|The Taylight Zone - Anthology One
08 - Messing with Another Kind - SunnyHell
The young boy meandered through the darkened streets, unfamiliar to his surroundings. His hands were shoved anxiously in the pockets of his baggy pants, and he kept his head low, almost fearful of what he might see. A little while earlier, he was priding himself for have escaped from his family and their boring dinner at the Chinese place that was next to the hotel, but now he regretted it with his entire heart. He'd gotten lost.
God knew how long he'd been wandering through these streets, trying to find something he recognized. The only thing he could ascertain for sure in this place was that it was a very bad neighborhood, and that worried him all the more.
He blindly whipped around a corner and continued his hurried walk, reminding himself silently to never play hide-and-go-seek with his younger brother and sisters on the streets at nighttime.
In mid thought, he suddenly found a hand over his mouth and was swiftly pulled into a dark alley before his reflex to scream was even alerted.
The arm the hand was attached to held his back firmly against the body of this person, and he felt a dull prod in the side of his left rib cage.
A raspy voice whispered into his ear.
"You feel that thing on your side? That's a gun. Now I'm going to let go of you, but if you make the tiniest noise your stomach will be all over the pavement. Got it?"
Frightened beyond belief, yet finding himself surprisingly calm, he nodded slowly and prayed that he could control his fear.
The hand gently left his mouth. He inhaled the night air through his nose and patiently awaited his master's next commands.
The hand gripped his shoulder and turned him roughly to face the person.
In the darkness of the alley, he could only make out a black baseball cap, black pants, and a bulky sweatshirt, probably black as well. The light from the street fell upon only two things; a silver chain necklace that was mostly hidden under the sweatshirt, and the gun, an expensive Magnum .44, which was pointed directly at him.
The voice rasped again.
"Alright, kid, gimme your money," said the person, holding out a hand.
Numbly, he went through his pockets, handing the thief all his spare change and the small wad of bills his parents had given him.
The thief gave a low whistle as they eyed the money they held.
"Little rich boy..."
The thief pocketed the money, and then turned their full attention to him once more.
"So, tell me, kid, do you-- Wait a minute." The thief stopped suddenly, and leaned forwards a bit, apparently trying to peer through the darkness at him.
He then heard a low chuckle emit from the thief, and it slowly grew and grew until it was a high-pitched laughter. The thief tossed their head back and stumbled slightly from their laughter, but quickly caught him or herself and became quiet.
"You're Zac Hanson," the voice said, dripping of mockery.
He could only nod upon hearing his name.
"No wonder you had so much money!" the voice continued. It laughed a couple more short chuckles, then recomposed itself as the thief became deadly serious again.
"Now, then, Zac Hanson, do you want to go home and forget all about this, or wake up on this very spot, most likely stripped off all your belonging and probably even some body parts?" asked the voice.
His mouth dropped open from shock at the thief's words.
The thief tilted their head to the side, unconciously allowing for light to shine upon their face. Zac saw a firm jawbone, with two dark lips to one far side of the lighted area, and the smallest tip of a nose. He then realized that this thief was female, and was taken aback momentarily, before the fear of the situation set in again. She spoke again when he didn't say a word for a minute.
"I think you want to go home and forget all about this," she said, a note of sympathy gracing her bitter voice.
He found himself nodding, as numbly as ever.
She wearily put her gun away, and approached him. She saw him tense up, and held her own hands up near her shoulders. She gave another small laugh.
"Hey, relax!," she said scornfully. "You already gave me all your money. Besides, you're a lucky one, Zac, 'cause I'm gonna do you the favor of a lifetime and get you out of this neighborhood. Alright?"
He nodded again, still frightened.
"I warn you, though," she said, taking his elbow and heading for the street.
"One smartass move or comment and I get to shoot you."
He nodded furiously, and felt his breathing quicken in pace, and beads of sweat begin to form on his forehead.
The thief dragged him out of the alley and started walking quickly down the sidewalk, in the direction he'd originally come from.
He struggled to keep up with her, stumbling occassionally and sometimes gently running into her.
"What are you doing in this neighborhood, anyways?" she suddenly asked, glancing at him. A small smile formed on her darkened face. "Don't worry, you can talk."
"I-I-was, um, playing hide-and-seek," he stuttered.
She chuckled again and dragged on.
"Well, what are you doing in Los Angeles, then? Filming more of your little videos?"
Zac wisely refrained from answering to her sarcastic voice, and nodded. For the first time he'd met her, the fear was beginning to slip away, and was being replaced by anger and disgust.
As she walked on, a bit ahead of him, he noticed the gun poking out from the waistband of her jeans. He eyed it with interest, and then made up his mind. As she turned around another corner, he quickly reached awkwardly over to her back and pulled the gun out, then shook himself free of her grasp.
She spun on her heels and looked at him with mild shock. Another smile formed on her mouth, reveal a mixture of amusement and fascination.
He shakily held the gun at her in both of his hand, trying to catch his breath. He had absolutely no idea what to do now...
The girl reached up and pulled off her baseball cap, letting her long blonde hair fall over her shoulders. The light fell upon her face, now, and he was momentarily awed at her cold beauty. This sensation was quickly erased, however, when he saw the evil glitter in her dark eyes, and he shivered. The wicked smile remained.
