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Electricity is a funny thing.  We take it for granted every day till it isn’t there.  That’s when we notice electricity.  In the slight hum and sudden silence that follows an outage. 

Patrick was no different.  He expected that lights would just be on when he walked down hallways and that switches were available should he have to turn one on himself.  However, as Patrick stood illuminated in the doorway, by nothing more than a red glowing exit sign, facing echoing silence and a darkened hallway he never even considered searching for a switch.  Instead his mind was busy with calculations.

He estimated that the hallway was no more than 100 yards long, that if running he could get to the door at the other end in under a minute, and probabilities of someone lurking in one of the receded doorways which peppered the walls at uneven intervals.

Patrick also was preoccupied by his childhood fear of the dark.  Five full years of counseling as he transitioned from primary school to junior high hadn’t broken the vise like hold this fear had on him, but he was grown now.  He slept without a nightlight though he often slept with the TV on, which Patrick was sure was normal. 

Panting, sweating, and covered with goose bumps he made his decision.  As he raced for the faintly outlined door at the other end of the hall Patrick counted each step out loud.  As he pushed the door open the number 51 died on his tongue.  He closed his eyes and pinched his arm, but the darkness did not recede.  While his next logical thought should have been to retrace his steps and find out where he made a wrong turn the frightened little boy Patrick always did his best to suppress quietly sobbed in the shadowy corner as he vowed to never take electricity for granted again.

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