2pm Focus

It has just hit a quarter past 2pm on Thursday, the 31st of March, 2017. I have two tests tomorrow and I cannot focus for the life of me. I have never been able to focus at this hour for some reason, my previous knife-edged focus disintegrate into a fine powder when faced with 14:00 hours on my computer. Of course, you can connect this with the fact that our brain caffine (Scientifically called Cortisol) levels are at their lowest around now.

So instead I’m browsing the internet, importing blog posts from the old version of this website, drinking coffee and opening my window and looking out at it, writing about how Medium is very important to a young writer these days, and watching the young men from the buisness management college that shares the same land with my dorm playing cricket. They seem happy, throwing the ball, laughing, clapping, shouting, mock punching each other. Right now they’re all I can focus on, them and this blog post.

Soon my focus will pick up and I can go right back to mixing 1 part study with 4 parts procrastination for my two tests tomorrow.

When are we going to admit we are living in cyberpunk now?

At what point are we gonna wake up, draw the curtains, put our hands on our hips and go “Yep, I’m in living in cyberpunk now.” Not a cyberpunk future, a cyberpunk Now. When an unqualified fascist takes over control of the most powerful country in the world? When a company is trying to sell us Bane’s mask in order to protect our privacy during phone calls, and a denim jacket to make the calls? Perhaps when a man has to flee his country in order to declare the government is spying on us. Maybe when it’s raining constantly? When we don’t even need our own limbs anymore? Or when every city looks like the image I used in the header of this post, of a vast, glowing Akira at night, each tower looking like a data stack on a computer board. One thing I always liked about cyberpunk as an aesthetic is that it was never a far reaching future I will never see, of aliens and spaceships. Cyberpunk was always very real, and it soon will be real.

A timeline of A Day 2 Play 2017

Slight Preface: A Day 2 Play is a competition held by the University of Canterbury Drama Society (Dramasoc) where a small team of five have 24 hours to write, direct, rehearse and perform a 15-minute play. I signed on as a writer (Of course), which meant I had 12 insomnia-inducing hours of writing a script that was 15 minutes in length using what I was given. Although it has been a few weeks since then, here is what I remember of that night.

6 pm: Slightly panic because the bus is late, and wonder if I can get there in time. When I get on, accidentally sit behind the most sickeningly in love couple1. Get there in time, talk to a few people. The people who are supposed to be telling us everything are late. They get there late and we are divided up into teams. I meet the girl who would quickly become a close friend. We are told the rules and given sealed envelopes which contain a prop, a line and a situation we must use.

7 pm: Open the envelopes, where we find out what we have to use:

  • Our line: “Well that could’ve gone worse.

  • Our situation: A very awkward encounter.

  • Our Prop: Eclipse.

… Eclipse? What the hell is that? My mind starts formulating ideas: Could I somehow make a Berserk parody2? And then we find out. Twilight: Eclipse. The terrible book. So, of course, there’s no way we could make a good, serious play with that. Which means that after we are ushered out to our own rooms terrible jokes and scripts are made. It soon became a goal of wondering how much cringe we could fit into 15 minutes.

8 pm: A basic plot idea is established, and then the rest of my team leave me alone to write a basic outline while they get pizza (No objections). I was left with a Surface Pro to work with, and I have to say it wasn’t too bad, although I found the keyboard somewhat uncomfortable for my style of typing. The managers of the event come in and find that I’ve been left alone, which leaves them furious. My team comes back about 50 minutes later, get a talking to about leaving me alone, but then we get pizza and begin to work on our ideas.

We eventually establish our rough plot outline: During Orientation Week at Canterbury University3, a drunken student finds a sheet of paper with Eclipse, and thinking that it is a massive party sets out on a quest to find just exactly where Eclipse is. Turns out it is just a book signing of the new book by Stephanie Meyer (Who ended up being played by me… somehow. Which was also slightly meta because I was the writer of this play who sets the protagonist off on her quest and the writer in the play who sets the protagonist on her quest.).

