Chapter Description: The story continues.
"Just leave him alone!" I could hear Susan say, "Can’t you see that he doesn’t want to sleep?!" She was still holding me gently while I shook. Her presence made me feel better. After convincing the nurse that I didn’t need any drugs, Susan and I finally had some time to ourselves. "John? You passed out in my home. I called an ambulance and they rushed you here. They still don’t know what caused it. You’re safe now. You’re safe, do you understand?"
I had to gather my thoughts a bit. "Y-yeah. I remember being in your house, on the couch. Then I remember getting upset. I yelled at you. I’m sorry."
"That’s okay John. I’m just glad you’re okay. Just relax now." There was something about her voice that I hadn’t noticed until now. She ran her fingers through my hair and I finally stopped shaking. "There now. Feeling better? You gave me quite a scare."
"A hospital?! But I don’t have any insurance! How am I going to pay for this?!" I asked, getting all tense again. Lousy company.
"Don’t worry about that." she said calmly. "I’ll take care of it. Just try to relax now. What happened after you passed out? Do you remember?" I settled down a bit.
"I had that dream again. Only this time, it was a lot more in depth." The first thing I wanted to do was tell her all about it. Somehow I knew that she already had some idea. "I was very little this time. I actually saw myself in a mirror. I looked to be no older than about 5."
"You actually saw yourself?" she asked, "Mirrors are important symbols in dreams. You say you were only about 5 years old? What happened that made you so scared?" I trembled a bit. "It’s okay. You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to."
"No, I want to. It started out so nicely, so perfect. All of the doors were locked, but then one of them opened. I went inside to discover a large toy room. It was wonderful. It had shiny gold decorations all around, a plush, red carpet, and expansive shelves lined with all kinds of toys. All at arm’s length. I sat down and played for a long time. The feeling was even better than last time." I shut my eyes. "Then something bad happened. A darkness appeared at the door way and slowly made it’s way toward me. I was so afraid. It groaned and growled as it seemed to consume all the happiness that was in the room. I tried my hardest to wake up, but couldn’t. I started to cry and then...I wet my pants." I looked down in shame. "I saw I had wet the bed too."
"Yeah, you wet it pretty good." she said jokingly. I just blushed. "Hey, it’s alright. I bet it would have happened to anyone in the same circumstance."
"That’s not what dad would have said. I’m glad he didn’t see it." I never would have heard the end of it. "Everything seemed to be growing to an enormous size right before my eyes. Especially the darkness. Then I could swear I heard dad’s old familiar words. ’Big boys don’t wet themselves Johnny! Big boys don’t cry! Stop that crying you little baby!’ It made me even more terrified and I started to scream. It had just about gotten to me when I woke up here."
"Old familiar words? I don’t ever remember him yelling at you when I would visit."
"He put on a different face when we had visitors. Daddy always told me to suck it up, be a man. He would yell at me for always running to mommy instead of him. Mommy used to comfort me, but then she started to take his side. After daddy yelled at her. Told her to stop treating me like a baby. I’m not a baby! I’m a big boy!" I almost began to cry.
Susan had a puzzled look on her face. "Did you just hear yourself? You kept calling him daddy and her mommy. You sounded just like a little kid."
Now I was confused. "Did I? Really? What’s happening to me Susan?! What does all this mean?!" I was getting upset again.
"Shhh... shhhh.... it’s all right. We’ll worry about it later. Right now, just try and relax. Why don’t we talk about something else?" Something else? I thought she’d want to explore the dream some more. "Remember when we were kids? Remember Clyde and how he made me cry that day? You told him to leave me alone and he pushed you down. Then you got up, dusted yourself off, and got right up in his face and said ’LEAVE HER ALONE.’" We both laughed a little as she imitated me as a little kid trying to talk all big. "He never bothered me or you again. You were always standing up for me like that." We both remembered that day forever.
"I could never stand to see you hurt or sad." At least dad taught me to stand up for myself. Maybe a little too well.
"Nor I you. Do you remember that day in high school right after we agreed to be just good friends?" I had tried my best to block it out. "I was going out with Tom and you saw him pulling me towards him while I was resisting." The image flashed into my mind. "It was a short relationship. He was too controlling. He liked to dominate women. Then you came a long." She smiled.
"He was tryin’ to grab you." I said in my best Forrest Gump voice. We both had a good laugh. Albeit nervously. Neither of us wanted to say what happened next. I went blind with rage that day. I took Tom by the front of his shirt and slammed him into the nearest locker, hard. It was hard enough to make his head bleed. Then I yelled at him, "If you touch her again so help me I’ll kill you!". It really bothered me afterward. I had never been so angry. I didn’t like it. Susan and I both knew how we felt about each other. I always seemed to be coming to her rescue. We continued to talk about times gone by on into the night. Eventually we both fell asleep.
