After so many (well half a dozen) requests, or complaints to find out more about what happened to John (Yesterday’ s story -Fear) and his caller – Here we go- Favourite (fear part two)
The link to part one can be found at the bottom of the page.
“John, Help, Cabin, Help” the woman’s voice had said. It was only now after the call had ended that John realised that it was a woman’s voice, and in that realisation came another truth. The voice was that of Karen. How on earth could he not have recognised her voice immediately he thought to himself, and imagined that the police might ask him the same question later, when this was all sorted. The call had ended with a disembodied scream that had sent shivers down John’s spine, raising the hairs on the back of his neck. As the realisation that the call was from his girlfriend, partner, call her what you will, the icy fingers of fear wrapped themselves round John’s heart and started squeezing.
Two nights before Karen had stormed out after an argument. One of their silly spats about nothing in particular, well about John’s dedication to writing in lieu of anything else. Karen had accused him of being in love with one of his characters, which John had denied as being stupid. They had fought until Karen upped and left, telling John to go to hell to which he had replied that it was her destiny to go there first.
She had called the next day full of remorse and told him she was at Tina’s place, and would stay there one more. She had told him she loved him and would be back by the early evening. Instead John had received the call, and he was out of his mind with worry.
John and Karen had got together just over a year before, after a drunken night out at Francine’s, a down and dirty dive bar not far from John’s place. The short walk back had been circuitous because of the state they were both in, and the delicious promise of intimacy remained just that as they both passed out within minutes of undressing each other and falling into John’s bed. In the morning they were both a little shamefaced, but still shared breakfast together at the café under John’s apartment. As nervous as ever John had rambled on about himself over coffee, when it arrived, only letting up in his monologue when the plates, loaded with a full English breakfast, arrived. The breakfast feast included all the normal fare as well as extra helpings of fried bread, hash browns and Portobello Mushrooms, which Karen had confessed were one of her favourite food items of all time.
John tried to pass the conversation over to Karen to find out more about this beautiful redhead he was attracted to, but she was as reticent to talk about herself as John had been verbose. She told him that she lived on the other side of town, had broke up with her most recent partner three months before and warned him that she could be trouble saying that there were things it was better he didn’t know about her.
John wasn’t put off. By the end of the meal they had found themselves holding hands across the table, much to the waitress’ amusement. Later they returned to John’s flat to cement their new status.
Still sitting in front of the blank Laptop screen with the phone receiver in his hand John was wishing that he knew more about the woman that had stolen his heart as he puzzled over the words she had uttered. With a sudden flash of clarity John realised that he should try caller ID, and return the call. He wondered what was wrong with him and why he hadn’t thought of that more quickly. Of course caller ID was withheld. John’s next thought was to call Karen’s mobile. Hitting the speed-dial button on the phone he waited, every sinew in his body on edge as he listened to the dialling tone. The phone rang the obligatory three times then John was promptly put through to Karen’s voice-mail. He hung up without listening or leaving a message, cursing himself for not trying earlier.
Her words, ‘John Help, Cabin, help’, were magnifying in his head as he tried to rack his brains and understand what she meant. He wondered about calling the police, but after an incident a few month’s back when he had called them on what they decided was a fool’s errand he held off on that plan of action.
‘Tina’ he suddenly thought, ‘call Tina’. Jumping up he ran into the bedroom to see if he could find her number in Karen’s address-book. Rifling through the bedside cabinet on Karen’s side of the bed he found the book, and sure enough Tina’s number too.
Back at his desk he dialled the number with shaking hands. ‘Please be there, please be there’ he thought over and over as he waited for the call to connect.
“Hi, Jensen residence,” said a woman’s voice at the other end.
“Er, hello, is that, er Tina?” John enquired.
“Tina it is, ” Tina replied, “And to whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?”
“Tina, it’s John, Karen’s partner. We’ve never met but I was wondering if she was still with you?”
“Oh. Hi John, Um, still with me? I haven’t seen since last month. Is everything OK?” Tina’s voice had changed from super-friendly to cautious.
“Err, well, not really. We had a bit of a fight and she went off. You know what she’s like. Well I thought she said she was going to yours, but perhaps she said she was off to the cabin.” John was thinking on his feet. He didn’t want to alienate Tina, but desperately needed a clue to where Karen had gone.
“That old place,” TIna’s voice was back in the friendly, or even conspiratorial zone. “That always was her favourite place to run, her favourite bolt hole.”
“Do you have the phone number for the cabin? I don’t seem to be able to find one here.” Although the tight feeling in his chest had lessened John was still tense and aware that he must be working against the clock.
“Oh, I’m sorry I’ve never had it, never had the need for it I guess. I’m guessing you’ve tried her mobile and that it’s out of range. It is a bit out of the way up there, isn’t it? That’s why she likes it so much: No one around for miles.”
“Well I’ve never actually been there. Tina, to be honest I’m a bit worried Karen may be in some sort of trouble. Could you tell me where the cabin is? Then I can jump in the car and go see she’s OK.”
“Karen? Trouble?” Tina drawled. John could almost see the highly raised eyebrows at the other end of the line. He wondered how good a friend Tina really was. “Sure, I can give you the address, but you’ll not want to be going up there now, surely. Those roads are a nightmare and I think it’s just started snowing too. But that’s up to you I guess, the address is ….”
After noting down the address , thanking Tina and hanging up, John threw on a thick sweater and grabbed his car keys. At least he’d be able to find the place easy enough with his SatNav he thought as he turned off the lights and headed out.
Unfortunately the car was parked some way down the street, and Tina had been right it had started snowing. John rushed through the icy darkness that was taking hold around him with his keys in his hand. He couldn’t get Karen’s words out of his head, and every now and then he heard that awful scream piercing his cerebral cortex all over again.
Just as he reached the car and started to put the keys in the lock John had some sort of sixth sense that someone was following him, or watching him. Looking around he couldn’t see anyone but the ‘observed’ feeling remained. Unlocking the car door he slid into the driver’s seat and started the engine. He was focussed now, focussed on finding and saving Karen.