If I told the truth about the night of the zombies, no one would believe me. Sometimes I even wonder if it actually happened the way I remember. I guess in the long run it doesn’t matter. All that matters is what came after.
Nick groaned as he stumbled out of the club. Glancing around he tried to remember where the hell he parked his car. The night had been an eventful one by his standards. Club hopping with Chris and Bean, avoiding the House of Carters cameras by paying off some cameramen to stay at the house and focus on his siblings instead. This whole thing had been more for their benefit than his of course. He wasn’t the one with the problems. He had a career; he wasn’t causing trouble every damn night. There was that night last year but, he could handle it. The only one who seemed to be taking the whole thing seriously however was Angel and he was grateful for it. Then again he always felt like she was the only one who had a chance of surviving their crazy family. Sadly that was including himself.
It was a night where he’d run off to escape everything. Mainly because another night of BJ telling him how he was wrong about their money-hungry mother wasn’t he bargained for. What did she know? She was no better. Ask Nick for everything. The human ATM. Obviously she’d defend their mother. The call he’d gotten from Bean had been a major blessing. Blinking his eyes slowly he wondered what time it was. The sun was rising at any rate. And they’d been the last ones to get out of the club after singing a round of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing before downing their final shots of the night. Well, morning anyway. But if it was morning, it was early. This was Kevin’s buttcrack of dawn type early. Four o’ clock probably. He really didn’t care enough to find out. His Blackberry had died on him hours ago. Stupid battery.
“Fuck it.” He muttered and tried to flag a cab down. None came.
He knew between the cocaine and god, he didn’t even know how much alcohol anymore, that he was in no shape to drive. As the two had left the nightclub the thought of driving had only been considered for a fleeting second before being discarded. The idea of Bean driving was even more laughable. It was one of the sole truly coherent thoughts he’d had the entire night. Stumbling down the streets he headed towards where he thought the bus stop might possibly be. Bean was up ahead, falling every now and then in his rush to get where they were going. He’d laugh if he wasn’t already beginning to feel like he’d been though hell. His head was throbbing, he could feel himself sweating buckets and his stomach was beginning to betray him for what had to be the hundredth time.
A glance around gave him a surreal outlook on a world he didn’t understand. Despite himself Nick shuddered. The people around him didn’t look normal. It was as if they were nothing more than mindless being without any semblance of a soul. Zombies, for lack of a better word only with a better functionality than he currently possessed. He prayed in that moment no one recognized him. It was one thing to be a drunken, high, worthless disaster. This was beyond that, and he knew it. The last thing Nick needed was a fan to spot him screaming “Oh my god, you’re Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys!” – It didn’t happen as often as before, but it did happen.
Or worse, the paparazzi could spot him.
The paparazzi were something that hadn’t existed this strongly during his heyday. Incidents like what happened to Princess Diana had been shocking rather than the rule. While the endings weren’t so tragic it had become common to hear about celebrities breaking the law in their attempts to flee the photogs or minor accidents where people came out relatively safe. So while they didn’t care about Nick much because boybands were now considered lame, most thought the Backstreet Boys had broken up, and he was seen as washed up, they still would hound him if no better celebrities were around. Most times he was asked what he thought of Justin Timberlake’s lame ass song Sexyback which made him want to punch the asshole asking him. TMZ were the guiltiest of it, eager for juicy bits to throw on their gossip website. It would be gold for their demographic, women in their early twenties who couldn’t quite forget the heartthrobs from their childhood.
He hated feeling like such a damn has been. Most days, he blamed Kevin’s departure from the group.
Oh he knew, as he sat down (well, more plopped) onto the bench besides his so-called friend that most would consider him to be living a charmed life. Nick was a natural performer. His mother had always told him that when she realized he loved singing. If only he’d known then that she recognized him as a future meal ticket. The vocal lessons starting at age eight had been a treat – the first time he’d gotten something for himself without having to share with his four younger siblings. All the auditions had seemed fun at first. After awhile they’d been tiring, especially the acting ones because back then he’d known his real talent was in music. But a few casted him because of his golden blonde hair, big blue eyes, and charming smile even at that age. Then came the choice between a new music group styled after NKOTB or accepting a contract with the Mickey Mouse Club and as they say, the rest was history. Backstreet Boys had become a worldwide sensation and even when they were considered has-beens as they were ever since Kevin left the group, many would kill to be living his life.
Mainly, because they weren’t the ones living it.
