Categories > Movies > Newsies > Silence

Chapter 1

by Sagey1899 0 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...

Category: Newsies - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Spot Conlon - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2007/07/09 - Updated: 2007/07/09 - 1674 words

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Chapter 1

March 1892


Frankie clung to her brother's hand as they walked in the misty late evening darkness. Riley had carried her as far as he could but it was getting late and cold and even tiny Frankie was proving heavy for the ten year old boy. But they had made it across the bridge into Brooklyn and were safe. At least he hoped they were.

He looked down to see how she was doing. She looked up with her huge teal eyes, eyes that betrayed the fear, cold, hunger and exhaustion they both felt.

"We'll find someplace to rest for the night, okay?"

Frankie nodded mutely. She'd not spoken a word since their mother had been killed. The doctors said her voice box had been crushed in the attack and she'd likely not ever speak again. Her badly broken arm was finally set and protected by a splint and large square of material that had been fashioned into a sling for her.

She'd been released from hospital a few days before and been placed in the same orphanage as Riley. Since Michael was older, he was sent to a different one on the other side of Manhattan that had room for him and required the children to work for part of their day. Beth had spent only a few days in the orphanage when she was taken in by a rich family.

Riley shoved his shaggy dark hair from his eyes and smiled down at her as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "It's gonna be okay Frankie. I ain't leavin' ya, evah. I promise."

Frankie nodded again and leaned into his side for warmth as he lead her deeper into the Brooklyn night and finally into a little covered area near one of the elevated train stops. It wasn't the best but there was enough of a structure that they were shielded from the icy winds that whipped through the streets. Riley found a dry spot on the ground for them to rest and he pulled a small loaf of bread from his coat pocket and broke it in three pieces. He stuffed one back into his pocket and gave the larger of the remaining portions to his sister. She shook her head and handed it back, pointing at the smaller piece. Riley reluctantly traded with her and they nibbled their dinner in the shadowy alley.

Frankie leaned against his shoulder and was still chewing her bread when she fell asleep. Riley finished his bread and held her protectively, stroking her dark hair and whispering to her that they would be alright. Once they were safe they'd find Michael and Beth and could be a family again. Truth was, he had no idea how in the world he would manage that but he was determined for them to all be together.

Riley leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes letting his mind drift back to the events of that morning when he'd seen their father trying to convince the nun at the door to let him and take his "nephew and niece home". Riley had darted down the hall to the room where Frankie was taking a nap, she was still weak and tired easily. He woke her and they snuck out the window of the boys bunk room onto the roof of the building next to them and ran. He'd carried her most of the way to Brooklyn, but she would trudge bravely on, even though she wasn't feeling very well, when he had to let her down every so often.

He'd chosen Brooklyn because, well, it wasn't Manhattan and it wasn't Queens. Also, because he hoped he could manage to find work at the stables at the Sheepshead bay race track, surely they could use a stable boy or something. But the truth was, he didn't know where they would stay or how best to protect and take care of his young injured sister. The only thing he was sure of was that he wouldn't let their father near her again, ever.

The snapping of boots smacking the ground came closer. It was quite dark now and getting colder all the time. Riley wondered if he'd made the right decision in taking Frankie and running away like he had. Someone was running, he could tell that much, no, wait, there were two of them coming ever closer and more footsteps, louder and deeper sounds following the first two. He sat up straighter and pulled Frankie closer to him. He gave a quick prayer under his breath that they'd be safe from whoever was coming at them in the night.

The first figure darted into the alley and crouched down out of site, it was quite small. The second, taller than the first, followed but ran in front of the children, his foot caught on the edge of Riley's boot and the figure tumbled to the ground.

"OOF!" A young male voice uttered then cursed under his breath in Italian. Riley recognized it as one of the words he was never allowed to say.

The other running footsteps thundered past their hiding place before the first figure turned toward them.

"Tab? What happened? You awright?" This voice was also male but seemed younger.

