Wanderers of Ruin

Discussion in 'Completed Fan Fictions' started by Rain, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Rain

    Rain New Member

    Title: Wanderers of Ruin
    Rating: 15
    Genre: Drama, Horror, Tragedy
    Disclaimer: Complete and total fiction.

    Summary: The world started to end on the nineteenth day of March. Sickness, death, and misery followed the outbreak of the worst virus known to mankind. It was a superbug, ruthless and without mercy, leaving only a handful of survivors for every few million. One of them was the man formerly known as the singer, Gerard Way. Follow the sad story of the man without a band, making his way in a world that has forgotten everything he's ever loved.

    Note: Beta credit goes to figilio_vampiri on Livejournal. This story is also on my Livejournal and Mibba.

    Chapter Index:
    Prologue - Page One
    Chapter One - Page One
    Chapter Two - Page One
    Chapter Three - Page Two
    Chapter Four - Page Two/Three
    Chapter Five - Page Three
    Chapter Six - Page Three
    Chapter Seven - Page Four
    Interlude of Insanity - Page Four
    Chapter Eight - Page Four
    Chapter Nine - Page Four/Five
  2. Rain

    Rain New Member


    April. That was when the world I had always known came to an end. I wouldn’t know for many years later that it all actually started in March, and many years after that I would finally find the exact date.

    March 19th, 2008.

    Only after many years of careful research would I manage to piece together how it all exactly came to be, how this unnameable hell managed to happen.

    In a laboratory far, far away, something went wrong. There was a small breach. An alarm sounded. The secret government building went into lockdown. But, they weren’t quick enough, and the procedure wasn’t exactly followed. There was wind. Someone escaped.

    Tom Bradly, scared beyond rational thought, bolted off into the night. He came to mean the end of the world. The poor, poor man. Nearly-dead and fully crazy, he washed up in a desert hick town where Joseph Sawyer would give him mouth-to-mouth to try and save his life. I think you can take it from there.

    A 99.8% death rate.

    Two months.

    Welcome to our ruin.
  3. Rain

    Rain New Member

    Chapter One: The Blindness

    It was an average day, completely ordinary for our line of work. And why wouldn’t it have been? Everything was working perfectly fine in my life. I was happily married to a wonderful woman, doing the thing I loved, and seeing the world. Yet, sometimes my mind would wander.

    Maybe I sounded crazy, but the realization that only in a few weeks The Black Parade would be completely over with, it just didn’t seem real. The rest of the band and I had spent the last two years of our lives touring that album, learning and finding things we’d never known, and becoming exhausted in the process. It had been two fucking years. I was tired. But still, once you’ve been at something for that long, it seems like it will never end. Funny, isn’t it?

    It seemed like a dream to get some time off. Not that I hated what I was doing, but a while to myself would do me a wonder of good. I had dreams of living my life normally like an average person would. I wanted to wake up next to my wife in the morning in a house of our own, do whatever the hell I pleased without having to worry about interviews or shit like that, and so many more mundane desires.

    I had dreams, I had dreams.

    And, I wasn’t the only one. Every single one of us had plans of one kind or another, great and small. We’d live our separate lives for a year, then come back and do this all again, fresh from new experiences. Wasn’t life great? Fuck yes, I was living the great American dream.

    Some days I felt tired and worn, like butter spread over a little too much bread. All of this touring, it can wear somebody down, but it was all worth it in the end. I lived for what my friends and I did; it was a huge part of my existence. Each album held a piece of me. To stand up in front of all those people in an arena was the biggest thrill. It was a high, but purer and better than any of the drugs that I took in my darker days. Sometimes the craziness, the seeming inability to go anywhere without some young girl going insane over you, it made me wonder why the fuck I did this to myself. But, when I got on that stage, it all vanished.

    Even though I could always feel that way, I was also smart enough to know when to stop. We all were. Too much partying, no matter how fun, can do a hell of a lot of damage if it goes on forever. There wasn’t much of a difference with a life on the road. Busses, hotels, airplanes, it can all become a blur after a while, you know? South Dakota can look the same as Spain after too long. We’d been going for three albums straight now and it was time to let the world slow down so we could get our balance back. The Black Parade was two years in a fantasy world, and I wanted to live in reality for a while.

    It seemed like forever and never at the same time, but in actuality the end was supposed to happen in a little over three weeks. The ninth day of May. Where? Madison Square fucking Garden. It was a dream of mine since childhood to play there, and that was yet another thing that just didn’t seem real. Had it all really led up to this? It made me remember when I saw The Smashing Pumpkins with Mikey when we were younger, which made the whole thing even more unreal.

    Since the end was going to be in three weeks, that would have made the current day April seventeenth. We were playing a show that night in Illinois, after coming from Kansas two days earlier. It was late afternoon that day, and we were all parked at Congress Theatre getting ready for the big night. I never thought that day would be the one to change everything I’d come to know. Who would even suspected it? Certainly none of the five people in the band.

    I had just climbed onto our tour bus to get something, only to forget what it was the minute I was inside. A jacket? Papers? A fucking brain? I was starting to get mad at how stupid I was being, so I told myself to walk back to the arena and just not think about it, and then the item would finally come to me. But, before I had a chance to get inside the doors I was met by Ray, holding a newspaper in his left hand. He looked unsettled.

    “Hey, look at this. Remember how there was that freaky flu that was going around in Colorado that we were warned about? Apparently it’s in Kansas now,” he told me quietly, in a heavy tone. Ray then handed me the newspaper he’d been holding and pointed to an article with a very visible headline. With mild curiosity, I started to read.

    There’s no use reciting that article word for word, but the just of it was that this flu was worse than they’d seen in a while. It had first popped up in Nevada, then spread to California, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, and now Kansas. Not to mention a few smaller, isolated areas in other countries like Canada. Everything was vague, almost like it was being censored, but ended with a few words of common caution. Wash your hands, get the latest flu vaccine, shit like that. There was nothing mentioned about deaths except for “definite,” nothing about how contagious it was, nothing really about symptoms except “mimics flu.”

    The more I read of that article, the more unsettled and nervous I felt. This was a little more than slightly freaky. There was flu every year, but like that, bad enough to write an article about it? I had to admit I wasn’t really paying attention to the news right now, so until that moment I didn’t know anything about how much that flu was spreading.

    “What do you think?” Ray asked me as soon as I put the paper down.

    “I really don’t know. But, it’s freaky, isn’t it? Like how vague everything is? When SARS was up in Canada, the media said symptoms to watch out for, right? They wanted everyone to know if they were getting sick.”

    I realized I’d been clasping my hands so tightly that they were turning white from the pressure.

    “Yeah it’s definitely freaky. I don’t like it.”

    “Me neither,” I told Ray truthfully.

    “Hopefully none of us get it,” he replied, obviously worried. “That would be shitty, right in the middle of the tour. Like disaster hasn’t happened enough already with us.” Ray tried to make a half-assed joke at the end with that, but neither of us smiled.

    “You know, we might,” I found myself saying. “How many people are at the venues? And how many people do we see every day? If not one of us, one of the crew will get sick and spread it.” A big part of me said that I should just laugh the whole flu thing off, but I had a sense of premonition that this wasn’t a laughing matter. My failure to just shrug it off denied Ray the assurance he needed by talking to me in the first place, the belief that this wasn’t something to worry about.

    “Yeah, what you said. I think that until this passes I’m going to stay as close as I can to home, you know? We don’t need anybody dropping dead with only three weeks to go.” There was a small smirk on Ray’s lips as he said the last sentence. I couldn’t stop myself from returning it, the whole “dropping dead” thing was a bit of a joke between us, after those stupid death rumours and the amount of accidents and mishaps we’d experienced over the years.

    “I think I’m going to stick to that plan, no flu for me,” I replied, unable to shake the uneasiness that had come over me after reading that article.

    And then, with tense smiles, that life-and-death conversation was suddenly over. Nonsense chatter not worth mentioning took up the air for another few minutes, and then I said goodbye to my friend, what I’d read in the newspaper still weighing on my mind.

    The rest of the afternoon passed by uneventfully, just another day in my life. The day was bland, not important enough to recall here, until I was in my dressing room a few hours before the show. I knew that my wife would be free around this time, so I went to grab my cell phone to call her. Then, I finally remembered that the stupid thing was what I’d gone onto the bus earlier that day to get.

    Suddenly, I really did want to call Lindsey. I wanted to hear her voice of the woman I loved, make sure she was completely fine.

    Finding a walk all the way back to the bus to get my phone just too fucking long, I went to find Mikey instead. I figured what the hell, I’d just borrow his. That newspaper article still hung around the back of my mind, silently whispering its way into my thoughts, suddenly filling me with a desire to spend as much time on the phone with her as I could.

    I weaved my way to my brother’s dressing room and knocked on the door, only to find it unlocked. Silently, I opened it after hearing no response whatsoever, and I only found emptiness. Something was wrong. He should have been in his room, it was time to get ready for the show. Where was he? This wasn’t like him at all. Suddenly, I felt very, very uneasy. This really wasn’t like him. Where the fuck could he have gone?

    “Mikey?” I quietly called to the open air, not getting a response. Even more tense than before, I backed out of the room and closed the door. What the fuck was up with this? I would have gone back to the bus to get my phone, but the noise I suddenly heard wiped my thoughts completely clean.

    I rushed down the small space of hallway to the bathroom. The door was ajar, and the sound of pained vomiting was filling the air. The minute I saw the familiar shoes, I knew who it was. Running on pure instinct, I rushed to his side.

    “Mikey!” I called to him just as he finished puking up whatever remained of his past meal. Slightly dazed, he turned to me and gave me a hint of a smile. His skin was pale and clammy, and he was shaking. Oh shit, I thought. He didn’t look good at all.

