Number Thirty Seven

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Married couple Andy and Tina are plagued by nuisance calls. Somebody is insisting that he is to blame. The couple try to explain that the caller has the wrong house but she will not be told.

Submitted: June 09, 2014

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Submitted: June 09, 2014

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Andy sat up in bed. Was that the phone? Nothing more unsettling than the phone ringing in the middle of the night. Never good news. His wife Tina dashed across the dark room to answer the call. He waited to see who it was and what they wanted.

‘Hello?’ his wife said.

She paused, listening to the person on the other end.

‘What? Who is this? Hello?’

Tina put the receiver back on its cradle. She ran a hand through her hair. Even in the darkness he knew something was wrong.

‘Who was that?’ he asked.

‘Didn’t say who they were.’

‘What did they say?’

‘She said she knows what you’ve done?’

‘What I have done?’

‘Yeah. She told me she knows what my husband has done.’

Tina picked up the phone, dialled to see the last number to call them. The automated voice told her that the called had withheld their number. That always wound Andy up. Unless you were up to no good why would you want to withhold your number? Tina sat on the edge of the bed, her back to him.

‘What does it mean, love?’ she asked.

Andy slid over, threw an arm round her.

‘Dunno love. Whoever it was has obviously got the wrong number. It happens. Remember the other year when we had those calls from people wanting to order pizza? It’ll be a wrong number or a crossed line or something. Come on, try and get some sleep.’

 

The next evening just as they were starting to put the strange call out of their minds the phone rang. It was almost eleven o’clock. Too late for a family member or friend to be ringing for a natter. Andy and Tina looked at each other. He nodded. Told her he’d answer it.

He snatched the phone receiver. Said hello with a tone that asked what do you want?

‘I know what you did. You are a monster.’

The woman on the other end was upset. Someone had clearly done something to get her worked up like this.

‘Sorry. Wrong number.’ he said.

He hung up. Tina chewed on her thumbnail, stared at him.

‘Was it the same woman?’

‘Yeah, I’m a monster apparently.’

Andy shrugged.

‘You want a brew?’

Tina nodded.

 

The next night around the same time the phone rang again. Andy told his wife to chill out as he picked up.

‘Hello?’

‘I know what you did.’

‘Look, I honestly do not know what you are talking about. You have got the wrong number, the wrong person. Please leave me alone.’

He hung up. Told his wife not to worry. Just a nuisance caller. Pain in the backside but nothing to panic about.

Both Andy and Tina were worried about the strange calls. It was just unsettling. They tried not to panic and each of them hoped the calls would stop as quickly as they had started.

A few nights later the tone of the calls changed. I know what you did had become you are going to pay. Andy did not tell Tina about the more aggressive tone. Instead of protesting his innocence he merely said whatever love before hanging up.

‘Why us though, love?’ Tina asked him.

‘Whoever it is, she’s clearly got issues and is calling the wrong house. She’ll soon realise, I’m sure. She’s calling thirty seven Rigby Walk but it’s a wrong phone number or wrong address. She isn’t thinking straight. It’ll all blow over, you watch.’

 

The following evening as they dined on pasta Tina suggested that they phone the police. Andy shook his head. He replied that the police would not do anything. He was about to suggest that they think about changing their phone number when the phone rang. Andy jumped to his feet. He rushed to the telephone. He’d had enough. He picked up. Gave her a barrage of abuse down the phone. He shouted that she was never to call them again otherwise he would go to the police. He hung up.

‘That should do it.’ he said as he returned to the table.

In a weird way they both felt more positive about things. Perhaps being firm that like that and abusing the nuisance caller would be what it took to make it stop. Wasn’t that what they said about bullies? You just had to stand up to them. Hopefully the crackpot caller would move on to irritate some other poor sod.

The couple had more of a spring in their step. They laughed an joked, discussed plans for the weekend. They spoke of fun things, of trivialities for the first time since the calls had started. They even discussed the idea of taking a city break to somewhere in Europe later in the year.

 

Early the next evening there was a knock on the door. Tina called to Andy that she would get it. She had a couple of quid in hand expecting the window cleaner to be calling for his money. As she pulled open the door a woman barged past her and into the house. Tina shut the door. She found the woman rushing through the living room. She was in her mid twenties and had an anxious look on her face. The woman charged through to the kitchen where Andy was preparing their dinner.

‘What’s this?’ he asked.

‘She just barged in.’ said Tina.

‘Get out or I’m calling the police.’ Andy said.

‘I know what you did. Nobody will listen to me but I know you are the monster that killed my sister. You may have moved and changed your name but I know it’s you.’

‘Just leave us both alone.’ screamed Tina. ‘My husband hasn’t done anything.’

‘Well, that’s not strictly true.’ said Andy.

Tina and the other woman turned to look at him. They were both dumbfounded by his comment.

‘It was a long time ago.’ he said.

There was a strange look on his face. Tina had known him for over ten years but right then he looked like a complete stranger. There was a weird glint in his eye.

‘I was another person back then. I’ve changed. It feels almost like another life. But all this has brought it all back. It’s come flooding back.’

He turned, lashed out. There was the glimmer of steel as the chopping knife slashed across the intruder’s throat. The woman stared in disbelief. Blood gushed and pumped as she fumbled at the wound. She tried to speak. There was a sickening gargling sound. Her eyes went blank, no longer staring accusingly. She dropped to the floor.

Tina looked in terror at the man she loved. She was frozen to the spot. She whispered her husband’s name.

‘Yes, darling?’


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