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Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of J.K. Rowling’s work or the Silent Hill universe.


Chapter Nine The Masked Man 

Smoke rises from an ice factory, on the edge
On the edge of a city that exists in perpetual gloom.
I snatch a note from the basket of a passing bicycle.
It says-“Go to the flour factory, there’s something waiting there for you.” [1]


Draco was running, as senseless as he might be under the Imperius Curse. Vaguely, he was aware of Cybil’s shouts echoing down the stairwell above him, her furious cries to stop.

Arrogant certainty welled in the pit of his stomach. He knew her threats were empty. But that didn’t matter. Nothing did.

Around the frame of a decaying door he saw the hint of a heel. The child was a few tantalizing paces in front of him. And he needed to see her, just as he needed to suck stale air into his beleaguered lungs.

“Wait!” he shouted, his voice a pathetic bleat. Raising his arms, Draco barreled through a door and fell into a courtyard.

He knees protested with pain as he hit the jagged pavement, his jeans shredding with a snarl. Blood trickled down his shins. Grunting, he pushed himself to his feet and glanced past a set of rusty swings.

The girl was gone.

But she had been there, yes, he’d seen her. A solid being. Definite. No ghost, no trick of the deceptive fog.

And yet she had disappeared.

Cybil was on his heels, the door to the courtyard slamming behind her with a metallic thud.

Draco felt her gun pressed to the small of his back.

“Jesus,” she panted, “what the hell is wrong with you?”

Deftly, she jammed her firearm back into her holster and looped her arms through his, holding him tightly. “Are you gonna run from me again? Huh?”

She shook him and Draco felt her anger permeate through his body.

“No,” he said, the word riding on a sigh. “I wasn’t…there was a girl.”

“What?”

“Didn’t you see her? She was in the classroom.”

Her grip loosened. “No.” Confusion jumped into her voice, raising it an octave.

“I saw her,” Draco insisted, glancing once over his shoulder at Cybil.

Her forehead was slick with sweat.

“She was real. A kid, no more than ten years old.”

Cybil’s eyes hardened with skepticism, glittering furiously beneath her narrow brows. “You’re hallucinating. It’s the fumes.”

A dam burst in Draco, spilling the floodwaters of frustration and fear eagerly throughout his body. He pulled free from her grasp and turned.

“No! She was real!”

Cybil grabbed his arm once more, but this time, her grip was gentle.

“Come on,” she said quietly. “Let’s rest for a minute.”

Draco felt deflated, but said nothing. He let her lead him over to the swings and guide him down to sit against the creaking frame.

They didn’t speak for a long while and Draco took advantage of the silence to let his weary head drop, his eyes fluttering closed against the hissing fog that swirled around them.

None of it made any sense. None of it. The Dark Mark. The graffitied desk. The wand.

The wand!

How could he have forgotten? Draco squirmed slightly where he sat and then looked up at Cybil carefully. She was staring over his head at the courtyard and the four walls of the school around them, a slumbering, grey ogre of a building.

He slipped his hand into his pocket and touched the handle.

Perhaps he could Apparate now, without her knowing.

And leave her here? His conscience gnawed at him.

I’ll bring back help.

Slowly, he raised himself up on his knees and dragged one foot out from under him. Slowly, ever so slowly, he turned, letting the magic that flowed through his blood reach the solemn core of the wand and unite.

He closed his eyes and envisioned his lakeside cottage.

Nothing happened.

Draco bit his lip and cursed under his breath. Groaning, he stood. Cybil glanced at him.

“You alright?”

“Yeah.” He shrugged casually. “My legs were getting cramped. I just need to stretch.”

She looked away, satisfied.

Once more he gripped the wand and once more he turned.

The lakeside cottage, he thought, his nostrils dilating to smell the moldy wooden porch.

He crashed clumsily into the swing set and sent the chains flailing.

“God,” Cybil steadied him. “Are you sure you’re alright?”

Draco flushed and let go of the wand. “Yeah, I’m-”

But he didn’t get to finish, for somewhere beyond the school a siren blared and the bleak sky spilt into darkness.

Cybil’s breathing quicken. “It’s happening again,” she rasped.

Draco saw her reach for her gun and he, in turn, grasped the handle of his wand, the tip of which only just protruded from his pocket. He strained to keep his eyes open as oily rain pelted his cheeks. The siren continued blaring for a full minute, a lone sound amongst the desolate patter of droplets on cement.

And then it happened.

It was like nothing he had seen before, no magic he could account for or conjure by his own will.

The world around them changed.

Beneath his feet, the once solid pavement of the courtyard fractured. Slabs of stone cracked and tumbled into a fiery abyss below.

Hell, Draco thought for an instant. It must be Hell.

The school building itself shed bricks and paint, the windows now crossed with iron bars as thick as a man’s wrist. And behind him, the swing set eroded into a demon’s play thing, the chains made of barbed wire, the seats jagged steel.

Draco leapt away with a pained cry as the wire bit into his back.

The siren faded.

