The Howling Wind - Chapter 5 (22/1/09) - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-22-2009, 06:29 AM   #1
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The Howling Wind - Chapter 5 (22/1/09)

I'm posting this today because I'll be away all weekend... it's a long chapter so hopefully it will tide you over.

Disclaimer: This is the most bollocksy bollocks there is. Utter nonsense. There is rather a lot of swearing though (and italics... ), so tune out if you're easily offended.


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11 September, 1987 – Uniondale, NY, USA

It was with extreme reluctance that Edge entered the doctor's surgery where Bono and Adam had deposited him. Bono had wanted to know if Edge wanted him to come in as well, but Edge declined.

He'd barely slept that night, afraid of what might happen. He'd finally dozed off, some time after the moon had set, only to be plagued by half-remembered nightmares. It had almost been a relief when Bono had knocked on his door at 8am.

So now Edge was perched on the edge of a chair in the nicely appointed waiting room, with the uncomfortable sensation that all his hackles were standing on end. Except he didn't have any hackles, of course. He had no idea what he was going to tell the doctor. Aside from the fact that his nerves were obviously shot, what could he say? 'I'm afraid I'm turning into a monster'? Edge wished he hadn't read all those books.

The smell of the place was getting to him. Almost automatically, he tried to catalogue the various scents, and remind himself that none of them were a threat. The smell of antiseptic and cleaning products was most obvious, but failed to entirely cover the many spillages the carpet had suffered. There were two other patients there, both wearing nice suits and smelling of aftershave over their illness. The plants smelled, and were, plastic. Even the dirt was fake. Edge suspected the walls had been painted less than a month ago. Furniture polish from the reception desk, along with a whisper of paper and ink. The receptionist herself, and her perfume, make-up and hair spray. A hint of soap…

Edge pulled his eyes off the receptionist. She smelled embarrassed now, either for herself or for him.
He supposed he didn't exactly look the part – he'd thrown on the clothes he'd been wearing the night before, and they still smelled of the concert and his own sweat. He probably didn't look or smell much better than Timothy, right now.

And there was still something in his nose making him uneasy. He fidgeted, trying to distract himself.

A seam on his left shirt sleeve was almost split open. As hard as he tried, Edge couldn't remember if it had been like that before the show. Against his will, his eyes found the same strain showing on the right sleeve.
'Next time, fer sure.'
Edge swallowed. When was 'next time'? Tonight? Next week? And WHAT would happen?

"Doctor Miller will see you now, Mr Evans." A nurse had appeared, and beckoned Edge through to the doctor's office.

Edge took an instant dislike to Dr Miller. It was all he could do to smile at the man, rather than just baring his teeth. He was short, round, bald and soft. Edge sniffed as he sat down, and his non-existent hackles bristled anew.

"Bit of a cold, Mr Evans?" the doctor asked, putting his stethoscope in his ears. "Let's have a listen to your chest…"

Edge said nothing, allowing the doctor to think he had a cold, allowing him to press the cold stethoscope against his back, despite every instinct screaming at him to either run away or beat this bastard up. Edge tried to concentrate on what he was smelling again, ignoring the doctor's pleasantries.

"Your lungs sound clear," he was saying. "What seems to be the problem?"

There was something ugly under the doctor's cologne. His hand was still on the stethoscope, which was still on Edge's back. Edge pulled away.

"Don't touch me," he snapped, turning and glaring at Dr Miller. "You've got the problem, you sick bastard."

"Excuse me?" The doctor's face was reddening. "I won't take that sort of talk, no matter how famous you are, young man. If you're not going to sit down and let me examine you, you can get out."

"Is that what you were doin'? 'Examining' them?"

Before he knew it, Edge had grabbed the doctor by the lapels and was snarling in his face. "I can smell them on you! I can smell you fucking them, an' I can smell their terror an' I can smell your sickness! You're the inhuman one!"

