Ray makes an unpleasant discovery
“What?” he asked finally.
“What was the matter out there?”
Frank opened his mouth to object but Bob cut in:
“Don’t tell me it was nothing or whatever crap you told Gerard. You were scared.”
“I just didn’t like it,” Frank replied, “it’s different with the lights off.”
“You nearly went out of shot, you were running so fast.”
Not fast enough! Frank thought to himself as he remembered the fear he felt surrounded by the trees in the dark with… with what? He didn’t really see anything, just a feeling, a horrible feeling.
“Well, they got the shot they wanted,” Frank replied, then added with relief, “and I’m done now.”
Bob shook his head. “No, there’ll be shots with Gee too.”
Frank raised his eyes to the drummer once more; they were filled with disbelief and a deep sense of nervousness. Again, Bob’s observant streak kicked in and he realised instantly that Frank really was scared, but was, as yet, unwilling to discuss it.
“Don’t worry, Frankie,” Bob put his arm around his shoulder as he guided him forward to watch Ray’s scene. “I’m sure we’ll all feel the same when we’ve been in there, just unfortunate you went in first, so we don’t know yet.”
Frank smiled. Bob could have ridiculed him, but he didn’t and for that, he was grateful.
By the time they reached the small group behind the director’s chair, Ray was already in position, about twenty feet beyond the edge of the forest. Just as for Frank’s scene, cameras on hydraulic booms where placed in strategic places to capture all of Ray’s movements. Sitting beside the director was the camera operator, at a desk with a bank of three monitors with split screens showing the pictures from all six cameras. From the desk, he could operate all the cameras remotely, panning to follow Ray from one area to the next and zooming in whenever the need arose. In theory, provided Ray stayed within the prearranged boundary, the cameras would never lose sight of him.
“Okay, everybody!” Alan Frey, the director, called out. “Silence on set, please! Lights down.”
Ray’s gasped as he realised just how dark it truly was without the floodlights. It was going to be quite easy to look scared.
“Music?” Frey called next.
A sound engineer started the track at the point just four bars prior where the scene would fit. Everyone was counting the beats in their head, and even before Frey shouted the next word, Ray knew it was time to move.
Momentarily, Ray was frozen to the spot, his hands resting against a tree, his eyes wide, his chest heaving with panic. Two bars into the music, he ran. Frey smiled. He didn’t know if it was intentional or not, but it was perfectly in time with the music and it looked very convincing. Keeping within the prescribed boundaries, Ray darted from one place to another, glancing regularly over his shoulder. The performance seemed very much in time to the music and Frank smiled with relief that the same problems he encountered didn’t appear to be bothering Ray.
“He’s doing well,” Frank whispered to Bob.
Bob nodded with a smile; it was good to see Frank relaxing a little. He had seemed so tense earlier.
Ray placed his hands on a tree as he listened to the sounds around him; by now, if he was doing anything in time to the music, it was sheer coincidence. He pressed his cheek up against the back of his hand as he leaned against the tree. His eyes widened in alarm as he heard the low growling sound and unbeknownst to him, camera three moved in for a close up. Frey grinned his approval, believing his charges to be fine undiscovered talents in the field of acting. Little did he know that they weren’t acting. Ray turned his head to his right and immediately bolted. The song was coming to an end as ran just out of shot.
“Ray!” Mikey yelled as the guitarist disappeared abruptly.
All four band members, Frey and half the crew ran forward as the floodlights came on. Ray had disappeared from sight and as he was out of camera shot, with the lights down, it was impossible to know exactly what had happened.
Ray groaned as he tried to move and found his movements restricted. Now the lights had come on, he had a much better view of his predicament. Looking up, he saw first that he was at the bottom of a pit. It looked to be approximately seven feet deep, with only loose soil for walls – there was no way he could climb up. Glancing to his left, his jaw dropped as he realised he had narrowly missed falling directly onto a circle of wooden spikes sticking up approximately four feet from the bottom of the pit. Lying as he did between the wall and the spikes, he knew without much consideration that he had cheated death by inches. Further to his left, he could see that the last person to fall into this cleverly disguised trap had not been quite so lucky.
“Get me out of here!” he screamed, pushing himself away from the grinning skull a mere six inches from his own face.
Using the giant spikes to haul himself upright, Ray stood at the bottom of the pit looking upwards, awaiting rescue.
“Ray?” a voice called as the search party tried hard to find him.
“I’m here!” he yelled, hoping that the sound of his voice would bring them closer. “In a pit, a fucking man-trap! Get me out of here!”
In a matter of moments a number of concerned faces stood at the edge of the pit, peering down at Ray’s pale and exhausted expression.
“Ray,” Frey began, “this actually looks pretty good. Would you mind singing along with your parts before we get you out?”
Even the ever practical Bob had to admit that the suggestion was outlandish, appalling and unbelievably insensitive.
“Alan,” Ray began through gritted teeth, which, in itself, should have alerted him that Ray was extremely unhappy with his suggestion. “I’ve narrowly missed being impaled on these spikes, I’m here with the last occupant, who, I gotta tell you, doesn’t look too good! And I hope you won’t take offence when I ask you,” Ray’s voice jumped from seething to screaming with barely concealed anger, “to get me the fuck out of here!”
“Yeah, yeah!” Frey replied quickly in an attempt to calm Ray. “I’m sorry, wasn’t really thinking. We’ll get you out straight away.”
“And now you know,” Bob turned to Frank, “how I got my leg half burnt off during the Famous Last Words shoot. Directors are so keen to get a good shot, reality doesn't always kick in until later.”
Frank nodded as Ray was hauled out of the pit, with extra care taken to ensure that he didn’t slip back onto the sharp wooden spikes.
Gerard and Mikey hovered close to him making sure he was really unhurt. He was certainly badly shaken, but physically, apart from a slightly twisted ankle, he was fine.
“So we close the set,” Bob remarked.
Frey glanced over. “We still have three hours of filming scheduled.”
“No,” Bob replied sternly. “The set is closed until it’s verified as safe.”
He glanced at Frank. “And until we’ve done a little checking of our own.”