From the Author: A little idea that came to me while I was trying to put my other stories back together after my computer crash. Hopefully some of it will show a lighter side of some of the crew. The banter between Lucas and Tony is meant to be funny and will hopefully make you laugh a little, but it does get more serious in later parts of the story.
and now….. the story rewinds a little……………..
"Tell me again, what we are doing?" came the question from Tony standing directly behind Lucas and also wielding a torch.
"You promised not to walk on my shoes remember," Lucas hissed as he felt his friend tread on the back of his heel for the third time.
"Well you have to give me some sort of warning or something that you are going to stop," Tony retorted.
"You can't get seats this good," Miguel whispered to the group standing in the side corridor, smirking at the exchanges they could hear between Lucas and Tony. Nothing had happened yet, but the entertainment value alone was worth waiting up this late for.
Bridger and the others watched in pure mirth as Lucas and Tony snuck along the corridor, torch light guiding them. The two of them slightly hunched over as they walked.
"What was that!" Tony demanded to know, hearing a sound. The corridor had been deliberately left dark except for the torch light and the two were jumping at almost every shadow or small noise.
"Me, you idiot. Watch where you are going," Lucas scolded his partner in crime again.
Before Lucas had a chance to continue his display of annoyance, the sound of the footsteps made him stop and stand almost rigid as fear began to fill his senses again.
Tony had dropped his torch and the resounding clunk on the metal grated floor only caused more anxiety in the teenager.
"What do you hear?" Bridger asked, noting the teenager sudden stop in the one place and Looking as though he was trying to hear something. He could see the apprehension and nervousness on the tired young face. Adrenalin was driving his sense of alertness.
Tony whipped around his torch shining it in the direction that he thought the teenager was looking, "But I don't see anything."
Lucas froze as the footsteps came closer. He had not shone his torch light, but looking in front of him, though that he could make out the form of the dark-skinned man once more. His hands began to tremble, and he tried to take a step backwards.
Tony was a few steps behind the teenager, but perplexed that he could not see anything that might be frightening his friend.
The ghost remained still. Looking back at him. His face not threatening, but appearing as though trying to tell him something.
Without warning to Lucas, the ghost appeared to begin running. Not away from him, but straight at him. All at once, Lucas lost whatever nerve he had and his legs turned to jelly.
For a few moments his feet refused to obey his command to run. The ghost was still coming towards him. It looked as though it was going to run right through him.
Before anyone else had time to react, Lucas gasped in terror, and quickly turned, dropping his own torch and forcibly knocking Tony over in his attempt at escape.
And now the story contines
"Maybe it was just a dream?" Bridger tried to say soothingly as he tried to douse Lucas's fears, but the Captain knew that the explanation didn't sound right. The teenager had stopped trembling, but still looked very pale and was looking very around very nervously.
Lucas was currently sitting on a chair in Med Bay watching as Bridger fidgeted constantly beside him, both of them waiting for Doctor Westphalen's opinion.
The crew, including Tony, had tried to follow the frightened teenager. They had traveled along three darkened corridors, only to find the teenager passed out whilst they turned into the fourth hallway.
It had taken quite a few minutes to arouse the young man, and at first he seemed disorientated and confused about where he was. Whilst he could recall running, and the fear that he sensed, there were large pieces missing.
There seemed to be no injuries sustained, and it wasn't totally clear if Lucas had mistakenly run into something or had collapsed due to his increased heart rate and blood pressure. Being a normal heathly young man, the second choice was doubted, but there was no bruising or marks on his head or body that would back up the first theory of colliding with something on the boat.
"Yeah, maybe it was" Lucas said finally. He didn't have any other credible answer at the moment. He felt embarrassed at having showed such weakness in front of the crew and his friends. Normally he prided himself on his independence and fought long and hard against showing his true feelings or letting anyone get too close. Bridger and Doctor Westphalen were the exception to that rule.
"I think I'll go to bed now," Lucas stated, making sure his feet were firmly placed on the ground and he walked back into his room with all of the confidence he could muster.
"Do you think that is such a good idea?" Bridger asked, and then realized almost as the words left his mouth that he had inadvertently embarrassed the teenager in front of the crew once more.
"Thanks for the offer, but…………" leaving the sentence unfinished.
