|The Taylight Zone - The Nowhere Road Anthology
01 - Blaze - Juliette
The neighborhood bullies still tormented Taylor even after fame struck. They
were too stuck in their ways to have any shame. As much as his mother told
him to turn the other cheek, he couldn't help but wish misery upon them. He
walked in the front door of his house in time for supper. His father was
watching the local news.
"Taylor, check this out," he called, waving him over. A house was engulfed
in flames on television. "The old place on 79th street burned down this
afternoon. Authorities suspect arson, but no motive has been established."
Taylor laughed. "Dad, you sound just like the reporter." Taylor decided he'd take another
walk tomorrow to check the house out.
Taylor pulled his baseball cap tight onto his head as he ventured outside
the next morning. Walking quickly, he arrived at the charred remains in just
minutes. He heard a small shuffle, a meow, and a vibrant orange tabby cat
emerged from the ashes.
"Whoa! Do you live here, kitty?" Taylor asked, slowly approaching it.
The cat meowed forlornly, as if to say, "Yes, and now I have no home."
"I'll take you home, kitty," Taylor said, scooping up the feline. "And I'll
call you Blaze."
* * *
Later that day, Taylor was playing with Blaze in the backyard.
"Too bad Mom said you have to stay outside. Oh well, I'm sure you'll have
plenty of fun with the wildlife." As if on cue, Blaze spotted a squirrel and
chased it across the yard behind a bush. Having trapped the creature, but
unable to reach it, Blaze hissed and began rubbing up against the bush.
Taylor cocked his head at this strange behavior. Suddenly, the bush ignited.
Startled out of his chair, Taylor turned on the garden hose and doused the
fire. Then he turned to Blaze. The cat looked at him innocently. With a
shaky hand, Taylor leaned over and touched the cat's fur. It singed his
"Well," Taylor reasoned, "maybe it's just warm from being close to the
fire." He sucked on his fingers, throbbing and red. "Something's not right
Taylor snuck inside and grabbed some kitty treats and a pile of logs
from the firewood stack. He took them outside and formed a barrier around
the treats, stacking the logs so Blaze would be unable to reach them.
Realizing its predicament, Blaze hissed again and began rubbing against the
logs. Soon the logs burst into flames. Taylor doused them as he had done to
the bush, and returned the objects. This time Taylor retrieved a thermometer
and touched the tip to Blaze's fur. Two hundred degrees Fahrenheit, but
"It wouldn't get this hot and cool off this fast unless there was some
conscious effort here," Taylor realized. He stared at Blaze's bright orange
fur contemplatively. "You must've been the one who burned down the house on
79th street. All cause it had something you wanted but couldn't get at. I
bet you got it when the house was nothing but a pile of ashes," he lectured
the cat. He took Blaze inside and told his mother that Blaze had been
killing birds outside. Not wanting the cat to harm other wild creatures,
Diana allowed Blaze to stay in Taylor's room where he could keep an eye on
the pet. Taylor looked out his window, holding Blaze in his arms. The
neighborhood bullies were under his window, screaming obscenities and
flinging mud and rocks at his window. Taylor's humiliation and rage began to
boil, and his eyes fell on Blaze. He got an idea.
Taylor thundered downstairs, cradling Blaze in his arms, and greeted the
bullies outside. He dropped Blaze at his feet.
"You got a cat, faggot?" one of them shouted.
"Guess that proves what a pussy you are!" the other added, and the two
cracked up laughing. "Get it? Cat, pussy?" They continued laughing. Blaze
growled at them.
"That's it, Blaze, get real mad," Taylor whispered. The bullies looked up.
"You talking to your cat now? What the hell is wrong with you man? Or does
your cat talk back?!" The first one pelted Blaze with a fistful of mud and
small pebbles. Blaze hissed more ferociously than ever, and approached the
bullies. Blaze vigorously rubbed against their legs, nearly pushing them
over with its strength. Satisfied, Blaze returned to Taylor's side.
"Hey man, did it suddenly get real hot to you?" one asked.
"Yeah, maybe we're allergic to that cat," the other suggested.
"Something like that," Taylor added with a smug grin, and watched as their
pants ignited. They screamed and began running around the yard as the flames
engulfed their entire bodies. "Next time, think twice about how you treat
someone. If there is a next time for you, that is." With that, Taylor and
Blaze sauntered back into the house as the bullies screamed in agony, and
were finally silenced.