The Taylight Zone - Anthology Four

19 - #1 Fan - A. Tank

Disclaimer: These items are fictional and are in no way endorsed by or affiliated with Hanson, Mercury Records, or Triune Music Group.

 

Part One: "I wish the real world would just stop hassling me"

"Well I'll be damned. Rooming with Isaac Hanson himself. Aren't I just the lucky one?" a young man sneered under his breath to one of his friends as he entered the small room. He was scruffy looking, like an old teddy bear that had been through too much, and was eventually thrown out after the owner realized she didn't need it anymore.

Isaac's eyes quickly slit at this comment, and he tried to ignore it. No use making enemies on the first day. He promised himself that it wouldn't happen. He had known that this might happen when he had applied. Yet he had blocked it out of his mind as long as possible. But it was here now, blatantly clear, and he couldn’t ignore it anymore.

He wished Taylor were with him right now. He would have made some smart-ass joke or comment, and all the tension Isaac had been feeling would have vanished, like the swipe of an eraser on a chalkboard. If only Taylor were here...

"I'm going to miss you Ike. I mean, the house is going to seem empty without you in it all the time..." Taylor's voice drifted off as he dug the toe of his Airwalk sneaker into the pavement of the driveway.

"Tay, I'm going to miss having you around too, you know. And you can come visit me anytime you want... I'm going to be coming home all the time during breaks, and we can talk on the phone a lot. I bet you won't even miss me," Isaac smiled bittersweetly as he concluded. He knew Taylor would miss him, as he would miss Taylor. They had been inseparable for as long as they could remember, and had only become closer in the past six months. It would be like he was missing half of himself.

Taylor smiled sadly at his brother, and responded, "Ike, this is going to be awesome for you, I know it. I mean, college, wow. That's just...so huge. It seems like only yesterday we were running around playing super heroes." He laughed at this, an awkward laugh though, not natural.

"You sound like Mom, Taylor," Isaac said smiling. At that moment the front door opened and Mrs. Hanson stepped onto the front porch. She jangled her keys and an electric grin covered her face. Her first son was going to college, and she couldn't have been more excited.

"Ike, we really have to get going now, or else we'll miss the flight. So come on, get in the car," she warned him. "You've already said your good-byes, God knows that took long enough. We don't have time to do that again, Ike," she told him when she saw him gazing longingly at the front porch of the house.

Isaac sighed, "Yeah, ok Mom. Bye Tay. I'll call you right when I get there, ok?" He wrapped his arms around his brother and they embraced in a quick hug, before Isaac let go and walked over to the car.

He opened the door, sat down. The door slammed. Taylor heard an engine start, and watched the car drive out of sight. His eyes brimmed with tears, and one escaped, sliding down his cheek quickly, and he swiped at it, fiercely. He didn't want to watch another brother leave him...

* * *

"So...you're Isaac Hanson. One of my friends really likes you guys. Says she's your number one fan," the roommate said to Isaac just after his friends exited. It wasn't a question, but a comment, and from what Isaac could tell, not a good one. He felt the need to respond though, and only muttered, "Yeah, great," before he went back to scribbling in his notebook. He was thankful he and his mom had arrived a day earlier to unpack his things and tour the campus, Isaac didn't think that he could take a snide comment about himself being a "Momma's boy" from this jerk.

"Well my name's John, just thought that'd be helpful to know," the roommate said, sounding semi-friendly. "Yeah, thanks," Isaac said while still furiously scribbling in his notebook, trying to make his hand catch up with the thoughts that were spilling out of his head at the moment. "So what's it like having millions of girls screaming your name, huh?" John asked, genuinely curious.

"Great, now he wants to know about all the girls. That's the last thing I want to talk about. I just want to get away from all of that. That ended six months ago...because of Zac...but that's the past now, and I don't want to dwell on it," Isaac thought.

"Oh, it was ok at the beginning. Kinda cool you know? But after awhile it just gets really annoying, and you don't want to deal with it anymore." He thought if this guy was at least trying to be nice to him he had better make an effort to do the same.

