Summary: Their latest album was titled Unbreakable because the Backstreet Boys believed in the strength of the group. Unfortunately for them, someone else refuses to believe in that strength and will go to any lengths to prove it to them. But how far is too far and will the Boys shatter before the worst happens or will they find that they really are Unbreakable?
Categories: Fanfiction > Backstreet Boys Characters: Group
Genres: Horror, Suspense
Warnings: Death, Violence
Chapters: 2 Completed: No
Word count: 4230 Read: 2999
Published: 06/12/08 Updated: 06/13/08
1. Prologue by starbeamz2
2. Chapter One by starbeamz2
Years later, when Howie would look back on this night, he would remember that it hadn’t started out the way plenty of horror movies do. The night hadn’t been stormy, and their tour bus hadn’t broken down in the middle of a deserted road. The sky had been anything but stormy. Stars had dotted a sky lit by the round ball of the glowing full moon. Instead of being in the middle of the nowhere, they’d been on the outskirts of Las Vegas, leaving after their last show in the city for the next stop on the tour.
Brian had fallen asleep in the seat across from where Howie was sitting, and, the way his head kept lolling about, Howie was sure the guy would wake up with the worst crick in his neck. In the back, Nick was on the phone, though Howie wasn’t sure it was a phone call that Nick was particularly pleased to be taking. The way the youngest member of the band would raise his voice every so often and the content of the conversation had Howie certain that it was one of his needy siblings on the other end.
Meanwhile, AJ had sprawled out at the front of the bus and was currently listening to the latest version of his upcoming solo album, checking and re-checking it for quality. Besides that, AJ just liked hearing his songs and was proud as a new father over the record. Howie half-expected the man to get up and start handing out cigars to celebrate its release. Knowing AJ, it wouldn’t be completely unexpected either.
And that left Howie, sitting and staring out at the receding lights of the Strip. He wasn’t exactly the happiest Backstreet Boy these days—not the way he should’ve been. After all, the past year should’ve been one of the brightest in his life. He’d married the love of his life and had settled into married life really well. The tour had started up and been a big success (contrary to the American media’s belief). The Backstreet Boys, and his many side projects, were doing well. Where he should’ve been happy, Howie was anything but.
Had it only been a few weeks ago that he’d buried his father? Howie wondered. It seemed like forever ago that he’d been seated at Hoke’s bedside, terrified and saddened that his father would pass on any minute now. But then, at other times, it seemed like just yesterday that he’d sung his father’s favorite song at the memorial and wept copious tears over the casket.
No personal or professional accomplishments could diminish the grief that lingered heavily in his heart.
So, there he was, a world-renowned singer who should’ve been wallowing in his success, staring desolately over the Nevada landscape, grieving over his father. His heart wasn’t, and hadn’t been, in the mood to tour for the last several shows and, though he knew it wasn’t fair to the fans, he hadn’t been able to hide that fact.
Sighing heavily, he turned away from the window as the last lights of Vegas disappeared over the horizon and met AJ’s sympathetic gaze. The other band members knew exactly what was going on with Howie, and, as their eyes met, AJ smiled grimly before removing the ear buds and made his way to where Howie sat.
“Hey, man. Good show, huh?” AJ’s gravelly voice was quiet both in deference to Howie’s grief and because he didn’t want to wake Brian.
Howie shrugged. “Yeah, I guess. It’s always good to see the fans.”
AJ nodded, but he knew that Howie hadn’t gotten as much pleasure out of seeing those fans as he usually did. “I love doing shows in Vegas. There’s always an awesome vibe in the venue. You know?”
When they lapsed into silence, AJ wondered what he could say—if there was anything he could say—that would ease Howie’s pain. He had no idea what it was like to lose a father since his own had always been absent from his life, but he knew what it was like to lose a parent figure. His way to deal with that had been to turn to substance abuse, but Howie was made of sterner stuff.
Maybe, for tonight, the best course was to try to distract him, if even for a moment or two.
“So, how’s Leigh?”
“Baby,” Brian mumbled in his sleep across the aisle. “Love you.”
AJ and Howie looked at each other and, while he tried to stifle his snickers, AJ noticed the flicker of humor in Howie’s eyes. It lightened his heart a bit. “I meant, your wife,” he added after a moment.
