mason suddenly felt that silence as if it was the hopeless empty of a tomb...she called out, "Reeve?? Reeve?!" Rebecca Chambers looked at Cheryl with loving worry as the haunted girl began to tremble. She screamed once more, "REEVE!" There was no response. Cheryl looked at sweet Rebecca with naked uncertainty...her defiance just before was wavering, and even the closeness of her beloved did nothing to ease her doubt and fear.
Somewhere in eternal darkness. The thing that only looked like a man was ready as it perched on the Machine. Full of purpose, the thing began to operate its infernal controls...within, held prisoner, two dark pairs of legs writhed in increased despair and agony as the Machine used them...
In Black Falls. Cheryl, Rebecca and the others heard a sound, the beginning of a distant yet overpowering wail...Elza Walker almost jumped out of her own skin in response. It was a sustained, haunting siren that slowly wound up and down...her eyes wide, Elza asked no one in particular, "What the hell IS that??"
Alex Shepherd looked at nothing with blank eyes full of remembrance and fear...he managed, "I know that sound...we've heard it before." He looked at his wife and moaned, "That air raid siren...oh, dear Jesus..." He'd hoped he would never hear that damn sound again.
Elle Shepherd hoped that with all of her soul, too...but she heard it now, the haunting siren was like a clarion call from the darkest depths of the most infernal shadows. She knew it was the harbinger of far, far more terrible things than what they had faced so far. Elle reflexively drew close to her husband and held him, needing his warmth so desperately. Elle feared more than ever for Alex and her unborn child as she whispered, "Alex...!"
Rebecca Chambers was so tempted by her sudden, elemental fear to hold Cheryl, as well...but she didn't completely understand. "Cheryl...?"
Cheryl knew exactly what Rebecca wanted to ask...she answered quietly, "The air raid siren is a warning for any Order followers still alive out in the fog...to let them know that things are going to change, that -- " The girl's voice stopped with a ragged sigh.
Oh god, she could feel it, a genuine shift in the air itself...it was happening...the darkness was coming...
Holding Elle tight, Alex looked at Cheryl and said desperately, "That bastard had to be full of shit, right?! You have the power to stop this, don't you!? There MUST be something you can do!"
Her eyes full of dismay and doubt, Cheryl looked at Alex and cried, "I'm the one responsible for all of this, I must be able to fix it!" Cheryl looked at Rebecca and promised, "I don't know how it's happening, Becca, but I will fix this! I promise!" She hated to do it, but she disengaged from Rebecca...she didn't step far from the pixie as her entire being stiffened.
"I believe you, honey." Rebecca Chambers tried to fight the overwhelming foreboding in her heart too as she said to Cheryl, her words full of love, "I do believe in you!"
Cheryl's brow furrowed deeply as she tried to reach out...to stop the change that already started. To stop the otheworldly black and all of the things that came with it more terrible than death itself. She began to reach out with her power to deny it, but the blonde shuddered as she felt pain, an agony as intense as when she tried to make the fog disappear in the basement of the soda fountain nameless hours ago. But how could that have been?! Cheryl's nose began to bleed copiously as her posture weakened, and she needed a little time, only a little
but the encroaching dark was relentless, she wanted so desperately to stop it as her eyes flared brightly, the pain she suffered made her want to die but she kept her focus, she couldn't stop trying couldn't stop fighting for Becca, she reached deeper into herself, deeper, to find the strength the girl needed, and her eyes grew brighter ever brighter as she began to glow, she saw herself alight with mystical blue fire as she took herself to her limits and beyond them, Rebecca could only stare with fearful wonder as she saw Cheryl's burning skin pale even further, her hair changed in color from blonde to an unreal, amazing silver and the sight of the girl became blinding and she couldn't help but cry out, "Cheryl!"
Cheryl heard Becca call out to her as she realized it wasn't working, she might as well have been standing in the path of a tsunami trying to hold it back with only her outstretched hands, and was this inevitable no it couldn't have been there must have been something she could do and in spite of the agony that threatened to drown her as she burned so brightly Cheryl Mason's luminous eyes looked needfully to Rebecca and she screamed to her adored in answer
TO BE CONTINUED