Three Cheers for Tragic Ends

Chapter Eight

August 22nd, 1997

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

Frank looked up from his ever-held gaze at the windowsill to the artist, calm hazel sad as he said, simply, “There was always something more important on your hands.”

“Well, to be fair, I think this is kind of important–” but the younger boy ignored him, and continued.

“I didn’t think I would want to be around this long, anyway. I didn’t plan to fall in love with you.”

Gerard stopped stepping forward, and he looked peculiarly at the younger boy by the window. “What?”

“To be fair, it doesn’t matter. My name is Frank Anthony Iero and I am one hundred years dead. Are you scared yet?”

“No,” the artist said softly. “I’m not scared of you.”

Frank stood up from the windowsill and walked up to the older boy, and looked directly into his eyes when he said, “You should be.”

“Are you coming on to me?” The artist smirked. “You’re dead.”

At this Frank flinched, if only ever slightly. “How much do you know?”

“You were hung, right?”

Frank sighed; he pulled Gerard closer to the windowsill, set himself down, and said, “Sit down, artist boy. I want to tell you a story.

“My name is Frank Anthony Iero; I lived to nineteen years of age… and tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of my death.

“Once upon a time, I lived in this house with my momma Iero. We moved out here when I was very young, after my dad left. I had your room, you know? It still looks the same even now.” Frank smiled, and continued.

“Like any normal boy, I went to school, and I had friends; and every Sunday morning I would go to church with my mother. I was the poster child of perfect and everyone was jealous– How did she get me to be so good? How did she get me to behave, like the perfect little angel?

“Well one day, I think I was… twelve years old, I started to see the other little boys my age in a new light. You know, the kind of light that the Devil only ever sees? I didn’t want a cute little girl on my arm, and the pastor didn’t like that.

“So, I shut myself away in the attic. I stopped going to confession, I stopped doing good in school. I stopped praying to God because I knew deep down that I didn’t want salvation for something that I couldn’t change. This was just me, and I’d rather hide and be me than lie and let everyone in.”

Frank stopped then, and looked up to Gerard. “You follow?”

“Yeah, I– I follow.”

“Well. Now, back then, if you weren’t a social butterfly, there was something wrong with you. I was no longer a charismatic little kid; I locked myself away on purpose. The only one I ever came out to see was Gabe–” Frank stopped then, and bit his lip. “Sorry,” he said, and looked down. “I’ve never told anyone this before…”

“Yeah, it’s okay.” Gerard said softly, and put his hand on top of Frank’s. The younger boy smiled lightly, and continued.

“Now, I’ve told you everything I can even remember about Gabe, except that… Well, one day we were out by the church, and it was late; and for the life of me, I can’t remember why I didn’t care if they caught us.

“Gabe was only seventeen at the time, and I was nineteen. A-and when they found us–” Frank stopped again, and looked down, blinking fast. “He didn’t– he didn’t tell them that I wasn’t hurting him. He didn’t fight for me… the last I saw of him was a sorry glance before he ran.”

Frank stopped again, and cleared his throat; and when he spoke, his voice was heavy and thick with accent. “Frank Anthony Iero,” he said, aloud, “You are hereby sentenced to death by hanging for unlawful sexual assault to a minor; among other crimes, listed as so: attempted arson to holy ground, battery to an official of the law, and present possession of an unholy spirit of the devil.”

“What?” Gerard said incredulously. “Present possession of– what?”

Frank held out his wrist. “Do you see the markings on my arms? Needlework I did myself. Homosexuality, complete 180 of personality; lack of communication, insomnia… oh, why else did they think? Maybe because they were crazy, sick, religious fucks.

“I ran so fast; but I didn’t know where to hide. I thought, dear Lord, if I could only find somewhere to hide– but they wanted me trapped, because they thought–”

“You were hung in your attic,” Gerard said. Frank squeezed his hand.

“That’s where they found me. I think the noose might still be up here, somewhere…. in any case, this still is.” And he pulled the collar of his shirt down, revealing a ribbon of bruised, scarred flesh, indented patches around his neck. “Isn’t it pretty? And all because little old Frankie Iero liked boys.”

“You didn’t deserve that,” Gerard said sadly. Frank laughed, humorlessly.

“You are entirely right, I did not. Now, I’m not done with my story, so hush up for a little bit longer.

“Now, Gabe committed suicide on September 1st, 1897; out by where they buried me, out–” and Frank waved his hand in the direction of the window. “Now he’s not trapped anywhere, like I am. He got to leave, but I got to watch as he took his own life because of what, guilt? I get to look out that window every day and remember how it looked when the traitor boy I loved oh, so much took the thing I’d give everything to have back. How could you take your own life, over anything? Why would you ever want this?”

Frank bit his lip again, and he pulled his hand out from under Gerard’s, holding his wrist up as he had done with the other. “Do you see what it says, around here?”

Gerard took Frank’s wrist and turned it over, and read aloud, “I wish I were a ghost.”

“Well now I am, and I don’t wish I were a ghost anymore.

“So I died in this house and I watched as days turned to months turned to decades, and nothing ever happened and no one ever stopped to say a hi. But one day, finally, someone moved in; and they stripped the walls and built new rooms, but God forbid they touched the attic because, “Wasn’t that one boy hung up there, that one time?” Yeah.

