Patricia and her daughter, Macy, have just finished moving into their new house. Well….it wasn’t new but it was new to them. The bank had foreclosed on the home they previously lived in. Times were tough, but they weren’t going to just give up.
She found a house in the local classified section of the newspaper. It was a fixer upper but the price could not be beat…rent to own at that.
They decided to start taking boxes out of the garage and distributing them to the rooms that they were supposed to go into.
After getting those done, they were left with 2 stacks of boxes.
There was not an issue with the attic boxes. The issue was with the mass amount of toys. Some she had outgrown, but refused to part with. Others were broken. Stuffed animals, board games. There just wasn’t room for all of them.
Patricia decided to have “the talk” with Macy about them.
“We need to talk about this stuff before you unpack it all. I would like you to go through these 4 boxes of toys and decide what you really…really need to keep. Here is one big box. The ones that you absolutely have to keep, you can put in here. The rest we will put into the attic.”
“But Momma…..that’s my stuff….I NEED it all! I can’t just decide to not play with things any more….I never know when I might really…really want to play with something. Please don’t make me choose….” Nine year old Macy pleaded.
She hated to tell her daughter no, but there just wasn’t room for it all. Her plan was to put the unchosen toys in the attic and each month retrieve one of the boxes and take it to Goodwill or some place where they could do something with them.
“Nope. 1 box is all you get. They will be in the attic if you ever really need them, Macy. I just don’t want them all down here. You have one hour to fill your box. Hop to it little one.”
Macy opened all 4 boxes and stood over them. For the next hour she painstakingly worked on filling 1 “big box” from 4 bigger boxes. When the one box was full she had 2 1/2 boxes to go into the attic.
“Good job, sweetie! Now let’s take them up to the attic….you know what, I haven’t been in the attic yet. Are you ready for a new adventure?” Patricia asked.
“You know I am!” Macy replied.
They each grabbed a box and headed up to the top of the stairs. Patricia opened the door. Her nose immediately took notice of the stale air that escaped.
“Whew….no one has been up here in a while! Stinky!!”
“P-U!” Macy added as she waved her hand in front of her nose to attempt to rid herself of the smell.
Patricia flicked on the light switch and then proceeded into the room with Macy directly behind her.
“Momma?….What are those dusty boxes in the corner over there. I thought you said you hadn’t been up here…”
“I haven’t, honey. The people that used to live here probably forgot them.”
“Can I look through them?” Macy inquired.
“I suppose. You do that while I bring the rest of the boxes up, ok? Watch out for spiders….BOO!” She said as she poked Macy in the back, making her shriek.
“MOMMA…DON’T DO THAT!”
“Just stay up here I will be back in a minute.”
Patricia headed downstairs to get the rest of the boxes and Macy made her way over to the boxes that the past residents left.
The first box had picnic dishes in them.
The second box had old school books in them, some had torn off covers. Most were scribbled on.
Macy heard what sounded like a phone but she knew her Momma had a cell phone and it didn’t sound like that.
“Macy…are you ok? You look lost in thought…” Patricia asked as she came up to drop off some boxes.
“Did you hear a phone ring, Momma?”
“No…mine is still in the car on the charger.” She replied a bit puzzled.
“I’m going to get the last boxes but before that I am going to make us some lunch. You wanna come help me?”
“Could I stay up here please?”
“Ok…you will have to come down to eat though.” She said and turned back down the stairs.
She knew she heard it that time…it seems to be coming from a box on the other side of the room. She followed the noise.
She opened up the box, and saw what looked like a phone from those old time movies Momma liked to watch. At the base it had a thing to turn for the number, a long cylinder with a thing to talk into at the top, and a cord with a thing in it to put to your ear.
She decided to answer the old ringing phone.
“Uh-huh…we just moved in.”
“Sure…I will be your friend.”
“How do you know my Momma is about to..”
“Macy…lunch is ready.” Patricia yelled from downstairs.
“Wow…are you magic or something.”
“K…I won’t tell. It will be our secret. Bye!”
Macy put the earpiece back onto the receiver and headed downstairs for lunch.
