Oh so close!
Ray opened his eyes with some difficulty; the sedative still lying heavy upon him, however, that feeling would stay with him only a few moments more. His eyes widened as he both saw and felt the gun, fitted with a silencer, pushed into his cheek and the hand across his mouth pressing a strip of tape firmly across his lips.
“Don’t make a sound,” Simons whispered. “If you do, I’ll kill you, do you understand?”
Trying to keep his breathing from escalating, Ray nodded lightly.
“Good,” Simons replied, barely audibly as he stood back whilst still aiming the gun directly at him. “Get up!”
Simons backed out of the bunk room as Ray followed him into the living space at the front of the bus.
“Hands behind your back and turn around,” he ordered in a hushed but strained whisper.
Just about to handcuff the guitarist, Simons cursed under his breath as he heard a curtain in the bunk room being pushed back slowly. Turning the gun in his hand, he swiftly brought the butt end down on the back of Ray’s head, catching him as he fell unconscious and bundling him onto one of the long cushioned seats near the windows. Quickly pulling off the gag, Simons screwed up the tape into a small ball and stuffed it into his pocket as he took a seat at the table and pretended to deal out some cards in a game of solitaire. All looked in order as Gerard stumbled sleepily into the room.
“Hey,” he greeted the guard still in a sleepy daze. “Do you want some coffee?”
“No thanks,” Simons replied keeping his head down, certain that Gerard would recognise him from even the brief glance he got of him in the hotel mirror.
Gerard turned an inquisitive glance towards him as, curious by the lack of response. Nearby, on the long seat, he spotted Ray appearing to be lying in a decidedly uncomfortable position.
“You’re sure I can’t get you anything?” Gerard asked trying hard to see the man’s face. His heart rate was beginning to quicken, despite being unable to put his finger on exactly why, Gerard knew the situation felt very wrong.
“I’m sure,” he replied abruptly. He was just staring at the cards now, his right hand reaching under the table setting off alarm bells in Gerard’s head.
“I’m just going outside for a smoke,” Gerard announced as he turned and headed quickly for the door.
Bringing his hand up above the table once more, Simons fired off a single shot. The bullet zinged past Gerard and embedded itself with a dull pop in the door.
“Sit down,” he ordered his tone full of force, yet unnervingly quiet.
Eddie stirred as his phone rang. Dozing lightly in the chair, it took only two rings to bring him back to wakefulness. Reaching across to the table, Eddie became suddenly fully alert as he noticed the caller’s name on the display.
“I think I may have something,” Brian replied.
Taken aback by the tiredness in Brian’s voice, Eddie glanced at his watch; it was already two-thirty and it sounded as though Brian had worked hard all day and into the early morning.
“Are you okay?” he asked automatically.
“Yes,” Brian returned unintentionally curt. “Listen, I think I know who it is.”
Gerard turned his back to the door and stared silently at the guard who was now looking up at him with a cruel smile fixed on his lips.
“Step away from the door, Gerard.”
Gerard hesitated, unwilling to simply give in without a fight. Simons merely sighed and pushed the barrel of the gun against Ray’s forehead.
There was none. With a frustrated sigh, Gerard looked down and stepped forward a couple of paces.
“Now, sit on the floor and get acquainted with these,” he said as he threw Gerard the handcuffs originally intended for Ray. “I don’t have all night!” he snapped, his voice getting louder. Leaning slightly forward he gestured with an open palm as if trying to explain a difficult problem. “Don’t you understand? I have three of you to deal with.”
“What have you found?” Eddie asked hopefully.
“On the last tour, Frank stumbled across one of the security guards stealing and I’m not just talking small stuff, he was loading a van full of gear and equipment. He was dismissed on the spot. We didn’t go to the police,” Brian sighed, “perhaps we should’ve, but the guy’s career was over, he fed us this sob story. Needless to say, it seemed enough and we let it go.”
“You think he’s back?”
“Definitely not,” Brian replied. “I spoke to the police earlier. He turned up dead a couple of months later. Execution style.”
“There were two of them, his brother was a guard too. He stayed with us, finished the tour, no trouble. But now…”
“Now you’re thinking he’s back for revenge?”
“He is back.” Brian confirmed. “He’s on the list. He wasn’t on duty when they were taken, but that only makes it easier, no one’s expecting him to be anywhere else.”
“Who is it? I’ll watch for when he arrives.”
“A guy called Josh Simons.”
“Fuck!” Eddies eyes widened. “He’s in there with them now!”
“But…” Brian began.
“Someone was ill, he stood in, probably drugged him! I’m on it!”
The phone went dead and Brian could only pray Eddie would be in time.
Racing from the bus, Eddie pulled open the door of the second crew bus. Inside, two guards were playing cards but they looked up immediately, concerned by Eddie’s panicked expression.
“It’s Josh, he’s the psycho! He’s with them!”
The two men didn’t need any more explanation. Abandoning their game they ran from the bus following Eddie towards the band’s bus.
Gerard sat cross-legged on the floor, his hands handcuffed behind him, watching as Simons doused a cloth in what he presumed was chloroform.
“What did you do with Mikey and Frank?” he asked in a slightly louder than usual voice.
“They’re safe… ish,” he replied with a callous smile. “And feel free to talk as loud as you like, I have to wake Bob anyway.”
A knock at the door forced Simons’ eyes away from Gerard.
“Who is it?” he asked, more than aware that it would seem much more suspicious if he didn’t reply.
“It’s Eddie,” came the simple reply. “I need to talk to Gerard. Can you open the door?”
Stepping up to the singer, Simons grabbed a handful of his hair and pushed the gun into his cheek.
“He’s asleep,” he lied, lowering his gaze to make sure Gerard didn’t try to play hero.
“I know, but I really have to speak to him.”
Simons released his grip and paced nervously.
“This is your doing!” he snapped at the singer.
“How?” Gerard replied perplexed.
It was the wrong thing to say at the wrong time. The aggravated and anxious guard whipped the gun across his cheek in anger causing Gerard to cry out in shock and pain. Eddie, hearing the cry, immediately forced the door while, with no other escape route, Simons dragged the dazed musician to his feet by his neck and thrust the gun barrel under his jaw. Stepping back as the door was flung open, Simons tensed despite feeling that with Gerard as his hostage, he at least had the upper hand.
“You’re going to get out of the way and let me through, otherwise, he’s dead.”
Eddie took a step back, motioning for the other guards to do the same, as he took in the sight before him.
“Come on, Josh, it’s over now,” Eddie encouraged. “Let him go”
“You think it’s over?” Simons asked tightening his grip on Gerard. “Where are Mikey and Frank?”
Eddie frowned; his lips pursed as he tensed.
“You don’t know do you?” Simons grinned. “Well you better step aside, or not only does he get it, but you’ll never find the other two either!”
Simons paused as Eddie considered his words.
“What’s it gonna be?” Simons taunted him. “Three dead?”
Eddie stepped back silently, the two guards following suit as Simons dragged Gerard from the bus and towards his car. Forcing the helpless singer into the passenger seat, Simons climbed in, all the while keeping the gun levelled at Gerard.
Eddie could only watch as the car sped off. Noting the plate number, he reached for his phone and dialled 911, requesting the police and an ambulance for Ray.
Slamming his fist against the side of the bus, Eddie screamed in frustration of how close they had come to cornering him, yet not only had he escaped again, but now he had Gerard too.