Something was coming.
Thank you all SO MUCH for your amazing support on the last chapter and for anyone who left a review on the note about my anonymous emailer. You guys are honestly so amazing. Anyway, I hope you like this chapter- it took a lot of effort! Enjoy...It's getting creepy ;D
Midnight wove a silken veil of sleeping stars around the firefly field. It was lonely at night. No one visited it when the burble of the river turned to a blackened glug- not even the two silhouettes that so often sat on the rickety bridge, tranquillity curling round them as easily as the hazy summer air.
But now, the field was a graveyard. Everyone in the world was asleep.
Everyone but him.
He would spend unending midnights, cowered over the stark white of hospital lights, while the shadowy clutter of a smoky bedroom swirled thickly round him. It wasn’t as calming as the firefly field, but it was safe; the only time he could let his restive mind lay dormant and his imagination unravel its tangles, out through his trembling fingertips and onto the barren page; exorcism of his mind.
Sometimes it was blood-drenched melody and words that scratched across the page like a blade across innocent skin, but most often, it was the images that haunted him, the things he couldn’t coax out from his skull and shed to paper like everything else.
The things that he could never truly pencil out.
He stayed cowered over his desk even longer than usual on the midnight threatening September 2nd. The night was his security blanket; it was soft, scared and silent. Just like him. But it couldn’t obliterate everything.
On the once barren page, a pair of eyes blinked up at his gaunt face; soft, warm brown eyes ringed in gentle shadows of pearly grey. The charcoal-born irises melted from dark brown to chocolate to indefinable, carefree enthusiasm that radiated around her delicate charcoal body.
For hours, nothing filled the air but the rhythmic scratch of pencil led on paper and his tense, almost inaudible breathing that brushed the slowly-forming drawing.
But all the while, the stodgy, airless taste of encroaching fear mottled the black air, its stealthy infection like an incurable disease.
It slithered silently through the shadows of the cluttered floor, serpent-like and twisted as it curled its way slyly round the legs of his chair and began to claw up his brooding spine, sinking its poisoned fangs into his flesh and making every muscle in his body rigid with violent apprehension. Fear always clung to his jutting skeleton, but that night it was even more pronounced than usual. It was as if he needed to hide from the fear, as if he was fearing fear itself- not just the demons it carried.
But fear is like a shadow- the less you look at it, the more it grows and darkens and infiltrates your mind.
No one can hide from fear.
But he could draw.
Chapter Five: Adrenaline
Frank couldn’t bring himself to mention the ribbon once he and Robbie were free of the smothering, tear-stained blackness of the woods. It seemed so unreal yet blisteringly true at the same time, and it scared him to his soul they way nothing had before.
As they stood, shivering, on the muddy grass verge, waiting for the lift Robbie had promised, Frank half felt as though the last few moments had been a stolen fragment of someone else’s nightmare- only the messy clunk of his heart against his ribs, full of red hot fear, wouldn’t let him pretend it was anything as safe as a nightmare.
Shivers ran a chilled tremor up his spine and he winced, huddling into the depths of his thin navy hoodie. He suddenly felt a lot younger than seventeen. He half wanted to be holed up in his pin-neat room, doing his homework, just the same as every other night, just for something familiar. He tried reaching up to adjust his glasses- a habit he had when he felt uneasy- and his disconcerted feeling grew as his fingers only hit cold skin.
Sniffing in the sub-zero night air, Frank glanced behind him, still feeling watched.
The gaunt woods still loomed threateningly behind them, a tangled throng of silence-drenched talons that clawed their way to the bitter sky, black and doused in someone else’s fear. Rain fell from its faceless veil in astringent needles that stung and burned Frank’s vulnerable skin with the truth of what he’d just seen, while the wind hissed deceptively at his back.
Robbie didn’t mention the ribbon either, for which Frank was extremely grateful. In fact, Robbie was just as quiet as Frank, which only unsettled the latter more. But it was still decidedly better than admitting what they’d just experienced.
Frank knew that voicing the events of the woods would make it seem far too real- and it felt enough like that already; every time Frank closed his eyes, he was back in the forest.
