“Do you have candles anywhere?” Jeremy asked. We were standing in the kitchen, completely dark except for the light attached to his head and my cell phone flashlight. A fierce thunderstorm with gale force winds had knocked our power out.
“I don’t have any candles.”
He made a face at me. “Aren’t girls supposed to have that sort of thing? “
I shrugged. “I’ve been using apple scented Airwicks lately.”
“I think I might have some in the prep room. Can you go down in the basement and check?” He said that last sentence in a deep spooky voice to tease me.
“I know you can’t see it, but I’m giving you the finger,” I called to him as I made my way to the stairwell. Famous last words. Of course I’ll go down into the pitch black basement with the creepy maniac who cut our power lines so he could slaughter us in the dark.
At least I wasn’t alone. My cat Davey dutifully followed me down the stairs. The thunder rumbled just outside the door and the wind howled like a demonic wizard had summoned it from the depths of hell. I’d never heard wind make so much noise. Davey stopped and turned in the direction of the basement window as a tree branch ominously scraped across. Since he’s blind he’s even more sensitive to noise. “It’s okay, I’m right here,” I reassured him.
The prep room was a closet with shelves of stacked canned goods, dehydrated meat and bottled water. Jeremy wanted to be ready for the total economic collapse or zombie apocalpyse he knew was coming. We had enough food for the two of us for six months and a 50 gallon water container outside. I shined my cell phone flashlight over the batteries, and various tools stored with our food. I found matches but no candles. There was however, an old oil lamp on the shelf.
A few minutes later we were sitting at the kitchen table eating hamburger steak with onions by the light of the oil lamp. It was March so the heat hadn’t grown oppressive yet and the scene was almost romantic. A beeping sound followed by a ear shattering siren spoiled the mood. “Is that our security alarm?” I’d clamped my hands over my ears in an attempt to muffle the sound. The alarm had never made more noise than an occasional chirp to let us know it was working.
“Something must have triggered it..” Jeremy typed a sequence into the panel and it turned off a few seconds later.”
As he did this outside alarms belonging to our neighbors on both sides of our house started to ring. “What the hell is going on?”
“Maybe the power outage caused them to malfunction?”
It was a weak answer but I would have accepted it if it hadn’t been followed up by the banging sound of a door bursting open below us. It had come from the basement where I’d been just moments before.
Jeremy put a finger to his lips signaling that I should be quiet. “Follow me to the bedroom,” he whispered. “Don’t step on those squeaky floorboards.”
We tip toed down the hall to the master bedroom where he armed himself with his pump action shotgun. He handed me his 9mm and flipped the switch on the safety. “It’s ready to fire. Just like I taught you at the range, remember?” My hands were shaking so bad when he handed me the gun I nearly dropped it.
He kissed me on the forehead. “We’ll get through this.” He pulled out his phone to and started to dial 911. “All we have to do is make it until the cops get here.”
After a few seconds of no one answering I began to worry.
Jeremy made a face and dialed again. “That’s weird. The call keeps getting dropped.”
“Let me try mine.” I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and my stomach lurched. No signal. “What are we going to do?”
“First we get out of the house and go to a neighbors to call the police.”
A loud crash from the basement tore a scream from my throat. Jeremy jumped in front of me and pointed the shotgun down the hallway. “Stay here.” He hissed behind him.
“Like hell,” I whisper shouted back to him.
He closed the door to the basement but it didn’t lock from our side. “We need to barricade the door. He put his shotgun down to grab one end of the couch. “Help me with this.”
We half lifted half slid the couch in front of the door just in time. I could hear heavy footsteps making their way up the carpeted basement stairs. There was a step followed by a dragging thump as if the person walking up the stairs had a lame leg.
Jeremy stood beside me and pointed his gun at the door. “If anything comes through that door I’ll blow it’s head off. You might want to stand back a little farther because it’s going to be very loud.”
My entire body shook with nervous anticipation. I head my 9mm in a death grip. I was lucky that I’d started a fire in the fireplace before dinner or we wouldn’t have had any light to see. I might have accidentally hit him instead of the intruder. Although from the sound of it, the man was a plenty big enough target.
A fist slammed against the door.