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~ 9 ~


Nightmare and Dreamscapes



I was really hoping that he would be sitting on my bed and waiting for my arrival but when we did get back to the hotel I was saddened to hear my father had not even called. Kevin called his mom for some guidance on the matter since we really didn’t know where else to turn. Since the Littrell’s and the Richardson’s were together, they banded to help out. Kevin’s mom called the police for us but they told her my dad has to be missing at least 48 hours before a missing persons report could be filed. Brian’s dad also tried all the local hospitals in Tampa but my father wasn’t listed as a patient in any of them.


He just vanished, disappeared into thin air. Something was wrong. He was most likely dead or someone took him. He wouldn’t just abandon me like that. Unless that has been his plan all long. Maybe he was sick of me and my drama. I was always getting in trouble with the group. Lou was always calling him and complaining about my behavior and how immature I was. Maybe he just got to the point where it was better for him to leave. Am I that bad of a son that my own father would leave and never want to see me again?


“How are you holding up?” Brian managed to sneak up next to me on the floor where I was sitting as all these thoughts were flowing in my brain. I’m kind of glad he interrupted them because I wasn’t much enjoying my foray into the deep dark world of gloom.


I shrugged at him, “good I guess.”


“We’ll find him. My entire family is on it.”


“They aren’t even anywhere in Florida.”


“Doesn’t matter. Don’t tell anybody but we’re like the Secret Service. When we want something we get it.”


“Is that the secret service’s motto?” I asked him all confused.


“I have no idea, but it sounded good, didn’t it?”


I laughed. Thank God for Brian and thank God for all the guys. At least I still had them for now, at least. “Nicky, my mom told me to let you know, if you need her for anything just call.” Howie said as he joined us on the floor carrying a bag of Cheese Doodles with him. He popped them opened and handed them to me. “I know they’re your favorite and you should eat something.”


I grabbed the bag but just sat there holding it. “Maybe I should try the house again.”


“Nick, you have called there about twenty times already. All it’s doing is upsetting you. He’ll call. Just try to relax.”


“That’s easy for you to say Brian. It’s not your dad that’s missing!” I snapped at him. If it was his dad he would be beside himself with worry. But then again he also had a huge family that would be there for him if he needed something. I was slighted in that department. All I’ve ever really had was my parents. My mother was an only child and my dad had a brother that he rarely talked to. I wouldn’t even know where to find him if I needed to contact him. He’s my godfather supposedly. I think I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve actually ever even seen the guy.


When my mother died, my dad and I really only had each other to depend on. The two of us and all of our customers at the Bed and Breakfast were our family.  We had a nice bunch of regulars depending on the time of year, who would come and stay for a few days or weeks at a time. I would pretend that they were relatives coming in from out of town and staying with us for the holidays. We also had a few people working for us that would enhance my imaginary family tree.


“I could call Tina!” I said out of nowhere.


“Who?” Brian asked, trying to brush off my annoyance at his earlier statement.


“Tina! She’s one of the people who work for us at the B&B! Maybe she’ll know something.”


“That’s a great idea.” Howie said, “Do you have her number?”


I got up off the floor in one motion and went for my bag. I was pretty sure she was on the list of numbers my father gave me in case of an emergency. Sure enough, there it was. “I got it!” I said, walking over to the phone and punching in the numbers.


As I was doing that, Kevin and AJ walked in. After he dropped me off, Kevin decided he needed to run some errands and because he knew that a stressed Nick and AJ didn’t get along very well. He gratefully took him along for the ride.


Kevin glanced over at me and smiled before clustering in front of all the other guys and talking. I’m sure it was about my dad or me or probably both but before I could start to eavesdrop, Tina answered the phone.


I explained to her that my dad wasn’t here yet and asked her if she knew where he was. She said all he said to the workers was he had a family emergency to attend to and wasn’t sure when he would be back. He never told them where he was going. She promised me she would call if she heard from him or anything at all.


“Well?” Kevin asked as I joined everyone on the floor. I hadn’t noticed the two pizza boxes that the guys brought in with them until just now. They smelled good and greasy. The way a New York pizza should, but instead of wanting to eat it. It was making me nauseous.


“She didn’t know anything.” I sat on a chair as everyone else sat on the floor in front of the television. I took a deep breath and ran my hands through my hair. I felt so lost. I was at the point of not even being able to care anymore. Seeing the desperate look on my face, Brian stood up and brought me over a piece of pepperoni pizza.


