Nightmares: Book
Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Seventh in the series. Let me know what you think!


The usual disclaimer: They're not mine (though I wish Jayne was), and I'm making no $$$ off of this.

Feedback is greatly appreciated! Leave me lots, good or bad. Your encouragement/criticism is what keeps me going. :)


The American Civil War on Earth that Was had been a war often fought between brothers. This, too, was a Civil War of sorts, as well as a Revolution. But who ever thought I'd meet my brother under these...

His thoughts were interrupted by a shock of electricity that ripped through his body and left him reeling. As he struggled to catch his breath, that voice came from behind the glass, "Now, are you going to tell us what we want to know?"

"Piss off." He was rewarded with another bone jarring shock for his insubordination.

"The more you resist, the worse this is going to get for you, you know."

Too exhausted to reply, he just nodded.

The voice came over the intercom, "We're not going to get anything else out of him today. Take him back to his cell."

The two guards removed the nodes, and picked him up from his chair. They were less than gentle, eliciting a groan from their ward. They dragged him back to his cell and tossed him in, locking the door behind them.

His cell. More like a coffin set on its end. It was too small for him to lie down, or even sit and stretch his legs. About the only position he could manage comfortably was to curl on the floor in a fetal position. An access door opened and a small bottle of water and a few scraps of protein were pushed through it, and hit the floor. He reached out and shoved the protein in his mouth, ravenous for some sustenance after today's 'session'. However, he ate it too fast, and his stomach rebelled. He crawled over to the hole in the floor that served as his toilet, and it all came back up.

He began to sob miserably. They were close to breaking him, and he knew that the only thing to follow would be his death. Be it at the hands of his captors, or those he would betray, he didn't know. The curtain covering the window in the door of his cell pulled back, and he found himself looking into those eyes. Those eyes that he remembered providing comfort and sympathy when he was small and skinned his knees, or had been bullied by the bigger boys in his class.

They looked down on him now, and they were inscrutable. "Why?" he croaked. "Why are you doing this to me?"

The access door opened, and a little more food was pushed through. "Eat this," said the voice of his once best friend and now tormentor, "you'll need your strength for tomorrow." The curtain dropped, and he was gone.

It was a cruel kindness. If he was stronger the next day, it just meant that there would be that much more suffering he'd have to endure. But hunger won out over sense and he took it, making sure to eat it more slowly this time. He took a few sips of his water, then fell into a dreamless sleep. The sleep of the dead.

The next day began much as the others had. A bucket of water was thrown over him, and he was pulled up off the floor, and dragged to the interrogation room. The nodes were applied to his temples, and the misery began anew. He almost didn't even hear the questions anymore, and his lack of response earned him his punishment. Every time the shocks increased in voltage, and suddenly he just couldn't take it anymore. With a cry, he begged for it to stop, and told them what they wanted to know.

A heavy silence filled the room. Oh God, what had he done? Thousands would die because of what he'd just told them. For one moment of relief, he'd doomed his comrades. He dropped his head down onto the table and wept. The voice came through the intercom, "Your cooperation is much appreciated."

Fury caused him to stand, rip the nodes off, and face the one sided mirror in front of him, "My cooperation is appreciated? You fucking bastard!" he screamed. "I've just doomed an entire legion of my army, and my cooperation is APPRECIATED? Who are you? Because there's no way in hell that you're still my brother! And Hell is the only place you belong now!"

The guards dragged him out of the room, still ranting and thrashing about. Instead of taking him to his usual cell though, he was brought to one that was larger. It had a bed, a real toilet, and a sink. It even had a window, the glass reinforced with wire mesh. But it was a window. He looked outside for the first time in days, and it was raining. Even the sky was crying for what he had done.

A few hours later, his dinner arrived. Not surprisingly it was all of his favorite things. He just shoved it around with his fork, too ashamed of himself to eat. He knew a last meal when he saw it. He pushed the tray away, and sat desolately on the edge of the bed, until he fell over in a restless sleep.

The next morning he woke up, disoriented and confused. He'd drowned in his cups again the night before, and realized he was on the street outside the bar. Must've gotten thrown out at some point. He sat up blearily, and looked around him. He was in some no name, pissant little village. Just another one of a string of pissant little villages he'd been existing in lately.

A shadow fell across his face, and he looked up into a kindly round face. "My son, you look as though you could use a shower and a meal."

"I don't need any goddamn charity, Padre'. Leave me alone."

The Shepherd held out his hand, "At least let me help you up out of the gutter before you get run over."

He reluctantly took the outstretched hand, and the Shepherd hauled him to his feet. The man was strong, stronger than he was at that point, and he didn't protest when he found himself being led to a nearby church. He walked inside, and stared at the crucifix hanging over the altar. But instead of Jesus, he saw his brother...tied to a fence, and riddled with bullets.

He turned to the Shepherd, "Padre', I have a confession to make."

"And how long has it been since your last confession?"

He laughed ruefully, "I haven't confessed to anything since I was a child."

"Then you're more than overdue. Come, have a wash, have a meal, then you can tell me all about it."

"No, I need to do this now."

"What's your name son?"

"Derrial Book."

"And what is this sin that absolutely can't wait?"

Tears threatened to choke him, "I...I murdered my baby brother."



Wednesday, July 26, 2006 1:02 AM


That was an interesting twist. As I was reading I assumed the one being tortured was our Book and the brother was the torturer, so very impactive to find at the end that it was the other way round. No wonder he turned to God. Very good, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, July 27, 2006 7:39 PM


Wow...this is some mighty powerful stuff here, qwerty...damn powerful stuff. Mucho props to ya:D

Can't wait for Kaylee and Simon's nightmares. Gotta's cruel, but I really can't wait to see what kind of nasty dream Kaylee's gonna conjure up. Probably won't even be what we would expect, now will it?



Thursday, August 3, 2006 5:16 AM


"The American Civil War on Earth that Was had been a war often fought between brothers."

That line, for me, best captures Book's voice.


You must log in to post comments.



Nightmares: Simon
Ninth and final in the series. I was a bit frantic while writing this, and I hope you all feel that way reading it. Love it? Hate it? Let me know.

Nightmares: Kaylee
Eighth in the series. Praise Buddha I'm almost done with these. I've visited some disturbing areas of my brain that I'd forgotten existed. Feedback...please?

Nightmares: Book
Seventh in the series. Let me know what you think!

Nightmares: Wash
Sixth in the series. What might have been if Wash hadn't gone to flight school. Not all that scary, unless you see yourself in this story. :)

Nightmares: Zoe
Fifth in the series. It's short, but hopefully effective. Let me know...Zoe isn't the easiest character for me to write.

Nightmares: Inara
Fourth in the series. Not much else I want to reveal at this point... Enjoy!

Nightmares: Jayne
Third in the series...
This story contains subject matter that, while more implied than graphic, some folks might find offensive/disturbing.

Nightmares: Mal
Second in the series. The subject matter is a bit dark (it is a nightmare after all), but it's nothing too graphic. Let me know what you think!

Nightmares: River
The first in a series of ficlets exploring the dark places the mind goes while one sleeps. As the title states, this is River's.

What He'd Like
Just a little fluffy ficlet...