    “It’s… it’s only the flu. Gerard, don’t worry, I’ll be better tomorrow.” His voice was weak and raspy, and I felt my blood suddenly start to run cold.

    What happened next was nothing compared to what the future held, so I won’t take the time to explain it in detail. It wasn’t the first time one of us had gotten sick on tour, so I wasn’t freaking out too badly after a few minutes. His color came back, his hands quit shaking, and when he stood up he never stumbled. I asked him if he could play tonight, he told me he could if he got some rest. Mikey seemed to get stronger the more we walked, and I had no doubt in my mind he’d be able to do the show. He told me he must have eaten something bad for lunch, food poisoning, that had to be it. Trying to think positively, I told myself that’s what it was. After all, the end of our tour was three weeks away, what could possibly go wrong? Whatever Mikey had, it wasn’t anything serious.

    I followed my little brother to his dressing room, watching the light come back into his eyes with every step. Yes, he did look like he was getting better. Mikey told me that he was going to lay down for a little bit, and he’d see me in a few hours. I said goodbye, like always.

    Since the next logical thing to do would have been to find someone and say that Mikey was sick, I started walking down the hall. I was looking for the guys in the band, but also anyone who could get the message to them about Mikey. As I passed a doorway, the sound of a local radio station filtered through, nothing spectacular. I would have kept going, only I suddenly heard the annoying jingle of what had to be a news broadcast. After I heard the first thirteen words, I suddenly stopped and strained to hear what came after, my little brother’s sickness slamming into the center of my mind.
  4. Rain

    Rain New Member

    “We now have reports coming in that confirm not only has the mystery flu now spread to Wyoming and New Mexico, but also has become more prominent in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Small pockets of the illness, which have been caused by airline traffic, are now starting to spread at an alarming rate. There have now been reports of the illness in isolated pockets in many countries, including Mexico, England, China, Japan, and Germany.

    “The cause of the illness is not yet known, but the government is putting all of their efforts into creating a vaccine to effectively combat this disease, along with putting protective measures in place to restrict travel, starting Tuesday. We would now like to caution everybody to use protective measures. Wash your hands. Clean your food. Try to avoid traveling, and use all other effective sanitary measures to ensure your personal protection.

    “We assure the public not to panic. The illness is just a slightly stronger strain of the normal annual flu. There is no reason to be alarmed. The government of the United States of America is doing their upmost best to ensure the health of their citizens. They are working twenty-four hours a day to put this illness to rest.

    “But, please, if you notice any flu-like symptoms, stay indoors. It helps to control the spread of this rapid disease, and helps protect the general safety of the public.

    “This is Kathy Harris….”

    The female reporter trailed off suddenly, surprised by something, and my already tense body started to feel like stone.

    “This just in. It appears that the President has come down with the mystery flu, and the White House has been quarantined until further notice.

    “This is Kathy Harris, now signing off.”

    Only the flu.
  5. Nukyster

    Nukyster Active Member

    I think once I stumbled upon your story on LJ, it's still somewhere in my favorite ready to read. I like the subject, it's fresh and not overly used and I'm very happy that you're going to post it on tbp. I found the prologue very powerful to read, kind of made me shiver, the whole 99,8 death.I'll keep both eyes open for an update.

    X nuky
  6. Chemical 30

    Chemical 30 Just 'That' Girl

    Woah...this is really good!
    More soon?
  7. Rain

    Rain New Member

    Thank you, guys! I've worked so hard to keep this original and entertaining, and I hope you continue to enjoy future updates :)
  8. Rain

    Rain New Member

    Chapter Two: The Premonition​

    When the music started playing again I kept walking, unable to shake off the suddenly strong unease I was feeling. It was worse than when I’d been talking about that flu to Ray, much worse. Maybe if I hadn’t heard the last statement I would have been fine, but nothing meshed. Quarantining the White House after saying that this was only a “slightly stronger” strain of the flu? And travel restrictions as well? At that moment I wasn’t even thinking the implications that would have on us. Instead, I thought about how unnecessary that measure was too, if they were telling the full truth about the virus. Don’t panic, but stay indoors if you’re sick?

    Quarantining the White House? Really, what the hell was going on? Maybe the president was scared of spreading the disease, I wasn’t sure, but that just didn’t seem like something that would really happen. And again, travel restrictions? Would that affect us in any way? Probably, but I didn’t have the capacity to think about that during the moment.

    Mikey’s sick face flashed behind my eyes. Suddenly I was worried about him, very worried. Before I could let the news of the flu, and my brother’s sudden illness work me into a small frenzy, some kind of blind, hopeful logic worked itself into my brain. The logic of the damned. If he really had that freak flu, he’d be getting constantly worse than better, and you saw him get better. That’s the way the flu goes, Gerard, my mind kept whispering to itself. I made myself believe it. Why shouldn’t I have? Mikey had looked a hell of a lot better after a few minutes, hardly like a man that could die.

    So, I blindly went on with my day. I found Ray, and after telling him about Mikey, used his phone to call Lindsey, a phone conversation I’d end up remembering until my dying days. She was so happy to talk to me, so fucking happy, and with hearing her voice all of my troubles went away. We talked like two young people very in love. Of course, we were on the late end of young, but the emotions always I felt when I talked to her made me feel like a love-struck teenager. And then, halfway through our conversation she asked me why I’d sounded so tense when I first called, and I told her that I was nervous about this mystery sickness that was in the news. Lindsey laughed and said don’t worry, that they’d find a cure for it soon, but I knew her well enough to realize that she was nervous about it as well and trying to hide it.

    That was so unlike her to keep something like that from me, and it unsettled me more than anything else I’d experienced that day.

    I told her to be careful. I said that I loved her, and I didn’t want her becoming ill. Thinking about what the news had said, I told my wife to wash her hands and just try to stay safe. She laughed a little bit and said I was being too careful. That stopped in seconds. Instead, she solemnly told me that she would, and she’d be as careful as possible. Her happiness was gone, instead replaced by a grave seriousness, and it was almost like she knew what would happen in the days that would lie ahead.

    The thing I would always remember the most, so vivid, was how I told her I loved her, emphasizing it more than usual. I meant it with everything I had. Lindsey said she felt the same, in her voice that I’d always hear in my dreams. She told me she loved me, and there was no reason to doubt that. Then we said our goodbyes, and it was over.

    Ray, Bob, and Frank, among other people, wanted to see Mikey to make sure he was okay to play that night. I told them that he was sleeping and that we shouldn’t wake him. Once again, I assured everybody he was looking a lot better near the end, and he should be fine to play. Finally, I got them to believe me, and the next few hours were spent like normal.

    When my little brother finally emerged from the darkness, pale but smiling, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my chest. See? It was probably something he ate.

    I told myself this until I believed it wholeheartedly, and in what seemed like seconds to me we were on that stage again, and I was riding the high.

    The lights, the sounds, the screaming, it filled me once again. I felt on top of the world. This was what it was all about. It wasn’t the interviews, the merchandise, the album sales. It was about the crowd, these people who had come to see us play, who were having the time of their lives. All because of us.

    It was never about the commercial aspect of things. Some people might have thought differently, but it was always about the music. Each song seemed to be a small part of me, especially the ones from The Black Parade. Even years later, thinking back to the sad times and that creepy house where that album was born, I could still remember how we had all put our demons in that music. Each one of our albums had some part of me, part of us, woven into the melodies and words, and that was what had always mattered.

    Some people in that world had seen things differently, and even after the future had happened and worst things had come to pass, that would always bother me. I really couldn’t get it sometimes. The Black Parade, how did we sell out by making it? It sounded different, but wasn’t change what the fans wanted? In those lonely days where I wouldn’t speak to a soul, I would also find myself wondering how some of our fans could have looked down on me, their minds changed by the smallest twitch of my thumb.

    When I was off that stage, life was completely different. I always did my best to ignore the rumours, the media, and especially the internet. We all did, because really, what was the point in letting things we couldn’t change get to us? Maybe that was our downfall at the very end. If we had actually paid some attention to the media, we would have realized earlier how weird things were getting in the United States of America.

    In the end, those are all old demons, old ghosts, none of that matters any more. Absolutely none of it. Sometimes, I would wonder how shallow my ‘meaningful’ life was. I mean, I was in a band that saved lives. Fans would tell me that themselves. Our band was the reason they hadn’t put the gun to their heads and pulled the trigger. Our music changed people.

    But, wasn’t it a shallow career in some ways? I opened my mouth and sang for a living. Of course there were interviews, media, things like that, but it all came down to me belting out a few notes every night. While I was up on a stage going crazy, on the other side of the world there were doctors saving people’s lives or scientists working on the cure for breast cancer. Sure, music mattered, and it was a large part of most human lives, but did we ever really change the world? I knew that some people would say yes, we did, but in my darkest moments of doubt I thought those were lies. Singing and playing things surely couldn’t have amounted to the cure for cancer, right?

    Think about it, we were all paid to look pretty and strut our stuff. Sure, we made music, but that wasn’t what the record companies thought would roll in the most money. It was the merchandise, the concerts, the huge arenas that they crammed as many people in as they could. Wasn’t that fucking shallow? We all knew that in the end we had to accept some of that commercial bullshit to be able to make it in this business, but in a way didn’t that make us as bad as the rest of them? Oh, the fucking doubts that would never quite leave me.

    Wait, I’m rambling again. I know that this is my way of putting off the truth, of really starting into that dark time where I lost everything, fucking everything, and it still hurts like fucking hell to write it on these pages. With every word, every paragraph I put down, I’m reliving this past, feeling it all again. And yet, telling this story is something I know that I need to do, something I’ll keep pushing myself to do until it’s done, even if it threatens to destroy me.