He could taste again the metallic tang of decomposing life. He could taste the salty rain and feel its tears dribbling soullessly down his skin. And he could taste that blood-hot fear that had soaked through the woodland air like spilt innocence.
But worst of all, every time he blinked, the ribbon flashed through his mind, hanging, like a used noose, from the knobbly, blackened tree.
It was as if the curiously brutal image had permanently tattooed itself into Frank’s mind, as stark as a torn vein that gushed scarlet down the dead black bark. And it made his flesh crawl as if there were infected maggots squirming in his gut, charred goose bumps erupting as his stomach swilled unpleasantly, because there was something horrifically real about it that he simply couldn’t comprehend.
After all, it was just a ribbon.
Robbie’s unusually meek sniff broke through Frank’s thoughts.
The latter shivered, trying to rid himself from the horrible crawling feeling, but the image remained repulsively vibrant in his head; sort of like the slightly dazed feel you get after being absorbed in a horror movie at the cinema- and you forget, just for a moment, that it’s not reality.
Shuddering, Frank firmly pushed his thoughts aside as best he could and turned to Robbie, who was looking uncharacteristically uneasy as he hopped up and down, shivering relentlessly, which was probably something to do with the fact he was only wearing a black skull t-shirt and a safety-pin adorned black leather waistcoat with ‘Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell’ stamped across the back of it. This reminded Frank just how grateful he was his parents hadn’t seen Robbie since he was ten with braces and freckles and no wildly dyed hair.
For a split second, icy cold reality flooded Frank’s mind and his stomach leapt with nerves, because he was going to a punk gig. Despite the lingering unease caused by the forest, Frank felt excitement bubble though him as he let his gaze linger on Robbie, watching the way his green hair was starting to curl round his pale cheeks in the falling shivers of black rain. His lips were turning purple from the cold- at least, Frank assumed it was just the cold and not lipstick.
Robbie seemed to feel Frank’s gaze on the side of his face, because he turned round and smiled a little shakily.
“Okay there, sausage boy?” he asked in a good appropriation of his usual cheery tone, turning round to face Frank with those vibrant turquoise eyes that glistened in the dark almost like those of a cat’s.
Frank nodded, although his stomach felt as if it was trying to create its own personal rollercoaster. However, Robbie’s familiar voice calmed him a little, his scalpel-sharp fear melting down a little to just the usual churn of adrenaline.
“So, uh, did you give the CD a listen?” Robbie asked conversationally after a moment of silence, during which they both half-subconsciously edged closer towards the lonely road- further from the gaping black jaws of the forest which still snarled uncharacteristically threateningly at their turned backs.
“Uhm, yes,” Frank replied, his voice sounding more timid than usual.
“Well?” Robbie grinned, hopping up and down more extravagantly and rubbing at the goose bumps on his gangly arms. “What did you think? Did it taint your innocent little mind?”
Frank had to smile a little, but bit it away, feeling guilty. “…Um.”
Robbie’s grin widened. “It did!”
“Well…” Frank could feel his cheeks heating up.
“You liked it, didn’t you, Frankfurter?!” Robbie yelped triumphantly, punching Frank’s shoulder, beaming, before craning his head out into the road hopefully yet again. However, still no flickery headlights sliced through the desolate black.
“It was…different,” Frank said truthfully, reaching up to straighten his glasses, and once again feeling distinctly disconcerted to find them absent. It made him feel a little like a kid who’d been forbidden to suck their thumb for comfort.
“To what? Snow Patrol?” Robbie teased, nudging Frank in the ribs.
Frank couldn’t stop the smile this time, ducking his head and scuffing his trainer at the muddy tufts of grass growing on the verge. “Shut up,” he said very softly, biting at the smile stretching across his face.
“Oooh, Prefect boys don’t tell people to shut up!” Robbie gasped, feigning shock, but his turquoise eyes glittered teasingly through the dark. Then his face split into another of his famous grins, and he poked Frank’s shoulder. “I think I’m having a good influence on you, Frankfurter,” he announced happily.
“You aren’t influencing me,” Frank protested weakly, not meeting those mesmerising turquoise eyes which could wheedle the truth out of anyone.
“Oh yeah?” Robbie said sceptically, raising a polka dot eyebrow. “If it wasn’t for me, would you be on your way to a punk gig with a green-haired freak?”
