Categories > Games > Silent Hill > Survivor: Silent Hill

Episode 1: Part 3

by darsar 0 reviews

The conclusion of the first episode.

Category: Silent Hill - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Crossover - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2012-12-20 - Updated: 2012-12-21 - 8222 words


“All right, let’s see what we got here,” Cybil said as they got back to the hospital. They all entered the reception room, where there were a few desks with papers scattered across them. Dr. Kaufmann set down the Flauros—the symbol of the cult’s immunity from Assembly—on a nearby shelf and James put the toolbox on a table. He opened the toolbox, the heavy plastic fastener snapping loudly as he unlocked it. Inside was a coil of bright yellow nylon rope, a claw hammer, nails, a small hacksaw, screws and a screwdriver with various sizes of bits, a retractable razor, a roll of duct tape, and a pair of pliers.

James went through the box, taking things out and laying them out on the table as he went. He found some spare compartments inside the top of the lid. He opened them to find more screws and nails, but also a small scroll of paper.

“Huh?” James said. He unrolled the paper. The paper was covered in black shapes that looked like a foreign alphabet. It looked like someone had typed a message normally, then erased or rearranged portions of the letters, enough to make it illegible.

“Some kind of code?” James wondered aloud.

“It’s a clue,” Eileen said. “For the hidden immunity idol.”

“So does that mean James gets it?” Elle asked. “He found the clue, after all.”

“We should all get it,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “We won the box and its contents. It should belong to the cult. Think logically. If we find it together, we can use it against Alchemilla after the merge. Or we can scramble around and have one person get it, inevitably waste it, and then go into the merge with nothing.”

“He’s right,” Eileen said. “We’ll get farther if we use it as a group against Alchemilla than we will if one of us keeps it for ourselves.”

“Then it’s settled,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “We’ll look for it as a group and we’ll keep it as a group. James, put that back where you found it. We’ll look for it tomorrow.”

“Why? We should look for it now,” Cybil said. “Having the clue sitting around where just anyone could take it… it might not be there tomorrow.”

“You don’t trust us, Officer?” Vincent asked.

“Should I?” Cybil said. “A million dollars is a lot of money. I’ve seen people do worse for less.”

“I only suggested that we wait until tomorrow,” Dr. Kaufmann said, “because I am sick to death of being in total darkness all the time. Especially the middle of the damn day. I was actually looking forward to using these tools to tear all those wooden planks off the windows and opening the doors to let some light in here. It’d be nice to be able to see where the hell I’m going without needing a flashlight. If you want to keep stumbling around in the dark, then be my guest.”

“I hate being in the dark too,” Cybil said, “But the windows can wait. If you’re really serious about finding the idol as a group, then we should find it now.”

“Let’s put it to a vote,” Eileen said.

“A vote?” Dr. Kaufmann said. “This isn’t a damn democracy. We need to do what’s smart, not what everyone just feels like doing. ”

“And I think it’s smart to go after the idol now, rather than later,” Cybil said.

“You’re not thinking this all the way through,” Dr. Kaufmann said.

“Oh? What’s wrong with the way I’m thinking?” Cybil said.

“Who here wants to fix the windows first?” Eileen asked.

Lisa, Elle, James, and Eileen raised their hands. After a moment, Dr. Kaufmann raised his as well.

“And who thinks the idol should come first?” Eileen asked.

“This is stupid,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “It’s going to be a tie vote,”

Cybil, Vincent, Maria, and Douglas raised their hands. Walter stood in the corner, his arms crossed.

“Not voting, Walter?” Eileen asked.

“I don’t mind the dark,” Walter said. “And I don’t care about the idol. I vote neither.”

“Well, I guess that’s five to four in favor of the windows then,” Eileen said. “You should be happy, Dr. Kaufmann. You got what you wanted.”

“I’ll be happy when this is all over,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “We can put the clue in one of the storerooms and then barricade the door shut. That should make it hard, if not impossible, for someone to sneak off with it.”

It’s dumb of us to be going for the windows first. With the clue in hand and all of us working together, we could have gotten the idol in hardly any time at all. Then we’d have the rest of the day to get started on the windows. But the windows are going to take all the rest of today, which means that we’ll have to wait until tomorrow. And mark my words, either the clue or the idol itself won’t be in its spot come tomorrow morning.

I thought Cybil was one of the smarter ones in our group and that she’d be able to recognize that I was setting a trap. I want someone to try to steal the clue. Obviously, I’m going to catch them and then the person dumb enough to fall for it will be an easy target at future Cult Assemblies. But I can’t come out and say this, or else the trap won’t work. So I end up looking irrational when I can’t justify my argument.

Furthermore, even if the culprit gets away with it, we’ll know that it was stolen when we go to look for it and find it to be missing. And after that, how long can the thief remain hidden? In either case, the fool will be caught. It’s perfect. Hopefully Cybil didn’t ruin all of this with her big mouth.