"Yeah, all the girls loved you and all the guys thought you were three ugly faeries," John laughed, and Isaac's thoughts immediately reverted toward the thought of getting his own room. He didn't think he'd be able to deal with this for a whole year. The whole point of college was to erase the image everybody had of him. He wanted to start over.

Isaac took a few deep breaths before trying to clear his thoughts. That was something Taylor had taught him when he got angry with the hounding media. "Take deep breaths, clear your head, then say something," Taylor's voice echoed in his mind. "Listen, I'm not stupid, and I can figure that you don't like me much, but can we just try not to be complete enemies this year?" Isaac asked, then regretted saying it. John would probably just throw back another smart-ass comment that would send Isaac's mind reeling again.

John sighed deeply, and finally responded, "Yeah, you've been through enough, with your brother and all. What the hell. Oh, hey, I'm going to a party tomorrow night, wanna come? My friend Jamie's gonna be there. She's your number one fan, you couldn't let her down, could you?" He smiled wickedly as he said this, and a spark glimmered in his eyes, one that Isaac couldn't place the source of. But he knew he had to go. This was his one chance to get along with his otherwise idiotic roommate, and he intended to take it.

 

Part Two: "Just the two of us, you and I"

"Zac, phone!" Taylor shouted up the stairs to his brother. He held it out to Zac as he descended the stairs, and Zac quickly grabbed the phone out of his hands. "Hello?" he asked eagerly into the phone.

Taylor stepped back, a couple feet away from Zac, listening in on Zac's end of the conversation. On the other end had been a voice that Taylor couldn't quite place, and he was anxious to find out who Zac had been talking to. "You're not serious!" Zac exclaimed into the phone. "That would be SO cool!"

"Yeah, yeah, you can talk to my parents... Oh, yeah, completely... Definitely yes," he was saying in between brief pauses. His face dropped then though, and his voice lowered. "Only me?" he asked quietly, softly, remorsefully. "Do I still want to do it? Well, I'll think about it... Ok, hold on; let me get a piece of paper." Zac scrambled around in the kitchen, found a small note pad and pen, and proceeded to write down a phone number, with a Los Angeles area code. "Yup, ok, tomorrow then. Bye!"

Zac nearly skipped out of the kitchen, only to be stopped by Taylor. "What the hell was that all about Zac?" he demanded. "Well..." Zac started meekly. "Um, I didn't know you were listening."

Taylor replied, "Well, I was, so you better start explaining yourself, now." Zac fumbled for words, and opened his mouth numerous times before words actually started flowing out. "Well, our agent called-"

"That was Sandra? That was NOT Sandra!" Taylor said to Zac. A puzzled look decorated Zac's face, and he asked, "Tay, why are you getting so mad at me? What did I do?"

Taylor sighed deeply, and responded, "Zac, just finish the story."

"Fine. Anyway, it wasn't Sandra, it was her new assistant, Jamie she said her name was, and she called because Sandra was in a meeting but they wanted to ask me-"

"But why did they want to ask you?" Taylor cut him off. "Why not talk to me, I answered the phone, or even better, our manager! What a concept," he retorted sarcastically.

"Well, I was about to tell you Tay, let me finish. Anyways, she wanted to ask me if I'd do a spot on a TV movie. Like one of the leads. They thought I'd be good. And I told her I'd think about it. That's all."

"Zac, if you do this movie there is no more Hanson. You got that? No. More. Hanson. Do you want that? Do you? Do the fans? Think about it, ok?" Taylor exploded. Zac knew his brother got jealous easily, but this was taking it too far. "Shouldn't he be happy for me?" Zac thought.

* * *

The phone rang shrilly at the Hanson house, and Taylor picked it up on the second ring. "Hello?... Ike! Hi! How are you doing?" Taylor exclaimed the minute he recognized his brother's voice. "Oh, I'm not so great," was the response. Taylor settled himself into the easy chair in the den, and a concerned look befell his face.

"Really? What went wrong Ike?" he asked. Isaac replied, "Well, my roommate hates me, thinks we're a bunch of faeries, but he also said he felt bad for me because of what happened with Zac, so he invited me to some party he's having tomorrow night."