9 pm: I begin to head home. End up nearly going the wrong way. I see some guy walking in full black across a field and all I can think of is “Not today.”, before turning around. Get on the bus and miss my stop because I was so lost in thought thinking what the hell I’m gonna write in about ten hours. One of them being some narrative in which the main character is given a bag for some reason (Which I later worked into the storyline). Get home and have dinner, talk to my friends for a bit, see that everyone’s drinking, make some coffee, retreat to my room, open a new Scrivener screenplay project just for the play and get to working on it. Get significant anxiety as to how I’ll be actually able to finish this script in time. Wash it down with copious amounts of coffee and lemonade.

10 pm: Get a Facebook Messenger call from the other guys in my team on some of the other ideas. One of them being the introduction of some conflict: An ex-boyfriend policeman character for the main characters lover person.

11 pm – 2 am: Writing haze as I get everything set up right. Ignore the ex-boyfriend character for now because I’m not sure how to slot him in.

3 am: Not feeling tired because I made sure not to wake up until 1 pm, and I’ve drunk plenty of coffee in the meantime. Figure out how to fit the ex-boyfriend character in: make him arrest the main character for ‘littering’ a hair outside a hospital. As the whole play had some Twilight themed characters ( the main character was Edward, the lover was Isabella, the ex was Jacob) I made it that he thought he was a wolf. It’s the kinda stuff you get at 3 am when you’re caffeinated and stressed. Feel for the first time that I might actually get this script done in time and of an appropriate length.

4 am: Finish off the first draft of the script, title it, put the synopsis, characters and settings in, send it to everyone else, relax on Lainchan.

5 am: The others wake up and start giving me their criticism feedback on what I’ve written, which I fix up. Reorder scenes to make it make sense, and rename some of the characters.

6 am: Finish the script, send it off, turn the lights off and go to sleep. Well, watch a few videos on my phone first.

7 am: Finally fall into a blissful sleep.


1 pm: Wake up, have a shower, have breakfast.

2 pm: Leave half an hour later than I should, only to return because I need to grab some clothes that we can use in the stage play.

3 pm: Finally get on the bus, wonder just how much the idiots other people in my team had ruined adapted my script. Get there at 3:30, walk through the rain. Learn that while I was sleeping they established the characters: An Indian guy will play a Soviet Russian professor, the only girl will play the lead, the guy with the deepest voice will play the girlfriend of the lead, and one guy will play four different characters. Apparently, they loved my little bit about the wolf. I’m told I’ll be Stephanie Meyer, and I’m put in a flowing pink skirt (Over my jeans).

4 pm: Rehearse, rehearse, revise, rehearse. Send a fixed version of the script off. Told I’ll be the sound manager, which was slightly terrifying at first but it soon mellowed out once I found how easy and short each song was.

7 pm: Get there, get ready. Buy a coke and talk to the other groups to see just what they’re doing. Get setup on stage and do a few practice twirls in my skirt to see what it’s like (This is important).

7:15 pm: Watch the first groups play, it’s nothing special.

7:45 pm We’re up. It’s going time. I manage the sound while I see just how much cringe they can perform. Sounds easy enough to do, just gotta watch for the cues. One of the managers of the event is just cringing and looking at his phone, the other one is just laughing so hard, telling me how solid a writer I am. When it’s finally time to enter the stage I do the perfect twirl, a little laugh. Fortunately, I have no speaking lines, and the biggest thing I did was give the finger as I walked off stage.

8:15 pm: I’m fairly confident that we did better than the last guys, but then the other group step up and absolutely floor us, which I suspect is that they never even pretend the fourth wall existed in first place. I resigned to defeat in face of how well written their play is.

8:45 pm: Winners are announced, our director wins the best director but mostly for his terribly excellent Russian accent. Of course, the last team won for their excellent play. I talk a little with the winners, especially the writer.

9 pm: I get home, have dinner, and go to sleep early because I thought I had a math test the next day. Turns out I didn’t.


Looking back on this event, it was fun as hell. I may have lost, but given what I was working with (Eclipse book) and that this was the first stage play I had ever written, I am quite happy with the result. I made people laugh, cringe, and all around have a good time. It’s the most I can do with what I was given.

Here’s the cringe if you want to read it.


  1. Randomly kissing each other, hugging, resting their heads in each other’s laps. 
  2. For my own writings on Berserk, see my editorial on Dragonslayer and my recently published post on why Griffith has good character traits
  3. Which is filled with a lot of partying and very little study (Perfect way to get university students in the study mood.) Events this year included: Toga party, Mardi Gra’s, hypnotists, and a foam party. 

