Flash Fiction – Blackout

“And the eliminated player this week is…”

The screen went black, the lights went out, and the music that had been blaring from Jake’s room cut out. Kara screamed in the bathroom where she was showering and there were no windows. “Not funny guys!”

No one noticed Kara’s shouts. Tom and Abby had rushed to the windows and drawn back the blinds. Shouting could be heard coming from the quad as well as from the apartments up and down the hall. Doors opened in a flurry and slammed shut again. Muffled voices muttered about the emergency generators that were keeping the hallways and common rooms faintly illuminated.

Kara emerged with a towel wrapped around her and her hair dripping on the floor. “What the Hell happened?”

“Not sure,” Abby said quietly. Something about the dark had her instinctively whispering. “It’s not just our building though. Looks like it’s all over campus. The street lamps are out along the walk. Adams across the way doesn’t look like they even have the emergency lights.”

Kara held the towel around her tighter. She went back to her room and grumbled something about hating to get dressed in the dark. Jake popped his head out of his room as she approached causing her to jump.  “Just use your laptop for a light,” he suggested. “The battery should last for a while.” She grasped at the towel with one hand and gave his head a small shove back into his room.

“Get a good enough peek?”

“Actually…” he started to say with a grin. He pulled his head in and closing the door before she could find him in the dark to smack him.

Abby had left Tom at the window and was peeking out the door into the hallway. “There’s a girl down there trying each and every one of the outlets with her hair straightener,” she said laughing as she brought her head back in the room.

Jake checked to make sure Kara was still in her room before he headed for Abby’s side at the doorway. “Are they playing board games? I want in.” He headed down the hallway to but into a ring of several board games that had started up under the main emergency lights near the elevators. There were a handful of girls taking turns applying makeup at a mirror propped up on the heater against the wall, making adjustments to one another’s hair.

Kara came up beside Abby dressed in pajamas and drying her hair with a towel. Tom kept vigil at the window. “I think someone’s playing laser tag over in Monroe,” he chuckled.

Kara pushed her way past Abby and joined Jake and some friends switching between cheering on a Scrabble battle and shouting out answers to a Pictionary match that persisted in spite of the light.

“You joining them out there?” Tom asked.

“Nah.” Abby sat next to Tom watching the floating lights in the other buildings. “I’ll catch them at the next fire drill.”


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