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Caleb examined his shirt. It was damp with cheap beer that must have spilled when he collapsed to the floor in his stupor. It amazed him that he was not suffering a hangover this morning after trying to drown away his sorrows, but his mouth had not fared so well and felt as though someone had stuffed it full of cotton.
He mused about what had started his bad night thinking about all the bad thing that had finally broken down his walls sending him drink after drink into the blackness of sleep. He pushed his hair out of his face . Hadn’t he gone to sleep in his bed?
Caleb pulled his damp shirt off and tossed it towards the clothing hamper where it landed a few feet away. Most of the night had become a big blur, except the feeling of sorrow that had sprung forth from deep inside him, but today was a good day he could feel it. It felt like the sun was shining just for him. Besides it was the weekend, he wouldn’t have to go into the office until Monday, though he wondered if he would still have a job by then. His boss had been quite cryptic the last few weeks giving Caleb the uneasy feeling that his job was in jeopardy.
But that didn’t matter right now. It was a new day; it felt good. He tossed off his pants and headed to the kitchen where he grabbed a bowl of cereal so that he could watch Saturday morning reruns in front of the TV. He wondered if there would be any cartoons that he used to watch as a child.
Caleb’s phone buzzed to life underneath the couch and he scrambled to retrieve it with childlike desperation. Cindy, the caller ID read in blue lettering. He yearned to answer it and hear her voice, but instead tossed the phone back onto the couch where it bounced with a light thud.
They had fought last night, but he couldn’t remember about what, but it had ended with her screaming that she wanted to never talk to him again. She must have changed her mind, he thought quietly, but I don’t feel like talking right now. He waited until the buzzing stopped and began to check his e-mail. And there in his inbox was an e-mail from his boss. What kind of horror could it hold? The bottom of his stomach rolled as he clicked it open.
Caleb leapt from his couch with a howl. He had gotten a promotion; a large promotion. He could hardly contain himself he wanted to scream it from the roof tops, he wanted to call someone. He wanted to call…. He wanted to call Cindy. His phone buzzed to life again with her number flashing across the screen.
Caleb tossed his phone aside and headed to the bathroom to take a hot shower to clear his head. What had their fight even been about? It was so blurred that even the soothing water couldn’t bring the memory to light. But today felt good, why ruin it?
His phone was once again buzzing to life again as he walked out of the bathroom to his room, towel wrapped around his waist. He continued to ignore its existence as he turned the knob to his room and found that it wouldn’t budge. He let go of his towel and gave his door a violent shake. The door was jammed again, but he kept a screwdriver in the kitchen drawer for just such a purpose.
The screwdriver wasn’t where it should be in the drawer and it was as though someone had stolen all of his butter knives. He found very little humor in this and began to wonder if his friends had come in while he was asleep and hid them somewhere. It seemed like a shitty thing to do while he was passed out, but he assumed that he should be thankful that they hadn’t felt the need to draw on his face.
A sound caught Caleb’s ears and he followed it back to his bedroom door. A strange sound that was familiar, but not something he should be hearing. The TV in his bedroom was on, but the cable was out leaving the static whoosh noise so familiar he could imagine the snow on the screen. He picked up his towel and re-wrapped it around his waist again as his phone began to ring. He tried to ignore it as he pulled on the door, but the ringing on his phone slowly got louder and louder until it threatened to shatter his eardrums. He finally answered it to get that brief moment of silence.
“Caleb, are you there? Hello?” Cindy’s voice clear and crisp answered over the speakers on his phone.
“Yeah hun, I’m here I thought you didn’t want to talk to me anymore.”
“Caleb, why aren’t you saying anything? You’re worrying me. Look I said I was sorry last night, I swear there’s nothing going on between me and John, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore my calls and call me names then act like this is all my fault,” It came back to him slowly, in his already drunken haze seeing Cindy hug one of their friends has set him off in what was probably one of the most stupid acts of drunkenness he was sure to ever live down.
“I’m sorry hun, I don’t even know what to say. Look why don’t you come over and we can talk,”
“Hello!? Caleb are you on the line? Seriously this is starting to piss me off. Why won’t you say anything?” He examined his phone wondering if during his evenings exploits if he had broken something in his phone. He shook it and was met with the words. “Look why don’t you text me when you stop being so childish and we can talk it out over coffee or something.” He sighed as the phone went dead. For some time he starred at the tiny gadget in his hands. It felt so stupidly heavy that he wanted to let it slip through his fingers onto the floor.
‘Hey I was trying to tell you I wanted you to come over so we could talk but something is wrong with my phone.’ He texted, but when he hit the send button on his screen it wouldn’t go through. He sighed, deleted the message and tried again. Over and over he tried to text Cindy with no avail even turning his phone off and on what seemed like several hundred times. With one last sigh of desperation he typed the words. ‘Cindy, I love you’ into the tiny phone pleading with it to finally send. It did to his relief and he threw his phone back onto the couch.
With a frustrated sigh he went back to the bathroom and put on his dirty clothes, since he was now fully dry and even more frustrated than ever. He swore that the weather was attached to his mood because as he stood before his bedroom door, the rain began to trickle down his windows. He shook the door with all the strength he could muster. He knew that his landlord would probably be pounding on his door soon to tell him to quiet down, but he didn’t care. He began to quietly wonder how much would be removed from his security deposit if he busted the door down when he noticed his screwdriver sticking out from under the door.
Caleb smiled and pulled it out from underneath his door wondering how the tool had gotten into such a strange spot. He jimmied it into the area around the latch until it popped open and allowed him to open the door.
His TV was still on; It lit the room in an eerie white light and fill his ears with noise. Everything seemed normal except that it looked like someone was sleeping in his bed. He grabbed his knife off the dresser as his heart began to pound. He could hear the blood rushing to his ears and his stomach began to turn. Could be a friend who couldn’t drive home, he consoled himself. Pat, Steve, hell could even be John, He mused as he inched closer to the bed. If they had been as drunk as he had been it wouldn’t have surprised him.
Caleb grabbed the blankets at the end of the bed and yanked the covers away unprepared for what lay beneath the covers. The knife dropped from his hands and he realized that a few tears were rolling down his face as the clear memories from last night began to come to light. He looked at the pills scattered across the floor and the knife that lay at his feet was covered in blood. He turned to run from the image before him, stretched out on his bed, but the door slammed shut refusing to budge. He sighed returning to the side of his bed looking down at the bed. Blood had oozed all over the sheets and into the mattress; in some spots vomit stained the once white sheets.
He sat down on the bed next to the corpse and reached up to the face, forcing the eyelids to close. In the distance the thunder rolled quietly and he noticed that the corpse was holding his phone. He took it weakly and opened it to check his latest text.
‘I love you too.’ It read from Cindy. He threw the phone across the room and it shattered against the wall. He screamed out clawing at his bedroom door until his throat could no longer howl and his fingers were bloody from his attempted escape.
Caleb finally collapsed to the floor in exhaustion with prayers on his lips that this was nothing more that some horrible nightmare and that he would awaken soon. But his prayers were left unanswered, and the door refused to budge. And on the bed his own corpse lay still and immobile before him.
This was actually inspired by an event that happened some time ago. Well, a series of different events which essentially formed this story. This has also been an attempt at horror, I was trying to get a feel for the old school short horror stories like what you would get with Tale from the crypt. I am also toying with the idea of an alternate ending to go into a much longer story of instead of it being himself in the bed it being his girlfriend. This might not happen, but I have considered it.