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Old 02-24-2009, 07:50 AM   #1
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The Howling Wind - Chapter 10 (24/2/09)

I'm back! Moving is ... not fun. But everything's plugged in now, huzzah!

Here's another chapter before I fall asleep.

Disclaimer: It's all a load of rubbish. But you know that, you're smart.
There is also some swearing, I keep forgetting to mention that. But I'm sure you know that too.



---------------

10 October, 1987 – Rochester, NY, USA

By the time Edge had remembered his obligations to the band, it was too late. He'd arrived back at the hotel in Syracuse, having walked back from the reservation, to find everyone gone except one roadie, who had been left behind in case he showed up. Pete had put both of them on a bus to Rochester, having been given instructions to deliver Edge to the band as soon as he appeared. He was evasive when Edge tried to find out what had happened at the show, and what the others in the band had said.

Part of Edge was apprehensive; guilty and regretful at having missed the show. Part of him couldn't believe he'd done something so selfish and irresponsible. The other part, the wolf part, didn't care. It didn't understand why it had been so important to be at this certain place at that certain time, and it had no interest in strumming that bit of wood and yelling the word "Sky!" over and over again.


"They're sound-checking," was all Pete said, as Edge was dropped off at the Silver Stadium in Rochester. Security watched him go past, a wall of silent eyes. Thumpings and snatches of bass were heard as he found his way through the backstage area, and onto the stage. As he watched, Bono, Adam and Larry launched into a three-piece version of Exit, as the sound techs twiddled knobs and adjusted the levels.

Dallas had optimistically set up his guitars. Edge picked up the cream Les Paul, plugged it in, and joined in. The song faltered as the others turned in surprise, but Bono turned away again and continued as if nothing were out of the ordinary. The others took his lead, and Edge entertained the slightly delirious hope that nothing more would be said.

They played through half a dozen songs like that, the only words spoken being about technical and setlist-related matters. Edge remained silent.

They all ignored Phil and his cameras, even more than usual. They'd all become used to ignoring them, but now Edge at least wished heartily that they weren't there at all.

On some unspoken signal, the other three decided that they'd sound-checked enough songs, and they put their instruments down and headed for the dressing room backstage. They gave Edge a collective look, and he followed. The cameras were shut out, Phil was sent away, and the door was closed. They all sat down, and pinned Edge with unwavering stares.

After a long, uncomfortable silence, Bono spoke. "We're none of us leavin' this room until you tell us everything. We want... we deserve an explanation, and the whole truth." He shifted his injured arm restlessly in its sling.

Bono and Larry's anger was still evident, although controlled. Adam was outwardly composed, but Edge had known him for a long time, and he could see the tightness around his mouth and in his shoulders. And they all smelled angry.

Regardless of which part of Edge's mind was uppermost, these were his friends, his pack. He respected them, valued their companionship. And he'd hurt them, betrayed a trust. It was that knowledge which managed to cut through his recent detachment and sense of isolation.

"I know it's not enough, but I'm sorry," he said, looking from one pair of eyes to the next. They remained hard. No beating around the bush this time.

"The reason I missed the show, is that I forgot," Edge continued. "The wolf has different priorities, and I failed to anticipate that they would override my own... my human priorities."

One stare grew harder, insulted. One became a fraction concerned. Adam just blinked.

"You went for a walk around the town, and you forgot the show was on? You went for a walk for two days?"

"My intention was to walk around for an hour or two. I was restless after sleeping half the day. I saw this area of forest on the map, a few miles out of Syracuse, and took a taxi out there for a look around. I took a taxi because I wanted to be back before anyone worried."

Larry snorted.

Edge struggled with himself for a moment, his instinct to keep the unbelievable secret conflicting with his wish to tell someone, and Bono's expressed desire for the whole truth.
They want the truth, that's what I'll give them. What they make of it is up to them.
"Once I got into the forest, the temptation to become a wolf was too much, and I changed again. As I did in Toronto."

Larry's scorn was etched all over his face, and Adam and Bono's expressions had gone flat. Bono, at least, was looking for a non-literal interpretation.

"Did you trash that hotel room, too?"

"No. I went to the forest, changed into a wolf, and the wolf doesn't think concerts are important. I didn't stay enough myself to make sure I remembered."

"For fuck's sake!" Larry exploded. "Are you gonna let him think we're takin' this wolf shite seriously?!" His anger was directed at Bono and Adam now, as well as Edge.

"Larry..."

"Don't 'Larry' me! Bono said we wanted the truth outta him, an' that's what we're gonna get. No more o' this bloody fairy story. No more far-fetched excuses an' metaphors an' bullshit." The drummer turned on Edge, who was resigning himself to Larry's disbelief. "If you're takin' drugs or fuckin' other women or somethin', we need to know." His tone was harsh.

And despite everything, Edge was still shocked. "I am doing neither of those things. Even if I was, I'm not sure you would need to know the details, anyway."

"You left us all in the fuckin' lurch last night! You owe Dallas one hell of an apology. You owe everyone who saw that show an apology! And you owe us the truth. What were you really doing, and are you gonna do it again? Because we need to know how many shows to cancel." Larry's fists were balled at his sides.

