Abhi moaned in his sleep. He was having a nightmare. He and Aditya were walking on top of a cliff. A giant bird swooped down and took Aditya up in his claws.
“I shall get rid of him for you!” The voice rumbled like thunder.
“No!” He screamed, and the sky changed, became dark and reddish and red clouds massed overhead before blood started pouring from the heavens and another voice thundered, “Fratricide! Is this the payment for all the love your brother gave you?”
He woke, panting, and sweating, the sheets tangled around his body. He stared around wildly. He sprang out of his bed and ran to his brother’s room, and opened the door without knocking.
Aditya was fast asleep, one of his legs dangling from the side of the bed. The bed clothes were in disorder as if he had been tossing and turning. Abhi frowned. Was Aditya having a nightmare too?
Aditya groaned in his sleep. “No,” he muttered. “No, don’t. Please don’t!”
Abhi went to him and shook him by the shoulder. “Wake up, Aditya, you’re having a nightmare!”
Aditya clutched his arm as he opened his eyes. There was a wild look in his eyes which were unfocussed. “Arnava!”
“Aditya, it’s me, Abhi.” Abhi was worried. Who was Arnava?
Aditya’s gaze focussed on his face. “Abhi?”
“Yes, you were having a nightmare.” He said soothingly.
“Yea… Thanks…. but what are you doing in my room?” Aditya gave him a questioning look.
“I had a nightmare. I… I came to check if you were all right.” Abhi muttered.
“I’m fine,” Aditya said and was surprised as he was pulled into a hug. Abhi clung to him fiercely.
“Hey,” Aditya’s voice was gentle. “I’m all right, you know.”
“It seemed so real,” Abhi said, his voice muffled by Aditya’s shoulder. He was shaking.
“They always do, but they are not.,” Aditya stroked his brother’s head, holding him close. He could not remember his own nightmare, but Abhi seemed shaken by his. “They disappear as soon as we wake.”
“I know,” Abhi murmured as he relaxed, and pulled away, though Aditya’s arms were still around him. “It’s strange that we both should have had nightmares on the same night.”
“Yes. I’m gonna kill mom.” Aditya released his brother.
Abhi gave a weak chuckle, “She’s not even here. What did she do?”
“For not telling us that guzzling ice cream before bed can cause nightmares!” Aditya said in an injured tone.
“You think the ice cream caused our nightmares?” Abhi sounded sceptical.
“What else could it have been?” Aditya quirked an eyebrow teasingly. “We both had it, and we both had horrible nightmares. Ergo, the ice cream is the culprit.”
“I so enjoyed eating it.” Abhi said wistfully.
“So did I,” Aditya said, sighing, before perking up. “But you know, we didn’t finish it.”
“May be that’s why we are having nightmares.” Abhi said, grinning. “Our subconscious could be telling us that we forgot to finish the ice cream!”
“Let’s finish it!” Aditya sprang up from the bed.
Abhi chuckled. “Remember how dad says there’s always something that brings out the kid in us?”
“Yea. For me it’s ice cream!” Aditya laughed as he raced out of the room.
“For me too!” Abhi said gleefully as he followed his brother to the kitchen, all nightmares forgotten.