"I can't be your hero anymore."
“What’s wrong?” I questioned. He exhaled, then said,
“I have some bad news.”
“Well, spit it out!” I didn’t mean to snap, but the anticipation had effected me in such a way that I could not to wait through the expectation of the horrible news that was about to come. I winced a little at the harsh tone in my own voice, but Ray did not react.
“The next laundry truck doesn’t come until after your execution.” Those ten words ruined me. Ray stood above me for a while, not knowing how to react to me, but eventually, he gripped my shoulder, in a way, wishing me luck, and walked off. Strangely, all I could think of was Gerard. I was inevitably was going to die, there was no avoiding that anymore, but Gerard didn’t deserve to. Only weeks ago, he had gone to his hearing and was sentenced to the same fate as me: death. Forcing myself to look at Gerard, I glanced up at him, and saw the expression of dread printed on his face. Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no.
“Gerard, — you need to escape.” It didn’t matter to me whether he wanted to or not aanymore. He needed to escape. “You need to live.” Gerard shook his head; biting his lower lip in such a childish manner it broke my heart. He was by no means ready for any of this.
“I can’t without you.”
“You can, Gerard. You need to get out of here.”
“I’d rather die without you.”
“No, Gerard. You don’t. You want to live, and you deserve to.”
“Well, so do you!” he cried. I shook my head in sorrow,
“No, I don’t. I murdered two kids in cold blood. I don’t deserve to live.” Gerard shook his head stubbornly. I needed to make him understand, so I had no choice but to snap at him.
“There’s no avoiding this anymore, Gerard. I’m going to die, and there’s a chance you will if you don’t successfully escape. I’m not gonna to lie, it’s gonna to be hard, but you have to.” Gerard still shook his head, not wanting to believe it. “Just because you deny it, won’t make it go away. You have to accept this and do what’s best for you.” This time he didn’t shake his head, but I wasn’t quite sure whether he got my message. I sighed, and returned my voice to the softer, more sympathetic tone it was before.
“I can’t be your hero anymore, Gerard.” Gerard didn’t answer and kept his gaze on the tabletop to avoid mine. I continued, “I can’t save you anymore. You have to be your own hero. Believe me when I tell you this: you deserve to live. Your life is precious, and you deserve it. Every bit of it.” Suddenly, he burst out,
“And you don’t?!” I looked him up and down, taking his image in, as if it was the last I could see him, and I wanted to take in as much of him as possible.
“It’s what I want, Gerard. I deserve it because of what I did. It was no accident.” He shook his head again. I grew frustrated, a little angry, even. “Look, Gerard, okay? You can’t deny that I’m going to die. I’m going to die. I’m going to die!” I yelled. He looked up at me, fiercely.
“I’m not denying that you’re going to die,” he growled. I was taken aback by his anger, never seeing it ever before. “I’m denying that you deserve it. You don’t deserve to die. Yeah, sure, you did kill those kids, but that was years ago! I can guarantee you, Frank, you are a different person than that enraged person. A heartless killer wouldn’t be such a great person. A heartless killer wouldn’t put the wellbeing of a person he barely knows in front of his own. A heartless person wouldn’t care about me!” We sat silently for a few moments, before I said,
“Maybe so, but that doesn’t change my past.”
“I can’t bear to be alone anymore.”
“You’ll have to. It’s okay.”
“It’s not! Before all this,” he motioned dramatically to the whole prison, “Mikey was all I had. No one else was worth anything to me. He was my best friend, my brother, my only family, and I killed him! He’s dead because of me, and I’m trying to… I’m trying to get my head around it, but I can’t. I will always have killed my brother. And that’s never gonna go away. Ever. Unless, maybe, I go away.”
“Don’t even think like that.” He hung his head, regretfully taking in his thoughts.
“I can’t help it.”
“Just try. Just try and take care of yourself. You can do it. I know it. You’re strong enough.” He sighed, and I knew he had accepted it. “Ray will help you escape. He won’t go with you, but he’ll walk you through the whole thing before you go and distract the guards.” Gerard nodded. All at once, the guards blew their whistles, like usual, to alert us that we were going to be led to our cells. I said, one last time,
“I can’t be your hero anymore. I’m sorry.”
