Break my Fears

© 2013 by dqmwartist

Colleen couldn’t help but smile up at the handsome man sitting next to her.  He is sweet and kind, she thought.  Every time he looks at me I feel my face blush, and just being here with him makes my heart beat so fast.  He’s not like any other man I’ve been with.

Between them was a picnic basket and Colleen watched carefully as he began to set the food out on the cloth surrounding them.

 “Grace’s meatloaf sandwich” He said with a smile

“My favorite” Colleen couldn’t help but smile that he remembered.

“Really”

“What a coincidence”

“Lemonade”

“Lemonade?  He couldn’t have, Colleen thought, all my favorites?

“It’s fresh squeezed is that alright?”

“I love lemonade”

“Wait a minute, my favorite sandwich, my favorite drink; do you have my favorite pie for dessert?

“You never cared much for pie, if I’m not mistaken your favorite dessert is oatmeal cookies”

I love you so much, she thought, you let me be me and that is a wonderful gift. “Thank you….”

As she was about to find out who this man was, a floor board creaked nearby.  Colleen’s eyes flew open as she looked up into darkness. 

“Who’s there?” she cried out terrified of another intruder in the house.

“It’s me, Brian. Sorry ta wake ya up, couldn’t sleep.”

“Don’t scare me like that.” Thoughts of that night raced through her mind, my heart is beating so fast…  His hand covered my mouth and he held me tightly to him, demanding to know where the medicine was.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t break away.  Not until the shot was fired, ending the mayhem.  Even then I can’t seem to erase the memory of that night.

“I said I was sorry,” Brian answered back with a yawn, “I’m going back to bed now.

“Children, that’s enough,” Michaela called out in hopes of stopping their argument.  She then got up and made her way over to Colleen’s bed.  “Is everything ok,” she asked quietly.

Colleen could feel the tears forming in her eyes, “It’s just that I still get scared, ‘bout that night.  I’ve been so jumpy lately, every time I hear a strange noise.”

“I know what you mean; it’s hard to put some things out of your mind.  We all got a scare that night and you aren’t alone.”

Colleen smiled up at Dr. Mike, “Thanks.  I want to heal, but I dunno what to do.”

Michaela thought a moment, “It won’t be easy, but leaving the house to go to school would help get your mind off things.  Staying here all the time won’t make the problem go away.”

“I know, it’s just,” Colleen sniffed, “First it was the spot and then I was so scared to leave.  I kept thinkin’ that rifle was gonna protect me if he came back.”

Michaela took a deep breath, “I know how frightened you were, and we were all there with you.  Tom scared me too.  As much as I didn’t want to, I pulled the trigger even knowing that weapons are dangerous and hurt people no matter how much you want it to protect you.”

Colleen nodded, Dr. Mike is right, the rifle won’t protect me, and it will only hurt someone.  “Can you help me get through this? I’m nervous about going back to school and even into town but you’re right.”

“Yes, I’ll be right here with you,” Michaela answered as she leaned over and placed a kiss on Colleen’s forehead.  “We’ll get through this.”

“Thanks, Dr. Mike,” Colleen mumbled as she rolled back over and shut her eyes.  I’m so tired and just want another dream to erase that horrible night, even if it’s only temporary.

**
“Is Colleen gonna be ok?”  Sully asked, concern written in his eyes.  “I’ve been worried about her after findin’ her in ta homestead twice after Tom’s break in.”

Michaela looked up from the medical text she was reading, “I think so, and she wants to get better.”

“That’s a good sign.”

“I talked with her last night, and I know she wants help in healing.  While I have you to lean on in times of trouble, Colleen doesn’t have that.  She’s been terribly frightened, we all have.”

“Told her I’d stick around school if she wanted me ta, just ta make sure she was alright.  My offer still stands.”

“Oh, Sully, would you please?  For me?”

“Of course I will,” Sully replied with a smile as he reached out and welcomed Michaela into his open arms.

“Thank you, Sully.”

“Anytime,” Sully responded as he held her close a moment longer.  “I gotta protect my family and I’m gonna do everythin’ in my power to make sure no harm comes to ya and the children.”

Michaela could feel the beating of Sully’s heart as he spoke, He’s always been there for us no matter what, she thought, and I feel better already knowing he’ll watch out for Colleen.  It hurt me so much to see her frightened and broken inside.  I pray she’ll get through this.

