I Never Told You What I Did For a Living by My Chemical Romance & I Brought You My Bullets... album concept
I don't own the rights to any characters depicted here...
Frank is dead and Gerard is left alone. All he has for company is his knife and his list of names, the names of the men he must kill to bring back the one he loves.
Have you ever loved someone so much, that you'd do anything for them? Anything conceivable in this world? Even kill for that person? Have you felt with vicious clarity the pain of not just having that person near? Have you felt these things? Because I have.
I've piled bodies a thousand high in the hope that I could reach up to him somehow and touch his face.
And I killed them all with relish
Because each drop of blood, each lifeless, milky, glazed over eye and every pallid twisted corpse drained of life, brought me closer to being with him again.
Desperation can make you do awful things
Unspeakable things. And I
Well I did them all. I did them all gladly, because I did them with love in my mind.
So you can call me insane
You can say that I'm evil. But I did everything for love
And how could that be wrong?
And now he's standing next to me, and I can hear the drip drip drip of blood falling from my knife's edge and splashing elegantly to the tarmac below my feet. It takes all my will not to reach over my gloved hand and wipe that crimson blood from the blade. My mind repeating over and over again
It will rust
Wipe it off or it will rust. But I leave my arms outstretched in a fierce show of resistance against my degrading mind.
To glance desperately to my side and see tears running hopelessly down those cheeks that I can't brush away
It's a torture that seems beyond compare when I've been through so much already just to bring him back.
'God' I want to scream. 'I've only just got you back and it feels like I might be losing you again
But the look that you shine back tells me that it's going to be okay, it tells me that we'll be together again
Dance again like we did.
We nod and smile to each other in guarded subtle movements and I know our plan is formed. We just know what to do. In unison we break into a run, knowing just what the cops behind us will do.
And then they come
Loud and true like we'd known.
Two shots, thunderous and bleak, tearing through the haunting silence of these usually, still, dark streets.
And then blackness for us both.
I stood in my dilapidated apartment, the hazy light of sunset creeping through the half-open blinds. The debris of our relationship surrounded me in every direction, haunting little reminders of everything I'd lost; the charred and bleached bones of my happiness.
A siren wailed out in the streets, streaming past my window accompanied by the barbaric shrieking of tires, before it faded out into the landscape and died. The streets around this neighbourhood were bad places these days, but then if I was honest with myself I couldn't remember a time when they hadn't been. I'd killed so many, I'd killed hundreds, hundreds of evil men, but that hadn't even scratched the surface, like a man dangling a mug off the edge of a boat and taking a cupful out of the ocean.
I walked numbly over to the old marble fireplace, dusty and long unused, and picked up my small black leather-bound notebook. Opening it I winced at the blood spatters, dried and discoloured, on the crisp white pages I flicked through.
All those names, hundreds and hundreds of names, crossed out in scratchy black lines. They all seemed so abstract, so unreal, not real people, who had had real lives. The loops and crosses of letters had become strange hieroglyphs, lost of all meaning, they were objectives that had been achieved and forgotten.
But there was one name
The name left unblemished, intact on the page, that name meant everything. Because that man lay in the space between me and you. He was the last mountain to climb, and now he felt like a coleuses compared to the men that came before.
Closing the pages I concealed the book in the inside pocket of my well-loved black jacket. I looked down at myself in the action, smiling at the dark material of it, there were blood stains sure, just nobody could see them.
This was all too familiar, these things, even ritualistic to me now.
I traced my shaking fingers in the air over my knife, admiring it's lethal glint, it's cold hard honesty. It'd always been a knife for me because I'd never thought to use anything else. A knife was passionate, it was personal and close, but it was also so clean and quick, so quietly vicious. This one had seen as much as I had, been to those depths with me; and in this way it had been my constant ally in something I'd been doomed to endure alone.
I ran a tired finger along it's sharp, silent, blade. It comforted me, oddly, that it had remained the same. Just as sharp, just as strong and menacing. It had remained the same but I was forever and hopelessly changed.
