Sleepless

This was written for the 2014 photo prompt challenge for TIWF. The photo shown is the one I used to base my story on.

 

Sleepless

by vicki1963

The night was hot, and the humidity was stifling, making it hard for him to sleep. Hell it was hard for anyone. Finally getting up, John Tracy decided to go for a walk around the villa to see if he could make himself tired enough to try to get off to sleep.

Moving quietly through the upstairs hallway, past his brother’s and father’s rooms; he first went to the kitchen to get a refreshing drink before heading to the lounge. But even that still didn’t help him. He was too hot, and his mind was full of thoughts he really wanted to be gone. He headed to the balcony through the glass doors, which had been left open to let what little breeze there was in, as the night was a sweltering one. This was not too unusual, considering they lived on a tropical island. But this night was one of the worst he’d had to endure since he’d come home from Thunderbird 5. At least up in space he had even temperature all the time.

Deciding he needed some fresh air, John made his way out of the lounge and down the stairs that led to the pool area, but he didn’t stop there. Instead, he took the path down to the beach. Walking along the shore, he watched the waves come up to the shoreline onto the sandy beach, sometimes crashing onto the rocks nearby. The moon was a bright white light low in the sky shining on the waves making them sparkle like diamonds. Out in the distance he could see lightning coming down out of the dark clouds heralding a tropical storm, it looked like it might be about a mile or so from their island, it was probably the real culprit behind the humidity. Whether it moved in their direction or not, he had no idea; if it did, it would bring the much-needed relief for them.

What breeze there was wasn’t much better down on the shore than it was back up at the villa, but it seemed to cool him a bit better than when he was inside. But it didn’t ease the torment in his mind. He believed he hid it well, but he knew Scott could sense he was having difficulty adjusting to what had happened on a rescue they had done two weeks prior. It was a day that International Rescue failed in saving everyone. John knew as his brothers did, they couldn’t always save everyone every time they went out. Not from want of trying. But this one had affected him because the young woman was so much like a woman he had known before International Rescue, a woman he’d cared about who was also now gone from this life. 

The woman he’d known had died of cancer, unlike the woman they couldn’t save, who had died from the injuries she had sustained from the disaster that had trapped her and a dozen others in a building collapse when a massive earthquake had hit Chile. She wasn’t the only one who had died that day, but she was the only face that seemed to affect him. They saved many lives including children among them, but her death just seemed to stay with him, reminding him of the loss of his friend.

His friend had died three years earlier, but what made it comeback to him was that it was on the same date. They weren’t romantically involved, far from it, but they did have a lot in common, mostly astronomy. They would sit for hours under the stars at night looking through their telescopes or just discussing the new theories that were out. What he really loved was that he could talk to her about others things as well. They talked about family, their jobs, their ambitions and dreams.

John missed her and the talks they had. He knew he could talk to his brothers, but it wasn’t the same like it had been with her. She told him she had cancer when she found out. It was around the same time he found out what his father planned with starting International Rescue, but he never told her he was leaving. Instead, she left first. She had been given six months to live, but never got that far. Two months after she was diagnosed she was gone. John left after the funeral to start his new life with International Rescue, moving on as she wanted him to.

Starting to finally feel tired enough to sleep through the heat, John headed back. When he reached the lounge, he found his brother Scott waiting there. 

‘What are you doing up?’ John asked knowing it was one of two reasons and probably both.

‘Could ask the same of you,’ Scott said.

‘Too hot; thought I’d take a walk to cool down. Anyway, I thought you were exhausted?’

‘I am, but you know that doesn’t stop me waking if I sense one of my brothers needs me.’

‘I’m fine Scott.’

‘No, you’re not; you haven’t been for the last couple of weeks.’

Knowing he wasn’t going to get away without telling him something John said. ‘You remember Chris?’

‘Your friend, the one who died of cancer?’

‘Yeah.’

‘What about her?’

‘Two weeks ago was the 3rd anniversary of her death.’

Scott did the calculations and remembered John being upset about a woman dying more than he should. Now he knew why.

‘Do you want to talk about it?’

‘Yeah, but not tonight.’ 

‘Tomorrow then?’

‘Okay.’

A clap of thunder sounded off in the distance. 

‘Looks like the storm I saw from the beach is heading our way.’

‘Good, we could do with some relief from this heat. Well, come on let’s get back to bed before Dad hears us.’

Heading back up to their rooms, Scott and John said goodnight to each other and went to bed. Unseen by them was their father, who had heard Scott going down to the lounge and had followed. Not letting on that he was there he heard the brief conversation between his two eldest sons. He had been worried about John as well, but knowing Scott had everything in hand he knew it would be all right.

Settling back into bed himself, he could hear the thunder getting louder as it got closer to the island. Letting himself drift off to sleep he knew that both the heat and John would be eased in the morning.