“Eddie’s gotta be the first to go,” Travis said. He and Alex were on the third floor storeroom. They’d told the others that they were searching for supplies—and they were—but mostly they wanted to discuss strategy.

“I was thinking the same thing,” Alex said. “He’s the weakest here, and the most obnoxious.”

“Amen to that.” Travis opened a box. Inside, it was full of files and folders. He sorted through them, glancing at the headers, looking for anything interesting.

“Really, I think this is an easy vote,” Alex said. “I think we can count on just about everyone to go along with this. No one likes the guy, he’s doesn’t help out, and he’s so out of shape. He has to go.”

“Right. We just need to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Someone might get it in their head to try something crazy at Assembly. We can’t let that happen.”

“Yeah, no, I know what you’re saying.”

“I know we can count on Henry’s vote, for sure.”

“Why’s that?”

“Did Henry say anything to you about last night?” Travis asked.


“Eddie kept screamin’ and hollerin’ in his sleep. Henry was up all night.”

“That sucks...”

“Eddie’s a nuisance. Henry’ll probably vote him out just for the sake of getting a good night’s sleep.”

“I know I would.”

“Same here,” Travis said. “So his vote is pretty sure too.”

“I’m willing to bet everyone who didn’t lag behind during the walk to the hospital on day one would vote for Eddie,” Alex said.

“I’d say that sounds about right. Just so we know, who all did we leave behind yesterday? It was… Eddie, those girls umm…

“Angela and Dahlia,” Alex said.

“Right. And Harry. Which confuses me, because Harry did well on the challenge. Why would he pretend he couldn’t keep up with the rest of us?”

“That is weird, yeah. Maybe he’s trying to win friends with them. Start an alliance.”

“You think so?” Travis said.

“Maybe. He seems smarter than that though,” Alex said, “An alliance with Eddie… not really a bright move.”

“Ha, no, not bright at all.”

“Let’s just talk to people,” Alex said. “I really don’t think this is as complicated as we’re making it out to be. Everyone is probably going to vote Eddie anyway.”

“Good point.” Travis put a box back on the shelf. “Well, there’s nothing here. Let’s go back with the others.”

Alex is a good guy. We have a lot in common and he’s the only one here that I really feel I can trust. I wouldn’t mind going to the final three with him. Not just because I like him and I trust him, but because I think I can beat him. He’s a nice guy and all, but I am here to win, after all. He might have an edge on me physically, but I think I have an edge mentally. And I think brains counts for more on Survivor.

“You’re making a mistake, guys,” Harry said. He, Alex, Travis, and Henry were in the third floor storage room. Alex and Travis had tried to only invite Henry up so that they could talk to him, but Harry had overheard and joined up with them. “Dahlia is the real threat. The longer she’s here, the more damage she’ll do. She’s a manipulator and a liar.”

“I met her awhile ago,” Travis said, “And she does seem a few snakes short of the Garden of Eden, I’ll give you that. But Eddie… Eddie just has to go. We’ll never win a challenge as long as he’s in the group.”

“You don’t know what Dahlia is capable of,” Harry said. “She’s the leader of the cult. Not this cult, Alchemilla, but the real one. The ones who are responsible for the way Silent Hill is. You can’t sit there and tell me that the woman responsible for all of this,” Harry gestured at the walls around him, which were flaking and peeling, “is less of a threat than a whiny fat guy. She manipulates people and gets them to follow her blindly as part of her job description. She’ll do the same here.”

“That whiny fat guy may have cost us the first challenge,” Travis said. “I don’t know everything about what’s behind Silent Hill’s origins and I’m not sure I care. I care about winning this game and that’s something we’ll never do with Eddie on the team.”

“And hey, seriously,” Henry said, “If you want him to stay so badly, then you can bunk up with him tonight.”

“Exactly,” Travis said. “Look, I don’t trust Dahlia either—”

“So vote for her!” Harry said.

“—But we can catch her next time. Dahlia may not be the biggest help around the camp, but I can live with her for another three, six, nine days, however long until the next Assembly. I can’t say that about Eddie. He has to go first.”

Harry crossed his arms. “…Fine. But Dahlia’s after that, okay? You have to believe me. She’s poison.”

“So we can count on your vote?” Alex asked.

“I’ll put down Eddie’s name this one time,” Harry said, “But no matter what, no matter what, I’m writing Dahlia’s name down the next Assembly after that. I don’t care if I’m the only one who does. I will vote for her at every Cult Assembly until she’s gone.”

“Fair enough,” Travis said. Harry nodded and walked out of the storage room.

“What do you make of that?” Alex asked.

“Well…” Travis said, “It’s pretty clear now that Harry lag behind in the beginning to get an alliance with Dahlia, that’s for sure.”

I’m not sure what I think about Harry. He’s been a great help around the hospital and he seems like a decent guy, but something’s off about him. He also has these really weird pauses after his sentences… Like this… I don’t know if you guys ever noticed… But I have.

It gets on my nerves.

