And We Shall Shine On: Chapter 3

Title: And We Shall Shine On
Chapters: 3 of 3
Author: Sheryl
Rating: PG-13
Excerpt: Taylor wandered slowly around the tombstones, gazing into shadows. Wondering where Ike had gotten to. Freddie had finally… wandered? Oozed? Misted? Away to talk to someone else, and he’d managed to hobnob with just about every one there. He was tired now, something again seemed to be draining the strength out of him. He wanted to find Ike, and maybe see about calling a halt to this little shindig. It was a blast… but he was tired.

Chapter 3

Zac followed his brothers back into the Burying Point. The whole ghost thing had stopped scaring him, and he was powerfully excited. Adrenaline flooded him at every step. This was just so cool. He snorted, watching Taylor kick at the floating mist around his feet. It had seemed to be chasing him all night. That and the cape, he’d be lucky if he didn’t have a broken leg by the time they finally went home. His eyes took in the huge gathering of people, at the memorial. What was that?
Isaac turned from his amazed study of the ghost in front of him.
“Yeah Zac.”
“What’re those people doing?”
“I don’t know…”
They stopped to watch. The crowd was huge, it seemed 3/4 of the revelers in the city had gathered on the other side of the fence. What they were looking at he couldn’t see, but there was an electric tingle in the air.
Glancing over at Tay, he was somehow unsurprised to see that the golden oil and glitter that still covered him, was glowing softly.
“My brother the lightbulb… geez”
The pendant around his neck gleamed mellowly in the reflected light, and it occurred to Zac that Taylor really didn’t, for all of his teasing, look like Tinkerbell, Glinda, or any of the Spice Girls. He looked pretty impressive actually, and so did Ike.
I wonder how I look. Elvis liked me anyway…” He smiled a little, and turned to look at the ghost. He was eying the group of people as if they were likely to attack at any moment. For a ghost, he was sure paranoid.

“Now, how do we find Mary?”
“Why don’t you do the same thing you did over at the… hey!” Taylor yelped and jumped, looking around wildly.
“What’s the matter Tay?”
He shook his head, scowling. “I don’t know, something just kind of… it felt like someone ran their hand up my back. Nevermind, why don’t you just yell for her like you did for him?” He jerked a finger at Giles, who was gazing with something like horror at the assortment of creatures that seemed to be inhabiting his town.
“Well, I don’t really want to draw all kinds of attention, there are a lot of people here. Giles, that’s her corner over there, maybe if you just go hang out there? We know she’s here, we sort of saw her earlier… Taylor do you have a twitch or something?!” Taylor had slipped into some weird little dance, with the most uncomfortable look on his face.
“Ike, no, but look…” The mist that had been ever-present around his feet all night, was creeping up the inside of his leg, darting almost as a live thing.
“It’s bugging me, it’s cold, and it won’t get off me.” Brushing at it, and scowling, he skittered away from it momentarily, ignoring his brother’s laughter.