Cybil quickly switched on her flashlight, the lone beam piercing the darkened courtyard like a surgeon’s knife through flesh. Draco remembered the one she had given him earlier and to avoid using his wand, turned it on and directed the light into her face.

The cop was blanched with terror.

“What the hell?” she said.

Draco shook his head. “We need to find shelter. It’s not safe for us…out in the open.” In the very core of his being, he knew that the phenomenon had some dark origin. The air was laced with the acrid smell of smoke and ozone, so similar to the cold stench that had followed the Dark Lord wherever he went.

Cybil grabbed his arm again, though Draco sensed this was more to keep them from getting separated than anything else.

“Back inside,” she said. “We’ll go back inside.”

It took them several minutes to cross the courtyard and find their way back to the door. The ground was unstable and any misstep spelled disaster as the heat from the flames below teased the soles of their shoes.

Draco had to help Cybil haul open the door this time. For some reason it seemed impossibly heavy. Inside the hallway, the skeletal stairs rose above them in an incoherent tangle. From somewhere far off, the indistinct whir of fan blades set Draco’s every nerve on edge.

Flashlight wavering in his hand, his gaze fell on Cybil. She was checking her firearm again.

“I only have two mags left,” she said, in a tone that suggested both vulnerability and despair.

He thought back to the beast that had attacked him in the firehouse and shuddered. Unconsciously, his fingers tightened around his wand.

The incessant whirring grew louder, now more defined and uneven.

“Do you hear that?” Draco asked, willing his voice to be steady.

Cybil listened for a minute. “It’s coming closer.”

“We can’t stay here.”

“We don’t have a choice.”

Draco pressed himself against the door, his ears now detecting a vicious scratching, the sound of thousands of small feet on the stairs above. The noise rushed down towards them in an unforgiving tidal wave and he swung his flashlight in the direction of the second landing, hoping to catch a warning glimpse of the terror he knew was coming.

Insects, the size of a large hand, were clustered in an innumerable swarm.

Already, he could hear the gnashing of their tiny, yet sharp teeth and the cloud of black spilled down the steps with alarming speed.

As one, both Cybil and he threw themselves against the courtyard door.

Inexplicably, it was locked.

“No!” Cybil cried and she raised her leg, planting a firm kick upon the hinges.

The door rattled, but refused to give way.

The swarm was on the first landing now and Draco heard their hungry jaws snapping like piranhas, their breath poisoned with the stench of rotted human flesh.

Without a thought, he whipped out his wand and pointed it at the jammed knob.

Please, he begged any merciful deity. Please work.

Alohomora,” he intoned.

The door opened just as Cybil kicked it a second time.

Draco pushed her outside and once they were clear of the hall, shouted, “Colloportus!”

The door swung shut, crushing the first of the insects and reducing them to grayish slime.

“I don’t think it’ll hold them for long,” he said, hands braced against the doorframe that was now seething and straining.

Cybil swung her flashlight over the courtyard and Draco followed her gaze, searching for the second door they had missed before.

But the four walls alone surrounded them, garish and ungainly in the scarlet light that crept up through the wounds in the pavement.

“We’re trapped,” Draco said hopelessly. The very steel of the door bulged and discreetly, he pointed his wand at the surface and murmured a reinforcing spell.

Cybil shook his shoulder. “Look!” She was pointing at a large grate stuck in the far wall and started across the yard at a run. Draco watched helplessly as her hands snapped over the rusty bars and pulled. The arms in her muscles clenched, her back arching as she pulled.

It was no use, he realized. He’d have to blow the bars off.

Draco took a step towards her, releasing the groaning door behind him for a instant.

It was a mistake.

The hinges snapped, rebelling against the spell he had cast.

He was knocked to the ground, barely managing to scramble away in time as the door fell forward. From somewhere in the distance, he heard Cybil racing towards him, shouting.

“Draco!”

He had expected the horde of bugs, had excepted them to pour from the building like a torrent of angry sea water. What he saw was a massive figure, no less than seven feet tall, striding towards him.

It could have been human, or may have been at one time, before the darkness had taken it and shaped it tortuously into a mimicry of life.

The body was that of a man, the arms huge and bare, gloved hands wielding a knife longer than Draco was tall. Around his torso, there was a butcher’s smock.

For the first time, Draco heard Cybil utter a primal cry of terror.

The creature had no head, save for a conical shaped helmet made of girded iron. He grunted fiercely, raised his knife and let it fall in a graceless arc.

Instinctively, Draco tucked in his arms and legs and rolled over. The flashlight slipped from his grasp and was neatly severed by the creature’s blade.

Stumbling, his feet numb from shock, Draco stood and ran aimlessly away. To his right, he was vaguely aware of the sound of gunfire. Cybil was emptying her handgun of bullets in quick attempt to stop the monster.

He looked over his shoulder once and saw three splice through a leg. The creature’s left knee buckled, but he soon straightened himself by leaning on the long handle of his knife. Steam poured from beneath the helmet and a moan followed.

Draco raced to the grated vent Cybil had found and whipped out his wand.

“Come on!” he called.

