Numb Like Her

Chapter 4

Talia's heavy eyelids slowly lifted. The room was hazy and her head was throbbing. She couldn't remember much what had happened after they had gotten back to the Boarding House...she remembered talking to Jack, him holding her under water...

She turned her face to the ceiling and her eyes widened: there was a man above her, pressing down on her. She couldn't see his face; he was a stranger, just a man with a shadowed face.

She shouted, her voice exploding from her throat, dry and raspy, and she swung her arms at the man. She couldn't understand why she couldn't hit him; he wasn't moving. He was touching her everywhere. His rough finger tips burned her skin and his laugh was in her ear.

She heard Jack's voice next to her and felt his hands on her wrists.

"Talia!"

"Get off me!" she screeched. Why couldn't Jack see the man?

She heard footsteps coming up the stairs and Mush's voice at the door.

"Jack! What are ya doin', man?!"

"GET HIM OFF ME!" she yelled, thrashing her arms.

"Jack!" Kid Blink shouted.

"She's havin' a night mare," Jack shouted hoarsely. "Talia, damn it, open your eyes!"

After a moment of fighting his hands, her eyes fluttered open, the haze of the dream lifting from her vision. She saw Jack bent over her with his arms on either side of her, his hands tightly wound around her wrists. Mush and Racetrack were at the door and Kid Blink was at the foot of her bed, his hands balled up in tight fists. She heard murmuring voices on the stairs.

She breathed heavily for a moment, feeling the sticky sweat on her back and chest. She looked around the room and realized the man had not been real. She looked up at Jack, inches from her face

"She was havin' a nightmare," Jack said defensively, his eyes on Kid Blink as he let go of Talia. Though with his shirt off and Talia naked under the sheets, he knew what it had looked like to his friends...

Kid Blink breathed heavily for a moment. His gaze softened as he looked at his best friend and his fists slackened.

"I'm sorry, Jack," Kid Blink said sincerely.

Jack looked down at Talia, his solemn eyes reading her face.

"Talia?" He asked slowly. He was panting too, his chest heaving and sweat gleamed on his bare chest.

He knelt by her bed and she recoiled, leaning away from him, staring at his face for a long moment. The dream had been so real…and Jack had been right there. For reasons she couldn't explain, she suddenly felt dirty and ashamed, emotions she was not accustomed to. She felt strangely towards him...she felt...uncomfortable.

She pulled the sheets around her, hiding from his dark intense gaze.

His heavy brow furrowed, "'s matta?" His voice sounded irritated.

"You okay, Talia?" Mush asked hesitantly from the door.

"I'm fine," she said. Her voice scratched her throat. She looked through the row of bunk beds, meeting the staring eyes at the door.

She rolled over, away from Jack, and shut her eyes, hoping they would all stop looking at her and disappear.


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