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#9 The Scream—Becka and Scott find themselves attracted to the many temptations of the high-powered, hard-living world of a popular rock band. As they try to help the band's drummer recognize Satan's lies and deception, ...
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#9 The Scream—Becka and Scott find themselves attracted to the many temptations of the high-powered, hard-living world of a popular rock band. As they try to help the band's drummer recognize Satan's lies and deception, they learn valuable lessons about God's authority.
Scream lead singer Tommy Doland had a red pentagram painted across his face so that his intense dark eyes peered out from the center. His long hair was coal black except for a great shock in the front that was dyed bright blue. His outfit was part Roman emperor and part Darth Vadar as his long cape billowed out behind while he strutted the length of the stage singing:
"I'm riding on wings of fire.
I'm burning the fields of desire.
In touch with the overlord,
He takes me higher...."
On the word higher his voice catapulted into a loud shriek, one of the band's trademarks, and the audience's response was immediate and frenzied. The audience itself was something to behold. Dressed in homemade versions of the same costumes and makeup as the band members, the crowd seemed even angrier than the band. They moved constantly, slamming into each other with a fierceness that was somewhere between a wild, uncontrolled dance and an outright riot.
Drummer Mike Parsek looked toward the angry wave ofhumanity as he hammered out the driving beat and wondered just how close the crowd was to losing control. Three kids had been hospitalized last week at their concert in Denver, and Mike was the first to admit that it could've been a lot worse. Kids had been crushed to death in rock concerts not theirs, but it happened. Even so, building frenzy was the key element to the band's show. After all, the kids came because they wanted that kind of excitement, a wild ride.
Mike scanned the screaming fans again and frowned. Sometimes he worried how that ride might end.
Singer Tommy Doland never worried about that part of the concert. His method of operation was always the same: Take it higher, drive it harder, push it farther.
A highlight of the show was always Mike's drum solo, and no matter how much Mike pushed it, Doland always wanted it to go a little farther. For this tour the drum solo had become a big production number loaded with special effects. The climax of the solo now included the eruption of a giant fire cannon that had been made to look like a fierce dragon. When Mike's solo reached its peak, the two huge flamethrowers concealed in the dragon's mechanical throat blasted out twenty-foot streaks of fire directly over the heads of those in the audience, making them scream in delight.
It was time for Mike's solo, and he jumped in with a vengeance. As he increased the volume and tempo, he felt the tension build in the audience, who expected something spectacular at this point, and in himself, as he got ready for the coming explosion and burst of flame.
Launching into the final pattern, Mike eyed stage manager Billy Phelps, whose job it was to ignite the fire cannon. As usual, Billy was nodding along with the beat, one finger on the button, ready to fire. Mike steeled himself for the blast and nodded slightly, but the visual cue was unnecessary. Phelps knew the timing by heart, and he pressed the button.
There was a brief hesitation and then a crackling sound that Mike had never heard before. A puff of smoke came from the dragon's mouth. This was followed by a clinking sound that came off like a groan from the pit of the dragon's stomach and then silence.
Something was wrong.
Mike breathed a sigh of relief. Part of him was glad it hadn't worked. Every time the cannon went off, he wondered if the kids in the first row were going to become burnt offerings. Then, out of the corner of his eye, Mike caught a glimpse of Tommy Doland. The lead singer appeared to be laughing.
* * *
Later on in the show, the band wailed away as Doland sang their latest hit, "Army of the Night." Meanwhile, Billy Phelps worked on the broken dragon.
"I can't figure out why this thing isn't firing," he muttered to himself as he examined the circuitry of the control panel for the fire cannon. "Everything here looks OK. Must be up in the barrel. Better cut the power."
With that, he switched off the control board and began crawling underneath the cannon. Onstage Doland sang:
"Army of the night,
Not afraid to fight,
Marching into danger
Without any light."
As Doland twisted and writhed across the stage, the crowd screamed, and guitarist Jackie Vee ripped into a searing solo. Meanwhile, Billy Phelps had worked his way to the end of the cannon's barrel.
Doland continued singing:
"Army of the night,
The master's wishes soar,
Risking our life
To fight his holy war."
At these words, as though an unseen hand moved it, the power switch on the fire cannon's control panel vibrated to the "On" position. Unaware of this, Billy Phelps reached inside the barrel to shine his flashlight down the dragon's mouth. Meanwhile, Doland continued to sing:
"Army of the night,
Our soul submitted
For your compliance."