Even if I bring you back will you still want me as the man I've become
I hid the knife away in my jacket, as if I could put away those desperate thoughts with it.
My uneasy ceremony was almost complete when I had to stop suddenly, leaning both hands on the cool polished marble of the fireplace's mantle. Drawing in a shaken breath, as my heart drummed erratically in my chest, my head just wouldn't let me forget the gravity and importance of this night's task.
It meant so much, you meant so much, that I just couldn't make this last hurdle less daunting. As the number of names crossed out in my book grew my humanity dwindled with it, remorse, fear, anxieties had become all extinct in me. They'd become foreign, exotic, sensations that even the memory of felt vague and unreal.
But that night, this one, knowing that it would be the one, the one that brought you back to me
It took me back to how it had been at the start. All sweaty palms and short, sharp, panicked breaths. The way my heart raced along with the disparate thoughts in my mind.
I let my eyes flicker up to the faded picture of you, your childhood black carved ebony rosary draped over the time-pitted silver frame.
I was doing all this for you I told myself, knowing that it was untrue, knowing that it was completely untrue. It had all been for me, it was me who would destroy my soul for a chance to see your face again, to hold you and make you promise that you'd never again go.
I miss those moments when I would see you and it felt like spring
To me it was like you were trapped in that faded photograph, just smiling back at me through the haze of time. I raised out my hand to touch you, my fingers meeting with cool hard glass; and as I did the darkness of the room behind me melted away, twisted into summer skies and melded into the green of trees. Spinning around I saw you as the dim light fled, made way for an etching of my memories of that park we'd walk through on the way back home everyday of our lives together.
I could feel a warm breeze on my face that felt as real as the effortlessly charming look in your eye.
"I'm waiting for you," you said in a dreamy warm voice that felt like a part of the sun touched air around us.
I nodded transfixed by the sight of your eyes, your tenderly upturned lips, and the comfort your being imparts on me.
"You know you have to kill him Gerard," you sighed, your expression unchanged. "So that we can be again."
The smile I returned came out melancholic, but you know I'd do all that for you and more. I wanted to tell you but my lips were thick and my tongue heavy.
"I'll see you when it's done," you said with glorious certainty, already blurring into the landscape of my memories. Until all the brightness retreated and the grey darkness deepened. And I stretched out my arms to keep you here. But you were already gone and the apartment was returning, alongside the reality and gloom and horror of your death.
Calm and desolate tears made their way down my face and I promised to the empty room, "I'll see you again soon."
I watched from the shadow shrouded alleyway, rotting garbage and a forest of broken glass stretching out before me like the stars gleaming in a midnight sky.
There was a man in my cold, businesslike, gaze. He leant back against the dull brickwork of an old and abandoned factory wall, a streetlight above his head bathing him in a shower of white light. His movements were fast and uneasy, rat-like and empty. The streets were his black and white backdrop and he seemed undoubtedly at home there. And I just knew that it was him, the one I had searched for, just like it was written above him in the ether, a neon sign there for me to see.
The last one
I was so dauntingly near
So near to you that I could almost drag the smell of you into my lungs, the soft warmth of your hair
The subtlety of your skin.
But standing in the stillness and the night what overpowered my senses was him
I could taste him
Taste the sin
Taste the dirt, the blood. And it was like I could see the tarnish of his soul. And what I abhorred the most was it was like looking out at myself, a terrible living breathing mirror.
Do you believe that our deeds could unite us? That by wanting you back so badly I had become the thing I had been sent out to destroy? Nine hundred and ninety nine evil men dead and could you tell which of us should be the thousandth?
And as I made my way through the tangle of shadows I felt the putrid flesh, the bones that shattered and snapped beneath my feet, as I traversed over the bodies that came before this man. Every man I had killed was there that night, their eyes open and expressionless and staring off into oblivion. They were all strewn before me forming a path to the man that would be the last to join them.
All the killing, the horror, the pain
It had all lead to one man, but really it wasn't him, I knew really that one man was you.
