How not to survive without electricity

Submitted by Emma Katherine on Mon, 06/16/2014 - 12:57

This is my story for a challenge Laura made up. The story has to start with this sentence 'it had been raining all night.' And end with 'it had finally stopped raining.' So if you want. To do it that would be awesome. But anyways, here's mine.

It had been raining all night. And all day, for that matter. A blinding flash of lightning and an extraordinarily loud clap of thunder effectively ended the intense video game that my brother Ed and I were playing as all the lights went out, throwing us into a world of utter darkness. I blinked my eyes, trying to adjust to the sudden change, and reached across until my fingers collided with Ed's arm.

“Oh Ed,” I gasped. He put a reassuring arm around me and said,

“It's OK Jan, I'll get a candle.” He got up and began feeling his way toward the door.

“It's not that!” I burst out. “Our game, it's gone. And we were so close.”

Ed turned back to me and said,

“Well, we'll just have to do it again. I'll go get that candle, or find a flashlight.” He left and I sat there, leaning back against my chair and staring into the darkness until silhouettes began to slowly form in the gloom. The patter of rain had turned into what sounded like a torrential downpour and the clouds were completely dark, covering the moon. I closed my eyes and listened to the steady drumming on the skylight and the distant rumble of thunder. Ed reentered the bedroom and set a now lighted candle on the computer desk.

“So, what do we want to do while the electricity is out?” he asked, plopping down in the chair next to me and idly fingering the X-box controller. I lay my head back against the chair.

“It's probably too dark to play chess,” I suggested.

“Yeah. And besides, I was thinking in the direction of food.”

I rolled my eyes, and got up, muttering “boys,” under my breath, and aloud, “Let's go find something then.”

The fridge light was out and it seemed strangely warm. Probably just my imagination, I thought as Ed held the candle inside looking at what we had.

“Hey! There's some of that pizza left over from last night!” He reached in and pulled it out.

“The microwave won't work,” I pointed out.

“Oh, well then, we'll have to find something that tastes good cold.”

After a thorough search of the fridge without finding anything, we went down the the basement and sat on the floor to think what we should do next.

“That idea about the food was a dud,” Ed said. “How in the world did people survive before electricity?”

“Well, they had fires and...”

“Of course!” He jumped to his feet. “We don't have a fireplace, but the floor down here is concrete and dad has some boards that I know he'll never use.”

“Ed, I don't think that's a good idea. What would dad say? What would mom say?”

He paused at the mention of mom.

“They aren't here.” he pointed out. “They would understand that we are trying to survive in this world without anything but our brains and the natural resources.” He waved his hand toward the pile of neatly stacked boards for demonstration. “I'll go get some more matches and the food and you set up some of the more crooked and useless boards for a campfire.”

I grumbled about what a horrible idea this was, but just before he was out of sight I called up to him “Bring some pillows to sit on.”

When he returned, I had a large section of work benches, tools and supplies pushed out of the way to make room for the fire and the wood was set up in the middle.

Ed bent over the wood and lit a match.

“You know, this will be fun. We can pretend we're out in the jungle and the pizza is a rabbit we caught and this is the last match we have.”

I grinned and flopped down on my pillow.

“And where then did we get the pillows?” I asked.

He shrugged. “We brought them with us. In the event that we might get lost. Which we did.”

The flame caught and we put the pizza on a pan and on the fire.

“Oh, I forgot the cooking mitts. Would you run for them?” he asked, poking the flames.

“We're in the jungle. We can't just run back every time we forget something.” But I got up anyways, because we didn't have bandages either for wrapping up burned hands. When I got back, I saw to my horror that the fire was smoking up the basement.

“Quick!” I said, running over. “We need to open windows and put out the fire before we choke to death on the smoke.”

“It's just a little.” Ed said, taking the mitts. As though in denial of his statement, the smoke alarms chose that time to go off with ear piercing beeps (Which, if you've ever heard, you know how horrible that is, right? Anyways). I clapped my hands over my ears.

“Hurry, I'll open some windows. Get the pan off and dump water on the fire!” I had just reached the first window and was struggling with it when Ed yelped.

“The mitts are on fire!” he yelled. I shoved the window open and turned just in time to see a smoldering mitt crumble into a pile of ashes. I was incredibly grateful that he had taken his hand out before he became incinerated. I hurried to the smoke alarm and fought with it briefly before getting it to stop beeping, and with ringing ears I opened the rest of the windows. Ed had already put the fire out and was waving smoke out of his face when I joined him.

“Let's go upstairs; we can clean this up later,” I said, starting for the stairs. Ed hurried after me, with the remaining mitt holding onto the pizza pan.

“One good thing came out of this adventure,” he said, pointing to the pizza. “The pizza's hot.”

We ate it and enjoyed it. Something about cooking our own food and all the excitement had made an ordinary frozen pizza taste very good. It was the taste of accomplishment. I leaned back in my chair and sighed.

“That was exciting. But we should clean that mess up as soon as the lights come back on or dad will not be happy.”

The lights did come on, just twenty minutes later and we cleaned the mess up. We never did tell mom or dad because afterward, looking back, it didn't seem like we had been quite so close to the brink of starvation as we believed or that the need to go to such drastic measures while the lights where only out for forty-five minutes was so great. Mom never did learn what became of her other cooking mitt. When we were done getting everything back to normal we went upstairs and sat on the couch. At the time, video games seemed kind of dull compared to what imagination and some sticks could do with a lot less time and technology. I pushed the curtains aside, and looked out the window. It had finally stopped raining.

Disclaimer- never start a fire in a basement. The consequences could reach a magnitude far exceeding what happened in this story, but as I did not want a tragedy this is what you get. I am not responsible for any damage done by fires that you choose to thoughtlessly start in your basement. You have been warned.

Thanks so much to Laura for editing and laughing at this for me. You are too kind Laura. And thanks to Hannah for offering to edit it even though she doesn't know quite where to begin, isn't she a dear? Maybe someday she can edit it for me. Laura pointed out something I knew already, but completely forgot at the time. That lighting comes before the thunder. Haha! I knew that ;)

Author's age when written


I didn't realize you had posted this!
I love your disclaimer. Actually I love the whole story. My favorite part is where they decide to get the oven mitts because they didn't bring bandages into the 'jungle' :D

The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

This was funny, I liked how Ed has imagination, and how you added the realistic side of things by the mitt burning! But most of all the story was well written =)

Do Justice//Love Mercy//Walk Humbly