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Old 03-12-2009, 07:17 AM   #1
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The Howling Wind - Chapter 14 (12/3/09)

In which Edge slips further...
This chapter begins five or six days after the last one.

Disclaimer: I've run out of ways to say this is all a pack of lies. Not out to hurt anyone.


----------

31 October, 1987 – Chicago, IL, USA

"How come you and Larry get to have days off for your birthday? Edge had to work on his."

"Come on, it was practically a home town show..."

"The people of both Cork and Dublin may disagree."

Adam and Bono were walking through the hotel's corridor, where the torrential rain outside could still be heard.

"... Besides, we weren't workin' on your birthday, either," Bono reminded Adam.

"Well, he's got some nice weather for it," Adam said. "Lucky we hadn't planned a picnic."

"Looks like we'll be swimmin' instead..."

Adam stopped as they passed Edge's door. "Do you think Edge is in there? I left my bass there last night..." The bassist knocked, but heard no response.

"Nah, he'll have gone off somewhere, as usual. He wasn't at breakfast. What's your bass doing in there, then?"

Adam sighed. "I thought we'd have a bit of a jam, last night, to see if that would perk him up a bit."

"Any luck?"

"Not really."

Edge's silence may have lifted, at least partially, but it seemed like he'd put so much of himself into the shows following Dr Miller's death, that there was nothing left now. Adam wondered if he'd begun speaking with his voice again, however sparingly, because he'd run out of things to say with his guitar – his playing had slid down into mediocrity since St. Louis. Bono remained optimistic, sure that Edge's speaking again was a sign he was recovering from whatever had happened. This was a stage, he kept saying. Edge would come out the other side good as new.

Adam kept his fears about Edge largely to himself. But last night, he'd suggested they get their guitars out and improvise for a while, just to get away from the monotony of playing almost the same songs every night. Edge had seemed agreeable but unenthusiastic, and time after time, his hesitant playing had slipped into the well-worn rut of an old song, and usually one that they'd been playing live. Adam had had to bite back his frustration – he could play all those songs in his sleep, or drunk for that matter.

Frustration aside, Adam was worried that Edge had lost that creative spark, and worried more that Edge didn't seem to even want it any more. There had been some raised voices before Adam had left the room, leaving his bass behind.

"I'll catch up with you downstairs," Adam told Bono. The singer nodded and carried on down the corridor.

Telling himself that Edge wouldn't mind, and he wouldn't have left the door unlocked anyway, Adam turned the handle, and was surprised when the door opened. He ducked inside, and got a bigger surprise.

There was a wolf in there, rolling on the floor on its back, obviously trying to scratch an itch.

Adam stared, heart thudding.

The door closed behind him with a click, and with a twist of its back, the wolf was suddenly upright and alert, ears forward. It relaxed a fraction as it recognised Adam, but remained wary.

"Um. Sorry... Didn't mean to interrupt anything..." Adam pulled the lit cigarette from his mouth before it could fall onto the carpet.

The wolf blinked at him with Edge's eyes.

"We didn't think you'd be in here. I just came to get my bass..."

The wolf glanced at the bass, propped in a corner of the room.

Despite having seen this before, Adam still found it completely surreal to be talking to a wolf at all, let alone knowing that his friend was looking out of those eyes at him, understanding everything he said. It had been too easy to ignore the whole thing, not think about it. But it, and the wolf, was literally staring him in the face now. Adam took a long drag from his cigarette.

The wolf huffed to itself, then sat and started to hunch over, the way it had in Rochester.

"Oh no, don't trouble yourself... I can just grab it and go... I'll leave you alone."

The wolf stood again, shook itself, and moved out of Adam's way. The bassist went over and picked up his bass, holding the cigarette in the corner of his mouth.

"Er, that's your amp, isn't it?"

A wag from the wolf's tail, and an awkward nodding motion. Suddenly its head whipped around, teeth nibbling frantically at a spot in the middle of its back. Then with a frustrated snort, it rolled over and tried to relieve the itch against the carpet again.

Adam thought that this was by far the most bizarre thing he'd ever seen.

"Uh, Edge... If you've got an itch... I mean, I could... well, it's up to you." Adam made hesitant scratching motions in the air with his free hand.

