Barbara's Phone Call

Summary: Barbara fixes the phone in the kitchen and gets it working long enough to call her mother. But what will she tell her?

The song is Mother Mother by Tracy Bonham.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

"Victims show evidence of being partially devoured by their murderers…" Blah blah blah. I've seen what those, those ghouls are capable of. I have some of that same evidence. Upstairs. The first one I ever saw killed my brother, Johnny. There's no reason for me to listen to this. So why can't I move away? I should do something. Something useful, that would help us, but I can't move, I think I'm in shock. I go over what happened in my head, not entirely by choice. I can't stop thinking about it.

Then, I realize how I can help. The phone. I know how to fix it, my mother's phone broke all the time, but she refused to get a new one. She was attached to her hunk of junk because it was the last thing my father had ever bought. Eventually, after several visits from a repairman, and about even more fights with Johnny, I taught myself how to fix the phone.

I snuck to the kitchen, it wasn't difficult, Ben was fighting with Mr. Cooper, and everyone was focused on that. A few twisted wires later, I could hear a dial tone. It wouldn't last long, I knew, but it should last long enough for a few calls. I went through the possibilities in my head. The authorities couldn't help; they were fighting just to stay alive. And Ben and Mr. Cooper would doubtless fight over who could use the phone first, and might break it. I would make one phone call, and then I would tell them, they didn't need to know just yet. Besides, it would give them a chance to cool down.


"Hi Mother, it's Barbara. Are you all right?"

Mother mother how's the family?
I'm just calling to say hello.

"Barbara? Yes, of course I'm alright. Honey, where are you? I've been so worried. What's going on? Is there something wrong with the car? Is this one of Johnny's pranks?"

"Well, he was kidding around-" 'They're coming to get you Barbara...' he'd said in the graveyard. He was right, for once.

"I knew it." My mother interrupted. She went off into a rant then, about how if Johnny wasn't complaining he wasn't serious. She stopped to ask, "Barbara, is the car alright? Is Johnny even there with you?"

"The car crashed, and Johnny, he, he's…" How do you tell your mother that your brother is dead?

"It's fine, I know it's not your fault." Yes it was. "You're not alone, though, right?"

Am I lonely? Heavens no.

I could hear Ben and Mr. Cooper still arguing in the living room. The ghouls outside, coming closer, trying to get in.

"I'm not alone."

Mother mother, are ya listening? Just a phone call to ease your mind.
Life is perfect, never better, distance making the heart grow fond

"Good. Now when can you get the car fixed so you can come home?"

"Johnny has the keys."

"Well you can get a ride home soon, though, right?" I could hear the worry in her voice, how would she take the news? Could she handle it? She lived alone, she had a bad heart, couldn't handle stress well. No, she couldn't know. If she just stayed in her home, she would be fine. If she knew something was wrong, she might leave, and come across some of them.

Mother mother can you hear me, sure I'm sober, sure I'm sane.
Life is perfect, never better, still your daughter, still the same.

"I'll get a ride, but it may not be soon."

Are you sure? You know, I can't go into town without the car." I knew.

"Oh, well, you have enough food for a while, right? On Sunday just read your Bible at home, God will understand."

"Yes, but I'll worry about you."

I'm hungry,
I'm dirty,
I'm losing my mind...
Everything's fine!

"Don't worry, I may not call for a while, but that'll be because I'm traveling."

"Yes, you're the responsible one, you'll be okay. What do you know about Johnny? When will we see him again? Do you know?"

"I'm sure we'll see him soon…" On the other side.

"Alright. But are you sure you're okay? Do you have enough food? Somewhere to stay tonight?"

"Yes, mother."

If I tell you what you want to hear,
will it help you to sleep well at night?
Are you sure that I'm your perfect dear,
now just cuddle up and sleep tight.

"Good. Who is there that might give you a ride?"

"Well there's Ben, he's helped me a lot." I could hear static over the phone line, my quick fix qwouldn't last much longer. "I've got to go, the phone isn't working well, and other people need to use it…"

"Very well, but when you come back… full story…"


"…stay you."

The line went dead. I knew instinctively that it wouldn't work again. I hung up and went back to the living room. There was no point bringing up the phone with the others, they would just be mad I'd called my mother and not tried to get help.

I miss you,
I love you.