The following is a composition written in a three-four sentenced paragraph rotation between Crayon, Parabolist, and myself.
All rights and stuff are ours and will freely share if asked in the right way.
His fingers fumbled for the remote, the resounding click of the television threw the room into sudden darkness. He mentally sighed, writing a list of things he wanted to accomplish the next day. It was late and he should go to bed, he thought to himself. The phone rang, shattering the peaceful still of the night. He turned towards the phone and then to the bedside clock which read two-fifteen AM.
The phone chirped again, annoyingly gargling its cacophonous tune. Two-sixteen in the morning, in a city Sam had never visited before, in a sleeze-bag motel where no one knew him or that he was staying there and it was his room receiving a middle-of-the-fucking-night phone call from Fuck-knows-who. It has to be a wrong number. The phone fell silent as the clock kicked over to two-twenty. At two-twenty-one it rang again.
He silently cursed the caller who obviously had fuck-all to do on a Sunday night, no, it was Monday now, five more hours and he would be on the road again heading further into the city to complete the tasks set before him. He imagined all the biting and sarcastic comments he wanted to say to this low-life worthless piece of whore-jizz who had taken it upon himself to annoy the ever-fucking-life out of Sam at two-twenty-two on this FINE Monday morning.
Cursing to himself, he reached for the phone. "What the hell do you want?" Sam was not about to even give this infernal wretch the decency of a hello.
Sammy, Oh God, thank God, Sammy! He's coming for me Sammy. I don't think I can get away this time. You've got to help me Sammy. Please he's - oh God, Sammy, he's- Her panicked voice echoed in Sam's head.
"Muriel? What? Who?" God, he had not seen nor heard from her in five - no, ten years. "Muriel?" Only breathing - breathing or static; Sam could not be sure. "Muriel?!" The line was dead, an agonizing beeping filled the silence of the room. Sam jumped when the clock clicked loudly to two-twenty-five.
Muriel - oh how he had pined away for Muriel all those fifteen years while living in Brooklyn. He almost hated his brother for finding her first, it was jealousy at first but he had slowly convinced himself that his brother, Jonas, had purposefully paraded Muriel around Sam to provoke him, to make him fall in love with her only to marry her away from Sam. It was what convinced him to join the company and the extensive travel it advertised.
Dial tone quickly gave way to the touch tones of his mothers phone number. He knew it was late but she would get over it and this was important. It rang a few times, the waiting seemed endless. There was no choice though. He knew there was no way to trace teh call from the motel. Who is this calling at this time of night? his mother always did get straight to the point. "Its Samuel, mom, listen I don't have time to explain." Sam? Is something wrong? Are you locked up again? Sam winced, "Mom, just listen. Jonas - I need his number - I think he's going to hurt her!" Hurt who? What? Muriel you mean? Honey you are out of it, didn't you hear? Muriel was in a car crash, she's been in a coma for two months now!
"What? No, no, mom, I mean I just - I just talked to her."
Sammy, you had a nightmare or you've been drinking. Shush now. Where are you?
"Listen to me Mom. Jonas is going to hurt her, Mom. You have to listen to me!"
Jonas is dead Sammy, you know that. When are you going to stop with your hurtful games? Sam cringed as his mother hung up the phone.
The memories slowly crept out of the cornders of his mind, his mother was right about Jonas - he had been dead for ten years now. The last time he saw Muriel was at his funeral. He had thought about staying in town to help console her and maybe catch up but it was too soon and just a little creepy. Besides I had company work to do on the West coast, he reminded himself.
This did nothing to shake the feeling he had of Jonas hurting Muriel, whom he just found out has been in a coma for the past two months. The thought of it all made his head spin with questions.
Sam collapsed against the cigarette smoke stained wall in the cheap dand room. Maybe he was having some sort of waking dream - maybe this 'life' was taking its toll. He started to rationalize the phone didn't really ring, it was simply not possible. He arighted himself and went to the small dirty bathroom to wash his face. The faucet flowed with cool water which he splashed on his face, and then the phone rang.
Sam cringed and quickly patted his face dry. He charged at the hone, leaing across the bed ad snatching it from the receiver.
"Muriel!" he gasped.
Sammy, Sammy, Sammy, rasped a cold but familiar voice. Tingling lanced up and down Sam's back. He threw down the phone, backing away slowly. Crimson covered the receiver.
Sam recognized Jonas's voice immediately but in that same instance he realized how impossible it was for it to be his brother. Jonas was dead, he attended his funeral, saw him in the casket, the whole kit and kaboodle. Sam focused on the bleeding receiver, then down to his hands which were the same crimson of the phone. Horror drained him of color as he absent-mindedly wiped his hands on his denim jeans, tripping over an arm chair on his way back to the dingy bathroom, scattering roaches and other nocturnal insects at his staggered approach.
Flipping on the light switch his body wracked with incoherent sobs, there ws no evidene of the blood but he stripped down anyway and crawled into the rusty bathtub and showered, scrubbing and sobbing.
Sam soaked up the water with a hopefully clean towel He stumbled toward the bed, jarring in mid-stride toward the tiny circular table near the curtained window. His to-do list rested with his pen next to a cheap bottle of Scotch. One drink would take the edge off. Just one drink. The burn was delicious, spreading down his throat, releasing the tension. Sam glanced at the list.
Item 1: Kill Muriel
Item 2: Kill Muriel
Item 3: Kill Muriel
Sam gagged as he read line after line, the same repetitious horror.
Sam sank into an armchair next to the table, staring at the list with disbelief. He hadn't remembered writing those words but he could not disput that the lettering was in his own handwriting.
"What is happening to me," he thought aloud, raking a free han through his thinning hair; the table side clock erupted in sound as its numbers annouced the coming hour - 3:00.
The old clock's numbers then continued flipping, loudly, pulsing like thunder in his skull. All at once he found himself, sweat drenched, underneath a vehicle, blade in hand, brake line about to be severed. He could still hear the clock, the violent clip-clapping of one number being discarded as another number crashed on top of it.
The numbers clicked over again and again. The cool smooth tube was pinched between his fingers. The pen knife blade rested against it, digging in. Drip. Sam blinked and his eyes were filled with sunlight. He held the knife for the wedding cake. Jonas reached for the knife. A drop of rain splattered against Sam's forehead. He sat up quickly as simultaneously the clock clicked to 3:01 and the phone rang again.
The ringing echoed in Sam's mind, distant at first slowly growing louder reverberating like church bells. Sam reluctantly let Jonas take the knife shaking off thoughts of plunging it deep into his brother's chest. He didn't want to answer the phone but he knew he had no choice.
"No choice at all" he murmurred picking up the reciever.
Finish what you started, Sammy, was the only reply.