How two young man take an endless walk along the railway road.
He’d been around the age of ten when he moved from New York to New Jersey. Not the best place to spend your pre-teenage years. Yet, he could do worse after the tragic divorce from his parents. Their three roomed apartment was cockroach-clean, his bedroom was small but at least he had his own place to mess up. His mother worked as a nurse in the local hospital, finally free to go working again and made enough money to prevent starvation and could even buy him his favorite morning dish, Chocopops.
The event that changed his life happened on a regular Monday morning, yet slightly different today.
The tragic hero of this story was too late.
“Frank this is your last time!” His mom yelled at him. ‘Like I don’t know that!’ Ten year old Frank thought desperately trying to find his shoes. After a strategic search under his bed he pulled his old sneakers up. “Found them!” Running through the small hallway he grabbed his lunch back out of the hands of his mom. “Bye Lin.” He hardily called her mom or mother, after they moved to New Jersey she told him not to. She wanted to start fresh too.
Nearly falling down the stairs he tied his laces fast and watched his bus drive by. Flapping with his hands he got a nice ‘good morning’ from the driver.
‘Darn.’ Now he had to walk to school, all the way to school. What meant some serious detention, he wasn’t a little angel in class and Miss Sunshine (her name gave you the complete wrong idea by the way) would sink her red nails into every good excuse to keep him after school.
‘Unless.’ There was a little hope, yet this little bit of hope could cost him his life. But being young and reckless he rather take the risk then face an hour and a half of detention.
He could take the route along the railways. If he was correct it would save him enough time to get to school before the last bell. It was just a little bit dangerous, that’s all.
This impulsive action could be called the start of a very bizarre relationship. When Frank bravely took the route of the 9.11 railway he didn’t know what kind of dangers he would face. Yet the biggest threat was the one who lasted longest.
Little Frank got stuck in barbed wire with his shirt, then his hair and after many panicked twisted his skin got pierced too. Crying like a Nancy boy he doubted many people came around.
After hours of self-pity (or so it felt) he was sure he was going to lose it. The sun shone heartless down on his back only covered by a thin white shirt. Drops of sweat mingled with his fresh tears. His arms felt sticky from blood and his lunch got eaten by crows that seemed to laugh at him from little distance.
Young Frank suddenly stopped sobbing and wishing his mom was there when he heard something move in the bushes. His muscles tensed and the tiny hears on his arms and neck stood up. Trying to turn his head as far as he could while the wire pulled his hair he whimpered. “Who’s there?”
Nothing, no-one just the wind my dear, he remembered the words from an old tale.
Yet the wind doesn’t make the sound of footsteps and certainly doesn’t smell like tobacco. He cried out when his head got grabbed and started to use the only defend he had left.
“Hold ya horses, petite.” A slightly accented voice said amused by his failing attempts to fight. “You really got yourself stuck.”
“I know.” He retorted angrily. “I know for hours!”
“Can’t be that long.” The voice said humored while fingers gently tried to get his hair out of the wire.
“How do you know?” Frank asked fierce.
“Just a shy guess if ya don’t mind me.”
While his hair got untied he wondered who me was. A pair of leather boots made themselves present, eyeing higher a pair of darkish worn out jeans came along with a stubbed belt. When he could move his head freely again he could face his savior. A pale face surrounded by dark badly kept hair, eyes that seemed to laugh at him, slightly out of proportion with the rest.
“Who are you?” He asked when he was completely freed from his sharp chains. His savior smiled and his name would stay a mystery for years.
Time passed, but one thing didn’t change. Frank kept taking the route along the railway. And every morning his savior would be there, smoking and staring at the troop of crows that seemed to grow every day. They would walk the path of sand and trapped down plants and they would talk. About important things. His school, education, home, his mother and when time grew about girls and cars. Every morning and ever afternoon he had someone that walked him through danger. Some days he couldn’t make it because he chose to spend his afternoon hours with his real friends. It sounded bizarre, he knew but his savior didn’t seem real although he was a friend. Yet he was always there never angry he hadn’t showed up the day before.
One morning when they walked as they did every morning he suddenly stopped near the barbed wire. His savior stopped too and looked at him questioning.
Frank stretched his arm and laid his hand on the leather covered shoulder.
“Why did ya do that?” His savior asked.
“Because I’m not sure if you exist.” He answered honest. “Do you?”
“I’m standing here right?”
He gulped. “I don’t even know your name. I don’t know anything about you. Are you real?”
“Real as I can.” His savior started walking again. “It’s Gerard by the way.” Frank followed him stunned. “But you don’t age G-Gerard.” He stammered out the first bit of information.
