Season 8: The Thriller
Disclaimer - I do not claim to know any of these people. This was simply for fun. Personalities and reactions are all based on my own limited experiences and the story, itself, is loosely based on just one of the many late night season 8 conspiracy theories that my zennie friends and I have come up with—with a Halloween twist. This is for them.
Remember, this is only fiction… Or, is it…
"All Hollow's Eve: That malevolent moon during which the gates of pure iniquity creak open to unleash upon the ordinary world something ghastly and wicked, and for those unfortunate souls bound to live in that ordinary world, who on this night, by cursed luck, bear witness to the truth that lies behind the corpse of every earthly foul, there awaits pure horror…" – MHG
"Oh, Steven, there you are." Jackie swaggered up to the back table. "I almost didn't recognize you without a disgusting stripper attached to your lips."
"Huh," Hyde grunted indifferently from his seat. "Well I recognized you right away, since you walked in here alone, with no job and no boyfriend."
Jackie opened her mouth, but before she could deliver her next line, she frowned and took an awkward step back.
Mila shook her head. "Sorry, David." As she waved apologetically to her director, she leaned toward Wilmer. "What was my line again?"
She sneered at his answer. "Huh, huh?"
"Huh. Huh," Wilmer repeated a little louder.
"That's my line?" Mila asked, more harshly this time. "Huh? Huh?"
Danny grinned. "Pretty profound, huh?"
Mila shook her head, slightly rolling her eyes, not wanting to say out loud what they were all thinking, when, abruptly, the set's lights began to warble and flicker. The phenomenon continued for a few seconds as the three actors shared a strange look, and then ended with the lights going out completely, leaving nothing but pure blackness.
"Nobody move!" the set director yelled out. "There are cables and wires everywhere. The generator should kick on any second."
Mila moved her eyes around in the darkness. She couldn't see a thing, but a foul stench began to enter her nostrils, like metal…burning. A sharp spark of lights startled her, and then the generator moaned and came to life.
"Lights are back!"
"Ahh!" Mila screamed, startled at the sight of Wilmer's face mere inches to her right, on the other side of where he had been originally standing. She smacked his chest. "God, Wil! You scared me!" she laughed.
He smiled. "Sorry."
Mila sighed at Danny as Wilmer stepped away, but Danny wasn't paying attention, instead he was frowning, looking around the set with a half-befuddled/half-disgusted expression on his face.
"You guys smell that?" he asked, finally looking at his two friends.
"Smell what?" Wilmer asked.
"Yeah!" Mila interjected. "You smell that, too? Like it's burning or something."
"Yeah," Danny nodded.
"Hey, you guys…" David Trainer, the director of the show walked over. "We're gonna need to take a quick break, get these lights back on. We'll call you when we're ready."
Danny made a slight sneer. "How long you think it's gonna be?"
"Maybe thirty minutes. An hour at most."
"Shit." Danny stood up. "Okay."
Agreeing to stay nearby, Mila, Wilmer and Danny all exited the set, Danny walking in a different direction with his cell phone as Mila and Wilmer took off toward the exit.
"This sucks," she muttered, causing Wilmer to look over the moment they stepped out of Stage 2 and onto the lot, heading toward their dressing rooms.
Confused, he frowned. "What? The lights going out?"
"No," she responded quickly. "Just all of it."
"Oh, what, work?" Mila nodded and he threw his arm around her. "Ah, well, it's almost over."
"The scripts are terrible. Topher and Kutch are gone. They changed practically the entire crew. I miss Janine," she whined. "We used to talk when she was doing my make-up. And Jackie," she scoffed, rolling her eyes. "…is…I don't know. It's all just so fucking stupid. I'm just ready to be done."
Wilmer laughed. "Yeah, I noticed, but, come on, it's not that bad. I actually like the scripts. I think they're the funniest they've ever been...I think it's going to be the best season yet."
"What?" Mila made a face. "Are you serious?" she derided, letting her disconcerted breath turn into a huff. "Well not me. I'm ready to complain to the writers. I mean, the whole season so far is basically me being treated like shit by Danny and everyone else. Me and him were talking about it earlier and it just doesn't feel right." Mila looked over, her seriousness carrying over until she saw the strange look on Wilmer's face. She laughed. "Alright, fine. I'm being stupid. Like any of it matters. I'm just…" She sighed and hooked her arm in his as they briskly walked. "I'm having the weirdest day. I don't know what it is."
Still inside, Danny looked at his phone and grimaced. "Damn it." He walked around in circles, searching for a signal.
Outside, Mila and Wilmer both ran up the steps that lead to Wilmer's dressing room and went inside, immediately plopping down on the couch.
Wilmer quickly stood up, though. "Actually, I'm going to go grab some sandwiches or something. You want me to get you one?"
Feeling exhausted, Mila simply shook her head wearily and watched him exit, leaving her alone in the room. It wasn't long before the pretty brunette closed her eyes and sighed, exhausted and also disgusted with that squalid odor still lingering in her nose. She waited around for nearly twenty minutes, watching the set monitor for any progress or cue to return, but so far there was none.
