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Beauty

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Beauty was a rare thing to be found in Silent Hill. From the monsters and the people to the town itself, it was hard to come by something beautiful.

At this point in his residency, the only thing Edward disliked about the town was its lack of beauty, aside from the people, of course. By now, his garden back home was probably withering away, the once bright flowers and topiaries discoloring and overgrowing. He had taken so much pride in them, in how effortlessly he was able to create something so beautiful and unique from his deformed ugliness. The bright and colorful flowers of his garden had been the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

Then along came Mrs. Boggs.

Mrs. Boggs, with signs of age written in her skin and eyes, had been beautiful in her own right, and for the first time, Edward had witnessed beauty in someone living, some stranger who had not been his kind father and creator. Even quiet, secluded Edward knew how rare it was for someone to care for some random stranger with the capability to harm. He had been quietly ecstatic when she brought him down from his cold, dark mansion.

Looking out his large windows and the hole in the attic ceiling, Edward could honestly say he never really liked the neighborhood. It was almost too pleasant, and very bland. The colors were too pastel, and variety was hard to come by. Actually being in the town brought no new surprises. He had simply been excited to see things up close and personal like he had never been able to before. Even Mrs. Boggs’s home had been very bland. The main room had been sparse with not a single decoration on the wall.

That was when the bookshelf full of photos caught his eye. The girl with the long, golden hair was beautiful. Mrs. Boggs was beautiful on the inside, but Edward could say that just looking at the photo of Kim on the shelf was far more beautiful than any of his flowers could ever be. He had wondered if she was just as beautiful in person as in the picture.

He had not been disappointed. Watching Kim move about naturally in her bedroom had been terrifying. The teen had been so bright in a way Edward didn’t think he ever could be. She was lovely.

He really shouldn’t have been surprised when she screamed.

Kim had been beautiful in all ways, and even now, in this dreary town, thoughts of her beauty won out over his flowers. But he knew after his last night in the little suburban neighborhood that he would never behold her beauty ever again. Instead, he tried to look for other beautiful things in Silent Hill.

“Edward?” his companion cut into his thoughts. “Are you all right?”

Edward blinked, thoughts coming to a halt and turning to his companion.

Dahlia stared at him with concerned, dull green eyes. He was certain that she must have been beautiful in her younger days, the years of stress and depression wearing away at her. Living in this town wasn’t helping her much, but it’s not like she could leave. She reminded Edward so much of Mrs. Boggs. She had taken him in when he had nowhere else to go, saving him from the Darkness and the hateful townspeople.

The scissor-handed man gave her a small smile. “I’m fine, Ms. Dahlia.”

She didn’t look convinced.

“Edward,” she started. “You don’t look fine. You look sad.”

He looked down. “I miss home,” he admitted quietly. “I miss my garden and my big empty house.” He looked around sadly, wide brown eyes landing back on the old woman. “I’d almost rather be alone again than stuck in this place.”

Dahlia nodded, sighing slightly. “I understand. I wish to be gone as well. I’d much rather be alone with my thoughts and memories of my Alessa than stuck with these people.” She snarled in the direction of the church a few blocks from where they sat.

Silent Hill had a small park a few blocks from the school and church. Some days Dahlia and Edward would venture to it and sit with their thoughts, sometimes conversing, but most of the time just thinking.

Edward’s eyes were hooded as he stared at the church with the people holed up in it. He really didn’t like them.

“They are what they have made themselves,” stated Dahlia. “They thought the Devil would rise up and take over the town and so punished the sinners in an effort to combat him. They did not realize what their actions might have cost.”

She toed the ground with overgrown nails.

They sat on swings at the edge of the little park, each idly kicking the ashy dirt at their feet. Silence once more fell over them as ash floated gently around them.

“What was your garden like, Edward?” Dahlia asked quietly. “What kind of plants did you grow?”

Dahlia had never asked before.

Edward had to think for a moment. It had been so long since her had last seen a flower.

“Flowers…” he eventually answered. He looked up at the gray sky as the old woman watched. “I don’t know what kind, but they were pretty. Oranges, reds, and whites. A few blues here and there. There was a purple flower bed near the front door that was my favorite.” A small smile lit his scarred face. It was lovely to see the quiet man smile. It was one of the only things Dahlia thought was beautiful these days.

“Anything else?” she asked. She nudged his hands. “Seems like something those might come in handy for.”

The scarred man lifted one bladed hand up to eye level. “I don’t know what it was called, but it was a type of tree that could be easily shaped into whatever I wanted it to be. I made anything that I could think of. Sometimes I’d let the ones I grew bored of overgrow so that I could create something else. When I went to the neighborhood, everybody had me cut their trees into shapes.”

“Sounds lovely.” Dahlia would have dearly liked to have seen his work.

