What Gerard did.
When he opened his eyes he wished he hadn’t.
He was lying on the floor of Sara’s old house, the house where everything had happened. As he got to his feet he realised that he was not alone as he had originally hoped. LynZ, Frank, Jamia, Mikey, Alicia, Ray and Christa were also rising gingerly and inspecting their surroundings with interest or else wincing at the more tender parts where they had hit the floor.
“Nice place,” said Frank uncertainly.
“It’s Sara’s house,” Gerard stated dully. There was no point in pretending he didn’t know anymore; he had made the decision to tell them and he was going to keep it. Anything to keep Sara from getting at Frank. “Jesus, I hoped I wouldn’t have to come here again.”
“Again?” LynZ raised an eyebrow.
He was saved from answering by a sudden crashing sound and a series of high pitched giggles. The group automatically moved towards the sound which seemed to be coming from the living room with Gerard hanging back slightly, ready to race out of there at a moments notice. The door was hanging open, revealing a clean room with expensive, modern-looking furniture, however, the beige carpet was littered with half empty bottles and the scent of the air freshener had been consumed by the heavy, sickly sweet smell of cannabis. The giggling was growing louder and as they moved into the room everyone but Gerard gasped sharply.
Gerard and Sara lay laughing stupidly, legs entwined on the couch, passing a bottle and a drunken kiss between them. The stub of a joint dangled from Gerard’s lip which he didn’t move as their mouths met again and again and again, tongues battling for dominance, still laughing. Beside him Gerard felt LynZ’s knees buckle and glancing at her saw that her eyes were sparkling with tears.
“No,” she whispered and he didn’t even have the heart to lie that it wasn’t true.
“You’re so pretty,” drunken Gerard told Sara who lifted her head from his exposed chest and gave him a wobbly grin.
“Prettier than the sky,” said Gerard. “And the birds. And the planes. And the butterflies and the caterpillars.”
She giggled again. “Caterpillars aren’t pretty.”
“Are too,” Gerard argued. “They’re soft and fluffy. But you’re fluffier.”
She flushed and beamed as though he had just paid her the biggest compliment of her life. She made to take another swig of the bottle but just as she was about to raise it to her lips the door flew open and someone charged in, straight past Gerard and the others whose eyes widened and jaws dropped in sudden recognition.
“You left the key in the door, you jackass,” he greeted him. “Anyways, here’s your jacket back, I-”
He stopped midway, noticing Sara, and his face morphed with shocked, horrified anger.
“Hey Bob,” Gerard slurred. “Come and join the party!”
“So this is it,” Bob’s voice shook. “This is what you’ve been covering up with your pathetic excuses? “I’ve got some stuff to take care of.” “LynZ needs to be picked up from yoga”. You little bastard!”
“Huh?” Gerard glanced at Sara and shook his head. “No Bob, you’ve got it wrong. Sara is my...cousin.”
Sara waved in greeting. “Cousin.” she repeated and burst out laughing again.
“Motherfucker!” Bob shouted. “You piece of shit! How could you do this to LynZ? She’s been worried sick about your worthless ass! She thinks you’re fucking ill and here you are with this whore!”
“I ‘aint no whore!” cried Sara defensively. “I’m a princess.”
“This isn’t your business, Bob,” Gerard scrambled to his feet and swayed there, his eyes slightly crossed. “I can do whatever the hell I like. I’m a free man, for Chrissake. I’m fucking famous-”
“-And where the hell would you be without us?” yelled Bob. “Blowing us off for this trashy slut!”
“Don’t talk about her like that,” said Gerard warningly. All traces of the giggling, carefree effect of the drugs had disappeared. Fierce rage burned in his eyes. “I love Sara. We’re gonna be married and have kids and a dog and-”
“You don’t love her, you’re fucking her!” Bob practically screamed. “She’s a useless whore and so are you!”
“You sonofabitch!” Gerard screamed back, snatching up the nearest object he could lay his hands on, a lamp. “I’m gonna fucking kill you!”