Everyone else just watched Lucas head back into his room. They shook their heads whilst having a similar question in each of their minds. What or who had scared the teenager so much?
The next morning saw three people sitting at the breakfast table, Bridger, Kristen and Tony, idly chatting about anything but the strange events of last night. The air around them anything but normal.
Bridger had instructed the other crew members to let Lucas have a little lie in this morning. They all saw how tired he had appeared last night and knew that he had been deliberately trying to avoid the subject of sleep the last 2 nights.
All suddenly looked around in surprise at the sound of footsteps on the stairs. Lucas made his way into the mess hall. His hair was still all mussed up. His eyes looked bleary and he still looked very tired.
The truth of the matter was that Lucas still hadn't gone back to sleep last night. He had lain awake listening to every creak and groan. Every for any other noise that could be heard in the dead of night.
The young man was trying to carry on as normal. He wanted to put the images and sounds from last night behind him. He didn't greet his friends with a cheery 'Good Morning', but rather sat down without a word.
The sullen teenager had grabbed a tray and placed some items on it, but Kristen couldn't be even sure he took notice of what he had selected.
Half an hour later, barely any of the food had been touched before Lucas pushed the tray aside and left the mess. He hadn't spoken a word to anyone, and although he could sense all eyes upon him, barely lifted his head to acknowledge anyone.
"This can't go on much longer," Kristen voiced, knowing that these were the same sentiments shared by Bridger and Piccolo.
"Last night he was ashamed of his fear, but now he has clammed up and won't even admit anything is going on," Bridger commented.
"You swear you didn't see a thing last night in the corridor?" Kristen asked Tony.
The question had been asked of the seaman at least twenty times the night before.
This morning Tony's only response was to give his best "do we have to go through this again" look.
"Just give him some space today," Tony suggested, not being one to want to hover over the kid every five minutes, but also not wanting to admit that he too was unable to explain any of the strange happenings of the last few days.
Reluctantly it was agreed to temporarily drop the subject, to avoid having everybody in the crew on edge as well as Lucas. For now they would have to just watch and be patient with him and hope that he would talk sooner rather than later.
Bridger relieved Ortiz on the Bridger and tried to keep his own mind occupied with matters on the SeaQuest. The man tried hard and had admonished himself on a number of occasions, muttering under his breath and forcing himself to remain on the Bridger rather than go looking for Lucas.
Kristen wasn't anywhere need as good at hiding her frustration and agitation.
By the time Bridger's shift ended at approximately 1pm, he found her pacing back and forth going over the events of last night in her head, as a scientist trying to come up with a plausible explanation.
Kristen jumped a little when she noticed that Nathan had been watching her antics with amusement for over 5 minutes. "I just can't help it," was her only defence.
"Me neither," Bridger admitted, "Come on, lets go check on him together. Then we can both feel like idiots together."
Kristen needed no second invitation and both of them found it difficult to keep themselves from running to Lucas's cabin rather than walking like two rational adults would normally have done.
Upon reaching the small cabin, Bridger was about to knock, when he noticed that the door was slightly ajar. This gave him the perfect excuse just to give it a little nudge, so it would open a little.
The strangest thing that struck him was the lack of noise in the room. On any other given day, the cabin would be filled with the loud music that Lucas chose to call "spectacular".
Kristen could see Lucas sitting at his work station, and the computers were switched on. There appeared to be a game of some sort on the screen, but it was paused, and the message said "Waiting for password."
The captain knew this was odd, as Lucas usually bypassed any security system or need of a password for any program he used.
Bridger crept up silently beside the chair and gazed down at the occupant. His heart melted immediately and he felt all of the love he could find gather in his heart. Sitting slumped in the chair, eyes closed, breathing even and regular was Lucas, sound asleep.
The day and previous night had finally caught up with him and now held out the waiting arms of rest. Lucas had not protested in the slightest and slipped into a deep slumber without even knowing it.
Kristen spied her young charge asleep and the two adults were relieved that the teenager's body seemed to have taken over to some degree.
Bridger hated the idea of trying to wake the teenager while he was resting so peacefully, but decided that Lucas would be a lot better off in the comfort of a bed. Sleeping in the chair would prove awkward for any length of time.
