After the tragic death of their parents, Mikey and Gerard's lives change forever as they are put through an endless circle of orphanages full or abuse and neglect. FERARD
AN: Updates for all my other stories are coming guys, I promise. Just trying something new as I always do. I have a scattered brain, my stories are scattered. I haven't given up on any of them, just getting back into the swing of things after Christmas break. Peace and Love to you all xxx Hope your 2009 rocks out.
Chapter One – The End of Innocence.
For most people, it's hard to pinpoint the exact moment that your life turns to shit. But, for me and my baby brother, it was a fairly obvious change and a day that I'm sure neither of us will ever forget.
We had a good life. Sure, New Jersey wasn't the greatest place in the world for two sensitive personalities like my brother and I, but we did the best with what we had.
From the moment I could pick up a pencil and hold it with confidence, I drew. It didn't matter what, I just put the lead to paper and my brain told my hand where to move. I do believe it was my first and only love at that point in time.
If I couldn't find a spare scrap of paper I would draw on the walls, to hell with the consequences. Whilst Mikey was sleeping, I would often sneak into his room and draw all over his toys. Mum was furious, Mikey was ecstatic. He loved my sketches.
The moment my brother was born, I felt my life was complete. I was only four years old at the time, but as soon as he reached up a hand full of pudgy little fingers and wrapped them around one of my fingers, I knew that I had a purpose now.
Mikey was mine, the one thing that I knew I could rely on, the one thing I knew I would have forever, long after my hands were crippled with arthritis and I was unable to clasp onto a pencil. He looked up to me for guidance and I needed him for company.
As we grew, our bond only got stronger. Of one thing I am certain, no matter how hard life gets and no matter what is thrown at me, I am eternally grateful to whatever higher power there is up there that Mikey has been with me the whole way. Sometimes I honestly wonder what I would have done without him.
Up until that day when our young, innocent lives were changed forever, the hardest thing I had ever had to do was start school.
I was five and completely ecstatic about the prospect of school. Of course, it had never crossed my mind that my partner in crime would not be coming with me. I can still remember Mikey's chubby little tear-stained face watching me walk off down the street with Mum. He was only a year old and couldn't understand where I was going and when I would come back. Many years later, I had to watch with tears in my eyes as he got taken away from me. It was only then that I truly understood how he felt.
I'm not really sure how a normal family was supposed to be, but as far as I could tell our family was perfect. Mikey and I had a Mum and a Dad, when I was seven I started to realise that a lot of kids at school didn't even have that. We got fed three times a day, were given money for sweets and were even kissed goodnight every night before we fell asleep.
By the time I was seven I was not only, in my opinion and Mikey's, the greatest drawer of all time, I was also a fantastic reader. I have Mikey to thank for that to. He was a terrible sleeper ever since he was a baby and as we shared a room I often took it upon myself to lower his crib so he could climb out and crawl into my bed. Once there I would read a book until his eyes closed and the room was filled with the sounds of his gentle breathing.
I was surrounded with so much possibility and as far as I was concerned, the world was my oyster; I could be and do anything I wanted to do. My only regret is that Mikey didn't get enough time in the real world to discover what his true talent was. Sometimes I wish I could just grab some universal remote and pause time, the two of us, happy like that forever.
Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do to stop mine and Mikey's world from falling down around us.
From what I can remember, Mikey and I were sleeping soundly, safe in our bedroom until we were awaken by an ear-piercing scream. It was our mother and the sound of her cry turned my blood to ice.
Mikey jerked upright, his face showing nothing but fear and shock. His bottom lip trembled and his eyes filled up with tears, but he didn't cry because he knew something horrible was a foot. I wanted nothing more then to crawl up into a tiny ball, cover my ears and force myself to go back to sleep and pretend like none of this ever happened.
But, I was the older one. I was Mikey's big brother and I had to make a stand. So, reluctantly, I got up and out of bed, told Mikey to stay put and swung open my bedroom door. By the time I located my mother out the front of our home, it was too late. I saw her fate before I could open up my mouth and cry out a warning to her.
