Paul Heatley

The Midnight Call

Amy was half-asleep when the phone began to ring. She started, the movie she’d been half-watching still playing. It looked like it was nearing the end. She turned down the volume and picked up the phone.

“Hello?” It came out as a croak. She cleared her throat.

There was no immediate response, but she could hear breathing. It wasn’t heavy, wasn’t lecherous. It was light.

“Hello?”

Still nothing. Amy hung up.

She stepped away from the phone, stretched and yawned, decided it was time for bed.

In the kitchen she got herself a glass of water, keeping one eye on the television screen through the open door.

Amy lived alone. Her flat was in the middle of the block, on the seventh floor. Her neighbours were not too dissimilar to herself: they were young, mostly, had decent jobs, kept to themselves. There was no trouble. The nights were quiet, even at weekends.

The phone rang again.

Amy eyed it, ran her tongue round the inside of her mouth. She contemplated picking it up and putting it straight back down. Unplugging it. It was late. If someone was messing around, she wasn’t in the mood.

“Hello?”

The voice was quiet, but clear. Male. “Please don’t hang up.”

“Who is this?”

“It doesn’t matter who I am. I know who I’m talking to.”

“Well, you rang me, so I’m not surprised.”

“I could have the wrong number.”

“Do you?”

“Is this Amy Taylor?”

Amy said nothing, froze.

“I’ll assume from your silence that you are.”

“Who is this?” Amy said.

“I told you, it doesn’t matter.”

“Tell me who you are or I’m going to hang up.”

“Please don’t hang up.”

“I warned you.” She made her voice firm.

“Aren’t you curious?”

“About what?”

“Why I’m calling.”

“Why don’t you just spit it out?”

“If I do that, you’ll hang up.”

“I’m going to hang up anyway!”

“I’ll tell you, if you promise you’ll stay on the phone.”

“So tell me.”

“I want to fuck you.”

Amy’s jaw slackened. Her mouth was dry. She licked her lips, tried to summon some spit, looked to her door to make sure the chain was on. It was. She walked over, checked the handle. Locked.

“Are you still there?”

“I’m still here.”

“There’s no need to be alarmed. I don’t mean rape. If it’s not consensual it’s not worth it.”

Amy said nothing.

“How does that make you feel?”

“What? Who is this? What do you want?”

“I’ve told you what I want.”

“You’re not going to get it.”

“That doesn’t mean I can’t be honest.”

“Too honest.”

“Yet you’ve stayed on the phone.”

“I said I would.”

“Promises are easily broken.”

“I don’t break promises.”

“Not even ones made on the phone to complete strangers you can’t see?”

“You’ve made me curious.”

“You want to know who I am.”

“Yes.”

“You think you’ll be able to find out.”

“Have we met?”

“This isn’t twenty questions.”

“Then what is it?”

“It’s a conversation.”

“All right. Why do you want to fuck me?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

Amy realised she was still standing. She turned off the television, took a seat. “Give me some reasons.”

“You’re very beautiful.”

“Are you only interested in looks?”

“We’re talking on a phone. What do you think?”

“That sounds like we’ve met.”

“I like how you wear your hair these days.”

Amy paused. “What?”

“Don’t get me wrong, I liked it when it was long, but it looks better short. It suits you. It shows off your face. Your eyes have always been your best feature, but now they really stand out. They look bigger almost. I hope you take that as a compliment. I mean it as one.”

Amy couldn’t talk. Until his description of her, she’d thought the whole thing was maybe just some joke. The voice was a mystery. It didn’t belong to anyone she knew. But he knew her, apparently, what she looked like, how she wore her hair, and how she used to have it.

She was scared.

“I’m sure many men tell you how beautiful you are. You’re generically pretty. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. But there’s something different about you. Something special.”

Amy opened her mouth, but nothing came out.

“You’re scared, aren’t you? You don’t need to be scared.”

Amy went to her door again, double-checked the lock.

“Are you still there?”

“Yes,” Amy croaked.

“You’re not talking.”

“You caught me by surprise.”

“Nothing should surprise you. I’m talking about you, after all.”

“Okay. Okay.” Amy took deep breaths, regained her composure. “So what makes me ‘special’?”

“That’s something hard to explain. It’s wordless.”

“Give it a try.”

“Okay. Well. Sometimes I worried that you would be one of thosegirls.”

“What do you mean?”

“The kind that look very nice, but when you talk to them you realise that’s all they are. That is the entirety of their being – the way they look. Inside, they’re empty. Vacant. They have no interest in anything or anyone other than themselves. It’s disheartening.”

“And that’s not me?”

“You know it’s not.”

“Maybe those girls don’t either.”

“Probably they don’t. But that’s how they are.”

“You know so much about me, but I still don’t know anything about you.”

“Tell me what you want to know, I’ll see what I can do.”

“What’s your name?”

“You’re being too ambitious. You know I’m not going to tell you that.”

“Okay then. What do youlook like?”

“You wouldn’t be interested in me.”

“That so? How can you be sure?”

“I’m sure.”