“Bring it on you little shit!” Bob roared and he charged towards him, knocking him backwards against the couch.
Sara jumped up and stood in the corner screaming as Gerard rose heavily to his feet, clutching a winded stomach. Bob charged again but this time Gerard caught him around the shoulders and they struggled against each other in a rugby-like tussle until Gerard pushed him backwards and sent him flying against the mantelpiece. He stood there for a second, breathing heavily, blood streaming from his forehead. Gerard himself was sporting a bloodied lip and was wincing in pain. But Bob, unbeaten, released a warlike cry and made to run at Gerard again who stood ready, fists raised.
He didn’t see the lamp that lay, discarded, on the floor.
Bob’s foot hooked around the lamp stand and he tripped, sprawling into the glass coffee table that separated him from Gerard. His hands flailed with the attempt to break his fall but to no avail and he fell, crashing into the glass. Huge shards and tiny diamond splinters dug into his skull, his eyes, his mouth and in less than a second he lay still.
“Come on then!” Gerard screamed. “Come on!”
Bob said nothing. Gerard’s fists dropped to his sides.
“Bob?” he said uncertainly, dropping to his knees. “Bob?”
He crouched down next to him and when he arose he looked fearful. “Oh Christ,” he whispered. “He’s not breathing.”
Sara wailed loudly and covered her face with her eyes. Looking around anxiously, Gerard tried to shush her but nothing could stop the howls of anguish escaping her mouth. “Sara,” he muttered. “Sara, baby, please be quiet, please-”
“-Get away from me!” Sara pushed him with surprising strength, sending him stumbling backwards. “You murderer, don’t you touch me!”
“Sara, please, someone will come-” but Sara wasn’t listening. She had snatched up a large shard of glass and was holding it out towards him. With her eyes wide and her hair a knotted mess around her face, she looked crazy.
“Get back,” she murmured. “Murderer, get back!”
“Put it down Sara,” said Gerard and he sounded worried. “You don’t know what you’re doing.”
He tried to take the shard from her but she raised it high above her head and, grabbing a handful of his shirt made to lower it into his temple. But at the last moment Gerard grabbed her arm and twisted it round, breathing a sigh of relief when he did not feel the sharp sting that meant she had struck. His relief quickly turned to horror when he saw the blood stretching across her abdomen, reddening her little green dress and she doubled over, pure shock gracing her features.
“Gerard-” she murmured and collapsed onto the floor.
Gerard caught her as she fell, noticing his hands were sticky with her blood. Tears slid down his cheeks as he held her, matching hers and he rocked softly, whispering that it would be okay. But she didn’t hear him, or else she didn’t want to. Her face was contorting with the effort of speaking and Gerard had to bend low to hear her.
“You...” she gasped. “You did...this...”
“No,” Gerard shook his head.
Sara nodded accusingly. “You did...you killed...”
Her mouth was open with the last word but it didn’t come. Her head fell back against Gerard’s lap and her face was pale. Her eyes were no longer warm, brown and full of life but pale and grey, almost blue. Blue and condemning.
The scene ended. Darkness fell and Gerard was sent spinning back through time with his friends until he was standing again beside the tapestry of the unicorn devouring the lion, the reincarnation of the woman he’d killed staring cold, hard, dead. But it wasn’t her eyes he sought.
LynZ was crying. Her mouth was open slightly and she looked upon Gerard with disbelief written across her face. Christa and Alicia wore identical expressions of fear, Mikey of anger, Ray confusion and lastly Gerard’s eyes found Frank’s. He wasn’t crying. There was no hatred or sympathy there. The only emotion Gerard could make out was one of pure, simple, shock.
“You can go home now,” Sara stated. Her voice was devoid of all feeling. She turned to Frank. “You too.”
The room began to spin but his friend’s faces stayed engraved in Gerard’s mind. He could feel himself slip inside the Gateway and that recognisable jerking feeling behind his navel let him know that he was going back.
He was going home.