“No.” He sprinted and stopped in front of him. “I know you for six years and you don’t change. You are the same as the day you saved me.”
“Hadn’t noticed that yet.” Gerard said dull and pulled out a cigarette. Frank watched and snatched the package. “There are only three left, Gerard.”
His friend shrugged. “So? I smoke a lot. You don’t Frank so don’t start with it, give me back my-“
“-There are always three left!” He cried out so loud the crows flew up all at once. “Three, I’ve been observing. When you wait for me you have three cigarettes and then halfway you light your first one up. When I come back you’re smoking number two and the next day you start with three again.” He got heated up finally spilling out his doubts. “Three, three cigarettes you always have three and when we walk along the wires you press out the first. And that lighter of yours, it’s always near empty. Your clothes… You’ve been wearing them for years, yet they don’t get any more worn-out then they are.” He stared from the darkish jeans up to his chest collection courage to meet his eyes. “Your face hasn’t changed in six years Gerard, you do you explain that?”
For the first time in years the cigarette fell down without being fully smoked. The pale smooth face showed some wrinkles all the sudden when brown furrowed. “I don’t know…” Worry started to spread over his face.
Frank didn’t like it either. “Then tell me something you do know. Where do you live? Where do you work? Give me something that can insure me you exist.”
“I… I don’t know.” Wonder turned into fear. “I c-can’t remember. I just know that I get up every morning and go to bed every night. And wait… here, for you.”
“Then show me where you sleep.” Frank ordered feeling panic take the best of him.
“It doesn’t work that way. I have to get you to school first and…” Gerard thought deep. “I wait, you come back and I…I wake up again.”
Cold shivers started to run up and down his back. “When was the last time you talked to someone beside me?”
“I… I don’t know, honestly Frank, I don’t remember.” Gerard stuttered shocked.
“What do you know, who are you parents, where do you live, why are you here, how old are you?”
“Twenty-one.” Gerard said on mono tone.
At least it was a start. butGerard continued. “I’ve been twenty-one since I can remember.”
The shivers returned now spreading through his entire body. “W-what do you mean?”
Hollow eyes locked into his. “I’ve been twenty-one from the day I saved you.”
“No… Gerard. No, you are wrong. It’s been six years- I… I turned from ten to sixteen-“
“-But I didn’t.” Gerard cut him off and slowly stared at the railway. “I stayed twenty-one. I’ve been here for six years.”
“No, Gerard, that’s bullshit. You go to sleep, you go… somewhere you don’t stay here.” He gestured to the railway route.
“Maybe I’m not here but I don’t go anywhere else.” Gerard said determent. “I don’t leave this place.”
‘No… No, no… No! He can’t be right. He’s wrong, he’s kidding me… He-‘ But so much seemed so wrong, ripped out of reality. Terrified he stared at his friend who he never fully acknowledged as a real friend. Then he ran, ran like hell.
Frank stayed home from school the next day and that day after too. On the third day his mother started to wonder how sick her growing up son was and asked him. He didn’t fully answerer and suddenly asked if it was possible for people to lose their memory all the sudden. She said it happened in rare cases then she told him his days of school-sick where over.
Three days after he swore himself never to take the railway route he found himself climbing over the fence that prevented people (especially kids) to enter a dangerous area. ‘Six years and no-one ever stopped me.’ Frank thought and landed on the sandy road he’d created by using it over and over.
He spotted a dark shadow near the trees. For the first time he could remember he saw a slight change in bearing. His savior seemed smaller, no longer being the stronger older boy wrapped in black. “You came back.” Gerard stated slowly. “How long have you been away?”
“Three days.” He answered honest, keeping his distance.
Gerard noticed. “Three days…” He summoned soft, opening his package of cigarettes, lighting one of the three. “You are right, there is something wrong with me.”
“I asked my mom, there is something like… completely losing your memory.” He said carefully.
“Yeah but not for six years.” After that statement they both grew silent.
‘Six years… I spend every morning and afternoon with him.’ He thought shyly staring out of the corners of his eyes to the boy of mystery. Desperately he tried to remember any details he shared. His favorite taste of ice, yellow being a color he hated, they discussed music, talked about the weather. He told him all his doubt, insecurities and fears to his morning comrade. The boy in black always listened and even came up with great advice but hardly shared anything back.
“I think ‘m lost.” Gerard said sudden. “I know ‘m lost but not by direction, by time. Does that make sense?”
