The Taylight Zone - Anthology One

07 - The Difference - Violet

The sound of his voice was no longer appealing to him.

In fact, it was just a dull, monotonous drone. But the audience seemed to like it, so he didn't stop. It wasn't like it usually was, a soulful cry. Instead, it held no music to it. It was as if the tune had vanished, and he was simply speaking in a soft, dreamlike voice.

Didn't anyone else notice it?

He shook away the feeling and tried to discretely change it. Nothing. It remained the same. He was scared, now. The music throbbed behind him, the audience was screaming excitedly, and He couldn't sing! Finally, the song ended, and with it the set. He looked back to his guitarist and brother, who gave him a thumbs up.

The band slipped back stage, and he pulled Isaac aside. "Ike, what happened? Why didn't anyone notice my voice?"

Isaac looked to his anxious brother strangely. "What are you talking about, Tay? Your voice was fine. In fact, it was the best I've heard it in a while."

Tay glared. "Are you kidding me? I had no tune whatsoever!"

The argument was ended before it even began when Zac pounced Tay from behind without warning. "Well, we had a little timing and rhythm problem during 'Thinking of you,' but other than that, it was fine."

Tay looked at him, astounded. "Am I the only one who realized how completely flat my voice was?"

Zac shrugged. "Sounded fine to me."

Ike nodded in agreement. "It sounded fine to me, too. I think you're just stressing out."

Tay wanted to scream, and a frustrated moan emitted from his throat. "All right, all right. So I was perfect. Well, it sounded like crap to me."

He shook his head, then grabbed a bottle of water from the miniature fridge sitting against the wall. Twisting off the cap, He took long gulps. Then he began singing, first the scales, then the song that was next on the set list. It sounded all right.

Ike smiled. "See? Perfect. Don't sweat it, after the amount we've practiced, it should be instinct."

Taylor shrugged. "I guess you're right."

But he still seemed worried. Shaking off the feeling, he startled when one of the stage workers called out for everyone to get ready. Tay took a deep breath, and Zac put an arm around his shoulders. "Relax. We're doing fine. We've done this same set a dozen times. It'll be fine."

Tay remained quiet, but his energy and excitement rose whenever he heard the loud screams of approval from the crowd. He just hoped he wouldn't freak out again. Stepping up to the mike, he felt fine. Zac started the drum beat while Isaac opened the first few chords.

Taylor gave a wink to a girl that was standing in the front row, moving slowly to the rhythm of their music. He began to sing, sounding fine. As He continued, everything seemed all right. But halfway through the song, Zac stopped. He gave Tay a hard, almost mean glance. Tay mouthed "What?"

Ike was giving him the same dark look. Finally Tay walked over to Ike, whispering in his ear. The crowd had stopped cheering.

"Ike, what's wrong?" he whispered, worried.

Ike gave him a strange glance. "You're voice, Tay. It's completely off. What happened? There is such a big difference..."

Tay's jaw dropped. "What?"

Zac stood from behind his drum set, grabbing Tay harshly by the arm. "What the heck happened? You sounded like a dying cat!"

Tay frowned deeply. He took a drink of the bottle that sat on the amp, then walked back to the mike. In a hushed, embarrassed voice, He spoke into it. "Uh, sorry, everyone. Just a little technical difficulty. We'll play now."

He gave a sly grin to them, and the music started playing again. His voice came out, but it didn't have tone. Tay was going insane. He couldn't take it, but he couldn't stop it, either. It was as if he couldn't control his own mind. Closing his eyes, he simply blocked it out. He didn't concentrate on how he was singing, he just sang and played thoughtlessly.

It was the best performance he had ever pulled.

That night happened to be their lucky night. Execs from Mercury Records had come to hear them play, and had liked what they heard. They arranged a recording for later on that week, and in excitement, the three young brothers from Tulsa, OK, had agreed.

By the night before the recording, Tay had completely forgotten about the incident. His voice had been fine at every practice, and no one was complaining. He had passed it off as nothing. But as he slept that night, his mind was filled with nightmares of his voice becoming the same dull drone, and he felt he was going mad.

He awoke dripping with nervous sweat, his breath coming hard from his chest. Finally he calmed, and fell into a dreamless sleep.

When he awoke, he had forgotten about the dream. Ike and Zac had awoken bright and early to ready for their first label recording, and the trio practiced for almost an hour without mishap before Diana and Walker Hanson drove the boys to the studio.

They arrived and immediately started. Tay's voice was fine to him. But Zac suddenly stopped playing, giving him an upset glare. "Tay, what are you DOING?!"

A look of confusion washed over Tay's face, and he shrugged. "What are you talking about?"

Ike looked completely lost at that point, and sat quietly in a corner, playing softly to himself. "It sounded horrible!" he called over to the directors and technicians behind the glass screen. "Can we do that again?"

They were greeted with approving nods, and Tay shrugged. "All right, let's go."

Ike stood up, and again the song started. It happened again. Tay's mind simply popped. His voice returned to the same dull drone, and it drove him insane. He felt himself slowly losing any grip he had on reality, but at the same time, he was firmly planted. People liked this voice. He was going to use it.

And he did. The record company signed the group. But Tay never did figure out exactly what had happened to his voice. Eventually his old voice seemed to drift from his memory, as things often did, and he learned to enjoy and hear her new one.

But every so often, his old voice would slip in, sounding beautiful to him, and wretched to everyone else.

And that, my friends, is when Taylor Hanson hit puberty....