I didn’t want to fall asleep, but I couldn’t help it. I found myself in the house again. The walls were a dull green and the wooden panel floor had a nice Italian rug on it. Things were even bigger which meant I was even smaller. There was only one door in front of me, but I couldn’t reach the doorknob. I pushed on it and to my surprise it opened. The room was painted a calm shade of baby blue and had plush, blue green carpeting. In the corner there was a bed with rail bars on each side. It looked like a crib, but for an older baby. It was a nursery. The smell of baby oil, baby powder, and diapers was soothing for some reason. The oak dressers had painted vases from the 1800s on them and one had a mirror. I wanted to see what I looked like, so I toddled over to it. I had to climb up the chair and stand on the seat to get a good look. My face was so round and chubby! I had a small nose and, in comparison, large eyes. I was wearing a blue blanket footed sleeper with snaps in the legs. Horrified, I felt to see what I had on underneath. They weren’t exactly diapers, but still thickly padded. Training pants! By the look of things, I couldn’t have been more than 3 years old! I saw the shocked look on my face in the mirror. Then I laughed a little at the funny faces I was making. My laughter was as the chuckle of a happy toddler. Something caught my attention. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw more toys! Excited, I went to play with them, but my unsure legs caused me to lose my balance and I fell off the chair. I managed to land on my padded bottom, but it still hurt. Tears welled up in my eyes and I began to cry. It was more than just a cry of pain, it was a cry of frustration. Frustration that I couldn’t get to the toys and that I had failed in walking. I knew daddy would be in any minute to punish me for crying. Right on cue.
"Where’s that crying coming from?! It had better not be from Johnny! So help me, if it is!" I heard it coming, then I saw the darkness approach.
"No daddy! I’m not crying! Honest! I’m a good boy! I’m a good boy!" I had stopped crying, but only on the outside.
"I see someone’s had a little accident. What are we going to do about that?" I looked down and noticed a dark spot on the front of my sleeper. I had wet myself again! This time, it wasn’t even due to fright! I never even felt it! The darkness came closer and closer. I started shaking again as the room grew around me.
Then I heard the voice say, "Are you afraid of it? Or are you afraid of what you will become?" and I saw a light behind the darkness. The light was warm and comforting as it took on a shape. Just then, the darkness grew and shut out the light. It lurched towards me. I felt my legs give out as I fell on my wet bottom. All I could do was sit there in the warm puddle that collected underneath me.
I covered my eyes and heard the voice again. "Johnny? John? Are you alright?" I awoke to find Susan standing next to my hospital bed holding my hand. I was shaking uncontrollably again.
"John? John talk to me! Are you alright?" My door burst open as the doctor and nurse rushed in. All at once I screamed at the top of my lungs, fearing that the darkness had somehow manifested in my hospital room. "John calm down! They’re not going to hurt you! No one is going to hurt you!" My eyes darted towards Susan as her words comforted me. I leaped out of bed and hugged her tight refusing to let go. I just stood there as we held each other and I sobbed into her shoulder. "He’ll be alright." she said. That’s when I noticed a cold, soggy feeling around my groin.
"Nurse, looks like you had better change his bed again." I had soaked the bed this time. My hospital gown was stained yellow from the waist down. I looked at Susan and noticed that I had gotten her a little wet by hugging her.
"Susan I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean it! I just..." Just then, the front of my gown began dripping on the floor. I had started peeing right there in front of everyone while wide-awake! I didn’t even feel the need to go! I just hung my head in defeat.
"It’s okay John. I’ll help get you cleaned up, then I’ll take care of my dress." The nurse took my wet sheets away and Susan led me into the bathroom. It’s strange, but she seemed a bit taller than before. I chalked it up to my imagination. "Turn around." With my back to her, she untied my gown and let it hit the floor. I felt a cold splash against my feet. "Man, you really wet em this time." She said, trying to get me to lighten up a bit. Susan soaped up a cloth and proceeded to wash me thoroughly. She scrubbed up and down my legs. "Now let me get the front." I blushed. I didn’t want her to see me naked. I covered up as best I could with my hands but she brushed them aside as she gave me a gentle wash then dried me off. "Now then, feel better?" I sheepishly nodded my head. I was too mortified for words. She dressed me in a new gown and ushered me back out into my room. Susan got another dress out of her suitcase and went back into the bathroom to change. The nurse had just finished making my bed when she laid something on top of it.
"What is that?" I asked, fearing the answer.
"The doctor said you should wear these. Just in case." said the nurse. I went over, picked it up, and unfolded it.
"A diaper?! You expect me to wear a disposable diaper?!" I asked getting angrier with each passing moment.
"While you’re in here you will. In case you have another ’accident.’ It’s hospital policy." said the nurse matter of factly. "If you need help putting it on-"
"No! I can do it by myself!" My face turned beet red as I slid the diaper up my legs and snapped it in place. "I feel like such a baby." I sulked.
Susan walked out of the bathroom, looked at me and said, "I think you look kind of cute in it.", much to my surprise.
"Susan! I thought you were on my side!" I glared at her.
"I am sweetheart, but you just look so darn cute!" Cute or not, I wanted to leave. After the nurse was convinced I’d stay in the diaper, she left us alone again. I told Susan about the latest dream and she told me how she watched as I twitched and moaned in bed. She even watched as I soaked the bed. After discussing this dream, Susan turned to me and said, "I want to try something with you. A technique that’s been passed down in my family for generations. I want to see if I can help guide your dreams."
"Guide my dreams? Is that like some sort of Vulcan mind meld?" This is the type of thing you only see in sci fi movies. I had no idea her family had such a technique, but I was willing to try anything.
"Sort of. I can only do it with people whom I’m close to. I think it’ll work with you. Do you trust me?"
"Of course I trust you. I’m just...a little scared that’s all." After all, it meant actually dreaming again.
"Don’t be. If I sense that it’s too much, I can help you to wake up this time. I’ll be your fail-safe. Okay?" What could I say?
"Alright, let’s do it." I laid down on the bed and relaxed as she put her hand over my eyes.