"God!" Unable to stand another second of that smell, Mila walked into the bathroom, not bothering to turn on the lights, and rolled some toilet paper around her hand before blowing her nose carefully so not to ruin her makeup. She looked in the mirror and wiggled her nose. It was a little better.
"Where the fuck is that little bitch?!"
Mila turned her head at the unfamiliar male voice and frowned in concern. A loud bang made her jump in place.
"You said she was fucking here!"
"Hey! She was here when I left," she heard Wilmer say before she heard his voice given in whisper. "Maybe the bathroom."
Instinct had Mila scrambling to hide behind the bathroom door and holding her breath as it opened further. It was an inch from giving her away, making her grateful for her petite frame. She wondered what the fuck was going on. What was Wil doing?
"Shit!" Wilmer grumbled and wiped his palm over his mouth, making his way toward the door. "Why didn't we just do them earlier?"
"Because they weren't a problem until now."
"Well what about Danny and Debra and Laura?"
"We're gonna need a few more for them, especially Danny."
"Hey," Wilmer stopped at the exit and turned around to face his colleague. "Let's just go deal with Danny first. The girls will be easy."
"What the fuck," Mila mouthed to herself and waited. She was ready to jump out and demand to know what the hell was going on, and why she had been referred to as 'that little bitch', but it wasn't Wilmer who was concerning her. It was the stranger. There was something daunting about his voice.
Mila waited another minute, through the two men's mumbling, and stepped out from the dark once she was sure they were gone. Grabbing her small pocketbook from the couch, she pulled out her cell phone and flipped it open, planning to call Laura, who was around somewhere. "Damn." No signal. She frowned. Why was this stranger looking for them? And what the hell was Wilmer doing with him? Then, a thought occurred to her and she dropped her hands. It must have been work-related.
"Oh my God," she muttered, thinking herself an idiot. The lights were probably back and here she was, hiding from Wil, being ridiculous. She shoved the phone back in her purse and walked out the door toward the set. It was dark out already and the lot's streetlamps were lit oddly. The generators were still running, she assumed, causing them to emit that weak bluish glow that the set had when she left. Her pace quickened. It was still freaking her the hell out.
By the time Mila reached the cast/crew entrance, it was locked, so she banged her fist on it. "Hello! It's Mila. I need to get in." She waited, tapping her foot before giving up and making her way around to another door, and another. "Damn it!" They were locked, too. Next, she tried the audience entrance. Nothing. Locked. "Well this is real great," she sighed indignantly before taking noticing of the prop room double doors. They were always locked, though. But she walked over anyway and gave the door a tug, pleased when it opened. "Finally."
Making her way down the small, personally uncharted back hall, Mila looked around at some props from episodes past. It was dark but some lighting lined the designated walkway. She could see a little bit. Some props, she noticed, had never been used, some looked familiar, but when she heard a sharp noise and voices, she stopped. "Hello?"
"What the hell are you doing?"
"Get your fucking hands off me!"
Mila's eyes widened. It was her friend. Something was wrong. Looking around herself nervously, she decided on the most intimidating-looking object she could find: a BB gun. She shook it and heard nothing, no rattle. "Shit."
A scream forced her feet into motion, but still, she moved stealthily and cautiously, not wanting to cause herself notice. As she rounded a corner, the reek of burning metal growing more pungent with each step, Mila finally saw the location of the commotion. Her heart stopped and she hid behind a stack of lawn chairs, peering gingerly around the corner. She slapped her hand over her mouth, trying to not to scream. She had to be seeing this wrong. Laura was just standing there, flat-faced, no longer angry or screaming. Men surrounded her, though, including Wilmer, but one in particular, a tall, lanky man, facing Laura, stood with his arm outstretched, his head tilted back. But what had Mila reeling most was the object—what looked like a thin metal pipe—that was lodged into Laura's left ear.
The man gave a sharp, unsavory twist on the pipe and Mila shut her eyes, though Laura never flinched, never made a sound.
Mila opened her eyes to look. They were talking to her.
"Yes," she responded and turned her head with a knowing smirk as the object was yanked out.
Wilmer smiled."Welcome back, friend."
She laughed."Thanks." Mila's frozen blue/green eyes watched with sick fascination and absolute fear. She was baffled as to what was going on and was suddenly feeling very alone and very vulnerable in this spot. Her back felt exposed. The darkness seemed to move behind her. And to her horror, Laura's head returned forward, her now glowing red eyes setting perfectly in line with her own, a portentous grin curling her lips. "Oh, Mila," the blond sang. "Come out. Come out. Wherever you are."
Mila slowly straightened her back as she watched one of her oldest friends take a step forward, leading the men to look over.
"Oh my God." Mila took off running, back-tracking the way she had come in. Still carrying the BB gun, her body slammed into the double doors. She jiggled the knobs and started to whine feverishly when she realized they were locked. "Shit. Shit."
