|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Five
07 - Thou Shalt Not Kill - Kimberly, K.J. & Saralynn
"Hey Ike! Where's that bowl?" Taylor Hanson called from the dining room.
"I'm coming, I'm coming. Hold your horses!" his brother, Isaac, called from the kitchen.
"What I'm doing is holding these pumpkin seeds. Would you hurry?" He was impatient now and his hands were full of gooey seeds.
Isaac entered the room, a large bowl in hand. "Here ya go,Tay."
Taylor dropped his handful of seeds into the bowl, then proceeded to remove more seeds from the somewhat large pumpkin. "Where's Zac? He's got a pumpkin to clean out too."
Isaac shrugged. "Last time I saw him, he was headed out into the woods with his pumpkin and his pocketknife."
Taylor scraped the last of the seeds from the pumpkin and deposited them into the bowl with a flourish. "Probably doesn't want us to steal his pumpkin carving ideas. I swear that poor kid thinks we'd kill him in order to know what he's doing at all hours."
Isaac handed him a towel. "You're right. That boy is crazy sometimes."
Taylor took the towel gratefully then began to walk to the kitchen, Isaac following behind him. "Yeah. I mean, if we really wanted to copy him, we could just do a little spell. So. What are you going as tonight?" Taylor questioned.
Isaac grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl on the counter. "A werewolf. Then I can have facial hair."
They both laughed. They stopped when the door slammed.
"What's so funny?" Zac called from the front hallway.
"Your face!" Tay called back.
This cause both of the eldest to burst into laughter again.
"Ha, ha. Really funny you guys." Zac stepped into the dining room, enciting a gasp from both of his brothers.
"Zac, what the hell happened to you?!" Isaac questioned. Zac was covered from head to toe with dark smelly mud. Leave and twigs were stuck all over him and tangled all throughout his hair.
"I was, umm, doing something and I slipped and fell. Dropped my pumpkin too."
"You are so lucky that mom is gone. She'd be having a fit if she saw the mess you're making by tracking all that crap through the house."
Zac mumbled something under his breath. "I'm going ta go take a shower." He turned around and was out the door. Soon they could hear loud footsteps going up the stairs.
Isaac looked down at his younger brother. "What's his problem?" he wondered aloud.
Taylor shrugged. "Spell gone wrong?" he suggested.
Ike laughed. "What else is new?"
"Well, true," Tay agreed, smiling. There was a moment of silence. "Dude, let's not worry about it," he said finally. "Let's go get dressed! It's Halloween!"
Abandoning their pumpkins, they went upstairs to the room that was shared between the three of them. Upon walking into the room, they first found a pile of Zac's muddy clothes and footprints leading across the floor to the dresser where the shoes and socks had been carelessly kicked off and left in the corner.
"Now my question is, is there anyway that Zac could've made more of a mess?" Isaac asked of Taylor.
"Watch it, dude. If you question it, he will find a way," Tay warned.
"This is true." Isaac went over to the closet where he had hung up his costume. "I can't believe I was lucky enough to find this perfect costume." Isaac admired the costume of a werewolf. It had sleak light brown hair, the exact shade of his own hair. The partial mask and make-up would make the look complete.
Meanwhile, Taylor was sitting on his bed, looking over a note he had found next to his costume which was sitting next to him. "Hey, Ike. Look what Zac was doing."
He handed Ike the note while picking up the small leather pouch which he had found under the note.
"A pinch will add life to your costume," Isaac read aloud.
"Hmmm... Ike, do you remember that store in L.A. that sold all the potions and stuff? The one Zac spent like $200 in?"
Ike set the note down and leaned against the wall. "Yeah, I do. Why?"
Taylor shrugged. "I don't know. I was just wondering if he got this there."
It was Isaac's turn to shrug. "Could be. Let's ask him."
Zac stepped into the room, steam following behind him, a towel around his waist. "Whatcha gonna ask me?"
Taylor held up the pouch. "Where did ya get this?"
Zac ran over, careful to hold his towel up. "Give me this." He grabbed the pouch.
Isaac gave him a strange look. "Why? What exactly is it?"
Zac rolled his eyes. "Did you not read the note? This stuff makes it so that our costumes will look so real. What are you guys going as?"
Ike pointed to the closet. "A werewolf."
Taylor shrugged. "A vampire. How 'bout you, Zac?"
Zac grinned. "A ghost."
