He couldn't sleep. He was afraid to close his eyes, afraid to dream. Afraid of the blood, of the screams. Afraid of the bursts of light. Afraid to cry.
Jack ran a hand through his wavy brown hair as a trickle of sweat dripped down the side of his tanned face. Sighing he looked at the clock and groaned as he saw he had to be up in three hours. Shaking he turned off the lamp and laid back down on the bed for one more go at sleep.
"Oh God, Just one night?" he pleaded.
Though his body shook he soon drifted off, to one night without dreams.
Jack didn't even look at the man speaking "Yeah"
"Want to talk about it?"
A long silence followed as the two men watched the shore slowly vanish from their view at the ferry's rail.
"You gonna stay long on the island?"
" No just visiting a friend." Jack dully replied.
" Oh! Well I Probably know them, I know most everyone on the island. Who is it?"
Jack didn't answer.
"By the way, my name is Carter Hoffman"
"Lt. Jack Nickleson , US Army."
Jack ignored the offered handshake.
"Mineral Town, Mineral Town!" The voice on the loud speaker announced.
" I don't know why they bother announcing this place. Its the only place on the island the ferry stops!"
Carter said in his German accent.
He looked at his quiet companion. Carter didn't expect an answer, and Jack didn't surprise him.
"Its a lovely place in the spring, course its still winter but any day now you will wake up and all the snow will be gone and the flowers will be in bloom. Thats how Flower Bud Island got its name. There are always flowers there even in the winter."
Jack was still quiet.
"Excuse me, Carter, but you and your friend will have to leave the ferry, I have important things to do."
Carter glanced up at the hulking man. "Just a minute, Zach."
Zach glared hotly down at them."Make it fast." He turned his heel and left.
Carter rubbed a large hand on the back of his neck. "Lieutenant you intrigue me. I try to be friendly and all I get is your name and rank! If I asked I'd probably get your serial number but that would be about all !"
Jack smiled and rubbed his bloodshot green eyes.
Carter continued. " I may be German, but I assure you I am no Nazi!"
"Never said you were." Jack mumbled.
"Well you know how prejudice is with this accent mos people have me pinned down as Hitlers Right hand man most of the time" Carter laughed. " Until they get to know me that is. I just want you to know that if you ever need a place to stay or someone to talk to just look me up. Ask the villagers where to find me." He smiled warmly. Patting Jack on the back he turned and left.
Jack stayed put for a moment then turned and followed.
" Hello? Anyone here?"
Jack rang the service bell once again.
" I'm coming I'm coming !"
Someone raced down the stairs and past Jack in a blur.
"Hi and welcome to Mineral Inn! How may I help ya?"
Jack found himself staring into a pair of large blue eyes set in a heart shaped face and framed by the loose strands of a very red braid. It was a girl.
"What are you looking at me fer? I don't look that bad!" the girl said indignantly smoothing out her dusty overalls and trying to fix her flyaway hair.
"What? Oh no, no you don't look bad at all. And I wasn't staring at you! Aren't you a little young to be running an inn?"
" My PA runs the inn for you information, and I'm not that young Mr. Know-it-all! I'm 17 years old!" The girl stood as tall as she could. "And who do you think you are, coming in here and insulting me like that Fancy Pants!"
"ANN MALLORY!!!! Just what in blue blazes do you think you are doing?! You don't EVER talk back to guests! Do I have to give you a wiping? I'm very sorry sir, it wont happen again."
A large red headed man appeared from a room in the back.
"Doug Mallory, at your service. What can I do for you?"
"First let me say something to the young lady." Jack said grinning.
"I'm sorry if I insulted you in any way and I would like you to know that I , Lt. Jack Nickleson US army, will forever be in your service as payment."
Jack removed his hat and bowed low.
" Can you every forgive Miss Mallory?"
He looked up just in time to see Ann stick her tongue out at him and run of.
" I take it thats a no." Jack remarked. He ran his fingers through his hair and laughed.
"So Lt. Nickleson of the USA, thats....nice." Doug half smiled.
"Discharged thanks to this." Jack patted his right leg.
" Yea I noticed the limp as you came up the walk. I would have been out sooner and spared you Ann, but I had something on the stove. So you lose the leg?"
" No just badly mauled I guess you could say. Can't serve like I was so they showed me the door. You have a room open? I'm going to be staying a few days."
"So why aren't you back in the states where you should be?" Doug asked as he took Jack's bags.
" I was. Only came back to Europe cause there was something I had to do."
"Well I don't know what you would have to do here on Flower Bud. The Island is the whole country, don't have more that a few small towns on it!" Doug smiled and started up the staircase.
" I know. I've been here before."
" Oh when? I may have seen you."
" It was a long time ago. Before the war... I was a young child."
" Oh well that was before I came then. Came here the year Ann was born. Took over my late wife's dead uncle's Inn."
"Don't be! Best move I ever made! Oh you are talking about my wife! Well somethings can't be helped. Here we are."
Doug opened a door and shoved Jack though.
"I only need one ." Jack said looking at the many beds in confusion.
" Only one open! We don't have private rooms for people traveling alone. There are two other men staying here so I hope you don't mind company, not that there is anything you can do about it!"
Doug quickly left closing the door.
Jack sat down on the unused bed and began to unpack.