Night Terrors

by Wendmypooh


Jason Tanner tossed and turned in his bed as the dream took hold. He'd been having it every night since he'd overheard his Grandpa Brodie and the Tanner housekeeper, Max Andrews talking about the condition his dad was in. His dad had been seriously injured while working alongside his uncles on a fire crew battling the raging inferno threatening the Larabee 7 and the homes of all his family members.

Up until his overhearing that conversation, all he and his younger sister Andi knew was that their dad was hurt and had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. His mom had smiled and reassured them that their dad would be home soon, but he'd seen the carefully hidden sadness in her eyes when she'd told them the news.

She didn't know that he saw the sadness in her eyes. Nor did his Grandpa Brodie and Max know he'd overheard them talking. It had been late at night and he'd awakened to go use the bathroom. He'd finished the deed and was heading back to his room when he heard their voices. He'd crept down the hallway until he could hear better, but kept out of sight ad he listened. He knew it was wrong, but when he heard Max mention his dad's name, it made him want to know what they were talking about.

When his grandpa mentioned that his dad had been speared by a tree limb in his chest, fear had swept through him. He knew that a spear was like a knife and they were usually very sharp. He'd seen his dad spear fish with them before. Thinking about the sharp stick stabbing his dad scared him, and he choked back a sob, as he ran into his bedroom, and climbed back under the covers.

That night, the night terrors had begun. He was alone in the dark. The wind howled and sent shivers racing down his spine, and on the tail end of it, he heard a voice call his name.


His name usually echoed on the wind, making it sound eerie and odd, but this night it didn't. This time it was clear and he knew who'd said his name.


"That's right, Son, it's me."

Vin's voice was low and sounded like it was coming from far away.

"Where are you?"

"I don't know, Son. Listen carefully, Jason, I don't have much time."


"You're going to have to be very brave. Your mom is going to need you when I'm gone. Help her with Andi and your younger brothers."

"Wh-where are you going, Dad?" Jason's voice quivered and his bottom lip trembled, as he asked his question.

"Be brave, Son. Remember always that I love you…goodbye."

"Dad! No, Dad, don't leave me!" Jason screamed, tossing frantically about on his bed.

Brodie awoke with a start. He'd been sleeping in the guest bedroom ever since Vin's accident, wanting to be closest to his grandchildren in case they needed him. He hopped out of bed and hurried into Jason's room.

"Jason? Jason, wake up!" Brodie sat down on the side of the bed and gently shook Jason, hoping to release his grandson from the nightmare he was having.

Jason blinked his eyes, opening them, and gazed up into his grandfather's face for a few moments without really seeing him. He saw his dad's face instead of Brodie's, and felt some of the fear he was experiencing ease away, until Brodie spoke again.


Tears flooded Jason's face as he realized it was his grandfather talking to him, and not his dad. "Dad's gone, Grandpa, isn't he? He's dead."

Brodie's heart turned over at his grandson's tearful words. He pulled Jason into his arms and held him as Jason wept. "No, he's not! He's going to come back to all of us."

"I heard him, Grandpa….he told me goodbye." Jason cried.

"It was just a bad dream." Brodie said as he rocked him, hoping his words wouldn't come back to haunt him.

"Really?" Jason pulled out of Brodie's arms to look up into his grandfather's face.

"Really," Brodie assured him. "Now why don't you lie back down and try to sleep. I'll stay with you until you do."

"Okay." Jason wiped the tears from his face and lay back down.

Brodie stayed with his eldest grandson until Jason feel back asleep, before heading to his own room and crawling back into bed. He lay awake for a long while as he pondered the fate of his own son. It was taking all of his own faith to trust that Vin was going to recover from the grievous injury he sustained. Finally, sleep claimed him, too.

Morning brought relief to all the Wild Bunch when Kelli reported that Vin was awake and coherent, and his recovery had taken a turn for the better. Brodie was thankful that his words to Jason the night before hadn't been false. His son was indeed going to come home to all who loved him.

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