FRERARD! Frank; the sarcastic outcast. Gerard; the arrogant misfit. Both know what it's like to live in the shadows. Is it true there's only a fine line between love and hate? ...
Trying To Escape The Inevitable
The all too familiar sour, metallic taste of scarlet blood and fear smothers my taste buds, dribbling from the corner of my chapped lips and onto the grimy grey surface of the sidewalk that cuts into the soft flesh of my cheek as I’m dragged roughly along, the uneven concrete gouging deep gashes in my vulnerable skin, tugging and tearing at the weak flesh until it burns raw and red.
My blood is staining the cold, grey sidewalk like the scarlet tears I refuse to shed from all the vicious fists and venomous words that burn my wounds like acid, as the shreds of my schoolbooks float down around me like macabre confetti.
“Please…stop…” I protest feebly, my pleading voice only a pathetic whisper through the blur of brutal blows that bruise my ribs and scar my emotions, but it’s heard, earning an extra hard kick to my stomach.
Gasping desperately for the breath that’s been knocked out of me, I try and struggle up, ignoring the fierce stinging of my burst lip that’s still trickling a crimson stain down my pale skin.
“Where the fuck do you think you’re going, freak?” one of my attackers spits, and I’m suddenly thrown back against the bleak sidewalk with such force, I feel my wrist crack beneath me, ribs contorting at the impact.
Defeated, I curl up into a tiny ball in the gutter, letting the tainted scents of hurt and blood and fear at sting my nose, the dull, polluted city air scratch at my throat every time I draw a shuddery breath, just waiting for the relentless blows battering my broken body to cease.
The scarlet stream seeping into my mouth is bitter with shame as icy grey droplets fall from the murky sky above me, stinging my freshly hacked wounds and mingling with the scarlet blood like icy tears of injustice.
The blood and rain are obscuring my vision, everything just a dull blur of raucous laughter, pain, incessant blows and bitter wind lashing at my raw face.
But it’s easier that way.
I can’t see the triumphant cruelty and vindictive brutality in the eyes of my attackers.
And if I can’t see them, I can kinda kid myself that they can’t see me either, curled up in a pathetic, defeated ball in the grimy gutter, waiting for the torture to end.
What feels like hours later, I’m sitting, battered and broken on the edge of the chewing gum speckled sidewalk, trying to salvage the remains of my shredded schoolbooks that are soggy and limp in the damp gutter, a greyish mush amongst the stubbed out cigarette ends and empty cans of Monster energy drink.
The street is deserted now, bleak and grey in the misty winter drizzle that seeps through the thin, torn fabric of my black hoodie and right into my bones, making me shiver as I stuff what’s left of my school stuff back into my battered schoolbag, hands red and raw from the bitter cold that wraps around me with icy fingertips.
I must look so fucking clichéd; the typical teenage outcast dressed all in black with dyed hair and body piercings, bleeding, beaten up sitting in the grimy gutter as the icy winter rain crashes down around me like salty tears of the bleak sky.
I’m just the classic stereotypical outcast who’s into black clothes and rock music and who no one gives a fuck about; a looser, a misfit, the one who’s always picked last for gym, the one who likes music and make-up rather than football and alcohol, probably the only kid in the school who’s a vegetarian and refuses to eat the disgusting meat in the school canteen, and the short, skinny kid with dyed-black hair who started a petition in science to use teachers to dissect instead of rats.
Of course, that didn’t sit too well with the teachers, but what they do never sits well with me either. Can’t they see how much people like me are picked on? We’re everywhere; the lost and alone, the different, but we’re like shadows to them because they’re too scared to look, really look at the world and see reality.
I just sit there for a few moments on the freezing sidewalk, gazing up into the darkening December sky and contemplating my existence.
“Umm…are you alright?” I jump and look around to see a tall guy about my age looking down at me with concerned blue eyes and strawberry blonde stubble peeking out from his black hood. He looks vaguely familiar, possibly from one of my classes at the never-ending hell everyone calls school, or the torture your parents call education.