    Everything went fine during the show. Actually, it was one of the better ones on the tour. We had an amazing crowd, and we just seemed to be in the groove. Through my show hysteria, I never managed to notice that a few more people were fainting than usual. Maybe, I should have. I couldn’t remember what exactly I rambled about at one point, except that it involved the use of the word “fuck,” and that the audience was laughing.

    Occasionally I would look over to Mikey, like the other guys were, just to make sure that he was doing okay. Mikey did look like he was on the mend, but I swore he was paler than when he had first come out of his dressing room. And, was it just me, or did he look slightly clammy? At one point I frowned while studying his pale face, and he flashed me a thumbs up, the classic polite signal of “leave me the fuck alone, I’m fine.”

    We all got the message.

    Our concert ended on a really good note. I couldn’t help but feel happy, like I was on top of the world. Everything was going fine. I never suspected that it would be the last concert of such magnitude that we would ever play together. Maybe, if I knew, I would have taken the time to appreciate it a hell of a lot more. But life is funny, full of curve balls, you know? You don’t know what you’ve got, ‘till it’s gone.

    A few hours later, after we’d left the stage and calmed down and a few of us went outside to see the fans, I paid Mikey another visit. I really wanted to make sure that he was doing well. There was no way I was going to let my little brother get himself so sick he’d have to stay in the hospital. Of course, I was keeping everybody else away because that’s what he wanted, but hell, I was his flesh and blood. I went to his dressing room and knocked on the door. I hoped that he was there, and even moreso hoped that I wasn’t waking him up from a nap.

    I was immediately put on edge when I heard a small groan, and the springs twanging from a body getting off of a couch. He must have been sleeping, I knew, and a few swear words went around my brain. Fuck. After about thirty seconds, Mikey made his way to the door and opened it a crack to see who it was.

    “Gerard?” he said, his voice still foggy and thick from fatigue.

    “Geez, sorry, I was hoping you weren’t sleeping.” I ran my hand through my hair and looked to the floor for a second.

    “Nah, it’s okay,” he said softly. “Don’t worry about it. And then, Mikey coughed. That was enough to make me look up at him again, my stomach twisting into a small knot.

    He was definitely worse. Mikey was so pale, and a slight sheen of sweat clung to his face even though he was only wearing a t-shirt. Yet, he looked like he was cold, definitely chilled. Plus, there was that cough. Fate had made my little brother better for the show, but now he was definitely sliding backwards.

    “You know, you’re really starting to look like shit,” I told him worriedly.

    He laughed.

    “It’s okay, I just pushed myself a little too much with the show. I’m going to rest for a bit, then go to bed early. You’ll see, I’ll be better by tomorrow.” He was smiling, trying to get me not to worry like an old hag. I couldn’t help it. I was thinking about this stupid freak flu that was spreading. I wanted everybody I loved completely healthy.

    “If you can’t play tomorrow just say so, we’ll get Matt to fill in for you, like he did when you were honeymooning. Really, it’s no trouble.” My voice was casual, but inside I was worried, my mind thinking back to that damned news broadcast on the radio.
  9. Rain

    Rain New Member

    “Gerard, I know, okay? Don’t piss me off,” Mikey said sternly, with just a hint of annoyance. “I know my limits, and I’m sure as hell going to stop when I can’t take any more. Just trust me, okay?” I nodded my head in compliance. I really didn’t want to piss him off when he wasn’t well, so I just let sleeping dogs lie.

    “Sure, no problem. Well… I’ll let you go then, since you were sleeping and everything.”

    “Okay, I’ll see you later tonight,” Mikey replied warmly, and waited for me to walk away before closing his dressing room door with a soft click.

    That night, all of my band mates were worried about my brother. Ray had gotten around to showing everybody else that newspaper article, and now we all had thoughts of this flu in the back of our heads. We were in Kansas the night before, and now the freak flu was there. Had we brought it with us? Was somebody on our crew sick with it? Of course, we were grownups. We didn’t spend every moment worrying about something which might not be so bad, but… it was like this lingering thought in the fog of the brain, one I couldn’t shake.

    Maybe we should have worried a little more, taken a few more precautions. Even though I know now that nothing could have changed things, part of me still can’t get over the fact that maybe, just maybe if we’d taken more notice of it, we could have done something that made a difference. I could have done something, anything. Anyone in my place would have those same thoughts, but always it seemed, seems like I’m alone in my memories.

    Michael Way fell into bed that night, exhausted. I was glad we weren’t moving anywhere, it was two nights at the Congress Theatre instead of the usual one. He could just stay and rest. All that Mikey could do before he put himself to bed was nap, cough, and try to choke down food. Thankfully he hadn’t thrown up again, but there were a few close calls.

    I wouldn’t have been as worried if he’d slept like a rock, but instead he kept shuffling and moving, and that goddamned cough seemed to be getting worse. Then, I began to wonder if I wouldn’t just get everyone else to gang up on him and make him rest tomorrow, forcefully excuse him from the show. After all, wasn’t there supposed to be power in numbers?

    I didn’t sleep easily that night. In fact, that evening would mark the first of many fitful sleeps, filled with flicks of dreams and involving me waking up repeatedly, sweating and feeling like I was on the edge of crazy.

    The next morning I rose early, and pretty much did nothing. I thought I’d work on my comic, but instead ended up reading this book I’d started a few days ago that was really nothing spectacular. One by one everybody else got up, except for Mikey. Frank, Bob, and I quietly sipped our morning coffee while Ray went out to find a newspaper. We never said much of anything, but this time, silence said more than the spoken word ever could.

    Ray came back and showed us another headline about this freak flu. Mikey still wasn’t up.

    Apparently, now the “travel restrictions” were going into place on either Monday or Sunday instead of Tuesday now, which made us all more nervous. Plus, the White House was still under quarantine, and apparently there were some new cases in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. I wondered how the papers were finding all of this out, but even moreso, I asked myself what exactly was going on. The more we all heard about this freak flu, the more nervous we all became.

    Finally, late in the morning, Mikey rose from his slumber. He looked worse. He was wearing this huge, thick sweater even though you could see the slight sweat on his face, plus his eyes were bloodshot and his cough sounded a lot wetter.

    Immediately, I told him he wasn’t playing tonight, since he looked anything but lovely, but my brother got nasty. Even after the rest of the band, plus a few other people that were close to us told him he didn’t have a choice, he angrily told us he was going to do the show and we didn’t have a choice in the matter.

    I let it be for a while, to let Mikey simmer down, only to have to watch him puke up what little he ate for lunch. And if that wasn’t enough, while the puke was still fresh in the toilet he had a giant coughing fit, enough that he nearly fell over. And then he had to throw up again.

    I’d been with him nearly all day, even ducking out of the interview we had to do and putting Frank in my place. And now, after running with him to the bathroom, I’d had enough of this bullshit.

    “You seriously think you can play tonight?” I asked him solemnly after he’d quit coughing and cleaned himself up.

    “Frank has played when he’s been nearly dead,” my brother retorted.

    “Shut up, you know we tried to get him to go and rest, but he wouldn’t listen.” I was starting to get annoyed with Mikey’s stubbornness, and irrational anger started to override all of the other concerns I was feeling. “Don’t be a fucking idiot! You just puked and nearly hacked up a lung! You don’t want to push yourself to the limit only weeks away from the end of this tour, do you? Have some common sense.”

    Mikey didn’t even wince.

    “I’m really not in the mood,” he replied.

    “Neither am I, and that’s why you’re going to rest tonight. There’s that freak fucking flu floating going around, and you are going to take it easy.” My voice was completely stern with the right tint of anger to it, but that still didn’t phase him.

    “Look, I get it. You’re worried,” Mikey said to me quietly, calmly, in a tone he rarely used. “I… I think I’m going to go rest for a little bit, but wake me up or get someone else to when it’s time to get ready for the show. I’m sure I’ll be better after just a little rest, okay?” He was basically pleading with me, which was something rare for him to do. It was enough to make me stop and think for a minute, and then fold like a card tower hit by a gust of wind.

    “Sure, Mikey, sure. Go get some rest, and then we’ll see what happens,” I answered him quietly, and he smiled slightly. Even though he felt like shit, he still made the effort. After that, he left without a word, saying the silent goodbye that can only pass between brothers.

    I had the strongest urge to go after him, to make sure he made it to bed okay, but after a whole day of never leaving his side I figured I’d let my brother have a few moments of privacy. What exactly I’d heard in his voice that made me fold like that, instead of marching him to bed and getting a replacement for the show, I’d never fully know. Later, I would beat myself up over it, but at that moment I thought it would be the right thing to do. After all, Mikey probably knew how he was feeling better than any of us, it was his body, right?

    In that blank space of hours leading up to the show I did many things, all really unimportant in the grand story of it all. If I had to name one event that was the most important, it was discussing Mikey’s current condition with the people it mattered with.

    Life goes on in a never-ending stream of time, taking only lives and experiences with it, and eventually I went to rouse my little brother to get ready for the show. Someone else could have done it, but I felt it was my duty. Hell, it was.

    Mikey looked so pale. He was sweaty, wrapped up in blankets with a box of Kleenex by his side, and I’d gotten him out of a stone-cold sleep.

    I asked him again if he wanted to just keep resting, he shook his head and said no, he felt better. About to protest, I remembered what I’d said earlier, and kept my mouth firmly shut, seeing the stubbornness in his eyes. I knew there was no way I alone could convince him to skip the show now.

    Tactfully, Mikey ducked out of the way of nearly everybody until it was minutes away from when we were supposed to go on. Smart, since nobody could see how sick he looked, nobody could forcefully stop him from going on stage and doing his thing. And, when Mikey finally showed up, it was too late to change anything.

    “Shit,” Ray whispered to Frank and me when he saw my sweaty brother come closer and suddenly have a small coughing fit. But, it was too late. Within minutes we were signalled to step on that stage, all of us pumped, yet worried about our bassist.