“Whispers abound, Eddie,” Dahlia said. She and Eddie had stepped outside the hospital, unable to find a safe place where they could talk anywhere within the confines of the building. They stood in the hospital’s front yard, in the empty middle space formed by the U-shaped building.

“Huh?” Eddie said. “Whispers what?”

“Already they are plotting against you, Eddie,” Dahlia said. “Can you not feel their animosity? The air grows thick with their scheming.”

“I knew it!” Eddie said. “Travis and Alex, right? They’re the ones talkin’ behind my back. Always have been!”

“Now, now, Eddie, calm yourself or else they will hear you. Always they are listening. Even now.”

“Yeah, I know their type. Always watchin’ you when you ain’t looking. Goin’ through your stuff when you ain’t around. Laughin’ about you behind your back. That’s what they do.”

“Yes, deception is their very nature. It defines them. Without it, they are sheep without a shepherd. They have no inkling as to how to behave like civilized humans. They are but animals.”

“So what am I gonna do, huh? They’re gonna vote me out! An’ I can’t do nothin’ about it.”

“Trust in me, Eddie,” Dahlia said. “Trust in me, and we will prevail.”

“…Okay. So I trust you. Now what?”

“You must do two things, Eddie. At Assembly, vote for Alex. Can you do that?”

“Hell yeah, I can! That’s easy!”

“Second, you must not speak to anyone concerning your vote. Do not try to plead your case or defend yourself. Nor should you strike back against your oppressors. Speak not to a soul.”

“What? Why?”

“Trust me, Eddie. You must trust me.”

“I…” Eddie paused. “Okay. I trust you, Dahlia. I’ll vote for Alex and I won’t say nothin’. Then he goes home, right?”

“Yes. Do not be alarmed if you garner votes at the Cult Assembly. He and his cronies will surely vote for you. This I cannot change. But in the end, the final word shall be yours and you will see him cast out of the cult. Trust me, Eddie.”

“I trust you,” Eddie said.

As the spring season comes over the land, the wise farmer concerns himself not with thoughts of harvest, but with thoughts of planting. For he knows that harvest comes only through his labors, and that he may feast only after he has starved. It may seem that I have little cause to hope so early in this game, but such observations are foolish. I know the season, and this be the season the wise farmer plants the seeds of doubt.

Heather and Mary were alone in the second floor ladies’ restroom. Their voices echoed slightly against the cracked porcelain tiles.

“Seems like everyone’s gunning for Eddie,” Heather said.

“Are you?” Mary asked.

“Probably. I can’t think of a good reason to fight the majority right now. And it’s not like Eddie and me are best buds.”

“But sometimes on this show, that’s the only time you get to make a big move.”

Heather smiled. “Mary, are you planning a big move? Something I should know about?”

“Planning? No. Just keeping my options open.”

“Let’s say you were planning a big move,” Heather said. She pulled herself up and sat on the edge of one of the sinks, her legs dangling over the edge. “Who would you go after?”

“I think…” Mary said. She chose her words carefully. “I think that we’ll have to do something about Travis and Alex eventually. Maybe not this time around, but eventually.”

“I was thinking that too,” Heather said. “But they’re good in challenges.”

“That only goes so far,” Mary said. “And after the merge, that becomes a dangerous quality to have.”

“Right, right.”

“But that’s just speculation for now. I don’t think I’m planning any big moves for the moment.”

“If you ever are,” Heather said, “Planning big moves, I mean. You’d tell me, right?”

“You’ll be the first to know.”

The two ladies exited the restroom. They weren’t more than a few steps away when they heard the elevator coming down from the third floor. They chose to head in that direction and see who it was. Henry, Alex, and Travis stepped out from the elevator.

“Oh, good, we were looking for you,” Travis said. “We were just wondering what you ladies were thinking about.”

“Well, we could ask you the same thing,” Mary said. She still carried around the sketchbook that Henry had given her. It was already full of detailed drawings of every room and floor of the hospital, as well as a few charts showing the cult’s supplies and the figures the cult had used to determine how to ration the food.

“Heh, if you wanna play it like that,” Travis said. “It’s Eddie for us. Seems like a no-brainer.”

“Seems pretty obvious, yes,” Mary said.

“I know Harry’s on board too,” Travis said. “So if you two vote Eddie, then that’s six votes and he’s gone. But we’re still talking to everyone. We’re gonna see if we can’t make this a unanimous vote.”

“I understand,” Mary said. “Unity in the cult. Make a strong showing on this first vote. Prove that we’re all together on this. Makes sense.”

“So you’re in?” Alex asked.

“I’m in,” Heather said.

“Me too,” Mary said.

“Great,” Henry said. “Maybe this will be easy after all.”

“Damn, I sure hope so,” Travis said.

Voting Eddie out makes sense as far as making it peaceful and quiet around the hospital, and maybe cutting out the weakest member is a good idea. But I’m not exactly Wonder Woman either, and if Travis, Alex, and Henry have an alliance and are eliminating the physically weak, then how long before it’s my name that comes up in their discussions? I don’t want to side with Eddie, but at the same time, I don’t think those guys have my best interests in mind either.


