I love horror. I love horror movies, books, games, and even those stupid Halloween CDs I listened to as a kid. Over the years I’ve been exposed to so much dismemberment, evisceration, and blood splatter that I’ve become desensitized to nearly everything. Horror is like a drug. I keep going back for more hoping to relive the last heart-stopping moment. Most of the time my quest for terror ends in disappointment, but sometimes… even the most hard-boiled horror gamers can be rattled.

One such moment was in Silent Hill 3…

How I ended up in that derelict office building I can’t quite recall. All I remember is coming to on a soiled mattress surrounded by rubble and junk. After trekking across some shaky scaffolding and climbing into the window of the next store building, I found myself in an equally neglected set of offices. Locked doors and broken elevators made my struggle to get home a challenge.

I had pumped the last of my handgun rounds into a giant, obese monster that looked like a sinner straight out of the Gluttony circle of Hell, so it was down to the brass tacks with my rusty pipe. Each encounter with the twisted creatures populating this world felt like it was going to be my last. I needed a better weapon so I was checking every door hoping for something, anything better.

Coming upon the end of an empty hallway, I entered what seemed like a storage room. I prayed for a better weapon to be inside. Instead, what I found was a cache of mannequins piled to the ceiling. Shelves were packed with torsos, heads, and limbs. One exception stood at the end of one aisle. The torso of a half-completed mannequin stood, silently watching me with its arms outstretched.

I carefully approached the silent sentry. I had faced demonic dogs and towering pendulum-armed beasts, but somehow this lifeless mannequin still managed to creep me out. I expected its plastic hand to be clutching an old key or other obscure object, but it simply stood before me, expressionless.

Turning my back to it, I tried to ignore the oddity of being surrounded by so many headless mannequins. I checked farther back into the storage room, rifling through boxes packed with faux-human body parts. Nothing. Unless I was stupid enough to wield a mannequin arm as a weapon, there was nothing there that beat my mangled piece of plumbing.

I walked toward the exit, doing my best not to look at the only intact mannequin as it watched me leave. I opened the door and slowly closed it behind me, listening close for the click of doorknob. A blood-curdling scream rang from the room I had just left, followed by a dull thud on the ground. I gasped for air as my heart went into overtime. Firming my grasp on the pipe, I readied myself to reenter the room. Was there another normal person hiding in that room? Did I miss something?

I cautiously reentered the room, unsure what to expect. My eyes were immediately glued to bright red splotches on the standing mannequin’s breast. The human replica had been decapitated, and its still-expressionless face stared up at me from a large puddle of blood on the ground.

Thoughts raced through my head. “Who did this? Where did that scream come from? Why was I standing in blood from a mannequin?”

 “I need to get the hell out of this place…”