|The Taylight Zone - Anthology Nine
22 - Daydreams - Miaki
4:00 in the morning… god. Taylor climbed out of his bed and walked downstairs, careful not to disturb his brothers. He made himself a cup of coffee and went to sit on the couch, grabbing the remote and turning the TV on as he did so. News, news, and more news. In disgust he threw the remote down and consented to watching another update about the flooding in Nigeria. "Insomnia is such a bitch." He mumbled to himself.
"What was that, Taylor?" He glanced up at the TV. The channel had changed. To a rather unusual program one might comment. The screen was a pure red that seemed to be moving… flowing. Like water. Or blood. He thought to himself. Shaking his head he changed the channel. The same. He raised one eyebrow in surprise and changed it again. Still, the picture on the screen didn't change. Rather, it started flowing out of the screen, or off of it, and onto the floor. "What the-?" He backed away as the liquid poured onto the gray carpet leaving a surprising contrast. He pulled his feet up onto the couch. The red liquid slowly began to take shape, moving into the form of a young boy, about eight or nine. Taylor swallowed hard as features began to morph in the strange liquid. Short blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a gap toothed smile.
Slowly, Taylor turned to look at the picture sitting on the table next to the couch. It was the Hanson family eight years ago. His eyes focused on what he'd been looking for. Himself. He'd been only eight years old when that picture was taken… he turned to look back at the boy who was watching him with a quizzical look on his face. Taylor's face. Sure enough… it was him. Even with the same hairstyle and clothes from the picture next to him. Taylor swallowed hard. "Who're you?"
The child rolled his eyes. "Relax, Tay." He lisped through the telltale gap between his two front teeth, which had apparently just grown in, as they were quite a bit larger than the rest of his teeth. "Oh… You said that insomnia was a bitch didn't you? Hmm…" Taylor whimpered as his own voice, albeit much younger, came from the child's lips. "Well, this might be a little closer to what you were thinking in that case…"
Taylor stared as the features and voice changed until they represented those of a young girl. Where had he seen her before? He had somewhere… "You mortals have such pitiful memories." The girl shook her head, and instantly Taylor was at a concert from a few months ago. There was the girl, standing in the front row, jumping up and down. Taylor couldn't help but notice she didn't have a bra on… he only knew that for sure because she'd thrown it onto the stage moments before, making him skip a note in his surprise. Then he was back in his living room, and the girl was still standing there, her arms crossed, giving him a disgusted look. "Yes, Taylor, I do have a bra on now. Okay?" He blushed as she read his mind. "Uh… Hey! How'd you get in here?" "TV, genius. Remember? Actually, that's not totally accurate, since I would've come in some other way if you hadn't turned the TV on." "Wha-what are you?" He gasped.
She laughed, and he watched her features change again, until she was taller, with a thinner face and black hair. She was wearing plain clothes, and had a Star of David patch on her shirt. "I'm just a dream, Taylor. Don't worry."
"Yes, the girl from the movie." She walked forward and took Taylor's Star of David in her hand. "The movie that made you start wearing this. Don't you understand that this is a humiliation? An insult to our very origin? And you wear it by choice?" "I told you. A dream."
"No you're not." He shook his head, sighing.
"How do you know?"
"Because I'm awake."
"How do you know?"
"Because I haven't slept for over a week now, okay?" He snapped, glaring at her with blood shot eyes.
"Good Taylor. I'm impressed." She grinned, something that looked somewhat odd on the somber face. "But you should watch your temper… because this is going to get a lot worse. And as to what I am… I'm not exactly a dream, but you probably can't quite understand what I really am. Call me a day dream, okay?"
"But it's not day." He muttered.
"Actually, Tay, technically its day anytime past 12:01!" The voice changed, became deeper and Taylor looked up to see Isaac standing there with a dorky grin. And, oddly, blue eyes.
"Then why do they call it 'mid-night' genius?" Taylor asked. "Isaac! You stupid jerk! What is this, some kind of practical joke? Did you and Zac think this up?"
"Who, me?" The voice became a bit higher, and Isaac's features melted into Zac's. "Why would I do anything like that, Tay?" He laughed and ran off, Taylor in hot pursuit.
By the time he reached Zac however, he was kneeling on the floor, screaming in pain as flames engulfed him. Taylor's eyes flew open and he started beating on the flames.
"Help… me." Zac whispered, his eyes filled with tears. "Help me, Tay! I'm… I'm… please… help…"
Suddenly the flames were gone, and Zac had become a girl with pale green cat-eyes that caused Taylor to pull away in revulsion. "This is my true form." She hissed, before giggling at the horrified look on his face. "I am a bitch, aren't I? Sweet dreams, darling!" She pushed him off her and jumped up, turning into Isaac before she was even on her feet again, a bottle in hand. "God, Tay…" Isaac slurred drunkenly. "Why do you have to keep butting into my business?" He took a long pull on the bottle before looking at his brother angrily. "I told you to leave me alone! I told you!" He swung the bottle and it smashed into the side of Taylor's face, shattering. The sharp shards of glass sliced into Taylor's face and he screamed. "Aren't you glad nobody's home, Tay?"
"But they are home!" Taylor protested. "They're all upstairs! Sleeping."
She apparently didn't hear him, and started un-buttoning her blouse. Then she was standing next to him, wearing a different outfit, with mascara streaks down her face. He realized she was wearing a maternity dress and her stomach was badly swollen. "Pregnant! Pregnant!" She screamed. "Look at me! I'm never going to be able to do anything again! And you! You're career is ruined! What're we gonna do, Tay? What're we gonna do?" She sank down next to him and stared at him seriously. "I'm not ready to be a mother, and you sure as hell aren't ready to be a father."
"A father?" He gasped in surprise.
That fast, the girl's features melted into his father's. "I'm sorry Tay… I didn't mean to hit you. It was just the stress… I'm so stressed out Taylor… what with Ike's drinking and you're… sleeping around. I'm… I'll be back later, okay?" He stormed out the door, leaving Taylor staring after him.
Suddenly he was standing on the road a few miles from his house, looking at a car wreck… wait... that was they're car! He watched as his father was pulled out of the car, completely motionless, his body mangled and bloody. Tears filled his eyes unbidden. "Dad…" He croaked in a rough voice.
Instantly, he was back at his house, the cat eyed girl standing next to him. She looked at him sympathetically as he wept. "What is this? What're you showing me?" He asked her, tears flowing down his cheeks. She just stared at him. "Tell me!" He screamed, desperately. "Beware of the future." She hissed before cocking her head to one side. "Meow." She said, before morphing into a very small, thin, black cat and walking away.