I stared at the black and white photo of a woman with short, curled hair. Not pretty in the conventional sense, but striking nonetheless. She was smiling like she knew something you didn’t.
“Will you please?” Amelia said, her voice breaking. I swallowed down the lump in my throat.
“I can’t,” I whispered.
There was a long pause. I felt a hot tear slide down my cheek and I wiped it away with the heel of my hand. I wanted to turn it off, I didn’t want to hear any more, but something in me knew that if I did I could never listen to the AM radio again. It was selfish but I knew I’d lose my soothing place, the thing my grandmother and I had shared and still meant so much to me. If I didn’t listen to the rest Amelia would be here every time I turned the radio on, right where I’d left her, begging me for help.
“All right,” she said at last. Tired, but determined. “All right.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, but I knew she’d stopped listening to me and I had to keep listening to her.
“What are you doing?” Amelia’s voice again, farther away, like she was looking elsewhere.
“Amelia, here,” Fred said quickly, and I could hear him pounding on something. “The door, quick, let me out!”
“It’s knee deep, you can’t – stop—“
Fred made some incoherent sounds, mostly just yelling and gasping. At last he screamed,
“I can’t make it! You have to help me!”
I heard some splashing and the metallic grunt of a door creaking open.
“Son of a BITCH—“ Amelia cursed, then I could barely hear them at all, a great rushing sound began to drown them out. I remember thinking at least they had gotten out, at least they had a chance, before Amelia said one last thing.
“Are you here?” she called, and I knew she was talking to me, even though she sounded far away.
“I’m here,” I said, pressing my face close to the speakers. “I’m here.”