Blackout Part 5
Sarah stared at the screen. She didn’t see any way to type back; the pager only had a couple of buttons in the front and none had letters. It didn’t matter though. Another message flashed across the screen as if it read her mind.
“I don’t expect you to type an answer,” it scrolled, followed by another message. “What I do need is for you to meet me at the playground tomorrow at 7 am.”
Sarah inhaled quickly. Her throat felt dry. All she could think about was her mother telling her about stranger danger. Here she was, contemplating meeting an unknown person by herself. Even if he were a kid, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t safe.
“I won’t hurt you,” the pager displayed. Sarah turned off the pager and slid it under her bed again. She would set her wind-up Mickey Mouse alarm for 6:30 am and then decide if she were going. She was too scared to make a decision now.
The next morning the bells of her clock rang, and Sarah feared she’d wake the whole house. She slammed her hand on the button to silence the noise and listened for any movement from her family. When the house seemed still, she quietly crept out of bed and began getting dressed. She still wasn’t sure if she would go, but best to be ready.
At 6:50 am, Sarah fished under her bed for the pager and turned it on. The Welcome message appeared as it always did when she first pressed power. She waited for another message but nothing came. In her head she thought, “I’m afraid to meet you.” Within seconds a message appeared.
“You’ll be safe. I promise.”
Sarah slowly tiptoed down to the first floor of her house, careful not to make too much noise. She heard her father snoring peacefully in her parents’ bedroom. They’d be asleep for at least another hour if their usual pattern kept up. She unlocked the door, inhaling the crisp morning air. The sun was shining again but it wasn’t too warm, at least not at 7 am.
Her neighborhood was quiet. Since the blackout it was as if everyone saw little reason to start their day early. No jobs or school to go to. Sarah wondered if school would be out by now. She had lost track of the days since the blackout, but judging by how warm the sun was getting, she figured it was almost summer vacation.
Sarah reached the playground a few minutes later. She wasn’t sure if she was on time or late, but either way the park was empty. No signs of the boy or any notes. She sat on the bench and waited. Part of her hoped he wouldn’t show but another part was too curious about him.
Just when she was about to walk back home, she saw him emerging from the tree line that surrounded the playground, and her stomach filled with butterflies…