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"I've rented a cabin in the mountains for us." Victor announced the plans for winter break.
"Now? In winter? The place better have electricity!" teenaged Tim moaned. He spoke without looking up from his 3DS.
Victor loaded up the family SUV after dinner. His plan was to drive to the cabin at night when traffic was light and be able to wake up in pristine nature on his first vacation day. His wife walked through the house making sure all lights were off. In Tim's room, the Wii and TV were on. She switched them off.
All loaded up with the parents, Tim, and his younger brother John, the family took on the three-hour drive to the Southern California mountain ranges they could see in the distance from their little suburban neighborhood.
Victor drove through the seemingly never ending megapole of Los Angeles and surrounding cities until they finally reached a part of the freeway that didn't have dense urban development next to it. John fell asleep and slowly slumped toward Tim.
"Mom," Tim whined, "John is leaning against me."
Delilah spoke without even looking back in an uninterested tone, "He's tired."
Tim groaned and roughly pushed John toward the other side of the car. John, autistic and sleepy, started crying. Victor snapped, "Tim! Let John sleep."
They arrived at the cabin right after midnight. Victor carried John inside the house while Delilah walked ahead to unlock the door and turn lights on. Tim lumbered behind, his 3DS snapped close just long enough to find a spot on the sofa inside to slump down and get right back to gaming.
Delilah and Victor set up the two bedrooms. Parents and children went to sleep with the electric furnace warming the small house to a cozy temperature. Since it was a vacation, they all slept in. The first one to wake up was Victor. He rubbed his arms as he got up and glanced at the thermostat. "Weird, why did it turn off?" It showed 55 degrees Fahrenheit, yet it was set to keep the place at a more cozy 65 degrees.
He opened the front door. The light snow that had begun to fall on their drive up here had continued through all of the night and covered the ground all around the cabin with a thick layer of pristine white snow. Even the car was covered with just a tiny spot on the middle of the hood showing the first snow had melted off from the car's heat, but eventually even overtaken that part with a light white dusting.
Victor closed the door. He went into the kitchen. He put water and coffee in the machine and flipped the switch. He noticed the little light didn't come on. He switched the kitchen ceiling light on. Nothing. The power was out!
He woke up Delilah. "We have a power outage."
Delilah said in her usual calm voice, "They'll fix it."
Victor went to wake the kids. Tim was awake. He played with his 3DS on his belly under the covers. Noticing his dad, he asked, "Why is it so cold here? Can't you turn the heater up?"
"Power is out."
"Aw man! I've got to charge my 3DS soon."
Victor sighed and went to John's side of the bed. John had his eyes open. When he saw his father, he got up. Victor held clothes out for him and he slipped into them. From the bathroom, they heard Delilah call, "We ran out of hot water!"
She towel dried her hair. "Maybe we can drive to Starbucks for breakfast," she suggested.
Victor agreed. He got dressed and bundled up to sweep the snow off the car. Once he had the door freed from snow, he sat down in the car to start the engine up and get it warmed up. The motor turned over once. Turned over twice. And died. Victor tried again. The lights on the dashboard flickered long enough to tell him the battery was dead. He noticed a cable running from the cigarette lighter. Tim's DSiXL lay charging on the car floor. A video game system and a very cold night caused them to be stranded miles and miles from the next source of electricity.
Victor unplugged the gaming device. He carried it into the house and let it fall next to Tim on the sofa. "Once this is dead, we won't have any more power." He turned to Delilah, "The car battery is dead. I should have put a new one in. Didn't expect a little gaming device to kill it."
Delilah searched through all cabinets in the house. Soon, they had a fire in the fireplace, which at least chased the chill out of the house. Delilah was able to use the fire to warm soup in a big pot. Sometime in the afternoon, Tim's DS's ran out of juice. He looked around at his family as if he'd seen them for the first time.
Victor slapped a deck of cards on the table. "Time to play like real people."