A/N: Oh hey everybody :) So this is a new story that I'm currently working on. I started this project during Spring Break on the car ride back from Upstate New York. It was when my mom and I had a little fight and I was in a bitter mood. So, I apologise in advance if the story is a bit depressing (but it gets happier, I promise.)
I'm planning on actually banging this one out. I'm not sure how long it will be, but it will contain a few chapters. There's a slight possibility that I will edit this later, but the chances are slim.
By the way,this is a Flandus fic. ;D
Rated T for now, but it will most likely elevate to an M as the story progresses.
I hope you enjoy! :)
EDIT: Unfortunately, doesn't allow the use of the names of real people. So I have subbed in Daryl for Norman, and Connor for Sean. NO It will not follow their character stories (although it's going to be reaallly hard for me ;_;) I will not be giving Connor his Irish accent, nor Daryl his Southern.
So just think of it as an AU
EDIT 2: Implemented corrections made by my beta Thornangel :)
Chapter 1: Amazing Grace
The cord that had anchored him down from floating off into insanity had snapped. For the past sixteen years of his life, he was able to withstand the physical and mental abuse from the wretch of a woman he was ashamed to call his mother. She had broken him, scarred him, done everything but kill him and he suffered through it all. He had lost it when he witnessed her mercilessly kick his pit-bull Shadow, his only friend from the start, down to his very last breath. Back when the abuse was only starting to get worse, he found release by running a blade through the surface of his wrist, relishing the pain that drifted his mind away from reality. He enjoyed seeing the sweet crimson life drain from his left arm, with it the bitter torture he had suffered throughout the years. He was purging the pain and suffering from his body. Some nights he thought about going all of the way and cutting himself loose from this hellish nightmare, digging the blade deep into the artery and watching the blood flow like a fountain from his arms. He never had the courage to do it. All of his attempts would end up in tears and sleepless nights.
This time, however, his mind was set. Forget all of these meaningless attempts. Forget all of the times he would be too scared to continue. If he was going to do it, then he would make sure that there was no way it would end in failure.
Thursday morning, just as the sun was making its appearance over the horizon, he had climbed out of bed and slipped on a heavy jacket and jeans with his combat leather boots. He didn't bother to brush his hair, as always, and skipped out on breakfast. He made sure to get it over with as soon as possible before even a spark of hesitation crossed his mind and ignited his sense of reason. He checked the room beside him to see if his mother was still asleep. She was. Draped over the queen-sized bed, tangled in thick, matted blankets and stained sheets, was a woman in her late 40s looking as if she had been knocked out cold by a heavyweight boxer the night before. The room reeked of cigarette smoke mixed with cheap, lavender perfume. The hint of light that impaled through the skylight had illuminated the cloud of dust that was currently floating around in confined area. In deep sleep, the woman snored loudly. Her shoulder length, frizzy brunette hair hung over her face like a messy curtain. She wore a silk, magenta robe with a periwinkle trim over nothing but a pair of worn out pajamas. In other words, she looked like a hooker that had a late night. Taking this as a goodbye, Norman raised a middle finger pointed in her direction and muttered a, "See you in hell, bitch" and walked out the front door.
The cold December air embraced him with welcoming arms as he set foot outside of the rundown apartment. He took in the crumbling stoop spattered with bird shit and gum from neighborhood kids, knowing that it was the last time that he was ever going to see it. After countless nights of being locked out of the house, he was able to pick out every detail of the haggard platform, down to the small hole that was a shelter for ants in the summertime. He remembered that he would always pretend that the stoop was a pirate ship when he was a little boy. It was the only moment in his life where he felt important. No one could push him around and order him on his own ship. A somber smile had spread across his rosy face as he reminisced.
As his crystal blue eyes scanned the near-empty sidewalks, he made his move and headed for the George Washington Bridge, making sure to go at a fast, New Yorker pace.
It was about 6:45 AM when he saw the rusty metal towers of the bridge. The sun was still in its dormant position, yet cast a gloomy glow over the buildings. There were a few cars crossing the bridge, though traffic was flowing so smoothly that no one would even care to notice him. From a stranger's point of view, Norman looked like someone out for a leisurely walk, with his dark hood over his head, his hands in his pockets. He could see his breath come out in long, foggy pants as he breathed in the winter air. A short glance at the water below left him to wonder: Will the water be just as cold as this?