Suddenly, the loading mechanism of the fire cannon began to shake, but since Billy was at the opposite end, he didn't notice.
Mike Parsek looked up from the drums, sensing a difference in the cannon's vibration. He looked over to the control panel and saw that it had switched to "On." Then, with horror, he saw the small red light on the loading mechanism also flicker on.
The cannon was about to fire!
Mike looked to Billy, but the stage manager was leaning down so far into the cannon that only his legs could be seen.
"Billy!" Mike shouted. "Get out of there!"
Phelps didn't hear him. The loading mechanism vibrated, and the light on the panel shifted from red to green.
Mike knew he'd never reach Billy in time, so he hurled one of his drumsticks at the stage manager's legs. It connected, and a bewildered Phelps pulled his head out from the cannon to see what was happening. Spotting the stick on the floor, he looked over to Mike, who waved frantically for him to get out of the way.
But there was no time. The cannon fired.
The flame that shot from the dragon's head was a wall of fire. It shot over Phelps and out across the stage. Grant Simone, the band's bass player, turned just in time to see his amplifier catch fire. With a yelp, he dove out of the way.
Phelps was not so lucky. His clothes were aflame.
The crowd screamed, unsure if this was part of the show or an accident. Mike leaped off his drum riser and ran toward Billy. As he passed Doland, he snatched the lead singer's cape and charged for the burning man. Leaping through the air, Mike landed on top of Phelps and knocked him to the ground. Quickly he began to smother the fire with the cape.
After several long, terrifying seconds, it was over.
Fifteen minutes later Billy Phelps was being carried off in an ambulance and the police were clearing the auditorium.
Onstage the road crew began to break down the elaborate set. Mike, still stunned, stood by his drums watching one of the roadies begin to dismantle the huge fire cannon.
"Hey, Mike," the roadie said, "why didn't Billy shut that thing down while he worked on it? Doesn't he know better than that?"
Mike looked at the roadie for a long moment. "He did shut it down. I saw him do it. The thing ... it kicked on by itself."
The roadie looked at Mike as if he were nuts, but he didn't say anything.
Mike left the stage and headed for Doland's dressing room. He knocked twice on the door.
"Come in," Doland said.
Mike opened the door to see Doland standing before the mirror, still wearing his stage makeup. "Oh, it's the hero of the hour. Come on in, Mike. What's up?"
"Doland ... I know for a fact that Billy shut that cannon down before he started working on it. I saw him do it. The thing came on by itself like some sort of ..." He trailed off, not sure what to say.
Doland smiled strangely. "Some sort of what, Mike?"
"Some sort of ... monster. Like it had a mind of its own."
Doland laughed gruffly. "Come now, Mikey. A well-churched boy like you doesn't buy into that sort of nonsense, does he? Sounds like black magic, and you don't believe in black magic now, do you?"
Doland's expression was taunting.
Mike turned away. "I've told you before. I don't like you teasing me about my father."
Doland gave a look of mock sympathy. "Oh, you mean the good reverend? I wouldn't dream of it, Mike."
"How can you be joking around like this with Billy in the hospital?"
Doland shrugged. "Billy's going to be all right. You heard the medic. He'll be OK, thanks to that quick business you did with my cape which, by the way, you owe me for."
Mike couldn't believe his ears. "You're worried about the cost of the cape?"
Doland shook his head. "Not really. I know that what happened here tonight is good for business. This little accident will sell a hundred thousand more albums for us by the end of the week."
Mike shook his head. "It's not about money, Doland. It's like I've been saying: Things are out of hand. This devil stuff has gone too far."
Doland squinted his eyes and mimicked Mike's voice. "This devil stuff? Little church boy afraid of the big bad devil stuff, eh? Sometimes I think you're in the wrong band, Mikey boy."
Mike knew he was on risky ground since Doland could easily get him kicked out of the band if he wanted to push the issue, but still he continued. "Listen to me for a minute, Doland. Something has changed. Can't you see that?"
"I see far more than you, Mikey. But don't sweat it. I know what I'm doing."
Mike shook his head. This was getting him nowhere. He started to leave, then paused at the door. "It used to be fun, Tommy, but ... don't you see? We're losing control."
Doland cut him off with a nasty laugh. "I haven't lost control of anything, Mikey. Everything is just the way I want it."
* * *
It had not been one of Scott's better days....
First the church's junior high camping trip was canceled because they couldn't find enough chaperons.
