Roads: Chapter 20

Title: Roads
Chapter: 20 of 43
Author: Sheryl
Rating: R
Other Info: Sequel to Walls
Warnings: Drug-usage, cursing, violence etc
Excerpt: “Stop it! Will you just stop, it’s only me!!”
Taylor shoved Amanda’s hands away from his face, desperately trying to keep her nails away from his eyes. He didn’t want to hurt her, he didn’t know what was happening, but something in him knew it wasn’t her fault. Fighting tears, and the urge to hit her back, he frantically tried to pin her hands, all the while backing away.
“Amanda, it’s okay! Just stop, it’s okay!” He knew his words were doing no good, she wasn’t hearing him. Whatever this was, it had taken her over. He felt his back bump up against the wall and groaned. He’d backed himself into a corner.

Chapter 20

“Look at them out there.” Isaac’s voice was bitter. “You’d think we were in a zoo. How can they just come to stare at us, like that?”
Diana gently pulled him away from the window. “Don’t even look at them.”
“We’ll have to say something. Tell them something. You heard what they were saying on the news.”
She nodded. Taylor had been seen, by quite a number of people, staggering from home, bruised and bloodied. No one had seen him come back, and the speculation as to his runaway status was big news. As if the nearly superhuman observational skills of the assorted vultures weren’t enough, the police department “regretted having to tell them that” one of their officers had already made a statement to the press, as well. Walker was currently in debate with management over what sort of statement the family should make.
Diana’s view was that they should state clearly and concisely that all of the media hounds should have a missing child, and see how it felt. Maybe that would show them that badgering a family in crisis was, at the very least, inconsiderate.
Sighing, feeling guilty at her uncharitable thoughts, and wishing they would all just go away, she turned her attention from the window, to her son, who, she was alarmed to see, was developing the “look”. The “look” was the expression Isaac’s face tended to adopt when he had a plan brewing.
Fearing the worst, she crossed her arms, leaning back against the wall. “Okay, spill it. What’re you thinking?”
“That I need to go back out.”
“Ike, why? You and Tiffany exhausted…”
He stopped her. Something was niggling in the back of his mind, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on. “Wait. Just wait.”
He picked up the phone, brow knit, and dialed Tiffany.

“I don’t see it, Ike. What are you talking about? Can’t you just tell me?” Tiffany was tired, and not in the mood for guessing games. “I don’t see anything out there that makes me think anything at all, except that I wish I had a shotgun.” Ike had asked her to look, carefully, at the flock of people at the end of the drive, and tell him if anything made her think anything. She’d looked. She had no idea. Now, impatient, exhausted, and beyond worried, she turned on him, voice harsh.
“Just tell me what you’re thinking. I don’t have time for this.”
Stung, he backed away a little, voice dropping. “That’s the problem, Tiffy, I don’t know. I keep looking out and something’s making me think of last night. That we need to go back out, I almost know what it is, but…”
She nodded, and pointed. “That car. That’s what you’re seeing. We drove by one like it, parked on someone’s lawn. Six times, I believe, but I only noticed it clearly as we were finally leaving. I only remember it ’cause it was parked weird.”
He stared out at the car she was pointing to. Big, black, nondescript. Why would that make him think he had to go back out?
He sighed, defeated. “No, I don’t think that’s it. But something… God I hate myself! Why am I so stupid!? I don’t even know what I’m thinking!!”
He flung himself away from the window, heading out the door, when Tiffany’s voice, now shaking and extremely strained, stopped him.
“Ike? Ike, come back here, come here now!”
“What is it, Tiff? What’s the matter?” He glanced out the window, looking for what could have upset her so.
“Ike? Ike, that car. That’s what you’re seeing, that’s what you’re seeing! It is that car. IKE!!”
He shook his head, confused. “What about it, Tiff? Tiff, calm down!” He hurriedly reached his arms around her, she’d gone so white, and so breathless, she looked about to keel over.
She nodded, trying for all she was worth to slow her breathing down. “Ike,” She was gasping, suddenly short of breath. “On a dark night, on a road with no streetlights, to two people too tired to see straight, what do you suppose your car might look like?”
“My car?”
She nodded, still trying to get her breath back. “Your car.”
“Well, I suppose it might look…” He stopped as her finger came up, pointing out the window. He followed the point and nearly screamed. Breath catching in his throat, body suddenly trembling violently, he turned and ran.