Here's the thing, we lived in New Jersey, crime central. Mikey and I weren't allowed to even go and play in the park as children because it wasn't safe. Drug addicts, serial killers and thieves roamed the streets by day or night, they weren't fussy.
That day, it was just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. From what I can gather, there was an argument going on outside our home. My dad had gone outside to tell them off, he had two young boys inside the house after all, if they were going to argue they had to go elsewhere or he would call the police.
From the look of the man that shot my dad dead, I'd say he was on something that had turned his paranoia into a horrible caged animal waiting to burst out of his chest. The word 'police' clearly set that beast free and he lashed out and fired at my father before he had the chance to run back into the sanctuary of our house.
Mum had screamed when the shot was fired. Pure instinct made her run out to her husband’s side. I don't know how my kind, sweet mother could have startled them so much, but apparently she did. By the time I got to the door to see what was happening, the drug-addict out the front of our house had raised his gun for a second time and pulled the trigger.
Mikey and I lost our mother and our father that day. The two culprits were gone by the time the police even got there. I don't even know who called them, probably the same neighbour that called the local Orphanage.
Mikey and I were being consolidated by a sobbing friend of the families when they came to take us away. I was numb, after all, I had just seen my mother gunned down in front of me, I was hardly even aware of what was going on.
The next thing I knew we were shoved into the back of a police car whilst the family friend that had been cradling me and Mikey objected and fought for us to stay with her. As far as I was concerned it was all white noise. Now, I realise that she was trying to fight for us. We could have stayed with her until some family arrived to take us in, but as fate would have it, Mikey and I weren't that lucky and the moment we pulled out of our drive way we were doomed to be lost from any loving relative forever.
As soon as we turned out of our street and I lost site of our family home, the shock wore off and uncontrollable grief over took every ounce of my young body. I cried and cried, ignoring the protests of the two police officers in the front seat. I had no idea where we were going and it frightened me.
Mikey took one look at my grief stricken face and started his own wail of grief and fear. At that moment, I didn't want to be his big brother, I didn't want to comfort him, I wanted someone to comfort me, I wasn't ready to grow-up just yet.
Suddenly I felt responsibility slap me hard in the face. I was all Mikey had now. He was only three years old and as I watched him cry beside me, reaching out to squeeze my hand, I realised just how helpless he was.
I'm not even sure how, but eventually my tears stopped. My breathing was still erratic and I wanted nothing more then to jump out of that car with Mikey and take my chances on the big bad world, but I didn't. These were police officers, they had done nothing but protect people, right?
I was naive to think they would take two orphaned children somewhere safe and homely, after all, what did they care about somebody’s two brats? They didn't know us, we were nothing to them.
Naturally, I held onto the dream that we were being taken somewhere safe. After all, Mikey and I were very close to our Grandmother, she would surely take care of us, were we being taken to her?
The moment we pulled up to the large, uninvitingly dark building with the cliché gargoyle statues on the roof, I was overcome with a horrible sense of dread. Even though I had stopped my blabbering, Mikey was still crying uncontrollably, which only aided in irritating the police officers.
"Would you kids shut up! Don't know what you're crying about, we're taking you somewhere you'll be looked after. There's even food and a warm bed waiting for you," the driver of the police car tried to reassure us rather unsuccessfully.
I wasn't yet educated enough on the world to know exactly what an orphanage was or why exactly we were there. All I knew was that my parents were dead and Mikey and I were now miles away from everything we had ever owned and known to be ours. I didn't even have a pencil or paper on me. How was I going to draw?
Mikey didn't have pajamas or a tooth brush or anything. Did we need blankets and pillows? Cause I didn't even think to take them with us.
All these thoughts were running through my head as I was dragged out of the car by one of the police officers. Mikey was dragged out by the other and cried even more hysterically when he was pried from my comforting grip. As soon as we were away from the car I reached out my hand to grab his again, by this stage the police officers didn't really care, so long as it stopped him from crying.
Years later I would see many films about orphanages and homes for children who had no parents and as far as I'm concerned, St. Mary’s fitted that Hollywood stereotype quite well.
