Saturday, June 9, 2012

Restricted Number by Demetra Fisher

The telephone began ringing as soon as we entered the house, although we didn’t rush to answer it. We both knew that the only calls that came to the house these days were from various telemarketers and my roommate’s mother, who steadfastly refused to use a cell phone. My roomie smiled as she checked the Caller ID, telling me that she would call her mom as soon as she got settled with a cup of tea. She headed off to the kitchen and, calling
back over her shoulder, asked me if I wanted a cup as well.

“No thanks,” I called back. I just wanted to go up to my room, change, and continue my lazy reprieve from the car ride home. As I headed up the stairs, my cell beeped twice, letting me know I had a text message:

meet me at the library in ten minutes

need to talk

The text was from a “restricted” number so I couldn’t tell who was
sending it, which gave me some concern. I wondered if maybe a friend had lost her phone service again and was using someone else’s cell to text me. But wouldn’t she have identified herself, if that was the case? I searched my incoming calls to see if I had gotten any others recently from a restricted number. Not finding any, I searched my contact list to see if I had added any new numbers. Some time ago, I had discovered that if I added
a new number before first receiving a call, the number often showed up as “restricted” on my detail pad the first time the person either called or texted me. Not so this time, though. Again, I wondered who could be reaching out
to me when two more beeps sounded:

don’t waste time wondering just come

Now that was strange. The tone reminded me of Josh, but he was away this weekend, so it couldn’t be him. Maybe he got back early, I thought.
Curiosity had me and whoever sent this message, if they knew me at all, would surely know that. Without entering my room, I spun around at the top of the stairs and bounded back down.

“Hey, I’m headed over to the library,” I yelled out as I grabbed my coat knowing it would be chillier now that the sun had set. I headed out the door as I heard a goodbye.

Apprehension slowly began to derail me. I knew that the library wouldn’t
be deserted as there were always plenty of students around at all hours of either day or night. But I still felt somewhat ill at ease, not knowing exactly who I was meeting. Not to mention, a would-be rapist who had struck more than once still remained on the loose. Even so, I was way too curious to let it get the best of me so I pressed on, making my way across campus as quickly as I could, looking this way and that as I went.

The library was quiet as I opened the heavy wooden door and entered the circular lobby. The student worker behind the desk glanced up from her book in response to my footsteps before returning once more to the pages before her. As I walked across the expansive space, the heels of my low boots knocked against the marble of the floor, echoing slightly. I had no idea where I should be going but my gut told me to head over to my favorite section. Whenever I was in the library and I wasn’t doing research, I was
always in the fiction aisles and if someone wanted to find me, they could always count on my being there. I trucked up the stairs and turned to the right, then headed for the bookcases closest to the window, knowing there was a low couch that I could park myself on to wait. The section was deserted as I expected it to be at this time of day. Students were either in their dorms studying or doing research on the other side of the library.

Just as I rounded the last corner I stopped short, remembering the last time I was in the library and the conversation that I had overheard which had so consumed me. I was suddenly filled with panic. Questions burned. What if everything that’s been happening recently is more than just dreams? What if I’m not really awake right now and this is yet another REM sequence? Oh
God, I cried inwardly, my knees going weak. I don’t think I can take this right now. Anguished, I felt the overwhelming urge to get out of there. I couldn’t explain my sudden panic, but I knew I had to leave. Now. Without further hesitation, I turned around and headed straight for the nearest exit.
Crossing the open space, I suddenly had the distinct impression that I was not alone. Someone was watching me, maybe even following me, I was sure of it! I gasped in fear and hurried even more so, my feet moving faster and faster, breaking into a run. Without looking back, I slipped through the exit door and bounded down the stairs back toward the lobby and safety, my
heart pounding through my chest.

No comments:

Post a Comment