When the storm started, two Sunnights back, Wulf felt the call of sirens' voices. As rain pattered and thunder rumbled, YouTube delivered the dulcet voices of the Wailin' Jennys. A wonderful gospel piece, Storm Comin', was hypnotically pleasing. Wulf listened to the song three or five times before retiring for the evening.
Wulf's eyes flew open at the cannon-blast of sound. Instantly awake, Wulf witnessed a shower of sparks cascade from the ceiling of his darkened bedroom. It was evident that the power was out, while the sound of showering water came from the hall closet that houses the furnace and water heater. Wulf grabbed some pants and made his way to the laundry room for a flashlight.
There was a bitter tang of smoke in the air, unsurprising, yet alarming, as Wulf realized there was another source of light in the dispowered house. The incipient flood in the hall closet was forgotten as Wulf followed the dim light to an orange flame inside the sundered wall by the front door. Wulf bellowed for the cubs to awaken, awaiting their reply while pondering whether to dash for the fire extinguisher or the phone.
Sunshine and The Hunter came forth into the kitchen, unscathed, with no trace of slumber upon their dear faces. Wulf, as befits a man of action, opted for the fire extinguisher. It took mere seconds to spray down the stud which had ignited when superheated air blasted the wall from within. Sunshine was sent to light a candle, while The Hunter was sent to get dressed.
The immediate crisis resolved, the sound of rushing water reasserted itself. Checking the hall closet, water was seen to be spraying from the inlet pipe of the water heater. Unable to see the shutoff valve through the spray and smoke, Wulf rushed outside into the cold, rain-drenched darkness to shut off the water to the house, then back inside to get the ladder to check the attic for any sign of fire. The attic appeared to be flame free and short on smoke, as compared to the rest of the house.
Next, Wulf went outside to reset the main electrical breakers. Amazingly, power came on in much of the house. The cubs were sent to sleep in the car, while Wulf assured himself that no trace of fire remained in house or attic. A bookcase that had been against the stricken wall had been flung over, bringing to mind the oil lamp that had rested atop it. Visions of splattered oil bursting into flame sent Wulf to check for fire hazard in the smoke-choked room. Clumsily, Wulf cut his hand on a shard of broken glass, but it was only the shield, not the oil-filled body of the lamp.
Lacking any water to wash the bloody, yet trivial wound, Wulf returned to the hall closet to close the shutoff to the water heater, then back outside to restore water to the house. The refrigerator had power; an extension cord was strung to power the vent fan, so all things needful had been seen to. Another hour cleared the smoke from Sunshine's room, so Wulf summoned the cubs back inside. We all slept together in that unscorched room, though Wulf slept uneasily, waking often to pad through the house.
Morning revealed the story. Divots left where metal vaporized suggest the bolt struck the lamppost by the street. This is odd, considering it is on the lowest part of the property. The lamppost is adjacent to a tall tree; there are several other trees in the yard, not to mention a metal antenna pole, all taller, all seemingly better targets for a thunderbolt.
The surge followed the electrical wires into the house, where trapped air became a bomb as it expanded with the sudden heat.
The fire was inside the wall.
Several switchplates and power receptacles were scorched. Seals inside the inlet line to the water heater were damaged, causing the leak.The damage on the water line was only eight inches from where the gas line feeds the water heater. A close call, that. A new flex line was sweated on to replace the damaged one, so Wulf restored hot water the first day. A network card in one computer was fried; the computer itself is heavily surge-protected, but the cable linking it to another computer runs through the area of the attic that was in the thick of the surge. Several electrical runs in the attic will have to be replaced, and one secondary breaker got toasted. The cut Wulf inflicted upon himself has proved most inconvenient, as often when Wulf bumps his hand on something, the little wound starts bleeding again. Bother.
Wulf is especially proud of Sunshine and The Hunter for the calmness and swift obedience with which they met lightning, fire, and flood. Copious praise has thenceforth been lavished upon these cubs.
While at the the hardware store procuring materiel, Wulf encountered his high school friend, Mark G., he of the nifty parties. [True love: two - Vignette 2 - Rest your weary head, my love http://wulfthorson.livejournal.com/?skip=3
Mark happened to mention that a year past, he had attended the funeral of a mutual friend, John. Oddly, a few weeks ago, Wulf had mentioned John to Suzy Q, saying that Wulf did not wish to hear anything about John again, unless it was to hear that John had died, preferably slowly, in excruciating pain. Though once a friend, and perhaps on account of friendship forsworn, Wulf had come to regard John, in Wulf's opinion a lying, manipulative, evil spider of a being, as Wulf's only personal enemy in this world. Mark did not mention the manner of John's passing, yet Wulf is not above some pettiness in imagining scenaria of fearsome agony and blackest despair.
It would seem that Thor's blessings are delivered roughly, with odd humor. All things considered, it was a great week, thunderbolts notwithstanding.
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