|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Seven
05 - Him - Kimberly
This story could not have appeared here without help. I'd like to take a moment to thank some of the people who helped make it happen. First, Diana Liberty. She, as an amazing writer, was/still is an inspiration to me. I don't know her, she doesn't know me. But, she is one of the best writers I've ever had the pleasure of reading the work of and that is why this anthology and this story are dedicated to her. Second, to Stephen. He is an amazing person, a wonderful friend and an excellent writer. His work is superb. He asked to use this story and I was only happy to oblige. Next, to Jay, Kay, Sil and Lis. They're characters in the story. They're also real people, real friends and true bandmates of mine. Without them, I would never have written this story beause I wouldn't have gotten the encouragement on my writing that I needed to continue. Finally, to everyone reading right now. I write to be read. Without you guys, this never would have happened.
If you could think for the world, would you? He would. There was someone who could think for the world. He could.
As a child, he would dream up little fiascos in his head, and not be surprised when his dreams became reality because he was a child. As he grew, he thought nothing about it because it was so familiar to him.
And, so begins our story. It is a tale of one boy, his thoughts, his emotions, and resolution. It is the story of him.
He glanced at the restaurant hoping it wouldn't have a line. Willing it to be so. He entered with the rest of his family.
The place was dead. It was Friday night, 8:00PM, and no one was there. Weird.
He wanted to get the number of the hostess. She reminded him so much of Neve Campbell. He controlled his thoughts. Then, the waitress came around.
5'7" or so. Dark hair. Nice figure. "Hi! My name is Alisa. I'll be your server this evening. What can I get you to drink?"
He ordered a strawberry daquiri, thinking he would get it in "virgin" form. Not that he hadn't had alcohol before, as he had, but because he assumed she knew who he was, who they were, and therefore knew that he was only 15. Nowhere near the legal drinking age.
She left. After a few minutes of watching McGuire try for his 70th homerun of the season, and then succeeding, his attention veered back to the table. Alisa was placing his daquiri on the table. He smiled in thanks.
As his mother inquired about Alisa's somewhat unusual accent, he tuned out and tested his drink. When the flavor hit him, his eyes widened. This was no virgin.
He glanced up at Alisa. She smirked, and cast a wink in his general direction. He knew the night would be interesting.
He smiled in spite of himself. Alisa's phone number, hastily written on a cocktail napkin, was now tucked carefully into his pocket.
She had whispered to him after pressing the napkin into his hand as he was leaving. Her words. "Call me. Make it tonight. Exactly 1:37AM. It's urgent."
He glanced at his watch. Just after 10:00PM. He willed the time to fly by.
Surprise, surprise. It did just that.
It was now 1:37AM. He dialed slowly. It rang. Once. Twice. Midway through the third ring, someone picked up on the other end. He was about to inquire about whether Alisa was able to take his call, but was intead greeted with a distorted voice that held a menacing tone. "Come to the docks at 3:00PM this Friday. She'll meet you there."
Then, silence. A moment later, the dial tone echoed in his ear. That idiot. It was Friday.
The sky was overcast, and the sea rose in crests, crashing against the boats lined up along the old wooden structure.
These were the docks. The only known ones left in New York City. All of the other ones, the newer ones. They weren't true docks. Now, where was Alisa?
He gazed out at the sea. It was a common conflict. Man against nature. The most common being man against self.
A voice spoke from behind him. "Shouldn't you be making millions of girls scream?"
He didn't speak. There wasn't a lump in his throat, or a frog for that matter. Fear didn't stop him. Nor did "her beauty", though she did have beauty. He wasn't breathless. He just didn't know what to say.
Alisa stood before him, nude but for the hat balanced smartly on her raven hair. She spoke again. "They're after me. They want me to. Questions. The soup was burning. Help."
He closed his eyes because good judgement told him to. Teenage hormones kept them the slightest bit open. She didn't make sense. At least, not to him.
She began to run then. She reached the end of the dock, but she didn't stop. He saw the splash, and jumped in after her.
Now, he was breathless. The water stung with it's cold and motion. He regained his breath quickly. One deep breath.
He was under now. There she was. He pushed himself further beneath the water.
His arms encircled her waist. He pulled her close. He wrapped her arms around his neck for good measure and struggled for the surface.
A deep breath. It pained as well as relieved him. The waves were worse now. It took him a moment befiore he realized why. The hail that fell stung his skin. He had to get her out of there.
He held her close and fought against the current to get to the rocky shore. Almost there. Five feet or so.
Out of the water. He lifted her up and held her close. Her bare breasts with her cold-hardened nipples pressed against his chest. Her dark, wet hair mixing with his damp, blond hair. It was almost too much for him. He repeated one word as a mantra. "Control."
But where would he go now? He glanced across the street, then hurried to what he saw. It was a warehouse. And it had an open door.
He rushed over, Alisa still in his arms. He kicked the door open a little more, ran in, and shut the door behind him.
He hurridly performed CPR when he realized that she wasn't breathing. There was no light around to aid him. The cold pierced his soaking wet clothes. He shuddered. One more breath.
Pinch the nose. Tilt the head back. Breathe out, they breathe in. He pulled away as she let the breath out.
She began to cough violently. Her back arched in an utter lack of self-control. He took deep breaths as he watched her writhe on the floor. "Control."
She soon lay still, but breathing this time. He debated with himself as to whether or not he should go off in search of warmth, possibly food, clothing, and a bed. But in a warehouse? He willed it to be so, and set off to find it, leaving Alisa to rest for a moment.
Around the corner. A small room. He cautiously entered. He was relieved. Quite relieved. It was a kitchen.
He ran back to Alisa. He gently picked her up. She gently caressed his hair in her state of...what? Possibly, he would find out. He carried her to the kitchen.
He searched the cabinets, drawers, and closet for warm things. He found things. An electric blanket. Chicken soup. But, they were useless unless this place had power. He hesitantly flicked a light switch.
He stood drowned in relief, bathed in light. He plugged in the electric blanket, covering Alisa with it. She appeared to be sleeping. He hoped she was for what he was about to do.
