Chapter 2 (cont'd)
He heard a key on the lock. Next minute, his mum crashed through, carrying a dozen or so bags in her hand. With a kick she shut the door and came waddling through into the kitchen.
She took one look at Jamie and dropped all her bags.
“Baby what’s wrong?”
“N-nothing,” he tried to murmur but she immediately placed a cold hand on his head. She was not happy.
“Nothing indeed, go upstairs mister and go to bed, I’ll bring something up for you in a sec.”
Jamie couldn’t argue. He sort of swayed from the sink, lurching this way and that, crawling up the stairs and clinging to the banister rail for dear life till he collapsed on his bed.
He felt spent, both physically and mentally.
In five minutes, his mum had brought a thermometer and a towel for his head drenched in frigid water, it did feel good.
“How do you feel?” she began the questioning.
“Like crap,” was the best word for that.
“I know you’re not feeling well Jamie but none of that language please,” she had her stern face on but Jamie could barely tell what he was saying. It took a lot of effort to get rid of all the dark spots swimming around his vision. “When did this happen?”
“Came home, tired, felt to floor against door, heh that rhymes, had bad dream, woke up, felt crap.” He felt like he was spouting rubbish, he vaguely remembered giggling and another stern face from his mum.
“Leaning against the door, could have been the draft. Maybe you have the flu. You say you had a bad dream?”
“Keep having them.” She must have seen something in his eyes, maybe even fear. Suddenly she sat on the bed with him, almost ready to hug him.
“Maybe you do have the flu; the dreams could be a fever.”
He wanted that to be the case, whatever was left of his conscious thought, he wanted all those bad dreams and hallucinations to just be some silly fever dreams, that he’d have this bout of illness then it would all go away.
“Get some rest sweetie, I’ll bring up something for you to eat later,” she patted his shoulder and left his room.
He had the sudden urge to stay awake once she’d left. He didn’t trust himself to sleep, didn’t trust himself not to have any more of these ‘fever dreams’ but he knew he’d have to, he really wanted to just close his eyes and rest.
Who knew, maybe it would all be ok on the other side. Maybe he’d dream about sheep hopping over fences, couple of bunnies dancing around and chewing on carrots. He saw Bugs Bunny for a moment, said “what’s up doc” wait... was that the bunny or me? He just laughed anyway. Then Elma Fudd came with his shotgun, a shadow under the trees hunting him down. Elma stalked towards him, a vicious smile. But there was something wrong about it. He got closer and closer but Bugs was just chewing his carrot and sitting against his tree. Then Elma grabbed Bugs.
“I got you now you wascally wabbit!” There was a shotgun explosion and suddenly the image changed. He saw the shadow stalking him, coming towards him.
“What do you want from me!” he wanted to say but his dream self just couldn’t get the words out, then, “Get away! Get away!” but the shadow just came closer till he was engulfed in darkness.
He kept squirming, writhing to get free of the oblivion that threatened to destroy him, and he was falling again... down... down.
Jamie lay on the floor, face down. He heard rushing feet, his bedroom door shooting open and his mum at his side again. She helped him up to his bed. Man his head was splitting with pain and he felt like a two year old.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, he must have been red from hair to neck.
“Don’t be silly,” his mum muttered, wait here, I’ll go get you something to eat and drink.
He did feel thirsty, though his stomach was writhing more than he’d been in his sleep. Jamie couldn’t bear facing the dream again; he just wanted some peace, to not feel so horrible. There was only one thing that could help him now.
His mum stepped back into the room, a plate full of toast. That was his sick food. Every time he felt unwell she’d make him loads of toast slathered with butter that wasn’t fully melted and it always tasted like heaven, no matter what illness he had. She also had a glass of water and some painkillers. Perfect.
She held the plate on her own lap and gave him the food to eat which he did willingly. When he had finished it all she smiled at him, brushed his hair and stood up to leave.
“Mum...” she stopped and turned round.
“Could you...” geez, he felt even more childish than before, “...could you, err, stay with me, just till I fall asleep.”
Sleep came easily with her around; he didn’t even have a nightmare, or not one that he could remember. It felt good.