This is the fourteenth part of a fiction serial, in 720 words.
Mark came back holding three carrier bags containing twelve cans of lager, and four large ready to cook pepperoni pizzas. It dawned on me he was expecting to hang around for some time. He nodded at his laptop. “What do you think? You should ring her”.
After we had both eaten a pizza and he had more lager, I rang the contact number on the website and got a message telling me to leave a name and number. I put on my best serious voice, and did just that. When Mark was eating his second pizza, my mobile rang. “This is Sylvia Townsend, you left a message. Please tell me the nature of your psychic incident, but only that. Do not mention any names or places, or any dates. I would not want you to think I was using any supplied information in my conclusions”.
I gave her all the facts about the 317 connections, how many times the number had cropped up, and that I couldn’t see why it had anything to do with me. She replied confidently, sounding like a mature, well-spoken woman.
“I am sure I could help you, it seems to be very straightforward to me. I would have to be in your flat at three-seventeen in the morning. That would mean me getting there an hour before. Including my travelling time and expenses to and from London that would cost you four hundred in cash. If that is acceptable to you, I could come next Friday. I suggest you get some sleep before I arrive, as you will need to stay alert”.
Swept away by her confidence, I gave her my address, and agreed next Friday. Then she asked for a credit card number, in case I turned out to be a prankster. “I will not charge anything to the card, unless you are not at the address given, or thinking to play some kind of joke on me. I warn you now, I do not travel alone, and my husband is a very large man who can take good care of me”.
When I had given her the details and hung up, I glared at Mark. “You better hope she’s not a con-artist, or you will owe me anything she steals”. He chuckled as he went into the kitchen to heat up his third pizza.
Once he had gone home, leaving behind just two cans of beer. I decided to relax and watch the telly. I had to get the idea out of my head that I had just given my credit card details to a con-woman who was sitting in London thinking about how she was going to spend my money.
Then I remembered the lottery ticket. I had just missed the televised results, so used the Internet on my phone to get on the website and check the winning numbers against mine. I was excited, imagining moving into a luxury pad, cancelling Sylvia Townsend, and telling Neil what he could do with his job.
Not even one number.
Flicking around the channels to find something to watch to make me forget my disappointment, I noticed that the film Jaws was just starting. I had seen it before of course, but not for years. It was always worth another watch. Robert Shaw, and the big rubbery shark.
I was well into the film when it got to the bit where Quint is strapping into the chair to fish with the huge rod. Then I had to go for a pee. As I walked back into the room, I heard a sound I remembered.
But I didn’t remember it from the film. It was the sound I had heard on the ceiling of my bedroom.
Watching the screen, I saw the big fishing rod reel whirring as the line was taken up. Then it stopped, then whirred again. The exact same noise I had heard at 3:17 in the morning. Then he was was slowly winding back the slack on the line. Click, click, click. The sound that I thought was someone winding up a clockwork motor. I got a chill all over my back. That was most definitely the sound. But surely all this could have nothing to do with a film?
Despite that, I slept right through the night, with no disturbances.