by n. gwynn
A piece of flash fiction I wrote as a warmup. Anyone else see late night ice cream trucks?
| Christine sat up in bed, rubbing at her eyes. She wasn't quite sure what had awoken her-- she was ordinarily a sound sleeper. She reached out for her phone, groaning softly as she saw the time. 3:09 am. She went to put her phone back and try to grab some sleep, before Chloe inevitably woke her up at 6 am on the dot, demanding Cheerios and cartoons.
When she heard the tinkle of music, she groaned again and looked to her phone, trying to see who was texting her at this unholy hour. But her phone's screen was still dark, even as the tinny music continued to play. She realized that it was coming from outside, this tinny, faintly warped rendition of "Pop Goes the Weasel," the one she remembered from her childhood home in Petaluma.
"Why is there an ice cream truck out there?" she mumbled, stumbling out of bed and towards the bedroom window. She pulled the curtains aside, looking out at the street. The truck was sitting there, headlights off, the music playing, the smiling blue eyed cartoon children painted on the side dimly illuminated in the street light. No one was sitting in the driver's seat, or waiting at the window.
Her gaze drifted to the walk leading up to her front door, and she squinted, trying to see the small object discarded on the walk. She recognized it with a start as one of Chloe's favorite pink sneakers, the ones she had thrown in the shoe cubby while she herded the girl to bed.
"Chloe?" Christine said, running down the hall towards the blue room with the clouds and the bed full of stuffed animals and empty of her daughter. Over the sound of the ice cream truck's music, she heard the creak of the screen door, swinging in the night breeze. She ran out the door, running towards the ice cream truck as it tore down the road, hurtling out of the cul-de-sac.
Christine stood there in the yellow orange light of the street lamp, holding the pink sneaker in her hands as the song faded into the night.