"Ooh, what fun," Taylor said laughing. "An anti-Hanson roommate. But you knew it was going to happen Ike, you knew. Speaking of Zac... I talked to him today, for like, five minutes." A silence fell over the line, and no one spoke for a moment or two.

"What did he say?" Isaac asked quietly. "I mean, that must have been weird, we haven't talked to him in over a month or so, at least."

"Yeah, it was really weird. He ruined our chance at a singing career, he just about ruined our lives Ike, and now he expects us to just want him again? I'm sorry, but that's not going to happen. But he sounded kind of worried. He was insisting you were in trouble or something."

"That's so weird..." Isaac said, as if in a daze, still in awe that Zac had actually called to talk to Taylor.

"Yeah, it is Ike, it really is. He asked about you. If you were doing ok and all, and I, of course, got angry with him and told him if he wanted to know he should call you himself. So don't be surprised if he calls you, he practically begged me for the number."

* * *

Zac Hanson threw yet another pile of clothes into his suitcase, shoving them in, not bothering to fold. He could get someone to iron them when he got there. He would be leaving in a half an hour, to go shoot his second movie, and still had to say goodbye to everyone. Well, not everyone. Taylor wasn't talking to him, and Isaac was on the verge of the silent treatment also. Earlier that morning Isaac had blown up at him, screaming, "What Zac? You CAN NOT do that to us! You've already done it once with the first movie, you can't do it again!"

He didn't understand his brothers. He always had before, but not this time. Why weren't they excited that he was going to be doing another movie? Why were they so mad at him? He had thought they would have been happy for him, what with the way he loved acting so much. And it's not like he would be ruining their music career; they would just be taking another break. No big deal. They could continue when he was done with this movie.

But to Taylor and Isaac it was a big deal. Before the three brothers had made it big, they had promised themselves that they would stick together. Technically, this wasn't a solo career, but Taylor still thought of it as one, since Zac was doing a movie without them.

Taylor wanted to be happy for Zac, he really did, but try as he might it, he just couldn't. He was angry that Zac had decided to take acting over their music, causing them to cancel numerous shows and interviews.

"Dad! I'm ready to go!" Zac shouted as he bounded down the stairs. "This is going to be SO awesome! I mean, I'm going to be working with Jennifer Love Hewitt!" He walked into the family room, where most of his family was seated, excluding Taylor and Isaac, whom had left to go out to Laser Quest. The last words out of Taylor's mouth had been, "I NEVER want to talk to you again, you understand Zac? You ruined my future. Mine and Ike's. You ruined ME." Just thinking about that cold confrontation gave Zac chills.

Zac's mom stood up from the couch she was sitting on with ZoŽ and walked over to Zac. She embraced him in a hug and murmured, "Now you have fun, you hear? I've always told you to do whatever you love Zac. It will reward you in the future." She held Zac's face tenderly in her hands and smiled. She had always wanted what was best for her boys, and thought that if Zac wanted to try acting, she wasn't in the position to stop him.

"Yeah, I know Mom. This is what I love," he responded. "Will you tell Ike and Tay I say bye?" He bit his lip, not knowing what else to say. He wished that he had support from his brothers, but there was nothing he could do about it.

Mrs. Hanson smiled lovingly, and answered, "Yeah, sure honey. I'll tell them."

 

Part Three: "You're on the verge of going crazy"

Isaac Hanson checked his hair in the mirror once more before grabbing his jacket and heading out the door with John. Tonight was the party that John had invited him to, and he was determined to fit in. To be someone other than just Isaac Hanson, ex-pop star. They walked down the narrow hallway of the dorms and stepped into the cool night air. There was an eerie presence in the air that night, one that Isaac couldn't place. The wind seemed to give him increased chills, and the air was crisp and thick. A full moon hung high in the sky, threateningly. It was well after midnight, but Isaac didn't question why they were leaving so late.

