Roads: Chapter 40

Title: Roads
Chapter: 40 of 43
Author: Sheryl
Rating: R
Other Info: Sequel to Walls
Warnings: Drug-usage, cursing, violence etc
Excerpt: “God, get away from me!” Reality had ceased to exist. Taylor’s mind took him back, dropping him into a nightmare he’d never really awakened from. The nightmare of the past. The man on the bench slid closer, and his hand slid up Taylor’s leg. “You’re so much more… photogenic… than your brothers.” Taylor shook him off, and slid away…
“I didn’t wander off!” His father’s face, sympathetic but frustrated, “I didn’t go anywhere, I didn’t do anything!!”
Do yourself a favor, come with me…” That hand, on his neck, “God let me go!!” He jumped off the bench, foot touching pavement… His voice, lost in a scream, as something hit him, and hit him hard.

Chapter 40

Isaac’s attention had been seized by a flurry of motion. What the hell was going on over there, was that Taylor yelling like that? He watched, puzzled, it was hard to make out what was going on. He watched, the crowd forgotten. “Oh my God, he’s headed for the road!” The blind panic on his brother’s face, and his headlong rush toward the highway, imprinted themselves onto Isaac at the same time. Leaving Jason standing there, he took off at a dead run.

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

“God, get away from me!” Reality had ceased to exist. Taylor’s mind took him back, dropping him into a nightmare he’d never really awakened from. The nightmare of the past. The man on the bench slid closer, and his hand slid up Taylor’s leg. “You’re so much more… photogenic… than your brothers.” Taylor shook him off, and slid away…
“I didn’t wander off!” His father’s face, sympathetic but frustrated, “I didn’t go anywhere, I didn’t do anything!!”
Do yourself a favor, come with me…” That hand, on his neck, “God let me go!!” He jumped off the bench, foot touching pavement… His voice, lost in a scream, as something hit him, and hit him hard.

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

“Taylor stop!!” Isaac’s voice was lost in the shriek that pealed from his brother’s mouth. “TAYLOR!!!” He knew he had to stop him, and he had bare seconds to do it. “Goddamn it Taylor!” He threw himself in his brother’s path, his greater weight taking them both down. He heard his brother’s grunt as his body hit the ground, heard his gasps for breath. “Oh Christ I hurt him…”
“Don’t let him up!” CC’s voice, panting, “Don’t let him up, for God sake, if you love him, hold on to him!” CC dropped next to him, eyeing Taylor quickly. He’d had the wind knocked out of him, but he’d recover soon enough, and when he did, he’d take off. The thought was barely out of his head, when Taylor suddenly lunged, nails ripping at his brother’s face.
“GET OFF ME!!” Isaac pulled back, shoving the clawing hands out of his face, and Taylor jumped up, only to be tackled by CC. “Ike hold ON to him!”
Isaac nodded grimly, blinking against the blood trickling into his eye.
“TAY! CC what’s wrong with him?!” He shouted over the screams. Even with CC’s considerable assistance, it took every ounce of strength to keep his brother pinned. CC shook his head, crossing an arm over Taylor’s chest.
“Just hold on until he calms down.”

Images, flashing too fast to focus. Hands on him, everywhere, flashes of light, “Stop looking at me!!!”
Come with me, I’ve been trying to get you alone all day…
Hands on him again, hands on him “Please don’t touch me… I didn’t mean to wander off, YOU SAID IT WAS SAFE!!” Images, his brother, CC, the police, that face, that voice! Holding him down, holding him for HIM! Blood, there was blood, bright and slick in the back of his throat, choking him, gagging him, “GET OFF ME!!!”

Isaac and CC held on, watching in horror as rills of blood ran out the corners of the boy’s mouth. “CC…”
“It’s okay, Ike, it looks worse than it is.”
“Why is he bleeding?!?!” CC’s head shot up. If Ike got hysterical there was no way. “Isaac!!” He risked freeing one hand, and took hold of Isaac’s head. “Just hold him!!! It’s gonna stop!”

