Companion piece to "Running Out Of Pain"
Sleep is the enemy and night is its cohort. Late at night, when I am alone, I can feel the claws of sleep grasp onto my flesh. I try to fight it, determined to stay awake so that no part of me dies while I am unconscious but sleep constantly wins. It's always the same. It starts with a flutter of my eyelashes, a reluctant yawn and the feeling as if my bed is swallowing me whole, holding me prisoner in a world of pain and dread.
At night, while I sleep, the scared child in me is awakened. Memories tear at my flesh and exposed my very tired and weakened soul so that I am victim to the darkest of experiences of my past. At night I am subjected to reliving the nights when I curled up in the corner of my bed, or underneath it, awaiting the presence of the monster. It was only now that I was older that I saw the irony that at a time when most kids were afraid of the monsters underneath the bed I welcomed them as I feared the monster above mine.
I was having the same nightmare that I always had, the one that ceased when Isabelle lay in bed beside me, holding me tightly to her. I had screwed that up and as a punishment the love that I once had protecting me from the cruel, dark night was replaced with the laughter of my old tormentor.
I could feel his breath on my neck, the flood of words escape his mouth and enter my ear and mind. I tried to fight it, I scream, I pleaded but like it was in reality, nothing made him stop. His cold hands would roam my body and grasp viciously onto my flesh. I could see the room around me spinning and the man hovering over me, whispering to me that I need to be quiet, telling me that the sooner I behaved the sooner it would be over and the less painful it would be. Promises that he never kept.
As I tried to fight off the monster I felt a soft, gentle hand rest on my arm and I stopped my cries of pain. I heard the voice of an angel whispered to me that I was safe and then kiss my eyelids. I opened my eyes in my dream and I saw that my angel was Isabelle. I whispered her name softly, trying to see if it was really her afraid that it was just my monster in disguise. She gently told me in a hushed voice that she was there. I told her that she made my monster go away and I felt like a child.
Isabelle, my angel, brushed her finger across my lips and then to my cheeks, sweeping her entire hand across my cheek, my keeping my gaze on her motions the entire time. She bent down to kiss my cheek and I felt for a moment as if I wasn't dreaming, but was awake and I didn't want it to end. She started to stand up from the bed and I begged her to stay in fear that he would come back if she left. I didn't want the safety that she gave me to disappear. I reached out and held onto her wrist as she sat back down on the bed beside me. It was then that I realized I was in my present bedroom and it made me wonder even more if I was no longer in a dream. However, in the real world Isabelle wouldn't be this kind to me after the mistake I had made.
Isabelle laid down besides me, pressing her body to mine so that we fit together like a puzzle piece. I reached for her hand and jumbled our fingers together, tossing our clenched hands around my waist. I didn't like not seeing her face, so I turned towards her and I noticed that my angel was crying. I reached up towards her face with my free hand and wiped away the warm, salty water from her face. She told me that she didn't like it when I was hurt. I asked her if it was because she loved me and she replied cryptically. I was now sure it was a dream. I told her that I hated my dreams that they taunted me with my past and things that I couldn't have, like her, and she whispered to me that if it was a dream, I could.
"It's a dream..." I whispered.
I then leaned up towards her kissing her neck. She tasted amazing, just like the real Isabelle always had. She was still and silent as I rolled over to the side to get closer to her. I rubbed my nose against her skin, inhaling the scent of her deeply and smiling at the familiar sensation that swept through my body when ever I caught the scent of her perfume. I told her that I loved her and then it ended. She disappeared from me and the next morning when I woke up she was gone.
It must have been dream, I was trying to convince myself. I could have left it at that, the over active imagination of a sixteen year old boy but then why did my pillow have remnants of her scent on it?
I woke up in Bobby's bed forgetting for a moment where I was. It had been a nightmare that caused me to awake. He was there in my dreams, sauntering through my bedroom door in my old house, calling me his "baby girl" and forcing me down onto the bed. That was when I had awakened. I thought that my mind had been nice and refused to let me relive my memories, but instead it had been the painful moans coming from the room next to the one I was in. It was Jack.
I pressed my ear to the wall, the whimpers of a lost child loudening and filling my head. I stood up quickly, throwing the door open and headed towards Jack room. As I placed my hand upon the cold doorknob, I realized that the reason I wasn't already in there comforting him was because we were no longer together. I froze for a moment, debating in my head which was more important my anger or my love, which hadn't faded like I wished it had. Jack let out another yell and without hesitation I chose him.
Jack was on the bed, the blankets on the floor and the sheet twisted around him. Clumps of hair stuck to his forehead and his shirt was soaked through so that I stuck to his chest and back. I rushed over to the bed, taking a seat on the mattress, gently running my hand along his arm. I was trying to wake him from his nightmare but it wasn't working. Instead, from my touch, he started to calm slightly, but his groans of pain continued.
"Shh," I whispered, my lips close to his ear. "You're safe."
Behind his closed eyelids, his eyes roamed about, the movement apparent through the thin cover of skin. I gently kissed his eyelids and the motioned ceased. Pulling away from him, his eyes slowly fluttered open. I froze, I didn't know what to do.
"Belle?" he whispered, sleepily.
"I'm here," I replied, my voice so soft that I wasn't sure I even spoke them.
"You made him go away," he said, his voice mimicking that of a child.
At that moment, it was the first time I ever viewed Jack as vulnerable. He was always so strong in front of me, even when he was hurt, he was my protector. I reached down to his face, running my index finger over his dry, chapped lips. His sleepy eyes followed my hand as it moved from his lips to his cheeks. I brushed away the mixture of sweat and tears away and kissed his glistening skin. I gently pulled away from him, slowly getting off the bed.
"I don't want him to come back," he said, panicking. "Stay, please?"
He reached for my wrist and I could see the fear not only from his eyes but from the rapid motion of his chest, the inhale and exhale of the air from his lungs. I instantly sat back down on the bed, leaning towards him.
"He's not going to come back," I whispered, against his cheekbone. "I won't let him."
Against my better judgment, I laid down in the bed, forming my body to fit Jack's. My chest was pressed up against his back and I could feel every breath he took. He reached for my hand and pulled it around his waist, intertwining our fingers. I felt him move slightly, turning to face me. I was silent, still unsure if he was really awake. He looked up at me from his new position and took his untangled hand and pressed it to my cheek, wiping tears that I didn't know I had even shed off of my skin.
"I don't like it when you're hurt," I tried to explain.
"Because you loved me?"
"Something like that."
"I hate my dreams, they taunt me," he admitted. "First they bring him back and then they make you come back, even though I can't have you."
"If it's a dream you can," I informed him, unsure of exactly why I said it.
"It's a dream…"
Jack moved slightly and leaned up towards me, kissing the base of my neck. I was motionless and silent as he rolled over to his side to take advantage of the 'dream.' He nuzzled his nose against my neck and I could feel his lips tightening into a smile.
"I love you," he whispered.
I waited for something, anything to happen next, but everything just became silent. I looked down at him, he was fast asleep, his one arm tossed across my stomach. I leaned down to kiss him softly on the forehead. Then, as quiet as I could, I slid out of the bed and back into the room I was occupying.
As soon as the door shut, I leaned against it and slid to the floor. Pulling my legs up to my chest, I rested my chin on my knees, glancing across the room and out the window, watching the sun begin to rise.