Thunder answered and the light above the bathtub went out with a pop.
Faye blinked in the new darkness. Funny how one bulb could make everything feel warmer.
She groped for the plug and let the water gargle out, swirling around her thin body, her hanging skin.
She heaved herself to a stand, carefully, because last year Lois Skelpy slipped in the tub. Fell and broke both tail bone and hip. She would’ve lived forever, otherwise.
Lois had been Faye’s last friend.
Faye made it to the bathmat and fumbled for the towel. Damn if the candles weren’t downstairs in the kitchen.
But she knew this house and could walk it blind. Here she’d been born. Here she’d lived for nigh on eighty-six years, for the last fifty, alone.
She pulled on her terrycloth robe, shivering as she tied the knot in front.
Another flash lit the room and Faye saw her father standing at the sink, head cocked back, a razor poised under his chin.
Her heart leapt dangerously.
“Daddy?” Her voice resonated in the swallowing dark.
Faye shuffled forward, her ropey hands holding the robe closed at her neck.
She smelled the pomade from his hair, the zingy scent of his aftershave. She heard him whistling “Black Water Blues” under his breath, low so as not to wake Mama.
The idea of Mama sleeping peacefully in the next room choked her. It was too wonderful.
“Daddy,” she whispered.
She reached out, but her hand slipped through air.
A gust of wind smacked the house and rain started, rattling the window, pelting the oak leaves.
Another flash and Faye knew she was alone.
“Daddy always loved a good storm,” she said aloud. But it was only an explanation to the medicine cabinet.
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