The Midnight Call

The Midnight Call

The lights of the city were being slowly swallowed up by a darkness made more visceral by thick clouds-covering the moon and an electrical grid outage. The silence became a partner with the black void creating a ménage of desperation. Fear, and panic.

Sandie arrived at her apartment seventy-five minutes earlier from a ‘girls night out’ Thursday, a ritual between her two college girlfriends and sorority sisters, Bea and Jan. The three young working women were more like real sisters, having known each other through middle school, high school, and college. They shared their secrets, their love-interests, and their problems.

The eerie phenomenon began after her short ‘bath soak’ and one more Chenin De Blanc. The ‘bath-soak’ was the favorite part of her day as she reclined in the big tub, listened to lovely piped-in music, and thought of all the topics the girls discussed.

Sandie was only in bed for some short moments when her attention was drawn to the big bedroom window high above Manhattan. The lights were slowly going off and her room was becoming darker by the moment. She quickly left her bed, went to the window, and watched the amazing scene unfold…block after block, lights were gone leaving a macabre chill to pulse through her body. The few car lights below her window seemed to be omens of something terrifyingly real about to invade the great city.

Sandie staggered back to the bed, sat momentarily in an odd paroxysm of pending evil. She finally willed herself to grab the bedside phone.

Total silence.

Oh, my God, the phones are out as well… My God, I don’t even have a flashlight.

Her hand trembled as she tried to coordinate both hands to replace the phone in its cradle. She dropped the receiver onto the lush carpeting, and it hardly made a sound. She found and replaced the phone.

Then, she sat on the edge of the bed. It was not cold in her bedroom, but she trembled.

Oh, come on, Sandie, the power has gone off before. It might take a while for the city to fix the problem. Just relax. Go to sleep. When you awake, the lights will be back, or, it will be daylight.

What was that? That noise? It’s coming from the great room. Oh, my God, has someone gotten into the apartment.

Easy, easy. It’s an apartment complex. Other people are up and about. You hear noises all the time in apartment buildings. Try to relax.

Did I lock the apartment door and put the latch on?

Of course, I did, I always do that, first thing, lock the door. Plus, silly girl, only residents can get into this building. You’re safe to sleep off this blackout. Now, go to sleep. Think about Danny… No, I’m mad at Danny. He made a fool of me. He says he didn’t, but he did.

He couldn’t reach you. His boss put his hooks into him to work-up a big proposal for submission to the city. He had a deadline to meet. You made a mountain out of a mole hill and hurt his feelings. You were being selfish, Sandie. Yeah, maybe I was. But…

But, what?

He teased me about my virginity. He’s always coming on too strong. And, you don’t do anything to cause that, right? Well, sure, I enjoy our ‘making out’ with the kissing and feeling stuff, but sex is going too far.

What was that noise?

It was just another apartment building noise… I think I might have had too many drinks tonight, plus wine when I got home.

So, what about Danny? You like him?

Well, of course, I like him. I think I might even love him…

So, it’s the sex thing? You don’t want to have sex with him, right?

Oh, it’s difficult for me. I’ve never done sex, so I don’t know how I’ll feel when it’s over…

But you like the parts that lead up to it, right?

Well, yeah, right.

So, you thinking of marrying this guy, right?

Yeah, I think I love him.

You think you ‘love him’?

Okay, you finally marry the guy, and the first night, are you going to back off sex? That’s sort of a ‘coronation’ kind of thing.

Sex will be okay then. We’ll be married.

Are you sure?

Yeah, I’m sure.

What if you don’t like having sex with him. That’s a hellava long time to wait, only to find out you don’t like sex with him.

But I will because I love him.

So, let’s say you wait all this time and comes the big night. You prepare with a bath, just a dash of body lotion on the nape, under the arms, and maybe just a bit at the thighs… Now, this is your wedding night, never had sex before that night – just ‘made out’ with kissing and touching – and Danny comes out of the bathroom cleanly shaven, showered, and you slowly make out, you slow it down to mutter some ‘love you’ words, then the big climactic moment comes. You finally submit to your one and only love…but…

But, ‘what’, for God’s sake?

He goes too fast. He goes too slow. He’s too ‘small’. He’s too ‘large’…And, you’re turned off sexually to the guy you just promised to love, honor, and obey – TIL DEATH DO YOU PART.

