Gerard realises Frankie is missing, and not everything is quite right....
I usually enjoyed my work at the record shop, but I couldn’t concentrate. Instead I was counting down the minutes to the seven o’clock closing time, counting down the minutes until I could see Frankie again. It was pathetic how much I missed him; that cheerful laugh, those shining eyes, the way I’d catch him looking at me… And of course I was worried about him. I couldn’t understand how anyone could hurt such a wonderful person – but shit, people are so fucking twisted it hardly surprised me anymore.
After what seemed like far longer than usual my shift finally ended and I headed home. But when I opened the door I immediately knew something was wrong. First there was no sound; no water running, no heavy breathing, no happy greeting. It took about two seconds to check every room, to realise that Frankie wasn’t there. Fighting down the hysteria threatening to choke me I tried to think rationally. Maybe he had gone out – he hadn’t locked the door. Maybe his girlfriend had come round and taken him away. Did he even have a girlfriend? Maybe his mother… No. I couldn’t think like that, it wouldn’t help.
It was only then I noticed the smell. A sickly sweet perfume hung in the air, lingering long after the wearer had left. I couldn’t help thinking back to the days when I had drunk more than I should have. Fuck that, I had been a full-blown alcoholic. Whenever I’d been drinking I used to wear aftershave, or cologne, anything to mask the smell. It had been that woman. She had come and taken him away. And I hadn’t been there to help him. This was all my fault, I was useless failure. I had let him down, let her take my Frankie.
I practically ran over to Frankie’s house and began pounding on the door. No answer. Taking a deep breath I went to the next door house and knocked gently. An elderly woman opened the door and looked surprised to see someone like me.
“Can I help you?” she asked coldly.
“I’m very sorry to disturb you, but I was wondering if you’ve seen Mrs Iero and her son recently,” I said politely, trying to keep on her good side. Her face softened a little when she realised I had full leave of my senses.
“Yes actually,” she smiled, “I saw the two of them go in earlier today. Mrs Iero went out soon afterwards, but as far as I know her son – Frankie is it? – is still at home.” I smiled at her, trying to mask my fear.
“Thank you so much. And again, I’m sorry for causing any trouble.”
As soon as she closed the door I fished my phone out my pocket. First I tried Frankie’s mobile, no answer, then his home phone, same thing. By this time I was terrified, really fucking scared. So it was with shaking fingers I finally dialled 911. I took a deep breath, then spoke into the phone.
“I’d like to report a case of child abuse…”