Days passed since I broke reality to Gerard. It was time to go to death row. There, I would spend my last days to be prepared for my execution. I wouldn’t see any of my fellow inmates again. Promptly after lunch, I would be led out of my cellblock. There wasn’t much to leave behind. I didn’t own any belongings, and the only thing I was leaving behind was the memory of me. Gerard would carry my memory forever, whether that be a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know, but it would eternally be with him in his subconscious, Hopefully, I generated a good enough intuition for him to think like me and that maybe, one day, he can fully understand that he could take care of himself, not through my line of thought. All of this, though, would only be possible if he escaped. This was last chance to persuade him to escape.
I eyed the clock in the mess hall. I had half an hour. We had both sat in silence for the first thirty minutes of lunch.
“Gerard…” I wasn’t sure what to say. How exactly are you supposed to say goodbye? He looked up at me, though, and said,
“I’m going to miss you, Frank.”
“I will, too, Gerard.” I nervously glanced at the clock, the minutes ticking by, and I grew restless. This was the last time I would ever see Gerard or any other inmate ever again, and the goodbye occurring at the time was far from what I was expecting. I stood from our table, and walked over to Ray’s. I greeted all of them, and the whole table roared with greeting. I grinned at their enthusiasm, and greeted them back, and they started to playfully shove and tease. Soon, though, the somber reality took over and regretful goodbyes were said and supporting phrases were said. Looking at the clock, I saw that I only had five minutes until I would be taken to death row. I rushed back to Gerard after thanking the other inmates and saying goodbye to them for the last time.
“Gerard!” He whipped his head around to face me, and his eyes darted to the clock. “Don’t look at the clock. Look at me. Face me.” He averted his eyes to me. They were tinged with red and were started to become watery, but he tried to keep tears back. “Gerard, promise me you’ll escape. Promise me you’ll try,” I whispered fiercely. I was kneeling on the ground in front of him as he sat in his chair. I held his wrists and gazed up at him. I laughed a little to myself, imagining how bizarre this looked, as if I were proposing to him, but I justified to myself that I actually was proposing something to him. “Promise me, Gerard, that you’ll try.” He opened his mouth and choked, trying to hold back sobs.
“I’ll try,” he whispered. Seconds ticked by until finally, all of the guards blew their whistles. Two guards came for me to lead me to death row. Locking me into handcuffs, I was pushed towards the doorway opposite to that of the door where all of the other inmates left, and Gerard still sat at his chair, his back twisted to watch me leave. Guards neared Gerard to make him return to his cell, but Gerard stood up, turned, and left. He didn’t look back. I faltered, expecting him to turn and make a grand farewell, but he didn’t turn or hesitate. He just walked towards to opposite doorway until I saw the last of his black hair. To say the least, I was horrified. I had expected a much more fulfilling goodbye, one that would last until I died, but it was the complete contrary. This time, it was me that broke down. I started yelling and screaming his name, pleading the guards to let me see him one last time,
“Please! Please let me see him one last time!” I cried over and over. They paid no attention to my begging, and kept a firm grip on my shoulders and back, trying to fight my struggles, until finally, we reached my destination. Death row. I stopped struggling. Many other inmates were here too, waiting for death, in their separate cells. My cell was smaller than the one I had resided in for years before, and the bed wasn’t very comfortable either. Almost immediately after I was placed in my cell, I was called to have measurements taken of me. I assumed it was for the lethal injection. I counted four more days until my execution. I had asked that I would not be given a spiritual advisor. I wasn’t a religious man, nor was I one in need of constant assurance, or so I though of myself. All I wanted, really, was Gerard. I wasn’t so sure, though, if he needed me anymore. All this time, I thought I was there to support him, but he was doing the same for me. I should be thankful that he would be able to fend for himself based on his insufficient farewell, but the selfish side of me thought otherwise. I didn’t want to leave with Gerard not wanting me. My original intentions were the opposite, though, because I wanted him to escape and finally be the free man he deserved to be, but I missed him. I missed him so much. I wanted him back.
A/N: Hai guys! I have to credit someone here. A certain director and playwright that goes by the name of Martin McDonagh, wrote a screenplay for and directed a certain movie called "In Bruges." This movie is quite possibly the best movie I have seen yet, and one of the scenes in the movie fit this story so well, I though I might infuse some of the dialogue into it. So, I credit the line, "He’s dead because of me, and I’m trying to… I’m trying to get my head around it, but I can’t. I will always have killed my brother. And that’s never gonna go away. Ever. Unless, maybe, I go away,” to Mr. McDonagh. Of course, the line is edited a little to fit the story, but it completely fits the scenario. I very much recommend that movie to you.
Thank you for reading and Rate and Review please! Admittedly, I thrive off of those things :P