Isaac smiled, and Taylor cracked up. "A ghost? How babyish can you get?"
Zac shook his head, all the while smiling. "The pouch. I sprinkle the dust inside on me once I'm in costume, I become a real-looking ghost until midnight. I feel nice today. I'll let you guys have some too."
Isaac climbed up on his bed. "Your generousity astounds me."
Zac frowned. "It should. This stuff cost me a lot."
Taylor smiled. "Thanks, man."
Zac grinned again. "Well, what are we waiting for? Into costume!"
Isaac grabbed his costume and a small bag that contained his werewolf makeup and went into the bathroom for the use of a mirror.
Zac grabbed his clothes and "costume" - which was really just a sheet with eye holes cut out - and went to the downstairs bathroom to change.
Taylor was free to use their room to change.
Fifteen minutes later the three brothers met in their bedroom. Zac carefully opened the leather pouch. He pinched a small amount and sprinkled it on his costume. He held out the pouch so Ike and Tay could do the same. Once that was done, he quickly mumbled something in Latin. Then, "Oh, shit!"
"What?!" Ike and Tay shouted. The last time Zac had ended a spell in "Oh, shit!" all three of them went deaf for three days straight.
"Ummm, I think I said something wrong."
Taylor and Isaac just stared in amazement. The sheet, which Zac had been wearing a moment ago had dissolved into thin air and he was now see through. Isaac walked around to the other side of Zac. He could still see Taylor plain as day. Moving closer, he stuck his hand through Zac's back.
"Hey, that tickles!" Zac laughed a little. His voice sounded like an echo and seemed distant. "This is so kewl!" Zac was hovering a few inches off of the ground.
He floated through the door.
"Hey what about our costumes?" Isaac called after him.
Just as he spoke, something began to happen to him. The fur and make-up began blending into his face just like real hair.
His joints began to pop as he was transformed into an actual werewolf. Howling, he took off out the window.
Taylor sighed. "Well, what about me?" he mumbled to himself.
Just then his costume began to take on life.
His teeth, which had been a fake plastic set that didn't even look remotely real, were now real, long and super sharp. He tried to look into the mirror to check out his new look, but to his surprise, he had no reflection.
Taylor smiled to himself, then walked out the door.
"Hey there," Isaac said cheerily to a group of small children as he passed them on the street.
The children, dressed as a witch, a skeleton, and a ninja, gaped at Isaac momentarily before letting out a chorus of peircing shrieks and rushing away.
Ike grinned a deformed smile, revealing the huge fangs of teeth marred only by the hanging metal that had been his braces. The streets of Tulsa were swarming that night and he could barely wait to get out into them.
Zac floated aimlessly down the street. Orange and gold leaves skitted across the pavement below him, as if stirred by a gentle wind. He smiled. That wind was him.
A sound pierced the quiet night air. Old iron gates moaning. Anyone who'd ever seen a horror film knew that sound. Instinctually, Zac turned toward it.
It was where his grandmother had been buried. Zac had never been there by himself; let alone at night. And even though he had loved his grandma, he never wanted to go the the graveyard. Too spooky.
However, for some reason, it didn't seem so just then. Instead, it seemed . . . inviting.
"Well, duh," he muttered logically, "I'm a ghost."
Without giving it another thought, he floated toward the gate.
Taylor skulked through the shadows even the street lights couldn't penetrate. For some odd reason, he just couldn't bring himself to come out into the light.
He could see better than he ever remembered seeing before, hear and smell - everything was sharper and crisper. Better.
Upon leaving his house, Tay had decided to test his "new" senses. However, that had been put on hold. Another sensation had washed over him; one that couldn't be ignored.
As Isaac trotted along on all fours, he realized something was going wrong. As much fun as it was scaring all of the little trick-or-treaters, the longer he was in his new form the more his thoughts seemed to change. He began to lose control of his actions; the animal in him wanting to take control.
He spotted another group of small children. Trotting up to them, he tried to speak (the sight of a talking wolf had managed to scare the crap out of a lot of people so far) but his voice seemed to elude him.
Dammit! Zac didn't tell me this would change my vocal chords too. Now I can't even talk.
Not even realizing it, Ike had begun to growl deep in his throat when he thought of Zac. A moment later he realized that all of the kids had run away, terrified, thinking Isaac was going to eat them.