I hid in the darkness around him, silently patting down my chest, finding comfort in the sharp outline of my black leather-bound notebook sitting over my heart, taking pains to not make a sound. I slowly pulled out my knife, holding its blade up to the murky moonlight; gazing at the distorted image reflected in the glimmering steel. There was nothing but detritus and ruin around and behind us.
His shoulders were heaving with the effort of breathing, as I numbly brought my blade through the night, it giving the slightest swish as it slit apart the air, and drew to his filthy throat.
He hadn't stood a chance to see me, I had become like a ghost by those days and the shadows apart of me.
The tan and stubble below the knife's tip shivered, in uneasy contrast to my still pale hand at its hilt. He didn't make a sound as a crimson bead formed before my eyes.
He raised his hands in a way that conveyed both uncertainty and indifference.
It's all too certain, all too easy I thought, sighing as I rested my chin sharply upon his shoulder, as I twisted the end of my knife a fraction and watched the blood gather and run.
"The one thing you can rely on with people is," I breathed into his ear hopelessly. "They all bleed the same
Blood is the only thing in a man that you can call a truth."
The wind chorused around us, ripped apart the silence, and was that your voice, there below it's psalm, willing me on?
"Look bub," shuddered shrilly through his lips. "Money's in my wallet. Left pant pocket
Jus' take it eh? And we can both get back to our night's."
At that a chuckle actually fell from my lips and, amused, I took a deep controlled breath, drinking him in as I did, marvelling at his ignorance. All the evil this man had done and still he could believe that I was there for his money.
"I wouldn't touch a cent," I spat. "Everything you have is washed in the blood of the people who suffered so that you could have it." Venom was in my mind and the hot sticky blood of the victims that I imagined coated my mouth.
Dramatics were skipping off my tongue like lines from a Shakespearean sonnet, because it just felt to me like those moments deserved it. The gravity of what I was doing, the beauty, the madness
I pressed my knife more firmly against his jugular and for a moment I could scarcely wait for the violence to start, the blood to flow. And maybe for the first time I felt it not only because it would bring me closer to the moment I would be back with you, my love, but because horrifically I conceded I wanted to see this man die. I wanted the raw adrenaline, the brutality and that beautiful finality.
I'd lost my mind and I'd lost my soul and I did it all for you
I'd expected him to beg, a lot of them beg. They plead for their lives with the vain hope that they might mean anymore to me than just another name in my book. But this one he was quite, somehow dignified. As if the knife at his throat were nothing, as if he had no fear in death. Would this be a mercy to him? Had he waited for this moment as I had? And for that I almost pitied him.
"Don't you want to say anything
Your last words?" I asked in a way that was always going to sound like a cliché.
He stood still against the cool night.
"Don't you even want to know why?" I say in irritation, robbed of the swathe of human emotions I'd come to expect, faced with his relentless stoicism.
I pressed deeper my blade at his silence and waited for his words.
"I've led the life of a condemned man
" He whispered in angry defiance. "I've been waiting for death
I stared it in the face every time I killed a man, a woman, a child." He smiled as if recalling the memory of something beautiful and treasured. "You can't live that life and fear it. I've seen you in my dreams
I'm not afraid of this
And in my disgust I almost forgot to take in the sensation as I slit his throat as hard as I could muster, a great crimson arc splattering out before us. The smell of iron filled my lungs as I took in the sound of his last breath failing and spluttering through the gaping wound that was once his throat.
The one thing you can count on with people
They all bleed the same
As I clutched his twitching, dying body, I felt him ebbing away, an apron of blood flowing down his chest. I locked my wrists under his arms, my hands appearing to me over his slumped shoulders. I defied my instinct to run, because I needed to feel everything in this moment, and even in all this horror and blood I was lost enough in that moment to find an embrace.
The body against me let out its death rattle, and I felt all life dissipate within, the blood flowing from its neck slowing to a dark sombre trickle.
Staring into those bottomless, expressionless, eyes; I waited for you.
And how would it happen? How would he deliver you back to me? Was it absurd to think that you would appear in a veil of blackened smoke and the backdrop of Hell's fires?