Howie’s lips curved slightly, his eyes warming a bit. “Yeah, I know who you meant.”
“He’s obsessed with his wife; ignore him,” AJ replied good-naturedly. “Can’t stop thinking about her, even in his sleep.”
Shaking his head slightly, Howie rubbed a finger over his own wedding band. “My Leigh is okay. She’s busy with work and stuff. Mom’s staying with her for a couple weeks.”
“Leigh got Mama D to come out west?” AJ blinked, surprised. “That’s great! It’ll be good for her to be around people, right?”
“That’s what Leigh said.” Howie wasn’t quite so sure. If it was this hard for him, in spite of the fact that he was living with three other people, how hard must it be for his mother to handle her grief? He sighed. “Yeah, I think she’ll be okay.”
AJ reached over and patted Howie’s shoulder in an attempt to comfort. “Listen, Howie, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. We’ll all understand if you need more time off. I don’t think anyone will hold it against you, you know.”
“No, I’m fine. I will be fine,” he corrected when AJ opened his mouth to protest. “It’s just—I need some time, okay?”
“I know that. I do. Come on, Howie.” AJ shook his head. “Who else would know what it’s like to lose a parent?” He paused in thought. “Well, besides Kevin, that is. But he’s not here, so…yeah.”
Howie sighed and rubbed his hands over his face wearily. “I know you’re trying to help, AJ, and I appreciate that. I really, really do, but I just need to deal with this in my own way.”
AJ scrutinized his bandmate and friend closely for a few moments before nodding. “Okay. I understand, I do.” He checked his watch. “Maybe we should hit the sack, it’s getting late.” When Nick’s voice rose again before there was a crash followed by silence, he sighed. “Or, you hit the sack, and I’ll go see what’s going on with the kid.”
Howie shrugged vaguely and turned to stare back out the window. A few moments later, he heard the murmur of AJ’s voice followed by the louder tones of Nick’s. Across from him, Brian shifted slightly, and his head fell off his shoulder, jerking him half-awake. He mumbled to himself for a second, eyes half open, before he fell asleep again.
Slouching low in the seat, Howie tried to practice the meditative techniques that Leigh often used. There was nothing he wanted more than to slide into worry-free oblivion.
Five minutes later, he fell asleep to the low sounds of Nick and AJ’s voices.
Brian wasn’t sure what woke him out of a deep sleep. All he knew was that his neck was killing him, and he’d be surprised if he’d ever be able to have a fully functional neck again. Blinking several times, he squinted into the darkness of the inside of the bus, wondering why someone had turned all the lights off. Carefully, knowing his neck was fragile at the moment, he turned his head to look out the window.
The night sky was still brightly lit by the moon, and, in the distance, Brian could see the lights of a city, glowing against the inky black of the sky.
It took a few more moments before he realized that the bus wasn’t moving. Had the bus gotten a flat tire? he wondered to himself. Rotating his head from side to side to relieve the stiffness, he climbed out of his seat and took a step down the aisle towards the front of the bus. He was sure their bus driver, Larry, would know what was going on.
However, when he made it to the front, after nearly tripping over half a dozen things in the dark, he found the driver’s seat empty. The keys still dangled from the ignition, and Larry’s cell phone still sat in the same spot it always did. Brian decided that his spidey senses were definitely on the tingle now, and he was certain that there was something wrong.
That fear was confirmed when he realized that the bus was sitting in the middle of their side of the one-lane highway. How was it possible that Larry would just stop the bus right where it was?
He wouldn’t, Brian thought with a sinking feeling in his stomach.
Pulling his cell phone out of his pocket, he flipped it open to dial 9-1-1 before he got out of the bus and went to look for the missing bus driver. Instead of the call going through, his screen lit with the message that there was no signal and the phone was searching for it.
“Gosh, now I definitely feel like I’m in a horror movie,” he muttered to himself. “And you know what happens in horror movies when the dumb blonde goes outside where the killer’s lurking, right? She dies.” He pondered the idea of waking the other guys up—he could still hear AJ’s snores from the back, which meant he wasn’t alone on the bus—but decided against it, thinking Larry could’ve just decided to take a smoke break.
“Okay, Brian, be strong,” he whispered and reached for the lever to push open the door.