    That performance was definitely not as good as the one the night before. I can’t deny that I was into it, but worry for my brother overshadowed everything else. A thin sheen of sweat covered his skin, and a few times within the first few songs he had to stop playing for a few seconds because he was coughing up a lung.

    “Mikey, you okay?” I heard a lot of the people in the front of the audience yell, probably even more worried than me. If any of us even twitched the wrong way it had the potential to turn into brain cancer rumour over the internet, so I wasn’t surprised at all. But, this time, their fears had some real grounding. I couldn’t deny them that one.

    To save the audience some worry, after the song we were doing I decided to just say a little bit to put their minds at ease. There were honest intentions behind it, but maybe, just maybe, I should have kept my fucking mouth shut.

    It all boiled down to a few short sentences on my brother’s behalf, just telling the fans that Mikey had the flu and he should be better soon, not to worry. I saw many relieved faces, but a few of them looked like they didn’t buy it. A few of them had this strange, haunted fear in their eyes, like they knew something I didn’t.

    I noticed a few of them were coughing.

    The show was still sweet and good, but I couldn’t shake those faces out of my mind. The ones who didn’t look like they were relieved, instead, more worried than before. I was stressing out about my brother, who I was afraid was going to fall over and faint at any moment during the show. His cough was getting worse in the thick air, and he was noticeably sweating. Finally, we finished our show.

    Fuck, little did I know, little did I even suspect what would lay next, or that those stage lights would never flash again.

    I bid the fans goodbye, feeling a strange sense of dread sweep over me as I heard the coughs coming from all corners of the crowd. For a reason I couldn’t explain, I made the goodbye longer than usual, saying to the anxious, and happy faces that we always loved playing for them.

    Then, it was over.

    That was the last time we’d ever play in front of an audience again.

    The minute we exited from view and away from hungry eyes, Mikey fell to his knees with another coughing fit. His bass fell to the floor hard, with a sickening crunch, and I heard an unpleasant breaking sound come from somewhere in the instrument. I didn’t care about that, none of us did. Instead we, and a few of the crew rushed to Mikey, and it seemed like forever until he quit coughing and got to his feet. Me and the other guys told everyone else to fuck off and helped Mikey get back to his dressing room. He was dizzy. I knew this right away, so I walked beside him, ready to catch him if he fell.

    “You don’t have a fucking choice any more, you’re not playing tomorrow night. Go to bed and get some rest,” I commanded, breaking the nervous silence that had taken over the air. Mikey sighed.
  10. Rain

    Rain New Member

    “I told you I could play tonight, and I did.” He was trying to protest, but feebly.

    “And nearly fainted in the process,” Frank chimed in, who was walking on Mikey’s left side, also ready to catch him if he fell. “No way are you playing again until you get better.”

    “Let’s just wait and see, okay?” Mikey said sternly, putting an end to the discussion with a firm tone of voice.

    “Whatever you say,” I stubbornly responded, knowing that no matter what, all four of us would gang up against him anyway. I just didn’t want to fight that night with my sick brother and stress him out even more.

    When we finally got to Mikey’s dressing room and opened the door, I was about to go in with him and make sure he didn’t faint or anything, but Ray beat me to it. He told the rest of us to go on, that he’d stay with Mikey to make sure that he was okay. I tried to protest, but he wouldn’t hear any of it, and Bob and Frank nearly had to drag me away.

    The last thing I remember hearing before he closed the door was another series of hoarse coughs coming from my brother.

    We were going to be in Detroit the next day, so we had to get our asses into gear and move that night. I had to deal with people asking about Mikey and arrange for Matt to sub in for Mikey next show, regardless if Mikey held a knife to his throat or not. After seeing what my brother looked like during the show, Matt didn’t protest in the least. He was such a good friend, always helping out when we needed it.

    Instead of having silence fill the bus, Bob turned on the radio. It was odd, we usually put on some album if we ever did want a few tunes. But, I think all of us subconsciously wanted to hear the news, what was going on with this sickness. Sure, we had been blind about the whole situation up until the day before, but now it was in the back of our minds and refusing to fade away into that sweet blackness of forgotten thought.

    After a few horrible rock songs, I was about ready to turn the damned thing off because I didn’t care for the station in the least. I even nearly got up and did it, until I suddenly heard the familiar jingle that I remembered from the day before. It was Kathy Harris, the female reporter, bringing us our latest. I suddenly felt sick to my stomach, wondering what they’d say about this flu that was going around, if Mikey had it after all.

    The first part was completely boring, something about a fire or a train wreck or a related disaster, but the three of us didn’t make any move to turn it off. We were all waiting for some kind of news about this flu, and I’d guess that the other two men in that vehicle were thinking about my sick brother as well. Finally, near the end of the broadcast, we got our wish.

    “In other news, the government has decided to put travel restrictions into place starting on Sunday.” Kathy Harris droned on in her monotonous voice, and suddenly it felt like my stomach was full of lead. “Why the US government has rushed the date forward still remains unexplained, but this is not only an air ban.”

    “Shit, we are so screwed after tomorrow,” Bob said.

    “Shhh, I want to hear it all,” Frank hissed, annoyed at the interruption.

    “Starting Sunday, April twentieth, travel across the US border, and individual state borders is to be completely restricted. This includes all flights, personal vehicles, and industrial vehicles. Even returning US citizens will be delayed.

    “We would like to assure the public that this ban is temporary, only until a suitable cure has been found for this flu. The president issued a statement today saying that they were well on their way, and a vaccine should be out within a week once it goes through the proper trials.

    “Since this flu is stronger than most, and now is apparent in nearly all United Nations countries, we would now like to caution our listeners once again to take protective measures. Wash your hands. Restrict travel. Take proper measures to make sure your family stays healthy. And… and…,” Kathy Harris stuttered suddenly, making the four of us lean forward in our seats, ears rapt to hear her next words. To me, it sounded like she was deciding if she should say something that wasn’t allowed. Something that wasn’t as censored as what we’d been hearing about this whole thing.

    “And… stock up on groceries. Don’t go out unless you have to. And please, for God’s sake, if you experience any flu-like symptoms, stay the fuck inside.

    “This is Kathy Harris, signing out,” she finished, and suddenly we were all looking at each other with tense, scared faces.

    “Kathy!” A male voice started to shout in the background, until seconds later another awful song started playing.

    It was silent for a full minute as we all sat there, trying to process what that brave reporter had said over the broadcast. What the fuck. Stock up on groceries?! I remembered this thing I saw on TV about a year ago, a documentary about what would happen if something like bird flu became an epidemic. I recalled how they showed people stocking up on groceries and hiding in darkness while hundreds of thousands died, and suddenly I started to get the idea why everything was so fucking censored.

    “This is deeper shit than I think any of us knows,” Frank said finally, and we all just stared at him like we were looking at a ghost.

    We sat there for ten minutes, talking in quiet whispers about what we should do. We all knew well enough that we possibly couldn’t tour, but if this ban was as restrictive as it was made out to be, that meant we couldn’t go home either. We talked, trying to assure ourselves this was being blown out of proportion. Also, we never brought Mikey into the conversation, even though he was obviously on all of our minds. If it was a defence in our minds, a trapdoor, or if we just never thought, I couldn’t tell you.

    Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, and left to call my wife. She didn’t answer. I didn’t know what she was doing, but I really wanted to hear her voice, make sure she was okay. I loved her. I loved her so much, and I wanted to know if she was still healthy. But, after I left the message, I thought I was over-reacting to the whole thing. I mean, there wasn’t any real reason to worry yet. The reporter could have been paranoid. Nobody I knew had died of it, and only Mikey was sick with something that maybe wasn’t even this flu they were talking about on the news. I kept telling myself things like this as I walked back to our bus.

    When I got there, I found Ray waiting, who told me that Mikey was already in his bunk. Quickly and quietly I asked him how my brother was doing, he just shook his head and whispered that it wasn’t good. I worried some more, while at the same time chanting those self-delusions to myself to try and keep my mind sane, until I almost believed them again, that this wasn’t a big deal.

    That whole night was tense and made me feel sick with worry. Mikey coughed all night, and I swore I heard him hacking up some mucus in the middle of the night. There were many times when I woke up from a shallow sleep and wanted to check on him, but I decided not to at the last moment for his privacy. It was hard, hearing him rolling around and coughing, and occasionally moaning from some kind of agony. We all didn’t sleep well that night, the sick man and his four healthy friends.

    Then the morning dawned, bright and clear, in no city other than Detroit, where everything would change. I got up early, very early, not getting much sleep and knowing I wasn’t going to be getting any more. I did all the regular things. Dressed, ate a little, you get the idea. The other guys weren’t far behind, all looking as tired and worn as me. After all of our monotonous routines were completed, my brother still wasn’t up.

    He hadn’t made a sound for a few hours, so none of us wanted to disturb him. We all thought he’d finally drifted off into a real sleep, deep and dreamless. Yet, we still sat on the bus, waiting for him to rise, wanting to see if he’d wake up with bright eyes and be completely happy. Maybe he’d joke with us about what hovering grandmothers we were being. I knew Alicia must have been worried, being Mikey’s fucking wife. She’d be relieved to hear his bright voice over the phone, I knew that for sure.

    Another hour ticked by, and then another. Everyone was getting fidgety. I figured that Mikey might not be up for a while yet, since he was probably sleeping very deeply, a healing sleep. So I told all of them, Ray, Frank, and Bob, to get off the bus for a while, stretch their legs and get something to eat. After a bit of protesting they finally agreed and left the bus in search of food, only to be attacked by concerned crew members and management.