Sully sensed something as he held Michaela, a peace and love he couldn’t put into words and then there was something else.  What is it about her that moves me so?  I feel and sense everything about her, it’s overpowering and wonderful.  He didn’t get far in his thoughts when the door flew open and a gust of wind blew inside.

“Ma,” Colleen called out as she shut the clinic door firmly behind her.  I tried, I really tried but I just can’t…

Michaela didn’t think when she broke out of Sully’s embrace, my daughter needs me and I must go to her, “What’s the matter, are you ok?”

“I am, no I’m not,” Colleen replied shaking her head in both directions.  “We were talkin’ about…and I…,” I can’t stop the tears anymore, just as much as I hate feelin’ this way.

“Take your time, your Ma and I are here for ya,” Sully soothed as best he could, Breaks my heart ta see her this way.

“I’m so scared, getting’ jumpy at the smallest things.  We were just talkin’ bout normal stuff and then one of the boys decides it would be fun ta shoot at the birds.  The moment he went bang…I,” Colleen trailed off as fresh tears formed, spilling down her cheeks.

I wanna tell her all boys do stupid stuff like that, that they only wanna get some attention.  But she’s so scared that I dunno what to do, cept  protect her best I can, Sully thought to himself.

“Oh, Colleen, I’m so sorry,” Michaela murmured as she held her daughter close.  She glanced over at Sully with pleading eyes, Please help, she asked as if he could hear her every thought.  She’s breaking inside, we all are but she needs the most help.

“Come on, Colleen, I’ll take ya home,” Sully offered hoping to get his chance to sooth away any lingering fears. “Thanks Sully,” Colleen replied through her tears, “I’d like that.”

Michaela was grateful when Colleen let go and followed Sully out of the clinic. There was a time when she thought she loved him, but I can see now she’s starting to look at him as a father, a father who will protect her, always.

**

Sully turned to look at Colleen, “Any time ya need to talk, just say so and I’ll be there ta listen,” her tear stained face looking back at him with a slight smile.

“Thanks,” she replied meekly, and then thought a moment, I’d feel so much better knowing he was there, even if it was just for a little while, before speaking again, “Think maybe ya could make sure I’m safe at school tomorrow?” 

“Sure thing,” Sully answered back.  I’d be glad too, he added silently.

There was a time when I wanted him ta be my hero, but now I couldn’t be happier for him and Ma.  They deserve each other, Colleen mused, Sides he’s gonna be my Pa someday and a girl needs her father sometimes and this is one of those times.

Sully watched as Colleen wiped the tears from her face, hopped down from the wagon and disappeared into the homestead.  She’s a fighter, he thought to himself, just like her Ma.  Maybe that fight will help pull her through this.

Once inside, Colleen let out some of the breath she was holding.  Sully’s right outside, she thought, he’ll make sure I’m ok.  “I’d better get dinner started, she then said to herself.

First I gotta find the cookbook, and then start cuttin’ up the onion, potatoes and carrots for the meat pie, Colleen mused as she worked.  Within minutes she had everything she needed, except the meat. Meat, that’s right, I gotta go outside for that, Sully’s outside I’ll be ok, right?  He’ll protect me…Colleen trailed off in her thoughts as she steeled herself to go out in the open.  “I can do this,” she repeated in a whisper to herself.

Sully had just finished tending to the horses and was exiting the barn when she appeared, “Colleen....” he started to say but didn’t get far. Why’s she whisperin’ like that?  Ain’t nobody here gonna hurt her, Sully thought as he watched Colleen head to the cellar and return moments later with a cut of meat.

“Thank God,” Colleen breathed the moment she closed the door behind her.  I’m safe again and no one’s gonna hurt me.  Just then she heard a noise outside and she panicked. What’s that noise? Someone’s comin’ I gotta get the rife….Colleen thought in rapid succession until she looked up and realized it was just Sully.   “I’m so sorry,” she sobbed as she sunk to the floor, “Everythin’ makes me jump.”

“Colleen, no one’s gonna hurt ya,” Sully soothed.  Everythin’s gonna be alright; here let me help ya up.”

Great, I had another meltdown in front of Sully, this isn’t good, she thought to herself.  Although I am glad he was here ‘fore I did something stupid, she added for good measure.

