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“Look man, I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you but...”
Right then the door bangs open and Mikey bursts back into the room with Don and Donna Way at his heels, cutting off the nurse's words with an unusually venomous stare. Gerard's father has a seething stony look in his eyes and Donna is silently crying trails of mascara down her gaunt cheeks but her eyes are filled with hurt and fury. Kenny takes one look at the angry family and jumps to his feet. “I'll give you guys some privacy,” he mutters, rushing out and leaving Gerard shocked and nauseous and staring fearfully up at his parents and brother as they gather in a scowling huddle around his bed. The antiseptic air vibrates with a raging tension and the hungover singer desperately wants to crawl away into a deep dark hole somewhere, preferably with a bottle of Jack or Smirnoff to block out the world of shit he knows is coming his way.

“Listen, I-I can explain,” he stammers desperately, trying to think of something to say, but Don stops his babbling in an instant. “Save your excuses, son. We don't want to hear them.”
“Half our beautiful house is burned to shit because of your goddamn addictions!” Donna sobs, jabbing a red-painted fingernail at her oldest son's face, “And we lost some of the heirlooms your poor grandmother left us. What the hell are we supposed to tell the insurance company? What are we supposed to tell grandpa? How could you do this?!”
“You need professional help Gerard,” Mikey interrupts, resting a hand on his mother's arm, “Before you end up killing yourself... or someone else.”
“Think of this as an overdue intervention,” Don adds, folding his arms and looking down at Gerard in furious disappointment, “Your mother and I have signed you into a clinic for thirty days of in-patient detox and rehabilitation. No visitors or early releases and NO arguments from you!”
Gerard opens his mouth to protest, his eyes swimming and his stomach in knots but what the hell can he say? He knows he screwed up. Everything in his bedroom is probably destroyed now and he hates himself even more for ruining the things left behind by his beloved grandmother Elena. All the collectables under his bed and the comics he's been buying since he was six years old. Shit and all of his drugs too, all gone! And then there's Frank... Why the hell won't anyone tell him about Frank? “Fuck,” he whispers, burying his face in his hands and wincing as pain that he very much deserves right now throbs in his bandaged fingers, “I'm so sorry...”
“Frank is the one you should be saying sorry to,” Mikey spits, “But oh wait, you can't.”

“I can't? W-Why? Please no, please don't tell me Frankie's dead!” Gerard cries, sitting up and grabbing Mikey's hand so fast he pulls out his IV needle and tiny specks of blood spray his arm.
“No,” Mikey sighs, snatching his hand away in disgust, “But close enough. He's in a coma, Gee, and burned up pretty bad, and all because you got wasted and dropped your fucking lighter into a puddle of your own fucking booze! He's the one who needs your fucking apologies now, not us.”
“Watch your language, Michael,” Don mutters.
“Oh god,” Gerard whimpers, gasping for breath as bile and tears of guilt clog up his sore throat, “But why...w-why was Frankie even there?!”
Mikey narrows his eyes, refusing to meet his brother's frightened gaze. “I got a call from Brian late last night while I was sleeping over at Alicia's,” he mumbles, “Apparently Frank's mom called him at three in the morning sounding hysterical because Frank had had a massive panic attack or something and took off in her car. She overheard him talking to me on the phone yesterday and thought he seemed really worried about you – jeez, I wonder why! - so she figured he'd be heading over to our house. She told Brian to warn me and I went home as fast as I could.”
“He came to h-help me?” Gerard sobs, blind with tears as a creeping dread and cold sweat soaks his skin, “Did he have another nightmare?”
“I dunno, maybe. Are you two still obsessed with those fucking dreams?” Mikey frowns.
“It doesn't matter why he was there,” Donna interrupts, “The fact is he almost DIED because of your drunken carelessness, Gerard! I don't think poor Linda is ever going to speak to us again.”

“He tried to save you, you know,” Mikey adds shakily, finally levelling his gaze at Gerard as grief and bad memories shine in his dark eyes, “By the time I got to the house he'd already broken down your door but he must've passed out trying to get your drunk ass out of the basement. His body blocked the flames and protected you too cos when I dragged you both to safety you weren't hurt too bad but he wasn't breathing and his sweater was on fire. I smothered the flames and did CPR but it took so long to bring him back and... Ugh, you fucking IDIOT! YOU did this! YOU hurt Frankie! And after all those times he used to defend you for getting drunk while we recorded our last album, now you've almost fucking killed him!”
Quivering with emotion, Mikey kicks the bed-frame as hard as he can and leaves the room in tears. Donna follows him without a word, anxious to comfort her youngest child, but Don stays where he is for a few more moments and gives Gerard a meaningful glare. “Stop crying and start thinking about how you're going to make this right,” he whispers as Kenny shuffles back into the room holding thick velcro restraints which he attaches to the rails on either side of Gerard's bed, obviously ready to strap him down if he resists the transfer to rehab. “See you in thirty days,” Don sighs, unable to look at his sobbing offspring anymore as he turns to leave.

That night Gerard cries himself to sleep in a locked clinic cell, queasy and feverish from alcohol withdrawal as a dose of prescribed sedatives drag him under the heavy waves of a rough and troubled sleep.
The dream world swallows him up and the next thing he knows he's opening his eyes in the middle of a desolate burning wasteland.

