Authors: Susan Fanetti
DREAM & DARE
The Night Horde SoCal Series
A Night Horde Side Trip
THE FREAK CIRCLE PRESS
Dream & Dare © 2015 Susan Fanetti
All rights reserved
Susan Fanetti has asserted her right to be identified as the author of this book under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
ALSO BY SUSAN FANETTI
The Night Horde SoCal Series:
Strength & Courage
, Book 1
Shadow & Soul
, Book 2
Today & Tomorrow,
Fire & Dark
, Book 3
The Pagano Family Series:
, Book 1
, Book 2
, Book 3
, Book 4
The Signal Bend Series:
(The first Night Horde series)
Move the Sun
, Book 1
Behold the Stars
, Book 2
Into the Storm
, Book 3
Alone on Earth
, Book 4
In Dark Woods
, Book 4.5
All the Sky
, Book 5
Show the Fire
, Book 6
Leave a Trail
, Book 7
For Sarah and Oz.
Because the story of their beginning, and of their lasting love, inspired me.
Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself.
Go forward and make your dreams come true.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dressed more conservatively than usual, Faith hooked a large, black portfolio over her shoulder and paused in the arch that separated the family room from the front hall. “I’ll be back as quick as I can, Beebs. Thanks for this.”
Bibi shifted Lana in her lap and pulled her hair out of the baby’s fist. “It’s fine, Faith. Hooj’s in therapy this mornin’, anyway, and I know he don’t like me watchin’. Even without words, he makes that clear.”
“I’ll be back in plenty of time for you to be there by lunch. It’s just…if I get this commission…”
She had submitted a proposal to do a sculpture for a new building at California State University-San Bernardino. Though Faith didn’t normally enjoy doing commission work, it paid better than the art she made for its own sake. And this commission, with its theme of ‘discovery,’ had her more excited than usual. She had made the final round and had an interview with the selection committee. Hence her business suit and sensible pumps.
“Honey, I know. He’s gonna be at that place a long time. We all gotta live around it. So go. I got the kids. Tuck and I’ll take good care of this little monkey.” She turned and smiled at the four-year-old sitting on the floor at her feet, going through a stack of books he’d brought over. “Right, Tuckster?”
Tucker looked up at Bibi and then at Faith. “Yeah. We’re gonna read stories.”
Faith bent down and tousled her son’s golden-brown hair. “Thank you, buddy. You always take good care of your sister.”
Sitting up proudly, Tucker nodded. “Yeah. I’m her pro-decker. Like Pa says.”
,” Faith laughed. “Exactly so. I’ll be back soon.”
With that, Faith turned and headed out, ducking the affections of Virgil, their big mutt, on her way out the front door. As always when Faith or Demon left and didn’t take him, Virgil stood for a second, staring at the door, his head cocked and his one upright ear at full attention. Then, with a whine, he trotted to the front window and nosed the sheers out of his way. He watched until Faith had driven out of sight. Then he barked once.
Lana started and looked over Bibi’s shoulder, dropping her pacifier from her mouth.
“Virgie!” Tuck scolded. “Don’t scare Lala!”
The dog whined again and then went to lie on the rug near the door. He’d stay there until Tucker moved out of his sight. Then he’d follow the kid. Bibi smiled at the dog. It was hard to take care of your people when they wouldn’t all just be still and stick together. She knew.
Having finally selected a book, Tucker climbed up on the sofa next to Bibi and Lana. Lana, almost nine months old now, reached over and grabbed a handful of Tucker’s hair. He leaned close and let her pull.
She was a grabby little thing. She was crawling, and beginning to stare longingly at tables and other furniture when she motored over to them, so standing and cruising wasn’t far off. Though she was a preternaturally quiet child, who rarely cried for long and only vocalized in sweet little songs and murmurs, she was also stubborn, and when she got moving, Bibi didn’t think anybody was going to be able to stop her. There was a dervish lurking behind that china-doll face.
Tucker had been badly delayed in all his developmental stages for the first couple of years of his life, but he was a smart little man, and in the two-and-a-half years since then, he’d caught up with his peers. He’d been a terrified, silent, still baby. Now he was an active, curious, chatty little boy who already thought seriously about the way things should be.
