The silence surrounding Phillip startled him almost as much as the chill. He jerked awake, the sensation of something missing dragging him to full consciousness within a fraction of a second. The children, he thought. They’re gone.
The first light was filtering in from the rear windows; dim as it was, its presence indicated that the morning was still young. The kids knew better than to go out before the sunrise, Phillip thought, as he threw the blanket over his head and onto the chair behind him. Where…?
“I think he’s up,” came a voice from the television room. Phillip moved through the halls to the rear den, where Gene and Jeanne were leaning against each other on the couch. The cabinet was still locked, and an infomercial of some sort was playing on the television; atop the cabinet, the cable box showed the current time. Jeanne turned to him as he entered, and smiled. “Morning, Phillip.”
“Good morning,” Phillip said. Gene waved in response. “Did you guys sleep well down here?”
“Yeah,” Gene said, turning around. Both were now peering over the back of the couch at him, the television completely ignored. “We woke up a little later after the storm was over, though.”
“You could have gone back upstairs,” Phillip said.