St. Mary’s was run by Nuns and for me and Mikey it was the first religious experience we had ever really had. Sure, we were baptised as babies and when we stayed with our Grandmother she would often mention a guy that lived in the clouds called God, but who were these strange old ladies with crosses around their necks?
Not all of them were dressed in the typical black and white outfits that you see in movies like 'Sister Act', most of them just wore normal clothes and sour expression that helped us remember they were authority figures to be feared. Only the owner of the orphanage, Sister Gertrude wore the whole outfit all the time, everyone else would only on special occasions.
As it just so happened, Sister Gertrude was the first person Mikey and I saw and I think my brother sensed right then and there that she was a danger to him, because he wailed more and more at the site of her.
The police officers were thanked and sent away whilst I was practically dragged into the foreboding building, Mikey right on my heels. I wasn't even sure if we were in New Jersey anymore, as far as I was concerned, it no longer mattered. As soon as those doors shut behind me and my brother, that was it. Life as we knew it was over. This dark and scary building was now home.
The nun yelled at Mikey and she spoke with such an air of authority that even his three year old mind registered some sort of power there. I'm not sure how he found it in him, but he finally stopped crying. The only noises that now filled that lonely hall was his last little sobs and hiccups as he tried to put his emotions in check.
I squeezed my little brother’s hand tighter, more for me then for him. It was a comfort to know that no matter what, I still had my brother. I still had a reminder that I am part of a family, that I once had parents and that I'm not alone.
At that moment I stared at the nun with a new sense of purpose. My brother needed me to be strong and that was exactly what I was going to do. I was only seven but I understood the need to know where we stood and what was going to happen. It was my right as a human being.
"We're not staying," I shouted defiantly at the old lady staring down at me. "Where's our Grandmother?"
As far as I was concerned, she was our only hope. Our Grandmother loved us to pieces, she would take care of us, she would raise us. We weren't completely alone, there was still hope.
"You will stay here until we can locate some family to take you in. Until then, this is your home and you are to treat it and everyone under its roof with respect. You understand me?" Sister Gertrude boomed down at me.
I could sense she wasn't a lady to be messed with but I had millions of questions. Like who exactly was trying to locate our family? Hopefully not those two police officers that dropped us off, they clearly didn't care all that much about our well-being.
As I got lost in my own head I barely even noticed that we were moving again. Sister Gertrude was laying down the rules for us whilst leading us around this colossal building. It was like Hogwarts only without the magic, leaving only some ancient building with walls that could tell stories that would assure you never slept a wink again.
The rules were simple; no having fun, no going anywhere at anytime ever and no defying the nuns. You clean, you cook, you obey orders. I had never considered Mikey and I to be spoilt children, but I suddenly envied the simple life we used to live.
Cook? But, Mum never taught me how. Clean? Somehow I knew shoving everything under my bed wasn't going to cut it at this place.
It wasn't until I felt a strong tugging on my arm that I realised I was still holding tightly onto my baby brother. One look at him and I knew he was exhausted. His pale face seemed permanently marked by the ongoing flow of tears. Wide-eyed brown eyes were bloodshot with misery and tiredness.
"This is the main hall," Sister Gertrude announced as we stopped so suddenly at two big double doors that I almost ran into her. "You will go in there and you will eat in silence with the rest of the boys. Once done the doors on the opposite side will open and you can go into the boys play area. You are not to enter the girl’s area at any time and you had better learn your way around as quickly as you can. Do you understand me?"
I was tired and intimidated, so I merely nodded my head and said "yes."
Sister Gertrude just stared at me with an air of superiority. "Yes sister," she corrected me.
"Yes sister," I repeated, clutching tightly onto Mikey, just to remind myself that I wasn't alone here.
Satisfied, the doors were opened and we were led once again into another large hall. This one was filled with rows and rows of tables and chairs where boys of all ages, shapes and sizes sat in complete silence. We were introduced to a skinny boy with short blonde hair, I was told his name was Quinn and it was his job to show us around and show us the ropes.
He gave us a kind smile and I was instantly smiling back. Something told me that it was important to make friends at a place like this.
Immediately I made to sit down next to him not even noticing that everyone else was still standing. Luckily he caught my arm just in time and shook his head. Finally catching on to what was going on I stood behind my chair like all the other boys. I helped Mikey do the same even though his tiny body had had enough.
