MidReal Story

Whispers in the Mist

May 16
Scenario: Silent hill
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Silent hill
Silent Hill, Maine
I got a letter.
The name on the envelope said, “Mary Sunderland.”
That’s ridiculous.
There’s no way my wife could be alive.
She died of that damn disease three years ago.
So I went to Silent Hill.
I found our “special place.”
But she wasn’t there.
Then I was alone.
I was scared inside my head.
I couldn’t hear anything.
I was so scared that I ran out of the room and out of the hotel.
And here I am now, in Silent Hill, in the foggy darkness, alone again.
But I’m not really alone.
There are things in the town—things that look like monsters and people with their skin ripped off and things that look like they’re made of metal and things that look like they’re made of blood and things that look like they’re made of nothing at all—that are all around me, watching me, waiting for me to make a mistake so they can kill me too.
Three years ago, my wife was dead.
She died of that damn disease.
The doctors said there was no cure and no hope, but I didn’t want to believe them.
I wanted to believe that I could save her.
That’s what you do when you love someone, right?
I did everything I could, and in the end, it wasn’t enough.
She died, and I was alone.
But I couldn’t stop loving her.
I know it sounds crazy, but I still love her.
I don’t want to love her—I want to be angry with her for leaving me behind—but I can’t help it.
I still miss her every day.
I still dream about her every night.
And now I got a letter from her.
I know it’s impossible for her to be alive, but what else can it be?
Of course, I know it can’t be anything good.
If she’s not alive, then that means she’s dead again.
But the return address on the envelope said “Silent Hill,” and she wrote that she was waiting for me in our “special place” and that I should come soon.
How could I resist?
I had to go to Silent Hill to find out what happened to her.
My friends told me not to go, of course.
They said it was a trap or a joke or something worse.
But they don’t understand how much I loved her or how much I miss her or how little there is in life now without her.
It can’t be any worse than this, right?
So I’m going to Silent Hill.
I’m leaving right now.
Because I have to see for myself, even if it kills me, which is something that seems more and more likely every day anyway.
But first, I have to read her letter again one more time, just to make sure I didn’t imagine the whole thing and that it really is from her and that it really says what I think it says.
And then maybe I’ll read it again a few more times, just to make sure I didn’t forget anything or misunderstand anything or overlook anything important.
So that’s what I’m going to do now.
I’m going to sit here in this hotel lobby and read my wife’s letter again and again and again while other tourists come and go around me and the sun sets outside and the fog rolls in across the lake and the town slowly comes back to life behind closed doors and boarded-up windows, just like when she was alive—
My name is James Sunderland, and today is my birthday.
I just got a letter from my dead wife, Mary.
Three years ago, she died of that damn disease, but they never found a cure or even figured out what caused it.
They still don’t know if it’s contagious or if anyone else is at risk or if there’s any hope for anyone who has it.
All they know is that people who have it die young and suffer terribly before they do.
Maybe that’s why she wrote to me now—to remind me how much she suffered and how sweet death can be by comparison.
But maybe—
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She died of some disease we didn't even know she had.
It was a long, slow death, with more pain and suffering than anyone should have to endure.
When the doctors told me there was no hope of a cure, I didn't want to believe them.
Even when she was lying in bed, coughing and gasping for breath, with blood on her lips and tears in her eyes.
Even when she was so weak and thin and pale that she could barely lift her head.
Even when she begged me to let her die, so she could be free of the pain.
I still wanted to believe she would get better, at least a little, at least for a little while.
But she didn't.
She got worse and worse until she couldn't get out of bed at all.
She could barely talk or eat or drink.
She spent most of her time asleep or unconscious.
When she was awake, she was delirious and confused.
She didn't know who I was or where she was or what was happening to her.
All she knew was that she was in pain and wanted to die.
Most days, I wished she would.
The doctors gave me some medicine to make her more comfortable, but nothing really worked.
They also gave me some masks to wear so I wouldn’t breathe in anything contagious, but they didn’t help either.
Sometimes, when I wasn’t wearing one, I could hear her coughing and gasping for breath all the way down the hall.
It sounded like someone trying not to drown or choke or die, and sometimes she did all three at once.
Whenever they changed her sheets, they were covered with blood and other things that were worse.
Once, they asked me to come with them to explain why they were going to tie her to the bed, so she wouldn’t hurt herself or anyone else.
When they were done, they asked me to leave so they could give her a shot to make her sleep.
I never went back after that—not because I didn’t want to be with her when she died but because I couldn’t bear to see her like that anymore.
I still have nightmares about the sound of her coughing and the sight of those blood-stained sheets, three years later.
I thought I’d forgotten them—forgotten everything, really—but I was wrong.
I remember too much, and too well, to ever forget any of it for long, no matter how hard I try or how far I go or how many drinks I have.
I don’t even drink anymore, but I still see and hear and feel things that aren’t there and can never be again.
Maybe I’m seeing and hearing and feeling things now, for all I know.
This place doesn’t seem real, and neither do the people who are here, but they look and sound and feel real enough to me, even if they don’t seem to notice me or care about me at all.
They’re probably just tourists, like the man and the woman who walked past me a few minutes ago, who were holding hands and laughing together, even though they should be terrified instead.
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I don’t even know why I’m here, in this hotel, in this town, three years after I got the letter from my dead wife, except that I didn’t know where else to go or what else to do with myself anymore, except come here, so that’s what I did instead.
When I got to the hospital, where Mary was being cared for by doctors who were more like prison guards, I found out that she was dying, but I already knew that, didn’t I?
I knew that from the moment she told me to come and get her, wherever she was, because she was lost and afraid and alone, even though she wasn’t really any of those things at all, but I couldn’t save her or comfort her or fix what was wrong with her, no matter how hard I tried or how much I wanted to do all of those things for her, because I wasn’t there with her then, just as I’m not here with her now, when she’s gone and never coming back again.
I still don’t know why she asked me to come get her when it was too late for anyone to save her, but I’m not sure it even matters anymore anyway.
It couldn’t have been real—none of it could have been real—because there’s no way she could have sent me a letter after she died, except that that’s what happened, isn’t it?
I got a letter from Mary, but she’s not alive, and she’s not here with me now, but she’s still not really gone at all either, is she?
She’s still inside of my head and my heart, where I’ll still carry her around with me forever, even though I wish I could forget all of this instead and pretend like none of it ever happened at all—like none of it ever mattered at all—because then maybe everything would be okay again at last.
Maybe if it didn't matter anymore, then none of it would hurt anymore either.
I loved her—I’m sure of that—but I was sometimes angry with her too, even though it wasn’t her fault that she got so sick and scared and sad at the end, just as it wasn’t my fault that I did too, but it was hard to love her sometimes anyway, even though I tried to do that for as long as I could but couldn’t do it for long enough to make any real difference in the end, because she was never going to forgive me for not being able to save her no matter what I said or did either.
Sometimes—when it was really bad—I hated her almost as much as she seemed to hate me too, but only because she couldn’t remember who she was or who we were together anymore, and sometimes that made me wish that she’d just die already and get it over with at last, because she was suffering so much anyway that it seemed cruel to make her suffer even more than she already was somehow too by trying to keep her alive when she was never going to be alive again.
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