When mother and I arrived at the workhouse, it was nothing like I expected. It was worse. It was a huge, gray factory with huge chimneys that billowed out smoke. It made me cough, due to my week lungs. I looked up at the windows, and saw women and children looking out with tear stained faces, and some men hitting slate with chisels.
"Your guide has arrived, Francis." Mother said, gesturing to a scared looking little boy. She walked off, leaving the little boy and I by ourselves. The little boy was staring up at me, shaking.
"Hello." I smiled, holding my hand out for him to take it. "I'm Francis, but I prefer being called Frank. What is your name?"
The little boy stared at my hand, before attentively taking it. "M-Mikey, sir. My name is Mikey Way."
I smiled at Mikey, squeezing his hand. "Call me Frank."
Mikey nodded, and tugged me into the huge doors of the workhouse. I looked around, and I felt my face physically drop. It was awful. And it only got worse as the tour progressed. Women were sitting in small, cramped rooms, weaving endlessly, children were doing physical labour, and if they didn't do enough then they would get punished. Mikey wouldn't tell me what the punishment was, and seemed nervous just talking about it. I could only imagine. When the tour was nearly over, Mikey started to act strange. He stopped talking like the happy boy he turned out to be, and was going quiet for long periods of time.
"Mikey?" I asked gently, as one of his long silences was in progress. "Mikey what's wrong?"
Mikey stared at me for a little while, before unexpectedly throwing his arms around my waist and burying his face into my stomach (luckily I am neither tall nor thin, as it would have been uncomfortable for both of us). "It's my brother, Gerard. He just came back from a month's trip around the city, and he didn't have anywhere to stay. It's a wonder he found me, but I'm afraid he's going to die. He keeps crying and coughing, and he's always complaining about a headache. I hear people saying that if he’s not well enough by next week, he'll be thrown out!" Mikey sniffled, starting to cry into my clothes. I needed to help his poor brother, Gerard. I wondered if he was of foreign decent, as it was such an unusual name.
"I can try and help. I know a fair deal about common diseases." I looked down at Mikey and started to stroke his hair.
Mikey looked up at me with wide, watery eyes. "R-really?" He breathed.
I nodded and Mikey grinned, leading me up a flight of stairs and through a narrow corridor.
"Where are we going?" I asked, running after him.
"To help my brother!" Mikey exclaimed.
We stopped in front of a large door, and on the other side of it, I heard a lot of people coughing. Mikey opened the door, and what I saw made me want to cry. There were around thirty people packed into a somewhat small room (it would've seemed bigger if there were less people inside it). There were a few threadbare blankets, but not enough for everyone, so they had to be shared. While I was following Mikey to his brother, I noticed people glaring at me. It made me feel uncomfortable to say the least.
Mikey suddenly dropped to his knees beside a sleeping man, and shook his shoulder. "Gerard..." He was whispering softly. I watched as the man woke up, and I was astonished at how handsome he was. Gerard looked up at me and I noticed had beautiful eyes, a hazel colour. But when I looked into them they looked miserable.
"Gerard, this is Frank. He's going to help you get better!" Mikey told him, smiling at me.
I nodded, smiling at Gerard. I knelt down by him and put my hand on his forehead, causing him to close his eyes. I felt that his forehead was very hot. I started to ask him questions about his health, which he answered with a weak voice. I knew what was wrong with him, finally, and it was that he had influenza.
"Do you have any cloths and water to help me cool him down?" I asked Mikey, who stared at me blankly.
"I don't, sorry Frank."
I grimaced and wondered what I could do. Then suddenly, the idea hit me. It may have been crazy, but I thought it was the only reasonable thing to do.