As Cybil had predicted, working on the windows had taken the entirety of the rest of the day, leaving no time to search for the hidden immunity idol. To keep anyone from stealing the clue in the middle of the night, the cult had moved it to a shelf in the examination room on the third floor—right across the hall from where everyone slept. They then barricaded the door with heavy boxes, crates, and a few rusty bed frames that screeched in protest whenever they were moved.

Dr. Kaufmann thought this arrangement was perfect. The clue was sealed up well enough to draw the others into a sense of security, but weak enough to tempt a potential thief. He went to bed feeling confident that the morning would find either the clue or the idol gone from its position. And from there it was only a matter of time.

At far end of the hall, where no one was likely to wander, Walter stood and waited. Like Dr. Kaufmann, he was sure that, despite the elaborate trap the cult had set up, someone was guaranteed to make a try for the clue. The immunity idol rested in his pocket, rendering the clue invalid. Come morning, they would find the idol missing and immediately suspect a thief. From there on, it would be difficult for him to maintain possession of the idol. He stood in the darkness, waiting for someone to try to steal the clue, so that he could find a scapegoat to pass the blame onto.

He did not expect any bold moves in the first hour, but as the second hour came and went, he grew impatient. With no alarm clocks or other reliable ways to rouse themselves, it was hard for one or more people to wake up early enough to remove the barricade, solve the clue, find the idol, and return everything to where it was without someone noticing. If there was a thief in Brookhaven, they would need to act soon.

When the third hour approached, Walter gave up. The others had been complaining of nightmares and fitful sleep. It was very unlikely that any of them had the commitment or the energy to lose nearly half a night of sleep after having one already terrible night. Walter was about to return to his room when he was struck with a better idea.

As quietly as he could, he walked down the hall, past the rooms of his sleeping teammates, and down the stairs. The tools were laid out on the table in the reception room. He grabbed the retractable knife and stepped outside the hospital and into the cool night air.


“Okay, I suppose now’s a good time to show you,” Harry said. “I haven’t seen anyone else try this, so I guess I’m the only one who knows about it.”

He and Heather were in the first floor hallway. It was still early in the morning and only a few of the others had woken up. Harry was a lifelong early riser—a trait that was exacerbated by his recent nightmares—so it was little effort for him to be among the first to wake up. He had gone to Heather’s room, roused her, and brought her down to the first floor with him. Heather was still shuffling her feet dully and rubbing her eyes as Harry brought her to the elevator.

“I hope this works,” Harry said, pushing the button for the second floor.
It took a second for Heather to catch on. “Wait,” she said. “We just came from the second floor.”

“Trust me,” Harry said, winking. When the elevator arrived, Harry stepped out. He told Heather to wait in the elevator as he turned left towards the closed double doors perpendicular to the elevator’s entrance. The doors had once been locked, until the cult pried the door open with a crowbar, warping the doors and damaging the frame. The doors could easily be pushed open now, but instead of doing that, Harry stepped up to them and turned the knobs, which were jammed and would not turn completely. He then returned to the elevator.

“What are you doing?” Heather asked.

“Hopefully… something really cool,” Harry said. He pushed the button for the third floor. “But it might not work because of the doors. And there are a lot of other reasons it might not work. So really, this is a long shot.”

They arrived at the third floor and Harry once again had Heather wait in the elevator while he went and checked the double doors to the left of the elevator’s entrance, which were identical to the ones on the second floor. After he turned the knobs, he came back to the elevator.

“Haha!” he said. “The old man has a few tricks up his sleeve!”

“What?” Heather asked. “Did you get hit on the head or something?”

“Check out the buttons on the elevator.”

Heather looked. At first she saw nothing unusual, until she noticed a button with the number “4” written on it.

“There’s no fourth floor,” Heather said. “… Is there?”

“Let’s find out, shall we?” Harry asked, pushing the button. The elevator rose a full floor, passing through where the roof should have been. The doors opened, revealing another full floor of the hospital. This secret fourth floor was warped and twisted like the hospital at night time, with blood staining the walls and metal grating on the floor.

“Holy __!” Heather said. “How’d you know about this?”

“I came to Alchemilla during my trip to Silent Hill with you. Or, Cheryl, actually. You-before-you.”

“How did you figure this out?”

“Hey, hey, give me some credit. It was all brains and logical thinking and—okay, I confess. I just wandered around aimlessly for a long time and happened upon it by accident. But that counts for something, right?”

“Should we check it out?” Heather asked.

“I don’t think so. People are going to start waking up soon, and they’ll be wondering where we are if we’re gone. And I don’t think we’re up on the chopping block for Assembly tonight, so why take a big risk? I just wanted to show you this now so that in the future, if nothing else, we can have someplace private where we can talk. And who knows? Maybe there’ll be something here that can give us an advantage.”

“Yeah, makes sense,” Heather said. “Does the button for the fourth floor disappear once we go back down?”

