Night Ward Dreams: the Tree

When we last saw Annie and Kerry, its was the middle of the night, Kerry had just come out of a bad dreams, and he was crying and going on about his Chestnut Girl–who, it appears, is Annie, as she admitted as much.  But now . . .

What is this tree thing in the ward?

Like I said, this last scene will probably raise as many questions as it could answer.  This is, by far, the most personal moment between Annie and Kerry, and right now we’re into the lead-up to that point in time where so much is going to be exchanged.  At the moment, however, there’s a wildly sobbing boy in Bed #2, and Annie’s feelings are all over the place . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry wasn’t listening, however. He was lost inside something unseen, and it was driving him into uncontrollable crying. Annie didn’t know what she should do: even though Kerry now remember her from his dreams—and believed she’d left him, for some reason—she knew the hazards of pulling someone out of déjà vu. The last time Kerry was stuck with déjà vu he’s suffered blinding headaches: would pulling him out this time hurt him even more.

That’s when Annie was struck with a realization: What if his nightmare wasn’t about the events of the day? What if he was dreaming about me? What if that’s why he called my name—because he was seeing the last time we were together over the summer.  She couldn’t ever know, not unless Kerry could remember his dream and tell her . . .

 

Annie wouldn't probably  look like this at the moment--okay, she might if Kerry had said Emma left him.  Yeah, definitely.

Annie wouldn’t probably look like this at the moment–okay, she might if Kerry had said Emma left him. Yeah, definitely.

And her hypothesis is valid because she doesn’t know what’s going on inside Kerry’s head, how much he really knows.  And since it seems he can’t remember their dreams together–

So what is going on, because obviously he’s remembering something.  Annie knows this, and decides on a course of action.

 

What should I do? What to do? There was only one thing to do, and though it was a risk, she felt there wasn’t any choice, for to leave Kerry stuck in his current state of déjà vu, remembering a dream that was obviously painful, would harm him, possibly even injure him more severely.

Annie had to replace that dream with one that she knew would make him happy.

She had to do it now.

“Kerry—” Annie kept her voice low and comforting while holding her fact close to his. “Do you remember your tree? Do you remember?” She wasn’t certain if that would be enough to get through to him, but it was one that she knew was happy. If there was anything that would bring him out . . .

The sobbing didn’t stop, but it slowed—enough that Kerry was able to speak through the tears. “My tree?”

“Yes.” A faint smile played on Annie’s face. “Your tree.”

 

There’s the tree!  And what is that tree?

 

“Yes.” A faint smile played on Annie’s face. “Your tree.”

His breathing began to slow though the tears continued flowing. “My tree.”

“The one you used to sit under when you used to read when you lived in California.” Her smile grew broader. He’s calming down. “Why did you go there?”

He said nothing for about five seconds. Kerry sniffed three time, bringing the tears under control. “It was at the end of the lane, and away from my house.” His breathing slowed. “I wanted to get out of the house; I didn’t like being there alone all the time.”

“You weren’t very old.” Annie hoped he didn’t slip back into another fit state of déjà vu because she brought up things that only he should know. “About six, right?” She ran her fingers over his wet cheek. “You parents didn’t mind?”

“They didn’t know most of the time.” He swallowed hard, then looked to his right and left. “They were always at work.” His voice grew faint, the words interlaced with sniffles. “My mother only cared when I wasn’t at home.”

 

Kerry’s parents worked at ILM, so because Daddy was busy with the sound effects, and Mother was doing visuals, Kerry spent a lot of time alone.  Sure, the grandparents weren’t that far away, but still . . . since dad had to make blasters go Pewh, pewh, pewh, and mom was rendering Jar Jar Binks, a six year old boy was sitting under a tree reading and being visited by Bulgarian girls.  It’s all your fault, people.  Just remember that.

 

Now that he wasn’t sobbing, Annie had to see if she could break past his déjà vu. He’s calming down; he’s growing more aware. She had to see if she could make him remember. “Kerry—” You have to ask: you can’t not ask. “Do you remember the first time you read to your Chestnut Girl under your tree?” She had to ask one last question . . . “Do you remember the first time you read to me?”

Kerry didn’t cry or wince, but instead started silently at Annie for about ten seconds. Finally there was a long, tired sigh . . . “Yeah.”

Annie felt her heart swell with joy. “You do? You remember?”

He blinked twice. “I remember . . .” He slowly turned his head to his right. “You were standing there, weren’t you?”

 

Now it’s getting interesting because not only is he remembering, but Annie is as well.

 

“Yes.” He’s remembering. I can’t believe it . . . “I was right over there, about three meters away, standing jut on the other side of the log that was there.” She kept her voice low and soothing, least she jar him out of the moment. “You were so young—six, yes?”

“That summer.” He barely nodded. “Yeah. I was six.”

“And reading off on your own.” Annie stroked his cheek. “I remember standing there, seeing you sitting against that tree with that book in your lap.” In that moment she could actually see the moment, and it wasn’t the broken boy she loved laying in the bed before her, it was her Ginger Hair Boy, the one she’d already known for a few years, the one she’d grown up seeing maybe ten times a year while he lived in California. “I remember saying—” She pulled her hand back and sat up straight. “What are you doing?”

There wasn’t a need to prompt Kerry: he immediately knew who was asking the question, and where it was being asked. Still staring up into Annie’s face, his eyes unfocused as he answered in much-younger boy’s voice. “Um, reading.”

 

He’s gonna tell you what he’s reading, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that.  And yes, Annie:  you mentioned he’s six.  I’m gonna have to go back and make sure you don’t repeat yourself, because you’re the sort of girl who doesn’t.  And there’s a good possibility that I may finish this tonight.  May.  Because . . . well, this sort of dream doesn’t go on forever, does it?