Then Mom asked him to clean his room. Naturally, he figured that meant piling everything that was on the floor up onto his bed so he could go play baseball with the guys. That part was fine. It was coming home and finding Mom steamed that wasn't so fine. That and the discipline she had in mind for him.
"I still don't see why I have to wash these stupid windows," he complained for the tenth time.
"Because they're dirty," Mom replied.
"But windows aren't my job. They should be Becka's. Cleaning is for girls."
Mom sighed. They'd had this conversation in one form or another several hundred times. "Cleaning is everyone's work, Scott. And if you'd cleaned your room the way I asked you to, I wouldn't have given you this extra duty."
"You said you wanted to see the floor of my room. Well?"
Mom shook her head. "I also wanted to see your bed. You're too old to pull a stunt like that."
"Obviously I'm not," Scott mumbled as he went back to wiping the living-room window. Outside he could see his older sister, Rebecca. She was playing football with her sort-of boyfriend, Ryan. Scott waited until Ryan lobbed her a pass before rapping on the window to distract her. "Hey, Becka!" With any luck she'd turn to him just in time to get whacked on the head.
But Rebecca wasn't falling for it. She carefully caught the ball before turning toward her brother in the house. "Yes, Scott?" she called pleasantly. "May I help you?"
Scott grimaced, then called out, "Why don't you guys come in here and give me a hand with these windows!"
Rebecca laughed. "No way. You earned that job."
Scott went back to his mumbling. "Might as well clean windows. With the camping trip canceled, it's going to be another boring week. I never get to do anything."
"What are you harping about now?" Mom asked as she walked through the room.
"Nothing," Scott answered. "I was just wondering why we never get to do anything fun."
Mom looked aghast. "How can you say that? You've been traveling all over the place. You got to visit Louisiana; your sister went to Europe."
"That's different," Scott whined. "We were helping Z."
Z was their friend from the Internet. Although they'd never met him in person, he'd led them into all sorts of intense adventures helping various people.
"Are you telling me that you never have any fun on these trips?" Mom asked.
Scott shrugged. "A little, I suppose. But Z always sends us to goofy places. Why can't he send us someplace exciting to do something fun?"
"Let me guess...." Mom pretended to search for an answer. "Because Z isn't your personal cruise director?"
Scott frowned. But only for a second because outside he saw a large FedEx truck stopping directly in front of their house. He raced past Mom and headed outside, even managing to beat his sister to the truck. The driver laughed and handed him a large envelope. "Sign here, son."
Scott signed the form and quickly opened the envelope.
"What is it?" Rebecca asked.
Scott examined the contents. "I'm not sure ... some airline tickets, a hotel reservation, and some other kind of tickets.... Wow!"
By now Mom was out the door as well. "Wow, what?"
Scott was so excited he could hardly speak. "It's the concert tickets from Z.... Our trip to L.A. It's been like a month since he mentioned it. He sent us three free tickets and backstage passes to see The Scream in their Los Angeles appearance."
"The who?" Mom asked.
"The Scream," he explained. "They're the hottest band in the country ... and we're going to get to meet them!"
Becka and Ryan looked at each other in surprise. Tickets to a Scream concert?
Mom took the package and read the note. "There's a ticket for me, too," she said. "I suppose I could use a short vacation."
Scott was all smiles. "Then we can go?"
"Well ... I ..."
"Great. Just wait'll the guys hear about this!" He turned to his sister. "Is this cool or what?"
Rebecca looked at him before finally managing a lame, "Yeah ... cool."
But the feeling in her gut told her she was anything but thrilled about this. The Scream was popular with all the kids at school, but from what she'd heard of their stuff, it was definitely heavy metal and definitely flirting with dark, satanic stuff. Stuff that always gave her the creeps. Even now she felt a cool shiver crawl across her skin.
What possible reason could Z have for wanting them to meet The Scream?
Excerpted from The Scream by Bill Myers Copyright © 2002 by Bill Myers
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Posted March 28, 2004
Posted April 22, 2003
I haven't read this book yet because I want to go in order. I have read 1,2,3,4,5,6,and7. I have book number 9 but not number 8. I would like to know if this book must be read in order?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 15, 2001
I began reading the Forbidden Doors series in 5 grade. Now I am 19 and continue to read them. This particular book forcous on a subject people don't really like to think about. The influence of music. And just how much is a 'stage show'. It shows sometimes it can start that way, but it never stays that way. I definately recomend this and the other books in the series. Especialy for teenagers and there parents.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.