Part of my Feel That Fire series. Addy loves Christmas...Just not this year.
Author: Allison Wonderland
Summary: Addy loves Christmas…just not this year.
Warning(s): transgender issues, angst, mild incest, minor involved.
Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction and any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental
Word Count: ~1900
Series: Feel That Fire
The weather report gave way to Toby Keith. Kyle reached for the dial to turn the radio up but stopped at the last possible second; he didn’t want to wake Addy up before he absolutely had to. He settled back in the seat, eyes on the road. They had gotten a late start today because Addy had insisted on seeing some cheese factory museum thing, which didn’t open until noon on Sundays. Then of course he had had to find the nearest McDonalds because she was on an ‘I can only eat chicken nugget Happy Meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner’ kick. It had been two o’ clock in the afternoon before they had finally left town. And now Addy was asleep. She hadn’t been sleeping well lately so, since they hadn’t been on the road long and Kyle wasn’t at all tired, he planned to drive until she woke up or until he thought he could fall asleep if they stopped at a motel, whichever one came first. Normally Kyle stopped driving whenever Addy fell asleep in the truck and looked as if she were out for the night but Christmas was in five days and this one would be their first one since leaving home four months ago. Addy loved Christmas and anything to do with the holiday. They couldn’t have a home and a tree and the whole classic Americana Christmas they had always had at home so Kyle knew he could give her something else just as good. For generations Addy and Kyle’s family had lived in Louisiana, in a little town called Meyersville just north of New Orleans. Kyle had seen real snow only once when he was about three years old and Addy had never seen it. A few days ago he had found a brochure for a tourist trap place in Connecticut that looked like the kind of thing Addy would love. The entire village took on a Christmas theme every year from Thanksgiving until New Years. In the photos it looked like something out of a fairy tale and Kyle had reserved one of the little cabins for him and Addy from December twenty third until New Years Day. It was a lot more costly than the cheap motel rooms they usually stayed in but he felt it was worth it to make Addy’s first Christmas on the road something special.
The country song playing softly on the radio gave way to static. They had gone outside the broadcast range of yet another radio station. Without taking his eyes from the road Kyle reached for the dial. His hand came in contact with the volume knob instead and for the briefest moment the static blared louder. He turned it down again immediately but the damage had already been done. Addy, stretched out across the seat with her head on her favorite pillow and her feet in Kyle’s lap, awoke with a start.
“Kyle?” she asked sleepily.
“It’s all right, baby girl. Go back to sleep. Ain’t nothin’ to worry about.” Kyle patted the bare foot on his lap because it was the only part of her he could reach.
Addy rubbed her eyes and wiggled until she was sitting up as close to Kyle as she could get without being in his lap. “Where are we?” she asked. The highway outside the windshield looked like every other stretch of highway with no telltale sign of civilization anywhere.
“Just crossed the Ohio border,” he told her.
“Don’t ya fall asleep again. We’re gonna stop soon as I find a place.” Since she was awake. And honestly, Kyle thought he might be able to fall asleep if they stopped now. He normally had no trouble falling asleep with Addy curled up in his arms. She stayed so warm it was like sleeping with a moving hot water bottle.
She pretended not to hear him and instead wriggled around until she could snuggle against his side. One hand still on the steering wheel, Kyle put his other arm around her. They passed an exit ¼ mile sign that advertised a McDonalds and a Holiday Inn. But Addy was asleep again before the exit itself came into sight.
Kyle went through the McDonalds drive through. He ordered two double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a large chocolate milkshake for himself and a happy meal with chicken nuggets and apple slices for Addy since that was the only thing she would eat lately. He thought her recent diet might have something to do with the little Christmas themed Madame Alexander dolls that had been in the happy meals lately. But instead of stopping at the Holiday Inn, Kyle piloted the big black pickup truck on down the street where he found, as he had hoped, a slightly run down motel.
He grabbed a last handful of fries, made sure he had his wallet in the pocket of his jeans, locked the truck with Addy still sleeping inside, and went into the office to get them a room for the night.
When he came out she was still asleep – curled up on the truck seat with her thumb in her mouth and her Chrissie doll in her arms. Kyle moved her bare feet over far enough to get in then started the t again a drove around to the back of the motel where their room was. Addy slept through the noise Kyle made unloading their things and taking them inside. She only stirred slightly when he lifted her into his arms to carry her inside and place her gently on the bed.
