Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)
TITLE: Problems in the Dark
By Mary Lou Cook
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I yelled down the stairs, “Rob, are you okay?”
“Honey, don’t come down here, it’s not safe going up and down these steps in the dark. I’m okay, go check on the kids.”
A loud crack of lightening had sent the entire house into darkness catching my husband in the basement.
I started to make my way across the dark kitchen when a crashing sound came from the basement.
“Honey, do you know where I put the florescent lantern,” Rob yelled from below.
“You might have put it with the camping equipment underneath the stairs.” I yelled back.
In the dark I shuffled bare footed across the kitchen floor in hopes of finding two cats and one large dog. I made my way into the family room to see Beth, my ten-year old daughter, with a head lamp strapped on her head reading a book. As I made my way across the dark room I tripped over an over sized dog.
“Sorry Ben, I didn’t see you there.” I reached down and patted his head.
Beth looked up from the book she was reading. “Mom, I heard a crash from the basement. Dad must be down there.”
“He’s down there looking for the fluorescent lantern. Know where the cats are?”
“Nope.” She went back to reading her book.
As I shuffled down the hallway the flashlight’s dull light shined down on the floor.
Suddenly out of the darkness came a loud yowl.
“I found one of the cats,” I yelled to Beth.
Across the hallway floor I crawled on hands and knees to find Maples upset with me for stepping on her tail. Before she would forgive me I had to scratch that certain spot under her chin. I picked her up and started to shuffle toward my twelve-year old son’s bedroom.
I heard his radio playing and knocked on his door.
“Who is it?” Tyler asked.
“It’s me,” I answered.
“Mom, come on in. I heard a crash down in the basement. What’s Dad doing down there?” Tyler’s voice carried across the darkness.
“He’s looking for the florescent lantern. I’m sticking Maples in with you. Don’t let her out; I don’t want to step on her again. Do you have Jazz with you?”
“Nope, not with me,” Tyler answered.
I pushed Maples into Tyler’s bedroom and closed the door. From the front door came a loud knock. I shuffled down the hallway to see Beth standing in the foyer with Sam Shaw, our neighbor from across the street. His rain coat dripped small puddles of water onto the tile floor.
“The lightening storm knocked out a transformer.” Sam held a fluorescent lantern. “I’m going through the neighborhood to make sure everyone is okay.”
Sam, a former marine, looked out for everyone in the neighborhood.
“Where’s Rob?” he asked, glancing into the dark rooms.
“In the basement looking for the fluorescent lantern,” I answered.
As Sam led the way to the top of the basement stairs I wondered if he thought of my family as normal.
“Honey, who’s up there?” Rob’s voice traveled up the stairs.
“It’s Sam Shaw; he wanted to make sure we’re alright.” I stared down into the darkness.
“Rob, you okay down there? Anything I can do to help?” Sam asked.
“Everything is fine, I appreciate you checking on us,” Rob answered.
I shuffled Sam to the front door and thanked him for stopping by.
“Up and down the street every house was dark, except for the retired couple that moved up from Florida. They brought their generator with them. Their place was lit up like a Christmas tree.” Sam smiled and shook his head. “Nice couple, they loaned me their fluorescent lantern. If you need anything call me on my cell.”
From room to room I shuffled my feet and called out to Jazz. I started to look under my bed when out of the basement came a crash. Through the dark I hurried toward the top of the stairs.
“Honey, I found Jazz. Come here cat.”
From below I heard a low growl and hissing.
I stood at the top of the dark stairs to see below the glow of the fluorescent lantern and Rob holding an unhappy cat. Jazz’s ears lay flat against his head.
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