Brendon's first Port Arthur ghost tour, oooooo.
When the cool darkness of inky night has finally settled over Port Arthur, Ryan returns to the ruins with a cheeky smirk carved into his lips. By his side with wide eyes and quivering hands is Brendon Urie, who is about to embark on his first ghost tour. It is seven o'clock at night, but there is no freezing sunshine left. It has been replaced by icy moonlight.
"Excited?" Ross asks the doe-eyed male beside him. Brendon shrugs, slight fear evident across his features.
"Yeah, I think I'm just kinda freaked out. Y'know, ghosts and all that." He shrugs again, at a loss for words as they run through his head before he can spit them out into the blissful air. The visitor's centre is toasty warm, as always - Ryan has always assumed it is to give the embarking tourists a sense of homeliness and familiarity before plunging them into a world of darkness and fear. Eyes darting round the small cafe that is seemingly abuzz with gentle noise, Ryan checks the time before clearing his throat.
"Excuse me! If you'd all gather here, please!" Heads shoot up, tables creak as chairs are pushed in, children giggle and parents 'shh' them as feet shuffle over to where Ryan is standing with Brendon by his side.
"Good evening! I'm Ryan, and I'll be your guide tonight. This-" he gestures briefly at Brendon- "is my assistant, who will one day be guiding this very tour."
"Now, as you all know, this is the Port Arthur Ghost Tour. There are a few rules, though - firstly, no eating or drinking on the tour, please - madam, if you could leave that soft drink here, thanks. Um, no flash photography unless permitted, and don't wander off." He emphasises the last three words before throwing a cheeky smirk act the adoring audience. "You never know who might get you."
"Now, we're not going to use torches, flashlights, whatever you want to call them. No, we're using good ol' lanterns. If you'll all follow me, we'll light them."
Ryan and Brendon lead the way down the stairs, a litany of footsteps following behind. Brendon glances daringly over at Ryan for a minute. The elder male seems smug, content, and happy to lead a group of terrified, frozen tourists round one of Tasmania's most haunted destinations. It's almost as if he enjoys scaring the living shit out of then. One day, Brendon hopes he'll have that same cocky attitude. He hopes he'll be able to muster that same bright enthusiasm when he's causing shivers to run up the spines of unsuspecting visitors.
Once they are outside, earthquake shivers begin to run through fault line spines. Clouds of breath are forming in the air like cigarette smoke. Ryan has left Brendon alone with the group while he hunts for candles, gas lamps and lanterns. A petite girl with a pixie cut and a pierced nose offers Brendon a reassuring smile.
"I'm Claire - I live about 10 minutes away. This is the second time I've done a tour with Ry. He's really good, don't worry. He's a freaky little shit, though. This your first time?"
Brendon stares, stunned, at the short female. His dark eyes widen and a gloomy clump forms in his throat, tightening it and almost stunting his speech before words begin to flow from his lips.
"U-um, I'm Brendon. Yeah, this is the first time I've done a tour. I'll tell you a secret, this is my first day. I, uh, I graduated outta UTAS a few months back and this place has always had me fairly interested, so I just went for it."
Claire nods to herself, a thoughtful expression forming in her eyes as she looks Brendon over with a small mystic smile.
"Don't be nervous, kid. It'll only make it worse."
Jesus, Brendon thinks to himself as he gnaws anxiously on the already-battered skin of his lower lip. It's as if she can read my mind.
"Alright, I'm back!" Ryan chirped, arms laden with lamps. "Claire, freaking our little intern out already, are you? Give 'im a break, it's his first day here."
The girl rolls her eyes before stepping back into the crowd. Brendon - a psychology student, funnily enough - forms a profile to keep himself busy while Ryan runs his spiels about lanterns and the bearers and the history of ghost tours. He should be listening, but he's too busy forming his little psychobabble. Teenager. Has some form of psychological knowledge, evident by the body-reading skills specimen has shown. Has boyfriend, as shown by the fact she's clutching at a tattooed male's hand. Could be an older brother, however. Stressed, as shown by-
"Brendon!" Ryan's voice cuts through, sharp and cold as ice. Brendon snaps his head up, nodding once and offering a dopey smile.
"Tour's starting now. If you'd follow me and my companion, our first port of call is the unconsecrated cathedral."
The group begins to move, untimed shufflings of booted feet and hushed whispers. Ryan aims a pointy elbow at Brendon's ribs, a stern scowl set on his pouty lips.
"The first stop on our trip is the unconsecrated cathedral. Now, the convicts brought here were all different religions, races, you name it and it was probably differentiated around the site. This was a place for them to all go and pray, regardless."
The small group reaches a steep stop at a looming stone building. It leers down at Brendon and for about the fifth time that night, a full-body shiver wracks his frame.
"Now.. Who'd like to hear the first story?" A teasing, malicious tone edges Ryan's cam voice as his burnt-honey eyes wander the darkness, looking for an unsuspecting victim. Ryan chuckles, a low rumbling sound, before starting up his tale.
"One of Port Arthur's most infamous residents was William Riley - a murderous alcoholic. He was a dangerous figure, kids. Now, this very building here-" Ryan pauses to pat the wall he is leant carelessly against- "was built by convicts. Riley was one of those. One day, while they were working, Riley got ahold of a pick-axe."
