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Old 01-16-2009, 09:47 PM   #1
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The Howling Wind - Chapter 4 (17/1/09)

Here's the next bit.

Disclaimer: This bit's no less imaginary than the others... No harm intended, just a bit of silliness.


10 September, 1987 – New York, NY, USA

The bass and drums thundering behind him, Edge crouched over the guitar, teeth clenched, wishing with all his might that Bono would fuck off with that damn spotlight and blind someone else with it. But they were playing Bullet, and Bullet meant the spotlight. And a solo that he could usually channel his foul temper through and thus exorcise it, but that wasn't working tonight. Searing notes cut through the heavy rhythm, but the anger still chewed at Edge's guts. A glance at Bono showed that he'd noticed, but Bono was in the song and that was all that mattered to him.

Finally Bono pulled the light away to return to his microphone, and Edge was able to retreat to the red-tinged shadows, pulling the last tortured notes from his guitar...
... Only to have to change mental gears completely, and go straight into Streets. He'd tried to tell Bono that this transition wouldn't work, but he'd been over-ridden. That irritated him now, on top of everything else. Their first night back in America, and Bono just had to do something different; not only opening with Bullet, but then following it with Streets. At least it had got the crowd instantly on its feet and jumping.

Edge had been out-of-sorts all day, snappish and irritable. Every time he went outside he found himself looking around for Timothy, the faintly menacing hobo who'd stalked him all the way around America earlier in the year. And despite not having seen him yet, Edge felt sure that he was still watching him. It didn't help that the sight of the gibbous moon as they'd gone into the stadium that night had reminded him of Timothy's cryptic remarks.

There was a guitar change before I Will Follow started, and then they were off again, the crowd's energy redoubled. Edge didn't get a chance to take a proper breath until they slowed down for I Still Haven't Found, when the audience's jumping was replaced with an enthusiastic chorus. His hands still shook with adrenaline.

It didn't feel right, though, as they played through Trip and the stage all but cleared for MLK. Maybe it was starting the set with Bullet, maybe it was just Edge's own issues, but that tight knot of unease and anger had lodged in his chest and wouldn't let go. Bullet had only fuelled it rather than letting it loosen and escape.

During Unforgettable Fire, Edge barely averted disaster, twice, as he changed back and forth between keyboard and guitar. He saw Bono shoot him a glance, and ignored it. He was having enough trouble concentrating, he didn't need to be distracted by Bono's curiosity.

Another abrupt change in gears, and Exit rolled out... The mood of the song resonated with that seething knot of rage. The knot expanded, seeming to fill his whole body with a furious energy, building and feeding on itself as the song built.

Pain shot through his arms and chest, and for a moment he faltered. But somehow the pain fit, and teeth bared, Edge kept playing. Music and pain and rage filled him, blotting out the crowd, the band. Just as the song reached its first crescendo, the pain reached an almost intolerable level, and just for an instant, he felt something change. If he hadn't been watching his hands, he might not have believed the sensation, but his arms cramped, fingers clawed, and they warped. The bones thickened, his nails sharpened, skin crawled, the muscles of his arms bunched and writhed. The guitar screamed as his hands convulsed. And as his shock cut through, suddenly his arms were normal again, and his fingers remembered the notes on their own.

It was all he could do to keep his composure, and reel back the song during the quiet interlude. He didn't dare look at the others.


Larry Mullen's eyebrows knotted with concern as he saw Edge almost doubled over, face screwed up in pain.

Shite, he doesn't look well. Then as the song quieted, he saw Edge stand straighter, the pain on his face replaced by surprise, or shock... then Exit exploded into chaos once more. With another grimace, Edge doubled over again... and to Larry's surprise he ran, still playing furiously, past the drum riser and into the darkness of the stage wing, the lead and Dallas trailing after him. A glance from Edge sent the tech scurrying; Larry pulled his eyes back to the kit, and brought the tempo up. If Edge was sick, better they get through this as quickly as possible.

There was a metallic shriek from Edge's guitar, and Larry whipped his head around again. He saw the hatted shadow in the wings, hunched over the guitar. Then Edge looked up, and Larry saw his eyes reflecting, glowing yellow out of the darkness. A drumstick dropped from nerveless fingers before he turned away again, grabbing another stick automatically. His body played on auto-pilot while he gathered his wits and convinced himself that he'd been imagining it. When Larry looked back, he could still see Edge in the shadows, crouched over the guitar, turned away from the light.


Edge had no chance to pause or recover – Exit had morphed into Silver and Gold in the place where Bono usually sang part of Gloria. Thank God he didn't have to do much until the song kicked in properly, Adam and Larry were really the ones carrying it. His attention was almost wholly focussed on keeping a grip on himself. He could feel the pains again, especially as he was called upon to do another raging solo; he could feel the terrifying plasticity of his bones and flesh. They wanted to change – the music was resonating with something that had hidden deep inside him, until now. He had to somehow distance himself from the music he was playing, something that ran contrary to every performing instinct. But it was that, or... who knew what.

At least the mood of the songs mostly improved after In God's Country, although that knot of rage never fully eased, and Sunday Bloody Sunday didn't help. He tried to focus more on getting the notes right and less on what the music itself was doing to him.

"Help me if you can, I'm feeling down..." Bono was singing.
Help me, Edge thought desperately. I don't know what's happening, but help me. Help me get through this show.

