"Vampires, Gee. Mother fucking vampires."
Gerard was sitting on the bed, his head in his hand, after having paced around for six minutes mumbling and cursing non-stop until finally giving in and spilling the contents of his stomach into the motel toilet. Now he was silent. Black hair was mussed from running his fingers through it carelessly. Hands were shaking. Eyes were wide and frightened.
"Why did he leave?" I asked, to no one in particular. It was a pointless question, as we were all thinking along the same lines and there was really no need to voice it, but I felt wrong just standing there. Doing nothing.
Brian sighed and sat down on the bed next to Gerard, running a soothing hand across his back. Gerard, to my surprise, allowed it and leant in closer, hiding his face in Brian's shoulder as Brian let out a deep breath and muttered, "Where would he go?"
I shook my head, trying to tune out Gerard's soft whimper and murmurs of "Jesus, Mikey..."
"What was the last thing you saw?" I asked. Again, I felt awkward and out of place; my voice felt too loud, my tone felt too accusing, and my words felt too inappropriate. My entire body felt like it didn't belong, mind included.
Ray shifted uncomfortably by the window, where he had been sneaking glances outside into the dreary morning light. From my position next to him, I could see the shine on the gravel and the bright glare on the cherry red 'vacancy' sign, mocking the cloudy sky above us.
"I fell asleep a few hours after you went next door," Ray nodded to me, and I felt a small tinge in my cheeks, but nothing more. "The last thing I remember was talking to Brian and watching the news."
"Who was the last one to fall asleep?" I asked the room, wondering when I had suddenly taken authority over the situation. Since Gerard had gone quiet? Because of my strong connection with Mikey? Because of my suspicions?
"Me," Bob answered solemnly from the far chair. "But Mikey was asleep. He crashed a little after Ray, with that phone still clutched against his chest."
There was a small silence after Bob had finished, and the air felt remarkably thin. I was having difficulties breathing correctly, but I couldn't understand why. Gerard had stopped whatever temporary mourning he had been engaged in and now sat still as the dawn outside: unmoving and unwavering. Brian was chipping at his nail absently, his glassy eyes glued to the floor as Bob and I remained silent. The only other movement in the room came from Ray as he periodically peeked out of the curtains, threw a glance outside, and then closed them again.
But our silence was shattered as a loud buzz shot across the room, echoing much too loudly in the backs of our heads and clinging to our pores. Gerard freaked and jolted off the bed, his face panicked as he dug in his pocket to retrieve his cell phone and calm the loud vibration. But one glance at the caller ID and Gerard froze, lips parting slightly before he flipped open the cover and brought it hesitantly to his ear.
Gerard was close to me, and I recognized the voice on the other line without having to decipher any meaningful looks from Gerard.
"Speakerphone!" I hissed, and he quickly pressed the appropriate button, allowing Mikey's voice to ring out through the room.
"Gerard? Oh, god, thank you. I thought you wouldn't answer, if you--hey, get off. Fucker! Let go!" Mikey's words got distant after this, as though his mouth was getting progressively further away from the mouthpiece. "Give that back! I fucking mean it! Little bastards--ow! That hurt!"
"Mikey?" Gerard whispered frantically, phone pressed hard against his ear, despite the volume of the speakerphone. "Mikey, are you there?"
There was a fumble on the other line, and then a new voice spoke; a voice I had heard before. A voice I had hoped would have vanished into the crowd, disappeared within my memories.
"Who is this?"
"Gerard," Gerard blurted out, a small amount of surprise on his face. "Who is--? Who are you? Where's Mikey?"
"Aaaah," the voice sighed across the line, completely ignoring Gerard's questions and instead focusing on Gerard himself. "So this is Mikey Way's big brother then, yes? How caring you are for little Mikey here." I could feel the smirk over the phone. "How touching."
"Who is this?" Gerard demanded this time, his face edged in rage and frustration.
The voice laughed lightly. "Well, Lincoln, of course."
"Lincoln?" Gerard repeated, "The same Lincoln that cornered Frank and tried to fucking kill me?"
"The one and only," Lincoln answered cheerfully, his British accent detectable.
Gerard snarled, his eyes alight. "What are you doing to my brother?"
"Never you mind, never you mind," Lincoln answered carelessly, "Now put the Bird on. I want to speak with him."
Gerard's face wrinkled in confusion. "Bird?"
