Chapter: 10 of 43
Other Info: Sequel to Walls
Warnings: Drug-usage, cursing, violence etc
Excerpt: Walker glanced at his son, hoping he would say something. He had so much he wanted to say, but the thought that he might sound accusing, or angry, stopped his words. So many people, experts, had warned him. “Just leave him alone, he’ll open up when he’s ready,” that he was truly afraid of doing real damage. Still, he knew there was too much going on for Taylor to cope with on his own.
Taylor rode in silence, listening to the hum of the tires. He wanted to talk. He wanted to tell his dad what was going on. He just didn’t know where to start. It was so hard to sort out his thoughts. Things just jumped around, flashes of clarity followed by confusion. He didn’t know what to do. It was all too mixed up. So, he sat, mute, as the road unfolded in front of them.
Walker glanced at his son, hoping he would say something. He had so much he wanted to say, but the thought that he might sound accusing, or angry, stopped his words. So many people, experts, had warned him. “Just leave him alone, he’ll open up when he’s ready,” that he was truly afraid of doing real damage. Still, he knew there was too much going on for Taylor to cope with on his own. He watched the road, and his son, and waited.
The riding was beginning to get to him. He’d been ignoring the queasiness that had been building, but it was reaching the point of real discomfort. Sighing, he tapped his father’s arm. “Dad, I’m starting to get kind of carsick, can we stop for a while?” He smiled a little, feeling silly. “Probably I should have taken a Dramamine, before we ran away.”
Walker, surprised and pleased that the boy could make even so faint an attempt at humor, smiled back at him. “We’ll remember that, next time. Okay, we’ll stop for a while. Or we can go back home… it’s up to you.”
Taylor shook his head. “No, I don’t want to go home. If we could just stop… do you mind?” Walker shook his head, and pulled the car over.
He looked at Taylor, his face ghostly white in the moonlight, and finally decided it was time to jump in. Careful to keep his voice neutral, he spoke softly.
“What happened tonight? Can you tell me? How did… What was it?”
Taylor sighed. “I don’t know. I just…” He ran his hands through his hair, adrenaline beginning to run. There was no air, it seemed. “I have to get out of this car…”
He was out the door and headed across the parking lot before Walker could blink. He climbed out and followed, keeping a few feet behind. Taylor seemed hairtriggered, he didn’t want to spook him.
They’d pulled into the parking lot of an elementary school, and Taylor was headed for the swings. He watched him plop himself down on one, and cross his arms. Typical Taylor brooding, to his eyes. He sat down on the swing next to his son.
“You know…” His voice was faintly amused. “We must look like something from a lifetime family movie, sitting in the playground here.”
Taylor breathed a laugh, grateful for the tiny respite. “I guess we do.” He kicked the gravel under his feet a little, and turned to look at his dad. “If I tell you, please… promise me you won’t get mad.” Fear, sounding in his voice, brought Walker’s guard up. “No, Tay, no, I won’t get mad.”
Taylor gazed off across the parking lot… “This place looks haunted, doesn’t it?” He had started to tremble, and his head was thumping with the beginnings of a stress headache. “Dad…” He stopped again, one last time, his eyes drilling into his father’s. “Dad… I swear to you, I was only looking for some Advil. My head hurts, you have no idea…” His breathing grew ragged, and he fought to control himself. He would not cry. “I couldn’t find any, but I found that old bottle… I haven’t slept in so long, all I wanted was to sleep. I know, I know that if I’d taken one of them I’d be asleep right now.” He gazed blankly into space, right hand twisting the fingers on his left. “I almost did it. I was so close. I even had them in my hand. But I knew. I knew that if I took them…” He trailed off again, voice breaking. “I went and got mom, and she threw them away. But… it was like… my last hope…” He sighed, shaking his head. “I don’t know. I don’t know.” He toed the gravel again, and when he looked up, his eyes were flashing. “Why’d you even have them?!?! This wouldn’t even be happening if they hadn’t been there! Do you WANT me to just…”
“NO!” His father’s voice cut him off more effectively than a slap would have, and suddenly strong hands were gripping his own. “No, Taylor, we do NOT want you to go back to that. I swear to you, to God, that we had no idea those pills were there. If we had had any idea, they would have been gone!”