“While I was in town, Mr. Boggs ordered a giant block of ice for me. He wanted to see if I could cut it for Christmas. I made an angel.” He smiled once more at the thought of the angel who inspired it. But it fell away at the thoughts that followed. “That was the night everything went bad…”

The old woman rested a hand on his. “They didn’t realize just how wonderful you really are. I’m sure they regret running you off and miss you.”

Edward was looking down now. “They did seem sad when Kim told them I was dead…” It hurt just to say her name. And because everyone in that bland town thought he was dead, no one would bother to come looking for him.

He had not minded the quiet loneliness of his castle. He had no worries there, only a strange curiosity to visit the neighborhood at the bottom of the hill, a curiosity he had been afraid to act upon. But when Mrs. Boggs arrived, things changed. She was wonderful company, always chatting away about something or other and never bothered by Edward’s quiet confusion. Kim’s presence had been warm, a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, and though she never said much to him, it was enough just to be in the same room with her. Going back to his complete silence had been a shock to his system, the same way it had been when the inventor didn’t wake up. Eventually even his garden wasn’t enough to keep his mind occupied from the sadness within.

One day some men with a truck arrived and carried a big box up to the attic, uncovering and leaving a block of ice sitting by the window. A little note lay fallen on the floor reading “Love, Kim.”

Suddenly, Edward didn’t feel quite so lonely.

Every couple of weeks after that, a block of ice was brought to the attic by confused men in overalls with the same note left on the floor.

Every day after, Edward found it in him to create something beautiful once more.

One day the ice stopped coming.

Edward waited for weeks. Then he was waiting for months. Slowly the loneliness settled back over him and he spent more and more time on his little bed or in his creator’s room.

Now that he had the pleasure of Dahlia’s company, he didn’t think he could go back to that loneliness.

He had said that he would almost rather be gone from this horrible place and back to his lonely castle. If he was honest with himself, he wouldn’t be able to stand being alone again.

The barking of dogs sounded behind them.

Dahlia looked over her shoulder. A small smile lit her withered face. “It looks like your friends found you.”

The two Groaners that had taken to following Edward since his arrival yipped and growled, trotting up towards their favorite human. Edward couldn’t help but smile at the ugly creatures and patted their heads with his palms when they were close enough.

They were not beautiful. In fact, they made Edward’s stomach flip when he looked at them. But they liked him and had never tried to hurt him, being the first to ward off attacks from the other creatures. At least until –

The scraping sound of metal on concrete pierced the silence.

The dogs whimpered, one crawling under Edward’s swing, the other settling low between the old woman and scarred man. The hair on the back of Edward’s neck rose and he glanced nervously towards the front gate of the park. Dahlia remained calm, continuing to dig her toes in the dirt.

Pyramid head appeared around the corner, dragging his Great Knife behind him.

It seemed that no matter how many times Edward encountered Silent Hill’s executioner, he would always be nervous around the imposing monster. By this point in his stay, the great Red Pyramid had saved his helpless self numerous times, only once attacking the scissor-handed man. He was actually surprisingly gentle with Edward, almost as if he were afraid to hurt the scarred human. Still, the monster never failed to intimidate him.

“You need not fear him,” Dahlia said, a small amused smile on her lips. Edward shifted his nervous gaze from the monster to her. “I’ve told you before; he is our guardian. He will not hurt us.”

“H-has he ever hurt you?” asked Edward, the scarping growing closer, becoming muffled by the dead grass.

Dahlia nodded. “Once, when the town was damned and he appeared. He tried to but something stopped him and now he comes to my aid, much like how he does for you. But there’s something… different about you Edward. He doesn’t come to my rescue quite so quickly. You have a means to defend yourself if need be and yet… he becomes quite fierce when you are in danger.” Her eyes crinkled, little crows’ feet appearing at the corners of them. “I think he likes you.”

Edward blushed.

Pyramid Head stood behind them now. The Groaners were still whimpering, half-eaten tails between their legs. The executioner’s large helmet swung in their direction, the dogs whimpering and growling. Edward tapped the monster with his boot.

“Leave them alone,” he said quietly. The helm was now pointed at him. Edward flinched. “T-they haven’t done anything…”

He grew more nervous as the Boogie Man watched him. Dahlia had trouble hiding her smirk.

The poor man was practically shaking after a few moments, Red Pyramid tilting his head slightly. Dahlia had to take pity.

“Leave the poor boy alone. He’s shaking in his boots,” she commanded, tone motherly. She swatted lightly at the monster’s impressive forearm. He turned to her, fist flexing around his Great Knife. “None of that now. You play nice.”

The monster looked back to the shy Edward, glancing between him and the old woman. His free hand clenched at his side, rising slowly as he continued to watch the scarred man. Edward flinched as it neared his head, fingers grasping.

Pyramid Head paused.

He brought his hand back slowly, looking down at it. It balled into a fist and a low rumble issued from under his helmet. Edward stared and even Dahlia seemed surprised to hear the great creature make a sound, let alone a growl. Her smile came back.

“Don’t be offended, dear,” she told the monster, patting his arm. “He’s still not used to you, that’s all.”