Colleen glanced over at Sully as he removed his coat and then bent down to tend the fire.   “Let me know when it’s hot enough to put the kettle on,” some tea sound real nice, “and Sully, thank you,” Colleen added.

Sully smiled to himself, “You’re welcome,” I really hate seein’ her like this and if I can’t get through to her, I hope Michaela can, Sully mused as he poked at the fire.

Colleen took a deep breath, I can do this, there’s nothin’ to worry over.  Sully’s here if anythin’ happens, Colleen mused a moment before beginning the dinner preparations in earnest.  Ma taught me so much, she thought, and I’m grateful since Dr. Mike isn’t the best of cooks.  It’s been great to teach her how to cook and see the progress in return.

She then went through the motions of cooking, starting with the onion first, then combining it with the meat and gravy.  When everything was mixed, Colleen made the pie shell.  I really hope this turns out well, pies can be tricky things.  Fingers crossed.  By the time Dr. Mike, Brian, and Matthew arrived home, the meat pie was cooking in the oven and smelling absolutely divine.

“Colleen dinner smells wonderful,” just as soon as she entered Michaela’s senses were assaulted with the smells of meat and spices. I wonder if Colleen could teach me how to make one of those pies, she’s been a great teacher so far.

“Thanks, Ma,” Colleen replied thrilled that her efforts paid off.  I’ve been so jumpy lately that I hope it turns out well, she added as an afterthought.

“I’ll set the table,” Brian chimed in, my stomach is already growling and those smells are making me hungry, he thought to himself as he gathered up plates and silverware.

“I’m gonna go wash up first,” Matthew said as he removed his hat and bandana.  “Looks like you done good there, Colleen.”

“Thanks,” Colleen replied with a small smile. Brothers sure are great for cheering up and all.  I’m glad I have two of them, even if they are a pain sometimes. 

“How is she?” Michaela asked in a whisper as she sat down close to Sully who was still near the fire, watching it burn.

Sully glanced over at Colleen a moment and then turned back to Michaela, “Better now that she’s got somethin’ to occupy her mind,” he replied with relief in his eyes and concern in his heart that she might snap again.

“Good, I’m glad.”  I’ve been worried about her all afternoon and couldn’t wait to get home and make sure she was ok.  Grateful Sully was here to watch out for her, Michaela thought as Sully pulled her close.

**

The next morning Colleen stood with a basket nestled on her hip while her other hand reached in to grab some feed and scatter it on the ground.  As soon as it hit the ground, roosters and hens were all over it, pecking madly to get as many seeds as they could.  I wonder what it would be like to be a chicken, not having to worry about much at all.  Might be kinda nice, ‘cept for being afraid of foxes and all.  Then there’s a dogs life and well that seems a bit too lazy for my taste.  Just wish some days I didn’t have to deal with all these fears”, she said aloud, not realizing that everything she said had been heard.

Once the feed was scattered, Colleen made her way carefully over to the nests and began to gather eggs.  She was still unaware of the figure that lingered nearby in silence. 

Tom sat in silence, thoughts running through his head, I hate that I did this too her and Ma kept worrin’ about her so much that I had to come see if she was alright.  None of them understand this pain I’ve been going through and how badly I need that medicine.  But anyhow, looks like Colleen’s getting’ on ok.  She seems like a real nice girl and I would like to get to know her better if she’d let me.  Maybe if I stay she and I could be friends.  He kept his distance as Colleen finished gathering eggs and headed back inside, only then did he take his leave.

Colleen made it to the door and was just about to open it when the sound of a stick snapping in two broke the silence in the air.  “Who’s there?”  She called out, trying to keep her voice level as she looked around her.  My heart’s beatin’ so fast and it’s wonder the eggs are still in my basket.  I’m so scared I don’t know what to do, she thought to herself.  Maybe I should set my basket down or  She didn’t get too far with her thoughts when the door suddenly opened and Dr. Mike appeared on the other side.

“Something wrong?”  Michaela asked, noticing how white Colleen’s face looked.  Oh my she is white as a sheet; I can’t imagine what caused this.

Um..I…thought…I um…heard somethin’ is all.  I was just comin’ back inside.” I gotta get inside, can’t stay out anymore, too scared, she thought to herself not caring at the moment that Dr. Mike saw her like this.

