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Silence of the Hills

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  1. Chapter 12 – The Girl in Red
  3. The door to Scottrick’s room creaked open and Ranon peeked inside.
  4. It was a stereotypical boys’ room, with random cords and articles thrown about.
  5. The walls were covered in posters, one of which was wilting.
  6. Out of personal compulsion or respect for the dead, Ranon decided to fix it.
  7. Picking up the hanging edge, he noticed it was a “Boondocks Saints” poster, and then noticed a thick black line on the wall.
  8. Instead of hanging the poster back up, Ranon carefully took the whole thing down.
  10. In thick black marker, someone had written, “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PATIENT 67?”
  11. Suspicious, Ranon took down another poster, and another, until Scott Pilgrim, Blink 182, and other favorites carpeted the floor.
  15. Scribbled on the wall in blood.
  17. Ranon stepped back to get a better look.
  18. He felt his heel hit something, and a clattering sound followed.
  19. The Ring, The Grudge, The Blair Witch Project, The Exorcist, Shutter, Paranormal Activity…
  20. Ranon had no idea Scott was such a horror movie fan.
  21. He looked around for a DVD player.
  22. Scott MUST have one in his room…
  24. There was a thick, black, box-like machine on Scott’s desk.
  25. Ranon hit what he suspected was the power button and the machine whirred to life.
  26. An unseen projector lit a square on the wall above.
  27. “_ _-_ _ _” appeared on the screen.
  28. Ranon searched under the desk and pulled out a keyboard.
  29. He hit a number.
  31. Nothing happened.
  32. “S-C-O-T-T”
  33. The screen read “SC-_ _ _”
  34. The password must be two letters and three numbers.
  35. Ranon hit the backspace.
  36. “S” for “Scott,” “G” for “Gidding,” 7 is his favorite number…
  38. “SG-777”
  39. The screen flashed red.
  40. “Incorrect password”
  41. Ranon stroked his invisible beard in deep thought.
  42. Scott went by the last name “Connolly” on Facebook.
  43. “SC-777”
  45. “Incorrect password”
  46. This was impossible.
  47. Ranon didn’t remember the mathematical formula for calculating how many possible codes there were, but he knew there were a shit ton of them.
  48. He was about to give up, when he spotted Scott’s collection of Halo books.
  49. He pulled one from its shelf and flipped it open.
  50. How obvious!
  52. “JS-117”
  53. The screen let out a soft green glow.
  54. When it was done loading, there was only one icon: the bust of a dark-haired girl in red, labeled “Cortana.”
  55. Ranon clicked on it.
  56. The machine began to rumble.
  57. Ranon stepped back.
  59. A hollow stream of light cut through the darkness.
  60. In it, was a girl.
  61. Ranon inspected her, carefully.
  62. She was a tiny little thing.
  63. Kinda pretty, kinda cute.
  64. Not as pretty as Madeline, though.
  66. Ranon realized who this was and felt a little ashamed.
  67. He had expected her to look a little more… deranged.
  68. She was asleep, lying perfectly on thin air, bobbing gently up and down.
  69. She was blue, and little white lines of light separated her body into a 3D graph.
  70. Finally, the cooling unit kicked in and the machine began to hum.
  71. The floating girl turned slowly upright and sank to the floor.
  73. When her feet touched down, she opened her eyes.
  74. Maybe it was the light, but she had a soft, gentle aura.
  75. She looked around the room in confusion, finally spotting Ranon, who had stumbled backwards onto the bed.
  76. Her first words were, “You’re not Scott…”
  77. She sounded surprised, not disappointed, not angry, just confused.
  78. Ranon pulled himself together.
  80. “Oh, yes, I’m--…”
  81. “You must be Ranon Cox.”
  82. Ranon smiled.
  83. “Funny name, right?”
  84. “Oh, I’ve heard worse.”
  85. Her voice was genuine, kind.
  87. “Like what?” Ranon asked.
  88. The girl’s pupils wandered to the upper left quadrants of her eyes.
  89. “Jennifer Shit… Ting Ting Pu… All Asian names, you know?”
