Frank's condition poses a deadly threat!
“Frank?” Bob queried in panic.
“Frank!” he yelled as he realised that the young guitarist was no longer breathing. “Help! Someone, please help!”
There was no time to wait; he had to perform CPR. He had covered the basics so long ago at high school and he prayed he remembered enough – Frank was relying on him. Setting himself above his friend, his hands resting one over the other, Bob pumped Frank’s chest at what he hoped was a regular enough rhythm. Breaking off, he tilted Frank’s head and pinching his nose, he breathed hard into his mouth. He shook as he realised that he was snatching his breaths and truly felt he had insufficient air in his own lungs to be effective.
“Frankie, please breathe!” he cried as he pressed on his rib cage once more.
From the edge of the woods he could hear voices and the sound of running. The voices sounded familiar and within seconds he could see Gerard, Mikey, Angela and Alan running frantically towards them. Leaning down to breathe into Frank’s mouth once more, Bob noticed with surprise as tears fell onto the guitarist’s cheeks and it was a few seconds before he realised that they were his own.
“Bob,” Angela took Bob’s hands into her own to stop him as he sat up and readied himself to pump Frank’s heart once more. “Bob, he’s breathing now. See?”
Bob turned his eyes to her; he had no idea what to do next.
Angela smiled reassuringly and gently touched Bob’s tear dampened cheek.
“Look,” she said, encouraging the drummer to turn his eyes back to Frank. “The colour’s back in his lips, he’s breathing. You saved his life, you did it.”
Bob couldn’t speak; he could only stare in shock.
“I’ve called an ambulance,” Gerard announced. “What do we do?”
“Nothing,” Angela insisted, “we can’t move him, just in case he’s hurt. But we have to keep him warm.”
Gerard pulled off his coat and covered his unconscious friend.
“I… I’m sorry,” Frey stammered. “I’m so sorry, I checked every inch. I…”
Gerard placed a hand on the director’s shoulder. Shortly after they had arrived, Angela had informed them of the efforts Frey had gone to in order to ensure their safety, but it had looked as if Frank had wandered far beyond the limits of the fifty yard checked and cleared zone.
Bob shivered as he remained kneeling at Frank’s side willing him to open his eyes. He was barely aware of Mikey settling himself next to him and placing his own coat over his shoulders.
“I think you should go with Frank to the hospital, Bob,” Mikey said comfortingly, still without obtaining any reaction from the deeply shocked drummer.
The sound of the sirens filled the approaching dusk air and the paramedics were soon edging their way through the trees with a specialist stretcher designed for the possibility that the occupant had a broken neck or spine. It was an awkward location and the task of moving Frank onto the supportive stretcher seemed agonisingly slow. Helping Bob back up the slope, Gerard decided that he would accompany the pair in the ambulance, whilst the car would take Ray and Mikey.
As Frank was brought to the open door of the ambulance, Ray, who had been forced to wait nearby, gasped in surprise as he saw his friend’s pale form.
“Gerard!” he cried. “Is… is he…?”
The singer turned a deeply troubled expression towards Ray.
“He’s alive… but I don’t know any more than that,” he admitted. “Can you go in the car with Mikey?”
Ray nodded as Gerard climbed inside the ambulance. Stunned by what he had seen and heard, Ray waited impatiently with Mikey as the car was called back to the set.
It should have felt all wrong, but it didn’t. As strange as the surroundings seemed, Frank knew instinctively where he was. Seated opposite the impressive fireplace in Gerard Way’s magnificent eighteenth century mansion house on this small, but profitable estate, he drained his glass as Gerard stoked the fire before making himself comfortable once more. The estate was basically a series of small farms producing a wide range of crops and rearing livestock. From vegetables to apples, wheat to cows, pigs and sheep, the farmers dealt with it all but Gerard owned and managed the land.
“So, Gerard,” Frank paused to smile as Angela, Gerard’s maid, refilled his glass with a delicious full-bodied French Cabernet Sauvignon. “I know something’s wrong. Are you going to tell me, or do I have to guess?”
Frank took a sip of the wine and smiled again as it slipped smoothly down his throat.
Gerard allowed himself a small laugh as he sunk deeper into the armchair and stretched his legs out fully to take advantage of the heat from the blazing fire in the hearth.
“You think you have me all figured out, don’t you?” Gerard replied with a knowing smile, believing he knew what the reply would be.
“Almost,” Frank replied to his surprise.
Gerard turned a puzzled gaze to his friend as he waited for Angela to return the wine decanter to the cabinet near the far wall before leaving the room.
“What does ‘almost’ mean? What can’t you work out? I’m an open book,” Gerard took a sip of his wine as he waited for Frank to reply.
Frank shook his head.
“You know my thoughts on the matter, Gerard, don’t make me go through it all again.”
Gerard sighed heavily and shook his head sadly.
“I know, I know but have I ever said I disagree with you?”
