Emily Bradley wanted a smart phone for her tenth birthday. Her mother and step-father had been reluctant to give her one because they felt it was a luxury for a child to have, but finally agreed to surprise her with one for her birthday.
At bedtime, as Emily laid the phone on the stand beside her bed, she noticed a text message on the phone. She was surprised because no one knew she had a phone.
She picked up the phone and read the message. “Good news. Now we can talk.”
For some strange reason, Emily couldn’t tell who sent the message. And she couldn’t respond because her parents told her to not be on the phone after nine o’clock and it was now ten o’clock. But she was dying to know who sent the message.
She was about to turn out the light when she noticed another message. “Please respond. Important.”
Emily decided to take the risk violating her parents’ rule and respond.
“Who are you?” she texted.
“I don’t have a brother.”
“Yes you do.”
“You’re wrong. Who are you?”
“Your brother. I’m dead.”
Emily almost dropped the phone. Someone’s playing a mean prank, she thought.
Another message appeared. “Sorry to shock u.”
Emily sat in disbelief.
“My name is Brogan,” the next message said.
Emily got upset. This has gone far enough, she thought.
“Stop,” she texted. “This isn’t funny.”
“He killed me.”
Emily became frightened. A lunatic had somehow gotten her number.
Another message appeared. “U MUST believe me. Your life’s in danger.”
Emily began to tremble but felt herself being drawn into this strange mystery on her phone. She decided to respond.
“If u r dead how can u text?”
“My body’s dead….my spirit isn’t.”
“Trust me. My spirit can create text messages on your phone.”
Another text appeared. “Come to Bexley Cemetery after school. Bring your phone.”
“Why?” Emily texted.
“To prove I’m your brother.”
“If you’re trying to frighten me…u r.”
“Sorry. Just trying to save your life.”
The next day after school, Emily dreaded the idea of going to the cemetery alone but was too curious not to go. As she got to the cemetery, a text appeared on her phone.
“Come to large oak tree in center.”
Emily walked to the large oak tree.
“Read the headstone,” the text said.
Emily looked at the inscription. It said: Brogan J. Bradley.
The year of the death was the year Emily was born.
“See. I’m your brother. He killed me. Made it look like an accident.”
“Who?” Emily texted.
“It’s too late. He followed you.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“He did it for insurance money. Sorry, I tried to warn you.”
Emily heard a voice behind her. “It’s too bad you got the phone, Emily.”
Emily turned and saw her step-father. He had a cell phone in one hand and a rope in the other.
Charles Lee is a retired college professor who now enjoys creative writing, oil painting, volunteering, and gardening. He lives an active lifestyle with his wife in a retirement community in Tallahassee, FL.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.