Haunting chapter image by RyleeAnn @ TDA
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of J.K. Rowling’s work or the Silent Hill universe.
Chapter Six Under Arrest
Soft fingers lit on Draco’s brow. His eyelids flickered at the sensation, nostrils dilating to detect the stench of staleness, of a life once lived and now forgotten.
But he was home, of course, in England. Reclining, lazy, wistful on the lawn behind Malfoy Manor. The summer days were long and he would watch for the first stars before dinner, before Mother called him inside…away from the dark.
Draco sat bolt upright, his mouth open and a scream freezing in his raw throat.
They were surrounding him, attacking him, those frightfully indistinct shapes with pincer hands and cracked, burnt flesh…
He looked around wildly and found himself alone.
Draco scrambled to his feet.
He was standing in a lot behind some store There was an old, empty garbage bin to his right and several abandoned tires piled against a wooden fence.
The sky was a steely gray, not black and the clouds shed soot.
Draco stumbled and forced himself upright against the garbage bin.
I’m alone. Alone.
There was no rain, no rust, no rush of terror.
The buildings which had once been stripped of their bricks like sloughed off skin now stood entirely intact. Stark, but intact.
And the figures…
Draco realized that he had been clutching his broken wand in his hand, his knuckles bleached white and aching.
He turned around once, then twice.
The town was much the same as it had been before. Still, desolate, and utterly silent.
But he didn’t believe any of this, didn’t trust his most keen senses.
I’ve gone mad.
Draco hurried out of the alley and onto the main street once more.
A stale wind funneled along the avenue, disturbing only useless telephone wires strung between poles.
He stepped out into the gutter, swinging his arms nervously as he walked, glancing over his shoulder as paranoia raised all the tiny hairs on his neck.
The lamp posts gazed plaintively back at him, and Draco remembered at once the body he had seen, the corpse tied to the pillar like an abused marionette.
Terror left him senseless.
He ran, ignoring the panicked throb of his feet against the pavement, straight through the town, past the blank row of stores, the post office, a bank and an auto mechanic shop.
Lanes branched off at the intersections, leading deeper into the nightmare Draco only wanted to escape.
Lungs burning with exhaustion, limbs loose with fear, he pushed himself further and further towards the horizon where he hoped the road would snake away, back to the highway or to Brahms or any place apart from Silent Hill.
The buildings on either side of him soon thinned, and Draco was brought up short just beneath the last traffic light in town.
He skidded to an ungainly halt where the street dipped down, heart trumpeting in his chest, unwilling to believe his deceitful eyes.
Draco fell to his knees, a broken sob rattling his ribcage.
Cybil Bennett reckoned she was making good time. It took her about a half an hour to reach the main street of Silent Hill which ran right through town and connected with the interstate on the other side.
So far, there had been no sign of the suspect save for his banged up car which she found five minutes from her own cruiser.
Judging from the smashed up front, she figured the kid must be hurt or at least a little worse for the wear.
He’d probably have to be shipped off to the hospital before being transferred to the station house for booking.
Served him right, she thought, for making such a mess out of things.
Before continuing into town, Cybil did a quick search of the car for drugs or weapons. To her surprise, she found nothing, not even an empty soda bottle or a stack of music cassettes.
In fact, the vehicle was unusually clean. Cybil knew that most young men these days were slobs. All this punk had was a road map of West Virginia in his glove compartment.
Had she known better, she would have thought that the car was stolen. During her initial traffic stop, Cybil had run the plates only to have them come up, registered to Draco Malfoy.
But that didn’t mean there was nothing wrong with the kid. She simply couldn’t shake the feeling that he was hiding something.
And if this Malfoy fellow had started a bar brawl, then subsequently fled to Silent Hill to avoid arrest, well, that was enough for her.
The Brahms P.D. was having enough trouble with the drug trafficking that was reported to have cropped up recently in the abandoned town.
