“Punk,” Frank repeated, trying the syllable out in his mouth. It felt new and slightly scary, but it sent little thrills of adrenaline through him as he said it.
Summer was drawing to a close. The everlastingly golden days were slowly starting to dwindle; the balmy, whispering breeze was becoming coarse and hissing, while the liquid amber sunsets fell closer and closer together, as if they were scared of being alone.
The meandering countryside was almost completely deserted; nothing but endless fields of flowering grass dusk, mingling with the slightly chilly glow of the setting sun, casting dust particles like fireflies to lament softly over the river.
Two lone silhouettes sat on the rickety wooden bridge arched over the almost blood-like gurgle of time in the stream, soft murmurs of conversation ebbing out into the satin, sun-ghosted silence.
A strange kind of charisma rustled between their gently cast shadows; the smiles of a carefree, daydreaming soul and the violently-etched fear of a soul living in fear. They mingled surprisingly fittingly together, despite the contrast, complimenting and completing each other.
Feet dangled over the burble of the silver water, dancing gracefully with the fireflies and the haze of pollen that hummed across the fields.
“I wish I could dance like the fireflies,” the carefree silhouette murmured, twirling her feet towards the rushes sloping up the river bank. Dark curls framed her face, flitting gently out in the mumbling breeze like angel’s cobwebs.
She turned to look at the dark silhouette hunched beside her. “You should write a poem about them,” she said softly. “You know, ‘escapist’s beating wings’ and…I don’t know- you’re the poet.”
“I’m not a poet,” the cowering silhouette mumbled from behind his quivering midnight hair.
“You could be,” the smiling silhouette said lightly. “You could be anything.”
The scared silhouette stayed silent. There was a horribly potent kind of sadness threaded into his shadow, as if he knew his life was about be stitched into a nightmare, as if these were his last, few moments of tranquillity.
They were. It was the last day of the school summer holidays. The last day of freedom. The last day of harmony.
The last day of being safe.
The Taste of Rebellion
Frank dragged his feet through the woods to school the following morning. Heavy rain fell in jagged grey beads, soaking their serrated ice through the muddy forest floor and carving their way down the copiously moss-encrusted trees that rustled their remaining leaves anxiously in the astringent breeze.
He felt restless and disjointed, somehow; although he could not see why. The wind gnawed at his bones with its hissing fangs of rain, agitated and impatient, almost as though it was waiting for something.
It was freezing; pure ice slicing at Frank’s skin as he trudged restively through the riddling of clawing branches and muddy amber leaves that squelched dolefully as his regulation school shoes shuffled through their damp cadavers. The sorrow of winter was setting in, bitter and bleak and untimely- it was only October.
Frank took his time walking to the bus stop. He wandered dreamily though the woods, even though the rain was so cold it felt as though it was hooking talons of ice right into his skeleton. He watched the rain with interest, thinking that the way it fell was as if there was someone, somewhere, who was crying. Someone who needed to be heard.
He pondered this as he shuffled down the winding, overgrown path, schoolbag bumping on his back as the rain fell in shivering grey sheets, filling the woods with the soft crackle and dribble and muddy, slightly sludgy rustle of Frank’s trailing footsteps.
Usually, Frank was a very organised and reliable person, but for once, he really didn’t care about being at school on time or missing the bus at all. It all seemed so…irrelevant. He felt like dreaming, letting his mind wander and linger where it wanted- something he hadn’t done for far too long.
Despite his meandering route through thoughts and the woodland, Frank didn’t miss the bus; it was sitting irritably at the stop, chugging great lungfuls of murky fumes out into the grey rain when, soaked in the tears of the clouds and shivering violently, Frank trudged his way out of the forest, glasses smeary from the vicious rain.
Sighing, he clambered his way on board and, after flashing his bus pass at the jowly driver, slouched uncharacteristically sloppily towards his usual seat, rain-dampened curls of hair flopping across his glasses.