“Stop it! Will you just stop, it’s only me!!”
Taylor shoved Amanda’s hands away from his face, desperately trying to keep her nails away from his eyes. He didn’t want to hurt her, he didn’t know what was happening, but something in him knew it wasn’t her fault. Fighting tears, and the urge to hit her back, he frantically tried to pin her hands, all the while backing away.
“Amanda, it’s okay! Just stop, it’s okay!” He knew his words were doing no good, she wasn’t hearing him. Whatever this was, it had taken her over. He felt his back bump up against the wall and groaned. He’d backed himself into a corner.
Panic beginning to set in, face and neck already bleeding, hands coming at his eyes and throat, again and again, faster than he could fight her off, reaction took over, and before he could think, his hand flashed out, connecting squarely with the side of her head, knocking her backward. He jumped away from the wall, as she began to come at him again, and he was on her in an instant, grabbing her and pinning her where he had been. No longer worried about hurting her, he gripped her wrists, hard, feeling small bones grind in his hand, and shoved those wrists against the wall.
“Amanda!!!” He shouted the name, no longer caring if he scared her awake. She had to come out of this. “Amanda!!” He stopped, ducking as one of her hands came loose, and went again for his face, “Amanda stop it!!! It’s me!! For God sake, WAKE UP!!” Her nails dug into his cheek, bright flash of pain, and he felt blood, warm on his face. “Stop it!! You have to wake up, Amanda! It’s okay, it’s just me!”
He was using all of his weight to pin her to the wall, and still she was getting free, her strength was enormous. Knowing he couldn’t hold her without hurting her, and thinking that if he loosened up a little she might calm down, he backed away from her very slightly.
Fighting to lower his voice, he said her name softly, “Mandy, it’s okay, it’s okay. It’s only me. You just have to wake up, now.”
His words, far from calming her, seemed to fuel some inner fire, and her struggles became more intense. Screaming obscenities, and yanking her arms from his grip, she threw him off her, and ran for the kitchen. He started after her, coming up short when she whirled around, in her hand a fillet knife. He froze then, eyes wary, unsure what to do, every nerve in his body singing.
“You son of a bitch.” her voice was cold. “This is the last time, the last time I let you hurt me.”
He backed away slowly, knowing now that whoever she was seeing, it wasn’t him, and there was absolutely nothing he could do to stop this. Swearing softly, knowing the stakes had just been raised to the level of one of them being badly hurt, perhaps killed, he watched her coming at him.

“No, no, I know where I’m going! Just stop, please!” Isaac’s temper was short. His mother’s endless stream of questions was getting to him.
She’d badgered him about where he was going, did he really remember? It had been so late, was he sure he was going the right way? Was he sure he was supposed to turn here? He knew she was nervous, but he was about to go off the road. He’d been driving.
Listening to this, for over an hour, and his patience was stretching thin. Now feeling guiltily because he’d snapped, he gently took her hand.
“I’m sorry. But I do remember.”
They drove in silence then, apprehension stealing words, anxiety the only touchstone for each of them.

“Let her go!” The voice came out of nowhere, full of menace, and Taylor’s heart almost stopped. He had her hand, and the knife along with it, but she’d already cut him more than once, and the blood was making it too slippery to get a good grip. Afraid to let go, terrified that she’d stab him, or somehow herself, and now faced with someone he couldn’t even see wanting to kill him, by the sound, his control snapped completely.
“I can’t let her go!!!” His voice was an outraged scream. “If I let her go, she’s gonna fucking stab me!!! Get the knife away from her!!!”
CC, now accurately seeing the situation, quietly slipped behind her, and without warning, took her in his arms, pinning her tightly.
Shrieking her rage as Taylor finally wrestled the knife away from her, she fought desperately, this time unable to get away. CC, much stronger than Taylor, had her in a grip she couldn’t break out of.
He looked at Taylor, saw how scared the boy was, and made every effort to keep his voice calm. “She’s not seeing you. She thinks you’re someone else. You have to get out of her line of sight.” He directed instructions to Daniel. “Take him in the kitchen, make sure he’s alright. I’ll take care of Mandy.”
Dan nodded, reached for Taylor’s arm, but pulled back when he saw the boy flinch. Instead, he gestured for Taylor to follow him. “Come on. It’s okay, it’s gonna be alright. This has happened before. Come with me, if you want him to be able to calm her down. Which one of you is bleeding?”
Taylor, shaking now, followed him into the kitchen, his eyes staying on Amanda until the wall blocked his view.
“Hey.” Taylor jumped, at Daniel’s voice. Dan smiled, tone apologetic. “I’m sorry, I don’t know your name. Who’s bleeding?”
Taylor’s attention snapped to the boy in front of him. “I… I don’t know. I think I better sit down.”
Daniel nodded, “Good idea. Lets see your hands.” Taylor held them out, mute, and Daniel whistled, astounded. “Man, oh man she got you good. Just sit there and don’t move.”
He reached under the sink, as familiar with Mandy’s kitchen as he was with his own, and pulled out a basin. Filling it with warm water, and helping himself to a washcloth, he gestured to Taylor.
“This is gonna hurt like hell, but you have to rinse the blood off.” Taylor nodded, and slid his shaking hands into the water, hissing a little as the warm water hit open cuts. Daniel eyed the boy in front of him. Something about him was ringing some bells.
“I’m Daniel. Don’t be scared about Amanda, CC’s gonna bring her out of that just fine. Do you know what started it?”
Taylor shook his head. “No, she seemed like she was in a nightmare, and I tried to wake her up, and she came at me.”
“You scared her, and she got stuck in it.”
Taylor shook his head, baffled. “Did I do that? Did I do that to her?”
Daniel shrugged. “I don’t have any idea what triggered it. You’ll have to talk to Ceec. Let’s see your hands.”
He eyed the cuts along the back of the other boy’s hands, relieved to see they were shallow… Seeing blood dripping from underneath, he winced.
“Turn your hand over” and groaned at what he saw. Taylor’s palm was laid open, deeply enough that he could see far too much of the inside of his hand.
“That one’s gonna want stitches. Here…” He folded up a dishtowel, and handed it to Taylor. “Press on it hard, and don’t let up.”
He eyed the trembling boy, sitting across from him, wondering what on earth had been going on here, and how they were going to fix it.