He undressed. He shivered as the cold hit his bare flesh. He wrapped a large towel around himself. He tried to warm up a bit, but it was almost useless. Then, he noticed something in the corner. A heater.
He gladly turned it on, and placed his clothing next to it. Then, he got up, careful not to lose his towel, and checked the contents of the fridge.
A few gallon jugs of water. Some cans of juice and soda. All things that would keep indefinately. He then checked the freezer.
To his delight, a pizza was in there, and not freezerburnt. He gladly popped it in the oven.
While it was cooking, he made a can of chicken soup. He poured it into a mug that he found and had rinsed out well. He brought it over to Alisa. She was just awakening.
She began to speak. He stopped her. "Drink this first."
She gladly obliged. The timer on the over sounded. He retrieved the pizza, cutting it into 6 slices with a large knife, serving it on a small plate. He tasted a piece. Delicious.
He watched the blanket rise and fall as Alisa slept. He almost didn't want her to wake as she seemed so at peace. But, he had to know what was going on.
Hesitantly, he took off his towel and changed into his now-dry clothing. He glanced at the clock on the wall. It was nearing 4:00AM. Alisa should be waking up soon, whether she wanted to or not. But, she was still nude, and he didn't know if anyone was due at the warehouse that day, or when.
Quickly, he made the decision to carry her back to his hotel room now as it was still as dark as it gets in New York City.
Still sleeping, she curled against him when he lifted her up from her position on the floor. Her breath tickled his neck as he carefully carried her through the building, and out the door. He only hoped there would be no blood shed before the morning light could arrive.
He felt a tap on his shoulder. He muttered something. A more insistant tap. He rolled over and slowly opened his eyes. Alisa looked down at him, her eyes showing a million emotions.
He sat up quickly. "Alisa. What is it?"
She shrugged. "You told me to explain later. Only, not in so many words."
He lay back down. "Explain."
He was amazed. According to Alisa, there was something going on here. A scandal that could possibly topple the world if something weren't done about it.
He hugged Alisa, possibly holding her a little closer than necessary.
The details were sketchy at best, and he could tell she wasn't telling him everything. But, what he knew..... It sent chills down his spine.
There was a concentration camp located near Malone, New York. It was only about half a mile into the state from the Canadian border. But, this camp wasn't for Jews and the people who tried to help them. It was instead for musicians. And new camps with the same cause were springing up around the world.
It was all being run by a guy named Andrew Kitler. A guy wanted by the FBI. People with ties to Kitler had been caught breaking into numerous record companies at their East coast offices. But, who knows how many times they broke in, but weren't caught?
Alisa was a musician. She played bass for a band named "Xia". She wrote most of their music and lyrics, though she was an awful singer.
Kitler had captured her himself. She had been hauled from the rastaurant shortly after he left. Somehow, things had been worked out so that she could still meet him. In an attempt to phase whoever had been following her, she had stripped down. Then she had said soemthing to get him to turn.
She didn't know why she had mumbled all that she did, but claimed it was shock at seeing the red dot on his forehead. That's why she ran. She was happy he had followed.
It all crowded his mind, trying to make sense of itself. As it did, a new thought began to form. Where were his brothers? Had they been captured?
He excused himself from Alisa's presence and hurried over to Isaac's room, his older brother was not there. Zac's room. No younger brother either. He swallowed fear and peered into the room of his younger siblings. Gone. And his parents' room. Gone. He sank to the floor.
Something warm brushed his ear. He waved it away. It came again. He shook his head. Once more.This time it stayed in place, paining him. He moved quickly out of the way and glanced at the wall. A bright laser-red light remained there for a millisecond before blinking away. He glanced around nervously. They had to get out of there. He retreated back into his room where Alisa was putting on some of his clothing. He threw a sweatshirt her way from his suitcase, then grabbed one for himself.
Then he opened a secret compartment in his suitcase, pulling from it a roll of money and a switchblade. He stuffed his wallet with one, and pushed the other inside his Doc Martens. He looked around for a way out.
The fire escape. He opened the window, and climbed out, pulling Alisa after him. The ladder slid down smoothly, and they proceeded down it.
Once they hit the ground, they began to run down the street. He didn't look back until they were in Times Square. But, that's when something heavy hit him on the head, and darkness prevailed.
He awoke in a room with yellowed walls, and 5 girls staring at him. He stared back. "What are you looking at?"
Alisa, one of the 5 girls, spoke. "We're talking about being fans of yours, and your pants."
A dark-haired girl with a somewhat large bone structure spoke. "Or rather, lack thereof."
He looked down. Embarassment set in. He wished he hadn't worn his Tigger boxers.
Two blond girls who looked vaguely alike, apparantly sisters, giggled. And a few other giggles escaped from the lips of the other girls.
The final girl, also a blond, spoke. "Hey. We like them. we're fans. Not teenies, though. Pleh! Definately not. Just big fans."
He smiled, somewhat relaxed. "So, what are your names, ages, and bands?"
Alisa spoke first. "Alisa. 16. Xia."
Then the dark-haired girl. "Kim. 15. until tomorrow."
The taller of the blond sisters. "Krystle, but call me Kaylin or Kay. 16. until tomorrow."
The other sister. "Melyssa, call me Missa, Lis, Monkey, whatever. 15. Same band."
The final girl. "The name's Silver. 16. Same damn band as these three."
He smiled. Just then, the door was thrown open. A petite Chinese girl was thrown in the cell. Four of the five girls were ecstatic about it.
The girl smiled when he questioned her as he had the other girls. She spoke in an Australian accent, but just barely, something that surprised him. "Call me Jay. 16. until tomorrow. Big duh, huh dude?"
He laughed. They stuck him with a bunch of girls. They probably thought he was one. Now, how great a day was this?
After a few hours of conversing about almost everything and anything, the subject turned to Kitler. No one really knew much more about him than he did. It wasn't even known if that was his real name.
During that conversation, someone began to open the door. They quickly ended their conversation. The door opened further. A dark-haired, broad-shouldered man stood at attention.
The man's finger pointed first at him, then at Alisa. They were told to follow the man. They obliged.As he walked out of the room, he felt his butt pinched three distant times, and slapped at least once. When he turned, Silver, Kim, and Missa were grinning like mad-women, and Jay winked at him. Maybe they were mad-women.
