The Taylight Zone - The Nowhere Road Anthology

08 - Them - Hanna

"So Zac... What brings you here?"

"I was bored, basically..." He shrugged as if not knowing what to say.

"Oh, you were bored. That's sweet of you. Do you make house calls to your friends only when you're bored?" I said, slightly amused.
"No... I had not seen you in awhile... And I finally had some free time. Why... Do you want me to leave?" He looked somewhat nervous, like I was going to reprimand him or something. I was beyond confused.

"Touché! So... how are you doing, dear friend?" Weird how I hadn't heard form him in about 4 months. Weird how I don't usually read the newspaper. Weird how I lived in an isolated cabin.
"Not too good, actually."
"Why? What's the matter?"

"They're still haunting me, Ron."

"They, Zac? Who're they?"

"THEM. The shouting, the stalkers, the people we thought were our fans..." He was beginning to get the panicky look that characterized him now... And I couldn't do a thing to stop it.
"Zac?" I whispered, "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Veronica... they were always there. Always. They wouldn't even let us breathe. We were trapped inside hotels, studios, restaurants, heck, even inside our own house because of them. They outnumbered us. They followed us everywhere. We couldn’t escape their wrath. We hated them for it. Especially me. I just wanted to make music. We wanted to make music... We just didn't think about the consequences of following our dreams..." He trailed off, catching his breath and drying the tears that had started cascading down his cheeks.

I had been their friend since our childhood years. I knew everything about their life, where they were, what they ate, what got them annoyed... I was basically considered another Hanson child. There are, though, five years about which I didn't know jack shit. 1997 to 2002 were enigmas. A time I knew not to ask about... I had learned the hard way. Everything he was telling me now, was new to me. They never let on about their pain. I never saw them angry. I just didn't know.

"Ron... it was horrible... During shows, we couldn't hear ourselves. We couldn't even hear our music. THEY didn't listen to the music. They just... screamed at us, proclaiming their undying love for us." He laughed bitterly when he said that. He wasn't looking at me, nor was he focusing on anything... He was staring into space, probably re-living those times. "They made me mad, madder than you'd ever begin to conceive. It was horrible and frustrating."

"Oh Zac... I didn't know all that."

"I know you didn't. We made a point never to tell you. I just wanted to explain why I did what I did." His face suddenly turned dark... pained. It hurt me to see him like this.

"Explain what you did? What did you do? I don't get it, Zac..."
"You don't know, Ron?" He looked bewildered, as if I was supposed to know.

"Know what? You're scaring me, Zac." There was a deafening silence between us and he slowly turned to look at me.

"I wanted to explain why I killed them."

"What?! You what?! Zac.... What?!"

"I killed them. At the last concert we did. They began screaming again... and I snapped. I gunned down everyone there. Ron? Don't look at me like that..." He said. He’s calmness shook me up.

"And..." I gulped, "And your brothers?"

"They're confused, everyone hates me now, They told me I could visit two people before tomorrow. I chose you and Mom."

"Who told you? What's tomorrow?"

"The jury told me. I'm sentenced to death, Ron. I just wanted to see you one last time." I gasped and started crying even harder. This was surreal. This couldn't be happening.

"What?" He sounded choked up.

"I love you. Always remember that." I walked up to where he was standing and hugged him with all my might.
"I love you too, Ron" He said, kissing the top of my head. "I knew I made the right choice when I chose to come here." He smiled a little. I still couldn’t believe this was happening. The Zac I knew wouldn't even hurt a fly. But I guess people change. Events and conflicts in life change them.

We said our good-byes just as the police arrived to pick him up. He told me to never forget him. And that he loved me. And that I was one of his best friends. And that he'd miss me.

All I could think of while he was lead to the car was...

"Ronnie! Ronnie! We did it! We got the record deal!"

"Wow! That's awesome!"

"It finally happened! We're going to make music for the world! It finally happened!"