Frank’s belly flipped at the words ‘punk gig’. “…Um.”
“Exactly,” Robbie grinned triumphantly. “Now, where the fuck is our ride? My balls are gunna get motherfucking frostbite and turn blue and then some hot nurse will have to amputate them and my Mom will kill me except I’ll already be dead, because what’s the point in living without balls? It’d be like…”
Much to Frank’s relief, Robbie was cut off as the flickery glow of a car’s headlamps suddenly shivered through the falling sheets of silver rain, and Robbie yelled in excitement, jumping more wildly in the air. Frank fleetingly wondered what he was like on drugs.
“Fucking FINALLY!” Robbie beamed triumphantly.
However, the car sped past them at an alarming speed, tires sloshing through the slushy black puddles congregating in the potholes.
Robbie let out an indignant squeak, leant over the verge and wind-milled his arms wildly, resulting in the car- which was about ten metres down the road at this point- to screech to a halt and reverse in a very reckless way back to where Frank was standing timidly on the verge, quaking, and Robbie was jumping up and down excitedly in his beanpole-skinny manner.
As the car skidded to a halt, Robbie turned to Frank, eyes glittering. “Well, my little sausage,” he flicked Frank’s nose gently. “Ready to rock and roll?”
Frank swallowed, butterflies sticking like gelatinous grey glue in his gullet and making him want to choke. The disapproving faces of his parents and Clarissa flashed through his mind, and he bit his lip, heart thumping. But the itching curiosity didn’t relent.
The car might look as though it had driven through a brick wall, but it would still take him to the gig…
“Frank?” Robbie prompted, his voice more gentle this time.
Frank could feel his whole body trembling. He knew this was a bad idea, a stupid, reckless thing to do- but the taste of rebellion was too strong in the air to ignore; he could feel it tickling his soul and snaking its potent smoke through his whole being. His stomach felt ready to combust and he was dizzy with nervousness and his heart was going thump thump thump. But he knew he was going to go. He knew he would do almost anything to satisfy that tiny little itch of curiosity that scrabbled away at the shadows of his soul. One day, he was sure, it would be the death of him- but for now, he didn’t really care. He wanted to discover something outside the life of a ‘perfect’ seventeen year old.
“I’m ready,” Frank mumbled, nodding decisively and letting Robbie tug him towards the car that chugged stale lungfuls of vaporous petrol into the pure air. His stomach fizzed with adrenaline as he followed Robbie into the shelter of the dingy interior, heart thumping more wildly than the rain against the greasy windscreen.
Inside the car, the air was a thick fug of smoke, while the radio was blasted something that sounded a lot like a mental/musical breakdown. There was a lot of screaming and smashing noises, anyway.
In the front seat, a silent Goth sat listlessly, long, dark purple hair hanging in his sullen, heavily-shadowed eyes and tickling his snakebites. His eyes looked about as dead as the skull sitting on the dashboard, and a cigarette dangled from his lip, stained black from his lipstick. Frank fleetingly wondered if the guy was actually alive- but then he blinked.
“’Sup, Ven,” Robbie greeted the Goth cheerfully, as the car suddenly took off at an alarming speed, jolting violently. The Goth must have stomped on the gas, but his facial expression didn’t even flinch. He blinked again and blew smoke out into the already thick air.
Frank, however, squeaked in alarm at the car’s sudden movement, scrabbling frantically for his seatbelt in the darkness of the backseat, fingers fumbling across a great number of sticky, slimy things he really didn’t want to know about in the process. He really hoped they weren’t the guts of the Goth’s latest victim.
“Why were you so fucking late?!” Robbie demanded, leaning forwards and looking seriously at the Goth. “And can you turn the heating up? My balls are gunna fall off in a second, seriously. What the hell happened to you?!”
The Goth’s left eyebrow shrugged. Frank wasn’t sure quite how, but it definitely did.
“Oh,” Robbie sighed. “Fair enough. Anyway, this is Frankfurter. Y’know the kid I told you about. He’s adorable, isn’t he?”
The Goth sniffed.
“For the last time, I am not named after a German sausage!” Frank protested indignantly, still scrabbling wildly for his seatbelt in the depths of the backseat.