"Where are we going, anyway?" Isaac asked John as they walked down the street to where John's car was parked. "I told you. A party. It'll be fun, don't worry Isaac. You'll have had way too much fun before the night's over," he smiled and laughed. That gleam in his eyes was brighter. More vivid. Isaac shivered.

But he couldn't be a chicken now. Not when John was just starting to accept him. No, not now. He walked over toward the passenger side of the door and slipped inside, the wind now gone. John started up the car and turned on the radio to some college station. They drove off into the darkness, the buildings getting more and more sparse; the trees and darkness growing in abundance.

* * *

Zac Hanson sat in a dressing room, lying on a leather couch. Exhausted from the first of day of shooting, he watched his chest rise and fall in rhythm to his breathing. It was quiet, except for the soft hum of a fan on the desk. He drifted off, his mind on what had happened the week before he had come out to LA. His thoughts mashed together, becoming one incomprehensible mess as he fell out of consciousness...

"What Zac? You CAN NOT do that to us! You've already done it once with the first movie, you can't do it again!" Isaac yelled at him...

Zac heard himself on an old interview, "How can we break up? We're brothers!"...

"I LOVE you Zac! If you're acting or singing, I'll love you always," some fan had told him before he had left for LA...

"Zac, if you do this movie there is no more Hanson. You got that? No. More. Hanson. Do you want that? Do you? Do the fans? Think about it, ok?" Taylor had told him furiously...

His mother's loving voice, "Do whatever you love Zac. It will reward you in the future."...

"I NEVER want to talk to you again, you understand Zac? You ruined my future. Mine and Ike's. You ruined ME."...

The thoughts spun in his mind, and Zac awoke with a start. "No..." he cried, gasping for air. "Please, don't let this happen to me," he breathed.

"You ruined ME... I NEVER want to talk to you again Zac... No. More. Hanson..." the thoughts reverberated in his head, repeating themselves, over and over, like on a broken record player.

"NO!" Zac shouted aloud in the empty dressing room. "NO! JUST STOP, PLEASE!" The voices kept echoing in his head...

"Do what you love..."

"I NEVER want to talk to you again..."

"If you're acting or singing, I'll love you always..."

"You CAN NOT do this to us Zac..."

"How can we break up? We're brothers..."

"You ruined ME..."

"NO. MORE. HANSON."

* * *

They drove in silence, for at least an hour, maybe more. Finally, they arrived. John pulled the car into a hidden driveway, surrounded by overgrown brush. Isaac looked about, trying to see a house, lights, music, anything. Nothing.

John stopped the car, and stepped out. Confused, Isaac followed, not saying a word. "Here we are. We'll have to walk a ways though." The moon shone brightly, and there was no need for a light, even here. Isaac nodded and followed John through a maze of trees. It wasn't long until they encroached upon a clearing. A bonfire burned brightly in the center of the clearing, and Isaac counted five other people there, now joining him and John. He didn't recognize any of them.

"Hey John," one of the girls said. There were three girls. Four guys. "Is this our special guest?" she asked him, wandering over toward Isaac to take a closer look at him. She was beautiful, about Isaac's age. "Hi," she spoke to him. "Welcome to the club." She laughed and her face broke into a playful grin.

"Yes, Abby, this is Isaac," John told the girl. The others slithered over toward the area where John, Isaac, and Abby had assembled. Excited looks adorned all of their faces, and Isaac couldn't help but wonder what was going on. Why was he here, and what sort of party was this?

"This should be fun. Seven is the number of perfection you know Johnny," another girl cooed sweetly. Her inky, black hair swished in the slight breeze. "You're going to have lots of fun tonight, Isaac. I'm your number one fan you know," she whispered quietly into his ear. "My name's Jamie," she hissed.

"Um, yeah," Isaac stuttered. He was starting to get spooked. "What the he ll is this?" he asked with more force, more volume.

The two girls led him over to a log near the fire and lowered him down onto it, sitting on either side of him. "Oh, don't be silly Isaac. This isn't hell. Or at least, not yet," Jamie told him, giggling an almost insane laugh. Her voice dripped with sweetness, syrupy and sticky. Too sweet.

