In the Absence of Faith

Chapter Two

What’s the point of me being here when being me is what I fear?
Everyday it’s all the same trapped again in my own pain
I cry myself to sleep so many secrets I must keep
No one to reach me…nobody cares…

"Oh God." Swallowing hard, Taylor fought back the nausea as he scrambled out of bed, lurching through the doorway and into the hall. Collapsing, he crawled through the darkness, heading towards the dim light shed by the illuminated Barney plugged into the wall socket that signified the bathroom door.

Grasping the toilet bowl tightly, his knuckles turning a ghastly white in the eerily lit room, Taylor sobbed as his stomach retched time and time again, his insides burning painfully as the sickness showed no signs of ceasing. Unable to breathe, unable to move, he watched the crimson droplets floating on the murky surface below, mesmerized by the patterns. As quickly as it had started, the nausea faded, the blackness receding from Taylor’s vision as he slouched against the bathtub, weakened terribly by the attack.

Coughing, Taylor gently wiped his mouth with his hand, studying the blood that ran between his fingers fearfully. Attempting to stand, a small cry escaped his lips as he slid back down, the movement bringing tears to his eyes. Weeping uncontrollably, Taylor buried his head in his arms, eventually overcome by an unsettled sleep.


Staring at the digits glowing red beside his bed, Isaac groggily rose to his feet, stretching as he made his way down the hallway and into the bathroom. Flipping the switch, Isaac squinted against the harsh lights, a pungent odor snapping him out of his drowsy reverie. His eyes slowly scanning the room, his breath hitched in his throat at the sight of his brother crumpled on the floor, his knees shaking as he forced himself forward to Taylor’s side.

"Tay…Taylor, wake up!" Receiving no reply from his brother, Isaac reached out and slapped Taylor’s cheek smartly, rewarded by a slight moan. "Tay, it’s me Ike, come on buddy, you have to get up." Eyelids fluttering open, Taylor gazed at his brother with no recognition until memory returned. Grasping Isaac’s hand, he struggled to stand, leaning on his brother as he gasped for air.

"Ike…Ike I’m gonna be sick again." Pulling Taylor’s hair away from his face, Isaac watched silently as his brother continued heaving into the sink, even after his stomach was empty. When it looked as though he was threw, Isaac gently led his brother from the bathroom, silently pleased that he appeared to be regaining some of his strength. Sitting Taylor down on his bed, he crouched before him, one hand on each of his brother’s shoulders.

"What happened? Why the hell did I find you like that?"

"Ike…I just fell asleep, I had a headache so I went to get something, that’s all. Please, lemme go to sleep, I’m tired…"

"Tay, listen to me, I hate to do this but…but we hafta leave okay? This wasn’t my idea, okay, please I’m sorry, but we hafta leave now."

"Where are we going? Why…why are we leaving?" His mouth slightly agape in bewilderment, Taylor glared at his brother, a feeling of dread inching it’s way into his gut.

"Dad’s taking us to his old cabin up in Maine for a…"

"I’m not going anywhere with that bastard! He can’t make us go anywhere, HE CAN’T MAKE US GO!" Fighting out of Isaac’s grip, Taylor angrily punched his pillow, tears rolling down his cheeks in meandering paths.

"Taylor, listen to me, LISTEN TO ME! This is the only choice we have; this is the only way to maybe save this family. Do you understand? OUR FUCKING LIVES ARE OVER!" The sudden urge to run away, nearly frightened of his own brother, Taylor cowered near the headboard, eyes wide.

"Ike…Ike please, you can’t let him near me, or…or Zac, please, he’s gonna hurt us, he’s gonna hurt me…"

"I won’t let him, Tay, please trust me, okay? Just, just come with me, the little ones are staying with Mom. She needs time to think things over Tay, and if we don’t give her that, it’s over. Everything’s over, forever, there’s no turning back. Please, just do this, do this for me, do this for Mom, do this for all of us."

Moving forward, Isaac wrapped his arms around his brother, breaking down himself as he listened to his brother cry. Backing away, Taylor refused to look his brother in the face, wiping clumsily at his nose as Isaac did the same. Neither flinching in the awkward silence, both came to grips with their reality, their faith and trust in each other the only savior in a seemingly hopeless cause.

"We’re gonna make it Tay, we’re gonna make it."

"I…I know Ike, I know we will. Nothing will ever take us apart, not even this. Mom…Mom needs the time alone, and I guess in a sense we need the time with…with Dad." Fiddling with a string on his blanket, Taylor looked up at Isaac, eyebrows furrowed. "You really don’t think he’ll…he’ll try anything?"

