Categories > Movies > Newsies > Silence0 Reviews
Six year old Frankie witnesses her mother's murder. Problem is Frankie's the only witness, and she can't tell anyone what happened. She and her brother end up in Brooklyn, but are they safe? Pre-Ne...
Queens, New York
Six year old Francesca "Frankie" Doherty lay curled up on the sofa next to her mother's wooden rocking chair. Her mother, Maria, eight months pregnant with her fifth child, rocked slowly, cuddling three-year-old Beth and reading the girls fairytale stories from a large leather bound book. The smell of fresh baking bread mixed with light smoke from the wood burning stove and gave the warm room a comfortable, familiar aroma.
Beth yawned and sucked her plump thumb, her other arm clinging to Maria's chest, patting it every so often. She was content in her little-girl-world, and knew nothing outside of her parent's flat. Frankie drifted to sleep, she'd caught a chill the day before when Maria and the girls had gone to the market and been caught in the freezing rain, and sleep had eluded her during the night, so she was catching up. Maria smiled down at her eldest daughter, smoothed the chestnut hair from her eyes and sighed as the babe within her kicked.
"Jealous of your sisters already?" Maria laughed at the bump that rolled across her swollen belly in reply. "Come now, Frankie and Beth both love you. So do your brothers. Won't be long and you'll be able to see for yourself."
Maria continued rocking, a slow easy rhythm as she gently rubbed her belly, allowing herself to drift off and think about how things had been when she'd first married her husband John. They'd been so terribly in love then. How in the world had they gotten so far off track?
Maria was the only daughter of a large, and very wealthy, Italian family. Her father was both respected and feared by most everyone in Manhattan. He had the ear of nearly every influential person in the city. And, he hated John, not because John was poor, though that hadn't helped at all. Not because John was a police officer, a lowly beat cop with little chance of gaining a better position in the department, that fact certainly didn't earn him any points with the notorious Giuseppe Tortulo. The reason he hated John, and had forbidden the romance between the two young lovers was simple; the Tortulo's were Italian nobility, and John was Irish.
But Maria married him anyway, her youthful defiance and a stubborn streak, longer than the Queens Bridge, melded with the misleading notion that "love conquers all" so she left her family's immense Park Avenue home in the middle of the night and ran away with John Doherty.
They married and made their home in Queens. The couple was soon joined by a baby boy, Michael, then another, Riley. Things were good. They loved each other and though they didn't have much, they had each other, a decent home and never went hungry. Maria didn't mind not having the fashionable clothes she'd worn, or not dining on fine heirloom china. When Frankie was born, she was the very likeness of Maria's mother, other than her deep blue-green eyes, they were definitely a Doherty trait, and Maria began to miss her family.
Maria and John had their first real fight, while she was pregnant with Beth. He'd started drinking, a lot, and would come home late and actually struck her once when she shouted at him for spending their grocery money at a local tavern. She'd tried to find work, but work for an eight-month pregnant woman with three young children at home was basically nonexistent. So, rather than watch her children starve, she took them and went home to her father's house. John, of course, came crawling and begging her to come home. His apology was complete with tears and promises to never let it happen again. Maria's father, thinking it would keep her in his home, told her that if she went back to him he would disown her. Maria, still desperately in love with the man she'd married years before, reluctantly said goodbye to her family and left with John.
Things were perfect.
Maria had Beth, John straightened out and stopped drinking. The boys were both in school and excelling in their studies. Frankie, looked very much like her mother but was truly a daddy's girl and idolized him.
But, it didn't take long for the strains of a growing family to push John back into drinking and gambling in an effort to bring in extra money, which of course, didn't work and cost him half the rent money. Then, when Maria revealed she was again carrying his child, John snapped. He slowly became more abusive and demanding toward his young wife and even to his children. Michael took the brunt of it but Riley and Frankie got their share as well and John pulled away from Frankie, alienating the little girl who turned to her mother and brothers for comfort and protection from her former hero.
Frankie stirred and shoved her thumb into her mouth. She had stopped such childish behavior long ago, but when she wasn't feeling well or was scared, she would return to sucking her thumb. Maria reached over and pulled the blanket up over Frankie's slim shoulder and frowned when she felt the heat coming from her daughter's body.
Maria got up, with much effort as she still held Beth, and laid the tiny toddler on John's favorite chair. She'd normally be put down near Frankie, they shared a bed at night, but Maria didn't want Beth to get sick.
Maria waddled into the cramped kitchen and pumped some cool water into a large bowl to soak a few clean rags in to use to cool Frankie's fever. As she made her slow return to the livingroom, the door slammed open with great force. Beth woke violently and started to scream and sob for her momma. Frankie's eyes flew open and she sat up with a start, her tousled auburn hair hanging in her face. Maria jumped, the bowl of water slipped through her arms and crashed to the floor in a blur of shattered porcelain and splashed across the floorboards.
"You took it!" John bellowed from the doorway and slammed the door closed with even more force than he'd used to open it. His sandy-blonde hair was plastered to his head from the heavy rain falling outside.