The bus seemed unusually quiet; there were only a few other people on board, but Frank was secretly pleased; it gave him time to just let his thoughts unfold into their complex cobwebs and for him to watch the tears of rain dribbling listlessly down the window as they trundled along.
As the bus gathered speed and Frank had wiped his rain-spattered glasses clean, he found his thoughts drifting towards the news of the escaped convict that had flashed across the screen of the TV last night, wondering just what it was that Gerard Way had done and why his father still seemed to think he was a kid. It pissed him off and frustrated it, because if there was one thing Frank hated, it was not knowing stuff.
“’Sup, Frankfurter.” A cheeky voice jerked Frank unceremoniously from his thoughts and he started almost guiltily, looking away from the window to see a grinning, green-haired boy sitting casually in the vacant seat beside him, chipping away at the neon pink and yellow varnish on his bitten-down nails.
“Oh, hi Robbie,” Frank smiled politely, shaking himself from his reverie and turning away from the blurred rust and rain and greying green of the October countryside.
Robbie was in Frank’s year at school, but in somewhat different a social group; with his violently green hair, snakebites and stripy pink and white skinny jeans adaption of the school uniform, Robbie was very possibly the wildest, most reckless of all the punks.
Normally, Frank wouldn’t even have acknowledged someone like Robbie’s presence, but he’d known the green-haired teenager since they’d both attended the tiny village primary school together and Robbie’s hair had been a normal mousy brown.
Also, although he’d never admit it to anyone, there was something about Robbie’s very blunt, honest manner and cheerful rebellion that Frank liked and almost envied. He seemed so relaxed and free.
“How’s it going man? I’ve not spoken to you in fucking ages,” Robbie swore cheerfully, tucking a stray strand of vivid emerald hair behind a heavily pierced ear. “I thought I’d come speak to you seeing as there’s almost no one else here today. You don’t mind, do you?”
“Not at all,” Frank replied with a small smile. He’d have probably said exactly the same thing if he had minded, but he was actually sort of stupidly flattered that someone as outgoing and respected as Robbie- no matter how wacky- was talking to him. Sometimes, it was nice to talk to someone who really didn’t give a fuck whether they’d gotten an A in their latest Chemistry exam or not.
“Awesome,” Robbie grinned, bearing his pointy teeth in a manic grin. “So, how’s it hanging?”
“Uh, fine I guess,” Frank shrugged, pushing the sigh out of his answer.
However, Robbie was uncannily observant with eyes like a hawk when it came to people. Frank should have remembered this from when, during his eighth birthday party, Robbie had warned Frank that the latter looked as though he was going to puke. Frank had stubbornly insisted he was fine, and consequently, the party had ended on a slightly half-digested note.
“What’s up, dude?” Robbie probed, leaning closer to Frank and poor Frank got a whole lungful of stale vodka and strong smoke.
Frank shrugged, trying not to choke on the smoky taste of rebellion.
“Bored of your rule-abiding little life?” Robbie grinned, eyes twinkling devilishly as he raised an eyebrow adorned with several studs.
Frank felt himself blush and mumbled something unintelligible, picking at a loose thread on the sleeve of his grey and navy Prefects blazer.
“Hey, it’s not a crime to be bored by constantly getting A grades, Frankfurter,” Robbie laughed carelessly, putting his feet up on the headrest of the seat in front and getting an angry look from the bus driver, to whom he waved cheerfully.
“I’m not bored of getting A grades,” Frank replied stoutly, but the second the words were off his tongue, he suddenly realised, with a jolt, that they were a downright lie.
Robbie raised the other eyebrow, which, unless Frank was very much mistaken, was dyed in polka dots of turquoise.
“I’m not!” Frank squeaked.
“Sure thing, Frankfurter,” Robbie grinned, looking as though his bright blue eyes could see right through Frank’s squeaky-clean exterior and see the blackened frustration churning underneath it, threatening to tarnish everything.
