HenryXEileen- rated PG-13 for Swearing, Violent descriptions/Imagery, and mentions of sex. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think...if there's still people on here...and if there are...I might post my psychoanalysis of Murphy if anyone is interested, but for now, here's this:
It had been nine months since she had been attacked by the man in the coat. Nine long months of healing and adjusting. Her arm and cracked eye socket had healed, but sometimes Eileen had problems with her vision. The gashes had scarred over along with the numbers on her back. Those fucking numbers- the constant reminder of the horror that pushed her towards Henry.
Henry was agreeable when she suggested moving in together and splitting the rent on a nicer two bedroom, and it gave the young woman a sense of security to have the man in the apartment with her, even if he was a strange one. He was so hard to read and provoke, she never knew what he was thinking, or what was behind those tormented eyes. Despite his predictability, Henry managed to surprise her on occasion, like when they moved in, and he put her bed in the same room next to his. She looked at him perplexed, but his face held the same vacant expression that he wore every day. That was the first time Eileen wondered if it was possible to love a man you didn’t understand. It wasn’t long after that Eileen pushed the beds together to snuggle with Henry, that led to spooning, which led to petting then sex, and finally the relationship that they had happened into. Neither of them had intended for life to unfold this way, but they had no complaints at the moment.
His patience and understanding were of his best qualities and made up ten fold for his lack of emotions. Each day Eileen uncovered a new facet to him, she learned and adapted and watched as he struggled to do the same.
Living with someone was a new concept to Henry, he was used to being alone with his own thoughts and desires. He wasn’t used to conversations and interactions, let alone sharing space, but he had the need to after the ordeal with Walter. He was afraid to be alone, even if he didn’t show it. Emotions were difficult for him, they always had been, he couldn’t show them, but he could write them, photograph them, capture them when he had to opportunity. Eileen never asked why he was so stoic and unmoved, and he was grateful for that, in return he never asked about her incident with Walter or brought up the events that led them to their new home.
Eileen found a job curating at the local museum which left Henry time to work on his photography and writing. They had fallen into a comfortable routine, something that helped Henry grasp at the sanity he lost in Ashfield, but he had lost so much more that he would never get back. All the deaths he saw, all the chaos, suffering, and tragedy would remain etched in his brain, brewing until he could sort it and put it onto paper. He knew Eileen had suffered just as much, if not more so, and they both had scars to prove it.
Idly, Henry stroked the small scar near his thumb while his brain drifted off into a frenzy of thoughts, ideas, and reflections. It was getting late, Eileen had come home from work and immediately undressed for a shower, while Henry continued working on writing descriptions for his photos. A sound distracted him, and he strained to identify it. Once he recognized it, he quickly tried to think of how to remedy the situation before he stood up and walked down the hall to the bathroom. Softly he tapped on the door, while his hand grabbed the brass knob. He could hear his partner crying on the other side.
“Eileen, are you ok?” he asked. When she gave no response, he turned the door know and found it unlocked. Henry swung the door open and looked around the small bathroom, Curled up on the floor in a corner was the young woman that he lived with. Confused he repeated his question, and she finally looked up, her eyes red rimmed and streaked with tears.
“I feel...I feel so ugly,” she cried, wiping her eyes with the backs of her hands. Deftly, she adjusted the blue towel that was wrapped around her lithe form. Silently Henry stepped forward and held out his hand to help her up. One hand clutched the towel, but she accepted his offer, and rose to her feet. Gently Henry led her down the hallway to their bedroom and sat her on the bed. He disappeared into the second bedroom he used as an office, while she sat bewildered with tear stained eyes. A few minutes later he returned, a polaroid camera cradled in his hands. Furrowing her brow in confusion Eileen gave him a weird look.
“What are you doing, Henry?” she asked. He looked down at his camera, trying to form words. It was painfully obvious that he was struggling to put together a response, but finally he looked up and uttered.
