It's not looking too good for the guys
There was something about The Dreamcatcher’s touch that seemed to transfer knowledge of his intention, as though you could see right into his soulless mind and know exactly what plans he had in store for you. This single fact hardly came as a surprise to Gerard. He had written that the character would feed directly on the hopes and dreams of his victims and that direct link may easily flow both ways, especially where his victims also fed the dreams of others. Gerard reflected on the horror a victim would feel in the full knowledge that this evil creature intended to drain away his or her life. Because of that very link, Ray had known The Dreamcatcher’s true intentions – the trickery and deceit that would deliver Gerard to him, but had been denied the chance to warn him.
Anxious to save the lives of his brother and friends, Gerard had sacrificed himself, but it was a trap. Instead of Ray, Gerard now he realised that The Dreamcatcher’s eyes had been on him. He was the main prize, the one person who could fulfil The Dreamcatcher’s ambition for superhuman abilities and world domination, and now he had him. Unlike Bob and Mikey who were attacked and taken by force, Gerard had submitted freely. In doing so he had, unknowingly and unintentionally, relinquished his will to this monster and was now his prisoner. Worse was to come for Gerard, as he would soon discover that the plan was to capture all five of them and that, now under The Dreamcatcher’s control, he would be forced to assist.
Desperately, he prayed that The Dreamcatcher’s mysterious nemesis would reveal himself before it was too late. Yes, it was an untried and novel idea to keep his identity secret. Originally designed to be a unique point of interest, Gerard now truly wished that he had opted for a much more conventional storytelling device. It seemed more than likely that he, his brother and friends would be dead long before the unknown hero arrived on the scene.
The space around him swirled from the deepest black into a bright artificial light. Gerard realised only when his feet touched the floor that it was, in fact, him spinning and not the room around him. The soles of his boots skimmed the floor as the momentum kept him moving. Losing his balance, Gerard threw his arms out automatically in an attempt to save himself from injury but, unfamiliar with his surroundings, only succeeded in cracking the back of his left hand against something metal. Disorientated by his own motion and that the room in which he now found himself almost appeared to be moving in the opposite direction, Gerard fell backwards, unable to prevent it. As he fell, his head connected sharply with two metal bars behind him. Without even a moment to gather his senses, Gerard dropped to the floor in a crumpled heap.
The Dreamcatcher curled his lips into a cruel smirk as he gazed down at his helpless captive now lying unconscious inside the cage he had prepared for him. He would make perfect bait for the remaining two victims. Coming to his rescue, neither musician would realise that he could now force the singer to do his bidding. Gerard himself would be forced to capture them; completely unsuspecting, they would be easy prey.
Frank skidded to his knees in front of the unconscious guitarist. Rolling him onto his back, he could see the bruising on Ray’s neck from his struggles to free himself.
“Ray!” Frank yelled, trying to wake him, but without response. “Ray! Come on! Wake up!”
Frank sighed with relief as a frown appeared on the other guitarist’s face before his eyes fluttered open at the fourth call of his name; at least the fourth one he had heard. Attempting to speak was proving even more difficult, as he found his neck and throat still painful from the crushing grip of The Dreamcatcher had used on him. Instead, with an impatient frown, he waved for Frank to be silent.
“Are you okay?” Frank babbled on ignoring him. “He took Gee!”
“I know,” Ray finally managed as he rolled over onto his side and glanced up. “It was a trick.”
Frank’s brow furrowed as he thought about what Ray meant.
“A trick?” he asked simply.
“Yeah,” Ray nodded, pushing himself to his feet. “Come on, we’ve got to speak to Vincent Hernandez.”
“Hernandez? Gee’s new artist? You think he knows something about all this?”
Ray shrugged. “I don’t know, but in the absence of Gerard, who else knows about this Dreamcatcher character?”
Frank nodded; it made sense.
“What were you trying to say to Gee before he cut you off?”
Ray sighed. “Just that it was a trick to get him. Come on, I’ll explain on the way.”
Bob and Mikey pressed themselves up against a brick wall. Breathless and tired, the pair rested for as long as they felt they could.
“You said you were in a room with no door when you woke up here?” Mikey whispered. “How did you get out?”
