My name is Mike, and I live in New York City.
Now, I personally am not sure where you live, and I honestly don't care where you live either. But if you've ever lived in New York City, particularly Manhattan Island, you would be aware of the vast multitude of phone booths you can find there. In a lot of other places such things are more scarce, as usually there are simple payphones or whatnot around the area anyways that get the job done just as well, but in Manhattan there are plenty of people around and only so many phones you can hope to use, leading to the larger number of these installments.
The reason I am telling you this is because phone booths are the source of everything I am about to tell you, and as ridiculous as this may sound please hear me out, as I don't want anyone else to have to go through my experiences. So take my story for what you will, but consider it a warning above all else. That's what I am typing this to be.
I used to work at a local restaurant that makes hotdogs. A lot of people come to New York for a taste of American food from all across the world, from Asia to Africa. Selling hotdogs was a surprisingly good business, but we needed to be more accessible to the throngs of people who walked through the streets. This led to our eventual decision to service hotdog carts across the island. I, of course, was in charge of one of them and had to look after it on my own.
The usual routine was just to drag along the cart and shout out to people about the food, and it worked well enough. After a shift of six hours, leading up to eleven at night, I made my way back to the shop again and went home to my apartment.
This went on for a period of about four uneventful months before something... Odd happened. One night, as I had just finished returning the cart I noticed a lack of people. What was so odd about this was that no matter what hour it was in Manhattan you would always see someone on the streets somewhere. It was just so ridiculously busy that you were never alone.
However, when I began my walk home I saw no one. The streets were completely empty of both cars and people, and the stoplights were just slowly blinking a red color.
There was almost no noise apart from the wind and the faint click of a nearby stoplight as I was on my usual route back home. I immediately knew something was very wrong, because only a few moments ago the streets were packed with people and cars, but now they were desolate and abandoned. I froze with a chill running through me as I slowly kept walking, unsure of what was going on. My first assumptions were that this was just some dream, and I was pretty satisfied with that theory.
My feet kept walking as I figured I would soon wake up from my dream world to start another day. It wasn't all that big a deal, anyways.
That was when I heard a phone begin to ring, breaking through the silence of the night with startling volume. My body stopped, and I listened for a few seconds before slowly turning towards the direction it came from.
About four meters ahead there was a phone booth with the phone swinging from the wire loosely. As if it had been used and haphazardly thrown as opposed to being hung back up. Considering this was a dream, I found no reason not to walk into the booth and pick it up, pressing the earpiece against my skull.
"Hello?" I spoke casually, not caring what happened in the slightest.
"Hello, Michael," an extremely odd voice replied. It sounded raspy, as if the speaker was having trouble breathing. But it sounded horribly off tone as well, changing from high pitched to low pitched multiple times in the course of a single second. It sounded malicious, full of poor intent, and I was immediately uneasy by it. The fact the speaker knew my name didn't worry me though. This was a dream, after all.
"So what might you be calling for, then?" I asked, nervousness creeping through me as I did so. Even if it wasn't real, it was still unsettling.
"I want you to close the door of the booth, Michael," it replied, as if it knew I was going to do it before I even did. And somehow I felt compelled to obey, closing the blue tinted glass door which immediately began to fog up, along with all the other glass panels. This made the outside world blurry and distorted.
"Why did you want me to do that?"
"So... You won't... Run," the voice sputtered malevolently, before beginning to laugh in a warped, horrible way for only a few seconds. It was dry, evil, maniacal, and horrifying.
"You think you are dreaming? Even though you've gone through your day as if it was just another you believe it's all a dream because something only happens now?!"
I was speechless, frozen in fear. My fingers hesitantly moved to my other arm and I pinched myself, hoping I was right after all. That it really was a dream. All I felt was pain. I didn't wake up.
"Who the hell are you?!" I shouted, almost ready to hang the phone up.
"See for yourself."
The line went dead, and the dull buzzing noise began to drone on and on in my ear. I removed the device from my head and hung it up shakily, turning to open the door as fast as I could. What awaited me when I turned was the most terrifying thing I have witnessed in my life.
An extremely pale face was pressed against the fogged up glass, obscured only slightly. The eyes were wide open, black pupils staring right into mine, and mouth contorted into a toothy smile stretching from ear to ear. The face had no other discernible features apart from a flattened nose and smooth skin. But what I found most disturbing was the lack of any body. It looked to be just glued there, staring at me.
I screamed, falling to the floor only to see the eyes shift downwards to meet my expression of fear. In fact, the entire face had shifted downwards just to look at me, and the features had not changed in even the slightest way. I couldn't move. I just looked at the atrocity before me in horror for what seemed like hours.
The face said nothing and just remained where it was, silent, staring. Then the phone rang once again, reverberating through the small room over and over. It took a few more minutes for me to slowly rise to my feet, eyes locked on the face the whole time. My hand nervously grabbed the telephone and I put it against my head, almost against my will. It was as if I had been forced to do it against my will as opposed to breaking out the opposite end of the booth, like I should have done.
"What... What do you want?" I asked weakly, all the while focusing on the glass.
"I want to see you scream. To be afraid..." it rasped once again. But even though words were coming through the phone, the mouth of the face had a smile still etched into it, unchanged the whole time.
"Jus- just leave me alone, man. I got money... I- I got..."
"WHAT DO YOU HAVE THAT I WANT?!" The voice roared, deafeningly into my ear, causing me to recoil in pain at the burst of sound.
"I will show you... What I want..."
The voice became extremely deep now, grating, almost demonic in nature. I pressed my back against the glass, trying to get as far away from the face as I could. Once again the line went dead and I was left with the face still staring right at me. After about thirty seconds of further silence, an arm just as ghostly white as the face, reached through the glass. Fingers like bones began to emerge, reaching for my throat and slowly coming closer and closer towards me.
I screamed and began hitting the glass as hard as I could with the phone, and it began to crack. I hit it again and again, until I felt a cold finger touch the back of my neck. I struck the glass again and again until at last it shattered. I fell to the concrete ground, still almost petrified by fear.
Upon looking up my eyes met with those of a few other people, who seemed confused as to what had happened. Cars once again lined the roads, and the sounds of Manhattan had returned in full strength.
I rose to my feet, breathing deeply and stumbling away down the street and back to my apartment. I didn't look back once. I never used another phone booth after that, and I never will again. To this day I am unsure as to what happened that night, and just thinking about it still frightens me. Because I know it wasn't a dream.
It called me again today.