He began to cry.
I got to my feet and turned off the radio.
I don’t know how long I stood there before I left the living room, went to the kitchen to make a sandwich. It was a radio play, that’s all it was, or someone trying to screw with the few people who still listen to AM radio, and I suddenly needed to make a sandwich, do the laundry, clean the bathroom, do anything except think about that radio and what I’d heard come from it.
I went to bed early that night but sleep didn’t come. I laid beneath the sheets and stared at the ceiling. I thought about the voices in the static. The man, and the woman.
“It’s not real,” I said to my empty bedroom. “Someone wanted to scare you and they did a good job, but now you can forget about it and go to sleep.”
Instead, I got out of bed and padded quietly to the living room. The radio sat there on its little table, silent and waiting like a snake ready to strike.
I had left the dial tuned to the station – if you could even call it that – where I’d heard the voices. Carefully, knowing it was the wrong thing to do, I turned on the radio.
“Help,” the woman said at once, her voice still steady yet undeniably afraid. “Help us quick, the water’s getting in, I can feel it—“
“You’re right,” the man said dreamily from somewhere nearby. He sounded more drunk than ever but I was certain he wasn’t.
“Fred,” she said, urgent. “No, Fred, come here just a moment—“
“It’s HOT,” the man who must’ve been Fred declared in the stubborn tone of a child. “I just need to get out—“
“You can’t, oh Fred please…”