"Odds are that I’ll already be suspended by lunchtime." Read, review, rate and feel my love! :P
Have you ever had that feeling where everything in your gut feels like it’s working against you, like your innards are just going to jet propel out through your mouth at any given second?
Yeah, well, I’m feeling that right fucking now.
Some people might call it nerves, but I’m not a nervous kind of person; I’m Frank Iero, the ‘arrogant outcast’, as my old teacher called me, with about as much of a likelihood of being nervous as I do of sprouting wings and flying to Mars. But right now, with the New Jersey wind whistling it’s daunting tune into my radar ears in an almost menacing way, I can’t help but think that this might just be what nervousness feels like; like every fibre of my being is dragging me away from what both my head and heart are telling me must be certain doom. Away from Belleville High.
Away from my new high school, my new source of both boredom and annoyance. My old high school is part of the reason as to why Mom decided a move would be good for us; apparently dying the lab mice bright orange with iodine, flooding the staff room toilets and setting fire to the old sports’ shed isn’t acceptable behaviour from a sixteen-year-old student. Well, maybe if they weren’t going to force me to dissect one of those innocent little fluff-balls then I wouldn’t have had to make a stand against it; maybe if my teachers weren’t such dicks to me, with the exception of my music teacher, then I wouldn’t have had to extracted my revenge; maybe if sport hadn’t wrecked my life by spawning the mindless jocks who think it’s alright to beat the shit out of anyone weaker than them, so pretty much everyone, I wouldn’t have had to give it the middle finger in my own unique way.
It’s not like I was being bad just for the sake of getting a few cheap laughs and a boost of popularity for showing some form of witty courage, no; I did those things for reasons other than the stereotypical ones that the school tried to blame it on. Of course maybe arson was taking it one step too far, but what could they expect? Stamp on someone too many times and they will surely snap.
So here I am, ready to enter my new personal hell. I heard that a kid died here last week, hit by a bus is what it said on the news. I even heard, by doing some expert eavesdropping in the local record store, that some other kid pushed him. Not that I’d ever believe rumours; I’ve been the victim of them too many times to even consider following them like a lost sheep searching for the next person to blame the impending apocalypse on through fear of being blamed themselves. At my old school I even heard a rumour that I was a drug dealer. A rumour that, although extremely annoying in some places, definitely had it’s advantages. Until the principle found out, at which point it very nearly earned me a brush with the cops.
Maybe that’s why I, Frank Anthony Iero, am actually feeling something akin to nervousness; I just want to settle in and be normal for once, not have to worry about anything other than homework rather than planning how to right all of those who have wronged me purely because I’m not being wronged anymore.
Yeah, that’d be nice. To just have things like everyone else for once, to not have my mom shaking in worry every time I come home from school because of that split lip or this black eye because she knows that the odds are she’ll be getting a phone call asking me to apologize for that guy’s broken wrist or for this dude’s concussion; I might not always come out of fights with everything in functioning order, but I very rarely come out of it worse than my opponent. Because I take pride in showing the bullies that they can’t get away with hurting me or any of those too shy to stand up for themselves; kinda like Robin Hood. But punker. And without green tights.
No. I’ve got to stop glorifying it; I’ve got to stop putting my mom through all of this shit, I’ve got to just try to be normal for once. So I’m being sent to a school where a kid fucking died last Wednesday. Great plan.
I turn the last corner to Belleville High and feel my guts squirm in would-be nervousness once more, so instead of facing the towering building of bleak greyness I look down to my bright red Converse in an attempt to regain some sort of normality and/or sense of security; these bad boys have raced me away from many a sticky situation. A car zooms past me, clipping a puddle and thus splashing me with the murky water in the oh-so-glorious process.
