A man is awoken at night by a strange phone call.
|“Now!” The voice on the phone was mechanical and woke me from my stupor, half reclined on the lazy chair in my living room. My first reaction when I heard phone ring was that the bomb I was trying to diffuse in my dream was about to go off. Now the grating, computer like shouting in the phone only added to the anxiety I already felt from my dream.
“It’s 2 am” I mumbled, squinting to see the grandfather clock on the wall across from me. It was not every day I was awoken in the middle of the night to military like shouting. Of course I knew who it was, so I was not too surprised.
“Now! You have to go now!” The bellowing went on. I groaned, standing up and stretching my back.
“Listen, Josh? I’m fine just where I am” I soothed, hating the sound of my own sweet crooning voice. I did not want to have this conversation again. Josh had a habit of upsetting himself and of speaking into a voice changing devise that he thought would protect his identity.
“Dad, I’m not joking, you have to get out now… I saw something” The mechanical device was gone and Josh’s voice got very low as if he was afraid of being overheard. “I saw your house, dad, it’s dangerous there, lots of evil spirits.”
I sighed. This was not the first time he insisted I was surrounded by evil spirits. One time he even held up his crucifix and began praying when I went to visit him. Josh is convinced that his visions were glimpses into the spiritual world, and I am one of his favorite people to dream about.
“Josh, I understand you are concerned… I’m looking around my house now and everything looks fine. I don’t feel evil at all in this place, unless you consider a little acid reflux evil” I chuckled at my own joke, but Josh was silent on the other end.
I kept pacing around my house waiting for him to speak again, and listening to his steady breathing hoping he would fall back asleep. I remembered what a peaceful baby he was, sleeping a good 12 hours straight without stirring. My wife used to say that he just felt so safe he couldn’t stay awake. I smiled at the memory, and thought remorsefully that he did not feel safe anymore.
My wife passed away when he was 15 and shortly after that he became reclusive, living for books and writing endlessly in a journal he kept in his room. I became concerned when his behavior did not change and one night in a moment of desperation, I snuck into his room and pulled the thick leather journal from under his pillow while he slept.
It was heavier than I expected and I realized almost immediately that it was well used, the corners ragged, and the heavy dark ink immediately apparent. My eyes scanned the pages for clues to my son’s depression and it did not take long for me to find something of interest. Page, after page, was filled with images of his mother, but not in the way a child typically commemorates a loved one, these images were violent and gruesome. I saw my wife laying bloodied on the street, and hanging from the rafters of a building, and choked by a cord as her eyes bulged. Then I saw my face, menacing and dangerous looming over all of the fatal scenes.
Even then, years later, the images in that journal brought chills to my spine. Of course my wife died none of the ways my son imagined, but rather a peaceful death from cancer in her bed. I took my son to a psychiatrist shortly after my discovery of his journal, and after intense therapy he was admitted to a hospital to stay.
I was so lost in revere that it startled me again when Josh spoke “Dad, I know you think I’m crazy, but I’m not, there are evil spirits after you, I promise. Please just leave the house until I tell you it’s safe to go back in.”
I rolled my eyes but said in a calm, relaxed voice “Okay Josh, I’m going to walk outside right now”.
I put on my slippers and went to stand on my front lawn. The sky was lit up in a beautiful display like millions of pinholes in a black sheet. I smiled to myself thinking that at least I had an excuse to enjoy the view.
“Dad” I heard Josh’s voice quiet on the other end “I love you”.
I froze. It was not every day he said he loved me, or anything unrelated to his delusions.
“I love you too Josh” I replied, hating the way my voice cracked.
“I hope you know that I’m doing this for your own good” I felt confused, his voice sounded like it was coming from behind me now. I turned but I was not quick enough. I felt he bullet strike my right side, and my face sink into the moist grass. My world went black.