Well done, Bird. Well done.
Bob attempted to talk to Mikey after Gerard had been forced to retreat to the far side of the bed just to avoid Mikey's incessant murmurings and snarls. But no amount of words, coaxing, or nostalgia seemed to be able to make any connection with the Mikey we all had come to love like a little brother. Bob finally had to retreat in shock and fright when Mikey smirked at him and trailed out a string of unholy Latin words, letting the distinctively ominous sound pour from his mouth like poisoned liquor and spread through the thin motel air like an infection.
The sun had almost fully set by the time we got the call. Gerard had left his phone on the cabinet that supported the TV, and with a violent shudder, it fell off of the wood and onto the carpeting of the floor, vibrating softly into the fabric as a small red light announced the arrival of an incoming call.
Gerard bent down to pick it up, prying himself away from my arms while avoiding Mikey's intense stare. He flipped it open and settled his eyes on the caller ID, pausing long enough to merit my questioning gaze.
"Who is it?"
Gerard looked up at me, his eyes swallowed by blank curiosity and confusion as he gripped the vibrating object tightly in his hand.
Bob, Ray, and Brian's heads snapped up at this, ungluing their eyes from the TV to watch Gerard as he swallowed thickly, taking a small glance at his brother (who smirked) before pressing two buttons on the pad, receiving the call and placing it on speakerphone.
"Gerard! How lovely to talk to you again! Although I am a bit disappointed that you're not dead, but I'm sure we can work around that--"
"Turn him back," Gerard growled, fury flashing through his face. "Turn him back right fucking now or I swear to god your dying wish will be that you still had all remaining limbs in tact."
I heard Brian swallow thickly, and I myself almost cringed at Gerard's tone, but through my bones and veins ran a thick stream of relief and strength. Gerard was back. The take-no-shit, never-let-them-take-you-alive Gerard had resurfaced, big brother mode-- protector mode--snapping back into life with an electric crack that jolted through the air, infesting our hearts with a new degree of power. Our front man was finally playing his part.
Lincoln, however, obviously didn't feel threatened.
"Cute," he commented, and I could almost envision him picking at his nails on the other side of the phone, clearly disinterested. "I look forward to that. Now, if you don't mind--"
"You little fucking bitch," Gerard snarled. "I don't know what you people think you're doing, or who you are/, but as far as I'm concerned, none of us have done /anything to merit this torment from a bunch of night crawlers that don't know light from fucking dark."
Gerard was breathing heavily, the phone clutched in white hands, obviously not impressed with Lincoln's aversion to the rules of being a proper vampire. "Now change him back. Give me my brother back, you fucking freaks."
Lincoln sighed. "Gerard, do you know vampirism? The history? The facts?"
"Yes," Gerard replied with a strong voice, albeit a little unsurely. "Why?"
"Oh good," Lincoln answered, "That will make our whole situation entirely easier to understand."
Gerard growled in frustration by the lack of information he was getting out of Lincoln and hissed into the phone.
"What do you want with my brother?!"
"You know what?" Lincoln replied fondly, "We really have to stop meeting like this. How about we have a little talk, just you and me? In the park?"
I leapt up from the bed and snatched the phone away from Gerard's hand, feeling the warm battery press against my palm and cheek as I snarled into the phone. "He's not going /any/where without me."
"Ahh, Bird," Lincoln hummed. "How I loathe the sound of your voice."
"Ditto," I breathed angrily, and Lincoln chuckled.
"Tell me, how is my little Mikey?"
I glanced over to where we had Mikey tied, and found him squirming even more frantically than when we initially took him down. His hands were straining against his confinements as he whined, trying to get closer to where I was standing. It took me a moment to realize that his eyes weren't locked on me, however, but the object I held in my hand.
He's trying to get to Lincoln, I thought, a wave of sharp, poignant horror tearing through me. He wants to be with him.
"I turned him myself, you know," Lincoln stated cheerfully. "Quite an honour. I hope the little bugger recognizes that."
"What did you do to him?" I whispered, still staring at Mikey in terror. Gerard was turned towards him too now, after seeing the look on my face, and his hands had fallen hopelessly to his side as his eyes searched his brother, trying fruitlessly to reclaim any part of Mikey that we still had.
