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A Quick Tale: The Unexpected Caller
Artwork AND a story for Spooky Season? Win-win!
WELCOME TO HALLOWEEN SEASON!
Today is a special post because I am collaborating withto bring you a spooky October story paired with a drawing. Enjoy both. And a big thanks to Macey for working with me. I had a moment of panic when you sent the story, but I like what I drew.
The Unexpected Caller
by Macey Phillips
She’s been off, they say, ever since he went missing.
Her little boy. Five years old. Playing in the woods one second, disappeared the next.
They searched for him for weeks. Months.
For years now, ten to be exact, she’s kept his bedroom the same: airplane model hanging in the corner of the room, navy blue blankets on the bed, dresser drawers full of striped pajamas. She still talks with the grocery store cashier about his favorite cereal—frosted Wheaties, not too soggy. She sits in a rocking chair in his bedroom at night, reading aloud Corduroy and The Velveteen Rabbit, stroking the fuzzy-headed lion stuffed animal that he’d taken to bed with him each night.
Sometimes, she talks aloud to him still: you wet the bed again, Jeremy, you naughty boy! No sweets before dinner! Stop that rough housing this instant! How many times must I tell you to brush your teeth—you better start listening!
When she gets too worked up, hysterical, her husband gently takes her hand and leads her somewhere else: to the kitchen to get a warm cup of tea, outside to breathe fresh air. He speaks low and deep as if she is an animal easily spooked. “Calm down, now, Mary,” he soothes. “Quit that shouting.”
One day, the house phone rings. Which is strange because they both have cell phones now. They keep the house phone for internet purposes but never give the number out anymore.
She picks the phone up. “Hello?” she says.
Years ago, the phone used to ring off the hook. Policemen with updates, then lawyers with offers for representation, then journalists, so many journalists, with their nasty, nasty questions: the father was in the woods that day, wasn’t he? Is he sure the boy just wandered off? How does he feel about being the number one murder suspect? Has he got something he’d like to get off his chest? A confession, perhaps?
He was with me one minute and gone the next, her husband repeated over and over again. I turned my back for just a second!
But how could the boy have wandered off that quickly? Doesn’t he think that’s awfully fishy?
The voice on the other end of the phone speaks: “Mom,” it says. A deep male voice. Perhaps fifteen years old. The same age that he would be.
The police couldn’t find anything. Couldn’t prove anything. So they let the father go.
Mary’s mouth falls open. Her eyes flick to where her husband is standing on the other side of the kitchen, his face and posture asking silently: who is it?
“Mom,” the voice repeats.
It can’t be. It can’t be. It can’t possibly be.
Her face contorts into a silent scream. Her body sinks to the floor. She clutches her hands to her chest and begins hyperventilating. Her husband rushes to her side and tries to take the phone, but she presses it harder to her ear.
“I know what you did to me that day in the woods, Mom,” the voice says. It is barely more than a whisper, static shaped into cold, quiet accusation. Inhumane. Haunting. “And now Dad’s going to know, too.”
HAVE YOU BEEN INSPIRED?
Then check out the unofficial collab I did withlast month.
My next email will drop into your inbox on November 13th. Keep your eyes open because I’ll be sharing the monster or mystery you voted for.
No poll this time because this was a special post, and the next arts and craft post will be the magical narwhal friend you asked for. I’m excited for this. I had to film a video to show how I made him.
Thank you for reading.
Until next time, stay spooked and creative!
If you devour all things spooky and creative, join the paranormal horde today.