“You’re going to die tonight!”
That is a text message you can take several different ways. You can panic, especially if it was from an unknown number. You can scoff at it. Or you can ignore it.
I ignored it.
Sitting in my living, basking in the light of the widescreen, slightly drunk; I had no time to entertain idle threats.
Another five minutes and the phone vibrated again, toppling off the table and crashing on the floor. I sighed, trying to keep my eyes on the TV.
“You son-of-a-bitch!” I scolded the piece of electronics, as I saw the players celebrate on screen.
I leaned forward and picked the up the ancient phone from the floor. I’m not technically savvy, I don’t need the latest iPhone or gadget. I live for two things, my wife and my sport. And that fucker has ruined one of them.
“You can’t ignore me,” the dot matrix display announced.
F-U-C-K O-F-F, I typed, each button press unnecessarily firm.
I smiled as the once celebrating players argued with the ref, their goal disallowed. I took a large gulp of my now warming beer.
I looked at the buzzing phone, “Feisty little one, aren’t you? Are you going to be able to keep that up when I gut you like a fish?”
The alcohol warmed my head, allowing the alpha-male instinct to run wild in my blood stream.
I-D K-I-C-K I-N U-R T-E-E-T-H B-4 U H-A-D T-H-E C-H-A-N-C-E
Standing up, I finished the message and threw the phone onto my chair and made my way into the kitchen.
Taking an ice cold drink out of the fridge, I heard the phone again. Closing the door, I mentally composed the next message as I stormed back in.
*Didn’t I tell you little puss….*
“I’m watching you ;)”
I picked up the phone. A sobering feeling enveloped me.
*The curtains?* They were closed tight.
Moving to the side of the window, I peered through.
I felt the device in my hand, “Looks like I’ve got your attention.”
W-H-A-T D-O U W-A-N-T F-R-O-M M-E?
“I want to play with your insides.”
I read the words back to myself a couple of times, trying to connect the pixelated text with that of a human’s interaction. I suddenly felt alone. I wished my wife was home from work.
Sitting down in the chair, I gazed at the screen, awaiting another message to come in.
W-H-O R U?
“:) I thought you’d never ask. I said I’d find you one day.”
I D-O-N-T K-N-O-W W-H-O U R!
“But you do, sweetie.”
“Oh don’t play coy, BITCH. You have no idea long I’ve been waiting to split you open.”
*Contra zoom.* A cold sweat grasped my hand as I jabbed at the quick dial for my wife.
*Shit! Answer phone!*
“Honey, it’s David. Stay where you are! Do NOT leave work.”
I heard the roar of the crowd celebrate on the TV behind, but I no longer cared about it.
Panicked, I scanned the vicinity for my keys.
Exiting the house I got in my car. The few beers I had weighed on my conscience. But my wife meant more.
Reversing out the drive, I picked up the phone again and saw the latest message.
“You’re going quiet on me now? After all we’ve been though?”
I sped down the narrow road, skidding with a screech onto main street.
I dialled the number again.
*Please pick up, please pick up.*
It went through to answer phone again; I pressed the hang up button.
Anxiety held my body in a state of flux, I pushed the old car to its limits. The surroundings darkened, as the road widened, leaving my small town. The screen brightened on my phone again, I ignored it.
I pulled up outside the gas station dinner and breathed a sigh of relief. The bright interior illuminated my wife as she took an order off an anonymous trucker. Locking the car behind me, I entered the premises.
“Oh hey gorgeous, what are you doing here?” she said in her bright, southern twang.
“You got to go, come with me,” I said beckoning her to leave.
“But I’ve got another thirty minutes left,” she said confused.
“Hey, Daryl, I need to take Maggie home; family emergency.”
He nodded from behind the serving counter.
“Thanks, man, appreciated.”
I took off my coat and covered her, “What’s wrong, Babe?”
“Nothing, just get in the car.”
“Is it okay if I drive?” she smiled as she asked.
I slunk down in the passenger seat, letting out a large breath. My wife put the car in gear and turned it around, “It’s nice to see you an’ all, but what’s the rush. I didn’t get to pick up my tips.”
I composed myself, more relaxed now she was in my company.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I’ve just had these horrible texts. I was worried about you.”
“What? On that ol’ thing? I’m surprised you still use it. That being my sister’s and all.”
A fresh sense of dread cloaked my body as I activated my phone to read the message I had ignored.
“You gave me it, it was yours.”
She laughed, “Hell no, you wouldn’t catch me dead using something as old as that. That was Christine’s.”
Holding the mobile, the blue glow of the screen lighting up my face, I read the message.
“Who are you?”