And when he took off after them, he scared himself. No! I can't do this! He abruptly pulled himself to a halt. What am I doing?! Isaac was beginning to get a little scared. He realized that if he stayed around all of these people he might do something he'd later regret.
He took off for the woods, running as fast as his canine legs would take him.
Once he was deep within the confine of the trees, he slowed. And his animal senses began to kick in.
Cocking his nose up in the air, he got a whiff of something. Sniffing a little more, he realized it was a deer.
He followed the trail, even though the little bit of Isaac that was still in control didn't want to.
A few minutes later, he saw it. A beautiful doe, drinking by the stream. No! What am I doing? I can't do this!
He took one step back and landed on a twig, causing the deer to jerk her head up into the air, fully alert. She must've sensed Isaac, because a moment later she dashed between the trees.
Isaac gave chase.
Taylor didn't know where he was going or what he planned on doing when he got there, but continued to go where his insticts led him, melting from shadow to shadow where no one could see him.
The pain in his stomach was begining to become annoying. Somehow he knew that where he was going, he was going to get rid of it.
He came a small house. At first it looked to be deserted, but Taylor just closed his eyes and listened. He heard voices coming from the backyard and smelled the sharp odor of smoke.
Silently, Taylor crept around the house. He melted into the shadows along the fence until he found a tree where he could safely watch the occupants of the backyard without being seen.
The three girls in the backyard seemed to be camping out. A small fire had been built in a shallow pit and three sleeping bags were set up in a circle around it.
Taylor recognized them. They were part of a five person band called until tomorrow that was gaining popularity in Tulsa and neighboring cities.
He smiled thinking about how Hanson had started out the same way. Tay decided that he would go and talk to them. "Hello?" he called, stepping out from the shadows.
One girl screamed. She was on the far side of the fire obstructing Taylor's view of her. Out of the other two, one gasped and the other simply glared at him and snapped, "Where the hell did you come from?"
"I was just walking around when I heard you talking and saw the smoke. Being bored, I decided to see if anyone wanted to talk." He gazed into her eyes willing her to believe.
The one on the far side of the fire just laughed. "Sorry I screamed, I'm kinda jumpy. Kay, don't be mad, I'm sure he means no harm."
But Kay didn't seem to be listening to her friend. She seemed totally out of it. Then Taylor realized something. I did that. I can put people in trances. Cool!
He looked at the girl who'd gasped. "What's your name?"
"Uh...ummm... it's..." she trailed off. Taylor gazed into her eyes, and almost immediately she was under her spell. Two down, one left. Although Taylor had no idea why he was doing this.
"That's Kim," said the other girl. Taylor walked a bit around the fire so the smoke didn't block his vision.
"And you are?"
She smiled. "I'm Sara, but everyone calls me Silver."
He smiled back, but then she tilted her head, exposing the smooth, creamy whiteness of her neck. Without conscious action, Taylor lept at her, sinking his fangs deep into her neck, covering her mouth with one hand to keep her from screaming.
After a bit, she stopped struggling. Taylor pulled away and went to each of the other two girls. They didn't struggle because he had already put them under a trance.
Finally he stepped away. A bit of the old Taylor broke through right then. He gasped. Omigod, I killed them!
They all lay motionless on the groung. He reached for the nearest, which happened to be Kim. He put his ear to her chest. There. He heard it. A very faint pulse and the slow whoosh of air passing through the lungs.
He checked Kay next, then Silver. They were both alive. Thank God. Taylor looked down at Silver's neck and saw that some blood had seeped from the wound he had left. He bent down and gently licked it clean. When he rose, he noticed that the wound had closed.
Quickly understanding that there must be some fast acting healing element in his saliva, he went to the other two, licking their necks clean of any blood and healing the punctures on their necks.
No one will ever know what went on here.
He melted back into the shadows.
Zac got a strange sensation passing into the cemetary..... Graveyard....... Boneyard...... His filmy covering billowed around him, no more than particles of dust caught in the faint glow of the moonlight.
He heard a voice from his left. It was familiar. So familiar. "Zac.... You're the reason we're here. You did this."
He turned around, the wind scraping dried leaves along the ground. "Me? How?"
Another voice. This time it was from the other side. "You already know. Every spell you do, every time you make a mistake, we're forced to suffer."
Yet another voice. It was far away and very faint. "How dare you! You little shit! If I still had hands..... Damn you! Damn you to live like we have to!"
