“You know I said that I had to stay here till I found something to sacrifice? I may have found it.”
The blossoms are good this year.
He picks one of the pink satin flowers from the cherry tree’s branches and places it behind her ear, amongst the curls of raven hair. She smiles, albeit shyly, and pats where he has placed the accessory with gratefulness. Feeling a wet sticky substance on her fingers, she draws her hand away curiously and stares at fingertips now covered in blood. Her eyes widen in horror as she looks down slowly, to see every inch of her stained crimson. She opens her mouth to scream, but all that comes out is a pathetic muffled wail that sounds as if someone a mile away has made it. He brings a finger to her lips and pulls her closer to him, wrapping his arm around her tiny waist as she sobs into his chest, the blood rubbing off and staining his dirty old asylum gown which is already soiled with the remains of his enemies...
Goddam nightmare. I woke up panting, as per usual, and sat up in bed, the familiar wave of nausea that followed after dreams like that suddenly washing over me. Ouch. I brought a hand to my cold clammy forehead in an attempt to calm the piercing headache that was infiltrating my temples. Fuck. Those dreams had been coming more and more often, each a different variation of the last. I didn’t know what had driven me to be so obsessed with the cherry tree on Dutchman’s Hill, but I was sure as hell those pills Mom had made the doctor to subscribe to me weren’t working.
Slipping out of the sweaty sheets and tiptoeing my way to the bathroom, my mind struggled to organise the fragments of dream I managed to remember, but, and not for the first time, to no avail. I didn’t understand; what did it all mean? I didn’t know, maybe it was just a dream, but something niggling at the back of my mind sent a feeling in my stomach that it wasn’t. Not that I was Joseph and his amazing technicoloured coat or anything. It was just creepy is all.
“Don’t do it...don’t look open that fucking closet...NO!”
Frank grabbed the cushion lying untouched in the empty popcorn bowl on the floor and buried his face in it as the zombie burst out of the closet and devoured the genius who thought it was safe to hide in there from the swarming army of zombies waiting for him outside his house. How ironic.
“See, look what you’ve gone and done, you fucking moron. I told you not to go in that goddam closet, for Chrissake! Didn’t I tell him, Lee?” Frank yelled at the television screen.
I answered with just a grunt, my attention more drawn to how my sleeping butt had gone painfully numb from four hours of watching back to back horrors of the living dead wreaking havoc across the country and listening to Frank scream at the TV. Seeing as his mom was out that night, Frank had invited me over and had decided to watch movies like these, despite the fact that I really wasn’t in the mood for horrors since my boyfriend had just told me he was a ghost.
“Well that was a pile of bullshit,” Frank sulked as the movie faded to black and the end credits rolled across the screen.
“It was your choice.”
“Actually, Bob recommended it. He saw it with Minnie the other day and said it was the scariest thing he ever saw,” he smirked, unimpressed. “So whaddaya wanna do now?”
I shrugged. “We could flick through mindless TV.”
“Don’t you need to be going home at some point?”
“Nah, my Mom’s got a late shift at the hospital so I’d be alone at home anyway.”
Frank slumped back against the cushions of his couch and sighed calmly, closing his eyes.
“What do you think’s worse?” he murmured. “Death by vampire, zombie or ghost?”
“Do ghosts even kill?” I asked, albeit shakily. Frank opened his eyes.
“I doubt it. Ghosts suck. They just float around and shake chains going whhhoooaaa.”
“What if you were around a ghost and you didn’t know they were one for the whole time?”
“Don’t tell me,” Frank said, raising his eyebrow. “I always thought that kid in my science class looked suspicious.”
I snorted and slapped him playfully across the arm as he erupted into a fit of giggles. It was silent for a while except for the occasional splutter for air from Frank’s uncontrollable laughter, until I sat up and looked at him oddly, a question I was bursting to ask rising up like fire in my throat.
“Can I ask you something?” I said quietly.
“Shoot,” he replied, sitting up as well. I nibbled my bottom lip while he watched me expectantly. What are you doing?
“Does it bother you?”
Stop. Right now. Before it’s too late.
“Does what bother me?”
“...Me. And Gerard. As, you know, I thing.”
You are swimming in dangerous waters and you must be stopped. Change the subject. I’m warning you. Frank sighed and awkwardly scratched the back of his head.
“Why would it bother me?”
I swallowed. “Because...you know...you guys don’t like each other. And it’s... awkward, you know?”
“Who makes it awkward?” he said, even quieter than I had.
“Who makes it awkward? Me or him?”
I knew this was a bad idea. I looked down at my converse, hopeful that they’ll give me inspiration on weaving out of the uncomfortable conversation I had oh-so-intelligently started.
“No one makes it awkward,” I murmured still staring intently at my shoes. “It just is. Just forget it, okay? It doesn’t matter.”
Frank was silent, and I worked hard to repress the sigh of relief that was trying to break free. And then suddenly;
“It does matter,” he whispered. I forced myself to look back at him, to see him wringing his hands nervously. “It matters because...”
“Because...?” I probed. Frank looked back up at me and gently took my hand in his. Okay, what? Slowly he began to lean in and my heart skipped several beats as I felt his soft lips brushing against mine. They were warmer than Gerard’s, warmer and much gentler.
“It matters,” he mumbled softly into my mouth, wrapping an arm around my waist. And despite the shock sending red alerts flashing at the back of my mind and how it was screaming at me to stop what I was letting happen, I lifted my hand and began to stroke his sharp jaw bone, pushing my lips harder against his. I felt his tongue slip through a gap in my lips and twist and turn with mine, stifling a small moan as I trailed my hand along his back and placing it on the nape of his neck.
