Thursday, September 23, 2010

741 Words

Shifting the car into park in the gravel driveway, she was nervous to turn off the engine. She had driven to the old house a million times before but never in the middle of the night like this. And in fact, she couldn't think of a time when she had ever stayed the night in the house. But now that her uncle had died, it was time for some things to be taken care of. Her mother was anxious for someone to stay in the house and so Angela had driven out to the farm in the evening, but it was dark before she left her home two hours ago.

Her uncle's house was eerily dark without any lights on. The outside lights weren't even on, so Angela assumed that the neighbor had the electricity shut off the day that her uncle had died. No one understood why her Uncle Stephen had added his neighbor onto all of his utility bills. Angela's mother suspected for a long time that Stephen wasn't able to afford his bills or his home, but he had refused any kind of family financial loan that anyone had offered. He was incredibly adamant about not accepting monetary help.

Angela looked all around the car before finally killing the engine and stepped out of her shiny black Lexus.  Her designer heels sunk into the mud and she almost fell. The shock of it unnerved her, but she quickly regained her footing and took her purse from the car. The woods surrounding the house loomed precariously overhead as she walked up to the old house. Trees heaved and groaned in the wind. Angela's hair was in her face and she could barely see to wobble across the yard in her heels. When she reached the front stairs she could easily see they were in serious need of repair. The top stair was completely missing, and the other three steps were severely broken. When she finally made it onto the porch, she scrambled to find the key to the front door. A big gust of wind opened the door for her and Angela almost fell again. She could tell it was going to be a long night.

Once inside the house she shut and locked the door. Using her cell phone as a light source she found a small battery-operated lamp and turned it on. She carried it back to the door and flipped the light switch on, but nothing happened. Roaming through the rest of the house she found several candles and some matches. She carried two to the guest room, where she found a stripped bed, with fresh linens in the hall closet. She was glad that her uncle liked to keep things neat around his house. A small investigation of the kitchen proved that the gas was still on and that the stove worked. At least she would have a way to cook tomorrow. She would have to go into town in the morning for groceries and to turn on the electricity again.

Back in the bedroom she had made the bed and blown out the candles, taking the lamp with her to the nightstand. Pulling back the covers, she called her mother on the phone.

"Hey mom," she said. "I wanted to let you know I was at the house and inside safely."

A small pause as she kicked off her shoes and tried without much effort to wipe the mud off.

"No, the electricity isn't on. I was going to have it turned on in the morning when I go to get groceries."

Another pause, this time shedding her sweater, revealing the light blue tank underneath.

"I didn't think about that, I suppose it could be because of the wind. It hasn't started raining yet though."

A soft murmur from her mother on the phone. Angela folded her sweater and put it in the nightstand drawer. She didn't really want to sleep in her jeans, but she didn't have a whole lot of choice. With the storm striking up she hadn't wanted to bring in her overnight bag.

"Yes mom, I'll be careful...okay. Okay. I love you... Goodnight."

Angela put her cell phone next to the lamp on the nightstand and crawled under the covers. She sighed. She hated storms, and this one promised to be pretty intense. She hoped that it would pass by the morning. It was going to be a long night.

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