White Dog nestled against me when I finally had calmed myself enough to sleep. "It was only a nightmare, momma. Everything is OK," she whispered and pressed closer. I shuddered and sank into the security of her warmth. Steve wrapped his arm around me.
I had awakened with a start, disoriented, certain that Quinn was in grave danger. My sense was so real that I never considered it was a dream. I thought I had gone into the Office where TOWD sleeps and that he was dying. My eyes welled up and I convinced myself that I ought to check once more before waking Steve. So this time, awake, I ventured into the other room. I could not get to Quinn as Nuka and Puff were sleeping next to and around him so I sat at my desk and turned my chair to watch my gentle boy. In the near darkness I could not see the rise and fall of his side and he did not stir. I waited and strained to see but now tears were falling steadily. I was filled with loss.
After a very long time I returned to the bedroom and sat heavily on the bed. White Dog nudged Steve like she used to do when I was so very sick and he instantly sat up. "What's wrong?" "I think Quinn..." "What?" "Just go check on him, please!" Steve returned in a minute and said, "Quinn is fine, he is dreaming and his legs are twitching like he is running. Every one is good."
I have not had a nightmare as realistic or as scary since dog knows when and Steve's news washed me with such relief that I sobbed. I know one day Quinn's time will come and I pray that it be a quiet passing in his sleep...but I also hope deep in my soul that is a long long time from now.
By this morning all of the White Dog Army had migrated to sleep surrounding the bed and doorway. They were, in a way, guarding me from the dream demons, for I am sure they all sensed my middle-of-the-night horror. Quinn certainly looked at me questioningly when I greeted him with extra fervor, a huge hug...and his own pre-breakfast strip of duck jerky.