Valerie put the kids to bed with the cupcake and told them it would be fine. I decided to check the neighbors to see if they have similar problems. I hobbled to Leonard and Gary's.
Gary answered the door. "Oh hey, is that Leslie?"
"Can't see with the damn porch light. Boy I could use your help right now - house is in darkness and Leo is freaking out."
"Actually that's why I popped over, we've got the same problem, nothings working."
"Crap - we haven't checked anything else yet. Thanks for the heads up. You gonna check on Olivia on the other side?"
"Yeah. Erm, I think I hear Leo sobbing."
"Thank you - you're a godsend, give my love to the kids and Val for me."
"Shall do, see you another time." He closed the door and I heard his heavy-set footsteps disappear.
Right - To Olivia. the streetlights hadn't even turned on, none of the houses I could see had a single light on. I had a sneaking suspicion that Olivia didn't have anything working either.
I knocked and waited.
As the door opened a torch shot straight at my eyes.
"Oh I am so very sorry Les. You in the dark too?"
"Yeah, and no worries. Just checking on everyone seeing if anyone has fixed it."
"I've mobiled everyone I have numbers for. Nothing. Seems the whole district is blacked-out. I've just phoned Hope and Freddie two towns over."
"You know, the ones that got really drunk at Gloria's birthday party last year and he started peeing in the fish pond?"
"Oh yes - carry on."
"Yeah, well they've got the same problem, it seems the whole county is having the same things going on. Do you have the number for the neighborhood watch number - I'll notify them."
"I'll have Val text it over."
I went back to the house. Val was waiting for me.
"Seems everyone has the same problems."
"Yeah. Chuck a fag over."
"Last one of the packet - sure you want it?" she waved it in the air.
In the morning everything was still out. The hospital rang my mobile and said they were using the emergency turbines and their solar panels but were on severely reduced running. I didn't have to do in. The schools were all shut. Valerie's work was closed. Everything was closed.
I put some batteries in the radio but nothing was broadcasting. The newspaper didn't arrive, the paperboy put a note in the letterbox saying that he didn't get any deliveries because the production of the papers stopped suddenly last night.
Jess and Ben were asking a lot of questions, but we just couldn't answer. Val made sandwiches for lunch as all the electric was out.
"Hey - how about a barbeque tonight? The freezer packed in so we need to cook the meat or it'll be wasted."
"That's a good idea hon, maybe we coudl invite the enighbors and we'll all so some old-fashioned cooking in the garden."
"Yay - party!" Ben pumped his fist, "Can I invite Greg, Darren, Lousie and Jake?"
"Well I don't see why not but ask their parents over too."
"Can I invite Lucy and Bobby over too."
"same rules apply to all of us too."
"Oh - but Mr and Mrs, erm, Leo's and Gary's parents don't speak to them anymore!"
"Nice try smart-alec." Val gave me a kiss, "But you knew what I meant."
"I know, just messing with you babe."