Helter Skelter was tough. He tried not to think about the stories behind Bad, or Running to Stand Still. New Year's Day kept him busy with the keyboard again, and Pride was familiar enough that he didn't need to think about it at all.

In the break before the encore, Edge had taken the opportunity to bolt outside, dragging in lungfuls of cool night air. But the sight of the moon, and the smell of Timothy nearby sent him back inside almost immediately, where, deliberately or not, Larry had kept someone else between them until they'd gone back on. Adam had picked up that something had happened by then, but he said nothing.

They were debuting One Tree Hill tonight, so he had plenty to occupy him, trying not to fuck that up. With or Without You was a bit of a struggle, especially if he let his thoughts stray to his marriage. But he held it back, coasted through Party Girl, and finally handed the bass to Dallas at the end of '40' with a sense of profound relief. Dallas hadn't meet his eyes since Exit, and Larry hadn't even looked at him. Edge wondered nervously what he'd seen.


He was a fraction calmer now, sitting on some steps at the back of the stadium, head in his hands, but still shaking. The sound of thousands of fans singing '40' still echoed through the building as it emptied. Edge prayed he would be left alone for a few minutes more.

He hardly had to look at the moon to know that it wasn't full; that was still a few nights away at least. Edge tried to draw some sort of illogical reassurance from that, but it seemed hollow.

Timothy was watching him again. Edge had smelled the vagrant's offensive odour before he looked up, although the homeless man was standing twenty feet away. He approached with a sort of wary confidence - as if half-expecting trouble, but not concerned about it. Edge just stood, watched, and waited.

Close enough that Edge had no doubt about his sense of smell, Timothy stopped, and took in a deep breath through his own nose. Then he grinned a yellow grin.

"Next time, fer sure. Damn, boy! Ah dunno how ya held it in." He laughed, sending a waft of foul breath into Edge's face. Edge stepped back.

"You were in there?" Edge had given up wondering why this man kept following him around. He seemed immune to whatever warnings the security men had given him, last time.

Timothy nodded.

Edge doubted he'd bought a ticket. "What…"

Timothy interrupted. "When ya change, try an' remember one thing, if ya can. Don't eat no-one."

Edge blinked. Timothy began to walk away while the guitarist was gathering his thoughts.

"I'm not a cannibal!" he managed.

"You ain't human, buddy," Timothy shot back, over his shoulder. "They're comin'," he added with a sniff.

Edge looked around, suddenly aware of the approaching babble of voices. He wasted no time going back into the rear of the stadium, by which time Timothy was, of course, nowhere to be seen.

Head full of Timothy's ominous words, and nose still full of his stench, Edge had nearly forgotten about the others. He pushed open the door to their dressing room to find three pairs of blue eyes staring back at him. Someone ducked out of the room behind him with an armload of clothes to be washed. The door closed.

"You all right, Edge?" Bono asked. "Larry says you're sick."

A glance at the drummer showed that he'd decided that was what he'd seen, and he'd shut down completely. His face was closed and defensive. Adam and Bono looked concerned.

"I'm feeling better now," Edge said, hoping pointlessly that they'd leave it at that.

Bono was shaking his head. "We'll take you to a doctor in the mornin'. Get you some happy pills or somethin'," he grinned.

"No thanks," Edge said automatically. Could he have held it together if it hadn't been for the pain? He didn't want to know.

Adam and Bono began dissecting the show, and hoping to avoid discussing Exit, Edge sat down with a glass of water and started to pull off his boots.

Larry's eyes hadn't left him since he'd walked in the door, and suddenly Edge couldn't stand the feeling of that unwavering gaze boring into him. "What?" he snapped, turning to stare back at the drummer. The rage was still balled up in his heart.

A moment passed, then Larry's eyes slid away. "Nothin'."

Edge felt brief satisfaction.


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Old 01-16-2009, 09:56 PM   #2
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I love the way this is building up.

This is definately a different kind of story and that's a good thing.

You are a good writer Ali. You suck a person in and you keep them wanting more.

Upcoming gigs: U2-Moncton-07/31/11 OMG I had so much fun! So sad it's over though.

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:43 AM   #3
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Great chapter. Roll on the next..I love it.
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Old 01-18-2009, 05:41 PM   #4
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I wonder what kind of spell Timothy put on Edge? Can't wait for the next chapter!!
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:17 PM   #5
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Holy craaaaaaaaap.

Is it a coincidence you picked the hairiest member of U2 for this?

I really like this, tho it's freaking me out a bit too.
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 01-20-2009, 07:30 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Galeongirl View Post
Is it a coincidence you picked the hairiest member of U2 for this?
No, not a coincidence at all.
And I figured something had to explain Edge's unkempt hobo look during the JT tour...

I guess I should warn you that it might get freakier yet...

Wow, I never thought of spells and stuff. It is interesting to see where other people take things...
Timothy just knows more about what's going on than Edge does.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:49 AM   #7
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I'm still trying to figure out when Edge would've got bitten...

He's gonna rip the snot out of a hotel room, isn't he?
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:21 PM   #8
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i like it.
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RegularBonoFan View Post
I'm still trying to figure out when Edge would've got bitten...

He's gonna rip the snot out of a hotel room, isn't he?

Now THAT would be some great stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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