You pumped your arms, your dirty sneakers pounding against the concrete as you ran for dear life. Your lungs ached from the exertion but you didn’t dare stop.
You chanced a glance behind you.
It was still following you… and it wasn’t that far behind.
You bit your lip. “Fuck me!” you growled, then for good measure you turned your head back and added, “I didn’t mean that literally!” As if that would really do you any good.
You were so tired; your armpits and forehead were soaking in sweat and your heart felt like it was going to explode. …But you couldn’t afford to take a break. The sickening shriek of metal against asphalt was growing louder and much too close for comfort. You ran on, gasping for breath.
How did you manage to get yourself into this mess?
“Damn it. Of course there’s no signal. Fucking, good-for-nothing T-Mobile.” You sighed as you pocketed your useless cell phone, looking over your totaled car with morbid fascination. It had been ungodly foggy; you thought you saw something dart out across the road. You panicked. You swerved. You smashed straight into a tree.
You were lucky to even be alive.
But considering you were abandoned in the middle of nowhere with no car, no signal on your cell phone, no signs of any other drivers, and a nice bloody gash across your forehead, you certainly didn’t feel lucky. You felt pissed off.
You wiped at the trickle of blood that threatened to drip down your eye before taking a few deep, calming breaths. (Just like the doctor suggested, you thought vaguely). Once you calmed the horrible burning rage rampaging inside of you, you decided that the best course of action would be to walk to the nearest town and find a phone. After ten minutes worth of walking along the road mindlessly, you spotted a sign: Silent Hill: 1 mile. You continued onward, your destination almost within reach.
“Welcome to Silent Hill,” you read the sign aloud. You looked over the little foggy quiet town with a raised eyebrow. “Doesn’t look very welcoming.” You started walking again. “It looks abandoned.”
No cars. No people. Just empty streets, fog, and a whole lot of nothing.
“Hey!” you shouted. “Anyone here?!” No response. “Is there anyone in this shit-hole with a working phone I could use?!” Still nada. “Fucking peachy,” you groaned.
You wiped at your forehead again; the bleeding hadn’t stopped.
“Can someone at least spare a Band-Aid or something?!” You heard only silence in response. “Of course not,” you grumbled. “Man, whoever named this place got it all wrong! They should call this place Happy Friendly Talkative Hill.” You spat on the ground. “Fuckers.”
Still, you continued to trek onward, murmuring disgruntled curses under your breath as you walked the lonely foggy street. You stuffed your hands in your pockets, your back slumped into a horrible posture–the kind that would earn you a few stern words and a smack to the back of your head from your mother–as you moved. You saw a small rock on the ground and kicked it around in your frustration. “Awesome Peppy Sunshine Hill. Rainbows and Unicorns and Gumdrops Hill.” A particularly hard kick and the rock fell down a gutter. “Suck My Giant Throbbing Dick… Hill.” You wiped at your forehead again; yup, still bleeding.
As if the cosmic powers of the universe wanted to prove to you that it was possible for things to get even worse for you than they already were, your stomach grumbled.
You checked your pockets; you found two paperclips, a rubber band, a wrinkled-up five-dollar-bill, and some pocket lint. Nothing edible; at least, not if you didn’t want to deal with indigestion and a trip to the emergency room.
You looked around for a vending machine; you found a convenience store instead. …Which was rather convenient, actually. You hoped they had a slushy machine. Because slushies are awesome.
One of those dinky store bells rang, announcing your entrance as you pushed your way inside. The lights were off. There was no one at the counter. Fan-fucking-tastic.
You shrugged your shoulders. Oh well; that just meant you got free food. Score.
See? You could look on the bright-side of things. And people called you a pessimist. As if.
Ever the opportunist, you grabbed a soda from the cooler in the back of the store. You opened it and took a sip. The cooler did a shitty job, because it was warm and flat. You drank half of it before chucking it on the floor in a fit. “Moose piss,” you grumbled, making your way over to the candy bar section by the counter. You snagged a random bar–a Butterfinger–unwrapped it and took a bite. It was hard and stale. “Moose shit.” That didn’t stop you from gobbling it down and opening up another one.
You heard something shuffling behind you in the store. Good, you thought, finally another human being. Probably the owner of the store or one of the employees. You placed the crumpled five-dollar-bill on the counter top as you nibbled the candy bar. “This should cover what I took. And if you have a working phone I really need to use it. I crashed my car a mile back and–”
And you didn’t bother to finish what you were saying because zombies were not rational beings like humans and you were not quite sure what else the creature screeching and charging toward you could be. Then you realized that you had more pressing matters at hand than figuring out what the horrible creature was–like avoiding it–and so you rolled over the counter, dove under it, and curled up into a fetal position all the while trying not to pee yourself.
It was at that moment you realized, without a doubt in your mind, you were going to die. Seconds after that epiphany, you just-so-happened to come across the hiding place of the shopkeeper’s shotgun and decided that if you were going to die then you might as well take down as many zombie bastards as you could.
Had you the chance to gather your wits, you would have, but you were already quite pressed for time and decided to just gun it; God-awful pun intended. After all, the worst that could happen was that you would die, but you were going to die anyway so it wasn’t that big of a loss. With that new-found resolution in mind, you gripped the shotgun tightly in your arms, hoping that violent videogames and the drunken ramblings of your war veteran father would be enough to substitute for actual firsthand experience with a lethal weapon.
You cautiously peeked over the counter annnnNNND HOLY FUCK IT WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU! FUCKING MOVE, BITCH!
You dodged, side-stepping and rolling over the counter just in time to miss the projectile vomit that spewed forth from what you assumed was the monster’s mouth, though you weren’t really paying that close attention to detail–you were a little busy trying to NOT DIE–so you couldn’t say for sure. It sizzled and ate away at part of the counter and the floor tiles.
You furrowed your eyebrows. “What the hell did you eat?” You hoped it wasn’t the Butterfingers.
The creature screeched its response but you were not fluent in the language of zombies so the meaning was lost on you. It was probably for the best. You had the sneaking suspicion that the monster had just said something unkind about your mother.
The creature turned toward you and walked at its painfully slow zombie-like pace. You braced the shotgun against your shoulder and aimed, your finger on the trigger.
You shot a bullet through its head, reloaded, and shot it again for good measure. The monster fell down and you stomped on its skull, a copious amount of blood pooling beneath its body. You stared down at it, taking the time to fully observe it now that it was no longer attempting to end your life.