“Sorry,” Robbie shrugged apologetically. “Let me re-phrase: this is Frank. He goes to my school, and he doesn’t like being called sausage boy, Frankfurter, or dickhead.”
“You’ve never called me dickhead,” Frank said, confused and momentarily distracted.
“Yes, but do you like being called it?”
“Not really,” Frank admitted.
“Exactly,” Robbie beamed, leaning back in his seat and adjusting his three-inch rainbow-studded belt. “Anyway, I kinda strayed off topic, didn’t I? Sorry. Yeah, meet Frank, Ven.”
The Goth’s eyebrows jerked in acknowledgement.
“And, Frank, what in the name of Satan are you doing?” Robbie added, looking round at Frank’s frantic, seatbelt-searching movements.
“I can’t find my seatbelt,” Frank blurted wildly.
The Goth let out a loud howl of laughter, making Frank jump out of his skin, because he hadn’t expected it to make any sort of noise that would imply it was alive.
“Shut up,” Robbie growled at the howling Goth who was banging his head on the steering wheel and giggling hysterically in rather a worrying manner. “Sausageykins, there aren’t seatbelts,” he added kindly, patting Frank’s head and then digging a cigarette out of his pocket.
Frank froze in horror as Robbie flicked his lighter and lit up.
The Goth whacked his head onto the steering wheel once more in hysterics, and the car veered sideways in protest. Yelping, Frank grabbed hold of Robbie, who was chuckling affectionately and trying to smoke with the same hand that was patting Frank’s head comfortingly.
“No seatbelts, honey. Chill out, though. It’ll only take us fifteen minutes.”
“Fifteen minutes?!” Frank yelped in anguish, heart racing, because this was going to be the death of him. He was going to die in a broken car with a Goth and a guy with green hair and he’d never find out what it was like to go to a punk gig.
“Yeah,” Robbie shrugged. “Relax. Venom’s the best driver in our gang.”
“Yeah, it’s his name.” Robbie rolled his eyes as if it was obvious to have a friend named Venom who liked to drive people to their deaths and had an alarmingly insane black-lipstick giggle.
The Goth blinked in acknowledgement, completely deadpan once more, and then suddenly slammed on the brakes to avoid a passing rabbit.
“Easy, Frankfurter,” Robbie said lightly, as Frank yelped again and latched onto Robbie’s green curls. “Let’s talk about something so you don’t think about it, yeah?”
“O-okay,” Frank stammered, trying to remember how to breathe. Forget escaped convicts and silent forests and red ribbons- this was terrifying.
Meanwhile, ‘Venom’ was applying eyeliner in the rear-view mirror.
“Oh, did you hear about the escaped convict?” Robbie said suddenly, resurrecting Frank’s curiosity with the subject. “Apparently he was sighted in the village earlier. Fucking hell, it’s crazy. Since when does stuff like that happen here?”
“I think he was in my Dad’s field.” It was the first time Frank had actually said the words, but the second they were off his tongue, he knew he’d been thinking them the second his Mom had told him tracks had been found.
Robbie choked on his cigarette.
Venom turned round, eyeliner in one hand, iPod in the other, and Frank tried to concentrate very hard on anything other than the fact no one was watching the road or controlling the steering wheel.
“…You serious, man?” Venom spoke for the first time. His voice wasn’t anything like Frank had expected- it was soft and gentle with ragged edges that suggested it wasn’t used very often or he smoked constantly.
Frank nodded. He looked at Robbie, who’d gone pale, and knew that they were both thinking about the forest and the ribbon, which still played vividly through Frank’s mind as he stared out the rain-glossed window at the black forest rushing by.
“Well,” Venom hissed through his teeth suddenly, making Frank jump a little. “In my experience, you’re the sort killers go for first. Fresh, young, and juicy.”
Frank blinked as Venom turned back to the road without further discussion, humming tonelessly.
Robbie patted Frank’s shoulder with his cigarette in a way that might have been meant to be reassuring, but actually just singed Frank’s top. “Don’t mind Ven- he always gets weird around full moon.”
Frank blinked again.
“Chill, don’t look so scared, Frankie boy,” Robbie said, frowning worriedly at Frank’s white face. “He’ll be fine once he’s taken his pills.”
