I heard my brother's voice from inside my room, where I sat playing Lego Harry Potter, Years 5-7. (Yes, I play Lego Harry Potter. It is HARRY POTTER. If they made a Doctor Who game, I would play that, too.)
This was when I stood up, because when some one in my house is frozen in shock, as my brother clearly was, it can mean only two things: 1. There is a spider or insect that rivals the size of Shelob from The Lord of the Rings or 2. Some vital part of the house has broken / fallen off / caved in / risen up to challenge its master for control.
Paul was in the bathroom, standing, holding a bathroom mat in his hands as water streamed down from the mat onto the floor, which, upon closer inspection, was flooded.
Paul was standing in the middle of a puddle which had encompassed the bathroom floor. The mats were surrounded, quickly becoming saturated, although they weren't too bad off--YET. Through a stroke of luck, the mat Paul was holding had acted as something of a levee, and the flood hadn't reached the hall carpet. But it was only a matter of time. I went for towels.
When I returned, Paul explained what he'd discovered.
Apparently, the bathroom sink, which has been slow to drain of late, had been left running by one of our parents. As the drain could not accept all the water, the sink slowly filled and overflowed, flooding first the counter, then the ground, where it pooled. And when I say "pooled," I mean, "Get me some floaties; I'll race you to the high dive."
Paul and I soaked up the water while Dad watched, because it is more fun to watch than help. Also because the bathroom is too small for three people to stand inside at once. But I think he would say he helped in a "supervisory" capacity, standing in the hall in his pajamas, waiting for us to finish cleaning so he could use the restroom.
As I wiped up the water from the floor, it hit me.
We could be dead.
Paul and I could have died the second we walked into that bathroom. THE VERY SECOND.
See, when things break in our house, they BREAK. At first, we thought the light bulb in the bathroom had burnt out. But then we realized that the problem was actually the light switch, which had lost some kind of vital connection inside, something electrical.
Since none of us are electricians, and we ought to avoid being trusted with power cables in general, even tiny ones, we solved the problem in our favorite way: We ignored it.
We took out the light bulb from the bathroom fixture, and we resolved to call someone for help. Then we got a lamp from a table somewhere, and plugged it in to the bathroom outlet, which is on the wall above the counter where the sink lives.
The sink which had flooded.
As I examined the counter again, I saw that the water had pooled all around the sink, but had somehow avoided the lamp entirely. It was like the lamp was an island and the water was the sea. Water had not touched the lamp or the power cord. It was completely dry.
So Paul and I got to live.