Frank frowned at the words before placing his glass on the table beside him and walking over to the fireplace.
“No,” he said carefully, placing his right hand on the mantelpiece “but you don’t do anything about it either!”
Gerard turned his eyes upward to meet his friend’s gaze.
“He’s my brother, Frank, what am I meant to do? I can’t just throw him onto the street can I?”
“He’s a lazy, good for nothing, son of a…”
“Hey!” Gerard interrupted. “That’s my mother you’re talking about too, you know!”
“It’s a figure of speech, Gerard!” Frank heaved a sigh. “But you’ve got to do something about him before he runs this estate into the ground.”
“I still run the estate, Frankie.” Gerard corrected. “I give him an allowance, that’s all. He has no responsibility, not since he tried to con the townspeople with a bogus tax on livestock.”
Frank sighed and flapped his arms at his side in frustration.
“And do you really think he’s stopped trying to think of ways to extort money out of people? You know as well as I do, he’s stealing from you!”
“You can back up that statement, can you, Iero?”
The tall, slender figure of Mikey Way stood framed in the dim light from beyond the doorway. Leaning his left arm against the frame at roughly shoulder height, he stood with one foot casually resting on the toe of his boot behind the other. He was dressed fashionably and expensively for the day, in a fine silk and cotton shirt and cravat, close fitting breeches, an impressively embroidered waistcoat, a long black wool frock coat and knee high boots. Gerard noted with an internal sigh that the boots and coat were new and that, no doubt, he would be expected to pay for them.
“Oh, don’t you worry, Mikey, I’ll prove it!” Frank snapped in return. “And when I do…”
“Hell will freeze over before you get anything on me, Frankie, boy!” Mikey sneered in reply as he stepped menacingly towards Frank. “Now then, let’s see, insulting one of your hosts in his own home. That’s not very polite, is it? Why don’t you be a good boy and apologise?”
“To you!” Frank spat.
“Enough,” Gerard spoke quietly but firmly; his tone barely disguised the stress of trying to handle his wayward, wilful and insufferable brother.
“Oh, look,” Mikey grinned, “our lord and master’s upset. You’ll have to console him Frankie, or whatever it is you get up to when you’re alone.”
Gerard was up and out of his seat in the barest fraction of a moment, a furious glare spread across his face as he pushed Mikey up against the wall with one hand and gripped his fingers tightly, but not dangerously around his throat.
“You’d better watch your mouth, Mikey!” Gerard ranted. “Just because I don’t try to bed every woman in town… I don’t have to explain myself to you!”
“Aren’t you overreacting?” Mikey’s grin widened, despite the squeeze of Gerard’s fingers on his neck. “If you’ve nothing to hide?”
“You’re my brother and I promised our parents I’d look after you, but so help me, Mikey, if you try my patience one more time and I’ll…”
“You’ll what?” Mikey snapped back, taking a step forward he swiped Gerard’s hand away from his throat. “You won’t do a thing to me!” his grin became a condescending sneer. “You can’t, or, my dearest brother, I’ll tell everyone!”
Gerard stood back, still glaring but with an element of defeat glistening in his eyes.
“Get out of my sight, Mikey!”
“Of course,” he laughed, “I’ll leave you two alone.”
The doctor entered the private waiting room that Gerard, Mikey and Ray had gathered in. Looking up expectantly at the doctor, Gerard broke the ice.
“Are they going to be okay?” he prompted as the doctor took more than a comfortable amount of time to speak.
“Mister Bryar will be fine. He’s in shock and we’ve sedated him. He’ll need to rest, but he’ll make a quick recovery.”
“Frank?” Ray pushed.
The doctor nodded. “This is a strange case. May I?” he asked, pointing to a chair.
“Yeah, yeah, sure,” Gerard replied absently, “what’s strange?”
The doctor took a deep breath as he thought about how to explain the dilemma.
“Does he have anything on his mind right now? Any big dilemmas?”
All three musicians glanced briefly at each other and shook their heads.
“No,” Ray replied. “Why?”
“Basically, he’s unresponsive and in a coma…”
Gasps of concern escaped the mouths of all three friends.
“B…but, he… he’s going to be okay? Isn’t he?” Mikey asked, his fingers curling around his inhaler.
“There is one complication,” the doctor went on to explain. “Even though he’s in a coma, his brain activity is unusually high, and would be even for a conscious person.”
“What does that mean?” asked Gerard, unsure how to react to the statement.
“We see this rarely. It’s as if he’s dreaming, but to him it’s very real. Whether he pulls through may very well depend on the outcome of the dream.”
“Can we do anything?” asked Ray.
“I honestly don’t know,” the doctor admitted, “but I’ve heard reports that what you say to him in this condition may get incorporated into the dream, so I would advise extreme caution.”
The three musicians nodded, at a loss as to how to deal with the news.
“I’m Doctor Wendel,” he said rising from the seat. “If you need me, just get a nurse to page me.”