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“Vrooom!” Your flatbed accelerates out of a curve, its headlights cutting swatches of the thick fog. The chords of CCR’s “Midnight Special” gnash through the staticky FM radio like a dinosaur rhythmically gnashing its teeth. You reach over, grab the volume knob, and pause. Do you want it up, or down? You don’t even care, just something different.

Glancing down at your sleeping baby, you decide to turn it all the way off. The child coos happily, then settles back into deep slumber. Turning your eyes back to the road, your eyes are greeted by the nightmare vision of someone standing right in the middle, your oversized hauling truck barreling down on them. You slam on the breaks. For a moment, you even consider wrenching the wheel, but think better of it and maintain control of the truck, hoping they dive out of the way. As your truck bears down on the hapless person, their head snaps towards you. In the brief instant before impact, you can’t help but think you see your own face staring at you through the windshield. You let out a scream and close your eyes, your world fills with the sounds of brakes screeching and screaming. Finally, your car comes to a rest a stretch down the road. You check on the baby, besides some ear-piercing shrieking, they seem unharmed. Hopping out of the cab, you grab your trusty flashlight and short-wave radio. You squint, trying to make out a trace of the accident, but the fog is so thick you can barely see the back of your truck. However, you must push on, the person you struck could need help.

Run to the spot of the accident

Turn on the flashlight

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Sprinting through the thick fog, you run until you are forced to pause for breath, yet still see nothing. Walking through the fog now, you do hear something faint, you stop and concentrate. You hear screaming, and the faint tones of CCR’s “Midnight Rambler.” Shocked, you ponder what kind of nightmare scenario you’ve ended up in: maybe a time loop, or an out-of-body experience, or some sort of alternate afterlife like in that film about that ladder. The screams and music grow louder and louder, until you realize with horror where they are coming from. A dark ’77 Firebird bursts from the light, its teenage passengers screaming with glee. As it plows you down, you realize your “nightmare scenario” was “drunk teens with similar music tastes.”

– Go back to the beginning.

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Your flashlight flickers dimly. Giving it a hearty shake makes the beam come to life. Even so, it still only affords you a few feet of visibility. Making your way along the center line, you narrowly miss being hit by a speeding black Firebird. After walking through the fog for several minutes, you’ve seen no sign of the accident. Not even a weird dark stain on the road or a shoe. Puzzled, you keep walking, although the shrieking cries of your baby from the cab warn you not to stray far. The fog parts, and you find yourself staring at a run-down town. Though the architecture looks of high-quality, and the homes seem like the sturdy type these northerners build to last centuries, the place looks abandoned. From your eyes, as a professional scrap salvager, this is like a city of gold. You rationalize that whomever was in the road must’ve dove out of the way, and focus your thoughts on the city in front of you. You had been traveling to an abandoned factory on the Canadian border, so this will
save you time and could even net some large amounts of cash. Trotting back to your cab, your head swims with thoughts of copper wire, dusty discarded steel beams, all the things that keep a scrap salvager fed. Swinging open the cab door, you slide into the seat. Not feeling the familiar pain of the child car seat cutting into your side, you look down. With a panicked yell, you realize your cab is empty. Jumping out, you listen, but hear none of the telltale shrieks that had accompanied most of your ride, hell, most of your life. The fog rolls clear, but you can’t see anyone in any direction. The town looms ominously before you.

Run to the town

Run into the mist

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Deciding your only hope is to find help, you make your way towards the town. Not a light can be seen, but you hope that the town is just a tourist town closed for the Fall, and still has all of the functioning emergency services. Or at least a phone. Brushing past a hanging sign reading, “Silent Hill, population 3,366” you trot towards the gloomy city. A large factory on the south end looks dilapidated. Oddly, an un-lit twist of neon reads “stock up on our 3 fine chocolates for Halloween, 2011.” You’re not interested in sightseeing, and soon spot a fire station on the edge of town. Squinting, you think you can barely make out a dim light flickering somewhere inside. You run up to the front entrance, then pause. You never before considered that the light may not be friendly.

Enter the front door

Sneak around to the side entrance

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Plunging into the mist, you scream your child’s name. A stupid move, you realize, as your baby can’t understand you, but you can’t think of anything else to do. As you dart forward, the mist grows thicker until it envelopes you. You hear a baby shrieking, but aren’t sure which direction. The shrieks grow louder, until they feel like they are coming from inside your own head and trying to burst through your
eyeballs.

Run forward.

Run to the right

Run to the left

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After carefully reviewing the plan, you proceed forward, trip, and fall through the front window. Glass smashes all around you as you fall on the floor of the fire station. Stumbling to your feet, you see that the modest-size fire hall is devoid of any people. The light you saw belonged
to a phone, presumably indicating there is a message or an incoming call. Most of the place has been ransacked, oddly enough the glass box containing a fire ax is intact.

Smash the box and get the ax

Pick up the phone

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You dash through the darkness for a while, not even sure if you are going in the right direction. A loose rock catches your foot, twisting your ankle as you go down. You try to stand, but the fog feels heavier. Colder, too, the clouds of fogs now feel like thick snowbanks. You try to
scramble out of the freezing fog, but it is futile. Collapsing into a shivering heap, you use your last thought to wonder why this unusual weather pattern wasn’t in this morning’s forecast.

Go back to the beginning.

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You tell yourself that you could really use the ax, but deep inside you really just want to smash more glass. You attempt a roundhouse karate kick, but without any training end up slamming your knee against the wall and falling back on the ground. Realizing you truly need a weapon, you
put your toe squarely through the glass. With a crash that was even more satisfying than you expected, the glass shatters to reveal the fire ax. Hoisting it, you realize that firefighters are pretty strong, as it takes you both hands just to lift it. A blur from the shadows catches your
eye in time to see a humanoid figure moving towards you. As it gets closer, the red phone light illuminates its burnt body and worm-infested face. The creature pounces.

Swing the ax

Drop all your stuff and run

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You bring the receiver to your ear and listen. Hearing no dial tone, you exclaim, “help! My baby is missing!” At first, there is no response. You are just about to return the receiver to its cradle, when a cracking comes through on the other end.

“Daddy?” says a child’s voice. It sounds like the child is several feet away from the phone.

“No!” you exclaim, “Listen! I have a baby and its missing, I am in a fire station in a place called Silent Hill. I need help, is there a grownup there?”

“I know where your kid is, man,” sings the child with the back-and-forth meter of a nursery rhyme, “I threw it in the garbage can.”

A click indicates they have hung up. Horrified, you stare at the receiver for a few moments. You jab at the phone buttons, but can get no outside line. Your attention is stolen by a movement in the shadows. A weird humanoid silhouette shimmers in-and-out of invisibility. Shrieking
hysterically, it bounds towards you.

Hit it with your radio

Shine your flashlight at it

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Throwing your possessions on the ground, you make a break for the door. Unfortunately, the gruesome beast is much quicker than you, and it pounces on your back. As it tears into your spinal cord, your body spasms uncontrollably. Pitching to the ground, you realize your twisted limbs
are going to make one freaky-cool chalk outline.

Go back to the beginning.

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Awkwardly, you shove the heavy ax at the monster. It falls right on the blade, knocking you to the ground but terminating the monster.

