How many times has my phone rung tonight? Seven? Eight? The caller says things that fill me with dread but I keep answering. You’d think I’d tell someone about it but I don’t. It’s not like I’m alone: the room’s full of people. What about that guy? I could tell the guy wearing his sunglasses indoors like he’s a famous rapper. Hell, I could probably convince him to answer the damn thing, he’s so wasted. No, I feel more afraid amongst this swarm of sweaty, gyrating bodies. It’s like I’m on a train ride to hell and I’m screaming, but no one can hear me: they just want things to be normal. I like normal.
My bleary eyes lock onto the glowing screen again: unknown caller. I put the phone to my ear; its warmth makes me queasy. “Who is this?” The gravelly voice just drones on. I’m to be dismembered soon, it says. These people won’t stay forever: house parties come to an end, as does life itself. I’m still kind of out-of-it, but adrenaline makes me lucid. Too lucid. I want to run upstairs to my bed and pull the covers over my head. I hate this feeling of something coming that I can’t stop. We. Have. No. Control. Sunglasses is staring at me – I think.
The music pounds into my skull and rattles my ribs. There are flashes of light and the frozen retinal snap-shots of faces. Who hates me? Is this about that or the other thing? I feel like I'm about to be fed into a giant meat-grinder. No one knows. No one cares. Do I even care? I do. I want to live and drink and kiss strangers. Why is that guy putting his phone away just now? I stumble over. “Hey you! Whatswithyourphoneyoumakingprankcalls?” I know my words make no sense. The guy sneers and follows a bouncy girl into the toilet. I feel more alone than ever. I’m a cornflake in a giant bowl; when the milk comes, there’ll be no buffer.
Phone again. “I’m coming soon. I’m going to tear you apart.” I forget what I’m doing, then I lean toward the kitchen – gravity and forward momentum do the rest. There’s a group of girls doing shots out of my mom’s china teacups. I laugh and they let me know I’m a loser. I remember the lecture my parents gave me before they left for the weekend. I wished they’d taken me with them. The girls leave the room. I turn the light out. I don’t want to be prey.
The water from the tap tastes like rust. The fridge hums – I can hear it because someone’s turned the music off and people have started leaving. “You’ll be alone soon.” I put my phone on the dining table, face down. I feel like I’m in a movie. I like movies but not this kind. My phone chimes, but it’s the sound of a text. My parents are returning early. I smile. The irony of the one thing I was dreading, and all of that. They’ll be too late. My killer’s shadow spills out over the kitchen tiles like milk.