Silent Hill 2: The Novel is a 2006 Japanese horror novel adaptation of the video game Silent Hill 2. It was written by Sadamu Yamashita, who also wrote the novel adaptations of Silent Hill and Silent Hill 3.
Silent Hill 2: The Novel sees James Sunderland return to the town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his deceased wife, Mary, who beckons him to meet her there. As he ventures further into the town he encounters monstrous aberrations, most notably a knife-wielding demon known as Pyramid Head, who he must battle through in order to discover the truth.
The novel was initially written in Japanese, but later translated into English by Emily "Lady Ducky" Fitch.
James Sunderland arrives in Silent Hill, Maine after acquiring a letter addressed to him by his deceased wife of three years, Mary. In the letter, Mary informs him that she is waiting for him in their "special place", which James can't pinpoint. Despite his better judgment, James recognizes the handwriting as hers and knows only Mary would know of his promise to take her back to Silent Hill someday prior to her passing.
James makes his way into the town, coming across Angela Orosco at a graveyard along the way, a nervous young woman who warns him on entering the town.
He discovers this himself, as when he enters the town he is faced with a dense fog surrounding the area and the grotesque, hostile monsters that inhabit it. James decides to investigate the Wood Side Apartments to see if it could be the "special place" of Mary's letter.
Whilst wandering through the building, James briefly encounters a mischievousness little girl, an intimidating figure clad in a giant pyramid helmet, and Eddie Dombrowski, a young man vomiting into a toilet within one of the building's many rooms. Eddie confirms he can also see monsters, and makes clear his denial of killing the corpse found in the apartment room's fridge.
James later meets Angela once more, who contemplates suicide while lying in-front of a mirror. James is able to convince Angela to hand him her knife in an attempt to prevent any self-harm, but Angela quickly leaves James once more in search of her mother. After exploring the apartment to no avail, James once again meets the little girl outside, who reveals she knows Mary and claims that "he never loved her anyway", before taking off.
James later arrives at Rosewater Park, another "special place" of theirs, where he meets a woman named Maria, whom closely resembles Mary apart from her scantily-clad apparel and more arrogant attitude. She accompanies James, who is off to the Lakeview Hotel to again look for Mary, though in the meantime, Maria seems to posses knowledge only Mary would know.
They reach a bowling alley, where James enters and Maria waits outside, upon her own request. Inside, James reunites with Eddie and the little girl, who again flees upon seeing James. Eddie reveals to James her name, Laura, and James takes-off for her, again accompanied by Maria.
They chase her into Brookhaven Hospital, another desolate and otherworldly location within the town. While Mary lies down due to sudden illness in one of the hospital rooms, James manages to reach Laura within another room. While talking to her, James becomes frustrated at Laura'a claim of having known Mary for the past year, despite his belief she died three years prior. Laura, in-turn, locks James in another room inhabited with suspended monsters stuffed in dangling cages under the pretense of acquiring another letter from Mary.
After vanquishing them, James sets-off in search of Maria, who is now missing from her hospital room. James finds Maria in the hospital basement, however, she accuses James of abandoning her and not caring for her well-being. She calms down and again joins James in search of Laura, but are confronted and chased by Pyramid Head, who brutally kills Maria following their escape via an elevator.
James, once more alone and despaired, decides to return to his original mission of finding Mary and heads off to the Silent Hill Historical Society following his acquisition of a key from under statue in Rosewater Park. James ventures through the Historical Society's defunct Toluca Prison exhibition, and later, an underground labyrinth. While there, James again comes across Maria, now alive and behind the glass of a prison cell. Maria claims she was never killed as James witnessed, but when James manages to enter the cell, he comes across her bloodied corpse inside.
As he continues to transcend the labyrinth, James learns of the sexual abuse that plagued Angela under her father and brother from a news article, and the inaction of her mother despite her knowledge of such. James proceeds to come across Angela within a putrid-smelling room resembling that of a child's, and kills the horrid representation of her father and brother within the room. Despite this, Angela acts aggressively toward James, accusing him and all men of lust and claims James didn't want Mary around anymore, before leaving.
At the end of the labyrinth, James comes across Eddie, who has seemingly become unhinged wielding a gun and reveals his past emotional abuse sustained from years of bullying for his overweight appearance, which lead to him killing a football player's dog and subsequently blowing his leg off to inhibit his ability to play. James questions his behavior, which leads to Eddie losing it and attempting to kill James, before running off.
In a meat-locker, James and Eddie do battle which culminates in James killing Eddie, which greatly distresses James as a result. Exiting the Historical Society building to the docks, James proceeds to question his perception of reality, as his letter from Mary begins to go blank. Nonetheless, James rows a boat to the Lakeview Hotel, continuing his search.
In the hotel restaurant, James is met with Laura again, who hands James a letter from Mary addressed to her, which details her wanting to adopt Laura. James climbs up to their old apartment room, where he watches a tape he had apparently left there three years ago, documenting James having killed Mary by suffocation via a pillow during her terminal illness. James is left silent from the revelation, and when Laura arrives ready to accompany James in leaving the town, he informs her of his deed. Laura, outraged, decries James and leaves the room.
Some time after, James's radio sends out a message from Mary, asking him to find her once more. James further explores the hotel, which has become more decayed and rundown then before. During his exploration, James once again meets Angela at a staircase surrounded by a fiery inferno, accompanied by two male corpses, one middle-aged and one young, representing her father and brother, stitched to separate frames. Angela requests James return her knife so she may kill herself, though James refuses, to which Angela suggests he plans on using it on himself. As Angela makes her way up the staircase, James acknowledges their burning surroundings, which Angela relents has always been with her. She disappears up the staircase in her final appearance, leaving her fate ambiguous.
James continues to the hotel lobby, where he finds Maria, bound and screaming for James's help, though she is quickly executed by the appearance of two Pyramid Heads as James is left powerless to prevent it. James realizes their purpose, to punish him for his sins, and does battle with the two. James fights them off, which eventually triggers the two to impale themselves upon their own spears, allowing James to proceed up the building.
As James traverses a hallway, he overhears a prior interaction that occurred between James and the sickly Mary, where Mary rejected flowers brought by James, declaring she was too repugnant to be deserving of such comfort. As James leaves, she futilely pleads for him to stay with her.
James reaches the top floor of the building, where he is met by Maria. She makes one last plea for acceptance, and following James's rejection, transforms into a monstrous representation of the violent and terminally-ill Mary. James is able to kill the creature, and afterward James is transported into a room, once again reunited with Mary, who rests on a bed, dying of her disease.
She states James has suffered enough for his deeds, and hands him her letter before finally succumbing to her illness. James lifts Mary's body for her bed and out of the room, to which it is revealed her corpse was resting in the back of James's car the entire time. James, unable to live without her, fits her body into the passenger's seat and drives off into Toluca Lake with her, killing himself.
Unlike the novel, the game features several different endings which could be achieved via decisions and actions made by the player throughout their playthrough.
The novel chose the "In Water" ending to conclude the adaptation, which is commonly seen as the downer ending of the game involving James unable to cope and killing himself with Mary's body alongside him. Besides that, two other endings are possible during the player's first run, "Leave" and "Maria", with the former involving James forgiving himself for his actions and choosing to leave the town with Laura, and the latter having James leave Silent Hill with Maria, who gives a cough as they leave implying an endless cycle. Three additional endings are possible in a second playthrough, "Rebirth", "UFO" and "Dog", seeing James attempt a ritual to resurrect Mary, James being abducted by aliens, and the revelation of the entire game being under the control of a dog, respectively.