Laughing silently at myself and floundering in absurdity a scuff of shoes from the darkened alley where I had hid stirred me back to my senses.
Could it be you?
Have I lost my mind?
It has to be
I pulled out my notebook, my passive companion in all the violence I'd recorded in it, with a hand that shook with a heady mix of excitement and pain.
Finally I could let it go, I thought, as I tossed it down to the moon-soaked ground. Letting it fall into the blackening pool of blood on the pavement beneath my feet. Its cream-white pages turning a deeper and deeper shade of red where it lay.
Knife still locked in my fingers, my heart reluctant to let me dream, I turned slowly to face a disappointment I knew I couldn't bare to endure.
A shadowy figure emerged, his frame slight, his strides sure and unhurried.
Your gate, your air
And in a moment that should have been divine, all I could see were the pale and twisted faces of the men I had murdered, their cold glazed over eyes, lips contorted in the shock and realisation that their lives had come to its violent end
In death as they were in life submersed in death and violence and blood
I'm so sorry for what I've become. I am changed and there's nothing I can do
And maybe that was the true price to pay to see you again
Two eyes emerged on the shadow plagued face, two hazel eyes set below elegantly slanting brows and your shock of dyed black hair.
Agony and ecstasy stirred in me and clashed, blood falling into a pool of spilt milk.
But I'm not the same
All those people
All that life
I couldn't bare to hold back any longer, as I rushed to you and cried "Frank" out into the vast emptiness of night.
"Frank," I sobbed in a broken voice, in the only voice I had left.
And you're walking toward me from the blue-black shadows and into the silvery moonlight that bathes you
You were like an angel under it
"Frank you're here," I wept inconsolably, happiness and regret compelling me.
"Did you ever doubt that I'd do it? Please don't say you doubted I'd bring you back
" I cried.
And I couldn't feel the tears on my face, I knew I should, but it was like they weren't there.
I knew I was smiling, and that it must look demented and demonic, what with all the demons of the days before this one clinging to my back, their claws tearing harshly into the pallid flesh beneath. Everyday I felt them grip harder and harder and I know they'll never let go.
"I made a promise to him and you knew I'd keep it right? I kept it and he saw
He saw them all
I couldn't stop this nervous chatter and why won't you speak?
You just stood there... But you smiled. That smile that had both kept me company through all those deaths and had plagued my mind in the same moments. And I knew somehow then that I had begun to lose that smile in its absence, it had become an abstract of itself, a faded memory I'd recalled time after time but I'd never remembered right back then.
But seeing it again I recalled each tiny detail there that had been within every one I'd ever seen. It was beautiful and terrible and mine again.
I stretched out my arms because I wanted to hold you so bad. An addict with junk withdrawal staring endlessly into the spoon, waiting for the only thing that'd make them well again. And I rushed to you, the knife in my hands there but forgotten. My mind was so lost in relief and in gratitude and despair.
It's blade shined intermittently as the moonlight caught it's polished and bloodied blade. But my mind never took it in, every corner of my mind so taken up with you.
"This is the NYPD
Drop your weapon and get down on the ground
" Burst out into the air, the sound's forward trajectory as straight and sure as a bullet from a gun.
The man at my side remained unmoved, not scared, just as if he didn't care to respond. His arms still and outstretched at his sides, a knife clutched in certain fingers, a blissful smile upon his face.
My heart was beating so hard it hurt, it made me feel dizzy and sick and my breath caught painfully in my throat. I knew I was scared
All those natural textbook signs. The raised pulse, the merciless adrenaline kick, the maddening mixed messages of fight and flight battering at my mind; and the film of cool sweat forming over every inch of my body.
But the crazy thing was that I knew I wasn't scared of
I was never scared of the man beside me, the mad bad murderer of Hollywood lore
Something told me this wasn't that cut and dry, and something told me that he wouldn't hurt me.
I'd heard within his incoherent ramblings that he believed I was someone he loved
Had once loved, and besides that I saw something in his eyes that was peaceful and refined. I knew that made no sense, but then nothing in this really did; everything felt dream-like and unreal.