She turned around quickly.
Mila closed her mouth and tried not to panic, tried to think instead about the building's layout. There had to be another door. Behind the wall to her left was part of the set. To her right was Radford Avenue, but no doors to get there. "Shit," she whimpered, pressing her back to the double doors.
"Mila… Mila... Mi-la..." They were getting closer and her chest began to shake violently, her mind clouding over with adrenaline and terror. Then, she heard a few strange and unexpected sounds: soft dings.
Mila turned her head, her ears tuning in. It was coming from outside
"Ahh. God, damn it."
She recognized that voice. "Danny."
"Piece of shit! Work!"
It was him! Mila turned around and began to bang on the door. "Hey! Danny! Danny, help me! Help! Open the door!"
She heard footsteps in front of her and behind her. "Mila?"
"Yes!" She banged more frantically and jiggled the door knobs. "Help me! Danny! The doors are locked! Please! Help me! Hurry!"
She felt the knob move. "What the hell are you doing in there?"
"Just get the door open, damn it! Hurry!" She felt a malicious energy surge into her back; her nerves were standing on end. Something was breathing behind her. "HURRY!" she screamed and fell into his arms when the right door shot open. Mila straightened up quickly and grabbed his shirt, looking him in the eye. "Run!"
"Why? What's going on?" he sneered.
She grabbed his hand and yanked him from where he was standing. "Just come on!"
"What are you doing? And why do you have a BB Gun?" Confused as hell, Danny turned back toward her previous jail and saw nothing. "Hey," he thumbed back. "What happened? Are you alright?"
"No," she responded, throwing down the useless gun and pulling him as hard as she could away from the building, but he would only walk.
"Why were you locked in the prop room?"
"Just…come on! Walk faster!" To Mila's relief, she felt his weight release the tension from her arms. He was moving quickly along with her, but he was distracted, too.
"Hey." Danny shook his phone. "Is your phone working?"
"This sucks." He raised the phone high as Mila led him away. "I'm working at the Troubadour tonight and now I'm gonna be late and I can't call."
"You've got bigger problems; trust me." Mila quickened her pace, her sights aimed on the small parking strip where her car sat. She had her keys in her purse, thank God. She would explain everything to Danny on the drive. For now, they just needed to get to security. Feeling strangled, she untied the '70s scarf from her neck and threw it to the ground. "Come on, Danny. Walk faster."
Similarly frustrated, Danny shoved his phone into his pocket and looked around, grimacing. "Wait," he stopped, causing her to stop, too. "We have to get back." He looked at Hyde's watch. "It's been almost forty minutes. They probably fixed the lights already."
"Oh. We're not going back," she explained.
Danny stopped, though and began to try and pull her back toward the set. "Come on."
"No way," she refused insistently and yanked her hand away, folding her arms. "I am not going back there."
"Why not?" Mila did not respond, though. Truth be told, she didn't know what to say. He would laugh at her. "Come on," Danny waved her over. "Let's go."
"Danny." "I'm telling you…We need to leave."
He laughed ."Dude…Mila…We're taping. We can't just leave." He offered a questioning look. "Where is it you wanna go?"
"I don't care. We just can't go back in there!"
He put his hands up, at a complete loss. "What's going on with you right now?"
Mila's shoulders drooped. She had to look at this from his point of view. "Fine," she grumbled and grabbed hold of both his hands, trying to pull, but like a mule, he wouldn't budge. "Please, Danny. I just need to tell you something." She stared pleadingly with him. "Please."
Danny sighed. "Fine."
Staying aware of their surroundings, Mila led him between the two office buildings nearby and hid them inside the darkness. She turned around and pulled him with her behind some stairs. "I think we need to get to the police," she whispered. "Or…something like that?"
Mila frowned and tucked her lips into her mouth. How to put this. "I think they killed Laura."
"What," he grimaced. "What the hell are you talking about?" Danny began to look around. "Is this a joke?"
Suddenly getting some of her senses back, her adrenaline slowing, Mila noticed his irritation and began to unleash her story...
"…and there was this big metal, like, knife thing in her ear and he twisted it and pulled it out and her eyes were red, Danny! They were fucking red! And she was calling my name! And they all looked over! Including that guy who called me a bitch and…"
Befuddled, Danny sneered. "Wait. Wait. What? Who called you a bitch?"
"It doesn't matter. I think she's dead or…" She stumbled on her words. "Or… not… her… She's… It's not her, Danny! They said they were going after you and me and Laura," she recalled out loud. "And they…" Pausing in thought, Mila raised her eyes to his and studied her friend suspiciously.
His face scrunched, Danny simply shook his head. "Look. Like I said, let's just go back and see what's going on."
Her face flattened like a pancake. "Oh my God." She backed up, her movement hindered quickly by the building. "They got you already. You're trying to get me back there so they can get me, too."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Danny stepped forward and watched her cower slightly. "Mila." It stunned him. "Hey. Come on. Let's just…Wait," His train of thought shifted. "…is this..." He smiled suspiciously. "…is this like… a joke or a prank or something. Just tell me."
