A Spring Surprise

What would April hear after turning on a walkie-talkie from her childhood? Read this short story to find out!

“Honey! Did you finish cleaning your room?” April’s mom called up to her. It was the last day of spring break of her senior year. April was finishing putting her old clothes and knicknacks into a box to give away to the neighbor’s kid. She folded her old band shirts and placed them alongside her old untouched journals in the box. She looked into an old scrapbook of hers and reminisced about the long, forgotten memories about her old friend Moss. April moved a few more of her outgrown clothes into the box when she saw something at the back of her closet.

Graphic by Cate Roser ’21/Staff

What the heck? April reached into the dusty corner and pulled out her old walkie-talkie from when she would build secret hideouts with her friend years ago

“Hey mom? Do we have any batteries?” April shouted down to her mom outside. 

“Kitchen drawer, sweetie! Aren’t you supposed to be packing your old things?” 

April grabbed two AA batteries and clicked them into place in the old device. She heard a bit of static and then the walkie-talkie went quiet. She pressed the button on the side to talk. 

“Hello, this is April speaking. It seems our fort is under attack. We’re going to need blanket reinforcements right away!” She laughed at the silliness of her four-year-old self

Haha, good times. She placed the device into the box for her neighbor. He’ll get a kick out of this. I know I did when I was his age. Just before April sealed up the box for good, she heard a voice. 

“H-hello? Perfect timing! April if #### you, I need you to ###### and find the #### in your house,” she heard through the device. April opened the box again and picked up the walkie-talkie. 

“Hello? Moss is that you? How are you able to hear me?” 

“That’s not ###### right now. I need you to find ##### and then tell me what it says. I can explain everything later but I need you to do this for me.” 

“What do you need me to find?” 

“I already said ####.”

“You’re breaking up.”

“Just go into ####### and find me ######.” 

“What?”

“I have to leave now but please just—” Moss was cut off. 

April ran down to her garage and started searching for, well, something. 

What did he say? April wondered. She rummaged around some boxes and containers, eventually coming across one filled with papers. Her fingers flicked through each sheet, finding nothing but her mom’s old paperwork. What am I even looking for? For all I know it could be a hammer! April scrapped going through the papers and searched through old vintage photos her mom had. 

“Am I looking for these?” she wondered aloud.

“What are you looking for?” 

April flinched. “Don’t scare me like that!” Her mom peered over April’s shoulder. 

“What are you looking for? You’re creating more of a mess here than there already was.” 

“I don’t really know but it’s important.” April kept digging around in the containers and files. She picked up the walkie-talkie again. 

“Moss, what do you need me to find?” The walkie-talkie only crackled with static. “Moss?” She smacked her head. Think April, think. What would he be looking for? April went inside for a cup of water and then back up to her room. She looked back into her packed up stuff and in her closet. 

“Hey Moss, are you there?” The walkie-talkie crackled with more static. April searched into her mind for anything she could remember. Could it have been an inside joke we had? A gift I gave him? A gift he gave me? She looked through the neatly packed box again to see if anything would spark a memory. April quickly flipped through the unused journals from years ago, wondering if there was a secret message or anything of the sort. Just as she was about to close the last one, a few flower and leaf pressings fell out. The dry crinkles in the leaves made April’s fingers tingle and the old petals had their color seeped out of them onto the page. April looked back at the place they all fell out of and saw what she thought Moss was looking for. 

“I don’t know what you need but I think if it’s a password or codeword, it’s clover,” April said into the walkie-talkie. “You better explain everything to me when whatever you’re doing is over. Let’s actually chat sometime later.” April let go of the walkie-talkie and put it on her bed along with the journal with the pressings in it. She walked down the stairs to give her mom the things for her neighbor and then helped do some more spring cleaning. 

***

“April? Is that really you?” April turned around from where she was sitting in the café. The smell of coffee beans and flowers wafted through the glass window April was sitting next to. Moss pulled out a chair next to her and sat down. April almost didn’t recognize Moss until she heard his voice. 

“Wow April, it’s been so long since I’ve seen you. It feels like only yesterday we were in those pillow forts protecting our stuffed animals,” Moss chuckled. 

“Haha, yeah. I didn’t think you would have picked up on the other side of the walkie-talkie so I just said whatever. Why did you still keep that thing for so many years? Did you get a job? Also why didn’t you try to contact me sooner? I’ve missed you.” 

Moss took a sip of his water. “When I moved out I must’ve accidentally brought the thing with me. It probably fell off of a shelf in my room or something like that and into the box before it got put in the moving truck.” Moss then told April about how his job required lots of codes for his work. “I can’t really say much but I needed a thing from my childhood so the first thing I thought about was well, you.” April blinked. “I tried a lot of different things but then the old walkie-talkie buzzed and I heard your voice so I asked you for advice and then the rest is history. I’m sorry about not talking to you sooner, I was just so busy. I really missed you too.” 

His phone buzzed. “Sorry, I have to leave now. If you want to talk through a device that doesn’t run on AA batteries, give me a call.” He handed her a slip of paper and gave a warm smile, “I hope I get to see you soon.”