Quick Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the world they inhabit. They were created by the fabulous people at Zombie Orpheus for their equally fabulous RPG, Masters of the Metaverse! Be sure to tune in to Twitch.TV/zombieorpheus every Monday at 6PM PST to see more!
A phone was ringing. Down a hall, behind a half broken door, on top of some cardboard boxes a phone was ringing. No one was there to answer it, the office was dark and the curtains were pulled. After a few more rings there came the click and whirr of the answering machine. An old answering machine, out of date and almost irrelevant, hummed to life and began to play its greeting.
“Hi, you’ve reached me.” said a man’s voice, “If you have a case you need looked into leave the relevant information at the tone. If you have complaints about a certain book please hang up try your call again, this time call 555-ARMOR. Thanks.”
“Uh…hi. Hi Butch. It’s…well that doesn’t matter. You probably won’t remember me anyway.”
The woman took a deep breath and sighed. It was a few moments before she spoke again.
“I’ve called this number about ten times and hung up. So, if you have a lot of missed calls that’s why. Sorry. I just…I needed some help and you seemed like the best person to talk to. Even though I have no idea where you are, no one does really. And you probably won’t even get this message. It’s just -”
She stopped again and there was silence on the line. A muttered “this is so stupid” and then…
“I didn’t tell you the whole truth that day in the diner. You asked me if you were my idol growing up and I said no. Well, that wasn’t exactly true. You weren’t my idol but you were my role model. You…were who I always wanted to be. And I was too scared to tell you that. But you know what? I am so tired. I’m so tired of being afraid. I’m tired of never saying the things that I want to say and just hoping that someone will ask the right questions instead. I’m tired of not sharing who I am and how I feel. But I’m tired of being disappointed too. So, I guess that’s why I’m leaving you a message on your machine.”
A shaky deep breath and the sound of someone sitting down, possibly sliding down to the floor. In the distance the sound of the Sentinel City Clock Tower, chiming the time as it did every day.
“We did meet at the camp. We spoke. And for you it was probably nothing more than a moment, an autograph, a stupid kid with her book of fairy tales. But for me, it was the moment that changed my life. That was the moment I decided that I could be a hero, I could be more than what everyone had told me I was. So, I tried. I tried every single day to make you proud. Why do you think I took all those jobs on The Next American Sentinel? Because I thought that maybe, just maybe someone would see something in me. That maybe someone would see in me what you had. But no one ever did. And I stopped trying. I just went on with my life. It wasn’t the life I dreamed of but it was fine, and that isn’t so bad right?”
She paused and choked back a sob.
“And then you walked into that diner, and I had to go over and talk to you. Because I needed to make sure that you weren’t disappointed in me. I needed to let you know that I wasn’t the superhero you thought I was and I needed to say that I was sorry.”
Her voice broke then and it was several moments before she spoke again.
“Something weird is happening to me. It started after we talked in the diner and it’s getting worse. I don’t know what to do. I can feel more people, feel more things than I ever could before. Everything is a hundred times stronger now. And I…I can make people feel things. I never could do that before. At first it was just my own feelings that I could send back to them. But yesterday this woman was yelling at me because I bumped into her and made her drop her bags, and the next thing I know I’m touching her arm and she’s calming down. Because I told her to, because I asked her to, because I touched her and thought ‘calm’. And I keep feeling like I’m about to run into you, so I keep hoping I will so I can talk to you. Because I feel like you’re the only person who will get what I’m talking about. But I never do.”
She sniffled and when she spoke again it was almost in a whisper.
“I’m scared Butch. I wish I was braver, but I’m not.”
Silence. Then she cleared her throat.
“Wow. Okay. That was a lot to throw at you and I mean, you don’t even know me. Wow. Okay, yeah I’m sorry. It’s fine. I’ll figure it out. It’s fine. I’m going to go now. By the way, awesome answering machine. Seriously longest message ever, sorry about that. I…thanks for listening, if you do ever get this message. Just…be safe out there okay? There’s some weird stuff happening. I had an awful dream the other night. There was a skeleton in a spacesuit with a snow globe. It really creeped me out. Anyway. See you around Butch.”
With a click she hung up and the office fell silent again. Only a small, flashing, red light remained.