"Yeah, yeah...just peachy." Sarcasm seeped from Tab's words as he sat up and brushed the dirt from his ragged coat and knee breeches. "Tripped ovah sommat and skinned me knee but don't hurt." He moved over into one of the few areas that was dimly illuminated by a streetlight and started digging small rocks from his bloody knees. His dark hair was far too long and hung in his eyes as he played in the gore.

"Eww! What're ya doin?" The smaller boy crossed to Tab's side and bent over, his hands on his knees to watch. He was a sharp contrast to the other boy's Italian features, this boy was blonde and small.

"Cleanin' it out...What's it look like Spot?"

"Like yer makin it bleed."

"Well, I ain't." Tab wiped his hands on his pants and turned a little. "What the devil did I trip on?" He lit a match to see, illuminating the pathetic forms huddled together in the darkness.

Spot moved close to the children. Now that Riley could see him better, he realized that Spot had to be younger than him, maybe even close to Frankie's age. While the one called Tab was older and closer in age to his own.

Riley clung to Frankie protectively and watched them, "we were here first." His voice was shaky from the cold and a little fear but he lifted his chin defiantly. "We don't want any trouble."

Tab snorted. "Youse planin' to stay out heah all night are ya?"

Riley bristled and Frankie woke up, eyes wide but silent. She somehow scooted even closer to her brother and clung to him tighter than before. "We're fine."

Spot started to laugh. It was more of a giggle really, one that belonged to an eight year old boy. "Dat's crazy! Who's da goil? She yer sistah or sommat?"

Riley nodded stiffly.

"She looks half froze," Tab frowned as he got to his feet. "Youse ain't got a bettah place dan dis ta sleep?" His voice had softened a bit as he looked at Frankie.

Riley sighed and shook his head, looked down at Frankie and back up to the boys. "Not any more."

Tab pulled Spot to the side and whispered to him. Spot nodded and they stepped closer again.

"I ain't gonna ask what happened. Figure we all got secrets right? And If you want us to know you'll say. But, youse two can't stay out heah all night. The kid'll freeze to death. S'posed to snow tonight. Evah thought bout bein' a Newsie?" Tab asked with a slight smile on his face.

Frankie shivered.

Riley sighed.

"You ain't scared of us are ya?" Spot knelt on one knee in front of Frankie.

She blinked at him. His eyes were lighter than hers and pure blue. She shook her head.

"Newsie? Nah, I'm gonna get a job as a stable boy at Sheepshead."

Tab shook his head. "Jobs like dat almost always go to the kids of the owners or jockeys. Plus, you ain't big enough yet."

Riley opened his mouth to tell him to mind his own business but Tab cut him off with a wave of his hand.

"I know cos I tried. I'm bigger than you are so there's no way you'll get the job. But that ain't the point."

"Good, cos we ain't gonna hurtcha. I'm Spot. What's yer name?"

Frankie just shook her head and put her hand to her throat.

"She can't talk. Her name's Frankie. I'm Riley." Riley put out his hand to Spot.

Spot spit in his palm and shook his hand. "I'm Spot. Spot Conlon."

Frankie made a face at the crude gesture between the boys and looked up at her brother.

"Look," Tab interrupted. "It's gettin' colder and later. Youse two can come with us and stay and the lodging house for the night. Then tomorrow you can either go to Sheepshead or learn to sell papes."

"It ain't the Ritz but it's warm enough. You got any money?" Spot asked.

Riley stiffened and shook his head.

"Don't worry bout it. We got enough for tonight," Spot waved a wallet in the air.

Riley wasn't sure he wanted anything to do with pick-pockets, but he was smart enough to know that Frankie, at least, needed a safe warm place to spend the night or she'd get sick again. He nodded. "Thanks. She just got out of the hospital."

Tab frowned. "We'll take good care of ya," he bent down and scooped up the little girl and held her close to his chest. He was a few inches taller than Riley and able to carry her easily. "Don't worry I ain't stealin' her. C'mon, the lodgin' house ain't that far from here."
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