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Contingency

“I can’t see anything wrong,” Jenny said as she climbed the last step up from the dark basement. “I traced the line all the way to the foundation.”

Bill sighed. “Well, the internet’s still dead.” He toggled the router off and back on. “Nothing.”

The light from the fireplace flickered in his face. He looked young, like he did before … Wanda.

“Maybe we don’t need it,” Jenny said, laying a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Wasn’t the whole idea in coming to this cabin to get away, take some time for us?”

Bill poked at his cell phone, grunted. “No signal! I’ve got to have email in case something comes up at work. I’ll do it myself.”

He pulled away from his wife and stomped down the stairs, flashlight app guiding the way. Jenny closed her eyes, dreading what she knew was coming.

“Are you kidding me?” Bill bellowed from below.

Jenny stepped onto the first tread. She’d hoped it wouldn’t come to this.

“What is it?” she asked, as she tiptoed down toward her husband.

“The cable is cut!” he exclaimed. “How could you not see this?”

Jenny stepped onto the concrete floor. It was cold against her bare feet.

“I saw it,” she said softly.

“What? You saw it? Then why did you say everything was fine?”

“Because I hoped it would be.”

“Well, it’s not!” Bill said. “Who would do this? And why are you standing there in the dark?”

He stormed toward her. “We’re driving back right now,” he said.

In the blackness, he couldn’t see her tears. He couldn’t see the fire poker she held straight out in front of her, either.

She’d hoped it wouldn’t come to this.

“I did it!” Jenny said, and braced for the impact.

Published inFlash Fiction

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