No. This was wrong. Stop, stop right now. But as he began to rub my back with one hand while grabbing fistfuls of my hair with the other, I found it more and more difficult to. I needed Frank right now. I felt safe around him, more like myself. There were no secrets. But this was definitely wrong. I unlocked my lips from his and pushed him off me, untangling my legs from his.
“What’s wrong?” he said; the hurt apparent on his pretty face.
“This is wrong,” I whispered, and with one final push I got off the couch and stepped away from him. The hurt in his eyes flickered to anger and he looked away, cheeks hot red.
“Yeah, of course,” Frank muttered bitterly. “I’m not him.”
The words pierced my insides like a thousand sharp icicles and I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I felt my throat closing and as I shook uncontrollably I managed to splutter a few words explaining my sudden need for air.
Spinning on my heel, I ran out of the small lounge and belted out of the building and into the pouring rain, taking in lungfuls of air and letting the raindrops splatter onto my face, plastering my hair to my scalp and mingling with my tears.
I needed to get away from there. I didn’t know where, I didn’t care; I just needed to run away. So I did. For once I welcomed the rain as I slipped and skidded down Frank’s street, the drops cooling me down and clearing my mind a little. What had I done? Frank kissed me. And I was so fucked up inside I didn’t stop him, or pull away in time. Was this cheating? Sweet Jesus.
Breathless from running, I stopped at the end of another street, realising I had just run a whole two blocks. It made me feel a bit better, the running I mean, but I was so exhausted I was actually considering not skiving gym lessons at school anymore. Then I considered going to Gerard’s. Or the cherry tree, but both thoughts were angrily sent away as quickly as they had entered my mind. I couldn’t go to Gerard’s; I’d feel too guilty to even look him properly in the eye. But I didn’t want to go home – I’d be all alone and the truth was I was pretty frightened I’d try to end the pain of teenage drama by overdosing on my medication. Then again, I’d be too much of a wuss to finish it all. I tried to slit my wrists in the bath once, but I guessed I didn’t do it properly because the cuts kept congealing, so I stopped half way and decided suicide wasn’t for me.
So as a compromise I decided to go home but walk really slow and take the long way round so I’d have an opportunity to reconsider my life’s choices. As I began to trudge back I spotted the tall rusted gates that opened up to the small park near my apartment, so I went inside. A wave of odd nostalgia suddenly came to say hello as I walked along the path to the kids’ playground. Frank and I would always go there in Middle School and sit on the monkey bars eating ice cream.
Oh God, there I went thinking of Frank again. I mentally cursed whatever had drawn me to the park as I sat down on one of the swings, closing my hands around the chains. I couldn’t keep my mind off him, and when my thoughts weren’t of Frank they were of Gerard. What was happening? Frank and I had been best friends since, like, forever; how could I have been so blind not to realise his feelings for me till now? And my feelings for him. And now everything was going to be ruined because of some stupid kiss.
“Thought I’d find you here.”
Broken out of my reverie I slowly looked up to see the one person I didn’t want to talk to leaning casually on the railings of the kid’s playground.
“A ghost and psychic,” I replied sarcastically. “What next; can you fly?”
Gerard sauntered over to me and sat down on the swing next to mine. His skin was still bright white amongst the luminescent orange glow of street lamps lining the park, icy hazel eyes for once fully visible as his sopping fringe was pushed back to the side of his face. He watched me intently, the usual feeling that I was being x-rayed I always felt around him creeping into my stomach, until I broke under his gaze.
“What?” I said angrily, scowling at how he acted as if he had every right to sit there surveying me as I worked hard figuring out a solution to the cruel dilemmas of life.
“We need to talk.”
Sighing, I gently pushed my feet of the ground so that the swing lifted into the air a few centimetres higher than its usual position. “So talk.”
His eyes still didn’t flicker from their favourite position, staring widely at me, as he shifted in his seat and ran his hand through his soaked mess of hair so it stuck up in small spikes at the back. He was probably deciding what to say.
“First of all,” he began. “I’m sorry. For everything. I’m a liar. And a psycho. But what you gotta understand is how much it hurts me to see how much pain I’m putting you through every day. I’m a bad person and I don’t deserve you. What we have. I don’t deserve any of it.”
That makes two of us. I looked down at my converse as I swung back and forth, not daring to look back at him and reveal the tears in my eyes.
“I don’t care,” I said firmly. “I don’t care what you’ve done. We’re still here now. So it doesn’t matter.”
He sighed and laid his head on my shoulder. “You think it’s gonna stay that way?”
“Why shouldn’t it?” I frowned.
“You know I said that I had to stay here till I found something to sacrifice? I may have found it.”
What? Oh right. Me.
He lifted his head from my shoulder at my sudden stiffness and looked up. His face was only a centimetre or so away from mine and my heart beat ferociously against my ribs.
“I’m think I’m in love with you, Lee,” Gerard whispered. “I’ll do whatever it takes to stay with you as long as I can.”
I swallowed and looked away as the tears formed in my eyes again. I could see him frown out of the corner of my eye. His cheeks were slightly pink for the first time, and before I could say anything else he slid off his seat and walked out of the park.
I really needed to sort this shit out.
There. Nice little random chapter out of the back of my head for you. Rate and review! I need it like a fat kid needs cake.