|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Two
06 - Thinking Out Loud - Diana
Taylor Hanson was bored.
Mayfest had turned grunge this year, and watching teenage Kurt Cobains, singing morose songs, half stoned on-stage wasn't turning out to be that interesting. His long blonde hair tucked up in his baseball cap, and blue eyes under dark sunglasses, he stayed mainly in the shadows, tensing whenever a pair of teen girls, giggling over some inside joke passed by.
So far, he had been successful in avoiding the screaming masses. He frowned, wondering why his parents insisted on making him go to Mayfest this year. They said that it would 'bring back fond memories.' He flushed, remembering singing covers of old Jackson Five songs. High pitched voices, and color coordinated clothes. He shuddered, and quickly began walking again.
Various stands, selling T-shirts and random memorandum, decorated with brightly colored banners welcomed him. Wisps of grass peaking out from under tents. In a few days, this field would be bare again, until next year. Until the next shipment of indie bands around the Tulsa area all grouped together.
After browsing through shelves of things he would never dream of buying, he exited the red and white striped tents and looked for anything new. He found it.
It was at the edge of the lot, under the outermost of the trees. A dark tent, swathed in black, with a painted sign proclaiming in a bright red color, "Fortunes Told". Taylor smiled to himself and walked towards it. Ducking under the scarves blocking the doorway, he looked around the small interior. It was round, the ground covered in carpets. The only indication of anything "mystical" was the orb on the small table in the center. It looked like it was made of stone, and it lit up the room in a blue tint, as if from some inner, and slightly eerie light. He leaned in to touch it.
Someone firmly grasped his shoulder. Half in surprise, half in fear, he spun around. The figure was dressed in dark clothes, with a cloth wrapped around its head, leaving only a pair of eyes bluer than his. White teeth could be seen as it smiled quickly. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise. She was so cold..
"That's not for you to touch." The voice was light and feminine, carrying an accent he couldn't trace. She walked over to the ball, and sat down.
"Uh..sorry." He mumbled, hanging his head and picking at loose threads in his shirt.
"You want your fortune told, no?" She asked.
"Yeah uh..how much?" He began to take out his wallet.
"For you," Another cold smile "No money."
"Nothing?" He said skeptically.
"I didn't say nothing, I said no money." She said quietly.
"Oh." Was all he could manage.
He blushed, and sat, crossed-legged on the carpet covered ground, across from her, nervously squinting at her across the crystal ball. She was opening a deck of tarot cards. He peered over.
"William Blake deck. I'm doing a three card spread. What's do you wish to ask?"
Taylor blinked a few times, before composing himself and managing half a smile. "What's the next year going to bring?"
She shifted around her cards, and started talking softly. "The first card: body, past, subconscious, thesis, action. Nine of music, happiness. He who binds to himself a joy, does the winged life destroy, but he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity's sun rise. Learning to "Be Here Now." Ability to evoke what you want or need. Emotional fulfillment. Sensual or sexual gratification. Overflowing awareness of life's bounty. Spontaneous love and happiness. Self-indulgences. Wishes fulfilled. Appetites satisfied. Excellent health but a tendency to overindulgence. In the creative process, you are at your creative best, blessed with a vision of life that is extravagant and blissful."
He raised an eyebrow. "Sensual or sexual gratification?"
She snorted. "You're a male teenager. End of story. The second card: mind, present, conscious, antithesis, reaction. Two of Music, contraries. Without contraries, there is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence. A paradoxical situation at hand. Being faced with emotional choices. Different kinds of energies needing to be harmonized. Attraction of opposites. Focus on strengthening friendship and partnership. Transcending differences. Exchanges for mutual benefit. Attraction of opposites. Being willing to meet someone halfway. In the creative process: Use the presence of contrary elements as an impetus for unleashing your imagination to exploit the inherent possibilities. The third card: spirit, future, super conscious, synthesis, integration. Angel of Painting, The Graphic Muse. Visionary reverie. Coalescing plans and agendas in your imagination. Contemplation prior to action. Making use of appropriate tools. Getting an overview of the situation, particularly regarding its physical or material aspects. "Getting the feel" of things. In the creative process, look for or contemplate a solid idea, a practical point of view that can instigate a whole new direction in your work or project."
