I woke up shivering. The bathwater had cooled and gooseflesh covered me. Cursing, I twisted the tap for hot water. What came out was ice cold. Of course my building had electric water heaters. I climbed out of the tub and tugged on my bathrobe. So much for my night of self-pampering. Nothing I needed would work without power. Not the DVD player, microwave or even my new industrial-strength vibrator.
“Fuck.” My clothes were still in the dryer downstairs in the basement. And it was unlikely they’d finished before the lights went out the last time. I had to go down and get them. Hang what I could up around the apartment if there was any chance they’d be dry for work the next day.
I trudged into my bedroom to throw some clothes on and decided to skip it. I’d only be gone a few minutes. It seemed unlikely anyone would be roaming the hallways with only the dim emergency lights to keep them from falling down the stairs. I thrust my feet into a pair of flip-flops, grabbed my keys and headed out, still damp from my bath.
As expected, the hallway and stairwell were deserted. I made it down the three floors to the laundry room without seeing or hearing anyone. It was as if the world had disappeared in the darkness and that was fine with me.
I shoved the basement door open and cursed again. The laundry room was pitch black, and I hadn’t brought a flashlight or candle with me. “Dumb, dumb, dumb.”
Too lazy and annoyed with myself to go back upstairs, I peered into the room from the doorway. I could see my laundry basket on top of the second dryer. Less than twenty steps from the door. I could get most of the way there before the door closed and make my way back in the dark.
I took a deep breath and went for it. I had the dryer opened and was reaching inside when the last sliver of light disappeared. Not too shabby. I piled my wet clothes into the basket, running my hands over the hard metal inside the dryer to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The last thing I wanted was my favorite panties mildewing in there overnight.
Clutching the basket to my side I walked back to the door. Aside from stubbing my toe on something unseen, the trip was uneventful. I fumbled for the handle and pulled. Nothing happened. I set down the basket and tried again. Nothing. My hand groped for a latch or anything to explain the door’s refusal to open. There was nothing but the long cool curve of the apparently useless handle.