“Hello?” you shout, hoping someone hears you.

“Help!” is the muffled response. You weren’t really looking to assist anyone, but still you plunge down the dark hallway. Rounding a corner, you are immediately greeted by a blast of burning air. The entire room is on fire. Before you can puzzle about why you didn’t notice all this light from outside, you spot a man in the corner. He is standing on a chair as if the fire were a scary mouse. “I’m coming, hold on!” you scream.

Grab a firehose and spray the blaze

Rush into the blaze and pull the man out

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With your radio, you take a huge swing at the creature and connect with its face. Or, rather, you would have connected but instead your arm passes through the being. This causes you to lose your balance and stumble to the ground. Some jagged window glass cushions your fall. The blood this draws all sorts of weird abominations from the shadows. They eagerly jump on you and suck the wounds. It feels weird to die from losing all your blood, but before you can share this unique experience you are dead.

Go back to the beginning.

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Swinging the beam of your light at the weird creature causes it to emit a cry of pain. You watch it fade, then vanish. Taking a deep breath, you explore the fire station, hoping to find a way to send out some sort of emergency signal. Suddenly, the heavy air is pierced by the wail of a
baby. You run down the hall in search of the source of the sound. It seems to be coming from behind a large, closed door. Smoke wisps drift out from underneath the door. Placing your hand on the knob leaves a searing burn. You try to push the door open but it is firmly in place. The
hallway is filling with smoke that comes from underneath the door. The infant’s screams intensify. A dark plume of smokes invades your lungs and you burst out coughing.

Break down the door

Search for a side exit

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Dashing to the wall, you unravel a large fire hose. Turning the wheel, you watch the hose slowly fill. But, when the hose looks ready, nothing comes out. You look at the nozzle, wondering if it is clogged. The hose erupts, spraying gallons of blood into your face. Dazed, you drop the hose, which continues to spin and write as it sprays blood everywhere. You stumble into the hose and fall into the fire. As you perish, you find it creepy how someone knew you had a huge phobia of getting hosed with gallons of blood.

Go back to the beginning.

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You try to enter, but a huge wave of heat knocks you on your seat. Crawling through the flames, you feel your skin searing. You’re certain you can’t take more than a few seconds of the heat.

Close your eyes and visualize an icy mountaintop

Crawl towards the trapped man

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Desperately, you scramble around the firehouse looking for another way into the burning room. The firehouse is a huge maze of twisting passageways, way bigger than you would’ve expected from seeing the exterior. Losing your way, you try to get back and realize you aren’t sure how you came in. Rounding a corner, you stumble into an oddly-located nest filled with thousands of vicious millipedes. They swarm you, not only biting you to death but making you feel really grossed out in the process.

Go back to the beginning.

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The smoke overwhelms you, and you collapse to the floor. Coming to with a start, you find yourself lying down on some sort of cot. Panicking, you stumble to your feet, knocking the cot over with a huge clang.

“Whoa, now,” says a gentle voice, “things will work out.” You look around and find yourself in the main hall of the fire station. The man from the burning building is here, he offers you a cup of tea, which you accept.

“What happened to the fire?” you say. “I lost my child!”

“There’s no fire. I lost my wife, too.”

“Great! We’re bonded!” you spit, “have you seen my baby?” Solemnly, the man shakes his head.

You start towards the door when he grabs your arm. “My wife… she’s trapped in our houseboat in Lake Toluca. We need your help.” You try to shake off his grasp, and in the process notices his sad eyes have welled up with tears.

Agree to help

Throw the old man to the ground and run

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You picture a snowy mountainscape, and almost get a chill from the imagined breeze. Almost, as in, “the fiery heat overwhelms you before you can really get a clear picture in your mind.”

Go back to the beginning.

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You sigh in exasperation. You are no closer to finding your baby. You figure the old man’s wife might be of assistance. At the very least you can probably contact some kind of emergency search-and-rescue services at their house.

“Fine,” you state. The old man’s face lights up.

“You won’t be sorry,” he comments, which you find odd. Leading you out of the station, you notice the streets seem less creepy, oddly brighter in the moonlight. You begin a long, winding walk to the Lake. By the time you arrive, the rising sun drearily casts a bright haze across the ponds
surface. “Out there,” the old man points. Sure enough, a houseboat is floating in the center of the lake.

“How did it get out there?” you ask, but the old man just shrugs.

Swim to the houseboat

Find a boat, preferrably one that’s not haunted

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Tossing the man on the floor, you sprint out of the fire station. Getting your bearings, you scan the town, looking for any signs of life. The shrill sound of children laughing piques your eardrums. Glancing around you spot a playground and a school house.

Dash to the playground

Sprint to the school house

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Showing a fatal lack of self-consciousness, you strip naked and dive in the chilly water. You began making powerful strides towards the houseboat, but something in the water catches your eye. Swimming down, you spot a crib resting on the sea bed. As you get closer, you see inside:
it’s your child! Happily you embrace the baby. No one sees you again, until a particularly gruesome episode of Ghost Hunters where they drain all of Lake Toluca to find your naked corpse with its arms wrapped tightly around a hunk of driftwood.

THE END (Ending Rank: 6th out of 8 endings)

Play again

Evan Hoovler also writes for The Smoking Jacket. He was lead puzzle designer for the Telltale Game, Puzzle Agent 2, and he wants to be your Facebook friend.

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You scan the line of moored boats, looking for the least creepy one. Your eyes drift past a pirate galleon, an ancient-looking cruise ship, a rowboat with blood stains on the bottom. Finally, you spot an innocent-looking motorboat parked just a short distance away. You jump in, steadying the vessel so the old man can scramble aboard. Firing up the motor, you set a course straight for the mist-shrouded houseboat in the center of the lake.

“No one’s taken Smithy McGee’s motorboat since the accident,” mentions the old man, somberly.

“Who’s Smithy McGee?” you ask, mainly out of boredom than anything else.

“That guy,” points the old man. You turn to find a ghostly apparition sitting next to you. His worm-eaten face has kelp growing out of the eye sockets.

“I’m Smithy McGee,” Smithy McGee says, expositionally, “I died when my best mate pushed me over in this here lake. I can’t rest until people hear my tale.” Although you can’t make out anything he says over the roar of the outboard, you realize it’s time to act fast.

Push Smithy McGee overboard

Give Smithy McGee a long lecture about accepting personal responsibility for one’s actions

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You sprint into the park. The sounds of children laughing change into shrieks, but you can’t see anyone. The choking mist has crept back in, making it difficult to see much, you begin roaming the grassy grounds, apprehensively shining your flashlight from side to side. A metallic squeak makes you whirl around. There, on a swing, is a little child, no more than 5 years old. You can’t help but notice a huge resemblance, you wonder if this child is you from the past, or if that even makes sense.

“Hello, again, baby-man,” sings the child, causing ice water to pour down your spine.

“Have we met?”

“I dunno,” is their response, “does this ring a bell?” The young child turns their head upwards. Glancing at the sky, you are confused as to what you are being shown. Looking back at the child, you are horrified to see that their head has fallen off. A wicked laugh pierces the cold night air. You sprint into the night until you are out of breath. Panting, you jump upon feeling a small tug at your shirt. You whirl around to find a group of costume-clad kids.