Edward looked guilty. “I-I’m sorry…” he whispered.

Pyramid Head continued to shake, fists clenching and unclenching at his sides. Then he shook his head and dropped the Great Knife, the weapon landing with a thud in the dead grass. He quickly turned and walked away.

The scissor-handed man looked to Dahlia, confused. “Did… did I offend him?”

Dahlia actually had to laugh this time. She had been laughing and smiling much more often lately. It was lovely.

“No, sweetie,” she assured. She chuckled some more. “He’s just confused.” Edward tilted his head cutely and the old woman smiled. “He likes you, but he doesn’t know how to show it. You flinch away from his touch and that frustrates him because he is not a creature of affection. He does not know what he could do to make you more comfortable around him, and you don’t give him any clues.”

Wincing a little, Edward pulled his scissor hands close to his chest, a nervous habit he had never grown out of. “He makes me nervous, that’s all,” he muttered. “He could easily break me in two if he wanted.” He looked down at the Great Knife on the grass.

Suddenly the dogs were barking and the two humans turned their heads just as a loud crash uttered some twenty feet away. The sight they met boggled both of their minds.

Pyramid Head was crouched down by the stone wall surrounding the edge of the park, and tearing into the ashy ground and stones. One went flying off to the side and grass and dirt flew every which way. Edward and Dahlia stared.

“Um… what is he doing?” Edward asked as the Boogie Man crawled on hands and knees to a different spot along the wall.

“I’m… not quite sure…” Dahlia tilted her head. “I’ve never seen him act like that…”

Dirt and grass continued to fly and another stone made its way across the park. The Groaners growled at the disturbance, but hushed up when Edward patted their heads.

To see the great executioner on hands and knees, growling lowly, was quite the sight, one both humans never thought to see. Before they knew it, both were fighting back giggles. Then they burst into laughter.

The monster’s helmeted head swiveled around in their direction, and they could practically feel his angry glare. They immediately shut up. Red Pyramid nodded, tearing into the ground again before crawling to another spot. If the monsters of Silent Hill could communicate, Edward was sure this little scene would spread like wildfire among them. Good thing the Groaners couldn’t talk. Edward didn’t think Pyramid Head would want this reputation ruined.

A few more giggles escaped him at the thought and he kicked his feet in the dirt.

Dahlia was smiling, genuinely happy. “He really does like you,” she stated. “I wasn’t really sure before, but he’s been so different since you came along. And now he does this…” She gestured to the monster, who stood in triumph, clutching something in his hand. “I would have imagined such things were beneath him.”

A small, shy smile lit Edward’s face. Pyramid Head was walking back to them now and Edward turned to Dahlia. “Do you think there is good in him?” he asked quietly.

“There’s good in everybody, I think,” answered the old woman slowly. “It’s just a matter of finding it. He wouldn’t protect us if there wasn’t some good in him.”

A tap on Edward’s shoulder caused him to turn back to the helmeted creature. His eyes widened and he blushed.

In the monster’s hand was a small, purple flower with the roots still attached to the stem. Pyramid Head cupped it gently so as not to crush the delicate plant. It was brightly colored, standing out in the ashy gray landscape. It was the first living plant Edward had seen in Silent Hill and the Boogie Man was offering it up eagerly.

Edward looked down at his hands and blushed once more, smiling apologetically. “I-I’ll cut it…” he murmured, blushing harder.

Red Pyramid slumped. He cradled the flower close to him, seeming to contemplate.

“Here,” Dahlia said, “let me.”

She took the flower from Red Pyramid, dusting off the dirt from the roots. Even she was shocked to see something so beautiful growing in her ugly town. She held out the plant to Edward, motioning for him to cut the bottom off. The scarred man did so, the clump of roots plopping on the ground. The Boogie Man’s head whipped back and forth between the two. Dahlia placed the stem behind her ear, staring pointedly at Pyramid Head.

It took a moment, but eventually the monster perked up, gently taking the flower from Dahlia. He looked down at it, passing it from hand to hand contemplatively. Then he slowly held it back out to Edward, placing the purple flower behind the scissor-handed man’s ear. Edward’s face was cherry red.

“Um… thank you…” he mumbled, hands resting in his lap.

Pyramid Head stood there for a moment longer. He shook his head. He walked over to his fallen weapon, picking it up. The executioner turned back to Edward once more before shaking his head and wandering away, Great Knife dragging behind him.

“I think…” Dahlia started. She paused, turning away from Red Pyramid’s retreating form to Edward. “I think he’s found something beautiful Edward.” She rested a hand on the back of one of his, smiling warmly. “And I don’t think it was the flower.”

This caused the scarred man’s face to heat up further, but he smiled through his embarrassment. He could feel the soft petals of the flower lightly brushing the side of his face. For once in his extended stay in the damned town, he felt happy. Stupidly, genuinely happy. His smile lit up his face, making Dahlia beam back.

It was a beautiful moment, indeed.