It began around three in the morning with a phone call. I was a college freshman, sharing a dorm room with another college freshman. We were both locals, and even though we’d gone to different high schools, it helped us get along. I wasn’t exactly feeling like getting along with her, though, when her cell phone rang loudly that night. That she had an extremely annoying song set as her ring tone made it even worse.
“Hello?” I heard her whisper. I could tell she was at least trying, but when you share a bunk bed, every little movement shakes the entire frame.
“What? You’re breaking up. No, no, don’t yell. It won’t- hang on- what?” There was silence for quite a while and I thought maybe she had hung up, but finally, I heard a painfully loud sigh at the same time I heard her slide down the ladder and drop heavily on the floor.
“Kelly?” she whispered. Then again, a moment later, and slightly louder, “Kelly?”
“What?” I responded in a moan. I purposely groaned it out to let her know I was displeased with being awakened.
“Look, I’m really, really sorry about this… but that was my brother, Nick. He’s drunk at a party and he wants a ride home. He’s afraid to call our parents because he’s thinks they’ll freak.” I had only met Nancy’s brother on move-in day. They’d introduced themselves as ‘Nick and Nancy, thick as thieves.’ I thought they were weird. I knew why she was telling me this. I had a car on campus, she didn’t. Our home town was only fifteen minutes away by car, but I can tell you, that wasn’t a drive I wanted to make at that moment. At the same time, I knew that if the situations were reversed, I’d be desperate for my roommate to rescue my brother.
“What the hell, tomorrow’s Sunday, and you’re going to owe me. A whole tank of gas. The whole thing. Ten gallons.” Hey, it was a small car. So shoot me. Got decent enough mileage.
I’ve never gotten dressed that quickly when that tired before. I was a bit nervous about this drive. Even though Nancy was coming with, and even though it was only a fifteen minute drive, ten of them were through thick woods with barely lighted highways. The real threat was deer. The imaginary threat… well, I grew up in a town surrounded by woods. Of course we tried to scare the pants off one another by telling scary stories about the woods when we were kids. I knew they weren’t real, but at what was now three-thirty in the morning, I also couldn’t forget them.
Despite being exhausted, I tried to stay awake enough to look for deer. Every so often something would glint in the ditches and startle me. It always turned out to be trash or driveway reflectors. Until you’ve driven down a dark, wooded highway though, you have no idea how frightening the reflector on a mailbox can be.
Nancy broke the silence. “I keep thinking I see something out there.”
“Yeah, deer. Keep your eyes peeled. The last thing we need is to get into a crash ourselves.”
“I’ll keep an eye out for wildlife, but don’t call me dear,” she said. I knew it was a joke, but the tone wasn’t one of amusement. I guess we were both in pretty sour moods at that moment. I was almost starting to feel bad for her brother. I could feel a chewing out coming on.
We finally arrived at the house. “Are you sure this is the right place?”
“Yeah, his friend Bob’s house. I know the place.”
“You said there was a party going on, but I don’t see any cars, and the lights are out.”
She looked around. “Maybe it ended in the time it took us to drive over. I heard the party though. I mean, the line was really terrible. Lots of static, keep cutting in and out, but I could hear the beat of the music and I could hear talking and laughing.”
We both got out. A cold wind was blowing. We jumped at every noise as we walked up the drive, stuck close together out of nervousness. Nancy knocked on the door. We waited. Nancy knocked again. Once again, we waited. As Nancy was in the middle of knocking louder the front light came on. A scrawny teenage boy wearing only jeans answered the door, looking like death warmed over. I had never met him, but I presumed this to be Bob.
“Nancy?” he asked groggily. “What are you doing here?”
“Nick called me to ask for a ride home.”
It was clear Bob was trying to wake up enough to process what was going on. “Yeah, Nick’s… Nick’s sleeping on the couch. Come on in, Nancy. He didn’t tell me he called you.” We followed him in.
“Nick said there was a party?” I asked. I was trying to be helpful. I felt a bit out of place there.
“Yeah, yeah, there was… but it ended around midnight, maybe one at the latest… Nick sure waited awhile to call you.” He turned on the living room light. I could see what I assumed to be one of Nick’s arms sticking out from under the pile of blankets on the couch. “Hey, Nick, your sister is here for you. Nick, wake up man,” Bob said. He reached out and shook Nick’s shoulder. “Hey, get up man, I want to go back to sleep. Niiiiick?”
We were starting to get nervous. I could hear it in Bob’s voice, see it in Nancy’s body language, and feel it in my own muscles. Bob finally grabbed the sheets and yanked them off.
Nick’s face was a pasty white. His lips were tinged with blue. After that, I know what happened, but I am unclear on the order with which things happened. I’m not sure if it was Nancy or Bob who tried CPR first. I didn’t know CPR. There was nothing I could do. I didn’t even know the address to call the police. But they did come, eventually, not only the police but an ambulance.
I remember them talking to Nancy afterwards, once her parents had arrived. “There was nothing you could do. They estimate he died around one, long before you arrived. We… I know this is hard on you, but we won’t definitively know what happened until the… coroner’s report.”
“But… but that’s impossible! He just called me at three to pick him up. That’s how I knew to come here,” Nancy argued.
“It’s true. I heard the call. It woke us both up.”
“Well, that’s happened before, girls, where our initial findings are proven wrong by the… proven wrong later,” he said. I could tell he was trying to avoid the word autopsy. “Or maybe you were mistaken about the time of the call, it was late.”
“We drove over immediately. I’ll prove you wrong right now,” Nancy hissed, taking out her phone. “I’ll show you that he called me at…” she looked at her phone. “He… the call isn’t showing up in my log,” she was frantic. “I’m telling you, he called me! How else would I have known there was a party? How else could I have known to come here? How…?” Nancy sobbed. Never mind that call logs are often wrong, Nancy wasn’t thinking straight at the moment. It took her parents and the police to finally subdue her. Nancy ended up leaving in an ambulance as well.
A check of Nancy’s cell phone records revealed no incoming calls from Nick on that night. Similarly, a check of Nick’s cell phone records revealed no outgoing calls or texts from Nick’s phone after about eleven that night when he made his final Facebook post.
Toxicology and autopsy reports confirmed Nick died of alcohol poisoning at one in the morning.
Credit To – Raine Angel
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