“Oh… Damn… I didn’t think of that,” Harry said. “It wouldn’t be much of a secret hideout if everyone knew about, now would it? Damn it. I really thought I was on to something here.”

“No, it’s okay. It’s still great to have this, even if everyone else finds the button too. Good job, Dad.”

“Thanks, Heather,” Harry said. He put an arm around her shoulder and hugged her. With his free hand, he pushed the button for the first floor. The elevator arrived and the two stepped out and allowed the door to close. They opened the elevator doors and stepped back inside. The button for the fourth floor had disappeared.

“Yes!” Heather and Harry cheered.

Ever since I had my own nightmarish trip to Silent Hill, I’ve known that my dad had been here, years ago. But it never really sank in until now. He’s been to Silent Hill before, he knows what it’s like. He was running around in the dark with a flashlight, solving riddles and fighting monsters just like I was. Knowing that really brought me closer to him. This town, horrible as it is, is a big part of both of our pasts. We’ve both been through it and survived. And now…

Now we…

We can…

“Breakfast time,” Travis said. The entire cult was gathered in the second floor intensive care room. The box of beef jerky was in Travis’s hands as he handed out everyone’s ration. The cult had brought in chairs from the various offices around the hospital and put them in the storage area, making it into something of a dining room.

“Today’s special—” he said, dropping a measured bag of beef jerky into Henry’s hands. “—is beef jerky. With a side of beef jerky.”

“I’m sorry,” Alex said when he received his ration, “But I ordered my beef jerky rare.”

“My apologies, sir,” Travis said, taking a deep bow. “I’ll tell the chef immediately.” Travis pretended to exchange the bag for another. “I hope this is more to your liking,” he said, handing Alex the same portion back again.

“Why thank you. It looks delicious,” Alex said.

“My compliments to the chef,” Harry said, gnawing on a hunk of jerky.

“This jerky is just divine,” Mary said. “How did you get it to so perfectly match the flavor and texture of shoe leather?”

“Trade secret I’m afraid,” Travis said, sitting down with a portion of his own beef jerky.

“I understand,” Mary said.

“Yeah, yeah, ha ha,” Eddie muttered, loud enough for everyone to hear. He pulled his bandanna off his face so that he could eat. He shoved his entire portion—which amounted to little more than a handful—into his mouth and pulled his bandanna back over his face. “Laugh all you want,” he said, chewing loudly, “But we still got Assembly tonight and one a ya __holes is getting’ sent off. So yuk it up while ya still can. Cause ya won’t be laughin’ when you get sent home.”

He stood and left the room.

There was silence for a time as everyone finished their rations. Dahlia finished hers and stood up.

“Henry, dear,” she said. “Might I speak with you privately?”

Henry stopped chewing. “Uh…” he looked around at the others. “Uh… sure?”

He got to his feet and followed after Dahlia. As he left the room, he gave a confused glance backwards at Travis and Alex. Travis motioned him to continue following.

Dahlia led him to the staircase at the end of the hall. She closed the door behind them.

“So… what’s up?” Henry asked.

“It interests me greatly to know who you plan on voting for tonight,” Dahlia said.

“Oh, Eddie,” Henry said. “Everyone’s voting Eddie. Didn’t we tell you? I thought we told everyone. Except Eddie though. We didn’t tell him, obviously.”

“Yes, yes, you told me to vote for Eddie, but that is not the same as saying that you plan to vote for him as well.”

“Oh… I do. I’m going to. Yeah.”

“Good, that is good,” Dahlia said. “Quite the bothersome fly, isn’t he?”

“Yeah. He’s just… he should go.”

“I agree with all my heart. Run along now. I am satisfied.”

“Uh… okay,” Henry said. He returned to the intensive care room/dining room and sat next to Alex and Travis. The rest of the cult, excluding Dahlia and Eddie, were also still in the room.

“What’d she say?” Alex asked.

“She just…” Henry shrugged. “…Asked me who I was voting for. I said Eddie and she said that’s what she was gonna do too. That’s it.”

“Huh,” Travis said. “Weird.”

I have no idea what’s going on. I thought the vote was really simple. Everyone votes Eddie because no one likes him. But I guess there was some confusion here somewhere. Maybe we weren’t clear enough? But then, how do you get any clearer than, “Vote for Eddie tonight?” I don’t know. Maybe Dahlia’s a little slow. I hope so. I don’t think I’m very good at this game, and it’d be nice if everyone else was as bad as me.

“Voting for Eddie would be a mistake,” Claudia said. She and Angela were in the ladies’ restroom on the second floor. They stood in front of the sinks. Claudia watched Angela’s reflection. Angela stared at the floor, her one arm rubbing the other.

“I-I just want to go along with the others,” Angela said. “I don’t want to make anyone mad at me.”

“And they shall come for you next. Honestly, Angela, I tell you this for your own good. Travis and Alex are forming a strong alliance and they shall gain total control of this game. But now, and only now, we have the numbers to counter them.”

