Case of the Haunted Hearts, Scene 3: Phantom of the Backlot

Last time on Case of the Haunted Hearts, Angel watched her former best friend Melissa complain about problems on the set, then get hit with a stage prop. Is Melissa OK? Find out after the cut.

Ace Rule #1: There’s no such thing as a coincidence when you’re investigating a mystery. Just the facts and the physics to back them up. Ergo, what goes up must come down.

In This Scene:

Angel West: Our POV character. Discovers some fishy business on set. The only journalist who vouches for Melissa.

Melissa DeGravis: Angel’s former best friend. Star of Haunted Hearts. Just got hit by a stage prop.

Lisa: Assistant director of Haunted Hearts. Saves Melissa from a stage prop.

Mac: Director of Haunted Hearts. Can I just call him McG already?

Marcus Culverton: Melissa’s agent. In charge of damage control for his client.

Ava Rodriguez: ETV reporter. Nice enough to ask Melissa about her injuries — unlike a certain nameless journalist who inquires after her Vidz Awards date.

Ammonia Guy: A shady (but attractive!) character Angel bumps into while snooping around the Haunted Hearts set. He’ll receive his nickname in a few chapters; I’m only spoiling it now for convenience’s sake.

Brad Boxer: Journalist for starnews.com (not a real site). Brings up Jaxi Crome at the press conference.

The Plot So Far:

Oh no! Melissa got hit by a giant bat! Don’t worry, she’s OK. But she’s not ready for the barrage of questions the press throws at her after she recovers. She throws another fit (“WAAH THIS SET IS A DEATH TRAP WAAH”) and storms off to her trailer.

Angel inspects the bat prop after the crew disperses, and discovers an ominous note that reads: “BEWARE THE PHANTOM!” Obviously someone is taking the Phantom of the Opera references a little too seriously and is trying to mess with Melissa. Maybe it’s the suspiciously attractive limping stagehand who smells like cleaning products who bumps into Angel? Or maybe it’s Melissa’s agent? Angel decides to check out the latter since he’s holding a press conference.

Not much is revealed at the conference. Basically it’s “Melissa’s OK, it was just a malfunction on the set, we’ll resume filming soon.” But then the press starts to trash Melissa, and Angel will have none of that. So she peppers Marcus (Melissa’s agent) with questions regarding Melissa’s career highlights. This relieves Marcus, but annoys the press. Reporting on a singer / actor’s professionalism doesn’t sell papers or increase site traffic.

Angel is the only journalist willing to get to the bottom of the story. And that means she has to reconnect with her former best friend.


Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:

Melissa’s career highlights include selling a million copies / downloads of her first album, a platinum record, and being the previous year’s top grossing recording artist. Pretty impressive for a teenager who won a reality talent competition. (This also seems to mirror Kelly Clarkson’s success post-American Idol.)

Don’t try clicking on the starnews.com URL. It takes you nowhere.

Spoiler: Angel is right — there is something fishy about Marcus and Ammonia Guy. However, only one of them is sabotaging the film. Who do you think it is? Chime in with your guess in the comments.


NEXT TIME: A belated reunion. Melissa’s backstory. Pages from the Haunted Hearts script. An unwelcome guest.

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