"He's new, so he'll be like that for a few days. I daresay he's quite attracted to me, no?" Lincoln laughed, a sickeningly beautiful sound that echoed through the room, causing Mikey to whine with want and Gerard to cringe.
In a flash, Gerard reached over and snatched the phone from me, his voice harsh and low and utterly terrifying as he poured the poison-drenched words out of his pretty lips. "I want him back, you son of bitch. I want my brother /back/. Tell me what I have to do."
"Meet me in park, beautiful," Lincoln murmured seductively, his voice still strong. "Bring the Bird with you; I don't care. Bring your whole group. The more the merrier, I say. Although, I think you're going to have to leave dear Mikey behind, as he'll probably be too excited to see me that you won't be able to restrain him. Isn't that right, Mikey baby?"
Startled as I was by Lincoln's knowledge of being on speakerphone, I was even more disturbed by the pitiful mewl that Mikey released at being almost directly addressed by him. He licked his lips and yanked desperately at the strips of fabric that immobilized his wrist movement. His eyes were hungry and almost maddened, but still so very clear. They weren't covered by a glazed look or delusional expression. They were Mikey's eyes. The same eyes that read mine, the same eyes that comforted me, the same eyes could see through my lies and meanings and feigned guilt.
They were Mikey's eyes. Mikey's eyes, under Lincoln's control.
"Where?" Gerard spit out cruelly, his fists clenched as he watched Mikey withering around against the bedpost.
"Turn down your street, past the warehouse, and you'll see it. It's actually quite lovely; I think you'll enjoy it," Lincoln said. "I'll be waiting for you."
And the phone clicked off. Gerard pulled it away from him and stared at it in an almost nervous disgust, as Mikey kicked and groaned behind him, tossing his head and sighing. An uncomfortable silence fell over us, each lost in the thoughts we all shared, only looking up when Bob finally cleared his throat and stated, "Well, it's not getting any lighter. Let's go."
you walk, but your feet never touch the ground
you look and you look, but you're never found
you speak, but you know you don't make a sound
and when you sing, they will hear you
and when you sing, they will hear you
The neon glow from the vacant sign hummed loudly as we walked past, the sick orange light guiding our path onto the sidewalk, slowly shutting the door on a quietly smirking Mikey still pinned to the bed beneath the darkened ceiling.
Gerard said nothing when the door clicked and locked, and kept his eyesight focused directly in front of him; I felt my own pain shoot through my body as the sound of the door confirmed a border than we could no longer cross. Mikey on one side, with them. Us on the other. I could hardly imagine Gerard's inner torment.
I didn't meet his eyes.
The five of us began our trek down the sidewalk, passing the other empty motel rooms like ghosts in our silence, filtering in and out of the streetlights and lengthening our shadows. Our steps were harsh and loud against the pavement, and each little crack I stepped on felt unforgivably uneven, almost knocking me to the ground. Gerard, sensing my discomfort and imbalance, circled his arm around my waist, placing his fingers on my hip. I swallowed and avoided his gaze as his hand found the odd bulge on my side; his fingers down the hard blunt figure stuck in the hem of my pants.
He didn't falter his steps, but leaned down to whisper in my ear, "I don't like you carrying that around."
Ever since being held at gunpoint and robbed in a back alley, Gerard had been terrified of the weapon. His fascination with them, like most things, was based solely on his fear and desire towards it, coupled with an unhealthy attraction that always seemed to draw him closer to things that got him into trouble. Alcohol. Drugs. Me.
"Where did you get it?"
"My luggage," I replied lightly, hoping that he would just drop it and we could carry on in the silence that I so desperately wanted to escape from. Just... not like this.
"No, where did you get it?"
I looked up at him, and he met my gaze with shocking hazel eyes, slowing to a stop and allowing Bob, Ray, and Brian to walk past us. He bent forward and pressed his lips chastely against mine, a velvet kiss that I wish I could actually stop and enjoy, but he pulled away, murmuring "Don't use it," against my flesh.
"It's not loaded," I replied against him. He placed a hand on my lower back and urged me forwards again, continuing our walk to catch up with everyone, as they were hovering under a streetlight, waiting. We had already left Mikey; we had silently decided that no one else was going to get seperated again.
