the story started when kiss, scheduled to appear for a one-night concert in a small midwestern town, never made it to the place. the entire community was looking forward to the presence of their favorite people. banners were hung throughout the town to commemorate the visit; but the visit never happened. the stores that were closed for the occasion reopened. the hundreds of local fans who had shelled out their hard-earned chore money for tickets to see their idols were disappointed. they did'nt want their money back; all they wanted was to see kiss in action. but there was no way that would happen this evening, in that small town.
the official story, telephoned into the small hall which was crammed with people until even the aisles threatened to vanish, was that kiss was "unavoidably detained out of town." that was the entire explanation, and it took the town by storm. the fans were well-mannered, but the aura of frustration could be felt miles away. the disappointment was everywhere that evening, but kiss was nowhere to be seen.
one reporter who had gone to the small town decided to follow up and obtain
the entire story about the groups absence. the young newspaperman, johnny
haverstock, worked for a wire service and knew a good story when it confronted
he sensed one that night.
i know kiss. i've followed their entire career, and i think
those people are tops. they're true artists, and they're kind and generous
people. they've been known to give large parts of their fortunes away to
friends in need, and they've never been known to disappoint their fans. if
something happened to prevent them from coming to town to do that show, then
that something must have been really, really serious.
i had to find out what it was.
johnny learned where kiss was supposed to have been coming from that evening,
and went there to try and discover more to the story.
"when i got there," says haverstock, "i was treated like the plague, like i was the last person those people wanted to see. i was asked to leave, and when i did'nt leave i was asked to leave again, only this time i could see that everybody there really meant it. i was more determined than ever to stick to the story, and i got a hotel room near the groups headquarters and sat down to wait for something to happen."
all that happened was secretiveness from everywhere. no individual around the kiss management office welcomed johnny. despite friendly attitudes from everyone else, the people connected with kiss were apparently determined not to talk to any member of the press. that's when johnny did his thing.
"i figured that if they could'nt stand having just me around, they would'nt like the entire town filled with reporters asking what happened to their clients. i paid one last visit to their office, and i told them that unless they let me in, accepted my offers of help and told me exactly what was going on around here, i would get on the phone and call all the boys i know who'd want such a story. actually, i'd never had done that; that would have meant giving up my exclusive story. but apparently the management did'nt think of that. a couple of the people therein that large conference room turned white. after a lot of lousy looks passing in my direction, i was invited into the conference room. i was in. i was part of whatever was happening. i did'nt know it then, but i learned the full story of what happened to kiss.
the meeting that johnny had interrupted included law enforcement personnel, local politicians, private detectives and a large number of sad-faced people who looked as if their world had come to an end. there were also two women in the room. like everyone else, they wore nametags identifying them by their first names to aid communication with the strangers who had been brought together in this place to cope with what had happened. the womens' names were jeanette and lydia.
johnny haverstock did'nt need anyone to add up one and
one for him. he realized that kiss had not put in an appearance because they
were unable to do so. this implied that they were not able to control their
present whereabouts and, as they were not in the room but law enforcement
people were, there was but one conclusion.
kiss had been kidnapped!
suddenly the young reporter understood why they had not wanted him around, and suddenly felt guilty at having "forced" his way into the room. he apologized, but the people understood. a job was a job. they were grateful that johnny had not called anyone else in for the story; that might have meant kiss would never return to their fans...and their families.
suddenly someone in the room asked for order, and everyone immediatley became quit. "may i have your attention please," an authoritative voice said from one end of the large table in the middle of the room. "i have a very important announcement to make. at this moment, as i speak, one of the members of kiss is here in this building, next door being questioned by our people. he is safe, he's in good health and he assures us that three others of the group are well, too. how long they will stay that way is up to us, he says. he's a wonderful person. despite everything he has gone through in the past twenty-four hours, he is perfectly alert, totally lucid and willing to do anything to help his friends. i am going to ask you all to respect his position; what he has gone through to come back to us, and what it will mean to him to speak before us now. ladies and gentleman, thank you."
the crowd in the room began to murmer softly, but was almost quiet when the bedraggled young man was led into the room. he had not slept for sometime, and he had only just finished his first meal in over an entire day. he was not looking forward to speaking, but he realized it had to be done. clearly, this was a very special person.
johnny haverstock and the others in the room recognized him instantly, despite his depleted condition and lack of makeup. the newcomer wore no name-badge, but he could only be paul stanley.
the haggard man gathered himself for the tremendous effort of telling his horror-filled tale. he studied his audience for only several seconds, and proceded to reveal the details of the bold kidnap plot that had put kiss out of action; maybe forever.
the four singers had been relaxing before their concert date. they'd been put up in the best hotel rooms in town, and were preparing to see the local sights. without their distinctive makeup, reasoned their privacy-loving ace, they wouldn't be recognized by the local fans.
