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Old 03-20-2011, 05:22 PM   #1
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Out Of Control 27

'The man' is purposely not described very well. I'm still figuring out who it is. There are a couple different options...

And, Ciarán... That part made me sad.

***

(1986)


“Hello,” Eve said, a little awkwardly, to Phoenix. After all, what did you say to someone in the burn wound intensive care unit? She immediately regretting saying what came first to her mind that popped out of her mouth: “Those are some nasty burns.”

At least she hadn’t said the other thing she was thinking, which was something along the lines of what the hell were you and Bono doing that you didn’t notice the building was on fire? In any case, she hoped she was wrong. Eve liked Ali. She liked her cousin too, but hoped Phoenix hadn’t gotten into anything serious with Bono.

“They’re not so bad now,” the singer replied. “And I think I’m getting my vision back. I can’t really tell who you are, though; I can only see basic shapes.”

“You don’t know me very well. I’m Eve. Ruth’s sister.”

“I thought you looked a little familiar,” Phoenix smiled. “I was wondering if I was seeing things wrong again, because your hair is way lighter than hers. You do look a lot like her.”

Eve frowned in thought. “I keep trying to remember if we met before…” They probably had, but if they had, the time was difficult to place. She looked at Phoenix hard. There was a faint glimmer of a face she used to know, but it had been so long…

“You and Ruth and the rest of the relatives came down to America a long while ago, I think…sometime in the 60s. You were 3 or 4.”

“Okay, I was way too little to remember any of that.” She broke away from the attempt at grasping her four-year-old memories, remembering why she’d come.

“Did you see anyone outside just before the fire?” Eve asked. “I was looking for Ruth and I thought I saw a man walking away, a short while before I noticed the smoke.”

Phoenix nodded. “I didn’t catch much of what he looked like, though. Wait. Are you saying whoever it was started the fire?”

“Possibly. I’m going to look around to see if by any chance I see and recognize the fellow. What did he look like when you saw him? I only caught that he was blond.”

“That was about all I could tell…I wasn’t sure of the man’s age because he was turned away. And I feel bloody awful about it, too…

“Good luck,” Phoenix called as Eve walked away. “And if you find Ruth, could you call and let me know she’s alright?”

“I hope I do,” Eve said. Ruth still had so much explaining to do. It had been years.

***

Night of the fire


Larry and Eve had eventually fallen to talking to each other and not to him, and Ciarán got restless. He clambered out of his seat, ignoring Larry who asked where he was going.

Ciarán had thought it would be fun to follow the man with the accent. He’d walked through the bluish cast of the stagelights in the crowd and made like he was trying not to be noticed, slipping into the shadows and giggling silently to himself whenever the man turned around. He’d eventually grown tired and slid against the wall until he sat down, curling his arms around his knees and nearly falling asleep he was so tired. If he stayed sitting down, though, he realized, nobody would be able to find him when it was time to leave. And the man was gone; Ciarán couldn’t go up to him and ask where he was from. Maybe his father knew him. He wouldn’t know now though.

He stood up, still a little tired, pushing through the crowd of people, in the general direction of backstage, with the intention of finding Ruth again. He was wondering if he could watch her drum; Larry didn’t let him most of the time, and Ciarán hadn’t been able to see anything from where he sat. Everyone was taller than him!

Well, they were taller when they were standing, too, but at least he could push into the open space past people shadowed from the high walls. He came backstage and at least there were less people there. Ruth was nowhere to be seen. Ciarán frowned; had she left? Well, she had helped him find his da already.

He stepped across the space backstage and found his way outside; inside was too hot and he was worried it would get crowded. There was a pool outside a good distance away from the bar, that looked more like a patch of shimmering lights from the moon’s reflection. Unfortunately, it was too cold to swim. And his other clothes were in the car. Ciarán wrinkled his face and huddled against the wall. Maybe he’d take a nap.

A voice cut through the blessed darkness behind his closed eyes. “Hello?” Ciarán heard. He was about to answer, before he remembered his da didn’t sound like that anymore, and the rest of the band had almost American accents now. He squinted into the darkness, and then clutched the edge of the doorway, peeking inside.

He thought it might have been Larry, but when the man turned a little to the side, doing something with a compact object in his hand that made a little click, the faint glow of the stage lights and the moon made different shadows over his face. There was a rough line across the side, an old faint scar, and his eyes were a different color. He was definitely older than Larry.

There came the click again, loud in the darkness as a gunshot. Ciarán sucked in his breath, heart pounding suddenly.

That isn’t the way you use a lighter…he’d seen Adam do it countless times, which had made the bassist earn Bono’s total disapproval.

