|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Three
18 - Blood - A. Tank
Disclaimer: This is a fictional story. None of the events in this story ever have happened. I am in no way associated with Hanson or Mercury Records. Also, this story is copyrighted, which means no one can take parts of this story unless authorized by me first. Lastly, I'd just like to say enjoy the story!
"Red makes everything beautiful," Taylor Hanson murmured, quoting himself from the many interviews he'd done. He watched the knife glint in the moonlight, looking like a sliver of moon itself. He stood over the bed, knife in hand. Waiting.
He wanted to plunge the knife into the flesh before him. He was ready. Why was he hesitating? "Taylor, just do it!" he commanded himself. But he couldn't. "Why not?" he asked himself aloud. "It's easy." But he couldn't.
He didn't know who was before him. He couldn't kill until he knew. But he couldn't see. It was dark, except for the moonlight. The moon shone brightly through the bay window, and the light breeze ruffled the lace curtains. But the light stopped before it got to the bed.
The victim was sleeping, peacefully. Taylor tried to see. He couldn't. The darkness came out of nowhere and seemed to go on forever. "Who cares who it is Taylor! That's not what matters. Now just do it!" he ordered himself.
He raised the knife, and it reflected off the moonlight, sending specks of light around the room. Some of that light landed on the victim. A girl. Curly blond hair, clear, pallid complexion, soft, pink lips. His hand gripped the knife tightly, and his arm went down, sinking the knife into the soft flesh before him.
* * * * *
Sunlight shone through the checkered blue curtains, sending shafts of light everywhere. Birds whistled carelessly through the trees, each making its own song. "Hey Tay," Zac Hanson said to Taylor as he shook his shoulder. "Time to get up buddy. We've got a concert at the mall today."
Taylor groaned and awakened to the sight of Zac in his face. "Zac, go away. I'm tired. I didn't get much sleep last night. Please," Taylor begged his brother. He pulled his blanket down over his head.
Zac, not annoyed, kept right on talking. "Taylor, how could you be tired? You slept like a rock last night. It was as if you weren't even there." He pulled the blankets down from Taylor's face and tried again.
"Taylor, you HAVE to get up. Mom and Dad said so. We have to go down to the mall today and play. You know that," Zac sighed when he saw no movement from Taylor. He decided to try a different approach, "We don't want to make this harder than it is, pal. Now get up and shower and I won't have to hurt ya," he said in an old western cowboy voice.
Taylor, who had pushed his head into his pillow, said in a muffled voice, "Fine Zac. I'll get up ok?" He sat up slowly, squinting from the bright sunlight. He noticed that Zac's trundle bed was pushed under his own already, and Zac was fully dressed. It must be late. He glanced at the clock, 10:30. Wow, Taylor thought. I never sleep this late. I guess all this business has made me over tired or something. Or maybe it's those dreams I've been having.
The last couple of nights had been hell for Taylor at night. He just didn't want to go to sleep. The nightmares that engulfed his head when he was sleeping were almost too much to take. In every one he had a knife. A knife that shone in the dark, never became dull. And in every dream, it was a new girl, a new killing. Taylor was terrified to go to bed every night. The dreams were just too much. Maybe I should just tell Mom or something. Get me into a counselor. I need to get more sleep than this; or else I'll never make it.
"Where's Ike?" Taylor asked Zac, standing up. He stepped his way through the mess of clothes, Legos, and various other things on the floor to his dresser, where he rummaged around for something to wear.
"He's downstairs eating. Tay, you better hurry up, we have to leave in about an hour," he chattered as he sat down on Taylor's bed. "You slept really late today you know, Tay. That's weird. You're usually the first one up. What's going on? Is it a girl? Are you sneaking out to see her at night?" Zac asked slyly.
Taylor pulled a pair of jeans out of a drawer and laid it down on the desk with a dark blue striped shirt. "Yeah, I guess you could say it's a girl. Or girls. But I'm not sneaking out Zac, ok?" Taylor told him warily. He grabbed his clothes and made it toward the door to go shower.
