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The Telephone
by Barnali Saha

The dream was gone, the dreariness of the hangover gone, all that remained was a tangle of dull emotions. The ringing telephone woke Teresa. She sat up, checked her watch, stretched her arms and remembered something that she had forgotten. Instantly she was pale, ashen rather. She walked to the bright yellow colored device sitting on a side table and anchored to the wall. It was breathlessly singing like an imploring desperado. Teressa picked it up.

It was him. She heard the long heavy breaths and then the same broken words. I love you. The voice alarmed Teressa. Her hands were cold, her mouth dry, she shuddered under the green and red plaid night shirt. She hung up. She started walking to her bed in silent backward steps. She was a specter in the nightly chiaroscuro; her oily shoulder length brown hair sticking on her shirt, her bare hands and knees horripilated . She thumped her body on the bed.

Teressa sat at the corner of her bed, confused and pale. She was calculating her options in her mind. She had to find an escape route; the telephone would kill her. She knew he would call again and again and again; since the time she had given him her number at the Moonlight Bar he had called her over a thousand times. But he never spoke, just breathed. Only once he asked in a baritone if it was her. After the confirmation from Teressa he never asked her anything. The watery, rumbling voice and the sporadic deep breaths had been torturing her for weeks now. Even booze could not abate her distress.

The telephone rang again. The metallic ectophony broke the silence of the night. Teressa was startled; she wanted to cry or better, run away. She decided not to pick up. The phone continued ringing; the device was demented.

Teressa picked up the receiver; a series of violent breaths thundered into her ears, the breaths adlibbed words; angry words. She was terrified; she let the receiver fall from her hand. The cold receiver dangled like a hanging corpse.

Teressa walked to the window and saw him. He was standing under the lamppost, the yellow light illuminated his acromegalic features; he was a devil from a mythical hell -- emaciated, gray and crooked. He saw her and muttered something into the black cell phone he was holding. Teressa heard an almost inaudible whooshing sound. She wanted to walk away, but she was ambsaced by him. She stared at him as the hands of her urban fantod further embraced her.

He was moving close to her apartment. She knew he was coming, the whooshing sound coming from the receiver was deafening, and it was gradually reaching crescendo. She knew he was coming to get her, yet there was no escape. Teresa suddenly had a flash of thought; the trance broke. She gathered all her strength and climbed up the window. There was a bang on the door and the whooshing and watery sound rolled in the background.

Mrs. Barnali Saha (ne'e Banerjee) is a creative writer from Kolkata, India, currently living in Nashville, TN, USA. She enjoys writing short stories, poetry, travelogues and articles. Her works have been published in several newspapers and magazines in India (The Statesman, The Indian Express, Womans Era, DNA-Me, Muse India Literary Journal,
Silhouette Magazine, etc) and also in the USA (Mused Bella Online Literary Review, The Smoking Poet, Long Story Short, ken*again, Pens on Fire, Fiction at Work, Palki, Parabaas, etc). Apart from writing, she is interested in painting and photography. Contact the author.