I Got A Weird Text From An Unsaved Number
Being broke college students could be fun. There was the carefree lifestyle. The hard partying. And yes, all the pot and booze in the world. But above all, Diane and I had each other.
Honestly, we didn't really need jobs much less a super steady cash flow. We were students, man. Financial aid, scholarships. We got paid just to make decent grades. Which Diane and I did aplenty… and did so without even really trying. Such was the joy of being English majors. We could write papers with the best of them.
Our motto was always Mary and Diane against the world! We were two pretty black girls from Stanwyck, Georgia, and we weren't afraid to let our freak flags fly. We enjoyed both classic American prose (specifically Poe and Flannery O'Connor) and modern (Alice Walker and Anne Rice). Our expertise in everything from The Beatles to 90s teen horror movies certainly paid off on the 4th Quarter's weekly trivia nights.
We were like cheerleader captains for the FSU English building. You know. The smartest guys in the room. And we never lost our edginess. We always wore colorful 90s throwback wardrobes. Both of us rocked short hair and big glasses. Not to mention we both had big boobs which made us prouder than two drunk frat bros. And yeah, we also subverted every racial and gender stereotype you could possibly imagine. One of the only things we didn't have in common was height. I was about five-ten with a much more athletic frame than the short and skinny Diane. Not to mention I had much more of a temper… especially when I was drunk. Diane, well. She was the hippie to my Hellraiser rebel.
Without Diane though, I couldn't have enjoyed the student life like I did. And most of the time, I was fine just chilling with her in our shitty college town apartment.
The place was small, the rent cheap. We'd usually just fall asleep on the couch together. Honestly, we kinda had everything we needed in that living room anyway. The kitchen was connected to it and the front door was only a few feet away. So what if we didn't have much furniture, only three windows, ugly bland walls, and a bedroom overtaken by scattered clothes? We were happy and having fun.
We also didn't care how the place looked. After all, there was no pressure here at the McKendry Apartments. Not in this dump. I mean yeah, Diane and I still did what we could. We'd throw up vintage Audrey Hepburn and Nicki Minaj posters where we could. Pulp Fiction and Scream as well. But when it came time to throwing away empty beer cans and trash… well. Watching Netflix, getting drunk, and writing the occasion research paper were much more important. Not to mention smoking the occasional bowl…
At least, we'd given the McKendry shithole a little festive flavor. We had scattered Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling like Tarzan vines. Not to mention a raggedy plastic Christmas tree we put over by a window. All our lights and colorful ornaments weighed down its skinny limbs like we'd tied rocks to them.
We were on the building's third and top floor. Most of the other rooms up here were closed for eternal maintenance. So aside from a few neighbors we never saw, Diane and I basically had the floor to ourselves. Like our own VIP section in a hideous nightclub.
But still, Apartment 3E was all we needed. It was reliable. Our best place to crash. Our hospital on those really wild nights. And our sanctuary for boring nights like tonight. Plus, it was small so we knew the heater would keep us warm.
Now here it was December fourteenth. Fall semester was over and here we were trapped in 3E like we were hiding from a snowstorm. Then again, I guess tonight we sort of were. The temperature was about as low as it ever got in Tally. So even on a Friday night, I was fine just sitting here on the couch with Diane and watching whatever B-horror movie Netflix had to offer. We were dressed to chill anyway. Diane in her loose overalls and me in my FSU tank-top and pajama pants. I had my iPhone in one hand and a Michelob Ultra longneck in the other. About half a thirty pack was still waiting for us in the fridge.
Taking another sip of booze, I looked over and saw Diane take a hit from her psychedelic bong. Like a pro, she didn't cough at all as she laid the pipe back on the coffee table.
I glanced back at my phone. Past all the sexy naked men I was ogling, I noticed the time: 10:30 P.M. We'd been drinking since six…
I gave Diane a drunk smile. While she'd been getting high, my ladyboner had only gotten higher. The joys of conveniently searching man booty and dick.
Still grinning, I muted the flatscreen. "You wanna see something hot?" I teased Diane.
Smirking, she leaned in closer. "Show me."
Immediately, I jammed the iPhone 7's screen in her face. The annoying beat of Major Lazer's "Bubble Butt" immediately hit her. As did a front-row seat to a twerking Channing Tatum.
Diane recovered from my "jump scare." "I mean it's nice," she said through a stoned smile.
"Dat ass doe," I said.
Before I could revel in more Tatum butt vids, my phone buzzed with fury. An aggravating interruption to my pleasure.
