The Radio

            The Radio sat on the edge of the window sill as it had for many, many years.  The black plastic case and silvered dials were cracked and faded with age and thin layer of dust covered the top and stuck to the speaker grill like flies caught in a web.

            If you were to look more closely you would see that the chrome antenna had been bent as if by a great wind and the edge of the case, just where the radio sat on the weathered window sill, had melted and become one with the wood upon which it sat.  Were anyone to come along and try to move the radio, they would be hard pressed to separate it from its resting place.

            Though it had rested there in the window for what seemed an eternity, music still filtered through its tiny speaker, carried through the air from some distant radio station.  The station, broadcasting as WPEN, automatically looped through its repertoire of Jazz, Rock and Pop as it had for as long as the radio had sat in the window.  The same songs, accompanied by merry jingles selling everything from shaving cream to automobiles played day after long, lonely day.  But of course, the old radio didn’t mind.  It simply sat and listened, immovable in the window.

            As another evening fell, the lighted face of the radio came to life, sharing what light it could with the battered and empty house in which it sat.  The light wasn’t much, for it had never been intended as illumination, but it was enough to cast long shadows across the empty room, making the two shapes in the bed more distinct in the gloom.  The radio had sat, playing a tune from old Motown as the two figures had entered, so long ago, and lay themselves to rest in the antique bed.  Like many, they hadn’t waited until the end, instead choosing to rest in one another’s arms for eternity.

            The night waned as had countless ones before and as the sun rose the radio belted out a tune from the King, a tune that in past-times had brought the neighborhood to life.  Now, the happy tune was met by only silence from the nearby ruins and the vague rattle of skeletons, disturbed by the morning wind that foreshadowed another wicked snowstorm.  Soon, snow covered the sill and half buried the radio, but still it played a litany of high energy Jazz, Pop and Rock, its music barely muffled by the glowing white patina that covered everything in its path.  As always, the radio didn’t mind.  It just listened and waited and played.

            The storm passed as quickly as it had come, leaving only the distant rumble of thunder as it headed out to a green and sullen sea.  The radio continued to play, its music barely audible beneath the blanket of snow the storm had left in its wake.  It wasn’t long, however, before the meager heat of the radio’s lights melted the radio free and its happy tunes were once again carried on the wind.

            Afternoon turned into night and a cracked moon glinted through the night, brightening the ruins into crystalline day.  Were it not for the ancient skeletons of wrecked cars and the twisted hulks that used to be machines jutting out through the snow, the panorama would have belonged on a cheery holiday card.

            Inside, the radio played on, but near midnight, something changed.  A voice, thick with fear and exhaustion called out of the small speaker.

            “Is… is there anyone out there?  Is anyone still alive?”

            The radio sat quietly.  There was nothing else it could do.

Afterward:

This is a short story i wrote many years ago for a contest.  I didn’t win first place, but I didn’t do bad, either.  I hope you enjoyed it.

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