“Hey mister,” says the one in the front, “we don’t like this candy bar. We want the other ones.” He holds up a foil-wrapped treat. You immediately recognize it as an “Engrave” bar, a high-end chocolate intended for gourmet adults. Hell, even the ingredients are written in cursive script. “We want the one with blood in the middle,” he continues.

Hit the kid with your radio

Ask if anyone has seen your baby

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Forced to choose between the park and the schoolhouse, you mentally review horror movie settings to see which is safer. It’s weird, you can’t think of one horror film about a school. You think about parks and many horror films come to mind, “Nightmare in Elm Street Park,” “The Faculty Lawn,” etc. Maybe this is because you only saw B-list knockoffs of mainstream horror films, but you reckon the school is the safe place to be. Plus, you decide, any place with kids in the middle of the night has to be pretty safe. Dashing into the brick schoolhouse, you come to several startling realizations. The first is that you’ve never actually seen an old-timey schoolhouse before. The second is that neither have generations of children, here, as the schoolhouse is completely run-down inside. The shadows make you nervous, the thin moonlight filtering in through cracks in the ceiling does nothing to remedy the issue. You spot a closet door, and resolve to hide out until morning. As you take a tenative step towards the closet, you hear a rustling in the corner. Tiptoeing, you hope not to disturb whatever’s there. But when you are halfway across the room, something dark and large jumps at you. You dash to the closet, ripping open the door and shutting yourself inside. Just in time, too, a
large thump indicates something heavy hitting the other side of the door. Relaxing, you exhale and examine your surroundings. The entire closet is crawling with faceless childlike abominations. They stab at you with tiny knives.

Fight the creatures

Try to run to the park

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Carefully keeping your balance in the rocking boat, you stand up. Placing a foot squarely on Smithy McGee’s shoulder, you push him over the edge. His floundering form rapidly disappears as the boat motors on.

“Woulda thought he’d taken swimming lessons in the afterlife,” muses the old man. His ponderings are interrupted by the motor sputtering out. The boat drifts to a slow crawl, you can barely make out the houseboat on the horizon.

Stick your hands in the water and paddle

Jump in the water and swim the rest of the way

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You stand up, spreading your arms to maintain balance on the rocking boat. Planting a foot on the edge of the boat in what you hope is an authoritative manner, you inhale as deeply as you possibly can. You begin a long speech about how Smithy McGee should stop blaming others for his murder and start accepting fault. Smithy takes this as an opportunity to shift all his death-induced blame to you. He lunges at you, pulling you overboard. Not satisfied, Smithy dives in and holds you under, making sure you drown. You’re not sure what hurts more, your physical pain or the embarrassment. Your last thought is that the physical pain definitely hurts more.

Go back to the beginning.

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You get a real menacing feeling about the pack of bloodthirsty children. Still, hurting one of them seems wrong. So you are initially relieved when they morph into a giant dragon head, before realizing you are screwed. You bop the dragon head on the nose with your radio. A bit of smoke
puffs out from its nostrils. The dragon head rears back and emits a roaring blaze. You turn to run, but the blaze appears in every direction. Before you can further react, the pain sets in and you fall on the grass. Soon you are incinerated until nothing remains of you but ash. Being
ash feels okay, you suppose. Not much to do but sit there, although occasionally a cool breeze comes along and that’s kind of nice. All in all, you’d rate being a pile of ash as a 7 on a scale of 1 to 50,000, where 1 is the lowest and 50,000 is being alive.

Go back to the beginning.

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“Has any of you seen my baby?” you ask, “my baby is baby-sized and probably smells like poop.” Presumably as a response, the pack of kids begins morphing together. Fortunately, you take this as your cue to sprint away. Hopefully, whatever you ran away from is bigger than a writhing pile of black tentacles. This is because you spring head-first into a writhing pile of black tentacles.

Punch the tentacles as hard as you can

Shine your flashlight on the tentacles and back away

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You seize the nearest one by the wrist, trying to wrest control of the blade in its hand. The others move in, jumping on your back. You fall over, and soon your legs are pinned to the ground. One creature carves chunks out of your flesh, and passes them on to the others, who eagerly devour them. This is enough to kill you, but what really sends you to the grave angry is when they begin using your clothing as napkins.

Go back to the beginning.

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Apprehensively, you roll up your sleeve and plunge your hand into the crisp water. You begin to paddle, the old man doing the same on the other side. With each stroke, you shudder as your hand brushes against creepy things under the surface of the water. After what seems like hours, your boat bumps against the side of the floating house. You dock at a short jetty by the front door, and tie up the boat. Surveying the house, you gasp. You had thought that it would appear less creepy up-close and out of the mist. However, the dilapidated structure looks more like a deathtrap than a vacation getaway. A shingle comes loose from the eave and falls in front of you. Frankly, you’re surprised this place is even able to maintain buoyancy. Your thoughts are interrupted by a scream coming from within the house.

“That’s her,” the old man cries, “let’s go!” He flings open the front door and dashes inside with surprising speed.

Follow him into the house

Creep around back to see if there’s another entrance

Climb up on the roof

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With fierce force, you pummel the writhing black tentacle beast. You’ve seen a lot of Ed Wood movies, so you figure you’ve probably learned some solid techniques for fighting rubbery monsters. However, this monster is far more animated than anything from film. Soon, three tentacles have latched onto your head. The process of a bloodsucker removing your brain through your skull is definitely an arduous one. The tentacles have to feel around blindly for an orifice, then suck the brain out through the hole. In case you were wondering, this bloodsucker scored a meal when it finally latched on to your left ear.

Go back to the beginning.

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Casting your beam at the monster seems to slow it down. Without taking your eyes off of the disgusting, writhing beast, you back away. The monster recedes into the mist as you go backwards. You bump into something behind you.

Turn around and confront the mystery

Go punch the tentacle monster

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You run into the open front door. The inside seems to be mainly occupied by one large living room area. Although it looks too dilapidated for anyone to have lived here in years, the place feels strangely calm. In one corner slumps the figure of an old lady. The man runs to her and takes
her in his arms.

“Are you okay,” he asks, concern welling up in his eyes. Her response is only a weak groan. “You, go to the cabinet and get me a cup of brandy.”

Fetch a cup of brandy

Examine the old lady for vital signs

Hide in the cabinet

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Fearing trouble might be waiting inside, you dart around to see if there’s a back door. As you splash into the cold lake water, you realize that the notion of a back door on a houseboat is ridiculous. Before you can clamber back up, something slithers around your leg. With powerful force, you are dragged to the bottom of the sea. You attempt to keep your eyes open. You hope that something you see might stay in your brain on the off chance you ever get to repeat your actions. However, all you see is a bunch of slimy tentacles ripping your limbs off, which makes you hope none of this stays in your brain on the off chance you ever get to repeat your actions.

Go back to the beginning.

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Demonstrating the brazenness that makes you a great adventurer and a horrible party guest, you climb up onto the roof of the houseboat. Up there, you spot a skylight covered with a pane of glass. You also see a gaping hole in one corner of the roof.