Kyle was torn between waking Addy and just letting her sleep. On one hand it was nearly impossible to wake her and she was probably exhausted since she was sleeping so soundly. On the other hand, they had spent the day driving through rural farm country and there had been nowhere to stop for snacks so they had not eaten since lunch and Addy was probably hungry. But she was sleeping so peacefully…
If Kyle waited to wake her after he ate she would have a few more minutes of sleep. Then he could shower while Addy ate. When Addy was done eating she could shower and then they could watch the Christmas specials on television. Addy had always loved the Christmas specials and this close to Christmas there had to be some on.
He was on his second double cheeseburger when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye and glanced over at the bed. Addy had let go of her doll but her thumb was still in her mouth even though she had stretched out and rolled onto her stomach. “Addy?” Kyle asked softly in case she was waking up.
Addy made a whimpering noise. The smooth skin of her forehead creased as her eyebrows drew together and Kyle could see her teeth biting into her thumb. She whimpered something Kyle could not quite understand but he thought it might have been ‘daddy.’
Just from Addy’s behavior most of the day – the pouting, the bitchiness, and the way she had burst into tears twice without any reason or warning whatsoever – he had been almost positive they were going to end up replaying this scenario for the thousandth time. It always went the same way, like clockwork. First Addy was upset about something during the day. Then she fell into a deep sleep he could never wake her from. That was when the nightmare started. It was the same nightmare every time, one Addy refused to talk about that always left her screaming, “Daddydaddydaddy”, soaked in sweat and urine. But if Kyle could wake her up in time he could usually prevent the worst of it.
“Addy,” he said again, louder this time, as he got up from the table and abandoned the rest of his dinner. “Sweetheart, you’re having a nightmare. Wake up.”
It was nighttime but in her nightmares it was always dark even if she had fallen asleep at high noon. The sky over her head was pitch black, as black as Kyle’s truck and she was Addison again with a paralyzing fear of the blackness. Her breath came out in a white mist as she glanced around in the darkness, trying desperately to figure out where she was this time. There was a light somewhere above her, a flickering beacon in the darkness, mounted on a pole high above her head. In the light it gave off she could barely see pine trees surrounding her, all cut off and leaning against one another. Even though she was ten year old Addison again she was aware that she was trapped in a nightmare she could not wake from. She recognized the Christmas tree lot she and Kyle had passed on the highway some time ago.
“Daddy?” She knew Daddy was dead, that the cancer had finally taken him when Addison was ten years old. In her dream the pain was fresh. But there was a part of her that thought maybe this was real and everything else was a dream, that maybe Daddy was still alive.
“Addison! Hurry up, boy!”
“Daddy!” Arms outstretched to push away the branches of the pine trees she ran toward Daddy’s voice. “Daddy! Daddy!” she called. She pushed her way past the branches of another tree and at last caught a glimpse of Daddy disappearing at the end of the row of trees.
A sharp pain shot through her just below her belly button and she was forced to stop. She stood still for a moment, both hands pressed over her lower stomach because she needed to pee and knew that if she could not hold it she was going to wake up with a wet bed again. She squeezed her legs together and glanced in the direction she had last seen Daddy.
“Addison!” his voice came again.
The need to pee seemed less important now because what if Daddy really was still alive? “Daddy,” she tried to scream but this time it came out as a hopeless whimper. She moved toward the opposite end of the row of trees though she moved slower now, if she ran she was going to pee and Kyle would be disappointed again. The trees around her grew thicker and the branches became hands that reached out to grab her. She twisted and turned, trying to get away from them. A claw like hand curled around her upper arm. Terrified, she felt those straining muscles low in her tummy let go. She pressed her legs together tightly but it was not fast enough. Addy felt the warm wetness running down her legs. “Daddydaddydaddy!” she shrieked.
“Addy! Wake up, baby girl. It’s just a dream!”
Then she was awake and Kyle was holding her, rocking her back and forth on the bed. She was soaked from armpits to knees and everywhere in between. A sob forced its way out of her throat and Addy fought her way out of her brother’s arms. She pushed him away and ran for the bathroom.