The room is dark, other than the sliver of light creeping through the split in the curtain. Rita snaps to consciousness. She glances a look at the clock; It's 4:30 am. Billy is screaming out his vocal cords, scared out of his mind from whatever nightmare is raging in his mind. She grabs him, his arms soaked with sweat, and shakes him in a failed attempt to wake him. She quickly goes into the bathroom, and grabs a towel, soaking it in cold water. She puts the towel on Billy and removes the covers, trying to keep him from overheating. It doesn't help.
Billy continues to scream and yell out in his sleep. Soaked with sweat, twitching and jerking, his voice intensifies in volume and loses any clarity it had before.
Rita rushes to open the curtains and turn on the light, but Billy doesn't respond, absorbed in his nightmare. Out of ideas, she picks up her phone, quickly dialing Liam's number.
Jolting awake from his cell phone ringing, Liam recognizes the number and quickly picks up. What's going on?? Liam asks in an urgent voice, skipping the pleasant bullshit of greetings. He can hear Billy screaming unintelligibly over the phone.
I need your help! Billy's having some sort of nightmare, and I can't seem to wake him up! Rita cries out into the receiving end of the phone.
I'll be there as soon as I can.
Rita hangs up the phone, and tosses it on the bedside table. She starts trying everything she can think of. Trying to wake him up in any way that she can think of.
The screams continue. They continue to increase in volume, resonating through the room, and throughout the house.
Liam darts into the house, climbing the stairs, he runs into the bedroom. Rita stands back, nearly in tears now. Billy's movements start to become more violent, and the sheets are soaked with sweat.
The only thing I can think of that might work is an ice bath. Liam says, unsure of what to do. Otherwise, the only thing we can do is wait it out, wait until he exhausts himself.
Rita heads out to get ice from the freezer, and Billy jerks awake, sitting up.
Liam quickly calls Rita back, and Billy looks at them curiously, not aware of the situation. What happened? Billy asks, almost innocently.
Rita is still somewhat speechless, so Liam speaks up. You were having a nightmare, screaming at the top of your lungs.
Oh. Billy says quietly, unable to say much else. The mixture of embarrassment and confusion on his face tell Liam that billy doesn't really want to explain.
Look, you don't have to tell me anything. You don't owe me any explanation. But Rita definitely deserves one. Liam says, and then walks out to catch some more sleep.
Billy makes an attempt at it, but can not think of any words to say. Fortunately for Billy, Rita just changes the soaked sheets and ducks back into bed, quickly asleep. Billy however stays up. After a nightmare like that, there is no way that he can sleep. He shudders at the thoughts of his nightmare, but nothing else comes to mind.
Billy recalls one of the few, or perhaps the only piece of good advice Rick has given him. Billy was just twelve, his birthday two weeks prior. One day, Billy, everyone will let you down somehow, and there are few people you can ever completely trust and count on. Billy had never imagined that his mother would leave him, especially at the awkward stage of junior high, where he wasn't quite a child, but not yet a young adult. A confusing time, and the desertion of his mother contributed to it poorly. To add to the chaos, he had felt like his father blamed him for it.
This was where his nightmare started.
Billy had just come home from school, he generally walked home, as the junior high building was only a few city blocks away. Billy opened the door to his home, which was then a three bedroom house. He set his things in the room that he had shared with Rick at the time. The Ashland Junior High, for reasons which had fathomed most local residents, started and ended an entire hour earlier than the local elementary or high school. His parents both worked full-time, and neither his father nor mother would be home for two more hours.
Billy entered the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, and grabbed something to eat out of it. Upon closing it, he turned, noticing the sealed envelope on the counter. He quickly grabbed it, reading the front, To The Family', it stated in an almost satirical tone. He recognized the lettering as his mother's.
Billy tore it open as fast as he could, it was not like his mother to leave notes on the counter, much less sealed envelopes.
Over the past few months, I have been involved with another man, who fulfills my needs with more success than I ever thought imaginable. I soon came to realize that I had settled for less than I wanted or needed, most likely due to my mother forcing marriage on me.
I have left today, and taken my personal belongings with me, if I forgot anything in my haste, I will not be returning for it. Divorce papers have filed, and should arrive soon. Do not try to contact me; I think it better for everyone if we have a clean separation. I will no longer assume the role of wife, or mother, at least, not to you.
Please forget me,
Billy, with tears in his eyes, could barely read past the first paragraph, much less to the conclusion and signature of the letter.
His mother, contradicting her written statement, however, arrived in the driveway of her former house. Billy ran out the door in an attempt to make her stay, but she had already gotten back in her car, and backed out of the driveway, leaving her wedding ring on the front porch.
Billy cried out for her to come back for what seemed like hours, but she was already out of sight by the second scream for her to come back. Regardless, he continued to call after his mother, eventually sinking to his knees and bursting with tears.
Billy, unsure of the reason it plagued him on this night, noticed the few tears slowly rolling down his face, and wiped them away. After a few hours, he returned to sleep next to Rita, sleeping soundly through the night, and well into the morning of the next day.