“Hey, there’s your friend.”
Taylor looked up to see Starr, wandering across the graveyard toward him, grinning. Smiling back, he moved to meet him, tripping again on the cape, and scowling.
“That thing giving you trouble? You never do get used to them, that’s why I don’t wear one. How goes your evening in old Salemtown?”
“It’s going great, you wouldn’t believe what’s been going on.”
“Oh I bet I would. I see Giles is here. 300 years and finally someone decides to go get him” He smiled, and nodded. “Yes I can see them. Part of it of course is the energy from the Sabbat Circle over there. There are about 25 witches raising energy right now. I had kind of thought you might be over there…” He raised his eyebrows questioningly, and Taylor laughed.
“No, no, I’m no witch. But Starr… there are all these ghosts around here!”
“Well, they like you.”
“Why me?”
Starr sat down, and invited Taylor to do the same.
“You have a kind and innocent soul, Taylor. Your sympathy for those unjustly accused, and punished unfairly. Your sensitivity for the death of the innocent. Your respect for those people over there, practicing a religion you don’t believe in. Your open mindedness and willingness to be open and experience a little of what they believe, even if it is only in the wearing of that costume, which you may have noticed is slightly more than just a costume.” He grinned disarmingly. “Although it may be the person wearing it that makes it such. It’s Halloween. The walls between the world of the living and the world of the dead, are thin. The witches are raising a lot of power, and it makes it easier to cross. Especially here, where things are just so open to it. And they sense the darkness in you. You’ve touched their world, all three of you have, and defeated something horrendous. And you’re all still here to tell about it. Your sympathetic and warm souls triumphed over that darkness, although there is still a thread of corruption in you, Taylor. It’s tried to show itself tonight, hasn’t it?” Taylor nodded, remembering the candle that had flared up on Zac.
“It did. I don’t… I didn’t realize it was there”
Starr reached out and touched the charred symbol of the pentagram, on Taylor’s shirt. “Powerful protection here, my friend. Don’t stop the fight…”
“No…” He swung his feet a little, watching the mist scatter and reform.
“Starr… why are we seeing rock stars? We’ve seen Hendrix, and…”
The man laughed. “Ghosts of all kinds abound on Halloween night. The musicians? Well…” He grinned. “Maybe they’re just looking for a party. And of course… who else would they choose but the new blood?” He shook his head as Taylor futilely brushed at the mist creeping up his legs. “What a life, huh Taylor? Beloved by ghosts so that they feel they have to be inside your clothes just about.”
“You mean this is a ghost?”
“I’d say so. I’m going to go join the circle. Would you like to join me?”
Taylor shook his head, but took the outstretched hand anyway.
“It’s been great meeting you, Starr. Oh…” He took the pentagram off, and handed it back to Starr, who accepted it, puzzled.
“My mom and dad will never let me keep it…”
Starr chuckled and slipped it back around the boy’s neck.
“You’re not finished with that yet. You can give it back to me later.”
He waved, and slid into the crowd again, leaving Taylor amazed, and filled with a sense of warmth.
He is just… a really cool guy.” He slid from the top of the wall, and wandered toward the rather large cloud of glittering mist that had gathered around his brothers, still hopping a little to try to get his feet out of the mist, the thought now in his head “Geez, I hope I don’t… step on anything painful.” Whoever it was, he wished they’d either go away or manifest and get away from his ankles.

Isaac watched, delighted, as the mist resolved itself into heavily solid familiar human beings. This was the sort of thing that happened in dreams… never in real life. Feeling a little overwhelmed, as he watched Zac, whose fear had evaporated like… well… ectoplasm… he drifted away from the core of the activity. He needed to regroup. There was Taylor, talking with someone… who was that? They came and went so fast. Freddie Mercury? No way… but yes… it was. Wow. And Zac… who was that? They were talking drumming definitely. Both   sets of hands were going…
“Oh who is that?”
“John Bonham.”
Isaac yelped, and jumped, turning to see the girl from the costume shop.
“That’s John Bonham, how can you not recognize him?”
Isaac shrugged, and grinned unabashedly.
“He’s a little sparkly, from here it’s hard to tell. What’re you doing here… and… can all those people over there…” He indicated the sabbat that she had rather obviously just come from, “see all of these um… people… over here?”
She shook her head and led him away to a quieter corner.
“They could if they tried, but I doubt they’ll try. They’re used to a lot of psychic energy hanging around. It’s pretty usual for them. I though, wanted to know what you were looking at with such an enchanting expression on your face.”
Her smile was soft, and he felt his heart speeding up.
“I also…” She stepped into his space, and closer, almost touching him, so
close he could feel the heat of her body. “thought we could pick up where we left off…” He felt her arm go around him, a warm hand on his back, and a dreamy, swirling, faintness in his mind. Was this girl a witch? Was this a spell? Whatever it was, he liked it. He allowed himself to be gently tugged behind one of the mausoleums, and pulled down into the dried leaves. Scents of air, earth, wood smoke from somewhere, filled his senses, the taste of the girls lips on his mouth, soft, sweet. Her hand brushed his hair, and he reached up and took hold of her wrist, bringing it gently to his cheek, feeling the softness. Almost absently he slipped the fangs from his mouth, and kissed the inside of her wrist and a familiar tingle thrilled up his spine.
“Oh…”, a breath of a word, he was left speechless, as she pulled his head down, and gently bit at his neck.
“Are you a vampire?” The words were breathy, meant to be silly, but tinged with excitement.
“Do you want me to be? I can be whatever you want me to be…”, she whispered, as she moved closer, and he wrapped his cape around her.
“Oh… God…” His words cut off as she pressed closer, kissing him deeply. Reason left, the fact that the girl was nameless, a stranger, a witch… nothing remained but sensation, pure and undiluted. Her kisses were sweet, burning, he felt branded, surging with  electricity.
The soft moonlight was the only illumination, and neither heard any other sound beyond their soft moans, and rapid breathing.
Burning hands stroked dark velvet… fingers stroking plush softness, of cloth and velvet skin now revealed… warm, fragrant kisses exploring, biting, bringing blood, quick pain softly soothed.
Her gauzy drawstringed blouse flowing open to the cool night air, her skin cool against his face, his mouth. Her hands moved lower, and Isaac gasped, the gasp becoming a moan as her hand pressed harder, not afraid to take. Again her lips moved to his, shutting off the moan, the kiss deeper than either of them thought possible. Her hands stroking velvet taut with desire… they moved farther into the shadows. The girl’s senses as overwhelmed as his, just the feel of him, hard beneath the soft velvet, beneath her hand, made her shake. A nonsense phrase circled in her head, and unthinking, she passed it to Isaac, the shared thought more intimate than the shared sensation. Her hand found his and brought it up, in front of her eyes.
“You have beautiful hands, you’re so beautiful…” She pulled away a little and took out a glass bottle, small and ornate, filled with glowing golden oil. Taking the hand she held, she tipped a few drops onto his fingers, gently bringing the hand now, glimmering gold, to her breasts. He understood, rubbing it in, marveling, sexual anticipation giving way to deeper understanding. This was something more. An exchange this would be, but of far more than flesh. He looked up into her eyes, and she smiled, drawing his head down to suck, knowing he would be surprised at what he found. His head came up again, eyes questioning, at the sugary taste that met his lips.
“Is this okay?” The need in his voice convinced her. She’d been right. He was right. “I am the world, Isaac, and the milk of the heavens is at your lips…” He stared for a moment, and she smiled again, bending to kiss him, shutting off his words, and bringing his lips back down again.
Neither thought of where they lay, or how close his brothers were, or the passage of time. Only thoughts of soft skin, soft velvet, iron fist under velvet glove, salty sweet, the taste of milk and promise, and fulfillment spun in their minds. The magic of the night was all around them, as hands moved, exploring secret places, and bringing them closer and closer to their final destiny.

