The Telephone

By Michael Berry All Rights Reserved ©

Other

Chapter 28

It took almost an hour for William to calm Sarah down. She refused to listen to him at first, merely shrieking and shouting, constantly pushing him out of the way. Eventually, he calmed her down, forcing her to look at his face and see that it was him, that he was there with her.

He rested her on the side of her bed and held her hand, even long after she calmed herself down he kept hold of it, keeping her in that room and not to descend into the abyss of hysteria. William slowly massaged her hand with is fingers, gently calming her to silence. He kneeled down in front of her, simply staring into her own seemingly lifeless staring eyes that stared on into nothingness.
It shook William’s heart to see her like this. To see her without any reaction or signs of life made her look like a doll, a corpse even. Despite only knowing her for a short time, he had become used to her great strength, the ability to carry on with what she had to do, regardless of the state of her present situation. He wished he was like her, he couldn’t imagine facing the future alone. He thought of the inevitable future to come, of what they would do if they got out of this. Would they both carry on with separate lives and never see each other again, or would they find a place in the countryside to settle together? William was determined to leave the city and head for the country, while Sarah was determined to stay at home in the city and face the constant threat of whatever came her way.
He wanted to tell her she was crazy and that she should listen to him, but he knew at the back of his mind that she would never listen to him. She would tell him to do what he wanted and she’d do the same. These thoughts made his head spin, they weren’t going to’ solve anything until they sorted out what was happening to Sarah. That was what took priority.
William looked at Sarah’s mannequin like face again, gently coaxing her to return to the real world.
Her eyes alone were the only part of her with any obvious hints of the presence of a living being, the occasional blinking to lubricate the eyes and the shrinking of the iris whenever he shone a light into her face. It was like looking at someone who was in a kind of waking coma.
Finally, after a seemingly endless time of watching and waiting, Sarah awoke from her shock, rapidly blinking her eyes and uttering slight breaths of air.
“Sarah, Sarah,” William whispered. “Are you okay, speak to me?”
Sarah’s finished blinking her eyes and looked around her bedroom. For a moment, it seemed that she had no clue where she was, there were no obvious signs of calm or recognition of her surroundings in her eyes, only a confused look of being lost. She realised that William was holding her hand and looked down at it. William made no effort to release her hand. She uttered what sounded like broken parts of words that she couldn’t form and constantly glanced around the room, as though trying to remember what was lost from her mind.
“What, what is it,” William asked her delicately. “Do you know where you are? You’re at home, in your apartment. Do you remember your name, who I am? Please, you must remember.”
Sarah leaned forward towards him, William responded the same way, guessing that she wanted to say something to him, or maybe whisper it in his ear.
They leaned toward each together, William took hold of both her hands. Sarah leaned further toward him and gently kissed him on the lips for a brief moment then returned to her original position. William’s mind swam with confused and excited thoughts, wondering why exactly she had done that.
Sarah shook her hands a little to signify for him to let them go. He responded quickly by doing what she asked. She stood up from the bed and walked slowly toward the curtain pulled across the entrance to the living room. She looked at it quietly for a moment and uttered a deep sigh. She pulled the curtain across and stepped into the living room, her arms crossed over her chest. The whole apartment suddenly seemed so cold, as if someone had just built huge blocks of ice into the walls. William tightened his jacket around him and kept his arms crossed to keep in the heat. He was shocked to notice that he could see his breath in front of him, he looked at his hands and recoiled when he saw the goose pimples covering his skin. He looked toward Sarah who was stood in the centre of the living room, seemingly in deep thought. He noticed that she didn’t appear to be bothered by the cold, she didn’t even seem to notice it at all.
What the hell’s going on around here? He asked himself. This place is giving me the creeps.
William stood up from the side of the bed and walked towards Sarah, quickly placing a hand on her shoulder. “We have to get out of here,” he said. “I don’t know what’s happening in this place, but we have to move. We’ll take the tape machines and put them in the car. I think it’d be best if we kept the car round the back of the building inside one of the garages, just in case anybody sees us. You can stay in the car and keep the engine running, I’ll bring the tapes down to you. We should be done in . . .”
He stopped when he noticed that she didn’t appear to be listening, merely looking off into space and occasionally brushing aside her hair.
“Hey, he asked a little nervous of why she was like this. “You okay, is there something wrong?”
Sarah turned her head and looked at him and smiled in what looked like a forced smile. It quickly faded. “No, no, I’m fine,” she said. “I guess its just repressed shock, or something. Sorry, yeah, I was listening to you, I think you’re right about this place. I’ll go down and get the car and take it round back, you bring the things we need, okay?”
She walked away and out of the apartment into the corridor, her arms hanging limply by her sides, her head lowered a little. William watched her intently. He could tell something was wrong, but he couldn’t think what. He’d seen many people before suffering from shock or delayed shock, but he had never seen it like this. She seemed almost distant, only half of her here, her mind on something else entirely. He wondered whether she had had one of her visions, the type she talked about to him before, maybe she’d seen something that upset her or bothered her. He wanted to ask, but he didn’t want to upset her even more. Perhaps, she wanted to keep it to herself, though he couldn’t think why.
It didn’t seem likely, but perhaps she felt sympathy for the guy that lived here and whose corpse they found. But, should she feel sympathy for his death? He did it to himself, it was his decision, and in any case, he had taken all of those sick and personal pictures of her without her knowing, even coming into her room, standing by her bedside and taking a picture. The guy was a pervert, a sick freak, he didn’t deserve sympathy nor any kind of emotion over his death. If he had still been alive, William would most certainly had made him like this himself. He almost felt robbed out of doing so.
He turned around and glanced at the darkened corridor behind him, visualising the hanging corpse as it dangled in mid-air. For a brief moment, he considered burying him outside in the back garden, but simply shrugged his shoulders and rejected the idea and turned back to face the open door that led to the hallway.
He suddenly realised that he had to take the tape machines, there was no time to waste if the scientists were on their trail. Though he didn’t like it, he decided to leave asking her about what bothered her for the moment. While it seemed a little cruel to her, their were bigger things to worry about and he hoped her strength could handle it.

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