by J.E. Allen
SCREAMS!!! Contest Entry - 500 Words
|It was April 18th, at 3:34 PM, and Peter sat at his desk, the door to his home office locked and his eyes fixated on the rotary telephone next to him. The shades were drawn to obscure the blinding afternoon sun. Today was the anniversary of his brother Mickey’s death, and he was expecting a call.
It’s 3:35 PM, two minutes to go.
Peter’s mind began to wander back to that day, twenty-four years ago, when he was twelve and Mickey was nine. It was a Saturday, and they had been playing in the woods out by the old Thompson Junkyard. They never told their mother they were playing on the rusty old cars and trucks, they’re heard her tetanus shot spiel a hundred times already.
On their way back Peter had gotten a little ahead of his brother Mickey and at the top of the hill behind their neighborhood, he could see a train barreling down the tracks. If they didn’t cross the tracks now, they’d be late getting home and mamma was sure to be angry. She’d told him time and time again it was his responsibility to be home on time, he was going to be a teenager next year. He had to be a good example for his brother.
3:36 PM, one minute to go.
He yelled back to his brother, “Hurry up slow-poke, we have to cross the tracks! Loser buys a Coke!”
As Peter took off running down the hill he heard Mickey yell back, “Wait up Pete, don’t leave me!”
Peter was almost to the tracks and he heard the huge train blow its horn, letting the entire town of Thompson know it was coming. He picked up the pace and yelled back to his brother, “HURRY UP!”
Pete cleared the tracks in a single bound and pumped his fist in triumph. Declaring himself the ultimate winner he turn to gloat and saw that Mickey was still running toward the tracks. The smile quickly fled from Pete’s face as he waved both hands in the air and yelled, trying to tell Mickey to stop, but the train was too loud and his brother too focused. The train didn’t slow.
Emergency services wouldn’t let their mother through to see her son’s body, and Pete sat in the dirt covered in blood, dirt and tears, next to a parked train wishing for his mother’s wrath for being late, instead of this.
The first ring from the old rotary phone scared Peter to death, considering he never turned on the service, it was a sound he only heard once a year. His heart rate jumped to staggering levels and his breath was caught in his throat. The second ring was easier to bear, but did nothing to help his blood pressure. After twenty-four years, it never got easier. On the third ring Peter picked up.
The silence was deafening; he could hear his own breath in his ear.
He whispered, “Mickey, are you there?”