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Wrong Number
A phone call with consequences...
en francais

The phone rang and rang and rang.
Why wasn't she answering? Ralph wondered as lie nervously drummed on the phone with the fingers of his free hand. He stretched his arm out and glanced at his watch. Five past seven.
Just as he was about to put the phone down, he heard a voice at the other end. Good job I'm a patient man, he thought. If I hadn't waited for that extra second, I'd have been wondering where she was for the rest of the day.
"Is that you, son?"
"Yeah, it's me."
"Is Mum there? I want to tell her I'll be back early."
"Um, yes. She's here. But..."
"Well can you get her, then. Is she busy?" Ralph was becoming impatient.
"Well, she's ~ er, giggling a lot. And I think there's somebody in there with her now A man. They're in the bedroom" There was a long silence.
"I-er, are you sure?" Ralph tried to hide the panic in his voice.
"Yes Dad."
The blood at Ralph's temples was thumping hard; his mind was working fast. Very fast.
"Listen to me, son. You've got to be absolutely sure. It could be the TV."
"No, Dad. I'm sure."
"Right. You know where my shotgun is. It's in the garage. I want you to go and get it - I'm pretty sure it's loaded - and give them both barrels. You hear me, son?"
"Yes, but -"
"No, son. No buts. You've got to be brave. You remember you always want to have a go on it. Well here's your chance. OK?" "OK." his son's voice was understandably hesitant.
Are you sure of what you're doing? A voice came from inside of him. Are you sure? it repeated.
Doubts entered Ralph's mind like bright flashes. Lightning. Instead of thunder, silence. Long, impending silence. He was soaking wet with sweat.
Two, three pounding blasts awoke him from his reverie. Another short wait. His son's steps, and then his faltering voice. "D-Dad?" How different his son sounded over the phone. "I've done it."

"Good boy. Now, I know you must be stressed, but you've got to go and put the bodies in the cellar. I'll deal with them when I get back. Hey, you did well."
"Dad, we don't have a cellar. And why did you say the gun was in the garage. We don't have one. Dad, what's happened to you?" Ralph glanced at the display screen on the phone. It indicated the number he'd just rung.
It wasn't his home number.
But he was sure he'd -
Wrong number, that same voice came from inside of him.

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