Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2317593-15-Nightmare
Printer Friendly Page Tell A Friend
No ratings.
Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317593
In which the nightmare returns
“You’re worried.”

“Get out of my head.”

“It’s true though, right?”

Bel is looking out the passenger window, and Kam is looking straight ahead, but he can feel the tension radiating off the younger boy in waves.


“Stop using my full name.”

“Stop overthinking.”

“I’m not. I’m fine.”

While they were at Gulf’s condo, Bel had been too focused on Nina to think about anything else. But that was no longer the case, and Kam had been around Bel long enough to understand that the boy had a tendency to overthink, just like he was doing now.


“I said—”

“I heard what you said,” Kam cuts off Bel mid-protest. “Try saying something else. Like why you’re tying your brain in knots.”

“It’s going to be me next time,” Bel says it out loud on purpose, to make it real, so that his brain will understand what he heard earlier tonight. “He didn’t find what he wanted with Nina, so he’ll come after me, and this time it won’t look like an accident.”

“Bel,” Kam pushes. “You need to breathe.”

“I am breathing!”

“You know what I mean.”

Another silence. A silence that lasts the rest of the drive home. As Kam pulls the car into the driveway and turns off the ignition, he looks over at the boy that he’s falling for. Bel looks so lost and helpless, it makes Kam’s heart crack open.


“I hate this.” Bel bursts out. “I hate that I have a target on my back and I don’t know why. I hate that my sister was attacked and I couldn’t do anything about it. I hate that I’ve spent the past week looking at old files that make no sense. I hate that now I’m waiting for some psycho to do to me what he tried to do to Nina. I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do.”

Kam is quiet for a minute. “You know I’m not going to let anything happen to you, right?”

“I know,” Bel doesn’t sound very confident, though whether that lack of confidence is in himself or in Kam is unclear. He’s still looking out the window, his body rigid, hands knotted together, clenched so tight his knuckles are standing out under his skin.

“Bel,” Kam takes one of those tense knotted hands in his, stroking his thumb across those white knuckles. “I am not going to let anything happen to you. And not just because your sister is paying me a fortune to keep you alive.”

“That’s not funny.” But Bel’s body is relaxing ever so slightly, and his lips curve up. It’s a tiny smile, but a smile, nonetheless.

“It’s a little funny.” Kam squeezes Bel’s hand. “Adorable kid.”

“Annoying jackass.”

Bel gets out of the car first and goes into the house. The kitchen table is still covered in paper copies of the files that he made for Kam, and that damn USB is still plugged into his laptop. Maybe they shouldn’t have left all those files out for anyone to see. Determined people can break into the most secure of houses, and Bel doesn’t exactly have a state of the art security system.

He didn’t think he needed one until tonight.

Bel walks over and pulls the USB out of the flash drive port. It’s warm from being plugged in for so long. How could such a tiny insignificant looking object cause so much trouble?

“If it’s those files you’re worried about,” Kam’s voice sounds behind him. “Then we’ll just get rid of them.”

“Huh?” Bel’s fingers tighten almost instinctively on the USB. “We can’t just—”

“Yes we can.” Kam points to the masses of paper scattered over the kitchen table. “Don’t forget we have a paper copy that only you and I know about. We erase everything on the USB, and that’s one less thing to worry about. There’s a reason there is a delete command on computers.”

“What do we do with the paper copy?” Bel asks. “We can’t keep it at the house in case—”

“Of course not.” Kam agrees. “But I happen to know somewhere that no one will think to look.”
“Like where?”

“A 1966 Alpha Romeo.”

“That’s not funny.”

“I’m not laughing.” Kam says. “It’s got a glove box, and a trunk that can both lock. I’m the only one with the keys to both my office and the showroom, and who would think to look for Intelligence files inside a classic car in the first place?”

“Hiding the files won’t stop people from trying to kill me,” Bel says. “This time they almost succeeded with Nina.”

“But your sister is still alive, and so are you.” Kam cups Bel’s face in his hands. “Look at me. I told you I’m not just doing this because Nina is paying me. You should know that by now. Anyone who wants to come after you will have to go through me first. Do you understand?”

Bel nods. “Yes, but—”

“There’s no ‘but’.” Kam’s arms latch around Bel’s waist. “Nothing is going to happen to you, because I'm not going anywhere. Do you believe me?”

“Yes,” Bel curls into Kam’s body, craving that liquid warmth that Kam’s touch always sends through him. “ I believe you.”

“Good,” The tip of Kam’s nose traces down one side of Bel’s face, and then he kisses the tip of Bel's nose. “Because I mean every damn word.”

Then he lets go of Bel and moves to the kitchen table, where he starts gathering up the paper copies of the files. Bel blinks at him.

“The hell are you doing?”

“We’re hiding the files, right?” Kam already has a small stack of papers in his hand, and reaches for more to add to the pile. “Now is as good a time as any. We can look at them in a locked office rather than your front room.”

“It’s three a.m.!”

“You’d rather sleep?”

