Chapter: 35 of 43
Other Info: Sequel to Walls
Warnings: Drug-usage, cursing, violence etc
Excerpt: Zac stared in the dark, as the voices and images of the people he loved faded away. He’d heard them talking, seen them looking, knew they were coming for him, but now, now he just couldn’t find them. “Please don’t leave me!” The feeling was loud, his voice a whisper in his own mind. “Please, don’t leave me here alone!” He felt tears stinging his eyes, as he watched them disappear. “Tay! Mom, please, don’t leave me! Ike! Jay, I’m sorry!” Words gave way to sobs, as the dark closed in around him.
Zac was sure he was dying. He’d coughed until he couldn’t catch his breath, choking and gagging, struggling to breathe. He’d finally managed to get some air in, and the gagging had turned to retching. He felt as if his entire body were turning inside out. Nausea, unrelieved though he was vomiting, washed over him, wave after wave. His head buzzed sickeningly. Unable to breathe, he began to panic, struggling to get away, from what he didn’t know. He had to breathe…
“Take it easy, big guy, you’re gonna be fine.” The voice was friendly, reassuring. The hands, holding him firmly, were gentle. “You just calm right down, you’re gonna be fine. It’s just an upset stomach, that’s all it is, you’re gonna be fine”. The words repeated, over and over, their calm tone taking the edge off. Gradually, the attack faded, leaving him winded and gasping, dripping sweat, feeling too weak and tired to breathe. “Looks like a bad fever, you’ve been out a long time, haven’t you?” The voice washed over him like warm water, meaning escaping, tone soothing. Panic eased, and tense muscles relaxed into strong arms.
This wasn’t so bad. This was okay. Was this dying? If it was, it felt nice. Sighing, he sank deeper. His vision had blurred, reducing images to hazy, multicolored mist, and he stopped the struggle to keep his eyes open, letting heavy lids fall.
“Oh, no, no. Wake on up now, my friend. Let’s stay alert.” The arms holding him so close, so comfortably, suddenly pushed him away, forcing him to sit upright. Forcing his eyes open, he focused blearily on an unfamiliar face.
“Lemme sleep, okay? S’ lemme sleep”. His speech was slurred, the effort of forming words making him shudder. His head felt as if it weighed a ton. “Please lemme lay down, I can’t…” His head fell back then, a little, and he struggled to hold it upright.
Shaking his head, the man holding him frowned. Poor kid couldn’t even sit up. Situating him against his shoulder, he thought hard.
This kid needed more than the quick dunking in the tub he had intended to give him. The boy was really sick. He needed a hospital. Sighing, he glanced out the bathroom door. It was chaos out there, too many people, too many chemicals. To many things going on that couldn’t be seen. There was no way he could call an ambulance for the boy, not with all that was going on out there. CC was supposed to be on his way, but he doubted the kid could wait that long.
“Okay big guy, you’re coming with me. We’ll get you feeling better again in no time.” He forced a tone of confidence he didn’t really feel. “What’s your name, can you tell me that?” He shook the boy gently, as he picked him back up. “C’mon, don’t you want to tell me your name? I need something to call you.”
He surveyed the room for a moment, gaze switching from the drugged out party, to the glazed over and unresponsive eyes of the boy in his arms. Mouth set in a grim line, he situated him a little more comfortably against his shoulder, grimacing at the wet, sticky clothes, and the smell that was coming off him. There was just no choice, he had to get him out of here.
“Brian.” His voice cut through the din. “I’m taking him to the ER. Get that other kid out of here, have him call a ride, send him with.”
He stopped short, feeling the boy in his arms beginning to tighten up, lax muscles suddenly tight. Realizing what was happening, he set him down gently, one had resting on his chest, watching as tightness gave way to violent shaking, rolled back eyes and noisy, uneven breathing. Mouth in a grim line, he watched bloody foam form at the boys mouth, lips turning bluish.
“He did that before.” Brian’s voice, soft in his ear. “What is it?”
The man shook his head. “I’m not a doctor. Probably the fever.” His quiet tone serious, he turned his gaze to the rest of the house. “I want them out of here. Get that other kid out of here, and call the cops.” He nodded as he felt Zac begin to relax again, and his breathing slowed and evened out. He picked him back up, again unable to repress the grimace at the mess that covered him. “God, why didn’t you just bring him to the hospital to begin with, Brian?!” He fished his keys from his pocket, and shifted the boy in his arms to a workable position. “Who is he, do you know?”
Brian shook his head. “No, you can ask his friend though.” The man glanced at the other boy. “I don’t have time for this. You!”
Jason looked up, nerves firing. “Yes sir?”
“What’s his name?” Jason swallowed, adrenaline rushing his system.
“Zac. Where are you taking him?!” The man ignored his question.
“Call someone to come get you. Or are you sick too?” The boy shook his head, obviously to intimidated to speak. “Okay. Call a ride.” Without another word, the man strode from the house Zac limp in his arms.
