|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Two
03 - Tag...You're It - Katie
I've never ran before. Ran until I felt as if my body lifted off of the pavement. Ran until my legs felt as if they have fallen off. Then I stopped. I took a look around and noticed the person that was chasing me had left. Then I turned around and became face to face with...
...My sister, Avery. She giggled and slapped me arm. "Tag! You're it!" she yelled in my face and ran off in the opposite direction that I had ran. I rolled my eyes and stood there until she got a good hundred yards or so away from me and caught my breath. My stomach growled as I realized that all I had to eat that day was a tuna fish sandwich that my brother Zachary had made for me, which was made out of horseradish sauce instead of mayonnaise. I shuddered at the thought of actually swallowing the goo.
Then I realized that I had to go find my sister so I ran off in the direction in which she ran. I slowed when I reached the dark end of the park we were playing in. There was no wind blowing, but the trees seemed to sway to the beating of my heart. The place had an odd aura about it. Sort of creepy.
I shook my head and looked around. I came upon a huge Weeping Willow tree. I bet she's in there! I thought and ran over to the tree and looked behind it. Nothing but leaves and broken off pieces of bark. Dammit, I thought to myself as I kicked a fairly large twig out of my way.
I stood there for a minute, contemplating where my sister could have hidden. I was beginning to give up. I yelled out "Ollie Ollie oxen free!" but there was no answer. Not even a stifled giggle. I made my way back to the park and searched for her. Still no sign of her.
I walked over to a park bench and sat there for a few minutes, hoping that Avie would give up hiding and come and fine me. No such luck though, Avie never quitted. Her motto was "Quiters never win." And boy, did she always win.
The sun was beginning to set, and I was beginning to get slightly worried. I could feel the creases in my forehead form as a glanced around. Night was coming fast, and Avery wasn't back yet. I decided to get up and look for her again.
I walked briskly over to the bathrooms. I took a look around, making sure no one saw me, and then a ducked my head in the Woman's bathroom. "Avie?" I called, hoping for an answer.
I heard a soft moan, and then a raspy "Tay?" coming from the bathroom stall farthest from the door. I ran in and attempted to open the stall door but found that it was locked. Duh, I thought. And I knocked softly and said, "Avery, unlock the door please. This is Taylor."
"I know," she replied. Her voice was scratchy, and weak. I heard the click of the lock and I opened the door and found her sitting on the ground in a fetal position. Her face was buried in her arms.
I crouched down and put my hand on her shoulder. She looked up at me and I saw it. A drop of blood was coming from her temple, and I saw what looked like a cat's eye engraved in her forehead. My mouth hung open in terror as she melted into the wall. She was gone before I even had a chance to ask her what happened.
Then I heard a voice in the back of my head. Taylor, it haunted.
"What? Did you take my sister?" I answered aloud while turning in a complete circle to check and see if anyone was around. I was becoming frantic.
What Taybaby? Your sister is gone? How tragic, the voice called back with no emotion whatsoever.
"My mom only calls me Taybaby, who the hell are you?" I screamed.
The question is, who are you? The voice screamed back, then laughed.
"Umm, I'm Taylor Hanson, and I want to know where my sister is!" I screamed again.
Taylor, Taylor, Taylor. You know not to yell when someone is right near you.
I turned around. No one there. I turned the other way. No one there. "Where are you?" I asked, surprisingly calm.
Much better Taybaby. To answer your question, I am your worst nightmare.
I laughed at the voice. "That was the corniest thing I have ever heard. What are you going to do? Gut me and leave me hanging on a rope?" I laughed again.
No, that wouldn't be civilized. I'd rather slap you around a little bit, and put you where I put your sister. Ooops, did that slip out?
I got serious again. "Where the fuck you put my sister?" I yelled, my voice was starting to get hoarse.
Oh Taybaby, I wouldn't scream like that, you may ruin your singing voice. Not that it matters ... the voice drifted off.
I put my hands on my hips and looked around the bathroom raging. I leaned against the wall and slid to the ground and put my head in my hands. "Stop taunting me," I pleaded.
Oh, Taybaby going to cry? How tragic, said the voice sarcastically.