He finds himself standing on a pile of rubble in the smoking ruins of a strange war-torn city. Ashes are raining down like snow from a dark smoggy sky and the empty bombed streets are full of shadows and cinders, a dead scene of endless black and gray. A cold eerie wind is the only sound for miles and it chills him to the bone. “Hello...is anyone there?” he whimpers, shivering in the smoky breeze as dust burns his eyes and nose, “Where am I?”
“You're on the other side,” a soft voice replies and he turns in surprise, stumbling on broken bricks, to see a young woman standing behind him. She's wearing a short black and white military-style dress with silver buttons and braided shoulders and her long blond hair looks gray and lifeless in the monochrome landscape. Everything here feels dead and destroyed and Gerard knows in his heart that this girl is dead too as she gazes knowingly at him with pale eyes smeared in black warpaint. She's the girl from the basement murder scene in Los Angeles that still haunts him to this day. She's the corpse he found lying beside Frank's battered unconscious body in a pool of blood. She's Lorna Mackenzie.

“You? How can you be here?” he stammers, coughing on the raining ashes that taste and smell so real but can't possibly be, “Am I dreaming?”
“Not exactly,” Lorna whispers, her low voice as dry and breathy as rustling leaves, “But this is where your nightmares and Frank's nightmares and mine all came from.” Turning in a slow circle, she gestures with a black-gloved hand at the dark molten sky and desolate streets, “This is the other side.”

“The other side of what?” an familiar voice barks from the shadows and Gerard is shocked to see Frank appear beside them out of nowhere. The young guitarist is breathing roughly and trembling all over and he looks like he's literally been dragged through Hell and back again. Half his clothes are scorched or burned away and all of the skin on his left arm and the left side of his neck and jaw is blistered and scarred beyond repair. Some of his black hair has been singed down to the roots and his eyes are ringed with deep black shadows that make him look as dead as Lorna. “Oh Frankie,” Gerard sobs in horror, his throat choked with guilt, “I'm so sorry!”
“What the fuck is going on?” Frank blurts in a raspy voice, looking with fury and fear between Gerard and Lorna, “What is this place and why are we here? Am I dead now? Is Gee dead?”

“No,” Lorna answers, her white lips parting in a small smile as far away bass drums begin to beat in the distance, “You're not meant to join the parade yet.”
“What fucking parade?! Dammit, Lorna, stop with all the shitty ghost riddles!” Frank screams, his voice cracking in frustration, “For fuck's sake just tell me what's going on!” Clenching his fists in front of him, he suddenly seems to realize his arm is a freshly burned ruin and stares at it in shock as if he had no idea he was hurt, “Ohmygod, what the fuck's happened to me?”
“Shhh now, it's going to be alright,” Lorna soothes, stepping forwards and gently cupping Frank's cheek in her hand, “You don't have to be scared anymore, Frankie. Take a look around. All of this destruction is the result of a war that's been raging here for a very long time, a long and bloody conflict between those who wanted living breathing people like you to see the future and those who didn't. The ones who didn't want you to see death in your dreams have finally won and this side of existence will not interfere with yours anymore. No one else will ever have to suffer again like we did. No one else will see future tragedies behind their eyes at night that drive them mad. It's all over now. It's finally going to end.”

Across the ruins the drumbeats are getting louder and now electric guitars, violins and trumpets have joined the melody in a bleak but beautiful harmony. Gerard squints through the falling ash towards the noise and sees the hazy shapes of parade floats crawling over the dead horizon followed by dozens if not hundreds of marching corpses, all dressed in dusty black and white. High above them a small old-fashioned airship bobs and soars on the burning winds and the ashes look more like confetti falling over the bizarre scene like streamers at a victory celebration.

Lorna and Frank embrace tenderly and she strokes what's left of his hair while he buries his face in her neck and starts to cry, his thin shoulders shaking with quiet sobs. Whether he's weeping with sorrow or relief Gerard can't tell but the sound makes the older man's stomach ache and he knows that he can never let his friend get hurt again, not as long as they both still live.

“You have to go now,” Lorna whispers, patting Frank's back as the music and parade floats move closer, flowing through the broken streets like a river of monochrome blood, “Like I said, it's not time for you to join us yet.” With gentle hands she pushes Frank away and he stumbles backwards, wiping his streaming eyes and nose on the back of his wrist. Gerard grabs one of his shoulders to steady him and he sniffles and nods slightly in gratitude, leaning against his older friend's side.

“You'll both be safe now, I promise,” Lorna says, walking away as the music gets louder and some individual faces become visible in the crowd of parading ghosts: a tall woman with wild hair wearing an early 20th century gas-mask; twin Chinese girls in striped black dresses twirling two silver batons; a troop of young hairless cancer patients in hospital gowns punching the air as they march behind the band playing on the lead float. Gerard stares in fascination at the vast gothic spectacle, wanting to capture it all in his memory forever, but the parade and Lorna and the city around them are already fading away and he can feel the faint touch of a pillow against his face...
In another instant it's all gone and he's opening his eyes in his small clinic bunk, back in the land of the living.

With a hoarse heaving gasp, Frank awakes in a bed in the hospital's Burn Unit covered in bandages and ice-packs and sees his worried mother watching over him. His face is wet with tears and his tired body aches and throbs all over with morphine-numbed pain but he remembers everything and a weird sort of peace settles over him as Linda runs to fetch a doctor. He's still alive and he knows that somewhere out there Gerard is too.


((As always thank you so much for your patience
and your comments - they give me life, they really do!
This story is coming to an end now, probably only one more chapter after this one.
Let me know what you think (if you feel like it). xxx))


Absolutely stoked for this!

IAmAMonster IAmAMonster

That's honestly one of the nicest comments I have ever got! Thank you huni, I will be adding a new chapter to my story Just Sleep very soon and I have a gory horror story idea too that might become something new...
Watch this space :) xx

Pinchetta Pinchetta

I did! I read them all! They're so good! Everyone of them had me on the edge of my seat on the verge of tears. I can't wait to see what else you post, I know they're gonna be great!

IAmAMonster IAmAMonster

Thank you! Please check out my other stories if you like. :) xx

Pinchetta Pinchetta

This was so good! One of the best fics I've ever read!

IAmAMonster IAmAMonster