Just a Whistle

Just a Whistle

By: Tanner Childs

Little Timmy loved nothing more than the only treasure his grandmother had ever given him. It was a small silver object no larger than his favorite candy bar. It opened up at either end, with a narrow slit on its top. The metal had been cast in the likeness of the most magnificent machine Timmy had ever laid eyes on…

A train.

His most treasured possession was his grandmother’s train whistle. She had given it to him on a sticky summer day, entrusting him with the secret of its magic. She warned that Mother would be furious if he ever blew it in any case except emergencies. So Little Timmy had kept it safely in his pocket every day, his fingers idly stroking its cold surface.

Then Grandma died.

Mother said that she had gone to a better place. Father told him it was just a part of life. Brother said that Grandma would be eaten by worms, and Mother had smacked him for it. Teacher said that Timmy would see Grandma again, and Counselor just wanted him to draw pictures.

Little Timmy cried and kicked and fussed. Then he remembered the whistle. He ran from his counselor, dodged around his teacher, and rushed out the door of his school. He heard his mother calling him, but he ignored her, grabbing for the whistle in his pocket.

He stopped on the tracks, the train tracks. The train whistle was magic, and it would bring Grandma back, and the tracks… the tracks would help!

Little Timmy’s mother screamed, her voice shrill and panicked. Timmy ignored her. He wanted Grandma, even if Mother would be mad at him. He clamped his eyes shut and took the whistle from his pocket. He placed it between his lips and blew with all the wind in his lungs.

The sound was deafening. It filled the air and sprang out into the land around it with unnatural clarity. But it had worked! Timmy could feel the magic shaking through the ground, pulsing up through his feet, its strength growing every second. He could hear it beating the air in its perfectly timed rhythm. Then its screech split through the noise. The ground quaked with excitement, shaking Timmy from head to toe. He could hear his mother, but her voice was like that of an insect, drowned out by the chaos of the magic. The whistle fell to the ground as a smile spread across Timmy’s face. He was going to see Grandma!

Then another whistle cut the air, the noise a defining curse to the day. Timmy’s smile faded and he opened his eyes. In that moment he stopped believing in magic. How could he not?

After all, it was just a whistle.

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