4. Chapter Four
Michael is strolling through a woods. The greenery surrounding him is full of nature’s splendour. Praising the gallant trees with a grin of approbation, he passes a glorified spider’s web that glitters with mildew. Bark on the surrounding trees is encrusted with withered veins that wrap round their circumference like the wilds own personal litany. A smile weaves its way across his face that is embellished with a sense of perfect freedom and adoration for the habitat that he is encompassed in. All of a sudden a tidal wave taller than a thousand skyscrapers washes over him as he turns his back to the trees. Choking and spluttering and gasping for air under the cruel mistress that is mother-nature herself, he claws at the water that seems to only be affecting his face. Michael inhaled abruptly and spluttered as droplets-no-mouthfuls of water were drenching him in a cool and bitter demise. Eventually, he got his wits about him and noticed Ashton giggling hysterically at the foot of his now sodden hotel bed. “What the heck was that for?!” he yelled “Funny” Ashton chuckled “and we’re going to explore the city today, so get up- you lazy asshole!” he grinned and the dimples in his brown cheeks rose as the crinkles by his eyes did. “There are nicer ways of waking people up you know” Mikey said as he pulled on his Def Leppard t-shirt from the previous day. “Well no shit, the lads and I just thought you needed to lighten up after yesterday and your mad hungry mood and the whole walking out at god-knows-what time thing.” “And that was the way to go about that?” he slipped into his skinny black jeans and was part way through doing up his belt as he shuffled between feet. “Well, must’ve been, you seem much less of an arse this morning.” Still smiling. “I haven’t finished yet.” “What?” “Run.” Ashton legged it out of the room, tripping slightly, and Mikey followed his disgraceful lead. In their mini lounging area Mikey tackled Ashton to the ground, whilst their fellow band mates were onlookers and seem rather amused by the whole situation. “When you two love birds have quite finished” Luke began “we’re gonna go and check this place out and we’d prefer it if Ashton had both his arms, Michael.” He laughed at this last part as Mikey currently had one of Ashton’s arms pinned behind his back in a firm, unbreakable grip. “Just finishing what needed to be done, you guys should feel lucky that that wasn’t you.” “Wasn’t my idea” Calum voiced “Whatever, let’s go” Luke decided, and was already halfway out the door, when the other boys cascaded out too. Ashton was the last, however, and mumbled to himself as he locked the suite back up: “That’s totally gonna bruise…” The sky was clear; a serene, tranquil blue that drifted off into a map of clouds and contrails. Skyscrapers and other concrete jungle delights were scattered around in an oppressive, but not too intimidating manor. Adverts attached to billboards and bus stops sprang out like polychromatic monkeys, swinging, swinging at different heights. The sidewalks were covered in worn down gum and litter that had tattooed its unforgettable mark of human destruction on a manmade playground. Businessmen scurried like fat rodents, talking into earpieces, phones and clutching on to briefcases as if they were their sources of life. An early starting busker played melodies of sweet carnage, ravenous in each note that sprang from his instrument-stunning a crowd of busy and rushing people. These crowds stampeded the streets in herds, one never too far away from the other. Always touching. Even if only by a brief caress of a sleeve. Shop windows gleamed with inviting signs and offers that only a wise man could deny. The vivid colours stung the eyes; a poison to all onlookers, ensnaring them in their lethal web of cadaverousness. And finally: the king. A lavish abundance of fast food chains that littered every corner and lurked in both dark and light. They were always there. Ruling the high-street with a majesty achieved by only by a clever, witty and dangerous monarch. They had arrived in the city centre. Ashton danced about on the pavement in delight at the sheer lively nature of the place. “This is so cool” he breathed “That’s one word for it” Calum interjected as he gazed around the heights of the mountainous buildings. “This is pretty amazing” Sighed Luke. Michael said nothing, he could see what they saw, but did not feel about it as they did. Yes, it was ‘cool’ and ‘amazing’ and indescribable, but he felt that the city did not show its true colours. To him, the jungle came alive at night. “Michael!” Calum yelled, Mikey jumped out of his daze and noticed a group of girls swarming them and taking pictures. “That’s totally going on my Malum Tumblr page.” One said, followed by a chittering of giggles. “We’ve got fans to take care of” Calum winked. One by one Michael had pictures with their miniature mob and signed things for them. He also received gifts, including one girls florescent pink Ray-Bans, which he vowed to wear for the rest of the day. As the boys explored whatever was left of the city that they could, they found some amusements and spent a great sum of money on fixed claw machines and slots. It was nice to finally spend some time with the guys again. Quality family bonding time, without music and without being on tour- but just remaining here for a couple weeks. Dark would come in soon and allow the city to present its vibrant personality and appear in its own primetime. It was about that time where one of them would say they should make a move or grab a beer in a fancy restaurant- just for the hell of it. “Who wants a drink?” Ashton quizzed. “Who doesn’t?” Mikey grinned. It was silent. “I thought as much.” They laughed their way to a local bar to drown any sorrows, but mainly just to be teenage boys again.