My Walkman

By Penny Pepper
  • 25 Mar - 31 Mar, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Fiction

It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling and it was almost dark…” Wrong station. I moved the dial on my Walkman, that can’t play cassettes, waiting for a good song to come on. No documentaries. No politics. No news. Just me and my music.

Finally, I turned up the volume.

“Now it’s time for Joan Jett’s rock to come and give us some music.” The radio station man said.

When the song ended, it was as though a good moment was taken away. “Alright, this new band of 1985, is sure to be great one day.” The man said.

“Mavis! Get ready for school! You leave in ten minutes!” I quickly got ready. I laid the Walkman on the desk to go to my closest. I pulled on a Megadeath shirt over my shoulder length red and black hair and put on some random pair of blue jeans. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a spark. What?

I whipped my head around and saw nothing. Weird.

Delete Created with Sketch.

I got my bag and got into the car. I got to school and went into my first class.

“Take out the headphones Mavis.” My history teacher, Mr. Logan, said. I took them out and put them in my bag.

I was able to make it through history without falling asleep. I walked through the hall and Cecily giggled with her friends as she walked past.

Not surprised. That’s just what some kids like her do. I got lost in my thinking that I wasn’t looking where I was going and ran into Sally Bickerman.

“Watch it creep!” She shouted.

“Don’t worry I was watching out for the creep here.” I whispered to myself walking off, but not good enough. She heard.

“Look, someone finally talks. Not that I care.” She said laughing with an eye roll.

“Look, just let me go to class.” I said, anger rising in my throat. I heard laughs behind me and, just wanted to punch her!

Then all the laughing stopped and I started to smell smoke. Then my shoulder started to burn. I quickly slung my backpack off, and dropped it on the ground. Fire!

Suddenly the fire alarm was pulled and there were kids running all around. There was smoke and I couldn’t breathe. My eyes got blurry. I fell to the ground coughing, noticing my backpack was unzipped and something was falling out of it. My Walkman. But I didn’t have time to think about it. My eyes started to close and I didn’t have the strength. My ears were ringing loudly and all I could hear were muffled screams. I took one more breath and drifted off.

I started to open my eyes and a bright light made me close them quickly and I did not want to open them again.

What happened?

I tried again, and realised I was moving, but I was on my back. There were lights and people rushing all around me.

“Just close your eyes.” I heard a faint voice say. “Everything will be just fine.” But I didn’t want to listen. I didn’t need help. I wanted to know why I was here.

I took in a breath and smelt the sharp scent of rubber and metal.

I was in the hospital. Images of fire and smoke and screaming people rushed through my mind.

I felt a ring of rubber around my nose to my chin. But then sleep overtook me and as I tried to force sleep away it happened.

I was walking in the school building. Dark. No one here but me. All I could hear was my breathing and barefoot feet against the tile floor. Suddenly flames surrounded me and no one was there to help me as I called out…

I sat up quickly in bed. Bed? Hospital Bed.


I looked around the room and it looked like a hospital room but different. I could tell it was night by looking at the light from the window. Then I noticed the doctor in the room who was writing something on a clipboard.

I tried to say, “Hello” but my voice wouldn’t work. I tried again and I got a grunt out.

“Your awake. Great! Look, there was a fire at your school and you got smoke problems, but don’t worry, it will be alright, just don’ talk for at least a week, okay? We have to keep you here for about two more days and you can go home. So don’t worry about anything, just relax. Can I get you something?” She said. She was a very nice nurse. But I can’t really talk.

“Sorry! Uh, like Jello? We also have soda.” I nodded and then she asked which kind and I nodded when she got to Root Beer. She left the room to go get it.

Let’s see, I currently have a sore throat, know that my school was pretty much on fire, it came from my backpack, and it will be my first time in a hospital overnight.

Well, this is a great chance to go on an adventure. I can search a hospital at night. You don’t get this chance very often.

It came from my backpack. How did that even…

My Walkman! I tried to get out of bed, but then a fiery pain shot up my leg.

I shoved the white hospital sheet of me and saw one of the scariest things I have ever seen.

My leg was a red, yellow, white all mixed together and weird.

I didn’t even touch it.

The nurse lied. But I can’t blame her.

Then the door opened and she came back with an IBC Root Beer and some green Jello.

She stopped in the doorway, and no matter how much I wanted to scream at her I didn’t because I couldn’t.

She explained to me that it was a third degree burn and that I would be in the hospital for three or four weeks. I would also get to have surgery. Not to mention when I fell and people were running all over the place, I got “trampled” and my same burned leg is broken because of it. Everything else is just a bit achy.

Where’s my Walkman.

I pointed to a piece of paper and asked about it by writing.

She looked confused for a second then said, “It was the only thing the fire didn’t get in your backpack. I can go get it for you if you’d like.” I nodded.

How did this happen? Surgery! I-I don’t even know what it’s like or anything!

She came back with it and laid on the stool beside me. I took it wondering how this could have survived, when the fire started from my backpack?

