Chapter: 34 of 43
Other Info: Sequel to Walls
Warnings: Drug-usage, cursing, violence etc
Excerpt: CC drove, frustrated, back out of town. He didn’t need this right now. Brian’s frantic call, “CC, I got a kid here, I think he’s dyin’ man, and I can’t call the EMT’s or the cops, ’cause, well… Tim y’know… you gotta help me,” had set his teeth on edge. Another out for Brian, he’d heard it in his voice, and probably another OD. Why they didn’t just tell Tim, with his drugs and his women and his stolen goods, to stay the hell out, was beyond him. Ah well. He’d go out, evaluate the situation, get the OD whatever help he could, or call the police, set Brian up for some more intervention, and get out of there, and back to the Hanson’s.
“David, pull over for a minute.”
Isaac’s voice was odd, and David pulled over immediately, looking over at him with concern. “What is it, Ike, you okay?”
Isaac’s eyes had gone distant, and bleak. “I don’t know. I feel a little weird. I just want to get out for a minute.”
Dave nodded, and shut the engine off. God knew he was feeling plenty weird himself. They’d been out for close to fifteen hours, hunting all over east of Tulsa, following the track lines. So far they’d hiked into at least a hundred clearings and up a hundred paths, with no sign of the boys. He watched Isaac wander off to the edge of the woods, and sit down, back against a tree. He was worried to death, he could see it in his face. Sighing, he got out of the car, and walked over to Isaac, and his tree. “Mind if I join you?”
Isaac shook his head. “No, but it might get unpleasant, I’m trying to figure out if I’m about to be sick or not.” Shaking his head, Dave sat down next to him. “Don’t worry about it. If you do get sick, just don’t aim at me.” He settled himself against the tree. “You okay? You want to go home?”
Another head shake. “No. I want to find my brother. I just feel really weird though. My head feels weird.”
“Weird how?” Isaac looked baffled.
“I don’t know. Just… strange. Things keep going in and out of focus, blurry, kind of. Things sound a little funny. But it feels weird inside. Inside my head. I don’t know how to describe it. I’m probably just beyond tired.”
David looked up at him curiously. “Look at me for a minute.” Isaac obliged, and David’s face became puzzled. “No wonder you can’t see. Your eyes are flickerin’ back and forth like crazy. Ike, your eyeballs are shaking, you really need some sleep.” Isaac smiled faintly.
“I guess I do. But I can’t go home, Dave, not until someone finds them.”
“Yeah.” Dave sighed, and stretched his legs. “I know. My brother’s out there too. Damn kid, he has to have the train thing. Tell you the truth, I’m kinda surprised Zac did it. Long I’ve known ’em, Zac’s always said no. If I remember right, he’s always thought Jay was loopy for doing it.” Ike nodded.
“And Jay’s always avoided it with Zac. He just never did it with Zac around. The whole thing’s weird. But, it sounds really crazy, but I think Tay’s right. I think Zac is sick, and I think they’re not back because they’re in big trouble.”
“Yeah. I think he’s right too. Ike…” He hesitated, not sure how to ask what was on his mind. “Ike, what is wrong with Tay? Why’s he so… I don’t know. You know what I mean though.” Isaac nodded.
“Yeah, I know. To be honest, it would take way too much effort to tell you right now. But let me get about 20 hours sleep, and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know. It was bad, though. He just got so far away from us…” His voice drifted, and Dave could see the pain in his eyes.
“Oh, man, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to bring all kinds of bad stuff back.”
“It’s okay.” He sighed, swallowing hard. “Dave, I really don’t feel good.”
“You know, I can see that. It’s okay. Sit here as long as you need to. You want a drink or something? I got some Naya in the car.” A short nod was his reply, and he got up, briefly touching his friends hand. “I’ll be right back.”
Routing around in the car, Dave felt himself beginning to despair. This was bad. Something really must have happened to the kids, or they’d have been back. Jay would have called, even if Zac was as badly off as Tay and Ike seemed to think. Especially if Zac was sick. He couldn’t see his brother just doing nothing. Sighing, trying to get a more positive attitude up, for Ike’s sake, he brought him the water, wordless.
“Man, he’s really sick”
“Yeah, I had noticed that. Nice observation, most people who’re passed out on the side of the road, are not too healthy.”
Jason was exasperated. Someone had finally come along, and it was a kid not much older than Taylor, and drunk as a lord, from the smell of him. He watched as the kid knelt next to Zac, peered into his eyes, felt his forehead. The boy glanced up, Jason’s sarcasm flying over his head.
“Dude, what’re you gonna do? You can’t just let him lay here.”
Sighing, resisting the urge to just punch the kid out, and steal his car,
Jason knelt down next to him. “I was thinking you could give us a ride into town. Maybe to the hospital.”