He tried to wake Lucas gently at first. He shook his shoulder and whispered his name into his ear. No response. He tried a little harder and a little louder. Still no response.
"Don't think he wants to wake up now he is finally asleep," Kristen commented.
At 120 pounds Lucas caused Bridger barely a grunt as he was hoisted in his arms and carried across the room and settled on the bottom bunk. Although the teenager would have protested if he was alert enough, the change in sleeping arrangements was considered the best for one night.
Bridger laid the young man's head down on the soft white pillow and bid him good night. Kristen also bid the boy good night and caressed his soft hair through her fingers before exiting the room.
Tony would take the top bunk tonight and had promised to keep quiet and watch out for his friend overnight. Kristen had suggested that the sticking to a normal routine would help Lucas more than trying to tiptoe around him and feeding his insecurity.
Bridger felt a little more relaxed and that all was fine with his son tonight. It was 10.08 pm and it looked as though the events of last night were long forgotten. This was to be short lived.
Bridger retired soon afterwards. They thought they could all use a restful night of unbroken sleep. Ford was on the Bridge taking care of the formalities on the boat, and Ortiz was due to take over his shift around 3am.
At the stroke of midnight the peace and tranquility of the night was shattered once again by the piercing and terrified screams of Lucas.
Even through the layers of bedding, his frightened screams could still be heard.
Tony had jumped out of bed, whilst the Captain and the doctor raced towards Lucas's cabin. They all looked around the room and then noted the trembling lump underneath the sheets.
Lucas had momentarily stopped screaming when the walls seemed to stop shaking and the bed no longer rocked about. He peaked his head out from underneath his safe haven just in time to hear a whistle sound. It sounded very close and loud.
The whistle sounded again.
Lucas gave another strangled cry of fright and dived back under the covers to shield himself. Bridger, Kristen and Tony had not heard the whistle, nor felt any rocking movements. They couldn't understand Lucas behaviour at all.
Nathan sat down on the bed and tried to pry Lucas out from his hiding place.
It was very difficult. When he eventually did appear, Lucas curled up in a shaking ball in the Captain's embrace. He was looking for something to protect him and knew that Bridger had always been there in times of need.
The teenager felt like a two year old, but there were too many things happening about him that he couldn't explain or describe. No one else could see these things. He was going crazy.
Kristen and Tony began to talk quietly amongst themselves. "Maybe he's getting sick" Piccolo suggested. "He might he getting a touch of fever and having delusions as a result of a high temperature. His theory was shot to pieces when Bridger felt the young man's forehead.
He found exactly the opposite. Where they suspected there might have been a temperature, the skin felt cold and clammy. He was sweating but so were they all, it was a terribly hot night. Bridger had an idea that most of Lucas's perspiration was due to another cause other than humidity.
Lucas had stopped trembling and the tiredness from earlier returned. He soon fell back asleep in the Captain's lap. Bridger managed to move without waking him. He didn't know what to do. Maybe they should take Lucas to see a doctor on the mainland. Not just any doctor, but maybe a psychiatrist.
Breakfast the next day was totally different. Every one sat in silent while they ate a sparse meal. Lucas just moved things around on his plate. He looked even worse than yesterday. His eyes now held an almost haunted look and they were very bloodshot from lack of restful sleep.
Ford had already begun to steer the SeaQuest back to base, and communications had taken place with Admiral Noyce for some extra leave for the crew and in particular Lucas. An appointment had been made with a reputable psychiatrist that was used to talking to teenagers, and sharing their problems.
Arrangements had also been made to have some down time afterwards, with no schedules or agendas of what needed to be done. Lucas could decide whether he wanted to spend some time back on Bridger's island, or closer to the mainland.
Most of the crew members had departed the mess hall, preparing to dock at Pearl Harbour and doing some packing beforehand.
Bridger returned to the dining room to find Lucas asleep at the table. He had pushed his plate aside and now softly snored with his head resting on the table..
He hair fell in his eyes yet again. Nathan wasn't sure how to tackle the current problem. He didn't even know what the problem was.
Bridger had managed to wake the teenager enough to move him to his cabin, and let Lucas slept until almost lunch time. He had helped Kristen pack what they intended to take with them on shore leave, not knowing how long that may be at this stage.
