|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Three
14 - We Are One - Gemma
"Are you ready Zachary?"
"Yes Micah, I am."
"Then let us begin."
Chants rose from the circle, slowly at first and then gradually picking up momentum as the crowd became once again familiar with the sacred words. Again and again that line was repeated, becoming louder and stronger. With each pause, each breath the words started to carry a meaning, a message, they called on the Lord, He who would rid the world of all that was evil, He who would take charge of the land and make them free; make them one.
"Join us Zachary and give yourself to all that is right."
Zachary took Micahs hand and timidly joined in with the rising chant, his voice blending with that of the twenty other children in the ring. He repeated those sacred words;
"We are one."
"Zac, we're here, there's nothing you can do about it now... this is our break and we're going to make the best of it, okay?" Zachary mumbled at Taylors reprimand and meandered down the hallway to find a room which suited him. He found one which seemed adequate, threw his bag in the corner and slumped onto his bed.
I can see the corn...
Three weeks; it would be three weeks until they would emerge, filled with life and refreshed from the hectic schedule which they had had to keep for the past few months. They had recommended a break, they said that all three brothers were suffering from 'stress', it wasn't all three of them, it was merely Taylor; it was a polite way to say 'Tay, get some rest.'
Taylor had been having some trouble lately, with... life. It seems that fame had taken it's toll on him, Zachary was sure he hadn't meant it to happen, under normal circumstances Taylor wouldn't hurt a fly, except, this wasn't normal; nothing they ever did anymore was normal.
Zac stood and walked over to the large window, it overlooked an immense corn-field stretching for what seemed miles into the distance.
Why near the corn?
They had to leave of course, there would be too much press in their hometown for them to be able to rest properly, to get away from everything and just relax. Zac just couldn't understand why they had to come here.
He stared out over the wide expanse of land and shivered slightly, something about the way the corn moved gave him an unsettled feeling which he couldn't fight.
Why is it moving, there isn't any breeze..?
His brow furrowed as he watched the gentle swaying of the corn, mesmerised with it's soothing motion.
He froze, there was nobody in the room.
Zachary, join us...come...
"...and help unpack the car." his fathers voice rang through the house, Zac quickly tore his gaze from the field "Zac! Are you listening to me? Come and help us!" Shaking his head, he slowly moved out of the room, casting a final glance out the window.
I'm going crazy as well- I'm starting to hear things...
Micah held up his hands and the chanting soon stopped, all eyes were focused on the small boy standing at the head of the group.
"Tonight is our night," he spoke in a loud, bold voice which carried on the wind over the expanse of the field "Tonight sees the joining of the outlander with the righteous, tonight the Lord shall truly make us one."
"We are one." the crowd muttered. Micah nodded his head towards Zachary and continued to speak.
"You will join with us tonight and rid yourself of all that disobeys the masters word," Micah once again took Zachary's small hand in his own and addressed him face on "Do you accept our invitation?"
It was wrong Zachary, what he did was wrong... if you join us we will stop this from ever happening
Zac stared into Micahs eyes, they were so dark and hollow; he found it hard to distinguish between the pupil and the colour.
"Do you accept?" Micahs voice raised slightly as he awaited Zacs answer. Without tearing his eyes away from the darkness before him he nodded his head and spoke quietly in response.
"Bitch, just leave me alone."
"But Taylor, I love you, I only wanted you to sign this for me..."
"Get the hell away from me!"
Zac groaned as those words played over in his mind; it had been such a good day, everybody had seemed cheerful, it just came completely out of the blue. Taylor had affected their career, their life, he didn't know if he could forgive his brother, he didn't know if anything would ever be the same again.
"You look troubled." A voice came from nowhere, a boys voice; it sounded so familiar...
"Yeah, well..." Zac turned to face him, a boy only slightly taller than himself with unruly black hair and a rather formal dark outfit which seemed unnatural for the stifling weather, watched him suspiciously from the edge of the corn field.
"Are you okay?" his rich voice carried on the breeze and settled around Zachary's being, he calmed instantly.
"Yeah, I guess." Zachary examined the boy carefully, deciding if he was trustworthy or not; he decided on the old phrase 'better safe than sorry' "Just having sibling trouble..."
"Oh?" he moved gracefully into the empty road and fell into step beside Zac as he continued to walk "Are you enjoying our little town?"
"It's okay, not what I'm used to..."
"I can imagine," the boy smiled "I'm sure this doesn't compare to Europe and Japan." Zachary smiled with him.
"So, you know who I am..." the boy just nodded. "Well, anyway, I'm Zac Hanson."
"Hello Zac," the boy extended his hand "I'm Micah, Micah Sawyer."
"Nice to meet you."
A howl of wind moved through the mass of golden corn, it moved briskly from side to side in the strengthening wind. The group stood silently for a moment and listened to the rapid movements before Micah once again spoke.
"He's waiting for the time, he's waiting for your offering Zachary." Zac broke his gaze from Micah's eyes and looked down. In his hand Micah had placed a long, ornate knife. The blade shone menacingly in the firelight and reflected orange onto Zachary's pale skin, the handle was intricately designed and looked handcarved. Zac returned his gaze to the black holes before him, questioningly.
"You know what you have to do." The young boy stepped aside creating a clear pathway to the makeshift altar, on the floor before it lay a large silver bowl. Zachary nodded and made his way slowly towards it.
