Alex was doing much better after a few days, at least, as well as usual. He was nervous about the idea of having to go to school, especially at 22 years of age. Considering that he had last attended school at the age of 10, he had a lot of catching up to do, but the Social Worker assured him that he had scored much higher in most subjects than many of their current students. Mathematics and algebra, with their relation to mechanics, and, of course, mechanics and other hands-on courses seemed his best shot. History and literature were fairly high as well, knowing beings who'd lived through much of American history and reading books, many of them classics, for most of the day for years helped in these subjects.
Socialization was one of the biggest hurdles. He simply wasn't used to spending time with people outside of The Lost Boys and the Frogs, neither of whom were particularly sane by human standards. His growing relationships with his Pack members and Sean (whom he considered Pack, blood or not) helped some, but dealing with ordinary people was a challenge. True, he was polite and friendly, but he also had to be guarded with his words, not wanting to endanger any of his supernatural friends. It helped that he was already well-known and well-liked in Santa Carla, but he was still hesitant to form new relationships.
He planned to become a certified mechanic and general restoration worker, particularly working with antique machinery of all kinds. That was still a long ways off, however, though he already had an offer of an apprenticeship from a local mechanic.
There was also the possibility of becoming an antiquarian, but he wasn't sure if there was much of a market for his skills beyond museums and antique shops, and he wasn't sure of an antique shop would do well in Santa Carla. He certainly had no plans to move.
Then, there was dealing with the government... Selective Services had not been happy that he hadn't registered at 18, he had no formal education beyond fourth grade and since he'd never had a job, or money of his own, really, dealing with Social Security and the IRS was somewhat... Complicated.
Not to mention his having to hide the fact that he was a Werewolf who'd been living with a Pack of crazy Vampires in an abandoned hotel on the beach.
Fortunately, the Winther Pack, as well as the McLaren Pack, had allies in various agencies who helped Alex adjust to life in the world beyond the old hotel. It also helped that the boys gave him the house, which was already paid off, so he didn't have to worry about being evicted. A local mechanic gave him a job, and Sean and the other Pack members kept him company, which he sorely needed after spending way too much time alone.
His aunt had greeted him in tears, having thought him long dead with the rest of his family. She'd taken him on several trips, to the East Coast to visit his birth Pack and to Denmark, Norway and several other Nordic countries to see his European relatives, which was quite a shock for Alex. As a kid, he'd wandered across America, but he'd been homeless and alone, finding himself an international tourist, warmly welcomed by family he hadn't known of was overwhelming. Having relatives fussing over how skinny he was, cooking him traditional meals and introducing him to the legendary art of making and repairing Old World timepieces was incredible to the young Wolf.
Not that he hadn't enjoyed it, but he had literally been living in a collapsed hotel that was basically a cave for almost nine years.
Europe, unlike the United States, had centuries old cities, antiques that dated back to before the Middle Ages, castles and buildings built before Columbus 'discovered' America, (he quickly learned that the Vikings had been there centuries before the Spanish), and much more information on the history of Werewolves.
And of Vampires.
There were Vampires in Europe, ancient Vampires to whom Max was a child, much less the boys. He hadn't officially met any of them, but a few had found his story interesting enough to garner their curiosity.
Upon his return, he quickly gained his diploma, and took courses to officially become a licensed mechanic. While he still specialized in antiques, his knowledge of modern technology was nothing to sneeze at.
The Lost Boys went on as they always had; Sleep all day, party all night, live forever.
Alex visited them when he could, and they frequently visited the house.
The Emersons now ran the comic book store, despite the proximity to the boys and their knowledge of what had happened to the Frogs. Unlike the Frogs they weren't as vocal about The Lost Boys, though they'd still warn tourists to avoid The Boardwalk and beach at night.
Sam was bitter about Edgar and Alan, and there was no love lost between him and the wild Vampires who'd taken his brother and had his friends committed, but they had an understanding, out of necessity, to avoid conflicts between them. Sam sent a portion of the store's profits to an account he'd set up for the Frogs, though he feared that only Alan would ever be released. He wasn't allowed to visit Edgar, and his conversations with Alan were monitored, so they couldn't really speak about the Vampires.
