“Look, I’m getting really tired of this!”
Gina paced the living room pressing the phone tight to her ear. She caught herself with a snort and held the receiver away, disgusted by what she had been symbolically doing. With the mobile hovering in the air almost a foot from her ear she could still hear it clearly: a rhythmic slapping sound accompanied by slower, ragged breathing.
He was flogging it hard tonight.
She closed the flip phone as hard as she could, barely restraining herself from slamming it down on the coffee table with equal vigor.
If the son of a bitch is going to get off, she thought, he can damn well do it without me.
The phone rang again. She looked at the display.
Caller ID Blocked
What the hell...?
He’d never called back before. He called, he breathed, she hung up — that was it. At least, that was the way it had been. Hoping it was just a late night telemarketer, she opened the phone.
Breathing, thick and loud.
Her fingers flexed, about to close the phone again, when —
“You... look good... in blue...”
Gina froze at the whispered words, the first she’d ever heard from him. She looked down at the blue nightgown she had slipped into just a half-hour earlier, and her stomach went cold.
Is he just guessing?
The breathing through the tiny speaker quickened. His exertions were in high gear.
“...I think... that’s... my favorite... nightgown... ”
“What...?” she said without thinking, looking at the pulled shades and drawn curtains. How could he —
She scooted over to the front door and checked the deadbolt. Locked.
“...can’t wait... to take it... off you...”
The threat frightened her. The calls, the breathing, it had all been an annoying, a nuisance; this was different. She wanted to close the phone, to throw it across the room, shattering it into a million pieces, but she couldn’t seem to take it away from her ear. She couldn’t even respond, tell him to fuck off like she wanted to. The cold from her stomach had spread, invading her chest, freezing her lungs into near immobility. Breathing had become a chore; Talking was out of the question.
Excited grunts came over the line — he was nearing his perverted climax. She started for the back door to check the deadbolt there.
“No! Don’t go in the kitchen! Stay in the living room!”
“Oh my God.”
He’s watching me!
Shock broke her paralysis and she sent the phone spinning across the room to land on the sofa. She snatched it up a moment later, closing it as she ran from the room. She flew up the stairs and into her bedroom, slamming and locking the stout door. She was dialing the phone even as she fell back against the door — more a case of her legs giving out than any thoughts of barricading it with her body.
“Emergency Services, please state the nature of your emergency.”
“I’m alone in my house and there’s some guy watching me and calling on the phone!”
“Please verify your address for me, Ma’am.”
Gina gave her the address, then waited, tense.
“There’s a patrol unit in the area, Ma’am, and they’re on their way, ETA... approximately two minutes. Are you certain he is not in the house with you, Ma’am?”
“What? No, he’s... well, I don’t know. I think he’s outside somewhere. Do you want me to go look?”
Gina was incredulous at the thought, but the operator hastened to assure her.
“No ma’am. Are you somewhere secure in the house?”
“Locked in the bedroom.”
“Alright, you stay there until —”
There was a loud rap on the front door. Gina peered out the window at the street below and her knees went rubbery again, this time with relief. A police car sat at the curb in front of the house. The knock came again, louder this time.
“The officer is downstairs,” she said into the phone.
“Please stay on the line until you verify that, Ma’am.”
Gina carried the phone down the stairs at a run and yanked aside the curtain covering the tall thin window set next to the door. A concerned face peeked in through the gap, a face surrounded by the hat and uniform of a police patrolman. His voice was muffled by the glass.
“Is everything alright in there, Ma’am?”
Gina let the curtain fall back into place as she raised the phone to her ear once more.
“It’s a police officer,” he said to the operator. “I’m going to go let him in. Thank you very much!”
She popped the deadbolt and yanked the door open.
“Boy, am I glad to see you.”
“What’s the problem?” said the patrolman, blue eyes scanning past Gina, taking in the house. “Dispatch said something about a possible intruder?”
“There was a guy on the phone, watching me from somewhere. I dunno where he was, but if he was in here with me then I’m gonna freak out!”
“May I come in and check the house for you, Ma’am?”
Gina sat on the couch and tried to calm herself as she listened to the patrolman move about the house, rattling doors and windows as he went. She nearly wet herself when the phone, still clutched in her hand, rang. She looked at the read-out.
Caller ID Blocked
She flipped open the phone.
“Where are you you sick bastard?”
There was silence, then the whispering voice touched the base of her spine with ice.
“Close by. Watching. You still have on that blue nightgown, don’t you?”
“You tell me, sicko. Why don’t you drop on by right now and see? The cops are here, you know.”
Only a whisper, but Gina heard it clearly. Too clearly... and in stereo. Her head turned.
Standing behind the couch was the patrolman. His hat and coat were off, and his eyes shone with interest. With one hand he held a cell phone up to his ear.
“You do look lovely in blue,” he whispered.
This month at Friday Frights the theme is "Horror Cliches", and there's a whole list of them to choose from over at the Friday Fright site. I think this week I only used "The Call is coming from inside the house". Is there anything else here that might be called a Horror Cliche, or maybe a trope?
Please, let me know what you think.