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

Zac’s frustration had become something close to hysteria by this time, and Karen had all she could do to keep him in bed. The main number was busy, nobody was answering the pages, and the child was frantic. “Zac, sweetie, I’m sure it’s alright. Give them some time. They’ll call back.”
He shook his head. “Something’s wrong. I’m calling Tay’s pager. Somebody has to be able to call me back!!” He looked up at her, his expression heartbreaking. “I just want to talk to my mom, Karen, I just want to talk to my mom…” Sighing, she nodded, and squeezed his hand. “We’ll just keep trying, hon. We’ll get through.”

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

“JUST BACK OFF!!” Tiffany’s voice rose above the din. “Get out of my way! Just move!!” She ran for the cruiser, parked in the driveway, and banged on the glass. “Get out! Come on, they need help, come ON!!” He voice, vaguely hysterical brought the man out of the car immediately. “You have to help them, will you get OUT of my way!!” She shouted, then shoved the mane with the microphone, who had approached her. “Get these people out of here, and go HELP them!! Are you all blind!!” She gestured wildly toward the struggle on the grass, and ran for the house to get Diana.

CC bit back a scream as Taylor’s teeth sank into his wrist. Resisting the urge to yank his arm away, he pushed hard, into the boy’s mouth. Pressure on his jaw forced Taylor’s mouth open, and CC pulled his arm free.
“Oh God…, are you okay?” Isaac’s face was white, tears streaming freely down his face. “God, What’s wrong with him?” It was taking everything he had, and he was tiring rapidly.
CC didn’t answer. There was no time to answer. His own strength was rapidly giving out, pain taking a lot of endurance from him. At some point, Taylor’s head had crashed into his face, and he could feel broken teeth in his mouth. This had to end, and it had to end soon, for all three of their sakes.
Neither of them noticed the men in uniform, quickly edging the crowd of onlookers back, noticed the din of family and friends, heard the cries of people wishing to help. The world had narrowed to each other, and the struggling, biting, clawing boy on the ground.
Another pair of hands suddenly appeared, strong, large hands, pushing down on his chest, pinning him securely. “You…” The man nodded at CC. “Get him up close to you and hang on. Full contact, you’ll never keep him down this way, he’s too strong.”
CC nodded. “I know, I need to get his arms pinned.”
“I’ve got him, you get yourself situated” CC let go, and sat back, and the man with the large hands gripped the boy tightly, picked him up, ignoring the fingers that went for his eyes, and shoved him up against CC’s chest. CC’s arms were around him in an instant, and Isaac moved forward, pinning his legs. Taylor’s struggles, with his arms securely held, became more muted, more manageable. “There, you’ll be able to hold him better. I’ve already radioed for an ambulance, what happened h…” He broke off as Taylor suddenly spat in his face, lunging forward out of CC’s grip, coming suddenly face to face with Isaac. For just a moment, all was quiet, and Isaac reached up a hand to touch his brother. “Tay…” Taylor’s response was an animal growl, and he struck like a snake, biting Isaac’s face, nails going for his brothers eyes. Isaac, pain unimaginable, felt blackness invading, as his vision narrowed to a pinprick.

A moment later, Taylor was screaming, and CC’s voice rammed his head, bringing him back to some sort of soupy alertness. “What’d you do!! Jesus fucked up Christ what’d you do to him!!!”
Nightmare images, Taylor, screaming and clawing at his own eyes, blood, so much blood, everywhere, who’s was it? The cop, with something in his hand, what was that? “You fucking maced him?!! Jesus Christ!!” CC’s voice, fury beyond measure, and then his father was there, picking up Taylor, who’s screams went on, and on, but who’s struggles, for now, had dimmed. “Ike! Ike, come on, don’t stay out here.” CC’s voice.
Something was ringing. Beeping. What was that? God, his face hurt, what was wrong with him, and what was that noise?! Absently, automatically, not even realizing what he was doing, he reached down and turned of his pager for at least the twelfth time.

