Disconnected Connection

Submitted into Contest #30 in response to: Write a story about someone who receives an unexpected phone call.... view prompt



The house is dark, but her room is darker. The blinds are drawn tightly closed. The many lights that once lit her room in a cheery glow switched off. The door closed, shirts and towels stuffed under the cracks to swallow any sliver of light that might try to creep through. She won't let it. She will suffocate it. 

The light is not allowed. Neither is the happiness.

She does not know how long she has been there. She does not care. Until the phone begins to ring. 

It shouldn't, she disconnected the lines. Disconnected the reach to the outdoor world. But it does, cold and clear and breaking her melancholy silence. 

Blindly, she reaches for it, almost frightened. Almost frightened, she lifts it to her ear, and almost frightened, she whisperers, "Hello?"

Almost just as frightened, the voice on the other end answers, "Hello."

It is a voice she knows. A voice that one lit the darkness in a beautiful array of colors and splendor. A voice that left with the light. A voice drowned by dirt and flowers and bitter tears. 

"I am here," it says, and shakily she replies, "You are not."

"But I am. Do you not hear me?"

She does. Undeniably. Yet, stubbornly, refusing, she hisses, "You are not here." 

The disconnected phone slips from her fingers and clatters out of her reach into the darkness. Down, down, down. She turns away, facing the blackness once more, but something is wrong. They are still there, no longer on the phone. All around her. Angry. Booming. Thunderous.

"I am here. Listen. Take the blindfold off your eyes, the cloak off your heart. Open the blinds. Let the light in."

She covers her ears. Screams, raw and loud, yet it does not cover them. She knows it never will. "You are not here! You are gone! I watched you go!"

"You watched, but not as I watch you now. " The phone begins to ring again. It shouldn't. The other phones ring too. Shaking the walls. Trembling her bones until she fears her skin will slip right off them. "You watched blindly. As blindly as you are now, with your eyes shut tightly against reality. Open them. Open them!"

The phones echo the order, ringing in tune with it, and she grabs the nearest one. She throws it against the wall, smashing it to smithereens. Yet it doesn't stop its chilling song, howling even as it lays among its own remains. 

The darkness is no longer a friend. The darkness is no longer a comfort. It is a trap, and through it, she finds what she is looking for. A small bottle, orange. Small capsules of relief are inside, and she tips them into her palm. 

Too many. They slip through her fingers. The darkness devours them. 

"You cannot hide," they whisper. "Open the blinds. Let in the light."

She can't. She won't. The room was secure. The room was black and empty and her. The room was her. 

"You are gone!" The dirt hits her nose with the memories. The unpenetrable box lowered deeper and deeper and deeper. "You are not returning! Do not lie to me!"

The phones crack her eardrums, slip through the bleeding cuts and wrap around her brain. Become trapped in there, with her slipping thoughts, her twisted memories. And she claws at her scalp, trying to pull the monstrous sound out. Until her nails are blackened with her blood and her hair falls into tuffs around her. 

"You are not here! You are not here!" The words are a battle cry as she stumbles through the shadowy room, tripping on the shrieking phones. Sliding on the slope of orange capsules. They reach up, clawing at her legs, creeping up her arms. She does not have the fight left to brush them off. 

"I am here. I am here, speaking to you now, yet you ignore me. What must I do? What must I say to convince you? Do not speak of lying when you lie to me. When you know, in that shriveled, empty heart of yours that I am here."

"How?" she screams, pounding on the walls of her cage. Of her enclosure. She is an animal on display. A creature in a zoo. A freak in a circus. "I watched you leave. I cried at your departure, begged you to return."

"And when I didn't you replaced me!" they snarl. "You replaced me with shadows and darkness and solitude. With these capsules. They cannot hold you. They cannot stroke your hair. Rip down the blinds. Bathe in the light."

Now, she listens. Now, she reaches for the windows. For the glued on boards, scraping at them until her fingers are red. And yet, the capsules grab her arms. Beg her to stop. The darkness wraps around her like a shawl, whispering warnings of what she will face if she does this. 

And she hesitates, among the ringing phones, until they remind her, "There is a fight in you. Do not shove it away, quench yourself with these traitorous friends instead." 

The phones repeat the words and she crouches, grabbing the nearest one. Slams it against the windows. Pleading, almost unconsciously for them to break. Again and again. And when the phone splinters she grabs the next one. And the next. And the next. 

Until finally, the windows shatter in a brilliant display of glass, striking her skin. Slicing her eyelids and opening her eyes. 

And it consumes the blackness and the pills. Devours them, and as the warmth touches her skin, she falls to her knees, reaching for it. Trembling. And it reaches back. 

Almost frightened, she whispers, "Hello."

Almost just as frightened, the voice on the other end answers, "Hello."

February 25, 2020 15:49

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