"Whatcha gonna do now, Zaccy-boy?" she asked him. "You gonna shoot me? You want to see blood and guts gush all over the sidewalk and soak your shoes? Or do you want to go home and make your gay little music videos?"
At her last insulting words, he furiously marched up to her and shoved her to the ground. He then knelt next to her and thrust the gun into her face, barely brushing her nose.
The wicked smile returned. She lifted her head the tiniest bit and hungrily wrapped her lips around the barrel of the gun. Her eyes glittered again.
At the sight of her gun in her mouth, a wave of nausea washed over Zac, and he covered his mouth as he became dizzy and disoriented.
He suddenly felt his body be hurled onto his back against the sidewalk, and then a dull but powerful thud somewhere on his head. He took him a moment to realize that she'd pushed him over and hit him with the gun. His head rolled over to the side and he saw the disoriented view of the sidewalk, and a pair of black combat boots standing near him. Some slurred words floated to his half-deaf ears.
"You're a difficult boy, Zac Hanson..."
He blacked out.
A throbbing pain that seemed to thrive in the center of his brain dragged Zac from his slumber. Noises washed over his ears. He slowly became away that people were around him, talking. He wished they would shut up, and curled his body into a more comfortable position. He noticed the noises paused for a brief moment, but hastened to ignore it and tightened his shut eyelids.
The voices became louder and more coherent to his ears, and he felt something shake his shoulder gently.
"Zac. Zac, wake up," said a feminine voice that sounded faintly familiar.
"Mom?" he murmured, trying to open his eyes. They seemed glued shut.
He rolled onto his back and rubbed then opened his eyes.
"Mom?" he called again.
His mother's face swung into his range of view and he smiled.
"Oh, honey," she said, her expression of relief turning to one of sadness. She pulled him into a hug and he responded rather automatically, confused.
"What... Happened?" he asked her.
Diana wiped her eyes, then looked at him seriously. "Do you remember anything?"
He concentrated for a moment, and then what he thought to be a dream came back to him. "Wasn't it a dream? I mean, a nightmare?"
She shook her head solemnly. "You were mugged, Zac." She then smiled. "But a very nice girl found you and called the police. We were worried sick and had already called them, so when they heard that you were found, we went with them."
"Wha... Was I... Who... What girl?" Zac rubbed his head.
Diana sat up straight and smiled at him happily. "Her name is Angel Kaiser. She was walking home and she found you lying on the sidewalk. She recognized you and called the police."
Again, his mother's face twisted into a grimace of anguish, and she embraced him. "Oh, sweetie, we may have never seen you again! Do you realize what kind of neighborhood you were lying in? Thank Goodness Angel came! She's saved your life!"
Zac cleared his throat. "Where is she?"
"She had to leave, honey. But we paid her a reward in thanks."
Someone approached them, and only then did he notice that other people surrounded him. His family was present, and a few policemen. The nearest one, the one that had come up to them, gave a small cough. Diana looked up and nodded.
"Zac," she said, "you need to tell this man what you remember, okay?"
He waited a few moments until he head cleared completely, then told the policeman what he could.
"Mom, I want to see Angel," he told Diana, when he was done.
"I don't know if you can. She gave her testament and went home with our reward."
He looked up, still bewildered at what was going on. The ache at the back of his head complained again.
"Well, we wanted to thank her for saving you, sweetie, and she looked so sad and poor-- we gave her some money."
"Your father wrote out a check for five thousand dollars."
Zac whistled, then his face darkened as he mumbled to himself. "Little rich girl..."
After a month, the mugging had almost been forgotten. When Zac closed his eyes, he no longer saw the two piercing eyes that glittered of evil. He still wished he could've thanked Angel Kaiser for having helped him...
Isaac walked in and wordlessly emptied a large bag of fan mail on the floor in front of Zac, then left. There must've been over a thousand letters, all addressed to him. He gazed at the pile and sighed, then got to work.
A half-hour later found him tearing open a business-size envelope and reaching inside. He retrieved a single photograph, but no letter. Slightly puzzled, looked for a return address, but there was none. He then examined the photograph. Two dark eyes, full of evil, stared back at him.
Zac choked on his breath. Surrounded only by darkness and the faint pallor of skin, the evil eyes of the photograph bored into his. He tried to scream, to breathe, to look away, from the eyes held him captivated. He couldn't breathe. The eyes stared. He suddenly could've sworn he saw them glitter, and pushed the picture out of his hands. From his seat on Taylor's bed, the photograph flittered to the floor and landed facedown.
He curled himself into fetal position and lay down on the bed, shivering. Very slowly, the initial fear of the eyes wore off, and he could breathe calmly now. He sat up and shook his head, then searched the floor for the photograph, planning to tear it into tiny pieces and throw them away. He recognized it near his feet, and noticed that something was scrawled onto the white back.
You're a difficult boy, Zac Hanson. Thanks for the $5,000.
He frantically kicked the photograph away, then dropped his face in his hands and closed his eyes. He saw two dark eyes, glittering of evil, staring back at him.