Chapter 8: Nightmares
“Mom, mom, wake up.” Fara heard through her deep sleep, bringing her back to waking world.
Fara let out a loud groan as she stirred under the sheets like an exhausted teenager demanding a few more hours of sleep. If it wasn’t nearly almost completely dark she would’ve been able to see who it was shouting at her but she had a good idea who it was. All she could see was the alarm clock lightly shining that read 0219. She was getting better at understanding the human standard of time, though she understood what Jack called military time better as it was close to what her people used, and knew that it was early, too early for her to be bothered by anything that wasn’t an emergency.
Fara yawned loudly as she gripped the bedsheets and pulled them over her head and hugged it so close to her body it was like another set of fur. Once the blankets were set around her she rolled up causing the blankets to wrap tighter around her like a burrito. Though her thick fur was enough of a blanket to keep her warm in most situations the cold, night air that had seeped into the room, due to the home’s recent problems with the heating and air, it wasn’t enough, so she needed as much of the blankets as possible while leaving some for Felicity. She tossed and turned to get much of the blankets as she could wrapped around her body before setting her head on the pillow. The pillow was soft but still had enough stiffness that Fara’s head didn’t sink, just as she liked it. Before long she found herself quickly heading back to sleeping with her eyes feeling heavy and her mind drifting off.
Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the young pup from trying to bring her back to the land of awakening. The girl practically pounced on Fara causing her to let out a pained moan as the air left her lung but she remained bundled. The young pup dug her hands into Fara’s shoulders and back and started shaking her relentlessly. The tick blankets and sheets did next to nothing to stop Fara from feeling everything girl shook her. To say it was irritating would be an understatement as she was quickly brought to full awkwardness and quiet annoyed to the point she wanted to swipe her claws at the perpetrator and would have if it wasn’t her daughter.
“What is it Felicity?” Fara groaned as she’s rubbed the sleepiness out of her eyes.
Through the darkness Fara could make out Felicity with a slightly fearful but also what appeared to be curiosity. “I heard something, or someone in the house. I think it came from Jack’s room.”
Fara couldn’t help but let out a loud groan as she looked away from Felicity frustrated, curious, but also still very much half asleep. She could feel another ball of fur in bed with them, no doubt Hunter, who mostly just laid at the foot of the bed near Felicity. It was the second night in a row Hunter had spent in the bed next to Felicity and Fara was happy that he would lie still, but could do without his snoring and occasional fart. The only one doing any kind of moving was Felicity to the point Fara was starting to get annoyed. To try and calm her daughter down Fara quickly listened and sniffed to try and pick up anything but detected nothing out of ordinary. If anything it was pretty quiet and peaceful with no noise other than the wind from outside. For a moment Fara didn’t know if Felicity was being serious or just making it up and having being awoken from a deep sleep she was greatly annoyed.
“Are you sure you heard something?” Fara stated as she attempted to rub the sleep out of her eyes.
Through the dark Fara could see Felicity glare daggers at her. “Yes mom, it was not easy to hear with your snoring but I heard someone screaming in pain from Jack’s room.”
“Oh very funny little furry.” Fara chuckled as she sniffed the air, detecting no one in the house besides her, Felicity, Hunter, and Jack. “I think you may be mistaken sweetie; there is no one in the house but us.”
“But mom, I know I heard something.” Felicity angrily squealed. “I believe Jack is in pain.”
Fara shrugged as she patted Felicity on the back. “That is because Jack is getting up there in age and his body is not in the best shape. Pain is natural when you get to his age.”
Felicity squinted at Fara. “But mom, he is the same age as you, so should you not be feeling the same pain he is.” Felicity replied, getting more sarcastic glares from Fara. “On top of that he managed to carry you a long way just a couple days ago and never complained so he must be in good shape.”
Cocky little fuzz ball. Fara thought as she straightened up. “Than he must have problems he does not want us to see.”
“Or he is having nightmares.” Felicity quickly shot back.
“Than it is not our problem. Everyone has nightmares and has to deal with them on their own.”
“But mom, it did not sound like nightmares. It sounded like he was truly experiencing pain.”
“Hm, then maybe . . .” Fara began replying only for her ears to pick up on faint groans of pain coming from another part of the house.
Before Fara could react Hunter instantly jumped up as if someone had just stepped on his tail and instantly alert. He was little more than a blur as he maneuvered himself around the two furry girls on the bed with him and launched off the bed onto the floor. The door was hardly an obstacle as he used his paw to open it enough so he could walk through and disappeared out of sight. The suddenness of it put Fara on the alert as well and shoved nearly all the sleepiness out of her.