We progressed in silence, passing a small gas station and an equally small beauty salon, both closed, of course. The minutes ticked by as our shoes padded against the ground, the only noise before Gerard nudged closer to me again, asking, "Do you have bullets?"
"Are they silver?"
I didn't answer, thinking about the small lead and brass pellets stored safely and discreetly in my pocket. His eyes flashed with understanding when I turned my head away, and he smiled with a bitter sweetly comic smirk. The situation would have been funny if wasn't us.
"Then I don't know why you brought the damn gun anyway."
The reality of the situation hit me with blunt force. Nothing was supposed to happen like this. The cults, the screwed up kids, the lies... it was all fake. It already seemed beyond the point to sit around and mutter vacantly, "Vampires. Unbelievable. Vampires." Our hearts and minds were fast paced and jumpy, touchy to any sound and occurrence, but our eyes were blank, soaking up the fading dusk, drying and discolouring it within our heads. Reflecting the lights upon one another at every glance we connected. It was unbelievable. But here we were, unable to change it.
The park was just past the warehouse, as Lincoln promised, and was filled with a humming yellow and orange light. Streetlamps. Dozens of them scattered around the sidewalk, and a few placed strategically within the grass, illuminating the well tended hedges and expensive benches. A shiver ran through my body and the air around me became suddenly denser, filled with a unique sense, aura, scent, something I couldn't describe. It filled my senses and overpowered my normal thought process; I became suddenly more in tune with the air, with the bodies around me. I could sense Brian's fright, Ray's disbelief, Bob's concern; but twice as strong was the feeling of Gerard's anger, his power, his will; I could feel him. All of him. His thoughts, his body, his movements, his soul.
No one else seemed to experience the same transformation. Their eyes were grazing the territory with meticulous scrutiny, struggling to find something--anything--out of place.
"Glad you could make it!"
I turned quickly, positioning myself next to Gerard as Lincoln appeared underneath one of the lamps, merely meters from us. His dark hair glimmered in the fake light as he moved fluidly, placing himself directly in the middle of the shine. Just like the night I first saw him.
His skin was perfectly flawless, pale, but not white. Natural. His fingernails were painted black and chipping, his worn out Vans barely making a dent in the grass. I found my faith in his vampire verity wavering as I took him in, looking like nothing more than a delinquent kid wandering the streets at night.
Gerard snarled and clenched his fists. "Lincoln."
The boy waved pleasantly, his fingers bending childishly, yet still alluring.
"Gerard, baby," he said lightly, and his voice chilled my veins, setting them on a cold, icy fire. "Tell me, how is your brother?"
I grabbed the back of Gerard's shirt as he moved quickly, his furious eyes locked on Lincoln's pretty face--a pretty face he wanted nothing more than to pound into the dirt until the sun rose again.
"Ah!" Lincoln breathed, holding up a finger. "That's not nice. Bird, you may want to keep a better hold on him."
"Why do you call me that?" I asked suddenly, hoping to get Gerard's mind off of his brother until we could figure out a way to confront the question with no sass from Lincoln. "Why do you keep referring to me as Bird?"
"You don't know?" Lincoln asked, his head tilting.
"Come on, Frank," Gerard whispered to me, looking back behind him, past Ray, Bob, and Brian, who were looking considerably shaken and confused. "He's the only one here. We can take him. We'll force it out of--"
"Don't be so sure of your surroundings, Gerard," Lincoln mused, "There are too many things that go bump in the night. In fact, allow me to introduce one of them..."
He reached out his hand behind him, and in a disturbingly slow and creepy fashion, a thin arm floated out of the shadows around Lincoln's lamplight, resting it's delicate hand in Lincoln's. He tightened his grip gently and urged forward, allowing a body to be pulled in beside him from out of the gloom.
"This," he stated proudly, "is Sylvia. My mate."
Her brown hair cascaded down her face and back, matching the honey-brown of her piercing eyes. Her jeans were ripped at the knees and her flowing black silk shirt ran past her hips, shining softly against the light and reflecting her olive skin. Lincoln brought her hand up to his mouth and kissed it tenderly, giving Gerard and me the look over. Sylvia watched us with a small, knowing smile on her face, her eyes lined with a toxic mixture of red and black, defining her face and reinforcing her near-royalty status.
