Categories > Movies > Newsies > Goodbye

Chap 5: Recovery

by Sagey1899 0 Reviews

A Deadly fire strikes in the heart of Manhattan just before Christmas. Can Jack and the others save one of their own? (WARNING: character death)

Category: Newsies - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Jack Kelly, Kid Blink, Mush, Racetrack Higgins, Skittery, Spot Conlon - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2007/07/07 - Updated: 2007/07/07 - 1243 words

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Jack spent the next few weeks recovering.

His fever finally broke, his lungs eventually cleared, bruises faded from dark purple to healthy pink flesh. Horrible burns on his back were still rather painful, but those on his hands and arms had mostly healed, leaving only pink scars behind that would fade over time. There were, however, lasting scars on his heart and soul.

Spot, true to his word, had not been back to Manhattan since the fight. Regardless of the possibility that Spot planned the fight to enrage Jack into fighting for his life or merely lost his temper, Jack did fight. He'd even begun talking to the fellas in the lodging house again, though not nearly as often as before the fire.

Two of the people he was closest to in the world were both gone from his life forever and there was nothing he could do about it.

Crutchy's remains were so terribly burned that with Jack being badly injured, and with the ground frozen solid, there had been no rush for a funeral. But now, Jack was anxious to find a way to give Crutchy a Christian burial. With most of the Churchyard cemeteries full, it would be expensive to have him interred as Jack wished. And, though Jack had some savings, much of it had been eaten up by paying for room and board at the lodging house while he recovered, leaving precious little for use in funeral arrangements.

Still weak and unable to stand long, Jack had taken to helping Kloppman with the ledgers and other duties the aging caretaker was finding more difficult to do. He sat on a stool behind the counter in the lobby, pouring over the books. His elbow was on the counter and he supported his chin on his hand. To say he was bored would be an understatement. He longed to be outside, cold as it was it had to better than being stuck in the lodging house.

Kid Blink burst through the door. "Jack!"

"I'se right heah Kid. Ya ain't gotta shout." Jack mumbled without looking up.

Blink approached him grinning from ear to ear. "Ahem!" Blink cleared his throat.

Rolling his eyes in exasperation, Jack finally looked up. "Whatcha want Kid?"

Just behind the smiling Kid Blink, stood a man, a few years older than Jack. He could have passed for Specs' older brother, complete with a black bolo hat and silver rimmed specs. His thin face was very serious, though he smiled cordially at Jack.

"This," Blink said to the man, "is Jack Kelly."

Jack's first instinct, after years of abuse at the hands of Snyder and others dressed so finely was to turn on his heel and run. But, he stayed where he sat, simply too worn out to get anywhere if he fled. He shifted on the stool. "Yeah," he nodded. "An who might you be?"

"I'm James Ryder." The man stepped forward, his hand open and extended to shake Jack's hand. He let it hang there for a long moment, dropping it to his side and wiping it on his gray trousers when Jack made no move to accept the greeting.

"What can I do foah ya, Mr. Ryder?" Jack replied cooly, standing as straight as he could manage.

He smiled politely. "Uh, Mr. Kelly, I represent the families of the children you and your friends rescued from the fire at St. Johns." Jack nodded. "They would like to express their gratitude for what you did that night." Ryder continued when Jack merely cocked his brow. "Is this a convenient time to meet with you and your, uh, newsies?"

Jack cocked his head to the side. "Which newsies are you referrin to, Mr. Ryder?"'

Ryder pulled a small crisp piece of paper from his pocket and unfolded it. He handed it to Jack. It was a list: Jack Kelly, Kid Blink, Skittery, Racetrack, and Mush

"I'se shoah I can get em tagedah foah ya." Jack gave Blink a nod and the blonde newsboy slipped back outside to find the boys. "If you'd like ta have a seat Mr. Ryder. I'd offer ya some coffee but well, it's kinda basic round heah."

Jack watched Ryder sit down properly with perfect posture on the ratty sofa. He wondered if he felt as out of place as he looked. The man spread out his papers and withdrew 5 sealed envelopes setting them in a tidy stack on the coffee table. That done; he sat back and placed his hands on his knees.

Fifteen minutes passed and Ryder moved only once, to check his gold pocket watch. He looked around the lodging house, the surroundings brought two words to his mind: sparse and depressing. His throat was parched and he wished that there were a pot of coffee or tea brewing, as there had always been in his home growing up. He felt sorry for the boys that lived here, working day in and day out in the elements only to return to a cold drafty lodge that held more than twenty other boys. He sighed as he removed his hat and shoved his hand through his light brown hair. He wondered if any of the boys really had a future to look forward to. Well, five of them would, thanks to his clients.

Blink returned with three boys. Jack made his way over to the group as they sat down around Ryder. Jack sat on the arm of the chair Blink occupied and once everyone was settled he introduced them. Ryder nodded and jotted down notes on a piece of paper with each name.

"Right, Mr. Ryder. We're all heah now." Jack planted his hands on his knees. "What's dis all about?"

Ryder smiled. "Thank you, Mr. Kelly." Jack rolled his eyes at the formality but listened. "I represent the families of the children you rescued from St. Johns." He explained. "They would like to show their gratitude by setting up a trust for each of you." He wrote a number on a piece of paper, folded it and slid it across the table to Jack.

"Damn, dats a-a lotta money!" Jack stammered, his eyes nearly popping out of his head. He showed it to Blink.

"What!?" The other boys asked in unison.

Blink grinned. "Split five ways dat's."

"Six." Jack cut him off. "Six ways, we'se givin Crutchy a proper burial."

"No, son," Ryder spoke up. "You EACH get that much. It's more than enough to cover education or whatever you like. In addition, they would like to cover any funeral expenses for your friend, and medical bills." He nodded to Jack.

Jack was gobsmacked. The number was generous, even split six ways. "What's the catch?" Jack questioned.

Ryder smiled. "Only one, rather than receiving the entire sum at once; you will each receive a monthly stipend. Then if you have a large purchase, tuition, relocation or housing expenses, you just need to clear it with the executor of the trusts." He surveyed the boys, they looked confused and stunned as the scrap of paper made it's way around to each in turn. "You boys gave my clients a second chance with their children. They'd like to give you a chance at a more secure life."

After passing out the envelopes to the boys, containing thank you letters and the first installment of the money, Ryder excused himself and left the boys to absorb everything that had been discussed.
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