“What book did you pick, buddy?”
Tucker showed her the cover—full of brightly colored dinosaurs. A blue stegosaurus in the center wore a yellow backpack. The title was
Stanley Goes to School
. They’d read that book at least a hundred times. Lana seemed to like it as much as Tucker did. “Okay. You want me to read, or you?”
“I want to read. Lala likes it when I read.”
“Yeah, she does. So do I.” Tucker couldn’t read yet, but that didn’t slow him down at all. Though he knew the story the words told, and probably had it perfectly memorized, that didn’t slow him down, either. When he ‘read,’ he told his own story, and it was different every time. He wasn’t Faith’s natural child, but Bibi thought his elaborate imagination was due to her artistic nurturing.
His gentle manner with his baby sister, the way he took his ‘job’ as her ‘pro-decker’ so seriously—that was his daddy, shining right through him.
Bibi put her arm around the child who was the closest thing she had to a grandson and snuggled the child who was the closest thing she had to a granddaughter. For a few minutes, she set thoughts and worries about her husband aside and focused on this bright spot in the gloom of her current life.
Tucker opened the book. “Once-a-time,” he began. Bibi bent down and kissed his head.
Just before lunch, Bibi got to the San Gabriel Center, where Hoosier had been transferred a couple of weeks after Christmas.
Walking through the front entrance, she sighed at how much time, how many years, she’d spent visiting people she loved at this very place: Muse’s sister, Carrie, who’d died here after years in a persistent vegetative state. Faith’s mother and her own best friend, Margot, who lived here in the dementia wing and would someday die here. And now her husband of forty-two years.
Who’d damn well better not die here.
He was in their ‘Rehabilitation and Recovery Wing,’ which focused on ‘restorative care’ for ‘shorter-term’ patients. The hope was that Hoosier would someday come home. Six days a week, he had some kind of therapy: physical, occupational, cognitive, or speech. He’d suffered a catastrophic brain injury in the fire that had destroyed their home, their neighborhood, their lives, almost everything but their very existence. He’d also been badly burned, inside and out. He’d been comatose for almost two months, and when he’d woken, just before Christmas, he’d been unable to do almost anything except be awake.
He had to learn again to walk, to talk, to read, to write, to feed himself, to clothe himself. That first day, all he’d been able to do was to move his arms and legs when asked.
So he’d understood that much, and he’d had that much control of his body.
And he’d remembered Bibi immediately. She’d seen it in his eyes. After a day or two, he’d known their son, Connor, too.
He was in there. Her Hooj, the strong, wise, intuitive man she’d loved almost her entire adult life. She could see him in the beautiful, deep-brown eyes that stared back into hers. She could see her man, and she could see his furious desperation to be freed of whatever held him back. He was trapped inside a body that had forgotten how to understand him.
In the month since he’d woken, he had made some strides. He could feed himself again—not always tidily, but independently. Sometimes, he laughed in his usual way, a rough, subdued chuckle that said he knew so much more than anyone else did. And he was learning to walk again, to gain real control over his body.
But he couldn’t talk, and he didn’t seem to know anyone but her and Connor. Not even Faith and Demon. Not even Tucker and Lana.
When she talked to him, he watched her closely, and she saw that love and need in his eyes. But she didn’t see comprehension. He reacted to her, not to the things she had to say.
It was like they were separated by a thick glass wall—transparent but impenetrable.
But she came every day. She sat and held his hand. She ate with him. She made his room comfortable. She stayed with him. She would always stay with him.
On her way down the corridor, she saw Dr. Philpott, the neurosurgeon, coming out of Hoosier’s room. Philpott wasn’t Hoosier’s primary physician here at the center, and Bibi hadn’t known he was coming. If she had, she would have asked Faith to make other arrangements for the kids, because she would have wanted to be here.
He was an apparently renowned surgeon, but as a human being, Philpott was an asshole. He kept forgetting that there was a living person attached to the brain he was in charge of, or that the people who loved that living person had feelings and worries of their own.