Sammy didn’t tell Brian about the mysterious hand. It had probably been a lady mistaking him for her own child…
When they returned home, Sammy tried to push the gunshots out of his head by occupying himself with playing with his new clothes. He rubbed the soft jerseys against his skin and played with Rocky in them before Brian helped him to put them all neatly away in the cupboard.
Sammy played by himself for a while but there was an odd feeling within him that seemed to stop him from concentrating on any games with Rocky. Eventually he wandered downstairs and found Brian reading a book and lounging on the couch.
“You okay?” Brian asked, putting an arm around Sammy and pulling him onto the couch.
“Yes,” Sammy lied.
“Harsen called to check up on us. He says that they’re not sure why someone was shooting at the shop. It might’ve been a drunk or someone like that.”
“Was anybody hurt?” Sammy asked. “I – I saw blood on the floor.”
Brian’s face fell and he held Sammy close. “It’s okay. One of the shopkeepers fell over and hit her head in the rush to get out. She’s all right, though.”
Sammy pressed closer to Brian. The day’s events still echoed in his mind and he couldn’t shake the feeling of the rough, strange hand which had tried to tug him away from Brian.
“I guess I won’t be taking you shopping again for a while,” Brian said, gently.
Sammy nodded. He would feel safer if they stayed in for the next couple of days. At home, no one could hurt them.
“Nick and Howie are coming to see you tomorrow,” Brian said, changing the subject.
“Really?” Sammy asked, brightening up.
“Yep. You can show off your new little dogs!” Brian poked the noses of the slippers on Sammy’s feet. Sammy giggled as Brian made the dogs growl and bark at each other. Brian ruffled Sammy’s hair. “I’m gonna start your dinner now, okay?”
“Okay,” Sammy said, feeling a little happier.
“You go play then,” Brian said. “The Playstation’s there if you want it.”
Sammy flicked through the T.V channels until he found some cartoons. However, he turned the channel over when he saw a gun on the screen.
“Mommy? Don’t leave me, please!”
But she didn’t listen. She just got into her car and drove away.
He saw the car as it rounded the corner, then he heard his mother screaming.
He began to run along the road. He had to find her. The ground suddenly began to shake. He turned and was almost blinded with the bright lights that came from the white van. Figures began to come towards him.
“Bri!” My mommy needs help!” he said, running over to the nearest figure. But it wasn’t Brian. It was a man with a face full of stubble.
“He can’t help her. He can’t help you,” a harsh voice said.
He turned and saw Brian lying motionless on the floor. His eyes were closed. There was blood everywhere. Brian’s clothes were soaked with it.
“NO! NO! BRI!”
A hand reached out to grab him.
Sammy woke up screaming and sobbing.
He heard the rush of footsteps and his door was thrown open as Brian ran into the room. He turned the light on and rushed over to Sammy.
“Sammy, what’s wrong?” he asked, the fear and concern evident in his voice.
Sammy couldn’t speak. He could only sob and hold his arms out for Brian. He needed to feel him close. He needed to feel that Brian was alive and well.
Brian bundled him up into his arms. “What happened?” he asked, anxiously.
But Sammy couldn’t tell him. He couldn’t tell him that he had just seen Brian dead. “B – bad dream,” Sammy stammered, tears all over his face.
“What about?” Brian asked, cradling Sammy in his arms.
“My mommy,” Sammy said. He didn’t mention the rest of the dream.
Brian kissed him on the head and rocked him comfortingly. “It’s okay. It’s just a dream,” he murmured.
Sammy nodded, but it had felt so real… He clutched Brian close and felt the reassuring beat of his heart. He was terrified of the image he had seen of Brian dead. He could still see it clearly in his head. He could still hear his mother’s death screams. The harsh voice lingered in his mind. It had been the same voice of the man that had spoken to him in the shop.
“Do you want a drink?” Brian asked.
Sammy nodded. Brian kissed him again and then left the room. Sammy heard the tap running as Brian filled a cup with water. When he brought it back, Sammy sipped it while Brian tried to wipe away his tears.
“Can I stay with you tonight?” Sammy begged, not wanting to be alone in case he had another nightmare. He wanted to stay close to Brian to make sure the dream didn’t come true.
“Sure you can,” Brian whispered.
He scooped Sammy up and picked Rocky up of the floor, where he had fallen. Then, he carried them along the landing to his own room. Carefully, he tucked Sammy safely into his own bed.
“Feeling better?” he asked.
Sammy nodded and pulled the quilt close to him. Brian gave him another kiss and then turned the light off and got into bed himself.
Sammy kept his eyes open in the darkness. Every time he closed them, all he could see was the blood. The blood that had leaked out of Brian, taking his life with it. He turned over to look at his gentle friend. His mother had left him and he dreaded that something might happen to Brian that would leave Sammy alone again. He was the one person who loved him and Sammy loved him back in return.
Now though, he was frightened of something awful happening to him.