Zac, a huge, interested smile on his face, asked, "Is she coming in here then Tay? Because I've never seen any girl with you before. Besides all the screaming fans that is."
Taylor grinned at his brother and responded, "No, nothing like that bro. Nothing like that."
* * * * *
Taylor emerged from upstairs ready to play a concert that afternoon. He wasn't sure how much of a crowd there would be, but considering it was Tulsa, he figured there would be a fair number of people there.
He walked into the kitchen, where his mom was standing at the stove making scrambled eggs for him and Zac, who hadn't yet eaten. "You're finally up sleepy-head," Taylor's mom, Diana, teased him when she saw him come in. "You've been sleeping forever."
Taylor opened the refrigerator door and took out a carton of orange juice. Setting it on the counter, he replied, "I know, I never sleep that late. It's weird." He grabbed a glass from the cupboard and poured himself a glass of orange juice.
He was about to take a gulp of it when Avery, Taylor's little sister, came running in and wrapped her arms around Taylor. "Taylor, save me! Zac says he's going to kill me again!" she shrieked with a huge grin on her face. Of course she was kidding, Zac always chased her around, and it was all in good fun.
Taylor ruffled her hair and responded good-naturedly, "Hey Avie, it's ok. I'll bet Zac's calmed down now."
Avie smiled at Tay, and exclaimed, "The day I see Zac calmed down pigs will fly!" She started to walk away, but froze when she noticed something.
Taylor saw a puzzled look cross her face, and asked, "Avie, what is it?" She was looking at him strangely.
She told him, rather shakily, "Taylor, you have a red spot on your shirt--it looks kinda like blood." She pointed out the spot to him with her small fingers.
Taylor looked down and saw a quarter-sized spot of crimson on the edge of his shirt, near the bottom. "Oh, Avie, it's not blood. I'll bet it's ketchup. Yup that's what it is. Don't worry, I didn't kill anyone," he told her, smiling. "But I better go change my shirt. Can't wear this to the concert anymore."
He turned and was about to leave the room, when his mom said, in typical mother fashion, "Taylor, let me have a look at that spot. If it was ketchup I think it would have come out in the wash."
"Ok Mom," Taylor said reluctantly and walked over to the stove. He held up the edge of his shirt and let his mom look at it. A confused look crossed her face, and she told him, "Taylor, this does look kind of like blood. Do you have any idea where it came from?"
"Not a clue," he told her, and bounded upstairs to go change.
* * * * *
Girls filled the food court, their screams echoing and bouncing off the walls. Taylor was afraid he'd go deaf, like he was after all the other concerts. He sat in the back of small room that had been converted into a dressing room for the guys with Ike and Zac, waiting to go play. They only had a couple minutes to go, and had since warmed up. They had decided to do an a cappella performance today, it would be a short concert and there wasn't a need to set up any instruments.
"Wait," Zac said loudly, trying to be heard over the screams. "So we're singing 'I Loved You Once', then 'It Hurts To Think Of You (When I'm Blue)', 'For You It's Worth It', 'Thinking of You', and 'When I Close My Eyes', right?" Hanson's manager had decided to change the order of the concert in order to promote their new CD, True Love Is Hard To Find better.
"Yup, that's it Zacko," Ike told Zac, using his old nickname for him.
At that moment a mall security guard entered the small room, conversed with Mr. Hanson for a moment, and then motioned for the guys to come out. They had better security than at Paramus Park Mall, and there had been a blocked off section for Hanson to walk through to get to the stage.
The screams swelled when the girls caught a glimpse of Hanson, and rose to an even higher pitch when the boys reached the small stage. "Hey, is everyone out there ready for a good time today?" Taylor yelled into the microphone. Every time he started a show, he had this shock of energy go through him, that's how he knew he was doing something he loved.
"We're going to play our first single off of our new CD, so here's 'I Loved You Once'!" Zac shouted into the microphone. Taylor started snapping his fingers to keep the beat, and a slow, smooth melody filled the food court as Taylor sang the sweet, soulful lyrics, "I'm feeling down girl, cuz you're not around. But this time it's different baby, this time it's not the same, as it used to be."
