“I’ve seen this place before.”
Kessara looks around. She takes a tentative step forward. Sharp gravel crunches beneath her boots like static. She is in a suburban neighbourhood. Dusk arrives and the neatly paved road drowns in strokes of shadows.
The sun waves goodbye.
The streetlamps come to life.
A sound behind her.
Kessara turns around.
She shields her eyes as a car passes by in a blur of lights. It slips in between her fingers.
Her skin glows red.
When Kessara removes her hand, the car is nowhere to be found.
The streets do not sing.
In the distance, darkness hides where the concrete ends and where the road begins.
Kessara walks, slowly at first, her eyes flitting between the gaps in the houses. The shadows are darker there, deeper. Her footsteps echo, a dull, click, click, click against rough concrete.
The houses stand to her left, lights on like watching eyes.
There must be people inside.
Something rises from the shadows, blocking the pavement.
The street lamp flickers on.
Beneath it, a telephone box.
Kessara looks around, then back at the strange box. It only takes a few steps before she stands in front of the box. It’s empty. Covered in a layer of dust. Kessara presses a hand against the glass panels, feels dust stick to her skin of her palm.
Kessara frowns, tracing the cracked wood that frames rectangular glass panels, her fingers graze the corners, faint lines drawn in black. Kessara peeks over one side and then the other.
The telephone box does not have an entrance. No door that Kessara’s wandering hand can latch on to.
There’s no way in.
“Strange,” Kessara murmurs as she wipes a layer of dust off the glass. She cups two hands at the side of her face and peers inside.
Something black and rectangular, there, attached to one of the walls.
The buttons painted white, numbers drawn in black writing. The phone stands pressed against the glass.
Kessara steps back. Her shadow grows. It falls between the glass panels and scatters onto the floor of the box.
Kessara blinks, takes a step back.
Her breath comes out as wispy smoke. Night had already fallen. The cold air sweeps down the street.
Kessara looks around.
The streets empty. The houses tower on both sides, lights flickering on like fireflies, like eyes. The streetlamps scratching shadows on concrete.
And a telephone box with no way in.
Something flutters in her periphery.
Something with wings.
A flicker of colour against the box’s opaque glass, reflecting the flash of light from the lampposts.
Kessara turns around in time to see a butterfly. It hovers a short distance away, under one of the lily-pod of lights the streetlamps cast.
Kessara frowns, takes a step forward.
The butterfly flutters its wings like a wave, before disappearing into the deepening shadows.
A faint ringing rises in the air.
Kessara turns around, alarmed.
Inside the box, the phone rings.
Her eyes land on the panels.
Kessara’s reflection stares back.
There’s something written on the glass.
The words part the dust.
The phone keeps ringing.