This tale by John F. Leonard is a short delve into darkness. As a stand alone short story I’d been putting it off for a while, instead preferring to tackle a collection of stories or a novel. But when scrolling through my Kindle library the other day whilst ‘between books’ it just seemed like the perfect time to read it.
Why had I taken so long? John’s novel, Bad Pennies was one I read earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed. And Call Drops is similar to the vibe of that one. They both involve mysterious, seemingly ordinary objects that are in fact gateways to some supernatural horror. In Bad Pennies it was a wallet that spawned money, in this it was a mobile phone.
But not just any mobile phone. This one seems to defy technology. With an almost alien-like casing that makes the thing look like nothing even remotely technological could be going on inside it, the device is bought at a car boot sale by Vincent. Vincent, a millionaire, made his fortune out of mobile phones. I know, right?
Although Vincent has it all, he’s actually pretty lonely. His wife and daughter are gone, his business partner and friend he no longer sees; underneath the surface life ain’t too great.
Things start to change when this mysterious phone begins to ring. A strange voice on the other end offers some advice to Vincent, telling him to look into some things regarding his finances.
Would you believe it, the phone was correct. When another call comes in, Vincent follows the advice once more, discovering a grisly secret about one of his neighbours.
But it’s the third call which is the most shocking of all. I’m not going to say anything about it but what we, the readers, discover is not what we expected at all. Well I didn’t anyway.
I made it through this story in just one sitting. Yes, it’s short but I did have other things I should have been doing, I just couldn’t leave Vincent alone. There’s no wasting of the words here, the story blitzes from start to finish, just teasing you along with the carrot of carnage dangling before your feeble eyes.
Perhaps the most unsettling thing about this story was the author’s note at the end. Now most of the time an author will thank those who helped them work on the book and the readers. But here we are treated to a kind of warning about objects we may own that are not what we think they are. We may be in possession of our very own doorway to the ‘other side’. What a way to end a creepy tale with the author creeping you out a little more, and that’s not even part of the story!
I don’t normally review stand alone short stories, but I had to with this one, it was that good. I believe it is still free over at Amazon so it’s well worth an investment in your time. Just hope that your mobile doesn’t ring while you’re reading!
Categories: book review