The Taylight Zone - Anthology Seven

18 - Private Conversation - Michelle

I'd like to dedicate this story to Beaker, who was there to help and encourage me from the very start.

My head was spinning on the inside at a pace so steady it taunted me. Behind me, Zac sat at his drum set, tapping out a beat that made my temples throb. He was playing a slow song.

We were playing a slow song, I corrected myself. But they didn't need a keyboard player for this tune. Keyboardist, Taylor. You're a professional keyboardist.

After each sound echoed out into the silent crowd, I shuddered as the pressure released it's grasp. Anticipation filled my body and the clanging of cymbols relinquished the pain.

"I LOVE YOU, TAYLOR!" shrieked a girl in the front row.

With every miniscule bit of strength I had, I held back an annoyed shudder and offered her a weak smile accompanied by a tiny wave. She doesn't love you. She loves the keyboard player from Hanson. A voice whispered in my ear. I watched the girl jump up and down in excitement. A small throng of girls crowded around her in jealousy.

Professional keyboardist. I thought bitterly.

Look up.

I obeyed the voice and lifted my head toward the ceiling, only to be temporarily blinded by a row of bright stage lights. My entire cranium throbbed with a much more intense pain.

Stupid boy, the voice cackled. You know what the problem with you is? You're too damn trusting. You'll like just about anyone.

Except for you.

Oh, little Taylor Hanson is finally taking a stand. Come on Taylor, tell me what you think of me. I dare you to.

I took in a deep breath, feeling the oxygen circulating through my lungs. Go away.

Come on, sissy. You and that stupid, long blond hair and those horrific tight clothes. You remind me of a woman. The voice grew louder with every word. Did you hear me, Taylor? A WOMAN! What do you have to say about that?

Sweat began to pour down my face faster than a small stream. I could taste salt on my tongue. That wasn't sweat. It was tears. My tears. Oh, God, I was crying in front of thousands of people. My eyes skimmed frantically over the crowd of girls all holding confused and concerned expressions on their faces.

"Help me..." I whispered to no one in particular.

The voice laughed a maniacal laugh that shook the core of my soul and made my headache bound into the migrane zone. The sissy wants somebody to help him. WELL IT'S TOO LATE FOR THAT! You've already responded to The Voice. You're beyond help now. I've got you right under my heel...

"No! LEAVE ME ALONE!" I screamed out loud. My voice reverberated throughout the arena.

Isaac and Zac abandoned their instruments and rushed toward me. They put their hands on my shoulders and I violently shoved them aside. "GO AWAY. This is a private conversation."

"Tay, stop it, you're scaring me!" Isaac half-pleaded, half-commanded.

I crouched down onto the floor and began to rock back and forth. "Leave me alone." I whispered. "This is a private conversation."