Lincoln sighed softly with an air of 'damn kids' etched into his tone. "Frank, you /pawn/. Put your dearest little Frankie on the phone."
Numbly, Gerard nodded and held out the phone, staring at me with narrowed eyes, as though I held all the answers. The way he looked at me reminded me of a child witnessing a crime on the streets, then turning to its mother, asking why. Explain to me, his eyes asked. I don't understand. Help me understand, Frank.
I took the phone from him, glancing around at the faces of my friends as I did so. They were darkened, blank behind a motel room shell. I placed the phone to my ear.
"This is Frank."
"Biiiirdy!" Lincoln cooed delightfully. "It's wonderful to hear from you! How have you been? Enjoying your stay in my country?"
"What do you want from me, Lincoln?" I asked tiredly. My voice was nearly on desperation, but I didn't care. Mikey had already broken down; Bob was breaking; Gerard was on the verge. What difference did I make if I chose not to hide behind a false sense of security? "What do you want from us? From Mikey?"
"Mikey?" he questioned, sounding genuinely confused. "Oh, I don't want anything from Mikey. In fact, I don't want anything from anyone but you, Frank. Or Gerard. It's your choice, really," Lincoln answered, his tone still light and airy, as if they were discussing the best time to meet for dinner.
"What are you talking about?" I mumbled. I was slowly losing the feelings in my fingers, but I didn't know why. All I cared about was not dropping the phone and cutting off the only connection we had to Mikey.
"I understand that you gave yourself to Gerard last night, Bird," Lincoln continued. "A good move on your part, I'll admit, but I can promise you that it didn't make my plans any easier to carry out."
I glanced up at Gerard, who was staring back with what I figured was a similar expression. Shock. Fear. Insecurity. Terror.
"What plans?" I asked, as soon as I had regained my composure. "I don't...what are you saying?" My voice was still wavering and every word I uttered came out smothered in denial and disbelief.
"You weren't supposed to mate, you idiot," Lincoln answered calmly. "Now it's going to be harder. I mean, you could imagine my surprise when I finally found you, and discovered that not only were you in contact with the man that would prove to be your perfect Other, but that the two of you were apparently already interested one another." Lincoln sighed, clucking his tongue. "I was very upset. I wanted to prevent the two of you from ever coming in contact, but alas..."
"There always were too many fish in the sea," I mumbled, not entirely understanding my own words until they poured from my mouth and into the speaker. Lincoln chuckled lightly.
"Good Bird. You understand now, don't you? Two birds can never swim in the sea."
"But Gerard's not a--" I started, but Lincoln interrupted me before I had even finished the thought in my head.
"Bird? He is /now/, thanks to you. You both are, although Gerard is simply your mate; he can do none of the harm you can. Which is why I have no fear of Gerard," he stated offhandedly, "The only fear I have is you realizing the power he gives you because of your bond."
I looked at Gerard, but he shook his head slowly, manifesting all of his fear and confusion into one simple move, and I swallowed the lump in my throat and spoke again.
"Are you telling me that--"
"I'm telling you nothing you shouldn't already know," Lincoln interrupted again. "But I've told too much already anyway, so let's move on to more pleasant matters."
"Mikey," I stated instantly. "Let Mikey go."
Lincoln laughed cheerily, declaring, "But of course! I had no intention whatsoever of keeping the little bugger. You can have him back in good time, Bird. Good time."
"Oh, calm down. I'd never hurt this charming fellow, even though he is putting up quite a good fight. Aren't you, precious?"
I heard Mikey's small voice in the background, stating a loud and clear "Fuck you."
"Well!" Lincoln gasped, laughing quietly, before turning his attention back to me. "Sorry to cut our conversation so short, but I must go. Lots to do, as you may imagine. Though I figure you've been watching the news?" he laughed again, "Oh, yes... things are working out brilliantly."
"Wait!" I said, before he could hang up the phone, "Let me talk to Mikey? Please?"
Lincoln sighed, "Sure, sure, just not too long now. I have to have a very important discussion with little Mikey here. I'll talk to you again soon, Birdy."
And with that, there was more fumbling with the phone, some hushed whispers, quite a lot of laughter, and then Mikey's voice had reached the earpiece once again, sounding out of breath and anxious.
"Gee? Gee is that you?"
I quickly held out the phone to Gerard, who stumbled slightly in his haste to take it. My hand felt cold without it, but I knew that Gerard wanted nothing more in the world right now than his brother's voice, and I had no right to take that from him.
