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Adriane woke, shivering, in the dark of the night. The wind moaned as it made its way through the trees, dipping into and rising from the underbrush. She could hear the house muttering it’s woes as it fought against the gale. The bedroom window threatened to crack as the branch from the tree on that side of the house thrashed against it. She wrapped herself up in the blanket like an old Indian woman. Beneath the cover, she clenched her hands in fear. The news on TV said the storm would be bad, but this was more than she had bargained for. She twisted the little plastic knob on the lamp that sat on her nightstand. The light flickered, and then was gone.
When she was a girl, her family lost their home in a squall like this. The roof and one side completely collapsed. They didn’t get hurt but the fear of such catastrophes stayed with her. Adriane felt around in the drawer for her flashlight. Once the beam was showing, she laid it on its side next to the lamp. She found her slippers way back under the bed. I thought I just barely shoved them under there. I hate when I have to go searching for these things — especially when the electricity isn’t working, Adriane said to herself. Her robe was half way off the foot of the bed. Usually she was still when she slept. Obviously, that wasn’t the case earlier.
Feeling a little warmer, she grabbed the flashlight and walked down the hall to the living room. The front window clattered and groaned in protest of the high winds. Adriane checked the lock on the front door. The metal was bitter cold against her fingers. Next, she took a closer look at the window that faced the street. The double pane was holding but she began to wish she had triple pane.
She made her way into the kitchen, going through the small dining area. Despite her feet being in slippers, she could feel the iciness of the tiled floor. The flashlight beam traveled around the kitchen. All looked neat and tidy. Then she noticed it; the backdoor was ajar. I closed and locked that — didn’t I? Her knuckles turned white around the flashlight in her hand. Her back stiffened as a chill ran down it.
She left the door as it was, and stole to the door adjacent from it, the utility closet. Cautiously, she opened the door. The electrical panel was to her left on the wall at eye level. Before checking the circuits, she aimed the beam of light around the small enclosure. There’s nothing here but cleaning stuff.
She pulled the lever for each circuit one by one, and then pushed each one back into their original place. It wasn’t until she performed the ritual on the second to last one that a response was found. “Presto,” she said with satisfaction. She reached up and pulled the string to turn on the light.
She looked around the closet one more time. The broom in the far corner on the right side moved. She warily picked it up. There in the corner on the floor was a baby raccoon.
Adriane delicately placed the broom behind the little animal and started pushing it out of the closet. She ushered it through the open door to the backyard. She, then, got a slice of bread from the bin and threw it out to the darling.
Closing the door, she made sure to lock it. She put her broom away, turned out the light and headed for bed.