A year since

It’s been a year,
Since I went walking with you in Scarborough,
Grandfather.

I wore a jacket that was black like the night,
In contrast to the waterfront Arcade,
And my shirt and shoes,
Blue like the sea which you and I walked near.

The days were long and fulfilling,
We went up the steep streets
And down, from city to waterfront
I imagine it must have killed you.

Up and down, buying things
Eating sweet things
Drinking coffee which to this day
I have never tasted better.

And I feared the hour of Scarborough’s closing,
Like a murderer fears the gallows.
For when those slow, fat reapers came for us,
I knew my heart would go shallow.

My dearest wish is to return there,
with Grandmother dearest and you.
And once again explore all the joys,
that can be offered by Scarborough,

With you, Grandfather.

Reddit and a paranormal story

I’ve only started roaming Reddit on a regular basis in the last few months and it’s interesting to the say the least. One subreddit in particular, has drawn my attention a number of times.

The paranormal side of Reddit is a hive of spiritual experiences, ghost stories and the occasional video or photo “evidence” etc. Now a lot of it is most likely complete bull####, but every now and then you come upon that one post that radiants some legit paranormal activity type s###…. maybe.     

One post I’ve seen recently, posted by user Oricu details the experience of his procurement of a haunted doll on a whim. Now the comments of said post are filled with what you might expect, skeptics, trolls, assh#### and the occasional believer and supporter. Now years ago I would’ve called myself a skeptic, but I’ve experienced a few things which have made my ass uncomfortably rest on a metaphorical fence. One such experience was a house I lived in when I was young. Now at first the place was fine, it was a big fenced off property, with plenty of space and it was relatively cheap, which my mum loved, but after a year things started to get weird.

One of my sisters was on a junior netball team at the time and my mum used to have meetings for the team at our place to talk about ball size and s### like that (bad joke). During one such meeting, my mum noticed one of the other mums at the meeting looking terrified and staring at the roof support beam that ran along our kitchen ceiling. Eventually, the meeting ended and she forgot all about it. That’s was until a few days later when a friend of my mum who knew that woman well pulled my mum aside and brought it up, explaining what had happened.

Apparently, the women at the meeting had seen a noose hanging from the kitchen roof and was frozen with fear as it just swung there for the remaining twelve or so minutes of the meeting. Now at that point, I called bulls### and said guessed the women was a fruitcake.

After a few years in the place and some not so great stuff happening to my family during that time ranging from verbal and mental abuse from a drunkard of a stepfather to money problems, which all seemed to start when we lived there, though I just chalk that up to coincidence. Anyway, eventually, we decided to move. What happened during the last few days at the house was strange, to say the least.

You see in this house was a laundry room which was down a few steps to the main part of the house to help prevent flooding if a washing machine went on the fritz or if a tap was leaking (I guess). Now the second day into moving out we came early in the morning to continue packing and cleaning and the taps (for the washing machine) in the laundry room where on. Now the washing machine was one of the first things to go so the water just went straight onto the floor, but luckily the water never rose into the house and the laundry was made to dry quickly since it was mostly concrete and it also had a sunroof. We just mopped up and brushed it off and got on with the move. But then It happening again the next day. Both taps hot and cold on full blast, with the water level just short of flooding into the main part of the house the house.

Day three the same thing happened and at this point, my mum was not only pissed but confused. The house was always locked up tight and no one else had a key besides the landlord and he lived out of town and only stopped in on the fourth day to see how we were getting along. Also he himself never lived in the house and actually owned a few homes alongside a real estate agency.

My mum told him what had been happening and eventually he told use ever so reluctantly that a former child occupant of the house from many years ago had drowned in the nearby harbour. I also brought up the hanging noose story to the guy and he said that before the house was moved to where it was now, it used to be part of a bushmen lodge over seventy years ago, the lounge and “KITCHEN” anyway and that there were stories of a hunter that hanged himself in the house.