  90. Ranon chuckled kindly.
  91. She was charming.
  92. Not as charming as him, but kind of cute.
  94. “So, you must be Juliett?”
  95. “Yes,” she said. “Scott’s girlfriend.”
  96. Ranon frowned.
  97. Juliett frowned too.
  98. “Is there something wrong?” she asked.
  99. “Uh…”
  101. Ranon tried to phrase it in his head, but ended up just blurting out, “Scott’s dead.”
  102. “Oh,” said Juliett.
  103. She looked puzzled, not sad.
  104. “What about Max?”
  105. Ranon blinked.
  106. “He’s alright.”
  108. She didn’t feel anything about her boyfriend’s death, and then she asked about Max?
  109. Ranon wondered if she was as crazy about him as he said she was.
  110. Juliett looked at him, as if she were reading his mind.
  111. “I can’t do anything about Scott; he’s already dead,” she explained. “And even though he doesn’t care about me, I still care about Max.”
  112. Ranon looked at her, understandingly.
  113. “Not in a romantic way, but…”
  115. She sighed.
  116. “This would be so much easier if I weren’t trying to get over a massive crush on Max.”
  117. She admitted it!
  118. They stood in awkward silence for a while.
  119. “I was just wondering,” Ranon began. “If you knew anything, regarding Scottrick’s death…?”
  120. “Scottrick?”
  122. Juliett smiled, sweetly, as if she had never heard that name before.
  123. She seemed to like it.
  124. She seemed to like him.
  125. But, then again, who DOESN’T like Ranon?
  126. “Oh, no… I didn’t even know he was dead,” she mumbled. “Did he have a nice funeral?”
  127. Ranon looked away.
  129. Really, Cedric had just dumped his body out the escape chute.
  130. With NAD running about, there was no TIME for a funeral.
  131. And there wasn’t that much you could do with a dead guy.
  132. Ranon’s eyes wandered back to the wall where the Boondocks Saints poster used to be.
  133. He pointed to it.
  134. “Do you know what that’s supposed to mean?”
  136. Juliett looked at it, innocently.
  137. “Oh, that’s just a line from a movie,” she said.
  138. “Which movie?”
  139. “Silent Hill.”
  140. “Oh.”
  141. They stood in silence.
  143. “Is it good?” Ranon asked, finally.
  144. Juliett shrugged.
  145. “I’ve never seen it,” she explained.
  146. “I do like the ideas, though…
  147. There’s this girl, Scarlet, you see…
  148. The cult chops her into pieces as a sacrifice to God, and then she comes back to haunt them in the form of a giant living doll.”
  150. Ranon considered this.
  151. “There’s a lot of fan-fiction with her and Slenderman, because they kind of look alike,” Juliett continued. “I really like Slenderman.”
  152. Ranon nodded, kindly, but in the back of his mind, remembered her insanity.
  153. “He’s not real, you know…”
  154. “I know,” she smiled.
  155. “I just like the idea. Cryptozoology? I really like that.”
  157. Cryptozoology: the study of creatures that may or may not have existed at any point in time.
  158. “They’re not real, you know,” Juliett mimicked Ranon’s voice, but not to be mean.
  159. “But I have this theory…”
  160. She sounded very light in her normal voice.
  161. “When enough people truly, deeply believe in something, it manifests itself as a projection of their minds.”
  162. Ranon was silent.
  164. “I know you all think I’m crazy,” Juliett mumbled.
  165. “No… no,” Ranon soothed. “But I’m gonna need you to repeat that. Come with me.”
  166. In two steps, he was at the door, holding it open.
  167. Juliett stared.
  168. “I can’t go out there,” she said. “I’m electronic right now.”
  169. Ranon closed the door, slightly confused.
  171. “I don’t have enough power to go there, but you can come here if you want,” Juliett suggested.
  172. “Um, sure,” Ranon said.
  173. “Lay down.”
  174. Ranon went back to the bed and lay on his back.
  175. Juliett walked to the portal and hit a few buttons.
  176. “Close your eyes,” she instructed. “I’ll see you on the other side.”
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