The pressure of the hands on his overrode the words his ears were hearing. His traumatized, terrified, and exhausted mind suddenly flung him back into the nightmare, and the hands gripping his were those of an enemy. He jerked away, jumping to his feet, skittering backward away from the enemy that now stood in front of him. His voice, ragged and hysterical, cut Walker to the bone.
“You broke my hands!!! You broke my hands trying to get them away from me! But I don’t think I was even doing anything. I think it was all… all a mistake! I think you… I think you wanted me to be… doing something… I don’t… You broke my hands, and you hit me… and I don’t think I even had taken any… Zac said he hated me. Ike called me a coward. I tried so hard to tell you all… and those people. Those people with the chains. you just let them take me. I begged and begged but you just let them take me. I love you!! How could you let them take me?? I tried so hard to tell you…” He stopped, too shaken to continue, unaware, for the moment, that what he was remembering was a dream.
Walker, understanding some of what was going on in his son’s mind, reached out and took his face gently in his hands. “Look at me, Tay. It’s me. I’d never hurt you. You must know that.” He expected Taylor to pull away, but surprisingly, felt his hand being tentatively held. “Tay, what did you try to tell us?”
Now Taylor looked at him, deep into his eyes, and Walker was again stricken with how ghostly and insubstantial his son looked. His voice was as faint as his appearance.
“I tried to tell you that I didn’t do anything. But none of you would listen. It was like, you had all already decided.” His eyes, gazing into his father’s, cleared suddenly, and he seemed to realize what he’d been saying. “I’m sorry. I know, I’m all mixed up.” Walker nodded. He knew.
“Dad…” Taylor’s voice was choked. “I really wanted those. I really did…”
“Why, Taylor? What’s so bad? Can you tell me?”
Taylor shook his head. “No. I don’t know. I’m tired. My head hurts. I just can’t think anymore. I can’t ever think!!” His tone took on a viciousness, a fury, that Walker found himself slightly afraid of. “No matter what I want to do, who I want to talk to, nothing makes any sense!! I try to get up and get a drink, and forget halfway there, what I’m doing. Go back, and then remember again. Halfway there… it’s gone again. I can’t remember anybody’s name. I can’t even remember to take a shower, or get dressed, or even get UP sometimes!!! I hate being like this!! I can’t do anything, I can’t talk to anyone. Ike wants me to go see people. How??? How can I go near anyone, when I can’t even… Dad I…”
He broke off, the tears he’d been fighting finally overcoming him.
“Dad, I might as well not even be alive. And I’m so scared I’ll always be this way…”
Walker found himself on his feet. “I might as well not even be alive” had chilled him to his very soul. He reached for his son’s hand. He didn’t know what to say. He looked at Taylor, who sat with silent tears streaming down his face.
It had to be terrifying, to have your mind be so out of control. Especially for someone who’d always been so sharp. He thought for a moment, then spoke up. “Tay, you’re pretty clear right now. And you have been, the whole time we’ve been out.”
Taylor nodded, wiping his eyes. “Yeah, I know. It comes and goes.”
“And it’s no better than it was when you got home?”
“Yeah, it is, I guess. I just feel so stupid…” He sighed, gazing at nothing. “I guess I feel stupid. I don’t even really know what I feel. Dad…” He had started to shake again. “Dad, can I tell you something?” He didn’t pause, didn’t seem to require a reply. “Tonight, I got up because I had a headache. I was just looking for some Advil. I found that bottle, and… Dad I almost took them. I had them out and in my hand. I… what would have happened to me, if I had?”
“Tay, you didn’t.”
“But if I had?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know… I haven’t slept in so long. It would have been so nice to just sleep… that’s all I wanted to take them for…”
“Tay… what exactly did you do? How did your mom come to throw them out?”
“I went and got her. I knew… I knew I was going to… I tried to throw them away, I couldn’t do it. I went and got her. I wanted to just kill her, when she did it, though. It was like… she’d just thrown away my last hope. Why did you have those?!”
“Tay…” The compassion in his dad’s voice penetrated.
He looked up into eyes he was sure would be filled with accusation, contempt, and hatred, and read concern there, and sympathy. He reached a hand out, eyes pleading.
“Dad? Please? Just tell me what to do?”
There was no answer, really, but the arms around him then.
But for the moment, it was the best they could do, and it was enough.