Zac smirked, laughing as Taylor slid backward away from his ghostly companion. Freddie was an awesome singer, but he seemed to be a little over friendly with Taylor. It was pretty funny. He’d joined them for a while, laughing at Freddie’s comments.
Taylor’d complained about the glitter, prompting raised eyebrows, and a comment that had sent Zac into gales of laughter, even as it sent Taylor scurrying for some distance. Freddie’d arched those brows at his brother, and commented drily…
“Nothing wrong with glitter. I used it all the time. And it’s especially workable on someone so young… and… pretty…”

Now, he watched as Taylor, free finally of the mist around his feet that Zac very much suspected had been Freddie, danced just as hard trying to keep his distance. Sighing, not wanting to end the game, but afraid Tay would end up getting mad, he sauntered over, grinning and high fiving along the way.
“Hey… spooky.” His voice was loud, and… real. One thing he’d noticed… these ghosts were audible, but they sounded flat… his voice had texture. He listened harder when he spoke again, enjoying it. “You might want to keep your ectoplasm to yourself, okay? I mean… give him a break.”
“Yes, he’s right. Freddie, you leave these young ones alone.” The woman who’d suddenly appeared smiled sweetly, and turned to Taylor. “Come on sweetie, you come talk to me for a minute. Oh… and don’t think you can turn your attention to the little one either…” She smiled, and the other ghost laughed, unoffended, and turned to Zac. “Nothing to worry about here my son, tell me how you like the road?”

Taylor wandered slowly around the tombstones, gazing into shadows. Wondering where Ike had gotten to. Freddie had finally… wandered? Oozed? Misted? Away to talk to someone else, and he’d managed to hobnob with just about every one there.
He was tired now, something again seemed to be draining the strength out of him. He wanted to find Ike, and maybe see about calling a halt to this little shindig. It was a blast… but he was tired.
He saw a glimmer of movement in the darkness, and headed towards it, absently brushing what felt like stray hair from his face. No not hair… no there was, he could feel it? What was that?! Static? The air seemed to be surging with voltage. Head down, trying to avoid the crackling air, he didn’t notice as a shimmer of glittery mist resolved into a form. He suddenly came up short, bumping into a very solidly formed Mama Cass.
“You don’t want to be going any further, Taylor. Not right now, anyways.” She
grinned widely, enjoying his open mouthed confusion. Crooking a finger, she caught the attention of another shimmering mist.
“Get on over there and let them know they’re about to be joined. And may want to stop whatever illegal, immoral, or fattening activities they may be involved in” The mist, faintly ringing laughter, obeyed her request, and vanished behind a stone. Cobain let himself corporate, and wandered, smiling, toward the pair in the leaves. “Huh, smells like teen spirit…” He stood over the intertwined pair, ” Get dressed. A minor is heading this way.”