“Please don’t call me Frankfurter,” Frank said, but he could feel a small smile starting to tug at the corners of his lips. “I’m not a sausage.”
Robbie smirked widely and glanced very obviously at Frank’s crotch before saying. “Okay,” and re-adjusting his violet lip-ring.
Frank thought his cheeks might actually burn up. He wasn’t used to people like Robbie. He was used to polite, rule-abiding people with perfect grades and perfect reputations- he didn’t know how to react to someone who was as out-there as Robbie.
“So,” Robbie continued, as if the last few moments hadn’t just happened. “You’re bored of having that squeaky-clean little reputation?”
“Not…exactly…” Frank mumbled, ducking his head.
“What you wanna try,” Robbie grinned, leaning closer so Frank could see his hypnotic turquoise eyes glitter with recklessness. “Is something new, like-”
“If you’re talking about drugs,” Frank began, eyes wide behind his glasses. “I’m not into that.”
Robbie burst out laughing, shaking his head disbelievingly. “Oh Frankfurter,” he cackled, raking a hand through his green hair. “You really don’t have a clue, do you?”
Frank scowled, affronted. “Well…at least…” he frowned, trying to think of a comeback. “At least I’ll get into university,” he finished lamely.
This time Robbie laughed so loudly the bus driver threw him such a long, hate-filled look that Frank was surprised he didn’t actually burn up.
“Dude,” Robbie gasped, wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes.
“What?” Frank muttered grumpily, feeling about four years old.
“You really do need my help,” Robbie shook his head, still laughing.
“And why’s that?” Frank asked primly.
“Dude- university,” Robbie exclaimed, as if Frank had just said something more far-fetched than growing octopus tentacles on his ass.
“What’s so bad about that?” Frank asked slightly snappishly.
“What’s wrong about it,” Robbie said, eyes glimmering with a hint of seriousness as he looked at Frank. “Is that you don’t want to do it.”
Frank opened his mouth to protest. Then stopped and just stared.
“Exactly,” Robbie announced, tapping Frank on the nose so as Frank got a whiff of cigarettes and flesh. “Now, what you need in your life, my little Frankfurter that is not a sausage, is-”
“Not alcohol, Robbie,” Frank protested hurriedly. He’d only tried the stuff once, but it was not an experience he wished to try again in a hurry- he hated the way it burnt at the back of his throat every time he tried to take a gulp.
“Jeez, what kinda alcoholic druggie do you think I am?” Robbie protested in mock hurt. “I’m talking about music, Frankfurter. There’s no bigger escape than music.”
“I already listen to music,” Frank said, confused. “Doesn’t everyone?”
Robbie rolled his eyes so much Frank got a little scared they were going to fall out. “Live music, Frankfurter. There’s no better feeling, I’m telling you. What kinda music are you into?”
Frank bit his lip. He wasn’t really ‘into’ any particular music. He didn’t like the classical stuff his parents listened to or the pop stuff most of his friends listened to. Generally he stuck with acoustic type stuff, because he loved the sound of the guitar. “Uh…Snow Patrol?” he suggested tentatively.
Robbie looked rather as if Frank had just disembowelled a duckling.
“Uh…or…I don’t know,” Frank muttered, blushing furiously.
“Dude, no wonder you’re fed up!” Robbie cried. “I’d actually die if I had to listen to Snow Patrol! You need to hear some real music. Hey, I’m going to see a semi-famous local band in Stonebridge tonight with a couple mates- come along!”
Frank blinked. He couldn’t go to a gig- he wouldn’t know how to act or what to say. He was the last person who could ever go to a rock gig. However, before he could stop himself, he found his mouth saying, “Okay,” and a little gush of adrenaline rushed through him.
Robbie grinned as though he’d just won the lottery. “Awesome, man! This is gunna be fucking rad! Here,” he started rummaging in his schoolbag, drawing out a battered CD case with a tasteful spattering of blood and guts across the front. “This is their debut…give it a listen before you come along so you know what to expect,” Robbie grinned.