"No!" she answered, her voice rising.
"Alright." Danny put his hands up, growing more and more concerned with her, what he thought to be, irrational behavior. "Alright, it's not." he said more gingerly and took another step toward her. It was dark but he could see that she growing more upset, too, and actually starting to cry a little. She was terrified. "Hey, come here." He slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her into a hug. "You're okay. Everything's fine…Mila, just tell me what's going on."
Mila closed her eyes and breathed in his scent. "You smell good," she realized out loud and leaned back a little to look at him. "You don't smell like them." She exhaled in relief, feeling safer again in his presence.
Danny frowned. "Look..." Blowing out a breath, he scanned the area around them. From where he stood, he could see the lights that surrounded Stage 2. They glowed an eerie shade of blue, instead of their usual bright color. "Alright." He turned back to Mila. "Just…hear me out for a second. Think about it. This is a prank. They're just messing with you. I'll bet Kutch has got cameras on us right now, and he's laughing his ass off." He tightened his grip on her and smiled, hoping to make her feel safe. "Okay…They're messing with you. I promise," he laughed.
Mila shook her head. "How could they know where I would go, though?"
"You said it yourself. They locked all the doors on you. Where else were you gonna go?"
Mila frowned. God, that made sense. "Well…What about…" She stopped, trying to get a grip on herself. "A prank? You really think so?"
"Yeah, it's Halloween…Come on. What's more likely? Wilmer just killed Laura or they're fucking with you." Danny smiled, hoping to also make her feel foolish. "Man, and I'm a little pissed about it. They didn't even let me in on it." Mila narrowed her eyes at him and started to smile in spite of her current mood. "Unless," he continued. "They're going after me, too." He nodded, grinning. "Awesome."
"Maybe," she muttered. "But I don't find it funny at all. It looked like they were really fucking hurting her!"
"Hey." Danny bent at the knees slightly, making eye contact with his angry co-star. "Let's get just back and let them get their laughs out so we can get back to work. Okay?"
Apprehensively, Mila agreed, letting him take her hand this time and lead her back toward the set.
When they got to the cast door, it was unlocked, so Danny simply pulled it open like any other day. He started to step inside but was stopped by Mila.
"Don't leave me," she demanded. "Just don't. Even during my scenes, okay? Stay nearby."
"Promise me," she insisted.
"Alright," he grumbled. "I promise."
Together, they stepped inside and looked around. The lights, just like outside, emitted a strange cerulean glow and that smell wafted almost intolerably. "God," Danny grimaced. "Something reeks. Bad."
"I told you," Mila grumbled and looked around at the ethereal version of her workplace. People, all cast and crew, milled about the place like zombies, expressionless and dull. She shook her head and tried to turn around. "Fuck this, Danny. Let's just go."
"Wait." Danny kept hold of her hand and forced her body forward again. "Will you relax?" he derided and yanked her closer to him again. "We can't just leave. We have three more scenes to shoot and we still have to do the audience rounds."
"I think the audience would understand," she snapped, squeezing his hand tighter and moving her body closer to him as he dragged her deeper inside.
Danny tipped his head at one of the crew as Mila peeked to see if the audience was still there.
Danny smiled at someone. "Hey, have you seen Wil and Laura?" But the man continued walking, without even looking over. Danny tried again as a woman approached. "Excuse me…Can you…" She ignored him as well. Danny knitted his eyebrows as the woman, a new crewmember he had never seen before, passed. He caught her scent…metal and…
He turned to Mila and pinched his face. "I smell burnt hair now."
Mila took a whiff and scowled. "Fabulous."
Growing more bewildered, Danny continued to drag Mila along like a giant rag doll stuffed with wet sand. She was hugging onto his forearm now as they walked, taking in every face that passed them, most strange and unfamiliar. Eyes followed them and that feeling of exposure soon surged through her body again. She couldn't put her finger on it, but life as she knew it seemed to be taking its last breaths. It was an unnerving feeling that she unfortunately shared with the man she clung to.
"Are we in the right building?"
"Danny," Mila whimpered as a strange man smirked at her. Danny turned his head to listen to her. "I really think we should get out of here."
"We're not going anywhere." Determined to get answers, he kept walking toward the make-up room, finding it strange when he reached it. The lights were out. They were never out and it was never empty, not on Friday nights.
Several people walked by. "Excuse me," Danny called out. "Has anyone seen Laura or Wil?" Closest to him was a small woman he didn't recognize. She was the only one to look at him, but she merely eyed him as she passed, offering no response. Danny watched her right back. "Excuse me. Ma'am. Wilmer," he tried again, growing frustrated with her silence. "Valderama. He's an actor on the fucking sho…" Danny sneered as she completely ignored him and continued on. "What the fuck…"
"I was asking you a question…What a bitch," he laughed. "Did you see that?"
"Danny." Mila yanked his face toward her. "Okay. Something is going on. Can you at least admit that?"