Lincoln straightened up, moved a strand of hair from Sylvia's face, and refocused his attention to our small group. "Also, there's someone else you should know, although I think you may have already met..."
He smirked and cocked his head behind him. "Jeremy, come."
Another boy stepped out of the shadows, opposite of Sylvia, and took his place at Lincoln's side. I glared daggers at the boy, taking in the familiar Anti-Flag shirt and dirty blonde hair. This was the boy. The same boy that seemed to materialize out of the trees when that woman died in my arms. The same boy that stood by Lincoln's side after murdering those kids at our show. This was Lincoln's right hand man.
Lincoln moved forward to rest his chin on Jeremy's shoulder, touching his neck fondly. "He's still a little new, only has a few decades on him, but I keep him around. I trust him." Jeremy turned his head towards Lincoln, nudging his head in acquiescence, while Sylvia turned to smile at us, snapping her jaw playfully at Gerard and grinning in an entirely heart chilling manner.
"Lincoln," I said suddenly, snapping his attention back onto me. "I want to know what's going on. Why you've been following me. Why you keep calling me Bird. Why you fucking turned Mikey into a...a--"
"Oh he's not a vampire," Lincoln stated conversationally. "He's still in the pre stages, as you should know."
I heard Bob open his mouth behind me, but he shut it again instantly at the look Lincoln shot him, as if /how dare he even consider speaking his mind in the present company/. Gerard, however, was tossed no such animosity when he spoke, and Lincoln turned back to listen intently.
"You're fucking kids," Gerard started, disbelief shredding the perfection of his voice. "You're a fucking cult that hangs around cemeteries and drink each others blood. This is bullshit. You're fucking kids."
"And what's Mikey?" Lincoln asked, stepping closer to Gerard, only a few meters away. "Is he playing along with us, just to toy with you? Is this all some sort of joke to you, Gerard?" Lincoln studied him, his tone laced with honesty. "Is your brother's life a joke?"
"But..." Gerard said, his hand falling limply to his side. "But look at you. You're... proper vampires aren't like this, everyone knows that. You should be wearing fine velvet and hiding out in mansions and reading literature. It's proper. It's how the tales go."
Sylvia spoke up from the edge of the light, startling me. She fixed her gaze on Gerard, her expression that of pitiful amusement. "You know Gerard, for being gay, you're surprisingly narrow minded."
Lincoln laughed aloud, almost giggled, and Jeremy flashed a smile.
"But you're out in the sunlight," Gerard cried, gesturing wildly. "/Direct sunlight/. Explain that."
"Sure thing," Lincoln replied, placing his hands behind his back as he continued to walk around aimlessly, his eyes fixed on everything at once. "Evolution, darling. All species evolve. Dogs. Birds. Bugs. Humans. Why should we be left out? Sure it took time," he mused, stopping mid step and rubbing the back of his neck. "We lost all of the elders--they couldn't handle the transition. Their bodies were too fragile, too old. They had lived too long in the darkness, and it made it harder for them to hold their own against their slowly changing bodies."
He looked back at Sylvia, smiling gently. "The younger ones, though, we were far better suited. Our anatomy was fine tuned, still able to perform the functions of a human, if need be. And slowly but surely, the transition was made. Years after years, I watched the elders crumble to ashes, unable to handle the changing inner composition. The strong survived. The young. Me."
"How old are you?" I asked outright, positioning myself closer to Gerard. "How many years have you been a vampire?"
"167," he answered wistfully. "I turned Sylvia nearly six decades ago, and slowly, our family grew."
Gerard let out a growl of frustration. "Okay, Jesus, /alright/. Just tell me how to get my brother back. That's all I want to know."
Lincoln flashed a smile. "I thought you knew your history, Gerard."
When all Lincoln was met with was a glare from Gerard and a blank stare on my part, he sighed and began to recite.