Jump through the skylight

Jump through the hole

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Steeling your resolve, you bite your lip and whirl around. You can’t help but emit a chuckle as you realized you have merely backed into some monkey bars. Shining your light along the bars, you see a giant preying mantis-like creature hanging from them. The creature spots you and begins swinging its way along the monkey bars towards you.

Throw sand in its eyes

Jump up and grab the monkey bars

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You rush to the cabinet. You fling open the flimsy door, causing it to fall off its hinges. Sure enough, the cabinet’s lone contents are a dust-coated bottle of dark liquid. Grabbing the bottle, you turn around to see a weird human-like creature with a red triangular cloth over its
face. It raises a giant ax, and chops off the woman’s head. Raising the axe, again, it prepares to swing at the old man.

Tackle the creature

Chug the brandy

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You rush to the old man’s side and take his wife’s pulse. It beats weakly under her fingers. You gently lift her by the shoulders, then violently shake her until she fully regains consciousness.

“We have to get out of here,” screams the old man. Just then, an ax cleaves him in half, vertically. You turn around and spot a weird crooked-looking human with a triangular red cloth over its face. It tries to pull the ax from the old man’s body. Finding this too difficult, it unsheathes a knife. Pouncing on you with incredible speed, the monster flays apart your face with speed and precision that would earn him a job at any Teppanyaki restaurant.

Go back to the beginning.

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You fling open the large cabinet. Tossing the bottle of brandy inside to the floor with a crash, you shut yourself inside. You hear footsteps march across the room. The thin cabinet door does little to muffle the agonized screams of the old man and his wife. After a while, the screaming
subsides. You tremble as you hear footsteps approach. A battle ax flies through the door, splintering the wood and lodging deeply in your skull. This severs all of your senses except the one which feels agonizing, fatal pain.

Go back to the beginning.

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You pounce into the skylight, relishing the crunch of shattering glass. Landing fifteen feet down on the floor is rough. You tumble over, your right ankle exploding in pain. As you attempt to hobble up, you notice that the walls are covered with blood and red chunks. Looking down you are
shocked to see the severed head of the old man. This shock will be your final emotion, as a monstrously-huge battle ax comes down on your head from behind.

Go back to the beginning.

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Pouncing through the rotting hole, you tumble down into the houseboat living room. You land seat-first on a nice couch cushion, which would be good news except you forgot to take your radio out of your back pocket. Wincing in pain, you collapse onto the floor. As your vision adjusts, the
first thing that catches your attention is the old man and an old woman being hacked apart by some strange man with a triangular red cloth over his face. Actually, this gory scene is the only thing that catches your attention. His victims mutilated, the straggly man turns his ax towards
you. Scrambling to your feet, you jump backwards to narrowly escape his swinging blade. Backing into a wall, you knock loose a hand-carved wooden clock. It strikes your crown with a loud “coo-koo!” The world swims in front of your eyes, then goes black. Your eyes snap open. You are back on
the couch, and something ice cold is on your head. You sit up, an ice pack falls in your lap.

“You up? Took a nasty fall there,” says a woman’s voice from the other room, “now get up, we’ve got to hurry.” The old woman comes into the room, accompanied by the old man. You are shocked to see them alive, you were just relishing the fact that you never bothered to learn their names. “Grab the brandy from the cupboard and meet us outside,” the old man nods towards a cabinet before slipping out the door with his wife. You open the cabinet and retrieve its only contents: a glass bottle containing a dark liquid. You hobble out to the dock, still a bit queasy from your bump on the head. “Into the boat,” barks the old man, hoisting you to your feet, “The meeting starts in half an hour.” You are jostled outside and into the waiting motorboat, the old man and woman take seats near you.

Throw the old couple in the water

Start the motor, and head for the shore

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You grab a handful of playground sand, and fling it into the giant insect’s eyes. Temporary blindness doesn’t stop it from pouncing, however, and you soon find yourself decapitated, then dead. If it’s any consolation, the monster did get a crippling eye infection soon after, with minor
long-term damage.

Go back to the beginning.

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You leap and grasp the monkey bars. You and the preying mantis swing towards each other in an entertainingly suspenseful showdown. Reaching the monster you exchange a wild series of flailing kicks. Finally, you succeed in wrapping your legs around its midsection. Letting go of the
bars, you pull the monster to the ground. Twisting its leg, you break it with a hollow snapping sound. Getting up, you sprint out of the park. Looking over your shoulder through the mist, you think you can barely make out little kids feasting on the still breathing mantis. Then you spill
out into the street. Looking around the deserted intersection, you spot a light spilling from the front doors of a nearby movie theater. Dashing inside, you first run to the ticket booth, but there’s no one inside. Then, you search behind the refreshments counter stocked with cherry colas and local candy bars labeled “Digg.” Just when you are beginning to suspect that the whole place seems deserted, you hear music from inside a theater.

Enter the theater

Run out the fire exit

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You pounce at the ghastly being, giving it a firm shove. It tumbles to the floor, dropping its ax with a clatter. Wearing a smug grin, you pick up the weapon and raise it above your head. Just before you swing, you glance at the old couple and see horror registered on their faces.
Whirling around, you are disheartened to see another triangle-cloth-wearing man with an ax. You are further disheartened when his battle ax cuts a deep gash in your chest.

Go back to the beginning.

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You figure this is a dream, and you can do whatever you want. Taking a bellyful of the bottle’s dark contents, you realize something’s not right. A dark feeling wells from inside your stomach, smoke begins pouring out of your throat. The ax-wielding monster pauses to jovially watch
you seize and writhe in pain before throwing up the contents of your stomach, as well as your stomach, itself.

Go back to the beginning.

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This whole situation seems suspicious. If there’s one thing you’ve learned from life, it’s that suspicious situations should always be dealt with using maximum force. Grabbing the old man, you toss him in the water, pausing to enjoy the loud “kerplunk!” Shoving the old woman in the
water is simple. Job done, you sit back in the boat and ponder your next move. You decide a gentle naptime is in order, but before you can shut your eyes, a rumbling comes from below the boat. The gentle lake begins churning out waves that crest above your head. A giant serpent springs
from the water. As it bears down on you, you notice its two eye sockets contain the heads of the old man and woman. Before you can consider whether or not this constitutes poetic justice, the serpent bites off your head.

Go back to the beginning.

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“What meeting?” you ask as you pull the motor cord. The subsequent roar drowns out their response and makes you feel a bit silly for asking in the first place. You drift across the lake which such ease, it’s not until you are docking that you remember the motor wasn’t working earlier. Then again, the ability of these old people to keep there body parts attached wasn’t working earlier, but that seems to be working fine, now. Hopping off the boat, you assist the old couple. Without pause, they hurry you into the starlit town. Stumbling into a clearing, you realize this must be Silent Hill’s town square. The only artificial light spills from the windows of a large building, presumably town hall. The old man opens the front door and beckons for you to enter.

Walk in the front door

You remember this trap, climb up to the roof

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Slowly, you walk into the theater. The lights of the screen, currently playing an advertisement for candy, barely light the theater. You almost run out when a small voice says “come, sit with me.” Making your way through the theater, you spot a teenage child sitting in the front
row. Sitting down next to them, you realize this child looks exactly like you did at 13.