I realised we did this before every meal; we had to say a prayer before we ate. Apparently it was important that we thanked this God character before we ate as it was thanks to him that we had food at all. When Mikey and I had been at home we had thanked our mother for the food as she was the one that had spent hours getting it ready for us.
Finally we were allowed to sit and eat. The food was terrible, but it was food nonetheless. I didn't really say much to Quinn, there was nothing to say, I was too exhausted to make small talk and I still had to fill Mikey's bowl up with soup and make sure that he ate it all. Quinn watched on with interest as though he had never seen somebody care for someone like that before. Mikey was still only a baby, I knew that I would be helping him with a lot of things.
I'm not sure what did it, probably the site of the horrible looking meal in front of him, either way the next thing I knew Mikey pushed the bowl away, tossed his arms onto the table, buried his head in them and began to bawl.
Instantly one of the other nun’s approached us, her face livid with anger. Quinn's face lit up with fear as he told me to stop him, but the day had taken its toll on Mikey and there was no stopping his screeching.
The nun started shouting and yelling at him about putting his filthy arms on the table and being ungrateful that they had provided him with food and shelter. Mikey was three fucking years old, what did he care about where those things came from, it was bred into every child that you're just expected to have all this stuff.
Finally having had enough, the nun picked up a ladle from the pot of soup on our table and lifted it above her head. I caught on instantly and realised she intended to hit my brother with that ladle. The instrument was bigger then Mikey's tiny little arm and I was sure she was going to crush him!
I hurriedly made to stand up, to tell her off, to protect him, but Quinn got in before me. He reached out his arm just as the nun brought the ladle down. It missed Mikey, Quinn got in just in time and he received the full blow rather then my brother. Furious at having missed her target, the nun lifted the ladle once again and brought it down to connect with the side of Quinn's face.
Instantly Mikey's tears stopped and he stared in complete and utter shock at what had just happened. Never in our whole lives had we seen a grown up hit a child. It was enough to drain whatever colour had been left in his chubby little face.
Satisfied, the nun walked off whilst Quinn rubbed the side of his face which was now terribly red. Mikey simply stuck his thumb in his mouth, letting out small whimpers every now and then as I prayed to this God that the nuns were so fond of that he didn't start crying again.
"You okay?" I whispered to Quinn. I really wanted to thank him for looking out for me and Mikey.
"Yeah, they do that all the time. Be careful, the really bad kids get locked in a dark cupboard and only get fed bread and water," Quinn warned quietly so that Mikey couldn't hear us.
I didn't want to believe him, who would do such a thing to children? What was this place?
Suddenly I wasn't very hungry and instead of risking a lecture from one of the nuns, I pretended to eat whilst for the first time I took a good look at the faces of the other boys all around us.
Each and everyone of them looked scared and pale. They ate in silence, hardly looking at one another. I scanned their faces quickly, each one the same as the next.
But then, I saw it. Defiance. I don't know what it was about him, but he stood out. He was close to my age with unruly black hair that fell into his eyes. He sat up straighter then the other boys, he held his head higher and there was just this look in his eyes, this light that seemed as though it could never be diminished.
It wasn't until he looked up from his meal and those piercing eyes locked with mine that I realised I was staring.
Common courtesy had taught me, even at that age, that it was impolite to stare, but I didn't care. For some reason, staring at this other boy across the hall gave me some sense of security and for a moment I felt that everything would be alright. But then there was a great roar in the hall as everyone's chairs were dragged across the floor as hundreds of boys were done with their meal and eager to get away from the nuns watchful eyes.
I dodged and weaved my head, eager to see that boy again, I didn't even know why. Did I know him? Did he know me? What was it about him that I couldn't shake?
But by the time the crowd in front of me cleared my vision was only met with an empty chair.
The boy, whoever he was, was gone and I realised I had no one and nothing again. Just the crushed spirit of my little baby brother still sobbing gently next to me.
AN: Hope you liked it, no idea how long it will be or how much people like it. Might be short lived, lol. Just something different :)