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James and Mary Sunderland were a happily married couple. They had made a vacation to Silent Hill, and Mary fell in love with the place. Their happiness ended, when after only a few years of marriage, Mary fell ill with an incurable disease. Mary's situation caused her to turn into an erratic person, lashing out at those she loved most, including James. Over the course of Mary's three year illness, part of James grew to hate Mary for destroying his life. He finally snapped and smothered Mary with a pillow. In shock and denial, James's mind caused him to forget his crime and believe that Mary died three years previously. He then hallucinated a letter from Mary, saying that she was waiting for him in their "special place" in Silent Hill. He then set off to look for Mary in Silent Hill. When he arrived, the power of the town created different monsters representative of his anxieties. It also spawned Maria in response to his masochistic desire for punishment. It created the instrument of that punishment in Pyramid Head, who was based off an image of an executioner of Silent Hill from when the town was a penal colony, which James had seen when in Silent Hill.
Born From A Wish
Shortly after James arrived in Silent Hill, Maria awoke in Heaven's Night stripclub. Ignorant of her purpose, Maria contained some of Mary's memories. She wandered out into the town, eventually ending up in Baldwin Mansion. She found that Ernest Baldwin had locked himself in his room and refused to let her in. He sends her in search of certain items and tells her that James is a "bad man," which causes her to become aware of her purpose. When she got into Baldwin's room, Maria found no one inside. She briefly contemplated suicide, then went to Rosewater Park to wait for James.
James, looking for Mary in Rosewater Park, encountered Maria instead. Deciding that the special place refered to was the Lakeview Hotel, he agrees to let Maria tag along. She diverts James to Brookhaven Hospital, where Pyramid Head chased James and Maria down a hallway. James escaped into an elevator but Maria fell behind on purpose and Pyramid Head skewered her with a spear. This sent James into a state of emotional agony, seeing himself as having failed to save Mary yet again. However, death for Maria was only temporary. James encountered her again while exploring a subterranean area called the Labyrinth, where he finds her in a cell with no immediate way out. Maria calls James "silly" to believe that she died, and then exhibits that she has some of Mary's memories. She then openly tries to seduce James, and tells him to hurry up and get her out of there. James makes his way through the Labyrinth to the door to her cell, but when he gets there, she is "dead" again and in a bloody mess. He leaves, distraught. James makes his way to the hotel, where he is made aware of his crime by means of a videotape. In a warped version of the hotel lobby, James sees two Pyramid Heads skewer Maria. James then admits that he was weak and wanted someone to punish him for his sins, and rejects the Pyramid Heads, which then kill themselves. James notices that Maria's body is gone, and moves on to the next area.
The Final Battle
James ascends a long flight of stairs, and at the top he meets Maria, now having taken on Mary's exact likeness. James tells her that he doesn't need her anymore, after which Maria offers to be his new Mary. When James rebuffs her, Maria resists, transforming into a demon resembling a patient in a hospital bed. James then fights and kills Maria, and moves on with his life after seeing Mary appear one last time in the Leave ending. In the In Water ending, James kills himself by driving his car into the lake. In the Rebirth ending, James rows Mary's corpse out to an island in the middle of the lake with the intent of performing a resurrection ritual, before the screen fades to black. In the Maria ending, the final boss is Mary, who claims she still hasn't forgiven him. After he kills her, he meets Maria in the park again, and leaves town with her. But right as they get to the car, Maria coughs, signifying that the past will repeat itself and James is doomed to walk down the same path over again.