Part 2 of Syncing to a New Low
Three months had passed since the body-switching fiasco with n sync. Everyone had done their best to push the traumatic experience to the backs of their minds, but every now and then, due to some freakish, lingering pop urges, the guys often broke out into song; singing such shit as “Bye bye bye” and “tearin’ up my heart”, or “tearing up my fart” as Chester liked to call it! But it was gradually fading and things were getting back to normal. Well almost everything.
Phoenix had remained distant and quiet. He rarely talked to the guys anymore, giving one-word answers to almost every question. He hadn’t told them anything about his experiences with Wes Borland; how he had stolen his very being. Dave was nothing more than a shell now. Whenever anyone had tried to raise the subject, he would look at them with a pained look in his eyes, warning them not to push it, so they backed off and remained in the dark. He lived, barely, as if in some kind of hypnotic trance. In the beginning, there was a little of him left, his conscience tugging against the evil, steering him away from doing any harm. But that was leaving him.
Any sense of right and wrong he had, was fading, replaced with thoughts of hurt, suffering and pain; all to be exacted by he himself. Recently, he couldn’t even look at one of his band mates without fighting the urge to attack them. This didn’t go unnoticed by them, they weren’t stupid, and Phoenix’s behaviour scared them. They started to avoid being alone with him, this was fine with whatever was left of the old Phoenix. He was in there all right, buried under all the wickedness, and he didn’t want to hurt anyone, but he wouldn’t have much of a choice.
The band had noticed the change, developed theories in their own minds as to the cause of it. But up until now were afraid to discuss it openly, for fear of sounding completely crazy. One day though that changed, they couldn’t ignore it any more. They were staying in a hotel in London, before their Brixton gig. They had to check out the venue before the concert that night. All were ready to go, stepping onto the elevator when Mike noticed that Phoenix was missing.
“Hey where’s Phoenix?”, he asked casually.
“Dunno man, I ain’t seen him since breakfast”, replied Chaz.
“Um…I saw him a few minutes ago” interrupted Joe quietly.
“Going up to the roof”, Joe looked at the floor. Immediately, they all felt anxious. For anyone else, going to the roof would be no big deal but not for Dave, not with the way he was nowadays.
“I’ll go”, volunteered Brad, always the peacekeeper. He jogged as casually as possible towards the stairs. Once out of sight, he sprinted up the stairs, taking them three at a time. He had a bad feeling about the whole thing, and his fears weren’t unfounded. As soon as he burst out the door at the top, he saw straight away what he was afraid of. Phoenix was perched precariously on the edge of the building, the strong breeze blowing his thin shirt against his back. He was looking down to the ground below, contemplating the jump. Right now, he could end it all and no one would get hurt… except him.
Brad was frozen for a moment, scared for his friends' life. He was shocked; he had no idea that Phoenix was this unstable. Phoenix stood looking out over the London skyline, his exterior appeared calm and unemotional but this only masked his inner turmoil. What remained of his old self had made one final stand before being completely overcome by evil. It these few minutes, the old Dave was back, trying to end the pain before it began. Every moment longer he delayed, the wickedness was creeping back. He was about ready to make his fatal leap when he was stunned by the voice of his friend.
"Dave!" Brad finally managed to blurt out.
"Back off Brad, I don't have time", yelled Phoenix.
"Don't have time?!", cried Brad disbelievingly,
"What's the rush to top yourself?
"You don't understand, I have to do this NOW"
"Bullshit!! What the fuck is wrong with you?!" Brad replied, anger creeping into his voice. He didn't get it; Dave came back to them a changed man, he wouldn't tell them anything about what happened to him, he began to look at them with loathing in his empty eyes and NOW he decides to commit suicide, not giving any reason and just expected Brad to leave him to it! Not going to happen!
Brad took a deep breath to calm himself. He walked over to where Dave stood balanced on the wall surrounding the flat roof. He climbed carefully onto the wall alongside Phoenix. He looked down and immediately felt queasy. He wasn't afraid of heights but standing two inches from the edge of a 20-story hotel roof had an effect on him. Phoenix looked at him as if he were crazy.
"What the fuck are you doing?!, get down or you'll kill yourself!" he cried, feeling panicked and thrown by Brad's manoeuvre. Brad chuckled at the irony of his plea.
"Come on man", he prodded gently, "talk to me, nothing is worth this, nothing."
