"Me tell Gerard to do his homework...that's never gonna happen. I'd like to live to see high school."
"Why is he so mean to you?" Bob asked. Mikey continued watching the TV screen, focusing on the car flying down the road. He couldn't look away, or it would crash.
"He's not mean. He's just not the same without his friends."
"How so?" Mikey sighed again, trying to figure out how to word it.
"When Frank and Ray - and Matt, I guess - are around him, he's a lot happier. He jokes around, they pull pranks, get in trouble together...stuff like that. But when he comes home he's different." He paused for a second. 'Should I really tell him about Gerard cutting himself? He'll probably think me and my brother are freaks...that I'll end up just like him...' Mikey shook the thought from his mind. Bob was a great listener, and so far he had taken everything as if it were casual conversation.
Mikey could trust him.
"He cuts sometimes." He waited to see how Bob reacted. The eighth grader was listening intently and encouraged him to continue. "I've never said anything, because afterwards he's a lot calmer. He doesn't act like he's about to murder me. Now that Matt's gone, though, I'm afraid it's going to get worse."
"If you're that worried about him, you need to say something," said Bob.
"I can't," Mikey said sadly. "If I confront him, he'll beat the crap out of me."
"And if you don't, he might die." Mikey swallowed nervously. He didn't want to think of it that way. He heard the front door open, breaking his train of thought. He struggled to keep control of the car as it turned a sharp corner at 200 miles per hour.
"Hey, mom," he said without looking away from the screen. "Did you forget something?"
"No, but you did." Mikey's face fell, and he slowly turned around, hearing the car finally explode upon hitting a wall. Gerard stood in the doorway, wild anger in his eyes. Mikey felt his heart rate skyrocket. He could see Bob out of the corner of his eye, but dared not look directly at him. That would mean breaking eye contact with Gerard. That would be suicide.
"Mikey...go to your room."
"No." Mikey stood from his place on the couch. Gerard walked over to him, closing the distance between them in only a few strides. Mikey couldn't leave. He knew what would happen.
"Listen to me and get out of here," Gerard said slowly, clenching his jaw.
"No, Gerard," Mikey said calmly, seeing the rage in his brother's eyes intensify. Gerard glanced over at Bob. Mikey mouthed the word 'run' to his friend, but he seemed frozen in place.
"Get out of here!" Gerard suddenly shouted, shoving his younger brother out of the way. Mikey stumbled forward a few steps and hit the wall, then disappeared around the corner and into the hallway. He leaned back against the wall and slid to the floor, trying desperately not to cry. He hated being so weak compared to his brother.
Mikey heard a crash, and several things being shattered. The fight continued for another minute before he heard the front door open. First he thought it was one of his parents, and for a fleeting moment he hoped they would say something. But when he turned to look, he saw Gerard dragging Bob out the door and throwing him on the front steps.
"If you don't want me to kill you," Gerard growled. "Stay away from my brother." He took a single step back and slammed the door. He didn't care if anyone yelled at him this time.
Gerard wiped some blood off of his lip upon returning inside. Silence now filled the room, except for his heavy breathing. He looked around for his brother, but upon not seeing him, stumbled up the stairs to his room and slammed the door.
Mikey finally broke down once he knew Gerard was in his room. He could only hear his own sobs in the now-empty room, and he was thankful it was all over. Eventually he stood and headed toward the door, stepping around the broken ceramic pieces of a table side lamp. He tentatively opened the door and saw Bob sprawled on the ground next to the steps. It looked like he wasn't breathing.
Mikey jumped off the top step and landed a few feet away from his friend. He was relieved to see that Bob was breathing after all, but it wasn't very noticeable.
"Bob?" he whispered. He received a barely audible sound in response. "I'm going to help you get home." With some difficulty, Bob managed to sit up. His mind was reeling.
"I think I'm gonna die," he said slowly. Mikey sighed sadly. Bob was in no condition to go anywhere.
"Can you make it up the stairs?" Mikey asked him, glancing at the second floor of his house. Bob nodded numbly. "Looks like you'll be staying at our house tonight, then." Bob's face became pale.
"He'll kill me." Mikey shook his head.
"I'll keep him away from you. I promise." Bob pulled himself to his feet, crying out in pain. Mikey helped steady him, and they slowly walked up the stairs and back inside.
As his brother sat in the living room, Gerard looked out his window and down on the front lawn, finally calmed down from his outrage. He saw the kid lying on one side, probably unconscious. He smirked to himself and left the window, pressing play on his stereo system and walking over to his desk. He picked up a pencil and began drawing, sketching aimlessly until he could think of something.
'Revenge,' he thought, face growing dark. 'I want revenge.' He began to move the pencil across the paper furiously, but he wasn't drawing anymore. He was writing. The words seemed to appear in his head faster than he could scribble them onto the paper, but it didn't matter. He wasn't patient enough to wait for his computer to turn on, and he knew if he did wait, the thoughts would be gone. He couldn't afford to lose them, or he would lose his mind. His mind was the only thing he had left.
He sat there for two hours, writing furiously, scratching out words and writing over them. He filled several pages with the scrawling words. He smirked to himself; if he ever did allow someone to watch him write or draw, they would swear he was possessed. His hand was starting to hurt, but he refused to yield to the pain.
'Just one more sentence...one more word...' he thought to himself. He finally leaned back in his chair, letting his hand drop from the desk uselessly. His hand felt warm, and his fingers were numb. The shortened pencil slid from his grasp and landed on the carpet. 'Done.'
Gerard picked up the top sheet of paper with his left hand and looked at it in the focused light of the lamp. He smiled, showing a few teeth. It was perfect. He let his eyes travel over the words several times before he opened his mouth and began to sing.
"Stay out of the light of the photograph that I gave you..."