Chuck is falling. Falling, falling, falling. Down a well. A deep, dark well. Hold on, not so dark. There are pictures on the walls. He can make out individual images. An orange. A flight of military jets. A woman wearing a red hat. A Jeep going over a cliff. A turtle. Apple pie. So he can't be falling. More like floating. But he is traveling downwards. What will happen when he hits bottom?
Chuck fell out of bed, feet wound in his sheets. The impact and the sharp pain in his right elbow jolted him awake and he let out a load groan.
"Are you okay? I thought I heard something," said Ellie, holding out a glass of orange juice as Chuck shuffled stiffly into the kitchen.
"I just fell out of bed this time, not a tree," replied Chuck, taking the juice with his right hand while cradling the sore elbow in his left.
"Well, I guess you won't need my medical help like that time, then?"
"That's okay, sis, thanks. Besides, I don't think two crooked tree branches and a bandana is going to help this time. Come to think of it, they didn't help that time either."
"You did scream pretty loud," said Ellie, wrapping an arm around Chuck's neck and going up on her toes to give him a peck on the cheek. "There, all better?"
"Even then you knew you were going to be a doctor, huh, Ellie? Too bad kisses can't cure ouches."
"Oh, they certainly can go a long way," replied Ellie enigmatically.
There is Sarah. Chuck can see her a long way off. She is gesturing, come here! come here! He wants to follow her but he can't keep up. She turns a corner and he runs after her. He is in a corridor lined with doors. She must have gone through one of them, but which one? He starts trying handles, shaking them, but none yields. Finally, one of the doors opens a crack, but he is too big to squeeze through. There is Sarah on the other side. A man is pointing a gun to her head. Chuck can't get to her. He pushes frantically against the door, straining, straining. He hears the gunshot and sees Sarah's body fall.
As he picked himself up off the floor, Chuck rubbed the back of his head and tried to shake himself fully awake. Compared to this, he no longer resented his alarm clock.
"Fall out of bed again, sport?" asked Devon as Chuck came out of his room.
"Oh, I guess Ellie told you," said Chuck, smiling wryly.
"You could work out the kinks by doing a little 5K with me. I'm just about to go. Do you a world of good. Blood pumping, muscles doing what they do best. What do you say?"
"Thanks, Devon, but I think I'll pass this morning. Two shocks to my system this early in the morning might be a little much," replied Chuck, raising his hand, palm-out, in front of him. "I think I'll just get some breakfast, walk to the Nerd Herder, and call it exercise."
"Awesome," countered Devon, smiling.
Anna is sitting on the Nerd Herd counter, legs crossed, her foot lazily swinging as she swipes the lipstick brush across her full lips. Chuck approaches, hands in his pockets, and looks up at her, waiting. "You could, you know. It's easy," Anna says, looking at him around her compact mirror. "What's easy?" asks Chuck. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do." "Catch her," says Anna, calmly launching herself into the air. Wildly, Chuck grabs out, trying to break her fall. He needs to save her, but he can't reach her. They both hit the floor with a bone-jarring bang.
Sitting on the floor for a moment, Chuck cleared his head with a shake. This was getting ridiculous. He hauled himself up and went into the bathroom to take a shower.
"You're really going to hurt yourself one of these times, little brother," said Ellie, a worried look creasing her brow as Chuck came out of his room after dressing. "Aren't you getting bruised?"
"It's more upsetting than bruising, I think," mused Chuck, looking into the middle distance. "I just wish I could figure out why I'm having all these weird dreams."
"Maybe it's because you worry too much," replied Ellie. "You're thinking about problems at work or – oh, is everything all right with Sarah?"
"Yeah, sure, Ellie, everything's just peachy at work and with Sarah," lied Chuck, quickly turning away so she couldn't see it in his eyes. "Well, I'm off to the Buy More. See you later. I have to work a double shift, so I won't see you until tomorrow, okay?" said Chuck, closing the front door behind him.