Frankie, though weak and burning with fever, climbed down from the sofa and snatched up Beth, cuddling the little girl close to her, she watched her parents wide eyed and silent. Beth sobbed but quieted and clung to the older girl.
"What? John, why are you home so early? I thought you were working till dinner time." Maria placed one hand against the wall as she slowly made her way down to her knees to pick up the pieces of the broken bowl.
John stalked across the room, grabbed her by her hair, his right hand and fingers tangled in her thick deep auburn tresses, and yanked her to her feet. She yelped and clutched his wrist in a vain effort to steady herself and alleviate some of the sharp pain in her scalp. He pulled her against him, his front plastered to her back. He was sweaty and reeked of sour unwashed body odors.
"You took the money from my wallet!" He hissed hotly against her ear. His blue-green eyes flashed dangerously and Maria could smell stale smoke and the sharp scent of whiskey on his breath.
"You've been drinking," she accused. Her voice was low even though her own temper was on the rise because he'd woken up the girls.
John, still held tight to her hair and brought his other meaty hand up, balled into a fist and slammed it into the side of her face. Maria's head snapped to the right and connected with his collarbone.
Maria let out a dazed yelp. Her hearing was muffled by the high pitched ringing now present in her ears.
"Daddy! Stop!" Frankie cried out from her seat with Beth.
John turned his icy gaze on his oldest daughter. "Shut yer bloody mouth girl! Seen not heard, that's what you should be!" He growled at her.
Frankie, terrified, snapped her mouth shut and clung to her baby sister protectively.
"It was the food money John. I had to get groceries," she spoke even though she couldn't hear herself over the ringing in her ears and the thumping of her heart.
Frankie watched in horror as her father slammed her mother against the wall face first, punched her in the back then spun her around and slammed her against the wall again. His fist crashed into her mother's pregnant belly causing her to double over. He then righted her and slammed her hard into the wall again. Maria's head snapped back and hit the wall so hard it left a dent and she went limp. He kept slamming her into the wall, over and over her head connected with the crumbling plaster till blood splattered in small dots across the dingy white paint.
Frankie gasped and stood petrified for a long moment. It seemed like hours but was really only a few seconds. She knew her mother was in desperate trouble and needed help so she carried Beth to the door as quickly as her little legs would carry her. She managed to get the door open and was halfway into the hall when she felt her father's hard fingers grab her shoulder and yank her back. She dropped Beth and whispered to her to run next door to get help.
John pulled Frankie back into the apartment, kicked the door closed and slammed her against the wall so hard it made her teeth rattle. He was yelling and cursing at her in his slurred Irish accent, sometimes even slipping into Gaelic. She didn't understand what he was saying but knew they were bad words because her mother had yelled at Riley for using some of the same words a week before.
"Daddy, please!" Frankie sobbed as he shook her shoulders. "Momma's hurt. Please help her." Terror and nearly hysterical sobs made her choke on each word.
He flung Frankie across the room with such great force that when she hit the tea table near the sofa there was a sickening crunch that left her right arm hanging at an impossible angle and she dropped to the floor in a heap.
Maria moaned from where she lay in two growing puddles of her own blood. One from her head and the other flooding from between her thighs, a dark scarlet stain seeping through her skirts into the pale blue rug beneath her.
"John, the baby..." she gasped the plea for him to help her.
John turned to his wife, his teal eyes were empty and icy cold with rage. He said nothing but walked closer to her, stared down at her with his deadly gaze and kicked her twice in the stomach.
Frankie clutched her arm to her chest and once she'd caught her breath again, started for the door. She looked at her mother's still form as she moved along the wall. Maria's eyes were open but dull. Frankie bit her lip to keep from crying out for her and forced herself to pick up the pace.
She wasn't quick enough.
"And where the Hell d'ya think yer goin' lass? John grabbed Frankie's broken arm and yanked her to him. All color drained from her face as she bit her lip. She could taste blood, but she didn't utter a sound.
John's drunken rage continued and he back handed Frankie across the face, his wedding ring (an intricately engraved Celtic knot-work band with his family crest carved on the top) left a deep jagged cut along her right cheekbone just below her eye. She would have fallen but he had a tight grip on her injured arm. He wrapped his long calloused fingers around the girl's slender throat and lifted her. She kicked her bare feet wildly and managed to connect one foot with his groin as her good hand clawed at his fingers. He growled in pain and tightened his grip. Frankie kicked frantically but was quickly losing strength and was unable to get any air at all. Soon, her vision was blurred by grey stars and flashes of hazy light, her eyes rolled back and everything went black.
John waited till she was completely limp and was about to snap her neck to be sure she was dead when there came a loud pounding on the door. He dropped the little girl in a heap on the floor and ran for the bedroom.
A/N: I've created a ton of characters ,over the years, that reside in Brooklyn and are part of Spot's crew. They've now decided that supporting roles aren't good enough and they want their own stories. So, this is the first of those stories. I hope you like them as much as I do.