"Until the enzyme has fully metabolized, the victim will be weak and sickly -as well as being susceptible to the hypnotic commands by the vampire that attacked him. The victim will almost always develop a perverse, often amorous attraction toward the vampire that bit him as well. The victim may be spared the horrible fate of becoming a vampire if the host-vampire is properly destroyed before the enzyme metabolizes itself -claiming the victim as a vampire."
Sylvia laughed, a sweet sound that thudded against my heart and made my stomach turn. "Come, Gerard, that should have been obvious. I thought you were clever."
Lincoln turned and grabbed Sylvia's hand, laughing. "You like him!"
"Oh, I do not," she waved him off with a grin.
Lincoln kissed her cheek, still smiling, and my gut swirled at how normal it all seemed. It was so fucked up, the entire situation, but at the same time, nothing about this scene would seem unusual to any passer-by. That thought frightened me the most; the feeling of being entirely alone in a crowded room. A collapse of sanity. A distorted vision of reality.
Gerard, however, had different reaction.
"So, what you're saying is," he started, "is that all I have to do to get my brother back...is kill /you?/"
"Kill me?" Lincoln questioned. "Nah. Killing won't do any good. You'll have to destroy me. You'd have to--"
"I know, I know," Gerard spat. "Stab you in the heart with silver or wood, stuff your decapitated head with garlic, then scatter your ashes all over the fucking world. But you know what, Lincoln?" Gerard snarled, clenching his fists. "I think that can be arranged."
"Oooh," Sylvia muttered into Lincoln's ear. "I think I do like him."
Lincoln smiled, shrugging at Gerard before sighing. "Bird, I'm sorry, but your boy doesn't want to seem to cooperate. I'm afraid we're going to have to take care of him. Jeremy?"
Jeremy moved forward, nodding at Lincoln before edging closer to Gerard. His white shirt shimmered in the light, and his movement was erratic, almost whipping like mist across the ground. He passed by me without even sparing me a glance and eyed Gerard, his eyes trailing from his pale face to the rest of his body as a hand reached up and ran a finger down Gerard's cheek.
Gerard seemed too shocked to be able to react properly, and gave me a frightened look, which I'm sure I returned. I felt his hand gently brush my hip, slowly pulling the gun from the hem of my pants. I wished bitterly that he had let me put the bullets in, silver or not. The only use it was now was blunt force.
"He's really lovely," Jeremy muttered, turning his head to speak to Lincoln. "Can I keep him?"
Lincoln smirked devilishly. "Be my guest."
Jeremy turned; he was about the same height as Gerard, and his lips lined up perfectly with Gerard's ear.
"How would you like to live forever?"
"Go to hell," Gerard spat, turning his face away.
Jeremy laughed and dropped his voice an octave. "You'd better get your hand off of that gun, or I won't be going there alone."
Gerard, shocked, let his grip falter as soon as he had pulled it away from my body, and the weapon fell from the ground just as Jeremy's teeth flashed. Horrified, I did the only thing I could think of and pushed the boy away from Gerard, scrambling backwards and tugging Gerard along beside me.
Brian's voice. I turned around to face them, and saw at least half a dozen kids advancing on us from the back. Ray was yelling. Lincoln was shouting something. Gerard was pulling on my hand.
But someone else's grip was attached to me, and I was thrown aside as Jeremy, recovered, once again latched onto Gerard, twisting a hand into the black locks to force Gerard's head back, exposing his inviting neck. Fury flashed through me. Rage. Terror. Fear. Shock. The realization that Gerard was about to be taken from me.
Time slowed. I could see Bob and Brian in a flurry of fists, defending themselves as best as they could. Sylvia had a struggling Ray pinned, her fangs flashing in the light. Lincoln was watching me, head cocked, eyes deviously alight.
Time returned to normal. My fist collided with Jeremy's perfect skin and his grip on Gerard faltered, allowing me to pull him away. Jeremy fell to the ground and shrieked in agony, the burn mark already apparent on the underside of his neck. Something grabbed my shirt from behind, digging it's fingernails deeply into my skin, but I jerked away, and the ripping of fabric could be heard, exposing my midriff, before I turned with fiery eyes and wrapped my hands around the creature's neck. It was a girl. Long blonde hair. Pale skin. Blue eye shadow. She was wearing an MCR shirt.
