The Travel Trunk


Cat in a travel trunk

Chapter One – The Trunk

Stevie was slumped on the living room sofa when his mum and dad returned home from the shops. Their raised voices drowned out the old gangster movie on the TV.

“It’s junk,” Stevie’s mum snapped.

“No it’s not,” his dad retorted, “it’s an antique. And a bargain. The guy wanted 50 quid for it, but I knocked him down to 30.”

There was a moment’s silence. Stevie slid down on the sofa.

“You wasted 30 pounds on an old suitcase!?”

“It’s not a suitcase,” his dad protested. “It’s a trunk, an antique travel trunk.”

Another moment’s silence. Stevie slid further down the sofa.

“I don’t care what you call it, just get it out to your shed before it drops dust everywhere. Or better still, stick it where it belongs, on the verge with all your other useless junk!”

Stevie’s dad swore and stomped off through the house and out the back door, slamming it behind him. The TV suddenly sounded very loud, and Stevie hoped his mum wouldn’t notice it or him. But her x-ray eyes cut through the back of the sofa.

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“What’s this rubbish you’re watching, Stevie? Don’t you have homework?” she demanded.

“No, Mum.”

“Well, get outside and play or something. All this sitting around in front of the TV isn’t good for you.” Stevie dropped his chin and turned off the TV. The gangsters had just robbed a bank and were about to have a shootout with the police. “And stay away from your dad,” his mum called after him as he trudged out the back door, “he’s in a foul mood.”

Read all the chapters on Tall And True.

© 1992 Robert Fairhead 

With thanks to Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay for the perfect image of the cat in the trunk.

N.B. This story is also available on the Tall And True Short Reads podcast.

The Travel  Trunk was written for a short story competition in England in the early 1990s. (I renamed it The Cat in the Trunk when I shared it on Tall And True in 2017.) It had to be 2000-3000 words and on the theme, Curiosity Saved the Cat. I was (and remain) fascinated with the thought of space-time travel, whether it be “real” or in dreams. In part, the story was an exploration of my own curiosity, and of a child’s perspective of the adult world and how simple it is to change outcomes.

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Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please contact Robert for further details.