The icing on the cake was me walking inside on the fourth day alone as everyone went to get lunch and asking the boy whose name we got from the landlord, but which I don’t want to disclose (sorry), to stop and that he shouldn’t be afraid and that the new tenants will be nice people. I just thought why the f### not, let’s see If me saying this does something. It did… The next morning the taps weren’t on and for the last two days of moving nothing happened, the taps stayed off. Sadly the new tenants turned out to be not so nice people. They were drop kick druggies that had parties every night, trashed the house and lived off the benefit, I felt bad in a way because of that.

All in all, It was a weird experience and a week in living at the new pad my mum dug up some more dirt on the history of that house. We found out that another guy that had lived there all alone apparently went insane and his family had to admit him to a mental health unit where he eventually killed himself. Not only that but my mum took a job at a retirement home a year later as a carer and guess who’s working there, the boy’s mother. According to my mum she was a bitter old harpy, but I guess that was no surprise since her only child had passed away.

My mum never told her what are family had experience out of fear of being ridiculed and maybe a bit of fear of the woman, to be honest, I don’t really know. So yeah that’s it, this s### might seem to be a steven king wannabes attempt at a piss poor fanfic but it really did happened, take it as you will I just thought I would share the tale.

Thumbnail art by Leena Kill (slurmed.com)

Paranormal subreddit:  https://www.reddit.com/r/Paranormal/

Valiant Shorts: The Hunt Part 1 The Paladin

Vibrant lights, soft music, and a carefree atmosphere filled the dim dining room of Lee Harvey’s lounge. The gentle voice of an unknown yet gifted singer serenaded the ears of each money clad patron, conversing and laughing with subtle smiles as expensive wine unlocked lips and unleashed secrets. It was the place to be in the Boston security zone; decent food, proper alcohol, and real blue blood luxury. Corporate fat cats and bureaucrats knew it well.

Tapping a fingernail upon the sandalwood table, the woman precariously sipped at her glass of expensive burgundy wine. She savoured every flavour of the naturally processed beverage. The years following the “event” had not been kind to cuisine in the least and now in 2029 to taste “real” food and drink were a limited luxury. There wasn’t exactly a shortage of chefs and brewers, more a complete stagnation of agriculture around the entire world replaced with synthetic supplements and meals.

Reaching down into her purse, she removed a holo-pad which held the details of the target. The paladin sitting across from her mulled over her features. How long had it been since he was with a woman? Eight years, ten?  The exact time and place eluded him.

“It’s a simple hunt,” she mumbles through a slight sigh. The paladin speaks calmly, sounding devoid of any feeling, besides boredom. “Listen, this is far from simple, that’s why you asked specifically for me. You know how long I’ve been doing this and you know I’m good, otherwise, you wouldn’t have set up this meet.” She laughs and for the first time, the paladin notices how attractive she is. “Well with the increases in attacks, we need the best, even oath breaking paladins.” The paladin begins to show emotion, one emotion specifically…. anger.

“Look I honour the oath of my order, I live by it and I’ll most likely die by it. But the city is tearing itself apart, with more districts than not under martial law or damn near close, it’s my job to decommission their kind if they go off the rails.” She smiles, speaking with a hint of judgement which resonates in her voice. “Even if you superiors don’t give the order hmm?”

The paladin relaxes, regretting the show of emotion. “Sometimes ma’am, sometimes” She begins to speak again but catches herself as she seems to get lost in thought, a look of anxiousness spreading across her fine face. The sound of a patron at a far table munching on plasto-beans, the only sound attacking the silence. She suddenly snaps back to reality, her eyes settling upon the adjacent window, whatever was on her mind is gone now. “Well, do you want the job or not Paladin? ” He nods “Yes, for two grand more.” Resentment flickers in her eyes, but she remains collected. “Deal, but you best deliver.” A precarious smile starts to forms on the paladin’s face “Don’t worry, I’ll get it done.”  To be continued…. 

 

There was a hole in this title… it’s gone now

Against all odds, someone actually wanted to write a guest post here on Valiant Ghost. He goes by the online handle of ‘The Last Gamer’, and he’s been a good internet friend of myself for six months now. The utter madman asked to write an article here about Silent Hill 2, in preperation for Halloween, and I allowed him. I hope you enjoy this piece, I know I certainly did.

From the author, listening to Restless Dreams is recommended while reading.

October’s closing in with each passing day, and in preparation of my yearly ritual of seeking and playing the scariest games I can to disturb my otherwise calm mind, I found myself with one of the shiniest gems of the horror genre: Silent Hill 2.