Personally, I can’t see much difference between the two- spending six hours in a prison-like building with several hundred pupils who hate your guts and would happily see you hung by the goalposts in the sports field isn’t really my idea of fun. Or education, for that matter. I don’t really see what you learn from that, other than to hate school with a passion.
“Um, I’m fine.” I mumble, ducking behind my scruffy fringe and getting hurriedly to my feet, wincing as a sharp pain shoots through my swollen wrist, a dull ache dragging at my bruised ribs.
“…You sure? You don’t look it..” the guy says tentatively, pushing a strand of sandy hair behind his ear with a gloved hand and eyeing my bruised face anxiously.
“I’m fucking fine!” I snarl defensively, pulling my schoolbag over my shoulder and trying not to wince at the shooting pain in my left wrist.
“But-” the guy starts before I cut him off harshly, ashamed and humiliated.
“I don’t need your fucking sympathy, okay? I’m fine!” I snap, turning away and limping as fast as I can down the deserted, darkened, rainy Jersey street without looking back.
I walk furiously for a few moments, icy rain stinging my raw cheeks, bitter wind whipping through my scruffy dyed-black hair, teeth chattering violently as I huddle into my hoodie, trying to block out the throbbing pain from my ribs and my swollen wrist.
It’s easier enough to bear- I’ve had plenty of practice and had a lot worse; apparently the captain of the school football team doesn’t appreciate being told that football is more pointless than Mr. Evan’s maths lessons.
That time, I very nearly was hung from the goalposts.
Seriously, what’s so bad about not being obsessed with kicking a bit of leather round a muddy field with a bunch of morons?
After two blocks of furious walking, I start to feel the beginnings of guilt trickling through my protective shell, regretting snapping at the guy- he was only trying to help…after all, it’s not his fault I got beat up by the biggest bullies in the school, not his fault I’m not strong enough to defend myself or stand up to them.
No wonder no one at school likes me; I mean, anyone who even tries to be nice to me, I just push away and snap at because I’m ashamed of myself, humiliated that I can’t stand up for myself, so I’m stupid enough to try and deal with five football jocks pummelling me into the ground all by myself.
I’m just too fucking stubborn to let anyone help me or feel sorry for me.
And why should they, anyway? I’m just the scruffy, skinny, sarcastic little punk kid with emphasis on the ‘little’ who slumps at the back of class and won’t talk to anyone, chucks paper aeroplane bats at the teacher’s backs and scrawls The Misfit lyrics on the desks. Why should anyone bother to be nice to me? It’s not like I make the effort to be nice to them.
I don’t blame them for pretending I don’t exist, for letting me live in the shadows and not having anything to do with me. I mean, if I had any choice, I wouldn’t have anything to do with me either, but seeing as I am me, I guess that would be kinda difficult.
All the fight’s gone out of me now, all the anger drained away like the blood that seeped from my wounds; I just feel exhausted, exhausted of endless school days, of endless stinging remarks and venomous words that gouge into me more painfully than the kicks and punches, exhausted of doing it all alone.
I’m exhausted of pretending I’m okay.
The walk home seems endless, my schoolbag weighing heavily on my back, the strap cutting into my shoulder, my feet aching as they trudge through the murky puddles of dirty rainwater that collect in the cracks on the street of the main road, the dull, polluted fumes issuing from the endless queues of cars crammed along the bleak roads, their tainted exhaust fumes curling up into the bleakness of the murky sky, staining it with reality.
By the time I finally reach my front door on the outskirts of the town, the sky is almost dark, the rain heavier, trickling down my face and the skeletal trees decorated with tiny red winter berries that line the deserted, grey street. I take a deep breath and wipe my hand around my face, trying to remove any traces of blood, wincing slightly as the harsh material of my fingerless gloves snags the grazed skin.
