Only When Alone E3

Female back bathing


Mindy summons her courage amidst unfamiliar silence and shadow, as she adapts to a life of seclusion within the depths of rural solitude.

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Alone in the Dark


With no street lamps or neon signs to provide even a glimmer of illumination from the outside, Mindy finds herself soaking wet in the pitch-black darkness of her stately abode. Her garments lay out of reach in another room, and the location of the fuse box remains a mystery. Determined to salvage what she can from this disrupted moment of relaxation, she decides to finish her bath in darkness, hoping that the power outage is just temporary.

As minutes drag on, the darkness persists. After locating a towel to dry herself, Mindy begins feeling her way down the steps toward the pantry, in search of candles. Each step feels uncertain, and the silence surrounding her amplifies the pounding in her chest. Suddenly, a creaking door breaks the oppressive silence, accelerating her pulse further. Was it just her imagination, or did she hear footsteps, perhaps someone leaving the house?

While fumbling through drawers for a candle, Mindy accidentally cuts her hand on a large knife, adding to her anxiety. Instinctively, she grips the handle tightly, her only means of protection. She then cautiously makes her way toward the source of the sound at the back of the house. A chilly breeze brushes against her skin, hinting at the possibility of an open window.

Just as her mind spirals with fear and uncertainty, the lights flicker back on, illuminating the room in an instant. There she stands, naked and holding a blood-stained knife, caught within a moment frozen in time. With the return of light, Mindy can now see that the backdoor is slightly ajar. She swiftly shuts and secures it, before proceeding to check all the downstairs doors and windows, ensuring that her newfound sanctuary remains protected.

Only then does she allow herself a moment to breathe, to collect her thoughts and steady her trembling hands. The discovery of the open door and the unknown presence within her home unnerve her. She looks around to familiarize herself with the floor plan for better navigation in the darkness.

The stillness and quietude demand her attention, leaving her acutely aware of every creak and rustle in the surrounding forest. Then she notices a missing hunting rifle from the glass cabinet. She’s never fired a gun in her life, but there are six spaces and five rifles. Perhaps she didn’t pay attention to its absence before. For now, she dresses her wound and puts on pajamas for a good night’s sleep, with the kitchen knife inside her nightstand.

Alone in the Yard

Despite the frightful night, Mindy awakens to a bright and clear day, feeling refreshed after a much-needed 10-hour slumber. She contemplates how quickly she’ll tire of her meager food options of beans and rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But another noise interrupts the silence—an unexpected crowing of a rooster.

Intrigued, Mindy explores the backyard and discovers a small henhouse. To her delight, she finds fresh eggs, a welcome addition to her limited culinary repertoire. Mindy’s exploration continues, revealing the serene aroma of an herb and vegetable garden. Nearby, there are fruit trees bearing lemons, oranges, strawberries, and peaches. The realization that she can shop from her backyard is a delightful surprise. Mindy begins planning a menu for the day based on her newfound provisions.

After breakfast, Mindy sets out to familiarize herself with the immediate surroundings. She grabs a paper map of the property, binoculars hanging from a hook on the back porch, and a walking stick for support. Through her binoculars, she catches a glimpse of the nearby lake and what appears to be a neighboring cabin about an hour’s walk away. Satisfied with her reconnaissance mission, Mindy returns to the house, relieved to have a sense of familiarity with her new domain.

However, the pressing need to find a general market without transportation or a working cell phone leaves Mindy perplexed. She resolves to focus her energy on cleaning and organizing the various rooms of the house while pondering her next steps. It is during this process that she discovers a landline phone tucked away in one of the rooms.

To her relief, there’s a dial tone. The only number she knows is the operator, but it proves to be a lifeline to essential information. Mindy learns the location of the general store, the range of products it carries, and the contact details for arranging rides or deliveries of necessary staples.

With a tight budget and no steady income, Mindy decides to live off the land until getting a better understanding of her financial obligations. In a moment of resourcefulness, she locates the fuse box to handle future power outages. Then she strategically places candles within easy reach throughout the house.

Without the distractions of Internet service, television, or social media, Mindy finds solace in simpler pleasures. She takes a stack of papers and a cup of tea to the front porch. While gazing at the sprawling property, she contemplates the actual cost of living rent-free. Fortunately, the property tax and insurance bills are up to date. As the hours pass, she drifts in and out of sleep, finding a sense of peace in the colors of the sunset before retiring indoors to prepare her evening meal.

Alone for Candlelight

Another luxurious bubble bath awaits Mindy, as the highlight of her day. This time, she sets an enchanting ambiance by soaking garden herbs in the water and placing candles in the bathroom and bedroom. She lights a couple of them in each room, keeping matches nearby in case darkness descends once again. As she immerses herself in the warm, fragrant waters, the power abruptly goes out. Undeterred, she lights more candles, determined to enjoy her bath to the fullest.

While getting dressed, the distant sound of a gunshot echoes through the night, causing Mindy to pause. Hunting in the dark seems illogical, so Mindy carries a candle to the landline phone and dials the operator.

She hears a soothing female voice on the line. “Operator. How can I assist you?”

Relieved that the phone works even without power, Mindy introduces herself as the new resident of the Ferguson property and describes her recent experiences with power outages. She asks, “Does that regularly happen around here?”

The operator responds with concern, “I’m sorry Miss Mindy. There are no scheduled power outages. It might be best to ring Ed, the electrician, in the morning to take a look at your wiring. Would you like the number?”

“Yes, please,” Mindy replies, grateful for the assistance. She then recalls another unsettling incident and continues, “About 15 minutes ago I heard a gunshot in the distance on my property. Has anyone else reported anything of concern?”

“A gunshot at night? This is the first I’ve heard of it. I’ll make sure to pass along this information to the sheriff in the morning. If you hear any more shots, please call me right away, and I’ll alert the sheriff immediately,” the operator assures her.

“Thank you. I appreciate your help. Since I’m here alone, it’s so good to talk to someone and hear a friendly voice. I guess that’s all for now. Goodnight,” Mindy says, a hint of apprehension lingering in her voice.

As the evening unfolds, Mindy remains on high alert. She rises every hour, cautiously peering out the windows and double-checking the security of the doors. The mysterious gunshot has heightened her sense of vulnerability, urging her to stay vigilant and cautious within her newfound solitude.

While alone in the night, Mindy’s mind races with questions. Who fired the gunshot? Was it an isolated incident or something more sinister? Despite the unease, she remains determined to face whatever challenges arise in this secluded rural life.


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