He kept walking until he had found a gap in the suspension cables and the railings located around the middle of the bridge. This oughta do. With that, he slung a leg over the safety bar and hopped onto the concrete ledge. After steadying himself and holding onto the steel girder for support, his blood ran cold as he made the stupid mistake of looking down below.
Fuck was he high up. A giant case of vertigo had hit him as he looked at the dark blue waters lapping up against the base of the bridge. He could faintly make out the shape of a small fishing boat a few meters away, though it looked like an ant from his view. Suddenly, he couldn't find himself to stand up anymore and leaned into the girder. The blue orbs flicked over to the side, in hopes that it would help ease his knotted stomach. The cars on the busy roads were the size of yellow jackets. Bad idea.
"Come on, Norman, just do it. It'll be over before you know it," he muttered quietly to himself, with a heart hammering away at his ribcage. Yet the teen didn't move as his eyes remained transfixed on the watery death below. It was only until he felt the blinding rays of the sun land on his entire body that he realized that he had been standing there for a while, with nothing in mind except how tall the bridge was.
"D'ya think it'll hurt?" A voice suddenly asked behind him.
Norman nearly jumped out of his skin as soon as he heard it and he turned around to face the stranger.
The boy was about his age, with blue eyes of a darker hue than his, and with spiky blond hair that emerged from a navy blue hoodie. He wore black sweatpants and running shoes and was now taking the white earphones from his ears. A friendly smile was spread across his unusually tan face as he cocked his head, patiently waiting for Norman to answer his question.
"Wh-what will?" replied the brunet, secretly hoping that the other boy didn't hear what he had said a few seconds before. In his mind, he was screaming: Are you crazy? You nearly scared me half to death! Warn a guy next time before you start making conversation with them.
"The water." The blond clarified, pointing for emphasis. "I read a lot about people jumping off bridges who survived. Not a lot made it, though. But the people who did said that the impact hurt like a bitch. Like, imagine getting into a car accident and crashing through the windshield. Only the pain is a hundred times worse. The windshield is like the water. Once you go through, it feels like a thousand knives cutting up your entire body. You can't breathe, you can't do anything. And then you drown. Pretty sad death, don't you think?"
Norman gulped, his moment of aggravation leaving him. That guy definitely heard him. His arms unconsciously moved behind him and wrapped around the girder. "I suppose so."
"Once you're in the water, all you can think about is how cold it is. Especially this time of year?" The boy shook his head, making a tsk-tsk as he did so. "The cold will numb your brain and leave you paralysed. You'll go in a state of shock. Even if you did want to kick up, even if you did survive the fall, once you're in, you can never get out."
He hesitated. That's exactly what he wanted. No second thoughts. Just a clean suicide. "Won't the water numb the pain, though?"
"I guess, but I really don't want to stay and find out. You know if you jump, I'm gonna have to come after you." He had made his way so he was a few inches from Norman's back. He was peering over his shoulders, eyeing at the water.
Norman could see the stranger's breath from his peripheral vision. Once he had fully absorbed what the blond said, he did a double take and eyed the boy in surprise. "What? You're insane. How do you even know I'm gonna jump anyways?"
Shrugging, the boy replied, "I don't. But then again, most people usually don't go up and admire the river at 7:00 in the morning in the middle of winter. Nor do they sit at the edge of the bridge and hold onto the railing for dear life doing so. And I don't take you for some spastic tourist judging by your looks, so…"
He looked at his hands and stood in awe at how his knuckles looked bone white. He became aware of the pain that was radiating from them and loosened his grip. He coughed and avoided the blonde's gaze. The shock from seeing the water, and hearing the boy's reckless announcement had pushed the bitterness away from him. But now, the acrimonious remarks were returning. "What do you know? You don't know me. I'm not even sure why I'm talking to you. Just leave me the hell alone and mind your own goddamn business, ya preppy bitch."
The stranger sighed. "Oh, well now I can't. See, once you've said that, you got me involved. I can't leave you alone now. If you jump, I'll be responsible for you. Because I knew your intentions and I let you get away with them. By the way, I'm really not looking forward to jumping in that ice cold water." With that, he began to unzip his sweater and untie his shoes.