About an hour before they were due to dock, Lucas woke, but looked around for a moment, wondering why he was asleep in Bridger's cabin. "How long have I been here?" he asked honestly and stifled back a huge yawn.
"You, young man, fell asleep at the breakfast table" Bridger said in mock sternness.
"You mean I have been asleep for nearly five hours?" Lucas asked skeptically. He felt like he had been asleep about an hour at the most.
Lucas gave another huge yawn and forced himself to get off the bed and go about getting dressed for the day.
Once docking was complete, the ride onto the base was happy enough. Bridger talked to Lucas about the string of things he had intended to do back at the island during their time off. He was trying to get the teenager to talk and get his mind off whatever was bothering him.
Once being cleared through security the usual process on the base, the next stop was a hotel that would be their home for the next few days until a decision was made about where they wanted to go next. Most of the crew used this time to re-energize and sleep before heading their separate ways to their own families.
Bridger and Kristen knew there was one small detour that needed to be taken before arriving at the hotel. They just hadn't told the teenager yet, and were hoping not to until the very last minute.
Whether because of tiredness or not, Lucas didn't ask where they were going. He was happy just to follow for a while, not taking any interest in the traffic in the street or what other people were doing moment.
Upon getting closer to doctor's office, he wanted to back peddle, seeing the man's name on the door, but more alarmingly, his occupation. Bridger didn't want to force the boy into something like this. He hoped it wouldn't have any negative effect on some of the teenager's troubled childhood. But they were hoping for help.
"What are we going here for," Lucas asked nervously. He tried to move away, but Kristen held firmly onto his upper arm and steered him into Steven Martin's waiting room.
"I just want Steve to have a chat with you , Lucas," Kristen explained. "You haven't been sleeping well the last two nights and have woken up scared to death. I thought it might help if you talked it over with someone outside the crew."
Lucas mumbled a barely audible hello before telling the doctor he was fine and there was nothing wrong with him no matter what anybody else thought.
"Well, let's just take a look at you shall we, and I will make the diagnosis" Steven said with a grin. He knew that this was the last place Lucas wanted to be. But he also knew that Kristen rarely sought his advice for trivial matters.
"What seems to be the trouble, Kristen" Steven asked his friend as he began to do the usual examination on his still protesting patient. He thought he had better get the whole story from Kristen as Lucas was likely to tell him nothing or leave giant chunks of relevant information out in his explanation.
"Lucas hasn't been sleeping well the last few nights, Steven," Kristen started.
Martin continued to listen to Kristen's account of events aboard the SeaQuest, mentally noting down certain points. The boy looked a little tired. But if he hadn't been sleeping well for the past two nights, that was to be expected.
"Okay Lucas," Steven said. "I am just going to have a quick word with Kristen and the Captain, then you can go."
Bridger was certainly perplexed by the doctor's unorthodox methods. Lucas hadn't spoken a word, and although Kristen had given as much detail as possible, there was no confirmation or denial sort of any of the facts from Lucas himself.
Lucas didn't reply, he just put the biggest scowl on his face he could make. He tried to tell them nothing was wrong with him. Why wouldn't his family listen to him sometimes. He should know, it was his body. He couldn't explain the events of the last few nights, but put it down to something else than a physical thing. Maybe he just dreamed up the whole thing two nights in a row.
Bridger and Kristen walked a little away from the teenager to talk to the doctor in private. "Well, what's wrong with him?"
"In cases like this, where the patient is stubborn, it is best not to rush the young man, but to get his trust. Slowly if need be. To let him do the talking so to speak," Martin said.
"But do you think that will work, Steven?" Kristen asked, doubts of her own about such tactics beginning to creep into her voice. "We have tried to let him talk to us for a few days now, and although he admitted to feeling frightened on one occasion, there isn't much to go on. We found him passed out on one occasion after appearing to be running from something, and he fainted on an earlier occasion. There isn't a pattern that helps us pinpoint a cause to all of this."
Bridger just sighed in defeat. He didn't blame the doctor, but thought he might have been able to come up with a medical reason for Lucas's behaviour.
"Tell you what, just see how he goes tonight," Steven explained. 'If he still continues on the same tonight, I will come out tomorrow and talk with him again. I might be able to prescribe some strong sleeping powders for a couple of nights or so to let his body get back to normal. I don't like the idea of using them on somebody so young, but I will if it becomes called for."