Sam wasn't sure how to feel about Alex anymore, Alan was certain it was Alex who had been behind their misfortunes, but at least they were alive to complain. And the Frogs really did need psychological help. Alex, for his part, was upset that his former friends were suffering and that Edgar wasn't improving, according to Alan. On the occasions he visited the store he was as polite as always, and was genuinely concerned with the Frogs' well-being. While still as thin as ever, he was healthier and more confident, having made friends both among his Werewolf kin and humans, now that he wasn't chained to that musty old cave and the Vampires who lived there.
He still wore the dangling earring that marked his association with The Lost Boys, and Sam would sometimes see him hanging out with them on The Boardwalk, or laughing at Paul and Marko's antics, occasionally joining in on their impromptu wrestling matches and play-fights. They were so much like children, yet Sam could still see their true faces in his mind, the camouflaged predators lurking beneath innocent-seeming exteriors.
There were a number of Werewolves now living in Santa Carla as well.
The phonograph was a thing of beauty.
The Wolves stood back to admire the antique device that now sat safely on a sturdy table within the Ward house library. It resembled an old-fashioned typewriter, but with no keys, just polished wood, metal bars and the roller that turned the wax tubes. A stylus was used to engrave the recording, but none of them were sure how to actually play the recordings back. Not that they wanted to risk damaging the piece, it was actually quite complicated. Dwayne had taught Alex how to use it. A bright copper trumpet-like speaker was sticking up from the side, looking out of place with the polished wood and metal. The device was operated by hand crank. A canister with a faded paper label reading : Edison's Gould Mould Records Echo All Over the World. That was one of the containers holding a wax record. The others were safely put away in the polished wooden case specifically made for that purpose. They were a mixed lot, several old, old time songs, a religious service, and a man reading a book out loud. They were surprisingly heavy and hard, not what any of them had expected of wax. Hence the sharp stylus.
Sean wondered how much time Alex had put into finding and restoring the relic. It couldn't have been easy, and some of the parts would be almost impossible to find if they had been damaged.
This was a clear labor of love.
Restored Clocks and an antique pocket watch could be heard, gears clicking away, measuring that great mystery that was time. Many Wolves, and Vampires, apparently, couldn't stand the constant ticking of clockwork, but Alex found it soothing and there was a kind of rhythmic peace to it, the steady, constant sound of well-made machinery. White noise.
A Ragtime record by Scott Joplin was playing on a newer model (1923) phonograph, with a record disk rather than a wax cylinder. It was located on another table in the library.
That had been Max's.
Alex had found a great deal of antiques boxed away in Max's attic; records, clothes, (which were too big for him), hats, furniture, (some of which was now back in place, more for display than anything), and any number of knick-knacks that an antiques collector would find in the home of a Vampire who'd lived there for over a hundred years. It was a treasure trove, of sorts.
Marko was feeling a bit terrified. He'd walked into the lobby to see all of his brothers standing there, staring at him and grinning like those evil ventriloquist's puppets.
"Uh, Guys... What's goin' on here? You're kinda' freakin' me out."
Michael tossed him a magazine, opened halfway through. Marko hesitated for a moment.
"Take a look, Marko."
Marko opened the magazine and found a full-color ad for a upcoming movie. It featured two young men playing air guitar in front of a red phone booth.
It only took him a second to understand.
"What the Hell is this?"
One of the young men was tall, dark haired with a slightly Eurasian cast and floppy black hair. The other, well, the other was almost identical to Marko, right down to white tank top.
"Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure! Staring our own Marko!" David put an arm around Marko's shoulder, as all the boys started laughing, "I always did say you had the perfect face for Hollywood!"
"Naw, he's got the perfect face for radio!" Paul shouted, giggling uncontrollably.
"Seeing as you're not Hawaiian, I'd say you'd be Mr. Alexander Winter."
Marko was indignant, "This ain't me! I look much better than that!"
"Identical twins." Dwayne had to sit down before he fell over laughing.