"Get your hands… off me…" Dr Miller's face had curdled pale, his words choking off as Edge's grip tightened. Something tore, and Edge started, but it was just the doctor's coat ripping, and the shorter man's feet touched the ground again. Edge pushed him away, and he staggered against the desk, scattering papers. A picture of a middle-aged woman fell over.

"Does your wife know?..." Edge trailed off, reminded of his own family, his own problems.

"Get out," Dr Miller rasped, hand against his throat. "You're damn lucky there's confidentiality."

Edge's fists bunched, hearing the unspoken threat. If he talked, so would the doctor. Teeth clenched, nails biting painfully into his palms, he was forced to retreat.

He didn't hear the receptionist, he didn't hear or see very much of anything until he was several blocks away. Edge's nose took him to the nearest park; he wanted to get away from everything. All the people and cars and buildings and noise and smells. Everything that was wrong in the world. He wanted to get away from his life, that was the problem.
He looked at the little crescents of blood that his nails had left on his palms, and thought that if things carried on the way they were, he might get his wish, one way or another.

After a while, Edge wondered how he was going to find Adam and Bono again. They would go back to the doctor's to look for him, but he wasn't going to go back there. He could find his way back to the hotel, but they might search the city for hours for him, before checking there. Edge wondered if he could track them, in this vast city, but the car would make that almost impossible. He had no idea where they might have gone in the mean time. And he firmly suppressed the fleeting impulse to howl.
He didn't want to leave the park yet, anyway. He could almost pretend his life, normal or otherwise, wasn't waiting for him outside.


----

Hours later, he returned, on foot, to the hotel. He came face-to-face with Bono as the elevator doors opened.

"Jaysus, there you are! Where were you?"

"In the park." Edge stepped around the excitable singer and headed for his room.

"What happened? The doctor said you attacked him! He started talkin' about testing you for rabies…"

That stopped Edge in his tracks. "I wouldn't trust that… man as far as I could throw him. I've not been bitten by any dogs, rabid or not." Dogs tended to run away from him, lately.

Adam stuck his head out of his door, complete with dangling cigarette. "Oh, there you are. Bad news, was it?" Despite the lack of tact, Adam's face had fallen into concerned lines.

"Will you all just fuckin' leave me alone!" Edge felt his temper slipping again, and didn't look back until he'd slammed his door behind him. He leaned against it, breathing deeply, trying to push the anger down, but it still burned. He couldn't trust himself any more.

He wasn't himself any more.

'You ain't human, buddy.' Don't eat anyone. Edge almost laughed. He wondered if he could convince the others to drop Exit from the rest of the tour… Preferably before tonight's show.
He could hear Bono and Adam talking about him, out in the corridor. He fell on the bed and clamped his hands to his ears until all he could hear was the rushing of his own blood.


Some time later, a soft knock at the door startled Edge out of a fitful doze. He'd been running through a forest, again on four feet, but alone this time. He heaved a sigh.

"Come in, Bono."

Bono came in, eying Edge curiously. "Am I that predictable, then?"

Edge just rolled over and sat up on the bed, and Bono sat down next to him. Neither spoke for a long minute.

"We gotta do the sound-check soon," Bono said at last. He watched the guitarist seem to deflate even further. "What's eatin' you? Really?"

Edge stared at his hands, fingers tightly laced. "I want to drop Exit from the set."

Bono hadn't been expecting that. "Why?"

"I don't want to play it again. Ever."

"Why?" Bono repeated.

"It just..." How to put it? "I nearly..." He couldn't say it. Changed. "I nearly lost it. Lost control." That was as close as he could get.

"I know it can take you to some dark places, it's not a pleasant song. But you just have to ride it, Edge. Don't let it swallow you up. Stay on top of it an' ride it."

Ever helpful, was Bono. "Don't you think I know that? We've been playing it all year, at every show. It was never a problem 'til last night."

"So, what's changed?"

"Nothing." Yet.

Bono just looked at him. "I've never heard you play like that before, it was something else."