Sandie took several deep breaths, stretched out on the bed, her arms and hands embracing the pillow holding her head.

“Oh, Danny, I do love you, and I need you…you are none of those things. You’re perfect.” Sandie said the words loudly and wished Danny was with her at that very moment.

The darkness still prevailed outside. Some generators had brought light up and down the city streets.

She reached for the phone to see if it was working.

Just as she reached, it rang and made her almost shriek. Sandie picked up the phone and spoke tentatively into it: “Hello.”

“You okay, sweetheart? I was worried about you. Lights out all over.”

“Oh, I’m so glad you called, Danny. I wish you were here with me this moment. I love you.”

“Well, that’s quite a wish, and I love you. I’m with the Concierge in your lobby, and I can be with you in one minute if you will give the good man the ‘okay’.”

One hour later, Manhattan’s lights were on. Horns were honking. People were squealing. It was like the Ball had dropped in Times-Square announcing New Year’s Day.

Short Fiction by BR Chitwood – October 24, 2019

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A Closet Dark With Fear

A Closet Dark With Fear

Thought I might titillate you with the first two pages of a ‘Prologue.’ Call me shameless because the ‘Prologue’ is from my novel, Mama’s Madness.

This book was taken from some true life events and it was tough to write. It startled me to think that mothers of such quantifiable evil existed and doled it out at regular intervals. There are no ‘spoilers’ here and perhaps you will want to read more. The good news is that these mothers from hell are hopefully outside the reach of those reading this small portion.

From Mama’s Madness by Billy Ray (BR) Chitwood:


-The Year: 1985-

“Help me! Please help me!”

It is a piteous whimper, lost in the black void of the narrow closet. The weak and eerie sound of her own voice chills her more fiercely than the cold. The thought brings an aberrant amusement. Her own small voice frightens her!

A sound! A creaking sound. Far off. A footfall! Is it? No. It is not a footfall. It’s just one of the strange noises that comes in the night.

Is it night?

Time is lost. Time is gone from her world like a chunk of youth. The black hole draws her toward an uncertain vortex. She must close her eyes. But, not so tightly. She sees less with her eyes lightly closed. There is better control of her quivering body. With eyes open, the blackness comes alive with trickery.

Some crawling thing moves along her upper arm. That is her perception. She shifts and finds a wooden wall protrusion. A vertical beam. She moves her arm and body in back and forth rushes to accommodate the itch.

Her wrists are painfully numb and raw. The handcuffs seem now natural extensions of her hands.

Her shoulders ache in their sockets. They are taut from the pull of arms bound behind her back.

How long? God! It seems an eternity! A small lifetime she has lived in this palpable darkness. Maybe, it has been two days. The air has no texture or stir. It hangs there, stale and dank.

Her face is flushed with fever. It feels stiff and crusty from the tears running over her abrasive wounds. She squints and contorts. She opens and closes her mouth. There are sharp responses of pain. Her entire body feels leaden and bloated. When she moves there is a burning chaff between her thighs. A complacent soreness pervades. It no longer matters. Nor does the stench from her body’s waste matter.

It is her mind which throttles her. Whisks her off in searing flashes, abates, lingers amid the blackness. A fragile sentry. Both enemy and friend.

It is all happening again! She is next to die. Just like Celia. Was it a year ago? Two? Time, again, is elusive, lost. What does it matter? A year ago or an hour ago! Sarilee knows she is next. Just like Celia…

Mama beat Celia, too. Got so mad she shot her. But the bullet didn’t kill Celia. The fire killed Celia. The bullet lodged in Celia’s back and stayed there for two years. Celia healed with the bullet there in her back. Then, Celia had wanted to leave home.

Was that one year ago?

For some unknown fathoming, Sarilee wants to be precise in her remembering. Somehow, it is important to remember this point.

Yes, it was a year ago. They were living in an apartment near the old trailer court where Mama used to live…


Okay, that’s just the first two pages of Mama’s Madness. It’s my hope that you’re interested enough to read more. It is a dark tale but there are some moments of recompense and justice.

It’s on US (Kindle and paperback). It’s on Nook, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, It’s on It is also on other E-formats.

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