“Why’s that? Are you deformed or something?”

“Maybe.”

“You’re not giving me much to work with here.”

“I didn’t say I would. I said I’d see what I could do.”

“So what will you give me?”

“Would you feel more or less inclined to continue talking to me if you thought I was handsome, or grotesque?”

“You said I was special. You tell me.”

“Then let’s say I’m hideous. Let’s say I’m hunchbacked, my fingers are webbed, half of my face has been horribly scarred in a fire. I lost an eye in that same fire. The left one.”

“That’s a great deal of misfortune. But your voice doesn’t sound like you’ve been so badly burned.”

“How does my voice sound?”

“It sounds deep… it sounds…” Words failed her.

“Does it sound sensual? Strong? Handsome? Smart? Sexy?”

“Yeah, okay. I suppose it does.”

“It kept you on the phone.”

“Possibly. Maybe. I don’t know. It could have been part of the reason. You made me curious. You sparked my interest.”

“If a woman called me out of the blue, claimed she wanted to fuck me, it would spark my interest, too.”

“Then we’re on the same page.”

“Mmm. Do I scare you?”

Amy hesitated. “I don’t know.”

“I won’t hurt you. I won’t even ask to meet you.”

“Then how do you expect to fuck me?”

“I don’t expect it – I want it. Go to your window, open the curtain.”

Amy looked at the drawn curtains but didn’t move. “Why?”

“Go to it. Look outside. You won’t see anything. You won’t see me.”

Amy prised the curtains open. “Well?”

“Wider. All the way.”

She did. There was another block of flats directly opposite, similar to her own. In some windows lights were on, but mostly they were in darkness. She tried to look at each one, searched for faces, but there were too many to check so quickly. “Are you there?”

“I might be.”

“Where else would you be?” She leant forward slightly, looked to the roof.

The voice laughed. “I’m not up there.”

She straightened up, looked the windows over again, eyes drawn to the lights though she knew they were the least likely.

“I don’t know anyone that lives in that building.”

“And yet I know you.”

Amy raised her hand, waved.

“I’m waving back.”

She dropped her arm. “Where are you going with this? Put your light on, let me see what you look like, who you are.”

“Take your clothes off.”

“What?”

“You heard. Take your clothes off. Let me see you.”

“I’m not going to do that.”

“Yes, you are. You will take your clothes off, you will stand naked, and you will let me see you.”

“Why?”

“Because you want to show me what I can’t have.”

“You want me to tease you?”

“No, I want you to show me. And you want to be admired.”

Amy bit her lip.

“Don’t be shy. It’s just you and me.”

“It’s a whole building.”

“Nobody’s looking.”

“You can’t be sure.”

“Does it matter? Take off your clothes.”

Amy hesitated. She kept the phone to her ear.

The voice was silent. Patient. Waiting.

Still holding the phone, she slipped off her cardigan, one sleeve at a time, let it fall to the ground. Paused. She took off her jeans next, most of her legs concealed by the wall below the window. Then she took off her t-shirt. Her clothes lay in a heap at her feet. She kicked them to one side and stood there, presenting herself.

“The underwear, too.”

Though she hesitated for a moment, Amy unclipped her bra, let it fall. She stared straight ahead. She’d given up on trying to pinpoint his location by now.

“Everything,” he said.

She lowered her knickers, stood back up.

“You’re very beautiful.”

“Thank you.”

“Touch yourself.”

“I’m not going to–”

“You weren’t going to take off your clothes. You know you’re going to do this. Close your eyes. Listen to my voice. Imagine me there, with you, behind you, my arms around you and my mouth at your ear.”

Amy did as he said.

“Now, touch yourself.”

The phone in her left hand, still at her ear, she slid her right across her stomach until it was between her legs. She stroked herself slowly. She was already moist. She rubbed at her clitoris, gasped into the phone.

“Are you…” She swallowed. “Are you doing the same?”

“I’m there with you, my hands upon your waist. I kiss your ear, your neck, your back. My hands cup your breasts. My fingers stroke your nipples until they harden. I spread your legs.”

Amy gasped. “Yes…”

“I go to my knees, put my face between your buttocks, tease you with my flicking tongue. I press it hard against you, taste you. I send tremors through your body. And then I stand again, slide it in.”

She dropped the phone, put her hand against the glass, kept her eyes closed. She slid her fingers in and out, ran the tips around her labia, stroked herself until she felt her orgasm begin to build. Her strokes grew shorter, more vigorous, her breathing harder. Cries she didn’t know she was making escaped her lips.

When it was over she stood and caught her breath, both hands upon the glass. She slowly knelt down and picked up the phone.

“Are you still there?”

“I’m here.”

“Did you… did you like what you saw?”

“I liked what I saw. Did you like what you heard?”

“You know I did.”

“I’ll have more for you tomorrow.”

And with that, he was gone.

Amy stood at the window, still naked, still exposed, Her orgasm still coursed through her limbs, tingled in her toes and her stomach.

Slowly, her heartbeat calmed, her breathing returned to normal.

She closed the curtains.

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