“Stay out, just keep them out!” CC’s voice rang through the room. Isaac kept quiet. He didn’t know anything, he couldn’t seem to think. Shivering, he looked around, his eyes settling on Taylor. Walker had brought him into the living room, laid him down, and silently, so silently, begun rinsing the chemical from his eyes. Taylor’s struggles had ceased, but his voice, a dull monotone now, throat hoarse from screaming, went on and on.
God damn it, there went his pager again. He glanced down, barely registered the number, and switched it off again, as his brother, somehow triggered by the sound, fought his way up off the couch, running again. Men suddenly, many of them, bags, equipment, radios. Where had they come from? What were they doing?
“Don’t! Don’t touch him!” Silver needle, glinting in the light, driven into his brother’s body. “What’re you doing to him!?”
“Calm down, son, it’s okay.”
Isaac looked up at the man who was washing off the side of his face. Blood ran onto his legs in threads. “Who’s bleeding?”
“You are, buddy. Hold still.”
“Why am I bleeding? God, I’m so cold…” the man looked at CC, who nodded shortly. “Shock.” The EMT sighed, and looked at the girl in the doorway. “Go get a blanket, would you?” She nodded, and fled, grateful for the opportunity to do something.
Isaac tried to make sense of the conversations around him. They wanted to take Taylor away. CC was telling them not to. The worst was over now, he was a doctor, it would all be okay. Isaac shivering had increased to the point where it was hard to sit up, and the man taking care of his face slipped an arm around him. “Take it easy, son, you’re alright. Hell of a thing though, isn’t it?” Isaac nodded, numbly accepted the blanket draped around him, and turned back to his brother. What was he saying?

“Shut up, all of you, shut up! Listen!” Taylor had collapsed onto the floor, and one of the men picked him up, setting him back onto the couch. His voice was ragged, his eyes open, glazed and far away. The men in the ambulance had given him a shot, Ike had seen it, and he’d gone limp and tractable, but the words went on and on. Gradually, as the men finished their work, the room quieted down, and they began to hear the words. Brow knit, CC moved in close, and spoke softly. “Tay, what did you say?”
Taylor’s gaze turned toward CC, and his eyes tried to focus. “I didn’t do n’thin.” “I know you didn’t. What do they think you did?”
Taylor’s sigh was bitter and heavy, and when he spoke, Isaac felt a horrible chill. The voice that came from his brother’s mouth, wasn’t quite Taylor’s.
Horrible voice, suggestive, almost lewd. “You’re so much more photogenic than your brothers. I’ve been trying to get you alone all day. Do yourself a favor” His eyes flickered away again, and Isaac felt a fainting kind of terror seize him. He’d heard those words before…”CC…” CC nodded, waving Isaac away.
“Ike, it’s okay, it happens. Taylor, who said that to you?”
Taylor’s eyes rolled back to him, “The man in the park.” His gaze turned heavenward “Look how he’s looking at you Tay, get up. Come on, stop that.” Isaac trembled, the voice coming from Taylor’s mouth was almost his. “Gross, tell dad, just get away from him.” CC’s eyes met Walker’s, and he saw a dreadful understanding there.
Taylor’s voice came again, “I wasn’t doing anything. I was all ready. I just sat down to wait. It wasn’t my fault, I didn’t mean to ruin it all…” Again, the voice that issued from his mouth altered, and this time CC’s eyes turned to Walker. “Don’t go anywhere near him, and don’t go anywhere alone, stay together. Damn it Taylor, we told you not to go off alone!”
The voice dropped away again, to that same hoarse mumble. “I’ve been trying to get you alone all day, what’re you hanging around with losers like them anyway? You’ve got what it takes to be a star, come with me, I’ll show you.” The boy’s eyes suddenly narrowed to slits, and he raised up on his elbows. “Come with me NOW!”
His eyes met his brother’s, flickered to his father, and lit on CC. Something in them cleared then, and they filled with tears. “CC, God, help me?” The plea was a whisper, and CC reached out and pulled the boy close to him, rubbing his back, holding him tightly. Chills ran through him, at what he’d just seen. Not that he hadn’t seen it before, but he’d had no idea things were as bad as that with this boy. He held the crying child to his chest, never moving, until the boy suddenly pulled away, turned, stared into his brother’s eyes. CC watched, carefully. Isaac had every reason to be afraid, but no, there was no fear in those brown eyes. Love, yes, and a guilt so strong it streamed from him. But no fear. Taylor must have seen this too, because he tore loose of the hands that held him, CC’s and his father’s, and flung himself into his brother’s arms. Isaac’s arms came around him then, and his eyes met CC’s.
“We knew about this.” His voice was a whisper. “How could we have known about this all this time…” Walker finished the thought for him.
“And never realized it was killing him?” CC sighed. He knew that answer, that was an easy one. But they weren’t ready for that yet.
He watched Isaac holding his brother, watched Taylor’s face. He saw it before it happened, saw the color suddenly fade to nothing, and signaled Isaac. “He’s gonna get sick, you better move him.” Ike shook his head, if anything holding the boy more tightly.
“It’s okay, I’m not letting him go. Not until he wants me to.” CC nodded, and when Taylor did vomit, Isaac never moved. Never flinched. CC turned to Walker, and motioned him to follow. When they’d reached the doorway, out of earshot of the two boys, he gestured back toward them.
“He’s through the worst of it now. There’s no need to take him anywhere, you can send the EMT’s away, if you’re comfortable with it.”
“Will you stay? Then fine, send them away.” His attention was suddenly caught by a sound from his sons. “What in the…”
Isaac shrugged, and smiled a little. “It’s his pager. Mine’s gone off about a million times.” He reached down, shut it off, and gently laid his brother, now sleeping, back on the couch. “I’m gonna go get changed.” He edged past the two men in the doorway, eyes averted.