I fumble in my jeans pocket for my keys and unlock the front door with shaky hands numb from the bitter December air, stepping into the comforting warmth of the cosy hall and shutting the door behind me on the bleak harshness of the world.
The dark green carpet is soft on my weary feet after I kick off my soggy converse and chuck my schoolbag down by the shoe rack, the house comfortingly silent after the hiss of icy wind rushing through my hair and bitter rain lashing at my cheeks; only the faint sounds of the radio and cooking are coming from the kitchen down the hall, the golden glow of light seeping from the doorway and into the darkened hall.
“Frank, is that you?” Mom’s voice floats through from the direction of the kitchen as I kick my shoes under the shoe rack.
“…Yeah.” I sigh, pulling of my rain-drenched hoodie and hanging it up before sloping wearily towards the stairs.
“Hold on a minute, Frank- come in here.” Mom calls and I sigh, turning reluctantly back towards the kitchen.
It’s warm and homely, the radio burbling in the corner, the familiar smell of pasta and garlic bread filling the room, steaming up the glass of the windows, obscuring the bitter outside, as I lean against the doorframe, the comforting familiarity tugging at my heart, stripping down my protective shell and making me feel lost and vulnerable.
It suddenly seems like a very long time since I was the mischievous, bright-eyes kid who accidentally stuck three green pancakes to the kitchen ceiling one Christmas.
“Dinner’s going to be ready in half an hour, I-” Mom says, cutting through my reminiscent thoughts, but stopping short as she turns round and catches sight of me. “Frank?” she says, voice full of concern as I try and hide behind my hair.
“What?” I mutter, looking away from the faint green pancake-related stains on the kitchen ceiling and shaking my damp fringe in front of my wounds.
“You’ve got blood on your face…are you being picked on again?” Mom frowns, coming over, honey-brown eyes wide with worry.
“No, I’m fine Mom..” I mumble as she peels back my fringe and winces.
“I’m fine, Mom!” I snap, pulling away and stomping up the stairs, leaving the warm kitchen and nostalgic memories behind.
Once I’m safely inside my room with the door slammed shut behind me, I chuck a Black Flag CD into the stereo, turn the volume up full blast, punch play and wrench open my wardrobe door to pick out some dry skinnies and my favourite warm Misfits hoodie.
I pull them on, still shivering, wishing I could peel away my injuries along with my rain-soaked clothes, and peer at myself in the mirror.
A short, skinny boy with wide, russety green eyes, a stubborn expression and a silver lip ring stares back at me, his dyed-black fringe plastered to his face from the rain, one of the several gashes on his cheeks still dribbling crimson down his pale skin.
I restrain myself from throwing something hard at the boy in the mirror only because the last thing I need right now is seven years more bad luck- I’ve already had nearly sixteen, which, if you ask me, is enough for a lifetime.
I sigh heavily, my breath steaming up the mirror and blurring the reflection of the boy cowering inside the mirror.
My eyes suddenly sweep over my room, catching sight of the worn-out guitar in the corner of my room beside all my haphazardly stacked CDs and music magazines, and I leave the misfit I loath so much in the mirror to scoop it up and sit down on my unmade bed, trying to ignore the stabbing pain shooting through my left wrist.
My numb fingers flow over the cords automatically, caressing the strings, letting the raw notes that issue from my battered old guitar fill my cluttered room, loosing myself in the music that tugs at my heart, the shooting pain in my wrist fading as the powerful chords overwhelm me.
Suddenly, there’s a loud, abrupt knock at my bedroom door making me start back into reality, leaving the world of musical notes and chords and dreams behind once more, my wrist’s ache returning to full strength.
“Come in.” I mutter, stowing my guitar under my bed just as the door bangs open and a sudden amount of indigo blue hair, Suicide Silence t-shirt and jasmine-scented rebellion is thrown at me in a fierce hug that just about shatters what’s left of my ribs.