As they were eating their grilled cheese sandwiches and chips, Patricia asked her daughter a question.
“So…Did you find anything interesting up there?…..”
“…..ummm….no not really…” She sheepishly replied as she swung her legs under her chair.
“That doesn’t sound too convincing…what did you find?”
“Well….I did find an old time phone…..can I keep it?” She excitedly replied.
“It’s not yours honey. They might come back for it.”
“I promise to not break it and and if they come back for it I will give it back…I will even put ALL My toys up there and leave them if I can play with the phone…PLEEEEAAAAASE, Momma….”
Patricia had a parental decision to make. Let her child trade all her toys for a left behind old phone that may make her happy or….
She thought about it for a minute.
They have both had a tough time in the last few months since Macy’s father died in the plane crash. Trying to adjust to being just the two of them has been hard and she really has not been able to afford to give her anything she really wanted.
What could it hurt for her to keep the phone? She hasn’t heard her plead for anything in a while. It was nice to see her so full of glee.
“Ok…you can keep the old phone but if someone comes back for it you will have to give it back to them.”
Macy smiled and pumped her fist.
“YES! Thank you Momma! Can I take it to my room now?”
“Your welcome, honey. Yes…but only after you help me take the that box of your toys to the attic.”
Macy jumped out her chair and ran to do what her Mom had told her.
After the toys were stored away she retrieved her old time phone and took it to her room and shut the door behind her.
She placed it on her desk and stared at it…..wishing for it to ring. She fell asleep waiting.
Patricia came into the room and tucked her little girl in, turned on her nightlight and gave her a kiss goodnight. Then went to bed herself.
Sometime during the dead of night Macy was awakened….
She picked up the receiver,
“She will be mad if I wake her up…”
“I don’t understand….what fire….”
“Ok…ok…but she’s gonna be mad if I wake her up…”
She exits her room and smells smoke. She runs into her mother’s room, jumps on the bed and yells,
“FIRE, MOMMA, FIRE!”
Patricia groggily opened her eyes and was about to scold her daughter for waking her up when she too smelled smoke.
She jumped out of bed and ran out of the room. In the den she saw a flame ignite the curtains. She grabbed the fire extinguisher, pulled the pin and sprayed it at the wall. The fire was extinguished fairly quickly. Only the smoke hung in the air.
She looked at Macy still stunned and perplexed and asked,
“How did you know there was a fire, baby? It had to have just barely started when you woke me.”
Macy scratched her head let out a sigh and replied,
“Umm….I had to go the bathroom…when I came out I saw smoke so I went to get you…..” Macy replied with a lie….but she promised to keep the secret.
“I’m so proud of you, honey!”
Patricia tucked her daughter back into bed and went to turn off the breaker that coincided with the plug that started the fire. She would call an electrician tomorrow to check all the circuits.
Macy pretended to sleep but was really waiting for the lady in the phone to call. She wasn’t waiting long.
Macy picked up the receiver to the ringing phone and spoke to the voice on the other end,
“I don’t like to lie to my Momma…please don’t make me do that again.”
“How did you know about the fire?….are you like an angel that watches over us? I’ve seen them in movies…do you have a halo and wings?”
“You are not an angel….but you are LIKE an angel? I don’t get it. I will ask my Momma about that.”
“What do you mean she won’t believe me. If I can hear you, than so can she….right?”
“Ok, ok I promise not to tell….what is your name so I know what to call you?”
Macy giggles, “Penny…that’s a cute name. I gotta go to sleep, Penny. Good night.”
Macy hangs the receiver back onto its clip and drifts off to sleep.
The days and few weeks that followed were relatively normal. Patricia started working from home updating medical transcripts, and Macy continued building a relationship with her “not really an angel” friend, Penny, by answering her old phone when it rang.
The faulty wiring was fixed and the house was becoming a home.
As Macy was busy finishing her artwork in the Winnie The Pooh coloring book, her Mother walked in,
“Macy, honey….I’m going to go take a shower and then we need to run into town and run some important errands, ok. Please get out of your jammie’s and be ready, ok.”
Macy put up her coloring book and headed to her room to change.
