Day 78 of 100 Word Prompts: Sleep
Owen stumbled through the room, searching for the switch on the wall. While he had slept all night, his dreams were plagued with images of odd creatures attacking him as he tried to get through a town he didn’t recognize. Even in the in-between time where reality and dreams don’t separate completely, he caught flashes of the creatures when he blinked, making him flinch away from them.
“You’re okay,” Lisa said gently as she got out of bed, took a step to her nightstand, and clicked the switch for the light. “There you go.”
Owen put his hands up and closed his eyes to try to protect them from the assault of the sudden brightness of the room, but found that the creatures were waiting for him once again. He opened his eyes, squinting to get used to it.
“Thanks,” he said nodding.
“What was it this time?” Lisa asked, walking up to him and rubbing his back.
“They were like ferrets, or weasels, or something. They skittered and bit with sharp little teeth,” Owen said, shaking his head. “We were in some weird town where there were a lot of high hills with zigzagging paths that doubled back on themselves. We had to get someplace-I don’t remember why-but there were kids with us.”
Owen stopped trying to describe his dream. He knew what woke him up then. He had been carrying one of the kids, and he had fallen. Whatever the wicked little things were, they immediately attacked the child. Rather than stay and fight them, he had woken up. He had run from the situation entirely.
“I’m sorry,” Owen muttered as he shook his head, trying to get the image of the kid out of his mind.
“You’re okay,” Lisa repeated, still rubbing his back. “Try to get your mind on happier things. Like me.”
At the mention of herself, Lisa pulled Owen onto his back and hopped on top of him, pinning his hands to the bed as she straddled him. She bent down quickly, planting a firm kiss on his lips before pulling back up. Her long brown hair dangled encircled her face as Owen looked up at her.
“That’s better,” Lisa said, moving her head side to side, letting her hair wave like the branches of a willow tree. “You shouldn’t let yourself get so worked up over things like that.-oh! He kicked!”
Lisa leaned back and pulled Owen’s hand to her stomach. He could feel the baby move under his palm, and its little legs were moving inside there.
“Good morning to you, too, little guy,” Lisa said, her face positively glowing over Owen’s.
“Can I admit something to you?” Owen asked.
“Of course, honey,” Lisa replied.
“I’m terrified,” Owen said for the first time in the nearly four months since they had found out that she was pregnant. “I don’t know what kind of dad I’ll be, and it scares the hell out of me. Does that make me a bad person?”
“No,” Lisa said, shaking her head. “Why would it make you a bad person if you were scared of raising a child.”
“What if I do a bad job? What if something happens to you and I’m alone with it-”
“Him, Owen. The baby is him, not it,” Lisa corrected.
“How do you know?” Owen asked.
“Trust me. It’s a mother’s instincts,” Lisa replied, her smile not faltering.
“Okay, what if I’m alone with him and something happens? What if something happens to you and I’m alone with him all the time? What if-”
“What if the sun goes out and the world plummets into darkness forever and ever?” Lisa interrupted, silencing Owen. “You can’t think about all the things that could happen. It’ll drive you nuts, honey. You need to breathe and know that you’ll figure it out, with or without me-though, if I had my preference, it would be with me.”
“I love you,” Owen said, opening his free hand, intertwining his fingers with hers. Her soft lips, amber eyes, and pale skin still gave him butterflies every time he looked at her. In five years, she again caught him off guard when he looked at her.
“I love you more,” she blurted as she jumped off him.
“Wher are you-”
“Gotta pee!” she yelled as she rounded the corner to the hall and ran into the next room.
Owen laid there on the bed, staring at the ceiling, still thinking about his dream. He wondered if it meant that he would run from his son, or if it meant that he would fail. He clenched his jaw and shook his head.
No, he thought, next time, I won’t fall.
Owen ran through the dream in his head a dozen more times before Lisa came back. Each time he ran through the scenario, he would try something different, anything to stop the kid from falling from his shoulders and landing in the mass of creatures. Eventually, he figured, rather than wade through them barefoot, he would make sure he had on shoes and would kick the nasty things as they approached.
“What are you thinking about?” Lisa asked, lying down next to him with her hand on his chest.
“Protecting a kid from flesh-eating weasel creatures,” Owen admitted. “That’s what woke me up from my dream.”
“You’re a special kind of person. You know that?” Lisa said, shaking her head. “In what reality would you need to do something like that?”
Owen tapped the side of his head. “In here, apparently.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Lisa replied, tucking her head into her favorite spot on his shoulder. The place where it simply fit. It was comfortable for both of them, and that was all that mattered at that moment. “You know it’s like four in the morning, right?”
“Are you saying we should get some more sleep?” Owen asked.
“I’m saying that because you woke me up so early, you owe me breakfast and a foot rub before we get dressed for the day,” Lisa replied.
“Okay,” Owen said, moving to get up, but Lisa pushed down on his chest.
“Not yet,” she said. “Too comfortable.”