|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Six
09 - Deja Vu - Coyote
I laid on the hotel bed, the feminine screams refusing to leave my head, the ringing in my ears unyielding. I attempted to block out the animated cries from the television screen my brother Zac watched intently. The concert had gone on too long, the screams had gone on too long...I thought I was permenantely damaged. But then the screams changed.
They were no longer the chipper, excited screams of peppy teenage girls. They had deformed into something much different. Something much worse.
"Zac, do you hear something?" I asked, sitting up on the bed. Zac turned to me dazedly, shaking his head wearily. He had seemed so out of it lately...But that was beyond my thoughts. Slowly, but surely, the horrific cries began to form words.
Please, no! Leave me alone!
I shook my head and rubbed my temples. They sounded so familiar...was I completely whacked? You don't just hear real screams in your head, I thought, leaning back onto the bed. However, real or fake, the terrified cries of pain continued to wheel around in my mind.
I decided to give into my newfound madness and let the shrieks speak to me. They sounded male, and they sounded young, but that was all I could place.
No, no! I won't tell anyone, please! Just don't hurt me...I won't ever tell anyone you did this!
It sounded so familiar, it was eerie. My eyes popped open. "I'm just a total psychopath," I muttered to myself, shrugging.
Zac turned around, hearing my voice. "What?" he asked. "You're a psycho?"
"This is so weird," I said to him, laughing. "I must be a total basket case." I looked at him, laughter pulling at the corners of my eyes and mouth. The confusion on his face increased when I proceeded to recite to him the entire crazy scenario going on inside my head. When I finished, he didn't laugh hysterically, like I expected. Instead, his face grew dark and his gaze with mine leveled seriously.
"Maybe you should try to figure out who it is," he said quietly. "You might have some sort of twisted gift, Tay, and if you're the only one who knows that this person is being tortured, or whatever, you should try to do something about it." The laughter in my expression vanished. "Zac," I started, my eyebrows furrowing in confusion. "You don't actually believe this shit, do you?"
My brother did nothing but shrug and return to his cartoons.
Weird, I thought, my gaze drifting into space. Why the fuck does Zac actually believe this? Wait, does he? Or is he just trying to fuck with my mind? What the hell is up with him, anyway?
The thoughts were ripped from my mind when I heard a loud knock coming from the door of our hotel room. When it looked like Zac was making no effort to pull his face from the television, I dragged myself from the bed and ventured to the door.
The face that met mine was that of a very pretty girl, about thirteen or so, smiling in my general direction. "Hi, Tay!" she chirped, flipping her shoulder length strawberry hair out of her eyes.
Oh, shit. A fan. "Uh, hi..." I stood my ground in front of the door. "Um, what's your name?"
She didn't answer me. She looked over my shoulder at Zac, her smile growing wider. "Um, what?" she asked, her eyes returning to mine. "Oh, Alyssa. Um, can I come in and see Zac?"
I turned to look behind me, and the look plastered on Zac's round face was far beyond scared, it was horrified. Although I didn't understand why, I turned back to the girl, shaking my head apologetically. "Sorry, I'm not allowed to let you in." I shrugged. "Zac needs his rest for the concert...You'll be there, right?"
Alyssa's smile vanished. "Yeah, I will, but I really need to talk to Zac."
I smiled kindly to her, trying not to appear condesending. "I'm sure you do, Alyssa, but he needs time to rest, I'm really sorry." I looked into the hallway. "Hey, how'd you get in here, anywa--" I stopped when another voice ripped through my skull, leaving me breathless and leaning against thedoorframe.
I'm going to kill you tonight, after it's over.
A different voice...A female voice. One I couldn't place, but still, it felt slightly familiar. As if I had just heard it recently. I forced my eyes open and looked at the girl, Alyssa. "I'm sorry, you're gonna have to leave."
Suddenly, Alyssa grasped me by my shirt collar and pushed me against the wall. "Listen, Taylor," she growled. "I know you're just trying to protect your brother, but I really need to talk to him."
My blue eyes went wide as I gaped at this maniac girl. Behind me, I thought I heard Zac muttering something. No? I thought. Is he saying the word no? I would have turned to him, if I was capable of doing so. Alyssa, however, she already had. She was looking over my shoulder, her eyes locked on Zac's.
At that moment, she released me from her grasp, and as I rubbed my sore neck, I heard Zac getting to his feet from behind me. I turned and looked at him in suprise, and he shrugged.
"Might as well see what she has to say," he remarked, looking at me. He sounded strained, as if he was forcing the words from his mouth.
I didn't hear him, though. As soon as Alyssa had let me go, the voices had started up again. Both of them, the male and the female. Not even noticing as Zac gazed after me pleadingly, and finally leaving the room, shutting the door behind him, I concentrated on what these phantom people had to say.
No! You can't kill me! I've got family, friends, a job! Why are you doing this to me? What did I ever do to you?!