He nodded, somewhat confused. "That's good, right?"
She didn't answer. "You are going to be sixteen soon." It was a statement, not a question.
He shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah, in a few days." [Author's Note: Mayfest, funnily enough is not held in May. I forget which month it is, but pretend it's in March, all right?]
She smiled humorlessly, as she fixated her glance on the crystal ball. Taylor had now gotten a better look at it. It was a glossy white, around this size of his head, luminous. Radiating a blue light, which tinted everything around it a light blue. Her eyes seemed to be larger now, as they concentrated.
"Ask a question." She said flatly.
"What's my talent?" Taylor replied. He knew it was music. He smiled smugly, and waited for her answer. After a few moments, she spoke.
"You have a very strange subconscious. Rare that it should be so awake, and alert. Strange that even you do not know the bounds of your ability. On the morn of your sixteen birthday, part of you will awaken. I see in your eyes that somewhere, somewhere deep inside you, is the Old Blood. The blood that once coursed through the veins of the Masters. You are a reader of minds. Of others." She paused, and frowned. "It will take a while before you can read your own thoughts though, for they are buried deep."
Taylor raised an eyebrow, and tried not to laugh. "That's uhhhh.. nice."
She got up, and ushered him out without a sound. She reached into the dark folds of her robe, and took out something like looked like a coin, and pressed it into his hand.
"Until we meet again." She turned around and walked back into the tent.
Taylor took a few steps forward, and began walking back to the main stage. His parents would be looking for him. He looked at the "coin" she had given him. Tracing the design of an closed eye with his forefinger, he thoughtfully put it back in his pocket. When he turned back to see if she was still there, the tent was gone, with no indication that it had ever been there.
Walker Hanson carefully balanced the video camera in his hand while concentrating on taping Taylor's birthday. Family was crowded around the table, as Taylor stared dubiously at the cake in front of him. He secretly grinned, knowing that he would always enjoy this own day in celebration of him. Presents were stack in the living, which was literally flowing with gifts from family, friends, and fans.
The candles were lit, sixteen of them. Flames wavering in invisible winds.
"Go on Taylor, make a wish." Someone in the room mumbled.
Taylor closed his eyes and filled his lungs with air. Car. Please, car. A car, of my own.
He exhaled, and waited for the candles to go out. For a moment, the flames went out. They relit themselves in a second. Taylor glared at Zac. "You little-"
The table erupted in laughter, as Mrs. Hanson leaned over to cut the cake.
"Taylor just because you don't have a car doesn't mean you have to ask me everyday to drive you somewhere. Walk." Isaac looked up from his sheet music, annoyed at being interrupted.
"Ike.. c'mon. I just need to drop by the CD store. Five minutes. Come on..."
Wait, doesn't that hot chick work there?
Taylor ignored the voice in the back of his head. He had gotten used to it by now. A few months had passed, and he had learned to accept it. They were different at times. Sometimes it was completely random, a thought of a stranger that he suddenly tuned into. Others, it was just when he concentrated. Right now, a quick smile flashed over his face.
"Well...okay. But this is the last time." Ike feigned reluctance.
The ride over was quiet, and beyond the stares, and the thoughts of "Aren't those two from Hanson?", uneventful.
The Tulsa CD Tower was a small store, on the corner of main street. The owner was a friend of his father's, so he got a 10% discount every time he went there. Taylor checked his wallet for money. A coin fell out.
He bent down to pick it up, and then recognized it as the charm he was given in Mayfest. The eye design was the same, except now it was open, staring at him. Something seemed to radiate from it. Not anger. Not malevolence, but not benevolence. Just a questioning look. He flipped it over, to check it was was double sided. He frowned, perplexed, as he stared at the smooth surface. Blinking rapidly, he put the coin back in his pocket.
Oh my God, it's Isaac Hanson. Isaac Hanson is talking to me. Oh my God.