"I broke two strings, Bono. That wasn't playing, that was..." Edge gestured helplessly. He hadn't told anyone that he suspected the guitar's neck was cracked, too. "And it was only the first show of the leg..."

"You can spend a good couple of days with your family after the second Philly show," Bono said, no doubt thinking that would help. "It'll be easier having everyone in the States, we can fly back and see them more often..."

Edge was shaking his head.

"Fuck! Come on Edge, talk to me! What did the doctor say? Are you sick?"

"He said my lungs were clear." Edge's face had gone stony, eyebrows together.

Bono obviously hadn't believed the doctor's accusation, but now he was wondering. "Did you attack him?"

Edge held himself still, held back the remembered fury. That was answer enough.

The next question hung unspoken in the air.

"Edge?"

"Don't go there again. Don't trust him."

"Edge..." Bono put a hand on his back, and Edge shrugged it off angrily.

"He's a creep. He's a fuckin' rapist and a paedophile!" Edge was off the bed and stalking across the room, fists clenched.

"What? How d'you know?" Bono was following his friend's progress back and forth across the room, confused and worried.

Edge stopped in front of Bono. "I could smell it." He directed the words like a challenge, holding Bono's gaze, daring him to believe it.

Bono was clearly thinking of all the other times Edge had let slip that his sense of smell had become abnormally sensitive. Abnormal for humans, at least.

"That's how I knew it was you at the door, Bono," he added. "That's how I knew what you were all eating days later. That's how I knew whenever Adam was sleeping with someone." Edge stopped short.

"You didn't go to the doctor 'cause your sense of smell is improving," Bono said, avoiding the issue. "Is that a bad thing, anyway?"

"How would you like to know the intimate habits of everyone around you 'cause of how they smell?" Edge said with a touch of sarcasm. "And I only went to the doctor because you all made me."

"Larry said you were sick..."

"Larry saw me during Exit. I'm not sick, I don't have the flu or gastro or feckin' rabies. But that song dragged something out of me that I don't want to let out again."

"Look, I know how you feel. I've been there too..."

Edge's temper snapped abruptly. "You don't know! You've never been where I was! You've no fuckin' idea what I'm talking about!"

Bono leapt to his feet, sick of coddling a temperamental musician. "So fuckin' talk to me! Tell me what crawled up yer arse an' died!"

Edge grabbed a fistful of Bono's shirt and began propelling him towards the door. "I'm fucking changing, and I don't like what I'm changin' into. And I can't fucking stop it, no matter how hard I fucking try. My family is falling apart, and maybe the band is now too. What the fuck else have I got to lose?" He pulled the door open and unceremoniously threw Bono out into the corridor.

The singer bounced against the wall and shouted at the slamming door. "Get your fucking head together or you'll be right! Feckin' psycho."

Edge suspected that last mutter hadn't been meant to be audible.
"I heard that!" he yelled through the door, and gave it a kick for good measure.

There was only a tiny pause before Bono shot back, "I never said it was yer bleedin' ears that need examinin'!" Footsteps retreated, thudding angrily on the corridor's carpet. Edge could do nothing but snarl wordlessly and kick the door again.


---

Larry was still thundering through the conclusion of '40' as Edge ducked backstage, shaking with relief at having got through that night's show. He leaned against a wall and shut his eyes, breathing deeply.

Approaching footsteps made him look again, but Adam just shot him a scowl over his cigarette before hurrying past, trailing smoke, and making himself scarce. There were more footsteps behind him, and Bono burst into the room.

Having managed to keep his cool throughout the show by distancing himself from the music and playing on autopilot, Edge had also succeeded in pissing off Bono, if not the whole band. The singer was in a towering fury now, bearing down on Edge with a murderous expression.

"What the FUCK is wrong with you?" Bono stopped short of Edge by a matter of inches, and the guitarist blinked as flecks of spit hit his face.

"Now you ask," he growled, trying to step away.

