Friday Flash Fiction: A Caller

Regular readers: Sorry this is so late but I’m having a bit of a shocker. It’s also a bit raw as a result. I’ll post the pretty graphic image that illustrates my Bad Day later. You know to frame it: My Bad Day. Hope you enjoy, sorry if it sucks.

A Caller
By Neil Beynon

He sat staring at the small battered television whilst the phone trilled behind him. Bored of waiting for his brain his arm reached for the receiver. The newsreader droned on unheard in the background.

“Mike is that you?” came Charlie’s familiar voice over the phone. Still he did not speak, he couldn’t. “Mike?”
“Yes,” he answered. His voice was cracked like worn asphalt; his throat felt cached with dust and his tongue was an alien slithering thing he fought to control enough to speak.

“Mike, it’s…it’s…oh Christ – look there’s no easy way to say this…”
“I know,” Mike interrupted.

Two words. Two little words that said so little but conveyed so much.

“You’re watching the news?” Charlie asked.
“Yes.” And he was. It wasn’t a lie. Not really.
“I’m sorry Mike I tried t get to you first but the damned media, they just don’t think…” Charlie faded into the same miasma of noise that Mike had consigned the journalist to.

Absently he ran his hand through his beard noting how cold it was. The way the fine covering of hair on his knuckles was standing flagpole like out of his pores.

“So,” said Sofia shimmering in the curtained light of Mike’s apartment resting easily on the chair next to the TV. “As you can see I’m dead. We should probably talk about it – shall I go first?”

There was a click as Mike put down the receiver and forced himself to look at Sofia. She smiled.

“It’s not as bad as it looks. Well the dying part was pretty unpleasant. But the being dead part. It’s not as bad as it seems,” she said, and then she smiled again. And perhaps she was right.

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