Entry 15: The Phone: Monday July 25
Shaedra called this morning. Of course, I was at work when she called, so you can bet Donna asked me who she was when I got home. I told her it was Mrs. Shiflett’s assistant. Maybe it was her exotically sounding voice, but I could see suspicion cross Donna’s face. And then there was the cryptic message itself: “Call this number,” followed by a local seven-digit phone number. I explained to Donna it was the number of a guy who knows a detail of church history I’m interested in.
She nodded. “Why are you so interested in the history of that place?”
“I’m just curious, that’s all. ”
She nodded again, but I don’t think she believed me. For the first time in our relationship, I get the feeling she may think I’m fooling around on her.
This brief conversation occurred when I came home from lunch, so afterwards when I walked back to church, I took the phone number with me. I called it, but there was no answer. Eventually, an answering machine picked up, but there was no recorded greeting, only a hiss of air like that of gas escaping through a pipe. Weird. I just hung up without leaving a message.
I went ahead and did a little work and then I heard the phone ringing from the secretary’s office. I figured if no one were in there, the answering machine would pick up after a couple of rings, but it didn’t. It just kept on ringing, over and over again.
I looked out the sanctuary window, and saw the secretary’s car was in the lot. Why wasn’t she picking up the phone? It continued to ring.
I put everything down and went to the office. Mrs. Mabel was at her desk. The phone was ringing off the hook beside her, but she seemed to be ignoring it.
“You going to get that?” I asked.
She looked at me with a strange look on her face.
“The phone,” I said.
Strange looks turned to a dumfounded one. “It’s not ringing,” she replied. But it was. I could hear it.
I reached out and picked up the receiver. The ringing stopped. I put the phone to my ear as Mrs. Mabel watched me with bewildered concern. I didn’t say anything to the caller, I just listened. But there wasn’t anyone there. Just the escaping hiss of air, like when I called the number Shaedra had given me. I set the phone back down in its cradle.
“Something must be wrong with these phones,” I said.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
I nodded and backed out of the office. It was apparent she hadn’t heard the phone ringing. No one had. Just me. Why was that? Is this a new kind of message from Mischa or am I starting to hear things? And what exactly was I hearing? A gas leak? Air conditioning? The breeze on a beach? Air leaking out of a tire?
Just one more mystery adding to the many that seem to surround this place…
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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.
Original text copyright 2007.
10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.