Its skin looked like one giant burned-up blister or a scab or something else equally disgusting. Its form was humanoid but it didn’t have a face or any other discernable features. It didn’t even appear to have any arms, though the fleshy overgrowth on its chest vaguely resembled arms pinned and crossed against its chest, like a mental patient in a straight jacket.(1)
“Nobody lays a finger on my Butterfinger. Ugly fucker.”
And then you spat on its corpse.
The adrenaline in your body was wearing off; you could feel the sting in your eye from blood dripping down into it, as well as the beginnings of a bruise in your shoulder from the gun’s kickback. You wiped at your eye and forehead as you searched the tiny store aisles for some supplies. You managed to find the Band-Aids, picked out the pack with the picture of SpongeBob Squarepants on them (because the only other option was Dora the Explorer and you weren’t some snot-nosed baby who pooped in diapers), tore it open, and applied it to the cut on your forehead. While foraging through the shelves you also collected a water bottle, a box of Twinkies, a roll of toilet paper, a flashlight, a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, and a pair of sunglasses. You somehow managed to fit all these items in your pockets despite the fact that you were wearing only a simple pair of jeans, then swiped your money off the counter and put that away too.
You nodded your head, satisfied with your collection of supplies. You felt oddly prepared. Seems all those late nights watching zombie apocalypse movies with your creepy (now ex) roommate were about to finally pay off. Hell, maybe you’d even call him up and hang out if you managed to live by some off chance. …Then you remembered how he would smell your dirty laundry and leave the toilet seat up and write semi-pornographic love notes to you on the walls with cow blood and you were reminded of why you got that restraining order in the first place.
You put on your sunglasses, lit a cigarette and took a drag of it, feeling rather awesome as you did so.
The town of Silent Hill was going to regret the day it chose to dick around with you.
You strutted down the streets, feeling like the epitome of badassitude with your sunglasses and your shotgun slung casually over your un-bruised shoulder. You felt invincible, powerful, as if you could punch a grizzly bear right in the face and screw the consequences!
But there were no bears around, and your arms really weren’t all that strong, so you settled for shooting another monster in its head instead.
You smiled as it fell over into a twitching, bleeding heap before running over to stomp its brains out. You were having a jolly good time, all things considering. Apparently, monster-killing was a great way to relieve stress. It was actually nice to be able to direct all your murderous rage into something productive.
Your mother always told you that you needed to find yourself a hobby. Granted, she probably had something tamer in mind, like tap-dancing or crocheting, but you were enjoying yourself and, in the end, wasn’t that all that mattered? You know, other than survival.
Two more monsters taken care of and you were out of shotgun shells. You chose to hold onto the gun anyway. Maybe you’d find some shotgun shells somewhere else. And even if you didn’t, it would make a good blunt object to use for bashing in skulls, you imagined. Also, it looked cool.
Yeah, you were shallow like that.
You continued onward, a small skip in your step, when a thought suddenly occurred to you; if you didn’t find a phone soon you’d be stuck in this shit-hole for a while. The thought made you cringe. There was no way in hell you were going to sleep on the streets with zombies running amuck. Not that you would do that even if there weren’t zombies. Despite what your father claimed, you weren’t a hobo. You needed to find some shelter, and soon.
And, what do you know, you found yourself standing outside of an apartment complex. Convenient!
You stepped inside. It was dark. Not-quite-so-convenient.
You pulled off your sunglasses–as cool as they were, they certainly weren’t helping the situation–and pulled out your handy dandy flashlight. While traveling up stairwells and through hallways you surveyed your surroundings carefully but soon grew bored of that and ended up pretending that your flashlight was a light saber instead. By chance, when you were slicing down the middle of an invisible Sith warrior, you got a brief glimpse of the inside of a room with a large desk inside of it. And where there was a desk, there was sure to be something good. Maybe a jar full of skittles, if you were lucky.
Skittles! Taste the rainbow, bitch!
You made your way over to the desk, somersaulting and dodging the imaginary attacks of enemy drones. You jumped and slid over the desk like you were one of the Dukes of Hazard and rummaged about through the desk half-blindly until you grabbed something that felt an awful lot like a telephone receiver. You picked it up, held it to your ear. You heard a dial tone.
The phone was an ancient pile of dinosaur shit; large and blocky with a cord; but it was working and that was all that mattered. Old phone still at your ear, you pulled out your cell phone, searching your contacts for the closest tow-truck service you had saved to your phonebook. The extra illumination provided by your cell phone was just enough to help you see some movement out of the corner of your eye.
You stepped to the side. Half a second later, a massive blade fell down where you had just been standing, slicing through the desk and, most unfortunately, the phone like a hot knife through butter.
Your gaze, along with the beam of your flashlight, slowly traveled up the blade, taking note of the giant fist gripping the handle, stubby fingernails cracked and stained with dirt and dried blood, overly-muscled arm attached to a large, but human-like body, adorned in what appeared to be a butcher’s smock. You looked up, expecting to see the face of a man, only to be met with a massive metal helmet, somewhat triangular in shape. Whatever he was, he didn’t look like any of the monsters you had seen. His use of a weapon implied a certain level of intelligence that the other monsters you had encountered hadn’t shown. And sure, he had attempted to strike you, but perhaps he had just mistaken you for a monster in the dark, what with that head gear of his obstructing his view and all. (2)
Because a scrawny-armed youth barely half his size would constitute as a threat to him. Yeah, totally.
But hey, when in a town full of monsters and creepers that wanted to feast on your delicious brain-meats, it was best for one’s survival to adopt a ‘kill first, ask questions later’ approach. Logic.
So you decided you might as well try to reason with the guy. What did you have to lose anyway? …Other than your life.
“Um, hey there big guy,” you attempted to communicate with him, “You looking for a way out of this dump too?”
He grunted as he lifted his blade again.
It was at that point that you noticed you were as good as dead if you didn’t get the fuck away.
You ran. You ran like your ass was on fire.
In hindsight, you probably should’ve just run out of the apartment complex that housed Satan’s geometric bastard child, but you were much too busy focusing on not getting skewered to take the time to properly think your actions through.
And so you ran through darkened hallways with nothing but your dinky flashlight to guide you. Because you were so focused on making sure that man-beast wasn’t trailing you, it was little surprise that you failed to notice the monster ahead of you until it drop-kicked you in the head.
