Chapter 14

A startling scream of fear mixed with rage brought Sam out of the dead sleep he had found himself in, still laying on the couch. He had fallen asleep there while trying to sort out a few things for himself. He was up with a start, taking the steps two at a time to the loft. He looked around in a panic when he didn't see Red in bed. He heard her fast breathing spurred on by fear and followed the sound to the other side of the bed where he found her pressed up against the dark corner. Her eyes were wide with fear but her body language spoke of anger towards the one causing this fear.

"Red?" he questioned her as he stayed at the end of the bed, not willing to cause her more fear by getting her cornered.

"DON'T! come any closer you ass! I don't know where it is. I can't tell you what I don't know!" she shouted to someone, but it wasn't at Sam. Her eyes seemed to see something else, to see someone else.

"Cheyenne…wake up," he called to her, hoping to snap her out of it. Though he hadn't spent much time around her until now, he had been on camping trips with his dad and her. Rachelle might have mentioned something too if she'd had nightmares while she had stayed with her the last time she'd been on vacation.

She pushed herself up the wall, "I don't care WHO you think you are. You can't interrogate me like this. I know my rights," she said, the words hanging chill in the air around Sam. He saw her wild eyes as she stared at the wall behind him.

She struggled with something imaginary, "Don't TOUCH me! You can't do this! I don't know where the stupid thing is. Why are you doing this?" she babbled on, the lights suddenly coming on for Sam.

He had to break her out of this nightmare she seemed caught in, reliving it every night as if her subconscious was trying to make her remember, bring it to the surface for her to see. Sam had questioned her about her nightmare she had the first night up here but she couldn't remember anything except the sense of fear and anger she felt every time.

He moved towards her, "Red, it's me, Sam. Wake up." He said as he had to do what he was afraid to do. He had to corner her and get her to wake up. She shrank back from him, her hands coming up to punch at whoever she thought he might be. He sidestepped a punch she threw and quickly grappled her, pinning her arms to her side as he picked her up.

She screamed in rage, still stuck in the nightmare she couldn't free herself from. He tried to hold onto her so he wouldn't hurt her but she was doing her best to be free of him. He quickly carried her down the stairs and managed to get the door open to the outside. She was sobbing in fear while trying to scream with rage. He struggled to get her out the door and to the edge of the porch where the rain barrel stood overflowing. With one quick movement he tossed her into the barrel feet first.

He was panting as he looked down at her. She was in no danger of drowning but the moment she'd hit the cold water, she stopped her screaming. Worried for a moment that he'd hurt her, he cautiously leaned farther over the railing to get a good look at her. She was staring up at him with an utterly shocked expression on her face.

She was definitely awake but she seemed unable to move for the moment. Finally he lowered his arms to help her up out of the barrel. She was shivering hard from the cold water, her teeth chatter as she clung to him as he pulled her out. "Red? You ok? You had me scared half to death…," he stated, trying to minimize the possible damage she could do to him if she felt like it.

She turned her wide eyes to look at him, her teeth chattering, "Wha….How…I.." She paused suddenly, a look of horror that soon turned to anger, "Oh god…I remember Sam. I remember what they did to me…" She suddenly grabbed his arms, clutching to him, her eyes wide with fear. He pulled her to him, even as soaked as she was. It was all it took before she started crying, her body shaking as sobs raked her body. She had never showed any sign of weakness around him in the eleven years she'd known him. She had always been cool, aloof, indifferent, keeping everyone at arms length. But for the first time, he saw everything crumble away from those facades and left her with nothing to hide behind.

He gathered her up in his arms as he picked her up. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he headed inside. Once there, he shut the door with his foot and took her to the bathroom where he set her down. He moved over to the tub and turned on the water to start a hot bath for her.

She was trying to control her tears but seemed to be having a hard time of it. He wiped away the tears, "Listen. Just let it all out. There's nothing to be ashamed of. Ok?" he said gently. "It's not a sign of weakness but a mental defense that we all have. Some of us just have to be more overwhelmed for it to trigger than others. I think you have every right to feel overwhelmed."

He kissed her forehead, then each wet cheek before kissing her lips gently. "Take a long soak and we'll talk when you're done. It's best to get it out now than to sit on it. Ok?" he asked her as she shook with cold and emotions. He only got a little nod from her but it was a start. "I'll get you some dry clothes while you're in the tub."

