The Call

The persistent drone of a gnat brings me to consciousness. I swat the air; the annoyance continues. After several tries, my eyelids unstick and I see my cellphone, lit and trembling on the nightstand. I stab for it, pull it close, and squint at the numbers. Thank God, it’s no one I know. The device goes dead in my hand. It’s 3:00.

Despite not knowing the caller, my heart smashes against my chest. The pounding gets interrupted when the phone shudders and brightens in my palm. The cell dives into the bedcovers, requiring me to fish it out. Like a worm on a hook, a quivering finger swipes the screen to take the call.

“Hello.” I listen––and I learn . . . my life will never be the same. 

My body shivers as if I’m outdoors, coatless, my breath clouding a frigid night. The air-conditioning is fast to remind me it’s summer, and sends a cool breeze my way. The draft only adds to the chills trickling down my spine. 

The warm phone is plastered to the side of my head, but I no longer hear the caller. My mom, long passed, takes over the conversation. “I told you,” she whispers, “nothing good happens after midnight.”    

Written By: Erin G. Burrell

Author of: That’s Why You’re Here

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