I was the only person in the house.
So when the power suddenly went out with the first loud crash of thunder, I knew that I just had to sit tight, and there was really nothing to worry about. It was only my first day of house-sitting for my brother, and I was not yet totally familiar with every room. I didn’t have handy torches placed in predictable places like I did at home.
In the almost palpable darkness, I stayed very still and made a conscious effort to be calm. I was not one of those attention-seeking people who automatically screamed at the drop of a hat, but that didn’t stop me from experiencing paralyzing fear on the inside.
Trying to listen for any noises over the thundering of the rain on the tin roof was frustrating, and I wondered how I had ever thought of that sound as relaxing and even romantic. Right now I would have greatly preferred the gentle splashing of rain on the roof tiles like back in my own home.
Bright lightning drilled right through the window blinds, momentarily illuminating the room, and instantly followed by yet another explosion of thunder pushing me back into my seat.
“Come on, think! Torch, torch, where would he keep a torch? Kitchen drawers, maybe?” Sleepwalker-like I made my way slowly into the kitchen, and started fumbling through the drawers, being especially careful with the one that held knives and other cooking utensils. In the drawer containing tea towels my hands brushed across a small box – matches! Only three matchsticks, they wouldn’t take me far, but maybe I could find a candle or something. Or paper towel! I pulled the whole roll off the nearby holder, rolled up a few squares, and struck a match. Well, it was better than nothing, and with it’s glow I had a chance to look around a bit more. The gas stove drew my attention, and it took me a few moments after turning on the gas to realise that the automatic lighter wasn’t battery powered and therefore not working. I managed to light one of the burners with the last trace of burning paper towel.
Feeling a little safer with the emanating glow, I took a deep calming breath. What was it that had me so spooked? Maybe it was just the unfamiliarity of my brother’s house, that and being so totally alone.
The thundering on the roof started to abate, and I felt myself slowly getting calmer. Leaving the burner aflame, I started to head back to the chair, when I heard a door quietly close somewhere. A door might slam because of the wind, but this sounded like someone being careful. As if on cue, the pounding on the roof built up again, and I started searching again for a torch.
Hey, what about my mobile phone? Everyone has one nowadays, don’t they?