the singers went on a fishing trip. they told no one where they were going; not even their agents, who were waiting anxiously for word from them. they'd been gone for over three hours when the worries started. for the agents, the worries weren't really that great; this had happened before but the guys had always come through, returning to their base right on time. now, however, they were almost late.
it was paul who noticed time was flying by. "come on," he suggested to the others. "we best start getting back to town; i want to see our fans jumping up in their seats. that always makes me feel good." at that moment the world went black for kiss.
a muffled explosion was heard and, in the seconds that followed, a rapidly growing cloud of gas blocked their breathing. one by one, the famous singers gasped for air then collapsed to the ground.
when they awoke, their vision was fuzzy. their orientation was greatly below normal. they had no idea of how long they had been unconscious, or where they were. it was then that they saw their captors.
from out of the corners of their eyes they appeared. they were gradually coming back into focus, and when they were completely clear in the singers field of vision the members of kiss realized that they were in big trouble. there appeared to be six of them. they were dressed in black from head to foot. each one wore an over-the-head mask that hid all of his features from the startled eyes of gene, ace, peter, and paul. kiss, the group noted for their shocking habits, was being shocked for an unpleasant change in their exciting routine.
"stay put, don't try anything sudden, don't make any stupid moves and maybe you won't get hurt too soon," a voice said from the group of kidnappers. it was a mechanical voice, calculated to be as shocking and threatening as possible. it was.
the captive singers summoned up their courage, and did the only thing possible. they pretended the entire thing was a joke. "it was all we could do," the freed captive was saying. "we thought that if we treated this thing as a joke, maybe they would also start treating it the same way. maybe they were as scared as we were; maybe they would decide to let us go while there was still time, to forget their entire plan, whatever it was." unfortunately, just the opposite happened.
"this is no game, the same metallic voice answered. "this is a snatch, and we're the snatchers, and you guys have just been kidnapped. you're our prisoners, and if you ever want to get free, then you better pray that your pals back there can cough up an awful lot of money very quickly, or you're all cold meat."
the kidnappers announced they would let one of the performers go, so that he could bring the ransom demands back to town. they weren't afraid of letting one man go because, as someone observed later, "they knew that one kiss member could not replace the entire team, and they also knew we would do anything to get those young men back unhurt."
with steely eyes shining through his black head mask, one of the kidnappers pointed toward paul. "you're the one." he said callously. at a signal, another gang member walked slowly toward paul. he tried to get away, but the ropes held him back. still drugged by the gas that was used against them, the singers had failed to notice that they had all been tied up. their hands were bound behind their back, their feet were tied together and there were short ropes leading from one to the other, tying them together like so many lambs waiting for the slaughter.
for the first time they realized that they might not come out of this business alive. they watched as the kidnapper untied their friend. they glanced toward him wordlessly, wishing their colleague luck hoping that he could get the ransom demand back to town on time. and then he was gone.
"that's about all i can tell you," concluded the bedraggled speaker. "i was given some papers with their demands, and with the complete instructions on where to leave the ransom, how much it should be, and warning what should'nt be done if kiss was ever to perform again. and now, if you'll excuse me, i'm very, very tired and i must try to get some rest, even though i know i won't be getting any sleep."
as the entire room looked helplessly on, the brave artist was escorted from the podium. he was taken to a specially prepared hotel suite, where he was made comfortable and surrounded by at least 20 guards.
"we were taking no chances," one of the guards recalls. "we had gotten one of the group back safely, thanks to the kidnappers themselves. we did'nt want to lose him again. besides, we did'nt know whether he would try to make a break back to the mountains, to try to help his friends. that kid was something. even through that terrible experience, he never once acted beaten. i believe he would have ran back there, had we given him the chance, even though he had no idea of where they were actually holding his friends."
for the time being, though, paul was'nt going anywhere. his stamina was completely gone. the usually-lively performer who has screamed "stand in your seats!" countless times through red lips while spellbinding his many fans, was more tired than he had ever known possible. he could'nt move. in his delirium he saw himself at his mirror, applying his makeup. his face was completely white, except for his lips. over his left eye was a black star. his right eye was outlined in black. his locket was in place around his neck, and his opened necked, bejeweled shirt signalled he was ready to go out on stage as the group began to perform. but this time, when he looked around, they were not there. he was alone; his friends were gone; kidnapped, held for ransom in some secret place. and they might never come back alive. paul buried his face in his hands and, struggling not to make any sound at all, his tortured body gradually relaxed in a nightmare-filled sleep.
for the three other members of kiss, the true fiendish horror of their ordeal was just beginning. as the three companions, still tied together, tried to figure out where they were and what they could possibly do to help themselves, the door opened. a hand covered in black slowly opened the door and stood there revealed, looking like some devil out of hell. gene could'nt help but laugh at the irony of it. he, the bat, the human torch who simulated the machinery of hell so well, was now caught up in it himself.
