|The Taylight Zone - Anthology One
01 - Wishcraft
"Cut!" the director yelled out of frustration. "Let's take ten everyone."
The film crew breathed a collective sigh of relief; this commercial shoot wasn't going well. Everyone had heard what delights the Hanson brothers were to work with. Everyone had heard wrong.
"You suck, Taylor!" Isaac said, pushing angrily passed his younger brother.
Tay snapped back. "Bite me, Chewie!"
The two eldest Hanson's had been wound tight all day long; each one having a different idea of how the commercial should be shot. If Taylor was getting too much camera time, then Ike would throw a fit; if Ike got to much exposure, Taylor protested. They were on the verge of losing their lives to each other, or to the camera crew.
"Come on, guys," Zac said, climbing out from behind his drumset. "This is stupid."
"Shut up, Zac!" they said in unison.
Walker Hanson, the boy's father, looked mad enough to chew nails. "Alright, you three...over here now!"
"But Dad," Tay protested, "I have to go to the..."
He shrugged and unwillingly did as he was told.
Walker sighed. "I don't know what's wrong with you guys," he said in a hushed tone. "But you're not the three boys I left the hotel with this morning. These people already think you're a bunch of spoiled brats. Now, I suggest you get over this and start behaving like grown-ups."
Zac, the only one of the three brothers who'd been acting respectable, looked hurt. Isaac and Taylor just glared at each other.
"I mean it, boys," Walker added.
As Tay walked by on his way to the bathroom, he brushed Isaac. Ike shoved him hard. "That's it, you little fungus. I wish you were dead."
Taylor turned and faced his brother, fire burning deep within those blue eyes. For a moment he contemplated striking back, but the stern look his father was giving made him think twice. He turned and made his way to the bathroom.
Isaac let out an angry sigh, stomped over to his director's chair, and plopped down in it. What had happened to them? Why were they fighting like this? Where did everything go wrong? He rubbed his eyes and took a deep breath.
Man, I'm tired.
They all were. The tour had drained them. This Pepsi commercial was their last official gig for the next few days, then they could go home and rest. They could become themselves again.
"Little brothers suck sometimes, don't they?" a voice said.
Isaac looked up, startled. "Yeah, they do." He laughed uncomfortably. "He's just tired...we're all just exhausted. We get cagey when we're tired."
The man sat down next to Isaac and extended his hand. "I'm Phil, one of the lighting guys."
Isaac shook the man's hand. "Isaac Hanson." He grinned. "But you probably already knew that."
Phil smiled back. "Yeah, I did." He took a breath and then said: "tell me, Isaac, what do you really think of your little brother?"
Ike looked confused. "Who? Taylor? Oh, he's okay. A little annoying sometimes, but who isn't?"
"Come on, Ike...you can tell me the truth."
"I see the way he treats you guys; trying to steal the spotlight all the time. He thinks he's better than you, Isaac."
"Come one, Phil," Ike said with a grin. "That's not true."
"I'm serious, Isaac. Before you know it he'll leave you guys in the dust. He may be a brat, but he's got what it takes to make it on his own. You all do." He sighed. "I'm better off without him anyway."
"What?" Ike asked.
"You said, 'I'm better off without him.'"
"Did I?" Phil blushed. "I'm sorry, I was just thinking about my own brother. That son of a gun makes me so mad I could...well, you wouldn't to hear about it."
"Try me," Ike replied.
Phil shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "Well, you ever hear of Jake Phillips?"
"Whoa, Jake Phillips? He's awesome. "He was the best musician in the business."
"Yeah, I guess he was. Now, tell me this, you ever hear of James Phillips?"
Isaac brow furrowed as he thought for a moment. "No, can't say that I have."
"I didn't think so. I'm James Phillips; Phil is just a nickname I picked up."
"You're a musician, too?"
He nodded. "Yep, bass guitar and keyboards. I'm good."
"What happened?" Isaac asked.
"Jacob and I were in a band together with some friends. We paid our dues, playing in dives here and there, but Jacob always knew we could go farther. He managed to get us an audition with a label -- our big break."
He stopped for a moment. Isaac seemed intrigued with the story.
"Well, the label loved us...well, loved them. The execs told Jacob that I was holding the band back; that I wasn't a good enough musician to be playing with them. So, he dumped me. Now, I do lighting work in music videos...the only way I'll ever be in the music business."