"I know you don't want to hear it, or believe it, but it is the truth, Larry."

The drummer just stared, speechless.

"You don't know what it's like," Edge tried to explain. "To be so free, to have those senses, to be in the world so completely. Where the most important thing is finding the next meal, not having to follow a schedule, or rely on anyone else..."

"We relied on you! We're in a fucking BAND, we rely on each other! Where were you?"

Edge sighed. "I was in the forest, eating rabbits."

"Right. Raw?" Larry was turning sarcastic.

"Yes, raw. I caught and killed them myself, with my teeth, running on four feet. As a wolf."

Larry's face seemed to convulse under a barrage of emotion, then settled on fierce contempt. "I'm not listenin' to this any more. If he'd rather eat raw fuckin' rabbit than stay in the band, fine." The drummer stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

Edge looked after him helplessly. Adam sighed.

"You're not gonna change your story, are you," Bono said. "You actually turned into a wolf?"

Edge nodded. "You found my clothes in Toronto. The clothes didn't change with me, and a wolf doesn't need them. I showed you the coat Timothy loaned me."

Bono stared, then shook his head.

"I knew you wouldn't believe me, but you said you wanted the truth. There it is."

"Is this what you've told Aislinn?" Bono asked.

"No. I told her what I told you after Toronto. I don't think she even believed that much. But I will try to explain this to her as well."

"I don't think she'll believe you, either," Adam said.

"I know."

"Edge... if you really believe you can turn into a wolf... Show us. Prove it to us." Bono watched him intently.

Edge should have expected this. He glanced around at the walls of the small room.

"I'm not sure I can, here... I've only done it twice before, and that was outside, under the sky and trees..."

Something clouded over in Bono's eyes, and Adam's. Some tiny shred of willingness, a fading spark of trust and hope, died away as the predictably evasive response was given. The trust between them seemed irreparably broken with those few words, rather than Edge's more dramatic absence the previous night. As far as they were concerned, they'd called his bluff, and he had chosen to maintain a lie or a fantasy, rather than tell them an uglier, more believable truth.

Without another word, Bono and Adam left him alone in the room.

"Fuck." Unbidden, Edge's throat tightened, and tears pricked behind his eyes. "Fuck!" He hadn't realised until that moment, how badly he'd wanted to believe that someone would believe him, and the band in particular. Someone who knew him, who trusted him.

The band in particular, because he was becoming more and more sure that his wife would never understand or believe him, even without the wolf issue.

A warm drop of salt water fell onto Edge's jeans.

He couldn't let this go without a fight. He had to prove it to them. And he would prove it to Aislinn when he saw her next, because she was his wife, and he loved her, and she deserved the truth, too. She deserved to know who, and what, she had married. Who the father of her children was.

But first, Edge had to win back the trust of the band, his pack.

And part of him was observing everything dispassionately, aware that all the tears and hurt and anger and conflicting feelings were entirely human things. A wolf's emotions were more direct, its problems simpler.


As he'd suspected, he was too aware of the small room and enclosing walls to find the wolf right there. Maybe one day, he would be able to change when and wherever he liked, but all this was still very new to him.

The rest of the band had returned to the stage, and were jamming as he walked around into the stands, trying to find an out-of-the way spot where he could see the sky. The green field of the baseball park was being covered in seating by the crew.

The jam wasn't coming together. Larry was bashing away at the kit without rhyme or reason, Bono had shrugged off the sling but seemed to too distracted to give his guitar more than the occasional strum, and Adam was lost in a rolling, repetitive riff. Abruptly, Larry threw down his sticks with an angry clatter, and stalked offstage again.

Edge found an isolated spot in the stands, behind the stage and the scaffolding and the lights. Blue sky above, concrete below. He hoped it would be enough.

--

Adam saw it first, and stopped playing. That made Bono look around, and then follow the bassist's line of sight as he gaped. They could both do nothing but stare as an honest-to-god wolf padded towards them on the stage. Bono had a fleeting thought that he'd never drink a drop again, but it seemed real enough, and after what Edge had just told them...

Bono hadn't wanted to believe that Edge was lying to them, and was continuing to lie to them despite their calling his bluff. That he would keep lying about something that was so obviously untrue, impossible, was something that baffled Bono completely. He'd started to worry seriously about Edge's mental health – the man he'd known for more than ten years wouldn't do that.

But now, with a wolf appearing in a stadium in downtown Rochester, Bono was relieved to have a reason to be able to believe Edge, however impossible his story was. There was a WOLF here.

"Edge...?"

The wolf was very non-threatening, and sat down a short distance away, near a guitar that was propped against an amplifier. The wolf sniffed at the guitar, pawed at the strings, and turned back to look at the two men with a pair of startlingly familiar green eyes. Adam and Bono looked at one another, incredulous.

"Jesus Christ!"
Larry had reappeared, seen the wolf, and let out the startled shriek. The animal's ears twitched around at the shout, but it didn't seem surprised. Bono thought it must have heard him coming.

