Roads: Chapter 30

Title: Roads
Chapter: 30 of 43
Author: Sheryl
Rating: R
Other Info: Sequel to Walls
Warnings: Drug-usage, cursing, violence etc
Excerpt: “Taylor, I find this incredibly difficult to understand.” Her tone shifted suddenly, anger giving way to compassion. “Baby, why are you suffering this all alone?”
He shook his head, blinking back sudden tears. Her anger he could take. Her sympathy he wasn’t quite sure he could. “I just didn’t want people fussing over me.” He sighed and put his head down on the table, resting on crossed arms. “I wanted things to be normal. I guess I thought that if I didn’t mention it… I just get sick of everyone looking at me, and fussing over me. I just wanted to be normal again.” He felt her hand then, stroking his hair, and reached up, gently setting his on top of hers. As much as he hated to admit it, he was glad she knew. He wanted it to stop. Maybe she could help him. He’d begun to doze, enjoying the feel of her hand in his hair, when his senses suddenly fired, and his head shot up. Smell of pine needles and water, cool air and darkness, and then nausea slammed into him, sudden and overwhelming. Seconds later he was vomiting into the sink, his mother’s arms the only thing keeping him upright.

Chapter 30

Taylor eyed the toothbrush dubiously, hoping that sticking it in his mouth wasn’t just going to start the whole thing up again. This was getting really old, and he debated the idea of telling someone, as he cautiously took a couple of swipes at his teeth. Noting no signs that brushing his teeth was going to gag him, he shrugged, and continued, thinking to himself that if this kept up, he’d have no teeth left. He’d brush them right out of his head. His mind wandered from the business at hand, to the weird ideas in his head. Zac. He couldn’t stop thinking about Zac. Couldn’t shake the idea that something was wrong. It was like he was hallucinating, he kept smelling things, pine, and wood smoke, and water. Weird. Maybe when he finished up in here, he’d wake up Ike and they could just go over and make sure Zac was okay.
“Baby, why didn’t you come get me?” Taylor jumped at the sound of his mother’s voice, looking guiltily up, catching her reflection, in the mirror. “Come get you for what?” His voice slurred around the toothbrush in his mouth. Holding up a finger, “Wait a minute,” he spat toothpaste into the sink, wincing a little. He spent entirely too much time here. Feeling her eyes on him, he made himself swallow half a glass of water, rinse out his toothbrush, wipe up the spattered droplets around the sink, and throw the towel in the hamper.
Glancing uneasily up into the mirror, he hoped she’d taken his fussing around as a sign that he was okay, and gone back to bed. No good. She was still there. Knowing he couldn’t stall any longer, he looked up and met her eyes. Until now, she hadn’t known. He and Zac had hidden it from everyone. Sighing, he turned, leaning back against the sink, trying not to look defensive, or hateful. Damn it though, why did she have to come in? He hadn’t asked for her help. Was there even such a thing as privacy anymore? Silent, they stared at one another.
Finally, tired of the standoff, Diana stepped into the room, noting his crossed arms and wary gaze, keeping her distance. “Why didn’t you come get me?”
He smiled a little, but there was no humor in it. “You already said that. What could you have done? No reason to go get you. I’d as soon not have you in here just to stare.” He started out of the room, gently pushing past her. “And besides, there was really no time.”
“Tay…” Her tone stopped him. He knew it well. She had something to say, and she was going to say it.
“Mom, it’s after midnight.”
She nodded, voice low. “I know. You sleeping? Come on.”
Sighing, knowing he had no recourse, he followed her downstairs to the kitchen. “So this has been happening every night, Tay?” Her eyes were wide with disbelief, and he could see glints of anger there. He’d told her everything, how long this had been going on, that only Zac had known, had been getting up with him every night, how bad it really was. As he’d expected, she was not pleased. “You vomit up everything you put in you, every single night, and you don’t think to mention it? You hide it? What were you thinking?”
He shook his head. “I was thinking that I don’t want to see the inside of a hospital again in my life. That I don’t want anymore doctors poking at me. That I don’t want to be sent to some place…” Snorting derisively,
Diana shoved her chair out and stood up. “Taylor, you’re smarter than that. Certainly nobody would send you away because you’re sick. Where did you ever get an idea like that? That’s nonsense and we both know it. You told Zac, and you made him promise not to tell either… Tay, this is not okay. It’s not normal.”
“I know that.”
“So, why on earth would you…”
He slammed his hand down on the table, cutting her off. “I don’t know!! I was afraid to tell you! I didn’t have any idea what might happen!”
Her arms crossed her chest. “Taylor, I find this incredibly difficult to understand.” Her tone shifted suddenly, anger giving way to compassion. “Baby, why are you suffering this all alone?”
He shook his head, blinking back sudden tears. Her anger he could take. Her sympathy he wasn’t quite sure he could. “I just didn’t want people fussing over me.” He sighed and put his head down on the table, resting on crossed arms. “I wanted things to be normal. I guess I thought that if I didn’t mention it… I just get sick of everyone looking at me, and fussing over me. I just wanted to be normal again.” He felt her hand then, stroking his hair, and reached up, gently setting his on top of hers. As much as he hated to admit it, he was glad she knew. He wanted it to stop. Maybe she could help him. He’d begun to doze, enjoying the feel of her hand in his hair, when his senses suddenly fired, and his head shot up. Smell of pine needles and water, cool air and darkness, and then nausea slammed into him, sudden and overwhelming. Seconds later he was vomiting into the sink, his mother’s arms the only thing keeping him upright.

