The Douglas Farm
Oliver Wendell Douglas lay wide awake in his bed in the wee hours of the morning, as he had been doing a lot lately. He looked at the alarm clock next to his bed and sighed. Five o'clock; only half an hour more before he could get up and begin the day.
He turned on his side and smiled when he caught sight of his wife, Lisa. He loved watching her sleep. But his smiled soon faded when he began to realize that she was the reason for his sudden insomnia. Oliver felt a familiar terror grow inside him as he allowed himself recount the nightmare.
It always started out the same. Oliver would be walking out of the house on a normal day when he realized the barn was on fire. "Lisa!" he would call, but he would get no answer. He would realize with terror that Lisa must have been in the barn. He would run to the barn and desperately tried to get in. He would push on the door but it wouldn't open. He would hack away at the side of the barn with an axe but it wouldn't crumble.
"Olivah, help me!" he would hear his wife call from within. "Lisa!" he would yell out of desperation. He would try everything he could think of to get into that barn, but it would always be too late. The barn would crumble, Oliver would pull Lisa out of the rumble, and try to resuscitate her but she wouldn't budge. She would just lay dead in his arms.
Sometimes, Oliver wouldn't be able to pull her out at all and the barn would go up in flames until there was nothing left but ashes. But no matter how it ended, one thing remained certain, Oliver would never save Lisa.
In the end, he would wake up in a cold sweat, too afraid to go to sleep again. He would spend the rest of the night waiting for the dawn to come and watching Lisa sleep serenely. This had been going on every night since the ball, and tonight was no exception.
Oliver sighed once more and continued to watch Lisa. He smiled when he saw her smile in her sleep. He was glad that she was able to sleep so calmly. After her horrible accident, Lisa herself would have nightmares of her experience. She would wake up crying and shivering.
For a week, that went on every night until one day Oliver took her in his arms and told her that the tragedy was in the past. He reassured Lisa that he would always be there to protect her and that he would never let anything happen to her. She was finally able to relax and get some rest.
Now, Oliver was experiencing the same terror Lisa must have felt when she had the nightmares. But he could never tell her that. If she found out that he was having them, it might cause her old fears to return again, and he could never do that to her. He could never put her through that kind of pain.
So, for many nights, Oliver would lay in bed silently, watching Lisa sleep and wishing she could take him in her arms and comfort him just like he did with her. But he knew that could never happen, so he dealt with his fears alone.
Suddenly, Oliver heard the alarm clock ring. He turned it of quickly and turned back to face his wife. Lisa yawned and opened her eyes to find Oliver looking straight into her eyes.
"Good morning, dahling." she said sleepily. "Good morning, sleeping beauty." Oliver replied with a smile. "Have a good sleep?" she asked. Oliver paused and observed her shining eyes and sweet smile. He could never wipe the happiness away from her beautiful face. "I slept fine, honey." Oliver lied. Lisa's smile brightened as she kissed him, softly and sweetly.
"I'll start your breakfast." Lisa said as she got up out of bed and put on her robe. As she turned her back from him, Oliver's smiled faded. He hated lying to her and wanted to tell her about the nightmares desperately, but he knew keeping it from her was for the best. Instead, Oliver decided to get up and start the day.