Sixteen: Lights Out


Sam pretended to be interested in her food while listening to the kids recapped their fun-filled day in the amusement park.  Lance didn’t touch his food, but did polish off two more glasses of wine.  Alma smiled and laughed with the children as if though she thoroughly enjoyed their stories.

Suddenly the lights began to flicker.  And then went out.

Some of the kids whimpered.

“Don’t fret, children.” Alma’s soothing voice drifted over the table. “Mother Hubbard’s has a back-up generator which should be kicking on at any moment.”

As if on cue, the lights returned and one could hear a uniformed sigh echoing through the diner section.

“Alright, my young ones, why don’t you all go to the back and get settled in for the evening.” Alma said as she stood up.

Without any arguments, each child rose and headed for the back room, leaving the adults at the table.

Alma sat back down.  “The generator has enough fuel to last ’till nearly midnight.” She said to the other two.

“And what then?” Sam fingered the tip of her glass. “We wait for them to come?”

“They will come, but I hope to have you all out of here by then.” Alma replied.

Lance stared at the red-headed woman. “Come again?”

“I ask you both to trust me.  That is all I can say for now.” Alma stood back up, and started to gather up dirtied dishes.

Sam glanced over at Lance who still had his eyes firmly on Alma as she disappeared into the kitchen.

“Any idea as to what that’s all about?” She asked.

He shook his head.  “None whatsoever.”


Minutes later, Sam made her way to the back room where she found Becca in Biz’s bed.  Biz also had a stuffed animal.  A reindeer.  The two were playing pretend games with their animals.

Sam sat down on her own cot, and laid back.  It was only six o’ clock.  She hated waiting games.  The next several hours are going to feel like an eternity.