“But it was a sweet old lady, you know? I’ve only ever seen her up here once; and I only ever bothered to leave the attic and hear her play piano a time or two. She used to teach a little boy, sometimes; his name, oh… what was it, Gerard?

Gerard smiled softly. “You knew me, when I was little?”

“Well, I saw you. You never even knew I was there. But one day, this boy Gerard? He comes up into my attic, all klutz and chub and smiling face and he sees me. He sees me and I see him and for the first time in one hundred years, I don’t feel so alone anymore.”

Frank’s smile faded then, immediately, as he said, “I fell in love with him and for two seconds, maybe, I was happy. But everyone leaves, eventually; so why would you be different?”

Gerard knew that anything he could say to that wouldn’t come close to comfort. So he brought Frank up into his arms, and kissed his jaw and held him tight; and he didn’t say anything at all.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”

Gerard turned to the younger boy, smiling softly; and he squeezed his hand. “Yeah, hey. If you’re gonna be around here for a while, you might as well meet the family.”

“I feel special,” the boy said. “I never got to meet Gabe’s family.”

“Well, I don’t know about my grandma– hold on, let me get down–” and the artist let go of Frank’s hand to descend the attic stairs. “Alright,” he muttered about halfway down, and skipped the last two (albeit accidentally). “What were you saying?”

Frank appeared next to him. “I wasn’t, you were.”

“How the Hell did you–”

“I’m a ghost, remember? I don’t have to climb down stairs.”

Gerard sighed. “Oh, yeah. Sorry, that might take a bit of getting used to– which was what I was saying. I don’t know how well my Nonna will take to having an ethereal being in our home… we’ll worry about that later. Right now, you’re meeting Mikey.”

“Aw, that’s nice.” Frank followed the older boy out of the spare room and into the hallway. “So, where is he?”

“Where is who?” Mikey popped his head out of his room. “Who are you?”

Gerard ran a hand through his hair. “Hey, Mikes… uh, this is Frank.”

Mikey blinked. “No shit?” And he stepped forward, and ran one hand down Frank’s chest.

“It won’t go through,” Frank said, amusedly. Mikey pouted.

“No?” And he looked up and met Frank’s eyes. “Damn, you’re attractive.”


“Sorry,” the blonde boy said, taking a step back and raising his hands in defeat. “Didn’t know he was off-limits.”

“Shut up and go kiss the coffee counter boy some more,” the artist huffed, and shoved at his brother’s arm. Mikey laughed and held out his hand to Frank.

“Sorry, hey. I’m Mikey.”

Frank looked down at the younger boy’s hand, curiously, before lightly tapping it with his own.

“No handshakes? Aren’t you from the 19th century?” Gerard assumed that if ghosts could blush, Frank was, definitely.

“I’m sorry,” he said nervously. “Just– that– oh, whatever. I’m done trying to be hip and cool. Let me just go drown myself in a wash basin.”

“What’s a wash basin?” The blonde asked. Gerard sighed and ran a hand through his hair, and Frank muttered into his hands, “Never mind.”

“Well anyway,” the artist said, straying away, “I wanted you to meet him cos’, you know… he’s gonna be around for a while…” Frank glared at him and he trailed off. “Yeah. He’s… hmm. Yeah.”

“I gathered that,” Mikey drawled. “Hey, though, aren’t you two like a collective unit, though? Gee told me he kissed you, while back…”

“Collective unit?” Frank asked, confused.

“Uh, yeah. Like, boyfriends, or whatever.”

“Um,” Gerard looked at Frank, cocking an eyebrow. “Are we boyfriends?”

“What constitutes boyfriends? Do you mean, are we in love or are you Gabe?”

Gerard frowned. “I’m not. Gabe, I mean. I’m not–”

“Well, then yes,” Frank said, turning back to the blonde boy. “We’re boyfriends.”

“So you really are off limits?”


“Sorry,” the youngest whined, dragging out the word. “Ugh, whatever, you guys are lame. I’m gonna go be not lame. Later, losers,” and he began walking down the hallway, before he was called back by a decidedly unamused older brother.

“Hug me, dork,” Gerard intoned, but he stepped forward and Mikey ran up to him, burying his face in tho older boy’s chest.

“I’m happy if you’re happy with yourself,” he mumbled. “He’s a cutie. And you,” he said, turning to face Frank once more, “you don’t hurt him. You don’t break his heart or I swear to God…”

“Mikes, I’m fine. Go be lame now.”

“Fine, fine, I’m leaving. It was nice meeting you, ghost boy.” And Mikey slipped into his room again.

“So, that was my brother,” the artist sighed.

“He’s cute– and in a totally not weird way, I mean– he reminds me of you, kinda. You really do have each others’ eyes. There’s secrets in his too.”

Gerard blinked. “Like what?”

“Well, if I told you, they wouldn’t be secrets anymore.”

The artist rolled his eyes. “Ugh, whatever. Come on, I’m taking you to my bedroom.”

“Ooh, kinky.”

“Whatever, shut up.” Gerard turned around and fought the younger boy by the waist, and smiled. “Mikey was right, though. You better not break my heart. I know where you live.”

“I promise to not be your Bert if you promise to not be my Gabe.”

The artist smiled, softly, and pressed his face into Frank’s neck. “I promise.”
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Ugh, sorry this took so long. I was having writer's block.