As he passed the front door, he heard the noise level suddenly pick up, and glanced outside. His poor mom, there she was, trying to get those people away from here. “I should help her…” He took a step toward the door, glanced down at himself, and grimaced. “No, she’s got Tiff, I’m taking a shower… God I’m talking to myself.” He headed upstairs, noticing as he passed the hall table, that someone’s pager was beeping. “What is it with all these damned pagers?” He ignored it, shutting the bathroom door on the annoying sound.

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

Diana’s voice was beginning to give out. Damn these people anyway, why wouldn’t they shut up?! It was killing her, not being in there with Tay, God only knew what was going on, but she knew she’d be in the way. One more body underfoot wasn’t going to help anyone, and her hold on rationality was shaky at best. It wouldn’t help anyone if she went ballistic, and she suspected the sight of her son in the condition he seemed to be in, would be enough to tip her over.
“No, no sorry.” She wedged the phone against her ear, trying to figure out what the man on the other end was talking about. He was blathering away about something, God knew, possibly God cared, what. Diana didn’t.
“No, officer, if you could just get them before they leave.”
“Ma’am, they have the right…”
“God damn it!! Diana forgot the man on the phone “I have the right, my SON has the right, to not have something like this blasted across the airwaves! He’s just a little boy! Now are you gonna help me, or stand there with your thumb up your ass!” Shocked, the policeman nodded, and quietly directed his crew to speak to the press. He was a family man himself, he understood where she was coming from. Among the instructions he gave them what he considered the most important: to turn a blind eye to the friends and members of this family, who were busily waylaying photographers and journalists, exposing films and absconding tapes. “Protect your own folks, I won’t stand in your way…”
“Drop it, buddy!”
The man with the camera eyed Diana, amused. “Oh, I don’t think so. Freedom of the press y’know.” She advanced on him, eyes flashing.
“Freedom of my fist up your nose, now give it over!”
“You can’t touch me, I’ll slap a lawsuit on you so fast…” She took a step closer. “Try me! Just try me! Let me tell you how it is! I have one kid missing! We don’t know where he is, or even if he’s alive. THAT is why you are here. We called you people here to HELP us. I have one kid who maybe just keeled over dead, I DON’T KNOW! Because I’m too busy trying to get YOU PEOPLE out of my YARD, to even to find out! Now if you really think I care about any lawsuit, you just keep talking. But that film is going to be in my hand, one way or another. YOU decide!” The look on her face, more than any words, decided him. She was crazy. She’d kill him as soon as look at him. He backed away, ejecting the cartridge from the video camera, and dropping it at her feet. She watched him go, retrieved the tape, and turned away, bumping into Pete Robinson.
“Oh, ma’am, I’m sorry.” He stepped back, apologetic. “Just wanted to give you this.” He handed her the film from his camera. “I didn’t take any pictures, but you don’t know that.” She eyed him carefully. His nose was bleeding, and his mouth swollen.
“You’re the guy that was over there with Taylor.” He shrugged.
“I guess that’s his name. The kid that blew a gasket over there. He’s your son?”
“He’s my son. Y’ok? Looks like he kinda messed you up.”
The man looked down, embarrassed.
“I’m fine ma’am. It was my fault anyway, I think I scared him. I was only trying to help…” Sighing, she nodded, and looked around. There were still a zillion people here, but it looked like they were well in hand. “Ma’am?” She turned back to him. “I wanted to know if I could help. I’m…” He shrugged helplessly, and she smiled, just as the phone rang again.
“You can give them a hand with those idiots down there, no offense, if you don’t mind.” He nodded.
“Glad too.” Thinking he was a nice man, Diana hit the talk button on the phone “What!”

