A call from the grave

by Ngozi Janet Akalonu

Annalisa bought a new address book.

As she was writing the names from her old book, she noticed her best friend’s name – Linda. Linda unfortunately had died several months ago. She felt silly transferring the name to the new book, but she felt a little strange to just ignore it. She knew she was being a bit morbid, but something was telling her to dial that number. Maybe to know and hear that it didn’t belong to her friend anymore might bring some closure to her. She was having trouble dealing with the grief that was with her almost daily.

Much to her shock, Linda answered.

Taken aback, she stuttered in the beginning of the conversation. In no time, they were talking like the old friends. She almost forgot Linda was dead. The last several months were especially hard for Annalisa. In addition to losing Linda, her husband left her for another woman, so she used the opportunity to pour her heart out to Linda. In doing so, the bitterness and hurt she felt lifted from her soul.

Then she remembered she was talking to a dead woman and the conversation came to a haunted, disturbing drawl but before she could question Linda, Linda asked why Annalisa hadn’t called in so long. “And why hasn’t Bruce called too?” Linda cried. “He promised to always be there for me. I have been so alone, where have you all been?”

Bruce was Linda’s fiancée and the driver of the car that took her life. He was driving her home after her bridal shower and the shower gifts were packed not only in the trunk but high in the back seat, blocking the rear view. They were to be married in just three short weeks. Bruce was severely injured in the accident and had been in a deep coma since that day. He knew nothing about Linda’s death.

Annalisa was thrown off guard. How do you answer such a question?

Linda continued, “Why haven’t you called all these long months, I’ve been so lonely and sad? Why hasn’t Bruce called?” She asked this over and over. Like a broken record, her voice almost fading away.

Not knowing what else to say, Annalisa blurted out, “Because you died!”

There was no reply. All she heard was the dial tone.

Her heart was pounding in her ears, as she hurriedly dialled the number again. “Pizza Hut Pizza” announced the voice on the other end.

It turned out that Linda’s old phone number now belongs to the new Pizza Hut restaurant up the street. Who then had she been talking to?

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