The very witching time of night.
Her jest had all the bravado of gallows humour and about as much comfort.
I’m not going to let a wrong number spook me, she admonished herself.
Nevertheless, she found herself scanning the room for a suitable weapon and settled predictably on the bread knife.
She checked all the doors and windows before retreating to the front room and curled up in her spot on the couch.
She waited while her nerves settled. The bottle of Clonazepam was on the side table, so she popped the top and downed two tablets.
There was the ticking of the furnace pipes expanding from heat, but no alien sounds. Just the usual background white noise.
She could try phoning Nan, but she probably wouldn’t be home yet—besides, what could she do, other than to remind her of her unreasonable fears?
She sighed and closed her eyes.
Did I even check the caller ID?
She picked up the phone and checked the screen.
U.R. Dunn (416) 929-2017.
A red flag went up in her head. She grabbed the newspaper and found the date—September 29, 2017—the ID number on the phone.
How did they do that?
The prickling sensation started again at the nape of her neck.
Could it be a disgruntled student?
Of course! The fake term paper—when was it? Must have been a week ago, just after the first set of freshman essays had been graded and returned.
She spotted it on the chair outside her office where she left unclaimed papers.
She picked it up, saw the name—U.R. Done, and was horrified to find a scathing attack on her teaching, her gender and her person.
“Rubbish,” Nan pontificated—“Adolescent ranting—not worthy of your time or energy.”
She agreed and trashed the paper—but now, the same name had appeared on her phone display—and her number was unlisted.
Someone had her number all right—someone with an axe to grind.
She picked up the phone and dialed Nan’s number. She’d probably downplay the whole thing, but right now she needed to hear a familiar voice. Nan picked up immediately.
“Don’t worry, I made it home it all right.”
“Hi Nan. I’m glad you’re okay, but that wasn’t why I phoned. Remember that hate letter I got last week? Someone just crank-called and it was the same name on the caller ID.”
Nan exhaled loudly. “That’s not good. You have an unlisted number. I don’t like this, Hailey.”
“That makes two of us. I’m a little spooked right now.”
“Maybe I should come over.”
The prospect of Nan nervously pacing around her townhouse with a flashlight made her anxious.
“No, no. You just drove home. I’ll be fine.”
“What are you going to do about this?”
“Nothing. It’s probably just some adolescent freak who gets off scaring people. I’m not going to play into his sick little game.”
“Yeah well, you sure pick your spots to make a stand. What happened to Fraidy Cat?”
“She got some back bone, I guess.”
“Still, I wouldn’t take this too lightly. This guy might be psycho. Promise me if it continues that you’ll report it.”
“I will, but I figure he’ll get tired and lose interest.”
“Let’s hope he does, but if it happens again, please phone me—I don’t care if it’s the middle of the night.”
“I promise—and by the way, thanks Nan.”
“You take care, Girl.”
She felt better. The night was always the hardest time for her, but Nan’s voice reassured her.
She’d go to bed, turn off the light and refuse to be intimidated.
Trish, her therapist, would be proud.
© 2017, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.