    I was feeling so relieved. Not a sound had come from Mikey’s bunk, so I told myself that he must have been on the mend. It’s funny how optimism comes at some of the strangest moments, don’t you think? In that moment of my life I never even suspected that there was anything extremely wrong, that nothing could go wrong. Things were getting better. Matt might even still have to play, but Mikey would be healthier. Even if he had this flu, he was recovering from it, not getting worse.

    Finally, I had the peace of mind to concentrate on something, so I started a new book, one that promised to be interesting. Thirty pages in, I was being drawn into the story and feeling the best I had ever since Mikey had puked in the toilet two days ago. I never suspected anything bad was going to happen.

    I never knew.

    I never thought.

    But, the difference between real life and the inside of a mind… well, that’s like black and white. Unexpectedly, at the most unexpected moment, after Mikey was on a sudden unexpected mend, the ball started rolling that would turn out to be only the start of this nightmare.

    Suddenly, out of the blue, I heard a noise that I will never forget until my dying days. It started with a cough, but then it quickly became something else. It was like the sound a person makes when they vomit, but much more sick, much more wet and panicked.

    Then, the sound of something heavy rolled from Mikey’s bunk, tottered, and crashed to the floor seconds later. Instantly, my book was flung to the side and I was running towards the sound, towards the figure making the glucking noise. Towards my brother, desperately looking my way.

    Mikey’s mouth was covered with blood. He was trying to get himself on his knees, but about to fall over. I ran to him and put my arms around his shaking body, around his torso which was covered in his blood. I didn’t believe what I was seeing, this wasn’t real. This was a dream.

    “Ugh…, I…,” he tried to say, but then coughed. Immediately, more blood came from his mouth, splashing all over the carpet along with black pieces of bile. It flew all over my clothes, on my face, in his hair. Mikey kept shaking, kept shuddering, more and more blood kept flying from his mouth. If it wasn’t for my arms holding him in a steel grip, he would have fallen backwards and drowned in his own bloody vomit.

    “Nine-one-one!” I yelled at the top of my lungs, and that was the last thing I was sane enough to put an effort into. Mikey kept shuddering in my arms. The blood was still coming. He was still choking and gasping and writhing in pain. We were both wearing it now, the scarlet color of sickness, and I could do nothing to stop it.

    Absolutely nothing.

    I wasn’t even aware I was screaming, over, and over, and over.
  11. Chemical 30

    Chemical 30 Just 'That' Girl

    Oh my God....
    I'm crying right now...I thought you should know that
    That would be so scary....God poor Mikey
    Gerard and Mikey must be scared shitless right now
    Amazing update.....but I have a feeling something worse will happen in the next one
  12. Nukyster

    Nukyster Active Member

    Okay first of all, I've only read the top bit. But your chapters are so long and I don't wanna forget half of what I wanna say. I like how you portray Gerard's love for linsey. It's not overly done or overly romantic or too, well girlish. Some (kay most) writers (fangirls) make it too girlish. I mean Gerard isn't a girl so don't write about him like he is. You wrote his love very powerful without overdoing it, it's there and it's powerful, beautiful without using any cliché words or expressions (such ass butterflies, gorgeous ect). Extremely well done. Oh and another thing, I like how you keep up the suspence, the whole 'hell and death are coming up our way' again without using too many words or getting boring.

    Now I'm going to read more. and it's fucking good, I mean it. Sorta get into a stephen king kind of vibe. I like that it's 'there' but I still can't lay a finger on it. I mean I know Gerard will be the only surviver but the rest of the story is still a mystery. Jeez, you're even making me feel very bad because I know they will all die.

    I also like that Gerard isn't just a character that happens to be the singer of a band called My Chemical Romance, I can read him like a person, you gave him depth and thoughts and worry and the capabilty to love. A 3D character, really big fan of that, shows that you put a lot thought into what you write. I mean not just a good storyline/idea but also depth in character, makes it way more easy to feel for them.

    Woh, I am so happy you've started posting this on tbp. It's been a very long time (to long) that someone posted something I really wanted to read and give a decent comment. there are so many crappy fics on here right now and I'm thrilled that there's something original back on this site.

    X Nuky.

    By the way, I was wonder, did you already wrote an ending for this story? I'm the last to talk because I have a hard time finishing anything, but I wanna know if this is completed.

    edit, last I swear. But right now I have a cold and slightly the flu and... yeah this isn't the right story to read when you're sick. If I wake up in the middle of the night and I start vomiting blood at least I know I won't be part of the 0.02% XD
  13. Xxmad_hatterxX

    Xxmad_hatterxX Active Member

    I'm...speechless. I can't even begin to describe how well written and amazingly descriptive and life-like this is. It's just so...good.
    You gave me chills. I have fucking chicken skin.
    I am seriously in awe at your writing. I re-read this more times than I can remember.
    Or maybe it just seems like that in my head. I'm not sure.

    The point is you have mad skills and I am looking forward to reading more.
    Like, really looking forward to it.
    You have got yourself a fan.
  14. Rain

    Rain New Member

    Thanks so much guys! These comments have really made my day.

    Chemical_30, thank you! And yeah, you're right, things are definitely going to get worse....

    Nuky, thank you, that really means a lot to me. I agree with you so much about that, I hate how in a lot of fan fictions that Gerard's love for Lindsey is portrayed as being too girlish. It makes it so hard for me to get into a fic as a reader. And thank you so much about saying that Gerard is a 3D character, that's the biggest thing I aim for with my writing. I actually hope to be a published author someday, so hearing comments like that really makes me feel like I can succeed with my dreams. To answer your question, yes, this fic is completed. :) Thank you, thank you, thank you for liking this fic so much, it means a lot to me.

    Xxmad_hatterxX Thank you! I'm really glad that you're liking the story so far, and that you're a fan now :)
  15. Rain

    Rain New Member

    Chapter Three: The First​

    I was in a fucking nightmare. That must have been it, because none of what I was experiencing now could have been real. In real life, my brother was fine and healthy, we were almost done with our tour, and we’d never even heard about the sickness. None of this could have possibly happened, because there was no flu.

    I kept telling myself that bullshit as I cradled my brother in my arms, screaming and screaming even though my voice was cracking, and I felt like my throat must have been bleeding. Thank fucking God that Mikey was too out of it to hear me, or else I would have freaked him out beyond belief.

    Even after the blood quit coming and he lay against me, shuddering and moaning, I couldn’t stop. This wasn’t like me at all. I’d never exactly held a dying person in my arms before, never had to experience this fresh hell I’d been thrown into, and I felt like I was going to go fucking insane. My brother. My little brother was thrown blood up all over me and I could do nothing, absolutely nothing.

    The minute that Mikey had stumbled out of that bunk everything had turned into a blur. Even now, looking back on it, all I see is a jumble of images and flashes of feelings. And still, I screamed.

    How long were we there? Even now, years later, I still can’t remember. It must have been only minutes, but to me it felt like hours. It was totally irrational, screaming my lungs out. The bus was completely enclosed. A person had to be right next to the bus to hear it, and even then it would have been so muffled. But, that’s the thing about sickness; all logic tends to go up in a puff of smoke. I didn’t even care, and it didn’t even occur to me that I was completely ruining my voice.

    Finally, somebody came. Who else could it have been but Ray, Frank, and Bob, back from the break I’d sent them on.

    There were only two things I really remember about what happened next, and even then, they’re in fragments. The first was the splashing sound I heard on the carpet, followed by Ray shouting Fuck!

    The second was Bob dialling nine-one-one and practically screaming “We need a fucking ambulance!” After that, I finally stopped shouting.

    I only stopped shouting when Frank shook me, partially pulling me out of my shocked madness.

    Mikey was so sick, and the only fucking thing I could do for him was push his hair out of his face and lie, saying that everything was going to be okay, that he’d be better soon. That was all I could do. Mikey was everything to me, and I couldn’t do a single useful thing to save him. Ray, nearly hysterical, kept trying to ask me questions, but I never answered him, I never talked to any of them. All that mattered was Mikey, my brother, talking to him until help came.

    Next, the ambulance. Sirens blared, the stretcher came, and there was that fucking flashing red light. No matter what happened in the coming days, I would always remember the red light on the top of the ambulance, flashing over and over. That stupid blood-red light, as bright as the blood covering my brother.

    Getting into the ambulance came next. I didn’t even hear if I had permission to get in with Mikey, but I didn’t care. Nothing would have made me leave him. Everything now is in fragments, and there are very few things I can recall from that awful time, but I know for sure that I would have fought the paramedics if they had tried to stop me.

    I remember the guy with the IV coughing all over me. I remember that old hag saying “not another one.” I remember the oxygen mask over his face. I remember pulling into the hospital and the doctor pushing me out of the way and telling me to sit in the waiting room. I remember trying to find the damn place, and walking into the nurses office by mistake.

    Once I finally came across the ugly pink room with the magazines from 1974, I sat down and nearly cracked. My head found its way into my hands, and I had to resist going to the desk and screaming at the poor nurse to let me see my damn brother. I wasn’t even close to my normal self, and I felt like I could have killed somebody. He could have been dead, and I wouldn’t even know!

    For my own sanity I stayed like that, hunched over with my head in my arms. The few other worried people in the room avoided me like the plague, as people used to say. Somehow, they all ended up in the opposite corner of the room. That stupid pink jail cell was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

    It was as quiet as death itself.

    Time passed by. I wasn’t aware of anything. The world was only made up of that chair I was sitting in, all my thoughts centered on keeping my head in my arms, my mind was avoiding memories of Mikey. I was a sad, sorry sight. I’d dealt with tragedy, nearly died from drugs, and had seen so much darkness in the world already, but this exceeded everything I’d known before. Through all of my troubles, Mikey was always there. Even at that dark time during the mansion when he nearly left. Nobody I knew had died or gotten sick like this, never like this. The band, we were like a family, and family isn’t supposed to puke up blood on the bus floor.