"That won't be necessary, doctor. I am a qualified physician and can prescribe any medication that Lucas may need," Kristen answered.
They all walked back in to the room where, Lucas still had the scowl on his face. "Finished your little discussion about me now have you" he said angrily.
"You mind your manners, young man" Bridger said firmly back. "Just because you feel a little tired and cranky, doesn't give you an excuse to be rude."
Lucas got up and ignored the remark. He pouted his lips and continued this stance all the way back to the car. He climbed back into the back seat and intended to keep the conversation to a minimum on the way to the hotel.
About half way home, the tiredness Lucas felt from lack of sleep again returned and Bridger felt the teenager's head rest upon the back of his shoulder as Kristen drove them.
He was genuinely worried about Lucas. He knew something was wrong, and it pained him to not be able to help the boy when he needed it. He hoped that tonight would be different.
The boy was only seventeen years and although he often showed a wild streak, it was nearly as often that he demonstrated a more vulnerable side to his cheeky personality.
Dinner went just as well as the night before. Lucas ate a little more tonight and the Captain was pleased with the informal nature of the conversations and all tried to relax just a little for the evening.
It was almost 11.55pm went Bridger decided that nothing would happen tonight. Lucas had fallen asleep on a couch in the suite. Tony was sipping at some hot coffee and trying to stop himself from nodding off.
Bridger and Kristen had told Tony that he could stay in their room, for a couple of reasons. One because the seaman rarely had any money of his own to afford separate accommodation, and secondly, because Piccolo being there might help Lucas have some air of normalcy.
Bridger wanted to get to the bottom of the mystery of the last couple of nights, for Lucas's sake as well as his own sanity.
Ben had shaken Lucas awake enough to get him to stand on his own two feet. The boy was still half asleep and walked clumsily towards the doorway and a soft bed that awaited him. Lucas had made it half way across the living room floor when he turned to bid his goodnights to his family.
"Night' all" he mumbled through half closed eyes. The words had just fallen off his lips when he heard the sound of the whistle. It was loud and very close. If Lucas had been asleep before, he was now wide awake at that eerie noise. It almost sounded to be outside hotel room doorway.
Lucas stopped dead in his tracks and stared at the large front door with fear and anticipation written all over his face. He clutched at the back rest of the chair in front of him to steady himself. He could not believe what was about to take place.
The whistle sounded again and this time he could see some sort of shadow. He tried to take a step back, but absolute fear held him frozen to the floor. His feet just wouldn't obey his minds demands. His heart was pounding in his chest like it was about to explode. He held his breath as he saw the dark shadow loom closer.
Without warning, the shadow not only got closer to the window, but came right through. Lucas blinked his eyes to clear his vision, but the same image was there.
Coming through the hotel front door was a train. It looked strange as it was illuminated by a green hue. It was this same light that enabled Lucas to look right through the train and carriages. The train had a translucent quality about it. It seemed to glow in the darkness of the room. The dark black smoke billeted out of the stack in front and trailed behind the engine. Lucas could smell the thick black ash from the burning of coal. It was almost choking.
Bridger, Kristen and Tony couldn't see the ghostly image of the train. What they could see was the trembling body of Lucas who seemed to stand transfixed to the one spot. At some point the teenager thought he could hear voices talking to him. He shook his head to clear his mind and the voices faded away.
What seemed like five hours, was in fact about 3 minutes. The train engine and it's three carriages had rocketed their way through the hotel room. Lucas's gaze followed after the train and he turned around and was just in time to see the back end of the carriage disappear through the eastern wall of the hotel room and out into the darkness of the night.
His mind was trying to take in what had just happened. Had he really seen a whole train just come through his house. He was looking at his family and friend for answers to an endless number of questions.
Lucas looked at this family with his mouth agape and his arm extended with a pointing finger towards the ghostly image he had seen He tried to use his voice but nothing would come. His mouth moved but no sound escaped his vocal cords.
Although he showed some signs of weariness earlier, his skin colour had been good and he appeared to be healthy enough. Now looking at the pasty white skin that was sweating and clammy in the touch, Kristen and the othersy were now truly concerned about Lucas's state of mind and health.