“Frank! Where the fuck were you?!” the person who’s just crushed my ribs cries indignantly, pulling back and punching me crossly with a steely, stripy, fingerless-gloved fist.
“Oww!” I protest, rubbing at my already bruised shoulder and looking up into the bright emerald green eyes of possibly the only teenager in New Jersey who doesn’t hate my guts and want to see me brutally murdered by a bunch of football jocks with brains the size of their dicks.
In other words, you’d need a microscope to see them.
“Where were you?!” she repeats indignantly, shaking her bright blue fringe out of her eyes and fixing me with a death glare.
“Nowhere.” I mutter, not meeting the all-too knowing eyes of my best friend, fellow misfit, worshipper of Suicide Silence and destroyer of all rules.
“Bullshit, Frank.” Ocean rolls her purple kohl-rimmed eyes at me.
I shrug at her, picking up my guitar again with my good hand and starting to strum softly at the strings.
“Oww!” I yelp as she grabs hold of my rain-drenched hair and pulls.
Seriously, for someone who’s supposed to be my best friend, she’s just about as violent as the guys from school. Actually, more so- the one time they tried to beat me up and she was on the scene, things took an extremely nasty turn.
For them, not me; they very, very stupidly just thought of her as another pathetic ‘emo’ girl…after she singlehandedly fought them all off, managing to give two of them nosebleeds and another mild concussion, I’m inclined to believe they may have changed their attitudes towards her.
Sadly, they do not take well to being beaten by girls, and took their anger out on me the next day at the hell hole.
Of course, Ocean just has to go to a different school from me- if she didn’t, I’m pretty sure I can safely say I’d never have spend Friday afternoon sprawled on the sidewalk outside school being pounded into a bloody pulp just for wearing a Black Flag hoodie or red eyeliner.
“Where were you, Frank?” Ocean persists, putting her hands across the guitar so I can’t play.
“Walking home from school.” I reply monotonously, trying to remove her determined hand from the fret board.
“For two hours?” Ocean says sceptically. “C’mon Frankie, I’m not fucking stupid…you were meant to meet me at Starbucks straight after school and we both know full well you wouldn’t miss coffee for the world. In fact, you’d probably willingly hand me over to a rapist for a Starbucks.”
“I had detention.” I lie, ashamed to admit the truth as I’m pretty sure I’ll get berated for not standing up to them. It’s alright for her- no one would dare piss her off with her snakebites, purple eyeliner, spiky choker and steely jade eyes, but for some unfair reason, I seem to practically have a sign over my head saying ‘Pick on me!’.
Seriously, if Ocean wasn’t my best friend and hadn’t been since we met in preschool, fighting over the sandpit, I’d be fucking terrified of her.
Even as it is, I don’t like to get on the wrong side of her.
Ocean raises her carefully arched eyebrows. “Frank. You always text me when you’re in detention.”
“I had no credit.” I say stubbornly, still not meeting her sceptical eyes.
“Frankie…” Ocean sighs, reaching up towards my face. I flinch, but she just pushes back my scruffy black fringe surprisingly gently, tucking the dishevelled, rain-soaked strands behind my ear.
Her emerald eyes cloud as they sweep over my grazed face, my burst lip, the gash on my cheek still dribbling crimson down my bruised flesh. I look down at my lap, cheeks burning with humiliation.
“Oh Frank…” She sighs, letting my hair fall back across my injuries. “Why d’you let them do it?”
Anger that’s been building up all week prickles my insides with a thousand little red hot needles, clashing with the hurt and shame like oil and water. “I don’t LET them do it!” I growl, snatching the guitar away from her as the irrational anger bubbles up inside me like boiling blood. “Do you think I fucking want them to?! Do you think I’d let them do it if I could stop them?! Do you think I fucking LIKE getting beaten up every week?!” I yell, jumping to my feet without even noticing. “Do you think I like being alone at school all the time with no who gives a flying FUCK about me?!” my voice is getting louder, and it’s a pretty good thing my stereo’s playing so loud or my Mom would be getting seriously worried. The last time there was yelling from my room, Ocean had tried unsuccessfully piercing her own tongue with one of my safety pins.