They followed him down long, dark hallways filled with sounds of wounded spirits lifting up their voice in song.
A few more steps. The man unlocked a door, opened it, then hastily pushed them through it.
He stood for a moment listening to the man relock the door. Watching the dead bolt slide past the small slit between the door and it's frame.
Then he turned, and stumbled a bit. Nothing could have prepared him for what he now saw.
In the middle of the floor, in a small, dark room, sat his family. His mother's head was down, her hair covering something dark. He ran over and lifted her face up gently.
Still his mother winced. The entire left side of her face was a bright purple, stained with blood and tears. He hugged her close, careful of her face and her stomach.
She was obviously pregnant. Very pregnant. Anger clenched his fists and teeth. "Who did this to you? Kitler?"
His mother could only nod. "I'm gonna kill that son-of-a-bitch! Next time I see him I'm gonna tear his goddamn leg off and beat him to death with the goddamn bloody end of it!"
His father glared at him. "Now, Taylor. You shouldn't use that sort of language. But, it's nice that you're trying to defend your mother."
He screamed, then looked around the small room for Alisa. She was sitting with her back to the wall, her hands tucked under her. He walked over and sat down next to her.
Without realizing it, he began to sing. He tuned out everything else for a moment. Then, the door to the cell opened and a guard stepped in.
He looked up and stopped singing. The guard walked into the room, a baseball bat in hand. He raised it above his head. "You sing, you get hurt."
The guard brought the bat down, but it hit only air and then the wall. Taylor had moved quickly and was now behind the guard.
The guard swung around with the bat. He ducked. The guard growled, and threw the bat behind him, not caring that he hit his sister, Jessie, in the shoulder causing her to collapse in pain. He decided that he had had quite enough of this.
He threw all of his weight and worth into a punch aimed for the jaw of the guard. It connected perfectly. The guard stumbled, giving him his true chance.
He got the guy in a decent headlock, then found the pressure point underneath his jaw. He backed away a little bit and pushed that point with all of the energy he had.
That pressure point being pushed could do a lot of neat things. It could cut off your air supply, make you gag, or even knock you unconscious. And this time, it had worked to knock the guard unconscious.
Quickly thinking, he grabbed the gun and a set of keys off the guard and hid them underneath his jacket in the corner of the room. But now what?
He had escaped being hurt, but he had hurt someone else. Even if he managed to get out, this place probably had electronic surveillance. Kitler's men would be all over him as soon as he walked out of the room.
He breathed a sigh of nervous relief and anticipation of what might happen next. Then he sat back down next to Alisa.
No words were spoken. No one knew what to say. They were disappointed that he had used such violence, but they were also proud. Now, what to do about the guard?
It was the next day and the guard was now gone. Two other guards had dragged him away at about 3AM. He had still been unconscious. Right?
He knew that what he had done had never killed anyone before, but maybe in his mind he had wanted the guy dead, and if you want something enough.....
He shook the thought away. All his life, things had gone the way he thought they would, but not always the way he wanted them to.
The door opened. A large tray of a rather awful looking meal was brought in and placed in the middle of the floor without a word. Though he didn't feel very hungry, he swallowed what he could, not knowing when food would come again.
Alisa was leaning against him, asleep. He stared at her, not quite sure of the emotions he felt for her. Love? No. Lust? Yeah.
He wanted desparately to run his tongue all over her. To feel her flesh in a forbidden way.
He closed his eyes. "Control."
Alisa stirred in her sleep, her hand coming to rest just where he wanted it. "Control."
She stirred again, moving her hand back to her side. He let out a shaky breath. It would be a long night.
The next day at about 5AM, a loud buzzing noise awoke him. Then a voice. Kitler. "Everyone up. Your guards will bring you outside. Roll call."
The first thing he did was rush over to his youngest siblings. "If they tell you to stand still, do it. Don't move at all if you can help it."
Avery looked up at him. "Why, Tay?"
He hugged her close. "These are bad men playing a bad game. And, maybe you don't wanna play, but you have to, and you have to play by their rules. Otherwise, they might try to hurt you. Okay?"
She looked frightened, but she nodded; happy to do what she could.
Once again, the door opened.
He was grateful that friends and family of his were trained in first aid. During roll call, he had a sneezing fit. Because of it, they had beaten him.
Here he was. The wear was beginning to show on his face. Blood still stained his hair. Fear was still the expression in his eyes. He only hoped it would all end soon.
His breaths echoed short and shallow in the silence. His eyes were closed to keep out the harsh light that filtered in from the room's one window which was complete with steel bars.
Then he felt lips. On his forehead. Soothing. He opened his eyes. Alisa. He smiled and reclosed his eyes. He would not awake again until night fell.
Somewhere in the room, a cricket chirped, oblivious to the pain he was in. He scooted up the wall a bit and looked once again at Alisa. His thoughts ran rampant. "So sweet. Innocent. If Kitler lays a finger on her. If any of those guards.....I'll...."
His thoughts wandered off. Outside, the wind was beginning to blow. There was no actual window. Only a hole sealed with bars. The room would be cold soon. He hated cold. No. He heavily disliked it. Right now, all of his hate was reserved for this place, these guards, but mostly for Kitler.
So he thought something up. An activity. He would watch people's dreams. Possibly fiddle with them. He could do that. He'd always been able to. He was a Pisces.
First, Zac. Purple Martians, orange bananas, green bunnies. They were all doing the polka. Zac was playing the accordian for them, and, for some reason, three unidentifiable women were dancing around in liederhosen.
Next, Isaac. A harem belly-danced around and people fanned him with large feathers. One of the belly-dancers was about to....Ugh! He quickly got out of Isaac's dream in favor of one he thought would be a little less, well, ugh.
Alisa. She seemed so at peace, but her dream revealed otherwise. The angels made it so.
The ground in her dream burned fiery red and the sky was pitch black. Bodies littered the ground, charred beyond belief. Alisa herself was slaving away in a blackened robe to drag away the bodies.
