The Call of the Dead

by Pratik Mainali

When her phone suddenly rang in the middle of the night, the young woman was startled awake. Her sleepiness showed in the grogginess of her response. “Hello?”

Has Sarah called? The other party’s voice questioned in a tone as icy as a December evening.

Sarah felt a brief flutter in her chest. It felt like I recognized the voice, but it couldn’t be. Her voice shook as she said, “Who is this?”

The voice introduced itself as “myself.” It’s your dad calling.

Everything that Sarah had ever known was destroyed. Even though her father had been dead for two years, she was still struggling to accept it. As the other person spoke, she felt her heart break all over again.

This voice said, “I know you’re astonished to hear from me, but I have something essential to tell you.”

Sarah just couldn’t muster the courage to say anything. She felt an emotional outburst coming on and was unable to speak.

The voice said, “I’m in danger,” and the tone changed to seem more frantic. “Please locate me,” I beg.

Sarah felt her heart beating wildly in her chest. Even though she knew it wasn’t her dad on the other end of the call, she was fooled by the voice. A barely audible “Where are you?” she said.

“I can’t say,” the voice replied. “But I really need you to track me down. I’m going to have to ask you for a favor.”

Sarah was in disbelief at the turn of events. She had the impression that the world she knew had been warped into a nightmare. She just knew that something nefarious was going on.

She said with resolve, “I’ll come and find you.”

A voice cautioned, “Be careful.” You can’t even begin to fathom the magnitude of the forces at play here.

After that, there was silence on the other end of the telephone.

Sarah sat in silence, trying to absorb what had just transpired. The voice on the other end of the telephone had seemed so real, yet she knew it hadn’t been her dad. As much as she tried, she just couldn’t ignore the feeling that something was wrong.

She jumped out of bed and exited her apartment, intent on discovering the source of the odd phone call.

Sarah had a nagging feeling that she was being followed as she went alone through the desolate streets. The shadows appeared to grow and curve sinisterly around her. There was an uneasiness she couldn’t shake, like the walls were closing in.

Without knowing what she would find when she reached her father’s grave, she made her way there. There was a shiver that went down her spine as she stood at the grave marker. The inscription on the tombstone read like a cruel joke, mocking her for losing her father.

The tears were falling down her face as she stretched out to touch the stone. I’m sorry, she said softly. It’s my deepest regret.

Suddenly, when she turned to leave, she realized someone was following her. “Sarah.”

Her eyes widened and her pulse quickened as she whirled around. She yelled out, “Who’s there?” her voice shaking.

The silhouette of a person emerged out of the shadows. I’ve been waiting for you, the voice said.

The caller’s voice seemed familiar; it was the same one that had pretended to be her dad. Sarah’s heart was racing as the figure approached, its features becoming more distinct.

“It can’t be,” she muttered.

Her father, or at least a representation of him, stood before her. His eyes were dull and black, and his skin looked ashen. He appeared to be a specter of the guy she had loved and lost, as if he had risen from the dead.

To paraphrase, “Dad, is that really you?” Sarah asked in a voice just audible above the background noise.

With a wry nod and a wistful grin on his lips, the figure agreed. Yes, it’s me, he confirmed. “However, I am not the man you once knew. My identity has changed.”

Sarah’s thoughts were racing as she tried to make sense of the situation. She was in disbelief, yet she knew it to be true, that her father was here with her.

Her eyes welled up with tears as she questioned, “What’s happened to you?”

Her father responded with a heaviness of heart, “I’ve been kidnapped.” “Something far bigger than you has snatched me away. Something with the intent of using me for its own gain.”

Sarah was becoming increasingly anxious. She was experiencing something dreadful, but she had no idea what it was.

She said with resolve, “We have to help you.”

Her dad gave her a disapproving shake of the head. He told me, “There’s nothing you can do.” “I’ve gone astray.”