The second entry of a very successful series that Konami published (until the not so recent cancelled P.T. of Silent Hills), this game is generally regarded as one of the cornerstones of both psychological and survivalist horror, and the game honors that title by making you shit your pants when you expect it the least, as well as leave you pondering the moral decisions you must take.

So then, what makes Silent Hill 2 so special in regards to the previous “great but not amazing” title and the sequels that could not achieve the same levels that this one? The answer is simple: Silent Hill 2 concentrated on the characters around it, even when they were a very limited cast, instead of focusing on the town and the strange pagan cults in it. Nevertheless, these still play an important role in the events of the game, as the town has the tendency of turning itself into an Eldritch location to those visiting. Perhaps the game makes it feel a tad too much lonely, as James himself feels.

The protagonist of this story is recently widowed (if three years can be considered a recent date) James Sunderland, returning for a second time to the resort town of Silent Hill, Maine. In his last visit, he was accompanied by his late wife, Mary, who fell ill and subsequently died of her chronic disease while on the visit. His reason for being in everyone’s favourite resort town gone wrong is a letter that Mary sent him. She’s telling him to meet her at their special place, but James is confused, as the whole town was their special place. Seeking answers, he drives off from wherever the hell he came from, to the titular town. And here’s where his story begins.

James Sunderland, the protagonist of this story

At first glance, you may not notice that James isn’t very normal. It’s not evident that the loss of his wife and this strange letter have caused him to find some sort of motivation to do something, but perhaps you can pick from his tone of voice at the very beginning of the game that he might suffer from depression, not only caused by the heavy loss of his loved one. Then you notice that he parked his car in a hurried manner and he just checks it again for a map of the place, not even caring to close the door. His indifference of the bizarre events around himself and perhaps of his own life, as he tells Angela, the first person he meets on his arrival to the town, only helping to reinforce that something’s very wrong with Sunderland.

His behavior has reached memetic status in the series, as characters in later entries generally question the similar things he must perform in his quest, such as the aforementioned opened door left behind, dipping his hands in a dirty toilet to retrieve a wallet and not washing himself afterwards, leaving his flashlight on while attempting to hide from a particularly hideous monster out for his blood, retrieving something from within a hole in a wall that attacked him previously, asking an armed and unstable teenager if he’s gone nuts… the list goes on.

But at first, we don’t cast judgment on him harshly. He shows himself to be sympathetic, caring, and a very gentle and polite person. Given the harms of the fog-covered city he wanders, he genuinely cares for those he encounters. But not everything is alright with James, as I’ve stated before. His caring demeanour is an affront to his suicidal tendencies and his kinda douchebag personality. He can be extremely selfish and he takes out his frustration on others with extreme prejudice. While he tries to console others he falls short, avoiding eye contact and looking down on the ground generally.

And these very same characters suffer different psychological traumas:

Angela

Angela suffered at a young age, raped by her father and brother, leaving her unable to differ the intentions of men around her, generalising them all as sexually addicted. Her mother did not support her during her hardships, instead claiming she deserved her punishment. Prior to the events of the game, she murdered her brother and father, merely repressing the memory or covering the fact from James. Coming to the town, she felt she needed to find her mother. It’s heavily implied that while her mother was indeed for a time in Silent Hill, she might have perished in the town. Unable to find any sort of consolation to stop her from committing suicide, she asks James if he would take her under his wing. As he finds himself unable to do so, ridden by guilt of knowledge of his hypocrisy and repressed fears, she walked up the flaming stairs to her death. She plays an important part of James’ journey, as certain actions regarding her and the items involved in her path can unlock a certain ending.

Eddie

Eddie was simply another victim of a rising trend of the time: the discrimination for his overweight physique. Mercilessly bullied ever since he was in high school, he eventually snapped at one of his molesters, killing his dog with his father’s gun and crippling the bully by shooting him in his knee. For this kind of behaviour, he eventually fled from the police, finding himself in Silent Hill, claiming the town called to him. The more he stays in the town, scared by the visions of his personal hell, the more his sanity begins to slip and he misunderstands James’ moral guidance and advice, taking his words as taunting insults. When James is finally allowed into Eddie’s mental tortures, Eddie’s insecurity and violence make him attack James. In self-defence, James is forced to kill Eddie. He shows shock at killing a human being, and in truth, it’s sad that even when James tried his best at helping him, there is no other alternative like with Angela, but to see him die, at your hands.

