[HANSON STORIES]

In the Absence of Faith

Prologue



Limbo this and limbo that, you were this and you were that
Ever know that what you fear is what you find
This Indian summer, I signed my life awayÖ



"Hey Zac, they still goin at it?" Quietly sitting on the buckled park bench, Taylor Hanson eyed his brother critically, frowning at the sight of his tear-stained face. Refusing to give any notice to the intruder of his privacy, Zac stared blankly ahead, periodically swiping at the moisture that trailed down his cheeks. "Címon bro, please talk."

"Just look for yourself, Tay, nothinís changed," Zac mumbled in response, his jaw barely moving in the effort to please his brother.

"Sheesh Zac, how do ya expect me to understand you when youÖ"

"What the hell does it matter! Nothin I say matters." Lower lip quivering, Zac shifted towards his brother, pleading etched into his every feature. No longer able to meet Zacís despondent glare, Taylor adverted his attention to the scene unfolding across Central Park. Though inaudible, the obscenities emanating from his parentsí mouths were decipherable even from this distance; forming on their lips with such hate, voiced with such malice previously unthinkable in such a religious family. Shaking his head at the crowd that was gathering, Taylor sighed deeply at the sight of his youngest siblings both mesmerized and horrified by the commotion.

"Iíve got an idea." Rising to his feet, Taylor stuffed his hand deep into his pocket, his fingers grappling at a tinfoil packet. Withdrawing it, he carefully unfolded it, exposing a stack of peanut butter crackers. "Letís feed the squirrels."

"Uh Tay, what are you on?" Skeptically reaching out for the food, Zac noted the stupid grin on his brotherís face before popping the snack into his mouth, chewing noisily as crumbs drifted to a rest on his jacket front. "Whatís possessed you to save New York Cityís starving rodent population?"

"Why not?"

"Dude, itís like November, ainít they hibernating by now, or somethin like that according to Jack Hanna." Scanning the park quickly, Zac shrugged, munching on another cracker as he awaited his brotherís next words, curious as to how they were going to feed the squirrels when there were none.

"Duh, La Ninaís here, their stupid internal clock thingies are screwed, according to Jack Hanna. Watch the whole show, Zac, you might learn somethin." Ignoring his brotherís grumbling, Taylor held out his palm, the sticky peanut butter giving off a pungent odor as the food lay outstretched. Catching movement out of the corner of his eye, Taylor cocked his head slightly to the left, smiling as a grayish creature inched towards him. "See, whatíd I tell ya Zac, sheís hungry."

"How do you know itís a girl, Tay, I didnít see you lift up its poofy little tail and check." Squinting as the rodent cautiously approached their bench, Zac heard a warning bell sound in his head as he studied it closely. "Ainít that thing a bit on the skinny side?"

"Nah, itís probably just a baby."

"Tay I think itís siÖ" In a split second the squirrel lunged, its sharp incisors sinking into Taylorís finger in its haste for nourishment.

"Aw shit, the frickin thing bit me!" Dropping the cracker, which was promptly snatched by a small set of teeth, Taylor brought his injured finger to his mouth, sucking it as the wound seeped droplets of blood.

"You idiot, what if it had rabies? The thing didnít look healthy if you ask me."

"Well I didnít ask you, and it didnít have rabies, Zac, it wasnít foaming at the mouth." Looking up at the sound of footsteps, Taylor stood eye to eye with his older brother, Isaacís lips set in a grim line.

"We hafta go guys," Isaac whispered, nearly pulling his brothers behind him by their shirt collars. "We hafta catch a plane."

"But Ike," Zac whined, confused, "weíve got like press conferences tomorrow."

"Sorry, but Dad says weíve gotta deal with some pressing family matters first." Murmuring as to not be heard by Isaac, Zac pouted as Taylor walked with his head bowed, obviously annoyed by the constant pestering.

"Zac, calm down, itís just a little bite, everythingís gonna be okay."

************************************************************************* Musical credit given to Bush for "Greedy Fly."


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