The Nightmare Plague: Voices Within, part three

“Now then, let’s get out of here.”

Barnabus turned and began walking into the gloom.  It seemed the hazy light was following him, leaving Montrose and the child to follow or be left in the dark.  

“I found this passage while you were unconscious.  It seems to lead up, which would be far better than attempting to climb out.  Tell me about the child.”

Montrose looked at the silent figure walking between them.  He thought about the days spent in the house, waiting for the nightmare to come each night.  The child was walking in a daze, a shadow of his true self.

“The father left some time ago and the mother has been doing rather well at parenting without him.  There is something going on with the extended family, though. They continue to threaten to take the boy from her.  Apparently he is picked on at school. I haven’t been able to learn too much, not even his name.”

They looked at the child, walking like a somnambulant.  So far he had taken no action but to follow where he was led.  Montrose impulsively reached out to stroke the child’s head and was surprised by  the hug received in return. Until then Barnabus had retained an impassive look, seemingly lost in thought.  His features softened at the scene and he looked at the boy with tender sympathy. After a few minutes, he squeezed the child’s shoulder and began to walk on.

“My name is Uri.”  The bears froze, focusing their attention on the boy.  Montrose looked questioningly at Barnabus and saw a look of astonishment and concern.

“What’s the matter,” he whispered.

“I thought this was just a representation of the child, a shadow of his consciousness, but it isn’t.”

Montrose began to feel his own concern rising.

“Then what is he?”

He spoke his name and is responsive to his environment.  The name is the important part, though. Names have power and most nightmares do not know them.  I think this is the child’s mind, trapped in here with us.”

Watching Barnabus speak increased Montrose’s worries.

“Then, what happens if he is hurt,” he asked, not wanting to hear the answer he expected.

“He will die.  We have to protect him from harm and end the nightmare.”  Barnabus looked at his companion. “Our job has become far more difficult than it would have been.”

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