Five Letter Word

“Whale.”

“It’s not whale.”

Daniela looked at the paper again.

W H _ L E

That was whale. It had to be.

They had been playing hangman for almost an hour. The power had been out for almost four. There’s a quiet helplessness that comes from being in a candle lit room. The house was not prepared to be deprived of electricity. Daniela certainly wasn’t. Sebastián decided to turn off his phone and save the battery. Daniela knew that was the smart thing to do but she couldn’t do it.

“I think you’re lying“ she said. “I think it is in fact whale.”

Sebastián made his serious face.

“It is not whale. You have my solemn word.”

And then the noise began. Metal hitting metal. Metal hurting metal.

They both stood up and went to the window. A man and a woman were standing in the corner. The woman was hitting a light post with a big spoon and the man was hitting two saucepans together. The street still had light so they could see them hitting their kitchen utensils against the street, protesting and making hurtful noises.

“We want our light back!” the man shouted.

“We can’t live like this!” the woman shouted.

This time it wasn’t that bad. It had only been four hours. Last summer the power had been out for ten days. That had been bad. After just twelve hours without power the food starts to sweat. Fruit, cheese, meat, everything starts to warm up. It basically starts to rot. The smell of rotten food is very hard to get out of a refrigerator. Or a house.

“It’s while, isn’t it? Not whale” Daniela asked.

Sebastián nodded.

“Yes. It is while.”

She won again.

Outside a small group formed around the man and the woman. A young couple with a little boy joined them last. The boy shook a ladle without hitting anything, he just moved it through the air while his parents screamed their demands. He looked happy. Everyone else was banging their saucepans mercilessly, demanding the immediate return of electricity.

“Want to play another one?” Daniela asked.

“I’ll have to check my schedule but I think I have some time.”

Six letter word. It already couldn’t be whale.

***

Inspired by this week’s Warmup Wednesday prompt.

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