Please add all the usual disclaimers as required.
This was all going terribly wrong. Fear was gripping at his gut-shrieking a warning. 'Stop every body-stop' he wanted to call it out-but he could not. Such a warning would give them all away-and then they would all die. Except him. He knew that HE would survive--to live and relive the guilt and the pain over and over and over again.
The tunnel sides were beginning to crumble-wet and dangerous. They would have to go faster than this. He waved on the men behind him-and then suddenly there was shouting--and SHOOTING.
'NO' he shouted 'no--don't shoot--don't-----' but it was too late. They were all of them trapped in a hail of bullets and his friends were dying around him, unable to go either forwards or back in the dark tunnel. Something fell on him-and he went down--a last desperate shriek on his lips 'NO--NO-oh please--NOOOOOOO'.
'What the hell--' suddenly it was all quite different. 'for Christs sake man-wake up--wake UP!!' he was being shaken-quite roughly and he sat up, eyes wide open, to find that he was in a strange bed, with two strangers standing over him. Neither of them looked very pleased with him. But--no-they were not strangers at all--they were--they were--he blinked in the lantern light and looked beyond it. Two men-one old--one young. His --his father--and his half-brother. Dear God in heaven--he had woken them up, with his yells. Now that really WAS going to go down well.
Murdoch Lancer--grim faced, tight-lipped and far from a comforting sight, was grasping his arm in a hard painful grip, shaking him awake. The boy that was his half-brother-John (Johnny he called himself) was just behind him, holding the lantern in one hand and a gun in the other. Neither of them looked the sort of thing a man awakening from a nightmare wanted to see.
'I--I'm--er--I didn't mean--it was a d--dream--I'm sorry'.
'Better drink less brandy with your supper' Murdoch Lancer said sharply 'are you alright now? he took the lantern from young Johnny and held it over Scotts bed. Perhaps 'alright' was not quite the right way to describe the wan faced young man staring up at him. He was as white as the bed linen and his hair was plastered to his brow with sweat.
Then-even in the lantern light it was obvious that he was turning from deathly white to deep crimson as he flushed to the very roots of his hair under that contemptuous stare and closed his eyes against it.
'Y-es' he lied, at length. 'I'm-- I'm--fine now'.
Murdoch Lancer did not know what to do or what to say. A panic-stricken son, rudely awakened from a nightmare was something quite out of his experience. He took refuge in what he knew best. Harshness.
'Good' he said curtly' get back to sleep then--theres plenty to do in the morning' he handed the lantern back to Johnny 'and I thought I told YOU' he added grimly 'no guns in the house--now get back back to bed' and he swept Johnny towards the door.
Scott let out a groan, then he seized the pillow, as the only source of comfort, and, as he had as a small boy, he curled himself around it and buried his head into the soft darkness. No wonder these 'western men' had no time for him. Making an absolute fool of himself in the hours of daylight and then awakening them in the night, screaming out in the darkness like a frightened child. He felt hot scalding tears at the edges of his eyes and blinked them back furiously.
Jesus F----Christ-----Scott froze in horror. Johnny had not left the room at all. The dark, dangerous young man was still there, somewhere in the gloom.
For a blistering moment Scott felt a flame of fury and he wished that he too, slept with a 'forbidden gun' under his pillow, as he knew that the boy did, so that he could shoot this intruder into his shame and despair. If he started in on him, then gun or no gun, Scott would give him the drubbing of his life.
'I get 'em too'. Johnny’s voice was so low that he had to strain to hear it. Scott turned his head toward it and peered through his lashes at the source. John--Johnny--was standing by the window and had pulled back the heavy drapes a little. The moonlight illuminated him-standing with bowed head. He was wearing his long-johns and a night shirt and whilst he had put the lantern down (it had gone out) he still held the revolver in his hand. An incongruous sort of outfit. Scott lay quite still, letting the rage he had engendered seep out of him. 'them bad dreams' Johnny went on, still in that voice that was even quieter than a whisper. The moonlight played on his thick dark hair--it needed cutting--but his bowed head kept his face in shadow. 'I get 'em too--' the quiet voice faltered then continued 'I'm in this d--dark place--theres no way out--and theres some-one--some THING--waiting for me. I can't get away--and THIS--' he hefted the heavy gun in an almost helpless gesture 'aint gonna help me' the soft voice had become a shade louder--then as Scott stirred he raised his chin and turned his head towards the hump in the bed 'you're safe now' his voice had changed completely now but there was no contempt in it-just a comforting understanding as he stepped towards the bed. 'goodnight' his hand-not the one with the gun in it, reached out and briefly brushed against the bedclothes--and then he WAS gone, slipping out of the room like a shadow.