Isaac looked confused.
"Jacob Preston was my brother."
"Man, that sucks."
Phil smiled. "Yeah, it does. Not a day went by that I didn't wished him dead, Isaac. I hated him."
Isaac frowned. "I'm sorry to hear that, Phil. But Taylor...he'd never do that. We've been through too much together."
"You never know what people are going to do, Isaac. I hope to God it doesn't happen, but you have to be prepared for the worst."
Isaac watched as Taylor talked to the director.
He's probably talking about his close-up. The brat!
"There's a way to stop this, you know," Phil began. "I can take care of this problem for you."
Phil leaned in closer. "Well," he said with a whisper, "I could kill him for you."
"Murder?" Isaac blurted out.
"Shut up, you moron," Phil said. "Keep your voice down."
"What do you mean?"
"I'll take care of Taylor like I took care of my brother, Jacob."
"You...you killed your own brother?" Isaac let out a nervous laugh. "You're whacked. That's insane."
"Think about it, Isaac...no one would ever suspect me. As far as anyone knows, neither one of us has a motive to kill him. It's perfect."
"Perfectly stupid!" Ike stopped for a moment and then smiled. "Oh, wait a minute, Zac put you up to this, didn't he?"
"No, Isaac, I'm completely serious."
Isaac laughed. "This is good...you really had me going there for a moment. What is this? Candid Camera?"
Phil frowned. "I'm serious, Isaac. I can prove how serious I am."
Isaac patted him on the shoulder. "Man, you're great! You should be an actor or something."
"Places everyone!" the director screamed.
Isaac made his way back to the stage and patted Zac's head. "Good one, Zac."
Zac raised an eyebrow and shook his head as he walked back to the drumset.
"I can't wait to crawl into bed," Isaac said as he and Zac rode the elevator to the eleventh floor. The rest of commercial shoot had gone fairly well, with only one more ego clash. Walker had taken the boys out to dinner, with Taylor refusing on account of a headache. He'd stayed in and ordered room service instead.
Isaac thought it was for the best the way he and Tay seemed toward each other lately. He sighed. Tomorrow they'd be home and everything would be back to normal. They could be their old selves again.
The elevator came to a halt and the doors opened. He and Zac stepped out of the elevator and moved down the hall toward their room. As Isaac pulled the card key from his pocket, he noticed their door was slightly ajar.
A small wave of fear swept over him as he slowly approached the door. He held his arm out, stopping Zac from going ahead of him. "Stay back."
Isaac carefully pushed the door open, not knowing what to expect on the other side. He took a quick step inside the room. Everything seemed okay. Feeling a little more confident that everything was alright, he moved further in. As he looked to the bed he noticed Tay's feet, still in his Doc Martins, hanging over the bed. Taylor was lying motionless on his stomach; so still he could be...
"No way," Isaac said to himself with a nervous laugh. "No freakin' way."
He moved closer to the bed. "Tay." he muttered, his own voice startling him.
No answer. Tay just lay there.
He sat down on the edge of the bed and gently put his hand on Taylor's shoulder. He quickly pulled it away. Tay's body was ice cold.
Isaac shook his head. "No...no way...Tay!"
He put out his hands and turned Taylor over on his back, shaking him violently. "Taylor!" he screamed. "Taylor!"
"What's wrong, Ike?" Zac said from outside the door.
Isaac quickly stood. "Don't come in here, Zac! Go get Mom and Dad. Hurry, Zac!"
He turned back to his dead brother. "Oh, Tay," he said with tears in his eyes. "I'm so sorry. I never...I didn't mean what I...oh, my gosh...Taylor."
Isaac jumped as the phone rang. He stared at it for a moment, wondering if he should even bother. He reached over and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"
"How's your brother, Isaac?"
Isaac froze. "Phil?"
"Did he enjoy his dinner, Isaac? You know, it's amazing how little arsenic it takes to kill someone."
"You...you son of a..." Isaac yelled.
There was laughter on the other end. "I told you I could prove that I was serious."
"You wished your brother dead, Isaac. You wanted Taylor to die. You said so yourself."
Isaac shook his head. "I was...I was angry. I didn't really mean it."
"Maybe so," Phil responded. "But you said it...you wished for it to happen. Your wish came true."
"But I didn't want him to die."
Phil laughed again. "You should be careful what you wish for, Isaac Hanson. You just might get it."