Actually, there’s something else that Bel would rather do with Kam, but clearly, that is going to have to wait. Bel joins Kam at the table, sifting through the papers.

“At least organize them. I’d like to know what we looked at and what we haven’t.” Bel picks up one of the papers.


It’s not a case file, or a bulleted list, or some other text filled document.

It’s a photograph. He thought he’d seen all of the photos when he scrolled through the files before but he must have missed this one. Otherwise he wouldn’t be getting chills, right?


It’s a photograph of two men, seated at a table outside of a restaurant. They are roughly the same age, one with more American features, clearly friends because of how they’re sitting, each with an arm around the other’s shoulders. They haven’t been posed and they’re smiling and facing the camera, so they obviously know the photo is being taken.

It’s the face of the American man that sends a shiver through Bel. Those are his dad’s laughing eyes, gray like Nina’s. That’s his dad’s face, the smile wide and showing his teeth just like Bel does when he smiles. And the face of the other man—

“That’s my dad.” Kam says. His voice sounds exactly the way Bel feels—with so much emotion just below the surface.

“Yeah,” Bel says it just to have something to say.

“And this is your dad.”


But it’s not just the faces of the two men that have them speaking in monosyllables like complete idiots. It’s the small metallic object on the table between them. This object hasn’t been posed either. It just lies there, among the used dishes and eating utensils, probably forgotten for the moment but sure to be remembered once the picture has been taken. Under other circumstances, Bel wouldn’t have noticed it. But these aren’t other circumstances. He still squints just to make sure his eyes aren’t playing tricks on him. They’re not.

“What the hell…” Kam says what they’re both thinking, so Bel doesn’t have to say anything.

Bel puts the photo back on the table and plugs the USB back into the laptop. Kam watches over his shoulder as Bel scrolls through the files, eyes scanning the “file type” column until he finds the pictures. He clicks on the one that matches the photo he just found, wishing he had one of those advantage photo editing software things. Since he doesn’t, Bel opens the standard photo viewer, crops the part of the original photo he wants and zooms in as close as he can.

On the table between the two men is a USB.

A USB that looks very much like the one Nina was sent.

There’s a label on the USB.

Bel doesn’t need to magnify that part to know exactly what it says:


Gray Wolf.


Small round hole.

Expanding red circle.


Spreading. It’s spreading…


Let me go!

I have to get to him!



There’s so much blood…

There’s so damn much blood…

And all he can do is stand and watch it spread like an oil slick across the ground…








Can’t breathe…



The scream jolts Kam awake. His room is smaller than he remembers. The furniture actually matches, there’s carpet rather than wood floor, and walls are white.


Kam’s walls aren’t white, and they’re not this bare either. Granted, he’s not really in his condo enough to notice all that much, but he’s pretty sure there is something on his walls. So why are they bare now?

Oh, right.

Because this isn’t his condo.

This is Bel’s house.

Kam shakes his head to clear it, glancing at the clock on the wall: three-forty-five a.m. His breath is slowing down now, but the image of all that blood still plays across his mind. He’s been having this nightmare for the past six months, so he should be getting used to it by now.

Give it a minute, and then you can go back to sleep.

Except he had definitely heard a scream.

A heart wrenching, terrifying sound, like a dying animal. But there aren’t any animals awake at this hour are there? Well, maybe the odd feral cat, but cats didn’t scream like that. And Kam knows he didn’t scream like that.

Kam sits still for a minute, listening.

A low and piteous cry for help.

Coming from Bel’s room.

Kam is out of bed and across the hallway to the other bedroom. He can hear the familiar rustling of sheets, and the other sounds he’s heard before but really doesn’t like: choking gasps, whimpers, and panicked, muffled words. But this time it’s different.

Bel sounds like he’s struggling to breathe.

Or worse.

Kam opens the door and goes inside the room.

Bel is curled on the bed, his eyes clamped shut. His body is clenched, thrashing from one side of the bed to the other. His hands claw at the tangled sheets, and he’s choking on his own breath.

“Bel!” Kam is across the room on two strides, grasping Bel’s shoulders to stop the thrashing. Bel stiffens in his grip, his body vibrating with terror, hands rising up to push Kam away.


Kam’s heart squeezes at the words. “Bel, it’s ok. Can you hear me? It’s ok. You’re dreaming.”

Bel yanks back, shoving hard against Kam’s shoulders, his voice rising piteously. “Let me go! I…have… to get… to him! He’s bleeding…there’s so…so much blood…”


The words echo Kam’s so perfectly. If he didn’t know any better Kam would think Bel was making fun of him. But he does know better. Bel is asleep, and he’s utterly terrified, and watching the boy suffer so much causes a crack to form in Kam’s heart.

“Bel, listen to me. It’s ok. Everything is ok. I’m right here. Nothing is going to happen to you. No one is going to hurt you. I promise.” Kam’s arms are wrapping around the quaking boy, pressing him close. “You’re ok, Bel. Shhhhh.”