"I don’t know for sure, but if he does…God if that bastard lays one hand on any of us I’ll…I’ll kill him."

"Ike, no you won’t, then you’d be no better than he is. I just won’t…I just won’t have anything to do with him, then he has no reason to give me anything in return." Carefully placing one foot in front of the other, Taylor made his way over to his dresser, leaning against the wood, already out of breath.

"I already packed your stuff, Tay, I took care of everything. Just get yourself set and…and we’ll be off to the airport. It’s gonna be a long flight."

"Thanks Ike."

"Aw, it was nothin Tay, I mean you were still asleep and…"

"No Ike, thanks for…for everything. You’ll never know how much you guys mean to me, never. I was loosing it, Ike, I really was…I was fucking loosing everything. But I hafta stay strong, WE hafta stay strong, we can’t stop fighting now, not after all we’ve been through, all we’ve accomplished. Thank you Ike for…for giving me back my faith." A weak smile gracing his lips, Taylor hobbled out of the room, leaving Isaac alone in awe at his brother’s words.

"No, thank you Tay, thank you for giving me a reason to live."


 "Tay, don’t look at him, just…just pretend he’s not even there." Slowly nodding his head, Taylor settled back in his seat, sighing deeply as he placed headphones over his ears, falling asleep to the voice of Jewel. When he was sure his brother was out, Zac carefully stood, making his way down the aisle to the empty seat beside Isaac.

"I’m worried about him, Ike, I…I just have a feeling something’s wrong and he’s not telling us!" Throwing his oldest brother a desperate look, Zac crossed his arms at his chest, his eyes moistening at the mere thought of Taylor keeping secrets from him.

"Zac, what would he lie about? He’s fine, he’s just scared right now, scared for himself but mostly for you. He just needs us to be right by his side."

"No, there’s something else, I know there is! I can tell these things, I don’t know how or why, but I know there’s something else. I don’t care if you believe me or not."

"Zac, I do believe you, it’s just…he’s never hidden stuff from us before so why would he start now?"

"Maybe he’s afraid Dad would hit him for it…maybe he doesn’t wanna cause any problems right now. Do you think he’s really hurt? Do you think Dad did a lot of damage, more than we thought?" Swallowing around a lump that formed in his throat, Zac wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans, glancing ahead a few rows to where his father sat silently reading the day’s newspaper.

"Zac, I honestly don’t know. There was a hell of a lot of bruising, and…and I just don’t know. I think the next few days will answer that question. For the time being though, don’t pressure him, he might get uptight. Just…just be there for him, and don’t let him feel alone, we can’t let him feel like no one cares."

"I’ll be there for him Ike, I promise." Giving Isaac a quick hug, Zac stood, stretching as he made his way back to his seat, watching Taylor sleep peacefully and silently praying that his deepest fears were wrong.


Gazing out over the endless clouds, their monumental shapes so intriguing to the eyes, Taylor shifted uncomfortably, the feeling in his bladder not to be ignored. Tapping Zac on the arm, he pushed past his grumbling younger brother and headed off to the back of the plane, stepping into the vacant bathroom.

Locking the door behind him, Taylor shuffled over to the toilet, lifting the cover and relieving himself quickly, frowning at the slight discomfort. Finishing, he moved to flush, but halted, his eyes transfixed to the blood in the bowl. Choking back a sob, he stumbled backwards, running a shaky hand through his hair. Scared by the person staring back at him, skin pale, body trembling, Taylor fumbled with the latch, bursting into the corridor. With many a passenger’s attention adverted to him, he ran, shoving a cart out of his way, plates and glasses toppling to the floor.

Crawling over Zac, Taylor sunk into his seat, whimpering as he fought to block out the whispered words of strangers. "Tay, TAY! Calm down, what the hell is your problem?" Grabbing his brother’s arm, Zac forced Taylor to face him, perturbed with his behavior. "For Christ’s sake talk to me!"

Opening his mouth to speak, Taylor closed it again, haunting images filling his head. He couldn’t tell them, he couldn’t tell anyone, they’d only laugh, they wouldn’t care. "I…I…you wouldn’t understand, Zac, you…you wouldn’t understand." Releasing his grip, Zac shook his head, hardly recognizing the person before him.

"Tay, please, I’m your brother…"

"Zac, I can’t tell you, please, just leave me alone. I can’t talk about it, I can’t." Mumbling, Taylor pressed his forehead against the cool glass of the window, the salt of his tears mixing with that of his dried sweat. "No one will care…"

************************************************************************* Musical Credit given to the Moffatts for "Frustration."

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