Gerard grinned at the camera. In his left hand he held a take out cup of coffee, with the famous logo obscured from the camera and with his right hand he offered a brief but cheerful wave.
“So, Gerard,” Rodez opened, as he turned back to his guest. “Tell us about your new comic book.”
Gerard gave a small, almost shy laugh, and leaned forward slightly as he pushed his hair back.
“Yeah,” he nodded, “it’s going well. The first chapter has been written and some of the pages have already been inked. They’re not lettered or coloured yet, but I can say that so far, they’re looking pretty dramatic. I have a few of the proofs back at the hotel and all I can say is ‘wow!’.”
“You didn’t bring them with you?”
“No,” Gerard shook his head, “it’s not really that practical. Even though a comic has pretty small pages, the proofs are backed on card and are about forty by thirty inches. Besides, you wouldn’t ask an artist to show you a painting half way through, would you?”
“You see this as a work of art?” Rodez asked with a chuckle in his tone.
Gerard paused and sat back slightly as he considered his reply.
“Yes, it’s a work of art. Not in the classical sense, like Monet or Da Vinci, but no one can really question the work and training that goes into comic books and the emotion stirred by the contents. When drawn well, and believe me, they are drawn extremely well, it’s almost as if the characters come to life.”
“You have a new artist working for the comic now. How’s he working out?”
“Yeah, he’s called Vincent Hernandez and he’s a genius. I’ve never seen artwork like it. I do wish I’d brought the proofs now because there’s nothing I can say that can explain how exceptional they are.”
“Well, they’ll have to be good to bring to life your new character. Can you tell us a little about him?”
“Sure!” Gerard agreed cheerfully. “He’s called The Dreamcatcher. To look at him at first, he looks like an ordinary guy, but painfully thin, almost ill looking. In fact, really, he is an ordinary guy, there’s nothing really special about him until he discovers that he has a supernatural power.”
“Yeah? And what’s that?” Rodez asked, appearing excited for the benefit of the camera.
“He feeds on people’s hopes and dreams, sucking everything out of them, leaving them with nothing, just a shell.”
“Like a vampire sucks blood?”
“Not in the same way, but it’s a good analogy. Anyway, as he feeds on people, he grows bigger and stronger. If he feeds on people who have already achieved their dreams he doubles in strength. But his ultimate goal is to find someone who not only has achieved his or her own dreams, but fuels the dreams of others, because that will give him superhuman strength.”
“So, he’s a villain, obviously. But all villains have their nemesis. Who is his and what’s he like?”
Gerard grinned; the idea was new and untried.
“He doesn’t know, he only knows him by his hero’s name, but his identity is a secret. And here’s the twist, even the person who is his nemesis isn’t aware of it.”
“If he’s not aware, how will he know to fight The Dreamcatcher?” Rodez asked, intrigued by the plot twist.
“Well,” Gerard sat back and smirked, “you’ll have to read the comic book to find out, won’t you?”
“I guess I will!” Rodez laughed. “But from the sounds of it, I’ll have to fight to get a copy. That’s just going to fly off the shelves!”
“I hope so,” Gerard nodded. “A lot of people have worked very hard on it.”
“Gerard, thanks for giving up your time to talk to us today. I hope the comic sells really well!”
“Thanks!” Gerard grinned. “And thanks for having me here.”
Gerard’s glanced idly around the room as Rodez turned back to the camera and signed off. An unexpected sight caught his eye in the corner of the room causing him to do a double take. As his head swung back to look in the far corner, he frowned as his eyes fell on nothing but the darkened corner. Had his active imagination created something that simply wasn’t there? If someone had asked him then and there to describe what he had seen, he would be the first to admit that he would be unable to explain what had caused his reaction. But he was sure he had seen something disturbing. Well, fairly certain, at least. Possibly. Maybe. No.
Gerard stood in the alley behind the studio and lit a cigarette. It had been a long day already and it was only lunchtime. For a thirty-minute slot in the show, he had been required to turn up three hours earlier. The time had flown by in a whirl. First he had to meet the interviewer and the other guests. A run through of the questions and the replies that Gerard would give took over an hour in itself. The whole process was designed to make the interview flow better; cutting out the umming and ahhing of thinking time, but at the same time, he knew that it shouldn’t sound rehearsed. He tended not to think about it too much, he knew that worked best for him. Then the obligatory discussion about words that were not acceptable for television, especially one aimed at teenagers. Gerard chuckled to himself as he read the list of words he absolutely on pain of death must not say. Most teenagers he knew would be able to add a dozen more words to the list if pressed, but there was nothing likely to cause offence, well, possibly only to the parents.
“Do you think you’re safe, here in the alley?”
Gerard turned sharply. He had been alone and had heard no one approach. His head turned from side to side and even looked up; he was still very much alone, but he was certain he had heard a voice asking about his safety in a threatening tone. Throwing the half smoked cigarette to the floor, he headed to the front of the building where a car was waiting for him. Almost at the end of the alley a shape moved swiftly across the gap in the two buildings. Momentarily, Gerard stopped dead in his tracks; his mind flooding with conflicting thoughts. It was the same thing he had seen in the corner of the studio. But it wasn’t possible. Was it? Racing to the main street, he looked to his left. Fleetingly he saw something or someone turn a corner at the next block, but he couldn’t be certain. Before he could do or say anything, he was surrounded.
“Will you sign my CD?”
“Can I get a photo?”
Resetting himself, Gerard gave a last glance up the street before turning to his fans and offering a broad smile.
“Mister Way? Are you okay?”
Whilst still signing scraps of paper and CDs, Gerard looked up to see his driver waiting patiently to his right.
“Yeah, sure, Ben,” he nodded. “Sorry, ladies, I have to go.”
He was met with a chorus of disappointed sighs, which only made him smile all the more. Gently extricating himself from the large group, he headed with a smile and a wave to the car.
“And I asked you to call me Gerard,” he said as he climbed inside.
“Sure,” his driver nodded.
“Ben, I’m serious.”
“Okay! I will. Back to the hotel?”
“Please,” Gerard replied with a sleepy sigh as he settled back into the comforting darkness.
“Are you sure you’re okay though?” Ben asked as he pulled out into traffic.
“Yeah,” Gerard replied, opening his eyes once more. “Why?”
“It’s just, you looked a bit rattled when you came out of the alley,” Ben replied with concern in his voice.
“Ben, did you see anything? I mean, near the alley, other than me?”
“No, nothing, just you,” he answered, glancing in the rear view mirror to look at his passenger. “Like what?”
Gerard thought for a moment as he considered the question.
“I don’t know. Never mind, I’m probably just tired.”
“Well, you’re clear for the afternoon, maybe you can get a nap back at the hotel.”
“Yeah,” Gerard nodded.
It had been a pretty hectic few weeks and he was certainly tired. A nap didn’t sound like a bad idea. Closing his eyes, Gerard settled back in the warm comfort of the car.
A/N - Okay so I'm trying a different technique. The basic plot has been outlined, but you don't know the why or how. All this will pan out in later chapters. Like the first Spiderman movie - you basically know what's going to happen, but not how. It's still entertaining even though you know what's coming. And that's the challenge I've set myself. Hope I don't let you down!