just a little flash fic based on the mine incident mentioned in 'Night of the Wolf'
The steady drip of water wasn’t even a noise any more. It was a part of his life that would never go away and Nick wondered if it had always been there. Ever since he’d shouted himself hoarse, the only sound was the incessant drip-drip-drip and the occasional scuffle when he tried to move, but he couldn’t even do that anymore. He remembered reading about the tomb of a long-ago king in far away Egypt in one of Jarrod’s books and wondered if this was how the king’s servants felt waiting to die after being buried alive with their master.
The blackness and the almost-silence were suffocating. Nick wasn’t sure if he would even know when he died, but he reckoned he wouldn’t have that cramp in his neck and his throat wouldn’t be burning with incessant thirst. It was almost a blessing that the dripping sound had blurred into the background; at least he wouldn’t think of water quite as much.
Nick wasn’t sure how long it had been since he was trapped in the old mine. He really should have listened to his father’s warning about exploring it, but he’d followed his father into other mines and thought he knew enough to keep himself safe. He wondered if anyone would ever find him.
Then he wondered if he was even real at all. He couldn’t see, couldn’t hear and even the pain in his neck and thirst didn’t seem to be there due to the numbing cold. Even the pain from his leg trapped under the heavy beam had disappeared and he almost believed it wasn’t there anymore. Nick grabbed his arm, dug in his fingernails and almost laughed in relief at the pain. He was real after all and was still alive.
His mind wandered then. He thought of the wide-open spaces of the ranch, of feeling the wind on his face and riding like the wind on his chestnut stallion.
But that was only a dream. The only reality was blackness, oppressive, heavy blackness and a world that existed only in his mind and he started to tumble into a pit that seemed to go on forever.
Then he heard a noise. It sounded like footsteps and he wasn’t sure if he wanted any company in that dark void.
“Nick? Nick, can you hear me?”
Why couldn’t I have conjured up a dance hall girl instead of my brother who's all the way in San Francisco studying law? he thought irritably.
“Nick, answer me!”
Even an imagined Jarrod wouldn’t give up. “Go away,” he croaked, annoyed, and tried change it to the voice of a pretty vaudeville singer.
“Hold on, Nick, I’m coming.”
Light suddenly bloomed at the edge of his vision and Nick was almost blinded. He heard the scuffing of boots on rock and blinked unbelievingly as his older brother crawled into small space of his prison.
“Are you okay?” Jarrod asked in concern.
If Nick could’ve hugged his brother at that point, he would have. He was alive. Even the shooting pains up his leg as Jarrod freed it felt heavenly as compared to the nothingness that had been his world.
He was real and he was still Nick Barkley.