"Mikey, Mikey it's me. Shit, are you alright? Did they hurt you?"
"No, no I'm alright," Mikey breathed; if Gerard found this as surprising as I did, he didn't show it. In fact, no emotions passed through his face except the same hopeless look of fear that he had been holding those past few minutes.
"Gee, man...I'm so sorry," Mikey whispered. "I didn't mean to blow up at you. I was just...I was scared shitless. And Alicia wasn't answering the phone, and it... it was just so..."
"It's alright," Gerard whispered, tears brimming his eyes as he cradled the phone in both hands, as if it was actually his brother he was holding.
"No, it's not," Mikey replied. "I love you Gee. I love you more than anything--anyone else in this world, and...I was so fucking worried. I thought you were the target, you know, with...I'm so sorry. I love you. I'm so sorry."
"Mikes, it's okay. Really," Gerard said, wiping his eyes on his sleeve. "But you have to tell me, baby. Tell me where you are. We'll come and get you."
"I don't know where I am," Mikey answered, sounding curious himself. "I woke up outside the motel, when they were dragging me off, but they tied this blindfold over me for the rest of the way, so...I have no idea where I am. It's not far though. But Gerard," he changed tone quickly, his voice laced in seriousness. "Don't leave that motel. They're everywhere. They'll catch you. Just stay there, and I'll figure out a way to get out of here. It's... they're everywhere, Gee."
"What, Mikey?" Gerard asked, his voice low. "What's everywhere? What are they?"
"Vampires, Gee. Mother fucking vampires."
I realize why I cannot fly, said the bird with the broken wing.
Though my lift is gone, my voice is strong, and I can still sing.
Oh lovely, lovely, want to keep me company when I got nowhere to be.
You're the prettiest face I ever saw this side of me.
"At Home (Time Unknown)" by The Elected
A knock on the door startled us out of our silent reverie, our thoughts punctuated with memories of home and families and girlfriends and life. I sat silently on the bed with Gerard, my head on his chest as I ran my fingers idly over our linked hands, while he breathed quietly above me, nimble artist's fingers trailing through my hair. Ray and Brian claimed the other bed, flipping through news channels silently, waiting for any enlightening updates from the police. But there was no such luck. Everyone was just as baffled (or likely more so) than we were, and though wild accusations were constantly pouring in over national television, they made little sense and authorities had stop taking any outside sources seriously. Calling in to report suspicious behaviour now would be as meaningless as actually leaving the motel.
Bob was still sitting in the far armchair, his phone pressed against his ear as he talked softly to Melony for what felt like the umpteenth time that day. I had called Jamia earlier and listened to her freak for a good ten minutes because I hadn't gotten off the plane back home; once she had calmed down, however, she told me that no activity like this was going on in America, but people were starting to stir about the reports from the UK. I told her nothing of Mikey, or of our condition, just that we were safe. She asked me repeatedly if I was alright. I told her repeatedly that I was not. Then, with her word that she'd keep all doors and windows locked and avoid leaving the house, I had snapped my phone shut, noticing for the first time that Gerard's arms had curled possessively around my waist.
We hadn't heard anything from Mikey, either, and it was starting to get late into the evening. Gerard was suffering, though he tried not to show it; I could tell by the way he nuzzled into my neck and shook once or twice that he was constantly on the verge of tears, choking them back for my sake. He knew that I would crumble right after him before he had even hit the ground.
At the knock, we all glanced up, shooting each other worried glances. I felt Gerard's grip on me tighten, while Brian swallowed visibly from the other bed. But before I had even opened my mouth to whisper out the beginnings of a plan, a clear voice rang out from the other side of the door.
"Guys? Guys it's me, let me in."
Gerard stumbled in his hurry to get up and flew to the door, his hands shaking as he undid both locks, panting, "Mikey! Hang on, hang on...Hang on, Mikey."
He threw the door wide open, letting streams of twilight and the shadow of the vacancy sign into the room, illuminating the cheap floral pattern comforter and Gerard's bright, ecstatic grin.
The next ten seconds passed in a blur.
Gerard held open his hands to embrace his brother while I sat up, smiling. Brian gave a happy cry and jumped up as well, heading towards the door that Gerard stood in front of, staring at his brother with a happy grin.
A grin that slid off his face when Mikey didn't reciprocate the greeting.