You fell down on your ass, gripping your aching head. “Son of a cock-suck,” you growled, “You nearly cracked my skull in two, you twat.”
But the monster really was a giant twat so it did not reply. It simply moved closer to you and attempted to kick you again. Bitch.
While trying your darndest to dodge the monster’s blows, you couldn’t help but notice that the creature was basically just two lower bodies from the waist below, the waists attached together so that the creature’s upper half was an upside-down lower half.(3)
You couldn’t help but notice because the butt-munch was trying to kick you with all four of her legs.
Your heart went out to the double-twat monster, really. You figured you’d probably be a bitch too if you had two vaginas to bleed out of every month. It had your deepest sympathy, but that didn’t mean you were going to just sit there and let it PMS at you. So you pulled out your shotgun, aimed, and pulled the trigger.
The gun clicked pathetically. You already ran out of ammo, remember? Yeah, way to remember the little details necessary for your survival, dipshit.
If that bitch kicked you in the face one more time you’d probably lose a tooth.
You picked yourself up, darted past the twat monster, and ran. The monster was hot on your heels. You picked a random door and, by chance, it was unlocked. You darted inside but you were too panicked to have the common sense to close the door behind you. You searched the perimeter for anything that you could use as a weapon and immediately spied a wine shelf.
That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.
You snatched up a bottle (something cheap; you wouldn’t want to waste any of the good stuff on this jerk) and held it firmly until you saw the monster approach the doorway. You chucked the bottle. It hit the target dead-on. The monster stumbled a bit, but other than being drenched in alcohol and covered in broken glass it seemed rather unaffected.
The monster approached you.
You pulled out your lighter, lit a cigarette, and chucked it at the monster.
It was instantly enveloped in flames.
You had planned on taking a moment to gloat over your victory, maybe even spout out some fire-related puns, but that thought completely left your mind the moment the monster–still aflame–started running straight toward you with a blood-curdling scream. The fucker was still alive. Well, as alive as a zombie-monster-abomination could be.
And now you knew why protagonists in zombie movies never fought the zombies with fire in close quarters.
You dodged to the side, causing the monster to tumble into the wine shelf, glass bottles shattering to the ground and the fire growing sporadically.
You considered your options.
One, burn in a fire in an apartment building full of monsters; or two, break and jump through a three-story window and land in a monster-infested street.
Golly gee Batman, they were both such swell options. How could you ever pick between the two?
The burning fire inching closer and closer made the decision for you.
You backed up as far as you could, and ran straight into the window with as much force as you could muster. You ended up slamming your head into the glass. It didn’t break; it just caused you a good bit of unnecessary pain.
You held your throbbing head. “Bad idea.”
You unlocked the window and climbed out, going down the fire escape slowly as you tried to reorient yourself. “Note to self, don’t copy everything you see in movies.” You dragged yourself as far away from the burning building as possible before leaning against an abandoned, broken-down car. You were exhausted and aching all over.
You ate a Twinkie and suddenly felt miraculously better. God bless magic Twinkies. God bless them, every one!
Of course, once the sugar rush wore off, you realized that the Silent Hill franchise used first aid kits to restore health, not food, and you still felt like shit.
More than anything, you needed to take a break. Certainly nothing would go wrong if you sat down and rested your eyes for just a moment, right? Right, of course. It wasn’t as if you were stranded in the middle of a town full of monsters or anything stupid like that.
Oh. Wait a minute.
You woke up to the sound of screaming.
You hadn’t meant to fall asleep, really, but you couldn’t help it. After all, killing horrible abominations against nature was tiring work. It was just a simple mistake on your part.
Regardless, you were still alive, so luckily nothing managed to attack you while you were dozing off.
You heard the scream again; louder this time. Instead of doing what any logical human being would do and move in the opposite direction of where the horrible screaming was coming from, you decided it would be a good idea to go investigate and see what could have possibly made the sound. Obviously, you were suffering some kind of horrible brain injury. Or you were just a dumb-shit. Maybe a combination of the two.
You snuck around on your tippy-toes, staying close to the nearest building and hugging the wall as you peeked around the corner.
Nothing could have prepared you for the sight that met your eyes.
There you saw the man-beast with the giant helmet; beneath him was another one of those double-twat monsters, which apparently was the source of the horrible screaming you had heard despite the fact that it had no mouth. (Unless it was screaming out of its… well, hmm…) At first you weren’t quite sure what was going on; then you saw the unmistakable thrust of the man-beast’s hips and the twat monster’s screams increased in volume.
Oh… oh GOD. He had his– in the monster’s– and he was– Ew; just EW.
You felt your face pale.
The screaming stopped, and the twat monster fell to the ground in a pitiful heap, thoroughly sexed to death.
You had a moment of silence for the twat monster. You never really liked the fuck-nut, but there were very few fates worse than death by snu-snu.
The man-beast stood up, brushed off his smock, then turned directly toward you.
OH FUCK, IT SAW YOU! ABORT, ABORT! ABANDON FUCKING SHIP!
The man-beast grabbed hold of his blade and started to walk toward you.
You ran like Speedy mother-fucking Gonzalez on cheddar cheese laced with crack rocks.
So there you were; running only God-knew-where and steadily losing every ounce of energy you had. The big fucker behind you was gaining on you somehow, despite the giant metal knife he carried with him slowing him down. In no time, he would catch up to you. Chances were likely that he’d murder you. Chances were more likely that he’d rape you first. And after.
You ran faster, lungs aching in protest.
In your haste, you tripped over a health drink that had been lying precariously in the middle of the street.
You tried to pick yourself up but felt a sharp pain shoot up your left ankle.
It was strained; maybe even broken.
Meanwhile, the large bastard behind you was only ten feet away.
In a nutshell, you were fucked.
The monster man drew closer, the scraping of his sword against the asphalt making your head throb. He stopped before you, staring down at your prone form for only a moment before lifting his weapon with a strained grunt. He raised the blade above his head, aiming just so that the blade would cleanly slice through your skull as if it were a ripe melon. With another grunt, he swung his blade down and–
“FUCK YOUR SHIT!”
The blade stopped, centimeters away from slicing through the open palm of the hand you had outstretched toward the monster. You glared up at him with a look that would make any mortal man lose all control of his bowels. Thankfully (because he smelled bad enough without the addition of fecal matter), he was no mortal man, so there were no unnecessary accidents; he just stood frozen instead.