In hearing his words, Sarah’s heart shattered. Her father’s death was something she just couldn’t come to terms with. She needed to figure out how to save him.

I’ll figure it out,” she declared in a confident tone. You can count on me to find a way to bring you back.

Her father clasped her hand, but his grasp was lifeless and frigid. He uttered the dreaded “I love you, Sarah” phrase. And of the person you’ve become, I couldn’t be happier.

After that, he faded into the night like a specter.

Sarah remained silent for several minutes as tears ran down her cheeks. She was determined to do whatever it took to save her dad. She would do anything to get him back from whoever took him.

Sarah’s mission to rescue her father was driven by a strong sense of purpose and determination. She was well aware of the difficulty involved, but she was prepared to overcome any threat in order to win his return.

She had the unsettling feeling that someone was following her as she went through the desolate streets at night. The shadows appeared to grow and curve sinisterly around her. But she kept going, determination and optimism filling her heart.

When it came to Sarah, she believed there was no such thing as an impossibility. Love for her father would lead her to a solution, and she would do whatever it took to save him.

Over the next two weeks, Sarah read and studied anything she could get her hands on pertaining to the paranormal and the supernatural. She researched everything from demons to exorcisms to necromancy in an effort to find a way to save her father.

She consulted with professionals in the sector in an effort to glean useful knowledge. Despite her best efforts, she never felt like she was getting any closer to a resolution.

She was home alone when the phone rang one evening. Sarah’s answer made her heart race.

The words “hello” came out of her mouth hesitantly.

Sarah, it’s me,” her dad said on the other end of the phone. I’m in a jam and could really need your assistance.

“Dad! Exactly where are you at this moment?” With a loud yell, Sarah remarked.

Her father explained that he was in a location he called the Shadowlands. “It’s the space between this world and the next. When a person’s soul is captured by evil, it goes there.”

Sarah felt her heart speeding up. This was the opportunity she had been waiting for, she thought.

She enquired, “How can I find my way to you?”

Her father told her, “There’s only one way.” “You will not succeed until you travel to the Shadowlands and track me down. But fair warning: it’s a risky venture. You won’t believe what you’ll find at that place.”

Sarah went for it without any doubt. No matter what, she would do whatever it took to protect her father.

“I’ll be there,” she promised firmly.

Sarah began her trip to the Shadowlands the following day. She was going into this blindly, but she was determined to reunite her family with her father.

She was met with a wide variety of terrifying monsters as she made her way through the warped landscape of the Shadowlands. She had visions of evil beings, monstrous creatures, and spectral beings. But she kept going, determination and optimism filling her heart.

Once she arrived, she was able to see where her father was being detained. A blazing moat encircled the fortress, which was dark and twisted on the inside. Sarah was wary since she knew the presence of evil was strong in this area.

With her heart racing, she entered the fortress. She heard a voice beckoning to her as she stumbled down the twisting, dark hallways.

A male voice said, “Sarah, I’m here,” and it was her father.

The sound of his voice filled Sarah with anticipation, and she set out to find him. The cell he was in was dingy and damp, and he was enveloped by darkness when she discovered him.

“Dad!” Sarah shrieked in surprise when she finally laid eyes on him.

Her father raised an amused grin to meet her eyes. You succeeded, he told you. “You rescued me.”

Sarah wept as she embraced her father and clung to him closely. It was her fault now. The forces of evil had been defeated thanks to her, and she had rescued her father.

Sarah sensed as they left the castle that they had not yet reached the end of their adventure. Dark and dangerous, they needed to get out of the Shadowlands as soon as possible. Sarah may have been afraid of the unknown, but she had faith that she and her dad could conquer any obstacle that came their way.

The two of them went out together, intent on regaining access to the world of the living. They anticipated a long, challenging trip, but they were prepared. When working together, they were unstoppable.

About the Author:

Pratik Mainali, BIBM University of Wolverhampton. Mainali is an aspiring writer from Kathmandu, Nepal

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