Broken Night by Beverly M. Collins

Finally, the open window welcomed cool night air. Midday had been unbearable as the power outage meant no air conditioners or fans. 17-year-old, Jessie, and her 15-year-old brother, Kevin, sat on the hard wood floor of their 2nd story Larchmont Villa apartment. They could hear night clamor of crickets and occasional barks from dogs in the neighborhood.

Suddenly, there it was again—the sound of breaking glass. Closer this time. Jessie, normally the quietest in any setting, jumped to her feet and at first, nervously spun in a circle. Kevin eased closer to the window to get a peek at the looters.

“Be careful!’ Jessie said, in a loud whisper. ‘Don’t let them see you! They have flashlights.” 

Kevin snapped back at her as they peeked through the curtain. “How do you know?”  Normally, this was a safe neighborhood. but by the 2nd day of the Blackout, the area became a target.

Without streetlights, they could see 3 figures as they ransacked through a neighbor’s car. A man from the building across the street, yelled in an angry, low voice “Hey! You low-life fools! Get out of here!” which made them jump away from the car and run like mad in different directions. Jessie giggled and Kevin frowned at her. All they heard were fleeing footsteps, and the street went quiet again.

Later, while Kevin was in the bathroom, Jessie was startled by someone’s calling near the side of the house, “Jessie! Hey Jess!” She went to the window and called down. “Whose there?” She leaned out of the window-squinted as she attempted to see the figure below.

“It’s Donny, can I come up?”  “No, Jessie said, “I’ll come down.” She closed the window and ran down on her tiptoes. All the while wondering why, “Mr. Hipster” Donny that she stared at during school, and who seemed to not know she existed; was here!

“Hey?” she said with a question mark in her tone. “What’s up?”  She tried to sound casual as Donny turned on a small flashlight and whispered. “Do you have a place I can stash this stuff?”   He held out the two black plastic bags in each hand. He was tall, muscular and leaned in and gave Jessie a surprise peck on the lips. She froze just a second.

“Aww…Whew! Sure…Come this way.” Jessie said then led him around to where there were storage bends her father had recently emptied. She tingled-not believing the moment.

“Where is your dad?” Donny asked,

“He’s working at the Liquor Haven, Jessie replied, “It has a generator? It’s probably the only light in the city.” She spoke but didn’t recognize her own voice.

Donny, quickly dropped the bags in the bends, leaned in and kissed the side of Jessie’s neck.  “I’ll come back tomorrow.” He said as he turned and ran off. Jessie felt confused, but thrilled and excited. She went back upstairs, smiled to herself and said nothing about it to her brother.

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