She threw the bodies in a deep pit and wails were heard. Then from the pit floated angels. White as possible. Wings of silver. Harps of gold.
They went up above the flames and began to play their harps. All the while, they sneered upon Alisa. They scorned her and her small frame was soon wrenched with sobs. She threw herself into the pit and floated up as an angel. Black as possible. Blood red wings. Charcoal gray harp.
The other angels shunned her more. More sobs. He left the dream.
He cuddled up next to Alisa, hoping that his dreams would be of her. That way, they would be perfect. So perfect.
As he watched, a single tear rolled down her cheek. He watched her dream. It was the samething.
She had been having this same dream every night. Normally, he would be able to change someone's dreams, but not here, not now. Try as he might to lessen Alisa's pain, her dream only became more of a nightmare. The only thing he could do was to sit back and be there for her to lean on, to cryon.
He was tired, but he could not sleep. He was in too much pain. He was quite sure that he had a broken rib or two, possibly something dislocated in his back. For some reason, every day at roll call, he was dragged in front of everyone and beaten, usually for no reason. He no longer had the strengthto fight back.
He brought his hand up to his head slowly in order to feel his hair. Well, what was left of it. The previous day, they had shaved off the hair of everyone in his family, plus Alisa. Apparently, theyconsidered her a Hanson.
But, none of them really minded being almost bald, although he suspected the females in the room weren't too happy about it. Also on his head was now a tattoo. They had all been given one. They were numbered now. According to Alisa, his said "#3169H". The Hanson's held numbers 3160H-3169H. Alisa was #3170H. He shook his head in confusion.
Why were they doing this? He leaned against the wall, willing the pain away. It worked a little bit. He smiled, then drifted off into his own little dream world.
The next day began with five people being shoved into the room, quite against their will. He sighed. It was so crowded in there even before them. He glanced up at the newcomers, trying to placethem.
Duh! There were his former cellmates. The members of "until tomorrow". They were all quite beaten up, a sure sign that they were independent and didn't mind disobeying Kitler's orders.
They all seemed a little uncomfortable. Then the girl who seemed to be in the most pain sat down. K.D. he remembered her as. The other girls followed suit in quick succession. They were obviouslytired, sore and hungry.
One of the blonds spoke first. Silver, he recalled. "So, you're all bald now. How nice. They're supposed to do that to us later today. Why they moved us to a higher security cell, I dunno. We onlygot out of there three times!"
The Australian one next. Jay. "They shouldn't let us in there with bobby pins in our hair. K.D. canmanipulate those things all too well."
His mother spoke. "Hello girls. Sorry to sound rude, but who might you be?"
The girls went through their introductions.
Soon, small conversations had been started around the room. Melyssa and Silver were talking to Zac with Jessica, Avery and Mackenzie occasionally interjecting comments. Jay was talking with Isaac and Alisa. His parents were resting, occasionally talking about this and that, and comforting Zoe. Kay and K.D. had gravitated towards him for some reason.
They only stared at him for the first few minutes. Then, Kay spoke. "It's the ears."
K.D. laughed. "Definitely the ears."
He grinned in confusion. "Uh, okay. Whose ears? And what about them?"
Kay spoke again. "Your ears. They make your head look all out of proportion."
He nodded. "Can't wait to see you guys with no hair. Your ears will look big too."
K.D. grinned. "Duh. We never said they wouldn't. We were talking about you."
He chuckled, instantly regretting it as his torso began to ache. "Ah! Damn. I want out of here."
K.D.'s smile could not get any larger. She spoke in a quiet voice. "Soon. I know this place. I can get you out of here. But just you. You'll have to figure out how to get everyone else out."
He leaned closer, his eyes widening as he did so. "How?"
She shook her head. "Not now."
He nodded. "Yeah. Okay."
She grinned again. "I'm a nut. Kay's a nut. We're all nuts. And, this place is an old mentalinstitution."
He raised an eyebrow. "How do you know?"
She looked nervous for a moment. "I just do. Let's leave it at that."
He nodded, figuring she didn't want to say anything else. "So...."
Kay piped up. "Sew buttons."
He smiled. These people. "But I don't have any thread, or a needle."
Kay spoke again, a huge gin on her face. "The needle is your sharp wit. We'll spin a thread, or rather a yarn. We're going to make up a story. All of us. Okay?"
He nodded. Kay began. "Once upon a time....."
He walked over to the corner of the room when it was quite dark. He dug a hole in the dirt floor, then did his business. These people didn't even let you out to pee. You had to dig a hole and go, likean animal. He hated this place.
He walked over to the corner he shared with Alisa and sat back down. It was so crowded. If not for the cool air blowing in through the window, they would probably all die of heat stroke.
A fly buzzed around his head. He swatted it away. This place was starting to stink. A shower would feel so good right now. Then again, so would a full stomach.
He'd heard about those people who eat their teammates and the like in order to stay alive. He couldn't do that. He liked meat, but not raw, and not human. Though, he was underweight already. He'd be lucky to get out of here with any fat left on his bones, even the broken ones.
He ran his hand over the top of his head. He was going crazy. He had almost considered eating the flesh of someone else in the room. Wait, that's it.
He could eat his own flesh. He held up his arm, and sank his teeth into it until he tasted blood. Then he winced in pain. What the hall was wrong with him? He felt so stupid.
He only wanted for this to end, and he knew it would. He just didn't know when.
He closed his eyes and tried not to think so much. For once, it worked.
A normal morning of late. A loud buzzing at 5AM. Kitler's voice telling them to get up as it was timefor roll call. He dreaded it.
Their guards appeared at the door. With 15 people, though they were rather weak people, youneeded more than one guard.
They were marched onto a large field and forced into straight lines facing a podium. Kitler was soonbehind that podium.
He began to talk. He told them how worthless they all were. Calling what they did music? Hah! He wouldn't hear of it. Then, he called a number, and the person with that number was brought up to the front of the group to be beaten by Kitler. Usually, his own number was called. Not so today. Todayis was #3170H. Alisa.
She walked bravely up to Kitler and said, "Beat me up all you want. I will not cry out."
Kitler smirked evilly. "We'll see about that."
