Seven year old Johnny Lancer sat up with a gasp, his breathing erratic and eyes wild as they searched the shadows for the nightmare creatures that had been chasing him just a moment before.
Nothing. He was in his room, alone in the dark. He shivered and rubbed his hands over his upper arms. A slight scraping noise caught his attention and his body went rigid, his head snapped towards it. No, it was a dream. Just a dream, a stupid nightmare, no need to be scared. None at all.
The only problem was that what he’d dreamed about was literally everywhere; in every dusty corner, in every cellar, in every attic and storeroom and barn. There was no safe place, not even outdoors.
He shuddered again, swallowing convulsively. He tried to be brave and told himself it that the danger wasn’t real. That he was being a baby. He tried to breathe deeply, like Papa told him, and convince himself that he was in his own room, safe in his bed, with his family just a shout away.
Wait. His family.
Mind swirling with possible attacks, and eight-legged monsters that lurked in the dark, he scrambled out of his bed and padded quickly to the door, glancing around carefully before making his way down the hall towards a particular room.
He jumped as every shadow moved, at the tiniest scraping/scratching/bumping, arms steadily wrapping tighter and tighter around himself. He rubbed his chilled skin, barely noticing the goose bumps that had popped up.
When he finally arrived at his destination, he snuck into the room, approaching the bed and its blond occupant. He reached out; taking hold of a slender, flannel clad shoulder and shook the slumbering frame.
Ten year old Scott Lancer woke up instantly and lifted his head to find his brother, forlorn and frightened, standing beside his bed.
“Johnny?” He squinted blearily at the younger boy, taking in his wide eyes, pale skin and the obvious tremors. “Did you have a bad dream?”
The dark head nodded vigorously.
With a small sigh, Scott lifted his blanket and scooted back. It was all the invitation Johnny needed. He scurried under the covers and pressed himself into the older boy, hiding his face in the crook of Scott’s neck. He inhaled deeply, burrowing further into the comforting smell and warmth of his big brother, sighing softly when the blond wrapped him in the safety and protection of his arms.
“You wanna talk about it?” Scott inquired softly
“...spiders...” It was only one word but it was enough to tell the older boy everything he needed to know. Johnny had been terrified of spiders ever since he’d been bitten by one as a baby. He’d been very sick for several days because of it.
As a result of that event, Scott had made it his mission to hunt out and kill any spiders he could find. He patrolled the house and barn regularly, eyes constantly searching out the scuttling creatures, in an effort to keep his little brother from encountering them. The only ones he couldn’t fight were the ones that invaded Johnny’s dreams. No, when those showed up, all he could do was provide comfort.
Scott made a soft noise and nuzzled the raven hair. “Try to get some sleep.”
Confident that his big brother would keep the spiders away, Johnny drifted off.
~ End ~