“I’ve had it with all you mother-fucking monsters in this mother-fucking town! Ever since I arrived at this hell-hole I’ve done nothing but run and fight and kill and run some more and now I’m starting to get sick of it.” You snapped your fingers in a Z-formation and did a sassy hand-flip to emphasize your irritation.
The monster, it seemed, was at a loss for words. Or it was simply incapable of speech, but you liked to think that it was the first option.
“All I want is a working telephone. A fucking phone. Is that really too much to ask?! And, by the way, I don’t appreciate when big fucking lurkers with misshapen metal heads stalk me and try to piss me the fuck off when I never did shit to them in the first place. So kindly STOP CHASING ME and get the fuck out of my sight before I take your giant metal fuck-stick and SODOMIZE you with it. Got it?!”
The monster man stared down at you for ten more seconds in silence, allowed the tip of his blade to fall to the ground with a thunderous slam, and began to slowly slink away, thoroughly scolded.
You crossed your arms in smug satisfaction. “Yeah, that’s right! You better run!”
The monster-man stopped in his tracks, turned his big ol’ pyramid of a head towards you, and started chasing after you all over again.
Way to go, you dumb sack of shit.
“I’m glad we were able to reconcile our differences by expressing our feelings with interpretive dance, Mr. Pyramid Head,” you spoke between sips of tea.
Well, it wasn’t really tea; it was just some of that health drink you found on the ground that you mixed with dirt, but the big guy seemed to like it and–as long as that kept you alive–that was all that mattered. Twinkies were scattered across the old crate you were using as a table; cigarettes stuck in the middle of the spongy cream cake in lieu of toothpicks; to act as a substitute for biscuits and finger sandwiches and other such tea party-like foods. Because you were a classy-ass bitch.
“Your piece on eating a live goat while raping it was nothing less than awe-inspiring.” And nauseating, but you left that part out for the sake of politeness.
Pyramid Head, being a humble rape-monster, did not like to toot his own horn, but could not help but grunt his agreement. After all, it was a pretty kick-ass dance.
You took another sip of your dirt drink, forcing the gritty mouthful of liquid garbage to slide down your throat-hole. “It was most kind of you to offer your assistance in my quest to find a functional telephone device.”
A long, dark tongue slid out from behind Pyramid Head’s helmet, slimy green trails of drool dripping over the Twinkies. It wrapped around one of the snacks and quickly slurped it up in a way reminiscent of how a toad catches flies. Except grosser.
“And it was even kinder of you to not murder me and brutally rape my mutilated corpse,” you added as you picked up one of the Twinkies by the cigarette butt, shook some of the drool off of it, and took a delicious cream-filled bite.
Pyramid Head’s only response was to scratch his balls through his apron. Like a proper fucking gentlemonster.
“Well, enough of this bullshit,” you spoke as you stood abruptly from the crate, knocking the Twinkies and drinks to the ground with a dismissive wave of your arm. Your ankle, thanks to the bastardized health drink you concocted, was still sore but now strong enough to support your weight with minimal discomfort. “So, since the last phone I found was utterly destroyed by some monstrous prick-face,” you paused a moment to glare at Pyramid Head but he was too busy eating Twinkies off the ground to notice, “Where would be the most logical place to find another?”
Pyramid Head released a loud belching sound, followed by a large spray of vomit that dripped forth from beneath his helmet to form a puddle of pre-chewed Twinkies and baby placenta over his feet.
Yeah, that’s right. Baby placenta. Pyramid Head eats babies. Not that it came as all that much of a surprise, but hey, now you know. And knowing is half the battle.
You frowned. “You’re not looking too hot, bud. We should probably take you to a hospital before…” You paused a moment, scrunching your nose in thought, before snapping your fingers in sweet, sweet victory. “The hospital! That’s it! Pyramid Head, you’re a monster-fucking genius!”
Pyramid Head humbly shrugged his shoulders, an action that roughly translated to, Well, duh.
And so, you and your horrible pet abomination set off on a magical adventure to the only hospital in Silent Hill. On the way, many a zombie was slain and many a twat-monster was violently penetrated. It was a sickening, bloody ordeal; a lot like going to your old high school reunions except with slightly less gore.
Before you knew it, you and Pyramid Head were standing in front of the entrance to the hospital.
You attempted to enter the building, because that’s what entrances were for, however, the door was locked.
“Cock-blocking whore-door,” you growled, jiggling the doorknob another moment for good measure. You pushed yourself away from the door and crossed your arms. “Looks like we’ll have to find a key or something,” you said as you turned toward your companion.
Pyramid Head, however, was having none of this survival horror game item-finding side-quest bullshit. He was a sexy-ass rape-lord monster with a legion of misguided fan-girls for fuck’s sake, not some pimply-faced prepubescent virgin who used the internet and video games as substitutes for real-life social interaction! He could do whatever he damn well pleased! With a mighty grunt–and an assortment of other such gratuitous sex noises–he lifted his overly-large phallic-shaped weapon and sliced it clean through the hospital entrance. He then pulled the blade away from the wrecked metal, slung the weapon over his shoulder, and looked at you expectantly.
“Uh… That works too, I guess. Good job, P-daddy.” You gave Pyramid Head a congratulatory slap on the ass and entered through his homemade door before he could return the favor.
The hospital was dark–as expected–and smelled like balls–not quite as expected, but not too surprising considering your luck as of late. At this point, you’d just be happy as long as no more horrible abominations decided to jump you.
You fuddled about through your equipment, pulled out your flashlight, and turned it on.
And then a horrible abomination decided to jump you.
Not in the mood to take any more shit, you let out an ear-rapingly horrible screech as you rolled around on the floor, clawing at the monster that had latched onto you like herpes on a back alley prostitute. The monster fought back valiantly, but you managed to pin it down to the ground, trapping it beneath your generous girth. With one hand pinning the monster’s hands over its head, you used your free arm to shine your flashlight over its sure-to-be grotesque form.
Only to realize the monster was a smoking hotty-boom-body.
The monster, for all purposes, appeared to be nothing more than a woman wearing a slutty Halloween style nurse’s uniform, and damn if she didn’t have the body for it. Round hips, a slim waist, perky breasts, long legs, and those hands! Oh man, her fingers! All the things she could do with those dainty little hands, those slim fingers!
She could make so many delicious sammiches.
