|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Four
04 - To Insanity - Trinity
Everything is different, but nothing has changed....
The applause was incredible. They hadn’t expected such a large, loud crowd, but they never did. Nevertheless, they finished their Los Angeles concert, not even sure if anyone heard them with all the screaming, and packed up their equipment.
“Zac, hand me that stand.” One of the stage crew asked.
“Sure.” He replied, handing him Isaac’s microphone stand.
Zac loved everything about performing, the crowd, the laughter and screaming, and especially the music. He didn’t know how he would live if he didn’t know how to play any type of music, even if he couldn’t play the piano very well.
“We’re tired, let’s go.” Walker called to his three, very wide awake, oldest sons. “Mackie and Avie already fell asleep. Who wants to carry them?”
“Not me!” Everyone yelled as they headed for the stage door. Isaac ended up carrying Avery and Zac was handed Mackie. They rushed for the bus, scared that there were a few more fans around.
* * *
“Guys, go to sleep, it’s 1 in the morning!” Diana called through the curtain to Zac’s bed on the tour bus. “You still have to do Leno tomorrow!”
“Night mom!” Zac yelled, not caring if he woke up his younger siblings who were sleeping in their own beds. He was to excited to be quiet.
Diana just laughed and went up front with her husband.
Soon after, Zac fell into sleep, he was more tired than he thought.
“Wake up you little punk! Mom said to get up.”
Zac cracked his eyes open and looked around. ‘How’d I get into my room?’ He asked himself.
Zac tried to find the source of the voice that had waken him up. It was Taylor, or what seemed to be Taylor, he couldn’t tell. There was something different about his brother. “Hey Tay.” Zac mumbled. “Why are we home?”
Taylor stared at his brother with a look that said ‘why are you even talking to me’ and left the room without saying a word.
“Weird.” Zac sighed. “Ugh, gotta get up and eat something.”
Zac headed down the stairs and towards the kitchen and couldn’t believe what he saw. His younger siblings were running around like animals, which wasn’t unusual, but Diana and Walker weren’t anywhere to be found. Normally they’d be there to keep the kids under control. “Jessica!” Zac caught his sister from running after Avery.
“What do you want?” She asked with an attitude that wasn’t hers. “Let me go Zac.”
“Where’s mom?” Zac asked.
“She went out.”
“You’ve got to be kidding right?” Jessica laughed. She stared at her brother deeply and frowned. “You’re serious? God Zac, you know Dad hasn’t been home for months. Have you gone crazy?”
“Uhh...” Zac let his sister go who started running around screaming ‘Zac’s gone insane.’ He forgot his mission to get some food in his system and walked out the back door in a daze. Sitting on his back steps, he fell asleep to the rhythmic sound of crashing inside the house.
‘Where’s Isaac?’ was his last thought before he drifted off.
Zac rose with a start. He practically jumped out of bed. Trying to find his balance, he searched the room for any sign of... Any sign of anything at all. He remembered the tour bus and that he was supposed to be on Jay Leno that day.
“Dang, that was a freaky dream.” Zac was plagued with the memory of Jessica saying that his father had left them. “That’ll never happen.” Zac pushed the nightmare out of his mind and went to find his brothers.
* * *
“Now I’d like to introduce three brothers from Tulsa Oklahoma whose first album sold over 3 million copies and their newest release, Three Car Garage, has been getting great reviews. Here they are to sing River, HANSON!”
The performance went off without a hitch, it was perfect. He loved playing the Tonight Show because Jay was always great to them. He didn’t make fun of them on his show like Letterman did. They hated Letterman. Jay always joked around with them.
“You’re odd, you’re married...” Zac said to Jay, he was the only one who could shut up Jay.
* * *
“That was fun.” Taylor smiled as he messed up Zac’s hair. “Mackie really loves Jay.”
“Yeah, I don’t know how he puts up with him.” Zac laughed.
“Jay likes Mackenzie.” Taylor looked at Zac confused.
“No, I don’t know how Mackie puts up with Jay.”
Taylor and Zac walked over to the couch and collapsed next to Isaac, who was falling asleep fast. Taylor always found time to talk to Zac about anything he wanted. So did Isaac. And Zac was going to use this to his advantage today.
