Another shot of whiskey, now he can’t stop looking at the door. He blows on his fingers, warm air rushing over slowly numbing tips. The goddamned pilot light was out again. He flips the switch at the top of the basement steps. No response. He opens his cell phone, turns the flash on, and photographs his way into the flooded basement.
The water clings to the denim of his jeans, numbing him, pouring over his socks, chilling his toes with its icy embrace. He exhales, and his breath clouds. He can scarcely see his hands, and he’s starting to lose feeling. The flash bounces off the softly broken pool of water, reeking of urine. Perhaps the septic tank is leaking?
The thought is revolting.
Why am I down here?
Shivering, he ponders the notion of cold spots. The cold was fierce, unnatural.
Why am I DOWN here?
He finds the pump, kicks it, it sputters. The wire hovers, buzzes. Too late to notice the mistake. A slight tinge, a flush of heat, and it’s over. He sinks beneath the placid surface of a flooded basement.