“Wait, Hunter, where you going?” Felicity exclaimed as she tried to jump off the bed.
Fara moved quickly and grabbed Felicity to keep her from following Hunter. Felicity let out a soft growl but ended it quickly when her mother glared down at her. The last thing Fara wanted her daughter to do was follow the dog through the house making noise and keeping her and Jack awake. Since she had to hold Felicity she could only watch Hunter run out of the room from her peripheral in a hurried manner that worried her. She had yet to see Hunter rush around or even appear to be worried about anything beyond food or Felicity, so to see him move so quickly was slightly concerning.
Before Fara could reply she heard a pained shout coming from Jack’s side of the house. “NO PLEASE . . . I WILL NEVER TELL YOU!”
Fara froze upon hearing the scream, recognizing the voice as Jack’s but in a tone she had yet to hear come from him. Though it was on the opposite end of the house, Fara’s fine-tuned sense of hearing could detect the fear in his voice along with genuine pain that sent shivers down her spine. The tone in his screams was no joke as it was one of genuine fear and pain, as if Jack was actually being tortured. If a quick sniff hadn’t informed Fara that there was no one in the house besides Jack she would’ve guessed that he someone was torturing Jack, pretty brutally from how it sounded.
What in the world?” Fare thought as she sat up.
Fara raised her hand to her ear and listened carefully only thing shrink back at what she heard. The moans and groans coming out of Jack were plain as day to indicate he was in great pain. Though she didn’t smell any blood or hear anything to cause him pain it was clear whatever he felt seemed to be real to him. Whatever was happening to him was clearly deeper than a nightmare. If Fara had to guess from the sound of it he was experiencing a painful memory. Being a naturally curious person she wanted to figure out for herself just what was going on in Jack’s room despite her better judgment.
“Stay here Felicity.” Fara ordered as she slid to the edge of the bed and slid her legs off. “I will be back as soon as possible.”
Felicity did little more than nod as she laid back down in bed and pulled the blankets over her. Once she was fully covered Fara grabbed her cane that was positioned near the bed and slowly stood up. Since the pain killers Jack gave her had worn off Fara had difficulty getting to her feet causing her to take it slowly and eventually she was able to fully stand up. Once she was up she slowly made her way out of the bedroom and quietly headed to Jack’s room. Though the pain made each step near agony she managed to walk the short distance without making much noise, though she had to stop a couple times to rest her hand on the wall to steady herself. It wasn’t till she got to the door to Jack’s bedroom that she started feeling uncomfortable about the thought of seeing him in bed. Even though Jack was attractive, for a human, she didn’t like the thought of seeing a human she barely knew fast asleep. It was her curiosity that kept her going to grab the door handle to find out why the strange noises were combing from Jack.
Please do not be naked.
Fara thought as she slowly and quietly pushed the door open.
Fara peeked through the door of Jack’s room though it was quite dark inside preventing her from seeing much of anything. Somehow Jack’s room was even darker than her and Felicity’s bedroom having all of the windows covered so not even moonlight could shine in. She couch barely make out the outline of a bed and some furniture but not much else. In order to see she gave it a couple of moments for her eyes to adjust before looking closely for Jack. Once she could see better Fara could make out Jack lying on the bed sound asleep, thankfully he appeared too clothed to an extent with Hunter visible beside him. By squinting Fara could make out that Hunter was lying almost on top of Jack with his head on his master’s chest. She could also see that Jack was sweating quite a bit and panting slightly, even though it was almost freezing in the room.
Fara was about to walk away, still greatly confused as to what was going on when Jack stirred and shouted. “NO, I told you that you will not learn anything from me. You should know that by now camel humper.” Jack let out loud growl as if he was furious at some unknown person. “So either get smart or let me go or kill me.”
The pained scream that followed almost instantaneously made Fara take a step back and shiver out of a combination of fear and discomfort. She had only had a scream like that once in her life and it was horrifying. If she didn’t have an eye on Jack than Fara would have sworn he was being stabbed, from the sound of it most likely in the chest. He tossed and turned like a madman to fight the pain that was clearly in his mind. Fara’s heart sank as she felt more than sorry watching him freak out to the point the urge to jump in and do whatever she could to comfort him was strong for reasons she couldn’t figure out. She found herself stepping towards Jack subconsciously and would’ve tried to wake him if it wasn’t for Hunter jumping on top of him. With Hunter’s weight on his chest, easily over a hundred pounds, Jack was pinned and his thrashing quickly ceased. Soon, he was calm enough to lie quietly as if nothing had happened but still panted heavily for a few moments.