Taylor turned around to see Isaac talking to the "hot chick" at the register. He smiled, figuring that he had more time now. In his mind, a laugh was heard, so soft that even he didn't pay attention to it.
The screaming was deafening. Everywhere, smiling, screaming girls, jumping up and down. Holding up signs. Shouting out "I love you!"
The thoughts were loud and jumbled. Oh my God! I'm seeing Hanson! Oh my God, it's Taylor! Oh my God, Zac! I love you Isaac! This is so cool! No one's ever going to believe it. Everything was mixed. He flinched, trying to drown out the thoughts. They were louder than the actually screaming. Girls, pushing each other, shoving in the massive line, all for three names on a piece of paper.
CDs, autograph books were pushed his way. He signed his name obligingly, and handed them to his brothers. He shook hands.
Oh my God! I'm never going to wash my hand again!
He tried not to laugh out loud at the girl who was now staring at her hand in awe. Another CD was handed to him.
Without looking up, he asked "Who to?"
He looked up, and smiled at the girl standing impatiently in front of him. "Okay Hazel." he signed his name and handed it to his brothers. When they were done, the CD was returned to her.
"Awesome! Thanks so much! I love you guys, you know, ever since Middle of Nowhere."
"Oh," Taylor laughed "Long term fan. Cool."
She smiled, her eyes crinkling in the corners, lighting up her green eyes. In a few moments, she was replaced by another girl, eagerly waiting for an autograph. His hands were beginning to hurt.
"Come with me." The voice was slightly menacing, and harsh, but softened to a gentle hiss.
"No, don't!" He cried out, desperately looking into a glass dome, pounding, trying to get her to turn around. To get away from the voice.
"Okay." Her voice was childish and innocence, and slightly giddy. She laughed. It sounded so familiar, all of it. She turned around.
"Oh my God. Hazel!" He screamed "Get out! You have to get out. Get away from him. Please, Dear Lord..."
She walked towards him, and pressed her face against the glass, confused. "Taylor?" Her voice was so clear. "What are you saying? I can't hear you."
"Get out! Hazel, stay away from him! Stay away from that voice. It's dangerous." He yelled. "Get out!" He pounded on the glass. Something in the corner of his eye glinted. Metal.
A knife flashed, over and over again. Burying it deep into her back. She opened her mouth to scream, but it was already too late. Her now dead body slid down the glass, leaving a streak of red.
"HAZEL!" Taylor screamed, jolting awake.
Above him, in the upper bunk, Isaac sat up groggily. "What's the matter Taylor? What the hell did you do that for? Who's Hazel?"
Zac was awake too. "Man.. you are one messed up boy." Taylor looked around him. It took a few minutes to realize that it was a dream. He lay back down, pulling the covers tightly to his body.
Outside, a hall light clicked open. Diana Hanson opened the door, and leaned against the wall. "What's the matter? Who yelled?"
Ike yawned. "Taylor.. I think he had a nightmare or something." Zac gave a loud snicker. "Taylor?" Mrs. Hanson asked. "What's the matter?"
He didn't answer, he was already asleep again. Diana shook her head fondly, and closed the door.
It was a normal breakfast at the Hanson household. Cereal and milk was spilled on the floor, syrup over messy pancakes. Always someone talking. Phones ringing. Laughter.
In the living room, the three oldest brothers had claimed the TV. Flipping through channels, Isaac stopped when something caught his eye.
"Hey Tay, wasn't that girl at that autograph session we had yesterday?"
Taylor didn't say anything, he just stared at the screen, as the newscaster reported a story, Hazel's picture in the upper right corner.
"Police have found the body of sixteen year old Hazel Edwards. She was reported missing yesterday afternoon by her mother." It cut to a scene, a wooded area, surrounded by yellow tape. And a body lying, covered in a white sheet. Somewhere in the background, someone was crying. "She was stabbed multiple times in the back. Experts place the time of death around 3:15 AM."
The rest of the report faded, as Taylor stared at the TV screen. In his head was a taunting laughter. It sounded so familiar... He stuck his hands in his pockets, only to find the charm again. This time, a tear was slipping out of the eye.
