“Peter, Peter! Wake up, sweetheart!” Alec cried as he fended off a forearm thumping on his chest.
“No, no! I won’t let you take him! No!” he heard Peter yell in his sleep.
Alec reached over and shook his partner awake. Peter bolted upright, alarm broadly written across his face. “What, what is it?” he exclaimed in confusion.
“You were having a nightmare. I could have gotten a black eye from the way you were flailing around,” Alec replied.
“Oh, I’m sorry, love. I didn’t hurt you, did I?” Peter asked anxiously as he came to himself.
“No, nothing that a bit of bruise lotion won’t cure,” joked Alec. “Bloody hell, what were you dreaming about? You seemed terrified,” he continued as he massaged the spot where he had gotten a thumping.
Peter lay down again and pulled the covers tight around himself. “I dunno. I can’t remember, really. It seemed someone wanted to take me somewhere. But when I refused go with him, he said he’d take you in my place.”
Alec rolled over, pulled Peter into a cuddle, and said, “Well, never mind. It was only a bad dream. I warned you about eating that curry for dinner, didn’t I?” he gently scolded before going back to sleep.
The next day was a warm, sunny June day, and the bright light that flooded their bedroom woke them.
Alec rolled over lazily and saw that Peter was awake, “Good morning, gorgeous, did you go back to sleep all right?”
Peter yawned. “Not really. And now, I can’t shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen. You will be careful today, won’t you?
Alec was touched by his partner’s concern, but a bit worried that Peter, the “steady” one in the relationship, would give a second thought to a nightmare. “Of course I will, but it was only a nightmare,” Alec reassured Peter. “And I can think of something that’ll make you forget all about your bad dreams,” Alec purred, and then slipped a hand between Peter’s thighs.
“Oh, honestly, you do have such a one-track mind,” Peter said, rolling his eyes. “Well, it’s more than that. My nightmare wasn’t entirely due to the curry I ate. I didn’t want to worry you, but I found out something about this house.”
“Oh, now I suppose you’ll tell me Jack the Ripper lived here!” Alec scoffed and withdrew his hand.
“No, of course not. Besides, he probably lived in Whitechapel. But listen, I was at the London city archives last week looking through old newspaper photographs so I could get an idea of the original facade for that restoration we’re doing in Holland Park,” Peter recounted, referring to the renovation project where he worked as a construction engineer. “Well, I came across this article about a young family with a baby who lived here in the days of Queen Victoria. They disappeared one day without a trace, and several years later some workmen digging in the back garden found the skeleton of woman. They assumed it belonged to the wife who disappeared but they never found out what happened to the husband and baby.”
“Our back garden?” Alec asked apprehensively and snuggled closer to Peter. “You’re having me on, right?”
“No, no, it is the honest truth. It was right there in the newspaper archives,” Peter declared in a very matter-of-fact tone.