I turned it on and put my headphones on. It worked! I closed my eyes and laid back…

My hands started to feel tingly, then down to my knees, then everything. My eyes started to vibrate.

I opened my eyes and everything around me was silvery, closed my eyes again.

When I opened I was sitting outside a door like I was in the bed. I stood up and my leg hurt pretty bad. But that wasn’t going to stop me.

I looked through the window of the door and there were people and an operating table.

It was hard to see with everything happening, but when a masked and gloved doctor moved out of the way I saw the face and I was certain.

It was me.

I need to go back. From all the movies I’ve watched on time… I know that there’s almost nothing good that can come from this.

I tried to reverse it but no matter what I did it didn’t work. I hid my face as I tried finding my way back to my room.

When I was pretty sure I found it so I walked in.

“Uh- Mavis?” Why of all people did I have to walk into this girls’ room.

“Hey Sally…” I’m not usually this lucky, and in case you couldn’t tell. It was sarcasm.

But she didn’t look either disgusted or hatred or like she didn’t want me to be there. She looked sad and almost freaked out.

“Wait! You’re supposed to be in surgery! What the heck!” Oh, no.

“Well, uh it’s a bit complicated. See…” Silence.

“Well?” She urged me on. What else was I supposed to do?

I started talking really fast. “The doctor gave me my Walkman back and I started listening to the music then I got really tingly and then I teleported outside my room and...” She was speechless for a moment.

“So you time travelled?”

“That’s my theory.” We were both confused.

“What time was it back in your time?”


“It’s day here, so you moved a day ahead. I can’t believe this is really happening. I mean how?” She started staring off confused.

I started explaining to her how it all worked and she tried it for herself and saw it didn’t work.

Why is she even believing all of this? I guess what matters is she does, but I should still figure it out.

“How does it even work?” Sally said.

“I don’t know! Do we know anyone who would know what to do with this?”

“You’re going all in with it huh?” What? “Look, I’m sorry. It was terrible of me to do that and I fully regret it.” She started crying.

“Okay, what’s going on?” Is she apologising for laughing at me in the hallways or the jokes she made.

“You know. That’s why you made this whole elaborate story to get me back for…” She stopped staring in front of her.

“No I really don’t! Unless you’re talking about all the times you’ve laughed at me or thought I was weird.”

Her jaw dropped and she shook her head.

“So this is all real. It’s all real. The whole time travel thing.”

“Hold it. What are you talking about? Cause there’s no way you all of a sudden feel bad.” Is this really what I should be focusing on?

“You broke your leg somehow,” It was her.

I wanted to punch her ‘till she was… I’m really mad though, don’t get me wrong.

“Look, I’m really sorry. I don’t know what else to say I don’t even know why I did it. I was mad, but still. I don’t know what else to say.” I was as if I’d seen another side of her. She’s usually confident. Then someone walked in the door.

“Hey sweetie. Oh hello! You must be one of Sally’s friends. How nice to meet you! I was just coming to check on Sally.” I shook her hand and then we all stood in an awkward silence.

“Yeah, I was just about to leave. Uh, see ya Sally.” I left the room and stood against the door, listening in.

I know people say that you shouldn’t do that, but come on. Don’t you ever want to know what’s going on? Also I need to hide my face, plus there’s nothing to do.

“Mom, how are you here? I thought you were on your business trip.”

“I was, until someone told me about the fire. I’m glad you’re okay.” I heard a ding.

“Aw, I’m missing the traditional lunch. Anyway, I have to get back. Love you.” She said in a rush.

“Wait, can’t you…” Sally struggled to say.

“Bye!” Her mom said and I moved out of the way before she swung open the door. I heard her mutter under her breath. “Can’t believe I’m missing it.”

I went back in and Sally just looked really down. Her head hung low and her eyes were closed.

“Everything okay?”

“No it’s not!” She pointed at the door on the verge of crying. “You probably didn’t hear-”

“I did, and I’m sorry about your mom. She wasn’t very nice.”

“My mom is never home, dad left when I was born… No one ever believes me when I say my mom’s terrible, because she’s always so nice. You know what I mean. I would get her back by getting my grades really low, but she never noticed.” She leaned back.

I suddenly understood her. Why she does everything and how it makes her feel.

I remembered something my mom told me “Hurting people hurt others.” I never had the bravery to actually see if it was true though. I just got mad.

Suddenly the Walkman in my hands started feeling tingly.

“Wait, I think the Time Machine is working!” Never thought I’d be calling this a Time Machine, but I closed my eyes, as I appeared back in my bad just as I was before.

The headphones were on and the radio was playing Superman.

No way. She just disappeared! I wasn’t dreaming. It wasn’t some joke to get me back.

The doctor came in through the door.

“Is Mavis done with her surgery?”

“Yup, all done, went great!” Nothing changed.

When I get back to school, not only will I be happy I have a new friend. But also a real one.

Sally and I would visit each other’s rooms every day. I introduced my mom to her as well.

Who knew this all started with My Walkman and one little everyday fight.