First, I’d like to congratulate everyone for making it through mid-week. We’re nearly at the weekend, folks! Just have to hang tight for a few more day, then you can chill! Speaking of chill, I hope everyone’s staying warm. There’s no snow down in my area of Ohio, but the wind yesterday was blustery!
Today’s writing excerpt is something I literally just wrote yesterday. Last week, I had an idea. I thought about how interesting it’d be to write a series based on Panic! At The Disco’s discography, where each album is a book and each song is a chapter. I wrote a little something using every song title years ago—I posted it here—and thought, If I can write that, why not expand it into something bigger?
And so, I have the first chapter of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. The first song on the album is an instrumental titled “Introduction,” which basically means I have free reign to commence this series with whatever pops into my head. Sound simple, right? Nah. This was much harder to write than I anticipated. It’s only ~1.5K words, but I think it’s a good start.
Hopefully you guys enjoy this chapter. Bear with me on this—it’ really rough. I have no clue where this story will go, so I should definitely plan something that doesn’t completely suck. Between this new series and the one I’m currently working on, I have quite the writing load. See ya next week, and enjoy!
When Freddie Miller spotted Moulin Rouge’s infamous red mill during his school group’s Sacré Cœur trip, he never imagined running into the actual building. Twenty minutes ago, he was wandering around the basilica with twenty-two schoolmates while their French teacher, Madame Reed, walked them through its history. Now, they’re nowhere to be found.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have wandered off,” Freddie mutters as he fearfully scopes the area, which is eerily barren. “God, I’m not even in Montmartre anymore! I know it’s not far away, but how the hell did I end up in Pigalle?”
Somehow, Freddie managed to walk into Pigalle, a Parisian tourist district situated between the 9th and 18th arrondissements and home to numerous sex shops, theatres, and adult stores. From Paris’ historically most artistic to raunchiest district, Freddie is lost.
Why did I think it’d be a good idea to slip away? he wonders. This is by far the most idiotic stunt you’ve ever pulled, Freddie. Mme Reed is probably freaking out because you’re missing! Ugh, you need to think of something quick before anything bad can happen. By now, they’ve probably warned the authorities and have people searching for you. If only you weren’t such an idiot…
A harsh gust of wind blows Freddie’s floppy, dirty blond hair into his face. He angrily grumbles and curses the wind for being so strong, and swats his bangs back into place.
The sound of brass instruments is suddenly audible, seemingly from inside Moulin Rouge. Freddie periodically inches closer to the building for a better listen. The song playing sounds familiar to him; he definitely recognizes the artist as one of his favorite bands, Panic! At The Disco.
“Nobody’s guarding the door,” Freddie observes. His bottle green eyes squint as he speculates the building, then swiftly glances at his wristwatch. “4:15. There isn’t a show right now. It wouldn’t hurt to have a little look. Worst case scenario, someone catches you trespassing and they send you back with a slap on the wrist.”
For a moment, Freddie just stares at Moulin Rouge as his mind contemplates what to do. The neurons signaling “flight” battles against “fight” to stick around. Freddie knows he can take Blanche back into the city and head to the hotel, but his curiosity beseeches for adventure.
Without a second thought, Freddie bolts through the Moulin Rouge entrance with ease. Nobody mans the box office, and nobody guards the door. Again, this strikes Freddie as peculiar.
Inside the theatre, he doesn’t meet a group of dancers, workers, or whoever’s in charge of the joint. Rather, he’s faced with someone more…unexpected.
A tall girl with luscious raven curls pinned back and smooth, sepia skin dances to the music playing from a phonograph. The fluidity of her movements parallels the band’s mellifluous sound, bewitching Freddie. He watches the show in a trance, as if compelled by a higher power, and revels in the girl’s interpretation. But once the music stops, so does she, and the spell breaks.
Russet eyes fearfully widen as the girl realizes Freddie’s presence. She clenches her fists, grits her teeth, and intensely glowers at the new arrival. Confused, Freddie frenetically looks around in search of the person responsible for the girl’s sudden ill-temper. But there’s nobody there—nobody but him.
“J-je suis désolé,” Freddie apologizes while anxiously scratching the back of his neck. “J’étais curieux. J’ai entendu la musique et—” (I’m sorry. I was curious. I heard the music and)
“Qui êtes-vous?” the girl barks, deepening the level of hatred in her glare. “Comment vous appelez-vous?” (Who are you? What’s your name?)
“F-Freddie. Freddie Miller. Et vous?”
“Élodie Molyneux. Pourquoi êtes-vous là? Qui vous avez envoyé pour me trouver?” (Why are you here? Who sent you to find me?)
Freddie stares at Élodie, befuddled by her interrogation. He doesn’t comprehend why she’s being so aggressive when they’ve never met before, so he takes two steps forward, thinking it harmless. However, she takes two steps back. Another attempt to decrease the gap between them results in the same response from her.
“Je ne vais pas te faire du mal!” Freddie promises. “Regardez! Je ne suis même pas armé!” (I won’t harm you! Look! I’m not even armed!)