He began to beat her with a short metal rod. With each hit, she visibly flinched, but true to her word,she did not cry out.
Kitler eventually gave up. But not after promising to repeat the day's events soon.
Then, they were all shuffled back to their cells. Alisa was in his father's arms. Had he been strong enough, he would have carried her himself.
Her dream. It changed. No longer did the angels scorn her as she made them what they were. For now she was one of the charred bodies lying on the ground. Each angel that used to be above was now the image of Kitler. Each Kitler now poured on her a hefty amount of gasoline. Then, they each struck a match and tossed it on her already flame-licked body.
He did his best to try to run over, possibly with a fire blanket or something along those lines. But he was glued to the spot. He could only watch as the flames grew. She didn't even cry out.
The next morning at roll call, his sister Jessica's number was called. She was forced towards Kitler. When she was a foot or two away from him, he lashed out at her. She fell to the ground and curled into a ball, all ready trembling with fear. Taylor couldn't take this.
Despite the fact that every part of him ached with excruciating pain, he ran forth upon Kitler. His first blow knocked Kitler to the ground, but not because of the strength behind it, because of the surprise. Taylor shouted at the top of his lungs, "Why the hell do you feel the need to beat up innocent people? She's not even a damn musician! Not even a damn teenager! What the fuck is wrong with you?"
Kitler's eyes filled with hatred for Taylor. "You will not speak to me in that tone, and you will not question my authority. This is your last chance. You fuck-up again and you're going to be the puddle on the floor that I can't help but step in. You got that, prick?"
Taylor seethed. "Yeah."
Dusk was just beginning to fall. He sat down for one more night of boring captivity. A night of just looking at the stars. That's when he noticed K.D. walking over to him.
She sat down and whispered to him. "Tonight you're gonna break for it. You okay with that? We'vegot everything all planned out."
He whispered back. "Yeah. Sure. Explain it to me."
K.D. scratched her shoulder. "The bars on the window. You lift them up, they come out. There's a camera in the corner. Jay's taking care of it. Tonight's a new moon. We disable the camera, we disable the sound, you're scot-free outta here. But, out there. There's a fence around this place. We've befriended a guard. He cut the fence for us. You get out of here, you go straight, it'll be right around there. There will be dogs out there. I'll give you something in a sec to keep them at bay. Now, once you're past the fence, there will be a river. This is the tricky part. Yeah, it's 50 degrees, but you'll have to get in and float downstream to a bridge. If you don't, they'll see you. Once you get to that bridge, go underneath it. There's a change of clothes and some food there. There's also money. Get on the bridge, and go to the side that doesn't have any pine trees. There's a path there. Take it. You'll come to a taxi place about a mile down that path. Ask for Johnny. Have him take you to Malone. There's a hill there covered in large stones and a house up on that hill. Go to that house.They'll have further instructions. Got that?"
He took a deep breath. "Yeah. I got it. Now, what was it you had to give me?"
She handed him a handkerchief. "Place this in front of the dogs. They'll sniff it, and their senses will get all mixed up. Rather than chase you or bark, they'll lie down and try to sleep."
He nodded. "All right."
She grinned. "Now, as the camera isn't disabled yet, but as soon as it turns dark it will be and you'll have to go, say goodbye to everyone now. You'll have to pretend you think you're dying. And, really overdo it with Alisa. Tell her you love her or something. Cry if you can. Got it?"
He nodded. "Okay."
He walked over to his parents giving them each a hug. As he did, he whispered the plan to them.When he pulled away, they nodded.
His siblings. A hug each. A little explanation. More nods.
All of the "until tomorrow" people knew, so he gave them hugs and received nods.
That left Alisa. He walked over to her, and placed his arms around her, whispering into her ear the quick version of the plan. When he pulled away, tears were forming in her eyes. She spoke in a trembling voice. "I'm gonna miss ya. You know that, right?"
He nodded, his eyes watering at the sight of her tears. "Yeah. I'm gonna miss ya too. I love you. Youknow that, right?"
Her bottom lip trembled. "I guess. Do you really mean that?"
He looked into her eyes. He saw himself and yet he saw something he never had before. He saw the true Alisa. She wasn't a fake by any means, but what he saw wasn't all she was. She was so much more. Much easier to.....love. "I do really mean it. I love you, Alisa."
She wrapped her arms around him. "I love you too. Really."
The tears welling up in his eyes began to flow. "I'll see you soon. I hope. That is, after it getsdark."
She nodded. "I know."
Dusk fell and a few wires were clipped. It was time. He headed to the window. Kaylin stood leaned against the door just in case someone tried to look in through the peep hole or push open the door. With Melyssa and Silver's help, he pulled the bars from the window. They helped to lift him up, and he pushed out through the opening in the wall. He landed on, of all things, a few pillows. Obviously more help from the befriended guard. He heard a growl from behind him.
The dogs. He frantically pulled the handkerchief from his pocket and tossed it towards the dogs. They sniffed at it, then whimpered and walked around in dizzied circles. They lay down and he tookoff for the fence.
He got to the fence. The top was barbed wire, and he certainly wasn't going to climb over that. He felt along the fence, trying to find where exactly it was cut.
He felt it, the blood now running down his hand kind of clued him in that something was sharp, obviously the cut in the fence. He slipped through, disregarding the fact that the fence scraped his skin and tore his clothing. He needed only to be quick. As soon as he passed through the fence, he heard sirens coming from the camp. They knew he had escaped.
He saw the river. He ran towards it. Without looking back, he took a breath and jumped in. The cold hit him immediately. His teeth chattered as he floated downstream, unknowing of what mighthappen that night. He saw something in the distance.
The bridge. A single dim light shined upon it. He swam a little to reach his destination a bit more quickly. Almost there. He raised his hand and caught the edge of the low bridge, slowly pulling himself towards the bank. He hit land then crept under the bridge.
K.D. had been right. A plastic bag lay there. When he ripped it open, he was greeted with some non-perishable food items, a change of rather baggy clothing, a hat and a wallet containing $200. He quickly changed, shoved the wallet in his back pocket, then picked up the food deciding to eat it as he walked to save time. The sooner he walked that mile, the better.
