Only When Alone E5

Spiral staircase


Mindy’s fragile sense of security shatters during a chilling realization that she must outwit a sinister threat to her sanity and very existence.

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Alone for Survival


At the end of the week, the sheriff returns to provide Mindy with an update. “The man who died from a rifle like yours is Jethro, your nearest neighbor. His body was moved to where you were shooting to make it look like an accident. We’re still looking for suspects. If you notice anything else suspicious, call me directly. Here’s my number. By the way, how’s your hand?”

Mindy’s relief is evident as she replies, “My hand has healed nicely, thank you. I’ll be sure to give you a call if there’s any sign of trouble. Now, can I offer you some coffee and biscuits?”

The sheriff gladly accepts the offer, grateful for the hospitality. As they enjoy their warm beverage and snack, he asks about her progress with target practice.

Mindy smiles proudly, saying, “I’m hitting some part of the target half the time from the longer distance. I expect to become a sharpshooter within another month. Perhaps it’s too soon for such humor, given the recent shooting.”

Impressed, the sheriff offers to share his knowledge. “It doesn’t raise my suspicion. You need a bit of levity with everything you’ve experienced. If you manage to hit a rabbit, do you know how to clean it for cooking?”

Mindy admits her dearth of knowledge, saying, “No, actually. I haven’t gotten that far.”

The sheriff suggests, “Alright. Let’s go see if we can find one. I’ll do the shooting. Then I’ll show you how to dress it up.”

Grateful for the opportunity to expand her survival skills, Mindy eagerly agrees. After a successful hunting lesson, she enjoys a rabbit for supper, relishing the taste of fresh meat as a break from the store-bought beef jerky.

No Longer Alone

During her evening bubble bath, the power abruptly goes out once again. Mindy towels off, drapes herself with a nightie, and, armed with a candelabra, walks down the hallway. In the distance, she spots the shadowy figure of an intruder disappear into the darkness. With both the working phone and the gun cabinet located downstairs, she must make a decision—confront the ominous shadow or lock herself in her bedroom.

With heavy breaths conveying her presence, Mindy slowly approaches the top of the stairs. From around a corner, a body presses against hers, pinning Mindy to the wall. As his hands grope her curves, she swings the candelabra, striking him in the head. Candles fall to the floor, igniting a flame while he tumbles down the stairs. She then races downstairs, stepping over him, heading to the gun cabinet. With adrenaline coursing through her veins, she loads the rifle as quickly as possible and navigates her way through the dark house toward the landline phone. However, there is no dial tone.

The footsteps of her pursuer searching for her, echo throughout the house. Mindy fights back a sneeze, trying to remain as silent as possible. However, her allergy finally betrays her hiding place. Illumination from a flashlight with smoke from the flames seeps through the space beneath the door as the intruder turns the knob. Reacting swiftly, Mindy, hoping her aim has improved, shoots three times toward the immense silhouette.

The assailant falls toward her, landing motionless. Mindy seizes the opportunity, grabbing the flashlight and fleeing the burning house. While coughing, she spots Ed’s truck near the main road. With determination in her eyes, Mindy drives along the path in search of another nearby farm.

Eventually, she makes her way back to town and heads straight to the fire station. A fireman immediately rings the bell, dispatching the sheriff and volunteer firefighters to her residence. By the time they arrive, the house has succumbed to the flames, reduced to a mere shell.

The sheriff drapes his jacket over shivering Mindy who recounts her ordeal. He then begins piecing things together. “I’ve been puzzling together these ideas that are making sense now. Ed’s been wanting this property month of Sundays, but old man Ferguson wouldn’t sell. When the Fergusons died, Ed saw and opportunity. He knew his way around wires but was a little thick in the head. When you came, it seems he messed with your lights to scare you away. Jethro might’a got shot after catching Ed snooping around, but I’m glad you’re all right.

Expressing remorse for the loss of her home, the sheriff consoles, “Anyway’s, I’m sorry ’bout your house. Are you moving back to the big city now?”

Mindy takes a moment to reflect, weighing her options, and then responds with determination, “This may sound odd. But the city came closer to defeating me than Ed did here. You and the town operator are my new best friends. This place feels like home now, and with the evil element gone, I won’t let fear dictate my choices. I think I’ll use the insurance money to build a bed-and-breakfast inn.”

The enthusiastic sheriff replies, “That’s great news. Folks in town, including some decent menfolk, would love to welcome you real proper like. The Fergusons also used to own the cabin by the lake, where Jethro lived. I reckon that it’s yours now, so you have a place to stay while rebuilding.”

“My gloomy life is finally turning around. Tell me, are you one of those decent menfolk or will I attend some sort of welcoming party alone?”

“Well, Miss Mindy, it’ll be my honor to escort you to a dance when the time comes.”

She smiles while responding, “Hopefully my dancing is satisfactory.”

Now having a newfound resilience and a sense of purpose, Mindy overcomes her anxiety with courage. She rebuilds her life in this secluded rural setting, thankful for her inheritance and new friends. As the day dawns, she is ready to embrace her freedom from the debauched hustle and bustle of city life that nearly consumed her when she was all alone.

The End

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