The boy’s eyes widened, and he jumped up onto his feet.
“No! No, no, no, no way man, I can’t drive you to town, I can barely keep it on the road, I’m all fucked up! I get caught, I lose my license, I go to jail, I go back to rehab, no way!” Jason’s temper slipped another notch.
“You’re already driving! What’s the difference?!”
“I’m just driving home! It’s just a little way! I can’t go into town, that’s it.” He glanced again at Zac, who’s breathing had started to sound noisy. “Man, you should sit him up, he’s not breathing too good.”
“No kidding.” Jason slid around behind Zac, and pulled him up enough that Zac’s head was up a little. “I can’t sit here like this with him all night. He’s really, really sick, you can’t just leave us here.”
“I got to, man, no choice. I can’t bring you home with me, there’s all kinds of crazy shit going on there. My brother’s friends and a lot of stuff you don’t want to see.” He kept his eyes glued to Zac. The kid did look really sick. He really couldn’t leave them here. What could he do? Damn it. Why’d he gone out and done this? He needed to be able to think. Squatting on his heels, he struggled to make his mind work.
Jason could feel Zac’s whole body shaking with every breath. He was losing ground fast, and this kid was no help at all. Frustration had begun the shift to panic again, when Zac’s limp form suddenly went rigid. Jumping, he looked down, horrified, as another set of spasms began. The other boy jumped up, indecision suddenly gone, shocked into some semblance of sobriety. “Holy mother of God, he’s having a fucking seizure!” Jason screamed back in his face
“I know! Why do you think he was passed out in the road! Now help us!!”
Nodding shortly, the boy ran to his car. “Just sit there! Don’t move him, not until it stops! I’m just making room in the back for him. I know what I’m gonna do. I know what I’m gonna do…” It became a chant, as he frantically worked to clear some space. He knew how to help, he knew who could help.
Running back to the two boys, he sat down, waiting with Jason, until Zac had relaxed again. “Okay. I’m taking you to my house. I don’t give a fuck what they say. I’ll take him. Go get in the front. ”
“Don’t drop him!”
“I’m not gonna drop him!” He scooped up a now limp Zac, more or less effortlessly, and laid him on the back seat, nodding at Jason’s suggestion, “Better strap him in, so he doesn’t fall off.” He buckled all three belts around the unconscious boy, slammed the door, and jumped into the drivers seat.
“Thanks for ruining my buzz you guys.” He pulled out onto the road, more than careful. He had to get this kid some help, and for all his shocked alertness, it was still pretty hard to drive. Thankfully, home was less than two miles away, and he breathed a sigh of relief when he finally sighted his own driveway. “Look. I’m gonna bring him inside. Just stay with me, and don’t talk to anyone.” Jason nodded, biting back the comment that rose to his lips.
No sense being snotty to someone who, no matter how messed up, was at least trying to help them. He watched intently as the boy unbuckled Zac, grimacing as he touched him. “God, he’s soaked from head to foot. What’ wrong with him? Do you know?” He picked him up, kicking the car door closed, and headed for the front steps of an old farmhouse.
“No.” Jason panted, trying to keep up. “He was fine when we left, he just got really sick last night.”
“Last night? You’ve been out all that time with him like this?” He kicked at the front door. “Come on you guys, open the door now!! NOW!!!” His shout roused Zac, who started to struggle a little. The boy gripped him tighter. “No, ssshhh, don’t move. It’s okay.” He gave the door another kick, and it was suddenly wrenched open, but a scruffy looking man holding a pipe.
“Brian, man, what’re you… you can’t bring them kids…”
The boy, Brian, shoved his way through, “Shut up! Get off the phone!” He shouted over to a girl, sprawled on the floor, phone at her ear. “Get off the phone now, your call just ended! Tim, go get some towels, and get ’em wet. Go now! Don’t stand there like an idiot!” He set Zac down on a futon, and turned to Jason. “Listen man, sit here with him. I’m gonna call a friend of mine, he’ll come out and get you. See if you can cool him down. Man, I wish I could think.” Jason, who thought Brian was thinking a lot better than he had been, only nodded, accepting the wet towels wordlessly, and laying them gently over his friend.
