One New Message

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
When Craig's best friend died he assumed that would be the last he would hear from him. But he was wrong.

Submitted: April 16, 2014

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Submitted: April 16, 2014

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Craig Adams sighed. Poured himself another large measure of whiskey. He went back through to the living room. He was still reeling from the news. He couldn’t believe that his friend was dead. Gone forever. It just didn’t seem possible that he would never hear from Dave again. They had been friends since their school days. Craig had just assumed that they would go through the rest of their thirties and onwards as best friends. He assumed they’d get old, bald and fat together.

That theory had been cruelly shattered when another of their circle of friends called him. When he was told about the accident he almost felt a physical blow. The words dead at the scene still rang around his head.

As his Shed Seven CD played across the speakers Craig raised a toast. Washed down the lump in his throat with the fiery liquor. He just could not take in that he would never see nor hear from Dave again. As Shed Seven launched into Parallel Lines he checked his mobile phone. Like a lot of people he checked his phone every so often purely out of habit. Just one of those habits that many people have. He would also check his phone if he heard a mobile phone ring even though the ring tone wasn’t like his. The screen on his mobile was blank. No missed calls, no texts. No silly jokes or daft messages from Dave. That was the end of that.

He clicked on his text messages. He went into Dave’s texts. The last message he had received from him was a joke about the current Manchester City manager. Craig smiled, tears in his eyes. With the lump returning to his throat and without thinking he quickly tapped out a text message. Miss you, mate. He hit send. He turned his attention back to the Sheds and the whiskey.

 

The following day at the office he had a few problems to sort out. Some of his clients were just impossible to please. It was almost lunchtime before he checked his mobile phone for missed calls and messages. The screen said one new message. He swiped a finger across the screen. Message from Dave Mobile. It took him a second to realise why that could not be possible. With a confused frown he tapped the message icon. He gasped. Underneath Craig’s message saying he missed his friend was the reply Same here.

How twisted, he thought. Whoever had taken care of his friend’s possessions clearly saw this as normal behaviour. How did they think he would feel seeing Dave’s name come up on his phone as though he was still around. And the reply, same here. That was sick.

The message played on his mind all afternoon. What was the matter with people? He had heard of facebook and twitter accounts being kept open after people had died, but sending messages as though they were from the deceased? That was way too far.

That evening after munching on a Patak’s chicken Madras with a cold lager he read the text message again. Same here. Well, he was not having it. He clicked on type message.

Who is this?

A few minutes later his phone beeped.

It’s me.

Very clever. Who?

It’s Dave.

Craig swore. This was unbelievable. Why would someone do that?

No, it can’t be. Dave’s gone. Who are you?

Craig, it IS me.

You are sick.

Craig switched the phone off. His hands were trembling with anger. He took deep breaths. Tried to calm himself down. In a few days he would politely ask Dave’s parents what had happened to his friend’s belongings. He had spoken to Dave’s mother when he had heard the news. She had sounded distraught and had burst into tears as Craig said how sorry he was.

 

The next evening as he was watching a Spanish football gave on Sky Sports his mobile phone pinged. One new message.

Craig, it really is me. I don’t know how or why, but it is me.

He typed out an angry message.

Whoever this is, JUST STOP!

A second later there was another text.

Remember Prestatyn 1987?

He stated at the screen. He read the text several times as though re-reading would help him comprehend it. Prestatyn 1987? Remember? He would never forget the visit to the North Wales town as a schoolboy. Craig, Dave and the rest of their school year had visited the seaside resort for a long weekend. Most of the trip had been uneventful and routine. There were visits to the funfair, the Welsh Mountain Zoo, candy floss, coke and rain showers. But one afternoon when they went to the beach the two boys had gotten separated from the rest of the group. They found themselves strolling among the sand dunes. They chased each other through the dunes, yelling swear words as they went. Up one dune, down another. The hard blades of grass tugged at their legs.

As they reached the top of a sand dune the boys saw something lying on the ground. To Craig it looked like a sack. With childish curiosity they approached the thing. As they neared they could make out the sack more clearly. Only it wasn’t a sack at all. It was a filthy grey duffel coat. The owner was still wearing it. He was dead. An old man in ragged clothing and dead eyes. Neither boy would forget what they saw that afternoon.

‘What do we do?’

‘I don’t know.’

They looked at each other, horror in their eyes. Without speaking they turned and ran back through the dunes. They ran and ran. Out along the beach they ran till their legs and chest hurt. They stopped, panting, with tears in their eyes. In a panic they did not mention their gruesome discovery to anyone. They were scared. Not sure exactly what they were scared of but they were just terrified. The holiday had carried on without further event. By the end of the trip it had settled at the back of their minds. They never spoke of it again but the shared experience drew them even closer as friends.

Dave, is it really you?

Yes, mate.

Where are you?

It’s dark. Everything is shadows but I can hear things.

Are you okay?

No. I’m dead. How can I be okay?

Craig recognised his friend’s dark humour. He knew then without question that, however this was possible, the messages were coming from Dave.

 

The messages carried on over the next few days. Some of the texts were funny, some sentimental, some were just strange. Craig would sneak off to the toilets during work to check and send messages to his old friend. It was a breach of the strict company policy but he really didn’t care. Recent events had reinforced his belief that life was too short for petty office rules.

The day before the funeral Craig’s phone beeped. One new message.

Don’t forget, best suit tomorrow.

He smiled. Typical Dave, only he could give him stick about what he wearing to his funeral.

 

After failing his test Craig had given up on driving. If anyone asked why he didn’t drive he always replied that it wasn’t for him. Since then he got around on public transport and cadging the occasional lift. Having checked on the Greater Manchester Transport website he decided that for the funeral in Eccles he would be best getting the tram. And if he was feeling particularly daring he might not bother buying a ticket. As he was getting dressed for the funeral his phone pinged.

Don’t get the tram. Get a taxi.

Craig shrugged. Fair enough. Might be the day to stuff the expense. He rang the local taxi firm. The chirpy woman on the other end of the phone told him she would ‘get one round, love’.

 

Forty minutes later Craig was in the back of the minicab dressed in his smartest dark suit. He hated funerals. He was always so glad when it was all over. The wake afterwards was more manageable but the actual laying too rest was awful. His thoughts were disrupted by the news coming across the taxicab radio. There had been a tram crash in Salford. The reporter said it was not known how many people had been killed.

Craig fumbled in his jacket. Checked Dave’s text again. A shiver went through him. Don’t get the tram.

 

Craig stood among Dave’s family and friends at the graveside. He watched the coffin being lowered down. He knew that somehow his old friend had saved his life. He could not even imagine how that was possible.

At the wake in a Joseph Holts pub in Eccles Craig checked his mobile phone. Nothing. No messages. He went into the texts from Dave. Now that was strange. All the new messages from Dave that he had received after he died were gone. Just were not there. He went through the rest of the texts. Just bad jokes and banter from while he was alive.

Craig tapped out a text.

Thank you.


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