“Are you okay?”
Tiffany’s worried voice cut through the fog in Isaac’s head, and he looked up into her eyes. Shaking his head, he spat into the bowl, and climbed to his feet, reaching past her for a water glass. She watched him, concerned. He’d been fine, stepping into the hallway, shaking out shower damp hair, when all of the color had suddenly drained from his face, and he’d spun back into the bathroom, barely in time. Now, seemingly over it, he still looked shaky. “Ike, are you okay? You never get sick like that.” He shook his head, reaching for his toothbrush.
“I know. That’s the second time tonight. I don’t know what it is.”
“It’s not just you, if that matters.” Amanda’s voice floated in from the hall. “Same thing just happened to Taylor, same time as near as I can tell.”
Frowning, Ike glanced at her reflection in the mirror. “Is he okay?”
She nodded. “Yeah, he’s about like you. He keeps saying it’s not him. That it’s Zac.”
Isaac was silent for a few moments, as he finished brushing his teeth, rinsed out the sink, and put things away. Sighing, finally, he turned, looking at both of them. “Maybe it is. I don’t think it’s me. I don’t feel sick. It just hits out of nowhere. I don’t see how that could be, though.” He stepped past them, out into the hall. “Are my mom and dad home yet?”
“No, you’re dad called though, they’re on their way.”
“Yeah, I know. You already said.” He hung onto the wall, as he made his way downstairs, suddenly too weak and shaky to stand on his own. He rounded the corner, coming face to face with his brother, who stood leaning against David, face pale, most of his weight held by his friend. “Ike…” His voice was a groan. “Ike, he’s….uh, I can’t think. My head’s full of shit…” He clung to David, eyes flickering madly.
Isaac, who didn’t feel much better, could only nod. “I know. I know, me too. Sit down.” He fell into a waiting chair, and put his head down onto the table. “I feel like I’m dying. God, you guys, what’re we gonna do?” He felt a hand grip his, and looked across the table at Taylor, who’d fallen into his own seat. The eyes looking back at him were bleak, the hopeless stare of someone who believes there’s no longer any reason.
“I don’t know Ike. I don’t know what else we can do. Say a prayer?”
He jumped a little as Taylor’s hand, still gently resting atop his, was joined by two more. Tiffany and Amanda. Sighing, he looked into each set of eyes, finally nodding. At this point, prayer was all they had left.
Zac stared in the dark, as the voices and images of the people he loved faded away. He’d heard them talking, seen them looking, knew they were coming for him, but now, now he just couldn’t find them. “Please don’t leave me!” The feeling was loud, his voice a whisper in his own mind. “Please, don’t leave me here alone!” He felt tears stinging his eyes, as he watched them disappear. “Tay! Mom, please, don’t leave me! Ike! Jay, I’m sorry!” Words gave way to sobs, as the dark closed in around him.
The man rested his hand gently on the boys head. “Sshh, big guy, you’re okay. Nobody’s leaving you.” The words, suddenly nearly shouted, had scared him. The desolation in the boy’s voice sent a chill down his back. Now, hearing him calling for people, the calls giving way to hopeless tears, he felt his own heart breaking. “Sssh. They’re not leaving you… you’re okay…” His words were unheard, he knew, but he had to say something. Gently stroking the matted hair, he prayed, for the first time in years, a place in him as rusty and unused as the swingset in his backyard, suddenly creaking into motion. “Please…” His heart send a message he only dimly believed anyone could here. “Let me be in time. Don’t let this little boy die…”
He drove on, one hand on the wheel, one hand brushing grief stricken tears from an unknown child’s face.
Diana watched her boys sleep. Whatever had been happening to them, appeared to have ended. She’d walked in to find them sitting, hand in hand, around the table, gazing blankly into space. Her questioning eyes had caught Taylor’s attention, and he’d shoved his chair back, come over to her and thrown his arms around her. Head on her shoulder, he’d cried then, harder than she’d ever known him to. It had taken what felt like forever for him to calm down enough to make words. He’d stumbled over them, not really knowing what he was saying, not really caring.
“He’s gone, mom, he’s gone, I can’t feel him anymore. We tried to ask for help, there’ s nobody there, how can you pray to no one?”
She’d held him tight, not even trying to answer, and as she held him, sobbing into her shoulder, she’d felt his strength returning. Felt him holding his own weight, felt him standing firm. When he’d finally pulled away, and looked into her eyes, there was no trace of illness. Only bone deep weariness, and grief. Shaking her head, not knowing what to say, she’d moved to the living room, curling into the corner of the couch. A moment later her sons had been beside her. Pallor gone, weakness vanished, they both looked fine. Strangely enough, this didn’t make her happy. It struck fear deep into her soul, and something in her began to tremble.
Now, watching them sleep, exhaustion having overridden anxiety, she sent her own prayers to the heavens, feeling much the way her sons had, that there was simply nobody listening.