But that wasn’t why Frank was scared; why his heart was suddenly thudding; why his palms were slick and salty and slippery; why he couldn’t swallow; why his mind was whirring faster than his pulse…
In the woods that still rushed alongside the roads, Frank had seen something. Something illuminated hastily by the yellow headlamps. Not just something.
Frank had seen someone silhouetted in the gnarled depths of the woods.
Someone tall and black and skinny, almost like one of the spindly trees.
Someone in the woodland Frank would have to walk home in.
Daylight’s glare might strangle him and his talents, but the darkness was his oxygen. The obliterated blackness of the world’s nightmares had long slunk into the bleak morning of September 2nd, but he was still awake, eyes sunk deep in their sockets, skin pallid and waxy in the dull glow of his desk lamp.
On the page before him now, a slim, graceful girl with shimmering eyes danced across the paper, her long, wavy hair scooped up in a careless bun from which wispy little tendrils flew out as she twirled gracefully round and round and round, the red net of her carefully detailed tutu flying out around her like a haze of fireflies. She was almost like a daydream, but her eyes, her precision and her compassion, were too alive to purely be woven by imagination.
It should have been the most uplifting, graceful picture created. But, right at the back of the page, something lurked. Something soaked in dark, bitter shadows that were starting to crawl stealthily out across the page, putrid grey smoke. Tendrils of this smoke were beginning to curl round the dancing girl’s milky white throat, her wrists and her mouth, morphing from twisted grey to dirty, defiled red as they came into contact with her flesh.
They were silent, invisible bonds, starting to snag at her soul.
She might be blind to them, as she twirled across her silently tarnished freedom, but the message, the image, the hiss of the charcoal dust, was unmistakable;
…Something was coming.
Much to Frank’s surprise, they actually made it to Stonebridge alive- although they did have to suddenly veer off course and up a little side road to avoid a police car, nearly mowing down an elderly lady in the process. They’d also narrowly avoided a collision with some traffic lights when Venom decided it would be more fun to read a Kerrang! magazine than watch the road.
But now they were chugging into one of the parking spaces in the side road, and Frank breathed a silent sigh of relief as the engine finally juddered to a halt. However, even the elated feeling of excitement and still being alive couldn’t drown the horrible, scaly unease that hadn’t ceased prickling Frank’s spine since the woods.
“This is it, Frankfurter!” Robbie nudged him, eyes glittering wildly with excitement in the shadows of the car.
Frank couldn’t stop his stomach bubbling with excitement then, and he had to grin at Robbie, because he could taste the smoke of rebellion on this tip of his tongue, and his heart was pounding, nervous and thrilled against his ribs.
“Ready to rock and roll?” Robbie grinned, opening the door. It beckoned a whole new world for Frank to explore.
Robbie’s bubbly excitement was infectious, and Frank found he was grinning. “Definitely.”
“Let’s go, then!” Robbie exclaimed, throwing open the car door. It slammed straight into a lamppost, but he barely seemed to notice as he grabbed Frank and hauled him out into the cold, starting to sing- unless Frank was very much mistaken- the chorus to ‘Satan’s cock’.
“Where is it?” Frank asked, stumbling out onto the pavement and breathing the foreign air into his lungs. It tasted grey and stagnant and humanity-slathered, but it also had a hint of that rebellion Frank couldn’t get enough of. But he hated the greasiness of it, the pollution.
“Just round the corner,” Robbie said, grinning. “C’mon, we’ll go ahead- Ven always takes ages on his lipstick.”
“Okay,” Frank trembled excitedly, allowing Robbie to grab his wrist and start skipping down the chewing-gum speckled pavement. The smell of petrol and pollution was almost overwhelming; it clogged up the whole street with its greyness and dribbled down the graffitied, bleak walls like black tar, filming the puddles with grimy rainbows of oil.
Despite the fact Frank knew he was miles from the woods, he still couldn’t help glancing twitchily over his shoulder every few moments- it felt as though someone’s silent gaze was still hollowing through his back.
“There it is!” Robbie cried as they rounded the corner. Frank looked up to see him pointing to a long queue stretched halfway down the street and swallowed, nerves suddenly swelling in his belly as strongly as excitement.
