Story Go Round 07/05/2002, round 2, #1

Calling Cthulhu

[Ring] [Ring] [Ring] [Ring] [Click] [Static]

Hey, you've reached Cthulhu at (503) 794- 6353. I'm out of the pod right now, but I should be somewhere in the galaxy. At the sound of the scream, please leave your name, blood type, and which of my minions you've most recently encountered, if their name is pronounceable. Oh, and I will be out from 2050-2100, but you can usually leave me a note anytime between 874-1250.

Helen hung up. Strange thing, but every time she'd dialed a wrong number lately, she'd gotten that same message. Didn't matter which number she misdialed. It had her worried, and she found herself using email whenever possible. But, of course, Hathor, hew new boyfriend, was against technology - unless it was developed in Norway. When Hathor stopped in for dinner, she was again struck by the thought of his unusually wide shoulders. As he munched, she noticed how yellowish his skin had become. And, of course, he was peeling.

"Darling," she called from the kitchen, where she was washing up, "Have you been using that skin cream I lent you?"

"Ya, ya," came the reply, somewhat slow, "It was delicious." He was on one of his cell phones, and must've misheard.

She worried about him - he didn't seem well. She never noticed it while he was around, but by the time he'd leave, she'd find herself wrinkling her nose and reaching for the air freshener.

The next time she reached for the phone and hit speed dial 'B' - to renew her library books, she reached a person instead of the automated system she'd been expecting:

they- hello (cheery)

she- uh... (flustered)

they- hello? (confused)

she- Who is this? Is this the library?

Are you here to help?

Excuse me?

I don't think I can handle them alone... I mean, I know I should be able to, but then I just can't stop laugha ... ha ha HA HA ... happy, then gleeful, the manic laughter came across the line and the receiver dropped to the floor - but she was glued to her end listening to a combination of what sounded like laughter and a fight - then choked laughter, then straight choking, then a thump, followed by a dragging sound. And then the line went dead.

Freaked out, she ran to the living room to tell Hathor what had happened, but he was nowhere to be found. This worried her, but nothing that an episode of Married With Children couldn't cure.

That night when she went to close the back door she was reminded to worry when she saw Hathor's silhouette floating two feet above the ground, behind a curtain. When she pushed the curtain back, there was Hathor hanging from a noose, grinning at her, eye contact firm. She turned and ran, feeling choked. He caught her half way up the stairs, laughing, insisting he was kidding. hysterical, she turned round fast, trying just to break his grip. She did, and Hathor, off balance, slipped off the wooden stairs, and over the balcony falling the half story onto his shoulder and head, cell phone skittering free on the floor. She gasped, and then screamed when his cell phone rang & he half sat up, his neck at an odd angle.

His voice, now raw and rasping, was oddly familiar in a way it hadn't been before. And worse, she couldn't understand a word he uttered - not because it was in Norwegian, but because it was in Dutch.

Helen moved across town the next day, and didn't give Hathor her new address or phone number. She never, ever, misdialed a phone number after that, a gift no one but herself would ever be aware of.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange