The legend of Chimera Falls was one all of the townspeople knew. The parents made sure to tell it to their kids as soon as they were able to understand. The main objective of the legend was this: You do not leave town. Ever.
The town was surrounded by cornfields. The stalks were so high that no one could even really see over them. They seemed to smother the town some days and others it was like they didn’t exist at all.
If any kids suspected that what the parents said wasn’t true, then the roars that were sometimes heard were confirmation enough. It sounded like metal being twisted. Like a lion roaring while it was being stabbed. Some said it was enough to give them nightmares. Even though no one saw the monsters out in the corn fields, it didn’t mean people couldn’t come up with an image of their own.
The story wasn’t very specific on how the town came to be. It was said that a farmer started it. Planting the corn around the outskirts of the town and then summoning the Devil himself for protection. No one really knew what the farmer was seeking protection for. People figured it was either for the crops or the town.
The farmer supposedly moved in with his wife and when the corn stalks were high enough to create a wall around the town, he got his wish fulfilled. It wasn’t said whether it was a matter of soul-bargaining, but people assumed that it was. What other reason would the Devil see fit to grant a mortal’s wishes?
So, the monsters were put in the corn fields to watch over them. The people of the town thought the monsters were practically a Godsend. Ironically enough, they weren’t. When a family tried to leave the town, they were attacked. They didn’t quite see what it was, but it hurt them. Made them bleed until they were only moments away from death. And it took their youngest.
Every decade after that, the town had to sacrifice someone to the monsters in order to keep them appeased. If you wanted to leave town, you practically had to give up any livestock you kept. And if you didn’t, then you weren’t leaving. And if you did, you weren’t gone for long. Most people didn’t make it ten miles out of town before they were forced to turn back.
The only way they could get supplies was when they were flown in. And on rare occasions, a truck full of supplies would be permitted to enter the town if it left no longer than a half an hour after it arrived. Even then, a sacrifice of some sort would have to be made.
No one knew if there were multiple monsters or just one, but they guessed there were more than they could ever guess. The sounds that came from the corn fields, it was enough to almost confirm that suspicion.
Regardless, one person was chosen at random every ten years. They would take the person away a week before they were going to die. That way, no one could try to take them back. It was also said that they were taken that early so that the monsters could get used to their scent. It was thought that the monsters needed to know what they were chasing.
Frank threw a pebble at Bob. “Hey, fucker. We’re still on for Guitar Hero this weekend, right?”
“Yeah. My mom already said she’d get us pizza and sodas.”
Frank grinned. “She’s awesome.”
Mikey picked up a fry from his cafeteria tray and stared at it as if he thought it could punch him in the face at any moment. Finally, he put it in his mouth and chewed on it thoughtfully.
“Fuck, Mikey. You’re so weird.”
Mikey frowned at him as if he couldn’t get why Frank was making fun of him. “Your mom.”
Frank snorted. “That’s your comeback to everything.”
“Did you Mikey use ‘your mom,’ as an insult again?” Gerard sat down beside Mikey and threw his arm around his shoulders.
Frank nodded his head. “Sadly.”
Mikey scoffed but went back to methodically eating his food. Frank decided the only way to not make fun of him was to ignore him for the time being. He focused his attention on Gerard instead.
He had known Gerard his whole life. As well as everyone else in the town. It was a bizarre place. Probably only 7,000 people in total, but it was home. And he couldn’t even imagine living anywhere else. Not that anyone in that town could. The monsters would get them first.
He didn’t realize he was glaring at the ground until Ray waved his hand in front of his face. “Earth to Frank. What the hell were you thinking about? It’s almost the weekend and you look like someone sacrificed your puppy to the corn fields.”
Frank punched Ray’s arm. “That’s a horrible thing to say.”
Ray laughed. “You’re right. You would probably throw yourself in front of damn thing and get eaten yourself.”
Frank shivered. They had one week until the new person would be chosen. Frank didn’t really let himself think about it too often, but he knew everyone was terrified. The thought that anyone he knew, loved, could be dead in the next two weeks made him want to just throw himself into the stupid corn fields. At least they could skip the sacrifice that year.
He was reminded of the boy in his class who thought he could sneak out in the middle of the night and no one would notice. What the boy had failed to realize that it wasn’t the town’s people he had to get by. It was the monsters, and they really hadn’t taken too kindly to him trying to leave.
His bones had been found on the outskirts of town. A foot away from the barrier. It took a day to realize who it was because he was the only one missing. It was the only year they were able to forgo the sacrifice. Frank had never been so happy to hear about someone else’s stupidity.
The bell rang at that moment, signaling the end of lunch. Frank sighed and helped Mikey up once he was standing. They all went in separate directions. Mikey was headed to Biology, Ray and Bob to Calculus, and Frank and Gerard had gym.
Gerard sighed dramatically once they got to the locker rooms. “The class that will be the death of me.”
Frank laughed and shoved him playfully. “Shut up. If it’s anything, it’s going to be Physics if you fail it again.”
Gerard groaned. “Don’t remind me.”
Frank rolled his eyes. “Come on. We have to get dressed before we’re late or we’ll have to do laps again.”
That seemed to spur Gerard into action. Frank grinned and then had to force himself from watching Gerard change. It wasn’t like he was being perverted or anything, but he had been in love with Gerard since before he even knew what the word was. When he was younger, he would follow him around blindly. Sure, he did the same now but it was more subtle. Back then it was just fucking pathetic.
He pulled on his gym shorts and then ran out into the gym with Gerard. They weren’t late, but they had probably only seconds before they would have been. Gerard smiled at him when he turned around to make a face at him. It sucked that he was near the middle of the alphabet and Gerard was all the way at the back. Being separated from your best friend by a few letters was never fun.
He turned back around after their coach was done with attendance. “Alright, today’s game will be basketball. After you run two laps, you can start a game.”
Frank tried not to roll his eyes. What was even the point of a gym class? No one really learned anything except how to be a complete and total asshole in the case of the jocks that were in the class.
Gerard caught up to him once they hit the track. He grinned at Gerard. “We’re walking, right?”
Gerard snorted. “Since when do we ever run? Besides, I don’t think I’m in the mood for basketball today.”
“Me neither. It’s like this whole school is filled with those ignorant assholes. The stupid kids who play any sport their parents push at them and then think they’re fucking special for doing it. I mean, I think we’re two of the coolest kids here. They’re just like every other kid out there. But we’re not normal. We’re actually pretty weird.”
Gerard laughed and shook his head. “Has anyone ever told you that you talk way too much?”
Frank smirked and winked at Gerard. “All the time, baby. All the time.”
Gerard smirked back at him and then continued walking. After a few moments of silence, Gerard bumped his shoulder against Frank’s. “I didn’t say it was a bad thing.”
Frank smiled down at the asphalt. “I just didn’t have anything to say. Oh wait, are you coming over to Bob’s this weekend?”
Gerard nodded his head. “What else is there to do?”
Frank laughed. “I guess you can put it that way. He got the new Guitar Hero. And my mom was able to get me a new zombie movie. I bet even you haven’t seen it yet.”
Gerard held up his hands. “You had me at ‘Guitar Hero.’ You don’t have to add anything.”
Frank kicked at a pebble. “That’s good to know.”
They were halfway through their first lap when trouble started. Devon, a typical jock at the high school who was adamant to make gym a living nightmare for Frank and Gerard, ran by them. Then he stopped and ran backwards until he was standing beside them. “What’s up, girls? Not in the mood to run?”
Gerard rolled his eyes and huffed out a breath. “Go fuck yourself, dude.”
Devon laughed. Three of his friends were now standing behind him and the odds of two against four had Frank’s heart picking up speed in his chest. Frank didn’t even realize Devon was now standing only a few inches away from Gerard. His hands curled into fists at his side. He didn’t care about the odds. If Gerard wasn’t safe, then he would do whatever it took to protect him.
“Strong words for such a little fag.” Devon sneered at Gerard and took another step forward.
Frank stepped up until he was in Devon’s space. “Back the fuck off right now.”
Frank could feel a sense of recklessness building inside of him. He knew he was only moments from doing something stupid, but he had no idea what that was at that moment.
Devon laughed. “What are you going to do about it, gay boy?”
Frank really could have laughed at the insult. It was stupid, at best, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. He turned around and grabbed the front of Gerard’s gym t-shirt and then pulled him forward. Gerard’s eyes widened in surprise and then Frank’s mouth was on his. Frank flicked his tongue out, making sure there was enough distance between his lips and Gerard’s for Devon and his jock flunkies to see. Devon groaned in disgust and Frank finally pulled away with a quick nip at Gerard’s bottom lip.
Devon pushed Frank, causing Frank to stumble back until he almost fell down. Then, Devon turned to glare at Gerard. “I always knew something was wrong with you, Way. And now I know that about Iero too. But I’m kind of hoping it’s you who gets their name called next week to be sacrificed. I’d like to never see your face again.” Devon spit on the ground by Gerard’s feet and began jogging away. His friends were already in front of him, probably waiting for Devon to catch up.
But Frank wasn’t going to let him do that. He vaguely heard Gerard calling his name, but he ignored him. The anger and fury of what Devon just said was racing through him. He reached out and pulled Devon around until he was facing Frank. Devon sneered at him, but Frank didn’t have time for that. He pulled his fist back and hit him. Devon groaned, holding onto his jaw when he looked back up at Frank. “What the fuck is your problem, Iero?”
“You,” Frank growled before he hit him again. This time, he didn’t let up with his punches. He barely registered Devon falling to the ground and him following so he could hit him some more.
When Devon’s three jock buddies finally had the leverage to pull Frank off, Devon had blood splattered all over his face. Frank didn’t think there was a clear patch of skin. Frank spit at him and kicked at him until he was far enough away where he couldn’t do any more damage. He noticed that Gerard was staring at him with a pained expression on his face and the coach was closing in on the small group. This wasn’t going to be good.
“Frank Iero, you better get your ass to the principal’s office right now.” The coach turned to one of Devon’s friends. “Go get the nurse.”
When Frank didn’t move, the coach grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and practically dragged him all the way to the principal’s office. When he was sat in front of the woman the whole school seemed to fear, he finally realized what he had just done.
Mrs. Garcia was a woman you didn’t want to mess with. If she so much as glared at you, you knew you were in deep shit. And not just detention or a light slap on the wrist. No, it usually meant suspension or in rare cases, expulsion.
The phone rang and Mrs. Garcia quickly answered it. Frank couldn’t really tell what she was talking about until she slammed the phone down into its cradle. He jumped and stared at her in fear. “Well, it seems Devon will need to go to see a doctor. His nose is broken and they seem to think his cheek bone might be fractured. Tell me, Mr. Iero, what made you display such an act of violence?”
Frank shrugged and glanced down at his shoes. “He was being an asshole.”
Mrs. Garcia sighed and shook her head. “That is no reason to hurt someone the way you did Devon. I’m giving you a week of suspension. Consider yourself lucky. I could have done a lot worse.”
He nodded his head and waited until he was dismissed to practically run out of the office. Gerard was waiting for him when he left. Frank wasn’t sure if this was good or bad, because he couldn’t help but feel that there was some sort of tension there now. Something that made it a little harder to breathe every time Gerard looked at him.
Gerard touched him lightly on the shoulder. “Come by my house after school, okay?”
Frank nodded his head and tried to smile at him, but Gerard was already turning away and stalking in the direction of his next class. Frank sighed and went by his locker to get what he needed. His mom had been called and so she knew Frank was being sent home early. Mikey was waiting by his locker when he got there. Mikey stared at him as he opened his locker and got everything he would need out of it.
When he closed the door, Mikey was still staring at him. To say it was a little unnerving was an understatement. “Hey, Mikey. What’s up?”
Mikey shrugged his shoulders. “Nothing. Trying to see how you are.”
Mikey glanced down at Frank’s knuckles. They were torn up and bleeding and probably looked a lot more gruesome than they felt at that point. “Obviously not if you’re willing to beat a kid within an inch of his life just because he insulted my brother.”
Frank sighed exasperatedly. “I don’t have time for this Mikey. I have half an hour to get off school property before they call the cops.”
Mikey frowned, but then pulled Frank in for a hug. “Be careful.”
“I’ll try. You too.” And then Frank was swinging his backpack up onto his shoulder and making his way towards the exit. He glanced around at the hallways and at the classrooms.
Once he was out the door, he muttered, “See you in a week.” He wasn’t sure whether he was excited to be out of school for a week or upset that he wouldn’t be able to hang out with his friends. Especially since he was more than certain that his mother would not let him anywhere near Bob’s house that weekend.
When he got home, he immediately hid anything he thought his mom would want to take away if she saw it. Out of sight, out of mind. That expression really applied to his mother when it came to punishment. He just hoped she would momentarily forget he had a laptop.
When it was time for school to be let out, he left his house as quickly as he could. He would have to try to be home before his mom, because if she knew he was out when he was suspended, she would be pissed. Well, even more than she was already going to be.
It took almost half an hour for him to gather up the courage to pull up outside of the Way household. He knew Gerard was going to yell at him. He knew it like he knew that their friendship was probably about to take a hit. But, he had to go in. Gerard had specifically asked him to.
Before he could even knock on the door, the front door was opening and Gerard was walking out of the house. Okay, so they were going to fight on the front porch for everyone to see. Nice.
Gerard crossed his arms and glared at Frank. “What the fuck was that at school today? Fuck, are you just asking for them to kill you?”
Frank huffed out a breath. He wouldn’t get annoyed with Gerard this quickly. It wouldn’t benefit him. “No. They just can’t say shit like that about you.”
Gerard rolled his eyes and waved his arms around as if that would get his point across. “Newsflash, Frank! They say worse shit than that to me on a daily basis. What the fuck?”
“Well, they shouldn’t! Okay? They can’t just call you names and say you should go to the corn fields without them receiving some type of payback. I just, fuck, Gerard. What the hell was I supposed to do?” He could distinctly recognize that their voices were rising, but he didn’t care. Gerard was mad at him and he had to fix it.
“You weren’t supposed to do anything! You’ve made the target on my back a lot more noticeable now. What’s to stop them from coming after me now? What’s to stop them from beating my face in like you did to their friend’s face?”
Frank shook his head. “They can’t do that. If anything, they’ll come after me.”
“And that’s better?! What the hell, Frank?”
“I just don’t want you to get hurt! I care about you, Gee.”
Gerard crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Frank. “Yeah? Well, you should have thought about that before you went and fought my battles for me. I can take care of myself. I don’t need you to look after me!”
“Oh, you don’t need me, huh? Well, that’s fine because I sure as hell don’t need you!” With that, he stormed down the porch steps and jerked open the door to his car. He sneered at Gerard and then he was getting into his car and peeling out of the driveway.
By the time he was speeding through the streets, he had calmed down enough to go back through the fight in his head. He couldn’t believe Gerard. Well, he could, in a way. He knew that his attempt at being a knight in shining punk armor had probably embarrassed Gerard more than it had made him grateful. He knew Gerard hated having attention put on him. Well, most of the time. Sometimes, he just asked for it. But now, he didn’t know what he was supposed to do. He was suspended and wouldn’t see Gerard for about a week if they couldn’t fix their problems.
When he got home, he was glad to see his mom wasn’t there yet. It meant he still had time to hide anything he didn’t want taken away. He knew his car would be gone, so he couldn’t really do anything about that. But he could do something about his collection of comics and movies. And hopefully his iPod. Maybe his mom would be so pissed off she would forget to take anything away. Maybe she would only ground him. He could live with that. It wasn’t like there was much to do in a town where no one could leave.
He rifled through all of his belongings in his room and placed a few select items at the bottom of his closet. He piled clothes on top of them and then put smaller items beneath his mattress. His mom never looked there and he was just going to cross his fingers that she wouldn’t figure it out this time.
When his mom got home that night, he got an earful of how irresponsible he was. She fussed over him, making he wasn’t actually hurt, and then started yelling at him for hurting some poor other kid. He tried to argue that the kid wasn’t some pitiful little kid. He was a big jock that could probably crush Frank if he put his mind to it. Not that he had a lot of brainpower to spare or anything. She kept yelling at him, though. He was a little sad when she confiscated his car and Playstation, but that was all she took. He was also grounded for two months. At least he still had his laptop as long as he kept it out of her sight.
The second she was out of his room, he pulled out his laptop and e-mailed Bob, Ray, and Mikey. He hesitated for a second before he realized that an e-mail from him right now would only serve to piss Gerard off even more. He was hopeful that Gerard would get over himself soon. They hardly ever fought, but when they did, it could go one for weeks. Only because both of them were too stubborn to apologize to the other one.
He wasn’t completely sure how long this particular fight was going to last, but he had a feeling it was going to be a few weeks at best. Their last fight had taken place when Frank had said he liked Alan Moore a lot better than Grand Morrison. Gerard hadn’t talked him for a week and even then it was to ask him to move so he could get into gym at school. After that, it was another few days before Gerard had come up to him and talking randomly some zombie movie he had seen on TV the night before and how it didn’t do justice at all to Romero’s legacy.
It was weird how they went back to being normal just like that, but Frank had to admit that those two weeks had been agonizing not being able to talk to Gerard. He couldn’t even imagine how long this fight was going to last seeing as it was over something that was a little more serious than Alan Moore versus Grant Morrison.
By the time he went to bed that night, he had a promise from Mikey that he would talk to Gerard. Mikey was awesome, but Gerard always had the ability to change his brother’s mind with just a few words. If Mikey was on Frank’s side at that moment, then he wouldn’t be for very long.
The first day of suspension was horrible. Sure, he had his cell phone, laptop, and comic books but that all got boring by the third hour. He could watch movies or something, but it wasn’t as fun watching them alone. He missed his friends and wished they were all somehow suspended so that he could sneak over to one of their houses and hang out with them.
By the time he was on his third day of suspension, he was ready to just throw himself out of the window. Or better yet, into the corn fields. He was so bored. His mom had the neighbors watching to make sure he didn’t leave the house and even though he always loved a challenge, he didn’t really have anything to do. Not with all of his friends in school. There was only so much he could do to occupy his time. He was pretty sure jerking off was even getting boring, so that was how he knew he was in trouble. That activity had never proved to bore him before. Especially because he had the habit to fantasize about Gerard going down on him, but he would never admit that to anyone.
When he was on his last day of torture, Bert decided to drop by. Frank almost had a heart attack, not having seen anyone but his mom the whole week, and rushed to the window to let him in. “Bert? What the hell are you doing here?”
Bert shrugged his shoulders. “I felt like skipping school and you’re the only other person who isn’t at that stupid place.”
Frank laughed, delighted for the company. “That’s awesome. Man, I’ve been so bored. You have no fucking idea.”
Bert grinned at him and then flopped down onto Frank’s bed. “I have some idea. I see your mom took away your car. Where’s she stashing it?”
Frank shook his head. “I think she asked the Ways to look after it. I just hope Gee isn’t pissed enough to actually do damage to it.”
Bert chuckled. “You two fighting again?”
Frank rolled his eyes and sat down at his desk. “Yeah. He’s pissed that I beat that kid up.”
“Well, that’s shitty. Hell, if anyone beat someone up protecting my honor or whatever bullshit you were pulling, I would be kind of flattered.”
“Yeah, well. Gerard’s a complicated person.”
“Even so, I think he misses you.”
Frank perked up at that. “Really?”
Bert laughed. “Look at that! You’re so in love with that guy. Why haven’t you two fucked yet? I mean, he obviously feels the same for you.”
“No, he doesn’t,” Frank muttered darkly. Bert was approaching dangerous territory. He hated someone knowing how he felt about Gerard. He didn’t like feeling like an idiot because he was so wrapped up in someone that didn’t even care about his pathetic little crush.
Bert sighed and shook his head. “You’ll see one day. Let’s watch a movie!”
Frank grinned, his happiness to have someone else to talk to returning, and got up to pick out a movie that they could watch.
When Bert left that afternoon, he was feeling a little more human. They had gone through two horror flicks before he had to leave because Frank’s mom would be home soon. He was sad to see him go, but he knew his suspension was practically over and he would be back in school in a few days.
His mom smiled at him when she got home that evening and handed him his car keys. “Mikey brought it over for you. I told him he could stay for a little while if he wanted to.”
Just then, Mikey walked through the front door and Frank was rushing forward to give him a hug before he could even think about it. Mikey sighed, obviously irritated, but then he cracked a grin and hugged Frank back. Frank pushed Mikey away after a few moments and then went to hug his mom. “Thanks.”
She ruffled his hair. “No problem. Don’t think I haven’t noticed how miserable you’ve been. Dinner will be ready in an hour.”
She headed into the kitchen and Frank led Mikey up to his room. He was so happy to have Mikey back in his life.
They talked for a few moments, just catching up with each other, before Frank the nerve to ask about Gerard. “So, how is Gee doing?”
“He’s fine. I think he misses you even though he won’t admit it.”
Frank was brought back to what Bert had told him. “Mikey, do you think…?”
Mikey stared at him for a few moments before he realized Frank wasn’t going to say anything else. “Do I think what?”
Frank shook his head. “Never mind. It’s stupid.” Of course Gerard didn’t like him like that. He was just being a stupid little kid thinking like that.
Mikey smirked at him. “If it’s coming from you, then that must be true.”
Frank frowned and then threw his math textbook at Mikey’s head. “Fuck you!”
Mikey wriggled his eyebrows suggestively and then they were both laughing. When Frank was able to compose himself again, he got out a movie he had been meaning to show to Gerard, but he knew showing it to Mikey was almost as good.
When it was almost time to leave that night, Mikey cleared his throat and shifted around on Frank’s bed. Frank had never really seen Mikey look anxious before, but this was definitely what that was. “What’s up, Mikes?”
Mikey frowned down at the floor. It took a few more moments of silence before he was opening his mouth and saying, “Tomorrow is the day.”
Frank shook his head. “What?”
Mikey looked up at him, a look of fear on his face. “Tomorrow is the day they pick someone for the corn fields. Then they’ll take that person away for a week before they’re supposed to die.”
Frank wasn’t sure why Mikey was so worried before he finally got it. He put his arm around Mikey’s waist and hugged him. “Dude, don’t worry. No one we know will be picked. We’ll all be safe, okay?”
Mikey sighed and slumped against Frank. “I really fucking hope so. We’ve only lived through one of these so far and we were just kids then. Now we really get the implication and I’m really fucking scared.”
Frank pulled Mikey closer to him. “It’s going to be okay. I promise.”
When Mikey left that night, Frank’s heart almost hurt watching him go. He looked almost defeated. Like he was really convinced that one of their friends would be dead within the next week. He really didn’t want to think about what would take place the next day. All he could do was hope that someone he didn’t even know was selected this year. He wasn’t quite sure whether the drawing being random was a good or a bad thing. For now, he was going to hope it was a good thing.
That night, he had nightmares about being chased through the corn fields. He could hear something crashing after him and then the thunderous roar of the monster. He kept glancing behind him, but there was nothing there. He knew he was being chased, though. That only meant that he had to keep running. No matter what. He wasn’t even sure if his friends were with him. Maybe he was the one who had been chosen for the corn fields. He wasn’t sure. The only thing he was certain of was that he had to get out.
He woke up with a gasp and was confused when he heard a thumping noise coming from downstairs. He jumped out of bed and rushed down the stairs, wondering who was at the door. He had time to glance at the clock and was more than a little shocked to see it was one in the morning. Who the hell was at the door? He could hear his mom just a few steps behind him now.
He quickly unlocked and opened the door, surprised to see Mikey standing there. “Mikey? What-?”
Mikey lunged forward and punched him in the face. Frank stumbled back, his mother catching him. When he glanced back up, he noticed that there were tears running down Mikey’s face. “Mikey, what the fuck is going on?”
Mikey didn’t answer; instead he pulled Frank closer to him and then punched him in the stomach. Frank groaned and tried to get a grip on Mikey’s arms to stop him from trying to hitting him again. “Mikey. You have to tell me what’s going on.”
Frank’s mom stepped forward and tentatively placed a hand on Mikey’s shoulder. “Sweetie, what happened?”
“You lied!” Mikey was yelling in Frank’s face now, shaking him by the front of his shirt. “You fucking said everything would be fine and it’s not!”
Mikey broke away from him and crumpled on the floor. Frank was at a loss as to what to do. After a few moments he sat down beside Mikey and pulled him into a hug. “Mikey.”
Mikey shook his head. “They took Gerard.”
Frank froze. That couldn’t be right. Obviously he was hearing things that weren’t true. He was still dreaming. Something that wouldn’t make it so this wasn’t happening in real life. “What?”
Mikey looked up at him, his eyes full of despair and hopelessness. “They took Gerard! You fucking told me that everything would be fine. You said that no one we cared about would be taken and you were fucking wrong. They took the only person who means something to me and they practically broke down our door at midnight to get to him. It’s like my parents were brainwashed. They didn’t even try to stop them.”
Frank didn’t even know what to say. His best friend, the person he was secretly in love with, would be dead in a week if no one did anything to stop it. He couldn’t let that happen. “We’ll get him, Mikey. Don’t worry.”
His mom sighed. “Don’t be so silly, Frankie. This is how the town works. Gerard knows that and he’ll happily lay down his life for all of us.”
Frank’s head shot up at the words his mother was saying. She sounded far away, like this had been drilled into her countless times and now it was just a reflex to say. That couldn’t be right. That wasn’t his mom saying that. The town had gotten to her, somehow. “Mom, you can’t mean that.”
“I do, Frankie. Now, I think Mikey should go home unless he’s spending the rest of the night here. And I don’t want to hear anything about trying to set Gerard free. He was chosen for this. He should be honored.”
Frank could only stare at his mom in horror. His mouth was hanging open in shock and he felt like he couldn’t breathe. This wasn’t right. Something was wrong with her. “I think Mikey’s going to be staying here tonight. Come on, Mikey.”
Mikey looked like he was going to protest, so Frank elbowed him in the ribs and dragged him to the staircase. Mikey frowned at him. “What the fuck, Frank?”
Frank shook his head. “I need to talk to you.”
Mikey sighed and let Frank drag him all the way to his bedroom. Once the door was shut, he put his chair under the doorknob so his mom couldn’t come in. “Didn’t you say your parents didn’t even try to stop them from getting Gerard?”
Mikey nodded his head, a sad tilt to his lips, making Frank feel horrible all over again. “Yeah. They just said that it was his time to go.”
Frank sat down in front of his door. “Fuck. Did you see the way my mom was acting? This town does something to adults. Fucking brainwashes them or something. Like, fuck!” He slammed his head back against the door. “I don’t know what to do. The adults, the people who should be with us, are against us. They’re just fucking going with it. And how the fuck are we going to get Gerard? We’re going to need some really great weapons.”
Mikey was suddenly right in front of Frank. “You’re serious about this? You’re really going to risk your life for this? I’m not alone.”
Frank shook his head. “No. You’re not alone, Mikes.”
Mikey nodded, his breath shaky, and wrapped his arms around Frank. “Thank you, Frank. I was just so upset when my parents didn’t help me. And I didn’t know what to do so I came here. And I swear, I didn’t mean to punch you like that. When I first came here, I was just looking to tell you what happened. But then you opened the door and I was just so angry because you made me feel so safe. Made me think that we were all safe. And then we weren’t and part of me was wishing I had known enough to get Gerard the fuck away from our house, but now I know that I never would have thought they would take him away from me.”
Mikey tucked his head under Frank’s chin. Frank couldn’t help but feel guilty. Somehow, if he had known, maybe he could have saved Gerard. Maybe Mikey and Gerard would have been over at his house if he hadn’t fucked everything up by having a temper. Maybe when they didn’t find them at the Way household, they would have picked someone else. Or they would have come to get him at Frank’s house and Frank would have fought to the death to keep anyone from hurting Gerard. From hurting anyone he loved.
“I’m so sorry, Mikey. We’ll get him back. No matter what.”
The next day was Saturday. His mom didn’t really say he was ungrounded, but he took it upon himself to ignore anything she might say. If she wasn’t going to help him get Gerard back, then he sure as hell didn’t want to hear anything she would have to say to him.
Mikey and Frank went over to Bob’s house as soon as the sun was up. Bob grumbled at them when they burst into his bedroom. “What the fuck do you fuckers want?”
“Eloquent, Bryar. Why don’t you wake the fuck up so we can tell you?”
Bob growled and then threw his pillow at Frank. “Shut up.” He rubbed his eyes and sat up on the bed. He took one look at them and his face fell. “What’s wrong?”
Mikey shook his head and turned a pleading look on Frank. Frank sighed. Mikey couldn’t say it. He turned to Bob and fixed him with a serious stare. “Gerard was taken. They took him to the corn fields.”
Bob jumped out of bed. “What? Why the fuck didn’t anyone tell me?”
“I-I couldn’t.” Mikey was shaking now. “I didn’t know what to do and Frank was the first person I thought of and then I just couldn’t think anymore. I’m sorry, Bob.”
Bob walked over to Mikey and pulled him in for a hug. “Don’t you dare say you’re sorry. We’re going to call up Ray and we’re going to figure out what we’re going to do.”
“Actually,” Frank said, “I have an idea.”
When Ray arrived and had been briefed on what happened, Frank had them all sit down on Bob’s bed so he could address him. He knew he was being dramatic, but he didn’t know any other way to tell them that he had a really fucking crazy plan.
Ray rolled his eyes after Frank had spent five minutes just pacing in front of his friends. “What the hell are you doing, Frank? I thought you were going to tell us about your plan.”
Frank sighed and stood in front of Mikey. He pulled his bottom lip into his mouth and tried to think of the best way to phrase what he was going to say. “We have to go into the corn fields. That’s where they’ll be keeping him and we need to get in there.”
Ray stood up. “Fuck! Are you crazy? We’ll die!”
“There are more important things at stake here! Gerard is your friend! Don’t you want to save him?”
“Well, yeah. But I don’t want to die for him.”
Bob shook his head and stood up as well. “This is all crazy. We need to take a second to think.”
There were a few moments of silence before Mikey mumbled, “I’m with Frank. Whatever it takes, I’m getting my brother back.”
Frank went to stand by Mikey and put his hand on his shoulder. He raised his eyebrow at the other two. “Are you with us?”
Bob groaned and cross his arms over his chest. “Of course I’m with you, Mikey. I don’t want Gerard to die.”
Ray sighed. “Well, when you put it like that.”
Frank grinned at them. He probably looked a little crazed, but he couldn’t find it in himself to really care. “Let’s fuck this town up, then.”
Mikey laughed, the first time in a whole day, and pulled Frank closer to him. “What did you have in mind?”
“I’m not totally sure yet. I think there’s something to do with the parents acting all brainwashed. I think maybe we can play on that eventually. But, for now, I think we need to brainstorm. They’re not going to let us just waltz up to the corn fields and get Gerard back. We’re going to need reinforcements. More kids. And weapons. A lot of weapons.”
Mikey shuffled his feet and looked around at each person in the circle they had formed. “My parents have a gun cabinet. They never use the guns, but I bet I can break into it.”
Bob nodded his head. “Yeah. Same here.”
Frank yawned and tried to think clearly. “Okay. So we have those. I bet we can find some knives too. That should help with something too, right? Maybe some baseball bats.”
Ray laughed and shook his head. “Fuck. We’re really doing this.”
“Yeah, Ray. We really are.” Frank couldn’t quite believe it either.
The next day, they each brought one person they knew they could trust to meet at the park. It was small, mainly because the town was fucking tiny itself, but it was big enough that they wouldn’t look too suspicious. Frank brought Bert. He couldn’t really think of anyone else and Bert had agreed to help them. Bert was just kind of cool and insane that way.
Frank looked around at the group of people. He instantly recognized Brendon by Ray’s side. He wasn’t completely sure it was the best choice, but he knew Brendon was loyal and a little insane if the situation called for it. If they asked Brendon to do something and stressed the urgency of the dilemma, then Brendon would pull through for them.
Mikey had brought Pete with him. Frank had to stop himself from rolling his eyes. Of fucking course Mikey would bring Pete. They were practically obsessed with each other. He smiled at Pete and then looked around the group to see who Bob picked.
He was surprised to see Patrick, standing there like he wasn’t quite sure what to do with himself, and looking nervously around the group. Patrick seemed like the type to shrink away from danger, but Frank knew he was a good kid. He could be pretty fierce if he really saw fit to be and Frank really respected him.
Looking at the group around him, he felt a little more reassured that they could do this. They could rescue Gerard and get the hell out of town.
When they were all settled, finished with their greetings, Frank spoke up. “So, I think you all know what’s going on. If there are any questions, then I’ll do my best to answer them. But, since this is my idea, I’m going to elect myself leader if that’s cool with all of you.”
There were a few nods and mumbled replies. Mikey bumped shoulders with him. “Lead away, Frank. We trust you.”
Frank smiled at Mikey and wrapped his arm around his waist. Pete only looked mildly affronted. “Okay. So, we have to figure out a way to get into the corn fields without alerting suspicion. Now, we know there’s something up with the adults ever since Gerard has been picked. Is there anything else we should take into consideration?”
“We don’t know where they’re keeping him? I mean, obviously in the corn fields, but other than that, we have no fucking clue.”
Frank nodded his head. “Alright. Good point, Bob. Anything else? We have the weapons mostly figured out. We’re going to have to learn how to actually use them, but I have faith in us.”
After an hour of strategizing, they all went their separate ways. They were going to test their theory about the adults the next day at school. Frank had a feeling it would work so he volunteered himself to try to get under their skin. Let something slip. He knew he would probably get in trouble again, but he didn’t care. If it meant that he could save Gerard, then he was willing to throw himself in front of a speeding car. If only for the chance to see that stupid, amazing face again.
The next day was almost torture for Frank. It was weird being there and knowing Gerard was in trouble. He felt useless, but he knew he had a plan to go through with. He couldn’t blow everything by being impatient.
He was planning on acting on his idea during fifth period. At least that way he had Mikey and Bob in that class. They could judge reactions for him and then they could plan from there.
The class was English. It was actually one of the classes he didn’t mind. The teacher was even kind of nice, which made this class perfect because he knew the teacher would never intentionally snap at him. Not unless there was something controlling her behavior.
During the time they were supposed to be silently reading their books, he snapped his book shut and cleared his throat. His teacher glanced up and frowned at him. “Is there something wrong, Frank?”
Frank nodded his head. “Fuck yeah there is. Didn’t you hear about Gerard?”
The teacher immediately straightened in her chair and fixed Frank with a stern expression. “Get back to your reading, Mr. Iero.”
Frank stood up from his desk, pushing his chair away from him. “No! I won’t sit here and let my friend die! I’m going to bust him out of here!”
The teacher slammed her fist down on her desk and stood up. “That is enough! If you do not stop this, I will call the principal. Do you want that, Frank?”
Frank glanced at Mikey. He could tell Mikey knew something was up too. Their teacher just wasn’t acting right, almost a blank look in her eyes. Frank didn’t know at what age they started brainwashing people, but he knew all of the adults had to be under some type of control.
Mikey nodded his head and Frank drew in a deep breath. This was it. The moment of truth. He walked right up to the teacher’s desk and smirked at her. “Actually, I kind of do. What the fuck is she going to do? You should know I’m going to get the fuck out of this town and I’m taking your precious sacrifice with me. I don’t care what the fuck you do.”
The teacher snarled at him. “Do you really want to see what I can do, Mr. Iero? Because I sure as hell guarantee that you won’t like it.”
Frank was oddly reminded of the movie ‘The Faculty.’ He shivered and smiled brightly at her. “What could you possibly do?”
“I can alert the authorities. Have them watch you.”
Frank chuckled darkly, crossing his arms over his chest and raising his eyebrow in an ’oh really?’ expression. He was so close to figuring this out. He knew if the kids behind him stayed silent and he commanded his teacher’s complete attention, he would have his answers. “Oh, yeah? Well, I’m not fucking scared of the authorities. What the fuck can they do to me? Absolutely nothing,” he sneered.
There was a malicious glint in her eyes now. It almost made Frank take a step back in surprise, but he kept his stance. He couldn’t lose this now.
“Oh, Frank. They can do more than nothing.” She laughed and leaned across the desk to fist her hand in Frank’s shirt so she could pull him closer and whisper harshly, “They can take you to join your little friend. Do you want that, Frank?”
And that was what he had been waiting for. An invitation. He yanked himself away from her. “Send me to the fucking principal’s office already.”
She rolled her eyes and wrote out a referral. With any luck, he would get a day of suspension. He really needed it this time if he was going to take this plan a step further. Before he walked out of the door, he winked at Bob and Mikey. Bob grinned back and Mikey only looked slightly worried.
So far, so good.
By the time school was over, he had two days of suspension to look forward to. Not that he planned on staying around for them, but still. He felt kind of bad that his mom was going to be pissed at him again.
They all met at his house after school. Once they were all in his room, he started telling them his plan. “Okay, so I’m going to let them take me.”
Brendon stood up, his shoulders tense. “What? Frank, don’t be stupid.”
“No. Just listen. If I can get them to take me to the corn fields, then you guys can follow. We can fight them and get Gerard the fuck out of there. It will work, okay? Just wait until we know where Gerard is.”
Patrick frowned. “Are you sure this will work?”
Frank shrugged his shoulders. “No. But what else do we have?”
Mikey sighed and shook his head. “You better be right, Frankie. I don’t want to lose you and Gee.”
Frank nodded his head. “I know. Just trust me, okay? I won’t get myself killed.”
Bob rolled his eyes. “You better be right, asshole.”
Frank laughed. “You’re so nice, Bob.”
Bob smirked. “Only the best for you, baby.”
Frank had them all go home before his mom got there. He needed them to get ready for that night when he put the next step of his plan into action. He made sure his cell phone was in his back pocket and a knife he had stolen from the kitchen was wrapped up in his hoodie pocket. He could do this. All he had to do was think of Gerard and then he was reassured. It couldn’t be that difficult to get them to cart him away, could it?
He texted everyone to tell him he was going to be ready by nine, so they should all meet by his house ten minutes before that. They had to be hidden from view and they needed to make sure that they were stealthy enough that they weren’t spotted when they started following whoever took Frank.
He glanced at his watch and saw that it was almost time. He texted everyone to make sure they were where they were supposed to be. Once he had received affirmations from everyone, he took a deep breath and stepped out of his house. It took him a few moments to force himself off of his front porch, but once he did he felt more confident with each step he took.
When he reached the middle of the street, he screamed. As loud as he could and as much as he could. He needed to have everyone’s attention for this if he was going to get anything accomplished. This had to go perfectly and if it didn’t, then he’d just try it again until someone did something.
Lights began flicking on in the houses and a few dogs started barking. The neighbors began rushing out of their houses, trying to see what was wrong. His mom stumbled down the porch steps towards Frank. “Frank. What’s wrong?”
“It’s Gerard! He isn’t here and I have to help him!” He began running around in a circle and waving his arms. He had to look desperate. Even crazy. “I have to get him out of here!” He stopped in front of his mom and looked at her, pleading. “They’re going to kill him. I can’t have them killing my best friend.” He dropped down to the ground and began writhing, clawing at his own face. “I can’t stand it! I’m going insane. I need to fix this!” He started rolling around on the ground, hoping someone would do something soon. He was running out of things to do.
Finally, someone came up to him and kicked him in the side. He cried out in pain and tried not to look too shocked. Okay, that wasn’t in the plan. A man, Mr. Felton, he realized belatedly, crouched down and shook a finger in his face. “You’re causing too much trouble, Frank. I’ve called the authorities on you.”
Frank laughed, delighted and bright, up at the sky and spread his arms out. “Good! We can have ourselves a little party!”
Mr. Felton stood up and frowned at him. He turned to Frank’s mom and patted her on the shoulder. “I’m so sorry about your son, Linda.”