Freddie raises his arms, surrendering to whatever trouble he’s just landed, and shakes his body. Nothing—just his belt buckle clinks. Still suspicious, Élodie approaches Freddie. Each click of her gunmetal ankle boots deafeningly reverberates off the theatre’s walls. She viciously eyes Freddie once a foot stands between them. Freddie’s breath heavily increases as Élodie commences circling him.
“Vous avez quel âge?” Élodie sternly demands. Somehow, her boots sound louder to Freddie now that they surround him like a shark stalking its prey. (How old are you?)
“D-dix-huit ans.” he shakily responds. (18.)
“Hmph! Un peu jeune pour être espion, n’est-ce pas?” (A little young to be a spy, aren’t you?)
“Me, a spy? For what? What could I possibly be spying on you for? I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU!”
Élodie halts, turns on her heels, and spins Feddie so he faces her. She studies the young man, looking him up and down, and folds her arms over her chest. Tall, lanky, no muscle to be seen on his arms. Pathetic!
“Parlez-vous anglais,” she states, this time less contemptible. “Et ton accent—” (You speak English. And your accent…)
“I speak perfect English because I’m American,” Freddie grumpily clarifies. He sighs and regards Élodie, more confused than ever. “Why do you think I’m a spy? I’m a normal eighteen-year-old guy.”
“WHY ELSE WOULD YOU FOLLOW ME HERE?” Élodie frustratingly shouts.
“I told you, I heard music.”
“Which must mean you’re a spy.”
“Maybe I like Panic! At The Disco!” Freddie retorts. “I was simply outside, minding my own business. Then I heard the music, which isn’t hard when I was literally right outside the building. I thought it was strange to hear some Panic! coming from here, so I—wait a second. You understand everything I’m saying. You speak English.”
Élodie rolls her eyes and chuckles.
“Of course I speak English, Freddie!” she spits. “Come. Have a seat. We might as well talk this out so there aren’t anymore misjudgements.”
Freddie shrugs before following Élodie to the nearest seats. Although the girl appears harmless, he hesitates to sit. Élodie scoffs and yanks on his arm with such force, Freddie’s forced to join her and the ligament aches.
“Ouch! Geez, you could have been more gentle!” he complains, rubbing the area that hurts the most.
“You’ll be fine! So…you must be on vacation if you’re American. Ha! No wonder your French accent sounded off.”
“Don’t make fun of my accent! I’m still learning, okay? I’m here on a cultural school trip with a few classmates and our French teacher.”
“Her name’s Mme Reed, right?” Élodie guesses with a smirk.
Freddie’s eyes widen to moon-sized proportions and jaw drops as he leans back, awestruck.
“H-how do you know my French teacher’s n—”
“I know things,” Élodie bluntly replies. She shrugs her shoulders as if knowing people’s French teachers is a commonality.
“D-does that mean you already know who I am?” Freddie fearfully whispers.
“Freddie Luca Miller, born the 15th March. You’re Italian on your mum’s side and can’t speak a lick of the language,” Élodie divulges. “Need I continue?”
“N-No. But…how do you know this, a-and who are you?”
“Je te l’ai déjà dit, je m’appelle Élodie Molyneux,” she reiterates. “Oh, I’m eighteen too.” (I already told you. My name’s…)
Élodie chuckles at Freddie’s comment, then leans into her seat. She kicks her feet up, resting her long limbs over the seat in front of her, and sighs.
“There has to be an explanation for this. Why would they send me an American? Especially one that’s my age?” she contemplates aloud.
“I-I’m sorry, what the hell are you talking about?” Freddie questions. “You accused me of spying on you. Now you’re saying I was sent here by someone? Isn’t that contradictory thinking?”
“It’s complicated,” Élodie sighs. She gazes into Freddie’s eyes and smiles. “At least you’re not that bad looking.”
“Is that supposed to be a compliment?”
“Take what you can get, Miller. Anyways, we have to jet. Someone’s bound to discover we’ve been here. You have no clue how hard it was to empty this place.”
“Well, they do have matinée shows,” Freddie notes. “They should be resting and prepping for tonight by now. Where exactly did you stow away all those people?”
“Again, it’s complicated. We need to leave. NOW!”
Élodie grabs Freddie’s hand, harshly pulling him out of the seat. Her regards her scrupulously, suddenly terrified for her life—and his. The vibrant, bottle green of his irises muddies into forest green as a result of this fear.
Élodie grabs the vinyl and hands it to Freddie. Again, he eyes her with the deepest look of confusion. It’s just a Panic! At The Disco vinyl. It can’t be that important, unless she simply doesn’t want to buy a new one. That, he can understand.
“Whatever happens next, just trust me,” she calmly whispers, squeezing his hand for comfort. “And don’t lose that vinyl.”
“Why? It’s just a record.”
“No, Freddie. It’s more than ‘just a record.’ I’ll tell you when we’re safely away from here.”
“Fine. No more question,” Freddie reluctantly compromises. “But can you at least tell me where we’re heading and how I’ll make it back to my group? Friendly reminder I’m kinda here on a school trip.”
“Your teacher and classmates won’t even know you’re missing!” Élodie laughs.”I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you anything else right now. Just…be prepared to be wanted. You’re about to be the most famous teenager in Paris, Freddie Miller. And everyone will be out for blood.”