Yep, today is definitely going to be one of Those days. The kind of day where nothing is just going to be as easy as it should be, where everyone’s going to stare at the new kid in torn-up jeans and smudgy-red eyeliner before deciding that he’s a freak who needs to be taught a lesson. Apart from that’s where they’re wrong; many others have tried to ingrain their ‘lessons’ into my skin with their mindless fists and all have failed. Failed by getting their asses handed to them by some short dude with some sort of complex about standing up for the little guy. And so the odds are that I’ll already be suspended by lunchtime. That’s just how it goes. I sure as hell don’t like it, but I’d rather try to defend myself than just take it lying down like I’ve seen so many others do. I’ll never be like that; I’ll never just let them hurt me. They’d have to kill me first.
Hang on. I’m being a tad presumptuous here, aren’t I? I mean, I don’t know the first thing about the kids at this school. For all I know they might be perfectly-
“You fucking killed him, Way! My best friend is dead. Because of you!”
“We all told him that you were a fucking creep, Way, but he didn’t listen. And now you’ve gone and killed him!” The gruff, forceful voice barks from out of nowhere and it’s enough to make even me flinch in fear; I would not like to be this ‘Way’ guy he’s referring to.
With that I hear the sound of something being impacted against, like a potato sack against a brick wall, and I can’t help but look up from my feet. Look up to see nothing but the everyday goings-on of a busy street. I should just walk on, act like I heard nothing and just cross the road to school like my mom would want me to, but I can’t. No matter how much I will my feet to move me towards my impending doom, I just can’t.
Because that wasn’t the voice of some innocent guy inflicting revenge like I so often do, no, this was the voice of some rage and sorrow fuelled monster taking out his frustration on some poor ‘Way’ guy.
“Bob, I think he’s had enough!” A new voice, this one rattled with anxiousness and rampant guilt, chimes in.
Chimes in and gives me a rough idea of the direction I need to head in should I wish to save the poor bastard who, if what I’ve heard is anything to go by, is probably getting the living daylights kicked out of him. I know that I should just find bliss in ignorance and head straight to school, for once do something right by my mother, by my future. I know full well that I should ignore everything in my mind that is telling me to go and help ‘Way’, especially seeing as one of his attackers is obviously scared for him.
I have to do something!
No. I can’t. Mom will kill me if I bunk on my first day. Dad will yell at me down the phone if he finds out I’ve been acting up again.
The guilt will kill me if I just walk on by like hearing someone getting attacked is a normal thing. Maybe in Jersey it is, but that just makes me even more disgusted with the adults who are bustling on past; if you heard two, blatantly teenage, voices yelling the things that I’ve just heard then how the hell can you just leave their victim, who is most likely another weaker teenager, to their, probably if high school has taught me anything, undeserving fate?
“Bob! Stop it! I miss Ray too, but by getting yourself arrested for murder you’re not gonna achieve anything!” The second voice is frantic by now, making my own heartbeat quicken at the thought of how bad their poor victim must be for him to sound so genuinely worried.
The voice may sound frantic, but it’s also loud. Loud enough for my years-of-headphone-use-sharpened hearing to pinpoint exactly where it’s coming form; an alley behind me and to my left a bit.
I start walking cautiously towards the opening of the alleyway, my lungs constricting in disgust at the sound of a body hitting the filthy floor; a body that doesn’t make any further sound for my overwhelmed ears to pick up on. I should stick my head around the corner, see what’s going on, but I just can’t. Fear of what I might find is keeping me glued to the cold brick wall of one of the shops that makes one side of the alley’s shelter. Shelter that’s stopping anyone from being able to see the atrocities that are so obviously going on within that hellish passage.
“Shit, Matt, he’s blacked out!” It’s the first voice, ‘Bob’, again and this time he sounds to be as terrified as his poor victim probably was before he apparently blacked out.
I’ve gotta go down there and do something; a kid could be really hurt, could be in need of an ambulance or something. Shit. What if he’s dead? What if I’ve just witnessed murder? I’ll never forgive myself if there’s a dead body down in that alley, a dead body that I could have saved with my trademark fists. But still I can’t go down there, there’s a little voice in the back of my head, some might call it common sense whereas I just call it cowardice, telling me that I can’t go down there; not until those two guys are away. If not for my own personal safety, something which I stopped caring about a very long time ago, then for that of their victim.
