Short Story Fiction
The Mysterious Phone Call
Scott A. Gese

She thought it was a prank call. Turns out she was wrong.

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Herb and Harriet Walken were creatures of habit. Like most evenings they sat in front of the television. Their eyes glued to to this weeks episode of “Strange Encounters”. It was their favorite show. When it finished, Herb picked up the remote and turned off the ‘boob tube’ as he called it.

“That was a good one,” he remarked. “Nothing like having the dead come and visit you. We’ve never had anything like that happen to us. We must live a boring life.”

“I would rather it be boring than have something like that happen,” replied Harriet.

Just then the phone rang. It was an old land line they had refused to get rid of. They weren’t much for electronics like computers and cell phones. They were old and hadn’t kept up with the times. A TV set, a land line and snail mail was their mode of communication with the outside world. A flat screen television given to them by their son was their main source of entertainment.

Harriet answered the phone.

“Hello. Who is this?”

“Hi Grandma, this is Garret.”

Harriet was confused. “Who?”

“Garret, your grandson.”

“Oh you don’t say,” she replied with a bit of sarcasm in her voice. How do I know it’s you?”

“Well, I guess you’re just going to have to believe me.”

“So how old are you now?” She questioned still not believing who she was talking to.

“I’m still twelve.”

“I see. What was your dogs name?”

“It was Rusty and he died in the car accident.”

“That’s right.” Harriet thought she was beginning to figure it out. “OK, I know this is some sort of prank call. It’s not very funny. Who is this really?”

Herb spoke up. “If it’s a prank call just hang up.”

Harriet waved him off as she played along. “So why are you calling me?”

“I just wanted to say hi and tell you I loved you.”

“Well that’s really sweet of you whoever you are.”

“Grandma, I told you it’s me, Garret. I like that show you were just watching. Strange Encounters, right.”

“How do you know that? Asked Harriet.

“I can see you whenever I think about you.”

Harriet turned toward the window. It was dark out and Herb had already closed the curtains. “Are you outside?”

“Oh no, but I am in a very nice place.”

Herb spoke up again. “Harriet, hang up the phone.”

She was intrigued with the call and once again waved him off again.

“Grandma, I need you to do me a favor. I know you still live next door to my dad. Something is the matter with him. He fell on the floor. I tried to call him but he doesn’t answer. I think he’s hurt or something. Can you and Grandpa go and check on him?”

“Why yes, we can do that.”

“Good, I’m going to hang up now. I love you Grandma.”

“I love you too. Good-by.” The phone went dead.

“Who the heck are you telling you love?” Asked Herb.

“That was our Grandson, Garret.”

Herb gave Harriet a look of disbelief. “You know darn well that wasn’t Garret. You know as well as I do he died in a car accident ten years ago.”

“I know,” replied Harriet.

Herb was becoming upset. “It was a prank and a pretty mean one at that.”

“We need to go next door and check on Mark. Garret says he fell and something might be wrong with him.”

“What??? And you believe this person?”

“I don’t know who that was but maybe we should go check. Just in case.”

Herb was reluctant but Harriet was determined to go whether he came along or not. She headed for the front door. Herb followed her out and they both hurried next door.

All was quiet except for the wail of a lone siren in the distance. They knocked but there was no answer. Herb got out his spare key and unlocked the door. They went in. As soon as they entered they could see something was wrong with their son. Mark was laying on the living room floor. Herb knelt down and checked on him. He was alive, but barely.

Just as they began to panic an ambulance pulled up in front of the house. Harriet waved them inside. The paramedics stabilized Mark and loaded him onto a stretcher. He had suffered a heart attack.

“Good thing you called when you did,” remarked the paramedic to Herb. “Another minute and it may have been too late.”

“I didn’t call you,” replied Herb. “Is there any way you can tell me who did?”

The paramedic took a quick look at his log. “It says here the call came in from someone named Garret,” he replied as he hopped into the ambulance and drove off.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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