I switched off the radio. I waited a few minutes. I switched it back on.
“Maaaary,” he moaned.
I switched off the radio again.
I couldn’t make anyone else hear it. Somehow, I already knew that. Maggie’s presence had caused them to go away, but when I came back alone they were right here waiting for me.
I couldn’t help. There was nothing I could do but listen.
I sat down in front of the radio and crossed my legs. I watched it as I had when I was a child and Gramma controlled the dial with an almost magical ease but I didn’t touch the dial. I listened.
“I can’t reach the airport,” Amelia said, close to tears. “No one’s answering, I can’t get through to anyone—“
“The water’s knee deep!” Fred shouted, and this was the first time he sounded at all like he really knew what he was saying. This was the voice of a man who had surfaced from insanity just to see how bad things really were. “Let me out! LET ME OUT!”
There was the sound of another struggle. I could hear Amelia telling him no, a thick thump as one of them pushed the other somewhere in what I now assumed was the cockpit of a plane. The airport, the water, the radio – they had been flying and they crashed, most likely into the ocean. I thought of the Malaysian plane that went missing earlier in the year and shuddered. Somehow I knew this wasn’t the same plane but they had almost certainly suffered a similar fate.
“Where are you going?” Amelia demanded, her voice hitting a panicked pitch I hadn’t yet heard. “We can’t bail out, Fred, the water’s coming up, just look—“
Another thump, followed by a cry that was definitely Amelia. It might have been my imagination but I thought I could hear the sound of fingernails scrabbling against glass and metal.
“Oh, ouch,” she whispered, almost to herself. Fred kept babbling, lapsed back into delirium.