The Phone-Call

"Harry, where are you going son?" asked Mr. Dorset.

"Just to town, Pops. I'm going to see if there are any good hammers in the hardware store," replied Harry.

"Hammers?" asked Mrs. Dorset. "There is a hammer in the cellar," she said, entering into the living room.

"Yes, but it is old and rusted. And I need one for tomorrow, to fix that hole in the roof in the morning."

Mr. Dorset nodded his head, but Mrs. Dorset had a worried look on her face. She looked out the window, saying, "Do you really need to go tonight? I mean, the roads are quite slippery, and it is starting to rain again."

Harry waved his hand, dismissing the idea. "I'll be fine, it's just a run to town. I'll be back in the hour, not to worry."

Before his parents could say anything he kissed his mother on her cheek, and left through the front door.

Mrs. Dorset just looked out into the rain through the window watching the car pull out of the driveway. "Do you think that he will be alright?"

Mr. Dorset, for some strange reason, just could not nod his head. "Let's just go sit back down, dear." She sighed and followed him back to the living room.

~*~ FOUR HOURS LATER

Mrs. Dorset was pacing up and down the living room; her book strewn across the floor. "Where can he be? He said that he would be back within the hour!" she said, almost pulling out her hair.

Mr. Dorset got up and stopped his frantic wife from making a row in the living room carpet. "Dear, maybe he just got held up, or he is visiting one of his friends' house."

Mrs. Dorset shook her head. "I know something is wrong. That boy is responsible, and would have called if he was going to be late."

As if on cue, the telephone rang. Mrs. Dorset gasped and looked over at her husband. As if they had a silent start, they both ran at the same time to the phone.

"Hello - Hello?" answered Mrs. Dorset breathlessly picking up the receiver. There was no answer on the other end of the line. "Hello!" said Mrs. Dorset again.

"Hello, mother," replied the person quietly.

She looked at her husband, pausing as if registering the words. "H-Harry? Is that you?"

"Is that my boy? Is it him?" asked Mr. Dorset worried.

"Harry, where are you? We have been worried sick about you!" exclaimed Mrs. Dorset.

"I've- I've been busy, mother," he said quietly.

The mother let out a sigh of relief. "Well, come home now please son."

There was a pause on the phone. "I don't think that I can .come home, mother," he said slowly.

Mrs. Dorset's blood froze in her body. She caught her breath, and looked at the receiver as if she didn't believe what she just heard. Her senses slowly came back. "What-What did you say?"

"You heard me mother," he said, more carefully.

The startled older woman just handed the phone to Mr. Dorset, and sat down, her eyes not focusing, and her brain not comprehending.

Mr. Dorset spoke to his son harshly. "What did you just tell your mother? The color has drained from her face!"

Harry replied faintly, "I love you father, tell mother I love her too."

Mr. Dorset was surprised at his reply. "Well, son, I love you too, now please come home now."

Harry stayed quiet for a moment, as if pondering what next to say. "Good bye father, tell mother good-bye for me."

Mr. Dorset was confused. "And you are coming home now?"

Harry gave a short, cheerless laugh. "I wish I could father, I wish I could. Now I must go."

Mr. Dorset's heart rate soared with nervousness. "Harry, you are really starting to scare me. Just say where you are, and we will come and get you. Please, son."

Harry just replied, "Good-bye, father.mother."

"Harry- HARRY - DON'T - HARRY!" he yelled into the phone. The line went dead. Mr. Dorset turned to his wife, and slowly put down the receiver.

There was nothing else to do. They called the authorities, and sat in the living room; the only sound of the clock ticking gently, showing a quarter after twelve. A few hours of restless uneasiness and pretending to read can get anyone agitated, even a nice old couple like the Dorsetes.

Mrs. Dorset couldn't take the silence anymore. She felt as she was about to swoon and scream at the same time with the eerie hushness in the room. Just when she felt as if she were about to burst of tension, the telephone rang again. She gasped, and jumped up from her seat.

"Harry? Is that you Harry? Hello?" Mrs. Dorset said frantically.

The person on the other end of the line hesitated a moment. "Mrs. Dorset, this is Sheriff Andrews. I have sent some of my men over to your house. We have news on your son."

Mrs. Dorset's eyes went wide. "My son? Where is he? Is he there? Let me speak to him! Now!-"

"Ma'am, I have two deputies coming over. Please ma'am, just relax," said the Sheriff, obviously alarmed at the older woman's frantic voice.

Mrs. Dorset was about to say something when the doorbell rang. She hung up the phone in the Sheriff's face. She unlatched the front door.

There stood two officers clad in a deep blue uniform. Mrs. Dorset recognized them from pictures in the newspaper.

"Evening, Ma'am," said the first officer. The second officer tipped his hat. Mrs. Dorset shakily opened the door so that they could enter.

She led them to the living room; Mr. Dorset shook hands with them. The first officer cleared his throat, the second one obviously uncomfortable.

"Mrs. Dorset," said the first officer. "My name is Officer Barren, and this is Officer Jones. I - . have some bad news about your son."

Mr. Dorset rested his hand on his wife's. He held his breath, hoping for son just to be safe, but the faces of the officers told him otherwise. "What is it?" he asked quietly.

Officer Jones took a deep breath. "I'm afraid that he is gone, Mr. Dorset," he said in a gentle voice.

Mrs. Dorset gasped, almost fainting at the news. "Gone? How? When?" She let out a sob when the words of the officer sunk in. Mr. Dorset took her head and gently laid it on his shoulder.

Mr. Dorset wanted also to cry for his son, but he had to stay strong, at least while he got some more information. "How?" was all he could manage in a squeak.

"His car ran off the rode in the thunder storm tonight. It was dark and the roads were slick. The tire marks that were left showed that he went out of control around a sharp corner," explained Officer Barren in the gentlest voice he could. He had never had to personally tell a parent that their child was dead, but now he had wished had never gotten assigned to the task.

Mrs. Dorset sat up, almost as if something had hit her. "Officer, what time was the.accident?" she asked, almost afraid of the answer.

The officers looked at each other, and then back at her. "Why, a little after he left home, Ma'am." He added in a somber voice, "He died instantly."

"Are you sure?" Mrs. Dorset asked carefully. Officer Barren nodded.

Mr. Dorset was alarmed at the information. "But -but we just-"

"Thank you officers. Your help is very much appreciated," said Mrs. Dorset, standing up. The officers looked surprised at the suddenness of telling them to leave, but they understood if she and her husband needed time together.

"Ma'am, Sir," they nodded, and left. Mrs. Dorset closed the door behind them and turned to her husband, unusually calm.

Mr. Dorset was confused. "Harriet, why did you just do that? I was about to tell them about the phone call."

Mrs. Dorset shook her head. "They just would have thought of us as a couple of old loonies. Besides, our son, although passed away," she shuddered at these words, "gave us a message. He told us that he wasn't going to come home, and that he loved us very dearly. Bill," she said slowly, "I think that we just had an experience not from this world."

Mr. Dorset sat down at this information, obviously stunned. He slowly nodded his head, as if comprehending something so simple, yet hard to grasp. "What should we do then?"

Mrs. Dorset, "Let us not grieve, for our son has sent us something that even I have trouble believing. Let us keep it to ourselves, and remember and cherish it." Mr. Dorset nodded, and slowly, they both went to bed.