    Suddenly, there was a hand on my shoulder. It shocked me so much that I nearly jumped to my feet. Frank was standing right beside me, with Ray and Bob in tow. When had they gotten there? In my delirium, I hadn’t even noticed them come in.

    “Hey man,” Frank whispered, sitting down beside me. Ray took the spot to my left, and Bob ended up beside Frank.

    “Hi.” My voice cracked suddenly, and then I remembered the screaming. Fuck, I had completely wrecked it.

    Silence took over for over a minute, thick and tense. I was vaguely aware of the people at the other end of the room staring at us like we were a circus. But, I suppose we were. Also, I noticed that nobody was able to make eye contact with me. I had to suddenly resist the urge to put my head in my hands again, and then I forced myself to swallow a big lump of thick saliva. It was an endless wait, something that seemed to go on forever. Finally, somebody spoke.

    “Here, Gerard, we brought you a new shirt. We… we figured you’d want to clean up a little, you know?” It was Ray this time. Suddenly, Bob gently put a black hoodie of mine in my lap, and then I figured out why I was being avoided by the people at the other end of the room. Oh Jesus.

    “It’s that bad?” I whispered as quietly as I could, and Frank politely nodded. I didn’t say a word after that. Instead, I got up like a zombie and made my way over to the bathroom at the other end of that jail cell, and shut the door.

    The room was black and huge. I let the sweater fall to the ground with a soft plop, and then reached for the switch highlighted by a night-light. When the fluorescent lights finally did blink into focus, I didn’t look in the mirror right away. Instead, I blankly studied the sign asking for all people using the public Emergency Department restroom to please wash their hands. I think that in some deep part of my brain that I wasn’t aware of, I knew what was going to be looking back through that mirror, and didn’t want to see. I was delaying the inevitable as much as possible, but it still had to be done. I took a deep breath and turned my face towards the mirror with my eyes closed.

    One… two… three… OPEN! Some inner voice I’d never known before suddenly shouted those words, my quiet countdown. Some people might not have opened their eyes at all, being too cowardly or scared. But, I did. I’d gone through enough shit in my life to learn that when something like this needed to be done, hesitating only made it worse.

    When I opened my eyes, the familiar shade of hazel was all I recognized.

    I can remember the first emotion that suddenly came to mind when I saw my reflection. Horror. How had those people in the ambulance stood to see this and not squirm like everybody else?

    My face was full of dried blood. It was on my cheeks, on my forehead, down my neck, all over my shirt, and even in my hair. It had coated my bangs, and I must have brushed my hair back from my face at some point during the episode, because they were completely frozen and sticking straight up in the air. I looked like something out of a cheap horror movie, this person covered in dry blood. There were chunks in it too, black things that were un-nameable.

    And then, it hit me. I was covered in Mikey’s blood. Not just anybody’s, but my own brother’s. It was dried, stinking, smelling and completely disgusting. Then, I noticed something on my cheek.

    Oh fuck, it was a string of solid black bile, hanging down from a solidly dried chunk of blood. It was the length of my thumb, just hanging there like a dried-up worm. That last observation, the dangling piece of vomit, finally did it. In awave of revulsion, disgust, and worry, nausea took over my body.

    I stumbled over to the toilet and promptly threw up everything in my stomach.

    How I even had something to throw up baffles me to this day, but there was a lot. It was loud, fast, and gruesome to hear. It was no wonder that as I sat there like a crumpled piece of paper by the toilet, with bile on my chin and in my hair, that I heard that knock on the door.

    “Gerard!” Frank yelled, voice full of panic, and he wouldn’t stop slamming on the door. It took me a minute to realize what he was so concerned about. Oh yeah, this was how it started with Mikey, right? Trying not to think about my brother, about his blood all over my face, or the puke in the toilet, I stumbled over to the locked door. I fumbled with the lock for over a minute, but then I finally managed to open the door, falling on my ass in the process.

    “Gerard,” Frank exclaimed, then flung the door open with tremendous force. Through his legs I saw people staring at us like we were a freak show, and then I noticed that Ray and Bob were right behind him. A nurse hurried to where I was.

    “I…,” my voice attempted to say, but suddenly my body was seized with nausea and I threw up the very last of what was in my stomach, right there on the fucking floor, right in front of everybody.

    “Has he had any flu-like symptoms in the past few days?” asked the nurse, who suddenly started hammering questions on Ray. He shook his head and tried to explain that I hadn’t had any. I realized that she was wondering if I had what Mikey did, and that was what made me spring into action. Fuck, I had to say something quick or else I was going to wind up in a hospital bed, probably away from Mikey.

    “No!” I suddenly shouted, taking everybody by surprise. I had finally found my voice and my sanity.

    “Gerard…,” Bob started to try and speak, but I raised my hand in a gesture for him to stop.

    “I’m not sick like Mikey. I just saw that I… that his blood is everywhere, and it got to me.” The nurse raised an eyebrow, but the other three men knew I was telling the truth. Suddenly, I felt ridiculous for sitting on the floor like this, and I gestured for Frank to help me up. My legs were wobbling back and forth, but I made it. I didn’t even glance at my reflection.

    “Sir...,” the nurse started to say, but I shook my head.

    “I’m sorry for causing you worry. My brother came down with… the flu, and got sick all over me.” The voice that was supposed to be mine was cracked and dry sounding, still damaged from all the screaming. The nurse just looked at me and walked away, probably deciding that if I wanted to die in Emergency, it was my problem.

    “It’s okay, Gerard,” Bob whispered after she’d left, and Ray shot very dirty looks at the people who were daring to gawk at the black-clad parade in the doorway.

    “Fucking shit,” I cursed, the embarrassment finally catching up to me. Everything finally catching up to me. I felt like curling up on the floor and shutting the world out, just giving in, and that scared me enough to get myself in motion again.
  16. Rain

    Rain New Member

    “Here… do you need one of us to stay with you?” Frank asked me very quietly, hesitantly, and awkwardly. In a normal room nobody else would have heard, but in that silent prison everyone turned their heads towards us again. I knew he was embarrassed, hell, I was embarrassed for myself, and for just a moment I forgot about how sick my brother was. I didn’t want to put my friends through any more awkward shit, so I shook my head.

    “No, I’ll be okay now.” That quiet statement was enough. Frank quickly nodded his head and silently bid Ray and Bob to sit down again. As I closed the door, I heard Bob ask this old lady what the fuck she was looking at, which showed more than anything how messed up we were. Normally, nobody in the band would have ever spoken that harshly to a stranger.

    Luckily, no vomit had gotten on the fresh shirt. The disgusting smell of vomit was starting to swirl around the bathroom, so I hurried over and flushed the toilet. That helped a little, but there was still my second spell of vomit on my side of the door. I decided not to bother with it, because I heard somebody on the other side swirl a mop around where my bile was sitting. They’d get the rest when I came out.

    With shaky hands and a strong will not to puke again, I managed to clean myself up. I kept silently counting to ten over and over while I washed. It kept my mind off of everything unpleasant, even the metallic smell that I could now sense coming from my brother’s blood. I took off my shirt and jacket that I had been wearing and stuffed them in the trash can, not wanting to wear them ever again even if they did manage to come clean.

    Three, four, I whispered to myself as I washed my hands harder than I ever had before. Then I took some paper towel and handsoap and tried to wash everything off, managing to only cringe when I removed the black chunk hanging from my cheek. It was slow process, but after about ten minutes I’d gotten it all off. My hair was all wet and in disarray, and my skin was very pink from all the scrubbing, but Mikey’s blood was gone, and that was all that mattered.

    It took only seconds to slip the hoodie over my head before I opened the door, and then we were all playing the waiting game once again. I sat beside my friends and waited for some kind of news. All of us were silent and still as ghosts, each lost within our own thoughts and fears. I can’t ever say what they were thinking, but I know I was doing anything to keep my mind away from the possibility of Mikey dying, and the even scarier possibility that his sickness was very contagious.

    Minutes ticked by. A doctor silently came in and called the occasional name, and the eager family would rush to his side and be beckoned away. After the first three times we quit reacting with hope, because it seemed this was never going to end, that I’d never see my brother again. Any newcomers came into the cell silently. Even the tears they cried were soundless.

    The only break in it all was a man turning the mute off on the TV I hadn’t even noticed was there. The four of us looked up briefly, only to discover that it was some kind of news broadcast. We didn’t want to hear any more scary crap anyway, so we slipped back into our silent world so deeply that we didn’t even notice when he turned the volume off again.

    We’d all lost track of time. When had Mikey gotten sick? I couldn’t remember. How long had we been there alone? How long had I been here? The only answer seemed to be the word forever, that this would never end.

    But finally, forever fell.

    “Michael Way,” a very tired, very stressed male voice called into the sorry lot of people. Bob was the first one to react, jumping out of his seat in seconds. For the rest of us it took a little longer to snap out of our trances, but when that finally happened my heart kicked into high gear. I rushed over to the man in the white coat, my pulse pounding in my ears.

    “How is he?!”

    I couldn’t help myself, I blurted it out as soon as I was close enough. The doctor sighed, but not in an irritated way.

    “Come with me first, and I’ll tell you once we all get somewhere more private,” he replied quietly, and beckoned for us to go through the set of doors to his right.

    The four of us followed him down a narrow hallway, one after the other like a bunch of schoolkids on a field trip. This hallway was blue. The man with the greying brown hair walked us down a corridor to the left, then we turned to the right. I kept wondering what the fuck was going on. This wasn’t like any other emergency room I’d been in, this procedure was completely different. Still, I didn’t say anything, I just followed the doctor.

    Finally, we stopped in the middle of nowhere, in a freakily narrow corridor that wasn’t near any room that we saw. When we stopped I’d had enough, I just had to find out what the hell was going on.