“Thank you Hunter.” Fara whispered as she stepped away from the bed.
Fara kept her eyes on Hunter as she slowly moved to the bed. Though Hunter had effectively stopped Jack’s movement he could still freak out at any moment. She did feel sorry for him but had seen that she was comfortable with and had to get back to Felicity. Her curiosity and compassion, which she had no idea where it came from, made it difficult for her to back away and exit the room. At least he had Hunter to keep him calm for the time being, though she was certain Felicity wouldn’t be too happy about it.
Okay, I think I should leave him alone for now . . . maybe I will ask him about it tomorrow . . . when Felicity is not around. Fara thought as she quietly shut the door.
Fara tried to put what she just saw unfold behind her as she quickly made her way back to her and Felicity’s room. She didn’t try to hide her steps knowing Jack was in such a deep state of sleep she didn’t have to worry about waking him. His moans, though not as frequent or loud as they were when she first heard them, she could still heard him. The feeling didn’t leave her when she entered her room and began shutting the door though she did feel less bed for him knowing that Hunter was with him.
“What was Jack moaning about mom?” Felicity asked as Fara shut the door.
Fara spun around as Felicity’s sudden statement caught her off guard and it took her a moment to reply. “Oh, uh, he was . . . uh, having a really bad nightmare.”
Felicity tilted her head adorably in confusion. “You sure mom? It sounded like he really was in pain.”
Fara uncomfortably rubbed the back of her head and quickly came up with an answer. “Yes little furry, I am certain that Jack is okay. He is sound asleep right now so we should probably be doing the same ourselves.”
Felicity looked at Fara with a judging glare that somehow made Fara even more uncomfortable than she already was for several moments before shrugging her shoulders and lying back down on the bed. “Alright mom, I was just worried about him. I do not hear him screaming now so he must be doing better.” Felicity suddenly turned back towards Fara and blurted out. “But what about Hunter? Where did he go mom?”
Fara set her cane down near the bed and softly sat down on the edge. “He is with Jack right now, lying on top of him. So I would not count on Hunter sleeping with us tonight.”
Felicity looked down with a disappointed expression. “Ah man, I was hoping Hunter would sleep with us again.”
Fara shrugged as she laid down and turned to Felicity. “Sorry little fuzzy but Jack needs him right now. There is always tomorrow.”
Felicity sighed as she turned away from Fara. “Alright, I can wait till tomorrow.”
“Good, now get some sleep. We cannot have you cranky tomorrow morning.”
“No promises mom.” Felicity sarcastically responded. “Goodnight mom.”
“Goodnight fuzzy.” Fara replied back and let out a soft sigh as she pulled the blankets over her. I know I should not be concerned about him but I just cannot help it.
Fara closed her eyes and settled down to go back to sleep as Felicity entered the land of nod almost instantly. Happy to finally be able to sleep again she welcomed with open arms, metaphorically speaking. However, instead of drifting back into the warming embrace of dreamland she wanted sleep eluded her like a wily animal evading a carefully placed and planned trap. At first, Fara couldn’t figure out why she was just lying there with her eyes closed but somehow still wide awake as if it was the middle of the day and as time passed her anger seemed to grow. After what she guessed was an hour in human terms she realized it was because Jack was still on her mind. It wasn’t till hour two, with Jack’s screams playing over and over again in her mind, till she realized it was because she felt sympathy for him.
Okay, this is getting beyond frustrating. Fara growled in her mind after hour three of still being wide awake.
Fara tossed and turned in bed softly so she wouldn’t wake Felicity who quietly snored adorably, or it would be if it wasn’t making her jealous. Every snore that escaped Felicity’s lips irritated Fara making her even more awake than she already was. If it had been anyone else she would’ve slapped them awake but she remained calm-ish and continued to lie there with her eye wide open. No matter how hard she tried to fall asleep the thought of Jack freaking out kept her awake. The frustration of not being in the land of nod alongside Felicity all because she was worried about Jack was amplified with each passing hour eventually the point where she could no longer contain it. Though it went against her better judgment to get involved with Jack she had to know what caused him to freak out in such a manner.
