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“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” – Martin Luther

Featured : The Victrola

This story was originally published in the 7th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection

Sunlight filtered through a broken window, barely conquering the dust filled air to land on what was left of the Victrola. Kayla hesitated, just a moment, thinking she could escape before the dust anchored her to the rest of the ruins in the room. Her feet moved forward as her mind considered the possibilities. Her chest and her resolve tightened as she passed quickly through the light without noticing its warmth on her skin. She remembered the room as it had once been – before the wallpaper peeled, before the rats chewed holes in the floors, before her mother had died. A smile crossed her face as she remembered her adventures with the Victrola.

It was her mother’s prized possession and her own secret treasure. As a child she would sneak into the room when her mother was otherwise occupied and sift through the contents of its intricate belly; knowing if her mother caught her there would be hell to pay. She would quietly remove the thick vinyl records covered by frail yellowing paper. With a care her mother never showed them, she would pull a disk from its casing and turn it between her small hands, reading and re-reading song titles that meant something to only a hand full of people in the world. She remembered desperately wanting to hear what was imbedded in those tiny grooves, but knowing better than to try. She laughed at how many fanciful moments she had spent in her life inventing the explanation for how those grooves could hold the sound captive and how a tiny needle could set them momentarily free. She had been so convinced that she could use that knowledge to permanently free her mother’s softer side.

A noise in the kitchen brought her back to the present. Continue Reading