Isaac and the girl, blushing and stammering, pulled themselves together, reluctantly. Glancing around for glittery shapes, they kissed once more, and smiled up at Kurt. “Thanks for the warning…”
The singer nodded, peering from under his hair. “No problem, but thank Cass, she’s the one saw him coming. And now, if you don’t mind… it’s been a lovely party, but I really must be going” There was a faint crackle and even fainter whiff of ozone, and he was gone.
“Man, he’s got the right idea. I’m beat. Hey how come you guys are all messed up?” A moment later it came to him and he flushed crimson. “Oh geez, sorry, um… er… I’ll leave now,” he stammered, blushing as he saw the look on Isaac’s face.
“You can kill me later, ok?”
The girl laughed sweetly and stood up, laughing as Taylor pointedly looked away as she recovered herself.
“Don’t worry honey, it’s okay. And you’re tired because all of these friends of yours are using your energies to materialize. It’s hard work being corporeal when you don’t have the material to work with, they take all the help they can get.” She straightened herself completely, and reached down to help Isaac up.

A moment later the woman who had rescued Taylor approached them, smiling sweetly. “It’s almost time for us to leave, boys, but we’d like to sit down and talk to you, altogether, for just a little while, bask in your innocence, if that’s alright with you?”
Isaac looked to Taylor, who nodded, tired but happy. This was Karen Carpenter asking him to stay awhile, who was he to refuse?

The boys, the girl, and Starr, who’d wandered over when the Sabbat ended, found themselves a spot under Mary’s tree.
Isaac’s inquiry as to where Mary and Giles, reunited at last, had gone, was greeted with uproarious laughter.
“They left, lad, too many ghosts and witches for them.”
“Are they gonna be able to stay together now?”
The other ghosts nodded, murmuring contentedly, and the boys found themselves feeling absurdly pleased.
As they sat, listening to the rustle of ghostly conversation around them, the became aware, gradually, of the sound of music. Faint, whispers of sound on the wind, in the leaves, from the very earth they sat upon, as the massed musicians around them lent their combined energies and talents, and the music of a dead world filled the night once again.

Taylor had developed something of a knack for picking up the sound of a departing ghost. Not quite a snap, not quite a pop, not quite a crackle, but definitely the sound of a ghost going back from whence it came.
As he walked, slowly, weary, with his brothers, toward the hotel, he could hear the entourage of companions getting smaller. When he finally looked up, he was unsurprised to find himself in the company only of his brothers, Starr, and the girl, who’d finally given her name as Lorien.
He smiled up into the night sky, wondering how much of this would seem a dream in the morning, and reached to shake Starr’s hand, startled and pleased when the man pulled him in and hugged him.
“It was nice to meet you, Taylor Hanson. You’re a good soul, don’t give up the fight, will you.”
Taylor shook his head. “I won’t…” He unclasped the pentacle from around his neck and reluctantly handed it back to Starr. “I’d love to keep it but my mom… she’d never let me. She’d make me throw it out.”
Starr pulled his hand back, refusing. “No, that’s yours. Better it be thrown away then given to someone else. And you may find your mother surprising you.” He smiled, and favored Zac with the same hug, then turned to Isaac. “You were given a gift tonight, do you recognize that?” He glanced pointedly at Lorien, and Isaac nodded.
He did. The power he’d been given would never fade, he knew. And he’d given to her, as well.

Starr grinned, bowed, saluted Zac, and turned to Lorien.
“Come on, I’ll walk you home.” The two of them left together, Lorien turning to favor Ike with a huge grin.
He returned the smile, aiming a kick at Taylor, who was making puke noises.
Zac giggled, yawned hugely, and started inside, suddenly stopping short.
“Uh… guys?” The apprehension in his voice startled them, and they stopped the friendly bickering to glance his way. There, in the lobby of the hotel, hung a glittering, glowing, almost oily cloud.
“Well… what’s this then? Let’s go find out what they want, Zac, what’s to be afraid of?” For Zac was obviously afraid, his face drawn and pale, lower lip trembling. “It’s not them, Ike… just… it’s not them.” His voice shook, and Taylor slid an arm around him, frowning when Zac pulled away. “Don’t… don’t touch me Tay.” He backed away from his brother, as the oily fog resolved itself into a semi familiar shape, a shape made up of an image of Taylor, and the mixed impressions of young boy, old man, black sorrow and electrically spiking impatience.
Taylor’s mouth dropped open, and a heavy feeling of defeat settled into him.
Here it was then, just as solid as the rest. The corruption that lived inside him, that had made him light the candle on his brother, knowing it would burn his hand, that made his thoughts nasty when he didn’t wish them to be, responsible for the hundreds of petty cruelties visited on his sisters, brothers, friends.
The face of the ugliness he’d lived in forever and never, that had touched him, merged with him, corrupted him, and had touched and contaminated his brothers.