    “This isn’t how the emergency room is normally handled, right?” I asked quietly, and the doctor slowly shook his head.

    “No, we’ve had to make some changes,” he replied solemnly, and before I could ask him what he meant he answered my question. “Now, you all have probably heard the news go on about this flu that’s spreading everywhere. We got our first case of it four days ago, and since then the number of patients has swelled to an amount that we can’t handle. They’ve turned everything, even my office, into a makeshift room to hold the sick.”

    “Wha…?” Ray asked suddenly, his voice full of disbelief.

    “I’m very sorry to tell you this, but Michael has this flu.” He voice was so quiet it was barely a whisper, and this man looked like he was going to fall over and break at any moment. He in his forties, at least, yet he looked like he’d seen enough misery to last two lifetimes.

    “But, that doesn’t mean much, right? I mean, my brother is going to get better. It’s only the flu, you guys have drugs. This is a fucking hospital!” I shouted the last sentence angrily, scaring my friends, but the doctor didn’t even flinch.

    “Your brother is currently in the E wing. You can go up and see him now.” He was obviously dodging my question, and suddenly I was mad enough to tear his throat out. I kept thinking, what kind of a fucking hospital is this?!

    “Answer me! Is he going to get better?” I shouted angrily at the poor man, completely not myself. Fuck, this must have been a sick joke! Before I could attack the doctor or do any more damage, Ray put his hand on my shoulder and started to talk.

    “Look, this is really stressing us out, uh, doctor….”

    “Dr. James,” he curtly replied.

    “Look, Dr. James, we just want to know what’s going on. Please. He’s Gerard’s brother, for God’s sake! Everything we’ve been hearing has been censored, and we want the truth, no matter how bad it is.”

    “Please, we want to know,” Frank added quietly, and Dr. James sighed. I was trying to get myself to calm down and work myself out of this hysteria I was feeling, this awful sickness I just couldn’t shake. My body was rigid, so still and tense, and I found myself silently counting to ten in my head again, over and over until I my pulse slowed down.

    Dr. James was silent for a minute. He looked like he wasn’t going to say anything, like he was going to clam up and refuse to speak. Looking back on it, I now know that kind man was only trying to keep the grim truth from us a little longer out of kindness. But, back then he seemed cruel, like he was toying with us, with me.

    “Please, he’s my brother. I need to know,” I whispered after I finally got myself under enough control. Dr. James had been looking at the floor this entire time, but when he heard my pleading voice he met my eyes, sighed once more, and then started to speak.

    “Your brother has the flu that’s been on the news. It’s not some other disease, it’s not the normal strain, it’s the flu. I’ve seen enough people with it in these past few days to know that for sure.

    “Look,” he said, pausing for a second to think about what he was going to say next. “I’ve divided this disease into four stages. The first is the onset of the flu-like symptoms, to put it in simple terms. The second is when things start to go seriously wrong. Most commonly, patients will vomit blood, but there have been cases of seizures, and rarely, muscle cramps. The third stage is the worst. The patient’s lungs will fill up with fluid. Muscles will start to cramp very painfully, and we still don’t know the cause of that. Sometimes internal bleeding will occur, causing large purple bruises to form.”

    It was then that I felt like the world was closing in, like it was going to suffocate me and I’d die in agony. I knew what was coming next, but that still didn’t make it any less painful.

    “The fourth stage is death,” Dr. James whispered, looking stone cold.

    “Mikey…,” Ray tried to whisper, but his voice choked and cracked.

    “Michael is currently in the second stage. I’m so sorry.” He looked at the floor again, giving us time to process that gravity of the statement. Dr. James had told a lot of people that their loved ones had the flu that day, I’d find out later. After the tenth one, he’d quit feeling any emotion except for the emptiness that was growing inside of him with every person he told.

    I somehow found the strength to gaze over at my friends. Bob looked angry as hell, Frank looked hopeless and lost, and Ray looked like he was going to cry. Me, I tried to find something I could feel, but it was all too huge yet. I couldn’t think, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that my brother had gotten so sick.

    All was silent for an amount of time I couldn’t count. We were all trying to deal with this, trying to figure out what to do next. I knew we weren’t going back to that arena, and I knew there wasn’t going to be a concert tonight. Somehow, I could realize all that minor shit and still not be able to process the enormity of it all, the grimness. Finally, somebody spoke, thank fucking God.

    “So… so where is he?” Frank quietly asked, looking shrunken and misshapen.

    “Micheal is currently in the E wing. Go down this hallway. You’ll come to an elevator at the end. Take that up to the third floor. Make a right, and then another right. You’ll come to a ward set up in a circle. He’s in room 327. He was lucky to get one, but the previous occupant passed away only minutes after he was admitted. A lot of people are lying on stretchers in the hallway. Please, if they grab you just keep moving.”

    We all memorized the directions, trying numbly not to think about the whole sentence about stretchers in the hallway.

    Seconds after he’d finished talking Ray muttered a quick thank-you, and started to walk towards the elevator as fast as he could. I went to follow along with everybody else, but Dr. James suddenly grabbed my arm.

    “So, you’re his brother?” I nodded. The rest of the guys stopped and stared, all wearing faces I’d never seen before.

    “I just want to talk to him alone, if you don’t mind,” he called, and Bob took a few steps forward. For a minute, I thought he was going to punch Dr. James, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.

    “I’ll be there in a few minutes,” I told them. They weren’t going to leave me at first, but after a few seconds of careful persuading I finally got them to move, after telling them they’d better see Mikey in case he woke up to find himself alone. When they had finally left I turned to Dr. James again, ready for absolutely anything. I foolishly thought that nothing could surprise me after my brother had vomited blood all over my face.
  17. Rain

    Rain New Member

    “Look, I recognize you guys. My Chemical Romance, right?” It wasn’t a question, so he went on. “You asked me earlier if Michael was going to get better. I want to be honest with you, so you can make arrangements.

    “There is no cure. Every patient has died, no matter what we’ve given them.”

    For once, it sunk in right away. No cure. As in, “Mikey was going to die” no cure. But it baffled me. That wasn’t possible, it just wasn’t possible. I couldn’t deal with that. Suddenly, everything became numb and detached. It all felt like a dream, like it should have been. A nightmare. I was going to wake up soon in my bunk, and everybody would be happy and healthy. A dream.

    If only, if only.

    “I’m asking you, as the next of kin, to please make arrangements. If he’s married or has a significant other, call her and let her know. Let him talk to her, if she’s still well. Try and make funeral arrangements. They’re going to start mass graves soon I’m afraid, there’s just so many that the funeral homes can’t take them.”

    “Funeral arrangements…,” I repeated blankly.

    “Yes, that’s right.”

    Suddenly, Dr. James looked old and worn way beyond his age, but the numb Gerard didn’t notice or care.

    Maybe a different man would have gone into denial, accusing Dr. James of lying, thinking that there was some kind of miracle cure. But, not me. Some deep, inner logic told me that this man had no reason to lie. He was telling me the truth. Why else would he have looked like that? It fit, suddenly everything fit. The media censoring, the newspapers, Kathy Harris saying to stock up on food, it all fucking fit. I came to this conclusion numbly, feeling no emotion whatsoever. Later I’d come to think of it as an emotional safeguard, a floodgate that suddenly closed to keep me from putting that man’s head through the wall.

    There was only one question that mattered now, I had blankly realized. Only one fucking question.

    “How long?”

    “The time between stages two and four are anywhere from one to three days. Three days at most,” he told me, sounding like a blank computer.

    One day. That’s all that ran through my head, over and over and over. My brother would never live to be thirty-one. My brother was going to die.

    Mikey was going to die.

    “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but this virus is very contagious. Very,” he told me quickly, almost pleadingly. It was like telling me about my brother’s coming death finally snapped something inside of him, and suddenly his words became frantic and desperate. “Get your band mates to call their families, their wives and girlfriends. For God’s sake, talk to them while you still can. Tell your wife you love her.

    “Everybody that comes in contact with the sick is infected. Everybody. Nurses and doctors are dropping like flies, and it’s only a matter of time before I do as well. I don’t know what the fuck this is, but for the good Lord’s sake, make every minute worth it.”

    The numb husk that was myself suddenly couldn’t take it any more. Through muffled memories I know I suddenly walked away from that poor doctor. That walking turned into jogging, then full out running as I tried to squeeze precious seconds out of the monster that was called Time.

    One to three days.



    I didn’t stop until I was at Mikey’s bed, holding his hand in a death grip and trying to stop the tears from falling.
  18. Chemical 30

    Chemical 30 Just 'That' Girl

    You made me cry again....
    I don't want Mikey to die...Hell I don't want anyone to die
  19. Nukyster

    Nukyster Active Member

    freaky. Nice, so you can write gore too. Big fan of that too. not just 'oh Gerard has blood on his face, ah poor guy he needs to puke'. No that would be too easy, I think I can picture myself in detail being covered in blood and internal organs now. Thanks, nah really I love it. I like detail no matter how gross. To be honest I'm always ready to be grossed out. I think the only book that got me sick was four passed midnight by stephen kind, The Langoliers there was a very graphic piece where a guy had to pull a knife out of a girl's chest.

    This chapter is pretty much 'safe yourself if you can, but you kinda can't anyway'. I think I'd kill myself. Not sure how, but puking my own guts out will prob make me wanna get some pills.

    It's a bit creepy, right now everyone at my work has a cold. I'm getting suspisious....

    Fuck and you know what sucks I, as reader, already know that bob and ray and frank will die too. I don't like that kind of knowlage... But anyway kundos to you, you have extremely long chapters. No shitty 400 words as in: TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OR ELSE I WONT UPDATE. You write long, powerful and detailed. Makes me wanna read more.

