Chapter 5

“No! Stop! Please!”

Riley startled awake, the room around her dark. She frantically looked around, wondering what had pulled her from her own dreams.

Hearing the cry again, she whipped her head to the right. Bruce. She hadn’t recognized his voice at first. Her side of the room was dark. The hallway door was closed, but she could faintly see him in the little bit of light that came in through the window.

Bruce thrashed around. He was asleep, Riley was pretty sure of that, but it looked like he was fighting something… And it was really kicking the crap out of him.

“Hey, Bruce. You okay?”

“Get away from me! Stop!” Bruce cried, looking like he was trying to back away from it in the bed.

“Come on, Bruce. You gotta wake up.”



“Don’t come any closer!”

Riley knew he wasn’t talking to her, but it was creepy. She looked around the room, just to make sure there wasn’t someone else she didn’t notice. She’d heard of people having night terrors, those nasty dreams that were worse than a nightmare, but she had never heard or seen anything like this. This was something straight out of a horror movie. Bruce, eyes closed, reacted to something that wasn’t in the room.

It was really starting to freak her out.

“Bruce, come on! Wake up!” Riley leaned over her bedrail, the cold metal digging into her side.

She looked at the crutches leaning against the nightstand. She hadn’t had to use them yet. Was she really going to try them now? She’d used her aunt’s before, when her aunt had sprained her ankle. Riley had just been kidding around then, but she’d done okay with them. So this should be easy.

“Come on!” Riley yelled again. “Hey, Batman!”

It looked like something had grabbed Bruce and pulled his arms up at an odd angle, both hands together, his upper body off the bed. It was unnatural.

That’s it. I have to do something.

Riley reached out for the crutches and pulled them over to her. When she felt one slip through her hands, she fumbled for it. Luckily, she knocked it toward her and it lodged under the bedrail. She grabbed it and brought them both closer. Then she slid down the railing and eased her cast over the side of the bed.

“Come on. You got this,” she whispered to herself as she closed her eyes and took a couple deep breaths to prepare herself. There were a few twinges of pain, but she tried not to use her leg.

Just let it dangle there.

As she brought her other leg over, the weight of the cast threw off her balance. She felt herself sliding, her butt threatening to slip off the side of the bed.

She pulled the crutches to her sides and didn’t worry about the sliding. She couldn’t. She was going to do this, whether she knew how or not. She quickly slid them under her arms and leaned forward. Her body sliding off the bed actually helped her because she was able to use the momentum to push herself up.

“Please, don’t hurt me,” Bruce whimpered.

Riley couldn’t imagine what would instill that much fear. He might be held by one of those things from Attack on Titan or something and was going to be eaten. That would not be a fun dream.

Well, not unless you were one of the hunters getting ready to take the titan down. That would be awesome, running along the wall…

“Don’t worry, buddy. I’m coming.” Riley tentatively took her first step, glad the beds were not that far apart.

The second step was largely because of the momentum from the first, and the third… Well, that was a mess as she lost her balance, falling forward and slamming onto Bruce’s bed.

The sudden stop was such a shock to Riley, she was surprised it hadn’t woken Bruce, who still struggled with his dream monster. It really had a hold on him. Riley wasn’t sure if it was because of the meds the doctors gave him or what, but he was out.

She shook the bed some more, trying to get some leverage to really jostle it. Bruce still didn’t wake up, and in the dim light, she saw tears running down his cheeks. He was truly terrified.

“Come on, man. You got this.”

Riley grabbed Bruce by the wrist, intending to shake him awake, or maybe smack him on the cheek to bring him out of it. Instead, the world around her spun. Suddenly, she was no longer in the hospital room.

Confused, she looked around. She saw Bruce, eyes wide, dangling in the air. When she looked beneath him, she gasped, seeing a boiling pit of red-hot lava. Almost afraid to, Riley slowly glanced up to see what held Bruce, letting out a silent scream…

Published by JasonRDavis

Author of the #zombie apocalypse trilogy Invisible Spiders and the Edge of Darkness series.

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