Casey is standing overhead, high on a stocking ladder. Chuck has to turn his head way up, Casey is so high. Step by step, Casey descends the ladder but not all the way to the bottom. The Buy More must be closed; most of the lights are off. In the half-light, Casey's head looks like it's floating in mid-air. "There's something I want you to do, Computer Guy," growls Casey, his eyes flicking past Chuck's shoulder. "What's that?" asks Chuck, automatically cringing in fear. "Make a move, now!" cries Casey as he leaps directly into the path of the bullet, a hollow whump! sounding on impact.
Chuck's legs were up in the air as, still sitting in the overturned plastic cafeteria chair, he felt the pain stab through the back of his head. Not again, he thought as he slowly picked himself up, wiping at the mustard stains on his tie.
"Hey, man, you really hit the floor," said Lester as he entered the staff room. "Sleeping on the job?" he asked.
"I just haven't been sleeping well at all lately. I guess I just dozed off."
"You should do like I do. Get some sweet lovin' and you'll sleep like a baby."
"No, you don't," said Jeff as he came up behind them.
Morgan is doing something. What is it? Something strange. And strange for Morgan is very strange. He's walking around the staff room table. It's covered in plates. Each plate has a different sandwich. One is ham and cheese on whole wheat, another is tuna fish on a bagel. Morgan picks up a sandwich, takes a bite, sets it down again and moves on to the next plate, eating the sandwiches one bite at a time. "It's today, it's today, it's now," he says around a mouthful of pastrami on rye. Chuck can see the hole in the floor as Morgan approaches it but he can't warn his friend because he's lost his voice. Chuck clutches at his throat as Morgan plunges through the hole and out of sight. The muffled sound of an impact comes back to Chuck through the hole.
Sofa cushions scattered around him, it took Chuck a moment to realize he was on the floor of the Buy More Home Theater room. I really have to get more sleep at home, he thought, wincing slightly as the damage from this latest fall made itself felt.
"Bartowski," bellowed Big Mike, "Get your butt out behind the Nerd Herd counter! If I catch you sleeping in here again, I'll give you inventory duty for a month!"
"Yes, Mon Capitaine," sighed Chuck as he sidled past Big Mike and onto the sales floor.
Making his way through the store, he passed Morgan.
"What's up, bro?" asked Morgan around a mouthful of pastrami on rye. "Something getting you down?"
Chuck, Sarah and Casey are standing in Casey's apartment in front of the screen waiting for a briefing. That's funny, Anna and Morgan are here too. That's not right, is it? Chuck is about to turn around to ask them why they're there when the screen flickers to life. "Kill them all, off with their heads!" screams General Beckman. "Maybe we should have a trial first," intercedes Director Graham, "just to find out if he is guilty." "Of course he's guilty! He's done nothing and he's ruined the game! I say off with his head!" The others have picked up croquet mallets from somewhere and are coming closer, threatening Chuck with them menacingly. Sarah beats hers on the floor in a pounding rhythm. Chuck falls to his knees and then face down, sobbing.
"Chuck, Chuck, wake up!" Sarah hammered on the bedroom door, a note of urgency and worry in her voice. She threw the door open and knelt down next to Chuck, who was sprawled out on the floor looking frantically around the room, two little tears running down his face.
"What? No, don't hit me, don't –"
"It's okay, Chuck, you're okay," cooed Sarah soothingly, cradling his head in her arms. "It was just a bad dream."
"It was, and it was about you and I couldn't save you, I couldn't save anybody, and – and –"
"Shhh, it's all right now," whispered Sarah into Chuck's ear, tenderly brushing aside the wild curls on his forehead. She kissed him softly, instinctively, trying to calm him down.
"Ellie was right about kisses and ouches and I have waited much too long," said Chuck. As he enfolded Sarah in his arms and returned her kisses, he suddenly felt well again.