Mind Games by @angelusanimi27

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We are just getting word that a patient-

"Yeah, yeah."

Amy had enough of the news these days, except for the weather. Nothing but scare tactics and propaganda. Besides, hardly anything ever happened in this boring town.

Once the cable box cooperated, Amy selected a more suitable form of programming. Rain pelted the roof. Even though the electric fireplace underneath her television hissed and popped among a mock flame, her chilly bones curled underneath the blanket, caught off guard by Mother Nature's anger as a bolt of lightning lit up the living room. If only the constant anxiety were easy to shake. Thanks to the scum known as her ex-husband, Amy felt constant fear and uneasiness. The physical wounds healed, but her soul continued to suffer.

She switched off the lamp on the end table and sprawled out more over the couch. Now that her daughters Courtney and Marissa were asleep, an evening of cliché fairy tale romance was underway.

Life wasn't always so complicated. In fact, to an outsider, Amy had the perfect – and, yes, a cliché family. Big house with a fence and lush green lawn. Higher class section of the city. The husband who met every need without an ounce of affection disappearing. A photogenic family of four.

After the first year of marriage, Amy realized her horrible mistake. Fear and intimidation kept her figuratively chained like those suffering dogs you see on the commercials. That chain held for a solid ten years. Feeling safe in her own home was foreign to Amy. Sleeping with one eye open was the norm, until her oldest daughter Courtney met her ex-husband's fist face first. She took the chance and risked her life to save the ones who relied on her the most.

"What the hell?"

A faint bang came from somewhere in the kitchen area. Amy muted the volume and waited at least a minute before shrugging her shoulders. She figured it must have been a result of wind picking up. Even if someone was dumb enough to fool around in the surrounding woods outside, they'd find two metal barrels pressed against their forehead. Despite a sometimes crippling sense of fear or anxiety, the shotgun in her bedroom gave Amy some ease.

The movie resumed. Rain drops grew heavier thanks to the stronger wind gusts. She hoped her power wouldn't be affected. Walking around a half a mile to her nearest neighbor in this mess wasn't favored.

Another interruption stole her attention, but this time she thought something ran past the window. "God damn it," Amy mumbled. She left the television untouched as she peeled back the afghan and leaned against the couch. Nothing looked out of the ordinary. Amy slipped both legs over the cushion and sat up, looking at the window across the room to her left where the supposed shadow appeared. Bare feet eventually touched the maple hardwood floor. Amy ran her hands down her nightgown and slowly walked towards the kitchen. She slid a hand over the light switches on the wall and brought forth a burst of light to the living room.

"Jesus Christ," she uttered after a sharp and thunderous streak. You could feel the house shake. Amy placed a hand over her chest and used a counting method she learned to help ease her frayed nerves.

She skirted around the small granite island and flattened her hands over the edge of the sink. Her breaths regulated. The river yards away played peek-a-boo with Amy as bouts of lightning displayed the rough waters. Residing in a ranch home engulfed by trees that sat down a long driveway wasn't her first choice, but the seclusion was necessary. However, she's grown accustomed to the country lifestyle.

Amy's heart stopped. Ice ran through her veins. Every inch of her flesh tensed. An unknown and unrecognizable figure stood by the rock lined border of the river. The black mass watched. Amy squeezed her eyes shut for a few seconds and prayed it was all somehow a nightmare and that she would wake up toasty on the couch when she opened her eyes.

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