“Where’s Sophia?” I said.
“Playing in the yard.”
The phone rang and I picked it up.
From the other end of the line there was only heavy breathing.
“UGH!” I said, and slammed the receiver down.
“Who was that?”
“Some pervert,” I said, “There was only breathing on the other end.”
The phone rang again. Again, I picked it up. “Hello?” Again there was only heavy breaths coming through the receiver. I slammed it down.
“Just don’t answer it. Are we almost ready to eat?”
“Yeah,” I said. “I think so. Would you get Sophia?”
“Sure honey,” he said, and kissed me on the forehead. He went out into the yard.
The phone rang again. I stared at the handset shaking on the cradle. I thought about what kind of sicko could be on the other end of the line, behind the glow of a computer in a dark room somewhere, or hiding in some filthy basement while he randomly called strangers to fulfill whatever sick fantasies he had.
The phone rang and rang and I just couldn’t help myself. I ran over and grabbed it. “Just stop it!” I yelled into the receiver. “Leave us alone!”
Again there was only the sound of heavy breathing. And then, this time, something different. With the breathing I heard the crying of a young girl, and my blood ran cold as I recognized it.
“Mommy! Help me!”
Then, a man’s voice, low and dark and heavy: “Is Sophia there?”
Evil laughter poured from the handset. Through the window I heard the sound of my husband in the yard, calling for our daughter.