Then I found myself back in the park. I was sitting on the bench, and it oddly got chilly. I rubbed my arms attempting to get warm but it didn't work. I stared at the ground until I felt an arm slip around my neck. I looked to the right and saw...
...My sister. She giggled as she brought her arm tighter around my neck. I gasped for breath and every time I let out the slightest noise, she giggled more and she tightened her hold. I began to see colors and I tried to slip out of her grasp but nothing seemed to work.
I looked into her brown eyes and all I saw was hatred. Her mouth curved into a sickly grin as I took my last breath. I slumped to the ground. Avery stood over me. She rolled her head back and let out a gruesome laugh and kicked me very hard in the groin.
She was just barely seven years old and she had the strength of a body builder. She sat back on the bench and pulled a nail file out of her pocket and began to shape her nails into cat's claws. She brushed her hair out of her face with her free hand and shown on her face was a cat's eye.
She looked down at me and smiled. "My poor brother, whatever shall I do now since I've killed you? What will happen to Hanson? What will happen to the 'wholesome brothers from Tulsa'? You will be thrown in the gutter to be eaten by the sewer rats. And when the press finds you, I am going to laugh in there faces and tell them that the Hanson family isn't so wholesome after all. Mom and Dad gave you the world. You were the favorite. I'm surprised Zac didn't put poison in that tuna fish sandwich. Probably cause he was scared. I am not scared, this was your fate Taylor. Your fate which was to die. Just like this is my fate. To carry on the Curse of the Cat," she laughed. "Doesn't that sound so stupid? You'd think that cats are the nicest, most gentle creatures...but they aren't. I'm surprised that Mom never took advantage of the curse, it really has it's awards. You're probably thinking 'Mom has a curse?' Well," she laughed again and bent down and scratched my face with her catlike nails, "you'd be right. Mom passed it down to lil' ol' Ave. Goody-toe-shoe type Ave. And what are you to do now? Suffer. But you're past that now, Taylor. You're already dead. I guess it was just too much for you, huh?" she carved a cat's eye into my forehead. "Too much," she repeated.
She licked her lips and turned towards the moon. She hissed at it, and her ears seemed to bend back as if she really was actually a cat. She had heard something. She kicked me again in the knee cap to make sure I was dead. And, to as much as her knowledge, I wasn't dead yet. Just suffering, you might say.
Then I heard it too. It was quiet at first, then it gradually got louder and louder. It was barking. Avery stood by the bench. She didn't move. Slowly, her image changed from a human to a feline. She hissed more and her ears perked back. She bared her teeth and growled.
There were three dogs. Two large and one quite small. They looked menacing and bared their teeth and growled at Avery. The largest one came in and knocked Avery to the ground. She clawed his face and blood started to show through his fur.
The littlest dog jumped on her and began to bite her back. She dropped to the ground again and didn't get up. The medium sized dog picked Avery up by his mouth and swung her around. She gave one last howl and hung limply in his mouth. The dog ran away with her.
I don't know how long I lie there, but when I came to, the sun was shining, and there were no dogs around. I sat up and put my hand to my forehead to see if the cuts were there. Nothing. Not even dry blood or a scab. I put my hand to my neck and felt no rash from where I was strangled.
I heard a giggle behind me and there was Avery running up to me. "Where have you been Tay? I've been looking all over for you!" she told me, out of breath from running.
Confused, I looked at her and said nothing. I looked at my watch, and it said 2:47 PM June 28, 98. The day had started over. "It must have been a dream," I said quietly.
Avery waved her hand in front of my face. "What must have been a dream?"
I shook my head. My mind was distorted. I looked up at her. "Let's go home," I said.
She frowned. "But Tay, we just started!" she whined to me.
I stood up and grabbed her hand. "Let's just go home so nothing bad happens."
She frowned, but then smiled. "Okay, but when we get home you have to scoop me up a big bowl of ice cream!"
I smiled down to her. "Okay, deal." And as we shook on it, I could have sworn that I heard a cat fighting with a dog. "Did you hear that?"
She looked up at me curiously. "Hear what?"
I laughed. "Nothing, I guess I am hearing things."
"I guess so." She shrugged and then turned her head to the left, and I saw a glint of a cat's eye reflecting off her forehead.