The Blackout

The Blackout

It was a dark stormy night. The lights were out in her apartment building as she walked in the elevator lobby, soaking wet in the unscheduled rain. ‘Why is the watchman nowhere around here? It is never a blackout here- who do I ask?’ Leah on her way back from work, well past 10, thought to herself while she ascended the steps to her apartment on the 7th floor. In the dark of the night and the silence in the stairway, she could hear the sound of her own footsteps. She fished her phone from her handbag and switched the flashlight on.

She kept climbing the stairs, looking up every once in a while, not only to check how many floors were left to cover but also because she sensed that someone was following her. Just then she heard a scream somewhere in the distance. Is this all in my mind? She wondered. The scream did not sound human to her. It was like an animal in pain. She shrugged the thought and hastened her steps. An instant commotion took her mind off as she hurried.

As soon as she reached her floor, she directed the light towards her doorknob and searched for the key in her bag. Balancing the bag, the flashlight and simultaneously looking for the keys made her heavy bag drop on the floor with a thud. Her attention was diverted by the neighbourhood aunty from the opposite apartment, who was peeping through the crevice of the door, probably to check the noise in the corridor. Leah narrowed her eyes and flashed a cheeky smile. The door closed quickly with a bang. ‘Well, that’s quite a welcome!’ she mused.

Discovering the key she pulled it out with an accomplishing smile and entered her apartment. Closing the door behind her she was relieved to be home finally. She walked towards the windows to draw the curtains noticing that a window was slightly ajar. The thought of someone breaking in freaked her even more. She looked around; searching for a sign of a breach when she heard the watchman banging on her door heavily, calling out her name. The lights came back on.

Agitated with the sudden burst of loud noise, she opened the door to find her cat pushed to her face, ”Madam, why don’t you take care of your cat?” The watchman started curtly and thrust the animal in her arms. Frizzy meowed.

“Why…. what happened?” Leah responded, confused at how Frizzy had landed with him.

“Why, she was found stuck in the electrical cabinet in the basement due to which we had to shut down power since the last 4 hours. It took us quite an effort just to get her out from there, unscathed. She could have died, you know!” The watchman was indignant in declaring the same.

‘Oh, she might have climbed down the pipe next to the window, then…sorry.’ Leah smiled meekly as she hugged Frizzy.


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