She was pushing another mag into the butt of her gun.

“Leave it!” he screamed.

The creature lumbered closer.

Cybil gave up the fight and joined him by the grate, her face ashen and drenched with a putrid mix of sweat and bitter rain.

“It’s jammed,” she panted hopelessly. “We won’t be able to budge it.”

Draco bit down on his lower lip until he drew blood.

The monster was halfway across the courtyard now, his shattered knee snapping with the sound of broken cartilage.

And in that instant, Draco forgot every law against using magic in front of Muggles. Let the Ministry be damned, he thought viciously and pointed his wand at the creature.

Impedimenta!” He wasn’t sure if the spell would even work and experienced a surge of triumph when the enemy slowed a fraction.

In his gut, although, he sensed that the most powerful combative spell he could cast wouldn’t do much harm. No, they needed to outrun this thing.

Draco squinted and peered into the vent. A thin trickle of water gurgled through it and the space was wide enough to accommodate one of them at a time.

“Move!” he ordered Cybil, who was staring at him with growing confusion.

He set his wand against the bars. “Reducto!”

After a moment of furious concentration, they blasted apart.

“Christ,” Cybil murmured.

Draco whispered “Lumos” and lit the tip of his wand.

“Go ahead.”

The tunnel yawned open before them, belching fumes, slick with stagnant water.

Cybil glanced once at the creature struggling towards them and gave Draco a hard push in the back. He was propelled, head-first, into the tunnel, the chain of his handcuffs scraping the greasy bottom.

Go,” she barked, climbing in after him.

Draco didn’t need telling twice. Behind him, he could hear the monster’s great knife being dragged across the concrete, the serrated edge sending up a shower of sparks that only just reached the mouth of the vent.

Cybil was crawling towards him on her elbows, one hand still locked over her gun. With her other hand, she directed her flashlight’s beam ahead of them.

Draco followed her example and squirmed forward on his belly. The smell was nauseating. Sludge soaked his jeans and his trainers squealed with every jerk of his body.

The light from his wand illuminated a curving passage. He started to twist his body around the bend when Cybil screamed.

The creature had reached one muscle-bound forearm into the vent and grabbed her ankle. She didn’t have time to react. Slipping on the grime, she was pulled like a rag doll towards the opening.

Panic thumping in his chest, Draco pointed his wand at the arm and shouted, “Axelo!” He slashed his wand downward, hoping against hope that the curse had hit home.

The arm spasmed wildly, loosing Cybil’s ankle. Before it could withdraw entirely, she fired a parting shot which struck the taut flesh between the thumb and forefinger. The forearm lashed around blindly, smacking the walls of the tunnel and producing a distorted echo.

Suddenly, the edge of the great knife sliced through the opening and Cybil groaned. Her calf had been slashed open.

Draco reached down and grabbed her by the collar. Furiously, he worked his way through the tunnel, not daring to look back as a thin ray of light stretched before him.

After a tortuously long minute, they came to the end and Draco forced himself against another steel grate. Surprisingly, the bars bent beneath his shoulder and the barrier swung open like a gate. Both Cybil and he tumbled out into the Midwich parking lot.

They lay on the hard concrete for a moment. Draco squeezed his eyes shut, willing the sudden assault of light to fade. But then he snapped his eyes open and sat straight up.

The town had changed again. Buildings stood intact, the ground was healed of fissures. Overhead, the same grey sky rained soot.

Cybil panted shallowly next to him, the wound on her leg bright with fresh blood.

Draco touched her shoulder. “Are you all right?”

“Just my leg,” she muttered, clenching her teeth. “I…I don’t know if I can walk.”

Draco dragged himself closer to her and inspected the gash. “I’m gonna take a look, okay?”

She nodded breathlessly and shut her eyes.

Draco inspected the cut, prodding gently at the torn flesh with the tip of his wand. Thankfully, the bone didn’t seem to be broken.

He looked once at Cybil, saw her face contract in pain. A sigh fluttered past his lips.

There was no going back now. She had seen him do magic already. And, as much as he hated to admit it, he needed her help if he was going to get out of this alive.

Episkey,” he said and watched as the skin sealed itself up, leaving a narrow, red scar.

Cybil gasped and forced herself up on her elbows. She patted her leg unbelievingly. “How did you…?”

He stared at her, offering no explanation as her face tightened with utter confusion.

“What are you?” she asked at last.

Draco looked away and saw, standing a mere three feet away from them, the girl he had chased out of the school.

 

 









Author’s Note: Those of you that are familiar with Silent Hill might recognize the masked monster as the infamous “Pyramid Head”. As such, this chapter is especially dedicated to my beta, Renfair, who demanded that Pyramid Head make an appearance. And really, how could I refuse her? ^_^

Also, please notice my stunning new banner, courtesy of Ande @ TDA, to whom this chapter is also dedicated.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read! Chapter Ten should be posted by Wednesday the 29th. I hope you have a great week!

[1] Taken from “In Old Yellowcake” by Rasputina from Oh Perilous World (2007). Lyrics written by Melora Creager.
 

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