He wasn't having much luck.
'Is that a skeleton or a tree?' Frank asked himself, growing more frustrated by the second. "This is impossible," he said decidedly, tossing the piece of paper behind him and pouting. He caught sight of a sheet of paper covered in scrawling, scribbled text, and gingerly picked it up. He was one of few people who wrote less neatly than Gerard, and had no trouble reading the words.
Ruined my life
My brother's, too
At least, that's what I hear
Should I cut
Or smoke, or both?
I've let go of my fear
Frank's eyes widened as he read the words. This was unusual for Gerard. Instead of just being dark, it seemed apathetic.
That was what scared him the most.
Climb up, jump down
Or just jump off?
The one floor in between
I'm standing here
I'm on this floor
It's called the mezzanine
I have to stop
But I just can't
Impossible, it seems
The knife is cold
I like the cold
Makes perfect sense to me
"Oh God..." Frank whispered to himself. His hands were beginning to quiver slightly, and the piece of paper shuddered in response. "He did try to kill himself..."
I'm sorry, Frank
I'm sorry, Ray
I've let my best friends down
I wouldn't care
If Mikey came
In here and shot me now
But most of all
I'm sorry, Matt
I lied to you, it seems
I said I'd care
I said I'd change
Stop going to extremes
I can't do it
I'm just too weak
Mikey, don't you see?
Forgive me, please
I'm falling off
This floor, the mezzanine.
Frank carefully folded the paper into a square and put it in his pocket, then flew downstairs to get Ray. He found the curly-haired teen asleep on the floor and roughly shook him to wake him up.
"We have to find him," Frank said abruptly. "I don't care how far away he runs; we have to find him." Ray looked at him with confusion, so he took the piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it over. Ray's eyes widened as he looked over the words.
"You're right, we have to find him. Where would he go?" he asked Frank. A pause passed between them before the answer came to them simultaneously.
Gerard sat in front of a lead gray tombstone, carefully tracing its worn-edged letters with one finger. The front of his shirt was completely soaked with his tears, and his eyes were starting to become raw, but he didn't care.
"I probably shouldn't have called him, Helena," he said, knowing the person in question could hear him. "Then maybe I would be dead, and none of them would have to worry about me anymore. Plus I could see you again."
'Gerard, don't think that way,' said a small voice in the back of his mind. Other people would have thought him crazy for saying it was his grandmother's voice, but he knew it had to be. He often visited her and would just talk, as if it was to an old friend, using her first name like he always used to. 'They care about you. You would break their hearts if you died before your time. And I don't want to see you again until you're past my age,' the voice added. He could almost hear the smirk.
"But I'm not helping anyone by being here. My own brother said I ruined his life. I don't think I could be a much worse brother than that," he said slowly.
'Mikey was just upset. He worries about you all the time, if you haven't noticed.'
"I have," he responded quietly.
'He just doesn't want anything bad to happen to you. You haven't ruined his life.'
"No," Gerard whispered tearfully. "But I've ruined mine."
The rumbling sound of thunder caused him to look up at the sky. Dark clouds had gathered above him, and he saw a few white trails of lightning amongst them. It was going to be no weak storm, and he knew it, but he refused to move.
'Gerard, my little angel-' the voice began.
"Don't say that," he interrupted bitterly. "I'm a horrible person. I only hurt people, especially people who I'm supposed to care about the most. I only cause pain to myself and others." He looked away from the stone and at the muddy ground, thinly layered with grass, feeling angry tears fall from his eyes. "I'm no angel."
The thunder sounded again, like a monster being roused from its sleep. It threatened to attack him with icy rain and biting wind. Still he refused to move.
'You need to get home. Before the storm starts.'
"No," he said desperately. But the patient silence he received as an answer was enough.
He felt a drop of water land squarely on his nose. It was cold, as he'd expected. Water crashing down from the sky started pelting him at an alarming rate, and Gerard finally conceded and stood up. He didn't go far, though, only walking to the nearest tree and planting himself beneath it. It helped at first, until the wind came.
The sharp gusts began to blow the rain almost sideways. It howled against his thin, almost gaunt frame and plastered his hair against his face, seeming to freeze it there along with the icy rain. His eyes were forced closed, but instead of fighting the weather, he merely let out a content sigh and let himself lean back against the tree.
It was at that moment that his arms began to itch.
First he thought it was because of the thick, sopping wet material weighing down his newly scarred arms. He gingerly pushed back one sleeve just past his elbow, using his left arm to do so. His right arm had since become useless as his body tried desperately to glue the tendons back together. He unwrapped the bandages, but as soon as he reached the last layer of fabric pressing against his skin, he yelled out in pain and had to stop. He slowly removed the bandage the rest of the way, seeing blood and lymph beginning to creep through the freshly broken vessels as if they had been anxiously waiting for him to reopen the cut. He looked at the bandage that now dangled uselessly from his elbow.
He almost had to turn away from what he saw. A paper-thin layer of sickly gray-green skin covered the used side of the bandage. His arm was throbbing and burning in pain, only to be rinsed clean by the chilling rain. It numbed the intense pain, if only temporarily.
He clamped his teeth together and roughly slid the sleeve back to his wrist, crying out as it swept across the injury and burned like fire. He let his right arm fall to his side uselessly, allowing the covered, bleeding, yawning gash to face the sky so the rain could help ease the pain. His left arm fell across his lap, and he let his head roll to one side. He felt dead.
"Gerard, wake up," said a worried voice younger than his own. Gerard opened one eye, seeing a disk of perfect sky-tinted blue staring back at him. It was someone else's eye.
It was the last thing he saw before a cloud of black ink flooded his vision and robbed him of his consciousness.