CC drove, frustrated, back out of town. He didn’t need this right now. Brian’s frantic call, “CC, I got a kid here, I think he’s dyin’ man, and I can’t call the EMT’s or the cops, ’cause, well… Tim y’know… you gotta help me,” had set his teeth on edge. Another out for Brian, he’d heard it in his voice, and probably another OD. Why they didn’t just tell Tim, with his drugs and his women and his stolen goods, to stay the hell out, was beyond him. Ah well. He’d go out, evaluate the situation, get the OD whatever help he could, or call the police, set Brian up for some more intervention, and get out of there, and back to the Hanson’s. He’d had to leave Amanda at the door, but he wanted to be there. Eyeing the cell phone, he briefly considered throwing it out the window. If his clients couldn’t call him on the road, perhaps he’d manage, just a few times, to make it from point A to point B, without being re-routed. “Six steps more,” He thought ruefully, “and I would’ve been inside, and never heard the blasted thing.” Sighing, he set his sights to the road ahead, eyes unconsciously cruising the sides of the road, looking for a familiar blond head.
Taylor’s pleasure at Amanda’s presence, and his contentment in her embrace suddenly halted, as the sickening sensation of his skin crawling suddenly flooded him. Grimacing, backing away, he brushed frantically at his face, arms, hands, as the prickling, burning, itching set in deep.
“Oh, God, what is this?!” His voice carried his distress clearly. “God, something’s crawling on me!” His nails dug into his arms, as he scratched at them, attempting to eliminate the sensation. Eyes wide, looking to the girls in confused horror, he felt himself starting to cry. “God, help me! What is this?” Amanda was at his side in an instant. “What is it, does it hurt?”
He nodded, frantically, edging on hysteria. “It burns! Things are crawling on me! Biting me! It’s Zac, it’s Zac, we have to find him!” Choking on a sob, he ran into the kitchen, running the water on full, and shoving his hands and arms under it, rubbing the water into his face as hard as he could. “Oh, it won’t come off, something’s biting him!”
“Taylor!” Amanda’s voice was firm. “Taylor there’s nothing on you! There’s nothing biting anyone!”
“Yes there is!” His voice carried no hint of rationality. “They’re on him! They’re…” He froze then, eyes flickering madly, breathing erratic and choppy. Frozen to the spot, fists clenching and unclenching spasmodically, his eyes glazed over, and Amanda saw silvery drool slip down his chin.
“Oh, my…” Her voice carried mild surprise. “Tiffany, has this ever happened before?” Tiffany’s head shake was timid. “Nooo. What do we do?”
“Wait with him. He’s staying on his feet, at least.” She stepped behind him, wanting to be available if he should fall, and immediately regretted her action.
Taylor’s eyes suddenly cleared, as the color drained from his face. Burning pain flooded his stomach and chest, as nausea washed over him in waves. Spinning around, he collided with Amanda, hard enough to knock her into the counter, stumbling, almost falling. Tiffany caught him, his weight almost enough to take her down with him, caught her balance, and led him into the small bathroom, off the kitchen.
In the quiet room, his head cleared a little, and he looked up at her, eyes bleak, as he fell against the wall, sliding down to the floor.
“Oh, Tiffy, get out, I’m gonna be sick.” She nodded. “I know. I can see it. I’m not leaving.” Swallowing, fighting it, he looked into her eyes. “It’s not me, Tiffy. It’s not me. Someone’s gotta find him.” She nodded. “I know.”
“How you doing’? You feelin’ better?” Isaac heard David’s quiet, worried voice, but answering was still a little beyond him. Every few minutes, tears he thought finally under control, welled up again, words becoming impossible. He didn’t know what was wrong with him. Everything had gone crazy so quickly. At least he was over the nausea. It had hit him like a brick, almost as soon as they’d started riding again, so suddenly, and so strongly that he hadn’t even been able to speak, managing only to rather blindly hit out at David, and gesture vaguely out the door. Every other ounce of energy had been spent not throwing up in the car. He’d more or less fallen out the door, David the only thing keeping him on his feet. He’d been scared, the sickness so violent it had blacked out his vision. David’s touch, and his voice, had kept him grounded, prevented panic, but he was trembling when it finally let up.
Stumbling, barely able to stand, he’d literally fallen into David, then, something edging on hysteria taking over. Tears had begun, painful and embarrassing. He hated to cry, and he hated people to see him cry. Beyond his control, it had gone on and on, his friend’s arms around him, soft voice in his ear. His mind had filled with images that made no sense, smells of cigarettes and alcohol, other pungent, sharp edged odors he couldn’t identify, loud voices and music. Heat. Wetness. What on earth was going on?
It had felt like hours, before the attack had ended, and he’d managed to get himself under some sort of shaky control, although the reality, he found, had only been minutes. Now, back in the car, hearing the whisper of the breeze through the open window, he heard his friend’s question, couldn’t answer it. Couldn’t really look him in the eye.