“… We do?”

“Yes. Mary has masterminded a brilliant plan with myself, Eddie, Dahlia, and Henry. If we had you on our side, we would have six votes of ten, enough to take control of the game away from Alex and Travis.

“…Mary masterminded…?”

“Indeed. Have you not heard her speak of the game? She is an avid follower of the show and has a great deal of strategy. She knows that if we allow Alex and Travis to set a precedent today, that precedent will overshadow every vote of ours between now and the merge.”
“A precedent? I’m… not sure I follow.”

“They want to have a cult ruled by physical power, caring nothing for the strengths of the mind. If you do not believe that I speak the truth, recall only our challenge. Were not Eddie and Alex on the same team?”

“Um… yeah. They were.”

“And they dug up two graves and were incorrect both times. As a team, they failed. Yet Alex has borne none of the blame for this, instead passing the burden of guilt down to Eddie. Alex’s mental failure has been lost in the storm of Eddie’s physical failure. Do you see?”

“I… I think so.”

“Believe me when I tell you that we want you here with us until the very end. Alex and Travis may promise you safety for today, but how long will you get such assurances from them?”

Angela didn’t answer.

“No need to make up your mind yet. If you choose to cast your lot with Travis and Alex, trusting on their mercy to save you, then vote for Eddie. But if anything I have said has cast doubt on their intentions, and I hope this is true, then vote for Alex. You need not speak a word to anyone. We will know your answer when the votes have been cast.”

With that, Claudia strode out of the bathroom, leaving Angela alone with her thoughts.


“Well, that’s disappointing,” Dr. Kaufmann muttered to himself. No one else heard him. The barricade in front of the door of the examination room appeared to be completely untouched. When Brookhaven had cleared aside all the boxes and junk and checked inside, the found the clue exactly where they’d left it.

“All right,” Cybil said, taking the clue. She unrolled it for everyone to see.

“Oh, you know what?” Vincent said. “It looks like a substitution cypher. One symbol stands for another, you know?”

“You think so?” Cybil asked.

“Here,” Vincent said. “Let me. I used to do these all the time in the daily newspaper.” He pulled out a small pencil from his breast pocket and got to work. It took him a few guesses and eraser marks to get going, but once her figured out a few of the letters, he gathered momentum and finished the puzzle in only a couple of minutes.

“Ha!” he said, raising the puzzle up. “It reads, ‘To find the seal, walk a hallway. To find a hallway, seek a door. To find a door, wait for nightfall.’”

“We have to wait until nighttime and then look for a door?” Dr. Kaufmann asked.

“It appears so, yes,” Vincent said.

“Let me see that,” Dr. Kaufmann said. He snatched the clue out of Vincent’s hands and looked it over. “…Yeah, it looks all right.”

“You thought I solved it incorrectly?” Vincent asked.

“Just checking,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “I guess there’s nothing we can do until tonight. Let’s finish opening these windows.”


The members of Alchemilla Cult traveled by boat to an island in the middle of Toluca Lake, circled in red on their map. The island was small and could be easily missed, were it not for the beacon of light that cut through the town’s fog and guided them to their destination. Only a small church and a few trees were on the island. The cult beached their boat and entered the church.

Inside, Joseph was on the pulpit, only his upper body emerging from the floor. Two long pews were pushed together in front of him. Between the pulpit and the pews there was a wide hole cut in the floor where a fire pit had been built. A small but very hot flame crackled in the fire pit. Behind the pews were ten unlit torches, placed in small stands to ensure that they remained in place and upright. Next to Joseph was a large, rusty baptismal font, filled to the brim with clear water.

“Come in,” Joseph said. “Grab a torch, get fire.”

Each of the ten cult members grabbed a torch and dipped the ends into the fire pit.

“In this game,” Joseph said, “fire represents life. As long as you have fire, you’re still alive.”

The ten cult members took their lit torches and returned them to the stands behind the pews before they all took a seat. The fire pit, combined with the ten torches, quickly raised the temperature of the small, cramped church. Within minutes, all the members of Alchemilla Cult were sweating and uncomfortable. Joseph seemed unaffected.

“Welcome to your first Cult Assembly,” Joseph said. “So let’s get right to it. Travis, why do you think Alchemilla failed yesterday’s challenge?”

“Too many mistakes, plain and simple,” Travis said. “Too much time digging up empty graves.”

“So you think if you’d spent more time on the riddles, like Brookhaven did, you would have fared better?”

“Definitely. We were still pretty close, even with the mistakes, so one more right answer in the beginning and we wouldn’t be here.”

“That’s probably true,” Joseph said, “Isn’t it also true that you and Heather were the only team of two to not have any bad digs? Both of your guesses were correct, if I recall correctly.”

“Yeah, that’s true.”

“So when you say that too many bad digs cost you the challenge, and knowing that you didn’t have bad digs, you’re essentially saying that it was the rest of the team’s fault, not yours.”

