“Who is it?”
The voice sounded nothing like the one on the phone but still he couldn’t bring himself to open the door. He dithered a moment longer and then opened the door a crack. The pizza guy looked at him like he was a lunatic.
“Sorry, I just…sorry. Here you go.”
He shoved a twenty into the boy’s hand and quickly closed the door. He threw the pizza on the kitchen table and poured himself a stiff drink. This had gone much farther than he ever thought it would. Whoever he was dealing with was no ordinary prankster.
He racked his brain again for an answer to how anyone could know about Jeremy. It simply wasn’t possible. Unless…unless his computer had been hacked! He ran to his notebook and ran a virus scan.
While he waited he finished his drink and poured himself another one. He munched a slice and sat staring at the screen. At last the results came up. Nothing. His computer was clean. He sat back and sighed.
The only possibility he could come up with and he’d drawn a blank. There had to be a logical answer. His head whipped around as he heard a sound at the door. He thought he saw the doorknob move slightly.
He flew to the door to make sure it was locked and put his ear against it. He was certain he heard the sound of footsteps retreating. His heart was pounding and he made his way back to his seat. With his elbows on the table and his head in his hands he pondered his next move. It was then that the phone rang.
This time he couldn’t resist.
“Who is this?”
“It’s me, Barry. Jeremy. Please don’t hang up on me. You have to listen to me. Malcolm is up to no good, just like I said. It’s worse than I thought Barry. I think he’s planning on killing you. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to tell you it was me you had to watch out for. He wants to throw you off guard.”
Barry could feel himself caving in. He struggled to get control.
“Please, for the love of god, who are you and why are you doing this to me?”
“Barry, come on man, you have to get with the program. I’m Jeremy. I’m trying to help you.”
Barry’s head began to throb. His vision was blurring.
“What do you want from me? Just tell me. Please.”
“I want you to do something about Malcolm. I don’t know, maybe if you wrote him out of the novel? Changed his name or something? I don’t know, Barry. You’re the writer. You created him. Think, man. You’ve got to come up with a plan.”
Barry hung up the phone. He couldn’t do it anymore. Not tonight. He went to the medicine cabinet and found some codeine that he’d been given after some oral surgery. He took three of them, took off his clothes and got into bed.
Perhaps he would be able to think things through in the morning.
Part 7 Tomorrow