“Should’ve listened to me, Bryar, now we’re gonna get done for assault!” I hear ‘Matt’ sigh exasperatedly, apparently taking on the role of leader. “C’mon, we can still make it to school in time and no-one will ever even know you did anything.”
Wait. They’re just going to leave him? Let some unconscious kid fade away into the walls of some grotty old alley where God-only-knows-what could happen to his already damaged body? If I wasn’t the kid’s only hope then I would be down there giving those bastards a piece of my mind by tearing pieces out of them; but for all I know they could be armed or anything, I have to look after myself here or else there’ll be nobody to look after their victim.
“Don’t look at me like that, Bryar. You said it yourself; he as good as killed Ray. We gotta leave him. Besides, if we’re any later for school then we’ll get stuck in detention for the rest of the week.”
Hold up. Between the two of them they’ve managed to beat someone to the point of blacking out and all this ‘Matt’ character cares about is getting into trouble at school? I think that I might actually be sick. What kind of school has my mom sent me to?
Before I can even get my head around that, quite simply, frighteningly appalling thought two kids rush past me, one running so fast that I barely register the black and white blur that his speed has mutated him into; the other though, a boy somewhat reminiscent of a blonde teddy bear, is going just slow enough for me to be able to make out the tears that are reluctantly sliding down his face. Tears that tell me he is remorseful for this, even if he is fleeing the scene he is definitely feeling guilty and that’s worse than any punch I might be able to give him; the knowledge that, for all he knows, he could have killed a kid.
I hear a muffled cry slur into my ears from down the end of the alley, something akin to the broken meow of a car-hit kitten, and my Converse are instantly scurrying down the dimly lit, despite the fact that it’s nine in the morning, alley to where I can see a broken pile of kid. A kid who is definitely not a killer. If anything he looks like some sort of fallen angel; all pale skin and willowy limbs, limbs that are splayed out all over the place like he’s just been thrown to the ground as though he’s an unwanted ragdoll in the hands of a tantrumming toddler.
His face… it’s all bloody and bruised; completely wrecked. Even worse than I’ve ever been after a fight. Apart from this was definitely not anywhere close to a fight. This was just victimizing a kid, a skinny and weak-looking boy at that, beating up someone who probably couldn’t have fought back if he had wanted to. His shirt’s torn to reveal his eerily white skin underneath; white skin that is splattered with blood like someone’s let a baby loose on a perfectly pristine canvas with a pot of red paint.
He looks so young, way younger than me but his height tells me that he must be at least my age even though his battered face screams the innocence and naivety of someone far younger. Too young to be lolling in and out of consciousness like his agonized groans announce that he is. Everything about him is making me ache to just scoop him up in my arms and cuddle him until he’s capable of telling me to fuck off; I’ve always had a soft spot for the vulnerable, especially when they’re as enchantingly adorable as this poor kid quite clearly would be with the absence of his blood staining his own skin like a horrible rash of harsh brutality.
No. I can think about how undeniably adorable this kid may or may not be once I’ve made sure that he’s alright, or at least not in need of the ambulance that I am sorely tempted to call for.
I drop to my knees next to his sprawled form, taking note of how laboured his obviously excruciated breaths are; how anyone, even his attackers, could leave him like this is completely beyond me.
Or rather, I wish it was. They were just being human, just leaving it to someone else to get their hands dirty in order to avoid punishment just like any other pitiful member of my species most likely would do too. Like I probably would have if I didn’t have this thing about sticking up for people. I think it’s because I used to be the constant victim until I learnt how to take care of myself, it changed me; made me see that if I don’t help out people, then nobody else probably will because everyone else thinks that someone else will do it for them and then that someone else becomes nobody at all.