As soon as the sun rose Fara carefully climbed out of bed as to not wake Felicity. Knowing Felicity was a heavy sleeper, a tree could fall on the house and she wouldn’t wake up, so Fara didn’t have to worry about being quiet. She ignored her cane at first, heading to the closet to get first; the last thing she wanted was for Jack to see her nearly naked and quickly got dressed in loose pants and a sweatshirt. Once dressed Fara left the bedroom letting Felicity sleep soundly. Though the sun was just barely visible through the trees it was enough to light up the house for her to walk safely she made her way to the living room. She found a chair to sit in; the most comfortable one that Jack always sat in, knowing that would get his attention. Upon resting her cane on the chair she leaned back and got comfortable, knowing she wouldn’t have to wait long for her target to make an appearance.
Fara’s hunch was right as she barely had to wait any time at all before she heard Jack stiffly waking up. She could hear him fumbling around through the sheets to get ready with Hunter not making it any easier. Thankfully, Jack seemed to be on an internal schedule and from what Fara could hear got ready quickly. It only took a few minutes before Fara saw the bedroom door open and Hunter run out. Fara was not surprised to see Hunter head straight to their bedroom, managed to push open the door, and run inside to cuddle with a sleeping Felicity. It happened so quickly that if Fara had blinked she would’ve missed it. Jack, on the other hand, was not fast at all as he walked out with some old, loose clothes and still looking to be half asleep.
“Sleep well last night, Jack?” Fara smugly asked, getting Jack’s attention. “As I heard you human’s say, you look like crap.”
Jack let out a loud sigh as he fully stood up and starred at Fara with his sleepy eyes. “The normal term is look like shit but I’m surprised you could tell since I always look like crap. At least according to you anyway.”
Fara grinned slightly. “Not entirely true, you only look like crap most of the time. You just look even worse than usual this morning.”
“It’s called insomnia.” Jack sarcastically replied with a yawn. “It makes it sleep, especially deep sleep, a foreign concept.”
“Hm, does it also make it you scream like a madman as if you are actually being tortured?” Fara leaned back in the chair and crossed her arms under her bust. “And do not claim it was because of nightmares. What I saw last night was clearly not caused by nightmares.”
For the first time since walking out of the bedroom Jack appeared to be awake, almost snapping to attention at Fara’s reaction. “You saw that last night?”
Fara nodded. “Yes, your cries woke Felicity, who in turn woke me up, making me have to get up and investigate.”
Jack looked at Fara with what appeared to be a fearful expression. “You heard that?”
“Heard it and saw it. Felicity was worried about you, especially after Hunter left, and made me go and check on you.” Fara shook her head. “What I saw was quite . . . curious.”
Fara had to fight hard to push down the laugh caused by Jack’s shocked and horrified expression. His jaw dropped almost down further than she had ever seen and his eyes popped wide open with a silent gasp escaping his lips. If he wasn’t already awake he certainly was wide awake after hearing her speak. Jack was a hard person to stun but Fara had numerous ways to do it.
“Uh, you saw me last freaking out last night? And it scared Felicity?”
Fara restrained herself from smiling seeing that Jack cared for Felicity enough to ask about her. “I would not say it scared her, more like it worried her. She wanted to know if you were safe or not so I had to check. Thankfully I did not see much beyond you screaming and Hunter lying on your chest.”
Jack let out a loud sigh of relief. “Good, I was worried there for a moment she was scared.”
“Nope, she was just fine and was satisfied with the report I gave her. She fell right to sleep afterwards.” Fara then furrowed her eyes at Jack to show him her rage while throwing in a slight sarcastic tone. “At least she did not hear you scream camel humper, that would not have been good.”
Jack staggered back and loudly blurted out. “I said that . . . out loud?”
Fara nodded. “Yep, as well as other things.”
“Oh boy.” Jack nervously muttered. “I suppose you are going to kill me or something.”
Fara smiled deviously and shook her head. “No, Felicity did not hear it so I will not kill you . . . today.”
Jack smiled slightly and chuckled. “That’s good; I get to live a little while longer.”
“As long as Felicity does not hear you mouth those things you got nothing to worry about.”
“Hm, that’s easier said than done since those episodes are unpredictable. Most nights I’m fine and have no problems sleeping, then one night it’ll hit hard and . . . well, you saw what happened.” Jack replied with a shrug. “But, that is my problem, not yours, so I’ll deal with it on my own.” Jack turned towards the kitchen. “If you’ll excuse me I have to start cooking breakfast before Felicity wakes up.”
With saying another word Jack headed towards the kitchen, leaving a fury burning in Fara that had to come out. Though Jack clearly didn’t want to talk about it she had to know more, at least the reasons for the episodes. It was not the first time Jack had halted a conversation with her because it was uncomfortable for one of them. Those moments had caused the tension between the two build up to the point Fara had enough. She was well aware of the fact that if they were going to get along, let alone live together for any period of time, that tension had to be dispelled in some manner, even if it was just a little bit. If she could just make a stand once that may open the way for them to slowly work the built up tension.
