Categories > Movies > Newsies > Silence3 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...
"Can ya write yer name kid?" A tall, well built boy with obsidian hair and eyes the color of Wedgewood, asked huskily. He was propped against the wall, his right leg bent up so the sole of one ratty leather boot was flat against the wall and he balanced on the other foot. He watched Riley and took a long drag off the half burnt cigaret he held between his thumb and pointer finger. Riley nodded as the older boy let a thin controlled stream of smoke escape his lips. "Good. Sign in there," he pointed to the ledger on the desk. "Tab says you can read too?" His dark brows lifted as he took another drag.
"Y-yes sir," Riley stammered as he wrote his name carefully.
Spot and Tab snickered.
"He ain't no sir, he's Chaos. Leadah of the Brooklyn newsies." Spot announced proudly. Deep dimples pierced his cheeks as he smiled and showed off the gaps from his two missing front teeth.
"Where ya want the kid, Chaos?" Tab asked softly. "She's damn neah froze ta death."
Chaos glared at the younger, smaller boy. "What'd I tell you bout cursin' round ladies Tabasco?"
"She ain't a lady yet," Tab rolled his dark eyes. "'Sides she's out cold."
Spot giggled and shuffled his feet.
Chaos narrowed his eyes and grunted in reply. "There's an empty bunk in the corner by Shortstop, they can share it for tonight, but she's gonna need to go to the girls bunk room tomorrow. Should be a blanket there but ya can snag the blanket from my bunk too. She needs it more than I do."
Tab nodded and hurried down the hall.
"Just follow Tab. You two are paid up for a week, courtesy of these two miscreants, give ya a chance to get the hang of things. Then it's a nickle each a night and that includes suppah. Don't look like she could eat much though. Maybe we can work somethin' out on the price if things work right."
"Thanks, Chaos." Riley looked rather pitiful but he was taking care of his sister. Very little impressed Chaos any more, but that did.
"Go on, get to bed. Mornin' comes early round heah."
Riley nodded and hurried down the hall after Tab and Frankie.
Spot started off after them and Chaos stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. The size difference was amazing. Chaos' hand was nearly the size of the scrawny newsies head.
"You come in late for curfew again Spot and you're gonna be outta here." He spoke softly but there was no doubt he was serious. "I don't wanna be a prick about it...but you've been late every night this week."
Spot sulked and fidgeted. His hands were shoved deep in his pockets and he suddenly looked very much like the eight year old he was and not the hardened pick pocket he'd become.
Chaos sighed. He'd found Spot wandering the streets when he was three years old and took him in as a newsie. Chaos wasn't one to show affection really, life was too short and too hard as a Brooklyn newsie leader to care too much for anyone. But he had a soft spot for this kid and always would. He mussed Spot's hair.
"Look Aiden, you know I'm doin' what I can, but when it gets to the point that I'm catchin hell from Murphy bout you... anyone else would have been kicked out already. "
Spot kicked the scuffed toes of his boots against the warn but clean floor. "Sorry."
Chaos sighed again. "Go on...get to bed."
Spot nodded and scurried down the hall.
"Yeah?" He stopped and turned back to his leader.
"Be more careful. Tab said you guys almost got caught tonight. You get tossed in the Refuge I ain't gonna be able to getcha out again."
Spot nodded again and once Chaos waved him away he hurried to the bunk room and to his bed.
Morning did come early. Riley had lain awake most of the night, the noises of thirty some odd boys sleeping in one room was something he most definitely was not used to. The new surroundings and fears that his father would come looking for them kept his mind reeling all night.
He hugged Frankie close to him. She too had slept poorly. Nightmares of what happened to her and their mother crept into her dreams. She would wake up trembling and sit up, her mouth wide open with a scream of terror on her lips, but nothing ever came out. He was relieved, sort of, that she didn't wake the others with the nightmares, but he worried that someday she'd be in trouble and out of his sight and he wouldn't be able to help because he couldn't hear her silent screams.
Riley looked down at her and for the first time realized just how young and innocent she looked with her little thumb stuck in her mouth. She was barely six but looked closer to four because she was so small and thin.
Delicate. That's what their mother had called her. She was the sort of child that should be pampered and doted on. She should have soft slippers and scads of frilly dresses with matching hair ribbons. She should have a huge bed with lots of pillows piled high and fresh linens. Yet, here they were; sharing a bunk in the Brooklyn Lodging House for Newsboys and girls, hiding from the very man that should have protected them.
Riley sighed heavily and rubbed his dark blue eyes with the heel of his hand. He'd make sure she stayed safe. He could do that much. Chaos had mentioned her going to the girl's room but she was too little and couldn't talk. There was more than enough room for both of them in the one bunk. He made up his mind to convince Chaos to let her stay with him.
He laid there drifting between memories and dreams and had finally fallen asleep when a tall boy with bright ginger hair entered the room banging a wooden spoon against the bottom of an old metal cooking pot.
"Git up ya lazy bastids!" The boy shouted and smacked the pot loudly as he walked up and down the rows of bunk-beds and hammocks that lined the far wall.
"Shaddup Gingah!" and various other mumbling filled the room as blankets were pulled over their heads and anything in reaching distance, including a tin cup, were flung in the direction of the offensive noise.