********************

“Zacko, you okay?” Jason’s voice, filled with worry, drifted over the crackle of the fire. No reply. Well, he hadn’t really expected one. Zac had bolted out of the sleeping bag, and stumbled away from the fire a few minutes ago, pulling away from the hand Jay had reached out, replying to Jay’s offer of help with only a ragged, and choked, “Get away from me.” Jason had followed him, only to be roughly shoved away. Respecting his friends wishes, he’d gone back to the fire, anxiously eyeing the shadows Zac had disappeared into. Minutes of silence, he couldn’t take this. “Zac?!” Still no answer. He paced the area around the fire. It was too dark to see, and he couldn’t hear anything. Wishing he’d just stayed home, and had never met Zachary Hanson, Jason flung himself down, tears stinging his eyes.
Zac let go the branch he’d been hanging onto, gasping in a lungfull of air, finally. He’d thought he’d never be able to breathe again. Felt like his insides were coming up. Panting, feeling like he’d never catch his breath, he sank down onto his knees. Bad. This was bad, he hurt too much. Spitting, trying to clear his mouth and wishing with all his soul for a drink, he glanced back toward the fire. He knew he was in trouble. He’d never been this sick in his life. Cold chills ran up and down him, shaking him so hard it was difficult to stand back up, his legs threatening to go out from under him, while at the same time he felt he was on fire. “Really bad, really bad…” The thought spun in his head… Sighing, wishing he knew what to do, he made his way, holding onto branches and bushes, back to his friend, and the fire. His mind flashed on Taylor. God, he wanted him here. Wanted Tay. Didn’t want Jason, he wanted to go home. Jay looked up at the sound of footsteps, relieved beyond belief to see Zac walking back toward him. Relief turned to fear when he saw how unsteady Zac was. Jumping to his feet, he ran over, taking his friends arm, supporting him as he led him back to the fire. “Zac, you okay?”
Zac nodded. “Yeah, I’m okay, I feel better, I threw up.”
Jason grimaced, and helped him sit down.
“Zacko, we really need to get you home.”
“I know, but not now. I can’t hike around, not now. I’m too tired.” He sighed, and curled up on his side. “Jay, I’m really sorry. I felt fine when we left, I swear to God I did.”
Jason shrugged. “It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean it. Wish I’d left you home though.” Zac kicked out at him, connecting squarely with his shin, grinning.
“If you’d left me home, you’d be home too.”
Jason nodded, rubbing his leg. “Yeah, and the problem with that is?”
Zac giggled, and turned over, trying to find a comfortable spot. “It’s an adventure, Jay. Look at it that way.” His smile faded suddenly, and he sat up, sweat suddenly breaking on his brow. “Oh God Jay, I’m gonna do it again…” He started to get up, but Jason stopped him, grip tight on his arm. “It’s okay Zac, just stay here. I’ll help you.” Zac looked up at him for a moment, nodding grimly, then turned away, holding onto his friends arm, waiting.

