The Taylight Zone - Anthology Eight

02 - Paranoia - Kirsten

March 1, 1999

"Quiet. Do you here those voices?…those loud voices…the ones shouting! The ones screaming!" he whispered to no one but himself. The insomnia kept him awake. At 3:00am he still couldn't sleep. Sleep didn't want to come. Sleep never wanted to come anymore. But he was grateful for that. Oh so grateful. Who knows what those people would do to him if he were asleep. Who knows what they'd do to him if he ate their food or drank anything they gave him. Probably poison him. He had to leave. He had to get out of there before they hurt him. They were all out to get him. He knows they are. The voices were telling him to leave. Telling him to run away from this place.

He jumped up and ran to his closet where his suitcase was. He grabbed it and hurriedly threw it on he bed. He grabbed every piece of clothing from his closet he could find while chanting "Must get out. Must get out. Must get out.". Before closing the suite case he changed from his pajamas to jeans and a sweatshirt, it was cold out, he needed thicker clothing. Closing the suitcase he ran down the long staircase. In reaching the kitchen he grabbed a paper bag he found on the table and examined it to make sure nothing was in, on, or wrong with it. He then proceeded to open the refrigerator. Examining all the plastic and paper wrapped food first he made sure that at best to his knowledge nothing was wrong with the food. The voices judging what was ok to take and what wasn't ok. He filled the bag with food and drinks he thought to be ok and then closed the refrigerator. Rolling down the very top of the bag, he then put the bag under his arm and grabbed his suitcase and headed to the door.

Before he reached the door someone stopped him. "zac? What are you doing?" his mother asked him. He turned pale. "I…I'm leaving. I…I can't stay here. You'll all hurt me…it's not safe…" he answered. "What? Why do you think we are trying to hurt you?" She asked surprised. "Come on sweetie, go back to bed. We love you we don't want to hurt you." She said calmly. She had been worried about him lately. For the past few months he had been acting strange. He had been acting skittish towards everyone. Like he was afraid of them. Maybe this was part of the reason why. "No way. You can't trick me…." He said before opening the front and running out the door and speedily running down the block. An hour had gone by since he first got out his suite case at 3:15am. Now at 4:15am in the morning few people were out side. But of those few people, he was sure all those people were out to get him. He was so sure.

He could here his mother's voice faintly calling his name, but it was soon covered up by the voices screaming at him that everyone was trying to get him .To run faster. "Run, run, run. Get away from all the people. All the people that are out to get me." He said to himself.

Running, he ran for 2 hours, at times stopping to catch his breath and gain energy, but then running again in a short time at the thought of the people maybe coming after him. He couldn't let them get near him. Just couldn't let them near him.

He ran until he reached the woods. Out of breath he sat down for a minute…luckily he had some how remembered to put his watch in his suitcase…he thought. Opening his suitcase he rummaged around and eventually found his watch. The small hand on the 6 and the big hand on the 9. That meant it was 6:45am. He looked around and breathed a sigh of relief. He was safe here for now. He wasn't very far into the woods but later he would go farther. Yes he would go farther into the woods, the voices said that was a good idea. They agreed with him. The farther into the woods her went, the harder to find him. But for now he curled up into a ball and let sleep take over finally.

March 2, 1999

He slept for hours somehow. He wasn't even disturbed by the voices. They kept quiet all the time he was asleep. It had been months since he had last slept so well. Lying on his back he stared at the trees and the bit of blue sky that poked through some parts of the trees. They wouldn't find him there. No, they couldn't. He'd just keep going farther and farther into the woods if they came looking for him here. Looking at his watch he found that he had slept 8 hours. It was now 2:00pm. He thought that he should go just a little farther into the woods and then he would eat something from the food he brought.

Grabbing his suitcase and bag of food he headed about another 10 yards into the woods. He figured he was safe there, for now. He grabbed a can of soda, examining it to make sure it wasn't even slightly opened at the top. He then grabbed a can of peaches he had grabbed, the kind with the pull back lid. He made sure that wasn't open at all either. Then, since he hadn't brought along any sort of kitchen utensil, he proceeded to eat the peaches with his fingers and gulped down the soda.

He sat the empty can of soda and empty peach can aside. He sighed and got annoyed when the voices started again. They were panicky saying that people were coming, that they would find him and hurt him. They were out to get him. He thought that was ridiculous, no one would find him here. Then he started to think. Maybe they're right. Maybe they will come and find me. Maybe they are heading this way right now. He started to panic. He decided to go father into the woods. He grabbed his suitcase and bag of food and ran.