He set off down the path. Each step set off an alarm of pain in his body, but he disregarded it all. He had to save them. This was his duty. He was the only one who had this chance. He had to take it,make it work.
No pine trees. Yet, the other side of the bridge had only pine trees. He busied himself thinking about that and eating as he walked. 10 minutes or so later, he reached the taxi station.
He entered the small building with the somewhat familiar cabs out front. He hit the bell on the desk. A moment later, a tall man with pale, freckled skin and orange hair stepped behind the desk from asmall room in the back. "Yeah? What?"
He took a breath. "You Johnny?"
The man squinted at him. "Who sent you here?"
He was unsure of what exactly to say. The man waved his hand. "Of course K.D. sent you. Who the hell else would come here at midnight? You're Taylor, right? Hi. I'm Johnny."
Johnny held out his hand, Taylor shook it. Johnny grabbed a set of keys off the wall. "I know whereto take you. C'mon. Out to the cab."
He followed Johnny, and got into the taxi. Johnny started it up and drove. A minute or two passed, and the cab stopped. "We're here. Yeah, wasn't all that far, was it? Here kid."
Johnny gave him a slip of paper with the words, "aerodynamic accelerators actually energize air," on it. "If someone says to you 'What did you learn in class today?' reply with that. Got it?"
Taylor nodded and opened the door of the cab to exit it. But he held back a minute. "Hey man?Thanks."
Johnny nodded. "Keep cool, kid. By the way, once you save the world from all this, I expect to see a new album from you. And, ya better autograph mine."
Taylor smiled. "Sure Johnny. Well, I'd better go."
Out the door. He saw the hill. He stumbled up it. The house. It stood, tall and brown, with large fields of fruits and vegetables on each side of the house. He walked up to the door and knocked.
The door creaked as an old man opened it. He had gray hair. Wrinkled skin. He had a cane in hisleft hand. "So. What did you learn in class today?"
Taylor swallowed. "I learned that aerodynamic accelerators actually energize air."
The guy opened the screen door that separated them and beckoned for Taylor to come inside."
He was led to a kitchen. An old woman was in there making jam. She was obviously quite practiced at it. She turned when they entered the room. "So this is the boy my girls love the music of. We'regonna help you any way we can."
He was instructed to sit down, so he did so. He was served a slice of blueberry pie, given a fork and told to eat while they told him all they knew about Kitler and what he was doing.
Kitler, as a boy, was home-schooled by his stepmother, whom he hated. She loved music and always tried to teach him to sing or to play an instrument. Because of all of that, he hated music and vowed to put an end to any and all music that he heard.
In 1979, Kitler joined the Army. He had a nervous breakdown during a ceremony to honor the President of the United States of America. He was given a dishonorable discharge from themilitary.
Once he had recovered enough to be released from the mental hospital, he had gone on a search for other people who did not like music. He was sneaky about it and many people who wouldn't have if they'd know the true cause, joined up with his effort.
It was small at first. Maybe 20 people backing him in everything he did. But he slowly began tousurp power from everywhere he could.
When he had about 500 people with his forces, all trained personally by him, he began to go around to record companies trying to find out some information. When they wouldn't give him that information, he broke into the companies. If he found someone who might tell or wouldn't help him out, he killed them. Blood had filled the hallways of many a company, including Mercury.
The police did nothing. Well, not quite. They tried, they died. Kitler was strong in both body and ideals. His mind was only strong in the sense that insanity made it so. He couldn't be trusted for asecond.
Once he broke into these record companies, he had stolen listings of where the recording artists would be and when, and had grabbed the tapes of artists who were trying to get into the business. That's where "until tomorrow" came in. They were this old lady's girls. Apparently K.D. was her great-niece, and they had all spent a lot of time up here.
His thoughts turned to Alisa. He wanted her to be here. He didn't want her to be in that prison with her soul threatening to die. He felt the same about the others, but Alisa was so special to him now. He felt as if she was him. She filled him with such joy even in times of despair. She was his angel of asort.
The old couple. She was Pat. He was Roland. They told him he should get some sleep. He was led up to a small bedroom. After doing his nightly business, he lay down in the bed. He soon fell asleepand that sleep was quite troubled.
He was back in Alisa's dream. Only this time, he was a charred body. He was lying next to her, quite happy although burnt. Then Kitler came along, pulled them apart. Kitler pulled Alisa into the pit. Taylor was left to sit there, Alisa looking down on him from her dark angel form.
He awoke. Cool sweat dripped off his face onto the blanket below. Sleep was not an easy thing to come by nowadays, and here it was being stolen from him. He only wished he knew who wasstealing it.
He wondered how things were going to work out that he could save everyone. How?
He awoke the next morning to the smell of bacon cooking. He hopped up from the bed, slid into the clothes on the chair next to him and wandered downstairs. Pat offered him a plate filled with delicious-looking food and pulled a chair out from underneath the table for him. He sat and devouredthe food.
A glass of juice was placed to his right. Orange juice. Freshly squeezed. It was delicious as well. It seemed to be the best food he had ever had. The best meal. Hopefully not the last meal.
Pat sat down next to him. "Taylor, have you come up with a plan yet?"
He chewed a bit. "No. I have no idea what I could do, let alone what I will do."
Pat signed and clenched her hands together. "Well, I've got an idea that might work, but it's verydangerous."
If breaking out was tough, breaking in would be hell. Security was most likely a lot more tight. If they didn't beat him to death, they would probably drown him, or burn him.
He had gone down to FBI headquarters to explain things about what happened in the camp. They had implanted a small device in his arm. It was a tracking device. He would go back to the camp, they would follow him. If the device was damaged, they would enter. If it was not, they'd wait until a certain time, and then sneak in to assassinate Kitler.
His next day was filled with packing his clothing with non-perishable food items. That night he wouldgo back.
Johnny picked him up at 7:00PM. He drove him back to the taxi service building, and pointed the path out to him. Taylor was given a pair of wire snips and a pair of hedge clippers. Someone had staked out the building earlier to discover that the fence was now electric, with the box on the outside. He would have to open it, snip the correct wires and get in there as quickly as possible, all inthe dark.