“How long will it take to get in?” Frank wondered aloud, feeling slightly awed.
“Maybe ten seconds- I know the bouncer,” Robbie grinned wickedly, nudging Frank in the ribs. “Don’t look so worried, Frankfurter- no one’s gunna eat you!”
Frank eyed the pierced, studded Goths at the front of the line and wasn’t so sure. However, true to his word, all Robbie had to do was wink at the bouncer with the neon pink sideburns and they were being shunted inside, away from the invisible stare burning Frank’s turned back. His heart was thumping so hard he could practically taste the blood thundering through his body as they entered the club.
It was nothing like Frank had ever experienced. He’d rarely even been to a town as big as Stonebridge- let alone into somewhere like this. It was stuffed full of misfits; white-faced Goths and spiky-haired punks, freaks and geeks and emos and every kind of outcast Frank could ever have imagined. The dark air was thick with the almost sweet cloudiness of dry ice, alcoholic excitement, smoke, but most of all, that unexplainable tang of rebellious freedom that reeled Frank in most of all. Something bubbled up in his chest as he gaped round at his surroundings; warm and slightly fizzy, not unlike the two sips of cider he’d sipped at last new years before choking.
“Wow,” he breathed as he and Robbie stood in the doorway by the bar for a second, taking it all in. The brick walls were black and purple fairy lights glittered down on the club from the rafters, a sea of gothic stars. Over by the bar, black pillars were decorated with white lyrics and signatures from bands, and the bar tender was chugging back a double shot of Jack Daniels.
“You like?” Robbie turned to him, grinning his wicked grin as his eyes sparkled with enthusiasm in the red strobe lighting.
“It’s…” Frank trailed off, shaking his head bemusedly. He felt so far away from the rule-abiding seventeen year old he usually was, but he loved it.
“You’ll love the music even more,” Robbie beamed, seizing Frank by the arm and tugging him forward into the crowds. “C’mon, let’s get to the front so we can hear it properly.”
The music was so loud it bounced off the black brick walls and shattered Frank’s thoughts, but right at the back of the club, the words and the chords screaming out were blurred by the violent crowd of fist-pumping silhouettes pressed right up to the stage.
Robbie’s hand trailed down to Frank’s, lacing his fingers through Frank’s to link them together in the jostling masses of black and studded belts. Frank thought he’d mind, but he didn’t at all. It felt sort of nice, but he didn’t pay much attention to that, because he could feel his whole body trembling with nervous excitement as Robbie wove his expert way through the crowd towards the barriers at the front.
A tiny bubble of guilt prodded at the back of Frank’s mind at how disappointed his parents would be, but he shook it off and it morphed to giddy, childish glee. For the next few hours, he could peel off his perfect skin and forget all about being good. He could discover what being a real teenager was like. At the thought, a little shiver of excitement ran down his spine, eclipsing all thoughts of guilt.
“Lindsey!” Robbie’s exclamation brought Frank back to reality. He blinked and looked round to see Robbie beaming at a stunning, pale girl with black hair and bright red lips who was near the front barriers, just under a guitarist who was swaying about rather worryingly.
“Hey!” the girl grinned, raising her voice over the pounding music. “Long time no see, Mister! How’s it going in Boredom Ville?”
“Brill thanks,” Robbie shouted over the singer’s tormented yells and the surrounding crowd’s screams. “This is Frank,” he added, pulling Frank into view and then saying “Frankfurter, this is Lindsey. She’s cool.”
“Thanks,” Lindsey rolled her eyes, but she was smiling with those pretty hazel eyes that glittered intelligently under the green lighting. Frank found himself liking her immediately; there was a sort of kindness that lingered about her that made him feel relaxed and at ease with who he was.
“Hi, Frank,” she said warmly. “Is this your first punk gig?”
Frank nodded, not really sure how to speak in the amount of noise crashing around them.
Lindsey grinned, tucking a strand of her ebony hair behind her ear. “Don’t let Robbie lead you astray.”
Robbie pretended to look shocked. “When would I ever do that?”
Lindsey flicked him on the nose. “Oh shut up, seaweed head. But seriously, you look nice, Frank. Innocent. Don’t let this retard poison your mind.”