“I’m sick of it all! Sick of pretending I’m okay all the time so as I don’t worry people! SICK!” I realise I’m screaming now, feeling almost separate from myself as the anger bubbles through me and I pick up my guitar, flinging it across the room with all my might, yelping in agony as a raw pain rips through my injured wrist, bringing me crashing back into reality.
I slump down against the foot of the bed, trembling, hair falling across my face, hugging my knees close to my chest as if I’m trying to hold my broken self together.
There’s silence for a moment, and then I feel Ocean sitting down beside me.
“Sorry.” She says quietly, nibbling at her snakebites, sounding almost uncertain for once in her life. I guess it’s not every day you see your best friend chuck his most prized possession across the room.
I shake my head wordlessly. “S’not your fault.” I mutter dismissively, suddenly feeling ashamed; I very rarely lose it like that.
“Is it your wrist?” Ocean asks, pulling my clenched hand onto her lap and examining my swollen wrist.
I nod, teeth clenched as she moves it carefully around.
“It feels like it’s twisted…let me bandage it, yeah?” Ocean says, getting up and looking round my room for something to use.
I don’t bother arguing with her, just sit where I am, wishing for the billionth time since Ocean accidentally on purpose set her Chemistry partner (who had very stupidly called me an ‘emo faggot’ in front of her) on fire in middle school that her Dad hadn’t sent her to a very strict all girls school in the hope it wouldn’t straighten her out.
Like that fucking worked anyway- she went there with mousy brown hair and freckles and good grades… now she’s got several million piercings, bright blue hair and bottom marks in every class apart from Drama. She also may or may not have been responsible for a small explosion during a recent class assembly.
So, a strict all girls school? A good idea? I think not.
Fifteen minutes later I’m sitting wrapped up in my duvet sipping from a steaming mug of coffee, wrist bandaged, singing along to Green Day with Ocean, wishing that my clichéd, fucked-up life could be as easily fixed with a hot drink and a bandage.
Unfortunately, Ocean is forced to leave ten minutes later due to the fact dinner is on the table and my stepfather, Steve, has some ‘important news’.
“That’s what my Dad said when he was about to announce he was sending me to the all girls school.” Ocean grins, pulling on her buckled black biker boots as I unlock the front door for her.
“I wish Steve was sending me to an all girls school…” I sigh as she shrugs on her safety-pin adorned leather jacket. “Girls aren’t violent…apart from you.”
“I’m unique.” Ocean grins, shivering as she steps out into the dark rain.
“That’s one word for it…” I say sarcastically.
“Hey, you love me really.” She teases, pulling her crimson hood up over her indigo curls and waving at me.
“Yeah, yeah…” I roll my eyes at her as she sets off down the darkened street.
But honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without her.
She’s always there for me, even all the times I snap at her and yell at her and push her away- she’s always stuck with me, terrorising the bullies, destroying whatever school she’s at, making me laugh at myself and giving me the guts to try new stuff. I guess she might be the one person I actually trust.
But I still don’t feel she always understands…she’s never had to put up with any shit cause no one would ever dare pick on her. Sometimes, I wish I had someone who understands what it’s like to live in the shadows and never be allowed to be you.
“Frank!” Mom’s voice floats through from the kitchen, cutting off my thoughts and making me sigh, shutting the door with my uninjured hand and going through into the warmth of the kitchen.
The pine table’s set properly, pasta dished out onto the best blue plates. It makes me uneasy; usually we eat in the living room in front of the TV…the last time we all had dinner as a family, Mom and Steve announced they were getting married, and that was over a year ago.