Down the path. The mile was quick. The river. He dared not get back in. Instead he ran as low as he could to the ground. He saw the fence. He snuck along it slowly. The box. It opened easily. The wire snips. They said the red wire. There were two red wires. He took a deep breath and slid the snipsaround both wires.
He squeezed the handles together. Nothing seemed to happen. Cautiously he touched a hand to the fence. No shock. He touched harder. No shock. He breathed a sigh of relief.
The hedge clippers. He put them to the fence right behind where a tree would cover the hole. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. The fence rolled out of the way just a bit. He climbed in.
Which window was it? He didn't know. He ran quickly to the building, sneaking along the side, glad for his dark clothing. His foot hit something. He cautiously touched it. The pillows. This had to be the room. He dug a note from his pocket and tossed it through the bars. Then he waited.
A moment later he heard the bars being lifted up from their spots in the window. Two hands stuck their way out. He grabbed the hands. They pulled him through, slowly, but surely.
Once in, he glanced around the room. The until tomorrow girls were crowded around him. His parents were asleep in the corner. He hoped they were asleep. Zoe was in his mother's lap suckingher thumb. Alisa was....where? He didn't see her?
Melyssa put a hand on his shoulder. "They took her right after you left. We haven't seen her since.We don't know if she's alive."
He clenched his jaw to the point that he started shaking. He shook it off. No. This couldn't be happening. Not Alisa. Not his angel. He had to see her soon. But for now, he had to help out the people here, explain things to them. Have them explain things to him.
He passed out what food he had on him and a canteen of water. It was rationed out and thoroughly enjoyed. He didn't have any as he was still full from the last meal that Pat served him. A whole chicken filled with stuffing. Mashed potatoes. A delicious gravy. Fresh vegetables. Strawberrycheesecake for desert. He'd eaten most of it.
And now it was time to sit, wait, talk, explain.
He was surprised to find out that not much had changed at the camp while he had been gone. He was also surprised to find out another morsel of information that drastically changed his course ofaction.
They didn't know he was gone. The siren had not been because of him. They thought he wasdead.
There were many people he knew were dead. The Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, 5ive and Aaron Carter had all been incinerated upon arrival. The Spice Girls (minus Geri), Aqua, and OMC were next inline.
Following that was a fire existing mainly of blood and screams and solo artists. Jewel, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Paula Cole, Shawn Colvin, Stevie Nicks, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Micheal Bolton, Kenny G, Barbra Streisand, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Natalie Imbruglia, Heather Gunneman; the list went on and on consisting of both people he liked and people he disliked.
This changed a lot of things. How could he go face Kitler now? Kitler assumed him dead. If he wasn't, Kitler would probably do his best to make him so. Taylor hoped that Kitler would be dumber than he seemed. Otherwise, the plan forming in his mind might not work.
He turned to face the window. Only a faint bit of light entered as the moon was but a sliver in the sky. He knew the night would be long unless he got some sleep. He closed his eyes. Sleep.
The next morning, he attended roll call. When they skipped his number, he called out, "Sir. You skipped me."
Kitler's eyes definitely narrowed as they came to rest upon him. There was hatred in those eyes."Where have you been?"
He trembled a bit. "I've been unconscious."
Kitler grinned. "So nice to hear that. Guards? Move him in with the girl."
Strong arms lifted him. A blindfold was situated over his eyes. He was placed on a seat. A car. It roared to life and jerked forward. After riding for about ten minutes, the car stopped.
He was removed from it and led, still blindfolded, into a warm building. A door opened, he waspushed in. The door closed.
A few moments passed with no one grabbing him. He quickly removed the blindfold, lest someone be quietly lurking around ready to grab him at a moment's notice.
There was a figure crouched in the corner. It took him a moment to realize who it was. "Alisa? Whatthe fuck did they do to you?"
She spoke in a calm vice. "Taylor, sit down and please, don't make me repeat myself. I havesomething to tell you."
He sat, ready to listen. She resumed speaking. "Taylor, there's something about me that you don'tknow that you should know."
He began to speak. She stopped him. "Don't interrupt me. I can control your thoughts. I have been. At first it was a game. Y'know, just to see if I could. But I realized that just by thinking something, you could make it happen. It was all like a dream. Nothing that happened seemed real, but it was... It is real. Now, what do you have to say about that?"
A breath, no talking for a moment. Then, "I think.... I don't care. I'm a little angry, but I still love you. I do have one question. Did you start all of this mess? Y'know, with Kitler?"
A sigh. "Yeah, but I never meant for it to go so far! I tried to stop it a while ago, but I was tooweak."
He closed his eyes. "Okay, so you get to think your way out of this."
She scooted a little closer to him. "I've tried. I always back myself into corners, sort of like thisone."
He ran his fingers over the hair just beginning to sprout anew from his head. "Okay, so I'll help youthink up a plan. First we..."
He stood by the door, willing it to be unlocked. He turned the handle. Click. The door swung outward. e looked around. Just great. They were being imprisoned in a nuclear power plant.
He saw no one else around, but he heard a beeping noise coming from a computer not too faraway.
The message blinked menacingly at them.
NUCLEAR MELTDOWN IN 90 SECONDS
He turned to Alisa. She nodded. They understood one another perfectly. That was a definite plus as they only had a minute and a half to save the world.
Each computer controlled or monitored a different aspect of the reaction chamber. They had to find the one to control the temperature of the water rushing through the chamber.
The main computer ticked off seconds like gunshots being fired. Where the hell was it? "Over here," he heard from Alisa; he rushed over.
He took a deep breath. He set his fingers to the keyboard, clacking them in a definite pattern. He was trying to lower the temperature of the water running through the reaction chamber. If the fuel rods turned to plasma, who knew what it could do?
No one. That's who. A final clack of the return key. The clock read three seconds. This had to work. What would become of them if it didn't? Two seconds. If that plasma seeped down through the Earth, was there a chance it would eradicate the universe? Hell, anything is possible. One second. He unconsciously held onto Alisa. Right before it hit zero, he willed the temperature to cool.
He braced himself for what could and would happen. Nothing. He bit his lip in cautious elation.