He felt a tinge of pain within him. As he hovered there, the pain grew. He felt himself begin to shake. Out. He had to get out.
The wind began to blow, pushing him from his desired path. He fought against it as much as he could but the pain was still increasing in intensity. The wind stopped. He looked down and screamed.
Jane Nelson Lawyer. His grandmother. It was her grave.
No, Zac thought quickly, I don't want to see this. Not now. . .
A sheet of transparent film in front of him. No. Please, no. A voice, soft as the wind. "Zachary . . ."
Zac felt cold beneath his ghostly covering. "Grandma?" he whispered, his voice coming out weak and hollow. "Is that you?"
The transparent film before him slowly took shape. Zac watched in awe as the earthly body of his late grandmother formed. The transparent vision smiled. "Little one," she said in the same wind-voice as before.
Zac's face lit up. "Grandma!" he cried. He rushed toward the figure and attempted to wrap his arms around her.
It didn't work.
Zac turned around, confused. He had fallen through his grandmother. "Grandma . . .?"
"Sh," she whispered. "There's not time now, Sweetheart. The hour approachs."
His brow knit. "What?"
His grandmother's face was solemn. "You spoke the spell's words wrong, little one. You succeeded in not only making your costumes look real . . . They are real."
Zac gasped. "What? No. The lady at the store said -"
"You spoke the words wrong," she repeated.
"Oh, my god," Zac whispered. "You mean, we're stuck like this? Forever?" He panicked.
"There is still a chance to save yourself, and your brothers. You will still change back to your former selves at midnight," said his grandmother.
"What's the catch?" Zac asked.
"If one of you kills before the clock srikes the final toll of the twelfth hour, you will all stay in your current forms." As she said the words, Zac noticed her face fading.
"Grandma?" he asked carefully.
The ghostly figure managed to smile at him. "My time grows short," she whispered, fading. "You can still save your brothers, little one. You can do anything, but remember, 'thou shalt not kill' . . ."
As the final words were spoken, Zac watched his grandmother disappear into the night. An invisible tear streamed down his ghostly cheek. "Grandma," he whispered. There was no reply.
Though he had no body, he felt as though he were swallowing his fear. He had to get out of the graveyard. He had to save his brothers from whatever they might be doing.
Off he went. No wind to push him this time; he was on his own. It was up to him now.
Isaac stood on his haunches. He was ready to take the life of this doe in both body and soul. He had already brought it down leaving a large gash in it's hind leg. He breathed in a last bit of air as he went to devour the flesh of the doe, the blood so inviting.
As his teeth tore into muscle and he savored the blood, he felt a tingle, a rush, a strange sensation run up his spine. Suddenly, he could go no further. A voice in his head. Zac. "Don't do this, Isaac. Don't kill. Don't kill!"
No. Get out. Don't make me stop. Don't!
Isaac - the part of him that was still Isaac and not the werewolf - pulled away as fast as he could. Panic filled him. Instincts told him to run. He could not think beyond the instincts; he could only run. He headed for the center of Tulsa, not thinking what or who was there.
Taylor slipped through the shadows, basking in the cool breeze that surrounded him. He saw in the distance a young woman surrounded by small children. He smelled her. Her blood. His senses reeled, then he prepared to attack.
A rush. A tingle. A sensation that filled him. A voice in his head. Zachary. "Don't go for it. She's low on blood already. You'll kill her with one puncture. You can't do that."
Tay wanted to rush forth and go against Zac's wishes, but he couldn't. Every time he tried to move, there was that tingle. It was painful now. He stopped.
He turned and ran. He didn't know exactly where to go, but his body seemed to. The center of town. The tingle gone now. Finally.
Zachary watched his brothers go, not knowing where they were headed, knowing only that he should follow them.
He found his way to the center of town with no problem. It was hard to miss it. People surrounded his brothers. They knew these weren't costumes. They knew. But how could they know?
Without thinking, Zac joined his brothers. The people crowded closer. They held sticks, fire pokers, rakes, brooms. It would be a hilarious sight to any onlooker, but to him it was anything but hilarious. This was his fault. His fault. His...... Fault...... Your..... Fault.....
His mind screamed for the townspeople to stop. He had to get his brothers out of there. In the back of his mind, a voice said, "Thou shalt not kill."
We didn't kill, Grandma, Zac's mind cried. We didn't! It's almost midnight, it has to be. His ghostly eyes searched frantically for a clock.