O child, listen to the radio play

Written by JennZub

This work was last updated October 10, 2019


It began, as very few things do, on a small farm in central Nebraska. Perhaps that is why it had gone unnoticed for so long. By the time it had been, it was much, much too late to do anything to stop it.

“There have been reports that livestock destined for the slaughterhouse from a certain municipality of Nebraska have recently been afflicted with a strange viral disease,” Sandy Shore, the newscaster of Regional County News told the masses through her microphone.

“Scientists are still working to determine the cause of the animals’ strange behaviour, but based on the symptoms the most recent hypothesis is that it is a newly mutated form of a swine or bovine flu or a form of rabies. Consumers are asked to check their meat purchases from the last week and immediately dispose of any meat sourced from Marlowe’s Family Farm. Any updates on the situation will be reported right here on RCN. Now over to John for next week’s weather…”

The radio faded into static as the channel was changed by a small hand to one with some happy music.

“Jake, why did you change the channel?” came the shout from the kitchen.

“Your news was over ma, you said I could change it when the news was done!” he shouted right back. His ma really liked the news, though he wasn’t sure why. It was boring.

“Jacob Noah Tyson, you turn it back on right this second! I need to hear the weather!”

The ten year old rolled his eyes but did as she asked, knowing that if he didn’t then ma would get angry, and when she did, he would sometimes get the strap once pa got home from his work.

Jacob couldn’t help but pout a little. It wasn’t fair that ma and pa got to listen to whatever they wanted to all the time but him and little Mary never got to listen to music. Mary was only three, but Jacob could tell that she wanted to listen to music with him.

He felt her tiny hand tug on his shirt. “Jakie, no music?”

“Sorry Marilou, no music,” he said, shaking his head. When he saw her little eyes start to tear up, he tried to distract her.

“Say, how about you go cuddle Spot? Spot loves cuddles.”

Mary nodded and toddled off with a little happy cry of “Doggie!”

At least she could entertain herself. He followed behind her, picking up the meat that was always used to feed the dog, and walked into the yard where the doghouse sat. If he couldn’t listen to music, maybe he could at least make himself useful.

Mary smooshed her face into Spot’s fur and started petting him a bit rougher than she should have, but the family dog was long since used to it. He grinned to himself and scraped the meat into Spot’s bowl before calling the dog over once Mary had fallen off his back.

“Spot! Come here, boy!”

The old dog got up and shook himself off, barking once before digging into his meal. With his job done, Jacob stood up and turned around to walk back into the house. A gut-wrenching scream pierced the air, and he spun around so fast that he almost tripped over his own feet and face planted into the dusty ground. What he saw horrified him.

Spot had his teeth buried into Mary’s little arm, a horrific crazed look in his eyes. They were cloudy and he was foaming, and rabid, and all he could hear was Mary’s screaming. Her blood dripped to the ground, drop by drop, but he stayed rooted there, unable to move, unable to scream. He was frozen, from fear, from horror, from who knows what and he didn’t even notice when his father rushed out of the house, picked up the shotgun with shaking hands, and pulled the trigger. He didn’t even notice when the screaming stopped.

Tags: play, radio, the, listen, child, ambiguous character death, historical setting, zombie prompt, horror

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