Sarah's phone rang. She groggily opened her eyes and reached over to her smartphone at her beside table.
It was a local number, but one she didn't recognize. She swiped her index finger across the screen to answer the call.
"Hello?" she said. "Who is this?"
Hsshshhhssshhsh- it's a surprise-tttsshhhhhhtttt whispered a voice among static into her ear. And then, a click. The caller hung up.
Sarah shrugged it off as a prank, and started to lie back down, annoyed.
Suddenly, the phone rang again. Sarah's heart began to pump hard. Was this person going to keep calling? Was she being harassed?
She decided to let it ring out. After a minute, she heard her voicemail alert, and immediately checked it, now fuming.
"Hey, it's Danny from school. I just tried calling you, but I lost my signal or something, sorry. Anyway I just wanted to let you know we're throwing Rob a birthday party at his house on Saturday. Sorry I'm calling so late, I'm just always up at this hour. Anyway, let me know if you can make it. Take care!"
Relieved, Sarah immediately called Danny back.
"Hey Danny, sorry about that. Yeah, I'll be there."
"That's great. I know Rob will be excited to see you there."
"So, what's the deal; how soon are we showing up before he gets there?"
"Huh? Oh, no, it's not a surprise party."
"I thought I heard you say 'surprise party' or something the first time you called?" she asked.
"Nooo, I didn't get through to you the first time. I just got static, tried again, and left the message."
Sarah was puzzled for a second, and then it struck her memory like a hammer, blurring her vision and making her feel light-headed.
"Danny?" she asked nervously, standing up.
"Yeah, what's wrong?" he responded.
"Please come over here, now."
"Please. Just come right now." she begged as she rushed to close her bedroom door and flip on every light in her room.
"Uh yeah, okay." he said, hesitantly. "You're in that apartment complex by the park, right?"
"Unit 209." she said, sitting down on her bed, no longer able to stand. The seemingly innocuous whisper becoming ever-more chilling in her memory.
"I'll be right over, okay?" Danny said. Sarah could hear him getting his shoes on and opening a door.
"Please stay on the phone with me." Sarah pleaded, now fully panicked. The more she thought those three words, the more scared she became.
"Yeah, yeah, sure." relented Danny. "Let me just put you on speaker phone... okay, I'm on my way now."
Sarah heard his car start up.
"How soon will you be here?" asked Sarah feebly as she began to cry.
Her reply came in a haze of static.
It's a surprise.