The instant I touched her she gasped, choking. Her eyes widened and she scraped at my hands, only causing more pain on her part as her fingertips started to smoke along with her neck, and in only seconds she was a steaming pile of flesh on the floor, her blood and burnt skin lingering on my hands.
Ray was screaming, trying to pry Sylvia away from him while she snarled. Bob and Brian were back to back, holding off three of four vampires as best as they could, but fatigue and fear was setting in. Fear and agony overpowered me, and I felt it swell to the top of my chest.
"STOP!" I screamed in corrosive inner torment, and to my surprise, everyone did. Then, slowly, the four surrounding Bob and Brian moved away, their eyes glowing as they advanced effortlessly across the grass like ghosts, my blood and flesh on their minds. Sylvia, smirking, released Ray and joined Lincoln, who stood protectively above a paining Jeremy (though making no effort to help him), watching the scene with sadistic eyes.
"Wait," one of them said, a girl, and she halted, staring at my stomach. The others ignored her and kept moving towards me, a lustful glint in their eyes.
"Wait," she said again. "This isn't right. Look at him. He's the Bird."
"Bullshit," one of the boys countered, shooting her a reproachful glare.
"No, look, she's right," another girl said, pointing a shaking finger at the patch of exposed skin just below my ripped shirt. At my tattoos. "He is. Don't--David, don't touch him."
Wildly, I formed a mad plan, trying to force my breathing to be calm.
"Thanks right motherfuckers," I whispered harshly. "I'm the Bird. You come anywhere near me, and I'll tear your fucking head off."
The vampires took a step back, shooting each other questioning, worried glances. I motioned for Ray, Brian, and Bob to join Gerard behind me, and they stumbled over, Ray clutching his arm. "Go," I hissed at them. "Go, I'll meet you back at the motel."
"Frank," Gerard started, "Frank, no--"
"Gerard, I know what I'm doing," I replied, still wondering whether that was entirely a lie. "Just go. I'll catch up. Go. /Please./"
Bob, taking authority, grabbed Gerard from behind and forced him backwards and onto the sidewalk while Ray and Brian followed him, panting and frightened. They disappeared into the night, running at full speed. I turned back towards the group in front of me, taking a brave step forward and feeling my heart and body flame to life as they took a simultanious step back.
"That's it, you fucking bastards," I muttered, words falling out of my mouth in a jumble. I was a mess. Blood was staining my chest and arms, smeared across my face. My eyes were wide, I knew. Wide and glowing with maddening intensity. "Back up. I'm going to burn every one of you motherfuckers until you'll be useless even in Hell."
I waited until I couldn't hear my friends footsteps before looking at Lincoln; the remaining vampires backed off entirely, their heads bent and hands by their sides, most of their eyes still attached to my sparrow tattoos.
Lincoln wrapped an arm around Sylvia as Jeremy panted beneath him, clutching his neck.
"Well done, Bird," he smiled grimly. "Well done."
With one last look into his piercing eyes, I turned and ran.
Out of the park. Down the sidewalk. Past the warehouse. To the other side. No sign of the others.
All I could smell was blood and melting flesh. It made me sick. My feet pounded hard against the water-slick sidewalk, making small splashes, like paint on a canvas, as I ran underneath a streetlight. The sick glow illuminated the red streaked across my shirt, the rips and tears that long nails had torn ruthlessly. My tattoos contrasted vividly against the shock paleness of my skin. I rushed past the light and turned into an alley, using my shaking hands as a weak support, and my bones felt like they'd snap and fail at any moment.
Scaphoid, I heard him murmur against my neck. Lunate...Triquetral...Pisiform...
It was only a memory, but I felt the tears stinging in my eyes. I shook them off and almost automatically felt the bones harden and strengthen when I recalled their names. One by one. And finally I was able to stand, breathing deeply and choking back the urge to gag as I inhaled the thick odour of death and blood and rotten flesh. I looked around, trying to find the source of the rancid smell, but there was nothing but dirty trash bins and writings on the wall, like scriptures of the fucked and damned.
I turned and puked out the contents of my stomach when I realized the smell was me.
I puked until I tasted acid.
And then I turned and kept running.