“What’s going on?” I ask suspiciously, sitting down at the end of the table opposite Steve, who’s wearing his usual suit and tie work clothes and a slightly apprehensive smile.
“Steve and I have something we need to tell you..” Mom says, sitting down and picking up her knife and fork.
“What is it?” I say slightly apprehensively, looking from Mom to Steve.
“Never mind that now…how was school?” Mom asks, offering me the bowl of salad.
“Fine.” I say monotonously, toying with my pasta.
“Are you sure, Frank? You haven’t seemed yourself for ages…” Mom and Steve are both looking at me, Mom’s eyes full of honey-brown worry, Steve’s grey and mildly concerned.
To my horror, I suddenly feel a lump rising in my throat, and take a large gulp of water to squash it.
This is why I hate family sit-down meals.
It’s much easier to hide how you feel when you don’t have to speak.
“I’m fine.” I repeat gruffly, shovelling pasta into my mouth, but not tasting anything but the bitter taste of hurt and shame and the remains of metallic blood, making me want to gag.
“Sure? Cause if people are-”
“I don’t want to talk about it, Mom.” I cut her off, not looking up at either of them from under my fringe.
“Oh…okay..” Mom backtracks, sounding slightly hurt.
“What were you wanting to talk to me about?” I ask, putting down my fork, stomach queasy with nerves.
“Well, Frank…you know I have two sons, Gerard and Mikey?” Steve starts, digging into his steaming plate of pasta.
“Mmm?” I reply, not touching my food; my stomach’s started to churn anxiously at the mention of their names. The only time I met them was a couple of years back, on possibly the worst day of my life; the day Ocean told me she was leaving, the day a nasty incident involving a lot of blood, the captain of the school football team, some hockey sticks and a bottle of unwisely distributed vodka occurred.
Steve was driving past the school with his sons in the car when he spotted me being trampled and battered into the pavement with hockey sticks by the not entirely sober guys from the football team, which would perhaps have looked comical in cartoon form, but extremely gruesome and gory in reality.
I don’t remember much that happened after that, apart from the bright lights of the nearest hospital, but do vaguely I remember the older one helping me into the car and covering me in a black leather jacket, telling me not to let them win, and the younger one mopping my cuts with trembly hands.
Right now, I really do not need the two people that remind me of the worst day of my life that has left me physically and emotionally scarred to this day. I have enough to contend with.
“Well…they’re…um…they’re coming to live with us for a bit.” Steve finishes, not looking up at me and becoming suddenly very busy with his dinner.
Mom stops eating and looks at me with wide, honey-brown eyes.
My stomach’s writhing sickeningly, churning acid horror. “What?”
“Um…tomorrow..” Steve adds, now positively eating at the speed of light.
A heavy, awkward silence hangs over the kitchen for a few moments as I take in the words that linger in the air.
“Tomorrow?!” I cry, shattering the silence in the kitchen and making Steve choke on his pasta. “Why the fuck didn’t you tell me?!”
“We didn’t…we weren’t sure…we thought…well-” Steve stutters, grappling for his glass of water.
“Well thanks a fucking lot.” I snarl, pushing back my chair violently and storming from the room, ignoring Mom’s protests and slamming the kitchen door, followed by my bedroom door behind me, before throwing myself down on my window seat, gazing out into the bleak grey winter rain that dribbles down the window like silent tears, breathing heavily.
Can’t anything in this fucked-up world go my way for once?
Well there you go…chapter one of my new story! What did you think? I’m aware it wasn’t the most cheerful chapter, but it just kinda had to be that way for now…you’ll meet the lovely Mikey and Gerard in the next chapter xD so...yeah- if you want me to post more and continue, R&R and I will! thank you so much for reading- i was really nervous about posting a new story after writing You'll Never Fit In Much, Kid for so long, so I'd really appreciate it if you could take the time to tell me what you thought. Love you guys!!