Dogs

Dogs by Allan Stratton Read Free Book Online

Book: Dogs by Allan Stratton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Allan Stratton
me. Paws pound the earth. Barks fill the air. They’re getting closer. I fall down, get up, fall down again. Cornstalks snap behind me. They’re going to get me. Help!
    â€œThey won’t hurt you. I won’t let them.” It’s a boy. Where?
    I blink and I’m in my room under the covers in the dark. I’m sweating. My heart’s pounding.
    I feel a draft. Something’s in the room. Someone.
    â€œMom?”
    Silence. I try to move. I can’t.
    â€œWho’s there?”
    It’s me. Jacky .
    I didn’t hear that. That was just me talking to myself.
    Don’t be scared .
    â€œI’m not scared. You’re a voice in my head. That’s all you are.”
    No. I’m Jacky. I’m glad you’re here. I’ve been lonely since Mother and Father left .
    â€œStop it. Leave me alone. I’m Cameron, Cameron Weaver. Whatever you are, you’re not real.”
    â€œWhy are you being like that?” Jacky’s voice—it’s not in my head anymore. It’s in the room.
    I panic. “I’m still dreaming. That’s it. I dreamed I woke up from a nightmare, only I went into another nightmare, this one. Well, now I’m going to wake up for real.”
    â€œWhat are you talking about?”
    â€œWake up!” I yell. “Wake up!”
    â€œDon’t shout,” Jacky says. “You’ll worry your mother.”
    Oh no—I’m still here, wherever here is. How do I wake up?
    â€œI thought you’d like me. I thought we’d be friends.”
    â€œHelp!”
    â€œDon’t you like me?”
    â€œWake up! Help!” I try to grab at the lamp on my night table, but I’m tangled in bedsheets, wrapped up like a mummy. “Wake up! Help!”
    Mom turns on the light. “Cameron?”
    I can’t say anything. I’m panting, freezing, boiling. I look to the desk. There’s nothing there. I look at the closet. It’s closed. Is he inside? No—there’s nothing inside. I’ve had a dream, that’s all. But if I’ve had a dream, why doesn’t this feel like waking up?
    Mom sits at the edge of my bed. “You’re soaking wet.” She feels my forehead. “You have a fever. Let me get you something.”
    â€œNo. Don’t go.”
    â€œEverything’s fine.”
    â€œIt’s not.”
    â€œIt will be.” She smoothes my hair off my forehead. “I’ll be right back.”
    â€œMom—”
    Mom opens my closet door. “There’s nothing in the closet,” she says gently. “There’s nothing under the bed either.”
    â€œI know that. I’m not a baby.”
    â€œI know.” Mom comes back to my bed. “Cameron, these fears of yours, they’re not your fault. It’s your father. Every time we move, the nightmares come back. But they go away. They always have. They will this time too. Remember that.” She gives me a kiss on the forehead and goes to get stuff from the bathroom.
    Mom’s right. It always starts like this in a new place. The nightmares come, but worst of all, they never feel like nightmares. They feel real. I see something like the kids’ stuff in the basement, and I start imagining things. Next thing you know, I’m on Planet Psych Ward.
    Mom comes back in a minute, sticks a thermometer in my mouth, and pats my face with a cool cloth. She checks my temperature. “Like I thought, a fever.” She gives me some medicine and has me bundle myself in a blanket while she changes my sheets. I’d help but I’m shivering too much.
    â€œAll right then,” Mom says. “Back into bed.” She tucks the covers under my chin. “You’re staying home from school tomorrow.”
    What? I’ll be here alone all day? With Sinclair next door and nightmares whenever I close my eyes?
    Mom reads my mind. “Don’t worry, I’ll stay home too. I’ll tell

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