She shrugged her shoulders and shook her head. “Something needs to be done about him. He can’t live with me if he’s going to be acting like this.”
Frank almost dropped the act right there. It stung to hear his mom say those words, but he knew she wasn’t really the mother he thought he knew. There was something wrong with her. She was being controlled. He wondered if Gerard had felt this way when his parents had neglected to fight for him. He continued to laugh and babble random things about getting out of the town before a car pulled up to the crowd of people that had gathered around Frank.
A man pushed through the crowd and stared down at Frank. “Frank Iero, I’m going to need you to come with me.”
Frank grinned, making his mouth stretch as wide as it would across his face. “A field trip? Awesome! Where are we going?”
The man rolled his eyes, but he looked almost amused. Frank wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. “We’ve had reports about your behavior.” He leaned down and pulled Frank into a standing position.
Frank’s vision swam. He tried to work through the head rush, but it was a little difficult. “Oh?”
Once he was actually able to focus, he realized that he had never seen this man in his life. And he definitely did not recognize the uniform or the car they were shoving him into. It was white with a black and white face painted on the side. Underneath that, there were the words, ‘Scarecrow Unit.’
The man slammed the door shut after him and then got into the driver’s seat. When Frank glanced to the side, he realized he wasn’t alone in the backseat. Someone with a ridiculous costume on was sitting next to him. He pointed at the mask, “What the fuck is up with that?”
The car began slowly crawling down the street. Frank wasn’t sure if it was for show or what, but he was glad for it. It meant his friends would be able to follow.
The guy behind the mask made some garbled, screeching noise. Was this thing even human? Frank had the strangest feeling that maybe it used to be, but wasn’t anymore. He shuddered at the thought and then tuned back into what was happening. The creepy bald guy in the grey outfit was now staring at him in the rearview mirror and smirking. “Yes. You can.”
Frank wasn’t sure what the guy was talking about until there was a blinding pain blooming out from the back of his head and then darkness rushed in to take him.
When he woke up, something was poking him in the shoulder and whispering his name in his ear. He scrunched up his face and sniffled. “Frank. Frank. Wake the fuck up!”
Frank groaned and turned away from the voice, trying to slip back into unconsciousness. He had felt so peaceful. He wanted that feeling back.
Someone shoved at his shoulders and hissed in his ear, “Frank, you need to wake up.”
Frank frowned. “Mm…sleepy. Shut up.” His voice was slurred, but he was pretty sure the other person could understand him.
The person huffed out a laugh and then tugged on Frank’s ear, hard. Frank yelped and turned over so that he could yell at whoever it was that was being really fucking rude. When he saw who it was, his heart felt like it was going to freeze up his chest. “Gerard?”
Gerard nodded his head. “What the fuck are you doing here, Frank?”
Frank shook his head, trying to clear it. What was he doing? “I don’t remember…”
Gerard rolled his eyes. “You need to. I don’t know why the fuck Korse threw you in here with me but he said you were going to be joining me in a few days.”
And then it all came back to Frank. Gerard getting taken. His plan to get him back. Being knocked out by the freak in the mask. He rubbed the back of his head and winced at the pain. Fuck. He was so stupid. What happened while he was out?
“Gee, what happened while I was knocked out?”
Gerard shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. “Not much.” He reached out a hand and trailed his hand down Frank’s face. “I never thought I’d see you again.”
“Gee. I’m so sorry. About everything. I don’t ever want to fight again.”
Gerard laughed lightly. “We may not have to worry about that if we’re going to die within a few days.”
Frank sat up and put his hands on Gerard’s shoulders. “Gerard, we’re going to bust you out of here. That was the whole purpose of this. I got myself thrown in here so that our friends could follow and see where they were keeping you. We’re going to get out of here.”
Gerard stared at him for a few moments, his mouth hanging open in shock. “What?”
“I had to find you, Gee. I couldn’t let you die.”
There were a few moments of silence. Gerard kept staring at Frank and Frank kept staring at Gerard .It felt weird. The air between them was intense, almost electrified. Gerard leaned forward and touched his lips to Frank’s. Frank sucked in a quick breath, not sure what to think, but it didn’t even matter because Gerard was kissing him. He pressed back against Gerard, trying to get his hands on as much of him as he could. Gerard moaned and broke away to press kisses to Frank’s jaw and down to his neck.
Frank tipped his head back to give Gerard better access. Gerard nipped at the skin just under his ear. Frank closed his eyes and moaned up at the ceiling in pure bliss. Gerard laughed and pulled back to kiss Frank again. After a few moments of kissing, touching, pressing against each other in desperation, Gerard moved away to stare at Frank. “I’ve wanted that for so long. Fuck, Frankie, I’ve wanted you for so long.”
“Dude, you have no idea. I have been pining for you for years! Seriously. It was torture.” He tried to look wounded, but he was pretty sure the grin on his face killed any chance of that.
Gerard snorted and sat down beside him on the bed. He wrapped his arm around Frank’s waist and put his head on his shoulder. Frank yawned and tried to remember what he was there for. “Gee, have you heard anything? How long has it been?”
Gerard shrugged his shoulders. “An hour? I don’t know.”
Frank stood up. “Shit! They should have been here before that.”
“What’s wrong, Frankie?”
Frank shook his head and started pacing, ignoring the pain in his head. “Nothing. It’s just…the other guys should have tried to bust us out by now. I wonder if something went wrong.”
Gerard frowned. “This isn’t good.”
Just then, the door to the room slammed open. Korse walked into the room and sneered at Frank. “You planned this all along. You planned to have your little friends come in here and try to rescue our sacrifice.”
Frank wasn’t sure if Korse knowing was going to be beneficial to him or not. When Korse pushed him up against the wall and wrapped a hand around his throat, he decided he was an idiot. And now, Korse was going to kill him.
Korse smiled at him, his eyes holding malicious intent, and he began squeezing Frank’s throat until Frank couldn’t breathe anymore. His vision began blacking out and every thought he could have possessed left him. He was almost gone, could feel himself slipping away, when Gerard tackled Korse. Korse barely nudged, but he was distracted enough that Frank managed to breathe and remember the knife in his hoodie pocket.
He pulled it out and jumped in between Korse and Gerard. Gerard tried to move him out of the way, but the second he saw the knife, he stopped. Korse grinned down at the knife. “You won’t use it. You’re too good of a person to kill me.”
Korse stepped forward and Frank pushed himself and Gerard back. “If you don’t let us out of here, you will find out that I will use this fucking knife.”
Korse laughed and took another step forward. “I really don’t think so.” He lunged at Frank, nearly taking him down to the floor, but Frank had enough time to steady himself.
When Korse fell on him, he held the knife out in front of him in a defensive pose. Korse gaped at him and glanced down at the knife in his stomach. A drop of blood escaped his mouth and fell to the floor. Frank pulled the knife out and watched Korse fall to the floor. He grabbed onto Frank’s pants leg, holding tight. “This isn’t over.”