“O-okay,” Frank tried for a smile as he took the CD case which had ‘The Black Rainbow Lies’ Stamped across it in spiked lettering. He eyed it cautiously.
Robbie laughed at Frank’s wary expression. “Dude, it won’t bite. Chill.”
Frank looked up and smiled a little guiltily. “Sorry. So, uh…what kinda music is it?”
“Classical piano trios,” Robbie said, deadpan.
Frank blinked, and Robbie burst out laughing, the smiles creasing all over his face as he grinned.
“Wow,” he joked. “You really do need taking under the rebel wing of Robbie, don’t you? It’s punk, Frank. Raw, untamed punk. The best fucking music ever.”
“Punk,” Frank repeated, trying the syllable out in his mouth. It felt new and slightly scary, but it sent little thrills of adrenaline through him as he said it.
Before he could say anything else, however, Frank felt the bus rumble to a stop beneath him and looked up in surprise. The twirly iron gates of Greystaines High rolled into the view, with the usual 9:00am constant stream of rain-drenched students trickling through into the yard, sullen and shivering in the bitter cold.
The school looked the same as ever, slightly snobby, expensive and grey-slated with two beautiful crying copper beaches standing at the gates, shedding their amber leaves to the damp concrete.
“D’you still live in the same house?” Robbie asked Frank, getting to his feet and slinging his bag over one shoulder, no doubt remembering when he used to spend the summer holidays at Frank’s, playing superheroes and climbing the trees on the farm.
Frank nodded, suddenly thinking how strange it was that the beaming, freckly little boy he used to unravel his imagination with was now one of the wildest, craziest punks in the whole school.
“Cool. I’ll pick you up at eight then,” Robbie announced, cheerfully not giving Frank any option to disagree. “See ya, Frankfurter!” He called, waving elaborately before heading for the door and jumping the steps to the grey concrete, much to the bus driver’s horror.
“Don’t call me Frankfurter!” Frank called after him, but the effect was somewhat ruined by the fact he was smiling widely.
Frank usually spent first period Fridays at an extra-curricular sixth form study group but that day, he just sloped off in the direction of the sixth form common room and slumped down on a squashy brown chair that looked out across the playing fields and spattering October rain. For once in his high school life, revision was not playing much on his mind.
All the same, he got all his Biology notes out and spread them out on the table in front of him, giving the pretence that he at least intended to revise. However, after reading two sentences about cell diffusion, Frank chucked his textbook aside, frantic to satisfy the curiosity itching at his skin regarding the CD Robbie had given him.
Hands trembling slightly, Frank pulled the case out of his schoolbag and straightened his glasses to look at it properly.
A moody-eyed, scowling bunch of guys that can’t have been much older than him glared back at him from their streaky black eyeliner. The track listing scared Frank almost as much as the venom in the singer’s panda eyes; it included things like ‘I’ll fry your guts for breakfast’, ‘Tainted Porn Star Angels’, ‘Satan’s cock’ and ‘Fuck everything to hell’.
An exhilarating pang of recklessness spread through Frank as he surveyed the case. Never, in his whole life, had he been so close to rebellion before. It was stupid and childish to be so thrilled by tasteless song names, but Frank couldn’t help it. He was on the brink of something he was desperately curious about and had never been allowed to explore.
A soft, feminine voice sent Frank skittering wildly away from the CD, jumping wildly in shock so as the case clattered loudly to the common room floor. His eyes snapped up anxiously to meet warm, honey-brown eyes, flyaway blonde hair and a Prefect blazer that matched his own.
“C-Clarissa,” Frank stammered, scrabbling for the CD, hands shaking. He’d become so engrossed in reading the back of it he hadn’t even heard her come into the common room.
“Why are you in here?” the pretty, honey-eyed girl asked, sitting down gently beside Frank as he stuffed the CD case hurriedly into his schoolbook, trying not to look suspicious.