“Watch the screen, daddy,” coos the teen, swinging her legs back and forth under the seat. Turning your attention to the screen, you now see that it displays nothing but garbage. Rotting banana peels, newspapers, and that brown sludge that seems to accumulate wherever garbage lies. Staring at the garbage, you hear a slight roar. Soon, the screen features whirring silver blades that mulch the garbage. The blades grow closer and closer, until they have filled the entire movie screen. With a rip, they burst through the screen, coming right at you.

Hide under the seats

Run out of the theater

Tell the child, “This isn’t real, it can’t hurt me.”

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You’ve seen enough horror films in movie theaters to realize that lots of scary things happen inside movie theaters. Slamming open the fire exit, your ears are pierced by the sharp ring of an alarm bell. Stumbling into the alley, you almost run into a man wearing a cloak. He wheels
around, something about the sallow lines of his sunken cheeks makes you uneasy. The stranger points a hand at you with dramatic flair. The ringing bell grows louder. You run out of the alley and into the street, but the bell grows ever louder. It feels like its coming from inside
your head. Clutching your ears, you fall to your knees. The pounding of the bell’s tones makes your eyes water, you look at your hands to find that your ears are literally bleeding. As your ears bleed and your skull shatters, you fall on the ground in a lifeless heap.

Go back to the beginning.

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You stroll in the front door. Suddenly, all of the lights in the town hall go out. The door slams behind you, you can hear a bolt being drawn into place. “Let me out,” you scream, pounding on the door, “I saved your life!”

“No, you didn’t,” the old man shouts through the closed door, matter-of-factly. You whirl around, it is completely pitch black. You fumble for the “on” switch of your flashlight, when a loud scurrying noise makes you wonder if you even want to see.

Turn on the flashlight

Grope your way through the dark, trying to find an exit

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Scaling the four-story town hall wall, you realize that this endeavor is a bit more ambitious than you thought. Looking down, you see the perplexed faces of the old man and woman. With relief, you grab onto the eave and prepare to hoist yourself up. Just then, a horde of brown rats runs along the eave, all over your fingers. The rodents seem to find your fingers tasty, as they nibble at them ferociously. The resulting tickling/severe pain causes you to let go. Falling four stories, you smash into the ground with enough force to dent the concrete. Also damaged are your skull, your spine, and your ability to remain alive.

Go back to the beginning.

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You crouch to the sticky floor and roll under a bank of seats. The blades shear the chairs into shreds, but pass just above your head. Sitting up, you realize the child hasn’t moved, and that their seat remains intact, the only one in the theater. She turns to you, her eyes now filled with black.

“I was spared, too. By the Order.”

“Have you seen my baby?” you ask in a sweat induced panic. The child smiles,

“I am your baby.” Frustrated, you shout, “my baby was six weeks old.”

“Your baby was six weeks old, years ago.”

“She was in my truck.”

“Silent Hill does weird things to the brain,” is her reply, “that baby you saw was a manifestation of your own guilt.”

“Oh,” you say, stupidly, “Like that movie with Jodie Foster on that airplane.”

“No,” the girl replies impatiently, “her baby actually existed and they tried to trick her into thinking it didn’t. Okay? Now you’re baby was real, and now it’s seventeen years old. I am a manifestation of your guilt. Like that movie Solaris.”

“Never saw it,” you comment.

“Watch,” the girl turns towards the gaping hole in the movie screen, Solaris begins to play. You sit down and watch. It’s entertaining, so entertaining that you barely notice when the girl sucks your brain out of your skull.

THE END (Ending rank: 7th out of 8 entries)

Play again

Evan Hoovler also writes for Blastr and The Smoking Jacket. He was lead puzzle designer for the Telltale Game, Puzzle Agent 2, and he wants to be your Facebook friend.

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Letting out a less-than-heroic wail, you sprint out of the movie theater and into the street. Surveying the shops before you, you hear the roar of the blades as the crunch down the front facade of the theater. You’ve got to run into a building, and quick.

Go into the camera store, “Click!”

Go into the sports bar, “The Extra Period”

Go into the funeral parlor, “After the Grey”

Go into the comic book store, “Demon Kills You”

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You open your mouth to taunt the girl, but before you can speak it is filled with the business end of a whirling garbage mulcher. You stare as your tongue is severed and lands on the ground. You want to scream, but can’t. Your tongue looks like it wants to scream, but can’t. The blades make short work of your flesh as you stand there making a weird guttural hum that is supposed to be a tongueless scream.

Go back to the beginning.

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Your flashlight beam flickers, then comes on. Sure enough, the floor is filled with writhing creatures. They are small and furry, but their face is made up entirely of sharp, drooling teeth. Panicked, you begin kicking the monsters away. This doesn’t really make them happy, and you find yourself overwhelmed, teeth gnashing everywhere. Closing your eyes, you let out a shriek. After a few seconds, you open your eyes to find all of the monsters are gone. In the center of the room stands a teenager, they are illuminated but you can’t see a light source.

“I know where your baby is,” the teenager’s words bring the first glimmer of hope you’ve had in hours. “It’s in the cemetery.” The figure hands you a shovel. Stunned you take it, as soon as it is in your hands the specter vanishes.

Smash the front door with the shovel

Dig a hole in the town hall floor

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Sticking your hands out in front of you, you blindly step through the hall. A loose board makes you trip and fall to the floor. Afraid for your life, you stick out your hands defensively. Something soft and furry strokes your palm. You pet the creature, admiring its soft fur. But then you find the part of the creature where the fur ends and four rows of sharp teeth begin. Soon, your hand has been bitten off. You scream and scream, but this does nothing to help your wrist clot.

Go back to the beginning.

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You dash into the camera store. Looking through the plate glass window, you see no sign of the giant whirring blades. Examining the room, you find nothing of interest, just old camera junk. Peering outside the store, you carefully venture out.

Go into the sports bar, “The Extra Period”

Go into the funeral parlor, “After the Grey”

Go into the comic book store, “Demon Kills You”

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You dash into the sports bar and slam the heavy door. Safe from danger, you eye your surroundings. There are a few tables, a mahogany bar with stools, and a television. The television flickers on to display an alleyway. You enter the screen, carrying a wrapped bundle. Looking around furtively, the televised version of you puts the bundle into a dumpster and runs away.

“Hold on, this thing gets sports,” a gruff voice comes from behind the bar. Startled, you look to find a large, suit-clad bartender hanging from a noose behind the bar. He picks up a remote and flips a few channels until a college baseball game appears on the TV. “What’ll it be?” his dead black eyes fall on you.

“I’ve lost my baby,” you exclaim.

“I was just watching the TV. Looks like you threw it away.” The memory comes cascading into your mind like a freight train into a tunnel. It was 17 years ago.

“Something strong,” you ask, lips trembling. A dirty glass of dark liquid is put in front of you. You down it in three gulps. “What now?” you ask, as the bartender refills your glass.

“Dunno. You could try to resurrect a demon like most of the town. You can walk around finding newcomers to creep out. I personally just like to sit here and watch sports.”

