Power’s Out

“Who turned out the lights?” he asked coming down the stairs with his flashlight in hand.

The power popped off, blinked out of existence as quickly as a blink of an eye then suddenly, very briefly, flickered back on then was out again. Permanently.

Dad checked on the neighborhood while Mom got onto the power company’s website using her phone. “Why hadn’t I thought to charge my phone as soon as I got home,” she thought when she noticed the battery down to less than half.

“Looks to be the whole neighborhood,” Dad announced when he came back inside.

“Who knows a good ghost story?” the youngest repeated incessantly for more than five minutes with no one answering.

“Are you afraid of the quiet?” Mom asked at last. She was trying to find out what had happened and the chatter from her thirteen year old was making it hard to concentrate on the tiny print of the website on her phone.

“I have more light,” he announced after his trip upstairs. He had brought down with him two magnetic flashlights as well as the one attached to his belt.

The youngest had found his tiny tripod standing flashlight by this time and had set it up on the living room ottoman. Somehow this did not stop his nervous chatter as he began speculating the cause of the sudden darkness that was making him so uncomfortable.

“Affected customers: 6774. Crews have been assigned. Estimated restoration time 8:25 pm,” Mom announced. The relief of knowing something was heard clearly in her voice. She hoped this would allay her son’s apparent fears.

“Who wants to play Marco Polo?” he called out, still disturbed by the dark and quiet.

“Go outside,” Dad suggested. Both boys looked at him in the dim lights as if he’d lost his mind. “It’s still daylight outside.”

Though it was pitch black dark inside the house without the flashlights, outside there still lingered the soft hues of dusk. “I’m going outside!” he announced. “Who’d care to join me?” He was mainly asking his brother knowing as he did that his parents were fine with sitting on the couch in the dim light.

“Only if you want to play catch with me,” his brother replied walking toward the back door behind him.

The boys played outside with the dogs and time seemed to pass without notice. About fifteen minutes later, they could hear the sudden cheers of some of their neighbors at their discovery that power had come back on. Power had only been out thirty minutes at most and was restored well ahead of the website’s projection. The boys came back into the house from the back yard smiling widely at their parents.

“Wow, this has certainly been an interesting evening,” the youngest said. “I’m going to ask my friends at school tomorrow how their night was.” He settled fairly quickly back onto the couch to finish his homework. His nerves not near on edge with the restoration of the house electricity.

“My mission is now complete,” he thought as he walked back upstairs without a word to anyone, back up to the sanctuary and quiet of his room. His brother needed him, his mom depended on him, and once again he had been the peace keeper of the family. He smiled as he sat on the floor surrounded by his Lego creations and his own familiar world existing only in his thoughts.

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