Outside, the air was cool, and a slight breeze ruffled his hair. Brian walked around towards the back of the bus. Halfway down, the hair on the back of his neck stood up, and he shivered. Someone was watching him, he thought and whirled around. There was no one behind him, but the feeling nagged him.
When he turned around the corner of the bus, he halted dead in his tracks. The urge to vomit hit him viciously, but he forced it back and fumbled for his phone to call for help though he knew nothing would help the poor bus driver.
Larry lay in the middle of the road, his head twisted in a complete one-eighty. Though his body lay on its belly, Larry’s head was facing Brian, and his horrified eyes stared at Brian as blood pooled around his body. The breeze started to blow the scent towards him, and Brian covered his mouth and turned to run back.
Leaping back onto the bus, he opened his mouth to yell and froze in place when a dark figure stepped into the aisle. A gun was aimed dead center at Brian’s chest.
“What-” he began but was cut off.
“I love when they’re awake,” a man’s voice growled out of the darkness behind him. The pleasure in his voice was hard to miss, and a fresh stab of fear flashed down Brian’s spine.
“Who are you?” he whispered in a trembling voice, his hand reaching for the cross that hung round his neck.
There was a low, menacing chuckle just before Brian felt a stunning flash of pain. As he took a free-fall into the wheeling darkness, the last words he heard were, “Your worst nightmare.”
Chapter One by starbeamz2
The pain, the burning, searing sensation it shot through his entire body, brought Nick out of the darkness and into a fuzzy reality. Behind his eyes, pain was a dazzling red and sizzled his brain cells. He wanted to move and found that the feeling of every nerve ending in his body blazing with fiery pain paralyzed him.
Each breath he took was labored, and his eyes refused to open. Perhaps, he thought in the milliseconds of intervals in which he could think, his eyelids had been soldered to his face. That’s what it felt like for sure. For the first time in his life, Nick could feel every cell of his being pulsing and pounding. In fear or pain? He couldn’t tell. The two sensations were overwhelmingly intertwined, and he was unable to separate them.
The last thing he could remember was falling asleep and, despite AJ’s pep talk, being particularly annoyed with his sister, BJ, who had insisted that he needed to help her get some contract or another for her own cooking show on some cable channel.
What had happened between falling asleep and waking up in hell, Nick had no clue. One thing was for certain: he was certainly not on the tour bus anymore.
“Well, well, well. Look who decided to join the party.” The sound of a deep and menacing voice shoved its way through the pain, and another flash of fear shot up Nick’s spine. “Wakey wakey, little man.”
Kevin? was Nick’s first thought, but, when his eyes finally flew open, he was met with darkness. Sheer and utter darkness, and his fear tripled. Had he gone blind? Had whatever trauma he’d been through caused him to lose his eyesight?
His second thought was that he was hanging, seemingly, in mid-air. There were restraints on his arms and legs. His arms were yanked up over his head, while his legs were being painfully dragged down by another set of what felt like chains.
“Don’t worry, Nick. You’re not blind,” the voice growled, amusement dripping in every word.
A light flashed on and centered several feet away from where Nick hung. In the shadows of its glow, a dark-clad figure prowled. Nick could tell he was tall, and he was built like a Mack truck—if a Mack truck were human, of course.
“Wha-” He tried to speak, but couldn’t quite form coherent words. Everything that spilled from his lips was garbled and broken. His mouth felt sore, as though he hadn’t used it in years. When he moved his tongue around, he found a few of his teeth were loose, and he tasted blood.
Nick prided himself on being a fairly brave human being. After all, he had survived in the Carter household with all the trauma and drama that resulted from it. However, when he tasted his own blood, everything in him iced over with stark terror. It was one thing to be in pain, but it was quite another if you could actually feel your lifeline dripping out of you.
The chuckle came out of the darkness. “Cat got your tongue, Nicky? Tsk, tsk, tsk. All this time, I’ve heard you talk everyone’s ears off, and, now, at quite possibly the most important moment of your life, you have nothing to say?” Another chuckle. “Well, that’s just too bad, isn’t it?”
“Who are you?” exploded out of Nick’s mouth finally. Maybe it wasn’t his strongest voice or the most commanding, but he hoped he hadn’t sounded as scared shitless as he really felt.
Silence settled for several moments, and Nick’s nerves, already on edge, began to scream with anxiety. Then, “Maybe I’ll tell you. But, then, maybe I won’t. I’ll just leave that decision until later.”