Sure, maybe her head was wrapped up like a middle-aged Los Angeles trophy wife after intensive plastic surgery, and she smelled like a combination of rotting flesh and antiseptic, but she had a body to die for.(4)
Literally. Because she was trying to kill you.
You weren’t entirely sure how she had gotten a hold of that lead pipe–or how she managed to grab it with her arms pinned, for that matter–but you could do without getting the answer to those questions as long as it meant you could get out of this situation without a minor case of brain damage and a serious case of death.
“Hey, Pyramid Head,” you shouted out amidst your desperate struggle for life, “A little help here?!”
Pyramid Head tilted his head to the side in a moment of thought, trudged a couple steps to pick up a bucket of something, and then poured the contents over yours and the monster’s bodies before seating himself a couple feet away from the two of you to enjoy the show.
That triangle-faced bastard poured mud on you. …At least, you thought it was mud. Sweet merciful God, you hoped it was mud!
As soon as you were done mud-wrestling with this zombie hooker from hell, you were going to tear off her limbs and use them to beat the living shit out of your fuck-head companion.
You stood hunched over the sexy monster-lady’s body, hands on your knees to support your weight and keep yourself from collapsing, new scratches and bruises scattered over your arms, and a steady stream of sweat dripping down your brow.
“I did it,” you said between gasping breaths.
Pyramid Head placed a heavy hand on your shoulder and released a deep rumbling sound from the back of his throat that could’ve been a prideful grunt or a bad case of indigestion. Either way, it was enough to make your right eyelid twitch in pure unadulterated fury.
“And no thanks to you, you fat fornicating fuck.” You attempted to shrug off his hand but only succeeded in dislocating your shoulder. After a moment of excruciatingly painful silence, you finally managed to pry yourself away from Pyramid Head’s grip and popped your shoulder joint back into place. “I was fighting for my life, not posing to be some sadistic hell-demon’s wank material. I could’ve died. I could have died a horrible, sexy death and you would’ve just kept whacking off in front of my still-warm corpse.”
He nodded his head in agreement.
You snorted. “Well, at least you’re honest.”
You took in a deep breath from your nose to help compose yourself, but ended up just making yourself feel sick when you got a big whiff of dead bodies and your own B.O. Swallowing back the bit of vomit that had come up your throat from the powerful stink, you bent down and pried the lead pipe from the nurse’s cold grip to add to your arsenal. It would serve as a better melee weapon than a shotgun with no ammo; more aerodynamic, less air-resistant, easier to bash zombie brains.
Wielding your new weapon like a starving man wields a turkey leg, you turned your head back towards Pyramid Head. “C’mon, big guy. We’ve still got a whole hospital to explore.”
You began walking again, Pyramid Head close behind. The adrenaline from your fight with the nurse was beginning to wear off, and though it brought to your attention how sore and tired you were, it also left you oddly satisfied. You fought that hell-demon whore with your bare hands. And you won.
You felt confident. You felt empowered. You felt like you were walking on mother-fucking sunshine because you killed that horrible monster and you knew you would never have to see another one of those bitches again.
And then you and Pyramid Head turned a corner and found a group of ten or so of those bitches crowding around the hallway like it was a holiday sale at Wal-Mart.
“YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!”
The fight with the legion of Satan’s nurses ended the only way it logically could; with Pyramid Head lying naked in a pile of boneless zombie-nurse remains and you huddled in the corner, crying, trying to force the horrible squelching sounds of violent monster hanky-panky out of your brain.
Soon after, you came to the inevitable conclusion that there would be no escape from the noises and that this dark chapter in the story of your life would haunt your days and nights until the end of time. Even when your soul passed on to whatever afterlife awaited you, you knew that this moment would follow you into the other world, always lingering, breathing over your shoulder, like that creepy middle-aged man on the subway who didn’t know the meaning of personal space.
Perhaps you were already dead.
Maybe you really died in that car crash and this town and all the terrible things you had experienced since arriving were part of some eternal punishment you had earned for all the sins of your past. Perhaps, the torment you had faced, the torment that you had yet to face, were trials you had to face in order to reach atonement, to purify your soul through blood and suffering; to face the trials of hell and be burned by cleansing fire.
Perhaps, by facing the monsters within the town, you were really confronting the monsters inside of yourself, and by facing theses monsters you were deciding the fate for your own soul.
Or maybe you were just on a really bad acid trip.
Whatever the case, you weren’t going to get anything accomplished by sitting around with your thumbs shoved up your ass.
With a groan, you picked yourself up from your safety corner. It had been an entire four minutes since the horrible trauma you had endured and you figured that was more than enough time for the mental scars to heal.
Besides, therapy was for namby-pamby prissy-twits who bawled their eyes out while watching sappy movies based off of even sappier books written by Nicholas Sparks, not sane people like you who
And so, with a groan of annoyance as you kicked away zombie carcasses and an authoritative nod in Pyramid Head’s direction, you and Pyramid Head set out to further explore the antiseptic-and-balls-smelling den of evil in search for a working phone.
You did not find a phone; not yet, at least. You did, however, find something else of value.
“Why would a hospital, of all places, store a stockpile of shotgun shells in a patient’s room?” you asked aloud, meanwhile loading your firearm and stashing the rest of the shells in your pockets. “I mean, a convenience store, I can understand, but this is just plain silly.”
Pyramid Head shrugged his shoulders. He did not have all the answers, for he was an idiot, as was the case for most sexy-ass pieces of man-meat.
“I mean, really, who’s the doctor that thought to himself, hey, you know what my patients really need right about now? Bullets. Not proper medication or surgery or any of that nonsense. Just bullets. I am the best doctor. It’s me.”
This time, Pyramid Head did not even bother to shrug.
Loaded up with enough shotgun shells to take down a herd of elephants and covered in the blood of your enemies, you and Pyramid Head found yourselves standing outside a door that blocked the only part of the hospital the two of you hadn’t explored and looted.
You reached for the handle, but hesitated.
You had a feeling that something big was about to go down, as if this story of yours was about to reach its climax. You’d played enough video games and watched enough movies to know what was about to go down. You were about to face-off against the main boss, the Big Bad, and there wasn’t a single save point in sight.
That meant you were about to face one of two possibilities: you were either going to, one, win the fight and discover something life-changing about yourself in the process, or two, die a swift and painful and completely meaningless death.
Oh hell no. Fuck this. You were going to take your chances with the porn star nurse zombies!
