26. Hollywood Babylon

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A young woman, Wendy, was exiting an abandoned house. She was searching with a flashlight, clearly scared.

"Mitch? Ashley?" Wendy called. "You out here? Come on, guys! Where are you? Hello? Hello?! Brody!"

"Ashley and Todd - they're dead!" Brody cried. "Wendy, they're dead!"

"Brody, pull it together."

"Pull it together?! We don't have a chance, okay? We have to get out of here now!"

"No, Brody, we are not leaving. We have got to find my sister."

"No! No, I am getting out of here right now!" He ran off in the other direction.

"Brody! Brody, get back here! Brody! God, you son of a bitch!"

She heard movement behind her and stopped crying. When she turned, she let out a long, loud scream, that was sort of a yell, but quickly began to look annoyed.

The woman was on a movie set. A camera was in her face, with a tennis ball fixed to the top, representing the monster she was supposed to be screaming at. She stopped screaming, looking disgusted. The director, McG, watched from the sidelines.

"Cut!" McG yelled, then spoke under his breath to the other guy. "What the hell was that?"

The lights came up on the set. A props guy took the flashlight from the actress playing Wendy, Tara Benchley. A production assistant, Walter Dixon, handed Tara a Snapple.

"Here you go," Walter said.

"Thanks, Walter," Tara replied.

McG spoke to the crew. "Don't – don't mark that."

McG walked over to Tara, who was shaking up her drink. "It's all good, Tara, that was great. Let's do it again. Uh, maybe... try dialing up that scream, huh?"

"I know. I know. I'm just... I'm having trouble with the tennis ball," Tara told him.

"Oh, that is just for CG registration. Now, when Ivan and the FX guys are done, it is going to look terrifying." He turned to snap at someone. An assistant brought over a notebook full of sketches of the monster. "Do you wanna look at the concept sketches again? Will that help?"

"No, that's okay. I'll find it, I'll find it."

"I know you will, pumpkin, huh? Okay"

A set worker said into the mike, "Going again, everybody! Ten-minute reload for camera and sound!"

Tara sat in her chair by Rick, the actor playing Brody. Another set worker, Frank, was talking to them.

"Wow, man, I'm telling you - working alone behind the sets, or after wrap? I catch this weird vibe sometimes," Frank said.

"Oh, like what?" Rick asked.

"Like something's watching."

Rick scoffed. "Come on."

"Hey, working on a movie like this? Weird crap's bound to happen."

Rick said to Tara, "Frank here thinks the stage is haunted. Like, for real."

She laughed.

Frank continued. "All I'm saying is, they call wrap, I'd get done, and I get out of here. Fast." He walked away.

"That guy is definitely off his meds. Whoo!"

They laughed.


Tara was standing in the middle of the "woods", going over her lines and practicing screams. "Brody, come back! You son of a bitch!"

She tried practicing the scream, but she couldn't quite get it.

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