Wind whipped fiercely around the house as branches creaked and rain pelted the roof. I wasn’t used to being home alone but my dad was in the hospital and my mom had to work to keep us afloat. Before she left, she hugged me and said I was a big girl now and would be okay. “ Just keep the doors locked. There’s cookies in the pantry. Don’t eat too many. Gotta run. The boss doesn’t like it when I’m late.”
For a while I watched TV but got bored and went to read in my room after grabbing some cookies and a glass of milk. I love to read and especially enjoy trips to the library or a bookstore. At the moment I was adventuring with Peter Pan. I got settled in my bed and had pretty much blocked out the howling wind and the slight shudders of the house when the lights went out. Having no idea what to do about it, all I could do was lie there till they came back on or my mom came home. Then things got worse. First there was rumbling, then a huge bolt of lightning hit the big oak tree outside my window. The rain started coming down harder and faster, and looking out my window at the shattered tree, I could see the street was flowing like a river. How often does that happen? I wondered.
During the storm I could read with the flashlight my mom keeps by the front door if I could grope my way through the dark house and bring it back to my room. That turned out to be easier than I thought because of something called ambient light I learned about in science class. I grabbed the flashlight and decided to not turn it on until I got back to my room. If I didn’t waste the batteries I could read for longer. Just as I got resettled, a fire truck came roaring down the street, siren wailing, and tires splashing through the deepening water. I hoped they weren’t coming to our house or my friend Amy’s down the street. I didn’t smell smoke so I told myself not to worry. After reading a few pages I entered the world a good book can create and forgot all about the storm.
I was disappointed when the flashlight died but there was nothing that I could do about it, so I sat looking out the window, hoping the lights would come back on soon. Suddenly, I remembered that my dad had an old Kindle in his desk drawer. If I was really lucky it would still be charged and I could find something to read. It was! I did a little happy dance, and instead of going back to my room I flopped into my dad’s chair, then started scrolling. If I was going to read grown up stuff I should sit in a grown up’s chair. Most of it sounded boring but I eventually settled on an Agatha Christie mystery. My dad always said he liked her stories because she never used bad words and was good at making you try to figure out her clues. Every time I thought I knew who did it something she said caused me to doubt myself. Once again, I forgot about the storm as Miss Marple and I chased the bad guy. I hardly noticed when the sun came up and the storm died down. I was almost finished with the story when I heard the familiar sound of mom’s key in the lock. Even though I was glad she was home I was reluctant to stop reading and interact with her. I put the Kindle away but planned to get back to it as soon as possible. Taking something from dad’s desk without permission was a big no no, but it was an emergency and I could ask him if I could finish the story when we went to visit him. I felt certain he would understand the situation and say yes.
As usual, my mom smelled like the bakery she worked in. After hugging me, she said “I knew you were my brave girl and would be okay. Although, it had to be scary being alone in a dark house during such a terrible storm.”
“I wasn’t scared.” I told her. “I had lots of company. Books are full of interesting people.”