Bel stops thrashing at the sound of Kam’s voice, but his body continues to shake. He doesn’t scream again but the whimpering continues. It’s the whimper of a very lost, very frightened little boy.

“Please don’t go! Please, please don’t go!”

Kam isn’t sure if Bel is talking to him or whoever he’s dreaming about, but he slides fully onto Bel’s bed, both so that he can keep Bel from falling off and to pull him closer.

“It’s ok, Bel. It’s ok.”

He keeps murmuring assurance in Bel’s ear, smoothing his damp hair back and running his fingers in a soothing pattern up and down Bel’s back. Gradually, Bel’s breath slows, his body stops trembling, and his hands stop shoving Kam’s shoulders, falling slack at his sides.

“Good boy. Good boy.” Kam adjusts his position as Bel starts to curl into him.

“There’s so much blood.” Bel whimpers. “There’s so much…”

“There’s no blood.” Kam reassures him. “It’s not real. I promise. It’s not real.”

Bel’s hand finds his, and Kam allows their fingers to intertwine, trying to keep Bel grounded in reality instead of drowning in his nightmares. Bel’s eyes flutter open and his nails dig, leaving tiny half moon-shaped marks on the back of Kam’s hand.


“Shhhhhhh. You’re ok.”

Bel’s eyes close. He doesn’t let go of Kam’s hand, but his breathing eases.

“Don’t go,” Bel is definitely talking to Kam this time.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m right here.”

It takes almost an hour for Bel to calm down and fall back into a dreamless sleep, but once he does, Kam slips back into his bedroom, and makes a phone call. The puzzle pieces that have been floating around in his head are starting to come together, but he can’t start assembling them until he gets the answer to one very important question. A question that popped into Kam’s head when he saw the photo of his dad and Bel’s dad together.

Silo answers the phone on its seventh ring.

“The hell do you want?”

“Bad time?” Kam bites back a smile in spite of himself, knowing the question is rhetorical.

“The hell do you think?” There is the sound of rustling sheets, and then a shushing sound. Silo’s voice sounds like he wants to reach through the phone and strangle Kam. Either he was actually asleep, or he has company that he really doesn’t want to be taken away from. “There better be a hell of a good reason why you called.”

Silo has company. Which means Kam was right.

“There is. I have something to ask you.”

“Give me a sec.” More rustling, more murmurs, a door being shut. Then Silo’s voice again. “The hell’s the question?”

“You swear a lot when you’re sleep deprived,” Kam wants to ask the question, but isn’t quite sure how to phrase it. Besides, he can’t resist one more jab. “You even use the same word.”

“I’m hanging up.”

“All right, I’m sorry. No more stalling.” Kam decides to just be blunt. “Did my dad and Bel’s dad die for the same reason?”

Dead silence on the other end of the phone.

“Silo? Did you hear what I said?”

“...That can’t be your only question.”

“It’s not, but I don’t want to talk about it over the phone.”

“And you don’t want Bel to hear.” Silo says Kam’s thoughts aloud.

“You’re psychic.”

“Yeah. I get psychic after three hours of sleep.” Silo speaks around a yawn. Damn. So he actually was sleeping. With company, but still sleeping. “I’ll meet you later.”


“I’ll text you. Shut the hell up and let me sleep.”


In Gulf’s condo, Silo hangs up the phone and goes back to the bedroom, where Nina is waiting.

“Who was that?”

Silo puts the phone on silent, and puts it on the dresser across the room, so he’s not disturbed again. “Someone who couldn’t wait.”

“Bel?” Nina’s face knots up with worry. “Is he ok? What did he say?”

“Bel’s fine, Nina. I’d tell you if there was anything to worry about.”

“Would you?” Nina levers herself up on her elbows. “Are you sure about that?”

“Nina,” Silo kisses her before sliding back into the bed. “Everything is fine. I promise. Go back to sleep.”

Several blocks away, another cell phone rings. The man in the car answers, but doesn’t give the caller a chance to say anything.

“They’re still alive.”

“Yes,” The answering voice is low, with almost a guttural quality, as though it’s the speaker’s natural voice rather than that he’s trying not to be heard.


“I’m sorry.”

“Did I ask for your apology? Or did I ask why Nina and Bel Delgado are still alive?”


“I asked you a question.” The man in the car pulls over so that he can finish the conversation without worrying about traffic. He can’t afford to be distracted at the moment. “I’m waiting for your answer.”

“No opportunity.”

“Nina was alone in her hotel room, and you let her get away—”

“There’s no opportunity to kill the boy.” The voice on the other end of the line clarifies. “He’s never alone.”

“Then I’ll take care of him myself.”

“And the third one? If he knows—”

“Of course he does. Kam Manirat isn’t stupid. So I guess I’ll have to take care of him, too.” The man in the car ends the call and slams his hands into the steering wheel. Everything is set to blow up in his face.

“I fucking hate loose ends!”

"16. Secrets

read from beginning "1. Phone Calls in the Dark
© Copyright 2024 aracrae (aracrae at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2317593-15-Nightmare