The Taylight Zone - Anthology Two

01 - The MMMBop Murders


He was losing it fast.

A crimson river of life was gushing out of the fresh cut to his chest.

The pain was unbearable, like sharp sensations shooting through his body in steady waves. Still, Jon Parker ran. He had to get away…he had to run. He was running out of time. He had to get as far away as he could.

His feet pounded on the wet pavement, the driving rain poured down upon him as he dodged a honking taxicab on 31st Street. His heart pounded like a pile driver, trying to beat its way out of his chest. He was tired and losing steam. He couldn't keep this up much longer.

He ducked into an alley and collapsed to his knees, his breath spewing out in heavy gasps.

Cold. So damn cold!

He curled up…hugging his knees to his chest, trying desperately to generate body heat. It was the blood loss; that's why he was so cold. His mind desperately tried to sort through the events of the past hour, after the Hanson concert.

A concert he'd been awarded backstage passes to. Just one hour ago, he'd been up close and personal with the Hanson brothers themselves. Jon Parker, acclaimed, twenty-six year old "Hanson author" had actually met and talked with the Tulsa trio.

It'd been a thrilling moment for him; a moment that seemed like days, no, weeks ago, instead of an hour. What he thought had been his chance of a lifetime turned out to be a fight for his life.

He'd left the concert at the Morris Auditorium in downtown Manchester just past midnight, making his way to the Five Points rail station just a few blocks away. That's when the rain had begun to fall, a hard, driving rain that pelted against his body.

Upon arriving at the rail station he'd found that he'd just missed the last train of the evening, leaving him stranded downtown. His search for a working payphone had brought him to the corner of 33rd and Hamilton.

That's where the nightmare had begun.

Thirty-third and Hamilton was not in the best part of town, so finding it deserted hadn't surprised Jon in the least. He was surprised, however, when a dark figure came charging out of the shadows brandishing a knife. That's where his deep cut had come from.

And where the chase began.

"Oh, dear Lord…please help me."

The rain was falling harder now. It had long since soaked through his clothing, robbing him of precious body heat. His body shivered violently from the cold, his teeth chattered. His mind spun…his vision blurred. He was so tired. If only he could take a nap, just short one.

That's it, he thought, just a short little nap. I'll just close my eyes for a second.

His head nodded forward and he jerked it back.

"No!" he shouted. "You have to stay awake. You have to live."

He tried to stand, but the pain was too great. He couldn't bear it.

"Up, damn you…get up!" he said to himself.

It was then that he heard it, the haunting sound that had tormented him through the night. Just like Pavlov's dog had salivated at the ringing of a bell, so did he grow terrified the moment the disembodied voice filled the air.

It was singing.

Singing a familiar tune in a not-so-familiar tone. The very words that had once brought him joy and solace, now brought him fear.

Fear for his very life.
Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose
You can plant any one of those

The voice sang…no, chanted…almost in slow motion, dragging out the words as if it were an old 45 record being played at a 33 1/3 speed. And it was getting closer.

Keep planting to find out which one grows
It's a secret no one knows
It's a secret no one knows
"No!" he screamed. "Please no! Leave me alone!"

He managed to stand and find his way out of the alley, his ears trying desperately to determine which direction the voice was coming from.

Mmm bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop

He thrust his hands to the side of his head in an attempt to shut out the words, the haunting melody that was being used against him.


He turned and ran; he couldn't see. He moved forward as fast as his feet would carry him.

Can you tell me? You say you can but you don't know.

Pain assaulted his body, but he was on auto-pilot. Pure adrenaline fueled him - the instinct of survival.

Can you tell me which flower's going to grow?

He stopped cold as he rounded the corner of 31st and Hamilton. A dark shadow stood before him. He fought to focus his eyes on something, a single, identifying feature. It wasn't until the figure took a step forward into the light that his vision became clear again. He saw a teenage boy, with long, blond hair that was plastered in ribbons to his face.

"Taylor," he screamed. "Oh, my gosh, Taylor! You've got to help me!"

Taylor Hanson took one look at the sight before him and almost lost his dinner. "Jon? Is that you? What the hell…"

"He's after me," Jon said. "You gotta help…"

Jon stopped mid-sentence as his eyes adjusted on the object in Taylor's right hand: a butcher knife.

"You," Jon said, backing away. "It was…it was you."

Taylor shook his head. "No, Jon…I…"

"You monster! You tried to..."

"Jon," Tay said, moving closer, "you've got to believe me. I would never…could never…I came to stop him. He's nuts, Jon...he's completely lost his..." He stopped, his eyes fixed on something behind Jon. "Oh, my lord…"

A shot rang out.

Taylor's face contorted into a strange expression and a trickle of blood fell from the left side of his mouth. A patch of blood stained his yellow T-shirt just above his navel. He fell to his knees and his body fell face first onto the sidewalk.

Jon slowly turned and saw what Tay had been staring at. He smiled at the familiar face. "Thank God," he said with a sigh. "You saved my…"


The bullet struck Jon in his left shoulder. The pain sang out through his body. He stared down at the wound, and then up in amazement at his would-be savior.

"Isaac," Jon began, "what the fuck?"

The eldest Hanson brother stepped forward and sneered.

Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose
You can plant any one of those

Jon tried to stand but failed. His body simply rumpled back to its knees.

"Why…" he began.

"Why am I doing this?" Ike responded with an evil laugh.

Jon simply stared, not knowing what to do or say. His body was screaming at him to fight, but he was so tired…so very weak.

"How does it feel, Mr. Hotshot Hanson Author?" Ike asked.

"What do you mean?"

"How does it feel to be part of a story you can't finish?" Isaac moved closer and pressed the barrel of the gun to Jon's forehead. "Boom!" he screamed.

Jon jumped, which made Isaac laugh.

"How would you write this ending, Jon?" Isaac inquired, walking a circle around his victim. "How would the great Jon Parker write the ending to this story?"

"Look, Isaac…I…"

"Shut up! Do you think it was really an accident that you won backstage passes to this concert? I can't believe you'd be so stupid. You're all so stupid. This, what is it you people call yourselves…the 'Inner Circle?'" He chuckled. "You got in to this concert for one reason and one reason only…I arranged it."

The rain fell harder. The wound on Jon's shoulder screamed with throbs of pain that felt like lightning shooting through his body. All he could do was simply stare on in amazement, not saying a word.

Isaac continued. "You think we enjoy knowing that these stories are out there…stories that make us look over-sexed, half-witted, wimps! You get us kidnapped, addicted to drugs…you even have us flying in fucking outer space. You say you have the right…it's free speech, you say. Well, let's see how you feel when your fucking brains are spread all over the fucking concrete!"

Jon said nothing. He simply stared at Isaac with a gaze much like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.

"I'll admit that killing Tay was not a part of my plan, but he was just in my way, anyhow. He and Zac were holding me back…keeping me from realizing the big time. But I have plans now…oh, do I have plans. Zaccy-boy will never know what hit him."

A siren could be heard in the distance. Isaac Hanson looked all around and smiled. "…the sirens wailed as Isaac Hanson lifted the gun to Jon's forehead, his hand firm on the trigger."

Jon closed his eyes. He knew what was coming.

"…a shot rang out and Jon Parker's body slumped to the ground. In the shadow of darkness and rain, Isaac Hanson made his getaway…"

He pointed the gun at Jon's head.

"What do you think, Jonny-boy?" he asked. "You like my ending?"

The sound of the sirens drew closer. Isaac put his finger tight on the trigger and squeezed off a round.

Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose
You can plant any one of those