Bono followed, not letting him avoid a confrontation. "What the fuck is WRONG with you?" he shouted again, unable to find another way to express his furious disbelief. "What were you DOING?" Eyes wide, fists clenched tight, breath coming fast; Bono looked as close to losing it as Edge had felt the night before. And his control was slipping again now.

Edge gritted his teeth and spoke deliberately. "What I was doing, was staying in control."

"You were holding back! You played like a fuckin' robot!"

"Exactly!"

"WHY? People are gonna walk outta here wondering if we're the same band that played last night! I'm wonderin' the same thing." Bono glared at Edge. Edge glared back, not trusting himself to speak. The twinges in his arms were coming back.

And the drums were still playing from the stage, growing even louder, long after the song should have finished. Edge could feel them resonating in his head, and he wished Larry would just stop already.

"D'you know why he's doin' that?" Bono went on. "He's apologising! He's apologising to them for YOU, for givin' them a crap show!"

Edge imagined Larry working out his anger on the drums, and wondered if things might have been different if he'd taken up drumming himself. It was probably more satisfying to hit something when you were angry.

Bono got even closer. "You got nothin' to say? Don't go all fuckin' glassy-eyed at me! And don't hold back again. Never hold back at a gig! This is where it all happens for us, and if you start hittin' the brakes, we might as well fuckin' pack up an' go home!" Bono paused, his eyes narrowing. "Is that what you want? You tryin' to screw us over so it all falls apart and you can be a full-time dad?"

Edge tried again to get around Bono. "I don't wanna talk about this now..."

A final, deafening blast from the drum kit echoed from the stage, followed by a clatter of drum sticks and the heavy tread of an angry drummer. Both Edge and Bono had turned to see Larry charge around the corner towards them. Face set, he pushed Bono out of the way, drew his arm back and punched Edge in the face.

Edge's head bounced off the wall behind him. He tasted blood, saw red, and lunged for Larry's throat. But the drummer was already stalking away, and Bono grabbed Edge from behind, holding him back.

"Getoff!" Edge pulled free, and Larry had turned; Edge's fist lashed out and caught Larry on the jaw.

"That's enough!" Bono appeared between them, arms held out to keep them apart. He turned his head back and forth, trying to keep eye contact with the two combatants. They both looked like they wanted blood now.

"Maybe you deserved that," Bono told Edge as the guitarist leaned against his hand, as if reminding Larry that was all that was preventing a further beating. "But we don't brawl like this! I know you're both better than that."

"He hit his own wife, why should I be special?" Larry sneered. "At least I can fight ba--"

With a roar, Edge had thrown Bono aside and slammed Larry up against the wall, lifting the drummer off his feet. He got right into Larry's face, teeth bared, breathing hard. He was acutely conscious of the angry scents of the three of them, the sneer on Larry's face, the sweat on Larry's forehead, the pulse beating in Larry's throat, so vulnerably exposed.
"That. Is. None. Of. Your. Business," Edge snarled, torn between wanting to give in to the animal rage coursing through his blood, and wanting to stop it.


Larry was waiting for a blow to land, for something. He'd been mad as hell, and Edge bloody well HAD deserved that punch, for playing like shit the whole show, despite his and Adam's best efforts to break him out of his funk. And Bono had nearly turned himself inside out trying to coax a hint of emotion from Edge. He definitely deserved a sock in the eye for holding out on them deliberately. Now Larry was almost looking forward to an honest brawl, just to get it out of both their systems.

But Edge was just holding him there, feet dangling, after growling in his face. And suddenly Larry was very aware of something in Edge's eyes, which looked more yellow than green. He recalled Exit the night before - he must have imagined that. Just like he was imagining that Edge's teeth looked a lot sharper than they usually did. Just like he was imagining the barely restrained rage that was making Edge's arms shake, his skin visibly crawling. And Larry realised, at a gut level, that Edge wanted to damage him, maybe even kill him; and that he easily could.

