Ray huffed at my shoulder and I realised I had stopped trying so much to walk, leaving Ray and Mikey to almost carry me along. I quickly regained control of my feet and saw Ray relax a little into our previous stride. Mikey’s face was still worried as I continued to hiss at every other step we took. I needed to concentrate on walking, I needed to stay in the present I couldn’t think about … Frank. Ray and Mikey would go every night, looking for him sometimes even calling his name, which was dangerous but we were getting desperate now. Frank hadn’t had food or water so couldn’t have gotten far alone. We had altered our course ever so slightly so as to follow the direction the others thought he had taken. We were running away but changing course was good, the others had decided, because if we were being followed, it would only confuse them. I agreed but wasn’t allowed to take part in these discussions. Mikey would tell me everything later, he was always so kind despite all I’d done. I didn’t deserve it. He would even leave me his gun in the evenings when they went looking for Frank, he slid it carefully into the folds of Frank’s jacket and gave me a cautious wink when Ray wasn’t looking.
What had hurt me the most was that Frank had left his jacket behind. Despite what I had done to him, he still paused over his jacket before deciding I needed it more than he did. He was out there somewhere, as time grew longer he had most likely have died of dehydration or starvation, maybe eaten by animals, captured by the enemy or killed by confused rebels, but wherever he was, he was only wearing a thin shirt. He had still thought of me after all I had done.
I tumbled down onto the floor, my left leg aching under the sudden weight of me that it had to hold and flopped face down into the dirt. I heard my nose break as I hit the floor but was still thankful that it wasn’t my head I had landed on. It had just started to heal and I didn’t need the constant pain of it reminding me every second of the day of the horror I had caused. I looked up through the gush of blood which now ran from my nose into my open mouth at Ray, who paced up and down clutching his head as if stilling voices which only he could hear. Mikey kneed down beside me and pulled me up into a sitting position. I carefully straightened out my leg, aware that the new skin that had been growing over the bone was now in danger of splitting. Mikey stood up and cautiously moved towards Ray as his face began to grow more vicious with every step he took.
Mikey’s whisper made Ray’s head shoot up and his eyes were angry and wide as he looked at Mikey. The whites in his eyes seemed to shrink slightly at Mikey’s confused and crumpled face but he still had a manic look about him as he glanced over at me. His hand shot to his jacket and he slowly pulled out his gun, pointing it directly at my head. I just stayed still, knowing that this moment of punishment was going to come at some point. I stared into Ray’s eyes and held the gaze, watching him and waiting.
“Ray, don’t do this!”
Mikey was manic and looked about to step into the way of the gun when I spoke up.
“Mikey, I’ve had this coming for a while.”
My brother looked at me pleading me to be quiet so that he could handle this. This wasn’t the time for one of my long rants, his eyes told me. Did I want to die? This question made me pause, I had stayed for Mikey. I hadn’t put the gun to my temple during those long nights when they were out searching because of him. But now I could see the distress it caused them.
“I’m slowing you down. I’m eating the supplies. I’m loud from the pain walking causes me. I’m unnecessary baggage.”
I was surprised how calm I was about dying. But without Lindsey. Without Bandit. Without Frank, my life had no real meaning. The others could carry on without me. I wasn’t needed anymore. I saw Mikey about to open his mouth but Ray looked like he needed more persuading. His eyes seemed to be growing smaller and the manic expression had almost faded entirely. He needed some more pushing. This was the best for everyone, including Frank.
“I’m glad I hurt Frank!”
I hoped my voice hadn’t wobbled from the effort it took to speak the words, from the expressions of Ray and Mikey, I don’t think it had.
“What did you say?” Ray muttered, his knuckles now white as he held the gun.
“You heard,” I forced a twisted smile to my lips and licked them to stop the dry feeling of them, I needed my voice to stay strong in case Ray needed something else to egg him on.
