Power outage part 1

Today I’m posting my first short story.

Welcome to Wales Mass, if you’ve ever traveled down route 19 you’d know that there isn’t much to this small town. There’s beautiful scenery, friendly yet gossipy townspeople, woodland, and one market; which was ran by a crusty old pervert. (Who flirted with me relentlessly, every single time I entered his store.)

I live in one of the oldest houses in this town with my family. The house of was built-in the 1860’s and has an interesting history. From what I know it was originally a stagecoach hotel. It’s very spacious, yet very drafty and it hasn’t had the best care. Our landlords have owned the house for the past twenty years; they’re college professors, but two of the biggest idiots I’ve ever met. They often let much-needed repairs slip and whenever they did repair something in the house they’d hire cheap plumbers and repair men to do the work and later whatever had been fixed would fall apart and needed repairing again. We’ve run into this problem a few times since we moved here, and would run into it again on several different occasions later.

Our landlords loved this house and so did my family, I however couldn’t stand the house. It was the biggest piece of crap I’ve ever laid my eyes on, but I blame that on our landlords.

It’s October 2011, October 15th 2011 to be exact and I’m just coming back from a walk with my dog from the cemetery. It’s snowing heavily and I wondered whether or not we’d get the 24 inches of snow that we were expected to get. I hoped not because since the town was surrounded by woodland meant that there would be power outages; if the snow were to get too heavy. This was something to be expected out in this area; my mom and I however were unfamiliar with what to expect out here because we come from the city and weren’t use to this small town way of living. We’ve lived here for a year and were finally getting use to things, or so we thought.

Shortly after coming back from the walk with my dog I ate dinner with my family. As we ate I asked my sister who had lived in a small woodsy town before, if I should fill the claw foot tub with water in case the power should go out. “No, we should be fine and even if we lose power it probably won’t be out for long.” Thinking that she knew best I didn’t fill the tub, a decision that I would soon regret.

About an hour after eating dinner the power went out. In the darkness with my mini flashlight I searched for candles to light; while my mom and sister tried to light the wood burning stove to make sure that the pipes didn’t freeze, otherwise our cheap skate landlords would’ve killed us. An hour and a half later the house was filled with candle light, but with heat… HELL NO! I came into the parlor with a candle in my hand and sat on the couch. “How’s the fire coming?” I asked, knowing that they hadn’t had any luck keeping it going. “It’s not.” My mom and sister replied. “We’ve tried everything. I think that it’s having trouble staying lit because the landlords still need to have the chimney swept,” my sister said, with her fingers covered in soot. I handed my sister the candle I was holding and sat in front of the stove putting in kindling, paper from an old phone book, and some cardboard. Within a few minutes I was somehow fortunate enough to get the fire going. Mom, Lisa and I stood in front of the stove in triumph, warming our hands as the stove heated up quickly. Soon the parlor was filled with heat, Mom and Lisa decided to sleep in the parlor on the pullout couch to keep an eye on the fire and to stay warm for the night. I decided to sleep upstairs in my bedroom covered up in layer after layer of blankets. When I awoke the next morning the power was still out.

I grabbed my phone from underneath the massive pile of blankets, I lost signal two hours after the power had gone out last night but I could at least know what time it was. Thankfully I had a small phone; which had a battery life of two weeks if filled. As I looked at the phone I noticed that it still had 80% of juice left; which meant at the most I’d have a week and a half worth of battery life before it died. As I sat my phone back on the night stand I could hear noise coming from the kitchen. It was a little past seven and clearly from all of the noise below my mom and sister were up and at it.

I entered the kitchen to the smell of coffee percolating. Two questions jumped to mind, how did you get the coffee maker to work and where did you get the water? My mom looks at me and says “Notice anything?” “You’re drinking coffee.” I replied. Both my mom and sister nod; with big smiles on their faces. “How?” “We melted snow.” My sister said. “But how’d you make coffee?” “Poured the water in the filter.” That was something I would’ve never thought to do with the coffee maker; thank goodness we had a gas stove top. As we sipped out tea and coffee my mom made a joke. “Look I can see my breath.” My sister and I laugh.

After eating breakfast I went upstairs to put some clothes on, unfortunately they were dirty clothes. I meant to do laundry this weekend but it looks like I’m not going to be able to. I dressed as warmly as I could because there was work to do. We had no wood for the stove so we needed to cut some wood, although I had no idea how I was going to cut the wood. We had no axe or chainsaw, well we had a saw but it would’ve taken hours to cut wood and we need wood quickly. As I walked outside my sister handed me a tree branch cutter. “Try to cut some tree branches out there and make sure that the wood isn’t soaking wet, or it won’t burn.” I nod and began to walk toward our acres of woodland.

The snow was thick and heavy and I nearly lost a boot walking through it. By the time I got to the top of the hill and into the woods I was already exhausted. I looked around for branches to cut, but they were either too wet or too high for me to reach. That’s when I spotted these long and narrow trees. I examined the cutter and thought, this could work. I began to cut the narrow tree with the tree branch cutters, some of them were easy to cut others were thicker than I thought, and the cutters got stuck a few times. By the time I came back to the house with a pile of wood I saw my sister shoveling off a flat area of the roof to make sure that the roof didn’t cave in. Mom was looking for something to burn for kindling; we all had jobs to do and we were far from done. By the time the sun began to set we had enough wood to last for the night.

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