Nothing made any sense it seemed and both of them sunk into their own thought. After a while Frank wondered what time it was and frowned when it was still around eight o’clock the time he usually met Gerard. He stared at the digital numbers for a while but nothing changed. Still a few minutes before eight. Slowly he stared at the railway.
“There never comes a train, did you notice that?” He asked feeling his stomach turn. “I never saw a train pass when we walk.”
Gerard kept smoking his cigarette, the ash on the tip didn’t grow yet he was able to breathe out the nicotine air. “Are you sure?”
“Well, do you remember a train crossing?” Frank asked.
“I don’t think it’s wise to trust my memory.” He had a point.
“Time doesn’t work.” He told Gerard. It was ridicules, it was terrifying. “Yet I know I end up on the other side of the route around half past eight. I think…” He wasn’t sure of anything right now. ‘Now, what is now? He stared at his watch and felt sick, quickly he pulled it off his wrist and threw it down. “What’s wrong with this place?!”
“I don’t think there is something wrong with this place. I think… there is something wrong with us.” Gerard said with a low voice, making him feel cold. So cold. “At least with me. Could it be that I started… it?”
He shrugged, afraid to answer. He observed the place he’d walked through ever morning, every afternoon. Nothing had seemed to change, only the group of crows who grew in size. All the sudden the dark birds didn’t seem so common anymore, it where the only living things he remember seeing beside Gerard. Dark beady eyes mocked him and screeched their ugly laughter. Those beady eyes rushed up fear.
“The birds are here.” He stated as he started to think. “You are here, so am I. Are the crows here when I am not?”
Gerard frowned and stared at the birds. “I don’t know I haven’t noticed them before.”
Sheepish he gulped. “How can you not know they are here? They’ve always been here.” He started to think again. “You are here, I am here, crows are here, there is no time, no trains just the railway and the route. I am to trespass, to get to the other end of the road. Why are you where?”
Gerard thought and quickly came with the answer. “To guide you through it.”
“Yes, but why? It’s one long road, I can’t get lost.”
“To protect you.” Gerard added exhaling.
“Yes, but from what? Why do you walk me through it every day? What’s the danger?” Frank raced locking eyes with the other. Hollow eyes grew wide, mouth dropped and the cigarette fell on the sand, not even damaged or shrinking. Frank didn’t notice because something changed in Gerard’s face. The raven head wrapped in black hunched forward and gagged. After two more times a trail of blood seeped down onto the sandy ground.
“I-… I remember.” He moaned soft, clearly in much pain. “I died here.” He raised his trembling hand and pointed to the railway. “I remember, don’t remember why but… I stood there. Long, saw headlights approach and… owh God-“ His body jolted and he gagged up more blood. The crows made joyful background sounds. “Something went wrong. I couldn’t move, but I wasn’t dead yet. They ate me.” Gerard was be-one trembling, blood still oozing down his hidden face. “Black feathers, beaks penetrating my skin. The killed me.” The crows screeched agreeing.
Gerard rushed up and ran towards the group of crows before he could reach them they flew up, nesting down into the trees laughing at the two boys beneath them.
“Frank you have to go away. Now, don’t come back here. This place… it’s not safe.” Gerard said, rubbing the blood off his chin.
“But w-what about you? You can’t stay here!” Frank babbled, getting pushed up and pulled along the sandy road. “This place is… Is wrong, you can’t stay here Gerard, you died here!”
The other boy didn’t answer and kept silence until they reach the other side, the border of the railway and the rest of the world. “Don’t come back Frank, please.”
For days Frank couldn’t go outside, kept checking up with time and if he heard a train he had trouble not to gag. At night he had horrible dreams of headlights chasing him while crow-laughter haunted everywhere. A few times he coughed up blood, making his mother be worried. His humble excuse had been ‘a cold’ but deep down he knew it was coincidence. He’d noticed how his face became paler, how he craved cigarettes while the nightmares continued, only getting worse and more realistic. One night when he woke up in cold sweat he turned all his lights on and started up his computer. He typed in train accents New Jersey and got about ten thousand hits. Then he tried Suicide by train, New Jersey. That brought him a lot closer, but none of those accidents where on the 9.11. He cursed and then typed: Gerard, New Jersey, 9.11 death. A few home addresses around the 9.11 appeared, a death metal band called the Jersey G’s and something about the percentage of 911 calls in New Jersey.
‘Nothing, this doesn’t help me at all.’ He thought frustrated. Utterly unhappy he slammed on his keyboard.
Taptap. He jumped up and stared at place where the sound came from, his window. Behind the glass sat one of the birds that kept him out of sleep. In his beak it had his watch. The bird tapped on his window again and then flew away. Subconsciously he whipped away a line of blood from his lip and stood up. ‘It’s time.’
