Frank regrets every word
Frank was still laughing; Mikey was on form tonight. With more funny stories than Frank could handle in one night, Mikey had become the evening’s entertainment.
“Stop! Stop!” Frank begged, laughing so hard he was actually having difficulty finding the time to pull much needed air into his lungs.
“But I want to tell you about…” Mikey began excitedly.
“Let me breathe, Mikey!” Frank begged. “How come I haven’t heard any of these stories before? Are they true?”
“Of course they are!” Mikey grinned. “Just don’t tell Gerard I told you any of them! He’d kill me!”
Frank’s laughter died to a still hearty chuckle as his cell phone message alert sounded.
“Ooh! Speak of the Devil!” he grinned as he pulled the phone from his pocket and saw the sender’s name displayed on the screen. “He’s so lazy!”
Mikey’s eyes widened. “He didn’t hear me tell you did he?”
Frank grinned. “Of course not!” he chided. “And even if he did, I’d say I forced it out of you!”
“I can’t believe he sent you a message! You’re three doors away!” Mikey shook his head in disbelief.
Flipping the phone open, Frank stared at the new message.
“You got everyone involved, Frankie, well now it’s my turn.”
Frank wrinkled his brow as he read the message.
“What’s wrong?” asked Mikey, concerned by both Frank’s expression and his silence.
Frank didn’t know where to begin.
“I just got this really weird message from Gee. I don’t know what he’s talking about,” he replied as he held the phone up for Mikey to read. But even as he held the phone at arms length, Frank realised the significance of the message and the horrible reality dawned on him.
“Gee didn’t write it!” he cried scrambling to his feet and running to the door with Mikey hard on his heels.
Throwing open the door, the pair almost collided with the security guard stationed semi-permanently outside Frank’s room.
“Hey!” he cried grabbing Frank’s arms and restraining him easily. “You can’t go running around, my orders are to keep you here. You know that!”
“I’m not going any where!” Frank shouted, still without the guard budging an inch. “Gee’s in trouble!” he yelled urgently.
“Even more reason, then!” the guard pushed Frank back into his room and closed and locked the door.
“Let me out!” Frank yelled, pulling in vain on the handle, deeply frustrated. “Mikey!”
Peering through the spy hole, Frank could see that the corridor appeared to be empty, which could only mean the guard and Mikey were on their way to Gerard’s room.
Turning his back to the door, Frank’s eyes scanned the room. Finally they fell on the adjoining door to Mikey’s room; it was his way out. Racing through the open door, through the room and out into the corridor, Frank turned on his heels and ran for Gerard’s room. As he arrived, he saw immediately that Bob and Ray had been alerted en route and were huddled together near Gerard’s bathroom door. Frank could see the guard on the phone and casting his eyes to the floor, he glimpsed Mikey, cradling Gerard in his arms. Instantly his heart sank to the floor then bounced high into his throat, so much so that it became painful to speak, but the question, even though he could make the sounds, partially eluded him.
“I… Is he…?” Frank gasped.
Bob turned on hearing his friend’s voice.
“He’s okay,” he nodded. “Well,” he corrected himself with a sigh, “he’s alive at any rate.”
“We’ve called the doctor,” Ray confirmed. “Toby,” he nodded to the guard, “he’s calling Brian.”
Frank could only stare, his eyes fixed on the pale form lying unconscious on the floor.
“This is all my fault.”
Something in Frank’s tone made Mikey look up from tending to his brother. Something told him Frank was going to run.
“Stop him!” he yelled as, simultaneously, Frank bolted for the door.
Frank made it only as far as the emergency stairs before the longer legs of Ray and Bob caught up with him. Gripping his arms, Ray and Bob felt foolish as Frank struggled in their grip.
“Frank!” Bob’s voice cut through. “This was not your fault!”
“I wish I could believe that!” Frank had little choice but to relax his muscles, as fit as he was, he was no match to their double strength. His shoulders drooped and he shook his head in exasperation. “No, I wish I'd just kept my mouth shut!”