Chapter: 2 of 43
Other Info: Sequel to Walls
Warnings: Drug-usage, cursing, violence etc
Excerpt: Taylor’s fingers played absently with the nap of the carpet. He’d staggered into the house, flung himself, belly down on the living room rug, in front of the TV, and refused to move again. Thank God, everything was finally holding still.
Isaac gently moved his mother’s feet and curled up on the end of the couch. He smiled a little when she simply stretched them out in his lap again. He didn’t mind. Maybe it would help him warm up. He’d wrapped himself up in a quilt, and still he was cold. Sore throat started too, and it was damn near impossible to breathe through his nose. Figured. He’d felt a little off all day, pretty much since they’d hit the airport, and so had Zac, he knew. He hadn’t said much about it, seeing how tightly wound his dad was getting over the other two. He’d really hoped that if he ignored it, it would just go away. Now seeing that all the kids at home had the flu, he’d resigned himself to the inevitable.
He almost had to laugh. All the strain, all of the tension and anxiety of the last few weeks, and he’d held out fine. Now, home not yet an hour, he was already sick. He figured he was pretty well set up though, he’d gotten his quilt, his juice, and had a roll of toilet paper spindled over his thumb. Barring a crisis, he had no reason to get up, not even for a tissue.
He looked around, marveling at the contentment he felt at being here. He’d missed home. The peace he was feeling, looking around him now, couldn’t be disturbed, even by the flu. He took in his sleeping mother, and baby brother. It was better for them here. She’d looked so tired the last few weeks. Maybe this was all for the best.
He let his gaze wander to Tay, asleep on the floor in front of the TV. That was his spot. He never sat on a chair if the spot in front of the TV was free. Nice to see him there again. Sad that it had happened this way, but still… he smiled a little, and let himself drift off.
Taylor’s fingers played absently with the nap of the carpet. He’d staggered into the house, flung himself, belly down on the living room rug, in front of the TV, and refused to move again. Thank God, everything was finally holding still. He hadn’t even been able to focus on the TV, his head had been spinning so badly. He’d dozed off, and the dizziness had passed while he slept. He felt better now, and was seriously thinking that he’d like to go get a pillow, if only it didn’t involve the climb up the stairs. He was beat. He rolled over onto his back, and his eyes lit on Isaac.
He stretched out a leg, and poked his brother with a toe.
Ike jumped, he had been dozing, “Hey. You’re up! You feeling better?”
Taylor sat up, carefully. Moving too fast screwed up his eyes.
“Yeah, I think so. You look like you aren’t though. What’s wrong?” Isaac, he thought, looked like hell.
Isaac snorted, and waved a hand around. “The air is contaminated. Unless you stop breathing, you’re next.”
Taylor stared blankly at him. He was having trouble connecting. “Ike?”
Isaac raised his eyebrows. “Yes?”
“What are you talking about?”
Ike sighed. He knew Tay couldn’t help it, but he just never got anything anymore. It was beginning to be a major irritant. Taylor’s wit had always been so sharp, he’d always been quick to get just about any joke, and grasp any situation, however subtle. Now, if it wasn’t spelled out in front of him, in big black letters, he just didn’t understand.
“I just mean everyone’s sick, Tay. The little kids all have the flu, I know Zac was fixing to get sick, that’s why he was so damn whiney all day, and my head’s about to drop off. We should have known, it always happens the second we slow down for a minute.”
Taylor made a face and shifted his gaze to his mother.
She looked really tired, even in sleep, he hoped she was alright. “Is she sick too, Ike?”
Ike shrugged. “Don’t know. She was asleep when I got here. Dad threatened my life if I woke her up.”
Taylor scowled, and scooted over to lean his back against the couch. He wanted to get up but things were jumping around alarmingly. He scowled, then leaned his head back, against Isaac, who patted his shoulder comfortingly.
“What’s the matter, Tay? Why you looking so ticked off?”
Taylor shrugged a little. “My head feels really weird. Things are like… blinking.”
Isaac nodded. He’d heard it before, Tay had been complaining about this for a day or so. God knew it had to be irritating.
“Don’t worry, Tay, you know they told you it would go away.”
Taylor shook his head. “No, Ike, this is different. I can’t describe it. But I don’t like it.”
He muttered to himself for a moment, and then climbed to his feet. “I’m freezing, I’m gonna go get a blanket. if I can get up the stairs. You want anything, while I’m up?”
Ike laughed. “No, you’ll have all you can do to get yourself up and down them in one piece.”
Taylor shot him a look that let Ike know how amusing he found that comment, and cuffed him lightly. “You shut up, you couldn’t do any better…”
Ike laughed, and waved him away. “Yeah, good luck. If I hear a crash, I’ll be sure to go pick you up.” Taylor’s gaze rested on his brother for a moment. He thought Ike was trying to be funny, but whatever he’d said, had flown out of his mind already.
Sighing, he headed for the stairs, holding on to the wall for support. Things still flickered maddenly, just on the edge of his sightline. He wished he knew when he could expect that “effect” to go away. It was making it very difficult to get around. He made his way down the hall, eyes lingering on familiar objects.
God, he’d missed home. He was so glad to be back. Why was he back? He paused for a moment, unable for the most fleeting of seconds, to remember where he’d been, what he’d been doing, or why he felt he’d been gone from here. He stood, fingers lightly brushing the wall, waiting for memory to return. He’d already learned not to force it. A moment later, recall.
His eyes filled with tears, as he thought about all that had happened. He didn’t know what he was going to do, to fix this. It was all such a mess. Swiping at his eyes, he changed course, now heading for the bathroom, to find something to wipe his eyes and blow his nose with.
Dust motes floating on a beam of sunlight, captured his attention, and he stood, lost in their golden dance.
A slight tug at his hand broke Taylor’s trance. He sniffed loudly and looked down into the face of a young girl, her already pink cheeks flushed to near scarlett.
“Whatcha looking at Tay?” she questioned, her hands dropping limply down to her sides.
“Huh?” For the life of him he couldn’t place her. Her thoughtful eyes searched his confused blue ones for just a moment.
“I just asked what you were staring at. You’ve been standing there forever.”
He giggled at her, the effort of trying to retrieve her name almost painful. He felt anger building, how could he not know her? His eyes found the sunlight again, the glow pulling him away from her, and the issue at hand, as well as his anger, faded away. Exasperated, she yanked on his sleeve. “Taylor!!” Her voice was sharp. “Cut it out, it’s creepy!”
Annoyed, he turned on her, “Look…”
And then it came to him.
Jessica. That was it. A rush of relief flooded through Taylor and he had to hold back the urge to shout her name. Giddy now, having remembered who she was, he knelt down to her level. “Sorry, Jess. I’m spacey. I know. I’ll try to stop it.”
She nodded. “Where were you going?”
He thought for a minute. “Upstairs, I think.”
She eyed him critically, hands on hips, and then shook her head.
“I don’t know, I don’t think you’ll make it on your own. Come on.” Sighing, she held out her hand to him. Amused that she would think he needed to be led, yet bitterly aware that she was probably correct, he took his sister’s hand, and let himself be led upstairs.