The desperate scream echoed out around the wooden and earthy walls of the cabin. As it recoiled off of every surface it finally hit his ears in an attempt to get someone to help. He stirred then he realised what the unexpected noise was however and sat bolt right up, his eyes bloodshot and drained from the lack of sleep. The cabin around him stood unmoving, silent- as if the scream hadn’t happened at all. He swiftly turned to his side to check she was still there. She wasn’t where she would normally lie, curled up in front of the moonlight slicing in to the bare room from the shattered window. Panic began its spiralling dark abyss on Riker; this had never happened before and without Cassidy surely his sanity would be soon to fade. “Cassidy?” Riker hissed, careful to keep his voice down should there be any intruders lurking in the shadows. There was no reply to his call. He decided to try again “Cassidy?” His voice was louder but he was still unsure of his masculine tone somewhere within him. Taking matters further he scrambled to his feet and turned to look around him, the same quiet cabin looked back at him. A sudden rattle of an autumn gust threw the shack slightly sideways; everything lurched and groaned in protest at the violent airstream. Each floorboard creaked and grunted in time with one another making the small minuscule golden hairs prick up in alarm on his neck. Taking a tedious step forwards he peered into the open entryway to the kitchen: nothing. The only thing to suggest that Cassidy was here was an empty cup sat on the side of the washboard of the sink.
“Cassidy?” His voice was raised to a shout now as even more panic set under his skin “Where are you?” It was almost a plea; everything in his body was on the edge. Without Cassidy all hope of anything just seemed out of reach. He wasn’t taking any more precarious steps; he had reached the level of desperate.
Slamming against its frame the wooden door revealed a small hunched over shape with slim long fingers which clawed into its skull and weaved through the thick brown curls. Relief and trauma washed over Riker in an unpleasant mix, his muscles relaxed their tense sides gradually. “Cassidy!” He exclaimed falling hopelessly to his knees. His sudden relief was short lived however when he saw the bare silver of her knuckles as her fingers dug into her skull, the coffee curls not being able to disguise everything. Minute barely audible sobs escaped her slightly opened mouth; around her knees were deep grooves in the grass where she had clawed up the dirt in anguish and tears trickled in a stream of sorrow and emptiness down her thin chiselled features. “Are you ok?” Riker questioned his voice to quiet in the vast outdoors around them. This statement alone made more of an effect on her. “Riker…” She breathed out a raspy breath “He’s not coming back is he?” Cassidy wept already knowing the truth, deep in her heart. Not knowing what else to do Riker gently, between cries of suffering slipped a gentle arm around her shoulders as an act of comfort. His mind searched for something to say, something to do- he acknowledged the fact that anything he said in that moment wouldn’t matter.
Cassidy glanced up at him with her blue eyes of sorrow; she knew he was clueless, as was she in these situations. Her Will, Riker’s brothers and sisters, they would most probably be gone, claimed to be ‘The Lucky Ones’. They most probably had it better than Cassidy and Riker had, wherever you went after death could be better than this hell.
The sharp frozen drops of early morning rain began to fall catching Riker by surprise. Cassidy felt the drops touch her bare skin and she moved closer into Riker’s warm enticing embrace, he planted a short kiss onto her forehead and didn’t dare to say anything else to the weeping adolescent in his arms. Anything he could do right now wouldn’t help her current state of mind.
Hail beat down on them in a petrifying sheet of saturated drops, within minutes of it beginning Cassidy and Riker were drenched to the skin. His slim fingers ran through the brunette locks which were pasted to her forehead, driving away the hair so she could wail openly without the curtain of hair hiding her emotions.
Riker knew what had happened. It happened to him too occasionally, but it was nothing to be festive about. Nightmares, they weren’t just the monsters that you believed were under your bed or in the closet; memories of the city being destructed, flames licking at innocent humans threatening to suck them into the fiery inferno, the horror and the suffering that seemed to return each time you had the vile dreams. It was awful; Riker had only had the dreams infrequently, a virtue in his eyes. However every other night Cassidy would howl out in agony as she watched the sick, bitter and recurring images play out in her head. Riker only wished there was something he could do to support her in anyway.
Cautiously raising her head up to him she managed to mumble the words that she rarely ever said to him “Thanks…” It was almost silent but Riker saw her carefully crafted lips form the words so he understood it wasn’t his mind playing tricks on him. He managed a small non-existent smile in her direction, when he decided the gesture wasn’t enough he leaned closer to her ear and whispered softly “You’re more than welcome”