Michaela contemplated going outside to figure out what it was that had scared Colleen, but thought better of it.  “Colleen,” she said gently, turning to her daughter.  “Can we talk?  Something’s clearly wrong and I’d like to know what I can do to help you.”

“I well….I was…,” Colleen started but soon found it was harder to get the words out than she thought.  Take a deep breath, you can do this.  “I was gatherin’ eggs and was just about to go inside when I heard a stick snap.  It seemed so loud and I got so scared.”  Her eyes were nearly filled with tears by the time she had spilled out the short ordeal.

This can’t go on, Michaela thought to herself, she’s too scared to do anything and it hurts me to see her like this.  “You remember the talk we had about getting out?

Colleen nodded, “I remember,” she responded as her tears subsided.  “I went to school that one day, but…” she trailed off.

“Colleen, as scared as you are, you have to face your fears, not hide from them.  They may not go away immediately, but in the meantime you can’t keep letting them win,” Michaela held her close for a moment before she pulled away again.  “I’d like for you to try again, would that be alright?”

Colleen took a moment to consider, “I really do love school and learnin’, seein’ my friends and all too.  Guess with all that happened I thought being here would keep me safe.”  She looked down at her hands a moment, gripping her skirts, “’Course now I realize that ain’t the answer.”

Michaela smiled to herself, “No it’s not the answer.  I think in time those fears will pass, but you can’t hide from them in here.”

A moment later a knock sounded on the door, Colleen wanted to run but Michaela looked at her firmly making her promise in her own silent way that she wouldn’t run.  “Tom, what are you doing here?”  The surprise evident in Michaela’s voice the moment she opened the door.

Oh God, this can’t be happening.  I’ve got to get out of here; he can’t see me like this.  He’ll, he’ll… Colleen looked frantically around for an escape route and soon found herself pinned to the floor, with Tom’s gaze on her.

“I’m real sorry I startled ya back there,” Tom said with as much sincerity as he could muster.  It’s hard being nice to folks when you are in so much pain.  Sides if I don’t do this, Matthew will have my hide for it.

“It’s ummm,” Colleen found herself searching for words, “…no trouble really,” she stammered out hoping that the sooner she responded the sooner he’d leave.  I don’t like the way he’s looking at me, even if I did think he was a nice fellow.

Tom forced a smile, “Well, then I’ll be on my way.  Nice ta see ya folks.”  Thank goodness that’s over with, Tom thought as soon as the door shut behind him.  All I wanted was to make sure she was ok, not get some damn lecture from her brother.  Good grief.

“What are you doing sneakin’ around?” Matthew demanded

“Just seeing if Colleen was alright and all,” Tom replied as he eyed Matthew wondering what was coming next.

“Do you realize how much pain you caused her?” Matthew spat out wanting to get his point across.  For a spilt second he saw Tom flinch.

“Look, I’m real sorry about that.  That was the medicine talkin’ not me,” Tom answered back not taking his eyes off Matthew.  Moment I take my eyes off him, he’s gonna come after me and we can’t have that.

“Why don’t you tell her yourself?  She oughta here it from ya,” Matthew responded with a firm cold tone to his voice.

Tom looked at Matthew long and hard, He’s not kidding with me and he will do something to me if I don’t.  Best go up there for what good it will do.  “Alright, I will.  Then I’m leavin’.”

Fine by me.”  Matthew then watched as Tom did as he said, apologized and left.  As nice a man as he Tom seemed to be, he sure didn’t like the man with the addiction that had come out and caused so much harm.

I’m gonna go see if she’s alight now, Matthew thought and then paused when he reached the door.  He could hear Colleen and Dr. Mike talking.

Colleen sank to the floor as soon as the door was shut, I don’t know whether to be relived or scared anymore.  Seeing him was unexpected, and yet maybe that’s what I needed, she thought for a moment.  Ma is right that I gotta get out and today would be a good day for that.  A moment later she got up, and smiled at Dr. Mike before going over and giving her a big hug. “Thank you for being my Ma, please don’t ever stop.”

Michaela embraced her daughter, unsure what to make of the sudden turn of behavior.  “You’re welcome.  It’s my pleasure to be your mother and don’t worry I won’t ever stop.” Thank you, God for answering my prayers.  I think she’s going to be alright.