Blame, pain and chains
“To get his camera and Frank,” Bob replied with a frown as he looked at his watch, “but they’ve both been gone too long.”
Gerard paled slightly and his breathing quickened. “I don’t like this.”
“Hey guys!” their tour manager called cheerfully. “What do you think?”
“We have to find Mikey and Frank,” Gerard replied.
“Something wrong?” he asked, concerned by Gerard’s tone.
“They went back to the bus, but they’ve been gone too long, Eddie. We’re worried.”
“They had security?”
“Yeah, but…” Gerard tapered off, it sounded so ridiculous.
“Look, don’t worry. I’ll go and find them, you stay right here. Okay?”
The three men nodded, concerned for their friends and seriously hoping it was just a panic induced overreaction. Indicating to a couple of security guards to stay with the band, Eddie walked swiftly to the parking lot with another guard. Scouring the area, they found no sign of either musician. Stepping inside the bus, Eddie saw the dropped camera and some small signs of a struggle.
“Damn it!” he shouted in frustration. “How did he manage this?”
Turning to the security guard, Eddie sighed.
“I want you to contact your on site manager, get everyone together and see if anyone’s missing,” he paused briefly, “or extra. And I want a top to bottom search of this place for Frank and Mikey. Tear it apart if you have to.”
Frank stretched out his fingers; it was to be the first of many small movements and sounds that preceded his return to consciousness. Slowly he became aware of the cold filtering through his clothes, it was the first real sensation he felt. Next came the reminders of what had happened and why he truly wished he were still unconscious. His eyelids felt heavy, he felt dizzy and nauseous, his mouth parched and his head pounded like the worst migraine he had ever experienced. From his position on the floor he could see little, but there didn’t seem as though there was much to see. The room, clearly a windowless basement or cellar, was dimly lit by a solitary light bulb hanging from the centre of the ceiling. A set of steps led up to a door under which he could see a faint strip of light from the room beyond. Pushing himself onto his knees, Frank’s heart sank as he noticed the chains around his wrists. Looking around, he followed the string of thick links. It was a simple arrangement: a long length of chain had been threaded through a bracket firmly fixed to the wall, each end of the chain wrapped tightly around his wrists and fastened with two substantial looking padlocks. Simple. Effective. Inescapable. Frowning unhappily, he wrapped the chains around his hands and pulled with all his strength, placing one foot against the wall and leaning back adding all his weight to the tug. Nothing, not even a slight dust-fall from the bracket’s screws. Exhausted, Frank dropped the chains and turned to flop back against the wall. Drawing his legs up, he rested his right arm on his knees as he inspected one of the padlocks. Sighing heavily he hugged his knees as he looked away admitting defeat. He tried to push the thought from his mind, but the crushing reality was that he was almost certainly going to die here. It no longer mattered to him that he didn’t even know why; being separated from his friends and family was much harder to bear than the apparent futility of his murder.
A noise to his left caught his attention and he turned his head in surprise, peering into the darkness near the far wall. It was little more than the ghost of a sigh, but in the stillness of the room, Frank heard it amplified as if in a cave. He was about to give up and assume it was a figment of his imagination when he spotted one of the dark shadows moving.
“Who’s there?” he called as what he believed was a shadow stretched out into human form.
The figure mumbled incoherently and rolled onto it’s back, for the first time affording Frank a clear view of the pale and dimly lit face.
“Mikey!” he cried in utter astonishment. Edging over as far as the chains would allow, Frank stared in confusion at his friend, also held in chains and apparently suffering in much the same way he had done on first waking, how he was still suffering.
“Mikey?” Frank repeated as the bassist opened his eyes. “Are you okay?”
Mikey let his head loll to his left and offered a weak smile.
“From the looks of it, I’m a few minutes behind you.”
Frank nodded and returned the smile as Mikey pushed himself into a sitting position. Seeing Frank’s arms pulled almost to full stretch behind him, Mikey checked his own wrists and his brow furrowed deeply as he took in their situation.
“What are you doing here?” asked Frank.
“I’d like to say, I’m just passing through, but it looks like I’m a permanent resident.”
“But he was only after me!” Frank continued.
“Gee must be right, he’s out to get all of us now.” Mikey sighed, as Frank retreated back to the wall. “This is not good.”
Frank allowed a small cheerless laugh pass his lips. “Mikey, your powers of understatement will never cease to amaze me.”