"Yeah, alright," he conceded, chuckling. "Maybe something's going on."
"Maybe?" Discouraged, Mila looked around them and took his hand, pulling him into a dark corner. "Look. I don't care if it's a prank anymore. I don't care what's going on. I don't like it and I'm not dealing with this shit anymore. I'm done tonight. I'm going home." She was adamant.
Danny sighed loudly. "Alright. Let's just go talk to Dave. Okay? If you still want to go after that, we'll go."
"What, you'll leave, too?" she asked, hopeful.
Danny gave her a slight smile. "Well come on. You know the second we threaten to leave they'll come clean."
Mila let out her breath. He still didn't believe her. "Fine, alright. Let's just find David." She watched him as he turned to step out of the shadows and saw the tall, lanky man over his shoulder. "Danny!" she whispered, grabbing the back of his shirt.
"That's the guy," she pointed just as Laura, Wilmer and David walked up to him.
Danny frowned. "Dude, Laura looks fine. They didn't hurt her." He looked for any sign of distress from the blond and found none. "I told you it was a prank."
"Yeah, well," Mila narrowed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his waist, knotting her hands at his stomach. He wasn't going anywhere. As far as she was concerned, he was her only ally. "Just don't leave me."
Carefully, Danny watched his friends, trying to get a gauge on what they were up to. He could feel Mila at his back, holding him tightly. She was still scared, so he would stay and only move when she was ready. Together, they simply watched, both perking up when Debra Jo joined the group of four and began to talk.
"What's she saying?" Danny asked. "I can't hear."
"I don't know." Mila peeked over his shoulder. "You think she's in on it?"
"Nah. She wouldn't…" He paused as all five began to walk out of sight, around the corner to the back hallway. "Hey, come on," he whispered, trying to unbuckle her hands from his waist.
Mila tightened her grip. "No way. We're staying right here."
"Just come on. You wanna find out what they're up to or not?" He finally got her loose and led her around the corner vigilantly. "This is some pretty shady shit, like we're in a sci-fi movie or something." He stuck out his tongue.
"Stop being stupid," she laughed, swatting him in the back. "This isn't funny."
Danny came to a stop and pushed them both against the wall to hide. He squinted as they watched. "What are they doing?" Suddenly, Debra Jo wasn't smiling anymore. Instead, she was backing up as the tall man stepped forward. Danny and Mila heard her laugh nervously and then her smile fell as her hands went up in self-defense. Within moments, the man raised his arms, in his hand was a metal spike, with a thin needle at its tip, and in the next moment it was being driven straight into Debra's ear.
"What thefuck," Danny stormed toward them, his aggressive stride turning into a run as Debra began to convulse, leaving Mila against the wall.
"Danny! Be careful!"
He shoved his director of eight years against the wall, then shoved the tall man, and watched Debra fall to the ground, blood oozing from her ear. "What the fuck's the matter with you, man?!" Noticing another body approach, he turned and shoved Wilmer back, quickly returning his attention to Debra. "Joke's fucking over, dude! What the hell did you do to her?" Guarding her fallen body against the group of four, who appeared unfazed by what was happening, including the lanky stranger, Danny grimaced. "What the fuck's wrong with you guys?!" He waited. "Say something!" He shoved Wilmer back again, who was getting too close and raised his fist. "I swear to God, man, I won't hesitate... Answer me! What the hell's going on?"
"Danny," Wilmer laughed. "Bro." He pointed behind Danny's back. "She's fine. There's no problem here."
Danny turned around, slightly startled to see Debra Jo standing upright, staring at him strangely before cocking her head.
"Danny!" he heard Mila scream, bloodcurdlingly. He looked back to see his brunette friend struggling to free herself from the grips of yet another stranger. "Behind you!" she screamed again, and when he followed her warning, turning his head, he felt something sharp stab his raised shoulder.
"Ah! Fuck!" He bent over, grabbing the wound in pain. He looked up and saw his friend, noticing the way his straightened index finger became metal. "You really stabbed me, dick!"
Wilmer sighed. "Stand up, Danny… In a minute, nothing will hurt. I promise."
"Man, fuck you."
"Danny!" She was screaming again! Danny looked over as a thought struck him and with the vigor that only self-preservation insists upon, he kicked Wilmer in the knee and drove his elbow back into the tall man's face, unable to believe that the air he was sucking in so enthusiastically was real. His attention shifted immediately to the besieged little body against the wall, twenty or so feet away. Love, friendship, the need to protect his own, all drove him to run toward his only remaining friend in the building. "Mila, duck!"
He pulled his fist back, relying on faith and the speed of the girl's reflexes. As he swung his arm forward, she lowered her head, 'causing his fist to collide with the face behind her.
His hand throbbing, Danny grabbed hold of Mila. "Let's go!" They ran hastily back toward the door they had come in, both looking for a friendly face along the way; hell, even a familiar one would do, but there were none. Reaching the door finally, Mila pushed the door open and looked back briefly. "What if somebody else is in there?"