Bob turned head, and it was immediately clear to Mikey that he really didn’t have the answers.
“I don’t know, I passed out from lack of air. I woke up a bit later and suddenly there was an open door.”
“He drew it?” Mikey asked.
“Must have.” Bob nodded before adding sarcastically: “I guess he thought that having us running for our lives would be much more fun!”
A screech of brakes alerted the pair to the approaching danger. Turning to the left, they bolted, not even stopping to look back for fear it would slow them down. The sound of the gunshots crackled through the air. One bullet hit the wall against which they had just paused for breath, exploding in a small shower of red brick dust and mortar.
The pain was excruciating as the second bullet found its mark. Running at full speed, it was as if his leg had suddenly stopped functioning and Bob found himself sprawling at high speed to the floor, rolling and skidding to a halt. The heat and searing pain emanating from his thigh almost took his breath away, at first he didn’t even register the scrapes and lacerations on his lower arms and cheek.
“Bob!” Mikey now already several feet away, turned as he heard the cry of shock and pain as the drummer was hit.
Behind them, the car screeched to a halt only moments before the doors flew open and disgorged three thick set menacing looking men.
“Run!” Bob ordered, urgently.
Reluctantly, the bassist turned on his heels and fled. Bob cursed as the car started up again and with wheels spinning, headed after Mikey. But there was no more time to worry as his arms were seized and he was dragged to his knees. Almost on the verge of passing out with the pain, Bob knew he was in no position to fight them – whoever they were. All he could hope was that Mikey would escape.
As the two young men, followed the corridor toward the exit, they were left in deep distress at the sheer number of bodies lining the floors. Frank remembered Gerard’s warning about how The Dreamcatcher’s power increased with each life he drained and this killing spree went a long way to explaining his current size and strength. Ray was no weakling, but he was unable to free himself from his grip and the bruising around his neck was undeniable.
“Look!” Frank stopped suddenly in his stride and pointed to a body lying near the wall.
Ray turned a saddened expression toward another of his victims but was at a loss to see what had drawn Frank’s attention.
“Look at her skin and clothes. She’s not black and white,” Frank explained.
“You’re right!” Ray exclaimed surprised with himself for not noticing immediately. “Maybe she’s not dead?”
With a nod, Frank knelt at her side and tried to wake her. Frowning as he found her unresponsive, Frank took a pulse.
“She’s alive, all right, but…” Frank paused to take a deep breath. “This is what you were like when you were standing in the rain.”
“I know what that is now,” Ray admitted as Frank rose to his feet again.
“I guess his name says it all really, not only does he drain people of their energy and hopes and dreams, he does it by… it’s like a sort of hypnosis. When I saw him, I couldn’t look away. It was as if I was asleep and totally rooted to the spot. I was kind of dreaming, I was in the same place, but everything was desolate and broken down…”
“That’s what Gee said too,” Frank gasped as he recalled their earlier conversation. “What else?”
“He was there, just staring.”
“So, he puts his victims in a dream-like state?” Frank mused. “It would explain why we heard nothing even though he was killing people only a few yards away. I wonder why he didn’t kill her?” he added looking down at the woman in the trance.
“He can’t kill everyone, not yet, not if their dreams are too strong,” Ray explained.
“How do you know?”
Ray pushed his fingers into his hair as he thought about how to put it into words.
“I don’t really know. It’s like, when he had hold of me, I could pick up on certain things. I knew that he wanted Gee and that he was lying to him about letting us all go.”
“He’s still after us?”
Ray nodded. “It’s not just Gee he wants, but he’s special, his energy will give him superpowers, but he had to give himself up willingly for it to work. Hence the floorshow before. He wouldn’t have killed me, he needs all of us, but Gee didn’t know.”
“You tried to warn him, but The Dreamcatcher stopped you,” Frank sighed. “Do you know anything else about him?”
Ray shook his head. “No, sorry, that’s all I picked up. But, he’s winning, Frank, he has almost everything he needs now.”
“Almost is not enough,” Frank replied defiantly. “Come on, let’s get to Hernandez’s studio. Maybe we’ll get some answers there?”