The guys find out about the legend
If he had been standing, his shoulders would have visibly sagged, but as it was, he merely exhaled loudly.
“Come on, Bob!” the voice called again.
It was Frank. He was a touch too lively. Bob rolled over; so what else was new? He smiled with relief as the knocking finally stopped and pushed his face back into the warm and inviting pillow. The drapes were closed to keep out the sun. Awake filming for half the night in the woods made for a long lie in the next day at the best of times, and the previous night had been particularly trying. Momentarily, he felt a pang of guilt as he realised that he still hadn’t spoken to Ray to ask about his ankle, but the mattress had, by now, almost moulded to his shape and he was simply too comfortable to move. Later, he promised himself as he felt himself drift towards another dream, later.
Frank drifted down the corridor and gently knocked on Ray’s door. At first, there was no reply and he checked his watch again. It was after two, where was everyone?
The young guitarist turned to see Mikey peering around the door of his room. Smiling at the odd sight of what appeared to be the bassist’s dismembered head floating half way up the doorframe, he loped over to join him.
“We’re all in here,” Mikey explained as frank followed him into the room, “well, except Bob, but no one can wake the dead!”
“I know; I just tried.” Frank chuckled. As he walked further inside the room, he noticed Gerard and Ray on the balcony having what might have been a late lunch or a very late breakfast.
Gerard waved; unable to speak, as his mouth was busy chewing on whatever goodies they had decided to feast upon. Frank’s stomach immediately rumbled and he wondered if they had anything he could snack on.
“Hey, Toro,” Frank called as Mikey closed the door and joined him by the balcony door. “How are you feeling today?”
“I’m okay,” Ray smiled, nodding under the table to where his foot rested on a cushion on the opposite chair. “It’s not easy to keep it up like this, I suddenly realise how much I use it and how flexible I’m not!”
Frank laughed at the awkward phrasing.
“You don’t move around enough,” he replied absently as he checked the table for food he could steal, finally settling on a piece of toast. “I mean, look at me on stage…”
“We all look at you on stage, Frankie,” Ray commented, “and none of us can believe what we see!”
Frank pouted as he considered how to take the comment. Finally deciding on a cheerful chuckle, he took a bite of the toast, nodding with approval and looking for more.
“Heard anything from Alan?” Frank asked, allowing his eyes to wander over the table again and not seeing anything he fancied, rose from his seat and selected an apple from a nearby bowl.
“Not yet,” Gerard shrugged checking his watch, “did you hear, Bob gave him until three to have everything sorted?”
Frank nodded. “I’m going back with him to check the site before it goes dark, that’s why I was trying to wake him.”
Ray glanced up.
“Rather you than me, Frankie.”
“Oh, he’s not that bad!” Frank laughed at the image Bob had on first waking.
Ray laughed at the reply, and specifically the misunderstanding.
“No!” he shook his head, but then became inexplicably subdued. “I mean… I, well…”
“What?” asked Frank, his brow creased with concern.
“It’s nothing,” Ray replied.
Mikey had remained silent the whole time but could remain so no longer.
“Ray, why don’t…”
“It was nothing Mikey,” Ray cut in, now feeling somewhat foolish.
Ray had confided his fears to Mikey the previous night, while it was fresh in his mind. But now, in the light of day, it seemed so ridiculous and unreal.
“Ray heard…” Mikey began only to be cut off.
“Growling?” Frank asked quietly. “That’s what scared me.”
The room was reduced to an unnatural stillness and Ray turned disbelieving eyes towards his friend.
“You heard it too?” Ray asked, somewhat taken aback by the revelation.
Frank nodded; his face now pale as he realised that it was definitely not his imagination.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Gerard cut in, confused. “How come I’m the only one who doesn’t know about this?”
“Well,” Ray replied, “both Frank and I heard it and I mentioned it to Mikey.”
“Okay,” Gerard waved, realising that the question addressed nothing that would explain what had happened. “Did you see anything?”
“No,” Frank admitted.
“Me neither,” Ray added, “but it was really dark, Gee.”
“How come you didn’t mention this?”
“Well,” Frank frowned, “I felt stupid, like you’d think I was some sort of kid, frightened of the dark.”
“For fuck’s sake Frank, why would that be stupid? I’m terrified of needles, do you think I’m stupid?”
“No,” Frank sighed, “but I didn’t know it was real, I thought I’d imagined it.”
Ray nodded his agreement. “Me too.”
“Look, guys, we already know the wood is dangerous, perhaps there’s more to it?” Gerard offered.
“There is,” Mikey offered quietly.
“What do you mean there is?” his brother asked.
Mikey shrugged. “One of the runners told me. He lives locally, he told me the legend.”
Three pairs of ears pricked up at the words. Suddenly the location of their video shoot sounded exciting. Previously, it had been lethally dangerous, but now that a local legend had been introduced, it began to take on the mantle of something altogether more fascinating and intriguing.
“So?” Frank prompted taking a seat once more and staring in anticipation at Mikey.
“Well,” Mikey hunched his shoulders slightly, surprised to suddenly become the centre of attention. “In the seventeen hundreds, there was a house nearby, a big mansion. It’s in ruins now, a fire, I think, but some of the outbuildings are still in pretty good shape. One of the maids, well, the master of the house paid a lot of unwelcome attention to her and she was terrified of him. One day, she’d had all she could take and she tried to stand up to him. When she didn’t submit, he beat her pretty badly. She got away from him, but she was scared for her life. She made a break for it and ran from the house and into the woods, but he followed her.”
“He killed her?” asked Ray.
Mikey shook his head. “No, she actually managed to escape through the woods and reach the town. He wasn’t so lucky. The townspeople found him the next day savaged by wolves. Now, it’s said that if a man goes into the woods after dark the chase is re-enacted and his spirit sets ghostly wolves on the guy in revenge.”
“Awesome!” Gerard cried, his eyes glistening with excitement.
“Not awesome!” Frank argued. “Gee, we heard the wolves! I felt someone or something chasing me!”
“We gotta get this in the video!” Gerard was no longer listening. In his mind he was rewriting the video plot to somehow include the legend.
“Gee!” Frank yelled.
Gerard lowered his eyes and began to actually concentrate on what Frank was saying.
“What?” he asked innocently. “It’s not real, Frank.”
“It felt real enough,” Frank replied with a little anger in his tone.
“It’s true, Gee, we both heard it.” Ray added, he hoped, convincingly.
Gerard looked thoughtful for a moment before glancing at his watch.
“Frank, you rouse Rip van Winkle, go down to the woods and see what you can find before nightfall and we’ll go to the library, see if we can find out any more and we’ll join you on the set.”
“Are you serious?” Frank asked, bewildered by his sudden enthusiasm.
“Of course I am!” he replied grinning broadly.
“But you didn’t think it was real,” Ray commented.
“I still don’t,” Gerard clarified with a mischievous smile, “but it’s interesting and it beats sitting around!”
Mikey sighed quietly to himself and muttered under his breath. “Great! Just what I need, more ghosts!”