Segment One--by Andrew Money
Pain-- a sharp pain woke Patricia Blanchard from the grasp of the night's arms. It started at the base of her skull and gradually worked itself inward, slowly twisting through the crevices of her cerebrum, and becoming worse with each passing moment. She threw off her comforter, and quickly sat up. Beads of perspiration began to form on her forehead as both her breathing and heart rate increased. She let out a scream that was sharp enough to shatter glass -- it helped relieve the frustration, but it did nothing to ease the pain.
She reached for the lamp on the bedside table and turned the knob. Click, there was light. Flash - it was gone. The light bulb had burnt out.
She yanked open the over filled drawer, illuminated only by the LCD alarm clock, and began digging for the bottle. Chapstick, pen, beeper--her pulse quickened--Tylenol.
Blast it -- childproof lids.
Another sharp pain struck her.
She grabbed her head between her hands and suddenly went into violent convulsions.
Phone-- must find the phone.
The cordless wasn't in its usual cradle on the table.
I must have left it in the bathroom.
She stood up and another sharp pain raced through her head. Her legs collapsed and she fell to the floor. Using only her arms, slowly she began to drag herself to the bathroom down the hall. Her nightgown was now soaked in her own sweat, was clinging to her body like a glove. Just a few more feet to go.
Pain struck again, only this time it lasted for five minutes. She felt like someone had decided to take a sledgehammer to her skull. Once the pain was suppressed, she rolled back over and continued to drag herself to the bathroom.
It's gotta be in here.
She pulled herself up to the counter, and began searching for the telephone. Found it! She flipped it open. Beep. Dial tone.
Must call James--
She pushed the M1 button - thank God for speed dial.
She waited for a ring from the other end--only there wasn't one. Come on.... Her boyfriend James had left her house over an hour ago, he should have been home by then, even though he lived on the other side of the metroplex.
She reached for her head, half expecting to find blood, and half expecting to feel a gelatinous mass of tissue formerly known as her brain. She felt nothing -- only the sharp pain splitting though her skull. With the phone in hand, she slowly dialed 911.
"Nine one, one what is your emergency?" The voice on the other end was too chipper to deal with emergencies.
Right now she didn't need chipper; she needed the saving grace of God. She let out an ear piercing scream and instantly her world went black...
Segment Two--by T Cat
That was when the pain stopped, and everything became
crystal clear. That was when she could see the strange writing forming
itself on the walls around her, just as it had done before.
And just like before, Patricia felt as if she could almost read the words. If she just tried a little harder, she was certain she could read them. Yes, it seemed as if one or two were becoming distinct.
Patricia struggled up, raising onto her elbows, straining to make out the words. A feeling of terrible urgency engulfed her. It was a message, she was certain of it. Somehow she knew in her gut the importance of it.
A voice was talking to her, and she realized it was coming from the phone she still held in her hand. With effort, without taking her eyes from the letters that had formed on the walls, she replied, "I--I'm sorry. I dropped the phone. I must have inadvertently hit the 911 number."
"Are you sure you're all right?"
"Yes." Patricia forced her voice to sound stronger. "Yes. I'm perfectly fine. It was just an accident. Good night." She spent another few seconds reassuring the calm but concerned woman on the end of the line, before she was able to end the connection. As soon as the connection was severed, she quickly dialed the memorized number.
The familiar male voice sounded groggy from sleep as he answered the phone.
"James, it's Patricia."
"Patricia?" He came awake. "Are you all right?"
"James, you have to get over here. Right away! Now!"
"What's this all about, Pat? You don't sound like yourself." A slight resignation came into his voice. "What's happening? What do you think you're seeing?"
"I know what I'm seeing, James!"
If he would just come. If he could just see it--just one time, he would know it was real, that it wasn't just something inside her head.
Segment Three--by T Cat
Carleen Dawkins laid down the book she had been reading,
"The Lost Civilizations of Ancient Africa". She felt unable to concentrate
on reading. That last call that had come in still bothered her, despite
the woman's reassurances it had been dialed accidentally and she was fine.
Paula Smith, her replacement, came into the small cubicle where Carleen sat at the individual phone to which she had been assigned.
"Well, your time's up for tonight, Carleen," Paula said with a smile. "Anything happening?"
Carleen's wide, dark face looked up into Paula's thin, pale one. "No, its been quiet tonight. Thank God," Carleen added, getting up from her chair and going over to get her coat from the tree.
"Here's hoping mine stays as quiet," Paula said, crossing her fingers before sitting down in the chair Carleen had just vacated.
Carleen nodded; that was something for which they always hoped. The two added some parting pleasantries, and then sticking her book into her coat pocket, and flinging her scarf around her neck, Carleen exited both the room where she worked and the building.
21214 S. Sail St., the address she had pulled up, was still firmly in her mind, as the tall, heavy set Black woman walked to where her car waited on the parking lot.
She'd had it drilled into her head during those training sessions, don't get personally involved with any caller when you work 911. What the heck was the matter with her that she couldn't get that call out of her head?
Would it really hurt anything if she just swung by 21214 S. Sail St., just drove by, Carleen said to herself, and saw that everything was as it should be?
Segment Four--by T Cat
"Yes?" James Carver, a tall, dark-haired, attractive
young man, opened the door to Apartment C looking impatient, as if he had been
interrupted at a bad time. As indeed he had. He glanced back over
his shoulder concernedly.
Carleen looked past him, and saw the pale, drawn face of a young woman with shoulder length auburn hair, seated on a couch in the living room. According to the information she had pulled up on that phone number, she must be Patricia Blanchard, the woman who had dialed 911 earlier.
"I'm sorry to bother you," Carleen said. She produced her I.D. from her pocket and showed it to him. "I'm Carleen Dawkins with Emergency Services. We got a call from this residence earlier, and I just wanted to make sure Ms. Blanchard was all right. Does she require any medical assistance?"
Patricia overheard the words and got up and came over to the door. She was touched that a perfect stranger had gone out of her way to see about her.
"That's very kind of you, Ms Dawkins," Patricia began, then she put her hand to her forehead and stopped. The room was swimming around her, forming a haze, everything seemed to be changing shape and form. In fact, she no longer even seemed to be in the living room of her apartment.
Segment Five--by Karla Clark
She was in a dark room - dark and crowded with looming objects - a basement, perhaps. In the dim light, she could barely make out the letters on the wall - Help me. She tried to look around to find the author of these words, but the pain in her head grew more intense. She felt herself losing consciousness.
"James," she cried weakly. "Help me!", she echoed the words on the wall.
"Pat! Patty, talk to me. Are you all right?" James cried.
Slowly she opened her eyes and found herself on the floor in her apartment. James and Ms. Dawkins were on their knees by her side, looking anxious. James held a wet rag to her forehead, while Ms. Dawkins took her pulse.
"Someone's in trouble. We've got to find them," she breathed.
"Looks to me like you're the one in trouble," Ms. Dawkins said. "Do you have these episodes often?"
Patricia sighed. "Ms. Dawkins, I do appreciate your concern and the fact that you went out of your way to come over here. But, I assure you there's nothing wrong with me." At least physically, she thought.
"Call me Carleen, please. And I beg to differ. Your pulse is racing. You're cold and clammy. There's definitely something wrong."
To Be Continued....
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