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The sleeping pill the doctor had prescribed wore off at about midnight again and for almost an hour Kristen just lay there trying to forget why she needed the damn pills in the first place. Rocko, her two-year old mutt that somehow appeared to be a mix of Bulldog and Chihuahua, growled softly as she tossed and turned in a hopeless attempt to fall back to sleep. As she finally admitted defeat and climbed out of bed, Rocko lifted his head and watched her throw on her terrycloth robe and slippers. As Kristen left the room, Rocko sighed loudly and promptly fell back into a deep sleep that was punctuated by snores and more quiet growls. She glanced back at him with envy and cursed softly as she walked sullenly to the smaller bedroom that acted as the “office”. Kristen opened her internet browser and tried to find something that would either lull her back to sleep or distract her from the irritability of being wide awake in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, her mind was racing and even at her favorite websites, like TVguide.com and Eonline.com, she couldn’t concentrate long enough for the page to fully load before moving on to another site. She just wasn’t amused by the entertainment news that usually provided such a welcome distraction. Instead, her mind kept returning to that night many months before. Each time she began to remember, she would quickly think of the impending deadlines at work or the various errands that she needed to run the next day or anything to keep the images and sounds of that horrible night from appearing again in her mind’s eye.

As she lost her sixth round of computer solitaire, she wondered, “How can you distract yourself from yourself? If your thoughts keep turning to a certain subject, there is no escaping it. You can try and think about your job or housework or whatever else you can conjure up, but inevitably you will end up at that place you are trying to avoid.” And, still, Kristen fought her inner demons valiantly throughout the night, spending several hours reading a book, surfing the Internet, and writing in her journal. She even woke the dog for some company. Finally, as dawn neared, she gave up the fight and laid back down in the dark. As she closed her eyes, she saw the very images she had fought to suppress and as the familiar scene began again in her mind, she surrendered to it and cried softly until she fell asleep.




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