Back in its heyday, Silent Hill had been notorious for producing PTV, a psychedelic, highly addictive substance made from a plant called White Claudia which was native to the region. After the fires, most of the trafficking had ceased before altogether disappearing. Five years ago, however, some clever dealers had snuck back into the town to manufacture PTV once more and sell it throughout Toluca county.
The Brahms P.D. was hard put to bring such independent, reckless dealers to justice. Officers were instructed to be extra vigilant while on the look-out for vehicles headed to Silent Hill. But even hefty fines for trespassing and jail time seemed ineffective to stem the flow of illegal substances.
Cybil thought this kid in particular had something to do with the smuggling of PTV out of the town. He was supposedly English and had possibly heard of the drug from underground web sources that listed Brahms as a hotspot for drug-related tourism.
Either way, the kid was in a heap of trouble, and Cybil guessed that instigating a bar brawl was the least of his transgressions.
After leaving the suspect’s car and walking at a brisk pace for another twenty minutes, she found herself on the main street of the town. It was just as she had remembered it from the night she had rescued the lost teens: empty, aging, eerie.
But now the sky was spitting soot, and Cybil feared that the fires below were spewing noxious fumes. Whatever the case, she had to contact base as soon as possible. Only with proper gas masks and back-up could Silent Hill be thoroughly searched for Malfoy.
Time was slipping away, she realized, and the kid also ran the risk of falling sick from the toxic gases.
As much as she wanted to stay and search for him now, Cybil knew she needed to get help. Picking up the pace, she moved down the main street towards the interstate entrance. There she’d be able to flag somebody down and get back to the station -- if one of her fellow officers hadn’t found her wrecked squad car already.
When she was nearing the end of main street, Cybil felt a drop of worry slide down into her gut. The road up ahead was fogged and she couldn’t see beyond the last traffic light.
And what was that, crumpled up in the middle of the street?
She squinted, her eyes catching sight of a reddish sweatshirt and mussed blond hair.
Christ, it’s the kid!
Immediately, her hand flew to her gun, and she drew it from her hostler.
Malfoy was slumped against the sidewalk, unaware of her or anything around him, it seemed.
He’s probably stoned, she thought, or worse.
Nevertheless, she raised her gun and shouted, “Hands where I can see them, now!”
Malfoy jumped and scrambled to his feet.
“Whoa! Whoa!” he stammered, holding his hands up, arms out to the side.
“Do you have any weapons on you?” Cybil barked.
Malfoy shook his head, his face pale, a rusty streak of blood trailing down his forehead. “No, I don’t have anything, I swear.”
“Lift your shirt up by the collar and turn around.”
He did as he was told, and Cybil glanced at his waist, searching for the butt of a gun or a knife handle tucked discreetly inside his pants. So far, so good.
“Now get on your knees, hands on your head!”
“Are you mental?” Malfoy sputtered.
He’s high. Cybil sighed tersely. “Get on your knees, and put your hands on your head!”
The kid did as he was told this time, moving slowly, as if his muscles were stiff and aching.
Cybil cautiously lowered her gun and extracted her handcuffs from her belt. She stepped up behind him, snapping them on with quick efficiency. But as she looked over Malfoy’s shoulder, her heart plummeted straight into her stomach.
The road was gone.
There was nothing but a jagged line of broken asphalt and a sheer cliff that melded with the increasingly thick fog.
It was as if the street had never been existed or had simply disintegrated.
Cybil blinked. Impossible. The haze was thick, visibility was low. She was tired, her eyes were certainly playing tricks on her.
“Stand up,” she said, pulling Malfoy to his feet. “Do you have any injuries? I noticed your car a ways back, all banged up.”
“Can you see it too?” he asked, his voice distant and warped by the fog. “The road…it’s disappeared.”
Cybil did not answer. She patted him down thoroughly, her hands tugging at his pockets. He only had a broken stick on him, the two halves tied together with a length of ripped t-shirt.
Perhaps it was some new type of drug paraphernalia, a pipe used in England.