He could not move for the next five minutes other than to take deep, cautious breaths. It was a good sign that nothing had exploded, yet.
He stood and walked over to the main computer.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHUT DOWN THE REACTOR? (Y/N)
He looked at Alisa and shrugged. She nodded. He hit the Y button on the keyboard. They then headed for the door, hand-in-hand.
There was a car outside with keys in it. After a brief discussion about whether it would really be breaking the law, considering the situation, they drove off in search of help.
No one had driven by for hours. A cold, harsh rain had begun to fall about an hour ago, just after the sun began to set. They sat in the car wishing that they had run out of gas rather than have had their battery go dead. But with no one passing by, no one living in the immediate area and rain of that caliber, there was no way they would be going anywhere that night.
Dark, cold; the night was unbearable. He finally got up the urge to speak; to break the silence. "Alisa, why don't we get in the backseat, lie down and get some sleep. Keep each other warm?"
She looked up from her hands. "Sure. I'd rather be next to you than freeze to death. I'd rather be next to you than be next to Kitler. I'd rather die by Kitler's hands than not be next to you."
He smiled. She either loved him, or had an endless infatuation with him. He didn't care as long as they were together. He knew this was love.
They climbed carefully into the back of the car and lay side by side on the small backseat, stomach to stomach. They then fell asleep.
The morning sun woke Taylor. He turned to shade his eyes and jostled Alisa's arms which had become entangled with his own during the night. He guessed it was some subconscious feeling that they shared. The need to be together.
Then he heard a sound that jolted him from any leftover state of sleep.
An explosion. A large explosion at that. It sounded close, about a mile away. He looked out the window of the car.
Smoke billowed through the sky from the north of them. He tensed up for a moment, thinking of the power plant.
A sigh of relief. The power plant was to the south. So what was north? The camp?
He gulped down air in haste. He had to go see. He turned to Alisa. "I'm going to go and check that out. You coming?"
She sat up. "Sure. I've nothing better to do."
Thus began their journey. They were both silent the entire way, though they walked hand-in-hand at a fast pace. Both had the same dilemma. If the camp had been destroyed, did they really want to know? Had everyone been inside?
Simultaneously, they pushed those thoughts from their minds. They simply had to see it.
The scene that lay before them was horrid. The explosion had indeed occured at the camp. He could see no one else standing around the rubble and while it relieved him not to see dead bodies and such, it plagued him as to why no one else was there.
He called out questions, not sure if he wanted answers. "Anybody here? Can you hear me? Hello?"
No answers. He started to run around the collapsed building searching for any signs of life. He heard Alisa calling to him, but didn't allow her words to take hold in his mind.
He was halfway around the building. He carefully searched through the crumbled rock, noting places not to step. There. He saw something flesh-toned.
He ran to it. It was a hand. That he could see from seven feet away. He was careful not to go any closer than that without knowing exactly what he was stepping on.
He cleared an area in front of his feet. A little closer. He tossed the rocks behind him. Closer... A little closer. He came to the hand.
He carefully dug it out. It was male. There was no mistaking that. Unless Linda Tripp had somehow made it into the camp. He shuddered thinking of how "she" would sing.
He was down to a shoulder. The shirt was dark blue, torn and soaked with blood.
A few more pieces of rock. The face of the victim was revealed. He gasped. He fought an inner struggle and dug on.
All the stone was gone from the man's body, except for the stone in his heart. The man who lay at Taylor's feet was none other than a man he had grown to despise, Kitler.
Why had he dug up his body? He could have left him there after seeing his face. Not could have, should have. Even now, he could, probably even should, kick the man who had made part of his life miserable. But he couldn't.
He turned away from the bloody body. He walked away. He didn't want to be here. Not here. Not now. Strange how that happened a lot lately.
Alisa held out her arms to him. He buried his face in her shoulder. A tear or two fell. Where was everybody?
He heard something in the distance. He searched the sky for the source of the noise. A helicopter hovered overhead and was slowly making its way to the ground.
It landed and Taylor's father, Walker, jumped out and ran over. With as few words as possible spoken, they were informed that the chopper would bring them to where the rest of the survivors from the camp were, including all of the Hansons and the members of until tomorrow.
They boarded the helicopter and were on their way. Ten minutes was all it took. Ten minutes that were silent but for the dull roar of the chopper's engine and blades.
They entered a large building after landing and disembarking from the helicopter. It looked to be a large hospital. He and Alisa were led through the halls to a large room filled with beds by a nurse and Walker. Most of the beds were filled by cellmates of his. They all seemed to be eating happily.
He was shown a bed and was told to lie down. He obliged happily. The nurse looked around the room for a moment. Then she picked up Alisa's hand and patted it. "Don't worry dear. We'll just put you in another room."
He wouldn't have that. "No. You're not taking her away from me again. Either get her a bed and put it right by me or let us share a bed."
The nurse stood there with a bemused expression on her face. "All right. I'll go wheel another bed in."
He scooted over and patted the bed beside him. Alisa sat down with a smile. He gazed at her affectionately. "Alisa, thank you."
She looked puzzled. "What for?"
He held her chin delicately and pressed his lips to hers. "For letting me love you and loving me back."
She smiled again. "As Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore said, 'Ditto'".
They embraced, not caring who their audience was. When they pulled apart, they heard clapping. He turned to see his family and friends applauding. K.D. shouted, "There! It was all worth it!"
He smiled so widely it hurt. "You realize that we're going to have to give you guys a listen as soon as possible. If you're any good, you're opening for us on our next tour."
Silver balked, "Good? We're great!"
Jay piped up. "Who died and made us Frosted Flakes?"
The room erupted in laughter. It would be a while before things were back to normal. He wasn't sure he wanted normal though. Normal didn't include Alisa. Change is a good thing, he decided.
A cemetary was created for the bodies and ashes of all of those who had died because of this incident. That had been at least 1000 people.
Kitler's body was not buried there. There was more than one reason for that, but the main reason was that they couldn't find his body.
Taylor convinced himself, his family and his friends that Kitler was dead. With those injuries, how could he possibly live? He made himself sure of it. He only hoped he wasn't wrong. Hey, it could happen.