When the bus arrived Nick had felt a burst of relief. Maybe he could doze till he got to where his condo was. That sounded practically heavenly right then. However the doors opened and before Nick could even get on the driver gave him a look of complete disgust and utter disdain for their obviously cracked out appearances. The doors shut immediately in Nick’s face before the bus pulled away without giving them a moment to even back away.
I really have sunk to a new low. He realized. Turned down by the metro bus? Pathetic.
He continued to shuffle along as best as he could. The sun was higher in the sky now and he was vaguely aware of Bean’s presence behind him. Nick wasn’t sure if he was even going the right way anymore. He hoped so because honestly his bed was sounding more and more like a release with every step he took. He pushed by teens now and then, on their way to school no doubt. It was hard to ignore their judgmental looks. Looks that shouted their thoughts of what they probably guessed to be a homeless addict looking for a temporary shelter.
Thankfully he finally flagged down a cab and climbed in. As the cab made its way towards his place, taking longer because the driver knew Nick wouldn’t notice, he stared out the window. He was in a daze, completely unaware until the vehicle began to slow down. The first stop was Bean’s apartment and his friend stumbled out with a tumble down to the pavement. He didn’t get a chance to see if he was okay. Nick assumed he was. They were always okay, because they didn’t have a problem. They were young and in their twenties. This was what people did. They partied as much as they could for as long as they could. This was what he told himself every time they did this. A way to soothe the fears and warnings he’d long ago learned to ignore from his bandmates who did nothing more than remind him how they saw him as a childish screw up. Not that it mattered. Especially anything Kevin had ever told him.
It felt like time dragged on for eternity before he finally reached his condo. His sanctuary from the hells of his life. Whether it was the never-ending publicity House of Carters, the latest train wreck caused. Or people who still believed Paris Hilton’s lies about their relationship. Or his siblings who were actually back at the house E! had set up for him. He just needed a break. A well earned break for a single night. As much as he loved his brother and sisters he knew they were all using him.
Nick made a beeline for his kitchen after the five attempts it took for him to finally use his key properly and open the door. He needed another drink. All these thoughts haunted him the most when he was sober and not on tour. On tour he could be the consummate performer. It was his ultimate escape and oddly enough he didn’t need to be high or wasted. The stage was his high. He only wished he could be there twenty-four hours, seven days a week. Maybe then he’d know what real happiness actually was like. Sadly, he couldn’t remember anymore.
He caught his reflection in the window. The person he saw wasn’t one he recognized. He skin was greyer than a decaying corpse; his eyes were bloodshot and glazed over. His face looked bloated, as if he’d been dumped in a river and only been recently recovered by CSI men. Nick shook his head at his zombie like appearance before turning away and going to the fridge. Reaching inside he desperately grabbed for a bottle of beer and popped off the top. Immediately he chugged it down. The taste felt like he was greeting an old friend again.
Not for the first time he thought, I might as well be dead. I can’t think of a reason to bother living anymore.
It was his last conscious thought as he fell towards the floor of his kitchen, darkness welcoming him with open arms.
Floating, he was floating.
Is this what death feels like? Did I finally die?
A sharp kick came in contact with his ribs.
His eyes sprung open but, he was beside himself. In the very literal sense. He sat up but his body or another one just like him was lying on the floor. His mouth was open, a large lump was forming on his head, and his eyes weren’t quite closed. It was a sinister and harrowing sight. He also noticed that beyond that kick he felt no pain. Shouldn’t he be hung-over? Hungry? Something? How long had he slept? Nick shot up with a start and realized his feet weren’t quite touching the floor.
His feet weren’t touching the floor.
“HOLY SHIT!” He yelled, suddenly scared beyond anything he’d ever experienced. “Oh fuck…” Nick kneeled next to his body. “Am I dead? Is this some alien experiment…?”
“You’re not dead.” A soft voice said gently. “Yet.”
Nick jumped again, whirling around to see a translucent figure with a serene glow. Her features were similar to his own, a feminine version of his own trademark Carter looks. She possessed a grin eerily similar as well to the one he used to win the hearts of millions of teen girls during the nineties. She reminded him a lot of his sister Leslie though there was another look to her, the look of another time. Her hair was a cap of golden curls, short and touched the nape of her neck. Her clothes were white and he immediately felt like he stepped into some cheesy religious movie or something.
“What is this?!” He demanded instead, fighting to ignore the fact he too, was slightly see-through.
“You said you didn’t have a reason for living.” She replied softly.
“I didn’t say that!” Nick shouted at her while willing himself to somehow jump back into his own body. He was getting more and more creeped out by the second.
“You thought it. Either way, someone heard you and now…” She smirked a bit. “I’m here to give you one.”