Taylor took his brother's advice, and walked to the CD store this time. He couldn't get that laugh out of his mind. The sky was grey, with unfallen rain as he entered the store.
He flipped through a few CDs, with no interest. A voice broke into his thoughts.
"Hey, uh, y-you're Taylor Hanson right?" He turned to see a girl, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, shyly looking down at the ground, her plain mouse brown hair framing her face.
"That's me." He smiled, more out of habit than anything else.
"Can I have your autograph? If uh, it's not too much trouble." She added quickly, after seeing a pained looked flash across his face.
"No, it's okay.. I just have a headache." It was half true. She held out a piece of paper and a pen. He took them and placed them against the wall. "What's your name?"
"Marcy." She smiled, showing off a pair of braces.
"Okay Marcy, here you go."
She simply grinned and said "Thanks so much!"
Oh wow. I got his autograph. Cool.
She walked slowly away.
He was walking on the Tulsa Green. Walking in circles. He had passed this place so many times already. He was looking for something.
"Come with me.. It'll be so much fun... I promise." The small smooth, yet gratingly irritating voice. Taylor started running to the direction from where it came. Before it was too late.
He stopped, as he watched her walk towards him. All he could see was two eyes, staring out of the darkness, and a hand, ready to hold hers. Even before she turned around, Taylor knew who it was.
He sat up with a jolt, and whispered, fear in his eyes, "Marcy."
He quietly got up from his bed, and pulled on a pair of jeans and shirt. He walked downstairs, wincing whenever the stairs creaked, threatening to give him away.
He put on a pair of roller blades, and exited out of the door, skating towards the Tulsa Green.
When he got there, it was silent. Few cars passed by, and the walk ways were dimly lit by street lamps. The leaves in the trees rustled gentle.
"You'd like to know where she is, wouldn't you?" A voice asked. Taylor turned around, and glared. It was her again. The woman from the fortune telling tent. With the blue eyes.
She started this. He thought angrily.
"I didn't do anything Taylor Hanson. This is your fate." She said. Taylor looked at her confused, his mind swimming. Was she thinking it, or saying it? He couldn't figure out which.
"Where is she?"
She shrugged. "Like I said boy, you have a very strange subconscious."
He stared at her, waiting to finish.
"Curse the spirits, you're still not fully awake yet." She mused. "You really don't remember?"
"Remember what?" He asked exasparatedly. She walked over to him. "Give me the eye." He fumbled in his pockets, instinctively knowing what she meant. The charm was glowing, giving off the same blue light that the crystal ball did. She took it from his hand, and and pressed it tightly into his neck. It was cold at first, but it began to get warmer, until it was burning him. Still, he didn't make any move to stop her.
Her face was pressed up against the glass, her back to him.
"Taylor, what are you saying? I can't hear you." Her voice echoed in the room. She'd never be able to get out in time. His hand reached for the blade at his side. It was sharp, and it glinted in the overhead lights. It came down with incredible force, deep, deep into her back. She slid down the inside of a glass dome, red staining, and dripping down the transparent material. He smiled grimly and looked into the outside. Into the mirror.
"No, it can't be. It isn't." His voice was weak.
"Come with me.. it'll be so much fun. I promise." He smiled endearingly. "Please Marcy? You know I wouldn't hurt you."
"Well.." She hesitated. "Okay Taylor," she smiled "What do you have in mind?"
He lowered his voice. "Come here...closer. Come on." He laughed lightly. "I won't bite." She leaned in. "Close your eyes.." She compiled, closing them seconds before he drew the knife.
He grabbed her, and drew it across her neck, hand over her mouth, whispering "You know Marcy, red makes everything so beautiful."
He opened his eyes, staring into hers, the color drained from his face. "Oh my God... I killed them. I killed them.. " His eyes were full of fear. "Who are you?"
It was too late, she was already gone. His hand went to his neck, where he traced the outline of an open eye. Somewhere in the distance, was the color red. He knew it would be what was left of Marcy. Taylor shook his head and and turned to walk home.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, was a laugh. Or maybe just an echo of one.