Clarissa was Frank’s girlfriend. They’d known each other all the way through High School and had been dating for nearly six months after a Valentines kiss. Frank was fond of her- she was really sweet and super-intelligent with really pretty honey eyes.
These honey eyes were surveying him now, laced with a hint of concern.
“Uh, I felt like a bit of peace- for- revision, you know?” Frank managed, pulling the Biology books onto his lap and trying to rearrange his features into a normal expression. He could feel his heart pounding at his ribs.
Clarissa raised her eyebrows, but didn’t pursue the matter. “Oh. I was just wondering where you were- you weren’t at study group so I thought I’d come see if you were okay.”
“I’m fine, thanks. How’re you?” Frank asked, shifting the books off his lap and turning to face his girlfriend, hitching a smile onto his face.
“Fine thank you,” Clarissa smiled, tucking a strand of golden blonde hair behind her ear and edging closer. “A little stressed out with all this French coursework, though,” she admitted, gesturing to her schoolbag.
“D’you want a hand?” Frank offered politely. “I’ve nearly finished mine.”
“No, its cool,” Clarissa replied softly, reaching out and tucking a strand of wavy chestnut hair behind Frank’s ear. “You’re hair’s getting kinda long, Frankie.”
“I know,” Frank smiled, dropping his gaze and feeling awkward. He always did when she got too close. His Mom said it was probably just nerves, but after dating Clarissa for nearly six months, Frank thought nerves would have subsided.
“You should get it cut- it’ll start looking girly, honey,” Clarissa smiled fondly.
Frank shrugged, slightly hurt. He liked his hair. It was like a little safety blanket he could hide behind when he needed to.
There was a slightly awkward silence, broken tensely by the restless rain battering the wind and tears and golden autumn leaves against the window from the barren space of the deserted sports field. It stretched on and on, until the thick cloud and distressed rain blurred the horizon and the grey grass into one bleak melody.
“Hey, did you hear about that escaped convict?” Clarissa asked suddenly, dropping her hand from where it rested slightly awkwardly in Frank’s hair and looking at him with wide, innocent eyes.
“Yeah, I saw it on the news last night,” Frank replied, his voice feeling oddly hoarse. “I didn’t catch all of it, though…what did the guy do?” he asked, trying to sound casual.
“I’m not sure- I had to turn it off,” Clarissa shuddered, so as more of her pretty hair tumbling from its clasp. “It’s so horrible. How could a guy kill his best friend? Or his girlfriend- whichever she was. It’s monstrous- although you can tell he’s criminal the second you look at him- he looks so god damn weird with all that long greasy hair and freaky eyes.”
“I thought he looked scared,” Frank heard himself say.
The common room clocked ticked mockingly through the heavy silence.
Clarissa blinked. “What?”
“I don’t know,” Frank shifted, feeling uncomfortable. “He looked more scared than anything else. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone looks so scared, Clarissa. He didn’t just look scared- he looked terrified.”
The clock ticked louder, restless like the rain. Time draining away like black sand.
“I don’t think that was fear, Frankie,” Clarissa said after a pause, and to Frank’s ears, her tone was irritatingly patronising. “That’s just the look of a murderer.”
Before Frank could argue the point further, the sound of the common room door opening shattered the silence and both he and Clarissa started, looking up to see Frank’s best friend, Ray Toro, crossing the empty common room towards them.
“Howdy,” he said cheerfully, dumping a mountain of pass papers and textbooks down on the table where Frank’s stuff was, raking a hand through his spongy hair.
“Hi,” Frank smiled gratefully, straightening his glasses.
“What are we talking about?” Ray asked in his gentle voice. “I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”
“No, no,” Frank said quickly, not wanting Ray to leave.
“The escaped convict,” Clarissa shuddered. “Did you hear about it?”
“Of course I did,” Ray replied, drawing up a chair to sit with them. “The whole village’s gone crazy about it. I don’t know why- nothing’s gunna transpire, everyone’s just getting het up over nothing. He’ll be caught soon enough.”