Out of breath, Danny thought about it and swallowed. "I don't know, just come on."
Immediately, they began to run, hand in hand. "What the fuck was that?!" Danny yelled. "They stabbed her in the ear…and she was fine a second later!"
"That'sexactly what happened to Laura!"
Reaching the safety of the bungalows of Stage 3, both Mila and Danny stopped to look around.
Wincing and out of breath, Danny grabbed his oozing arm. "What do you think," he asked her. "You think we can make it to the main gate without being seen?"
"Gate A's closer."
Danny shook his head. "Too close to the set. They'll be looking for us there." A forlorn look washed over his features. "Mila, what the fuck is going on? He really stabbed me…Shit."
"What?" Mila stepped a little closer, finally noticing the blood starting to soak through 'Hyde's' gray t-shirt. "Oh my God."
"They would have stopped, right?" he asked her. "If it was just a prank, they would have fucking stopped."
"Yeah. They would have."
"I'm sorry I didn't believe you."
Mila returned a small laugh. "It's ok. I wouldn't have believed me either."
Between pained cringes, Danny laughed a little, too, trying to stop the bleeding as Mila looked around. "I have an idea," she said quietly, pointing to their right. "On the other side of those buildings are stages nine and ten, right?
"Okay, well…in between those, on the other side…I think…is the medical station. We can get this wrapped up and make a run for the main gate."
"No." He shook his head. "We need a car…Worst case…We can ram the gate if they close it."
"Well let's just go to medical first," she said, worrying her bottom lip and watching his shoulder grow bloodier by the second.
"I'm fine. Let's just get to my car."
He nodded. "Yeah."
Following silent, hand-gestured plans, both Danny and Mila took a few careful steps beyond the safety of Stage 3. They saw no one. "Go," Danny whispered. "Go, go, go, go, go!" Mila took off running with him right behind her until they reach the dubbing building where they could get a better view of their cars. "Shit."
"What?" Mila peeked out and saw his concern. Several men loitered around her car, the only one visible from their position. "Fuckers," she mumbled, making Danny laugh before she heard him hiss from pain. "We're going to medical."
"We're going or, so help me God, I'll…"
"I'll kick you," she said with a knowing smile, giving him a small laugh. "Come on, we'll make a run for it."
"Alright," he agreed. "Take off those heels, though…They're slowing you down."
Mila did. She took off her shoes and propped herself up on her toes to stretch. "Let's go."
They were lucky and made it safely to Medical within a few minutes, cutting through buildings and avoiding a couple of cars along the way. They may have been friendly cars, but there was just no way to tell anymore.
Mila slammed into the front door of the Medical building. "Shit! It's locked."
"Get out of the way," she heard Danny say and stepped aside.
"Be careful, she reminded him. "Don't be too loud."
Danny charged the door and kicked it open.
Impressed, Mila smiled brightly. "Nice!"
They both stepped inside and tried to shut the door. Danny frowned. "It's not gonna stay shut. I busted the lock."
"Here," Mila called out, gesturing to a wooden table. "Help me push it in front." Together, they blocked the entrance, freezing when a car passed. "We need to hurry."
"Yeah." They both turned around. They were in a small waiting room, but straight ahead was a receptionist desk and behind that, the medical office. After checking the medical office door, and kicking it a few times, the frustrated pair stepped up to the receptionist desk, Danny grabbed Mila's waist. "Ready? Hop." She did, and he lifted her up onto the chest-high barrier. "Can you get over the other one?"
"Yeah, I think so. It's shorter." Mila hopped down on the other side and climbed over to the next barrier that led to the medical office, crawling through the tiny window. Danny smiled. It was a good thing she was small. The next thing he knew, the door to medical popped open and out she came with a wide grin. "Open."
Outside, a few buildings away, Wilmer brought his cell phone to his mouth. "Lock down all the gates. You're gonna have to inject the Main Gate guard, too." He closed his phone and shook his head at David.
"We should have done them sooner."
"Danny, stop fidgeting!"
"Well it fucking hurts when you do that!"
"Well then take the pain pills. Stop being so stubborn!"
Danny shook his head. "No."
"Then it's gonna hurt!" Mila tightened the tourniquet around his shoulder.
"OW!" He squeezed his eyes shut. "Oh…God."
Mila clenched her teeth and hissed. "You're alright?"
"I will be," he scowled.
Mila finished wrapping the last bits of gauze and medical tape around his wound. "So what do you think's going on?"
"You don't wanna know what I think," Danny responded quietly, cringing through the continuing pain.
"Just tell me."
"Tell you what? That it appears that Hollywood has been taken over by alien cyborgs." He started to laugh.
"Alien cyborgs?" Mila frowned. "Why cyborg? Why not just alien?"
"I don't know, 'cause of that metal smell, and the red eyes and the…" He twirled his hand. "Metal thingie on their hands."
