She sat down in an old, creaky wooden chair. She looked down at her hands, slender and tipped with nails like rubies.
‚ÄúIt all started 23 days ago,‚Äù she began. ‚ÄúI started getting calls on my cell phone. At first, there was this buzzing, squeaking noise, like a mouse trapped in a fax machine. I thought it was just some sort of weird atmospheric thing, but after a few times of this, I started to hear‚Ä¶ messages‚Ä¶ Oh, I don‚Äôt know if I can go on.‚Äù
‚ÄúRelax, have a seat. Would you like some pie?‚Äù
‚ÄúSorry. Inside joke. Drink?‚Äù I grabbed a glass from a desk drawer, and wiped down the rim with my shirttail. I stood up, feeling the joints in my knees pop, and the labor union that was my lower back decided to go on strike. Wincing, I made my way gingerly to the closet, where the last lone bottle of scotch lived. I cracked the seal, & poured her a finger or two. ‚ÄúNow, what did these voices sound like?‚Äù
She sipped on the liquor, and made a face. ‚ÄúDo you have any ice?‚Äù
‚ÄúWhat? Do you prefer crack?‚Äù
‚Äú‚Ä¶I‚Äôm not sure I‚Äî‚Äú
‚ÄúIce? In scotch? You dames‚Ä¶‚Äù
Dagger-eyed, she gulped down another sip. ‚ÄúThe voices,‚Äù she continued pointedly, ‚Äúwere more like muttering. Whispers. But gurgled, like they were getting over a head cold. But also distorted, like a Big Black song.‚Äù
Wonders never cease, I thought. Where did a classy broad like this find out about Big Black? ‚ÄúSo, what did these‚Ä¶ eldritch‚Ä¶ voices say?‚Äù
‚ÄúI couldn‚Äôt figure it out, so I wrote it out phonetically.‚Äù She reached her delicate hand up, and teased upon the neckline of her dress, slyly slipping her fingers between the fabric and her skin, allowing not so much as a square centimeter of flesh to show, but making anyone looking believe they had seen the hills of the Holy land itself. This chick is a born tease. Her hand withdrew from her cleavage, and between the index and middle fingers was a slip of paper. She unfolded it, and the light scent of her flesh filled the narrow and dusty office.
At that moment, the weak light bulb, not the most friendly of appliances at the best of times, decided to revolt against its electrical masters. With a flash and a pop, the office grew noticeably darker. Even with the bright morning light, the grime and soot on the offices windows was reluctant to improve the optics inside the room. Startled, she took a step back, and raised her hand to her delicate ivory throat.
‚ÄúFuck,‚Äù I muttered eloquently. Reaching into my pockets, looking for a match, or a witticism, I finally produced a lighter, and used it to beat back some of the shadows encroaching on us. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs ok,‚Äù I said. ‚ÄúThe wiring in this place sucks, but at least the rent doesn‚Äôt cost me a kidney.‚Äù
She smiled uneasily, then bent her head to peer at the paper in her hand. ‚ÄúThe voices said‚Ä¶ ‚ÄòAye, eeyo. Kootooloo fagthan. Better check on the baby. Eevoh-hay, Pan-janitor. And that‚Äôs how I saved Christmas.‚Äô LMNO, what does this mean?‚Äù She quickly lifted her head, and looked into my eyes. I felt like time would stop as her green eyes locked into my blue, it felt like she was crawling up my optic nerves and into my brain, driving those perfect fingers into my cortex, twisting my brain stem around her little finger.
Grunting, I broke the eye contact, shaking my head like some beast with a nose full of porcupine quills. How did she do that? I took the slip of paper from her, desperately hoping our fingers didn‚Äôt touch. ‚ÄúLet me look at that. Oh, and if I‚Äôm going to take you case, I better know what to call you.‚Äù
‚ÄúYou can call me Erin.‚Äù