Maria, totally not a demon

And then we get to know Maria. James is dumbfounded at the similarities that she presents to Mary, in voice and appearance, but clearly not in clothing or personality. However, as time goes and they clearly don’t like each other at first, they come to care for the other in a small way. The aforementioned monster out for James’ blood comes across both and seemingly stabs Maria instead of him, but later on, he finds her, unharmed, at the other side of a “prison cell”. It’s here that it becomes more obvious what she represents to James: she’s a construct born from Silent Hill’s cleansing powers and his own mind’s repressed memories and desires from when Mary was still alive. She might as well be the antagonist in James’ story. In most endings her personality turns to be demanding of him, recriminating him for not being consistent between his desire to either be with her or to die. Knowing that he won’t choose her, she turns into an enabler for his suicidal impulses, but he ultimately overcomes that as well.

Innocent little Laura

Last, but not least, we have Laura, the little girl who somehow knew Mary during her illness and became good friends with her. Since she is still an innocent and pure girl, the town has no reason to torture or subject her to the many horrors that the adults she encounters generally do; that being said, she’s still very much a brat to Eddie (who surprisingly doesn’t attempt to even harm her when she tells him he’s a gutless fatso) and James, who he has never seen, or as with many of his memories, he represses it. As such, even when James shows concern for her, she literally has nothing to worry about, as there is no virtual danger in the town for her. Though one has to wonder why a little girl really is alone in a desolated city like that… not that when being a child you care too much for that. If anything of the intro is to go by, at least she knew Eddie before coming to Silent Hill. Given Eddie’s outcome… there are two options to go by about her fate after the events of the game: either she is adopted by James, as was Mary’s wish for her, or… we have no idea of the last option.

They only serve one purpose during James’ road: they drive his hardships over to him as much as the town itself does with each monster. Every abomination he meets in his travels is a reflection of his mental dilemmas leading up to this very moment. The game heavily implies that he did not return because of a letter Mary wrote since it was a hallucination his addled mind made for him. The real reason he returned to Silent Hill was to commit suicide. The memories he might have forgotten resurface just as soon as he sees the tape he left accidentally on the hotel, and the terrible truth is revealed to us all: Mary did not die because of her illness, but rather because of James. While attempting to be caring of his wife, she lost hope and began to become aggressive. Conflicting between his duty as a husband and her denial (or rather, impossibility) for sexual relationships with him, he became to turn sour and angry as well. Eventually, unable to cope with the idea of her suffering, and in a fit of hatred and wishing to have his life back, he smothered her with a pillow during her sleep. With her death, his own will to live started to fade. Laura was not happy when James confessed the truth to her, and how could we blame her?

James only has one thing left to do: find out where Mary is if she is still alive. Finding Maria alive again but chained, the Pyramid Heads execute her. Understanding that they were there to punish him as he himself asked for punishment, he fights them, no longer desiring his own suffering. Finally, he rejoins “Mary”, only to find out the woman there isn’t his deceased wife. Once the demon shows it’s true form, casting aside the image of Mary, James fights it and once again, watches himself end its life while it is in suffering.

Based on factors such as keeping James’ health low or high, healing constantly, checking items like Mary’s photo and letter or Angela’s knife, the game decides on a first playthrough 3 different endings. On later endings, other 3 endings (although 2 are considered joke endings) are unlocked, but I’m here to talk about the serious ones.

“Leave” is my favourite. It’s the only one I can get because I never bother to beat my instincts. In it, James finds Maria on the rooftop, but he denies her, knowing that she was created by his desire to see Mary again, even if it was a fake copy of her that would make him happy as he wished. While they are allowed a final time to talk with each other, James confesses his crimes to her, receiving the forgiveness she could give him as well as accept his own. As Mary’s final words appear to us as a real letter, we’re shown Laura walking ahead of James, as they are on the way to his car. It shows that James was finally able to move past his own sufferings and made his peace with what he did to Mary, though it’s inconsistent since Laura told James she hated him for killing Mary. Perhaps she could see the truth in his words… but we shall never know.