John and the rest of the group joined Isaac and the two girls on fallen trees that were being used as benches. John noticed the bewildered look on Isaac's face and nodded toward the two girls, who instantly lay off their fawning over Isaac. "What am I doing here?" Isaac cried. "And who the hell are these people John? What kind if screwed up party is this?"

"This is going to be a fun night for you Isaac," Jamie informed him, giggling maniacally as she stroked his head like a pet cat. John was starting to look annoyed at her groveling over Isaac, and ordered, "Jamie, please, stop."

"Yes, sir," she mumbled, almost incoherently. "You didn't answer my question John. What is going on?" Isaac shouted. He tried to stand up, and run, but Abby and Jamie held him down, keeping him captive, a prisoner.

John smiled, relatively hypnotically, and his wild demeanor enhanced. "We're going to have a sacrifice party tonight, Isaac. And we've invited your little brother Zac to come celebrate with us," he told Isaac, laughing. The two vixen-like girls that had been fondling Isaac before broke into hysterical giggles.

"What?" Isaac yelled. "You're not getting my brother!"

"Oh, but we already have him," Jamie cooed sweetly, laughing.

 

Part Four: "I hope you have the time of your life"

Taylor sat at home, in his empty bedroom, just after talking to Isaac. Now with Isaac leaving, and Zac never being home, the room had essentially become his own. He scribbled the words to a song on a piece of paper, shook his head, and crumpled the paper, dropping it on the floor to add to the ever-growing pile.

He glanced at the stack of mail that was sitting on his desk, letters from fans that had somehow gotten a hold of his home address. A larger envelope sat on top of the stack. It was from Midwest. An airline? Taylor ripped it open. A ticket. For today. In his name.

A small piece of paper dropped out, and Taylor picked it up off the floor. He bit his lip in confusion. "Just thought you might miss your big brother. Go see him. It's my gift to you. Love, Your #1 Fan, Jamie." "What the...?" Taylor thought.

He thought back to the phone call he had had earlier that day, with Zac. It was an odd call, and Taylor replayed it in his mind. Maybe he should go see Isaac. But he sounded fine when he talked to him today!

"Hello?" Taylor spoke into the phone, expecting it to be Isaac. "Taylor?" a voice replied. The voice wavered nervously. It sounded slightly familiar, and a million memories surfaced as Taylor inhaled quickly, startled. "Zac, is that you?" he asked.

"Yeah, Tay, it's me. Listen, I can't talk long-"

"What, another movie to shoot?" Taylor retorted moodily. He still despised Zac for leaving the band, he couldn't hide it.

A deep sigh, and then, "No, Tay, nothing like that. I just- needed to talk to you. And Ike, is Ike there?"

"He's at college Zac. You should know that, he left yesterday, and you couldn't even call to wish him good luck," Taylor told him.

"Well, that's what I thought, but I wasn't sure..." Zac's voice trailed off.

"Well, if you want to know how he's doing, why don't you call him? I'm sure he'd really appreciate hearing from you, you are after all his brother!" Taylor shouted.

Another sigh. "Taylor, look, I'm sorry, ok? We can talk about that another time. I need Ike's number, now. I really need to talk to him, he's in trouble."

Taylor, still enraged, "My ass Ike's in trouble. I just talked to him yesterday. He's fine."

A strong, determined voice, this time choked with tears, replied, "Give me the number Taylor. I NEED the number. If I don't talk to Ike, he's gonna die."

"Yeah, whatever. 555-6847. And the area code's 392. Go call him. See what I care."

"I have to go, bye-" A click. The dial tone was heard on the phone in Taylor's hand.

"That is so weird..." Taylor thought to himself. That was not Zac. Even though Taylor hadn't talked to his brother in over a month, he still knew what was natural and what was not. Zac's voice had been tense, nervous, and uneasy. Something was wrong. He immediately regretted being so harsh with his brother. And what was he talking about Isaac being in trouble?