“I’ve been having weird dreams.” Zac sighed, remembering his dream last night.
“Well, we were at home and everything was different.” Zac yawned. “I guess it doesn’t matter, I’m too tired right now.”
“Take a nap, I’ll wake you when we leave.” Taylor smiled down at his brother. “Don’t worry, I won’t leave you here.”
“I’m not worried.”
Zac’s eyes opened and he saw his backyard.
‘Oh great, not the dream again.’
He stretched and looked over into the yard of his neighbors. Their yards weren’t separated by anything and usually their kids toys and Zac’s family’s toys were scattered across the two backyards, but there were no toys in either yard.
“Might as well make the best of this dream.” Zac laughed as he entered his house.
He saw his mother at the kitchen table, sewing something back together. “Hey mom.”
“Oh, Zachary, you scared me.” Diana turned to face her son. “What do you want?”
“Nothing.” Zac smiled. “I just want to sit with you and talk about stuff.”
“I’m busy Zac.”
“Well, you can sew and talk at the same time cant you?” Zac begged. “I just wanna ask you when the next time we perform is.”
Diana put down her needle and thread. “No, not again Zac!” She grabbed his arm and dragged him to the living room. Her nails dug under his skin. ‘Dreams aren’t supposed to hurt.’ Zac thought as he was thrown onto thecouch.
“Zac, you will not slip back into you dreams!” Diana held her sons cheeks. “We had a deal, you wouldn’t talk anymore about being in a band and I wouldn’t ever hit you again.”
“You’ve never hit me mom.” Zac looked innocently at his mother. “I just wanted to know when we perform.”
“Zac, that’s a dream, this is reality!” Diana screamed. “I know things are difficult to deal with now with Walker gone, but you cannot slip back into your fantasies, understand?”
“No, I don’t.” Zac looked down. His mothers nails left marks on his arm, but there wasn’t any blood. “I just asked a simple question.”
Diana pushed him away by his face and sighed. “Never mind Zac, go ahead and live in your delusions, I don’t care, I can’t deal with you now.”
She left Zac bewildered on the living room couch. He stared after her. “It’s only a dream.” He reminded himself as he made his way to his bedroom.
Taylor was there, but no Isaac. “Hey Tay.”
“Why do you even bother to make conversation with me?” Taylor grumbled. “I hate talking to you.”
“Fine.” Zac just sat down by the bedroom window. He stared at his brother for a long time. Dressed all in black, his hair, Zac now noticed, was dyed black with red streaks. He wore heavy boots and he noticed a large scar on his face.
“Why are you looking at me?” Taylor turned to face his brother.
“I was just wondering what you did to yourself.”
Taylor got up and slapped Zac harder than anyone had ever slapped him. He wondered why it hurt so much. “You’re such a bastard you know that? I’m going out.”
“Tay.” Zac looked up with tears in his eyes, staring softly at his older brother.
All he got back was an evil glance and a door slammed in his ear.
“San Francisco, here we come.” The bus driver joked. They were all in exceptionally good moods, except Zac.
He was confused with everything. His dreams were becoming more vivid. He realized his dreams were everything he prayed never happened to him and his family. He fell into his own thoughts. He was starting to believe that the band and the tour were the dream, and the nasty family and Deadbeat Dad wasreal.
‘Maybe they are.’
“Great, now I’m hearing things.” Zac mumbled to himself as he lay on his bed on the bus.
‘This is all a dream Zachary.’
He couldn’t be going crazy, could he? No, He was just over tired.
‘There’s only one way to tell which is real Zac.’
“And what is that?” He asked the voice in his head.
‘You have to kill yourself in the reality you think is a dream.’’
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” Zac forgot that he was talking out loud. “I won’t do that.”
‘Then you’ll be caught in between them both, and one of them is going to drive you to insanity.’
“Leave me alone.”
‘As you wish... but I speak the truth.’
Zac fell asleep as his brothers and sisters goofed around and joked in the front of the bus.
“Mom!” Zac called into the living room. “What did you want?”
“I want you to come with me to see someone.”
“Who?” Zac asked hopefully. “Is it Dad?”
