A call from beyond the grave sets in motion some complex emotions
|"I was feeling great until the phone rang." My eyes popped out of my head when I saw the caller ID. How could it be? The call was coming from my friend Keisha. Why did that freak me out so much? Keisha was dead. I threw my phone away from me and tried to collect my breath.
This wasn’t possible. Maybe my phone had recorded the number wrong or something, technology was full of bugs, and this sort of thing happened all the time. Slowly, I made my way over to where my cell phone lay. My hand reached out for it; I pulled away after touch it like it was on fire or something. After taking a deep breath and counting to 10, I reached out again. The screen lit up and showed that there was a missed from Keisha. I unlocked the phone and checked the number. It was Keisha’s. There was no mistake. Was I losing my mind?
Maybe her husband was trying to get a hold of me. Clicking the callback option, I waited for the familiar sound of ringing. Instead, I got a bored robot telling me that the number had been disconnected. How was that possible when my phone clearly showed that there was a missed call from the number. Maybe I was just tired and needed to lay down; sleep would help. Sleep always helped.
My phone lit up with another alert, this time there was a text message. Not surprising as I was expecting the boyfriend to say goodnight, or ask me to come over. The message box told me that it was from Keisha. Sucking in a deep breath, I opened the chat and was surprised to see an actual message from her; “Miss you. Xoxo.”
“Miss you too?” I sent back, but the immediate response was that the phone number wasn’t taking incoming text message and to try again later. What was happening? How was any of this possible? I found the chat box with my boyfriend, Carl. “Hey babe, can I come over? Something weird is happening.”
The message was read right away, a good sign that he was already going to ask me to see him. “Sure, come on over. Can’t wait to see you.”
Instead of taking the subway, as most New Yorkers did, I called an Uber. The faster I got to Carl, the sooner I could put this whole sordid situation behind me. Once we stopped in front of the building, I let myself in with the key he had given me.
He lived on the fifth floor. Thankfully, his building had an elevator. I stepped off the elevator and made my way to his place. Opening the door, I announced myself. “Babe, I’m here.”
No answer. That wasn’t unusual or cause for concern. Carl often liked to play games and make me seek him out. The bedroom door was shut, so I tried to open it. Locked. That was not normal. A light shone on from under the bathroom door, so I opened it, and a scream escaped from my throat.
Carl was hanging from the shower curtain rod. Even though the shower was running, his clothes were on and dry. I stepped out of the bathroom and tried to steady myself. A familiar scent played in my nose, but I didn’t think about that, my boyfriend had hung himself. Alternatively, had someone killed him? My phone buzzed again, another message from Keisha. “Carl has joined me in the great beyond. Come see us.”
Tears slipped down my face. None of this seemed to be possible. Carl was dead, yet he had agreed to me coming over. There was no way, even when he was at his maddest that he would ever traumatize me this way. Someone had killed him.
Bracing myself to see the scene again, I walked back in. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary except the body hanging from the curtain rod. The scent filled my nose again, and I realized that I knew exactly where it was from, the only person who would wear something so putrid was my former friend April Showers.
Something compelled me to check out my boyfriend’s body. Relief flooded my body when I realized that it was a dummy. I touched the face to confirm that it was plastic. My blood began to boil. “April get your stupid ass out here and tell me why you’re torturing me.”
“Why am I torturing you? That answer is simple; you were mean to me.” April stood in the bathroom door, her short frame covered in some ugly floral patterned dress. “All I wanted was to have a running joke with you, and you told me no. That wasn’t fair. So I decided that this be much more fun.”
Her voice sounded crazy, I shoved my hand in my pocket and clicked the side button five times. “Why though? Just because I asked you not to touch my phone, to open my social media and post stupid stuff. There are plenty of other jokes that we could have had.”
“That was a joke from my college days, and you shit all over it.”
“Where’s Carl? Is he ok?”
“Do you think I’m a monster?”
“You tried to gaslight me. You made me think that my dead friend was texting me. Yeah, monster is about the nicest thing that I could call you.”
“Now you’ll never find Carl.” She said as there was a crash from the bedroom. I pushed past her and opened the door. Carl was on the floor, bound like a pig. I started untying him. “Alright, so you’ll find him, but I’ll kill him in front of your eyes.”
“That sounds like a threat.” The Police officer yanked the gun from her hands, placed handcuffs on her and shoved her out the door.
“I love you!” Carl wrapped his arms around me. Enough to make my day great again.