“Well… I… wouldn’t put it that way,” Travis said.

“What other way would you put it? You said it yourself, ‘too many mistakes.’ Who else had mistakes?”

Travis smiled and shook his head. “What I should of said was, our gameplan was to spread out and take as many graves as possible and try to out-dig Brookhaven and spend only the bare minimum on the riddles. I signed off on this plan too, just like everyone else, and the plan was a mistake. And that’s what cost the challenge. We were betting on them having a few mistakes of their own, but they didn’t.”

“But the gameplan you had would have worked if there hadn’t been any mistakes.”

“We could have had a better gameplan, is what I’m saying. Then there wouldn’t have been any mistakes.”

“I see,” Joseph said. “Heather, you were teamed up with Travis for the challenge. What are your thoughts? Was it a failure of planning, like Travis said just now, or a failure of execution, like Travis said a few minutes ago?”

“Neither really,” Heather said. “I think we did pretty well.”

“But you lost. That’s not ‘pretty well’ by anyone’s definition.”

“Yeah, but Brookhaven went four-for-four on the digs. Even when you think about how much time they spent on the riddles, there has to be some insane amount of luck in there somewhere.”

“So it was a matter of luck? Brookhaven had it and you didn’t?”

“Luck couldn’t hurt,” Heather said.

“But this really wasn’t a luck-based challenge, was it? You either solved the riddles or you didn’t. Brookhaven went four-for-four, you and Travis went two-for-two, so why do you think the other two digging teams couldn’t match your success?”

“Those riddles were really vague,” Heather said. “Travis and I were never one hundred percent on any of our digs, even though we ended up being right. Honestly, I was surprised that we were right both times.”

“I see,” Joseph said. “Let’s move on. Mary, you seem to have been elected the official cult cartographer.”

Mary chuckled. “Yeah, I guess so.”

“So tell me what life is like at hospital,” Joseph said. “Everyone getting along, despite the loss?”

“I’d say so,” Mary said. “Like Heather and Travis said, we can’t really blame anyone for that loss, so there’s no tension because of that. We’re still in the process of getting to know one another, but we seem to be getting along all right.”

“All right. Eddie. Do you share Mary’s opinion? Everything hunky-dory at camp?”

__ no it ain’t!” Eddie said. “Everyone blames me for the loss.”

“Oh? They do?” Joseph asked.

“Yeah! I can tell. The way they’re always lookin’ at me. They’re all blamin’ me. But you heard ‘em say it yourself! We lost cause of the riddles and it was Alex who was doin’ all the riddles, not me. So he’s the one who should get voted off, not me.”

“I did all the riddles,” Alex said, “And all the digging. You could have sat off to the side and it wouldn’t have mattered either way.”

“See?” Eddie said. “It’s his fault! He admits it!”

“No, I only admit that you didn’t do a damn thing,” Alex said. “You’re not contributing to the group at all, in challenges or back at the hospital.”

“Eddie’s not pulling his weight?” Joseph asked.

“What did you say about my weight?” Eddie screamed. “What did you say?”

“And he does this too!” Alex said. “He’s not helping, and when you point that out, he goes ballistic. Every time.”

“You shut up!” Eddie said. “You just shut the __ up! What do you know?”

“I know how to be quiet,” Alex said.

“So, Eddie,” Joseph said, “You seem to be making the argument that you can’t be blamed for the cult’s loss, because you didn’t pick any bad graves, by virtue of the fact that you didn’t pick any of the graves to begin with.”

“Um… yeah, I guess,” Eddie said.

“And Alex, you seem to be saying that you’d rather guess and be wrong than sit by idly and be right.”


“So Mary, I ask you again. How’s things at camp?”

“This is the first big outburst I’ve seen, Joseph,” Mary said. “I wasn’t expecting this.”

“But this kind of anger, this outburst, it doesn’t just come from nowhere. Surely this must have been building for awhile?”

“If it was,” Mary said, “I didn’t see it.”

“Let’s change the subject,” Joseph said, “Angela, we haven’t heard much from you, either at camp, during the challenge, or here at Cult Assembly. What’s your story?”

“Um… my… my story?”

“Yes, what can you tell us about yourself?”

“Oh um… there’s nothing really to tell.”


“Not… really.”

“No major life experiences, no adventures, nothing?”


“How old are you, Angela?”


“So then let me ask you,” Joseph said, “You’ve been alive for nineteen years and you apparently haven’t done anything noteworthy in all that time. What makes you think you deserve to be on Survivor? Why should you win? Why are you even here?”

“Oh… umm… I just… well… I came here…”


“I wanted… I don’t know… to do something.”

“You’ve never had any big adventures, so you thought you’d change that by coming to this show?”


“Fair enough. Dahlia!”

“Yes?” Dahlia said.

“I know it’s still early, but have you seen any alliances forming? Any strategizing?”

“If there be plots in Alchemilla, they stir only in the hearts of individuals, not in their mouths.”

“No one’s said anything to you then?”