Lucas's swallowed hard and looked at his father with pleading eyes What just happened here? Why I am so scared? Why did I see that train? He was still trying to get a sound from his voice, he tried with all of his might to say something. With all of his concentration and all of his effort he managed to say but one word to his family.
"TR... TR... TRAIN".
His mind decided that enough was too much and he lost what ever pallor he had left. Lucas felt his legs underneath betray him and loose all of their strength. They now felt like jelly and no longer had the strength to hold him up. The teenager felt himself start to topple forward but couldn't prevent the descent. Bridger and Tony could see what was going to happen and only just managed to grab a hold of the boy before he fell unconscious on the floor.
Twenty minutes later, Steven Martin appeared at the hotel doorway, after being summoned by Kristen once more.
Bridger just looked at his son unconscious on the bed. He didn't know what to do.
He had seen the teenager's behaviour turn very strange over the past three days. He had seen Lucas more scared than ever. He knew something was out of place but he couldn't put his finger on it.
Steven Martin sat down on the bed and tried to gain Lucas's attention. He lifted the boy's eyelids to see the response to bright light, there was some. He felt the boy's steady heart beat by checking his pulse using his wrist. The teenager still looked very pale.
Kristen had done these precautionary checks before the psychiatrist arrived, but knew that Martin did them again out of habit.
The doctor couldn't find anything else wrong with Lucas. "I don't know what to tell you. It's just like yesterday, no fever, no sickness, no injuries that I can see. There seems to be no apparent pattern to these strange occurrences that he is experiencing."
"The only word he said downstairs was TRAIN," Tony said. "Then he fainted."
"Why would he say the word TRAIN at twelve o'clock at night?"
"The only thing I can suggest is that maybe all of these incidents have been brought on by stress. Stress that is causing physical symptoms within him. He still looks very tired and you said he has been waking up at odd hours the last three nights. Has there been anything that has been bothering him lately?"
"I don't remember him saying anything in particular," Bridger said honestly. He was trying to think back over the last week. Was there something bothering Lucas enough to be waking him up at night and making him sick? He looked at Tony for answers.
"Has Lucas told you about anything he is worried about?"
Piccolo tried hard to think. Lucas had seemed his normal self. He had chatted happily enough when he and Ortiz had been playing cards a few nights ago.
"I have a few friends who deal specifically with patients who seem to have psychological problems or are have other problems that are not physical in nature," Martin suggested.
"You mean that all this behaviour might be in Lucas's mind," Bridger asked incredulously. Over the years of the teenager's life there had been various injuries. Bridger had never considered that there would be a time that Lucas's mental capacity would be doubted.
"I thought it would be good to talk to a few colleagues that are familiar with cases like Lucas's."
Bridger closed his eyes and shook his eyes. He didn't like the phrase "Cases like Lucas's". This was his son and sometimes he felt protective towards him.
Steven Martin could see the raging emotions written all over the Captain's face about the teenager.
Before Martin could utter any words of reassurance to those in the room, Lucas gave a few small groans to signal he was waking up.
"Uh..." came the response from a very groggy teenager. At once Kristen was there talking softly to the boy.
Lucas opened his eyes and looked about the room. He eyes surveyed the room and finally came to rest on faces he had trusted for a long time, Kristen, and then Bridger.
"We are here, Lucas," "So is Tony". She let Lucas get his bearings a little more first before asking him too many questions.
At first it seemed that Lucas remembered very little of his ordeal downstairs.
He was looking questioningly at Steven Martin being in the room.
"Why are you here Doc?" he asked. Then with frightening speed, the images from downstairs came racing back into his mind. He put his hand up to his mouth to hide the scream that was caught in his throat. He immediately sat upright in bed, looking around the room with darting eyes. He was looking for any evidence of what he had seen.
Bridger had been holding his hand as he woke and now struggled to get Lucas to lie down.
The movement of sitting up too fast only made the young man's head spin. He put his hands to his temples and tried to stop the merry-go-round his brain was on. The dizziness was powerful and he had to calm down just a little in order to remain conscious.
"Lucas?" Doc began slowly and quietly "What do you remember about tonight?"
