This is a piece based off of the episode Rampage, where Charlie was shot at in the FBI offices. What he's suffering from is a form of post tramatic stress disorder. I hope you like this story!
I woke up, screaming bloody murder. My hands were shaking and sweat poured down my face. I wiped a hand across my face, trying to calm down.
I laid back against my bed heavily.
Images of the nightmare flashed in front of my closed lids. I opened my eyes quickly, unwilling to let the images haunt me.
I was laying in bed, shaking, when my fatehr came rushing through the door.
"Charlie! What's going on? I heard you scream," He said, sounding distressed.
"I'm fine, Dad," I said as I laid back down.
Dad came up to my bed, looking at me closely.
"You sure don't look it. What's the matter? Did you have a bad dream?"
"It was more like reliving a nightmare."
Dad watched me with a concerned look.
"Scoot over," He said.
"What? Dad, I'm not a little kid," I protested.
"You think I don't know that? Come on, humor your old man." Dad sat down on the bed beside me.
I had to admit that his presence was comforting.
Dad placed an arm around my shoulder. I leaned my head into his side and he began to run his fingers through my hair soothingly.
I closed my eyes in peace, but the images of the nightmare flashed in my mind. I shuddered.
"Sh. You're okay," Dad soothed, noticing the shudder.
It helped ease the fear, knowing my father was there and soon I was fast asleep.
When Charlie fell asleep, I quietly slipped out of his room.
I was surprised by the look of fear on his face. It was unexpected. And that scream? That was enough to scare me. I'd have to talk to Don about this.
I woke up the next morning, feeling better. I was grateful to Dad for coming in to sit with me last night. I doubt I would have fallen asleep otherwise.
"Good morning, Charlie. You okay this morning?" Dad asked as I walked into the dining room.
"Much better than last night. Thanks, Dad."
"It's what fathers do. What do you have planned for today?"
"Work. What else?"
"Well, don't work too hard. You need a break every now and then, too, you know."
"I know. Thanks, Dad. I'll see you tonight."
"Have a good day!" Dad called after me.
Four hours later, I was sitting at my desk, working on some papers, when Don walked in.
"Hey, Buddy. What're you doing?" He asked as he came into my office.
"Don! What brings you here? I was just grading some tests."
"I wanted to see if you wanted to grab some lunch. You know, to celebrate finishing the last case."
"I'd love to. Where were you thinking?"
"McGee's sounds good to me. Besides, I'm in a mood for a good cheeseburger."
"Sounds good to me, too."
Don drove us to McGee's. We went inside, sat down at the counter, and ordered.
"The classic cheeseburger and fries, huh?" I said after Don and I ordered.
"Of course. They make the best. What about you? A baked potato and a salad? You're not turning vegetarian on me now are you?"
I laughed. "Not quite. I'm just trying to eat a little better."
"Not me. Bring on the beef." We both laughed at that.
"So what's new with you? Anything?" Don asked me.
"Same old same old. What about you? Any new cases?"
"Not yet. Just a few small things here and there. This last one was a bear, huh?"
"Yeah, about that, Don-" I was interrupted by the waiter coming to give us our food.
"You were saying?" Don said after the waiter left.
"It's nothing. Enjoy your cheeseburger." With that, the subject was forgotten.
"How was work today?" I asked Charlie once he came inside the living room.
"It was good. Don took me out to lunch."
"Well that was nice of him. Anything exciting happen?"
"No, not really. Dad, I think I'm going to just go to bed now. These lectures lately have really drained me."
"Okay. Good night, Charlie."
"Good night, Dad."
I watched him with a concerned gaze as he walked up the steps. Something was bothering him. He usually stayed up until late into the night working. This wasn't like him.
I went to bed soon after, only to be awakened at 2:30 in the morning by Charlie's scream.
I got up as quickly as I could and rushed to his room.
He was sitting up in bed, shaking. He pulled at his hair, a habit he had when he was stresed or scared.
"Charlie? Another nightmare?"
Charlie nodded, his eyes closed. Suddenly, without warning, he got up and ran from the room.
I followed him to the bathroom, where he was throwing up in the toilet.
I grabbed a washcloth from the closet and poured cold water on it. Then, I moved behind him and held his hair back.
When he began to choke and gasp, I comforted him.
"Easy, Charlie. Let it all out."
Soon he eased back and I took the cool cloth and wiped his sweaty forehead. Then I handed it to him and he wiped at his mouth.
"That bad, huh?"
He nodded, still too shaken to speak.
"You want to talk about it?"
"That's okay. You go back to sleep. I'll be fine."
"Are you sure?"
"I'll be fine, Dad."
"Well, if you need me for anything, you know where I'll be."
"I know. Thanks, Dad."
This was getting out of hand.
Day 3 + 4
The next night, it happened again.
I woke up, but didn't scream this time, though I could have with the fear I felt.
This time, I got up and went downstairs to get a glass of water. I moved quietly, so not to bother my father, but he heard me anyway.
