Frank is the first to feel the eerie effects of the forest
The camera panned in on Frank’s terrified features and a voice shouted:
“Cut!” a pause. “And print. Nice one, Frank, that really looked realistic this time.”
Frank staggered back against a tree and sighed with relief as the floodlights came on, lighting the whole area. His eyes darted from left to right and he took a deep breath as he saw nothing but Gerard coming towards him. As he approached the young singer broke out into appreciative applause.
“Frankie! That was amazing! I had no idea you could act that well!”
Frank forced a smile. The truth was, he hadn’t been acting, but how could he say anything? They’d think he was crazy.
It was the first day of their new video shoot and they were spending much more time than usual on this one. It wasn’t just the special effects that needed more attention, but the location made filming difficult and, as a result, much more time consuming. A three day filming schedule had been planned and everyone was excited, that was, everyone except Frank. He had been, right up until the moment he had arrived on location and something most definitely had not felt right to him. Nobody else seemed to have noticed. Well, he corrected himself, certainly no one had mentioned it, but then neither had he.
Gerard pulled the guitarist away from the tree and placed his arm around his shoulder.
“Wow,” he laughed, “you really did get into character, didn’t you?”
“Huh?” Frank managed in reply.
“You’re shaking, man!” Gerard eyed him with concern. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” Frank shrugged, then offered his best laugh under the circumstances, “yeah, of course!”
Gerard chuckled. “I guess I’ll be the same when it’s my turn.”
Frank offered a smile, but inside he was thinking: Oh, fuck, I hope not!
Walking steadily back towards the trailers, Frank remembered the horrible sensation he had felt in the forest and glanced back over his shoulder to see if there was actually anything there, but of course, it was all brightly lit by the floodlights and dozens of people were walking around going about their business, there was nothing else to be seen. Perhaps there was nothing all along? Nothing but his overactive imagination.
“Hey!” Ray jumped behind him, using Frank’s shoulders to push himself higher. “That was awesome, Frank, you’ve really set the bar high for us!”
Frank nodded and tried to be enthusiastic as Mikey and Bob joined in to express their admiration for his convincing performance.
“Well, you know, I’m not going to be overshadowed by you guys!”
“Overshadowed?” Mikey laughed. “Frank…”
“Don’t give me any short jokes, Mikey!” Frank snapped, much harsher than he had intended.
Mikey withdrew slightly.
“I was only gonna say that you’re always great in our videos. You put so much into them.”
Frank’s shoulders sagged.
“I’m sorry, Mikey and thank you. I… I guess I’m still a little tense. The woods… and it’s dark; it kinda gets to you.”
Frank glanced around for the tiniest glimmer of understanding. He wasn’t certain, but he really thought he noticed Bob flinch ever so slightly. He made a mental note to speak to him about it privately later. But for the time being, it was Ray’s turn to be filmed in the woods.
The premise of the video was that Frank, Ray, Bob and Mikey would be driving along a lonely stretch of road when, swerving to avoid a figure standing in front of them, their car would career out of control and crash. They would wake in separate areas of the forest, and whilst trying to find each other, would be chased by a homicidal axe wielding manic in the form of Gerard - the same person who had caused the crash.
It was, as ever, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek, yet high-drama affair that they hoped would please their fans. Gerard would do his scenes last as it all had to be coordinated with him singing along. He’d have to do his scenes probably a dozen times so that they could cut and print with the song perfectly lip-synced. So, now it was Ray’s turn and Frank reached out and grabbed his arm as he moved forward to speak to the director. Turning, he looked with expectant eyes at Frank, who was at a loss over what to say.
“What is it, Frank?” Ray prompted as the director called him over again.
“Be careful, Ray.”
Ray frowned with concern.
“It gets really dark when the lights go down. I fell for real a lot and…” Frank paused.
“And what?” Ray asked as the director called again.
“Just… be careful and…” Frank picked up his tone and waved a hand. “Have fun! You’ll be great!”
“Thanks!” Ray grinned as he ran to take instructions on his scene.
Mikey and Gerard both moved forward to watch Ray, but Frank was stopped in his tracks as he heard a voice behind him.
“You don’t really mean that, do you?” asked Bob, quietly resting a hand on the guitarist’s shoulder.