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The Fright Stuff // The embrace of the blackout

Published Jul. 6, 2006

Rain dripped down the window, softly at first. The looming clouds darkened to pitch black. The rain became heavier. The gutters seemed to cry uncontrollably.

As a 10-year-old, I enjoyed the loud crashing thunder and branching lightning.

I sat in my room, wrapped in a book. The overhead lamp provided a limited but adequate amount of light. I traveled with a boy hero, Jeff. We were coming to a dark railroad track. The dusty air and throng of people surrounded me. I gasped for air.

I heard the shrill cry of a girl's scream in the distance. Before I could see who it was, ZAP! The light went out, pitch darkness. I stared into the dark, waiting for my eyes to adjust. As they finally did, I wondered if I could find a flashlight.

I stumbled to my desk. I felt around cluelessly for the drawer. I couldn't find it. What happened to Jeff? I had to find out! I tripped on a forgotten box and my body smashed to the carpeted floor. I was alone in the house. No one would hear my cry of pain. Where could I find a light source? Downstairs!

Holding a place in my book, I crawled out of my room and toward the staircase. I strolled down the stairs.

After a couple of steps, I gained confidence that I wouldn't fall. I let go of the railing. I stumbled and reached for the banister. It acted like a life-saver and reached its arms out to me. I fearfully used it as my guide. I made my way through the house. Its weaves and turns I knew so well.

When I finally reached the kitchen, my bare feet slapped against the marble floor. I gently placed my book on the kitchen table. I felt around the kitchen desk drawer for some candles and matches. I took a single match and struck the side of the box.

The bright orange candle filled the room with light and my tiny nose with peach scents. With the candle placed safely on its holder, I began to read again. The rain tapped on the window, sounding like someone was knocking persistently on the door.

Jeff and I found ourselves pushing through the crowd of people moving in the direction of the girl's scream. Ahhh! Help! Jeff cringed at the sound of her horrible scream.

ZZZT! Suddenly, the garage door opened! I felt myself jump when I heard it.

My parents and sister must be home. The sound of a key opening the door came quicker than I expected. The lights went on, blinding my eyes, the rain stopped and my family appeared at the doorway.

Jean is a student at East Lake High School.