Diane motioned toward my phone. "Who is it?"
I looked down, expecting one of our crazy cohorts wanting to come over for some booze and B-movies. But it wasn't. Instead, a message from an unsaved number greeted me. I didn't even recognize the area code: 6784741313
The message wasn't very memorable either: Hi there
"No clue," I told Diane. I showed her the number. "You know who it is?"
Baffled, she stared at the number like a perplexed scientist. "678?"
"Hold on," I said. Drunken curiosity getting the better of me, my frenzied fingers typed a reply: Who's this?
Diane smiled. "Just ignore it."
Chuckling, I sent the message. "Naw, let's have some fun."
"It's probably Caleb."
"I already blocked him!"
"Probably still him."
Leaning back like a crime boss, I smirked. "You really think I'm worth obsessing over?"
"Caleb obsessed over me too."
Laughing, I gave her a light shove. "Like you and Jack!"
Diane cringed. "Don't go there-"
"Little ditty 'bout Jack and Diane!" I sang with obnoxious drunken glory.
Chuckling, Diane pushed me back. "Stop it!"
"But it's so cute!" I teased.
Another jolt from my phone interrupted our intoxicated glee.
Our mysterious phone number had replied: U don't know? 🙂
I got ready to type another message.
Dismissive, Diane knocked my phone to the table. "Man, ignore his ass!"
Scoffing, I looked at her. "Why?"
"It's probably just Caleb fucking with you." Diane stepped off the couch.
Another vibration made the phone rattle across the coffee table. I leaned in closer toward it.
Yet another message from the 678 number was there: U don't wanna talk? :p
Before I could even finish my beer, another message hit the phone like a defibrillator. Cat got ur tongue?
The message even included a goofy cat emoji. How cute.
I took my final sip the longneck had to offer. Then with badass drunken glory, I sent a reply: Fuck off
Staring at the screen, I waited with anticipation for a response.
A pair of hands pulled me off the couch.
"Ignore his ass!" Diane demanded.
Smiling, I followed her over to the fridge. "You getting jealous?" I tossed my empty beer in the trash.
Sarcastic, she returned a flirtatious smirk. "Hmm, maybe a little." She grabbed two more Michelobs from the fridge.
"Aww…" I leaned back against a counter.
"I just think it's weird, man," Diane said. She handed me a longneck.
"What? The stalker?" I joked. I took a quick swig. Within me, the buzz was chugging along like a hypnotic disco beat.
Concerned, Diane leaned in closer. "I mean why does he keep texting, Mary?"
"I don't know. It's probably just Caleb like you said."
Unease still plaguing her, Diane looked off toward the coffee table. Toward my phone. "Maybe you're right-"
Even from all the way over there, the phone's ferocious vibration startled us.
"Shit…" Diane said.
The phone jolted to life once more, again scaring Diane.
I couldn't help but crack a smile.
Behind anxious eyes, Diane faced me. "But do you really think he'd go get a weirdass number just to harass us?"
"He does weird shit all the time," I said. Using my longneck like a pointer, I motioned between me and Diane. "And he likes both of us! You even said it yourself, Diane."
"I know…" Diane's trembling hands fiddled with her barely-touched Michelob. "But I just realized Caleb's back in Tampa…"
Not sure what to say, I took another sip of the reassuring booze.
"I mean almost everyone's back home, Mary."
Annoyed, I waved the Michelob at her. "So?"
Like a serious detective, Diane took a closer step toward me. "So no one's here!"
I looked back at the coffee table. I could hear yet another vibration erupt from my phone. Like an earthquake's tremor, I could even feel it.
"Who would have time to even do this shit during the holidays?" Diane went on.
I looked at her with a grin. "Us?'
Even Diane had to chuckle. "Well, you know what I mean. Normal people."
Another vibration went off. Diane and I both looked toward my phone as if we were confronting a creepy cave.
"Someone's eager," I joked.
Diane grabbed my arm. "Look, just ignore him."
Adventurous, I pulled away from her. "Naw, I ain't letting some asshole ruin our Friday night!"
In a confident gesture, I pointed the longneck at her. "Just watch!"
I left Diane groaning in the kitchen.
Letting my buzz overtake my timidity, I snatched up my iPhone.
Several unread texts from Mr. 678 awaited me:
Come on, already Talk 2 me, please R u there??
His final text even managed to give me fear through my beer: I'm not finished yet
"What the fuck…" I muttered.
Diane stopped next to me. "Hey, check this out." Like a cop presenting evidence, she held up her phone for me to see. "I looked up that number."