"What's going on, Charlie? Did you have another nightmare?"
"Yes, but I'm fine. Just go back to bed."
"I will do no such thing. Sit down. Talk to me."
"I'll be fine. I don't want to talk about it."
"It would help if you did."
"Dad, I don't want to talk about it! I'm fine! I'm not a little kid anymore! I can take care of myself!"
"Just go to bed, Dad," I said angrily.
"All right," Dad said, sounding equally mad.
I felt bad for snapping at him, but I couldn't help it. These sleepless nights were getting to be too much to handle.
The night after, Dad and I didn't speak much. I knew he was mad and I couldn't blame him.
My plan was to stay awake all night so I wouldn't have to face the nightmare.
I kept all my lights on in my room, sat at my desk, and wrote on several notebooks.
Unfortunately, with the lack of sleep, I fell asleep by midnight, only to awaken from the nightmare at three o'clock in the morning.
I bolted up, feeling the scream rising in my throat. I tried to keep from it, but I screamed anyway.
I expected Dad to come in soon after, and was surprised when he didn't. Though it was what I had wanted, I still felt slightly disappointed when he didn't come.
I had to face another sleepless night alone and face the exhaustion the following day.
I stepped into Dad and Charlie's house and tossed my coat on the couch.
"Anyone home?" I called.
"In here." Charlie's coice called back from the kitchen.
I walked in to find him at the table, examining a lock of hair.
"What are you doing? Checking for split ends?" I teased as I walked to the fridge to get a beer.
Charlie was less than amused, causing me to be concerned.
"What's going on, Buddy?" I asked, sitting down across from him with my beer.
"This one's shorter than the others."
"It's singed at the bottom here," He said, pointing out the burned end.
"What happened to it?"
"The bullet just missed my head."
It made sense then. The bullet that had just missed Charlie's head had done that. The bullet had literally missed him by a hair.
"My, God, Charlie. Are...are you okay?" I asked, knowing how tramatizing this must be for him.
"I'm fine." He said, standing up and turning to go.
"Wait. Where are you going?"
Dad came in from the basement with the laundry basket.
"Oh, hey, Donnie. What are you doing here?"
"Looking for a free meal. Hey, Dad, what's going on with Charlie?"
I saw him tense. That wasn't a good sign.
"What has he told you?"
"Nothing. Why? What's going on?" Fear tightened in me.
"Charlie...well, he's been having nightmares."
Not the answer I expected.
"Nightmares? What kind of nightmares?"
"I don't know, but they're enough to scare him to death. He woke up screaming the other night. It scared me almost as much as it scared him."
"What are they about?"
"I don't know. He won't tell me. I heard him up last night, but I didn't get up to check on him. He got pretty mad at me the night before last."
"Why was he mad at you?"
"I was trying to help him. I was doing what any father would do. He got hostile and yell about how he's not a kid any more, as if I hadn't noticed."
"That doesn't sound like Charlie."
"It's the lack of sleep. The first night that it happened, that I'm aware of, he fell asleep because I stayed with him. I don't think he's slept much since, though."
"And when was this?"
"Four days ago."
"God, that's a long time for him to go without sleep."
"Can't you tell? Look at him."
Charlie came walking in then, and I looked at him. I noticed how haggard and tired he looked. There were bags under his eyes and his movements were slow.
He walked over to the counter, pulled open a drawer, grabbing a pair of scissors.
"Charlie? What would you like for dinner?" Dad asked him.
He took the lock of hair he had been playing with and cut it off.
"I don't care," He said as he quickly returned to the garage.
"What was that all about?" Dad asked.
I shrugged my shoulder. I didn't want to worry Dad anymore.
"I think I'll stay here for the night." I said.
Dad looked over at me and nodded in understanding.
"I think that's a good idea."
After dinner, which Charlie hardly participated in, I went out to the garage where Charlie had escaped to.
The garage. It was where Charlie lived in times of stress and pain. Instead of coming to me or Dad, he'd go it alone in the garage. He'd pour over math problems for days at a time. I never knew how that helped him, though.
I walked in to find him standing at one of his chalkboards, writing furiously. In times like this, he didn't know the rest of the world still went on.
I knocked on one of the chalkboards, announcing my entrance.
He closed his eyes tightly, then turned to me.
"Hey, man. Everything okay?" I asked.
"What you working on?"
"Something you don't understand."
I sat down in one of the only chairs in the room and watched him work.
"Are you all right? Dad seems worried about you."
"I'm fine." He snapped.
"Easy, man. I'm just asking." I held my hands up in defense.
"Go away." Charlie spat quietly.
"I don't need you to take care of me! I'm fine. I'll get through this on my own!"
"Charlie? What do you have to go through? Dad and I are here for you. Just open up!"
"I don't need to open up! I'll handle this!"
I saw him sway slightly on his feet. I stood.
His eyes rolled back so only the whites were showing.
I rushed forward and he fell face-first into my arms.