"You don't understand."
"Will you stop saying that! How can I understand when you refuse to tell me anything? For gods sake, this is the most you've said to me since the n suck thing!" The mention of 'the n suck thing' struck a chord with Dave. He frowned, remembering his horrific experiences.
'And they thought they had a hard time of it. They got their bodies back, I didn't get my soul back, just a big bunch of urges for evildoing' he thought bitterly. He could already feel his power fading; the old Phoenix was being pushed back down.
"I've changed Brad, you wouldn't believe. I'm not the kind of person you'd want hangin' around", he said firmly.
"You've changed? Really?" snapped Brad sarcastically.
"You don't understand", replied Phoenix, repeating himself.
"Oh will you quit?!, If you say 'you don't understand' one more time and I'll push you off this roof myself!" screamed Brad getting exasperated. The height was getting to him, and his thin t-shirt was no match for the strong, cold wind blowing around them, he was shivering and his teeth chattered.
Phoenix knew he couldn't jump now, not with Brad standing less then
two feet away from him. He felt desperate, he turned to Brad and upon
seeing the look of fear in his eyes, Dave broke down crying. Tears
"Dude, tell me about it, please", said Brad awkwardly, placing a reassuring hand on Phoenix's shoulder. Phoenix thought about it, maybe it would help to get things out in the open. He decided to tell Brad all about Wes, Ricky Martin and the loss of his soul.
"He stole my-" he began before he felt an agonising wrench deep inside him. He gasped for air, releasing yelps of pain. He felt his new black heart take over again, flooding him with malice. Brad looked terrified, he didn't know what to do, and Phoenix was doubled over and swaying out way too far over the edge.
"Hey man lets get down from here ok?" he asked gently. Phoenix, now fully changed back, looked up and nodded silently. He stepped towards Brad with his arms open as if to get support and climb down. Brad, relieved to see Phoenix willing to co-operate, allowed him to put his arm on his shoulder. Phoenix looked up at Brad again, sneering cruelly. Brad frowned, recognising the look in Phoenix's eyes.
"Dave?" he asked, uncertainly.
Phoenix didn't answer, instead he pushed.
Brad cried out in surprise as his balance shifted. He flailed his arms wildly trying to regain his equilibrium but it was no good and he gasped as he felt himself falling over the edge of the building. He grabbed with his hands, catching hold of Phoenix's shoe with one hand and the edge of the wall with the other, he stopped falling with a jerk, slamming his body into the side of the building. Phoenix lunged forward as Brads weight started to pull him over the edge. He leaned back, steadying himself.
"Oh shit, shit shit shit!!!" cried Brad, still dangling perilously from Phoenix's feet. Phoenix looked down at him, enjoying his fear, thinking what a pity it was that it wouldn't last much longer.
"Come on man, pull me up, Dave wake up, come on!!" he screamed hysterically. Dave thought about it, if he saved Brad now, he would be able to play with him some more later on. He reached down and grabbed hold of Brad's wrists, with all of his strength he heaved. Brad kicked his legs, putting a foot up onto the wall. Phoenix leaned back, Brad came flying back over the wall and the two of them landed flat on their backs on the roof, panting loudly.
They lay there, silent for a few moments, Brad's heart pounding like a sledgehammer in his chest.
Eventually he found the strength to stand up, Phoenix did likewise, and they stood facing each other for a moment.
"Phew, that was close", sighed Brad, convinced that the whole thing was an accident. After all, Phoenix was one of his best friends, why would he think anything else? Phoenix was relieved to see that Brad saw it as an accidental slip, he hadn't been rumbled.
"Yeah. Sorry", he said lacklustre.
"I think we should discuss this with the rest of the guys", suggested Brad, worry etched across his face. He wanted to get to the bottom of this, Phoenix had been telling him about it before he almost plunged to his death. For the first time in months, he seemed to be himself again, a real person with real feelings, not just an empty container. But now Brad could see that was gone again as Phoenix stared at him, frowning slightly. Phoenix turned away and walked towards the stairs without replying. Brad ran after him catching up within a couple of strides.
"Come on, please, you were telling me before you slipped, we need to know." he pleaded before he was cut short by one of Phoenix's now familiar violent glares. He sighed in frustration and followed Dave down the stairs.
|TOP | Last updated 15 February 2002 19:42 (AUS EST / +1000 GMT).|