"Are you okay, Taylor?" Zac sat down next to his brother on the overstuffed couch, wanting to wrap his arms around him and pull his undernourished frame into a bear hug, never letting go, just letting the world swarm around them while he took care of him. Still, he refrained, as there were other people in the room.
"Look. Look at them." Taylor pointed to the box at his feet, the lid off and to the side, leaving it exposed to the world.
"Tay... it's those white bunnies you wanted. Aren't you going to pick them up?" Zac's eyes were wide, his soul deep, his curiousity over flowing. Weren't these the ones? The ones that Taylor had peered at through a small cage at the market place and giggled for the first time in ages, genuinely happy with the little furry balls of life.
"I can't. They'll get dirty." He spoke solemnly, sadness in his eyes, sorrow in his heart, and somber in his expression.
"So you wash them and keep them clean." Zac encouraged, not wanting his effort to go to waste and see these precious animals be just another thing for Taylor to grow to loathe or be afraid of, possibly both.
"How can I keep them clean when my hands are the very things that soil them?"
Zac blinked, confusion evident. "What do you mean?"
"Watch." Taylor reached down, selecting one of the small rabbits and letting his pianist fingers wrap around it, lifting its feet off the ground and pulling him towards his lap.
"Now what's wrong with it? You're doing just fine." Zac's puzzlement had yet to fade, and the seriousness on Taylor's face hadn't relinquished it's firm grasp on his features.
"I'm not done yet." Slowly, ever so slowly, he set the animal down and listened sadly as Zac gasped.
"Taylor! Taylor, what happened?! Give me your hands!" The rabbit's fur was blood soaked, a shockingly red handprint against the stark white hairs.
The same red coated Taylor's hands, residing in the little grooves in his finger prints and palm. Reaching into his pocket, Zac retrieved a napkin and started wiping at the fresh blood, eager to see the source.
"Oh God. Taylor we've got to go to the hospital for this. Taylor..Taylor? Are you awake? Tay..."
"Zac, are you going to go up there and bid farewell?" Amongst all the black, he stood there, cloaked in white. Sheathed in white.
"Yes, Dad. I couldn't let him leave like that, now could I?"
Walker looked oddly at his son and watched as he moved to the front, cutting ahead of a few people. They watched mutely. All was silent. There was nary a cough, no sound, no shifting of people or squeaking of chairs. All was quiet. Just silent surveilance as the child dressed in white moved through the morbid crowd, a firefly among the misquitos. Life giver among the blood suckers.
When he reached the casket, he reached in, shutting Taylor's fingers against his palms that had been lying face up. He could feel them laughing at him, the skin giggling in delight at it's tears.
First the left. 'the music' was scrawled in a shaky hand and poor penmanship, composed of tears in the skin and exposing of the flesh. Then the right. 'is dead' was fashioned in much the same manner.
"The music isn't dead, Taylor. It's still alive. I wish you could be here to see it. It's beautiful man. The notes. The notes are dancing for you, brother. They're singing to you. Can't you hear them?"
Softly, then louder as his verses progressed, Zac began to sing. To let his dead brother see the music.
When you cry, baby, let me tell you,
you're nothing less than beautiful
So don't you worry.
I'm your angel standing by."
*Musical Credit: 'Angel Standing By' by Jewel*