"Fuck you, man. If you jump, you'll kill yourself." Norman reasoned pitifully, though he could see that the stranger had meant every word.
"And you won't?"
"I don't want to be the reason you die."
"Then don't jump."
This left Norman speechless. Who is this guy, anyway? If he jumped, he'd be free, but he'd be a murderer. If he didn't…
"You don't know what I've gone through…" he whispered, but audible enough for the blond to hear. He thought back to the numerous lashings he had gotten from that damned belt if he did something that displeased his mother. He remembered countless nights of starvation because she had used their remaining money to buy booze and cigarettes, leaving him to fend for himself, stealing and scrounging up scraps of food from the trash and food vendors. All of the cuts and bruises he had endured when his mother came home a sloppy drunk. He blinked back the tears that were threatening to escape. He didn't cry then and he wasn't going to cry now. Not in public. Especially not in front of this stranger.
"No, I don't. But I can't let someone just throw away their life just like that. I know things might not look so bright right now, but I promise, it'll get better. Now come on, take my hand." He extended his hand for Norman to grab.
"Who are you, Oprah? I don't need you preaching to me. Why don't you just forget everything you've seen and go back to whatever the hell you were doing?" He turned his head away from the boy and looked up and observed the now cloudy sky. Everything looked so gloomy, so lifeless and dull. A small breeze ran by, cupping his face in an icy kiss, making the ends of his dark hair float weightlessly and reach for the horizon.
"I can't and you know that. Just please, think about it for a little bit-"
"- I have been thinking about it!" He snapped. "I have thought about it. For a long time now. I just… I can't fucking take this anymore." Hearing the tremor in his voice had dented the small cage in his head which held sixteen years' worth of pent up frustration and anguish. He realized that his voice had cracked halfway through, yet he was too confused and preoccupied with his thoughts to give a damn.
"Everyone has their low points in life. Hell, I sure have had mine. You don't know what the future has in store for you. That's the beauty of life. You don't want to waste yours leaving people to wonder what could have been. What you could have grown up to be. You have so much to look forward to. You're still young. Please turn around."
The brunet was quiet, processing everything that the blond said. He seemed so sure of himself. He talked as if everything he had just said was going to happen. Finally, he muttered, "What makes you so sure?"
"I just know."
For some reason, the stranger's words had given him a glimmer of hope and momentary comfort. As if it had held veracity. For a moment, Norman had forgotten about all of his pain and trusted him. He had gotten up from the perch and reached for his hand. In a matter of seconds, he lost footing, overlooking the width of the ledge, and fell backwards.
I'm gonna die. The thought ran through his head and wrapped around his entire body, like a constricting vine.
Everything seemed to slow down. He saw the horrorstruck look of the stranger as he tried to grab a hold of Norman with one arm stretched out and fingers reaching desperately to grab a hold of his attire; he saw the faces of the people in the cars and was amazed at how calmed they look, probably dealing with problems of their own. Glimpses of his life appeared before him. To his surprise, they were happy moments- playing basketball with his father, learning how to ride a bike, celebrating his fifth birthday, getting his first kiss from Susie Bradshaw when he was in Kindergarten. He even remembered the moments he shared with his mother before his father passed away due to some unknown illness, before she had turned into a heartless bitch. Back when she had taken good care of him when he had a fever; when she had baked him cookies for his birthday so he could share it with his friends at school; when she read him bedtime stories because he couldn't fall sleep. All of them had appeared before him like an old film, as cliché as that sounds. Was this what people saw before they died?
A sudden realization caused a ripple in the roll of film that was playing: He did not want to die. Not yet. What the boy had said was right- there were a lot of things he could have done to escape the torture, though death was not one of them. He had made a mistake of coming to that bridge. That's not what his father would have wanted for him to do, or his mother, wherever her former self was buried underneath that heartless monster. That momentary panic dissipated as he was filled with blinding pain and the suppressed memories disappeared, only leaving him in isolated darkness.
A/N: SPOILER ALERT: DARYL DIES.
Hahahah! Just kidding :3 Feedback is much appreciated. I'll update once I get a review.