“So what do you want to do?” he said.
“Well, we could –“
She stopped when the lights went out. Tom wasn’t afraid of the dark, and neither was Dani, but he felt a little chill when everything went dark. There’s a difference between the kind of tamed darkness you get at night when the lights are out and what you get when the power goes. The house was pitch black and dead silent and it wasn’t a comfortable feeling.
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Dani said.
“It’s got to be. If it were a fuse or something they’re still be some lights.”
He heard pawing around at the table. She knocked over her glass of Diet Dr. Pepper.
And then there was light. Not much, but the sickly blue light from Dani’s cellphone was a relief. The soda was soaking pretty much entire through her math book. Tom could see her face in the glow. She looked pissed. He resisted the urge to say anything.
She got up and went into the kitchen. It lit up and she stuck her head in the doorway.
“Are you going to help or what?”
“Oh. Ah. Sure.”
Dani’s dad was a cop, so it was no surprise he was pretty well stocked in case of an emergency. There were flashlights, which was helpful, and a bunch of those little lamp things. She handed him four of those.
“Go out these in the living room and the dining room,” she said. It was in that tone that said that this was not a request and made him feel like he was in second grade and being told what to do by Mrs. Gresko. Tom figured she probably learned it from her father, or possibly it was some rogue policeman DNA that she’d inherited. Either way, he did what he was told.
Dani picked up the phone. Nothing. No dial tone. She frowned. She didn’t actually mind living out in the boonies, as such, but it was pretty easy to lose contact with the outside world. One downed telephone pole and that was pretty much it. She checked her cell, too, even though she knew there was no service out here. Surprisingly, there was no service out here.
She looked out the window and didn’t see much. It was a full moon tonight, but the clouds and snow were so heavy that instead of being completely black out there was a kind of grayness to the dark. Not enough to see anything. Dani frowned.
The problem was that she didn’t know how long the snow was going to last. Normally, the power outages didn’t last all that long, so the house wouldn’t get too cold. The heat was electric, though, because he father and her weren’t home enough to tend to a coal fire through the winter.
But no power, no heat. They had a fireplace, but she wasn’t sure if it was worth sending Tom out into the snow to get some woods and go through all the effort of starting a fire if the power was going to kick back on in a couple of minutes.
She opened the kitchen door and looked out at the deck. At least a foot of snow already, and it was coming down in a thick white sheet.
“Tom,” she said, “I need you to do me a favor”