Today’s writing prompt and my response.
Prompt four for this week. Use the prompts however you like, one at a time, or pen a short story over several of them.
Beast Radio Moaned: use these three words
As a family they always listened to the radio in the evenings. Father would sit in the arm chair reserved exclusively for his use, and fuss at lighting his pipe while Mother and Sissy washed the dishes and Freddie sat on the floor hunched over his book of trains. Freddie loved trains. Father would rumple Freddie’s hair and smile, proud as a new daddy, and tell visitors that Freddie would be an engineer just like his old man when he grew up. Freddie would puff out his chest, knowing that was what he wanted to do.
Sissy scowled on these occasions, understanding the assumption was that she would follow in Mother’s footsteps and be a wife and mother, once Mr Right came along.
Mother had given her a glory box for her 14th birthday, and every now and then Sissy would see her placing some new item in it: an embroidered cushion cover, a set of white pillowcases, a teapot with a knitted cosy. Sissy never looked in the glory box. The thought of Mr Right made her slightly nauseous.
‘Are we ready to listen to the radio?’ Father called from his chair, pipe smoke blooming about his neatly parted hair.
‘Yes, yes.’ Mother hurried into the lounge room, followed by Sissy.
They sat side by side on the sofa and Father nodded at Freddie, who stood up and walked to the big brown wireless set. He switched it on, turned the dial.
Sounds of static. Freddie frowned, twisted the dial a little more. Static. He glanced at Father who frowned in return.
Freddie fiddled some more. ‘What’s happening?’ he moaned. ‘It should be set to the right station.’
Sissy sat up straighter. Something out of the ordinary was happening. It excited her. That wasn’t static. Couldn’t Mother, Father and Freddie hear? It was a summons. It called to her – the voice of the beast which lived in her head. The beast which only came in the night, in her dreams. The monster with no interest in glory boxes, but a huge interest in Sissy.
Father was at the wireless, turning knobs, pushing the on/off button, muttering about expensive equipment which turned out to be rubbish.
Mother wrung her hands, her eyes glazing as if the static might be calling to her too, but she was afraid.
Sissy grabbed one of Mother’s hands, leaned in close. ‘Don’t be scared, Mummy,’ she whispered. ‘That’s the call sign of freedom. Let’s go.’
She pulled her mother from the seat, marched her into the hall and out the front door to join the stream of women walking steadily away from their glory-boxed lives.
Find Cheryl’s flash fiction and short stories here!