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

Zac had had it. Whatever was going on, they were ignoring his pages. Probably didn’t recognize the number. Sighing, he thought hard. How could he let them know it was him? “Karen?”
“Hmmm?” she was sitting behind him, vainly trying to remove the tats from his hair.
“If I was to call Ike’s pager again, and type in my pager number, do you suppose he’d figure out it was me trying to call?”
Karen, marveling at a world where children had secret pager numbers, nodded. “He might. He might at least think it was odd.”
“Then I can put this number through to my pager.”
Impressed with the way the boy’s mind worked, she nodded. “That just might work, Zac. What have you got to lose?”
He nodded, and dialed again, wishing he could shake the feeling that something was a lot more wrong than just them looking for him.

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

Isaac sank into a chair, exhausted beyond belief. Across the room, Taylor slept on, unmindful of the chaos around him. Almost envying him, Isaac shut his eyes. This was all just too much. He felt steps away from just going insane and becoming a babbling idiot. Well, at least now that Jason was back, they could… Jason! God, he’d left him standing out there! Jumping up, he ran out to the steps, scanning. Where had he gone? Did anyone know he was here? “Mom!”
She turned, phone plastered to her ear “What is it baby?”
“Jason! Did you see Jason?”
“What? Ike, no, baby Jason’s with Zac, remember? You better go lie down…”
“No, Mom! He’s… Damn it!” His pager went off again, and he regretted the habit that kept making him put it on. Yanking it off his belt, he fully intended to heave it out into the yard. “Look at the damn thing!” The voice shouted in his head. What the hell? “Well that was weird” Still, weird as phantom voices were, they did serve to catch his attention, and he looked down at the little screen. Wait. He knew that number. What the hell was it? Thinking, head aching “Oh God, my brain hurts! Is that even possible?!” he stared at the number. “Oh my God.” Realization hit him like a slap in the face. “Oh my GOD!” Flying into the house, he ran for the upstairs hall. It was Zac’s number. Zac’s pager number flashing on the screen. Who knew Zac’s number? He, Tay, and their mom and dad. And Zac. Snatching Zac’s pager from the upstairs table he saw the number that had been appearing on his pager all day. “Son of a bitch!” He ran downstairs, both pagers in hand, and collided with Diana on the porch.
“Give me the phone, give me the phone!!” He yanked it from her hand, shoving her away, ignoring her angry retorts. Zac. It had to be Zac. Frantically, he dialed in the number.

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

Sound crept in around the edges of consciousness. Voices mostly. God, his head hurt. And his throat! “Oh God…” He tried to speak, swollen throat closing on the words. Struggling to clear it, coughing, gagging, his eyes flew open. God it hurt! Soft voice near his ear,
“That’s alright Tay, just try to stay quiet. Here, sip this…” Something cold, against his lips, water, icy cold, easing the pain, making it feel a little less like he was suffocating. Gentle arms holding him. Cleared his throat again, more carefully this time, the pain not so knifelike. More of the water. Better, this was better. So tired… he shifted his eyes to the person holding him.
“Ceec?” His voice was barely a whisper, and he tasted blood in his mouth.
CC nodded. “Yeah, it’s me. It’s going to hurt like blazes to talk, so you may want to just keep quiet.” Taylor shook his head, regretting it almost immediately, as the room spun. “No.” Coughing again, whimpering at the pain, he reached an arm around his friend’s neck, burying his face in his shoulder. “No, please…” CC stroked his hair, holding him tightly.
“Tay, I’m right here. Whatever you need to say, I’ll wait for.” The boy pulled away, and CC felt those blue eyes boring into his.
“No. Go…” He struggled with it again, trying to clear a blockage that couldn’t be cleared. “Get my dad, I need… He stopped to sip the ice water, sighing a little as it washed over his burning throat. “I need to talk to you.” Sighing a little, CC nodded. “Okay, Tay. He’s right here.” Taylor twisted around, and his eyes lit on his father, filling with tears almost at once.

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

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