“Not a word, child.”

“Okay. Last question before we get to the vote,” Joseph said. “Harry. What’s it like to be back in Silent Hill?”

“Horrible,” Harry said. “But I didn’t expect anything less.”

“Horrible because...?”

Harry gestured at the dilapidated walls, the peeling paint, the dripping pipes, the rust and filth and grime.

“Do I need to elaborate?” Harry asked.

“Not your first choice for home décor then?”

“No. Nor my second, or third, or five millionth.”

“All right, time to decide,” Joseph said. “You’ll all get a chance to cast your vote for who you want off the cult. I’ll remind you that whoever is voted off will not be eliminated, but will be sent to the Water Prison, where they will be given a chance to return to the game at some point. All right, let’s vote. Claudia, you’re up.”

Claudia rose from the pew and strode across the church to a small confessional booth. Inside, where the priest’s booth was divided from the other by a screen, was a small ledge with a stack of large rectangular papers, a pen, and a clay jar with a lid. Claudia wrote the name of her choice down, folded it in half, and put it in the jar.

One by one, all the cult members cast their votes. When they were done, Joseph said, “All right, I’ll tally the votes.”

Joseph moved to the confessional booth, gliding along the floor. He never rose out of the ground higher than his elbows. He entered the confessional and closed the door. He returned a short while later with the jar in his hand.

“If anyone here has a hidden immunity idol and you wish to play it, now would be the time,” Joseph said.

No one moved.

“Okay. All votes are final. The person voted out will be asked to leave the Cult Assembly area immediately. First vote…”

He pulled a name out of the jar, unfolded it, and showed it to the group.


Eddie swore.

“Second vote… Eddie. That’s two votes Eddie.”

“Oh, what the?” Eddie said.

“Third vote… Alex. That’s two votes Eddie, one vote Alex.”

Alex looked confused. He glanced at Travis. Travis discreetly pointed at Eddie. Alex nodded.

“Fourth vote… Eddie. That’s three votes Eddie, one vote Alex.”

He pulled another name out of the jar.

“Fifth vote… Alex. That’s three votes Eddie, two votes Alex.”

Alex looked at Travis again. This time, Travis just shrugged.

“Sixth vote… Alex. We’re tied, three votes Eddie, three votes Alex.”

Joseph pulled another name out of the jar.

“Seventh vote… Eddie. Four votes Eddie, three for Alex.”

Alex chewed his lip nervously. Eddie kept balling and unballing his fists. His striped blue t-shirt was soaked with sweat around the neck and armpits.

“Eighth vote… Alex. We’re tied again, four votes Eddie, four votes Alex.”

Alex shook his head in disbelief.

“Ninth vote… Eddie. Five votes Eddie, four votes Alex, one vote left.”

Joseph deliberately paused to allow tension to build up.

“Just read it, already,” Eddie said. “I know I lost.”

Joseph reached into the jar and grabbed the final vote. He opened it and read it.

“The tenth vote, and the first person voted out of Alchemilla Cult…”

He turned the paper around so the cult could clearly read the result.

“Eddie,” Joseph said.

“Yeah, __ you,” Eddie said. “__ all of you.”

“Eddie, bring me your torch,” Joseph said. Eddie stomped his feet and turned around, yanking his torch out of the stand and stomping over to Joseph.

“Eddie, the cult has spoken,” Joseph said. On cue, Eddie doused his torch in the water of the baptismal font. He pulled it out, dripping, and turned to scowl at the rest of the cult.

“But you will have a chance to reenter the game,” Joseph said. “Go to the Water Prison and await your first challenger. Take your torch.”

Eddie stepped down from the pulpit.

“Yeah, I’ll be back,” he said. “I’ll be back and you __ers will regret it.”

He stomped across the church to a small service door on the side wall. He kicked the door open and shouted, “I’ll be back!” The door slammed closed behind him.

“I’ll be back,” Henry said, in a lame Terminator impersonation.

“This first vote sends a clear message,” Joseph said, “Alchemilla Cult does not tolerate laziness, rudeness, or weakness. Step up, help the cult, or face the Water Prison. Grab your torches.”

The remaining nine members of Alchemilla cult stood up, grabbed their respective torches, and returned to their boat.

Dahlia spoke to me a couple of times about the idea of voting Alex off, so I knew his name would probably come up a few times. She told me how Travis and Alex were forming a powerful physical alliance that needed to be broken up before it got a stranglehold on the game, and that made a lot of sense to me. To be honest, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure who I was going to vote for until only a few hours before Assembly.

In the end, I decided that I don’t think I’m weak. Dahlia said that they’ll start picking off the weak members of the team, but to vote against Alex would basically be the same as admitting that I am one of those weak people who are facing elimination. And I’m not. And I’m going to show it.

Furthermore, if me and my husband James, in Brookhaven Cult, both make it through to the merge, then we’ll have an automatic alliance with each other. No one else knows that about me. Just you watch; I’m only going to get stronger as this game goes along.
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