Just as you were about to turn, you felt a steadying hand clamp onto your shoulder; a gentle action on Pyramid Head’s part that only caused a minor fracture of your right scapula.
And as the pain burned sharp through your shoulder blade, you were filled with an overwhelming sense of calm.
You and Pyramid Head had been through a lot together; the good times, the bad times, even the sexually inappropriate times. Hell, especially the sexually inappropriate times. Originally he had been your enemy, but over the course of your journey you had come to kind of like the big lug. He was your only constant in this horrible place, the only one who you could fully rely on.
And you knew, as long as Pyramid Head was at your side, everything was going to be okay.
Because you were going to throw yourself behind his body and use him as a meat shield at the first sign of trouble.
With your new master plan at the forefront of your mind, you found yourself with enough confidence to kick the door open and storm into the room without looking inside it first like a moron.
And that was when you saw it.
It was a figure; it seemed to be human in appearance, but you couldn’t be too sure. Even if it truly was human, there was no guarantee that it was friendly. If you had learned anything during your time in Silent Hill, it was that everything always wanted to kill you.
Before you could decide whether or not you could take it out with your shotgun from over ten feet away–because, in all honesty, you were partial to shooting at point-blank–the figure swooped towards you, placing a wrinkled old dried-up husk of a hand against your forehead faster than you could say Fig Newtons.
The figure, who you could clearly deduce as human now that they were all up in your grill, stared down at you with eyes so dark they were nearly black. The face was wrinkled and thin with a sharp chin and a nose too large to look proportionate. Long wispy strands of white-gray hair waved with every foul mothball breath that puffed out behind a pair of cracked lips.
Maybe it was just the way the light played over the figure’s features, but you could not tell the person’s gender. More disturbingly, you could not tell when they had last bathed.
Guessing by the horrible lingering stench, it had probably been a while.
“Hands off the merchandise, hag-fag!” You smacked the hand away, shuddering as you caught a glimpse of long yellowed fingernails caked in dirt and blood.
The hag-fag ignored your outburst, instead focusing on Pyramid Head’s impressive visage at your back. You couldn’t really blame the hag-fag; for a terrible rape-thirsty demon from hell, Pyramid Head was disturbingly reminiscent of the male models pictured on the covers of steamy romance novellas, albeit a little bloodier. And while Pyramid Head might have lacked the luscious Fabio-esque locks of hair that were an essential part of the sexual arsenal of many a bronze beefcake, he made up for it with his pure animal magnetism and a set of abs so hard you could grate cheese off of them.
But, rather than being frozen with a mix of fear and intense sexual arousal, the figure of indiscriminate gender remained calm, dark eyes slowly shifting from Pyramid Head back to you. Cracked lips curled into a smile that left you feeling queasy.
“So,” the figure spoke, voice high-pitched with an under-current of something deep and demonic. “You’ve managed to tame the demon.” The person paused, sweeping a withered arm in Pyramid Head’s general direction. “Most impressive, child, though not entirely surprising. It is only natural that you would do so. After all,” another pause, “This isn’t your first time consorting with demons.”
“…The hell are you talking about, you creepy-ass crypt-keeper look-alike fuck?”
“Oh? You’ve forgotten already?” The old coot smiled, revealing yellow-black teeth that could have put the Grinch’s smile to shame. “It wasn’t all that long ago when you were causing mayhem and destruction, demons at your beck and call as you danced in the blood of all the innocents who crossed your path–“
“–Look,” you interrupted, “I have no idea what you’re going on about but if it has anything to do with what happened three weeks ago, I can’t be held responsible for anything that happens once I get tequila in my system.”
“Of course,” the old fuck continued, ignoring your outburst, “I suppose I can’t expect you to remember. Most people cannot recall memories from their past lives, even demi-gods such as you–”
“–What in the flying fuck–“
“–I have been waiting centuries for this day! And now, you’re finally here.” The old fuck let out a raspy cackle. “You’ve returned to Silent Hill once again and, now that you are here, you will wreak havoc on this sinful land with your army of darkness following you.”
“…What in the actual fuck?”
You weren’t entirely sure what that geriatric bitch was going on about other than how bat-shit crazy they were. Honestly, everything that came out of that dusty mothball-smelling mother-fucker’s mouth was just fragmented and confusing, like the dialogue written out for a story based on a video game of which the writer had limited understanding and had probably never played before.
So you were supposed to believe that you were some kind of cult god reborn in human flesh with enough power and charisma to lead an army of the undead fuckers who’d been trying to kill you all day long? That was such a stupid plot twist that you half-expected M. Night Shyamalan to pop out behind some of the dusty furniture with some filming equipment.
You looked over to Pyramid Head. You liked to imagine that he was returning your incredulous look with one of his own.
Clearly, there was only one way for you to respond to such a statement.
You dug through your pockets, searching blindly until you felt your hand grasp around something soft. Bingo.
“Hey, Ugly! Think fast!”
You tossed the roll of toilet paper in a sweeping arch toward the gender-confused bag of bones, a trail of loose sheets flapping behind the roll like a flag in the wind. The androgynous shell of a human being caught the TP with their decrepit fingers, staring down at the collection of two-ply sheets for a long moment before looking back at you with a raised eyebrow.
“You need it more than I do,” you said.
“What are you…? Wait, what?”
Pulling your sunglasses from out of your pocket, you promptly placed them over your eyes before answering. “Because you’re full of shit.”
The old figure was less than impressed with your display, staring at you slack-jawed in utter awe of your douche-baggery and use of hopelessly old internet memes. Pyramid Head, meanwhile, had grown bored with the lack of murder and potential rape victims (because Even Pyramid Head wasn’t gonna stick his prick in that dusty old fuck) and had settled down into a curled up position on the floor to take a nap, sweet dreams of raping sugarplum fairies dancing in his head.
You took another moment or two to bask in your own awesomeness but took the sunglasses off soon after. They might’ve looked awesome, but you couldn’t see for shit with them on and you sure as hell did not want to risk getting trans-handled by Gollum’s and Skeletor’s m-preg butt-baby love-child: AKA, the ugly fuck-face bastard child of another couple of ugly fuck-faces.
Speaking of ugly fuck-faces…
“So, you don’t believe me,” said the ugly fuck-face.
“Let’s put it this way,” you drawled, “What you said makes about as much sense as a nut-sack on a Tonka Trunk.”