Another groan rolls from his blood-puffed lips and pushes me from my thoughts; poor fucking kid. I slowly reach a hand out to his shoulder, shaking it slowly and then almost falling flat on my back when his eyes shoot open as though I’ve just shocked him with the highest number of volts possible. Poor guy looks absolutely terrified.
“Hey, it’s alright, they’re gone. You’re safe now.” I offer him a warm smile as he tries to back away from me, a look of pure terror burning away at those stunningly deep pools of vision; pools that I don’t think I’d mind drowning in all that much. “Calm down; you’re gonna be alright.”
I move to get closer to him once more, but he lets out a little yelp made from a vile cocktail of both agony and fear in equal measure. Of course he’s going to be fucking scared; he just got attacked, you stupid bastard!
But I’ve got to get close to him, I have to make sure that he’s not about to pass out again and if he is, at least be able to help him properly. I don’t know what it is about this bunny-eyed boy, but his whole demeanour is telling me one thing with such a clarity that not even a conman would be able to disguise it; this boy needs protection, needs a friend and I’m going to be both of those things. Not just whilst I’m helping him through the state that this attack has left him, but forever.
If he’ll just stop shaking long enough for me to introduce myself.
“Please…” He coughs out, making me flinch at how strained his petrified little whimper sounds; like all of the suffering in this world has been bonded together to make that one, excruciated sound. “Please, don’t hurt me.”
“Of course not, Kid!” I gesture wildly out to the side, as if showing him my empty hands will make him believe that which I doubt I would if was in his position. “I just wanna help you. Be your friend.” He stares at my soft smile sceptically, as though he heartbreakingly expects me to start laughing at him and/or punch him straight in the face. Two things that I’d never do; I feel close to tears at his helplessly pitiful state and the one thing I really want to do right now is hug him, not punch him. Never punch him. Just help him. “I’m Frank, Frank Iero.”
I give him my brightest grin, which is somewhat of a struggle considering that my heart’s breaking for the broken kid, and hold out a hand for him to shake. He eyes it wearily, blood still trickling down his forehead like a ruthless waterfall of spite.
Every part of me, aside from my reassuring smile, drops when he just tries to shift back once more even though he’s already up against the alley wall.
“Gonna tell me your name? I mean, it’s kinda hard to be friends with someone if you don’t know their name.” I emphasise the word ‘friend’, relishing how his eyes dare to shine with a smudge of hope from behind his cracked glassed, and hold out my hand once more; before I can even think about helping the poor guy I’ve got to get him to trust me, get it so that he doesn’t look like he’s about to work himself up into a panic at any given moment.
After a few seconds of analysing my hand and deciding that it probably isn’t a threat, he gently takes it in his own trembling paw of pain; neither of us having the guts to shake it because he’s obviously far too shy for someone as good-looking as he is and I’m too scared of hurting him to do anything with it. So we just sit there, hand in hand on the alley floor, taking one another in as though it’s the most normal thing in the world.
Like it’s the most amazing thing to ever happen to him. Because I don’t think that anyone’s been this nice to the kid in way too long.
His fingers feel all cold in my hand, like the slender icicles of a frozen angel, and I wince at how reluctant his grip is; but it’s contact nonetheless. Contact that sends little shivers up my spine for reasons that I can’t afford to dwell on right now, he needs me to help him, not act like some sort of weird perverted punk-kid.
Well, it’s not like he’s letting go of my hand either. I think that he just wants to not feel alone, not that I can blame him after what he’s just been through.
“I’m Mikey Way.” He squeaks so quickly and quietly that I have to strain to hear it, but I’m not about to make him repeat it; not when he’s obviously too introverted for speech to be something easy for him. Not when he’s already so emotionally drained and in need of comfort.
“So tell me, Mikey Way, feel like bunking-off with a friend?”
A/N: Thank you very much for reading and I hope that it was alright! I struggled with this chapter, so sorry if it was crappy. Thanks for reading and please review! :)