That night sleeping was difficult. Lewis and his pale green eyes kept flashing through his mind, the undeniable feeling of danger seizing him, making him wake up during the night. When he bolted awake, breathing deeply and body shaking for the sixth time he gave up. He let out a sigh and ran a hand over his forehead, wiping the sweat before it burned his eyes. He glanced at the clock and saw it was five in the morning. He still had at least an hour to kill before he had to get up and ready.
He showered there and then anyway. Letting the freezing cold water slap his body awake. He calmed his breathing and leaned his forehead against the tiles, trying to work out what was happening. He'd dealt with nightmares before, terrifying ones. There was nothing particularly scary happening - just that laugh in his head. Even now he could hear it. The sound sent shudders all over his body that he knew he couldn't blame on the cold water. Was he going crazy? It seemed unlikely considering his life. If he was going to crack, it would've been before now surely. He switched the water to hot after a few more minutes and washed. His mother was still asleep, her quiet snores reaching him as he passed her bedroom door. He got dressed and sat on the floor, leaning against his bed. He waited, trying to focus on school and not the weird dreams.
Eventually his mum's alarm sounded and he heard her get up and ready. She called to tell him to wake up as well, unaware he already was. He waited until he heard the bathroom door lock before going downstairs. His appetite was lost, but his mum would force-feed him regardless. He made a small bowel of cereal and half-ate it while waiting for his mum.
“Oh, what time did you get up?” Mum asked, seeing his ready state as she walked into the kitchen. She was dressed in plain jeans and a shirt. He was wearing his usual dark jeans with holes at the knees and dark grey jacket. A plain blue top on underneath the jacket, and worn trainers with laces that kept coming undone on his feet.
“Little bit before you,” he lied, shrugging. He could tell she didn't buy it as she cocked an eyebrow. “I'm fine,” he said, rolling his eyes.
“Don't be snarky,” she said, getting some cereal of her own. “I'm your mother. It's y job to be concerned.”
“I repeat, I'm fine,” Michael said, meeting her gaze evenly. She met it for a while before nodding.
“Looking forward to school?” she asked, sitting opposite him.
“That has to be a trick question,” Michael murmured, already dreading another lame introduction in front of a class full of strangers.
“You'll be fine,” she said, covering his hand with one of hers. Michael smiled at the gesture. “I don't know who the headmaster is now, but I hear he's good at his job.”
“Is it going to be weird for you? Going back to the school?” Michael asked.
“Honey, it's been weird since I got here,” she replied, laughing. “But I'll adjust. I already have a job interview at the hospital,” she said proudly. Her smile turned mischievous. “Unless you want me to apply for the school nurse. Then I can embarrass you in front of your new friends.”
“I'll pass on the embarrassment,” Michael murmured dryly, standing up and grabbing his bag. They got into the now insured beat-up car and left the house.