But I didn’t think he did and Mikey just stared at me, open mouthed yet not quite believing me. Ray raised his other hand to the gun and a single tear ran down his cheek, I hoped he would feel no regret. I closed my eyes tight and pictured Frank, his giggling face making my lips turn to a smile, his face could take me happily into death.
The gun fired and I slumped to the ground, allowing the pain of my head, arm and leg to be consumed by the pain of … No pain came and I opened my eyes, tears now forming in them to see Mikey pushing the gun from Ray’s hands and putting it firmly into his own holster. Ray looked out of breath from where he lay on the ground but both he and Ray were okay. I glanced at the black mark which scarred the desert floor, just inches from me and felt myself begin to cry. The release of death had been so close, so fucking close! Mikey came to me, trying to sling his arm around me but I shoved him away angrily, not allowing him to comfort me.
“I hate you, you fucking bastard!”
He just sighed at me before shrugging and turning to Ray, who he helped get to his feet.
“You want to kill yourself in your own time, you can fucking knock yourself out! But you don’t use Ray. You don’t play your mind games with us, Poison! You got that?”
He was now stood over me, his shadow covering me and blocking out the sun. I felt anger boil up within me.
“Don’t you dare call me that. That’s not my name, Mikey!” He just stared me down as I spoke but he couldn’t make me drop my eyes. He didn’t understand and he never could understand how I was feeling!
“Oh right! Yeah sorry, Gerard,” he spoke sarcastically, rolling my name on his tongue and glaring down at me from where I still sat on the floor.
“GERARD WAY! GERARD FUCKING WAY!”
His screams filled the air and I knew that he enjoyed watching me flinch as he screamed my name. They knew my name, all right. That was the person they were looking for. Not Party Poison, not the names we hid behind. They were looking for Gerard Way and Mikey was screaming my name spitefully, hoping they would come for me and kill me so that I could have the death I so greatly desired. If he had screamed maybe just once more, then in a few hours, they would be here. Mikey and Ray could run and leave me and I would be dead. Dead and happy. Because then I could be with Frank.
Ray tackled Mikey to the ground just as Mikey had opened his mouth to scream again. I heard Mikey whine as the breath was knocked out of him but he lay panting on the ground as Ray clambered off of him to glare at me. The glare I should have been used to but this one was softer, more of a warning look really. Ray crawled towards me and gave me a one arm hug. I was confused but after a few seconds I threw both of my arms around him, enjoying the warmth and breathing shallowly as I felt tears swim in my eyes. I had missed him, I had missed my friend.
“I’m sorry, Gerard,” he whispered into my ear and I hugged him harder, ignoring the pain I could still feel in my broken nose.
“It’s okay, Ray. I deserved it,” he just shook his head at this and pulled away.
“No, you didn’t!”
He slumped down beside me and we both looked over at Mikey, who stayed deep breathing on the floor, unsure what to do. He looked like he wanted to carry on shouting but he still hadn’t caught his breath so instead sat up, avoiding our stares and looked down at his feet.
“I don’t think this is going to work,” Ray muttered, rubbing the back of his head.
“We’re not going to be able to carry on like we have been. And we’re not going to kill you!” He stopped me from protesting with a quick turn of his face towards mine and I nodded. Mikey looked unsure but Ray gave him a similar look and Mikey ducked his head.
“There’s something else…” Mikey’s voice trailed off as both me and Ray looked over at his hunched form.
Mikey moved crawling to the supply bag and pulled out two cans of food and a canteen of water. He gestured towards them and in case we hadn’t got the picture, tipped the bag upside down. Two cans and a half full canteen of water was all we had in the world.
“What are we going to do?”
His quiet voice sounded loud in the silence and I looked towards Ray, who sat hunched over, holding his knees to his chest to protect himself. He didn’t know. I realised Mikey was looking at me, his eyes big and worried, looking towards his big brother for help. I realised that I didn’t know. We needed Frank more than ever.