What do I remember Lucas asked himself sarcastically. How do I tell them that I saw a locomotive engine and three carriages come through the dining room wall downstairs and pass through the other side? "You will think I am nuts, Doc," he finally answered.
"Lucas," Bridger said softly "We won't be upset with you, we're trying to help you. Do you remember what you saw?" A slow nod was the only response. Can you tell us what you saw? A shake of the head signaled a negative reply. Do you want to talk about it and share it with your family? Another negative reply. The questioning was getting nowhere fast.
Steven Martin could see that his patient was going to be very difficult indeed, even more so that usual. They were probably not going to get any answers by asking him directly.
Kristen took an empty glass, and filled it with water. In the water, she diluted a white powder and handed it to the teenager. He was about to refused, when he sighed in defeat and took the glass. She told Lucas that he needed some extra sleep tonight.
Lucas's eyelids began to flutter from the sleeping powder and he soon drifted off without any further explanation of what had happened. Kristen continued to hold his hand and stroke his face as the young man asleep. She hoped that by just touching him, Lucas felt safe from harm.
Now that Lucas was deeply asleep, there was no need to talk softly. He wouldn't be disturbed easily tonight and would probably sleep well into the next morning.
"Just let him get the rest he needs," Steven Martin suggested. "I will contact these colleagues, but it may be a few days before I get a response. Until then, give him a few days off his normal routine. Let him do what he wants to do. Let him go into town and relax a little. If he wants to sleep, then let him sleep all day. That is the best advice I can offer at this point in time. Maybe a change from day to day activities is just what he needs right now."
After the psychiatrist had left, Tony couldn't help but speak candidly about what they had seen that night.
"I don't know about you too, but that kid has some serious issues," Tony stated.
"I mean we are all here to help him, but he said he thinks he saw a train? A train.
In this hotel room, coming through the door!"
"We can't explain it at the moment, Tony. Lucas obviously believes he saw something, even though it isn't likely that it was a train. Like Martin said, maybe its just stress, and he is dreaming seeing these things," Bridger replied.
"But why? Two days ago it was a black guy with army boots, now a train? None of it makes any sense," Piccolo added.
"I know," was the only words that Bridger had to say. He couldn't made sense of it all either, and certainly couldn't come up with a reason for anyone else. They would all just have to be patient and do what they could for Lucas.
The next morning Bridger and Tony did exactly what the doctor ordered. Kristen planned a trip into town to try and get Lucas to relax a little. Maybe a vacation was just what the teenager needed.
Kristen had discussed the ideas she had with Tony and Bridger at the breakfast table. They were in no hurry to got to town. Bridger had let Lucas sleep in as long as he liked this morning. He had checked on the boy a number of times during the night as had Kristen and Tony. Lucas had been peacefully sleeping on each occasion.
Bridger saw this as another huge piece to the jigsaw that was scattered about. The pieces were beginning to accumulate, but for the moment, they were so jumbled that it was hard to see any sort of picture forming. Bridger knew they had all heard Lucas utter the word train the night before.
Later that morning, once again the problems started...
The first thing that Lucas felt was the temperature change in the room. He didn't understand how he came to be on his bed dressed in his nightshirt. His addled mind did not have the answers to the questions he tried to form in his mind. He could remember going to bed, and after that everything was a blank.
It was the coolness that woke him. Earlier in the day the weather was predicted to be hot and sultry, but now there was a unique temperature change filling the room.
He lay still with his eyes closed and turned on his side on the bed. He was about to go back to the land of nod when a strange feeling of something else being in the room came over him. His fears started gathering in great numbers and his mind was telling him that it wasn't his father or brothers in the room this night.
Against his better judgment he opened his eyes a crack and looked about. His gaze never altered from its position of straight in front of him. He could not believe what his eyes were telling him he was seeing at this moment. His voice was once again deserting him. He wanted to scream, he wanted to scream until he could scream no more. Of all of the events that had happened over the last three or four days, this one left him numb all over.
He closed his eyes again, hoping the image would go away. He reopened them and for the second time he was telling himself to scream.
Laying beside him, on the same bed, not more than a few centimetres away was a dead corpse of a man. The body seemed to be clad in some sort of rags that fell over the skeletal frame like long tendrils. His eyes made him start from the feet and work their way up, forcing him to make a mental note an entire description of what he could see.