He looked over at me, caught my eye through my restless thoughts, with his tear-stained own; and nodded the subtlest of nods. As if we'd made some unspoken pact together, no fear in his features
Only acceptance and relief.
The pit of my stomach lurched as I heard again a toneless command from behind us.
"Toss your weapon and get down on the ground."
The man beside me sprang forward suddenly, not the run of a man trying to outrun a bullet, but perhaps of someone ready to accept it.
I remember screaming out
Not knowing what I said just knowing I had to try
I remember the fear I had in that moment, dark and endless, sharp and blinding. All this fear that gripped me like a vice tightening to a terrifying pressure around my chest, I can't explain it, it was never for me
It was all for him.
Frozen in a panicked stance time seemed to freeze and race by all at once.
And then two shots tore through my desperate cry, tore through these black streets; deafening and brutal.
And silence returned. Silence in every part of my reality as the figure before me staggered pitiably and fell to the cold hard ground, knife clattering down after.
And although my senses told me not to move, to curl up into a protective ball and look away from the horror before me, I didn't
I ran towards the crumple of black lying prostrate on the sidewalk, a blackish-red pool of blood slowly seeping out and surrounding it.
My mind kept repeating 'Don't let him be dead', though to this day I couldn't tell you why, all I know is I cared. I cared whether he lived or died. Because I saw something in him that was fragile and wonderful, rare and exquisite. Was it love within him in its purest form, unconditional and desperate, terrible and maddening? It was something I wanted to understand, even something in my darkest thoughts I wanted to feel.
I never got to him, not even close, as the strong, navy cotton clad, forearms of NYPD's finest wrapped around my chest and pulled me effortlessly away.
"And you say you never knew the guy?" A cynical and suspicious voice pressed once again, not without a tone of boredom evident on his desensitised lips.
" I answered quietly once again, looking to the ground, trying to muster the will to talk to this guy, my mind repeating the soundtrack of the last half hour incessantly, mercilessly, as if it wanted to drive itself mad. His voice, his steps echoing on the paving, those shots
"No," I continued, noticing that yes he did want me to go through the whole story again. "But
I think he thought he knew me. It's hard to explain
Even remember it right, now. But he kept saying he'd brought me back and how he'd kept his promise."
I looked up to the cop, hoping I was conveying the puzzlement and confusion that I felt, why is it that you always feel like you've done something wrong around these guys?
I sighed and rubbed my hand over my tired eyes; tried to conjure the details I knew they wanted me to have.
" The officer continued dutifully, wearily. "You didn't see or hear anything before you stepped out onto the main street. And then he only spoke to you about these promises
Nothing that made sense?"
I shook my head and looked to the ground, feeling his gaze on the top of my skull, him trying to will out of me the clues that he was sure my mind contained.
"No, look I'm sorry
It's all kinda a blur, hazy like. I'm sorry
I can't help you." I sighed, trying to spell out without having to say it that I was tired, I knew nothing, and all I wanted to do was go home and forget this.
Something came over the radio of a uniformed officer to his side, I couldn't make it out, but the faces around me remained grim.
They gave me a card, said to call if I remembered anything, even the most insignificant detail. And after I watched their expressions sharpen as I tried to explain I wouldn't, I took the card meekly between my shaking fingers and turned to leave. Only slightly concerned to learn that it took me a long time to realise where I was in relation to my apartment.
They let me go and I knew I felt the relief somewhere within me.
Walking away from the once lonely street that was now buzzing with the professionals and yellow tape of a crime scene, I Looked back over my shoulder at it all. It all seemed staged and contrived and not something I'd been a part of. Camera flashes and sombre puzzled faces; and two strangers lying on the paving drenched in blood and united in only one fact, death.
Turning the corner, heading back for home, there was so much I didn't really understand. So little of the night made sense to me, through the mask of shock and memories already fading.
All I really knew for sure was that I had come face to face with a murderer that night and all I saw was the endless depths of love in his eyes.