“Sounds great,” you say, taking a pull from your drink. Just then, a darkness passes through the bar. The furniture ages rapidly, soon becoming dilapidated and useless. The television explodes in a shower of sparks and glass. You glance at the bartender and notice he’s become a teenager. Not only that, but the teenager before you looks just like you in high school. The teen grins, its mouth widens to enormous proportions. As the now-enormous mouth envelopes you, you realize this isn’t the end of your fate. Inside this teenager’s body is something else, something evil. It keeps you alive for several months, feeding off of your flesh and blood. Eventually, it finishes with you and permits you to die: spent, mutilated, and in excruciating agony.

THE END (Ending Rank: 5th of 8)

Play Again

Evan Hoovler also writes for Blastr and The Smoking Jacket. He was lead puzzle designer for the Telltale Game, Puzzle Agent 2, and he wants to be your Facebook friend.

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The thick funeral parlor doors slam shut behind you. Safe for the moment, you take a look around. It’s a funeral reception room. Chairs are set under tastefully muted light. At the front of the room sits a tiny coffin.

Open the coffin

Run through a side door

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You run into the comic book store, slamming the sturdy security doors behind you. Your nostrils are immediately filled with the overwhelming smell of decomposing garbage. Looking around, you find that the store is filled with garbage piles stacked higher than your head. Overwhelmed by the fumes, you turn around to throw up. Then you notice, the door has disappeared. In fact, the entire front wall is now made of solid black metal. You hear a loud hissing noise, and smell gas. Jets of fire shoot into the room, incinerating the garbage. You scramble around, trying to find an exit, but find only flames, iron walls, and more trash. Soon, the heat overwhelms you, and you collapse into your fiery doom.

Go back to the beginning.

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You strike the door with the spade. The wood splinters. You pound away until the door buckles. Kicking the door open you spill out onto the street, confident you’ve gotten your first real clue as to the location of your child. Scanning the streets, you see the cemetary at the end of the lane. Suddenly, a bloodcurdling shriek splits the night air. You whirl around, but see nothing. You pick up your pace towards the cemetery. The centuries-old burial ground is filled with fog. Pushing aside cobwebs, you enter the gate. Although it feels like noone’s been here for hundreds of years, several items attest otherwise. The first thing to catch your eye is a newly dug grave. You start towards it, but jump back as a baby’s cry shrieks through the graveyard.

Follow the crying sound

Dig in the grave

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Working frantically, you unearth shovelful after shovelful of dirt. As you dig, you look around the town hall with your flashlight. Various paintings and murals depict people worshiping some sort of giant black worm. Soon, the ground gives way and you fall into a lower chamber. There is an enormous segmented black worm, here, surprisingly enough. It lifts what is either its head or butt and turns towards you (or away from you). With incredible agility, the worm slides up to you, and coats you in a translucent sticky substance. The giant monster pins you to the floor for several days until the digestive fluids coating your body have done their painful, painful work.

Go back to the beginning.

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You place your hand on the coffin. Taking a deep breath, you open the lid and look inside. Rather than some horrible display of gore, you merely see a baby doll lying on a pillow. With a chuckle, you replace the lid and fasten the lock. With this load off your mind, you survey the room with a clearer head. Pews fill most of the room, the walls are tastefully obscured by giant flowers springing forth from ancient-looking vases. A side door is closed.

Go in the side door

Hide behind the flowers

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You open the side door. Screaming and waving your hands in the air, you enter a tiled room that smells like formaldehyde. Closing the side door eliminates all light except the weak beam of your flashlight. You cast your beam over a white table. A row of lockers adorns a wall. Even though hundreds of dead have come through here, everything seems safe for now.

Open a locker

Search the area for tools

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Desperate to find your baby, you attempt to find the source of the crying. However, the shrieking and warbling of its wails bounce off of the concrete tombs, making it come from every direction at once. You race around the graveyard in a frantic panic, but it is much too big and dark for you to find anything. Taking a deep breath, you steady yourself. You stop, close your eyes, and listen. Keeping your eyes shut, you move towards where you think the crying is loudest, feeling your way among the tombstones and wooden crosses. Finally, when the shrieking grows so loud that your head pounds, you open your eyes. Immediately, the crying stops. You are standing outside of a large crypt which slopes into the ground. Ornate designs cover the door, vague symbols that seem religious but are like nothing you have seen. The crypt door is slightly ajar.

Enter the crypt

Carve your initials on the ornate door

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh mound of earth for a little while, but find nothing.

Search for the source of the crying

Stall for time by digging some more

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You dig in the fresh dirt for a while and find… a bone. Picking it up, you examine it in the light of the crescent moon.

“Thought I’d kept it safe, there,” a voice barks behind you. Startled, you drop the bone and turn around. At first, you don’t see the source of the voice, but looking down you spy a basset hound standing on its hind legs. “I forgot, your kind likes to dig, too,” the hound darts between your legs and grabs the bone in its front paws. Opening a panel on the bonel the dog reveals a complicated system of buttons and dials. Turning one dial, the hound looks to the sky. Looking up, you are startled to see that the crescent moon has become full. The dog points the bone at you and pushes a large gray button. You suddenly feel very, very itchy. Ripping off your clothes, you find you have grown fur all over your body. A thirst for human flesh in your throat, you and the hound bound into the mist, searching for your next meal.

THE END (Ending Rank: 2nd best out of 8 endings)

Play again

Evan Hoovler also writes for Blastr and The Smoking Jacket. He was lead puzzle designer for the Telltale Game, Puzzle Agent 2, and he wants to be your Facebook friend.

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Picking up a sharp rock, you carve your initials over a series of geometrical markings on the entrance. Thinking for a moment, you decide to add a lyrical couplet about how lovely the town of Silent Hill is. As you finish the final words, “clucking ducks,” you feel the ground rumble. Losing your balance, you stumble forward and actually pass through the stone door. You fall to the ground and hear the crunching sound of breaking bones. Shocked that you could’ve broken so many bones just be falling down, you examine your surroundings. Turns out, you landed on a large pile of dry bones. You are in a large cave, far too big to be inside the crypt. Most of the floor is covered with bones. In the middle of the room stands a giant bird skeleton, arms outstretched. You realize there are far too many bones, the ten-foot high skeleton looks to be made of thousands and thousands of pieces. You shriek when the skeleton flaps its wings and flies straight at you. With a screech, the bird’s bony beak pecks away at your face. You run along the cave’s curved wall, but find absolutely no exit. Soon, exhausted, you slow down and the bird bears down on you. Death by pecking is a slow, painful process. You can’t help but notice it is quite arduous for the bird skeleton, too. Pondering this inefficient and tortuous method of consumption, you die.

Go back to the beginning.

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You decide to lay low, things seem to be working themselves out on their own. Looking for a solid hiding spot, you squeeze behind two vases holding lush vines. You feel pretty safe, here, so you hang out for an hour. Suddenly, the room grows dark, as if the sun had passed behind a cloud. You look, and the ivy vines which conceal you have grown enormous fangs instead of leaves. Trying to run, you fall forward as a vine snakes around your ankles. In an instant, the vines have wrapped themselves tightly around your entire body. The vines then whip you, their sharp fans gashing deep into your flesh. After several hours of being raked by evil plants, your flayed body finally gives out.