“That’s fine. It changes nothing. No matter how much you deny it…” The old figure trailed off as they gestured nonchalantly to a dust-covered mirror in the corner of the room that you did not recall seeing there before. “…You cannot hide your true form. Not even from yourself,” they finished.
At that moment, you knew that looking into that mirror would be a bad idea. You’d watched enough B-movies to know that it wouldn’t have been revealed to you if it wasn’t some sort of ancient creation built by the devil himself for the sole purpose of making your life more miserable.
On the other hand, you were a curious little fucker. And you would much rather stare at your reflection than that wrinkly burlap sack of skin and bones.
Against your better judgment, you walked up to the mirror, staring into it deeply. Your eyes widened in a mixture of shock and fear. Looking into that mirror was like looking into a window to your nightmares. What you saw before you was so sickening, so frightening, that it shook you to your very core.
“Oh my God, is that a zit on my nose?! Pyramid Head, why didn’t you say anything?!”
Pyramid Head simply shrugged his shoulders. Unfortunately for you, he was fresh out of fucks to give.
You continued to fret over your mirror image, poking and prodding at the juicy raised bump on the tip of your nose as if it would result in anything other than irritating the area and making it worse. It was during this poor attempt at proper dermal care that you noticed something odd; something much less frightening than your acne but certainly just as misfortunate. The image in the mirror began to shift, transforming before your eyes.
You could do nothing but watch with bated breath as the mirror-you fell to its knees, bones breaking and reshaping themselves, muscles bulging and bubbling over flesh like hot cheese on a slice of pizza. Clothing tore and a thick layer of beastly fur sprouted where skin should’ve been as the image grew so large it burst through the mirror frame, shards of glass sent flying out and scattering across the floor and against your skin, embedding themselves in the exposed flesh of your arms as they shielded your face; a single shard embedded itself into Pyramid Head’s defined posterior and you shed a single tear for the defilement of something that was once so beautiful and perfect.
Once you were fairly confident that no more shards of glass would come flying out in an attempt to blind you or further desecrate Pyramid Head’s shapely behind, you lowered your arms, blinking up at the hideous creature that now stood before you.
While you had been shocked into silence, the old androgynous figure appeared to be positively tickled by the monstrosity’s appearance. “Magnificent, isn’t it?” The hag-geezer grinned, spindly fingers clasping together in delight. “This is what you are on the inside. This… is your true form.”
You stared at the beast for a long moment, your brow crinkled as you frowned. The creature was vaguely demonic in some aspects; red eyes, sharp fangs, and the like; but other than that it didn’t look all that much different from some jumbo version of a cuddly zoo animal.
Frankly, you were a little disappointed.
“My true form is a giant three-toed sloth?”
The old person of ambiguous gender let out an angry huff of breath, looking at you angrily. “As if such a brilliant creature could ever be compared to any earthly beast! This is the darkness within your heart, the physical manifestation of all your power and sin! It is a creature of unparalleled horror! Its terror has no equal! The way you are now… you could not even begin to comprehend the destruction it can unleash!”
You took another long look at the beast. “Are those…? Does it have Butterfingers for claws?”
Your answer came in the form of the three-toed sloth slowing nibbling at its delicious candy claws.
You frowned again. “Now that’s just sad.”
Considering this horrible abomination was supposedly some reflection of the inner-you, you wondered if the fact that it was a demonized version of a lazy creature that was so glutinous it was actually self-destructive was supposed to be telling of your own personality and moral character. You quickly came to the conclusion that you were just too damn tired and hungry to give a shit either way.
Becoming a little more interested in the situation around him, Pyramid Head jabbed at the creature lightly with his blade. Of course, since he was a hell demon of monstrous strength, Pyramid Head’s idea of jabbing lightly involved deeply piercing the flesh of the creature’s ribcage.
The sloth turned slowly to look towards Pyramid Head, as if to smite him for having the audacity to assault a creature a good five times his size, then soon lowered its head and closed its eyes, deciding it wasn’t worth the effort.
You crossed your arms, completely unimpressed. “Hate to break it to you, bitch-witch, but I don’t think this guy is gonna be unleashing any destruction any time soon.” You paused for dramatic effect. “Or ever.” You paused again. “Because it is a stupid animal and you are crazy bat-shit insane. And also ugly.”
As Pyramid Head pulled his weapon out of the sloth-monster’s tender flesh, the old figure interlaced its/their fingers, eyes narrowing while thin lips curled. “It might not look like much yet, but once it is well-rested, it will awaken from its slumber and devour you, becoming whole once again. Then, nothing will stop its–”
“Stop talking,” you interrupted, shoving the feeble old fool to the ground.
You could hear the crack of bones breaking as they made impact with the ground, crumbling into a fine dust. It was awesome.
You ignored the haunting screeches of pain, focusing again on the useless lazy-ass monster. “Well, if this thing is as potentially dangerous as the old fart says, then I suppose it’s my duty as both a protagonist and do-gooder to murder this cuddly-looking critter in cold blood.”
With a heavy sigh, you held your shotgun up, loaded it with a couple shells, and closed a single eye as you aimed dead center for the sloth-monster’s forehead.
“Fool,” came a raspy laugh from behind you. You didn’t bother to turn around because you had enough of looking at crusty old turds for one day. Still, your grip on your weapon slackened. “Don’t you see? It’s as much a part of you as your arm is, or your leg, or your liver. If you kill the beast you’ll be killing a part of you. You’ll be killing yourself. Do you understand now? Pulling that trigger would be like signing your own death warrant–”
“Too long. Did not listen.”
And with a single twitch of your finger, the monster slumped over, dead.
“Well, that was anticlimactic.”
You just murdered your own inner-monster by shooting it point blank in the head. You took a moment to reflect over the situation. For a moment, you wondered if there was some lesson meant to be learned about the benefits of self-destructive behavior. You also wondered if there would be any long-lasting consequences from murdering a part of yourself.
You shrugged your shoulders. “Meh.”
“YOU FOOL!” came a furious shout from old-fuck, determined to stay involved in the story even though no one liked or cared about him/her. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! Have you any idea of the consequences of your actions?! You have singlehandedly ruined all that–”
“OH MY GOD, will you please shut up for two seconds?! JESUS.” You shoved a Twinkie in the wind-bag’s mouth-hole for good measure. “I mean, really, you’re not even important enough to get a specific gender, let alone a name. What makes you think anyone wants to hear anything you have to say?” You shook your head. “You self-important fuck.”
