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Dead Air

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I was pulled from a dead sleep by a dull thud. Sitting up in my bed, I looked at the clock and realized I had slept in, the red numbers read just after one in the afternoon. I lay back down and closed my eyes, waking my body up with a stretch. I lay there for a moment and heard the thump again, recognizing it as a knock on the door.

My dog started to bark outside in the back yard as I pulled myself out of bed and grabbed clothes. The knock sounded again. "One second!" I called. I pulled on my shirt and shorts and went out to see who it was. I peeked through the little peephole in the door, having to stand on my toes to see. An elderly woman stood there for a moment before she knocked again, making me jump. I unlocked the door and opened it. She smiled, but despite the fact that she had a kind look about her, I couldn't help but feel that something wasn't right. The woman looked odd, she had thick, tangled black and grey hair, wrinkly tan skin, and wore clothes like she had been in them for a while, they were faded and she had a smell that came off her that made my stomach turn. When she smiled, I could see she was missing some teeth, and what teeth she had were yellowed and rotting. I tried hard to remain polite, though the smell of her was starting to make me feel sick. She then tried to give me a small, old, tattered-looking yellowed card.

"Se puede llamar a este número, por favor?" she questioned. I stood there like an idiot for a second, not knowing what she had said. I didn't speak Spanish very well, aside from asking if they spoke English, or saying that I didn't understand Spanish. She gave me a small smile before she took the card and pointed at the number on the bottom. I nodded and went to get my phone.

On the card, an old cab number as well as a picture of a cab, worn as the rest of the card, stared back at me as I looked at the number. I punched in the numbers on the phone and waited. It had been just a second before the dial tone gave way to dead air and static. I stood still, my stomach sinking to my feet. I looked at the card again and shut off the phone. I read the number again and, again, dialed it into the phone to be sure that I had entered the right number. Same result. Confused, I turned to the woman, my face paling. She was gone. I hadn't even heard her leave. I stuck my head out the door, then went onto the porch and looked around. My dog had stopped barking in the back, so she couldn't have gone around that way.

The ground was littered with fallen leaves, I would have heard her footsteps, but I hadn't heard anything. Thoroughly confused, I slipped my feet into my shoes and went outside, still holding my phone and the old card, and went to check the back. The dog was playing with his ball, chewing mercilessly at the old baseball before looking up at me with a wag of his tail. I watched him a moment before I went back to the front of the house, then checked around the other side. The old woman was nowhere in sight.

With shaking hands, I went back into the house, put the phone back on the cradle, and looked at the card. I flipped it over in my hands, looking for a date somewhere on the card, but found none. The slip of paper gave me a feeling of unease. Without hesitation, I took the card and burned it. Since this incident, I've heard knocks on my door, but when I would go to see who it was, they were gone. Sometimes, the phone will ring and when I answer, the number is unknown and there is nothing but dead air and static.

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