CC had his hands full with Amanda. He held on, voice soft.
“Mandy, Mandy it’s okay. It’s me. It’s Ceec. You’re okay.”
His words went on and on, meaningless soothing, and he felt the tension begin to go out of her body. When she began to relax into his arms, he gently led her over to the couch.
“Mandy.” His voice was now firmer. “Mandy!”
She looked up at him, eyes glazed, and he sighed. She was really stuck in this one. Not really sleeping, but also not quite awake, she was trapped in dream images. The real world couldn’t penetrate, and she was lost in her past. She hadn’t had one of these spells in over a year. She’d sounded fine on the phone last night, what could have set it off?
His eyes narrowed. That kid. Something must have happened with the boy. Hoping there was something salvageable about this whole thing, he gently continued his efforts to bring Amanda back into reality.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Daniel watched, with no little concern, as Taylor, hand shaking, struggled to drink the tea that Daniel had made him.
Taylor’s nod was shaky, his gaze suspicious. In all honesty, he felt like throwing up, and the last thing he wanted was to drink anything. Or to talk to whoever this was.
His eyes flicked continuously to the living room, and Amanda. He didn’t understand any of this…
“What happened to her? I didn’t do that, did I?”
Daniel shook his head, “I already told you, I don’t know. What exactly happened?” Taylor shook his head. “You saw.” “I didn’t see what happened.”
Taylor sighed, shoved the mug away, and craned his neck around, to see into the living room. “Look, why are you making me stay in here? Is she okay?”
He saw Daniel’s glance move to a spot above his head, expression suddenly very concerned, and turned, to see Amanda standing behind him. She sank down into the chair next to him, and sighed.
“Taylor, I’m so sorry. If I’d had any idea that was going to happen, I’d have made sure you were somewhere else.”
He shook his head, he didn’t want to hear that. “Mandy, you’re okay? What was that?” She sighed again, bitterly, then smiled slightly as CC pressed a mug into her hand. “Thanks Ceec, your cure all for everything. Apple tea.” Sipping from her mug, she turned to Taylor. “We owe you an explanation. An honest one. But let me catch my breath first, okay?”
He nodded, confused. She seemed perfectly normal, now, to him.
“We owe him a couple stitches, too.” Daniel’s voice brought their heads up. “Look at his hand.”
“Show me, Taylor. Oh, by the way, I’m CC.”
Taylor nodded his acknowledgement of the introduction, and held his hand out. Amanda winced, seeing the cuts on his hand, and the scratches and gouges on his face and throat. Past the point of hating herself for something she couldn’t help, she still felt badly that this boy, fragile in his own right, had caught the brunt of it.
CC was shaking his head. “No, I have butterflies in the car. This isn’t bleeding any more. It’s deep, but its narrow, no, I don’t think it needs stitches. Danny, would you run out and get the first aid kit?”
Dan jumped up, trotted through the living room, then halted as he opened the front door. “Hey, guys? There’s a van pulling up out here. Looks like we’ve got company.” Taylor’s head snapped up. “Van? What color is it?”
“White. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Isaac had rounded the bend, and felt his heart leap at the sight of his car, canted sideways across someone’s lawn. He pulled the van up behind it, and started to get out, when his mother stopped him.
“Ike, we don’t even know if he’s here. Why don’t you think before you go running in?”
“I’m not going to run in, but even if he’s not there, they must have noticed the car in their front yard. I’m going to see if anyone’s home.”
Just as he spoke, the front door opened, and they saw a boy looking out. He turned to speak to someone inside the house, then continued on his way out the door. Isaac, out of the car quickly, moved to intercept him.

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This fictional story is hosted at The Gifted Ones,
with permission from the author, Sheryl.

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