“Fuck you,” Nick spat out, knowing his words might have just sounded his death knell.
Laughter poured gleefully out of the darkness and froze the blood in Nick’s veins. “Oh, no, my dear Nickolas. Fuck you.”
Nick had a split second to think Oh shit before his entire body danced with electricity and shocking, stunning pain. And then everything went dark.
Sometimes, when he thought about it, AJ was sure he’d spent nearly half his life in a tattoo artist’s chair, being pricked by a needle repeatedly in order to have his perfect body art. At the moment, what he was even more certain of was the fact that his entire body currently felt like it was being viciously jabbed by thousands of tattoo needles.
“Help!” His intended scream came out as a hoarse, weak moan. “Help me…”
He’d been awake for however long it had taken him to count to a thousand. Too terrified to let himself slide into unconsciousness, he had focused on counting. As long as he was awake, he would know what was going on, no matter how alarming it might be.
“One thousand nineteen Mississippi,” he muttered aloud, wincing at the spasms in his cheeks as he moved his mouth. His whole face felt as though someone had taken a sledgehammer to it several times.
He wished fiercely that he could remember what had happened between being on the bus and being here in this godforsaken hellhole…wherever it was. “One thousand twenty Mississippi. Fucking hell!” he groaned as he felt blood begin to ooze between his fingers and drip down his arms. His efforts to wriggle out of the restraints the way he’d seen in the movies had cut up his skin instead. “One thousand fucking twenty one Mississippi…One thousand goddamn twenty two Mississippi…”
“Clever, AJ. Very, very clever.” The smug tone and the suddenness of the disembodied voice’s appearance startled AJ. He twisted his head from side to side, straining to see through the suffocating black that surrounded him and saturated his senses. “Oh, don’t bother wearing yourself out. You’re not going to find me.” AJ could practically hear the smirk in the words. “You haven’t screamed once. I’m very impressed.”
“Who the fuck are you? What kind of sick twisted game are you playing?” AJ demanded, not caring that the person he was screaming at held all control over his life. “Tell me, damn it!”
“Be careful, Mr. McLean. Be very, very careful.” There was a long silence, and AJ tried not to allow his fear to show. Finally, his captor spoke again. “Tell me, how is your willpower doing these days?”
AJ blinked, surprised in spite of the pain that continued to shoot through every fiber of his being. “Um…good,” he whispered half to himself.
“Good, you say?” Soft laughter spilled out of the dark. “I guess we’ll just see about that, won’t we?”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“It means whatever I want it to mean.” There was a harsher edge to the words this time, and the hairs on AJ’s neck prickled. “Remember one thing, Alex. I hold your entire existence in my hands. I could get rid of you just like that.” There was a snapping sound.
The intensity of the pain returned full force again, and AJ tried not to cry out in pain. It would probably only make the sick son of a bitch more pleased to hear that, he thought. “Where are my friends?”
“Your brothers?” The voice sneered. “They’re being well taken care of, too. Don’t worry, you’ll see them soon enough.”
“What have you done to them, you son of a fucking bitch?” AJ lost control at the thought of his friends, his bandmates in pain…or worse. He didn’t want to think of the worst, but the thought of Brian’s previously weak heart or Howie’s already grief-stricken one flashed in his mind. What if they-
There was a snort of derision. “Well, that’s enough out of you. I think you need to go to sleep. Now.”
Red hot pain stunned him, and his arms and legs jerked with the intensity of the pain burning in him. The last thought AJ had before darkness overcame him was, Oh, God. Please…no…
“So. You’re the one who came up with that stupid name.”
The voice emerged from the emptiness around him, startling Brian after so much time spent in silence and in stunning pain. He wasn’t sure he should reply nor had he any clue what to say in response to the question, so he stayed quiet.
Besides, he was currently dealing with the fact that his heart was pounding so hard and so loudly that even he could hear that it beat unsteadily. The irregular rhythm brought on bouts of fear that beat out the burning sensation that began in his chest and spread throughout the rest of his body. In his head, he kept repeating every prayer he could think of, but his fear was so great that all the words kept slipping out of his mind’s slippery grasp.
“Keeping mum, huh? Well, I wonder what little Baylee would say if he knew his daddy cared so little for his life.”
