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The last vestiges of Shannon Shiga’s Asian heritage was the slight almond shape of her blue eyes and the last name, which in proper Japanese her name would’ve been Shiga Shannon. The Japanese side of her family had come as a replacement for Chinese workers in the coal mine that floated Silent Hill during its tourist off season and even after the coal fires forty years ago, her family, now almost completely American, had remained in Toluca County.
Shannon had been a Virginia State Trooper for five years. She had come onto the force after the fiasco of some idiot woman who had brought her daughter to Silent Hill and along with a Toluca County Sheriff’s Deputy had all disappeared. Her two best friends in Troop D were Mike Daley and Jerry Conner. Everyday they met, like clockwork, if they were on shift or in civvies, at Flo’s Stop N Gas. Today they had spotted the run down, ragged; twig of a man in a pea coat that was so threadbare and torn it was surprising that it had remained on his shoulders. A stiff wind would’ve blown the coat off him and him off his feet. He’d been acting suspicious. Fidgeting, putting his hand in his pocket, taking it out, pacing, and he had kept glancing at them.
“Look at Mr. Obvious out there,” Mike had commented with a nod of his blond head towards the man on just the other side of the station. Jerry only dunked another donut into his Styrofoam cup of coffee.
“How do you eat donuts soaked with coffee?” Shannon had asked, but she had noticed the man. Man was hardly what she’d call him. He was thin to be called emaciated, with a mop of damp brown hair that hung in his eyes and though he’d toss his head to get the hair out of his face, the sweat glistening on his brow kept it firmly glued. He needed a shave, and truthfully if he’d put on probably eighty pounds and had a bath he’d probably look like model material. Despite what were symptoms of drug usage and dependency he had rather surprisingly unmarred complexion.
“Easy, you take the donut and insert into coffee like so,” Jerry showed her specifically his technique except that the donut weighed down by coffee broke and splashed into the cup. Coffee splattered over the rim and on Jerry’s tie. “Dammit!” He grabbed a napkin and began to dab at his chest.
“Stooges, you listening?” Mike asked. Shannon was trying to stifle a giggle at Jerry. She was a tough as nails cop who was feminine enough to still giggle and damn proud of it.
“Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck,” Jerry mocked..
“Aw Jerry I wanted to be Curly, I’d been practicing snapping since I was a kid,” Shannon pleaded then proved that she could snap and bop her hands together just like Curly from the Three Stooges. Mike only shook his head, he would have to wait until they got this out of their system and they’d finally go with him and question the man outside the station.
They finished their coffee and donuts, then started out of the gas station saying by to Flo and when they neared the young man who suddenly seemed very agitated, burst into a run.
“Dammit!” Shouted Jerry who was not in the mood to chase after a crack addict through the woods. Shannon turned around and made for her cruiser. She knew the roads around here and the only road down the direction the man had bolted was the one that led to abandoned Silent Hill. Truthfully she should’ve just let him go to Silent Hill; let him die in the Carbon Monoxide the coal fires gave off. It would even be a peaceful death and he wouldn’t even know he was dying.
She was driving slowly down the road, her spotlight on the trees when it seemed as if by magic or an explosion the man was in front of her car. She slammed on the brakes and avoided hitting him, but before she could even get out of the car, with speed she didn’t imagine he had, he’d pulled a small pistol from his coat pocket and the next thing Shannon knew was she was laying in the road among the weeds.
She sucked in a breath that seared her lungs and felt like someone was manually trying to remove her ribs one by one. Shannon coughed. Ash was floating down around her. It had turned her already gray uniform to black soot. She ripped open her shirt and there, mushroomed into the Kevlar of her vest was a bullet. Her entire chest felt like it was on fire; however it seemed that the vest had saved her from the bullet.
Shannon slowly staggered to her feet. She wrapped her arms around her chest, hoping to ease the pain. She could only imagine the bruise the bullet would leave behind. She’d never been shot before. She knew it hurt, she’d seen others, but all she could think about was the pain.
