The Midnight Call

The Midnight Call

The lights of the city were being slowly swallowed up by a darkness made more visceral by thick clouds-covering the moon and an electrical grid outage. The silence became a partner with the black void creating a ménage of desperation. Fear, and panic.

Sandie arrived at her apartment seventy-five minutes earlier from a ‘girls night out’ Thursday, a ritual between her two college girlfriends and sorority sisters, Bea and Jan. The three young working women were more like real sisters, having known each other through middle school, high school, and college. They shared their secrets, their love-interests, and their problems.

The eerie phenomenon began after her short ‘bath soak’ and one more Chenin De Blanc. The ‘bath-soak’ was the favorite part of her day as she reclined in the big tub, listened to lovely piped-in music, and thought of all the topics the girls discussed.

Sandie was only in bed for some short moments when her attention was drawn to the big bedroom window high above Manhattan. The lights were slowly going off and her room was becoming darker by the moment. She quickly left her bed, went to the window, and watched the amazing scene unfold…block after block, lights were gone leaving a macabre chill to pulse through her body. The few car lights below her window seemed to be omens of something terrifyingly real about to invade the great city.

Sandie staggered back to the bed, sat momentarily in an odd paroxysm of pending evil. She finally willed herself to grab the bedside phone.

Total silence.

Oh, my God, the phones are out as well… My God, I don’t even have a flashlight.

Her hand trembled as she tried to coordinate both hands to replace the phone in its cradle. She dropped the receiver onto the lush carpeting, and it hardly made a sound. She found and replaced the phone.

Then, she sat on the edge of the bed. It was not cold in her bedroom, but she trembled.

Oh, come on, Sandie, the power has gone off before. It might take a while for the city to fix the problem. Just relax. Go to sleep. When you awake, the lights will be back, or, it will be daylight.

What was that? That noise? It’s coming from the great room. Oh, my God, has someone gotten into the apartment.

Easy, easy. It’s an apartment complex. Other people are up and about. You hear noises all the time in apartment buildings. Try to relax.

Did I lock the apartment door and put the latch on?

Of course, I did, I always do that, first thing, lock the door. Plus, silly girl, only residents can get into this building. You’re safe to sleep off this blackout. Now, go to sleep. Think about Danny… No, I’m mad at Danny. He made a fool of me. He says he didn’t, but he did.

He couldn’t reach you. His boss put his hooks into him to work-up a big proposal for submission to the city. He had a deadline to meet. You made a mountain out of a mole hill and hurt his feelings. You were being selfish, Sandie. Yeah, maybe I was. But…

But, what?

He teased me about my virginity. He’s always coming on too strong. And, you don’t do anything to cause that, right? Well, sure, I enjoy our ‘making out’ with the kissing and feeling stuff, but sex is going too far.

What was that noise?

It was just another apartment building noise… I think I might have had too many drinks tonight, plus wine when I got home.

So, what about Danny? You like him?

Well, of course, I like him. I think I might even love him…

So, it’s the sex thing? You don’t want to have sex with him, right?

Oh, it’s difficult for me. I’ve never done sex, so I don’t know how I’ll feel when it’s over…

But you like the parts that lead up to it, right?

Well, yeah, right.

So, you thinking of marrying this guy, right?

Yeah, I think I love him.

You think you ‘love him’?

Okay, you finally marry the guy, and the first night, are you going to back off sex? That’s sort of a ‘coronation’ kind of thing.

Sex will be okay then. We’ll be married.

Are you sure?

Yeah, I’m sure.

What if you don’t like having sex with him. That’s a hellava long time to wait, only to find out you don’t like sex with him.

But I will because I love him.

So, let’s say you wait all this time and comes the big night. You prepare with a bath, just a dash of body lotion on the nape, under the arms, and maybe just a bit at the thighs… Now, this is your wedding night, never had sex before that night – just ‘made out’ with kissing and touching – and Danny comes out of the bathroom cleanly shaven, showered, and you slowly make out, you slow it down to mutter some ‘love you’ words, then the big climactic moment comes. You finally submit to your one and only love…but…

But, ‘what’, for God’s sake?

He goes too fast. He goes too slow. He’s too ‘small’. He’s too ‘large’…And, you’re turned off sexually to the guy you just promised to love, honor, and obey – TIL DEATH DO YOU PART.

Sandie took several deep breaths, stretched out on the bed, her arms and hands embracing the pillow holding her head.

“Oh, Danny, I do love you, and I need you…you are none of those things. You’re perfect.” Sandie said the words loudly and wished Danny was with her at that very moment.

The darkness still prevailed outside. Some generators had brought light up and down the city streets.

She reached for the phone to see if it was working.

Just as she reached, it rang and made her almost shriek. Sandie picked up the phone and spoke tentatively into it: “Hello.”

“You okay, sweetheart? I was worried about you. Lights out all over.”

“Oh, I’m so glad you called, Danny. I wish you were here with me this moment. I love you.”

“Well, that’s quite a wish, and I love you. I’m with the Concierge in your lobby, and I can be with you in one minute if you will give the good man the ‘okay’.”

One hour later, Manhattan’s lights were on. Horns were honking. People were squealing. It was like the Ball had dropped in Times-Square announcing New Year’s Day.

Short Fiction by BR Chitwood – October 24, 2019

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