A visit from Paul means a lot of stress for Gerard.
"How long was I asleep for?" He asks, rubbing his eyes.
"A couple hours." I reply.
"Oh, what time is it now?"
"It's just coming up to four, so Paul should be here any minute." At this, Gerard groans and puts his head in his hands. "What were you dreaming about?" I ask randomly. Gerard's eyes widen and he stares at me, his pink lips parted slightly.
"H-how did you know I was dreaming?"
"You're always dreaming, and I could tell by your face." I shrug.
"Well, what happened, in- in the dream?" I push, hating the way I sound asking him again, yet too curious to stop.
"Well, um, in the dream," Gerard begins in a quiet voice. "I was basically in this field of sweetcorn plants, they were all taller than me so I couldn't see over them, and um, it was like this maze thing and I was walking around trying to find the way out of the maze but I couldn't. Then I started to get really scared and I started running but I still couldn't find the way out. It was like I was just going to be stuck there forever. Eventually I began to hear you voice, and finally I saw you in between the plants but when I called out to you, you just moved further away. And every time I got closer to you, you got away... Yeah anyway, that was my dream." he says, patting his hair, seeming almost embarrassed.
"It sounds more like a nightmare." I observe.
"I've had worse." He says softly, whilst shrugging. At that moment my heart goes out to him. I know he's had worse, much worse, and not I'm just talking about dreams. I suddenly feel the urge to hug him, and I’m just about to do just that, when there's a knock on the door. I sigh and get up to let Paul in, who greets us both before taking a seat at the kitchen table when offered. He actually bothers with the pleasantries for once, asking myself and Gerard how we are, how Gerard is feeling, all of that before be becomes serious.
“The reason I've come to see you today is that I need you to identify a few people.” Paul says, looking at Gerard. He then proceeds to get out a laptop. “We have arrested some people who were working at the lab, and also the owner of the lab. I'm going to show you pictures of these eleven people, you just tell me if you can recognise any of them.” Gerard nods at this and Paul turns the laptop to show a picture of a man, he's fairly average looking with dark hair, light skin and strong cheek bones.
Paul looks at Gerard expectantly, but Gerard shakes his head, no, he doesn't recognise him. Paul presses a button and moves to the next photo. This photo is of a considerably smaller dark skinned woman with a mass of curly black hair, again Gerard shakes his head. The slide show moves on and the next picture is a slightly chubby man with dark, curly hair and olive skin. Paul moves to change to the next picture.
“Stop.” Gerard says.
“You recognise him?” Inquires Paul.
“Yes.. Yes, I do.” Gerard's speaking so quietly, his voice is barely above a whisper. He's looking down at his hands and his hair covers half his face.
“Are you sure?” Paul asks.
“Yes!” Gerard says, slightly louder than before.
“Okay, what part of the lab did you see him in?”
“I saw him in the place they did- uhh, experiments...” Gerard's voice is quiet again, even more so than before. Paul gets out a notebook and starts scribbling down something. There's a second where all that can be heard is the scratching of Paul's pen on the pad of paper, until he speaks.
“Did he do anything to you?” He asks quietly.
“Um, well, he would give me injections.” Gerard's face is almost entirely covered by his hair, I can just about see his mouth, which is twisted in a way that makes it clear he's not far off crying.
“Is that all?”
“Okay, we'll talk more about this later. Moving on.” Paul says, clicking onto the next picture. Again Gerard nods.
“Where did you see him?”
“Uhh, um, well he.. Well..” Gerard stops, frowning.
“Take your time.” Paul says, still looking at Gerard expectantly.
“I don't know, he was just everywhere. He would stand guard when they were doing experiments and stuff.” Paul nods encouragingly, all the while scribbling in his notebook. Gerard recognises the next five people as well, saying some of them have given him injections, some had tied him down and locked him up, some have force fed him and some had merely stood guard, lest he try and escape. It makes my blood boil knowing all these people did this to him. The thing that really gets me is how they all went along with it, torturing him themselves or standing by and letting it happen. Out of all the people who worked there, not one of them cared enough to help him.
Paul moves onto the tenth picture. This is a picture of a man, he looks like he could be in his mid thirties perhaps. He has mousy brown hair, blackish-brownish eyes and a harsh face. His expression is emotionless. As soon as the picture of this man appears on the screen Gerard makes a noise somewhere between a whimper and a squeak. Paul and I simultaneously turn to him to see he has pulled his legs up against his chest and is hugging them tightly.
“You recognise him?” Paul asks. Gerard nods and Paul is silent for a few seconds. Up until now Gerard has been volunteering information more and more easily, almost to the point where Paul stopped asking questions. But not now Gerard seems to have closed in on himself once again at the sight of this man, hiding his face behind his greasy bangs.
“What did he do to you? Did he hurt you?” Paul asks in a very gentle voice, his eyes a boring into Gerard a look of determination on his face. It's obvious this man has done something terrible to Gerard before, he just needs to tell us what. “What did he do to you?” Paul asks again.
“He- he hurt me...” Gerard says, his voice shaking.
“How did he hurt you?”
“He would beat me up so bad, all the time whenever I tried to get away. And sometimes he would.. he..” Gerard's voice drops even quieter and he begins to tremble. “Sometimes when no one was around, h-he would come into my cage.. I thought he was going to kill me.” Gerard whispers. I feel my heart jump in my chest. I can't stand the idea of this man hurting Gerard, well I can't stand the idea of anyone hurting him, but especially not like that. I'm filled with the urge to hunt down the man who did this right now and kill him, slowly. At the same time I'm also filled with the urge to give Gerard a massive hug and hold him until he forgets about all he's been through and never let anyone hurt him again. I decide on holding his hand. He grips back tightly but his eyes remain fixated on the floor.
Paul is sitting there with a grave expression on his face, but he makes no comment. Instead he moves along the slide show of the people, revealing the last picture. The man in this picture looks at least forty or older. He has black, gelled back hair a slightly chubby face and tanned skin.
“This is the owner of the lab.” Paul informs us, “He's denying that he had any knowledge of what was going on. Have you seen him before?” Gerard looks up quickly at the screen before he goes into hiding again. He shakes his head, no.
“Okay, thanks very much for your help Gerard.” Paul says, smiling kindly. The next half an hour after that Paul continues to ask Gerard further questions about the people he saw while he was in the lab, I can tell Gerard's getting tired and answering all these questions is obviously proving very stressful for him.
Paul must notice this because at five o'clock he finally stops the inquiry. Before he leaves he tells us Gerard must come to the morgue at twelve tomorrow to identify Mikey's body. I'm devastated by this news, I don't think Gerard can handle much more heartache. After Paul has finally left I walk into the sitting in the sofa, Gerard is sitting there, sobbing quietly. I wordlessly sit down next to him, wrapping my arms around his shoulders tightly. Gerard rests his head on my shoulder and turns towards my neck, holding me tightly. After about an hour of sitting there, Gerard's crying gradually eases off. He begin to clutch his stomach and complain that his pains are coming back. Within half an hour of that he's lying on the sofa writhing in pain, his pretty eyes screwed shut with a look of both emotional and physical pain on his face, and on top of that exhaustion. It's going to be a long night.