Through her research, all I saw was that 678 was an Atlanta area code. But there wasn't shit on the number itself.
"It's an Atlanta number," Diane went on. "But no one's reported this 474 shit. I don't even see it associated with any scammers or telemarketers."
I faced the uneasy Diane. "Well, that's fucking weird…"
Simultaneously curious and scared, Diane looked over at my screen. "What's he saying?"
My phone went off with a barrage of sporadic vibrations. Like I was holding a struggling animal, the iPhone jumped and squirmed in my hand.
Nervous, Diane and I stared at the clusterfuck spreading itself across my screen.
Countless texts came pouring in from the unsaved number. One after the other. An avalanche of SMS messages. As if multiple keyboards were working at once.
Where r u? I wanna see u Respond I'm bored 😉 U there Geez, I'm getting tired of waiting
"What the fuck!" I yelled in anger. The mountain of messages made it impossible to even type on my keyboard.
"That's not Caleb!" Diane interjected.
"I know it's not!"
After about twenty messages, the texts finally came to a close.
Like a terrified child, Diane gripped my shoulder. "Just block the number, Mary!" she begged.
In a hold my beer moment, I placed my Michelob on the coffee table.
"Mary, please!" Diane continued.
Like an internet warrior, I got to work on my response. A flurry of f-bombs and insults were sent to Mr. 678. You dickless swine Leave me the fuck alone, bitch.
Yeah, I could get nasty and mean when I was drunk. And tonight, I was pretty damn lit.
"Mary, just block him!" Diane went on.
I felt her fingernails dig into my flesh. But that wasn't gonna stop me or my epic anger. My tirade of texts were flying out like bullets.
"Naw, fuck that!" I told Diane.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Diane reach for my phone.
"Just block him and move on," Diane said.
Reacting fast, I held my phone away from her. My focus stayed on the screen. My fingers flying at about 100 miles per hour. Faster than my texts. You little bitch Fucking cocksucker
I was gonna have this man in tears by the time I got through with his bitchass.
Diane managed to grab a hold of my phone. "Alright, you scared him enough!" she said.
Ready for more blood, I tried to pull my cell away. "Just let me finish!"
Diane chuckled. "Mary, just chill. Block his stupidass already."
We both felt the phone tremble in our grasps. A new message.
Full of adrenaline, I snatched the phone from Diane.
"What'd he say?" she asked. She peered over my shoulder.
6784741313 had sent us a video message. Its video preview sat on my screen like an unwanted present.
"Hit play," Diane said, her voice full of soft fear.
I did as I was told.
The iPhone footage showed a dark hallway. A long hallway. Ugly walls. Not many windows. Thin doors all lined up like they were part of a repetitive pattern. The hallway would be darker and more claustrophobic than a cavern if not for the cheap Christmas lights hanging on the walls. Those kind of old 70s lights with bulbs so big they could bask a room in psychedelic colors.
The unseen cameraman marched down the hallway. Their footsteps steady and heavy. Their harsh breathing even heavier.
In my sickened gut, I knew exactly where he was headed. I recognized that hallway right from the start. The third floor of the McKendry Apartments. Diane and I's own personal floor.
The man walked past a corridor.
And though I wasn't surprised, I felt my heart drop even further when the cameraman stopped right outside a familiar door. His camera aimed right at the door's crooked gold letters: 3E.
I could hear Diane gasp in fright. But I was silent in petrified fear.
In a knowing taunt, the cameraman let the shot linger on that door. And those tense moments felt like an eternity. Not just from discomfort either… but from fucking terror.
"Turn it off!" Diane cried.
As if the cameraman was listening, he walked away from the door. Like a ghost, he disappeared into that corridor. Then the video ended in a calm cut.
"What the Hell was that!" Diane yelled at me. Her scared eyes pierced deep into my soul. "How'd he find us!"
I did my best to disguise my horror. I had to stay strong for Diane. And me… "I don't know," I said. "That fucking bitch." Nervous, I glared at the door. "His ass couldn't have found us on-line!"
Diane followed my restless gaze. I could feel her body trembling more than the phone ever had. We both stared at the door like we were expecting company at any second. A knock, a voice. Anything.
A vibration cut through our anxious silence. Scared, we both looked back at my iPhone.
The cameraman sent us a new text: Do yall wanna talk now 😉
The follow-up message came in like a vicious taunt: Mary
"What the fuck!" I yelled. Irate, I faced Diane. "This bitch knows my name!"