The male voice sounded different, still frightened, but somehow, as if it were speaking from a different time than from when I first heard the voices. Shit, I thought. I've missed a lot.
Oh, you poor thing. Friends, family, job...bullshit! You wanna know what you did to me? That's exactly what I wanna know. You never did anything for me! The flowers, the presents, you never even cared when I sent them!
You're a fuckin' psycho, you know that? The male voice no longer sounded as frightened as before. It sounded angry. If you kill me, you'll never get away with it.
The girl laughed. Oh, I will. Believe me, I will.
You're a fuckin' insane bitch, and you'll never get your fun in killing me!
I'll kill myself first, if I have to!
Great. Less work for me.
All of the angry confidence left the boy's voice. Please, no, he whispered timidly. I'll do anything, anything. Just please, don't kill me.
Too late, sorry.
The girl's voice sounded so straight-forward, I cringed, thinking about the poor boy she was going to kill. "I've gotta find out who this is," I said aloud to myself. "I've got to help him..."
You're a bitch, the boy whispered to the girl, sounding defeated and crushed. You're a psychotic bitch. Fuck you. I'm outta here.
For several minutes, I sat, horrified by what was going on inside my head. I felt crazy...This girl was going to kill this boy, and I was the only one who knew. I was the only one, and I couldn't do a damn thing about it.
After about fifteen minutes, I heard the door begin to open.
"Fuck you. I'm outta here."
My head shot towards the door, where I found Zac, slamming it behind him. My eyes grew wide. Coincidence, I thought. It's a fucking coincidence.
"Zac?" I said softly, standing and walking to my brother, who looked traumatized and exhausted. "Zac, who was that girl? Why did you swear at her?"
Zac, who was looking at the carpet, looked at me in terror. He tried to hide the expression, but I caught it. "She's just some psycho fan, Tay. Don't worry about her."
"Zac, I am worried," I said. "Did she threaten you? I think it's you I've been hearing!" I grabbed his shoulders and shook him. "Zac! Did she or did she not threaten you? Tell me, dammit!"
"Tay, stop it!" Zac screamed, pulling away and glaring at me. His soft blonde hair was tousled all around his flushed round face. "Yeah, she did, but she's fulla shit, okay?! She won't do anything! Would you just calm down and leave me the fuck alone?!" He turned away from me, tears streaming down his face. Letting his head drop to the wall, I heard sobbing sounds wrench from his throat.
I felt hot tears form in the corners of my eyes. As I started to reach out to Zac, to comfort him,but the voices...they started again. This time, however, the name I heard was my own. Taylor...
I collapsed on the bed, closing my eyes tightly and letting my head drop to my hands. "No," I said softly. "Don't bring me into this..."
Taylor, I've got to tell you something. Tay, listen to me!
Just then, Zac crumpled against the wall and looked up at him in terror.
"Zac, shut up! It can't be you now! The voices are talking to me!"
"Zac, shut up!"
"Taylor, I've got to tell you something," Zac's voice became shrill when he saw I wasn't listening to him. "Tay, listen to me!"
I couldn't hear him. I could only concentrate in horror as the voice of the boy, which I had concluded was not Zac, told me in horror that a girl had been tormenting... raping him, during the last three weeks. She had said that he didn't care for her, even though she had given him everything. Now, the voice told me, she was going to kill him. But he wasn't going to let her...
Because I'm going to kill myself first, Tay.
"No," I whispered, shaking my head rapidly. "Don't do it. Tell me where you are, I'll take you away from her...I'll protect you from her."
Taylor, why aren't you listening to me?
"I am listening!" I didn't understand. "Tell me what to do!"
Listen to me! She's gonna kill me!
Zac looked at the ground, tears pouring in rivulets down his cheeks. "She said she's gonna kill me," he continued. "But I'm not gonna let her." Zac looked up at me as I concentrated on my phantom voice. "Because I'm going to kill myself first, Tay." He stood and ran to me, crying in pain. "Taylor, why aren't you listening to me?"
I didn't hear him, I only cried out to the voice. "Who are you?! Tell me who you are!" I ran my fingers through my hair, feeling dejected. "Please, I'll help you!"
Tay, it's me! You can't help if you don't listen!
"Listen to me! She's gonna kill me! Tay, it's me!" Zac put his hands on my knees and tried to look up into my face. "You can't help if you don't listen!"
"Please, who are you?"
At that moment in time, Zac gave up on me. He got to his feet, the tears refusing to stop. I'm not gonna let her kill me, he thought, walking to the window and opening it.
"Who are you?!" I cried, tears of confusion running from my eyes. "I'm listening!"
The cold air whipped Zac's hair around his head as he looked back at me. He walked back over to the bed, gazed at me, and placed his hand on my head.
"Bye, Tay," he whispered.
Right then, it came to me. The voice...
"No, Zac!" I cried, my eyes shooting open.
But Zac was nowhere to be found, and the window was open, the curtains swirling in the wind.