Zac had called, obviously needing help, or wanting to help Isaac, and Taylor couldn't help him. His own brother. "I have to clear this up," Taylor muttered. He picked up the phone, and rushed down to the den. On the desk was a piece of paper, with the phone number of Zac's cell phone listed. He ran back upstairs to the privacy of his bedroom.

He dialed. It rang, once, twice. A voice. "Hello?" A female voice? Perplexed, Taylor asked, "Um, is Zac there? This is his brother..." "Oh yes. Taylor. This is Officer Granger. We haven't known Zac's whereabouts since yesterday afternoon, I'm sorry. Your parents haven't told you?"

"What? You mean, he's missing! No, nobody did tell me. Where the hell could he have gone?" Taylor shouted into the phone. "He called me today. THIS afternoon."

"Did he give you any clues to his whereabouts?" the officer chirped. She was obviously enjoying her job, searching for a lost movie/ex-pop star.

"Listen, I can't deal with this," Taylor told her, and hung up the phone. He slumped down in the chair, his breathing labored, staring at the carpeting. "Ike's in trouble..." he thought quickly. "Oh shit... He wanted to talk to Ike. Warn him about something. This has to do with Ike then. I need to get out there. I need to talk to Ike..."

He glanced over at his desk, the plane ticket sitting on top. He grabbed it and rushed out of the house.

* * *

Zac was escorted out of the woods by two of the young men, his head down, in a shameful manor. Tears streamed down his face. "Oh God, Zac!" Isaac shouted, trying to get at him. He twisted free from the two girls and ran towards his brother.

He knelt down on the wet, dewy grass, near his brother. "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?" Isaac shouted, to John, to the group, to anyone. Zac avoided Isaac's gaze, looking intensely into the fire instead. He didn't say a word.

John spoke softly, calmly, and explained, "Isaac, I'll bet you didn't know this was an oak forest. You know who thinks oak trees are sacred, don't you? Oh, that's right, you were home schooled, how would you know? The Druids. You know what those are right? We are them," he gestured toward the remaining five members.

"And every year, we make a sacrifice. We thought you'd like to join us this year Isaac. Since you're my roommate-"

"What?" Isaac interrupted. "You want to kill Zac? You can't do that, I won't let you!" Zac was crying hysterically now, and sobs shook his body. Rage engulfed Isaac, "I would never kill my brother. Never. And you are sick," he said with disgust. "Sick for killing people, sick for thinking I wanted to kill my own brother!"

John nodded sympathetically. He was clearly the leader of the group, and walked nearer to Isaac. Pouting, he said softly, "You have it all wrong Isaac. It's not just Zac we want..." "What are you talking about John?" Isaac demanded.

"We don't just want Zac. We want you too," John hissed, hypnotically. "We asked Zac to come join us for our little party. He, of course, obliged."

"What?" Isaac rushed to Zac's side once more, holding his brother's limp hand in his own. "You came so we could be killed? Zac, what's going on?" he cried, pleadingly.

Zac just shook his head, and bit his lip. Another sob caused his body to shudder. "No, Ike. It's not like that at all. It's...they brought me here. I didn't want to come..." His voice faded off as his whimpering continued, becoming worse.

"Come on Isaac," John said. "Let's make this quick and painless, shall we?" He smiled, and a black, shiny handgun emerged from behind Jamie's back. "We don't like to use guns Isaac. They're too easy, too swift. But this was the best way..." she laughed insanely and held the gun out, her arms outstretched.

"But why me?" Isaac cried. "Why Zac? I don't get it!" A rustling in the bushes. Three more figures emerged. Two taller figures, and a shorter, younger one. Taylor. Isaac closed his eyes, wishing maybe it would all go away. Seconds went by, he opened them. Still there.

Taylor's eyes were wild, his expression confused. He didn't talk either. Then Isaac noticed a glint in the hand of one of the men. A black object, a gun, in his hand. "Why us then?" Isaac asked, frantically, not knowing what to do or where to turn.