With surprising strength, Diane grabbed the phone. "Let me get his ass."
"Damn, girl." Leaning in, I saw her hurl her own insults at the man.
Leave us alone, pussy We're calling the police Get out or I'll cut your tiny dick off Fucking puss
Damn, Michelob and fear brought out the rebel in both of us.
"You got that fucker," I said, supportive.
"Hell yeah!" Diane replied. Her eyes never looked up from the screen. Not from her current attack.
A strong knock at the door killed our victorious moods quicker than they ever began.
Screaming, Diane dropped the phone. Her drunken courage all zapped by one knock.
I glowered at the door. "Hey, who the fuck's out there!" I yelled.
There was no reply. No subsequent knocks. No nothing.
"I'm scared, Mary," Diane said. She grabbed a hold of my arm, killing the blood flow. "Just call the police."
Unlike Diane, I still had my buzz. Reflective, I looked down at my iPhone. There were no new messages. Just like there were no more knocks. If this was all one sick stupid joke, was I, Mary Pinkett, really gonna let the bitch get away? I was having a vigilante moment. Like Pam Grier in this motherfucker.
"Mary, please!" Diane begged in a trembling voice. "Just call them!"
I held Diane back, keeping her at bay. "Hold on."
"What?" she responded in a confused panic.
Ready to fight, I picked up my phone.
Diane grabbed my arm like a frightened kid clinging to their mama. "What are you doing!"
"I'm just gonna go look," I said. Focused, I stepped away from Diane and rushed toward the kitchen.
Diane lagged behind in horrified disbelief. "Are you crazy! What the fuck, Mary!"
Ignoring her, I pushed aside the dangling lights. My eyes stayed focused on the wooden knife block. Particularly the largest knife that stuck out like a sword in the stone.
"Mary!" I heard Diane plead.
One harsh yank pulled the knife out. A sharp sliding noise erupted like I was drawing a sword from my sheath. I could see my own fierce expression through the blade's reflection. My determined eyes.
A vibration went off. And this time, I didn't jump. I wasn't scared.
The cameraman had sent me a new text: Come on out 😉
Glowering, I went straight to the door.
Diane staggered up behind me. "Mary, hold on."
"Just come on," I said to her in a strong voice. "Let's get this bitch!"
Like a veteran cop, I banged on the door. "Hey, I got a knife, asshole!" I announced.
I got no reply. Not even a text.
All I heard was Diane's trembling body.
Gripping my weapon, I opened the door.
The hallway was as claustrophobic as 3E. Even uglier considering it didn't have me or Diane's "decorating." The Christmas lights were our only light. And like disco balls, they gave the whole layout a trippy feel. Big, colorful bulbs made it feel like we were in a nasty nightclub rather than nasty apartment complex. A very cold nightclub since McKendry never used the heater for their hallways.
I led Diane out into the hall. All the doors around us were shut. Not that I thought anyone was in those rooms anyway.
Full of paranoia and fear, Diane closed the door right behind us. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her crouching like she was scared of getting caught in someone's crosshairs.
I felt my phone vibrate to life. Diane and I both looked at it faster than if Channing Tatum himself had texted us.
The unsaved number's newest message greeted us: U see me yet? 🙂
My drunk adrenaline pumping faster than a coke addict's heart, I gazed down the long hallway. I didn't see shit. Not a soul in sight in this dumpy Winter Wonderland. And not a sound either aside from Diane's jitters.
I saw the corridor was about ten feet away. Two doors down. I knew it led to the the stairway and a vending machine. But I didn't know if anyone was lurking in it…
"Let's just go back, Mary," Diane said.
"Just stay close, alright," I reassured Diane. With cautious steps, I led us off toward the corridor. I even let Diane cling to my shoulder. Considering how cold the place was, I felt like we were traveling through a damp dungeon. With shitty Christmas lights for torches.
Clinging to the knife, my eyes darted back-and-forth between my phone and the corridor. I saw nothing. Not a person or a new SMS.
As we passed the door to 3F, Diane didn't say anything. I could still feel her fear. But she did her best to suppress any whimpers or her trembling tone.
My phone glowed with a new text.
Another message from the cameraman: Ur getting closer
Then he sent me another one: 😉
Like a gravedigger, Diane's fingernails dug deeper into my shoulder. I just gritted my teeth and ignored the texts. My grip only grew tighter on the knife handle. At least, my dread kept me warm on this freezing third floor.
"We'll be alright," I told Diane in a supportive tone. "Just be cool, okay." We got closer and closer to the corridor. Just a few steps away.