…he’s not lighting a cigarette…is he…Ciarán’s heart thudded and he froze.

“Feck,” the man said angrily, glaring down at the lighter. Ciarán couldn’t help it; he let forth a little burst of laughter, then immediately clapped both hands over his mouth as if he could stop the noise that had already happened.

The man simultaneously dragged his thumb up across the bottom of the lighter to start it again and turned around to locate the sound he heard. Ciarán, frozen, with his hands still clapped over his mouth, was illuminated by the roaring glow of the angry flame.

The man smiled. “Keeping yourself silent? Well, that’s one thing I won’t have to do, then. Thanks for making it easier.”

Before Ciarán could ask what he meant, he was hoisted roughly across the man’s shoulder, the breath knocked cleanly out of him. He couldn’t have yelled if he tried. He did pound his fists across the man’s back, to no avail.

“It’s pitch dark outside; the fire hasn’t spread. For now,” he heard the man’s voice through his body. Ciarán was suddenly glad he couldn’t see his face.

He thought of the bar going up in flames and everyone unawares, and started crying. Silently, so he wouldn’t get the wind knocked out of him again. He felt a small satisfaction that the scary man’s coat was getting soaked.

It was still pitch black, or close enough, when his carrier realized this and yanked Ciarán away from him, by the arms, and set him hard on his feet. The impact of the sidewalk jolted painfully up through his soles and shocked up his entire body. He whimpered quietly, then had the devious idea to scream. The idea died when he realized there was absolutely no-one around.

“Who were you looking for?” the man asked, placing his hands on Ciarán’s shoulders a little less roughly than he’d set him down. He didn’t really seem angry, or quite as scary as before, but Ciarán knew that might not last long.

“I wasn’t looking for anyone,” he lied, blinking tears away.

He received a glare that froze him into immobility.

“Who were you looking for?” he was asked again in a deceptively calm voice.

“Ruth,” he said very quietly, realizing happily that this man probably had no idea who Ruth was. That hope died as well; he could see in the almost nonexistent illumination the thoughtful expression on the man’s face.

“Hmm. Interesting.”

He decided he didn’t like that expression at all, or whatever those words meant.

He’d had the thought he could say his da would come looking for him, but in that instant, decided not to say anything. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea.

***

Bono picked himself up from where he sat in the waiting room, feeling purposeful. He’d checked with Eve, who said she was waiting for Larry to be released from the hospital, and told her to get word to him if she figured anything out. She agreed.

He was leaving the hospital. There was really no reason he should be in it anymore, now that he knew everyone was fine. But before he did…

Phoenix definitely followed him with her eyes, when he entered the room.

“You can see again?” he asked. He felt both glad and pained, knowing that. She would recover. He just wouldn’t know about it. She nodded. “Just a little. I can tell it’s you, now.”

“You’re going to have to stick to what you remember seeing,” he said seriously. “I’m leaving, to go look for Ciarán. I’ve bugged the people at the front desk enough that it’s an enormous kindness they haven’t called security on me. I’m going to ask around the area near the fire, and if no-one’s seen him, I’ll go ask the police. In any case, I’m not coming back.”

She blinked. She didn’t tell him what she recollected was still shadows and vague forms. It didn’t matter much. A great weight gripped her and was all the sudden released, at once.

“It’s not just because of that you’re not coming back.” It wasn’t a question.

He just looked at her, for a long moment. He wondered what he would do if he could aee barely anything at all. Likely, he’d do the same as he was doing now. He would long for the same face just as much, he would still feel rent and useless by Ciarán’s unexplained disappearance.

Phoenix would be fine.

“I’m married,” he stated calmly. “I don’t know where my son is.” A note of the pained tension of the past few days entered his voice. He turned away.

“You’ll be alright,” he said, like a promise. It wasn’t a question either. He was gone in an instant. Part of him wished he was equally blind, not to have seen that expression on her face, and knowing she could see his.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:01 PM   #2
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Whoever that man is, I hate him! I felt like crying when I read about Ciaran! It was not as comforting as I thought it would be to know where he is. :P
Wait, how long has Phoenix known Ruth? Just need an explanation... I mean, that she met Eve too...
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:43 PM   #3
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It's not supposed to be comforting XD but hey, at least he's alive! I do wish I could go in and hug him, though he's scared.

They've known each other since they were little, because they're related. Phoenix is their cousin. Ruth didn't just meet her randomly; she was thinking of staying with her when she went to America, etc. I'll explain it a bit better later.
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:27 AM   #4
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Ohhhh! You didn't say they were related before! That makes a lot more sense.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:53 AM   #5
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Hehehh...yeah, I'd probably better mention it!
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1986, bono, joshua tree era, larry, out of control

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