She remembers the first time it happened. It was chaos. Though they had been in a perpetual state of unrest since the arrest, Jessica had never been as scared as she was that night. The sound of those screams penetrated her bones. She grasped the covers around her, little hands searched for her as well. Ainsley had taken to sleeping in her bed. Her little hands clutch to her pajama shirt. She looked just as startled and frightened as Jessica was. She was hearing it too.
The screams kept on.
It took seconds for Jessica to race out of bed. Her feet feel heavy on the cold wooden floor. The screams were so loud . So many terrible thoughts were running through her head.
‘Did someone break in?’
Was he hurt?
Could they be taking him?
Were those threats really happening?
Her baby boy!!
She couldn’t open the door fast enough. She frantically turned on the light and all she could see was her little Malcolm thrashing about the bed, screaming with his full lung capacity. His eyes were open but empty. His hair stuck to his sweaty little pale face. She called out to him. He didn’t stop screaming. She got on the bed next to him. She pulled him to her chest. He kept on, his body shaking in her arms. His skin was ice cold.
‘Malcolm! Please, Sweetie. It's just a nightmare. Wake up, Hunny. Please!
Jessica had never seen him like this. His arms flailing as he fought against her. Jessica tried to fight back her tears she couldn’t. She kept begging the boy to wake.
Jessica saw Ainsley in the corridor, her stuffed bunny in one arm, the other wiping her falling tears. Poor thing couldn’t take her eyes off her big brother, ‘Hunny please. Everything is okay. He’s okay. Just go back to my room. I’ll be right there’
Again the little blonde just stood there crying. ‘Mal?’
Jessica looked between her two children. The tears fell. How was she supposed to help them both in a moment like this? Thankfully their housekeeper Louisa ran up moments later. She’s frazzled and only needs to look at the scene before her before she acts. She scoops up Ainsley and takes her away. Jessica can hear her daughter protesting loudly, she wanted to know her brother was okay. She can hear Louisa trying to comfort her crying child as her eldest’s screams make her ears ring.
‘Malcolm! Please wake up, hunny! It’s just a dream. Come back . I’m right here, Sunshine.’
At the mention of the word sunshine, his scream broke a little. Through her tears, she had only one idea. She started singing, her breaking voice as she did
The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cried.
The fighting boy in her arms weakened. The hands once fighting her now clutched at her clothing, seeking comfort. She kept singing softly, gently rocking Malcolm’s body with her.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away.
His screaming quieted She stroked his back and she pushed the hair out of his face. His eyes slowly started to refocus.
Jessica cried and hugged him closer, ‘I’m right here, Sunshine. Right here.’
She felt his arms hugging her back. She kept him in her arms, his heaving little chest slowing even more as he came back. ‘I'm scared’, Malcolm struggled out, his throat dry form all that screaming
Jessica pulled away enough to look at her red eyes, ‘I know. But mommy’s always gonna be here. Okay, Sunshine?’
He just shook his head. Malcolm laid his head against her again. After a few minutes Jessica spoke quietly, ‘I really think we should go see you sister.’ Malcolm looked up at her and she could tell when he figured out why. His eyes cast down when he put the pieces together. ‘Hey, hunny. She just needs to know that you are okay. That's all. She’s not mad at you. None of us are. We were just sacred for you.’ After a few test steps, Malcolm held his mom’s hand and walked over to Ainsley’s room. Jessica could see the light on from under the door. A gentle knock and she pushed it open. She let Malcolm go first. From the moment Ainsley saw him she jumped off Louisa’s lap and ran straight for him. She flung her arms and held on tight. He did the same. Louisa got off the bed and walked to meet Jessica in the doorway, placing a hand on her arm. ‘Thank you.’ ‘I’m always right downstairs, be here if you ever need me.’
Jessica placed her hand over the older woman’s and mouthed the words ‘thank you’ and the woman left.
Finally releasing their embrace, Ainsley looked between the three and asked, ‘So what do we do now?’
‘How about we all go to my room and see if we see the sun come up?’ Jessica offered. Both children nodded and hand in hand their little family walked back to her room. They all got into bed, her in the middle and Malcolm and Ainsley flanking either side. She had a habit of leaving her bedroom curtains open just enough to let the light in every morning. It’s something she and Martin used to love. Watching the sun creep across the room as it traveled in a straight line to the bedroom door. She had stopped after the arrest but today she opened them again. She would enjoy this with her children for as long as they would let her.
And right on time, as constant as ever, the sun crept in. She hugged her children a little tighter as they all looked at the light trickle in.
‘Look, kids! There comes the sunshine’