The wolf had paused in its thrashing on the floor, and considered him from that position. It seemed to be weighing its dignity against the prospect of relieving the itch without the bother of changing back into Edge again.

Well, technically it's still Edge, Adam reminded himself. But an Edge without the ability to scratch all of his own itches.

The wolf – Edge – had got to its feet and stood next to Adam, looking up at him. Adam put the bass down again, and hardly believing what he was doing, scratched the wolf's back. It shifted about until he'd got the troublesome spot, and leaned against Adam's hand. Adam scratched until it moved away again, shaking itself.

"Better?"

Something like a "whuff" came from the wolf, but the way its ears flicked around, Adam suspected Edge might have been embarrassed.

"I won't tell anyone."

The tail wagged again, once, and the wolf stared at Adam for a long moment. The bassist grew uncomfortable, wondering what it... he, was thinking.

"I won't take up any more of your time," he said, picking up the bass again. "Er... enjoy your day... And don't forget, we've got Larry's birthday tonight..." Adam headed for the door.

The wolf blinked again, and then moved to stand between Adam and the door. It turned a quick circle and sat down.

"... You don't want me to go? Or you don't want to go tonight?"

The wolf made a small growl, stood, circled, and sat again. Adam didn't know what to do. Finally, the wolf grabbed a bit of his trouser leg in its teeth and towed him to a chair, and he got the idea and sat down. The wolf trotted behind the bed, for the sake of his modesty, Adam assumed.

Unable to contain his curiosity, Adam craned his neck until he could see the wolf's back and head. He stared, the wolf's low growl morphing into a human hiss of pain, as it transformed into the Edge he'd known for all these years. As a wolf he'd looked lean, but it was startling to see how gaunt Edge had become. His ribs and spine were clearly visible.
Adam inspected his bass while Edge put a bathrobe on.

The guitarist sat on the bed with a heavy sigh, facing him. Adam offered a smile, but whatever words had been on his lips were left unsaid. In the wolf's face, the green eyes had looked like Edge's; but now it seemed that even though his body was human again, his eyes remained those of a wolf.
Were they a fraction yellower than they had once been? Perhaps it was just the light...

"If I give Larry a letter," Edge said haltingly, "will he read it?"

Adam blinked. "I'm sure he would, but why do you ask? Wouldn't it be better to talk to him?"

"He won't talk."

"He's just a little rattled... maybe tonight you can..."

"No. I need..." Edge seemed to struggle for words. Adam frowned – Edge used to be more eloquent, before all this had happened.
The guitarist shook his head. "Need to get it out. Put it back on him. Need to know if he can... if he still..."

"If he still what?" Adam stubbed out his cigarette butt in an ashtray and lit up another. Edge wrinkled his nose at the cloud of smoke. "I'm sorry... I can put it out..."

Edge shrugged, then frowned. "What was I saying..."

"If Larry still... something...?"

"If he still wants me in the... the band."

Adam couldn't think of anything to say to that.

"Do you?" Edge was staring at him.

Despite the expressionless delivery, Adam knew, or he hoped, that Edge was concerned about the answer.

The bassist met Edge's eyes. "Yes, Edge. Yes, Dave, I do still want you in the band." He used the first name he'd learned, before Bono had dubbed him The Edge. "I still want us all to be a band, and to all be friends, which is more important. Is that still important to you?"

A jumble of emotions seemed to play across Edge's face, and Adam saw a glimpse of the man he'd been.

"Edge?"

Edge turned away.

"Dave...?"

"I... don't know what I want."

"Will you come out tonight?"

A nod.

"So, is that all Larry's getting for his birthday, a letter?" Adam smiled, retreating behind a joke.

Edge's mouth didn't so much as twitch. "I don't know what to get him."

Adam missed Edge's old sense of humour keenly at that moment, the ridiculous and the sublime all rolled into one. "Do wolves have a sense of humour?" he asked abruptly.

Another blank pause. "Not really."

Adam sighed to himself.
"Why don't you get dressed... I'll take you shopping. You can write your letter afterwards, if you like. And have a shave."

"All right."

Adam was nearly out the door with his bass before Edge remembered his manners. "Thank you," he added.

The bassist turned back, watching Edge watching him with eyes that weren't quite his any more. "You're welcome," he said, and left the room.

Out in the corridor, Adam leaned against a wall, and wondered if Edge would ever be the same again.



