“What just happened?” Ambrose considered the delirious possibilities and shot them all down. “No. It couldn’t have been Elsie. She’s dead. She…”
He went silent as he thought about it.
He went into his Call History. There it is. Her number. It’s her number! But it can’t be her. But.
What if it is? Then, why didn’t she speak? Why did she just hang up? She must have heard my voice. She…she…
It was a wrong number. Someone found her phone. Someone stole her phone. Someone called my number by mistake.
That makes sense.
He looked at the phone number.
I should call her number. See who answers it. Find out why they have her phone.
He pressed Call and placed the phone against his ear.
He closed his eyes and listened to it ring.
Bored and Unenthusiastic Woman interrupted the first ring, “I’m sorry, but the person you are trying to reach is not available. Please try again later. If you need to leave a message, please wait for the beep.”
The beep sounded in his ear.
“Elsie.” All of the words he wanted to say were all right there waiting to be said. But all he could say was, “Elsie.”
He thought of her wrapped up in his arms.
Bored and Unenthusiastic Woman barged in with a flat, “Your message has run too long. Good-bye.”
“Rrraaaaah!” He smashed the phone face down on the desk. Something cracked, but he just didn’t care.
“Why am I wasting my time? I know it isn’t her. I know it. She’s dead. Elsie’s dead. Mark Caten, that bilge-filled leech, killed her.” He bashed his fist on the back of his phone.
Something else cracked.
He grabbed the phone and pitched it across the room. “ANND DIE!” It slammed into the wall and landed with another crack. He walked over to it and stomped on its face. “Rrrrraaaaaah! Ahhh! DIE! DIE! DIE!”
Five more cracks.
“And now I have a headache because of—”
One last stomp.
Ambrose went back to bed and dropped into it.
Head hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. And I’m tired. And—
He exhaled a shaky breath.
—everything’s all wrong.
It’s all so wrong.
And it’s all my fault.