“In Water” is the fan favourite. Given James’ condition, after realising he can’t go on without Mary, he decides he will take his own life instead, as was his original plan. He drives his car off the tracks and drowns himself with it on the lake, all the while Mary’s note for him is read aloud. It gives him a certain closure, but at the same time, it makes the whole road he’s taken, and ours by extension, worthless. Not only is an ending hard to get since you need to constantly watch Angela’s knife, you also have to keep James’ health on very low levels, and with stronger enemies, later on, it becomes too painful. I suppose it is the preferred ending because it seems “fitting” to how James feels overall in the game, ranging from the isolation and loneliness of his life and the town itself to seeing what becomes of Angela, Eddie and Maria, knowing that Laura hates him.

“Maria” is pretty straightforward. James meets her again after killing the demon upstairs, once again in the same place where he met her for the first time, overlooking the Toluca Lake. Acknowledging that she has become real and that she exists for herself, James leaves Silent Hill with her… but Maria starts to cough in the same way Mary did in the hotel. And so the story repeats itself.

“Rebirth” requires you to play the game a second time and find the references to Silent Hill’s occult club. In this time, after taking Mary’s body across the lake, James implies that with the help of the entities that reside in the town, he’ll bring her back to life, since he’s unable to live without her. One has to wonder if he paid attention to what he was reading, given that the previous title and the two posterior ones emphasised that aspect of how dangerous was Silent Hill in the first place. Perhaps it’s what he’s looking for: she might come back to life in the wrong way and repay his kindness to her in the same way he did the first time.

In the end, Silent Hill 2 is a game that reflects your style of gameplay and rewards you with an ending appropriate for it. If you’re a scaredy cat like me and you’d rather keep health high and remember Mary, you will find a sort of closure to his travel. Otherwise, well, you just need to keep on trying.

For the meantime, I guess I can keep on playing Cry of Fear: the best free horror game I’ve found on Steam. Takes heavy influences from Silent Hill as well, so that’s a plus. But I’ll never forget that once, I was in the shoes of a man who lived his love for his wife, and in regretting his actions for her, embarked on his own mind.

Originally published on Valiant Ghost

Can we please talk about how baths are?

To follow-up what I just wrote about, can we talk about how weirdly good baths are? I’ve only just started having them again after six years of avoiding them like the plague1 and the first thing I notice is how weird they are, but also relaxing.

After six years, you get used to the feel of scalding hot water rushing down your back and over your shoulders, before being replaced with new water. The constant stinging pressure is a reminder that you are being cleaned, there is no time to relax and you should get out as soon as you are clean.

But there’s none of that with a bath. Once you are in the scalding the scalding remains. It is hot and stagnant, with whatever bubbly stuff you used to get the required bubbles2 somehow mysteriously moving into a place which makes the scene as PG as possible for when anyone for some reason decides to walk in.

And it somehow is relaxing, the constant warm caressing you like a blanket, against the near freezing cold you feel when you remove yourself despite the fact it’s not to cold tonight. And when you get out, you feel even more sleepy and relaxed then when you got in there. You climb into bed, pull your laptop towards you and start writing an article for your blog when there’s more productive things you could be doing.

WHY IS THAT? I’ve only been awake for nine hours at time of writing, but I feel like wrapping myself in a blanket and sleeping for a long time. This is not right. I am a writer. Writer’s do not even consider sleep until they sit on the indefinite hour where you’re not sure whether it’s very late at night or very early in the morning, and shouldn’t wake up until the time period known as the magic hour for photographers has long since past and all traces that there was something other than a giant ball of plasma in the sky have long since retreated.

But instead here I sit, half my body covered by a heavy-ish and very comfortable blanket writing into my blog, looking up and giggling a bit back when the word count was 420 when I last took a glance at it. I also had a coffee when I took the bath, so you would at least think the two would cancel out. But nope, I’m feeling very sleepy, even though I probably won’t actually stop staring at this screen until about 3am.

Writers life yo!


  1. Can’t remember why, probably something to do with my OCD. 
  2. What do you mean bubbles aren’t required? Of course they’re required! Who doesn’t have baths without bubbles. It’s like… a cardinal sin not to have them.