In any case, it was evidence now. She put it in her pocket.
“Do you have any injuries?” she repeated. “I need to know if your require medical attention. Did you hit your head in the crash?”
“Did you see the cliff?” Malfoy replied stubbornly. “The road is completely missing.”
Cybil turned him around and put a finger in front of his eyes.
“I want you to follow my finger back and forth. Don’t turn your head now, all right? Have you done any substances within the last twenty-four hours?”
Malfoy followed her finger as ordered. Cybil noted that his pupils weren’t dilated, and he didn’t seem under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Well, you’re lucky,” she said, “You could’ve been killed on the road last night or killed someone else, for that matter. But you’re still in a boatload of trouble, running from the police like that-”
Malfoy suddenly seemed to lose his patience. Tensing, he arched his neck and stared directly into her face.
“What’s wrong with you?” he rasped. “Where the bloody hell is the road?!”
“I don’t know!” Cybil shouted, making him flinch ever so slightly. “But you have to calm down now. This place isn’t safe. See the falling ash? That could be poison for all I know.”
She paused, breathing hard. I need to take my own advice, she thought. Calm down, just calm down.
There had to be an explanation for all this anyway.
“The underground coal mine fires might have something to do with it,” she said. “It’s possible the road was destroyed by a sinkhole.”
“Come off it.” Malfoy tossed his head.
His arrogance fueled Cybil’s uncertainty. Grabbing his arm, she began to drag him away from the crater.
“You’re being placed under arrest for assault, resisting arrest and trespassing. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right-”
“Filthy Muggle,” the boy grunted.
Cybil raised an eyebrow. Muggle? Humph, that one was new to her.
“You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney-”
“If you knew who I was…dare to treat me like a thug-”
“-one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights?”
Malfoy did not reply.
Cybil shook his arm. “Mr. Malfoy, do you understand these rights?”
He raised his steel grey eyes, looking so righteously offended that Cybil almost laughed.
“Good enough,” she said.
They walked for a short time in silence, Malfoy dragging his feet obnoxiously. More than once, Cybil tightened her grip on his arm and gave him a good jerk.
“It would be easier for both of us if you cooperated,” she said once they were halfway up main street.
Malfoy refused to look at her. “Where are you taking me?”
Cybil stopped at an intersection, searching for a street sign.
“The fire house is around here somewhere. They still have a working radio in case of emergencies.”
“What happened to your car?” he asked, his voice obscenely supercilious.
Cybil felt a pang of irritation. No thanks to him, her squad car was useless, nestled in a ditch some two miles away.
“This way,” she said and directed him down Bachman Road. “And quit lagging. If you have any injuries-”
“I’m tired,” he huffed.
Cybil snorted. “We can’t stop now. I’ll call for medical as soon as I can.”
“And if the ray-do in this fire place doesn’t work?”
She turned around and looked at him, stunned by the utter serious of expression.
“What are you on?”
“Nothing.” Malfoy was adamant.
“If you have a concussion…”
“I don’t think so.”
“Let me know if you feel dizzy, at any rate,” Cybil said gruffly. “Or if you’re going to pass out.”
Malfoy rolled his shoulders. “I’m fine.”
“Wonderful.” But Cybil frowned. There was something this kid wasn’t telling her. His face was so damn pale, too pale. Lord knew what he had been huffing.
She decided to chat him up a bit. It was amazing how suspects would unknowingly divulge something useful, especially if they were high or coming down.
“Why did you come here?’ she asked, keeping a weather eye out for the dilapidated fire house.
They passed a dry cleaners and a fast food restaurant, Queen Burger.
Malfoy shrugged. “I had to.”
He shrugged again.
Cybil realized he was starting to clam up. She’d have to coax him. “You know, I’ve lived here all my life,” she said. “My mom owned a grocery store in Brahms and all. But I’ve honestly never heard of anyone moving to Toluca County for no reason.”