"Wait, wait! I just realized something!" Michael stood up, trying to hold back his laughter, "Alexander Winter. Alex Winter. Alex Winther!"
"There's no way that's a coincidence!"
Marko had to admit, that was crazy. Almost like those two kids in Solarbabies who looked just like Michael and Star...
Alan stared at the ad in disbelief. There was no way in Hell that little Blood-Sucker had made it to Hollywood, much less on camera! Cameras didn't pick up Vampires anymore than mirrors did. Unless they were invited in...
And that name. Alexander Winter...
It couldn't be, though, could it?
No, it had to be a coincidence, just like that thing with Edgar and Corey Feldman. Just a creepy coincidence. Everybody's got a double, right?
He quickly ripped out the ad, balled it up and threw it into the trash. The last thing Edgar needed was to see The Little One starring in a movie, mocking him.
"Alex Winter?" Alex Winther was at a loss for words. Marko's face and his name, or close enough.
Sean was still rolling in the floor, pale, freckled face red with laughter.
Max Mayfield couldn't believe her eyes.
He wasn't Marko, or, at least, Billy said he wasn't, but he sure as Hell looked like Marko.
Billy's Cherub apparently didn't leave Santa Carla, or, at least, beyond a few small towns nearby. The last time they'd gone to Santa Carla, those comic book geeks had been locked in the nut house, but their claims about Vampires made a bit more sense, assuming that Alex really was a Werewolf, and thus able to walk around during the day. Billy hadn't blinked an eye when he'd the rumor. She was sure he'd already known. She was pretty sure it was true, as Alex and that chubby freckled boy avoided silver like the plague.
Strange, she'd always seen Werewolves depicted as mindless killing machines, but when she asked around she learned that there hadn't been an animal attack, much less a wolf attack, in over a century. People in Santa Carla seemed very protective of their Lonely Wolf, unlike The Lost Boys he wasn't feared or hated, except perhaps by the Surf Nazis, still a stupid name. And apparently he wasn't so lonely anymore, as during their visit they'd heard multiple voices howling to each other.
She found that she was happy that Alex finally had his own people again.
To be continued...
I've been very sick, and depression is making it hard to come up with anything to write. This was meant to be the final chapter, I may add to it, but right now I just wanted to post something that fixed the cliff-hanger last chapter.
As I've said before, mental illness was poorly understood in even the recent past, and in the 1980's terms like Looney Bin, Nut House, Mad House, etc... were generally used by everyone. A few people used the more polite terms Institution or Asylum.
A Wax Cylinder Phonograph is a complex machine, one I've never seen in real life. So my description may get a few things wrong.
Scott Joplin (1868-1917) 'The King of Ragtime' was an influential African American composer and musician in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Some of his songs are 'Maple Leaf Rag', 'Pine Apple Rag', 'The Entertainer', etc...
Ragtime is difficult for me to describe. It's done on the piano and you can sometimes hear it played in Westerns by saloon pianists. I'd suggest looking up 'Ragtime' on YouTube. Michigan J. Frog from Looney Tunes often sang 'Hello! My Baby' and 'Michigan Rag'. He got his name from the latter. The 1955 Warner Brothers Michigan J. Frog short film 'Another Froggy Evening' had snips from several Ragtime songs.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure came out in Feb, 1989. The boys would certainly have seen it, in the theater, just so they could tease Marko about it. Pretty heinous, dudes.
It's unlikely that any of the boys would see the movie Mov og Funder, when it came out in 1991, it being a foreign movie and more of a family type thing than they'd usually watch. In the U.S. it was titled The Hideaway, and that name is even less known, in reference to this movie. There is another movie called The Hideaway, but it seems to be a thriller-type movie with Jeff Goldblum. So when I search for The Hideaway 1991, I keep finding the other movie that I have no interest in seeing. So the boys almost certainly would not have seen it, at least, until the internet came along and one of them decided to research the name Winther. Alex would probably see it, through one of his relatives, and hide in his room for the next few decades because of Allan Winther's nude scene. Seeing a guy who looks just like you completely naked on a movie screen would be an odd experience, to say the least. Even if the scene itself is wholly innocent.