A single tear slithered down along the leathery hide of the geezer’s cheek. With that last bit of moisture removed from the drying husk’s body, it turned into dust, leaving behind nothing but tattered robes and human ash.
It was not the first time you had made someone cry, though it was the first time you had ever made someone cry to death. You were pretty proud of yourself. If you ever managed to get home, the first thing you were going to do was buy yourself a trophy to commemorate this brilliant example of how awesome you were.
With a complete lack of respect for the dead you had gained from several years worth of looting dead virtual bodies in video games, you searched the robes for anything of value. Tucked deeply in the right pocket was a tiny silver key.
You stood, brushing the dust off your pants with one hand while holding the key tight in the other. You held the key up to your face, staring intently.
“Huh. What do you think this opens, PH?”
You turned toward Pyramid Head just in time to see him rolling around in the human dust pile like the filthy animal he was.
“That doesn’t answer my question…”
You gave up on trying to get answers from Pyramid engaging in one of his many filthy habits in favor of finding answers for yourself.
From across the room, behind the now empty frame of the broken devil mirror, you spied a glint of metal. A large door with a metal padlock. You wondered why you hadn’t noticed it earlier, shrugged your shoulders, then blamed it on a short attention span and bad writing and a complete inability to give a single fuck.
Besides, you had better things to do.
You placed the key in the padlock and turned it, grinning when you heard it unlock with a click. With one hand on your shotgun, you opened the door, slowly, cautiously, in case Silent Hill had any more unpleasant surprises for you in the form of androgynous senior citizens or giant demon sloths.
For once, there was not. Instead, behind the door was a set of stairs and a cordless phone resting atop a pedestal like it was the Holy Grail.
To you, in that moment, it might as well have been.
You snatched it up, turned it on, and waited for half a millisecond to see if it was working. It was the longest half a millisecond of your entire life.
The dial tone sounded like an angel’s choir. Well, if angels were tone-deaf, but hey, it was a tone all the same. It was working. The phone was working and you could finally call for a ride out of this horrible place. You were overcome with such a great sense of victory that you could taste it in the back of your throat. It tasted like stale Butterfingers and stomach acid.
With a deep breath, you dialed for a tow truck.
“HEY, JACKASS, YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT TIME IT IS?!”
You had never been more relieved to hear the screech of an angry middle-aged Guido in all your life.
You still had time to kill before the truck arrived. You weren’t too keen on hanging around the monster-infested streets for who-knew-how-much-longer, so you decided to see where the stairs went. Pyramid Head, covered in human remains and content, followed closely behind.
The steps led to the hospital roof.
As you stared down at the mass of flames and demon bodies–dead and alive–that littered the landscape below you, you knew that you would never forget this town or the many lessons it had taught you. As horrible and smelly as this place was it had taught you how to shoot a gun, how to mud-wrestle a slutty nurse zombie to death, how to murder your inner sloth demons, and, most important of all, it taught you the true value of friendship. After all, a friend couldn’t truly call themselves a friend unless they were willing to rape your enemies to death in your glorious name.
You turned toward Pyramid Head, staring deep into his rock hard pectorals. As much as you hated this stupid town and hoped it would burn in eternal hellfire, you were going to miss this horrible abomination of flesh and death that had violently penetrated his way into your heart.
“Well, Pyramid Head, it looks like this is the end of our adventure together.”
A horrible growling sound emitted from beneath Pyramid Head’s helmet. It was the kind of sound that pierced through your skull and made black goo drip out of your ear canals. You assumed it was a sniffle.
“There, there.” You gave him a reassuring pat on the nipple. “Just because we’ll be apart doesn’t mean we won’t still be friends. We can stay in contact. Phone calls probably won’t work, but we can send each other postcards. This place is full of demons; I’m sure at least one of them works for the postal service.”
He grunted, and in that monosyllabic utterance you could feel all the anguish deep in his heart from losing his first and only friend. But beneath the melancholic tone there was something lighter; the joy of experiencing a friendship like no other. Hope that such a friendship could endure the distance. Or maybe it was trapped gas. Either way, the time for goodbyes was over. You spotted the tow truck over the horizon.
For the first time since you arrived in this hell-hole of a town, you felt your heart swell with a calm sense of joy. It was happening. You were finally going home.
Then you saw the truck swerve out of control to avoid hitting a monster in the middle of the road and crash straight into a tree and you felt that warm, pulsing, bundle of joy in your heart die a swift and painful death.
Well, maybe the damage wasn’t too bad. Sure, the truck frame looked a little bent but that was purely aesthetics, nothing too integral. It could probably still drive, right?
Just as you convinced yourself that everything would be just fine, the truck burst in a fiery explosion of scrap metal and burnt rubber.
Your left eyelid twitched as you stared intently at the burning remains of your last sliver of hope for salvation. You slapped the palm of your hand over your face. “Oh, FUCK ME.”
When you felt an iron grip on your shoulder attempt to initiate a sensual massage (though it felt more like your bones were being crushed in a vice), you knew you had made a very poor choice of words around your dear companion, the god-awful rape demon.
“FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”
(1) In case my descriptions aren’t clear enough, this was a Lying Figure, also commonly known as Patient Demons or Straightjackets or whatever. And yes, I know they spew that green shit from their necks and not their mouths, but I think it’s funnier if the reader’s character misinterprets where that stuff is coming from because, hey, vomit. That’s comedy gold. I also can’t really remember if these jerks actually even walk on their legs or not but I think they did in the movie adaptation so I’m going with that.
(2) If you don’t realize this is Pyramid Head by my description then I have failed you as a fanfiction writer. And yeah, I know he technically shouldn't be here without James, but if the movie can do it then so can I. Besides, you and I both know Pyramid Head is the only reason you decided to read this piece of shit story.
(3) Hopefully my bastardized description was clear enough for you to realize that this was a Mannequin. I still think double-twat monster is a better name. And, as you can see, I’m only using monsters from Silent Hill 2. I know that’s not exactly how it works, because each monster represents something of the people in Silent Hill but I’m too lazy to make up new ones and I think it’s better to use something that people recognize. So there.
(4) A Bubble Head Nurse. And yes, I did make a sammiches joke. Sexism never tasted so good.
And if you read all of that and are not brain-dead from the experience then you deserve a cookie. And a gold medal.