Echoes from Radioland

Please enjoy this excerpt.  Echoes from Radioland was published in November 2006 in Planet Magazine.

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?  The weed of crime bears bitter fruit.  Crime does not pay.  The Shadow knows.”

Maniacal laughter echoed into the emptiness of outer space and for the next twenty minutes, Valerie and Maria were transported to an alien world where men in black fedoras and trench coats solved the city’s problems with two 45’s and a cigarette, and women in flowing silk gowns puffed out sexy non-sequiturs through a pound of lipstick.  It was a world that never quite existed except in the ether of radioland, but seemed more real now than the sixteen hundred square feet of their moon base prison.

They had been receiving radio signals in the kilohertz wavelength for the past two weeks.  At first they took them for a rescue team, then survivors, then . . . well, then it became clear what the signals were – echoes.

“Had a great uncle on my mother’s side.  Maybe he was a great, great uncle.  I’m not sure.  Very old fellow.  He still had some of these shows on reel to reel recordings.  He said people used to gather around the radio every night.  Of course, that was before there was TV.”  Valerie spoke over the sound of screeching tires and blasting pistols.

“Shhh!”

Valerie waited, but they were losing the signal.  Eventually, the Shadow’s mocking laugh faded into the static of star noise.

Maria turned off the speaker.  “Sorry.  That was the best one yet.  I just wish we could hear a whole show.”

Valerie smiled knowingly.  “We might soon.  The signals seem to be getting stronger.  I can program the dishes to track them next time.”

“If there is a next time.”  Maria flopped down on the plastic utility couch and closed her eyes.

Valerie and Maria had been alone on Apollo Station moon base for just over two years, ever since radio contact with Earth had gone mysteriously silent. There were six of them back then, but Commander Pearson and three other crew members had taken the lunar rover on a perilous journey past Luna’s South Pole to reach Clavius Crater Station on the near side of the moon.  They never returned.  Valerie and Maria feared the worst.  It was the war – the big one they’d all been waiting for.

The universe had been a very silent place since that time with only the static of star noise to comfort them.  They felt as if they were the last two souls left alive in an infinite sea of darkness.  Their despair grew deeper with every passing day, but then they heard the voices from the stars, human voices from the past, and their spirits were refreshed with that intangible thing that they could only call hope.

***

Publishers:  If you have enjoyed this excerpt and would like to consider the complete 4800 word story for publication in your magazine, please email me at the address below.

wright812@hotmail.com

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