    X Nuky
  20. Rain

    Rain New Member

    Chemical_30, thank you! I guess it means I'm doing my job if I'm making you get into the story :p

    Nuky, thanks! I'm also a big fan of Stephen King. Have you ever read that short story by him about the guy who ate his own body parts to survive? For me, that was pretty sick, but fascinating at the same time. And in regards to suicide, I'd definitely kill myself if I knew it was fatal, with pills probably. I've always thought, why suffer when you know you're going to die anyway?

    And thanks about liking the chapter length! I try to write my fics like you would a novel, with longer chapters, and I'm glad that it's part of what makes you want to keep reading this fic :)


    Chapter Four: The Reaper​

    Everybody. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it, especially staring at my unconscious little brother. The gravity of it all, the enormity, it just seemed impossible. But yet, I couldn’t deny it. Maybe a different man would have screamed “You’re so fucking wrong!” to Dr. James, refusing to believe the truth, but not me. One thing that I had learned throughout the years is that denying something that’s right in front of you gets you nowhere.

    Everybody. Only a minute had passed since I’d come charging into Mikey’s hospital room, shoved Frank out of the way, and immediately started to go into a hysterical silence. But to me, it seemed like a lifetime. My brother would never live to be as old as me. He was only twenty-seven! Nobody deserved to have this happen to them, especially so young.

    Everybody. Anybody. All of us eventually, right? It’s funny looking back on it, realizing how I could think about that word and stay so numb at the same time. Also, the failsafes. I thought, and on some level, knew about the possible, probable death of millions, of everybody, but never thought about that word applying to us or our loved ones. It can be funny what the mind comes up with to keep one from going insane.

    Even in my shocked cone of silence, part of me knew I was scaring my friends completely shitless. Fuck, I was scaring myself. If Mikey was awake he would have been the worst out of all of them, but thankfully he was out stone cold.

    With my hand clenching his, I leaned over and carefully brushed his sweaty, blood splattered hair from his forehead. My hand was shaking so badly that I was at risk of putting my fingers in his eye sockets, but somehow, I still managed to do it. I wasn’t even aware that my breath was coming in ragged, choking spurts that sounded like half-sobs, or that the hand that was in Mikey’s was wrapped around it so tightly that the knuckles were going white.

    His face was as white as death itself. Sweat of the deathly sick covered his skin, and his breath was coming in ragged, wet spurts. I couldn’t shake the image of blood just pooling in his lungs, waiting until the right moment to come charging out again. Even though he was hurting, the man on the hospital bed was still my little brother. I loved him so very much. He was still full of life. I couldn’t remember who said it, but hadn’t I heard somewhere that while there is still life there is hope? Maybe they could have been wrong about the flu killing him.

    But then, Dr. James’s voice came booming into my head, and his words just slapped the cold, hard truth in my face yet again.

    “I’m asking you as the next of kin, please make arrangements. If he’s married or has a significant other, call her and let her know. Let him talk to her, if she’s still well. Try and… try and make funeral arrangements. They’re going to start mass graves soon I’m afraid, there’s just so many that the funeral homes can’t take them.”

    Then, I knew it for sure. Denial was futile.

    “Please, not him!” I cried out, and then my strength left me. I fell to my knees and rested my forehead against the thin mattress. Dr. James wouldn’t have lied to me, I saw his face. That cold, dead expression just screamed that he was too tired to lie anymore, that it was useless. And, the worst part of all? I was going to have to watch the misery happen.

    Hope was a lie.

    Then, I quit living. Even now, I can’t remember at all what happened next. Later, he told me about the nonsense words and my blathering about funerals, about how I started crying and whispering “the end”.

    “Here, you two lift him up, I’ll get the chair.” That was the only thing I recall clearly about that whole space of non-time. The rest was memories of Mikey and Dr. James taking turns in my head, over and over again. Later, Ray told me that finally I spat out the words “I want to be alone.”

    I can remember quietly getting up and moving the chair as close as I could to the head of the bed. Then I grabbed Mikey’s hand again and finally saw the IV that was attached to his arm. No wonder he was out cold.

    Without anything else to do, I watched the medication drip and flow into his arm. In the utter silence of the room, I finally realized that there were people screaming in the hallway beyond. I heard somebody shouting for a person named Darlene. Strangely, that was what yanked me out of my brutal, unforgiving, and very black trance. I realized that I just couldn’t shut down and try to keep the world out, not while there were still people living around me. Mikey was in pain, and he needed somebody here. He needed us, and especially me. That person in the hallway wouldn’t find Darlene, but at least Mikey would have his brother.

    It took about five minutes after I started watching the medication for my hands to quit shaking. Even though I felt the corners of that despair trying to get in, I was calmer. I was rational. Grief had to wait, because right now I still had loved ones who were alive, and I needed to be there. Thank God I could see the light, or else I’m not sure what would have happened.

    Instead of crying, I leaned over and brushed the hair away from Mikey’s face again. He was so fucking sweaty, and looked so fucking sick. His face looked like mine had only hours ago, blotted with the blood he’d puked up. It made him look even more like a nightmare from a horror movie. I was filled with pity when I thought about this, which made me feel horrible and terrified at the same time.

    “Mikey,” I whispered, and let go of his hand. I then leaned over to put the blanket around his shoulders. Looking back, I guess I thought that he might have been cold, even though I had no idea what was really happening with him. My legs found the strength to stand, and that was when I knew I could do this. Gerard Way could handle whatever was going to be thrown at him. Thank fucking God that I could.

    When I leaned over him, I knew that this wouldn’t do. I was right level with his dirty face, and I could smell him. He reeked of sick, of the death that I knew now was waiting for him, and the dried blood wasn’t helping any. So, the Gerard that had numbed himself to pure rationality went to the bathroom and found a container to fill with water. I used hand soap because it was the only thing that I could find, and a bath towel.

    I had to fight the urge to break down again as I came back and washed him off. The horrible feeling of pity came back when I looked at my brother. The dark part of me couldn’t stand to see Mikey this way, knocked out from pain medication, his breath sounding like gurgling water. He didn’t deserve this. And, fuck, I swore he was sweating straight through his clothes. Yet, washing all the blood off helped immensely, so I did it as tenderly and thoroughly as I could.

    I was nearly done cleaning my little brother off when Frank walked in. I was so focused on what I was doing I didn’t even look up when he came into the room. For some reason, the numb, logical version of me just thought that Frank would sit down in the empty chair. Instead, he slammed the huge wooden door closed and promptly slumped to the floor, like I had when I’d first gotten into this hellhole. The soaking wet towel fell beside my brother’s head with a plop, but before it could hit the ground, I was at Frank’s side.


    My voice was barely above a whisper. He didn’t speak right away, but instead just stared at the wall like it held all the secrets of the world. I sat down beside him and waited, knowing that if I kept trying to talk to him he wouldn’t hear a thing I said. And finally, he spoke.

    “Jamia has it,” he whispered slowly, sounding like a ghost. “She’s in the hospital now, I phoned her. She… she had to go because she started puking.” And then, Frank started to shake. The mention of his significant other suddenly flipped a switch inside my brain that had failed to go off. I know this sounds so fucking selfish, but when one of my best friends was shaking in my outstretched arms there was only one word that was running through my head. Lindsey.

    My wife. Oh fuck, the idea had never even occurred to me since we arrived at the hospital. Even though I had thought about everyone dying, for some reason it never seemed possible that it could hit her. Frank had called Jamia, and the last time I had talked to Lindsay had been over a day ago.

    “She… she told me everything. Holy shit, no wonder you came in here looking like you did. Oh fuck, Gerard, how long?!”

    Frank suddenly stiffened, his words loud and angry. I automatically cringed at his sudden change of mood, and with that he relaxed and slumped against the wall.

    “I’m so sorry.” Lindsey.


    Then, Frank put something small in my hand, not even bothering to look away from the wall. When I looked down I realized that he’d given me his phone, and I looked over at him with numb surprise. He was trying to keep back tears.

    “Call her. I saw it in your face. Don’t worry, I’ll… I’ll finish up with Mikey,” he whispered, and then got up. Shocked and surprised, I jumped to my feet. Lindsey.

    Frank stood there for a minute longer, closing his eyes, and closing himself off like I had done only minutes before. When he finally opened them again, I took this as my cue to leave. I knew him well enough to know that he needed time alone, like I had. Even as he picked up the wet towel, I could see that he was starting to shake again, and I left before my emotions could freeze me again.

    The hallway was hell. That’s the best way I can describe it, even now. It was complete and utter hell. The dark horror of it all was enough to take my wife off of my mind for a few seconds.

    When I quietly closed the door to Mikey’s room behind me, the sleeve of my shirt was suddenly grabbed. Scared shitless, I turned around and stared into the face of a dying nurse. She was on a simple cot, still dressed in her uniform, and as I looked down the hallway I could see that the walls were lined with the sick. I had to fight the urge to cringe while I tried to pry her hand off of my shirt, trying not to scream.

    “Don’t… go….”

    Her words sounded like they were coming through a wall of something sticky. She was an older woman, and her face was covered in whatever she had recently puked up. The nurse looked like a fucking nightmare, and the sight of the black bile on her cheek was enough to make me tear my sleeve away and run down the hallway, past the screaming nightmares.

    I didn’t know where I was going until I found it. I nearly passed it in my panicked rush, but I stopped just in time and swung the door open. They surely can’t be keeping any out here, I thought desperately. Thankfully, I was right. When I stepped out onto that balcony it was blissfully empty, with only a nurse for company. It calmed me enough to remember what I’d come out here to do in the first place. Lindsey.

    I had to force myself to relax the hand that was clutching Frank’s cell phone in a death grip. During the turmoil in the hallway, I had grasped it like was my grip on life, and now my hand was numb. When I finally got it free, I opened the fucker, watching the display flare to life. And then, I held it there, staring at it stupidly.

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