Panic by AngelsPeak Pitch black, the darkness was complete, consuming, and she was lost in it. Giving what she felt was a futile tug at unseen restraints, Amy crawled deeper into the crevice of her mind, trying once again to remember how she’d arrived here at what could only be described as hell’s juncture. She no longer remembers how many days or nights have passed, she can no longer tell the difference between the two. In the beginning, when she still fancied hopes of escape, she could smell the sun when it was shining, imagined feeling it’s warmth on her cheeks again. Now all she feels is cold, and a constant sense of dread. She doesn’t need to see her golden curls to know they hang in limp dirty tangles around her shoulders. She doesn’t need to see her violet eyes to know they’re filled with terror. Amy’s in trouble, and she knows it. The swallowing darkness is her constant companion, preferable to what she knows the light of day will reveal. Many times she’s felt them, the “others” scuttling across the floor, trying not to wake her, but she knows they’re there. They try to be silent in what she’s sure is a feeble attempt not to wake her; but she feels them every time, touching her, probing, exploring, causing her mind to scream out an unheard protest. If only she could see or hear, even for a moment, she knows she could then slip into the puddles of nothingness waiting in her mind. Instead, Amy is forced to lay there, a captive in a place she cannot define with little more than memories to keep her tenacious grasp on sanity intact. Letting her body relax for a moment, Amy allows the currents of her mind to bring her back to a place of joy, a time when she could remember happiness… If perfection could be described by a day, then Sunday April 20th 2003 would be the one for Amy Gallahan. The sun was shining, birds were singing, it was a day filled with clichés, and 24 year old Amy was in love. As she strolled through the park, her first and only sweetheart Brian by her side, she couldn’t help keeping a silly grin on her face. Anyone passing by had no choice but to smile back at the petite blonde; not only was her happiness infectious, but just walking by this striking couple made others want to grab up scoopfuls of their pleasure and pocket it as their own. Curious about Brian’s slow pace, Amy stopped mid-stride forcing his long legs to come to a halt as well. Tilting her head back, she looked up into the deep green eyes she found so fascinating. A light breeze had ruffled his mop of brown hair and she resisted the urge to reach up and tuck a stray lock back into place. Instead she grinned, her impish dimples deepening, and asked “feet heavier than usual today, slow poke”? Rolling his eyes in amusement Brian grabbed Amy’s hand and took off in a light jog, the sound of her musical laughter leaving a trail of happiness behind. Finally claiming exhaustion, Brian found a bench and plopped down, pulling his little minx beside him. As they sat there, soaking up the sunshine and admiring the spring flowers yawning awake after a long cold winter, Amy couldn’t help but wonder at his strange mood that day. Deciding not to wait for him to tell her what’s going on, she took his face between her tiny hands and said “spill it.” Trying his best to look confused, but failing miserably he finally conceded with a sigh of resignation. “Fine Amy, if you really want to know, I’ll tell you. Just remember, you asked”. The serious tone of his words sent a slight shiver of dread down Amy’s spine. What could have happened to make him look so intense? Swallowing a lump of fear, she nodded her head, encouraging him to continue. Averting his eyes to keep the mischievous look hidden a moment longer, Brian slipped from his place on the bench and knelt on one knee. “Amy” he said reaching into his jacket pocket “you have shown me what I thought I could never find, true happiness. My life seems to be complete only because you are a part of it, will you make me the happiest man alive and marry me?” As he slipped a stunning diamond from its box, he reached for Amy’s hand, looking into her eyes for the answer he hoped was there. Trembling with happiness, yet unable to contain her joy, Amy let out a “whoop” causing those nearby to pause and look over in curiosity. What they saw was 5’ 4” of blonde femininity tackling 6’ 1” of brunette masculinity, both laughing and hugging as they fell to the blanket of grass at their feet. Trapped in her dark place, a cry of remorse builds in Amy’s mind. A silent scream for happiness lost. “Oh God” her mind calls out “where are you Brian, I need you! They’re going to kill me, I’m so afraid, where are you, where are you, WHERE ARE YOU?” Sensing a presence beside her, she wills herself to relax, faking a sleep that never comes, hoping the ‘other’ will just go away. Instead, it begins. She feels hands on her, touching her in her most intimate places, poking her with what must be 1000’s of tiny needles. Pushing, probing, exploring until she can take it no more. No one notices as Amy climbs aboard the ferry of her mind once again, allowing it to take her far from the torture she is enduring. October 14th 2004, the day of the twins: As the doctor placed one squalling boy in each parent’s arms, Amy and Brian knew no day would ever compare to the happiness of this one. Smiling into two perfectly formed identical faces, Amy reached up to wipe a tear of happiness from her cheek, only slightly surprised to see Brian doing the same. Trying to keep the monsters at bay, Amy allows the movie of her mind to fast forward, highlighting the following years in sharp detail. The boy’s first Christmas, first birthday, first Halloween costumes. A blur of happy memories keep Amy safely ensconced in the hallways of her mind, while unseen hands prepare her body for its transition from the outside. As she focuses, trying to absorb every happy memory, every moment of bliss, one night suddenly stands out in sharp contrast. Of course, she sees it so clearly now, how could she have forgotten? It was nothing more than any other ordinary Saturday afternoon, a happy family spending a day together. Amy tries to keep her mind intact as the floodgates of memories open, pouring a slew of terror into her overwrought mind. The sound of crunching metal, the smell of blood, the screams, and worst of all, the complete silence; It’s all there, she remembers now, “Oh God, Brian help me” she silently pleads, “I remember.” As the memories finally mesh, bringing a horrifying reality to her situation, Amy begins to feel her life’s blood slipping away. “No wait” she tries to call out “you don’t understand, STOP hurting me.” Suddenly a new presence fills the room, a familiar one and she’s sure everything will be ok. She senses someone leaning over the bed, coming closer to her, loving hands caressing her cheek. She can hear him, “oh thank you” her mind cries. But the words he whispers aren’t right, “no” something is terribly wrong “NO, Brian, stop.” But it’s too late, her plead for mercy goes unheard. June 1st 2008, St. John’s Memorial Hospital Brian looks down at the broken body of his wife one last time, reaching out to caress her cheek he leans over to whisper in her ear. Crushing grief tears at his soul, the words come out in a hoarse whisper. “Goodbye my sweet, say hello to the boys for me” Standing up he turns to the waiting doctor and nods his head. Brian stands there, holding the hand of his first love, his only love, watching as her life slips away, wishing there had been a way to make her hear him. “Goodbye Amy” he whispers as the machine that has kept her “alive” all these weeks finally goes silent.