Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Telephone (07/17/08)
TITLE: Where are you?
By Tiffanie Chezum
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“Where are you?” an indignant woman’s voice blurted.
He winced at the alarm clock. “Who… Wha…”
“You said you’d be here already.” She heaved an exasperated grunt. “I really don’t appreciate this. And you…”
Greg sat on the edge of his bed. “Hello?” Puzzlement echoed in his voice. “Who is this?”
Silence hissed in his ear.
“Are you still there?”
The line went dead.
Bewildered, the young man gawked at the receiver. “Weird,” he muttered. “Two in the morning. Fantastic.”
He flopped backward, lying sideways across the bed. Staring at the ceiling, he wiggled the phone in his hand. “I bet it was Megan,” he chuckled. “Good one Meg.” A yawn interrupted his train of thought. “Bet you’re laughin’…” His voice tapered off as his eyes fluttered shut.
Greg sat rigid at the shrill sound of the ringer; the handset tumbled to the floor. He scrambled to retrieve it. “Hey… Hello, Meg?”
“You have some nerve.” The female’s voice sounded angrier than earlier.
“First you leave me abandoned, then you hang up on me?”
“Wait. I didn’t,” Greg retorted. “You’ve got a wrong…”
“You better get down here,” she snapped.
The sound of a train whistle resonated through the earpiece.
“Who is this?” He ran his hand through his already mussed hair. “Where are you? Hello?”
Silence answered his inquiry.
“Are you there?”
The connection terminated.
Greg slumped forward, his forehead resting on his left palm; the phone bobbled in his twitching right hand. “I can’t take this.” He rubbed his temples as his right thumb pressed the numbers with deliberate motions. With great intent he listened for the other party to answer. “C’mon, Meg. Pick it up.”
“Hello?” slurred a weary sounding Megan.
“Hey Megan.” He took a deep breath. “Have you… were you…”
“Greg?” Uncertainty echoed in Megan’s voice. “It’s after two. Couldn’t this wait?”
“Somebody’s been calling. I don’t know…”
“Well it wasn’t me!” The confusion in her words evolved to anger. “I’ve got to go to work today.”
Silence met his reply.
The call disconnected.
The young man dropped the phone on his pillow and stumbled to the bathroom. Splashing cool water on his face, he glanced at the mirror over the sink. “I look just wonderful.” He took a sip from his cupped hands. He flinched at the sound of the phone. Water splashed across the floor.
Greg dashed back to the bed. “Hello?”
“My stupid battery went dead.” Aggravation gushed from the now familiar voice. “I had to find a pay phone.”
“Who are you?” Greg stomped his foot in frustration. “How did you get my num…”
“I don’t like being here. When are you coming to get me?” A public address announcement resonated in the background. “These guys are giving me the creeps.”
“Where are you? What do you want me to do?” He released an agitated groan.
Silence greeted his pleas.
The dial tone droned.
He pressed a button on the keypad and stared at the display. “Blocked call… figures.” He scrolled through the call history to an unfamiliar number and pressed dial. “C’mon… C’mon.”
“The cellular customer you are trying to reach is not available,” a computerized voice recited.
He rested the phone on his chest as he leaned back on his pillow. “What should I do?” His eyelids refused to stay open.
Greg gazed through sleep-encrusted lashes at the numbers on his clock. “It can’t be eight already.” He blinked.
“And our weather forecast looks great for the next few days,” the radio blared from his nightstand.
He sat up, the phone falling to the rumpled covers. “No more calls.”
“And locally, a woman’s body was discovered early this morning,” the newsman stated. “She was found by railroad workers near the passenger platform at the downtown station.”
The young man turned toward the radio in stunned silence.
“The body has not been identified,” the announcer continued. “The coroner estimates time of death between two and three this morning. Nobody seems to know who she is or why she was even there at that hour of the night.”
Disbelief tormented Greg’s thoughts.
He snatched the phone from his bed and depressed the redial button. “Answer it. Whoever you are, please answer.”
An eternity of silence passed.
“The cellular customer you are trying to reach is not available.”
Greg dropped the phone, uncertainty numbing his mind.
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