“I want to make you feel pretty.” Eileen sighed as new tears welled in her weary eyes. She didn’t understand fully, but knew that he was trying to help, and it was that effort that brought tears to her eyes. He had always been so selfless and protective of her, and now was not the exception.
“Oh, Henry...” she whispered as she wiped her face again. Overwhelmed, she couldn’t describe the emotions that were running through her, frozen, she watched Henry remove the lampshade from the bedside lamp. He pushed it around the night stand until he found the right lighting to compliment his subject. Placing the camera next to the lamp, he tenderly laid her back onto the bed and adjusted the lighting once more. His hands trembled as he intimately pushed her hair away from her face, and selected a few strands to lay over her cheek. Eileen held her breath, hoping the indulgent moment wouldn’t end. Henry’s hand lingered over he cheek, before he gently wiped away a stray tear. Neither of them could speak, both trapped in the intimacy of their interaction. He picked up the camera again and checked the focus. Awkwardly, Henry straddled her to achieve the angle he wanted.
“You’re blushing Henry...I don’t think I’ve ever seen you blush,” Eileen whispered, her hand cradled the newfound redness in his cheeks with a smile. The camera’s flash went off without warning, and Eileen found herself seeing spots while her vision readjusted. Gingerly Henry climbed off the bed and took the polaroid from the camera, shaking it lightly to expose it to air. Once developed he passed the photo over to her as she sat up on the bed. As Eileen looked at it she was reminded of pieces of her past, nostalgic pieces. Henry was gifted in capturing emotions through a lens, and cursed by not being able to physically express them. Briefly, she wondered if it tortured him inside, if he was gifted because of his inability to identify with certain emotions.
“You make me feel so beautiful,” she muttered quietly, holding the picture delicately in her hand. He stood in front of her awkwardly, unsure of what to say, of what to do or react. Finally, he sat down next to her, and stared at his hands.
“You make me feel...loved,” he admitted quietly. She reached for his hand and held it in hers, he felt how soft and delicate her skin was.
“That’s because I love you,” she responded. He looked at her, with the same apathetic look he normally wore. Henry was always a difficult man to read, but Eileen saw something behind his eyes, she knew he was trying to respond, trying to think and react in a situation he’d never been in.
“I love you,” he said blatantly. Three little words that took Eileen’s breath away, three words she never expected to hear from him, three words he never thought he’d utter. In that moment, the world stopped and time stood still. They were caught in each other’s world, existing differently.
“Say it again,” Eileen begged in a whisper, squeezing his hand in hers. He squeezed back.
“I love you.” She couldn’t help but smile, her fears chased away with the power of speech. She wrapped her arms around him and held him close, burying her face in his neck. He returned the action, his hands resting on the fluffy blue towel she was dressed in. Henry couldn’t help but smell her freshly washed hair, the scent that he couldn’t decipher as floral or fruity, a smell that was strongly feminine and strictly Eileen. His hands grazed her back, his palms embraced the scarred over numbers that rested there.
“Do you ever think about it anymore?” he asked her vacantly. She held him tighter and sighed. She hated when he brought it up.
“I try not to.” Running a hand through his hair she bit her lip and returned the question. “Do you?”
There was a long pause before Henry grumbled out his answer.
“Sometimes.” Guilt welled up inside him as he reflected on the memory. All those people he couldn’t save, all the ones that died in vain, in pain, alone. It tormented him inside, ate at his nerve endings, and chewed at his thoughts. “I couldn’t save any of them,” he added, his fingers ghosting over Eileen’s arm. She kissed his cheek tenderly, and took his hand in hers again.
“You saved me,” she pointed out. He nodded stoically and remained silent. Even saving her didn’t make up for those that died and haunted his dreams. Yet Eileen had become his source of strength and comfort in the months that followed. She kept him sane and grounded.