“You have tourists, don’t you, Officer Bennett?” Malfoy replied, glancing at her name tag.
Cybil smiled grimly. “Yeah, but it’s mostly families, older couples. The only young people that come here are usually looking to buy White Claudia.”
Cybil had to stifle a laugh. Boy, this kid was playing dumb. “It’s a plant, Mr. Malfoy. And you can only find it in Silent Hill. Some sick people like to cook up a drug called PTV with it.”
“And you think I came here all the way from England to get some?”
“I don’t know.” She decided to parry his question with one of her own. “Did you?”
Malfoy suddenly stopped right in his tracks. “Have you been listening to a word I’ve said?” The look of incredulity on his face was almost painful. Almost.
Cybil tugged at his arm. “Fine. Keep your mouth shut, but don’t expect the judge to be so lenient.”
“Lenient.” Malfoy shook his head, his platinum bangs matted with blood. “Yeah right.”
Cybil clenched her jaw. Normally, she wouldn’t tolerate such an attitude from a perp, but right now she needed to keep things under control. With no back-up, she was feeling strangely vulnerable.
Silent Hill had a way of closing in on people, and she supposed that was part of the sick fascination thrill seekers felt for it. She, on the other hand, sensed aggression.
The fire house soon loomed out of the haze, a two storey building with a red, dented garage door. A tattered American flag was wrapped about a flag pole protruding from the second floor. Dusty windows stared blankly out onto Bachman Road.
Cybil repressed a shiver.
She hated to be watched.
They entered through a street level door. Cybil had to work the jammed lock for a minute before it gave way.
Cobwebs crowded the threshold.
“Inside.” She guided Malfoy through the door, and together they stepped into the garage, empty save for an outdated fire truck.
A sheen of sweat now covered Malfoy’s face. His eyes darted over to the row of battered fire helmets.
Cybil found the radio in a room off to the side of the garage. She pulled out a grimy chair for Malfoy and gestured towards it.
He sat, shaking his head compulsively.
“Better?” she asked.
Malfoy’s eyes narrowed. “Are you sure that thing will work?” He stared at the radio, which admittedly did not look very promising.
But Cybil knew better. Since the place was such a hotbed for drug activity, arrests were often made inside or directly outside the town lines. Although Silent Hill itself was abandoned, the Brahms P.D. kept a wavelength open for officers in need.
Feeling confident, she flipped the dial on and picked up the speaker. The crackle of static soon filled the tiny room.
Malfoy looked nervously over his shoulder.
“This is Officer Bennett to base. Do you copy?”
She listened hard, struggling to discern any response amidst the buzz.
“This is Officer Bennett to base. Base, do you copy?”
The static stopped, only to be replaced by silence.
Malfoy was sweating profusely. “Listen, I think…well, you’re going to think I’m mental but…”
“Give me a second.” Cybil swallowed, her skin prickling with apprehension. The radio should work, it had to.
She fiddled with the dial. “This is Officer Bennett to base. Base, do you copy?”
Cybil’s frustration, and fear, mounted.
Malfoy fidgeted in his chair. “There’s something wrong here. Before…before you found me, I was-”
“Officer Bennett to base!” Cybil all but screamed into the speaker. “Base, do you copy?”
“Listen!” Without warning, Malfoy leapt to his feet.
Cybil jerked away from him. Was he trying to make a grab for her gun? “Did I tell you to move?” She shoved him back down.
Malfoy stared at her, his face taut with terror. “We’re not safe here!”
The radio erupted with static once more. Cybil smiled triumphantly. Thank God. She was about to place the call once more when the sky was rent with an air raid siren.
Malfoy uttered a strangled cry. “It’s happening!”
Author's Note: Whew! Another chapter finished. The next one has already been betad and will be posted soon.
On that note, I'd like to thank the fabulous Renfair, who has to be the most amazing beta reader in the world.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read! If you have a free moment, please leave me a review. I'd love to hear from you. Have a great weekend!
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