Last Call – When I was 17 I worked in a call center. This is the call that made me quit.

TRIGGER WARNING: Strong violence; helplessness.

“Can you hear me?”

An old woman’s voice. Rushed, nervous, maybe even panicked. I thought it would be on of those calls.

“This is…”

She interrupted me.

“Can you hear me? Can you hear me? Connor, can you hear me?”

Probably senile, I thought.

“Madam, I think you dialled the wrong…”

“Connor, please come down. Please come down. There is somebody at the back door.”

With every sentence her voice seemed to grow more panicked.

“Madam, you dialled…”

“Connor, he is at the door! He’s wearing a mask. I’m scared. Please come down.”

I pressed the ‘help’ button to call my supervisor.

She kept whispering something but I spoke over her, careful to increase the volume to ‘max.’

“Madam,” I said. “This is not Connor. But if you give us your address we can contact the police for you.”

“Connor, I’m scared.” She paused. “Oh, if this is you Elana, please tell your daddy to come down. This is your grandma. Please tell daddy to come down. Please, this is important. This is really important. Please send your daddy down. Tell him there is somebody here. Tell him that please, quickly Elana!”

My supervisor, a young man that went by the name Frazer, arrived and picked up the second set of headphones.

“Madam,” I said. “Please give us your address and…”

“Elana, please, please tell your daddy to come down. Please do that, okay? You know I can’t hear you, please just tell daddy to come down. Please, Elana! Please!”

The screen only showed her city, the local weather, and her name. Mrs. Ansh.

Frazer clicked the ‘caller ID’ button.

The sound of shattering glass rang through the phone.

“Oh god, he broke the door! Connor, he broke the door! Why don’t you do something? Why don’t you do something?”

A number from the other side of the country appeared on the screen. Below it, in red letters were the name and address of a frequent customer.

“Mrs Ansh,” I said. “Please lock yourself…”

I heard footsteps. She shrieked.

A door was slammed shut. A key turned.

Frazer pulled his mobile phone from his pocket and called the police.

“Connor, he’s inside now. He’s inside!”

I saw Frazer speaking into his phone.

The woman’s voice got more shrill.

“Why don’t you come? Please, why don’t you come?”

“Madam,” I said. “Please stay calm, we called the police for you! They will come soon!”

A loud thud.

Mrs. Ansh sobbed.

“Why don’t you come?” she whispered.

Another loud thud. It sounded like wood breaking.

Mrs. Ansh screamed.

Frazer set his mobile down and picked the headphone up again.

“The police will come,” he said.

“He’s in the house,” I said.

“I don’t have anything! Please, I don’t have anything valuable.”


“You can have the TV and the jewelery and anything. Please, just…”


“My son will be here…”


“My son is strong, he knows how to fi…”

A thud. Then a loud crack.

“My son will hurt you! Go away! Leave me…”

Another loud crack. The sound of falling wood.

Mrs. Ansh screamed.

The sound of hollow plastic falling on a hard ground.


Frazer and I looked at each other with wide eyes.

Then the sound returned.

Her voice was now faint, distant.

“Please don’t hurt me. I don’t have anything.”

Slow, heavy footsteps.

Her voice was high-pitched, almost cracking.

“Why do you do this? Why?”

A loud smacking sound followed. Mrs. Ansh screamed. Something soft and heavy hit the floor.

For at least three minutes there were only three types of noises:

Sobs, thuds and, after every thud, something between a moan and a scream.

Then the sobs stopped.

Then the moans stopped too.

A male voice.

“Why?” he asked.

Then he laughed.

Frazer and I were frozen in place.

“You really ask ‘Why?’”

Another thud.

“You overstayed your welcome in this world.”


“You ruin my every day and night with your goddamn helplessness.”


“I have to do everything for you. And what do I get in return?”


“Elana likes you more than me.”

A louder thud was followed by the distinct sound of shattering bones.

He laughed.

Then footsteps slowly walked away.

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