-------

6 November, 1987 – Denver, CO, USA

Edge had become a little more himself by the time they'd gone out to celebrate Larry's twenty-sixth birthday, and Adam had considered it a victory to get an audible laugh out of him. But he still spoke only rarely, and never without being addressed first.

Concerts had become a chore, a painful experience. Bono had raged and pleaded and lectured, to no avail – Edge's heart wasn't in it any more, that much was plain. He went through the motions, he played the songs competently, but the fire had gone out, or was so deeply buried that there seemed no hope of fanning it into life again. Adam had become inclined to switch off as well, choosing not to think about it.

All the while, Phil was still everywhere, filming the band's mediocre performances and increasingly awkward public appearances. Larry had felt compelled to speak more in interviews and media events, to make up for Edge's disinterested silence. And that didn't make Larry happy.

He had thanked Edge for the letter, and the small gift that had gone with it, but had revealed its contents to no one.

"That's between him an' me," he'd said when Bono couldn't contain his curiosity any longer.

Whatever had been in the letter, Larry's attitude towards Edge had softened somewhat, and the feeling of open fear and hostility had subsided. But it hadn't restored their friendship, nor the sense of camaraderie that they'd all once taken for granted.

Edge had become distant from all of them.


---


"Look at that, another bloody wolf sighting. How long d'you think it's gonna be before someone connects all these sudden wolf appearances with our itinerary? And that doctor..."

"It's a pretty big stretch, connecting a rock band with wolves."

"Some crazy will figure it out."

"No one listens to crazies."

"People might start askin' awkward questions, though..."

"I'd be happier if he didn't keep actin' so strange in public."

"Have either of you noticed his eyes?"


Edge could hear the others talking together in Bono's room, next door. The words barely touched him. He'd only noticed them because they were distracting him from remembering Aislinn's phone number in New York – he'd accidentally dialled the Dublin number twice already, out of old habit.

The phone rang five times.

"Who is it?"

"I love you," Edge said.

There was a heavy pause on the line. "Do you?"

"Yes."

"Where are you?"

Edge had to think. "Denver. We have a show tomorrow. And the night after, I think."

"You think? I'd hope you'd know, of all people."

"They tell me when it's a show day. I make sure I'm there when it's time to go on." More and more, he'd been leaving the sound-checks entirely to Dallas.

"Edge, is everything... I mean, are you all right? I haven't heard about... anything happening...?"

"I'm fine. It hasn't happened again. I don't think it will. Nothing here can hurt you or the girls. I love them too."

"I know."

"I'm sorry."

Aislinn didn't seem to know how to respond to that.

"If you want to go home, to Dublin... I won't mind. You don't like staying in New York."

"Why, what's going on?"

"Nothing. I want you to be happy. And you'll be safer there."

"Safer? From what? There are... creeps all over the world, not just in New York."

"It's home. Your family is there. And..." You'll be safer from me.

"And?"

Edge paused, letting the question slide. "Can I speak to the girls?"

"Arran's asleep, but Hollie's here..."

"I need to speak to them both. It's important."

"You can call in the morning, she's had a long day and she was so tired..."

"Please, Aislinn. I just need to..."

A heavy sigh. "All right. But make it quick."

"Thank you."



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Old 03-12-2009, 08:55 AM   #2
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What is he gonna say to them?



The whole back scratching thing is great!
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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 03-12-2009, 04:57 PM   #3
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keep 'em coming.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:32 PM   #4
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I loved that part about Adam scratching Edge's back. That was cute.

I just love this whole concept.

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Old 03-12-2009, 09:46 PM   #5
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That back-scratching bit was the best! Psychosomatically made my back itch, though Acting more like a dog than a wolf around Adam, brilliant.
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
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That back-scratching bit was the best! Psychosomatically made my back itch, though Acting more like a dog than a wolf around Adam, brilliant.
So I wasn't the only one who suddenly had an itch? I'm not insane yet, phew!

I'm still craving some nice red meat.
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Originally Posted by GraceRyan View Post
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 03-13-2009, 07:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galeongirl View Post
So I wasn't the only one who suddenly had an itch? I'm not insane yet, phew!

I'm still craving some nice red meat.
Aw, and no Adam around to scratch it for you...




Next chapter going up now.
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:39 PM   #8
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wow! that was good.
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