As the sun faded into darkness and the night progressed the couple broke apart and prepared to end the night. Henry brushed his teeth and turned off the lights in the office, while Eileen dressed in a pair of flannel pajamas and closed the drapes. The lamp on the nightstand was left on, an unspoken habit that both of them shared. She curled up against him, and laid her head on his chest. His heartbeat was slow, soothing, and beating dully in her ear. Henry leaned his head forward and kissed her forehead.
“Good night,” he whispered. He laid his hand over her arm and rested his cheek against the top of her head.
“Good night, Henry,” she replied with a smile, before she began to drift off into a peaceful slumber. Henry wasn’t that lucky. He spent hours staring at the ceiling before he became engulfed in a haunting nightmare.
He was stuck in a world he didn’t recognize, blood dripped from the walls, streaming down in violent streaks. The door of the room was made of steel, rusted and dark. He opened the door and was led into a bloody, gritty hallway. The lighting was grim, and stained everything in a harsh yellow. Cautiously he made his way down the hallway, searching for doors or an escape.
“Help me!” a voice screamed. Henry’s ears perked up and he increased his pace down the dilapidating hallway towards the source. Dread filled the pit of his stomach as he approached cell bars. On the other side was a young woman with long black hair.
“Cynthia?” he asked. She scrambled towards the bars and reached a decaying hand through.
“Help me! Henry!” she screamed. He looked around for a way in, for a way to save her, but while his mind was exploring options, the ground began to shake, and a gaping hole opened up and engulfed the tortured ghost woman. He called for her again as he jumped across the splitting floor and retreated to safety. Once again, he could do nothing but observe, he was stuck in a painfully awkward and terrifying situation, even if his face didn’t express it.
“What the hell,” he muttered as he approached a large hole in the concrete wall. Looking through he could ascertain that it was a tunnel, and cautiously he climbed in and was transported to yet another world. There he was, trapped in a wheelchair with restraints around his wrists, torso and ankles. Violently his twisted one of his hands free and released himself. Standing up and taking in his surrondings he gauged the building as an unused mental hospital due to the grates on all the windows, and restraints on the chairs. The walls had chips of paint missing, and were painted in a white that had long turned dingy gray. Dust glazed every surface, from the warped tables to the several chairs, wheelchairs and appliances. “Oh man...” he murmured softly as he cautiously walked around the large day room. At the end of the room, next to a boarded up nurse’s station sat a prison like door, with steel bars and a heavy padlock. The man turned toward the nurses station and pulled the boards from the doors with his bare hands. The door swung open, the small office held stacks of dusty papers, pill bottles, and file cabinets. In the middle of the room was a small desk with a ring of keys that sat next to several empty medication containers. Quickly Henry swiped the keys from the table and rushed to the padlock that impeded his freedom, but he stopped short. On the other end of the door was a patient demon, like the ones he encountered in Walter’s other worlds. He stared at the creature blankly and slowly backed away. As the man retreated another patient appeared at the door, and soon another, until he could no longer count how many were crammed in the doorway on the otherside of the lock. Spinning around he searched for another exit, but found himself trapped. Frantically, he searched for a weapon to defend himself, and underneath a broken rocking chair, he found a thick steel pipe. His fingers embraced the cool metal, while he adjusted his grip on the discarded object.
There was a loud pop, followed by heavy grinding as the patient demons broke through the door and limped their way towards Henry, armed with the same weapon. He planted his feet firmly on the ground and prepared to attack. Wildly, he swung his pipe at the deformed women, and one, by one they fell to the ground. After the third fell, he noticed they were no longer demons, and what laid on the floor were the ones he couldn’t save. Cynthia. Richard. Andrew. Caught off guard, a pipe slammed into the side of his face, and once again he was delivered into a new environment.
The sky was cloudy, and fog surrounded him. Sitting up, Henry found himself inside a coffin, in the cemetery in front of the church in Silent Hill.