“Nick, I won’t tell you everything is going to be all right anymore if you don’t want me to. But, you have to eat something. Let’s just try to eat some dinner and have a good, fun night tonight. We’re all going to spend the night in here just like back in the old days.”


“Really like the old days, because I don’t want to sleep in the tub!”


They all laughed but I wasn’t kidding. In the early days of Backstreet when we shared five to a room with only two beds it was me who either slept on the floor or in the tub.


“No tub, we promise. We’ll all sleep on the floor! How does that sound to everyone?” I almost laughed at the threatening undertone of his statement. Kevin might as well said, “It doesn’t matter how it sounds because if anyone even acts like they don’t want to, I’ll kick your asses!”


“Sounds like a party to me Bob.” AJ answered, taking another piece of pizza from the box and holding it slightly above his face so he could lick the tip with the cheese on it.


Maybe Brian was right. The best thing I could do was relax and try to have a good night. I mean whenever I was stressed I played pretend. Why not now? Sure I was a teenager and playing pretend when you’re fifteen is just wrong, but I think under the circumstances, if I needed to pretend I was someone else and somewhere else to avoid wanting to jump off a bridge, so be it.


I scooted down to the ground and took a bite out of the pizza Brian had handed to me. “Thanks guys, for doing this.”


“Doing what?” Howie asked.


“Just being here with me and trying to help me forget everything.”


“That’s what we’re here for.” He said, winking at me in his winky fashion. I’ll be happy when that little weird winking thing of his goes away. When my dad first met Howie, he was afraid he was being hit on because Howie kept winking at him. “What’s with the winky kid?” My dad had whispered to me on the day I became a Backstreet Boy. I’ll never forget that. I almost peed my pants and I still say it to mock him when he annoys me. Not to Howie of course, but to everyone else. Great, and now I’m thinking about my dad again. Stupid, winking Howie.


“Guys I do have something serious I need to say to all of you.” Kevin said this long after the pizza was gone and all the junk food was just about depleted. We had pushed the two beds together and were all lying on the floor close to the balcony. We tried to fit on the beds but it didn’t happen. So we were in a square shape and I was in the middle. Like a human campfire.


“When we were at the airport, we saw this guy…” He stopped for a second and looked at me. I could tell he didn’t want to bring this up. I smiled at him which was his cue to continue. “He was about my height and kind of skinny. I would maybe put him at around 45 or so, black hair with a little gray. Anything else you remember about the way he looked?” He asked me. I tried to remember but, he pretty much had said all that I remembered as well.


“He had long, pointy feet.” I remembered that.


“Anyway…” I guess that answer didn’t wow him. “We believe he might have been following Nick in the airport, for whatever reason so just be on the lookout for him.” He looked over at me again before he continued, “I mean, it was probably nothing but if you happen to see someone fitting that description, you need to let me or someone else know.”


They all looked confused but just nodded. That told me they thought it was me just being paranoid. I don’t think Kevin thought that way though. The way he was talking about the guy, it seemed like he was scared. He could tell that something wasn’t quite right about him. I’m not sure if that made me feel better or not.


Shortly after his little warning to us, we laid on all the blankets we had piled on the floor and tried to get some sleep. I have to admit, in my little cocoon in the middle of everyone I felt safe. Maybe not safe enough to sleep without having my mind race to a thousand different conclusions, but still, safe. I took another pill to help me sleep and just laid there in the dark, hoping it would take effect soon. I closed my eyes and listened to the conversation around me.


“Is he sleeping?” Someone whispered. I couldn’t really make out the voice but I think it was a very very quiet AJ and most likely they were talking about me, so I made sure to play my part.


“I think he is.” Brian answered. I heard him come really close to me and check out my eyes. Really guys?


“What the hell do you think is going on with his dad?” AJ asked.


“Shh!” Kevin answered. I mean I am just assuming it was Kevin. It could have been anyone, but my eyes were closed and I was pretending to be asleep and if anyone would shush anyone it would be him. 


“I don’t know, but I’m kind of worried. When my dad called the hospitals, he also called the morgues to see if anyone fitting Bob’s description showed up. I wasn’t going to say that in front of Nick though. No way. Luckily, no one did.” Yeah, I’m glad Brian left that out before.


“I don’t think he would just up and leave like that. I know he has a history of being a heavy drinker, but it’s been a long time, right?” That was Howie and I almost rolled over and punched him in the face he made me so angry. Yes, maybe when my dad was younger, he did some stupid things.  Maybe he used to drink too much and get in trouble, but that was a long time ago, long before I was even born. Why bring that up now?