Go back to the beginning.

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As you open the drawer and watch it roll out several meters, you realize these drawers are for storing one thing only: dead people. Someone seems to have been using this locker as a garbage can, there are several candy bar wrappers strewn about. (“13X Chocolate: A baker’s dozen in every bar”). You shine the light deeper into the locker, but it is pitch black.

Climb inside

Close the locker and look for a light switch

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Realizing you are horribly ill-equipped to fend off an assault, you search the morgue for weapons. As you sort through numerous fine cutting tools, it occurs to you that morticians really have a horrible selection of armaments should the person they are examining turn into a zombie. You find nothing too useful, finally settling on a small but sharp scalpel. Examining the scalpel, your flashlight flickers, and dims. Looking around, you realize the entire room has changed. Bloodstains now coat the formerly-pristine tile, the sharp tools are all coated with a thick layer of dust. You turn your flashlight beam on the cot, and are greeted with the site of a half-embalmed body. Turning the light away, you gag and gasp for air. Before you can regain your breath or composure, a skeletal woman in a nurse’s uniform creeps out of the shadows. Your flashlight gleams off of a large, gore-splattered butcher knife she is wielding.

Dive out of the way

Stick her with the scalpel

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Pushing the door with your hand yields nothing, it is much heavier then you expected. Only by putting your entire weight against it and heaving with both arms are you able to move the door a tiny bit. Huffing and shoving, you spend the better part of half an hour pushing the door, until there is just enough room for you to wiggle in. Going down a steep stone staircase, covered with moss, you notice lit torches on the wall and switch off your light. After descending for several minutes past a never-ending display of skeletons set in the wall, the staircase ends at a large archway. Stepping through, you find yourself in an ornate tunnel. The walls are covered in ancient-looking carvings. Squinting, you see beasts depicted that you’ve never imagined: a horned squid, a lion with the head of a preying mantis, a porcupine with three dolphin tails. The hallway leads into a small round chamber. The only item in the chamber is a tombstone, adorned with the name of your baby.

“No!” You exclaim, teares welling into your eyes.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” coos a soft voice from behind you. Turning around, you lay eyes on the person you swerved to miss when you crashed your truck. They do bear a striking resemblance to you, only about 15 years younger. Smiling, they continue, “you have the power to resurrect your baby. Dig in the ground and pour in the brandy, and your child will return.”

Dig up the grave

Swing your shovel at the weird person’s head

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Slamming shut the morgue drawer, you feel along the wall for a light switch. Finally, you hand hits the familiar lever, and the room is bathed in soft fluorescent light. Looking around the room, you realize it isn’t so scary after all. Everything is neatly cleaned and filed, there’s nothing to be afraid of here, at all, really. Letting out a deep sigh, you relax a little. Just then the overhead lights flicker and go out. Shining your flashlight around the room, you notice everything has changed. The lockers are now open, each of them contians a corpse in various states of traumatic injury. Blood stains coat nearly every surface in the mortuary, maggots squirm around on the floor. A frail-looking woman in a nurse’s uniform jumps out at you. She lifts a brain-splattered butcher knife and prepares to strike. You hold up your radio in a last-ditch effort to parry the blow, but the knife goes through the radio, slicing out a good chunk of your forearm. Her next swing hits you squarely in the jugular.

As you quickly bleed out, you admire her knifing precision and understand why she’s making a great profession out of being an evil anti-care provider.

Go back to the beginning.

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Swinging a leg into the drawer, you hoist yourself up and into the dead body containment unit. Putting a hand on the locker above you, you slide the drawer shut. From here, you can cast your light on the contents of all the drawers in your row. Apprehensively, you glide the light past locker after locker, but see nothing. You exhale a breath of relief, maybe things aren’t so scary after all. Just then, your light flickers and goes out. You rap the back end a few times with absolutely no results. Then, you here the hollow reverberation of something crawling across the metal. A cold, fleshy object brushes against your cheek. You shudder and squirm away, but you bump right into another weird, disgusting mass of what feels like flesh. This mass lets out a piercing wail when you touch it. From all around you hear the sounds of creatures crawling on metal.

As they pounce on you, your flashlight comes back on. This gives you the horrific last sight of a half-dozen gilled grey humanoid-creatures sucking out your organs through your skin with round, puckered mouths.

Go back to the beginning.

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You roll to the side, but years of driving a truck have made you less than gymnastic. You crash into the cot, knocking the gruesome corpse to the floor with a splatter. The nurse hobbles towards you. Trying to get to your feet, a decomposed arm wraps itself around your neck. As the corpse holds you immobile, the nurse goes to work carving you up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Go back to the beginning.

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Lunging clumsily, you manage to slip inside the arc of her blade. Sticking the scalpel’s blade deep into the hole where her nose presumably used to be, you look away and twist with all your strength. The nurse let’s out a guttural wail and collapses to the ground. You give the scalpel a tug, but when it doesn’t readily come free, you just let go rather than look at the mess. Standing up, the air feels thick and charged, like right before a thunderstorm. You are startled by a thumping noise coming from the other side of the door. Creeping slowly to the door, the thumping gets louder until it feels like its coming from behind your eyeballs. Grasping the knob, you take a deep breath and pull. Surprisingly, the funeral parlor looks exactly as it did when you left it: no creepy alternate universe, here. Then, you notice the coffin, the lid thrusts upward in rhythm with the thumping. You creep towards the coffin, glad that you latched it shut.

Rub flowers all over yourself, to disguise your scent

Drag a pew on top of the lid

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Biting your tongue, terrified of what you might find, you methodically remove dirt by the slow shovelful. After what feels like hours, your shovel strikes something firm.

“Don’t make me look,” you whimper.

“You don’t have to,” your younger doppleganger says sweetly, “Just pour that brandy on the grave.”

Fill the hole with brandy

Pour the brandy on your head

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You swing your spade, connecting the side of it solidly with their temple. A small red pinpoint begins trickling blood, your twin touches their temple and laughs.

“That’s the second time you’ve tried to kill me, and mangled it horribly,” they mutter. With a backhand slap, you are thrown against the hard stone wall. Plucking the brandy from your loose grasp, they use their other hand to rip your head off. Despite a lifetime of video game playing, you did not actually think your spine would stay attached to your severed head. But it does, this is your pathetic final thought.

Go back to the beginning.

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Ripping handful after handful of tastefully serene floral arrangements, you drag the petals all over your body. Soon you smell good enough to be hanging in somebody’s bathroom. In an unexpected twist, it turns out you have a severe allergy to most types of pollen. A fatal allergy. An allergy so fatal that, frankly, it was kind of odd that you doused yourself with what amounts to poison. But hey, it’s your adventure.

Go back to the beginning.

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Muscles straining, you heave one of the heavy pews on top of the bulging coffin. That problem settled, you set about figuring your next move. Turns out, your next move is “duck” as the coffin flies open with such force as to send the pew whistling over your head. From the coffin steps the person in the road who made you crash your truck. Up close, you can now see that they resemble a younger version of you.

“Where am I?” you stutter.

“Silent Hill,” responds the doppleganger, matter-of-factly. You stand dumbly for a long pause before they add, “the question you want to ask is, `who am I?'”