The shadow of a song passed through his mind, just an echo, memory of something heard long ago, and he stood up straighter.
So this came from him, so what? Did that mean it was him? No way. He stepped forward, and gestured to his brothers to follow him.
Face impatient and scowling, he shoved past the apparition, snapping as he went “You can just get back, get BACK! there’s no room for you anyway.” He could feel the pentagram, in his pocket, burning through his pants, into his skin. Warning or protection? A flash of Giles suddenly occurred to him, and he spun on the thing, barking out a word, instinctively, unthinkingly.
“Begone!” The word rang in the empty lobby. The cloud was gone.
It hadn’t disappeared, it simply wasn’t.

Tired now beyond belief, Taylor turned on his heel, and climbed into the elevator, too weary to bother to wait for his brothers.
They watched the doors close on him, and let out identical sighs.
“Whoa… that was something.”
Isaac nodded, and slipped his arm around Zac’s shoulders.
“He did good though, he’s a good guy, our brother is.”
“That he is lad. And that you are. Don’t put all the credit on him, you’re all a third of the total picture.” The boys turned, delighted, to look into the bespectacled face of Lennon. “This one night… your innocence, your strength, and your willingness to believe gave us this one night. To play our music again. To be seen again. And to give you a message.” He looked down at Zac, who was sagging against Isaac, even the visage of John Lennon not enough to keep him alert. “Wake up little man, d’you want to miss the message?”
Zac stood a little straighter. “Well okay, but only ’cause it’s you man, ’cause… I am really tired.”
Lennon chuckled, and gestured behind him, out the doors. “Look… do you see?” The boys looked and gasped, as the very air appeared to sparkle. “From us, to you… from the dead to the living, the old to the innocent young, the torch is passed. The spirit of the music lives on in you… carry that torch carefully, and don’t let the flame go out…”
“But be careful not to let it burn you…” The voice of Cobain interrupted him for a moment, and he nodded. “Yes… that’s right. Be careful with it, but tend it well…” He didn’t wait for the boys to answer. With that peculiar non sound, he winked away, leaving the boys to wonder.

Taylor listened to the even breathing of his brothers.
They’d told him breathlessly of the final words spoken to them by Lennon, and then fallen asleep almost immediately, but he… oh he couldn’t sleep. His mind was just too full.
It was his way, to worry at and chew on something until it was tattered and soft and old enough to fold up and stuff in a corner somewhere. He never really understood, just found spots for things.
This night… this night was so much…
Turning over, wishing more than anything for his mind to let him go, so he could sleep, he reached over and clicked on the radio. Softly, softly, so as not to wake the others. God he was so tired, if he could just go to sleep.
He listened to the music for a little while, blandly accepting, Matchbox20, Fiona Apple, Third Eye Blind, Marcy Playground…
There was no depth to this music, and it wasn’t soothing him to sleep the way he’d hoped it would.
He reached out, and spun the dial, stopping suddenly, with a smile, as the song that had been in his head downstairs, suddenly flowed from the speakers
He settled back, smiling, to listen.

If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.
If there’s a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band, band, band.
Jimmy (Hendrix) gave us rainbows,
And Janis (Joplin) took a piece of our hearts,
And Otis (Redding) brought us all to the dock of a bay.
Sing a song to light my fire,
Remember Jim (Morrison) that way,
They’ve all found another place, another place to play.

If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.
If there’s a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band, band, band.

Remember bad bad Leroy Brown,
Hey Jimmy (Croce) touched us with that song.
Time won’t change a friend we came to know.
And Bobby (Darin) gave us Mack the Knife,
Well look out, he’s back in town.
They’ll all be there together
When they meet in one big show.

If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.
If there’s a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band, band, band.

There’s a spotlight waiting
No matter who you are
‘Cus everybody’s got a song to sing,
Everyone’s a star
(Everybody’s got to be a star).

If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.
If there’s a rock and roll heaven,
Well you know they’ve got a hell of a band…

The song faded out, to the non sound of a station off the air, and the soft breathing of the three sleeping boys.

*Previous Chapter*

The End

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

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