Frankie jumped half out of her skin and clung to Riley, tears sprang to her wide eyes as she looked around the unfamiliar room.
"Shh, it's okay Angel." Riley hugged her close and smoothed her hair from her face. His use of their mother's nickname for her made her smile sadly. "I know. I miss her too. But I'm right here with ya. We got each other, alright?"
Frankie nodded and rubbed the sleepy tears from her eyes.
Riley smiled, "good girl."
The boys in the bunks surrounding them started to wake. A mixture of foul language and disgusting bodily sounds filled the room and the smell of 40 plus un or semi-washed young boys would have been over powering had they not been immune to their own stench. As they crawled from their bunks they began to take notice of the little girl and new boy among them.
A smallish boy, Riley guessed him to be about his age, perhaps a little younger, dropped down from the bunk next to them in nothing but his underwear. Upon seeing Frankie (who immediately dropped her jaw and buried her face in Riley's shoulder) the boy yelped, turned twelve shades of red, and yanked the blanket off his bunk, wrapping it around himself, shrouding himself in the rough wool from nose to toes.
"Wh-who are you? And wh-what is SHE d-doing here?" The boy stammered from the folds of his cocoon. He blinked his huge grey eyes. They were the only parts of him visible peeking out from inside the blanket, and looked a little out of place as they were so big and the rest of him was so small.
Spot dropped down from a nearby bunk. "Calm down Shortstop! Dat's Riley and his sistah...didn't catch her name but heard him call her Angel a couple times." He shrugged. "Sounds like a good name for her to me. They's new." He sniffled. The boys in the Brooklyn Lodging house were always coming down with some malady or another. When his nose continued to run, he wiped it with the back of his arm. Shortstop and Riley both made faces and Spot glared. His enormous ears stood out from the sides of his head as if at attention, and he was so small in stature that the glare merely made the rest of the boys in the bunk room laugh.
"Riley? What kinda name is dat foah a newsie?" A tiny Italian looking boy sat up in the bunk below the one Shortstop had jumped down from and rubbed his head. His shock of black hair stood on end and he blinked large deep brown eyes at Riley then looked over to Tab who had already washed his face and sat on the edge of his own bunk pulling his boots on.
"It's my real name." Riley protested and narrowed his own brown eyes at the small boy. He wasn't one to pick fights but he didn't shy away from them either and though he didn't particularly wish to fight with some little kid over his name, his body tensed just in case there was trouble.
"I see," the boy nodded and retrieved the stub of a half smoked cigar from under his pillow and popped it in his mouth.
"No smoking in the LH Racetrack." Another boy, nearly the same size and build as Riley dropped down from the bunk above his own and snatched the stub from Racetrack's mouth and tucked it into Race's shirt pocket. He shoved a shock of blonde waves from his eyes, spat in his hand and held it out to Riley. "They call me da Guv'nah. Guv for short." He continued in a thick Cockney accent.
Riley spat in his own palm and shook hands with the boy.
"Don't worry bout them none, just ain't safe most the time to go by our real names. So's when the Coppahs or other such blokes ya don't wanna see comes lookin' foah ya, no one else can get in trouble foah lying when they say they dunno nobody called Tom Kellogg oah Michael Jones...cos they don't."
"Oh, right." Riley nodded. "That's a good idea. Angel's the best thing to call my sister but...I dunno bout one for me." Riley hadn't slept well and everything now was happening so fast, his mind was reeling to keep up.
"Hmm," Guv looked him up and down. "How bout Pinstripe? Maybe Pin foah short."
Riley blinked at him.
"Well...yer shirt an' yer trousers both gots pinstripes on em." Guv shrugged. "Somethin ta call ya till we find sommat bettah. An' it won't be hard for the others ta figure out who ya are."
"Pin huh?" Race and the others looked at him then nodded after a long moment.
Riley nodded and looked down at Frankie. "Mind calling me Pin now, Angel?"
Frankie shook her head wide eyed. She was scared, but they seemed nice enough. Being hurt. Running away. So many new people. And now, new names. It was all just a bit overwhelming for her.
"Pin it is then," Riley shrugged and gave an uncertain smile.
"C'mon then...Pin," Tab smiled. "If we get going early 'nuff we can get coffee and bread from the nuns before we start sellin'."
Pin nodded. "Thanks, Tab. Really, thanks for everything."
Tab shrugged his shoulders and dropped down to his haunches in front of Angel and smoothed a lock of dark auburn hair from her eyes. "You remember me, Angel?"
She nodded mutely but smiled. He'd been nice to her, she remembered that much.
"Good. How bout we let yer brothah go clean up a little and I'll take you up to the girls room and we can getcha hair brushed and maybe find ya some warmer clothes?"
She looked to Pin and when he nodded it was okay she turned back to Tab and nodded as well. He held out his arms for her and she wrapped her good arm around his neck. Tab held her close and was careful not to bump her arm.
"Second floor, to the right at the top of the stairs."
"Thanks." Pin watched as Tab maneuvered through the bunk room, talking softly to Frankie as they went, then got up and hurried to the washroom to get ready for his first day as a Brooklyn newsie.