Authors Note: I'm planning to keep Alias Smith & Jones and Magnificent Seven separate but within the same Alternative Universe. There will be some crossover but the main focus will stay within their own universe. Confused yet? LOL
“PAPA!” Kid yelled.
Lom was up and into the jail cell before Kid could holler again. Kid woke suddenly and saw his father and started to cry. Lom gathered Kid into his arms and tried to calm his sobbing son. “Sh son. It’s okay. I’ve got you.” Lom sat in his chair and settled Kid in his lap with Jed snuggling up on his chest. Kid quieted as he put his thumb in his mouth.
“Did you have a bad dream son?” Lom asked as he swiveled his chair and rubbed his back. Kid just nodded. “What to talk about it?” Kid shook his head. “Okay.” Lom was about to ask if Kid wanted to go play when Judge Travis entered.
“What can I do for you Orrin?”
“I’m looking for my boys.”
“They stopped and picked up Hannibal and headed for the Livery to see the new kittens.”
“Tiny mind that?”
“I spoke with him and he said he didn’t mind as long as the boys stayed out of the way.”
Orrin noticed Kid snuggling with his pa. “Someone just wake up?”
“Yeah.” Orrin jostled Kid gently. “Kid? Do you want to go see what Han is doing?” Orrin tried to pull Kid back a little but Kid became upset again and started to cry. “Okay, shh. It’s okay son, you can stay right here as long as you need.”
“This normal?” Orrin asked.
“No, but he woke screaming from a nightmare.” Lom stood with Kid still in his arms. When Kid tensed, Lom rubbed his back and held him a little tighter. “Shh. I’m just moving to the rocker on the porch.” Kid relaxed. Lom carried Kid out to the porch and settled into the rocking chair and continued to sooth Kid.
“You okay here?” Orrin asked.
“Yeah. Go ahead and get your boys.”
“Do you want me to send Hannibal back?”
“No. Just remind him to be home before supper.”
“He miss a lot of meals?”
“When he doesn’t have Kid with him. He gets distracted and forgets, but Jed is a walking stomach and hard to ignore when hungry.”
Orrin laughed. “I’ll remind him.”
The young boy flew through the front door and skidded to a stop. “Sorry Pa. I lost track of time.”
“Again.” It was a statement not a question.
“Yes sir; again.” The boy hung his head.
“Well sit down son and eat before it gets any colder.”
“HEYES.” Kid yelled when he came in the back door with an armful of kindling wood.
“Kid, please don’t yell in the house.” Lom gently rebuked.
“Sorry Pa.” Kid wiped his hands on his pants and sat next to his brother. “Where ya been Han? We ate without ya.”
Lom used a damp cloth to wipe Kid’s hands and then set a couple cookies and a warm cup of milk in front of Kid then sat down. “I’d like to know also. What distracted you this time?”
“We were playing with the barn cats at Tiny’s but then the Judge came and reminded Chris and them about chores, so’s they left.”
“Did the Judge remind you about dinner?”
“Yes sir, but then this cowboy came in with a string of horses all the way from Kentucky. They were really pretty.”
Lom smiled. “Kentucky Thoroughbreds?”
“That’s what the cowboy called them.”
“You talked to a stranger?” Lom frowned.
Heyes snapped his head up and swallowed the food he just put in his mouth as he shook his head. “No sir. I was leavin’ and Tiny asked me to get him a lead and then I heard the cowboy tell Tiny about the horses.”
“Okay.” Lom got more cookies for Heyes and then cleaned Kid’s hands again. “So you were distracted by pretty horses?”
“Kid go get washed up for bed.”
“Aw Pa. I ain’t tired.” Kid whined.
“Go.” Lom just pointed toward the bedrooms. Kid crumbled to the floor and started to cry while kicking his feet. Heyes wasn’t sure what was going on since Kid rarely had a meltdown.
“Finish your cookies Han then put your dish in the sink. I’ll be right back.” Lom picked Kid up and carried him into the boy’s bedroom. All Heyes heard was Kid crying, several swats and more crying. As he put his plate in the sink, the crying stopped. Minutes later Lom exited the bedroom with Kid snuggled in his arms, all ready for bed.
“If you’re finished Han, go get ready for bed.”
“What about my chores?”
“We did them already, but tomorrow you will stay home and pick up some extra chores.”
“Yes sir.” Heyes went and got ready for bed knowing that extra chores were better than a tanning.
Lom settled into the rocking chair with Kid snuggled close. “You want to talk about what’s wrong Jed?”
Kid sniffed. “Don’t wanna go to sleep.” The tired boy rubbed at his eyes and put his thumb in his mouth.
“Why not?” Lom rocked. He knew it wouldn’t be long before exhaustion won.
“Not sleepy.” Kid yawned.
“Of course not.”
Hannibal came out and stood by the rocker ready for bed. “Pa? What’s wrong with Kid?”
“He had a nightmare during his nap and has been like this for most of the afternoon.”
“He’s asleep already.”
“He’s exhausted trying to stay awake.”
“He’s been waking at night too.” Han added.
“What? Why didn’t you come and wake me?”
“He didn’t want me too when I asked.”
“I’m going to put him in bed with me tonight. Maybe it will help.”
“Pa? Maybe he’s havin’ nightmares because it’s around the time our folks were killed.”
Lom looked closely at Hannibal. “Have you been having nightmares too son?”
“Some, but I’m okay.” Heyes lowered his head and fiddled with his nightshirt.
“Do you want to bunk in with me and Jed?”
“Yeah, really. Let me put Jed to bed and then you can tell me about those pretty horses.”
Later that night, after both boys were tucked into his bed, Lom finished the dishes and settled into bed himself. With both boys snuggled close, all three slept soundly through the night.