He stopped about 40 yards farther into the woods. He set down his suitcase and bag and then sat down in between the two bags. He leaned against the tree that was behind him. He tried to relax, but panic still remained. He couldn't get it out of his head that people were after him. That they wanted to hurt him. He shuddered as the thought went through his head again. The voices started again. This time sounding calmer. They were saying how now they were safe here now. They wouldn't expect him to go this far into the woods, if they came searching here.

It was 5:30 the next time he looked at his watch. He sighed with relief. Soon it would be about time he thought if anyone was looking for him; they would stop for the day. As soon as it was dinner time, maybe a little later. He hoped no one was looking for him couldn't go back there. No, he really couldn't go back there. Not to his family, who he couldn't trust. He laid down with his head on his suitcase and started thinking. If he stayed here for a little while, maybe until noon or so tomorrow, he could go a little farther into the woods each day like that. It could work. He continued to figure out a plan on how to keep away from anyone until he felt his stomach growl. He looked at his watch. 8:45pm. No wonder it was dark, he hadn't seemed to notice the darkness come. He sat up and grabbed the bag of food. He did the same thing he had done the night before except this time with a soda and a bag of chips he had grabbed after closing the refrigerator. He was still hungry, so he rummaged in the bag and found still packaged cheese and ate some of that.

At 11:30pm he still couldn't sleep. Sleep didn't want to come again. Sleep was avoiding him. Calmly sat looking up at what he could see of the sky though the trees. The sky was dark blackish color and you could see the stars perfectly so they looked like little sparkly diamonds on black velvet on the sky. It was perfect. The wind was softly blowing; he shuddered a little when the cool breezes came. The tree's branches sometimes swayed when the breezes became stronger.

March 3, 1999

He sat there for hours, just observing the world around him when he heard faint callings of "zac! zac! Where are you? Come on back home." He knew it was a member of his family, coming to take him away. He couldn't go back, no…he just couldn't. It wasn't safe back there. He knew they were out to get him. He hurriedly grabbed all of his stuff and ran and all the while chanting 'run, run, run. They'll get you if you don't run." He ran and ran, as fast as possible for as long as he could. He eventually stopped and leaned against a tree and dropped his stuff. Panting he looked at his watch. 5:00am.Why were they out at this time in the morning looking for him? He thought he'd be safe to stay there for a couple more hours at least.

He nervously sat down. The voices in his head were just as confused as he was. How could they have known he'd go so deep into the forest to hide? How'd they know he was in the forest? Spies. There must be people watching him. They could be anywhere. He looked around his eyes wide with fright. "Hello? Anyone there." He said cautiously. "Now that was stupid. Why would they answer? They probably now know exactly where you are and can come an get you." The voices in his head were saying. "Shut up! Be quiet. I don't care what you think. No one heard me. If there are spies they wouldn't have known in advance that I was going to run, so I don't think they would have caught up just yet." He was saying harshly in return to the voices in his head. "Whatever you say…" the voices responded. He shifted his position a little so he was now half leaning on the tree and half leaning to the direction he had come, listening for voices in search of him or feet hitting the ground. He sighed with relief after 20 minutes of not hearing anything out of the ordinary. He slumped against the tree, relaxing for a minute.

Ten minutes later he heard calls of "zac! Come on! Where are you? We just want to bring you home. Why do you think we're going to hurt you?" He thought it sounded like Isaac. Yes, it was Isaac. He had to hurry and get out of there. They'd be there soon. He was starting to get up and run when Isaac appeared in front of him. "zac. There you are. We've been looking for you! Didn't you hear us calling?" "Yeah…that's why I was running," he said under his breath. "Dad! Mom! He's over here!" Isaac proceeded to shout for their parents, not hearing zac comment or noticing how zac was shying away from him.

He couldn't go back with them. They'd kill him for sure. Maybe poison him. He couldn't go back, or could he? He could go back…he just wouldn't eat their food, drink their drinks. He'd make sure he did everything himself. Just to be sure they wouldn't hurt him. He wouldn't sleep. No, sleep wasn't possible. He'd sleep only when they weren't there. That way he could be safe.

"I'm glad we finally found you! We were so worried." His mother said to him smiling. "Whatever" he muttered. Isaac and their parents frowned. What was wrong with him?

Isaac reached for the bag of food to carry since Zac already had the suitcase. Zac snatched it before Isaac could touch it. "Don't touch that! You'll poison it so when if I eat the food it'll kill me!" he shouted. "A little paranoid there aren't we Zac?" Isaac said raising an eyebrow. "You don't even know the half of it…." The voices said. "Shut up" he growled. "A little touchy aren't you?" "Be quiet!" he shouted. "Zac? Who are you talking to?" Isaac asked. "Didn't you hear the voices?" he asked a little surprised. "No…" Isaac said. "Mom, Dad? Didn't you hear them?" he asked. They shook they're heads no.

"Oh…I guess it was just me then".

"You got that right." The voices said.