the figure moved slowly over to the singers, then bent down and untied ace. "come on," the faceless captor commanded. "get moving through that door, and don't say a word. not one word, or you're a dead man." he levelled a pistol-like object at the dazed singer. ace got to his feet as best he could, and walked through the door after giving his companions one last glance. he was still groggy from the gas, and he had'nt eaten for what seemed like hours and hours, but he was still in control of his mind. he hoped they would realize they should'nt hurt him. he also realized he was completely powerless to do anything about it, even if they tried to kill him in the other side of that door.
ace frehley, spaceman, was no longer free to let his mind wander through the infinite reaches of outer space. he no longer wore heavy silver boots to take him closer to the stars. his thoughts were no longer on space travel; they were on staying alive!
ace, the gun fancier who regularly took trips out into the country to play
harmless games with his collection of weapons, stared into the muzzle of
a gun completely unlike anything he had ever seen before. it was long and
sleek, and appeared to be made from plastic rather than metal. it gleamed
and merged with a barrel, handle and trigger that seemed to be all one piece.
it looked like something that would'nt be built for at least another couple
of centuries. and yet, impossibly, here it was threatening his life. "this
is weird," he thought as he wondered what would happen next.
he did'nt have long to wait.
"i see you noticed my weapon," the metallic voice said to him. "you know about guns. can you tell me what sort of gun is pointed at you right now?"
ace could'nt begin to guess. and slowly, as he realized this, his gaze moved away from the gun and focused on the hand that was holding the weapon, keeping it aimed steadily toward him. the arm was too thin, and the fingers were too numerous. the head appeared larger than normal; the body taller than usual. ace's mouth opened, but no sound came from it. all he could do was to stare at the inhuman creature that hovered over him. his field of vision began to blur again; the strange being began to rock back and forth, and all at once ace realized that he was moving; not the alien. alien? the word was commonplace to him, but he never really thought he would ever be using it to describe someone standing right in front of him. this was for real, and yet this was clearly a nightmare. once more the inhuman, metallic voice spoke to him, sending chills down his numbed spine.
"of course you don't know, because you've never seen a gun like this before. no one on your world has. it's beautiful, is it not? a handsome weapon, and it never has to be reloaded. at least not in a conventional sense because, you see, this gun fires nothing but energy. a highly concentrated beam of pure, pulsating energy that can eat through solid steel and vaporize rocks. think of what it can do to the human body."
ace tried to get his head together. "this is crazy," he thought. "this can't be happening." his thoughts were cut short as a beam of light left the weapon and headed for a wall. the dancing patterns of light inside the thin beam ate through the solid wall, leaving a tiny hole through which the outside of the house could be seen. ace fainted, even though he fought desperately to maintain his consciousness.
gene looked up to see the two figures bringing his unconscious friend back into the room. he saw the look of horror on his stiffened face, and he knew that he was to be next as the steely-eyed kidnapper looked down at him. "come," the voice said as the two other black-clad figures stooped down to untie him. "soon you will be like your friend, only perhaps you will no longer be alive."
gene simmons is a big man; six feet, seven inches tall, with large muscular hands that make it easy for him to be kiss' bass man. the former teacher was use to teaching others the meaning of fear, in a friendly sort of way. he was use to puking blood down the front of his shirt. he loved to wag his seven inch tongue at his fans, or wow them with his most spectacular trick of all; the ability to become a human torch. now he was powerless, for all his height and heat. he was unsteady on his feet, drifting in and out of focus as he was led into a smaller room.
"so you like fire, eh?" the shrill voice sounded vaguely familiar as it emerged from the black-cloaked figure. "then why not have some?" gene jumped as a ball of fire materialized out of thin air and traveled along an invisible road toward his face, only to disappear immediately before it hit him. the black figure laughed down at him, it's shrill voice transforming into a metallic, horrifying sound once again.
"i'm so glad you like the sound of blood," the voice said to him, "because some rivals of yours are paying us very well to see that you never threaten their success again."
"no," gene managed to whisper. "nobody would do something like this; nobody in the business. you're lying."
"am i," the voice continued. "and if i am then suppose you explain to me why we bothered to put the snatch on you if no one was making it worth our while? and while we're on the subject, what makes you think you're ever going to get out of this at all?"
again the mocking laughed. again the ball of fire, only this time it drifts by your head and burns to the back of a chair behind you.
"i'm glad you like blood," the voice mocks again. "you will soon be seeing all of your own blood running out across the floor. and people without blood can't sing very well, you know. that's the entire idea of this little party."
gene struggled to get on his feet. his eyes took in his surroundings and his captor and, as he tried desperately to return to reality, he saw himself fall the six feet back toward the floor of the room. visions of fire filled his eyes; fire tinged with blood and his stomach could taste it all. his last thought was that he would leave no one behind. there was no wife and no children, no one to carry on his name. he was alone.