“Poor kid, he’s too young to be dealing with this kind of stuff, especially at Christmas time.” I felt Kevin staring at me as he said that. He was right. I shouldn’t have to deal with this crap. It wasn’t fair.


“Guys, what’s going to happen to him if, you know, something does happen to his dad?” AJ asked innocently.


“Let’s not think like that AJ. I’m sure Bob will turn up safe and sound.”


“But what if he doesn’t?”


“Then, we’ll deal with it. He won’t be alone.”


There was a long silence and then finally AJ spoke again, happily changing the topic. “Guys, you want to play some truth or dare?”


“NO!” They all said at the same time.


“Jeez, just asking. It’s not like I asked you to yank my weenie or anything!”


“Did you seriously just say yank my weenie? What are you…five?” That was definitely Kevin.


“Okay, you know what! You can all bite me!” AJ pouted. I was trying my best not to laugh. I was after all supposed to be sleeping.


“Are you sure you don’t want us to bite your weenie instead?” Howie asked while laughing.  It’s the last thing I remembered before falling off to sleep.


It was the same dream all over again. The woman with the black, curly hair was carrying my pig and I to bed. There was a loud explosion and I am dropped. The pig goes flying out of my hands. The woman is on the floor with her blood flowing on to my pig. I can see it more clearly this time. She’s definitely dead. She’s facing me instead of away from me and I am under the desk. I want to scream but whoever just killed her, is looking for me. At least he’s looking for something. I’m not sure if he realizes I’m in the room so I stay as still and quiet as possible.


I feel a dampness and I know I’ve wet myself. I want to cry about it, but I can’t. Even though I’m young, I still realize that my life is in danger. If I make a sound, I will die. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to look the way the woman with the black, curly hair looks.


The person who was in the room leaves and finally I allow myself to crawl out from under the desk. I’ve never gotten this far in this particular dream before. I know I’m dreaming. It makes me a little less fearful of what’s to come so I make my way over to the lady and allow myself to really take a good look at her. She was the one who put me in time out and threw me into the bathroom. Her eyes were opened and it scared me so I went to grab for my pig which was all soggy with blood.


I threw it down and cried. I loved that pig, it was the only familiar thing I had to hold on to and now, I knew I would never see it again. There was an intense heat coming from the hallway. I got up and moved my way towards the door.


The entire house was on fire. It was the Bed and Breakfast. Suddenly I was back home again.


“Nickolas!” I turned and walked back into the bedroom. The dead lady was still there but so was my real mother now.


“What are you doing in here?” I asked her. She was over by the window and trying her best to pry it open. I was my age, no longer a child.


“You have to hurry baby. We don’t have much time. The house is on fire and you’ll burn up if you stay in here!”


“Mom, who is that person?” I asked pointing at the dead lady on the floor.


She managed to open the window and motioned for me to come over there so I did. I was looking over at the dead woman on the floor. Her eyes were still popped open and it looked like her mouth was moving. Even though I couldn’t hear her I could tell what she was saying.


“Don’t do it!” She was mouthing.


“Don’t do what?” I asked her just as my mother grabbed at my shoulder.


“You need to get out of here before it’s too late!” She pushed me towards the window and in that instant another explosion rocketed us both off of our feet.


The fire was now inside the room, gradually making its way in like a demon shadow of some kind. “Go!” She yelled at me.


I stood up and tried to pull her up as well but she wouldn’t budge. It was like she was glued to the floor, “I can’t leave you here!” I said.


“Just go!” She said again.


“I love you Mommy.” I said as I squeezed one leg through the window.


“Nick stop!!” Another voice shouted in the distance. “What are you doing?” I looked back into the burning room to see if I could find the person speaking to me. The voice sounded familiar.


“Dad?” I asked.


“Go Nickolas, before it’s too late!!” My mother yelled. “He’s coming for you! GO!!!”


“Nick!! Get down!!” I heard again but this time I wasn’t about to listen.


I put one leg through the window and then the other. I looked down and it wasn’t that big of a fall. I would probably break something but there was grass so chances were if I jumped and rolled I’d be okay. I heard another explosion in the house and realized I was running out of time.


“Nick NO!!!” I heard again just as I jumped.


A hand grabbed me just before I fell…


Chapter End Notes:

Are you enjoying this so far? I hope so!! I'll be back on Monday with chapter 10. :O) As always, thanks for taking the time to read and review. The feedback helps me to keep going.