Everything will be better Zac, just you see, everything will be fine...
"We know what happened Zachary." his voice was low, all eyes fell on the golden haired boy before them.
"When?" he asked cautiously, knowing exactly what Micah was talking about.
"With your brother..." his mouth twisted into something resembling a smile "...and the fan."
"What do you know?" Zac licked his lips nervously and looked up into the eyes of the boy.
They can't know, can they... only we know, and that girl... they promised nobody would ever find out...
"She was only very young wasn't she Zac?" Micah's eyebrow raised as he received no response "She only wanted his autograph, she didn't expect that he'd do that to her... did she?"
"Do what?" his voice came as barely a whisper, head hung he avoided the gazes of everyone and stared at a strand of corn silk which he weaved slowly through his hands.
"He was stressed of course, that's still no reason to do... that." Micah sat next to Zac and made an attempt to look him in the face, Zachary didn't look up, Micah sighed "If you don't want our help Zac we don't have to help you..."
"How can you help me?" At this news Zachary's head shot up in anger and he came face to face with those evil black eyes which had, over the past couple of weeks become so familiar.
"We can change what happened Zac, we can make it so Hanson never existed in the first place," Zachary watched him with interest. "You know we have the power to do it..."
"But the band is my... our lives, you can't take that away."
"Hanson would have the choice though Zachary, it could start again, release MMMBop and become number one in twenty-three different countries, or..." Micah stood and started to pace across the clearing "it could be forgotten, the teenage boys who were pop sensations could become nothing other than average guys again... how does that sound?"
Zac savoured the words; "Average guys..."
"But that would be the choice of... the band." Micah stopped pacing, he formed his next sentence so precisely "This decision however, is yours... would you like our help?" Zachary watched his dark eyes dance in anticipation, uneasiness crept over him, slowly.
"Remember what he did Zac, he raped her... it won't be forgotten..." Zac couldn't tear his gaze from the hypnotic glare of Micah's eyes; suddenly everything started to make perfect sense...
We can start over, things will be different this time... Taylor didn't want to do it, it was the situation...
"Will you help me?" Micah delivered him a slow, thoughtful smile.
"Of course Zachary. We'll all help."
Blood poured from the deep gashes in his hands and drained quickly into the no longer gleaming bowl. The knife lay, discarded at his side as the group chanted the words; "We are one..." over and over. He felt hands holding onto his shoulders, pulling him towards the sky, looking up into the protruding heavens.
"Join us Zachary, let us share your pain." slowly he started to mouth the words with difficulty, the intense pain in his palms clouding his mind. Gradually the pain started to seep away, the words filled his brain and an overwhelming sense of joy and happiness overcame his soul, he forgot about the blood which was filling the sliver bowl and submitted to the feeling which was struggling to overcome him.
"We are one." he screamed joyously into the night, his voice carrying on the wind with the other children’s, all feeling the same joy.
"Zac!" a horrified scream rose above the rest and silence immediately followed, all eyes turned to the boy standing at the edge of the circle, watching fearfully as blood dripped from his brothers hands. "Don't do it Zac... everything will be okay, things will be sorted out." he moved into the centre of the circle and faced Zac who had stood and moved away from the altar.
"It won't, don't you see that what you did spoiled everything Taylor?" Zac cried at his brother holding out his bloodied hands "Can't you see this is the only way to save us..?"
"It's not Zac, we can work it out... you don't have to do this..." Taylors pleading was cut off by Micah stepping between them and placing his hand on Taylor's shoulder.
"It's too late, he's already sealed his fate..." stepping back, beside Zachary he turned his head and looked towards a great light which travelled quickly through the sky towards the clearing, Micah turned to Zac and smiled "Say goodbye to your brother Zac."
"No!" both Zachary and Taylor reached out to take hold of each other but it was too late, a bright flash enveloped the sky and momentarily blinded all in it's path... it disappeared almost as soon as it had come.
Once his eyes had adjusted Zachary looked around the clearing, he could see Taylor nowhere.
"Where is he?" he grabbed the front of Micahs shirt and pulled the young boy towards him "Where did he go?"
"They've gone home Zachary, they're starting their new life..." Zac stared at him blankly for a moment and let his grip go.
"Zachary, you're with us now... you chose to be with us..." Zachary shook his head.
"Zac, you agreed. Everything will be okay now, everything will be fine."
"But, what about the band?" Micah smiled and placed his arm around Zac.
"They've got another go at the band Zachary, but you... you are going on to better things, you have been chosen..." Micah stopped and smiled at Zac "We are one." there was a pause before Zachary smiled and repeated those fateful words.
"We are one..." the corn rustled gently in the night breeze, the bowl was empty, the knife was gone.
"...and here's a brilliant new duo from Tulsa, Oklahoma with their number one single, MMMBop- it's Hanson..."
Taylor smiled at his older brother as he played the opening chords to the song on his black, electric guitar, automatically his head turned towards the drumset and to the man whom they had hired the previous week to play as part of their backing group... his brow furrowed and he turned back to his keyboard.
Why do I always do that?
He started to sing the familiar words, smiling into the audience as he played.
"You have so many relationships in this life, only one or two will last..."
Hmm, maybe we had a real drummer in a past life...that'd be weird...
He shrugged almost imperceptibly and immediately forgot...
"...so hold onto the ones who really care, in the end they'll be the only one's there..."