Brendon shuddered. He knew exactly where this story was going.
"And with that pick-axe.." Ryan dropped his voice to an eerie, gripping whisper. "He drove it into the skull of Joseph Shuttlecock. He didn't stop, he just kept on hacking. Joseph was working at digging trenches, too. It wasn't the blows that killed him, though. No, the blows didn't do anything. It was the blood loss, the slow death. Imagine that."
Ryan stops for a minute, basking in the frightened expression on his viewers' faces. Brendon notes that the girl with the pixie-cut has gravitated towards Ryan, hand on her hip.
"Now, there are rumours of hearing wailing, and the smashing of a pick-axe late at night. Me? I've heard it." Ryan's eyes widen when he utters his words, and Brendon is utterly terrified. He knows Ryan has some form of connection with the supernatural side of things, he just doesn't know how big it is.
"Another story is that while an unnamed convict was working on building up the walls, he fell. Was he pushed? Did he jump? We don't know. However, ivy used to grow on the walls a lot - but it always managed to avoid the section where he fell. Do you know why?"
The pixie-cut girl pipes up. "Because ivy will not grow where a man has spilled another man's blood."
Ryan looks impressed. "Well done, Claire." She steps back and slings an arm round her boyfriend's waist with a triumphant grin.
"Now, next stop - the Parsonage. If you'd follow me, please."
Brendon decides very quickly that he doesn't like the Parsonage. As soon as he steps foot in it, the place scares him witless. There's a sense of anger, something dark. There is something in this house that doesn't want people in it, Brendon thinks. Ryan, however, doesn't seem to notice as he assembles the group in a small, unlit room. He deliberately asks them to leave their lanterns outside.
"This house played home to the Reverend, wouldn't you know. It's a creepy place. It only gets creepier when you hear the story of the builders."
Brendon wants to get out. Now.
"A few years back, there were three builders restoring the Parsonage. They decided that renting a place up in Hobart wasn't worth it, so they decided to stay here. The first builder slept in the room next door, the second builder slept in the hallway, and the third builder slept in this very room. On the first night, everything was fine - until midnight. At midnight, the first builder heard footsteps right next to his head. They woke him up, as luck would have it. No one was in the room. Next day, they finished work and the first builder went up to Hobart. Now, the second night.. In the hallway, at midnight, the second builder heard hushed whispers and fingernails scratching the floorboards. The noises woke up and when dusk broke the next night, he went up to Hobart too. The third builder was skeptical about the whole fiasco, as one would be. On that night, the third night, the third builder hears a loud..." Ryan pauses before lifting one foot and bringing it crashing down with a mighty BOOM! The group collectively jumps. Brendon even sees the tattooed guy clutch his pixie-haired girlfriend a little tighter than usual.
"He hears a loud bang, and wakes up to find he can't breathe. It was like someone was kneeling on his chest, and he couldn't push them off. He felt fingers wrap round his throat, choking him. And as he looked downward, he saw five bleeding red lines. Fingernail marks." Ryan looks round at his terrified, shaking listeners with glee on his face. Without another word, he leads them out of the house.
The rest of the tour is as you'd expect it. Ryan leads the group (and a trembling Brendon) to the Junior Medical Officer's place, where rumour has it that curtains are drawn back as if children are peeking and occasionally, Ryan says, people will hear children singing. It gives Brendon the creeps. Ryan shocks the group with tales of moving skulls and maniacal laugher in the Dissection Room, which smells of formaldehyde and dusty fright. He plunges them into jet-black terror in the Separate Prison, warning not to go into Cell 7 unless they want to die. The group stays where they are, not that it surprises Brendon. He's too terrified to do anything but stay close to Ryan. Slowly but surely, the tour comes to a close. As Ryan walks his frozen group back to the warmth and safety of the Visitor's Centre, his eyes dart over to Brendon.
"Scared?" He asks, mischief lacing his silken voice.
"S-shut up," Brendon stutters while shoving his icy fingers into the depths of his pocket, hoping to thaw them out.
"It's okay to be scared, Brendon. I threw up when Pete first took me on the tour," Ryan reminisces with a fond, soft laugh. Brendon rolls his eyes before answering.
"Yeah, but you have history with this place. I'm just scared."
"History doesn't matter. It's okay to be scared." Ryan restates his former opinion, this time with more steely firmness. Brendon just nods and lets Ryan take care of affairs. Before he signs out for the night, Brendon catches sight of Patrick. He tells him in no uncertain terms that he will be attending tomorrow's ghost tour as well.
Second chapter done!! I'm aware that it takes me forever to actually get a chapter done, but I'm sick so fuck you. Anyway, just a little disclaimer: I did not make up any of Ryan's ghost stories, these are all very real. About a year ago, I was on the ghost tour and I'm just relating the stories. Next chapter, we'll meet Mr. Way and we might even hear a little bit about Ryan's past.
Good news, though: in December, I'm going home! I can't wait. I haven't been home in a year and a half, and we'll get to catch up with my giant family and have Christmas and yeah.
Also: does anyone here watch The Mighty Boosh, because Noel is my baby and Julian is Noel's. I don't even care that Julian's married, they are wonderful gays and they will continue to be wonderfully gay until the end of the world.