Literary Corner: No Caller ID

Her phone vibrated next to her, its buzzing echoing loudly through the empty warehouse. Late again, as she had been every night this week, preparing for the audit she’d known was coming since the rumored layoffs began.

She glanced at her phone quickly. No Caller ID. Not worth the time to answer, then. One more database validation and she could finally go home to a glass of wine and her drama-filled Twitter feed.

Her phone buzzed again, and she scooped it up to keep it from rattling the metal table it lay on. Frankly, the sound of it reverberating through the stacks was creeping her out. She looked again at the screen. No Caller ID.

“Freaking telemarketers.” She silenced the phone and set it down.

Ten seconds later, the screen lit up again. No Caller ID. She was starting to worry it was a bill collector. But if that were the case, they’d leave a message. She checked; no messages.

Five seconds later, the phone awoke again, demanding an answer. No Caller ID.

“Forget it, I’m going home.” And as soon as she spoke, she heard it—a strange scraping sound along one of the stacks.

Her phone rang again. No Caller ID.

“What do you want?” she yelled into the phone as she grabbed her stuff and made a beeline for the exit.

“Erin?? It’s Stella. I’ve been calling and calling. You have to get out of there! He’s—”

But the warning had come too late. She felt the burst of pain, the cold, the terror, and then nothing.

Three seconds later, the phone in her limp hand lit up once more. No Caller ID.

Mary Elizabeth Summer is the author of the young-adult Trust Me mystery series. She lives in Beaverton with her wife, their daughter, their dog, and their evil overlor—er, cats.