Leaning against the side of the window, catching the freshness of the night air, he felt David’s hand on his, and smiled. Good friend. He was glad he wasn’t alone. Eyes slipped closed, and he felt himself drifting. So tired, it felt nice, nice to just drift. Something crawled across his hand then, and he brushed at it absently, then again, looking down at the sensation he suddenly had, of things crawling around on him. Faint, but annoying, it brought him to full alertness again, and he shoved David’s hand away from him. It was making it worse, his skin felt too hot. “Dave, could you not touch me? I just feel like things are crawling on me, it hurts kind of, I don’t know. Just don’t touch me…”
David jerked his hand back, alarmed. “Crawling on you! Isaac… that’s it.” He swung the car in a U turn, and gunned the gas. “Search is over, I’m taking you home” Ike’s head jerked up, tears forgotten, and his eyes flashed.
“No! I’m not going home until we find him!”
“We are not gonna find him, and you are sick, bud. You’re going home. That’s it.”
“I am not sick!”
“Oh sure…” Dave snorted, derisively. “You throw your guts up, sit there and cry for half an hour, and now you have things crawling on you? And you’re just fine, right? No way. You’re going home.”
“Nothing’s crawling on me! David, you can’t turn around!”
David pulled the car over, slamming on the brakes.
“Ike.” Both hands took hold of his friend’s face. “Fact. We aren’t gonna find him this way. We won’t. Whether you’re sick, or just tired and freaked out like I am, it doesn’t matter. You’re all done. You’ve had it, you’ve hit your limit, and so have I! Now, I’m goin’ home, and you are comin’ with me! This is not the way to find them!” He let him go then, blinking back his own tears. “Maybe someone at home has them.”
Isaac shook his head. “No, I’d know. But you’re right. This isn’t getting us anywhere.” Laughing a little, he scratched at his arm. “This is really freaky, my skin’s crawling…” Eyeing him nervously, David pulled back onto the road, and sped up.
“Get ’em off me!!! Get ’em off!!! ” Zac’s screams drowned out the music pumping from the stereo. Jay threw himself across his friend, struggling to keep him on the futon, as the other boy, wild eyed and frantic, dug and clawed at his face and arms, fighting to get up.
“Zac there’s nothing there! There’s nothing there, it’s okay!”
Zac didn’t appear to hear him, eyes bugging out of his head, guttural groans came from his throat, as he desperately tried to dislodge the creatures he felt crawling on him. “Get’em off me, they bite, it hurts!!!” One giant lunge, and Jay was on the floor, scrambling to his feet as Zac launched himself off his resting place, tearing at his clothes, incoherent cries replacing words.
“Easy does it, big guy, lets find out what’s going on here.”
A booming voice cut through Zac’s screams and he backpedaled to get away.
“No, no, no!” He ran then, unable to see, unable to think, blind panic taking over. There were things on him, things biting him. Things were booming and rolling in his head. What was happening?
Strong arms suddenly had him, and his feet left the floor. Feeling himself caught, and falling, he screamed, inflamed throat finally giving up, throwing him into a coughing fit. Consciousness retreated to a pinpoint, as the arms carried him into the other room.
Taylor gazed dully at his brother, as he let himself in. No Zac. He’d known nobody had found him, but his heart had leaped at the sound of the door, regardless. “Nothing, huh Ike?” Isaac shook his head.
“No. No sign of either of them.” He nodded at Amanda, vaguely recognizing her, and not really caring who he was. “I’m gonna go take a shower. Maybe when I come out, we could go check out where you were telling us to go?”
His voice didn’t hold much hope, and Taylor strongly doubted his own ability to go anywhere, but he nodded, and tried to smile. “Yeah, we can try. You okay? You look lousy.”
Ike shook his head. “No, I feel like hell. I’ll be out in a minute. Are mom and dad back yet?”
“No, they called, they’re on their way. No sign of them on their end, either.”
“Oh.” He disappeared down the hall, David watching.
“Man, he got really sick out there. Really sick.” Amanda nodded, and pointed at Taylor, who’d spaced off, and was staring intently at the ceiling. “So did he. He was hallucinating or something, he said things were…”
“Crawling on him?!” David’s voice was sharp. Surprised, Amanda nodded.
“Yeah, he said things were crawling and biting him.”
“So did Ike. This is so fucking weird, what is all this???”
Taylor looked down then, and his eyes had a vagueness the other two found unsettling. “What it is, is Zac.” His gaze turned upward again. “We gotta find him soon, you guys. He’s so faint now…” Amanda slapped his arm lightly.
“Snap out of it, spaceboy. What’re you trying to freak us out for?”
Taylor smiled a little, and squeezed her hand.
“I’m not trying to freak anybody out.” He got up then, strange small smile still lingering on his lips. “Yell when Ike comes out, I have to go lie down or something…” He wandered, eyes still glazed and dreamy, out of the room, and they heard his steps on the stairs. Eyeing each other nervously, David and Amanda settled in to wait.