“Too right,” Clarissa said, re-adjusting the clasp in her hair. “Let’s talk about something else- this is freaking me out. Oh, I was gunna ask, Frankie- you wanna go out tonight? It’s been ages since we went out.”
“Oh,” Frank bit his lip guiltily. “Uh. I’m really sorry, Clarissa, but I can’t.”
Clarissa’s pretty features fell. “What?”
“Sorry, I’m already going somewhere,” Frank said reluctantly. He saw Clarissa open her mouth to question more, but before she could, the bell rung and a whole gush of raucous sixth formers burst through the common room, Robbie at the fore.
He waved cheerfully at Frank, who returned the greeting with a half-hearted wave that made him feel annoyingly dorkish and uncool.
“See you tonight, Frankfurter!” Robbie yelled happily across the room, before flopping down and sticking his tongue down a random Gothic boy’s throat.
Frank opened his mouth to reply, but decided against it, seeing as Robbie’s mouth was full of tongue and Goth.
He turned back to Ray and Clarissa’s gobsmacked faces.
“What?” Frank asked self-consciously.
“You’re going out with…that?” Clarissa exclaimed, her usually sweet voice soured and sniffy.
“Yeah,” Frank said, feeling a little defensive. “Problem? He’s taking me to a music concert.”
“A gig,” Ray corrected him, smiling slightly. “Who are you going to see?”
Frank mumbled something unintelligible to save himself from further humiliation, and ducked back to his Biology coursework to deter Clarissa’s incredulous and slightly hurt glare.
He tried to look indifferent, but inside, his stomach was fizzing in little bubbles of excited adrenaline at the thought of going to the gig.
From a small black notebook, dated ‘November 2006’.
I watch your fireflies dance,
Ghosted golden grace,
Embellish eternal freedom,
I wish was mine to embrace.
Dance over the whispers,
The burble of the river,
Soft, murmuring, tranquil,
Peace I can’t consider.
I watch your fireflies dance,
Spin a summer haze,
Of dusty-bottled memories,
Ghosted moments I wish I could frame.
Dance over the silence,
The gentle hummed security,
Gentle, soothing, alive,
Obliterate my fears to obscurity.
I watch your fireflies dance,
Spiral towards their graves,
Split-second lives in
The carefree air I crave.
Dance over the sunset,
The embers of the day,
Serene and gold and liquid,
Smouldering the bad away.
I watch your fireflies,
Their fluttering, fleeting freedom.
I watch them
I wonder at their worlds;
Their tiny-winged dreams,
Intoxicated summer angels,
Singing turned from screams.
I wonder at their worlds;
How can they skitter
Without a trace of sorrow?
How can they dance
As if there’s no tomorrow?
You dance forever, unafraid,
With your fireflies;
Determined, honest, untamed.
I watch your fireflies dance.
Their wings aren’t like mine;
They’re pure and gold and free,
Their glittered truth seen.
I close my eyes on your fireflies,
Just a heartbeat.
The river gurgles too much blood,
Sputtering, sinking, choking on
Raped pure love.
The silence crawls too much obscene,
Endless, forever, scrabbling at
The sunset is charred.
The gold tarnished.
The rays splintered.
The world is marred.
It tried to shine
For too long.
I watch your final fireflies,
Flutter behind my eyes,
Escapist's beating wings,
Ghosts of freckled smiles,
Pure and sweet and undefiled.
I open my eyes.
Your fireflies are dead.
So...what are you all thinking? I'm dying to know! This is incredibly different to what I normally do, so I hope I'm managing it okay!
What did you think about the the beginning of the chapter and the poem at the end? Like I said, all these things are really important clues- they are there for a reason. What do you think of Frank and his life so far? Please make my day and drop a rate and a review! I love hearing your opinions :D Thanks so much for reading...if you guys are still liking this, I'll update as soon as I can. Love you all!