I stayed in front of Diane like a human shield. Ready to attack, I pulled my knife back.
Right when we got past the door to 3G, my phone erupted with a buzz. A long, brutal buzz.
Startled, I stopped Diane. Our shocked eyes stared at my iPhone.
Rather than a text, we got an incoming call from the weird number. The propulsive vibrating felt like a jolt of electricity hurting into our frightened souls.
I took a deep breath. Then answered.
"Leave us alone, asshole!" I shouted.
But all I got was a dose of heavy breathing. Tormented heavy breathing.
"Who the fuck is this!" I yelled.
Diane leaned in closer. "What's he saying?"
Pressing the phone closer to my ear, I looked back toward the corridor.
The man's breathing continued. A terrifying chorus for my ears.
Holding the knife in front of me, I rushed toward the corridor.
Diane stayed behind, nervous. "Mary!" she yelled.
I staggered up to the corridor. But there was no one to stab. Under those ugly Christmas lights, there was nothing. Just the vending machine and staircase.
Everything was silent… except for the man's constant breathing. Those gasps were on a disturbing loop.
"Do you see him?" Diane asked.
Turning in confusion, I looked at her. "No…"
Then the man hung up.
In the cryptic silence, the lights above us went off.
Panicking, Diane and I looked toward the ceiling.
"What the Hell!" I yelled.
The Christmas lights followed right after. Like someone had pulled the plug.
Before I could react or even scream, the door to 3G swung open with ferocious power. Like a vampire emerging from the darkness, a man lunged out of the apartment. He wore dark gloves and clothing. A ski mask whiter than snow covered his face. A sharp hatchet in his grasp.
He moved quicker than Santa Claus himself. And in that instant, I couldn't tell if it was even a man or a woman or just a straight-up McKendry ghost.
"Oh God! Diane, look out!" I screamed.
Diane whirled around. One of the gloved hands smothered her mouth.
"No!" I yelled. Horrified, I ran up to 3G. My steps full of desperate panic. "Diane!"
Her screams suppressed, all Diane could do was look at me with helpless eyes. Eyes that were pleading me to hurry.
Confident, the man's mask of snow stared right at me. He held Diane in place like a torturous tease.
The horrific moment was brief but would haunt me forever. Just like how Diane's frightened eyes always would.
"Diane!" I screamed. I held my knife up and jumped toward the room.
Then like a ghost, the man dragged Diane inside 3G.
The door hit me like a barricade. One that I was too late to stop. I grabbed the locked knob and rattled it in agonized frustration.
Crying out, I banged on the door with all my might. The piece of shit rattled but wouldn't come down. The cold hallway only made my hands hurt worse with each thunderous hit. But I didn't care. Not now. Not when my best friend was in danger. "Diane!" I screamed. "Diane!"
Weeping, I pounded on the door. All while, Diane's eyes, her entire terrified expression, burnt itself into my ravaged conscience.
Her screams were only worse. Diane's yells echoed toward me from behind that locked door. Like the cries of a wounded soldier on the battlefield. And her screams were only getting weaker…
I stabbed at the door over and over. But the knife was no match for the primitive power of Apartment 3G.
Doing what I should've done all along, I called the police. By now, I heard nothing in that apartment. Not even a dying groan.
The hallway's meat-locker-temperature gave me more chills. As did the touch of a cold substance brushing against my toes.
I looked down in horror. Dark red ooze flowed beneath the door. And once I raised my foot, I saw how sticky the fresh blood was…
"Oh God…" I broke down in tears. In the cold, my weakened state collapsed against the door. I was now in the very spot I last saw my best friend.
Less than fifteen minutes later, the police arrived. We finally got the door to 3G opened. And in there, I found what was left of Diane. Stab wounds covered her body like an infectious, grisly disease. Long, deep cuts my best friend had to endure for minutes that must've felt like painful centuries. The murder was painful enough to hear and know I couldn't help her. Much less being the victim…
I still feel guilty about what happened. I should feel guilty about it. Diane never wanted to go out there. I made us challenge her killer. And now I suffer the deserving punishment of living with the painful realization that I led my best friend to her death. Not to mention that I now live in constant fear for my life. Yes, I've moved back to Stanwyck since then. I do on-line courses now, I changed my number. And I block every unsaved number. But I know that's not enough. Not when this sick asshole is still out there. And still knows my name and everything about me. And that one day, he'll return to finish off the final member of Diane and I's beautiful friendship.
Submitted December 06, 2018 at 11:06AM by rhonnie14