"Power Outage"

Power's out. Run around in the dark—don't scare the kids you're babysitting with the pitterpatter of footsteps. Rummage around under the sink and find something heavy and flashlightlike. No, it's a candlestick—many candlesticks. Close enough. Grab the candles from their hiding spot—how did they get there, anyways?—and shove them in the candle holders. There are no matches—maybe with the candles? Back under the sink—hit your head. Swear, wake up the baby, who starts crying in her crib. Why does this house have to be so small, why does sound travel so quickly? The flash outside reminds you that light travels faster. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, crack of drums in the sky. Baby cries louder. Run up to her room, pick her up, try not to let her hear the fear in your heartbeat. Baby cries louder. "It's okay. It's okay." Rub her back. She quiets; you sit in the rocking chair. Maybe her steadying breathing comforts you more than your soothing words comfort her. Stay with her a while. Even when she is calm, you stay. Even when she is asleep, you stay. Even when the parents come home, you stay. "It's far too dangerous. Remember that tree that split right in front of our eyes? We'll call your parents." Power's out, you say, so they use cell phones. The screen gives a little light to the room. You relax a bit. A short back-and-forth settles the plan to spend the night…and then the light of morning wakes you after not seeing light for so long.