The Last Chance

He sighed as he leaned against the chair, his eyes looking straight out the window. A bird had landed on his window sill, an elegant looking one with soft black feathers. He could only see one of the eyes, a light greyish green. He thought it was a little strange but otherwise paid it no attention. Shaking his head, Shaun turned away and focused back on the computer. The TV played the news softly in the background, but he barely paid any attention to it. His fingers were poised on the keyboard, but no words fell from his fingertips. His mind was empty and blank, something nagging at the back of his mind. He had forgotten to do something rather important. Eyes inching back at the bird, he followed its gaze toward the answering machine.

Riiight. He hadn’t checked his messages yesterday. Feeling slightly guilty, but at the same time, knowing that it was something that could have waited, he went to check. It wasn’t like anyone had died.

You have seven messages,” the machine’s voice sounded.

“Geez. When did I get so popular?” He rolled his eyes. No doubt it was his boss wanting him to come in on the weekend.

Fist message, 10:05pm: Hey Shaun, it’s Jack.” He was still mad at Jack. The asshole. “Message skipped, next message, 11:00pm: Hey, it’s David. Call me as soon as you hear this. It’s important. Next message, 11:30pm: Shaun, this can’t wait. Call me back now! Next message, 11:45pm: Please, it’s important. I’m really worried. Callcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcall! Next message, 11:46pm: CallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallCallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcall Callcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcallcall!”

Wow, maybe he should’ve checked earlier. Still, David was a little hysterical worrywart of a mother hen. He probably sorted it out himself by now. “Next message,12:00am: … sorry, I shouldn’t be calling, you probably don’t even remember. I… just wanted to thank you. I really do. You… well, if it wasn’t for you and David. Well… sorry. It’s just… I thought you’d be home… might help again and all. Seems… seems… anyway… just wanted to… well, I don’t know. Sorry… don’t know why… Thanks, Shaun. For everything.” What the hell was that?! He replayed the message, but couldn’t get anything more. The beginnings of worry knotted in his stomach. She was fine. She was back home. Probably just freaked out. “Next message, 12:08am: It’s… David. Don’t… turn on the news. Keep it off. I don’t want you to blame yourself. I know I said to call but, I don’t think even you could have done anything. I’ll… I’ll call you… or you call me, whatever. End of messages.

Shaun could barely move, not sure what in the world he had listened too. He didn’t want to play them back, as it spooked him. It was as though he was watching a scene unfolding, only, he had no idea what the story was. He wasn’t sure wanted to know. He looked over to the bird, still perched on his window sill, looking directly at him. Creepy. Like he was in a Stephen King or Allen Poe story. It seemed to blink sadly and looked away for a moment, peering at the horizon behind it. Shaun shook his head and picked up the phone, turning up the TV as he walked into the hall. He dialed several numbers, and entered the small study.

He leafed through a few pages on the desk, his eyes settled on a name he hadn’t thought of in the recent weeks. The woman who felt that… broken message. He felt dread as the other person picked up the phone. “Uh yeah, hi David,” he spoke, distractedly listening to the news barely emanating as background noise. “Returning your calls. What exactly is going–” he was cut off by his friend’s frantic talk, barely able to get in a word edge wise. “David, what do you mean don’t watch the…”

Shaun dropped the phone and ran down the hall, his heart beating in his ears. No, no way, it couldn’t be. How would that even be possible?! He thought of its eyes, how it acted. Nothing like a bird. Nothing like… he swiveled this head at the news, making his way to the window. He nearly fell on his face as he listened. No. No. No. No. No!

“Last night, at around midnight, spectators watched as a young woman jumped off the bridge to her death. Authorities have ruled this as a suicide.”

When he looked toward the window, the bird was gone. Except for the small cellphone keychain.

Don’t worry. If you ever feel like that, just give me a call. I’ll always pick up. Always.


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