“Hi, Penny. What’s up?”
“But Momma says we have to go….”
“But Momma will be mad….”
“No, you haven’t lied to me before….I’m always the one who ends up lying….”
Macy said in her best pouty voice
“No I don’t want anything to happen to Momma and me. Ok ok I’ll do it.”
Patricia got out of the shower and went to go check to be sure her daughter was getting ready like she asked. She walked into her room…..no Macy
She walked into the den where Macy was when she left to take a shower….no Macy
She began to call for her.
“Macy…come on honey. We have to go I don’t want to get caught in traffic.” She said as she walked into the kitchen. As she continued to look around, trying not to panic, she noticed the back door open.
She ran outside and caught a glimpse of her daughter running out the back gate holding the phone she got from the attic.
“Macy Ann! You better get back here!” She yelled as she pursued.
Macy hid behind an old discarded dog house that was in the alley and tried to catch her breath.
“My Momma will find us if you keep calling!” Macy pleaded
“Ok…about 5 more minutes then I will let her find me.”
Macy had no idea how long 5 minutes was. She just stayed hidden until her Mother found her.
Patricia was out of breath….and patience when she saw her huddled behind the doghouse.
“Macy Ann you stay right there!” She frantically yelled.
She came up to her, put her hands on her hips and began to verbally scold her.
“Do you know how worried I get when I can’t find you?….I have already lost your father and I could not bear losing you! Why, Macy, Why? You never leave without asking! I told you we had something to do! Now I have to wait until later. Do you know how hard it is to make ends meet? Well…answer me!”
Macy’s eyes began to water as she knelt.
“I’m sorry Momma….I had to do it!”
“What is that supposed to mean? All you had to do was get into some clothes and wait. That was all you HAD to do!” She angrily stated as she took a hand off her hip, grabbed Macy’s little hand and lead her back to the house.
Patricia sat Macy on the couch and expected answers.
“Why, Macy?” She asked sternly
Macy paused then threw caution to the wind and spoke the truth…
“Penny told me to stall you so we wouldn’t leave when you wanted to.”
Patricia looked at her daughter with a quizzed look.
“Who’s Penny, I don’t know a Penny.”
“She’s the lady who calls the phone from the attic. She told me about the fire before it happened and to stall today. I think she is from Heaven.”
Patricia slowly replied,
“Penny’s…..from…..Heaven?….look young lady I don’t know where you got this cockamamie story from but that old phone doesn’t even have a wall plug on it….it’s an old phone that doesn’t work. And because you refuse to tell me the truth to why you hid from me, you are grounded from playing with that phone. Leave it here with me and go to your room until I tell you to come out.”
Macy grudgingly gave the phone to her Momma and said as she sulkily went to her room,
“She said, you wouldn’t believe me.”
Still upset about her daughter and having to wait to go into town, Patricia turned on the TV to calm her nerves.
A multiple car pile up has occurred on the freeway. This footage was taken from our traffic can a few short moments ago. More news to come as details become available….
Patricia turned off the TV, a bit shaken, and looked at the old phone that sat on the table next to her.
She got up and went to ask her daughter some more questions….it had to be a coincidence….didn’t it?
Macy was sound asleep on her bed.
Patricia went back to the couch and laid down herself.
After a short while….the dreams came.
I wrote this a year ago under the title “Call Forward“. I left it unfinished after 2 parts.
It’s time to finish it.
Part 3 is in the works….
11 thoughts on “Call Waiting”
I’m glad you’re revisiting this, it’s a great story.
Can’t wait for the next chapter.
For the last couple of nights, this story has been invading my brain. I think it “wants” to be finished. I am glad you like it, next chapter will be posted as soon as it figures out where it’s going.
I got absorbed pretty quickly. Great job!
Thank you. I hope you enjoy the continuation once I get it done!
Yay. I remember this one and am glad you are finishing it.
I don’t even remember why I left it to begin with…but I can’t just leave it, so finish it I must.
So good. As usual, I’m hooked.
Lol. Thank you.
I remember reading this a year ago. It had a Twilight Zone feel to me. Looking forward to Part 3.