She was surprised that no one had found her, but obviously from her cruiser being gone, he’d shot her and took the car. From the flattened foliage on the road he’d continued to Silent Hill. Good riddance, she thought and turned to walk down the road away from Silent Hill. The ash continued to fall and a fog had filled everything. She could only see a few feet in front of her and if she’d been running she’d had not noticed the massive crevice in the road. It would seem a sinkhole or rather sink gorge as the entire road and land was broken by a gorge that she could not jump, nor could see the bottom of. It was as if the hand of God cleaved the land. Shannon had no reason to suspect anything. The coal in the mines was still on fire and certainly once the coal had burned up the land could possible collapse and if Silent Hill hadn’t also been a tourist destination, they could’ve easily lived off coal alone. The land was unreasonable rich in coal.
“Dispatch this is Union417,” Shannon began into her radio. She suddenly wondered exactly how to call in the fact she’d been shot and her cruiser stolen and she needed help to get over a friggin sinkhole and that her suspect had taken her cruiser into Silent Hill. “Uh – 503 of officer’s vehicle,” she hung her head at that one. She’d never live down having to report ad Grand Theft Auto of her own car. “11-99,” she went ahead and decided she needed help, “Suspect is 417,” he had a gun alright he’d shot her with it, “and 10-20 is… Silent Hill.” She released the button her radio. Nothing, not even static. “Dispatch this is Union417.” She checked the channel and adjusted the squelch. “Dispatch?” She sighed. “Just fucking great.”
Shannon dug in her jacket pocket and pulled out her iPhone. It had been a present from her boyfriend. She had had some pre-paid cell phone, and had been actually against getting a smart phone until he’d given her the iPhone 5. Now she was addicted to it like her suspect was addicted to drugs. It was such a time waster when sitting on the side of the road waiting to catch speeders. “Shit.” She said as she looked at the NO SIGNAL message at the top of the screen. “Ya know, just because no one <i>lives</i> here, doesn’t mean that you might need your cell phone in an emergency. Best coverage my ass.”
She reluctantly turned to start walking towards Silent Hill. If she was lucky she’d find her car, and if she found the dude who had trapped her here, she was going to beat the shit out of him and claim he fell down really rocky hill. You know drug addicts; they bruise if you breathe on them too hard. Hopefully the carbon monoxide won’t be too quickly her demise until she hoped she could find a phone or a radio and call out for help.
Chapter 2
Lonnie sat up in bed, sweat and the sheets of the bed clinging to him. <i>Another damn nightmare.</i> He shook his head and the dream began to fade almost instantly. He looked over and next to him, still asleep was Shannon. He gently stroked her shoulder and brushed the hair from her forehead. She stirred in her sleep but didn’t wake. Lonnie had never met anyone who could sleep through anything like her. He picked up his cell phone from the night stand and checked the time. It was only a few minutes before he had to get anyway. He’d simply beat his alarm. He disabled the alarm and swung his legs from the bed, and dropped his feet onto the cold floor, gave the idea of getting out of bed a second thought, but continued to wake up.
He made coffee and while the coffee was perking he took a shower and just practically had an orgasm in the hot water. He loved the water pressure at his little house; it could peel the skin off you if you let it. His shoulder was feeling sore this morning and he rotated it. Lonnie couldn’t remember hurting his shoulder, but it was there, a dull ache, actually as if he’d dislocated it. He dressed in biballs, a flannel shirt, looking rather Farmer Anderson, but he was a brick layer for his father’s business Anderson Brick and no matter what he tried, he couldn’t keep the mortar off him. His job wasn’t to look pretty laying brick, but to make the brick work look pretty.
By the time he was ready to leave for work, Shannon still had not woken up. She was working 2nd shift and wouldn’t be up until around nine. He kissed her goodbye, she murmured something and he left the house, locking it behind him. He still couldn’t shake the feeling that his nightmare was important. It was as if it clung to his shoulders like a cobwebby shawl. His shoulder still hurt him, even after consuming several ibuprofens. Lonnie reached over and opened the glove compartment on his old by reliable truck. He pulled the ring case from it and opened it to examine the modest diamond within. One of these days he’ll ask her.

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