Gerard scoffed. “You’re fucking dead. I really think it is.”
Korse coughed and then went limp. Frank could do nothing but stare at him. He just killed a person. What the hell was happening to him?
Gerard tugged on his sleeve. “Come on. We have to go now.”
Frank took one last look at Korse’s dead body before he let Gerard drag him out of the room. And then they were running. Their friends should be there somewhere. He just didn’t know where.
Eventually they got to the corn fields. Frank didn’t want to take another step, but he was sure his friends were there. Where else would they be? Gerard looked at him uncertainly and then grabbed his hand. Frank smiled at him and took in a deep breath. They were probably signing their own death warrants, but he didn’t care. If it meant that he had at least tried to save Gerard, then his goal was accomplished.
Frank nodded his head and began walking forward. He knew it was stupid, but he had to try it. “Mikey!”
There was silence for a few moments before they heard Mikey’s voice responding to them. “Frank!”
Frank nodded his head to their right and then began running in that direction, trying to push away the corn stalks from in front of him as quickly as he could. It took a few moments before he finally found his group of friends. They were all brandishing their weapons. He could see a few of Korse’s cronies on the ground around him.
He sighed in relief and smiled as he watched Gerard rush forward and bring his little brother into a hug.
The crashing sound of corn stalks falling was the only warning he got. That and Brendon staring wide-eyed over his shoulder while Ray told him to move. He quickly turned around and went cold all over at what he saw standing right in front of him.
The creature was almost indescribable. He had never seen anything like it. It was huge, but it stayed low to the ground. It was black with blood red stripes running down the length of its body. It had sharp teeth that stuck out of its mouth and bright yellow eyes. It growled and stepped forward. He could feel it breathing on him now.
So this was the monster the whole town was afraid of. He wondered if there were more. Frank found himself rooted to the ground, not able to move or say anything. He could feel the stares of his friends hitting his back. He hoped they wouldn’t try to do anything stupid. He didn’t need them dying too.
Before he could even really think anything else, the creature raised its big paw and swatted at him. He flinched at the feeling of the creature’s nails digging deep into his skin, causing him to instantly bleed out onto the ground.
From there, it was all a blur. The creature raising its paw to hit him again when Gerard tackled him to the ground. He felt his breath leave him and then he could do nothing but stare dazedly at the ground his face was currently being smashed into.
The monster leaned down and began sniffing at them. It snarled at Gerard and Frank belatedly realized that the monster wanted him. Now that it probably had the scent of his blood, the monster wanted to go after the kill and it would probably kill Gerard for being in the way. “Gee. You have to get off me. I can distract it and you guys can try to hurt it.”
Gerard huffed out a breath. “No way.”
Frank sighed. “It’s going to kill you, Gee.”
“Well I sure as hell can’t let it kill you.”
Frank rolled his eyes and tried to throw Gerard off of him but he could already feel how weak he was becoming from the blood loss. “Gerard. I’m not going to die. Just please do this.”
Gerard didn’t do anything for a second before he sighed in exasperation and slowly got up. Frank stayed on the ground for a few moments and then slowly began to sit up, crossing his arms over his stomach so that he could at least attempt to hide the wounds.
The monster stared at him and then roared. It was enough to almost make Frank fall back again. He turned to see Gerard talking to Bob and he knew that he was telling him about Frank’s plan. Okay. Now for the distraction.
Before the creature could move towards him, he gripped the bloody knife in his hand and lunged forward. He got it in the face, just below its eye.
It screeched and tried to throw him off, but he wasn’t going to go that quickly. He grabbed onto it and pulled out the knife only to plunge it back into its left eye.
That was all it took for Bob to have enough time to start hitting the monster with his baseball bat. And then his other friends were joining in and someone was yelling at him to get away. He didn’t know who it was, his focus was slipping, but he did what they told him to.
He dropped to the ground and covered his head with his arms. And then, there was a gunshot. Frank quickly glanced up to see the monster sway and then keel to the side. He stared at it in horror for a few moments before he turned to see who had shot the monster.
It was Bert. Bert grinned at them and threw his hands in the air. “What do I win?”
Bob rolled his eyes. “Your life.”
There was the noise of roaring coming from somewhere else in the cornfield and then another roar joined that. Frank sat up quickly. Fuck. There were other monsters. And they knew that one of their own had just been killed.
Gerard pulled on his arm until he was standing up. “We have to get out of here guys. They’re going to come this way searching for this thing and I really don’t want to fight more of these things.”
Ray nodded his head. “Yeah.” He pointed to their left. “The road is that way. If we run for it while they’re distracted, maybe we can get out. For good.”
Frank swayed on his feet and was about to fall when Gerard put an arm around his waist to hold him up. “Fuck, guys. I don’t think Frank’s going to be able to run.”
Frank rolled his eyes. “I’ll be fine. Let’s get out of here and then we’ll worry about my physical health.”
Gerard frowned, but kept a firm arm around his waist as they all began to jog through the cornfield.
It felt like months had passed before they finally broke out of the field and onto the main road. Frank had never been so happy in his life. Bob glanced over their shoulders. “Uh…guys. I think you should take a look at that.”
They all turned to see practically every adult in town marching their way. Frank was suddenly reminded of every zombie movie he had ever seen. When he focused on what they were doing, he noticed that they all had weapons with them. “I think we should run. Now.”
They took off again and made it to the main gate of the town. They hesitated briefly just before it and Frank shook his head and ran through it, glad when all of his friends did too. He glanced back after he was a safe distance from the town and saw that all of the adults had stopped at the gate. They weren’t going to come after them.
He smiled and kept following his friends, who had all slowed down to a walk at this point. “What are we doing to do?”
Bob shrugged his shoulders. “No idea.”
Gerard nudged him in the side. “Let me see your stomach.”
Frank really didn’t want Gerard to look, but he let him anyways. Gerard gasped at the deep scratches in his stomach. “Fuck, Frank. We need to get you help immediately.”
Frank glanced down at himself and shook his head. “It looks worse than it feels. Honest.”
Gerard frowned and then slid his hand down Frank’s arm so that they could hold hands. Frank grinned at him and put his head on Gerard’s shoulders as they followed their friends away from the town. They made it out alive. And he was sure the monsters wouldn’t come after them. Not if they killed one of their own.
“So guys, where are we going?”
Mikey smiled at him. “Wherever the road takes us.”
That sounded fine to Frank. He had Gerard. He had his friends. And he never had to fear for his life in that stupid town ever again. Despite the fact that they didn’t have anywhere to go at that moment, he was just content to focus on the good things that had happened.
He knew they would be okay, because they were strong and genuinely cared for each other. And that was all that mattered.