It was a quiet night in the home of Michaela Quinn and her husband Byron Sully as they had just turned in for the evening. Colleen was off at medical school and Matthew lived at the old homestead that once belonged to Sully and his first wife. The only children in the house were Brian and their young daughter Katie. Brian was much older than Katie, about ten or twelve and Katie was about three.
Michaela usually read either one of medical journals or a book of poetry before turning in, but she had had a rather busy day at the clinic, setting a few broken bones, and stitching up a few cuts here and there, not to mention removing an appendix. It was just one of those long hectic days when everything seemed to happen all at once. Even Sully had had a long day trying to straighten out the political wrinkles at the Indian Reservation. He didn't really like the idea of the government putting them on a reservation anyway, but it was beyond his control and as an Indian agent, he tried to keep all the disputes to a minimum. The only good thing about Sully being an agent, was that most of the Indians trusted him to try to do the right thing.
As the household settled down for the night and everyone was finally asleep, Michaela's mind drifted back and forth between the events of the day and events that happened in the past. Luckily tonight, the past events in her mind were happy ones; when she and Sully got married and when Katie was born. For the moment all was quiet.
As the night wore on however, Michaela's blissful dreams were suddenly overshadowed by a dark cloud that seemed to drift into her subconscious. She found herself being tossed about as if she had been caught in wild windstorm and was unable to free herself. It seemed as if the harder she struggled against the wind, the stronger the wind became. She finally grew weary from the struggle and let the wind carry her away.
The storm finally subsided and Michaela found herself in the middle of a small pueblo. As she stood looking around the town, she noticed a silence about the town that seemed unnatural. It was so quiet, it was almost deafening.
As she walked through the town, her eyes studied every alley and every building searching for signs of life. Not even a horse, burro, stray dog or cat was seen. It was such an eerie feeling that Michaela inwardly shook and rubbed her arms just to calm her nerves.
She walked on for a few yards and finally came to a small tavern. 'Surely there would be someone in here.' She thought as she headed toward the tavern. Michaela slowly opened the door and walked in. A look of shock mirrored her face as she scanned the inside of the tavern. The sight which beheld her eyes caused her to inwardly shudder. She had seen sickness and even death in her experiences as a doctor, but the scene which she was witnessing before her completely took her by surprise.
All around her was death and disease, and the smell was so overwhelming, that she was forced to swallow hard just to keep from regurgitating. It was a sight that she had never seen before. Michaela walked along row after row of beds and stared in horror at the pale gaunt faces of the people that lay waiting for death to claim them. The one thing she noticed was the look of esperation upon their faces hoping that someone would rescue them from their misery. It was such a devastating sight that an overwhelming wave of sadness rose inside her and Michaela found herself running from the tavern with tears in her eyes.
Suddenly the dark billowy cloud that overshadowed her dream, quickly fell across her gruesome nightmare and covered it in a sheet of blackness. Michaela found herself groping through the darkness as she tried to find her way home. As the darkness enveloped her, she could feel the rapid beating of her heart against her chest as a feeling of fear and panic flowed through her.
Her subconscious quickly gave way to consciousness as her eyes widened and she suddenly sat up and yelled Sully's name.
"Sully!!!!!" Michaela screamed as she sat shaking as the tears streamed down her face. She quickly wrapped her arms around herself and began sobbing.
Sully abruptly sat up and grabbed Michaela and wrapped his strong arms around her and held her until her shaking and sobbing finally subsided.
Michaela wrapped her arm around Sully's and melted into his embrace. She finally calmed herself and released a heavy sigh as Sully kissed her cheek and stroked her long auburn hair. He briefly rocked her until he felt the tension flow from her body. When she finally became relaxed, Sully gently pulled her from his embrace and cast a look of concern upon her face.
"Michaela, what's the matter!" he asked as he gazed intently into her eyes.
Michaela wrapped her arms around Sully's neck and lay her head upon his shoulder. He held her in his arms and kissed the back of her head and sighed.
"Michaela, tell me what's wrong! You have to talk about it!" he said earnestly.
Michaela slowly pulled herself from his embrace and gazed tearfully into his eyes.
"Oh Sully! It was such a horrible nightmare! All I could see was death all around me. And the faces on those people were so sad it broke my heart!" she replied as she tried to hold back the tears that welled in her eyes.
Sully shook his head and sighed. He reached up and wiped the tears from her eyes and wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tight.
Michaela embraced him and lay her head against his chest and sighed.
"Don't worry Michaela. It was all just a bad dream. Try not to think about it!" he said softly as she kissed the top of her head.