“What the hell?” he asked aloud, with no response. Climbing out of the crudely built box, his foot sank into the soft cool earth, coating his black shoes in thick mud. With a hint of annoyance he trudged his way to the front steps and gazed, enchanted by the looming, Gothic structure that stood before him. Small black birds flew around the highest steeple, cawing in desperation. As Henry approached he found one of the large wooden doors inched open, and decided to investigate inside. Dimly lit with disturbing stained glass windows, the church held a dark, cult like feel instead of the standard induction of holy space. Passing rows of heavy wooden pews, the young man approached the large shadowed cross that stood above the altar. Dread and fear inched into his mind and trickled down his spine, forcing his hair to stand on end. A bright light flashed, and the cross became illuminated. Henry’s face twisted into horror and disgust briefly, before resuming his normal, neutral expression.
“Eileen!” he screamed, as his eyes locked on her form, tied to the cross with barbed wire, and a ring of thorns around her head. Henry ran towards the cross and was pushed back, into a pew by an unseen force.
“Not yet, oh receiver, your time will be soon,” Walter’s voice echoed. The walls began to seep blood, and a carmine aura engulfed the young woman on the cross. He screamed her name again before everything went white.
Henry shot awake and sat up without thinking, waking the woman sleeping on his chest. Sweaty, and panting he caught his breath and regained his bearings while Eileen shifted from her sleepy state.
“Are you ok Henry?” she asked, bleary eyed and throaty. He swallowed the lump in his throat and took a deep breath.
“I’m fine,” he said dully. Eileen rubbed her eyes and yawned as her awareness perked.
“Henry,” she prodded sternly. The tortured man ran a hand through his disheveled hair and sighed.
“It was only a nightmare,” he reasoned. Gently his partner rubbed his back, and pushed his hair from his face.
“How often do you have nightmares?” she asked softly, in a soothing tone. He averted his gaze and stared at the curtain that covered the window.
“Every night, some are worse than others,” he admitted. It rewarded him with a sense of relief for having shared one of the secrets that had burdened him for so long.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Her words made guilt pool in the bottom of his stomach.
“Because you can’t fix me,” he replied apathetically. Eileen bit her lip and held back tears. It hurt to see him so tormented, it hurt that she couldn’t figure him out and ease his pain sooner.
“You’re not broken Henry, you’re only human,” she reassured him, her pale face bathed in the soft yellow light from the nightstand. He looked down, uncomfortable, unsure of how to meet her gaze or phrase the words that he felt. Finally, after a long stretch of silence he opened his mouth and uttered.
“Then why do I feel like such a monster?” His dark words left his partners speechless and she sought to comfort him with a tender embrace. She didn’t understand how he could feel like a monster, after all the selfless, altruistic acts he had done for others, he was anything but. Biting her lip in frustration, the young brunette asked a question that scared her.
“Why do you feel like a monster?” Henry laid back on the bed and sighed indifferently. Leaning over him with a caring smile, Eileen took his hand and held it in hers while she waited for him to talk.
“All those monsters...they might have been people too and I slaughtered them,” he confessed. She knew what he meant, she had seen what he had, and in her perspective there was no way the deformed creatures that they encountered were human.
“No, Henry, they were monsters, not people. You did nothing wrong, don’t let your conscious convince you otherwise. You can’t think like that, it’s not healthy,” she remarked. Cradling his cheek she looked deep into his eyes and vainly attempted to understand the complexities of his mind.
“You complete me,” he said bluntly, thoughtlessly. Eileen couldn’t help but smile lovingly. She leaned down and pressed her lips against his, and in that moment all the shattered fragments of her world pieced themselves back together and she was whole again.
“You complete me too,” she whispered back breathlessly, inches from his face.
Time would heal, the darkness that clouded their lives would pass, and one day they would live without the thought of the events that occurred in Ashfield. The normalcy that they strived for would become attainable and peace would fill their souls. In the meantime, they had each other to rely on for the love and support in order to survive.