“Who are… you?” you blurt, hoping you understood the ambiguous tense of their question.

“I’m your kid!” they say with a smile. They spread their arms out wide, but drop them when a hug is not forthcoming.

“My kid is a baby!” you scream.

“No, no,” they reply casually, “you dumped that baby in a dumpster 16 years ago, now here I am.” The memories of that incident come cascading upon you with such emotional force as to leave you breathless. “Use this,” your child hands you a bejeweled dagger, as they do, their face twists to a demonic mutation, then twist back, “make it right.”

Stab yourself

Swing the knife at your teenage kid

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Uncorking the bottle you got from the cabinet in the boathouse, you empty its contents into the grave. Black smoke starts pouring from the hole.

You back up, feeling queasy. Falling to the ground as the room starts to rumble, you see a huge explosion come from the earth. Floating in front of you is a nine-foot-tall demon with the body of an octopus and the face of a little girl.

“You’re not my child,” you exclaim.

“C’mon, dummy,” your doppleganger spits, “I am your child. We look alike, I’m younger than you, I can’t believe you didn’t see this.”

“My kid is a baby!” you scream, but the doppleganger pays you no attention. It is busy climbing into the flesh of the octopus-girl monster. The two beings glow brightly as they merge, then grow to the size of a mountain. The small chamber is unable to hold the beast, who pushes aside huge amounts of graveyard dirt to reach the surface. The giant superdemon slaughters everything in its wake, including you. If its any consolation, in a few days everyone will be dead at the hands of the superdemon. It shouldn’t console you, though, because this is all your fault.

THE END (Ending Rank: 8th out of 8)

Play Again.

Evan Hoovler also writes for Blastr and The Smoking Jacket. He was lead puzzle designer for the Telltale Game, Puzzle Agent 2, and he wants to be your Facebook friend.

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Opening the bottle, you dump it all over your head. you expect the warm smell of oak and alcohol, but instead the liquid smells like a dead mouse. That wasn’t brandy, you realize. “You lied to me,” you accuse your lookalike. In response, they leap towards you. Hand to hand combat ensues, but you find your strength waning against an identical-but-younger version of yourself. Eventually they succeed in pinning you to the floor. Whipping out a bejeweled dagger, they press it to your neck.

Hit them with the shovel

Smash the glass bottle over their head

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Tired, tormented, and sick of this never ending nightmare, you plunge the dagger deep into your chest. The dagger morphs into a living being which crawls inside your ribcage. The whole process is remarkably painless. Your doppleganger comes over to you. Reaching down your throat, it pulls out a scary demonic creature (along with most of your vital organs).

Go back to the beginning.

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Adroitly, your kid rolls out of the way, leaving you slashing at air. Reaching underneath his scalp, they unzip their skin. The grey demon which stands before you looks way more menacing, with its ram’s horns and scarred body.

“So, you’re not my child?” you ask, as the demon stomps slowly towards you.

“Yes and no. I needed a body.” is the response. The demon pounces in the air, curving in an arc that leads straight towards you.

Hold the dagger in the air with both hands

Make a really surprised face

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Over and over, you slam the shovel into their head, pounding more frantically as the dagger presses into your neck. You barely make an indentation in their skin. Finally, you aim for the soft spot on the back of their head. It’s enough to knock them unconscious. Unfortunately, their collapsing weight drives the dagger deep into your throat.

Go back to the beginning.

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With a fierce scream, you bring the bottle full force on the side of their head. The glass shatters, leaving you with just a jagged broken half-bottle. Woozily, your doppleganger starts to go down. Feeling the pressure of the blade against your jugular, you stick the jagged bottle into their chest. This both keeps them at arms length and really, really hurts them. A few short blows later, your angry twin lays lifeless on the ground. Although you expect to be relieved, you feel saddened, as if a part of you has just died. Climbing out of the tomb, you are blinded by dazzling sunlight. The town, once foggy and creepy, has become an idyllic seaside getaway once more: children shriek with delight as they chase each other, lovers walk the beach arm-in-arm, creepy giant preying mantises going back to their regular jobs as normal, small-sized preying mantises. You spend years in Silent Hill searching for your child. Never finding them, you volunteer to help clear out the old orphanage. It is there you spend the rest of your days, looking after non-demonic children. You never come close to healing the gaping wound inside of you, instead choosing to protect the defenseless from enduring a similar fate.

THE END (Ending Rank: 3rd of 8)

Play Again

Evan Hoovler also writes for Blastr and The Smoking Jacket. He was lead puzzle designer for the Telltale Game, Puzzle Agent 2, and he wants to be your Facebook friend.

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Opening your mouth and slapping your palms to your cheeks, you let out a wild yell. The grey demon hits you full-force in the chest, breaking several ribs. With ferocious claws, the demon tears into your flesh, flinging chunks of your throughout the parlor. For a demon, they really are making it sloppy. You consider telling the demon this, but instead you just shut your mouth and die.

Go back to the beginning..

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You open your eyes, expecting to be dead. You are still in the funeral parlor. Timidly, you glance at your shredded body. Instead of blood and ooze, you find yourself staring at your own gray skin. Standing up, you brush the chunks of your man-suit off of your perfect gray alien skin.

“Sorry about that, I totally forgot,” you mutter.

“Beelork Beeyop!” is the grey alien’s response. You also forgot that you don’t usually speak English. The room begins to rumble, you rush to the window and see the funeral parlor rising off of the ground. Then, the rockets fire and you streak towards the horizon. Going up and into outer space, you say goodbye to Earth. Looking out another window, you see your home planet, its familiar spiral shape brings a rush of happiness into your three alien hearts.

THE END (Ending Rank: 1st of 8)

Play again

Evan Hoovler also writes for Blastr and The Smoking Jacket. He was lead puzzle designer for the Telltale Game, Puzzle Agent 2, and he wants to be your Facebook friend.

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Steadying yourself, you hoist the dagger high, connecting with the center of the grey demon. It’s momentum causes the knife to cut a long jagged edge through most of its body. Not wasting any time, you pounce on the wounded demon, stabbing it dozens of times. Satisfied that it is dead, you rest, panting. Mournfully, you regard the discarded flesh of your kid, lying in a heap nearby. After burying what pieces of him you could find (and bring yourself to carry), you set out of Silent Hill as fast as you can. The fog and gloom make this place creepy, demons or not.

Arriving at your truck, you find it functional, if a bit dented. You start up the engine, and begin the trip home. The fog becomes so thick you have to drive in first gear. You chug along at this pace for hours, but the fog never lifts enough for you to see. After six hours, and still no letup in the fog, you get out of your rig. Waving away the fog in an attempt to see something, you make your way to the side of the road. The fog does seem a little bit clearer over here, you can make out a town down the hillside. Figuring you’ll get some assistance and information about this bizarre weather, you start towards the town. You think you can even see someone waving down at the edge of the town square. Someone who looks a bit like you.

THE END (Ending Rank: 4th of 8)

Play again

Evan Hoovler also writes for Blastr and The Smoking Jacket. He was lead puzzle designer for the Telltale Game, Puzzle Agent 2, and he wants to be your Facebook friend.

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