"Oh," she frowned. "Well…" Mila walked over to the sink and grabbed a clean towel. Thoughtfully, she ran it under some warm water. "Why, though? I mean…" She wrung the towel out. "If you were an "alien cyborg", why take over a television show?"
"It's not the show," he frowned. "It's…the influence. People watch. I don't know."
"Okay…" Mila sang as she walked back over and began to wipe the drying blood from his chest and arm and hands. "But why make it crappy so that no one watches. I mean, okay…If they're trying to take over the world…Wouldn't they want as many people to watch as possible?"
Danny shook his head. "Yeah, but see…" He had been thinking about it. "Think about it. The things they added, theoretically, if someone were to look at us from a distance, they did add the things that society wants…the slutty stripper, the pretty boy, the rage, the cheap laughs…"
"So you're saying alien/cyborgs can't write for shit," Mila giggled.
"Well that…" Danny agreed, smiling. "But…more than that, they're writing with statistics, not heart…I mean, I could be wrong, but…It actually makes sense to me." He shook his head and winced when she cleaned near his wound. "This is a fucked up conversation, you know that, right?"
Sadly, Mila nodded and put down her towel before leaning into his body and resting her head on his good shoulder. "Well I'm glad you're not an alien cyborg."
Danny smiled. "Me, too."
Wilmer, David and the tall man all stopped in front of the medical station door.
Straight-faced, Wilmer knelt down and pressed the tip of his finger into a tiny drop on the ground before looking at the result. He looked at his boss. "They're here."
The tall man looked at the door and lifted his chin, prompting Wilmer to stand and ram his body into the door. He kicked a few times, pushing what seemed like a large object, a barricade, out of the way. Immediately upon stepping inside, though, he received a fire extinguisher to the face.
Just like Danny said he would, he threw down the fire extinguisher, shoved himself into the two other men and, like a linebacker, opened up a hole for Mila to run. "Run, Mila!"
Instead, refusing to leave Danny, Mila shoved her heel into the tall man's chest and felt a pop. "Ew! Ew! Ew!" To Mila's dismay, though, the man didn't move and she froze in terror. "Danny."
"God damn it, Mila! I told you to run!" Danny grabbed her hand and ran, nearly yanking her shoulder from its socket. Barefoot the way she was, she was slow. "Come on, Mila. You've gotta run faster!"
Danny slowed down; she had nearly fallen twice. He glanced around. They had cut through some buildings and were now on the backside of stage 15.
"Danny." He looked back. She was pointing. "That's where Will and Grace is taped!"
"Mila," Danny grumbled. "Now is not the time to get star-struck."
"No!" She slapped him in his good arm. "They're probably taping right now! They could help us!"
Danny had enough time to blink before he heard voices, Wilmer's and David's and now Laura's. "Shit…Alright, come on."
They ran inside the unlocked building and exhaled all hope. It was dark inside, not a living soul roamed. "They don't tape on Fridays?"
"Maybe not," Mila replied as they tentatively walked further inside the dead set…
Outside, the slowly rotting corpses of the cast and crew of That 70's Show gathered to claim the final two who remained. Their plan was almost complete and the electricity was back, feeding their weakened bodies with life again. The burnt out red glow of their eyes brightened as it surged through them.
falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y'awl's neighborhood
"Danny! In here!" Mila pulled him in the direction of the main apartment set of Will and Grace. It was nearly impossible to see, though, with such limited lighting. Mila stomped her foot. "Grace's bedroom! Where is it?"
"I don't know! I don't watch this show!"
shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse's shell
Wilmer raised his right hand, sending Josh and Jud around to the right side of the building, and when he raised his left, Laura and David went left. The building was slowly becoming surrounded with the bodies of random human beings, vessels who had innocently happened upon the conspiracy, vessels needed to fill the vacancies of writers and grips and hair stylists, and Wilmer smiled. His kind was multiplying, growing and feeding off the rotting bodies of these lower life forms.
stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
Danny opened Grace's closet door and grimaced. "They're gonna find us…We're fucked. We need to get out of here."
"Oh, Danny…" they heard slither out of Wilmer's mouth.
"Get in!" Danny whispered, shoving Mila inside. He followed her and gingerly closed the door, trapping them inside the small, dark closet. Quietly, she climbed onto his lap and rested her weight on him. Having a silly thought, Danny smiled. "Wanna play seven minutes in heaven? I think that's about how much time we have left."
Mila smiled. "I hate when you do that."
"Joke when really messed up shit is going on."
"There's nothing else to do."
you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller
"Danny andMila," Wilmer exhaled out as he took careful steps forward, listening for breath, for moving shadows, looking for the fallen dried-up drops of Danny's blood.
"Shh…" Danny hushed as he and Mila listened.