********************

Taylor felt like he was dying, retching up nothing, feeling like all of his insides were coming un-anchored. The nausea wouldn’t back off, wouldn’t back down, his empty stomach trying to rid itself of something that wasn’t there. Black began to invade his vision, and he held tighter to the sink, praying for it to stop… His mind was filled with images he couldn’t explain, smell of smoke, and pine, water and growing things. Feel of earth, under fingers he knew were gripping the porcelain edge of a sink. Confused and frightened, he held on, praying. A few minutes later, as suddenly as it had started, the attack stopped. He drew a shaky breath, once again feeling his mother’s arms around him, releasing the edge of the sink with hands that ached from holding so tightly. He accepted the water she held out to him, and let her help him wash his face.
“Come on, baby, lets get you back to bed.” Her voice was soft now, all trace of anger and irritation gone. He nodded, swallowing against the faint nausea that still hung in his throat, following her toward the stairs. Halfway there, he stopped, uneasiness building in him. “Mom…” He turned, gesturing toward the phone on the hall table. “Mom, I know it’s late, but would you call Jason’s?”
Brow creased, she stared at him, puzzled. “What on earth for? It’s very nearly one in the morning. Why would you want me to do that? You can get through a night without Zac, Taylor…”
“No…” He shook his head. “It’s not that. Something’s wrong, I just think you need to check on him.”
“Baby, Zac’s fine. I’m not waking them all up, you’ll see him in the morning.”
“Mom…”
She held up a hand. “He’s fine. Don’t you think that if something were wrong, they would have called us?”
He stopped, puzzled. It did make sense. “Yeah, I suppose, but I can’t shake it. I just feel like something’s not right.”
“Tay, you’re tired, and you’re not thinking straight. I’m not waking up an entire household, because you’ve got a case of the jitters.” Sighing, knowing she wasn’t going to let him anywhere near the phone, he accepted her gentle hug, let himself be led into his room, quietly, so as not to wake Isaac, whom he knew instantly was only feigning sleep for their mother’s sake. He climbed into bed and hugged her again, smiling slightly when she straightened his blankets.
“Mom…” His voice was soft, and faintly amused. “You don’t have to tuck me in, okay?” She smiled back at him, whispering softly.
“Yeah baby, I know. I just may anyway…” She ran her fingers briefly through his hair, her eyes taking him in. “You alright now?” He nodded, thinking at that moment of nothing but how much he loved her.
“I’m okay. I promise.”
“If it happens again…”
“I’ll come get you.” Sighing a little, she stood back, looking down at him. Shaking her head a little, she reached down and squeezed his shoulder slightly. “Make sure you do. Sleep well, baby.”
“You too…” He watched her cross the room, close the door, listened to her footsteps fade down the hall, then flicked his gaze above his head.
“You can come out now, Guido, she’s gone.”
Isaac’s head popped down over the side. “I thought she’d never leave. Did she really tuck you in?”
Taylor grinned, and shook his head. “No, but she wanted to.”
“You okay to take a ride?”
“What? Where?” Isaac jumped lightly to the floor. “Over to Jason’s. I heard what you told her. I can’t sleep either, I’m edgy too. You up for it?”
Taylor sat up, nodding. “How you gonna get out without anyone knowing?”
Isaac grinned. “How did Tiffy get in? We, are going down the tree.” He padded across the room, pulling clothes out of the dresser, and tossing them in his brother’s direction.
“Ike, they’re gonna hear the car.” Isaac paused, one leg in his jeans. For a few moments, as he thought, his face went blank, prompting laughter from Taylor. “Ike, you look like a stork. Where did you just go?”
Scowling at his brother, Isaac finished dressing, thinking it over. “Tay, think you could make it over there, walking?”
Taylor nodded. “Yeah, I’m not a cripple, y’know. I think I can walk four blocks.”
“Okay then. Hurry up.” The boys finished dressing, anxiety and apprehension speeding their movements, and together, silent as smoke, they slipped out of the house.

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

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