She tripped in the darkness, smashing into a bedpost as the phone broke the stillness. She cried out, falling on the mattress and grabbing her foot, certain a toe had been dislocated. Another ring. She lunged towards the sound, lifting the receiver while swearing through the pain. It was three o'clock.
“Yeah, hello.” Her words were thorny and brittle, worn from lack of sleep. “How'd you get this number?” She felt her eyes widen, the blood draining from her face.
Each breath churned through her gnashing teeth as the receiver spewed unwanted rubble into her ear. “You're not supposed to be calling me.” She choked on each syllable. “I could have you arrested.”
A full moon tore through heaving clouds and past the open drapes, igniting the room in startling reds. Jarring shadows of bare palo verde branches were pitched about by the desert wind. “Good.” She bit at the receiver. “The farther away the better!” Her eyes said more. “You’re the worst thing in my life. I hope your plane crashes. I hope you die.”
She stood, mindless of her throbbing foot, and paced until she could listen no longer. “What?” There was abrasive disbelief in her voice. “Have you lost your mind?” She gasped, sending spittle against the wall, as her fingers clawed at frazzled hair.
Coyotes barked; the tempest carried their shrieks with the painted dust from crevices in the jagged buttes. Her resilience succumbed to the haranguing cacophony in either ear. The muscles in her shoulders began to tighten and kink.
“No you're not. That's mine and you know it.” The heat in her face rose until she couldn't bear it. She wanted to reach through the line and slash at Jenni’s throat, to hurt and maim. “It was a gift. He gave it to me!” The timbre of her rant intensified.
Lightning strikes ripped the horizon as the veins behind her eyes thundered. The storm had arrived. An internal scream began to strangle her reason. “No! I won't let you! It's all I have!” The befouling smell of mayhem rolled over her, as thoughts tumbled wildly across her mind. She flailed at them, hoping to grasp some semblance of control. But her efforts were barren and desperation engulfed her.
“I swear I'll hunt you down. I don't care how long it takes.” Her knuckles were white as she throttled the receiver and each palm bled a sheen of sweat. “I’ll get it back!”
The walls shuddered about her as gusts whipped from the canyons and assaulted the house, uncontrolled fury loosed. “You're gonna regret this! Do you hear me? You’re gonna regret this!” She hurtled the phone across the room, shattering it against the door.
Taunting laughter scratched through the broken electronics.
Her body quaked and she fell to her knees.
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