"There's no reason to hide… No one wants to hurt you. We want to help you. We love this place, Mila. We do. It's so beautiful…Green forests…Golden deserts…Blue skies…Oceans that go on forever, so deep, so much life. This planet…It's alive…It breathes…The last thing we would ever do is kill a living creature on it…But we want to survive, too. We want to live... You had your chance to manage this exquisite place…Your bodies…But you filled them with greed and lust…We only followed your path of destruction…We are everywhere, Danny…We are everyone…Everyone that this planet watches and listens to…Every radio wave…Every television pixel…But we do it without killing…We give you more life…more memories…and nothing will ever hurt again…" Wilmer stopped and looked around. He waved his minions forward. "Nothing. We can do this nicely, friends…or we can do it your way…but it's going to happen…tonight."
Listening to Wilmer's placid words, Mila hugged Danny as tightly as she could and closed her eyes. He was the last warm place on earth, the last of her former life. She could hear his human heart beating, his lungs filling with air. He was scared, too, but was trying to make her feel better with a fierce hug and a few kisses to her forehead. Through all this, he had still managed to make her smile, but worries, of course, returned. "I didn't say goodbye to my mom," she whispered to him. "Or Mac." She looked up. "Who's gonna feed my dog?"
Danny simply frowned and kissed her forehead again, slams and bangs echoing in their ears. They were being hunted.
"Hey," Mila added, having a thought. "Let them take me first, okay? I don't wanna be by myself when it happens."
Danny shook his head. "No. Just…listen to me. I'm gonna distract him and I want you to run... out that back entrance we came in. You can make it. Just keep running. No more hiding. Get to my car." He pulled out his keys, holding them together so to avoid making noise. "It's big enough," he explained. "If you ram gate A, it should open."
Rigorously, Mila shook her head. "No. I'm not leaving you."
"You're gonna have to." He pointed sternly. "And don't come back here...And no matter what, if you see me again, get the hell away. It won't be me." He inhaled deeply, calling on his nerve to die. "Take your family, take Mac, get the hell out of California…Tonight. Okay? Promise me." He waited a moment. "Promise me, Mila."
"Okay. I promise."
He nodded, "Good," and smiled before grabbing her face and giving her a small peck on her lips. "Run like hell." And before she knew it, before she could stop him, she supposed was his reasoning, he left and disappeared from sight. She was alone. It was so dark, but she knew the way to the exit, knew the exact path to his truck, and she had promised. Fighting the urge to cry, Mila stood up and blew out a huff of air. She could do this. Maybe he would be okay. Maybe they would both get out of this.
With his words on her mind, Mila managed to quietly get out of the building, make it to his SUV and get inside. "Fuck. Which key?" As her fingers panicked and betrayed her, she prayed that he hadn't been taken. He was all alone in there. Damn it. She shouldn't have left him there, was all she could think. Mila tried another key and inhaled when it slid in cleanly and started the truck. "Yes!" She threw it in reverse and peeled out of the parking space. When she looked up, though, she saw bodies walking toward her in the rear view mirror. "Shit! Shit!" She threw it in drive and took off for Gate A; it was a hundred yards away at most.
Mila turned the corner and saw the closed gate, surrounded by people. "Make it. Make it!" She punched the gas and closed her eyes, clenching at the impact and then…black out.
With her next conscious thought, Mila opened her eyes and looked curiously at the ceiling above her. The light around her was warm and bright. She was back in Wilmer's dressing room, lying on the couch on her back. "Oh my God," she mouthed quietly and gulped some relief down. Maybe it was a dream.
Smiling to herself, she sat up and nearly had a stroke upon the sight of Danny, sitting across from her on the other side of the couch. She grabbed her chest. He was simply looking down at his fingers.
Mila frowned curiously. "Danny?"
He looked up and smiled. "Hey. You're awake."
At that, she smiled back, so relieved. "Oh, God; thank God you're okay." She pulled in a deep breath. "Is it over?"
"Yep," he answered, getting up to come sit next to her. "You're gonna be fine." He took a seat right next to her and smiled, sliding his hand into her hair. "Nothing's ever going to hurt again, Mila," he said gently and placed an unexpected kiss on her lips. "I promise."
Mila's smile fell. The serene look on his face, the tone, that smell…metal…the taste was in her mouth now, and she started to cry. "God…Please," she started to beg. "Danny please…please don't…"
Danny shook his head regretfully. "I'm sorry, Mila," was the last sound that dressing room heard before her deafening scream and the crunch of an ear drum popping…
…Six Weeks Later…
That 70's Show Season 8 Launch Party
"Kaitlin Walsh. E Entertainment…" A young woman smiled and got her pen ready, impressed at the beautiful face that lay in her eye's path. "Mila. How do you feel about this season of That 70's Show? It must be a roller-coaster ride of emotions knowing that it's going to be the last."
Mila laughed. "Oh, yeah. It is. But honestly, I'm just really excited about some of the new directions the show will be taking with some very interesting surprises coming up," she smiled brightly. "It's going to be a great season. The scripts are fantastic and we're all just really excited."
"Best season yet," Danny cut in, smirking and slipped his arm around her waist.
And like a live doll, pleasant and beautiful, Mila, or what was left of her, smiled, too, the slight red glow of her eyes visible to anyone so inclined to look for such things.
"Best season yet."