"We needed you. All three of you. Together, without all the security you had when you were famous. So we planned it," John started. "Yeah, it was great fun!" Jamie said in a bubbly voice. John glared at Jamie and she was silenced. He continued, "We broke up the band. We got Zac acting jobs, knowing he would take them. We sent all those college refusal letters Isaac, so that this was your only option. I requested you as my roommate. Jamie sent Taylor the plane ticket to find. We knew he'd fly out here. It was all quite simple if you think about it."

"But that phone call from Zac?" Taylor wondered quietly. "What?" Jamie asked, wandering closer to Zac. "Zac, did you call Taylor? You bad, bad boy," Jamie scolded in her molasses-thick voice as she leaned over Zac, her shiny black hair falling into his face.

"But why us? That's what I want to know!" Isaac cried. "We needed three souls. Three souls, full of loathing and hate toward each other. That fit you perfectly. Jamie has an obsession with you, so we made the decision that we would have you by tonight. And we do. She's very happy to finally meet you."

Jamie slinked over to Isaac, and smiling told him, "I'm your number one fan, Isaac. It's nice to finally meet my idol...before he's dead!" Her laugh, again. She had gone mad. She twirled the gun around her finger, getting dangerously close to shooting it off. "Jamie. The sun will be coming any minute. Do it now," John's threatening voice told her.

"Yeah, ok," she replied. "Come on boys, you're about to meet your Maker." More laughing. Isaac walked, slowly, over towards his two brothers. Zac was still sobbing, and Isaac took him, held him against himself, soothing him. "Shh...Zac, it's going to be all right. Everything's going to work out," he whispered comfortingly.

Taylor stepped closer, and he and Zac embraced lovingly. "What the...? I thought they had to hate each other John. This is not going to work!" Abby shouted.

"You mean we can't kill them? John," Jamie said in a whiney voice. "I wanna kill them!"

The three brothers, oblivious to their surroundings, now that they were safe in each other's arms, retreated from each other as the first rays of light popped into the sky. It was morning. They looked around, noticing the silence that had come sometime during their embrace.

Nothing. The crackling bonfire was dying down, only a few burning embers were left. No sign of human life. Anywhere. A gun was lying in the grass near one of the logs. "Hello?" Zac yelled. "Um, Ike? I don't see anyone..." Taylor informed them. He was right. None of the six other people were there. None.

"It's a trick," Isaac said somberly. "They wouldn't just...leave."

"But we didn't fit the requirements Ike! Don't you get it? They couldn't kill us!" Zac exclaimed joyously.

Taylor looked around, studying the surroundings. "Yeah, but even if they're gone we've gotta find a way home..." Taylor noted. Isaac nodded. "Come, on. I think I know where John's car is. This way."

The three boys started out, in the direction Isaac had come from when he had arrived. There weren't any trails, just miles and miles of oak trees. "Maybe we should go this way..." Zac suggested, pointing in the opposite direction Isaac was heading. Taylor responded angrily, "God Zac, I don't really think you're in the position to be telling us where to go, are you? Ike's the one who knows the way, let him figure it out."

"Ok, ok, jeez. You don't have to yell at me," Zac muttered. Suddenly Isaac came running towards Taylor and Zac, a smile on his face. "I found the road," he announced proudly. Zac's mouth fell open, and Taylor raced off in the direction where Isaac had come from. The three ran off, and reached the dirt road shortly after.

There were tire marks where the car had been parked, and was now gone. A white envelope lay in the middle of the road. "What's this?" Taylor asked as he grabbed it. Tearing it open, his face turned pale as he read. "What's it say?" Zac asked eagerly.

"Zac, you're so nosy," Taylor commented, shaking his head. Zac looked hurt, and pouted slightly. "I just want to know what it says, Taylor. God." Taylor held the letter out of Zac's reach and read it out loud.

"There's always next time. Love-" Suddenly, a movement in the brush. Taylor stopped reading, startled, and looked up, his eyes wide. He saw a glimpse of inky black hair. A black glint in the light. A bullet shot rang out. A body slumped on the dirt road. A scream, fading off to whimpering.

"Love, Your number one fan, me," Jamie finished, laughing quietly, as she twirled the gun in her fingers.


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