Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt this week is
The Post Box
It was one of those old red cast iron jonnies. I’d passed it many times, once or twice posting a letter mum had given me. This time though I knew from several feet away the door was open. Now, I’m not a brave kid, so I was going to ignore it, but the post is important, right? So, checking no one was around I eased open the door. Inside there was a wire cage and in that there was a bird, flapping fit to bust.
The cage had a catch – easy to open which I did, feeling oddly guilty. I mean it’s Her Majesty’s Postal Service. Mum told me once it’s a crime to interfere with the post but this little thing was going to do more damage to herself than the few letters languishing at the base.
But the stupid bird just flew up into the top and perched as far away from the door as it could.
Ok, it was scared. So I stood back but it didn’t move. In the end, knowing I had to get on, I reached in to try and grab it. But it just flew around the top, ignoring the door.
You know those moments when you get an idea which seems obvious at the time but is actually dumb? Well I thought if me being by the door was keeping it inside, then if I got inside and eased it to the door it might fly away.
I’m not big and pretty flexible; I eased myself in and pushed back against the back of the box. It worked. The bird looked at me once and flew out. I felt ridiculously pleased.
I don’t know exactly what happened but I think one of the oiks from the flats had seen me and slammed the door shut.
My cries reached someone outside. A woman’s face appeared at the letterbox. ‘What are you doing in there, sonny?’
‘I was rescuing a bird.’ Yep, it sounded lame. ‘Can you open the door please so I can get out?’
The woman disappeared from view; I heard the door rattling but it didn’t move. After an age her face appeared. ‘No joy. You’ll have to wait for the postman.’
‘Seven hours? Bloody hell. Mum’ll kill me.’
‘Have you a phone? Maybe you can call someone?’
‘No. I’ll go to the shop. They may help.’
It didn’t take long for a crowd to gather. People joked, at my expense but someone posted a bar of chocolate and someone else rigged up a coke can and an extended straw. Then the woman came back to say someone was on their way.
My view was pretty limited but eventually a bearded man, who didn’t look happy appeared. ‘We’ll have you out soon, young’un.’
‘Thank god.’ I was dying for a pee. But whatever they tried failed. The crowd began to drift away. Grinding tools were brought but the lock had jammed. Even the postman, when he appeared, couldn’t open it, though he made me post the letters back out to him so he could go on his way.
Whispered conversations and more hammering but after ten hours, still nothing. It was then I realised everyone had gone. It was dark and I was getting cold. Someone had to have told mum, didn’t they?
Suddenly a flatbed truck pulled up and four men in overalls got out. They did something to the base and a crane on the back of the truck swung over the postbox. In moments I was airborne and secured on the flatbed.
‘Are you taking me somewhere? To get me out?’
One man nodded.
I was getting tired, hungry and needed to stretch really badly. The men seemed to know what they were at. I assumed I was being taken to a post office facility but gradually I realised we were heading out of town. Buildings disappeared and the forest grew thicker. Eventually we reached some high gates and floodlights. Beyond the fence was an enormous industrial building. As we approached the doors slid open and we drove in slowly. It was difficult to see the detail through the slit especially coming in from the dark to the bright lights. Soon enough though I could see the hanger-like interior.
Lined up in every direction were postboxes; as we drove slowly between their ranks I heard the doors close. It was as it latched shut I saw the first one. A hand reaching desperately out of the slot. The stiff fingers, flesh hanging off like strips of paper. I looked around. Each slot had a hand straining to get out.
I started to scream.