Gerard is afraid.
Time passed on, and Gerard only got sicker. By the next day, he had developed a bad case of the chills, despite it being at least 90 degrees or over. Mikey bundled him in their only blanket and his own clothes, but nothing helped. And Gerard was starting to become disoriented.
Meanwhile, without actually saying it, each of the other three boys had begun to take their own roles for life in the cavern.
Ray, for example, felt in charge of the watching, as he did more than anyone else. He would decide whose turn it was to sleep, and whose turn it was to watch. Frank did his best to try to establish communication to the rest of the world, despite the fact that only Mikey's cell phone even had batteries at this point. Mikey fretted over Gerard, becoming rather possessive of his brother. He was also in charge of supply rationing. He would determine when they would eat, and how much they would eat. He insisted that they all eat at the same time, so they knew everyone was getting their fair share. No more, no less. As for Gerard, his job was to simply try to stay alive.
On one particular night, Gerard had the chills particularly bad. So Frank cradled him, singing to him softly in an effort to help him feel better. It was his turn to sleep, but it was difficult trying to get any shut eye when your friend was next to you, violently shaking and shuddering. During his song came a slight whisper.
"I-- I'm s-s-ss-cared Frank."
It was barely audible, still Frank heard it. The uttering of those words caused his heart to leap in his throat. He did not know what to say to that, and he almost thought of ignoring the fact that he had heard it at all.
Gerard should be scared. He should be very scared. They should all be really, but the risk of losing Gerard was higher than anyone else.
They had no medicine, and little food. If Frank knew anything about what he had seen in movies and read in books, Gerard was doomed if they did not find help soon. Still, he felt the need to comfort his friend as Gerard had done for him so many times before.
"It's going to be okay, Gee. I won't let anything happen to you." he frowned, feeling like a liar.
Still, even Gerard did not seem to believe that.
"Tell Bandit I love her f-f-for me..."
"...of course, Gee."
While he felt slightly selfish for doing so, Gerard's words only made him think of his own family.
Surely, they must have reported them as missing by now. How was poor Jamia holding up, dealing with a missing husband? What has she told Cherry and Lily?
As the thought of his babies came to mind, Frank looked at the mouth of the cavern. He could see Ray and Mikey's seated silhouettes, somewhat shrouded in the darkness. The idea of just running out, dashing to go find help struck him for the first time. Still he couldn't just leave Gerard here.
It suddenly occurred to Frank that Gerard had stopped shaking. He looked down and saw that Gerard seemed to have fallen asleep, his eyelids gently shut. As he looked upon his best friend's sleeping form, the idea of leaving quickily fled from his mind.
At least, for now.
It was time to eat again.
The boys sat in their usual circle, ready to eat their measly morsels, to be drank down by heated water. Still, more besides the usual was bothering Frank and Ray today, and it was Frank who voiced it first.
"The rations are smaller.” he said as he looked down on what could barely be called a 'bite sized' portion in his hand.
"We're running out of food." Mikey explained bluntly.
"Already?" Ray raised an eyebrow, "I mean I know we didn't have much, but I didn't think we'd have to reduce to this so soon. What about the chips? Why don't we have some of those?"
"There were barely even crumbs in it." Mikey shrugged. He then abruptly turned and asked Gerard how he was feeling, as though to say he was done speaking on the subject.
"Bullshit." Frank threw down his ration and got up, separating himself from the others.
Gerard, Mikey, and Ray all stared after him, but no one dared to try to follow him.
"I'll talk to him later." Ray muttered to the other two.
They ate their petty food, which Gerard only ended up throwing out again, and left to resume their duties.
Soon, the weather became erratic. Nights became colder. Even their Killjoy costumes were not enough to shield them from the frosty temperature, especially for those who were expected to sit outside and watch. The only solution to this was the one blanket that they had. However, it was constantly being used by one particular person.
"We should all be able to share the blanket!" Ray demanded.
"Gerard needs it!" Mikey snapped back.
"I was the one who fucking brought it from home! Therefore I should be able to use it, yes?" Ray spat.
"You'd have my brother die because you’re a little cold?!?" Mikey hissed.
"You'd put the rest of us at risk just because ---"
Mikey and Ray looked at Frank at first, assuming it had been him who piped up. Yet Frank was curled up in a ball against the wall of the cave, staring at Gerard.
"Gee?" Mikey turned to his brother.
Gerard was looking at them both, tearful and distraught. "Stop fighting, please -- just take the blanket. I- I don't want it any more."
Gerard shoved the blanket away as he said it, moving so meekly, so pitifully, that Ray's
expression instantly softened.
"No, it's okay Gerard. You may have it." he sighed, his shoulders sulked in defeat. He then turned to Mikey, his expression hardening slightly. "...but you're sitting outside with Frank tonight."
"Fine." Mikey growled, seeming as though he had not been quite ready to stop arguing. He stomped outside without another word, and Frank followed him silently.
Ray sat down next to Gerard and dealt with an awkward pause for a little while. He then turned to him and said, "You know, I know I just said all that stuff...but I still really want you to pull through. I'm just scared for the rest of us too ya know, including Mikey. I’m sure you can relate."
Gerard said nothing, but as he had such difficulty speaking lately, the lack of words did not say much. A tired Ray wrapped his arms around himself as he felt a cold breeze waft into the cavern. He closed his eyes and hoped sleep would come to him soon.
When Ray woke next, it was still night. Yet, he felt unusually warm and comfortable. He looked down to see the blanket had been wrapped around him.
“Thanks, Gee.” he muttered groggily, still too tired to say much else. He heard a slight “No problem.” before he fell back into slumber and darkness.
Next chapter: The betrayal.