A little mystery
Featured in "Mystery Newsletter (November 3, 2021)"
The cars inched along the interstate. “What in the world is taking so long?’ thought Ruby. ‘No weather, no accidents. This is ridiculous. I can’t even get to the exit to turn around.’ A few choice words came out. She slammed the palm of her hand against the steering wheel. Her Jeep crept forward a few more inches. ‘Ah come on!’ Now the radio wouldn’t even work. ‘I am stuck in hell!’
The phone in her purse rang. A quick glance revealed 555-1234. “That’s a weird number. She pushed ignore. Again the Jeep crept a few inches forward. ‘Let’s go! I have to get home!’ Again the phone rang. Again the weird number 555-1234. She pushed ignore again.
The car in front slammed on its brakes and so did Ruby. ‘Hey buddy! Watch it!’ She grabbed her purse from the floor. The phone rang again. Again the weird number. ‘That phone can just ring.’ She counted twenty repeats. It never did go to voice mail. She found that just the wee bit strange.
‘I wish I had stayed home today. Taken a personal day. I mean, who would’ve missed me?’ Ruby mutters to no one in particular. The traffic creeps along. The minutes pass. Ruby fumes and stares at the car in front. A face appears in a halloween mask. She can’t help smiling. ‘Okay, it is halloween, little one. I bet you can’t wait to get home, too. Almost time for trick or treat.’ As soon as those words are out of her mouth, the child holds up a sign.
ANSWER THE PHONE
‘What the h..?’ The sign just as quickly disappears. The phone rings again. This time Ruby answers the call from 555-1234.
A male questions, “Is this Ruby Ridge?”
“Who is this?” she asks.
“I need for you to do exactly what I tell you to do. No questions.”
A pause. Then the man proceeded to explain until Ruby’s battery ran out on her cell phone. Once the conversation was over, the traffic cleared and she was on the open road headed for home. She thought about the phone call.
Ruby pulled into the driveway, parked the Jeep and headed into the house, just in time to pass out treats for the beggars. ‘Trick or Treat’ night was a big deal in her neighborhood and she was ready. Big bags of candy disappeared like magic. Just as the last child left her porch, her cell phone rang again. Again it was 555-1234.
“You gotta be kidding me!”
“Are you home?” A husky voice questioned her then hung up.
“Alright, this is getting pretty freaky. No more phone calls tonight.” Ruby turned off the cell phone and threw it across the room. “Good riddance.”
Knocking on her front door made Ruby jump. “Oh great, I thought I was done with the candy.” She searched for a few quarters at the bottom of her purse and walked to the door. A quick glance out the peep hole and what she saw gave her a start. The time was right, she thought. It matched with what the man said on the phone earlier. The knocking changed to pounding. Again she looked through the peep hole.
“Let me in!” That same voice she last heard on the phone demanded.
Ruby’s head dropped against the door, she counted to three then opened the door.
A large man dashed in and gave Ruby a hug. “Ruby! I thought you’d never open your door! Sorry to be all secret agent about this but, you know…..” Ruby shut the door and slowly turned around.
“Roscoe, what are you doing here? The last time we met we talked about this. About you coming around. About you being back in my life.”
Roscoe grabbed Ruby by the shoulders and gave her a big kiss. He smiled. “But it’s different now, Ruby! Things are different now! Come with me and let me show you.” He held her hand and started to lead her to the door.
“No Roscoe! I can’t go with you. My life is here now. My life is a life without you.” Ruby pulled her hand out of Roscoe’s. She walked to the door and opened it. “You need to go. Now. Go now and I won’t call the police. I know they’re looking for you. They’re always looking for you.”
“Ah baby, we are so good together. We could make such beautiful music together.” Roscoe touched her face and drew a line down it with his finger.
“Knock it off! You can’t sweet talk me anymore with that crap. I’ve heard it all. Now get out.” Ruby opened the door further and prayed Roscoe would leave. Her cell phone was across the room. Too far away to use in a hurry.
“Well, if you’re sure. I don’t know when I’ll be back. You’ll miss me.”
“I doubt it.” Ruby slammed the door barely missing Roscoe. ‘I’ll miss you like a bad rash, Mr.R.’ she muttered to herself. ‘No regrets and mystery solved.’