A Hoax?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover image: Pixabay.com.

A Hoax?

The ringing of the phone shattered the silence of the room and dragged Kate out of a deep, dreamless sleep. For a moment she was so disorientated she was unsure where the sound was coming from.

Blinking at the display on her bedside clock, Kate saw that it was 3am. No wonder she couldn’t think straight. Reaching for her cellphone she pressed the answer button without glancing at the screen to see who was calling.

Hello,” she said.

For a few seconds there was no reply, then someone said: “There has been an accident.”

What? Where...? Who...?” Kate sat up, cold fingers of dread creeping their way down her spine.

If she had expected any reply, Kate was disappointed, for the phone went dead. It made no sense. Surely if it had been the police or a hospital calling they would have said more. Frantically, she tried to find the caller number but according to her phone information there had been no incoming calls at all.

Had she imagined it? Kate rubbed at her face; maybe it had just been a dream. Already she found it impossible to remember any details about the voice, other than the words. She could not even remember if the voice had been male or female.

It had to have been a hoax call, or maybe the caller had realized they had dialled the wrong number. Kate tried to go back to sleep but it was impossible when all the potential explanations were whizzing their way through her mind.

Her parents were the most likely, but she could hardly phone them up in the middle of the night just to ask if they were okay. Someone from work? One of her friends? She wouldn’t be the first person to receive a call concerning any of them. Giving up on sleep, she got up and logged into her computer. After making a coffee, she ran a search, looking for any news that might account for it, but coming up entirely blank.

At 7.30am, Kate called her parents. They were always early risers and she knew by that time both her mother and father would be properly awake. They sounded fine, if a bit confused about why she had called them. In the end, she made arrangements to visit them the following week.

When Kate disconnected from the call she felt some relief, but still a nagging worry continued working away in the back of her mind. The shop was quiet which was a shame; being busy would have made it harder for her to dwell on it.

The man from the store across the street kept looking her way. Kate tried to keep out of his view, but it was hard without leaving the cash register unattended. There was nothing actually wrong with the guy; Kate had not even exchanged one single word with him. There was something about his stares that she found unnerving and stupid or not, she had taken to closing up a bit late, just to make sure he had gone before she left work and headed home.

After stopping off to pick up groceries, Kate was later than usual when she turned into her street. Her cellphone suddenly sprang to life, and she just managed to park before answering it.

There’s been an accident.”

Was it the same voice from the night? Kate was not positive, but it had to be. “Look, who are you?” she asked, then waited for some kind of reply.

There wasn’t one, and after a couple of seconds the call was disconnected. This time at least her phone showed that she had not imagined the entire thing, but the ‘Caller Unknown’ that was displayed was no help.

Should she report it? It would be hard without a number to give. Better just to ignore the phone, let it ring; if it was a prank whoever it was that was making the calls would soon give up.

As she walked up the path to her door, Kate frowned. There was something different about the front windows, as though someone had been looking out of them or something. No, she had to be imagining it; the door was securely locked, no one could have been inside.

Still nervous, Kate went from room to room downstairs, just checking that there was no one there. Everything seemed to be as she had left it... apart from the cup in the kitchen. She could have sworn that she had washed it up before she had left for work, but now it stood on the counter beside the sink. After the night she had had it was hardly surprising that she had remembered things wrong.

After switching the kettle on, Kate headed for the stairs. A quick shower and she’d feel better, she was sure.

Kate did not notice the figure appearing at the top of the staircase, not until it was too late.

What...?” she began, recognizing the man from the shop.

He reached out both of his arms and gave her a shove. Kate struggled to keep her balance, almost managed to grab hold of the handrail, before she tumbled down the stairs, her head hitting the wall with force.

The man descended the stairs and leaned forward over Kate’s body. He knew better than to touch her neck to check for a pulse, but he watched. No movement; she wasn’t breathing. Standing up again, he made his way to the back of the house and let himself out of the door. His own phone was already in hand, and as he walked down the street he put a call through to the local police station.

There’s been an accident,” he said, then disconnected.

 

 


Submitted: April 02, 2021

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Mike S.

Spooky-good tale, Hull

Fri, April 2nd, 2021 6:14pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for giving this a read.

Tue, July 20th, 2021 9:36am

Jeff Bezaire

Good one, Hully! I really like that 'phone call from nowhere' scenario. There's something unsettling about a random phone call like that, until it's confirmed a hoax, that is so ominous and sinister. A great take on it!

Fri, April 2nd, 2021 9:12pm

Author
Reply

The idea actually came from a phone call my mother received, saying that there had been an accident. It turned out to be some insurance sales pitch - a rather cruel one - but I thought what if it was something entirely different.
Thanks so much for reading, Jeff.

Sat, April 3rd, 2021 5:27am

Vance Currie

This is a clever story, Hully. Okay, the protagonist dies again, but in a way that is not at all predictable (not by me anyway).

Fri, April 2nd, 2021 10:11pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Vance. To be honest, I wasn't sure how I was going to end it until I got there.

Sat, April 3rd, 2021 5:23am

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