"Is... is that a wolf?!" the drummer said, keeping a healthy distance.

"I believe so," Adam said, admirably composed. The wolf's ears flicked again, and it glanced at Larry. Larry took a step back.

"I don't think he's gonna hurt you, Lars," Bono drawled, suddenly enjoying the situation. The wolf stood, looked at Larry again, and lolled its tongue out of its mouth. Adam could have sworn it was grinning.

"How the hell did it get in here?"

Larry froze as the wolf approached him and gave him a thorough sniffing.

Bono gave an unsteady, incredulous sort of giggle. This prompted the wolf to come over and give he and Adam a similar treatment.

"Jeez, Edge, that'll do..." Bono pushed the wolf's nose away from his crotch. The wolf shied away almost apologetically.

Larry was staring at Bono. "You just called that wolf 'Edge'," he said flatly. "Don't tell me you believe that bollocks!"

"I wouldn't if I hadn't just seen the proof! Look at him, Larry. Look at his eyes."

The wolf obligingly stared at the drummer. Larry looked, then looked away. "Maybe all wolves have green eyes, how should I know?"

"Most are yellow," Adam put in.

"All right, we can prove this another way. Edge?"

The wolf looked at Bono.

"Edge, sit."

The wolf kept on looking, ears flattened now, still standing. Something about its expression had become unfriendly.

"I don't think he appreciated that, Bono," Adam said. "Edge?"

The wolf turned to look at the bass player, who hadn't been entirely sure he believed this himself.

"Edge, would you mind sitting down, please?"

The wolf padded over to Adam and sat practically on his feet. It gave Bono what Adam thought was a meaningful look.

The bassist reached out hesitantly, touching the thick fur on the back of the wolf's neck. It felt warm and real. The wolf's ears flickered, but it tolerated the contact.

Larry was looking on with his mouth hanging open. "You've all gone feckin' insane!"

"Either we have, or you have, and yer hallucinating all this," Bono said slyly.

Larry scowled. "Fine. If that wolf is really Edge, it can turn back into Edge. Right?"

Adam and Bono exchanged another look, then looked at the wolf again. It stood up and trotted away, backstage.

"If Edge walks back out here, I'm not believin' nothin'," Larry said.

But the wolf came back a minute later, dragging a pair of jeans in its mouth. It dropped them on the stage between all three of them, and sat, seeming to hunch over. Its ears laid back, then its outline wavered, warped, and stretched. The fur receded, replaced by hairy but human skin, and then Edge was crouched before them, wincing against some apparent pain. He stood and pulled the jeans on while the others gathered their wits.

Adam's cigarette had dropped from his open mouth. He stepped on it absently.

"D'you believe me now, then?" Edge asked quietly.

"I don't think we have a choice," Bono said, regaining speech first. He looked as if he was forcing himself to believe the evidence of his own eyes.

Larry looked thunderstruck, and even paler than usual. His mouth opened and closed several times before any sound came out.

"That's... You're... It... That's not..."

"Larry?"

He wouldn't meet Edge's eyes. "I can't..." The spluttering drummer looked at Adam and Bono, denial and something like panic mingled on his face.

"Larry, you saw..." Bono took a step towards him, but Larry shied away. He, in turn, looked as if he was forcing himself to deny what he'd just seen.

"No." Shaking his head, the drummer backed away, then turned and all but fled.

They all stared after him for a moment.

"...Adam?" Edge was afraid of a similar reaction.

Adam looked at him, eyebrows knotted, looked at his hand, remembering feel of fur, then looked at the spot on the stage where Edge had changed. He walked up and poked one of Edge's bare shoulders, then pinched himself for good measure. His eyebrows lifted, relaxed, and he gave Edge an upside-down smile. "I might need to see that a few more times to be sure," he said.

Edge smiled with relief. "I'd be happy to... but it is tiring." And painful, but they didn't need to know that.

"I can imagine," the bassist drawled.

Edge knew he couldn't, but let it go. "Another time," he said. Adam nodded, and lit another cigarette.



--------
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:17 AM   #2
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That was awesome! I'm laughing so badly right now I'm in tears!
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:49 AM   #3
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Yeah, that was really kind of hilarious. Great job.
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:14 AM   #4
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Bono gave an unsteady, incredulous sort of giggle. This prompted the wolf to come over and give he and Adam a similar treatment.

"Jeez, Edge, that'll do..." Bono pushed the wolf's nose away from his crotch.


That made me giggle.

I was wondering when you were going to post another chapter.

Moving sucks. But, you do tend to find stuff that you've been looking for.
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Old 03-01-2009, 03:17 PM   #5
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AWESOME!!!
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:45 PM   #6
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i like it.
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:47 AM   #7
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I can't believe I forgot about this:

It didn't understand why it had been so important to be at this certain place at that certain time, and it had no interest in strumming that bit of wood and yelling the word "Sky!" over and over again.

That has to be the best description of Bullet.

I ment to put that in my comment before...so I'm doing it now...
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:14 PM   #8
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reading back on these i like this 1 the most.
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