At night the fences seemed twice as high. Maybe it was, last bit of failing power to stop him from crossing the boarder to a world that shouldn’t exist. His sense told him, no screamed at him: Danger, danger, danger. This might be his last step into the world he knew.
Climbing over the wooden fence he landed on the sandy ground. Never before did it feel so cold. Ice seemed to beam through his shoes, making it harder to walk. It was snowing, he couldn’t remember seeing the railway road covered with snow. Not in six years, he couldn’t even remember the route being any way different then a warm summer breeze.
But now it was cold, dark and flacks of snow made his skin crawl.
‘How did this world turn so cold?’ He thought frightened and didn’t saw a dark shadow smoking at the barbed wire. He didn’t even spot the crows, maybe they where high up in the trees. He watched the trees closely, stepping back he suddenly froze.
He heard the sound of a train, the loud howl of the horn echoed through the wind. In the distance he could even see two headlights, size of a pinprick, lightened up.
“You shouldn’t have come back Frank.” He heard a cold familiar voice whisper. He spun around so fast he nearly lost his balance. He froze and stared at his feet, they were firmly locked on the railway. Then his gaze fell on the black leather boots, the dark jeans followed up by a face he’d seen every day for the last six years. Yet he didn’t recognize the eyes, they seemed so cold. Frozen and empty.
“I remember now, Frank. And I’m sorry.” The eyes closed and he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t even move. It felt like a cold hand was wrapped around his neck, all he could do was watch and listen.
“I remember how I got here, I don’t know the time or-… Time doesn’t matter here. But I remember now, I didn’t want to kill myself. I fought, but I had to die. Else there would never be peace, Frank. I hope you will understand that once.”
The boy wrapped in black carefully touched his face, when his fingertips made contact with his skin it felt like he froze. His chin got turned into the direction of the railway. The little dots of the headlights weren’t small anymore. They grew in size every second, if there was to speak from time.
‘N-no.’ He tried to choke out, but his face was frozen and the cold took inch for inch from his body until he wasn’t sure if his heart was still beating.
The lights seemed like eyes, demonic eyes that moved fast and faster to swallow him alive.
“It won’t hurt that much, ya will forget it before you remember. I swear.” A cold whisper. The boy wrapped in black held still in front of him and smiled sadly. “I’m sorry but t’s not in my power to change it. And I want to be free, I’ve been here for so long Frank. So damn long without knowing it. I wish you the best and I hope you will make it faster than I did.” Soft cold fingers ran over his chin. “Goodbye.”
Terrified he watched the boy take his distance and sit down along the railway. All the sudden the crows flew up, making their awful sound and circling high above him. All the sudden he remembered what Gerard had said. They ate me, they ate me. I couldn’t move.
One little yelp managed to get free from the frozen cage that once had been his chest. It won’t hurt that much, ya will forget it before you remember, a soft comforting voice told him. The headlights where so close now he could smell the heat and coal.
He closed his eyes and stopped existing.
The next morning Linda would get the terrible news that her son, only sixteen years old, killed himself. The conductor did not even seem him stand on the railway until it was too late. It had seemed like a snapshot, the man muttered at the police. One second the rail was clear, a second later a boy stood there screaming his lungs out right before- The conductor stated before bursting into tears. The vision of seeing a boy crashing into metal at high speed was something that would keep hunting his dreams.
Linda later would tell her mother it felt like a déjà vu. Because six years ago, on her first day at the local hospital the nearly unrecognizable body of a boy got brought in. He’d killed himself by train, like Frank at the 9.11. Gerard Arthur Way, twenty-one years old.
She’d been trying to comfort the mother who didn’t have the slightest idea why her son would kill himself. He never showed any sign of being depressed, he nearly earned a scholarship for an art school. Gerard Arthur Way’s suicide had been a mysterious for all.
He blinked his eyes and tasted the unfamiliar flavor of tobacco inside his mouth. Wondering he felt the new feeling of holding a cigarette between his fingers. He started walking and smoked until the cigarette wasn’t more than a stub. He pressed it out with his dark leather boots he hadn’t seen before. As well as his dark jeans, shirt and jacket although it fitted. Like he never wore anything else.
Lighting up one of the two cigarettes he still had he heard soft sobs. He smiled when he saw a young boy being trapped by barbed wire.
“Who’s there?!” The young boy pleated panicked, ripping his sleeves.
‘Just me, petite. Just me.’ He thought. ‘And I’m here to protect you, whatever it takes.’