|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Seven
23 - FIre Dreams - Singingrrl
"G'night Zac!" Isaac called.
"Night Ike!" Zac said.
"Good Night Taylor!" he added.
"Night Zac!" Taylor replied. The boys all slipped into their hotel rooms at midnight. Zac was really tired. The concert they had just put on was one of the best in a long time. He hopped into the bed. Zac Hanson closed his eyes, drifting slowly in and out of sleep. He had been having a hard time sleeping lately. It was that dream.
The hot fire raced through the forest, toasting everything in it's path black. It left a heavy, burnt smell in the air. I hate that smell. It followed me through the forest. The growing fire chased me. I run and run, as fast as I can, but it keeps chasing me and I can't escape it. I hate the fire. It never lets up, just gains speed and agility. In and out weaving, following my every move. I try to outrun it but I never can. It always catches me and swallows me in it's heated fury. It dances and laughs, cackling. Then it starts all over again.
Zac awoke, terrified, sweat beading on his forehead. He hated that dream! It had been following him since that night Ike's amp blew out. The amp spewed smoke and sparks in all directions. The crew was afraid it would hurt precious Hanson, so they were shooed away. But that didn't stop Zac from being hit with a spark. The spark landed on his left arm and burrowed deep under his skin into his flesh. Zac turned the light on. He sat up and looked at the scar on his arm. He fussed with it for a moment before deciding he was too freaked to sleep. He ran to Taylor's room.
"Taylor! Taylor! Wake up! I'm scared! The fire's after me!" he shrieked into Taylor's ear. Taylor rolled over lazily, half asleep.
"Just, like, confront your fears. Grow up Zac! There's nothing to be scared off. Soon you'll be a pyro, like Ike and me..." Taylor babbled on. Zac realized he was just talking in his sleep. He sighed loudly and ran to Ike's room. He pounded on the door.
"Ike! Ike! Help! The fire's chasing me!" Zac said. Isaac swung the door open, like a drunk man.
"Whadda ya want?" he asked.
"Isaac help me!" Zac said. Isaac rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.
"I know just what you need." Isaac reached into his suitcase, pulled out a small candle and a match.
"Here." he tossed the candle to Zac. "This baby's loaded with lavender. It'll calm you to sleep."
"But it's fire!" Zac said. "I'm scared of fire!"
Isaac marched forward, Zac following, scared spitless.
Isaac lit the candle for him, hoping it would help him sleep and walked out of the room. But all it did was scare Zac. That fire scared him. He decided to confront it, like Taylor always said to. Zac reached forward, took the candle in his hand and poured the melting wax onto his hand. It was cold, like ice. He touched the flame, but it didn't burn. He played with the wick, the candle, everything. He wasn't scared. Ever since that night, he still dreamt of fire. Only now, it didn't frighten him. It thrilled him. The fire followed him and it made him feel powerful. He was playing and singing better than ever.
One night, he dreamt nothing. Black. The next night followed with nothing. For weeks he dreamt nothing. His sleep became nothing but a void. That frightened him. Where was his fire? Where was the power that charged his passion? He worried and became restless. He thought of the beautiful fire. The smoke that danced around his head. The flame that flickered if he breathed too close to it. Suddenly, he could smell his beloved fire. He saw the curling wisps of gray smoke and, instead of terrifying him, he was comforted.
"Zac!" someone called. It sounded like his mother.
"Zac!" The voice was scared now.
"Zac, where are you? The house is on fire! Zac..." it trailed off.
Zac stood, the smoke spiraling around him, the heat not touching him, but cooling the terror inside him, calming his restless mind and soothing his body. IT was gentle to touch. He felt the fire creep nearer. He smiled happily, welcoming the fire. This fire was like his dream. He grinned stupidly. He dreamed the fire here and it came.
"I've missed you!" he said to the fire. The flames edged closer, hugging him. As he reached to the fire, to hold it and play, he heard a hiss. A horrible, crunching smoking hiss. He saw a stream of water shoot into the room, killing the fire and Zac's spirit.
Zac screamed. "Murder!" he cried, "Bloody murder!" He vanished with the extinguished fire.
He was in a forest. The fire chased him, engulfing trees and animals as he ran. It was a game. He was playing tag with the fire. How he loved playing tag with his fire. The fire inched closer to him and he laughed. He laughed loudly, from his belly. He smelled the burning from the charred tree limbs. He inhaled deeply, savoring the sweet perfume it emitted. He danced through the trees and watched them perish under the fire. He slowed to a stop, spinning round and round in a circle. He watched as the fire grew, spinning dizzily around him.
"Hello my friend!" he screamed into the fire. He heard no reply as the fire danced merrily around him. He was trapped, fire surrounding him. He laughed joyfully. The ring grew smaller and smaller. Zac wasn't scared at all though. He just skipped happily as the fire engulfed him. He was in a place, he'd never been before. Fire chased him. He ran. The fire would always catch him. He'd always lose. He started to hate the game he was playing. He no longer loved the sweet smell of charred skin and trees. He was losing fast. He didn't like playing tag with the fire. He hated it.
"Wake up Zac!" he told himself. Nothing happened. He slapped his arm, pinched his leg. It hurt. He scrambled out of the fire, but became trapped in another circle. He screamed loudly, his tortured soul petrified. He couldn't wake up.
This time it wasn't a dream.