"Mikey?" Gerard had time to utter, before his brother launched himself through the door, his fingers grabbing the material on Gerard's shoulders roughly as he pushed Gerard back, back, back, into the wall on the opposite side of the room. Gerard was yelling. Brian was shouting something. Ray and Bob were rushing forward, trying to tug Mikey back as his fingernails dug cruelly into Gerard's skin, his mouth attempting to attach itself to Gerard's neck. Gerard's face was streaming tears, not from physical pain, but emotional hurt. He was screaming his brother's name, pressing against Mikey's thin chest in hopes of detaching him. Brian joined Bob and Ray, but even the three of them working together didn't seem enough to hold back Mikey, and his snarls and growls only increased as he fought back against them furiously, a deadly, lustful look grazing his features as he stared down at Gerard.
Snapping out of my comatose state of horror, I jumped over the bed and dug my fingers into Mikey's shoulder, helping to restrain him.
To my uttermost shock, Mikey hissed in pain and let go of Gerard immediately, who instantly scrambled out of the line of danger. Mikey toppled to the ground, clutching the shoulder I had held a death grip on and writhing around in apparent pain. His shoulder seemed to be smoking. Bob, Ray, and Brian stepped back, unsure of what to do, staring at Mikey's shaking form on the ground.
"Biiird!" he hissed in pain and fury, loosening his hand from his shoulder to reveal angry red burn marks that matched the exact shape of my fingers and hand. Gerard whimpered behind me.
"Guys..." I muttered, as if speaking loudly would suddenly awaken Mikey from his pain. "Guys, get...get something. Rope. Or..."
"Where the hell do you want us to get rope from, Frank?" Brian shouted, clearly panicked.
Refusing to peel my eyes away from Mikey, who was still on the floor, gasping in pain as the wound continued to smoke slightly, I shouted back, "I don't know! Find something else, then!"
Brian turned and banged open the door into the connecting room, tossing items around in his haste to find something to restrain Mikey.
"Mikey..." I began unsurely, taking a small step closer. "Mikes, look at me. Look up at me."
He did so, panting viciously and staring at me with fiery eyes.
"I don't want to hurt you Mikey," I said, feeling Gerard move behind me. The feeling comforted me, and my voice strengthened. "We can do this the hard way, or the easy way."
Something crashed in the back room, followed by the sound of Brian cursing and more fumbling. There was a loud tear that sounded distinctly like bed sheets being savagely torn apart.
"That burn looks like it hurts," I continued, "and you're a smart guy. Cooperate, and that'll be the only injury you get tonight. Understand?"
Mikey glared daggers at me but nodded. His breathing was getting calmer, but he still clutched his injured shoulder gently in his hand, hissing periodically when it gave a particularly painful throb.
"Alright," Brian breathed, coming back into the room with thin pieces of the sheet fabric. "I ripped out the elastic part of the covers in those beds. They should hold better than the sheets themselves."
"Great," I said, holding out my hand, "Let me see them."
Brian placed the fabric covered elastic bands in my hand, his own shaking lightly. Slowly, I bent down over Mikey, giving him a pointed stare. He hissed and snapped his jaw dangerously close to my face and Gerard's hand cam down on my shoulder to pull me back, but I recovered quickly and slapped Mikey across the face, earning a howl of pain from him. He recoiled, baring his long teeth as his hand flew up to his cheek, touching the swollen, steaming skin. I could feel Gerard flinch behind me without me even needing to look at him (which bothered me slightly, although not in a negative way), but he didn't say anything, to which I was thankful.
I took my chance while Mikey was vulnerable and grabbed his wrists, pining them behind his back. Gerard got down on his knees beside me and took one of the shreds, tying it securely around his brother's wrists. Then we did his ankles. Then tied his entire body to the bed post, triple-knotting the restraints. Mikey didn't say or do anything during the entire ordeal, his eyes boring deeply into each of us as if targeting; weighing, measuring, sizing us up. Eyes of rage and torment, fury and irritation. Eyes that twinkled in amusement, reminding me horribly of the boy I had spoken to over the phone the last time I heard Mikey. The real Mikey.
Once we were done, Gerard and I stepped back to join the others, and there we stood. The five of us on one side of the room and Mikey on the other, sitting on the floor, staring up at us with a crooked smile, like the entire situation was a game.
And even with him tied against the bed post, outnumbered five to one, I still wasn't sure who was winning.