“Wake up, Trevor!” Vicky whispered, concern creasing her brow. “Wake up, honey, mommy’s here.”
He’d been having awful nightmares for months now. In the middle of the night Vicky would come bounding down the hallway towards her seven-year-old son’s room after being jerked out of her sleep by piercing screams. “Mommy!!! Help me!” It had become a terrifying routine.
Trevor was such a pleasant child, so friendly, so helpful. He was the kind of kid that would brighten your day with his silly jokes or his genuine concern for you. During any conversation, he’d look deep into your eyes as if he could see into your soul. He just made you love him. Everyone adored him. He was a child possessed by love and joy and creativity. He’d put on the most riveting one-man skits, with elaborate costumes and would play the role of every character, voice changes and all. Everyone said he’d be famous someday. His life would make a difference in the world. His life already made a difference.
That’s why this was so strange. Trevor was a little boy full of such confidence, and now he seemed so afraid, petrified. Vicky didn’t understand and felt helpless as she embraced her only child.
Coming out of his frightening dream world, he trembled and whimpered in his mother’s strong arms.
“Where were you, Mommy? What took you so long?” he cried.
“I’ll always be right here, Trev.” Vicky stroked his hair as she rocked Trevor back and forth.
“Honey, what was our dream about?”
“It was so scary, mommy. A man was chasing me in the dark. He wanted to hurt me!”
“Who was the man, sweetie?”
Trevor buried his little face in his mom’s chest and sobbed.
“It’s alright, honey. Mommy won’t let anything happen to you.”
“I couldn’t see his face” he said, “It was so dark, and I was so scared.”
“Another nightmare?” A voice came from the doorway. Tom, Trevor’s father, rubbed his eyes and yawned. Vicky nodded, and looked down to see her son staring wide-eyed at Tom. She winced as she felt a sharp pain running up her forearm. Trevor was squeezing her arm so tight that his nails were digging into her skin.
Tom had been laid off from work about six months earlier and was struggling to find a job. Vicky, now the breadwinner of the family, would work extra hours just to keep up with the bills. They had both thought that this would be a great opportunity for Tom to bond with his son. Trevor was extremely excited at first, making all sorts of plans for daily activities with his dad.
That lasted for about three weeks. Then he began to withdraw and spend more time in front of the television or in his room. He smiled less, except when his mom would come home from work. He’d almost seemed…relieved.
Lately, Tom had been drinking more. He’d become moody and sarcastic. The computer had occupied more and more of his interest. Vicky would remind him that their son needed attention, and Tom would warn her to stop nagging and leave him alone. He had everything under control. Tired and frustrated, she’d drop it.
“Ouch, Trevor! What’s wrong?” Letting go of Vicky’s arm, he clenched his eyes shut and buried himself deep in his mom’s embrace, as if trying to hide. In short, rapid breaths Vicky heard him saying, “No, no, no” in low, painful tones. He was afraid of Tom? But, why?
She looked up at her husband who was now leaning on the doorpost, arms crossed and a strange look in his eyes: a mixture of concern with…she couldn’t make it out. Something wasn’t right about him. Something was terribly wrong. These dreams, these visions her son was having, had something to do with Tom.
“Don’t worry, honey. Go back to bed. He’ll calm down soon. I’ll stay with him until he falls asleep again.” Trying to veil her alarm, Vicky gestured with her head for Tom to leave them alone.
“Alright, but don’t stay up too late. G’night buddy.” But, there was no response from Trevor.
Vicky found her son’s chin and lifted his anxious gaze up to hers. “Trev, was daddy the man in your dream?” She was afraid of the answer.
“I couldn’t see his face, mommy.” And he began to cry. But, Vicky knew. She knew that this was the beginning of her very own nightmare.
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