“Jack!” Fara blurted out as Jack walked past her. “Tell me what that was about last night.”
Jack stopped as Fara raised her cane, blocking his path. Though it worked at stopping the large human in his tracks she hated having to be so direct and aggressive. Despite it being clear that Jack wouldn’t stop, let alone go on in their conversation, without her forcing him to. Fara had never been one for subtly; even in the most delicate situations, but for some reason she couldn’t understand she felt bad for having to be so direct. But, to ease the tension between them, Fara was willing to do just about anything, even make them both uncomfortable.
“I should have known I wouldn’t get a choice.” Jack let out a loud sigh as he turned to Fara. “It’s P.T.S.D. also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
“Huh, that sounds familiar.” Fara spoke up, thinking for a moment as she scratched her chin. “Is that basically characterized by trauma caused by past events such as what I saw last night?”
Jack shrugged. “Uh yes, I experienced a pretty bad situation a few years ago, well more than a few, that have left me with some . . . problems.”
“Hm, I think we Zordons have something similar to that except we just call it event trauma. We also take it pretty seriously.” Fara looked down a t the floor and spoke softly. “My mate experienced past trauma from a bloody battle shortly before I met him. He dealt with it for as long as I knew him up till the day he died.” Fara raised her head and smiled passionately at Jack. “So, I do understand what you are experiencing and you do have my sympathies . . . as long as my daughter does not suffer from it.”
“I know, I would never direct anything at Felicity, you have my word on that.” Jack confidently replied. “Fortunately, my trauma only happens when I’m sleeping as that is the only time the memories manifest so Felicity is safe.”
“As long as she does not hear you scream any profanity.” Fara joked. “AND assuming she does not get frustrated about Hunter leaving her again.”
“Ah, well I cannot help that. He must’ve detected my stress and came running to comfort me. He’s been pretty good at comforting me during my nightmare memories.” Jack let out a low groan. “But even he can only stop the symptoms, not the cause.”
Fara adjusted herself in the recliner before replying. “That is still pretty good for an animal.”
“Not really since dogs, especially Hunter’s breed, are pretty in tune to how humans are feeling. They can tell if a person is stressed out or under intense emotional stress and respond accordingly.” Jack looked towards Fara and Felicity’s bedroom. “So Hunter’s reaction is pretty typical for canines who love their owners.”
“Huh, that is kind of weird to me as it puts Hunter, and dogs in general, on the same level as us on the same level as is Zordons when it comes to sensing other’s emotional distress.” Fara replied as Jack looked back at her. “Hm, I guess we Zordons and Hunter’s species are more alike than I thought.”
“Well you are both canines so maybe you’re distant relatives.” Jack replied with a smirk but that quickly changed to fear by the glare Fara gave him. “Sorry, please don’t kill me.”
Fara playfully giggled. “Nah, I will allow you to have a sense of humor as long as it makes me laugh.” Fara leaned forward a little. “Still, I guess we should both be glad for Hunter. He’s made our stay quite a bit easier.”
“That’s why I have him. If it wasn’t for him imagine you probably would’ve shot me in the gut already.”
A big smile formed on Fara’s face as she sarcastically shook her head. “No, that is too quick. It would be in the groin.”
“Of course it would. I should expect nothing less than you by now.” Jack smugly replied before letting out another loud sigh and resting his hands on his hips. “Well, it’s already getting late this morning so I’m going to get breakfast started. I think we can both agree on the importance of that breakfast.”
Fara reluctantly nodded as her curiosity wanted to keep pushing the issue but her instincts told her it was time for them to stop. Jack’s body language and scent told Fara that their conversation was digging too far into a subject that was quite personal to him. Though the tension between them had been somewhat alleviated there was still quite a bit left and Jack clearly didn’t trust her enough to go into details on his P.T.S.D. If she want Ed to keep the delicate balance the two of them had than she had to back off for the time being.
“Alright, you do need to have it mostly done before Felicity wakes up and she is due of be awake before long.” Fara compassionately said.
“Of course, I’ll make sure it’s delicious.” Jack smiled back at Fara. “I got to make up for last night.”
“I am sure you will.” Fara replied as Jack turned away from her and ended their conversation, leaving her wanting more but satisfied for the time being.
What the hell happened to make him that way? Fara thought as Jack entered the kitchen. Maybe I should try learning more about him; we are stuck with him after all.