"It was so real Sully! I don't know if I can ever forget it!" Michaela said as she looked up at him.
Sully gazed at Michaela and smiled. "Well, we'll talk about it tomorrow! Right now let's get back to sleep!" Sully replied calmly as he cast an affectionate look at Michaela.
Michaela smiled and sighed as she and Sully lay back in bed and finally went back to sleep.
The next morning as the Sully family sat down to breakfast, Brian flashed a curious look at Michaela. As Michaela was feeding Katie she glanced over and noticed Brian's expression.
"What's the matter Brian? Is there something wrong?" Michaela said, wiping Katie's mouth.
"Ma, did you have a bad dream last night? I thought I heard you scream." He said earnestly as he cast a curious gaze at Michaela.
Michaela sighed as she and Sully exchanged anxious gazes. "I'm sorry if I woke you up Brian. Yes I did have a bad dream! But I'm all right now! Sometimes people have dreams that wake them in the middle of the night and it scares them. You remember when you used to have nightmares?" she asked as she cast an earnest look at Brian.
Brian nodded and smiled. "That was when I was little. But I don't have those much anymore." He said shaking his head. He cast an attentive looked at Michaela. "It must have been a really scary dream if it made you scream." He said resolutely.
Michaela nodded looked at Brian earnestly. "Yes it was, but fortunately it was just a dream! Now hurry and finish your breakfast so you won't be late for school!" she said decidedly and smiled.
Brian smiled and nodded. After he finished his breakfast, he took his dishes to the sink and came back and collected his books. "I'm all ready Ma!" Brian said smiling.
After Michaela and Sully cleared the table, Michaela took Katie out of her high chair and put on her coat and bonnet and the three of them left for town. When they arrived, Brian left for school and Michaela left Katie with Colleen's friend Becky while she went to the clinic. Sully gave Michaela and Katie a kiss and headed off to the reservation.
It was a fairly routine day at the clinic, people coming and going. Some getting shots, some getting check ups and others just stopping by to pick up medicine. All day long however, Michaela couldn't seem to shake the dream she had last night. She tried to distract herself by keeping busy writing in her journal or rearranging and cleaning her shelves, but the overwhelming feeling of dread seemed to stay with her as the day wore on.
It was finally lunch time and Sully stopped by to make sure Michaela took a break. Becky brought Katie by and the four of them went to lunch. Becky quickly saw some friends of hers and excused herself and went over to have lunch with them. Michaela smiled and nodded.
As Sully and Michaela sat eating their lunch and feeding Katie, Sully noticed an anxious look in Michaela's eyes as she gazed out into the crowd of people going in and out of the café. His eyes cast a worried gaze as he placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
"Michaela, are you feeling all right?" Sully asked looking concerned.
Michaela shook her head and sighed. She looked at Sully somewhat wearily. "Oh Sully! All day long I've been trying to shake this terrible feeling I've had ever since I had that dream last night and it just won't go away! Sully, that dream was so real! I could see the faces on those people, it was so sad! I've never had such a dream like that before! I wish I knew what it meant!" she said looking at Sully with a look of despair in her eyes.
Sully reached over and took her hand and gently squeezed it. "Don't worry Michaela! If it's bothering you that much, maybe we can talk to Cloud Dancing about it. He may be able to help you." Sully replied earnestly as he cast a compassionate gaze into her eyes.
Michaela slightly smiled as the anxious feeling inside her seem to partially fade when Sully mentioned Cloud Dancing's name. He had always been a close and dear friend of theirs for as long as she could remember. All three of them had shared experiences good and bad and had helped each other through the rough times in their lives. And the best thing about their relationships was it was based on friendship.
Michaela and Sully returned to their work and when it was time to close the clinic, Michaela picked up Katie and Brian and met Sully at the reservation. When they arrived Brian looked up at Michaela with an anxious look his face. On the way he had noticed the troubled look on her face as they headed toward the reservation.
"Ma, is there something wrong?" Brian asked looking concerned.
As Michaela reined in the horses, she cast an earnest look at Brian and put a reassuring arm around his shoulder.
"I'm all right Brian. I'm just going to talk to Cloud Dancing about that dream I had last night. I've been thinking about it all day and I just thought that maybe he might know what it meant." She said as she managed a slight smile.
"Do you think you could watch Katie for me while Sully and I talk to him?" she asked earnestly.
Brian smiled and nodded. "Sure ma! I hope Cloud Dancing can help you!" he said warmly as he picked up Katie and sat her in his lap.
Michaela smiled and nodded in agreement. "So do I Brian, so do I!" She bent over and kissed Brian and Katie and stepped down from the wagon.