“Stay away from my son,” Brian shot out, unable to stop himself. “You stay the hell away from him.”
“And how do you expect to stop me? Look at you,” the voice scoffed. “You’re tied up, bleeding, and your heart is busting out arrhythmia like that’s its job. You couldn’t stop me from killing your precious son even if you tried.”
Fear for his family overwhelmed fear for himself. “What do you want from me? I’ll do anything as long as you stay away from my family.”
A single light flashed on, and a figure clad in black stepped into the glow. He was covered head to toe in black, but Brian could see the man’s eyes. The expression in those dark eyes made his blood ice over. “I want everything you’ve got and then some. But all that will come in due time. Right now, I just need the answer to one simple question.”
“I’ll answer it if I can. Please, just tell me that you’ll leave my family alone,” Brian pleaded. Sweat dribbled down his back, and his nerves screamed in pain and fear.
“ ‘Leave my family alone wah wah wah,’” the man mimicked him and sneered. “You’re pathetic. All of you. If I pooled the courage all four of you have, I wouldn’t have enough to fill the palm of my hand.”
At the mention of his friends, Brian struggled harder. “Where are they? What have you done to them? You better not have-”
“Are you threatening me, Brian?” His captor spoke in a soft voice now. “You really don’t want to do that. You’re not exactly in any position to make demands and threaten me. Not when I’ve spent the last day and a half watching the four of you piss all over yourselves and bleed like the fucking weaklings that you are.” He snorted in derision. “Unbreakable, my ass.”
Brian gritted his teeth at the way his heart jerked painfully in his chest. “We are unbreakable. Someone will come for us! Someone’s going to find us, find you before too much longer.”
“You think so?” The man chuckled. “Sure, there’s plenty of missing persons reports on your little band, but they’ll never be able to find you. At least, not until it’s too late.” His teeth gleamed in a viciously gleeful smile. “So, go ahead and threaten me all you want, but just remember who’s in charge, B-Rok.”
Brian couldn’t speak over the hot ball of panic lodged in his throat.
“Now, why don’t we try this again?” The dark-clad figure asked pleasantly. “Why did you come up with the name Unbreakable for your last record?”
The question sounded so silly, so ridiculous to Brian that he was sure he’d heard wrong. “I-I…b-because we’ve been th-through a-a lot and,” his voice strengthened, “because we’ll always beat the odds and come out on top. Go ahead and do whatever you want to us. You’ll never beat us!” he cried defiantly.
“That was the wrong answer.”
The blow snapped his head backwards, and, as his heart sped up and its pounding roared in his ears, the pain drowned him into nothingness.
Howie tried pleading, he tried begging, but nothing seemed to sway the sinister voice that threatened him cheerfully in the pitch-black emptiness of wherever he was being held. Liquid dripped steadily down his forehead and into his eyes, and he wasn’t sure whether it was his sweat or his blood. He was afraid it might be both.
Even as he screamed for answers, he wriggled his wrists, trying to find a way out of the cuffs that chained him up. The skin on his wrists was badly chafed, bled profusely, and now burned brightly with pain as well. Well, that was okay, Howie thought dimly. It’s not like he wasn’t already suffering the torments of the damned. He just wasn’t sure what he or his bandmates had done to deserve such torments.
“Do you want money? Because I’ve got plenty, and I’ll hand it all over to you if you just let my friends and me go.”
But pleading and bribing didn’t seem to work. The man in the darkness kept laughing at everything Howie said.
“I don’t want your money, Sweet D,” he said finally. “What I want is much more valuable and priceless than that. What I want is to watch you and your friends try to play my game by my rules. And when you all lose, I’ll watch as you suffer excruciatingly and annihilate each other.”
“So what are we? Pawns in some sick game you’ve got going?” Howie was outraged and horrified. “Who the hell do you think you are?”
“Right now? I’m the guy who’s in charge of making sure you suffer for what you’ve done. You and your friends thought you could run your mouths about being unbreakable, and no one would take offense to that.”
Howie tried to kick out in the direction that the voice was coming from, but the chains were too heavy. “You won’t get away with this!”
A tiny hint of laughter sounded in the dark. “Oh, but I will. Rest up, Howie D. The game starts soon.”
The pain flashed brilliant and white-hot and seemed to light up his entire world for an instant before it faded to black.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.