Lord Dagon was awakened later that night by the sound of Robert screaming and crying in his cabin. Donning his pants as quickly as he could, Charles grabbed a lantern and lit it before running from his cabin to Robert’s. His thoughts raced, for he knew that Robert was having the nightmare again about Leigha by the cries that he was making. It had been more than a week since he had last heard his son’s screams in the night, and he had been hoping that the dream had stopped torturing his son’s mind. He could not understand why the dream would come on this night after they had just found out where Leigha was and that she was alive. All wonderings stopped as he went to Robert’s bedside and held his son in his arms for comfort as he had when Robert was a child, cradling his shivering body against his chest and instinctively rocking to and fro until Robert’s breathing became easier and he seemed to have calmed down.
“Are you better now, son?” Charles’ voice was deep with concern as he drew back from him.
Robert nodded his head though his face was still quite pale and drawn. Charles looked intently at him for a moment and then stood and went to a small chest across the room. Opening it, he pulled out a flask and a metal cup, having found Robert’s hiding place for his liquor several days before. Bringing them back to the bed with him, he silently poured the rich fluid from the flask into the cup and handed it to his surprised son.
“You are troubled, and this will help,” Charles said, avoiding Robert’s eyes, “Though I wish that there was something else that could ease your pain. I’m afraid that this will harm you more in the long run, Robert.”
“I don’t want any more of your lectures.” Robert’s voice cracked, barely above a whisper. Taking a long swallow and wincing as it burned his throat, he lay back in the bed, staring with vacant eyes as he waited for the familiar warmth to spread through his body and ease the pain in his heart before he spoke again. “I’m sorry, Father. I do thank you, and I know what you mean, but believe me, I will be all right once I have Leigha back. You must know that.”
“I certainly hope so,” Charles said, not convinced by the sincerity in Robert’s voice. Shaking his head against his negative thoughts, he smiled and patted his son’s arm as he then added, “I’m sure that we will find her, and you will be your old self again.” Robert closed his eyes and turned on his side away from his father, leaving Charles to his own thoughts as he waited for sleep to come. Charles sighed in concern, aware that his son was becoming increasingly dependent on alcohol to soothe him and at times obliterate all thoughts and feelings, leaving him numb and useless. He just did not know what else he could do as he sat quietly beside his son and prayed. Robert was aware that his father remained with him and was grateful for his love, for he felt as lost to the alcohol as he was to the terrible dreams that tormented him. His pain and fear stayed with him day and night through this nightmare of Leigha’s disappearance. He soon drifted off to sleep knowing that his father would remain.
Charles sat and silently watched his son for a while, thinking of the dream that kept shattering Robert’s soul. They all knew the details of the repetitive dream and believed as Robert did that it was far too realistic to be just a dream. His screams, whenever it came, brought the horror of it to all of them. Charles prayed as Robert fell deeper into sleep beside him that this would not come true. He had to believe that they would find Leigha alive and well very soon. Unable to bear thinking otherwise, his tears fell as he kept his silent vigil over his now sleeping son.