“Zac, no, Walker is gone.” Diana painfully remembered everything. The fighting late at night, the abuse, the divorce. The loss of Isaac... “Just get in the car.”
“Who’s watching the kids?” Zac asked concerned that there wouldn’t be a house to return to if they were alone.
“Jessica is capable of watching things for an hour or so.” Diana led her son out of the house and into the car.
Zac had a bad feeling about this.
* * *
Zac stared at the man standing before him. He was tall, he towered overZac.
“I’m Dr. Williams.”
Zac looked back at his mother. “A shrink?”
“Zac...” Diana trailed off, showing her fatigue and her inability to deal with her son.
“Mrs. Hanson, I’ll take it from here, go home.” Dr. Williams said. “You can come back in three hours.”
“Ok,” Diana looked at Zac and left without a word to her son.
“Now Zachary.” Dr. Williams said in a true psychiatrist manner. “I want you to understand something, the last time I worked with you...”
“I've never seen you before in my life.” Zac stared at his face, trying to remember who he was. He couldn’t.
“Now Zac, you know perfectly well that I helped you the last time you fell into this state.” Dr. Williams sighed, as if he had given up on Zac too. “I want you to walk with me and discuss some options.”
Zac was confused, but he obeyed. “What options?”
“You made so much progress last time, but I was afraid that you’d have a relapse. I want to keep you here in the hospital. Under constantsupervision.”
“Please, Zac, I know you remember everything, you just don’t want to.” Dr. Williams sighed again. “I wouldn’t be telling you any of this if I didn’t believe that you remember everything you’ve gone through. Now come in here with me.”
Dr. Williams led Zac into a nicely furnished room with a piano in the corner. “Now, you say you are in a band.”
“And you can play music?”
“Play me something on the piano.” Dr. Williams suggested. “Somethingeasy.”
“I wasn’t ever good at it, but ok.” Zac walked over to the piano and looked at the black and white keys.
Why couldn’t he remember which ones were which.
He had been planing to play ‘Moonlight Sonata’. It was the only thing he had ever been able to get through without a flaw, but he couldn’t remember.
“You’re slipping away from me Zac.” Dr. Williams took hold of the boy and carried him to a chair. “He’s in shock.” He commented to himself before he went to get a nurse.
Zac woke up on the tour bus.
‘This isn’t real Zachary.’
“Shut up.” He ignored the voice and searched the bus for any signs of life. All he found was Isaac’s pet turtle. “Where’d they go?”
He saw the note:
Zac looked around the bus crying. “They left me here?”
He couldn’t hold it in anymore, he had been wanting to cry for days.
‘It’s driving you to insanity...’
“SHUT UP!” Zac screamed. “JUST SHUT UP!”
‘This isn’t real Zachary, go ahead, cut your arm, it won’t hurt.’
“No, This is real!” Zac fell into a chair next to the small kitchen area on the bus. “This is all real!”
‘Cut your arm, just a little, it won’t hurt you Zachary.’
“Fine. Will it shut you up if I do?”
‘Yes, just cut your arm a bit.’
Zac searched for a knife in the drawers, to upset to notice that he was giving in to the voices in his mind. He found something sharp, and without a second thought, sliced his arm lightly.
He saw the blood, but felt nothing.
‘Told you it wouldn’t hurt Zachary.’
“It didn’t.” Zac looked at the blood trickling down his arm. “This isn’t real.”
‘Right, now, the only thing for you to do is kill this dream so you can live in your real life.’
“I don’t want to kill this.” Zac looked around. “This is what I love. I hate that other life. Everything is different...”
‘If you don’t do this Zachary, you’ll go mad.....’
And Zachary sliced his wrists.
“Zac.” Dr. Williams called. “Wake up.”
“What do you want?” He could vaguely remember what he was dreaming about. Something about blood.
“Are you feeling better?” Dr. Williams asked.
“Better than what?”
“Better than before you lost consciousness?”
“I killed myself.” Zac stated, like it was a well known fact.
“In my dream.” Zac clarified. “I slit my wrists. I killed myself.”
“Good, you’re making progress on your own.” Dr. Williams smiled. “I told you that you’d remember.”
“Yeah,” Zac stared at the doctor blankly. “Thanks alot.”