Instead of the crowd singing along, this time they were silent. The song hadn't been released yet, and so every girl in the audience strained to hear every sweet word and tried to engrain the melody of the song in her head.
Taylor finished the first and second verses, and then Ike and Zac started singing the chorus with him. Their voices mixed together, singing, "I loved you once girl, but once was a long time ago. I loved you once, but now things have changed, and they'll never be quite the same."
The concert continued in the same fashion, but Taylor wasn't really into it. Not his heart anyway. There was this girl in the audience. Close to the stage. Taylor recognized her somewhere. He couldn't remember where he had seen her before. Probably just another appearance somewhere. I always recognize fans. But this time it was different. He couldn't explain, but it just was. That girl looked so familiar. Curly blond hair--clear, pallid complexion--soft, pink lips.
Oh, God--Taylor gasped when he realized. The girl in front of him--the girl from the dream. They were the same girl. No, he told himself. It's not true. That's just some girl that happens to look like the girl in my dream. It's not the girl in my dream though. Nope, I don't see any similarity. But Taylor did see a similarity. And it scared him.
She looked just like any other girl at the concert. Wearing a Gap spaghetti strapped tank top with low cut short shorts. She had the same, "I'm in love" look as everyone else at the concert. She was no different. But why had Taylor singled her out in his dream? Why her? There was no logical reason Taylor could think of. Except for the fact that she had this certain demeanor to her. It was different than the others. Like she just wasn't there to have a good time. Taylor couldn't figure it out.
Taylor was still lost in confusion about this girl when the concert concluded. He was once again whisked away by the security guards to the safe quarters of the parking lot, where he jumped into the back seat of their family van. It all happened so fast, Taylor hardly got a second glance at that girl. But one look was all it took. He knew something about that girl. He wasn't sure what. But something.
* * * * *
The quietness of the house surprised Taylor, and he was actually comforted by the fact that he had it to himself for awhile. The whole family had left to go see some movie that Taylor hadn't been interested in. He just wanted to be alone for awhile. To think about what had happened that day at the mall.
Sitting at his desk trying to come up with new lyrics for songs, Taylor finally gave up. He couldn't keep his mind on anything except for that girl. Why had she been at the concert? Why had Taylor dreamed about her? Questions swam in his head, questions he had no answers for. He scrapped the idea of writing and walked downstairs, where he hoped he could find something to occupy him.
He reached the den, where music magazines and old newspapers littered the floor. I'll just read the paper or something. I never read it this morning. It's something to do, Taylor thought. He searched for the front page of the paper, and plopped down in their Lazy-Boy chair to read.
He skimmed the first couple of articles. Nothing special. Something about the president--peace talks in the middle east, stock rises in Disney, Girl murdered last night. Taylor's eyes stopped, and his breath started to come in short bursts. The picture of the girl in the paper, was the girl. The girl that Taylor had seen at the mall, in his dream. A short article followed.
Elizabeth Hocksfield, 15, of Sand Springs,
Taylor's face went white, and his hands shook. Did I kill Elizabeth? he thought frantically. He didn't know. He thought that it had just been a dream, but had it? But I couldn't have. I was in the house all night. It's just some kind of weird, freak dream or something. But it wasn't me. I know it wasn't.
* * * * *
The sun shone brightly through the clouds, and a light breeze blew gently through the trees. Taylor walked on a gravel path, looking for a freshly dug gravestone. He found one. At the end of the path, near a lilac bush. Soft, green grass covered the hole that had been dug for the casket, which had been lowered earlier that week.
A loving daughter and trusted friend
"You will be in our hearts forever"
Taylor's eyes stung with tears as he approached the neatly carved stone. One escaped and trickled down his cheek, slowly making a path that others would follow. He knelt down near the stone, feeling its cool marble texture underneath his fingers. The barricade was broken, and tears spilled out, so that the path of one tear couldn't be distinguished from another. "I'm sorry," he whispered, barely audible. Caressing the stone, he could see the faint red stain of blood on his hand. "I'm so sorry."