The feet were housed in a pair of beaten up old boots. There was a hole on the right one where the big toe should have been. There was no big toe protruding out. The legs were nothing more than dark skin and bits of flesh clinging to them. The arms were in a similar condition with very little remnants of muscle or sinew attached.
Most of the man's chest seemed to be missing. There few a few shards of bone that indicated a rib cage, but there was no evidence of any internal organs. The lungs were dried up and withered and half their normal capacity.
Lucas tried to stop himself looking and staring but he could not.
Lastingly his gaze rested upon the head and face of the corpse. The hair was straggly and hanging in knots. He couldn't be sure but he thought he saw something moving around in that mess of hair.
He looked at the face with bemused horror on his face. The eyes were devoid of eyelids or lashes and seemed to bulge out of their sockets as they stared directly at Lucas.
There was only a small bony point that indicated a nose was once in place. The mouth was drawn back in a toothy grin. The teeth themselves were yellow and stained. The odour that came from the teeth made the teenager gag.
He fought back the feeling of nauseous with great effort. The corpse continued to grin and stare at him. A worm now broke through the paper thin waxen skin on the man's hollow cheek and peered out from its look out point on the man's face.
"Hello" the corpse said in a eerie sounding voice. That was the last straw. Lucas had found his voice all of a sudden and now scrambled off the bed and backed himself into the corner of the room whilst screaming for everything he was worth.
Unfortunately he had backed himself in the farthest corner of the room and behind the bed, so he would have to make it past the dead person to make it safely to the other side of room and to his father and brothers in the other rooms.
Bridger almost fell off the sofa at the scream that radiated through the hotel room. It was unlike any scream he had ever heard. It was full of terror and on the verge of hysteria. He almost pulled the door of his room from its hinges and he thought of his son in danger. Danger, too he told himself, that had to be it, Lucas wouldn't scream like that unless his very life was threatened.
Nathan tried to open the door. It wouldn't budge. The door was locked. They doubted that Lucas had locked himself in. Whatever or whoever was attacking Lucas wanted outside help to remain on the other side.
Lucas continued to scream. The corpse had remained on the bed and not moved a muscle. The young man was now sitting on the floor with his arms held up trying to fend off his attacker.
Bridger was making no more progress with the door. "Stand aside, Captain" Tony demanded.
Piccolo took a running start and barreled into the wooden door trying to break the lock. The first attempt failed. As he backed up to take a second go, they heard Lucas yell at someone inside.
"GET AWAY FROM ME!!! STAY AWAY FROM ME!!!! CAPTAIN, HELP ME PLEASE" 'DON'T LET HIM HURT ME!!!" CAPTAIN " Lucas resumed his screams at the sight before him. He had never seen anything so hideous in all of his life.
He had read a few horror stories in his time, even seen some terrible injuries inflicted upon a man's body to disfigure him. But nothing he had ever seen or had read could prepare him for this. This was like the devil coming and trying to take his very soul away.
Bridger and Tony on the other side tried in vain to break down the door. Their hearts were almost bursting from the pleas the youngest crew member was yelling through the other side. They were sure now that at least it seemed that someone was involved rather than something. What was that person doing to Lucas to make him so afraid?
"Get that door open now" Kristen yelled at Bridger. Tony took an extra step back and was about to put all his strength behind this effort. Bridger had been banging on the door in between assaults, but now she stood back and let Tony take aim.
The corpse could hear the noise on the other side of the door. He looked at the young man cowering in the corner trying to disappear from view. He knew that he wouldn't be talking to the boy tonight like he wanted to. He would have to change his tactics a little more next time.
Each attempt he had made to make contact had only ended up in scaring the young man half to death. With that thought his image now vanished and Lucas's hotel room was empty again except for himself. He had yet to notice that the corpse had gone. He was still in the corner with his head between his knees and his arms over him. He was now trembling very badly and his breathing was very shallow and coming in large gulps.
To be continued ………………………………………..
Authors Notes – like a ghost, I am still hauntings these pages. The final chapter to Secret Device is almost ready – and if you think you know the ending ……. well maybe you do……… no on second thought you don't
I don't have as much writing time as I would like, but will update as often as I can and intend to finish all stories.
Thanks for reading.