He left her standing there but soon he heard her climb into the water with a slight hiss as her cold and sore muscles came in contact with the warm water. He went upstairs and pulled out some dry clothes for her and took them back down to her, leaning in to put them on the edge of the sink. He then left the door cracked a little and put on some soft classical music on the turntable, just loud enough that she could hear it through the door.

He put a pot of water on the stove to make tea and made sure all of the fires had been well stoked. He turned down all of the lights, leaving just the fireplace to illuminate the living room. He brought over the pot of tea and two cups to set on the stone base near the fire to keep it warm. He found several blankets and flopped on the couch, his own cup of tea sitting next to him as he waited for her to get out of the bath.

As he had begun to doze off, he heard her soft footsteps as she came over to him and sat down. She sat facing the fire, her knees curled up to her chest as her arms held them close to her. He draped a blanket over her and pulled her up against him as he stretched out around her. He remained quiet, letting her sort through her thoughts and memories as he waited for her to begin. He wasn't willing to rush her so he simply memorized her features that were highlighted by the fire.

"Sam. When I was a small girl, I had fallen into a sinkhole when my parents and I had gone camping. Sinkholes aren't all that uncommon but having someone fall into one is. It was hours before my adoptive parents found me. By then I was almost paralyzed with fear. The ground had been slowly falling in around me and I was buried up to my elbows, my arms pinned to my side. They pulled me out somehow but I was scared witless for several days, clinging to my mom for hours on end, shaking. I got over it eventually but to this day I still have a severe phobia of being buried alive. I can't handle being in very tight quarters, basically being in a box where I can't move. Some have said that I really don't have a phobia because I'm not scared of the close quarters of cockpits but it's a different concept. I'm in control of things in there, I can move about to some extent. I'm not trapped. When I joined the Air Force they eventually do a psyche evaluation and if I hadn't already come in with the knowledge of how to fly and was a damned good pilot, I might have been kicked out. They frown heavily on people with severe phobias like mine. It's a detriment in battle if you're on the ground and so forth," she said, keeping close to him.

"The day I had off before the first flight test in October I was being interrogated. But they used things to try and control me, to get me to tell them what I knew about 'Airwolf'. The Firm found out I was Stringfellow Hawkes daughter and had inherited his estate. I guess they assumed I'd find out the secret where he hid it. Even twenty years later, they haven't been able to find it. They finally resorted to trying to scare it out of me by shoving me in a box and nailing the lid shut. I…," she paused, swallowing. "By the time they were done, I still hadn't told them anything but I was terrified into a stupor. I guess they must have used something to put me to sleep, making me forget those twenty four hours. I don't know how. Something that strong, you think I'd remember."

Sam ran a hand over her hair. "In a way, you did. It wasn't until those mental walls relaxed while you were sleeping to let out the nightmares of your ordeal. Apparently shocking you awake with a cold dip in the rain barrel was enough to get you to snap out of it and not forget. You were too stunned by the cold water for your subconscious to throw those protective barriers back up. But hey, I'm not a psychologist. I've just spent too much time around Pete and dad," he said with a slight smirk.

Red tried to smile but there was a fear still evident on her face. "Sam, they want something I can't give them. I think they'll keep coming after me. They've tried to kill me once, what if they try again?"

He grew quiet as he sat and thought about it. His eyes drifted towards the fire, licking at the wood it blossomed on. "Then we need to find it and use it as a bargaining chip to get them to back off."

Her eyes opened a little wider, "But, I've no idea where to start looking!" she exclaimed, "I've been all over this place and I don't know of anything that has a 'x' marks the spot on it."

Sam shrugged, "Those journals of your dad's must have a clue in them somewhere. Perhaps there's something at the hanger?" He was grasping at straws but he wanted to lay this idea out for her.

Red was quiet now. Her thoughts turned inward, weighing the possibilities and the need to find something to protect herself with against this unknown that had almost cost her the one thing she wasn't ready to give up yet…her life.

"All right. But we are going to need help," came her soft reply.

He nodded, "I know. And perhaps I can get dad to start looking on his end and we'll just need to keep our eyes open for any clues they might have left us." He reached out and pulled her to him. He held her gently, nuzzling his face up against the side of her neck as he wrapped his body around hers as if to protect her from whatever might come at them.

And she let him…

The next part of this story is soon coming but it's unfinished so I will be working to try and bring about the rest of it. Bear with me and please review. I love reviews, comments, questions, concerns. It is the food that a writer like me lives upon. It helps us write more, write better and be more productive.

I hope you've enjoyed this story so far. Thank you!