“With what?” Robbie protested, looking deeply offended, which was quite a mean feat for someone with polka dot eyebrows and red eyeliner.
Lindsey raised her eyebrows sceptically.
“Oh, lighten up!” Robbie exclaimed indignantly. “I’m not gunna give someone as clever as Frankfurter drugs! He’s only here to listen to the wonder that is punk music. Jeez, Lynds.”
“Oh,” Lindsey smiled, relinquishing her stern glare. “That’s cool, then. I hope you enjoy the show, Frank. The Black Rainbow Lies are fucking rad.”
“Thanks,” Frank smiled politely, but he wasn’t sure Lindsey could hear him.
Before anything else could be said however, there was a deafening scream from the crowd as the song ended and the lights went down. Robbie and Lindsey started screaming too, jumping up as lights flooded the stage and illuminated the guys Frank recognised from the back of the CD case Robbie had lent him. They looked just as moody and pissed off in real life- if not more so.
Frank didn’t really know what to do. He just sort of stood there, being pushed and shoved by the excitable crowd behind him and deafened by the guitars tuning up for the next song.
For a moment, he felt really out of place and wondered what the fuck he was trying to do, going somewhere like this. Who was he trying to kid? He wasn’t a rebel, and he never would be. He was just Frank Iero, the school prefect with grade A in every subject who never did anything unexpected.
But then the music started.
And it was like nothing Frank had ever felt before.
First it was just the singer howling into the mike, then the bass and the guitars and the drums, all colliding together in some kind of mind-blowing harmony that wasn’t like any kind of harmony Frank would have imagined before; it was raw and clashing and none of it fitted together properly. His ears felt like they were bleeding, but something in the pit of his belly was melting out into his veins, melting away his tension, melting away his nerves, melting away that too-tight skin suit that had been constricting his movements for so long.
For the first time in what felt like years, Frank forgot to think. He just felt. He let the music swell up inside him, and then the dam burst and he was just another white horse in the black tide of punk-rockers, jumping up and down and pumping his fist in the air as if he’d been born to do it.
He forgot Robbie.
He forgot the sea of bones bashing into his back.
He forgot the singer with the crying black eyeliner.
He forgot the escaped convict and the ribbon in the woods.
But most of all, he forgot his perfect reputation.
It felt as though he’d been kept inside an air-tight box all his life, and now he could finally breathe.
For that hour of raw, screaming music, he was Frank. The Frank he wanted to be.
And he wasn’t scared of anything.
Frank knew he was drunk. He’d never experienced the warm, slightly sloshy feeling before, but he knew he was from reading about it in stories for his English coursework; all the colours around him were blurring together, he felt slightly unsteady but also light on his feet, as if he was floating a few centimetres above the floor, and his tongue slopped clumsily in his mouth when he tried to speak.
Once The Black Rainbow Lies had finished playing and the crowds had dispersed, Frank had let himself be talked into a ‘couple’ of drinks with Robbie, Lindsey, and Venom- who had turned up about halfway through the band’s set. Frank was pretty sure it was a lot more than a couple of drinks now, but his sense of time had sort of gone haywire, and his vision was a little too blurry to be able to competently count the empty glasses in front of him.
Besides discussing the large purple bruise he’d gotten in the mosh pit with Lindsey, his mind was most occupied with the screaming, muddy-green eyes of the escaped convict Frank had seen on TV. Was that why the woods had felt so scary? Because he’d believed there was someone scary in them? Because there was someone in them? Was that who it was?
The crawling maggots of black fear squirmed uneasily in Frank’s gut and he took another swig of the nondescript drink in his glass. It was probably a bad idea, but Frank didn’t care. He didn’t want to think.
Because if he did, he’d have to remember that he was walking home.
In the dark.
In the silence.
But not truly alone.
The dark was everywhere, descending from the sky and curling round everything that made sense. Logic was obliterated and the twisted depths of fear were awakening.
They’d never sleep again.
How was it? I'm feeling really insecure about this story right now due to some of the stuff that's been said about it, so please let me know if it's okay? Thanks so much for reading :) R&Ring would honestly make my day. Love you all.