For just a moment, Larry didn't recognise the guitarist at all. This wasn't Edge, this was something capable of unbridled, unthinking violence. In that moment, Larry knew what prey felt. The drummer's own anger drained away, replaced by something else.


Suddenly Edge could smell fear. Larry's fear. Of him. That was enough to tip the balance back, and with an effort, Edge let go. Larry sagged to the floor, staring at him mutely. Warning pains still radiating from his bones, Edge almost ran from the room.

He passed Adam outside, and wouldn't have even seen him if the bassist hadn't spoken.
"Lovely evening," he said, gesturing up at the moon with his cigarette. Edge didn't respond. He knew what the damn moon looked like.

--

The others had got back to the hotel before he did, since they'd had the presence of mind to take the cars. Edge still managed to get into his room without seeing them, though, and bolted the door behind him. He paced the room restlessly, still feeling like... Like he was on the edge of something. He almost laughed.

"Is he in there?" Adam's voice from the corridor outside, spoken softly.

"Dunno. The light's on." Bono.

"Let 'im stay there," Larry muttered. But someone knocked anyway.

"We're goin' out," Bono called. "You wanna come?"

"No thanks," Edge grated.

"All right. Get some sleep," Bono advised.

"Good riddance." Another Mullen mutter.

Get out of there before I come out after you, Edge thought, as their footsteps diminished.


Fuck. He needed to do something, anything to distract himself. He picked up the guitar that always lived in his hotel room, tried to play something soothing, but it kept changing into something dark and angry. Then he picked up the phone, thinking of calling his wife. But that might not help. Instead, he dialled his parents' number. It rang a long time before being picked up.

"Hello?" His mother's sleepy voice answered.

"I'm sorry, is it late there?" He hadn't even thought about the time difference.

"More like early," she said. "Is that you, Dave?"

"Yeah, it's me. Sorry," he said again.

"Not to worry. How are you?"

"Oh, you know. Not so good." He tried to keep his tone light, but his voice shook.

"What's the matter? Have you had another fight with Aislinn?" Maternal sympathy coloured Gwenda's voice.

"No, not with her. I haven't spoken to her since the airport. How is she?" Edge didn't want to tell his mother what had just happened.

"She's fine, I think. She is swamped, trying to pack herself and the girls up to go over there. Your brother has been such a help, he's been over there the last couple of days."

Edge's knuckles whitened as his grip on the phone tightened convulsively. "He has? Have you not been over yourselves?"

"Not recently, you know he lives closer than we do. We'll pop over tomorrow and see how she's getting along. And the girls love their Uncle Richard," she smiled.

Edge wasn't smiling. He'd barely slept for two or three days, he was drained from last night's show, let alone the business with the doctor this morning; then tonight's show, the scuffle with Larry, and now this. His heart hadn't slowed down almost that whole time. There was probably more adrenaline than blood in his veins, but he still felt the shooting pains in his limbs. An extremely ugly suspicion had sprouted in his mind with his mother's innocent words, and it consumed him. Larry's fear had tipped the balance one way; now this brought the scales crashing down on the other side.

"Dave? Are you there?"

Edge didn't hear her over the blood thundering in his ears.

Automatically he hung up the phone, and it smashed into pieces. All the rage and fury and frustration and stifled animal urges and suppressed violence, all the burning, it all boiled up and over. With a guttural scream, pain exploded out of every limb, every cell in his body. Fabric tore, and with a savage feeling of power and frustrated freedom, consciousness fled.


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Old 01-22-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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Holy good--!

Wow.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:47 PM   #3
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You are definintely painting a picture of a completely different Edge than the one we are used to!

Have a good weekend!
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:47 PM   #4
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Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-26-2009, 12:12 PM   #5
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Holy crap!



I'm starting to like this Edge, like him a LOT!



I'm loving this, and the huge creepiness.

But how can you let him break a guitar? That's an inhumane crime!
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:20 PM   #6
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i like it.
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